This week: YouTube Shorts will be here soon, Facebook and Instagram now integrate with Shopify, and Twitter is working on its own version of Clubhouse.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
YouTube Shorts Arriving in The U.S. in March
YouTube Shorts, or YouTube’s answer to TikTok, will arrive on U.S. soil next month.
The platform is already popular in India, where it’s been in use since September.
According to YouTube, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled since December.
Shorts gives you the ability to create 60-second clips in vertical format. Hence the comparison to TikTok.
The platform also gives you the ability to:
- Edit videos with creative tools
- Splice clips together
- Add music from YouTube’s library
- Change video speed
- Add timers and countdowns
You can also upload videos you’ve previously created or use the Shorts in-app camera.
YouTube Launches Shorts Report
Speaking of YouTube Shorts, the video-hosting company is launching Shorts Report. It’s a biweekly resource that delivers info about product updates as well as creative tips.
Here’s what YouTube has to say about the report: “Our goal with the Shorts Report is simple; support YOU on your creation journey, regardless of your starting point. Whether you need the push to make your first video, inspiration for your next Short, or help figuring out how to use our creation tools, the Shorts Report has you covered.”
YouTube also offers this 3-point plan this week for cultivating your creativity with Shorts content:
- Keep it snappy – Make the first frame count!
- Finish the story – Use a hook, climax, and resolution.
- Show your skills – Stick with what you’re good at, whether it’s singing, dancing, comedy, or something else.
Google: No SEO Benefits to Audio Versions of Written Posts
You might think that you’ll get some kind of SEO benefit when you add an embedded audio readout to a text-based web page. Think again.
The topic came up during a Google Search Central SEO hangout.
“Would adding an audio version of a page’s content help with search in any way?” someone in the hangout asked John Mueller. “Other than the obvious accessibility improvement.”
Mueller responded by saying that audio content doesn’t add any SEO benefit.
“As far as I know we don’t do anything with audio versions of content,” Mueller replied. “We also wouldn’t see that as duplicate content, so it’s not that you have to avoid that. I mean, duplicate content itself isn’t something you really have to avoid, but even if you wanted to avoid the situation that you’re suddenly ranking for the same things with different pieces of content, the audio version is something that we, as far as I know, would not even process separately. At most, we might see that as a piece of video content and show that also with a video snippet. But, essentially, it wouldn’t help or detract from a page’s overall ranking.”
Mueller did say, though, that there might be other benefits not related to SEO. For example, the page might get shared more on social media.
YouTube Analytics Update Shows What Other Channels the Audience Is Watching
How would you like to know what other YouTube channels your viewers are watching? If so, you’re in luck.
Thanks to a recent update to YouTube Analytics, you’ll now have access to a report entitled “Other channels your audience watches.”
That report lives up to its name.
Keep in mind though: it’s available on YouTube desktop. Also, it only covers the previous 28 days.
So make sure you browse that data on a monthly basis at the very least. It’s probably best to take a look at the report once a week.
Facebook and Instagram Shops Now Integrated With Shopify
Facebook and Instagram Shops are adding Shopify as a payment option.
Of course, that option is only available to Shopify merchants.
According to reports, checking out with Shopify is 70% faster than a standard checkout. That’s because it prepopulates customer details like billing and shipping info.
The Shopify payment option also reportedly increases conversions by 1.72x.
Shop Pay will soon become available to all Shopify merchants using Instagram checkout. Afterward, it will roll out to Facebook.
GMB Rolls Out Messaging For Desktop Users
Google My Business (GMB) is rolling out messaging for desktop users.
It was already available for mobile app users.
The desktop messaging uses an interface that’s universally familiar. It looks like the standard “chat-style” UI that you see with instant messages or SMS.
Keep in mind, though: the new feature is still in the process of rolling out. So you might not see it right away when you log into GMB.
Also, you’ll have to opt-in if you want to use it. That’s easy enough to do via settings.
Once you do opt-in, though, Google will expect you to respond to messages. If you don’t respond within a 24-hour period, your messaging privileges could get revoked.
Google: Shorter Domain Names Don’t Help With SEO
It’s a common misconception among some in the SEO community that shorter domain names give you a better rank. They don’t.
This past week on Twitter, somebody pointed out to Google’s John Mueller that he saw traffic drop dramatically when he moved his site to a new site with a longer domain name.
Here’s how Mueller responded to that: “Domain name or URL length is not a factor. Shorter is not better for SEO. Maybe better or easier for marketing, which is separate. We do use length lightly for canonicalization, but that’s choosing between 2 versions of the same thing (eg, /home/ vs /home/index.html).”
When the other person pushed back on that a bit, Mueller replied by tweeting “I can see how people might like short & sweet domain names, but there’s definitely no SEO bonus attached to them like that.”
Twitter Working On Its Own Version Of Clubhouse
Here’s the least-shocking story of the week.
A social media company is doing what social media companies seem to do best these days: imitating the success of another social media company.
In this case, Twitter is building its own version of Clubhouse.
This comes on the heels of Facebook building its own version of Clubhouse.
And you can be pretty sure that LinkedIn is next.
Clubhouse, by the way, is an invitation-only, audio-based open forum. It’s the place where you don’t simply read people’s updates. You listen to them.
But that’s assuming you get invited.
Twitter’s version of Clubhouse is called Spaces. As of now, it’s a work in progress.
But the company is making updates regularly. You should see a more robust version of Spaces in fairly short order.
Have fun and get things done with these action items:
- Think about how you might use one of the audio-based social media platforms to promote your brand. Also, think about which one you’d like to use because it would take you way too much time to use all of them.
- If you think it will help you attract more customers, use GMB messaging. You might find that people are more open to communicate via text messaging than they are via phone or email.
- If you’re on Shopify, take advantage of the new integration with Facebook and Instagram.
- Think about how you can use YouTube Shorts to boost your brand with video.