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Ignite Friday Digital Marketing News (Updated Every Friday)

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Digital Marketing News 5/15/2023 – 5/19/2023

This week: a new report says that half of product searches online begin with Amazon, Google says the GA4 deadline isn’t moving, and wait until you see how many Americans think they have what it takes to make it as social media influencers.


Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.

 

1. Google Stands Firm: GA4 Deadline Not Changing

There’s been some scuttlebut meandering through cyberspace that Google will push back the date when Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing data.

Those rumors aren’t true.

This past week, Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin took to Twitter to say: “The deadline is not changing.”

As a result, she advised all strategists to “not delay GA4 migrations.”

The drop-dead date is July 1 of this year. Historical data will be available until that same date next year.

2. Google: Invalid Schema Markup Won’t Hurt You

Good news for those of us who mess up once in a while.

This past week, Google’s Gary Illyes said that unparseable markup won’t adversely affect your website’s rankings.

Of course, it probably won’t help, either.

Here’s how Illyes responded when somebody asked him if invalid markup will lower a website’s position in the SERPs: Short answer is no. The long answer is also no, because if we can’t parse it, we just won’t use it. That might mean that you’ll miss out on some search features like rich attributes under your snippets though.»

3. Elon Musk Taps Linda Yaccarino As New Twitter CEO

There’s a new sheriff in town.

At least on Twitter. That’s where Elon Musk has just named Linda Yaccarino to take the helm.

She’ll focus primarily on business operations while Musk continues to handle the technical side of the house.

“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” he said.

Yaccarino was chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal Media. She’ll start her new role in about six weeks.

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4. Survey: Half of Product Searches Start on Amazon

This one ain’t too surprising.

According to a new survey by PowerReviews, 50% of respondents said they start their online shopping on Amazon.

Just over 31% said they start on Google.

In fact, Amazon dominated the start of the shopping journey for all age groups except one: Gen Z. They tend to start their shopping with the Big G.

More than three-quarters (77%) of survey participants said they seek out websites with reviews. That number was even higher for Gen Z (87%) and millennials (81%).

Sixty percent of those polled looked at user-generated images or videos when shopping online.

5. Amazon Will Ad Generative AI to Its Search Experience

Speaking of Amazon, that company will make generative AI part of its search experience.

And Amazon is searching for people who can help with the process.

According to the online job ad: “This will be a once-in-a-generation transformation for Search.”

The company wants to create “a new AI-first initiative to re-architect and reinvent the way we do search through the use of extremely large scale next-generation deep learning techniques.”

Put that together with the previous news item and you can see how Amazon could create some serious disruption with this effort.

6. Google Helpful Content Update Can Promote and Demote Web Pages

In case you haven’t heard, Google will release a Helpful Content update. It can both promote and demote the web pages on your site.

According to Google’s Danny Sullivan: “The helpful content system will be working to identify and show more ‘hidden gems’ on Search, along with still working to ensure unhelpful content is not performing well.”

Not sure how it finds those “hidden gems” but maybe we’ll get some insight soon enough.

7. Third-Party Apps Will Soon Be Able to Schedule Instagram Stories

Excellent news for Instagram marketers.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram, will add Instagram Stories posting support to the Instagram Graph API.

“The Instagram Graph API enables Instagram Business accounts to publish up to 25 single images, videos, reels (i.e. single media posts), or posts containing multiple images and videos (carousel posts) per day using third-party developer platforms,” the company said in a statement. “This API enhancement will be available for the current version, v16.0, and all previous versions of the Graph API. As there are no new endpoints or permissions, Stories will become automatically available for developers who already have access to the Content Publishing API.”

Look for the new feature in the near future.

8. Report: 41% of Americans Think They Have What It Takes to Become Social Media Influencers

According to new research from Passport-photo.online, 41% of Americans think they have what it takes to become social media influencers.

Nine in 10 Americans follow at least one influencer while 8 in 10 consider social media influencing a real profession.

More than 60% of those surveyed want to become social media influencers. And about the same amount would quit work tomorrow if they could make it as influencers.

Almost a quarter of respondents identified money as the most appealing benefit of being a social media influencer.

9. Google Rolls out New Update to Bard

This past week, Google introduced a couple of updates to Bard, its AI-driven chatbot.

First up, Bard is now better at providing concise summaries. That’s going to help people who want to get info quickly.

