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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 took place within the digital marketing landscape over the last month or so.

Let’s see what the “June 2021” edition brings us: 

  • Google Page Experience Update Is Rolling Out
  • Google Rolls Out Search Console Insights
  • Google PageSpeed Scores Updated with Lighthouse 8.0
  • TikTok Introduces ‘Brand Lift Study’ Option
  • Google Halts Phasing Out of Data Tracking Cookies 
  • Facebook Reveals the Next Stage of its eCommerce Push
  • Google to Launch New Ads Creative Studio
  • 5 New Updates for YouTube Analytics are Here 

Alright, let’s dive right in. 

Google Page Experience Update Is Rolling Out

The update for Google’s page experience algorithm began rolling out globally and should be completed by the end of August 2021, with Top Stories already using this signal. 

As per Google: 

“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.”

The update should not bring about any drastic changes within the SERPs, and even if certain sites experience sudden drops or spikes in rankings, the fluctuations should be obviated during the gradual algorithm rollout process.

About The Page Experience Update

The goal of the update is to create optimal browsing experiences for users. Google considers several signals and assesses each of them so it can finally give a specific website an overall ‘page experience’ score. 

The signals include: 

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Mobile usability
  • Security issues
  • HTTPS usage
  • Ad Experience

You can access your website’s ‘page experience’ score report through your Google Search Console account. More info on this update available here

Google Rolls Out Search Console Insights

The main goal behind Google Search Console Insights is assisting website owners in finding out what type of content resonates best with their target audience, as well as how their users find their content. 

The new insight uses data gathered from Search Console and Google Analytics, joins the gleaned data and provides actionable insight into the performance of a specific content piece. 

(Image Source: SEJ)

This useful Search Console Insights data should help content publishers and website owners more easily answer the following questions:

  • What are my best performing content pieces? 
  • Which content is trending?
  • How do users come across my content across the web?
  • What are the queries that users search for before visiting my content?
  • Which article refers users to my website and content?
(Image Source: SEJ)

Google has been testing these new insights for almost 12 months, which should vouch for the quality of these metrics. The only thing you can do now is to test it out yourself. 

Google PageSpeed Scores Updated with Lighthouse 8.0

Google rolled out updates to Lighthouse 8.0. Perhaps the most impactful changes are those made to the weights of the different speed metrics.

These changes in speed metrics should make it easier for most websites to have higher scores in terms of page speed. The expected rule for future changes is that the Cumulative Layout Shift scores are going to trend higher, whereas other metrics are likely to become stricter.

The updated Lighthouse version 8.0 will be delivered within Chrome 93, however, it is available as soon as right now within PageSpeed Insights. 

The main changes made to Google Lighthouse Tool involve:

  • Performance score re-weighing 
  • Total Blocking Time (TBT) Scoring becoming Stricter
  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) Scoring becoming Stricter
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) Scoring becoming Less Strict

Find out more about new updates to Lighthouse 8.0 here.

TikTok Introduces ‘Brand Lift Study’ Option

TikTok is trying to help brands gain more insight into the performance of their marketing strategy and how they can improve brand performance efforts. The TikTok team is doing so by including the Brand Lift Study option that enables brands to poll the TikTok audience through promoted campaigns.

As per TikTok:

“We’ve seen time and time again the collective power of our community from driving top hits, creating viral trends, to the increasing demand for popular products. TikTok Brand Lift Study provides brands with a refreshing approach to the traditional measuring and optimization of brand resonance. In true TikTok nature, TikTok Brand Lift Study is an immersive, in-feed polling experience, with music and motion graphics that users have known and love about TikTok.”

(Image Source: Social Media Today)

Other social media giants like Twitter and Facebook already have similar options available for their users who want more actionable insight into what works well and what can be improved within their marketing and promotional campaigns. 

Now, with TikTok following suit with these new features (which can be critical from the marketing standpoint), it is clear that more businesses are likely to utilize this new network in order to reach wider audiences. 

Google Halts Phasing Out of Data Tracking Cookies 

In the light of marketers having trouble with how Apple’s ATT update impacted their work (causing many iOS users to stop using in-app data tracking), Google has decided to halt the launch of the similar update and delay phasing out of third-party cookies until 2023 at least. 

The following was stated by Google:

“We plan to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection. Today, Chrome and others have offered more than 30 proposals, and four of those proposals are available in origin trials. For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023.”

Google’s initial plan was to integrate optimal cookie solutions by early 2022. However, some new data access and usage regulations have been introduced in the meantime, prompting this digital giant to revisit this update and introduce more elements in order to mitigate the negative impact on the business model of numerous web publishers which support freely available content.

More information available here

Facebook Reveals the Next Stage of its eCommerce Push

As one of Facebook’s main goals being to shift more focus toward eCommerce, the social media network is introducing a new line of shopping and discovery tools, some of which include:

  • Shops on WhatsApp
  • Shop listings in Facebook Marketplace
  • Instagram’s new visual product search option 

WhatsApp Shops has perhaps caused the biggest reactions as this useful tool allows businesses to showcase their entire Shop through the messaging app. This provides users with more options to track down relevant products, while it also enables them to more easily connect with the business directly.

(Image Source: Social Media Today)

As per Zuckerberg: 

“We’re bringing Shops to WhatsApp which will make it easier for people to find the products or brands that they want to engage with.”

This should allow for easier monetization of WhatsApp audience, which is quite a significant move considering that this messaging app is currently the most widely used across the globe. 

More information available within this Social Media Today article

Google to Launch New Ads Creative Studio

Google has recently announced the rollout of new creative advertising tools aiming to centralize multiple creative tools under a single platform called Ads Creative Studio. The Ads Creative Studio platform will incorporate the following smaller tools:

  • Director Mix (a tool for creating video assets at scale)
  • Dynamic Display & HTML5 creation tools
  • Audio Mixer and Dynamic Audio tools
  • A Project Library

The main idea behind this all-encompassing platform is to simplify the development of multiple content pieces. It will feature separate libraries for:

  • Assets – ad building blocks 
  • Project library – a place for ad creation collaboration among the creators 
(Image Source: SEJ)

This will enable creators to streamline asset management, allowing for a workflow where one team manages raw assets, while another team uses them to develop ads. Neat.

5 New Updates for YouTube Analytics are Here 

YouTube Analytics is getting useful updates that should provide creators more insight into how their users are engaging with their video content.

The 5 new updates include:

  • More channel memberships data 
  • More data on mobile (so far available on desktop only)
  • Clearer metrics on video performance
  • Insight into revenue changes
  • Engagement metrics for YouTube posts

These new data-driven insights will certainly be of great use for YouTube content creators, especially in terms of long-term ROI. Find out more about each of these updates here

Wrapping Up

That would be all for this installment of Digital Marketing Month in Review by Four Dots. See you next month! In the meantime, check out the latest edition of our Digital Marketing review column.

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