Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots: November 2019, Week 3
Hello and welcome to another installment of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots, a column where we write about the most relevant and interesting pieces of news, events and developments that took place in the digital marketing industry during the past week.
In our November 2019 week 3 issue, we have prepared some rather interesting stories from the world of digital marketing including:
- New SERP Feature Shortens Title Tag in Favor of Location
- A New Search Console Training Series Starts on YouTube
- Google Discreetly Introduces Audience Targeting for Search Campaigns
- Google Update November 2019
Let’s get started!
Google Update November 2019
It is now clear that an unannounced Google Update is underway. This update seems to be affecting all kinds of sites regardless of the niche. Most of the comments are negative, at least for now, but there are some positive reviews as well.
Those who were hit by this update have been impacted by 30-50% either up or down in terms of Google organic placement and traffic. However, the peculiar thing is that the tracking tools like SEMRush, Mozcast, and RankRanger did not pick up on any big ranking changes in Google’s search results.
Google has a habit of not announcing their core search algorithm updates, but they did confirm one took place in November. Well, they sort of confirmed it.
Here’s the official statement they made on Twitter:
“Some have asked if we had an update to Google Search last week. We did, actually several updates, just as we have several updates in any given week on a regular basis. In this thread, a reminder of when and why we give specific guidance about particular updates….”
Strangely, this update has little to do with technical issues. Instead, it’s more about content and its relevance.
Recovering from this Update
Fixing technical SEO factors is important. However, in some cases identifying relevance issues can be even more important when it comes to update recovery. Almost every Google update had something to do with relevance and the case is the same with this one.
Every time Google updates were about other technical factors, Google notified publishers. This was the case with the Panda Update (2011) and the Penguin update (2012).
Therefore, if Google isn’t notifying publishers, it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s about content and its relevance. So, in order to recover from the newest core Search algorithm update, you should try your best to create engaging and relevant content.
Here’s a great article on how to adapt to new changes and even leverage them!
New SERP Feature Shortens Title Tag in Favor of Location
Google introduces a new SERP feature which may help local businesses.
In October users spotted something new when it comes to title tags in Google UK search results. The main difference was that the location names were being added to shorten title tags, despite these not being present in the original title tags.
Here are the main takeaways from observing this new feature:
- Locations appear when the user is performing company/agency/business-related searches
- They are displayed if the user does not specify a location in their search
- It seams that Google pulls a location based on the content certain page offers
- Google sometimes uses a more specific location if a user specifies a broader location
At first glance it might seem that Google is removing important content from title tags in favor of a location, but this could actually be a good thing.
By automatically adding locations to title tags Google is trying to help local businesses. If a business is not highlighting their location or are using a broader location in their titles, this new feature can help them compete with other businesses.
A New Search Console Training Series Starts on YouTube
On November 13, Daniel Wasiberg, a Search Advocate at Google, stated that a new YouTube series made to help users to better understand and utilize Google Search Console will soon be starting on YouTube.
The users will be able to watch the new series on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel.
The series will teach users how to get started, perform verifications, reports and will also cover settings. It will thoroughly explain viewers how to monitor their site traffic and fix various issues reported by Search Console.
TikTok Displays Potential Social Commerce Capabilities with Shoppable Video Test
TikTok, the short-form video app owned by ByteDance, is currently testing shoppable video posts. The purpose is to allow influencers to place social commerce URLs in their posts.
One of these tests was shared by Fabien Bern, owner of a Chinese influencer agency. He posted an example of a shoppable video post on his Twitter account. This post showed an influencer video that included a URL within the video leading to the influencer’s Amazon product page.
Social commerce appears to be more popular than ever as platforms are trying to achieve direct-to-consumer goals. Various platforms are trying their best to provide advertisers with tools to make the journey from product discovery to purchase easy and simple.
Google Discreetly Introduces Audience Targeting for Search Campaigns
Even though Google didn’t make an official statement, advertisers started seeing combined audience targeting for search campaigns in their Google Ads accounts a few days ago.
Steven Johns, a digital marketing consultant, noticed the new targeting method in his Google Ads account and decided to share the news with his fellow advertisers on Twitter on November 13.
This new feature provides advertisers with an option to layer combinations of in-market, affinity, demographic, and remarketing audiences using “AND”, “OR”, or “NOT” directives.
Advertisers are now finally able to specify that their ads only show to users in two or more specific audiences.
When it comes to search campaigns, besides this targeting there are also specific keywords involved. Users who meet the combined audience criteria and search the campaign keywords are the only ones who will be able to see the ads for a certain campaign.
Why is this good?
Google has drastically improved audience targeting for search campaigns in 2019. They first added in-market audiences, then affinity audiences, and now combined audience targeting.
This new feature allows Google search campaigns to be targeted more precisely. It also gives advertisers room to try new things with messaging, bidding, and broader keyword targeting.
Facebook Introduces a Few New Ad Personalization Capabilities
Last week Facebook announced that they will introduce more machine learning-driven features to its ads platform to improve personalization.
From now on, advertisers will be able to automatically serve different ad formats to specific audiences thanks to the machine learning model’s prediction of a user’s format preference.
Here’s the official statement by Facebook:
“The dynamic formats and ad creative solution aims to meet people where they are in the customer journey by delivering a personalized version of the ad to everyone who sees it.”
Also, in Ads Manager, advertisers now have the option to add different languages to be auto-translated for international audiences. This capability will make the campaign setup process much simpler while still keeping advertisers in charge of the review process.
YouTube’s New Kids’ Content Rules Have Creators Confused
YouTube issued a formal statement where they announced a plan which will make creators label any videos of theirs that may appeal or be directed to children.
So, from January 2020, if creators mark a video as directed at kids, any kind of data collection will be blocked for all viewers. Naturally, this will result in lower ad revenue, and those videos will be stripped of the platform’s most popular features, like comments and end screens.
This change has left creators confused because they’re not sure whether the new rules apply to them or not.
Google confirmed that these new rules are the result of a $170 million settlement YouTube reached with the Federal Trade Commission in September for supposedly violating kids’ privacy. This new rule means YouTube can’t use its ad-targeting system in videos directed to viewers who are under the age of 13.
This is a big problem for a site that mostly relies on young audience.
According to the new rules, once a video is labeled as kids’ content, all personalized ads will be removed and replaced with “contextualized” advertising based on the video itself.
Bottom line, child-directed videos will no longer have a comments section, click-through info cards, end screens, notification functions, and the community tab. Essentially, creators won’t be able to use their go-to tools for directing viewers back to their channel.
Come back next week for more exciting news from the digital marketing world. Until then, you can read our previous edition of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots. See you soon!