Also, Bard is now better at identifying the source of the info it provides. That will not only help users but also SEOs who might see some additional traffic to their websites thanks to Bard’s sourcing.

Homework

Take some time away from the NHL playoffs to take care of these action items:

  • Think about how you can schedule Instagram Stories as a way to better promote your business.
  • Check your website for invalid schema markup. Take corrective action where necessary.
  • If you ain’t ready for GA4 yet, make sure you get ready. Yesterday.

Digital Marketing News 5/8/2023 – 5/12/2023

This week: Twitter is making it easier (cheaper) for SMBs to get organization-level verification, Google reveals an SEO hack that you probably didn’t know about, and Reddit offers some advertising tips.

Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.

1. Twitter Tests Highlights Tab to Showcase Best Tweets

If you’ve got some outstanding thoughts that you’ve shared in under 280 characters, I’ve got good news for you.

Twitter is testing a new Highlights tab on user profiles. You can use it to show off your finest tweets.

Keep in mind, it’s a non-default tab that people will see when they view your user profile. They’ll have to make the decision to click that tab if they want to take a look at your best work.

Still, seems like a great option if you’re using Twitter for digital marketing.

2. Twitter Will Offer Cheaper Verification Packages for SMBs

Speaking of Twitter, there’s more good news if you’re running a small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) and you don’t want to fork over the $1,000 per month for organizational verification.

This past week, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that the platform will offer a cheaper verification alternative for small businesses.

And he flat-out tweeted that “the $1000/month is meant for larger organizations.”

In other words, it’s meant for companies that can afford $1,000 per month.

Stay tuned for more info.

3. Twitter Purging Inactive Accounts, Freeing Up Old Handles

Still speaking of Twitter, Elon Musk announced this past week that the platform is doing the Big Purge.

It’s getting rid of inactive accounts.

That means some old accounts with clever handles might soon become available. You might be able to use some of those accounts to promote your business.

Musk also warned that, as a result of the Big Purge, you could see follower counts drop. 

4. Reddit Shares Tips to Help SMBs Create Effective Ad Campaigns

Speaking of SMBs, and since May is National Small Business Month, Reddit shared some ad tips for reaching people on its platform.

First: “Communicate your brand’s vision and value proposition.”

Okay. But that’s basically Marketing 101. Let’s see what else they got.

Next: “Don’t be too formal.” 

Definitely, great advice if you’re trying to reach people on Reddit. If there’s one thing the users on that platform ain’t, it’s formal.

“When people connect on Reddit, they speak to other Redditors using honest, direct, but (typically) friendly language,” the company said. “The same goes for brands on Reddit. Switch up your ads by making some edits and speak to Redditors like you’d speak to a knowledgeable friend – with an authentic and conversational tone that rings true to your brand.”

Also: “Tweak copy to include humor or cultural references.”

Lots of Reddit users are culture savvy. So that’s good advice as well.

Be sure to check out the other pieces of advice at the link above.

5. Amazon Working on AI Tools to Generate Images and Videos for Advertisers

Amazon wants to make it easier to promote your business on its platform.

This past week, the company confirmed that it’s working on tools to create AI-generated images and video for your ads.

READ  12 Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO

As of now, there’s no “due date” as to when you can expect to see the new goodies.

6. Microsoft Announces New Ad Solution for AI Chat

Microsoft Advertising just announced a new ad solution for AI-driven chats. 

«Today, we are pleased to announce an ads solution to help online services, apps, and publishers monetize chat so they can innovate in their own engaging experiences,» Microsoft said in a statement.

«We have designed a solution that gives publishers, apps and online services the flexibility to customize their experience with ads and create more economic value through their chat investments,» Microsoft’s Kya Sainsbury-Carter added.

It’s not clear at this point what this ad solution will look like. But if you’re running AI chats online, you might be able to monetize them soon.

7. Google: hreflang x-default Might Make More URLs Visible to Googlebot

Don’t look now, but Google’s Gary Illyes just pulled back the curtain and let us in on an SEO hack.

According to Illyes, there are “hidden” advantages to using hreflang x-default in your HTML.

For starters, he said that it might “help with feeding Googlebot URLs that the poor thing otherwise might not see.»

Here’s more from Illyes: «While we don’t talk much about it, the URLs you specify in hreflang annotations, including x-default, may be used for URL discovery. This can be helpful for large sites with complex structures for example, where it’s hard to make sure every localized URL on the site is well linked.»

