Digital Marketing Month in Review by Four Dots: April 2021
Hello and welcome to Digital Marketing Month in Review by Four Dots. This is our monthly column where we comb through some of the most relevant news and events that happened over the last month or so. The digital marketing landscape is always a dynamic one. Let’s see what the “April 2021” edition brings us:
- Facebook Analytics is Shutting Down on June 30
- Google Pushed Page Experience Algorithm Update to Mid-June
- Google Provides New Insights into Rising Consumption Trends Within Google Ads
- Facebook Adds New Features: Story Scheduling
- Google Releases FLoC (3rd-party cookies alternative), Certain Platforms Plan on Blocking it Right Away
- Google Announces New Dynamic Exclusion Lists
- Google Product Reviews Update Goes Live in Search Results
Alrighty then, let’s dive right in!
Facebook Analytics is Shutting Down on June 30
Users won’t be able to access Facebook Analytics after June 30, 2021, which means that page owners and marketers only have a couple of months to find alternative solutions for exporting data, during which period they will also need to extract enough existing data from this tool.
This somewhat big piece of news was announced rather quietly and was done via Facebook for Business help center. If you now try reaching analytics.facebook.com, you will be redirected to this help article, which reads:
“Facebook Analytics will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. Until then, you will still be able to access reports, export charts and tables, and explore insights. To export data into a CSV file from Facebook Analytics on your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner of each chart or table.”
The social media behemoth didn’t provide us with a reason for shutting down Facebook Analytics. The announcement did however provide several tools as (somewhat) alternatives:
What do you think is behind this unexpected decision? You can find more information in this SEJ article.
Google Pushed Page Experience Algorithm Update to Mid-June
The search engine giant will launch its Page Experience algorithm update in mid-June, although it was originally planned for May. This means that the Core Web Vitals will have to wait a bit more to become ranking signals.
This is actually great news for website owners as this new timeframe allows them to prepare better for this significant update. The official blog post by Google also stated that, even though the Page Experience update will technically start rolling out in mid-June, we should wait until the end of August to see it play its full role.
“We’ll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won’t play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as if you’re adding a flavoring to a food you’re preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we’ll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
This slow and gradual rollout should enable Google to monitor the impact of this update on a more granular level so they could mitigate and remove any potential and unexpected issues.
According to the Google team, you should not be seeing any drastic changes in the rankings when this update rolls out.
Google Provides New Insights into Rising Consumption Trends Within Google Ads
Google is introducing new emerging trend insights for Google Ads. The new data should inform and alert marketers about relevant shopping and discovery changes in their sector. The idea is to allow marketers to better update and tweak their ad strategy according to demand.
“Consumer demand continues to change,” says Google in its support article, “and it’s more important than ever for marketers to keep up. For example, at the start of the pandemic, searches for “curbside pickup” increased by over 3000%. Earlier this year, we saw a surge for “staycations,” and now, we’re seeing a surge for “watch party.” We’ve heard from many of you that you need more insights like these to inform your business and marketing decisions.”
“That’s why we rolled out the Insights page (beta) last year in select countries to help businesses stay on top of emerging trends. Starting today, the Insights page is available to all advertisers globally.”
The digital giant is also adding a new process that should allow you to automatically apply optimization recommendations to your campaigns. These recommendations are based on emerging trends and behaviors. Read more here.
Facebook Adds New Features: Story Scheduling
Great news for social media managers. Facebook has recently added handy new features for its Business Suite management platform. The new features include story scheduling (Facebook and Instagram), as well as a new business discovery process from the News Feed.
To create, publish, and schedule stories, you need to:
- Open Business Suite and select “Create Story” (if you’re using the Business Suite mobile app, go to the “Posts & Stories” tab)
- Select where you want to create/schedule a post
- Upload media to your story
- Customize it
- Preview what your content will look like
- Click “Publish Story” if you want to publish it immediately, or click the blue arrow to select “Schedule Story” to publish it later.
Google Releases FLoC (3rd-party cookies alternative), Certain Platforms Plan on Blocking it Right Away
FLoC is a cookie alternative that provides an improved approach to interest-based advertising that should upgrade privacy and provide publishers with an improved tracking scheme that will make advertising business models more viable.
FLoC will first be available (as a trial) to a small percentage of users in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Mexico, Japan, India, Indonesia, Canada, and Brazil, while Google is planning to soon release it globally.
Rather than following the users as they move from site to site, FLoC will hold a person’s browser history without sharing it with anybody, including Google. The idea behind FLoC is to introduce more equality in terms of access levels.
Read more about how this new cookie alternative works here.
Are WordPress & DuckDuckGo Planning to Block FLoC?
FLoC faced additional pressure as WordPress and DuckDuckGo announced the potential blocking of this new tracking scheme on the account of it being a security threat.
“It makes sense to treat it as a security, matter,” WordPress stated. “And, in principle, I agree with @roytanck that it should add the opt-out header by default, but seeing there is (kinda) a tradition in WordPress to let the user decide and if it is not opt-out by default, WP should highlight this issue and present it in a very clear noticeable… notice when the update is released and a very clear help message in the settings pages in the future versions.”
DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, showed concerns about the fact that getting tracked via FLoC is not optional as all Chrome users are automatically opted into it.
“We’re disappointed that, despite the many publicly voiced concerns with FLoC that have not yet been addressed, Google is already forcing FLoC upon users without explicitly asking them to opt in. We’re nevertheless committed and will continue to do our part to deliver on our vision of raising the standard of trust online.”
Currently, Google Chrome is the only browser that supports FLoC as a way of collecting data on users. We’ll see how this pans out.
Google Announces New Dynamic Exclusion Lists
In an attempt to increase brand safety across the web, Google has recently announced the addition of dynamic exclusion lists. Dynamic exclusion lists are placement exclusion lists that get dynamic updates with the goal to simplify placement management and enable advertisers to opt into third-party lists.
They also automatically update their exclusions in order to achieve ongoing brand protection. These lists can include both entire domains or single pages and can be uploaded through various formats.
The objective is to help advertisers to prevent their ads from being displayed within the content that does not align with their brand. An additional benefit for advertisers would be more individualized performance-based exclusions. They can work with larger organizations or industry groups to make sure their brand is being actively protected.
Google Product Reviews Update Goes Live in Search Results
On April 8, Google rolled out the product reviews search algorithm update. The goal of the update is to favor well-researched, in-depth content over brief product summaries. It is important to mention that this is not a core algorithm update, but the one that specifically targets product reviews.
As per Google:
“Google Search is always working to show the most useful and helpful information possible, through testing, experimenting and review processes. From this, we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content.”
The update currently affects only English-language search results and impacts only those pages that publish product reviews, which means they should be carefully monitoring their traffic and track any inconsistencies in the metrics.
If this update impacted your website, we suggest reading this article.
That would be all for this installment of Digital Marketing Month in Review by Four Dots. See you next week, until then – feel free to check out our previous edition!