Good morning, have we hit bottom yet?

Looking at statements from Facebook, Google, Snap, Microsoft and Twitter during their earnings calls over the past week, there are signs that the worst could be over for digital advertising. Put another way: Things are still bad, but we could be past the bottom. 

Performance advertising helped blunt the severity of the slowdown in March for some. Facebook, Google and Snap each noted the positive impact of direct response revenue on their bottom lines. 

Brand advertising remains a weak spot as companies continue to pull back on spending that’s harder to measure. This is always the instinct in a downturn, despite studies indicating that brands that stay visible are better positioned to come out stronger when things turn around. 

These themes will be front and center in today’s discussion about brand vs. performance marketing during COVID-19 on Live with Search Engine Land. Tune in at 2:00 p.m. EST for a chat on brand vs. performance marketing during COVID-19. Greg Sterling will lead the panel of top-notch marketers:

  • Dana Tan, Senior Manager, Global SEO, Under Armour
  • Amy Bishop, Owner Cultivative
  • Michelle Morgan, Director of Client Services, Clix Marketing

In its annual “bad ads” report, Google said it took down or blocked 2.7 billion bad ads and suspended nearly 1 million ad accounts in 2019. The company also said it has removed “tens of millions” of bad COVID-19 related ads. The company formed a dedicated task force to focus on the sudden rise in bad actors aiming to capitalize on the crisis. The team has developed new detection technology and beefed up existing enforcement systems. The effort points to the ongoing battle to try to adapt and stay ahead of bad actors and that the systems are never perfect. 

Keep reading for a look at how media buyer budget plans for Q2 are shifting, chatter about a potential ranking update and more. 

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor


Search and social ads poised to claw back first

In its most recent survey of media buyers, released Thursday, the IAB asked about advertising spending plans for March through June. Budget expectations for the second quarter remain below initial plans, but search and social advertising appear best positioned for a rebound. These budgets are still below plan, but the planned cuts for the quarter have shrunk considerably in the period since the IAB asked this question in March. 


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Search Shorts

Possible Google ranking update.

Google ranking update.  There is possibly an unconfirmed Google search ranking update on April 18th and 29th. There is chatter and signs from the tracking tools around this.

Old content at Google. John Mueller from Google was asked for advice on what to do with old content on a 25 year-old website. “My primary recommendation would be to focus on the new content (since that’s what – probably – drives the visibility & traffic of your site). Regarding the older content, I don’t think there’s a simple answer that works for all sites, some just end up removing old, unused content, others try to improve it, and of course there’s all of the middle ground too,” he responded on Reddit.

Google Analytics and indexing.  Google does not use Google Analytics for indexing, Mueller said.


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Explore proven strategies for overcoming common marketing challenges, preparing your organization for a post-coronavirus world, and more — all from the comfort of your desk (and all for free). 30+ expert-led sessions are now available for viewing on-demand!

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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Announcing v3_1 of the Google Ads API beta – Google Ads Developer Blog

Clarks International SEO Migration – Struggling to Land on its Feet – SISTRIX

Covid-19: Consumer Insights for Europe – Microsoft Advertising – Microsoft Advertising

Custom maps bring us closer during coronavirus – Google Blog

Get insights and take action on changing customer behavior – Google Blog

GMB Products vs GMB product posts – A historical guide, plus how they work NOW – Local University

Google Discover tests ‘heart’ preferences on news feed – 9to5Google

Google Testing Underlining Searches Related To – Search Engine Roundtable

Improving the accuracy of Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse mobile reports – Google Ads Developer Blog

Partners: Building Trust, Marketing with Purpose – Microsoft Advertising

Why Furloughing Your Digital Team During the COVID19 Crisis is a Bad Idea and What You Should Do Instead. – Search Metrics