He also said that hreflang x-default can help with conversion tracking.

8. Google No Longer Requires Video Descriptions in Structured Data

Going forward, you’ll no longer see errors in Google Search Console reports if you leave video descriptions empty in markup.

That’s because they’re no longer required.

However, Google recommends that you still add them. They do provide key details about your videos, after all.

Homework

Be sure to take care of these action items before the warm weather takes you away from your PC:

  • Think about whether or not you even need to add video descriptions on your website any more.
  • If you’ve got a multilingual site, think about how you can use hreflang x-default to further optimize it.
  • If you’ve got an AI chatbot, stay tuned for Microsoft’s upcoming ad solution. 
  • Read Reddit’s tips for creating great ad campaigns on the platform. Then brainstorm the best subreddits where you can put that advice to the test.

Digital Marketing News 5/1/2023 – 5/5/2023

This week: LinkedIn’s membership keeps growing, YouTube has new ad options, and we’ve got earnings numbers for Snap and Pinterest.

Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.

1. TikTok Announces Launch of New Product

TikTok’s got another new product.

Pulse Premiere, aimed at enabling publishers to sell advertisements alongside their content, awards publishers 50% of the revenue.

Ray Cao, Global Head of Monetization, Product Strategy, and Operation at TikTok, expressed the company’s desire to support publishers while also creating new business opportunities for the platform.

2. Facebook Updates Default Setting for Location Targeting

I bet most of you didn’t know this. 

Facebook’s default setting for location targeting is set to “Living in or recently in this location.” 

Now you can choose between four available options to choose from: 

  1. People living in or recently in this location
  2. People living in this location
  3. People recently in this location
  4. People traveling in this location

3. YouTube Shares 3 New Advertising Strategies

This week YouTube announced new strategies for incorporating Shorts.

The goal of these three options is to engage new audiences.

  • Expanding Shorts into Video reach campaigns
  • Positioning alongside trending Shorts content
  • First Position on Shorts

4. Snapchat Reports More Users, Lower Revenue

Some good news and bad news from Snap’s Q1 results.

First, the good news: the company added 8 million daily active users (DAU). That brings the total to 383 million.

Most of that growth came from outside the U.S.

The bad news: revenue came in at $989 million. That’s a drop from $1.3 billion in the previous quarter.

“Q1 revenue was particularly challenged, as we implemented significant changes to our ad platform that were disruptive to demand,” Snap said in a statement. “While the macroeconomic environment has shown signs of stabilization, it continues to be a headwind to growth. Our brand-oriented business was down 12% year-over-year and our direct-response (DR) business was down 9% year-over-year.”

Average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped as well.

5. LinkedIn Now up to 930 Million Users

Good news if you’re in the B2B space.

LinkedIn is now up to 930 million members. That’s an increase of 30 million members since January.

Unsurprisingly, its biggest membership gain occurred in India. The U.S. took second place and Brazil came in third.

Keep in mind, though: “total members” doesn’t mean active users. LinkedIn doesn’t share active user data like some other platforms.

That said, LinkedIn says it’s seeing “record levels of engagement” with sessions up 15%.

6. Google: Avoid “Coming Back Soon” Pages

If you’re in the middle of a website overhaul, you might be tempted to use a “Coming Back Soon” sign for a page that’s in a transitional state.

Somebody asked Google’s John Mueller about transitional pages this past week.

Here’s what he had to say:I’d try very hard to avoid having a ‘coming back soon; page during a revamp. I don’t think you’d gain a lot by bouncing it back & forth. If you need it for <1-2 days, I’d just 503. For anything longer, it’s going to be painful regardless of how you do it.”

7. Google Says Page Experience Is a Ranking Signal, Not a Ranking System

Oh.

If you weren’t confused enough from last week’s update about page experience, mobile-friendliness, security, and page speed, prepare to be confused even more.

Google now says that those attributes are ranking “signals.” They were never ranking “systems.”

Yeah, that makes it all better.

To clarify, Google claims it never advised you to stop caring about user experience on your site. That’s how some people interpreted last week’s update.

Google says it’s still important for SEOs to pay attention to that stuff.

