Update March 27 at 3:00 PM: We have been seeing ranking fluctuations in the last week and now we are hearing more and more about a major Google update. It may be related to a greater roll out of AI and working on user experience is a good place to focus while the SEO community works this out. Now back to the main post…
We’ve been hearing about retail apocalypse almost every day in the news now. This week, another retail giant, Toys “R” Us, is reportedly closing stores across the country, another effect of consumer’s changing buying habits.
In the world of digital media, Facebook and other social platforms are still competing for domination and user’s attention, leading to more feature and algorithm changes as social platforms evolve to follow market demand.
Dealing with backlash for data security has caused a big uproar over Facebook’s practices but the jury is still out on whether or not a significant number of users will get off the platform. Lots of chaos and the story is still developing for Facebook.
To keep up with everything that’s happening, I’ve gathered some of the latest changes in business and digital marketing news for this month’s round-up.
Digital Marketing News Round-up for March 2018
1. Facebook Chaos Still Unfolding
It is not just Facebook but they are the poster children right now for tech companies being creepy. They grab loads of your data without you knowing and now they are forced to admit it. In full page ads none the less.
Just when they were starting to almost rival Google with ad revenue between Facebook and Instagram…
We will keep on this story but here are new features we were working on right before the sketchy news started.
Facebook Planning to Air Exclusive News, Publishers Wary
Facebook has slowed down in its efforts to ramp up “Watch,” their video only platform. But they’re now working on another angle to diversify Watch’s collection of videos, and part of that effort is brokering deals with news publishers so they can broadcast exclusive news for Watch.
A few weeks ago Facebook also closed a deal to show Major League Baseball games, a deal worth up to $35 million according to an anonymous source from MLB.
While both deals may prove beneficial to the social networking giant, the one about exclusive news may prove to be more challenging. Facebook is still struggling to get a handle on its fake news problem, and on top of that, they recently revamped their algorithm to minimize the audience reach of media publishers. Both challenges will certainly affect how cooperative news publishers will be of this new initiative.
Axios reports that Facebook has already made contact with traditional and digital news publishers, urging them to publish 3-minute videos daily. Facebook’s plan is to launch this exclusive news programming this summer and optimize distribution as more videos are added.
One thing is clear from these changes though, Facebook’s digital marketing plan confirms the importance of original and exclusive-to-your-site content.
2. Apple Acquired Digital Subscription Magazine Texture
Texture, once owned by Next Issue Media, was a joint venture firm made possible by the combined efforts of six big publishers, Hearst, Rogers Communications, Conde Nast, News Corp, Time Inc., and Meredith. It’s a digital magazine subscription app that gives users full access to 200+ popular magazines for a flat monthly fee.
Apple announced the acquisition a few days ago and confirms that the app will continue functioning for iOS and Android after the deal.
3. Google SERP Now Shows Answers without Search Results
Don’t panic yet, this only works for some queries, such as time, conversion, or calculation queries. The search results are hidden, but not totally inaccessible. You just have to click the “Show all results” button to see it.
What does this mean for other digital marketing businesses? That Google is continually experimenting with different ways to make search more mobile and user-friendly.
4. Pinterest Now Allows Users to Upload Images to Supplement Text Searches
Before, you could only search Pinterest using text queries, such as “cooking recipes” or “DIY jewelry projects,” but now you can add images along with the text to improve the search results.
Just last year, Pinterest debuted “Lens,” an image-recognizing feature that allows users to search related items on Pinterest using their camera. A year after its debut, we can safely say Lens has amassed a huge database of recognizable images, which in turn helped them built the new feature that allows users to add images to text queries.
The images will aid in a user’s search because it will provide an additional parameter to refine the search results. It also mimics how people search for items in real life, like how you would go to a store in search of a new couch, and show the person a picture of your table and living room so they can suggest options that will go along with it. Such questions don’t have definite answers like math problems do, so the addition of visual imagery helps.
Don’t get too excited though, the update will first roll out on iOS and then to Android later on.
5. Kylie Jenner Crashed Snapchat Stocks
Never underestimate the power of a celebrity influencer, especially when that’s celebrity is from the Kardashian clan.
Snapchat’s stocks fell by 6.1% or a whopping $1.3 billion just a day after Kylie Jenner asked her Twitter followers if they’re still active on the social network.
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
Of course, there’s a huge possibility Jenner’s tweet isn’t directly responsible for Snapchat’s stock plummet. Many users didn’t like the app’s massive re-design, which may have lead to the platform’s user base declining. Jenner’s tweet just added fuel to the fire.
6. Facebook and LinkedIn Rank as the Top Social Media Platforms
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research studied the use of social media among Inc.’s Top 500 companies of 2017 and found that LinkedIn and Facebook are ranked as the most effective platforms, while YouTube and Twitter are the least effective ones.
Does that mean it’s time for other businesses that use digital marketing strategies to abandon Twitter and YouTube entirely? No, maybe not. That totally depends on where your audience is active and what industry you’re in.
7. Google Adds Breadcrumbs to SERPs
Have you seen Google’s newest improvement to the search results page? Informational queries now come with breadcrumbs to show you the progression of your search, plus a carousel of scrollable images.
For instance, if you search “cities in Italy,” Google will show you a page of different Italian cities, with the top part of the search results dedicated to this new feature.
Notice the breadcrumbs showing how Google broke down the search query “cities in Italy” to “Cities/Towns/Villages > Italy.” You can scroll the images on desktop and mobile. If you click one of the images, the search results will change to show you more information about that image but the carousel from your first search will still be there.
In the example below, I chose “Milan,” and that was subsequently added to the breadcrumbs. It’s a good way to explore the search results without having to type new information or lose track of previous searches.
From artificial intelligence becoming a household word, Facebook and Snapchat showing even big dogs have chinks in their armor and Google continuing to evolve search, there’s good reason to keep on your toes.
Spring is upon us and with it we can welcome change and new beginnings with digital marketing.