So why make the documentation change on the ranking systems page? I’ll let Google try to explain that:

In making the page, we looked at a number of ‘updates’ we’ve had over the past year and converted describing those as systems. In hindsight, the various page experience ‘updates’ we’ve had became systems and were added when, as signals, they shouldn’t have been. So when we updated our page experience guidance last week, we also updated the systems page to no longer list these things that weren’t actually systems but signals.”

Yep. Clear as mud.

Bottom line: keep on paying attention to user experience and security. You’ll do better in search.

8. Poll: Most SEOs Got Started By Reading and Practicing Alone

According to a very unscientific Twitter poll, most SEOs (55%) got started by reading and practicing alone.

About 21% said that they “just went along” while almost 18% were mentored.

Less than 6% got started by enrolling in a course.

Those were the only four options. So there might be some folks who didn’t bother to answer because they got started in a way that wasn’t listed.

For the record: “just went along” had “other” attached to it. But I’m not sure why.

9. Reddit Adds New Post-Sharing Options

Reddit is making it easier to generate viral content.

For starters, Reddit added a new option that enables you to share posts directly to Instagram Stories. The content will appear as a sticker so you won’t have to screenshot it.

Additionally, when you share content with a messaging app, Reddit links will display a preview. It will look similar to the sticker on an Instagram Story.

Finally, Reddit’s post-sharing options will default to your most frequently shared platforms.

10. Pinterest Partners With Amazon for Multi-Year Ad Campaign

This past week, Pinterest announced a new advertising partnership with Amazon.

Here’s how it works: When Pinterest users click on Amazon ads, they’ll get redirected to Amazon to complete the shopping process.

“This milestone partnership will add to the great brands already on the platform and provide more comprehensiveness, shoppability, and a best-in-class buying experience for users, along with greater performance for brands and advertisers,” said Pinterest CEO Bill Ready. “This aligns with our goal of making every Pin shoppable, so that we can enable as many users as possible to bring their dreams to life.”

Pinterest also said that the new partnership won’t yield a sizable revenue impact until next year.

11. YouTube Adds Shorts Ad Placement Options

Good news if you’re looking to advertise on YouTube Shorts videos.

Just upload your video ad as part of a Video Reach campaign. YouTube’s AI will take care of the rest.

Part of “the rest” now includes the possibility of running your ad during a Shorts video. That wasn’t the case until just recently.

READ  How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search

“With the new First Position on Shorts, piloting across YouTube Select, advertisers can break through at the start of a viewing session,” YouTube said in a statement. “When a viewer opens YouTube Shorts and starts watching, your ad is the first one they will see. This lets you land a strong first impression in a highly immersive environment.”

YouTube says that it’s also adding in-feed video ads to Reach campaigns.

Homework

The May flowers have arrived. But before you tiptoe through the tulips, take care of these action items:

  • Think about how you can promote your business with video ads that run on YouTube Shorts videos.
  • Look at Reddit as an option to promote your brand now that it’s easier for users to share content from Reddit to other platforms.
  • Look for alternatives to “Coming Back Soon” pages if you’re going through a website overhaul right now.

Digital Marketing News 4/24/2023 – 4/28/2023

This week: Twitter says you need to pay for the blue check if you want to advertise on its platform, Google is out with a decent earnings report, and Bard can code.

Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.

1. Twitter Says Advertisers Need to Pay for Verification

Elon Musk knows how to generate demand.

If you want to advertise on Twitter, you’re going to need to fork over the eight bucks a month for verification.

Of course, you do get the blue checkmark as well. So you not only buy the right to advertise on the platform, but you also buy some prestige.

You can also opt to pay the $1,000 per month for Verifications for Organizations.

2. Twitter Reinstates Blue Checks for Accounts With a Million Followers

Speaking of Twitter and blue checkmarks, Elon Musk pulled that little blue icon for people who don’t pony up the $8 every month.

Well, not everybody.

It looks like accounts with more than a million followers got their baby blues back. Even though they didn’t pay for it.

That move led to some hilarious tweets from high-profile celebrities who posted words to the effect of: “I didn’t pay for this blue checkmark you see next to my name.”

Just another day in paradise.

3. Facebook Ads Error Causes Overspend

If you’re using any ad platform that charges based on clicks or impressions, then you really count on that platform to respect your budget.

Meta didn’t do that recently.

This past Sunday morning, many Facebook advertisers woke up to the news of CPMs increasing by as much as 500% from the previous day.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, acknowledged the problem. And, better yet, fixed it.

Everything should be back to normal by the time you read this.

4. Google Removes 4 Ranking Systems From Documentation

Google just updated its documented ranking systems to remove four entries.

Specifically, the mobile-friendly, page speed, and secure sites ranking systems have been removed from the “retired” list.

The page experience ranking system got removed from the main list but didn’t get added to the retired list.

Regarding that last one, Google says that the page experience update was a concept that enabled website owners to hone in on various aspects of user-friendliness. It was never a separate ranking system.

Google’s John Mueller had this to say about the updates:IMO most people don’t need to do anything different. This is not a change in how ranking works, it’s more about how we’ve been thinking about these elements. We’ve seen people hyper-focus on these numbers, that’s not a good use of time & energy. Think holistically instead.”

5. Google Bard Adds Coding Capabilities

Some unsettling news for software developers.

Google’s chatbot, called Bard, will get updated with the ability to develop software.

Bard will support more than 20 languages, including:

  • C++
  • Go
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • Python
  • Typescript

The new and improved Bard can also write functions for Google Sheets.

6. Reddit Announces Paid Access to Its Public API

Reddit just announced that it’s going to cost money to access the platform’s Data API.

Apparently, Reddit wants to keep developers from using its API to train large language models (LLMs). 

In other words, if you want to teach your chatbot how to speak English using Reddit, you’ll need to pay for the privilege.

But Reddit says the change is all part of creating a healthy ecosystem.

One that costs money, apparently.

7. Alphabet Beats on Revenue, Announces Stock Buyback

Pretty decent Q1 results for the parent company of Google.

Alphabet reported earnings of $1.17 per share. Analysts had expected $1.07 per share.

Revenue also topped expectations at $69.79 billion. That’s a year-over-year increase of 3%.

Some other highlights:

  • YouTube generated $6.69 billion in revenue
  • Google Cloud generated $7.45 billion in revenue
  • Traffic Acquisition Costs amounted to $11.72 billion

However, Google said that its outlook “remains uncertain” due to strong economic headwinds.

8. YouTube Live Shopping Will Allow Scheduled Product Drops

You might enjoy this news if you’re using YouTube for ecommerce.

YouTube is rolling out a new feature called Product Drops. It enables you to schedule product detail uploads.

As of now, if you want to highlight a product during a live stream, you’ll need to upload the details before you go live.

Here’s what YouTube has to say about the new feature: “With Product Drops, creators will be able to release products for the first time during a livestream, without disclosing them before the drop moment. Creators with connected Shopify stores or direct access to the Google Merchant Center of their connected stores will be able to set up Product Drops on YouTube using the Live Control Room.”

It’s a fairly elaborate new feature that includes a mystery product tagged at the product shelf and a countdown timer that tells viewers how long they have to wait until the big reveal.

You can look for Product Drops now if your channel meets shopping eligibility criteria.

9. Google Reviews Update Has Completed

The April 2023 Google Reviews update has finished rolling out.

Google said that the algo change started on April 12 and completed on April 25.

The key takeaway from the update is that it affected more than just product reviews. So if your website uses reviews for anything, you should check to see if rankings have changed.

If you find that your rankings went south, you’re not alone. Lots of website owners claim that the update negatively impacted their sites.

Homework

Before the May flowers arrive, take care of these action items:

  • Check to see if your website has been negatively affected by the Google Reviews update. If so, take corrective action.
  • If you’re using YouTube for ecommerce, think about how you can use Product Drops to tease out a product launch.
  • If you’re using Facebook Ads, make sure you weren’t overcharged during the recent software hiccup.
  • If you’re advertising on Twitter, decide if it’s worth the additional investment in verification. It probably is.

Digital Marketing News 4/17/2023 – 4/21/2023

This week: Samsung might soon make Bing its default search engine, Google now shows shipping and return info for products in search results, and Montana could ban TikTok completely.

Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.


1. Report: Samsung May Replace Google With Bing as Default Search Engine

This story probably isn’t getting enough attention.

According to The New York Times, Samsung may replace Google with Bing as the default search engine on its devices.

That basically means any Android-powered device by Samsung may soon show Bing when users go to search.

It also means that Google could lose a cool $3 billion annually.

And it’s one of the reasons why Google is in a race against both time and competitors to deliver an AI-powered search engine as quickly as possible. If it can bring a workable solution to market, then Samsung will almost certainly stick with the Big G.

But Microsoft is a pioneer in that space, having spent a fortune investing in OpenAI. That’s the same OpenAI that gave us ChatGPT, by the way.

So the race is on. Pass the popcorn.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd.

2. GA4 Intros ‘Once Per Session’ Conversion Counting Method

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) now lets you modify the counting method for conversions with a “once per session” option.

It’s similar to how Universal Analytics (UA) worked.

So you’ve got two options now:

  • Once per event – Counts every event as a conversion. It’s the option Google recommends.
  • Once per session – Counts an unlimited number of events within a single session as just a single conversion. 

Once per session is still the default for conversions created from UA. But once per event is the default for all other conversions.

3. Google: Don’t Cloak Your HTTP Status Codes

Well, this seems intuitive.

This past week during an SEO Office Hours hangout, somebody asked Google’s Gary Illyes if it’s a good idea to give Googlebot a different HTTP status code than what’s shown to human visitors.

Specifically, he wanted to give a 410 (Gone) to Googlebot while delivering a 200 (OK) to real people.

READ  13+ Best Affiliate Link Disclosure Examples & Ideas 2023

Unsurprisingly, Illyes essentially replied: “That’s cloaking. Cloaking is bad. Don’t do cloaking.”

He recommended a “noindex” robots meta tag to remove some pages from search.

HTTP to HTTPS

4. Montana Moves to Ban TikTok

So what kind of headwinds is TikTok facing this week?

Montana.

Specifically, Montana wants to ban TikTok. Entirely.

This past week, Montana lawmakers passed a bill banning the app. 

Will the governor sign it? Time will tell.

And is it even constitutional to ban an app? Again, time will tell.

But this is neither the first nor the last time that you’ll read about a government working to ban TikTok.

5. Google: Video Must Be Main Content to Appear As Thumbnail

If you want your video thumbnail to appear in Google’s search results, then you’ll need to make it the main content of your page.

“Today, we’re making a change so that video thumbnails only appear next to Google search results when the video is the main content of a page,” Google said in a statement. “This will make it easier for users to understand what to expect when they visit a page.”

In the past, Google displayed a video to the right of the search listing when a video appeared on the page. Now, it has to be the main course, not just an appetizer.

And if you’re wondering exactly what “main content” means, it’s “content on a web page based on several factors, including the location of a video on the page.”

So… put it at the top?

6. Twitter Brings Back Keyword Targeting for Ads

Way back in 2013, Twitter introduced keyword targeting for ads. Then, gradually, Twitter shifted focus away from it.

And now Elon Musk has brought it back like a Phoenix from the ashes.

He even ridiculed the old management for not taking advantage of keyword targeting. But they found it wasn’t very effective because people don’t tweet about what they’re searching for. They tweet about what they’re interested in.

We’ll see if Musk can accomplish what his predecessors couldn’t.

7. Instagram Allows 5 Links in Profile Bio

This might get you more clicks.

This past week, Instagram added a much-requested feature: allowing multiple links in your bio.

Before the update, you could only add one link.

“Starting today, the update will make it easier for creators and other users to highlight their passions, bring awareness to causes they care about, promote brands they love, showcase their personal business, and more,” IG said in a statement.

According to reports, Instagram has been testing multiple links in bios since 2021.

8. Google Shows Shipping/Return Info in Search Results

Consumers may now rejoice.

Google just started displaying expanded shipping and return info in expanded search snippets.

You’ll see things like “Free delivery,” “30-day returns,” and “Lifetime returns” on product detail cards.

Additionally, Google now offers Search Console reports that will help you isolate shipping and return structured data.

Homework

Still more than a month to go before Memorial Day weekend. Plenty of time to take care of these action items:

  • If you’re in the ecommerce space, make sure that you add shipping and return info on your product detail pages. You’ll need to do that with structured data.
  • Do what John Mueller said about blocking all search results if you can’t block some (empty) search results on your website.
  • Start adding more links to your Insta bio.
  • Think about how you’d like to use keyword targeting in Twitter ads.
  • Stop cloaking your HTTP status codes (if you’re doing that).

Digital Marketing News 4/10/2023 – 4/14/2023

This week: Google will bring generative AI to the search experience, TikTok users seem to be cooler with promos than Internet users in general, and Elon Musk is getting in on the AI fun.

Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.

1. Google: People Searching for Your Brand WIth Keywords Won’t Help You Rank

So you’ve noticed a lot of folks searching for your brand online?

They won’t help you rank.

That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.

This past week, somebody on Mastodon asked Mueller the following question: Do branded queries, like + [brand name], help a website rank for non-branded queries?”

Mueller replied: “No, I don’t think that would make much sense.”

2. Google Plans to Add Generative AI in Search

Sure. Why not another story about generative AI?

This one brought to us by Google and Bard. Apparently, Google will use generative AI in search.

Eventually.

According to Google CEO Sandar Pichai, the new search solution “could upend the traditional link-based experience that has been the norm for more than two decades.”

“Google is testing several new search products, such as versions that allow users to ask follow-up questions to their original queries,” the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Pichai says that in 10 years his company will be able to help people “in much deeper ways.”

He also sees search evolving into a form of conversation with an AI chatbot.

3. Google Offers New Page for Bard Updates

Speaking of Google and AI, the Big G now has a page dedicated to giving you updates about Bard.

The page allows you to check out Bard’s latest features.

In the past, Google put updates about Bard on Twitter.

Feel free to have a look at the update page when you get some free time. Then bookmark it.

4. Google Is Removing 4 Attribution Models for Advertisers

This past week, Google announced that it’s updating its measurement models.

In the process, the company will eliminate four attribution models:

  • First click
  • Linear
  • Time decay
  • Position-based

Those models will disappear from both Google Analytics and Google Ads.

According to Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin, those models are getting the boot because data-driven attribution (DDA) has rendered them obsolete.

Fewer than 3% of conversion actions in Google Ads use those four models.

The decision got mixed reviews from strategists.

5. Twitter Says Legacy Blue Checkmarks Will Go Away on April 20

After all that work you did to earn that coveted blue checkmark, it’s a goner on April 20.

Unless, of course, you decide to fork over some cash for Twitter Blue.

As it stands now, Twitter enjoys about 600,000 paying users. But maybe that number will increase after 4/20.

And by the way: is it a coincidence that Musk chose a day used to celebrate cannabis culture as the final deadline for legacy blue ticks?

Probably not.

6. Elon Musk Gets in on the AI Action

Speaking of Elon Musk, he’s jumping on the AI bandwagon with all the other propeller-heads.

According to Insider: “Musk’s AI project at Twitter involves a large language model, according to one of the people familiar. An LLM is essentially AI that is trained on large sets of data so it can eventually create new, seemingly sophisticated content and text on its own. Twitter has massive amounts of data that could train an LLM.”

Makes perfect sense because OpenAI initially used Twitter to train its GPT models. So why shouldn’t Musk draw from his own source to create a new AI?

Soon, the tweets may write themselves.

7. Report: TikTok Users More Open to In-App Promos

And by that I mean they’re more open to ads than Internet users overall.

According to Staista: “38% of survey participants using TikTok are willing to tolerate advertising in exchange for free access to certain services, which is 4% more than the total number of adults surveyed. Almost 15% of TikTok users struggle to distinguish between advertising and other content.”

Note the last sentence.

As TikTok management has pointed out in the past, if you want to promote your business on TikTok, don’t create ads, create TikToks.

8. 10-Minute TikTok Videos Are Gone

Speaking of TikTok, it looks like the 10-minute videos are no more.

The company quietly removed the 10-minute duration option recently.

Some users want the longer videos back. Others wondered why TikTok removed the option with no warning.

And some folks think that making unilateral changes of that type with no warning might give the platform a reputation of instability. That could cause advertisers to look elsewhere.

9. Google Ads API Removing Ad Group and Keyword Forecasts

Bad news if you’re a fan of ad group and keyword forecasts in Google Ads API.

Google’s taking them away in June. So you’ve got a couple of months to update any applications that rely on those two features.

Bottom line: your app just needs to handle empty responses.

Google says that the Keyword Plan Campaign Forecast will stay in place for the foreseeable future.

Homework

While April showers are still falling, you should have time to take care of these action items:

  • Update your applications that rely on the Google Ads API ad group and keyword forecasts.
  • Think more about how you can make TikToks instead of ads for TikTok. You’ll likely get better engagement stats with that user community.
  • If you earned your blue checkmark, think about if it’s worth the $8 a month to keep it. 
  • Bookmark that page on Bard updates and visit it every now and again.

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