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https://relativityseo.com/seo-services/ Ginny Marvin – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:54:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns /google-extends-lead-forms-to-youtube-discovery-campaigns-338739 Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:56:05 +0000 /?p=338739 There are more contact fields, questions by vertical and new ways to automate customer data imports into Google Ads.

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Google has been testing lead form ad extensions in Search campaigns since last fall. Now, advertisers can use the lead form extensions in YouTube and Discovery campaign ads as well. The company also announced new initiatives to automate data imports into Google Ads.

When logged-in users click on a Google lead form ad extension, some information pre-populates..

Lead form ad extensions will be available in Display campaigns later this year, Google noted in its announcement Wednesday.

Google has expanded the field options available for collection since it initially started testing lead forms. Now in addition to name, email, phone number and postal code, advertisers can opt to collect city, state, country as well as business contact information, including company name, job title, work email, work phone.

Choose the information you want to collect from users in your lead forms.

Then there is the option to add questions to your form based on pre-set questions by vertical. For example, under Real estate, an advertiser could opt to add “What price range are you looking for” to the lead form.

Additional questions are available by industry vertical.

A few things to note about lead form extensions:

  • They are not available to advertisers in sensitive verticals or sub-verticals.
  • Segment the performance report by “click” and “conversion type” to see lead form click and submission/conversion data.
  • Engagement with lead forms won’t be attributed to actions users subsequently take on your site.
  • Engagement with lead forms won’t show up in Analytics because users never arrive on your site.
  • Leads can be downloaded to a CSV or you can use a webhook to automate lead data imports into your CRM or customer data platform.

Automating data imports. To help advertisers optimize their campaigns to generate leads that are more likely to convert into actual sales, Google said it will be rolling out solutions to make offline conversion imports easier “by just using the information people already give you in your lead form” later this year. Several advertisers are testing this now.

Currently, you can use Zapier to automatically import offline conversions from your CRM to Google Ads.

Customer Match lists also now integrate with Zapier to automate keeping your lists up-to-date. The Zapier integration allows you to automatically upload contacts from whatever CRM, marketing automation or commerce platform you’re using to Google Ads.

Lastly, match rates for customer match will update in real-time in the Google Ads interface.

Why we care. Based on this rollout to other ad campaigns, it looks safe to say that Google has finally cracked lead forms in ads — it tested contact form extensions in 2010 and cost-per-lead-ads in 2011. All of these solutions are aimed at helping small businesses, in particular, capture and act on more leads from their digital campaigns.

Quora recently rolled out its Lead Gen Forms product as well, which also have a Zapier integration that allows you to send leads to Salesforce, Gmail, Marketo or other system.

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Ad industry groups launch effort to push for addressable media standards /ad-industry-groups-launch-effort-to-push-for-addressable-media-standards-338708 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:00:00 +0000 /?p=338708 The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media includes ad industry trade groups, agencies, advertisers, publishers and ad tech firms.

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Privacy regulations and changes to the ways browsers and operating systems — namely those by Apple and Google — handle ad targeting and tracking mechanisms are causing upheaval across the digital ad ecosystem. To address these challenges, and push back on Google and Apple, leading ad industry associations and companies launched a standards initiative Tuesday.

Dubbed the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, the group said it was created to “advance and protect critical functionalities like customization and analytics for digital media and advertising, while safeguarding privacy and improving the consumer experience.”

Key participants. The governing partners include:

  • Trade bodies: 4A’s, Association of National Advertisers/ANA, Interactive Advertising Bureau, IAB Tech Lab, Network Advertising Initiative, World Federation of Advertisers.
  • Advertisers: Ford, General Motors, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Unilever.
  • Agencies: UM (an IPG Mediabrands company), Publicis Media.
  • Publishers: NBC Universal.
  • Ad Tech/Martech: Adobe, MediaMath, The Trade Desk.

Bill Tucker, who is Group EVP leading the Data, Technology, and Measurement Practices at the ANA will serve as the Partnership’s executive director.

Principals. The group said an initial set of principals will inform its work:

1.    Consumer privacy should remain a foundational pillar of the solution by providing consumers with meaningful transparency and controls, giving the marketplace the tools to understand consumer preferences and the ability to abide by those preferences.

2.    Consumers should have access to diverse and competitive content offerings, supported by their choices to engage with digital advertising in exchange for content and services.

3.    Business operations, including ad targeting, ad delivery, frequency capping, campaign management, analytics, cross-channel deployment, optimization, and attribution should be sufficiently supported and improved upon through better technological and policy standards for all critical use cases.

4.    Solutions should be standardized and interoperable for consumers and businesses across browsers, devices, and platforms, subject to applicable privacy laws and guidelines and to the extent it is reasonably technically feasible, efficient, effective, and improved over existing technology.

5.    All browsers, devices, and platforms should allow equal access, free from unreasonable interference, to the new solutions.

6.    Companies that utilize the resulting solutions should follow industry and legal privacy standards, with strong accountability and enforcement for those that violate the standards.

“In the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, the city collapsed because its inhabitants lost the ability to speak a common language,” said Tucker. “The digital advertising industry faces a comparable challenge around addressability today, as recent changes announced by operating systems, browsers, and other technologies, if implemented, will significantly impact the traditional marketplace language of cookies and mobile IDs. The Partnership was created to serve as a collaborative forum for our industry to ensure addressability standards that preserve privacy, provide a consistent and effective framework for advertisers, and enrich the consumer experience.”

Why we care. With many unknowns about how digital advertising will function, particularly after Google’s Chrome follows Safari and Mozilla with its own approach to blocking third-party cookies starting in 2022, data management for effective targeting and attribution is the urgent initiative of the day. The Partnership aims to bring Apple and Google to the table to discuss approaches that work universally in ways that suit the industry. It’s a tall order — Google and Apple themselves are not aligned in their approaches to privacy, data and tracking.

The IAB’s own 2020 State of Programmatic Report perhaps points to a rosier outcome, however: “While there were concerns that regulations would negatively impact consumer trust of brands and limit brand profitability, those concerns have been largely unfounded. In fact, an unexpected benefit of regulations is that brands are now working with cleaner data. While regulations have culled down the number of customers who can be targeted, those that remain are more relevant and interested, resulting in a more effective ad spend.”

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Social Shorts: TikTok’s future, Quora lead-gen ads, Facebook’s India plans /social-shorts-tiktoks-future-quora-lead-gen-ads-facebooks-india-plans-338691 Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:30:00 +0000 /?p=338691 The social media marketing week in review: A round up of news and announcements you may have missed.

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TikTok and LinkedIn under one roof?

“Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions, as President Trump said on Friday that he was considering taking steps that would effectively ban the app from the United States,” The New York Times reported Friday.

The company is in talks with the White House and reportedly negotiating to take over TikTok’s operations in US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Why we care. Despite its best efforts (see below), TikTok’s attempts to convince U.S. legislators that it operates wholly independently from its Chinese parent company ByteDance haven’t stuck. It’s options increasingly look limited to spinning off to go public or spinning off for acquisition. It’s looking like TikTok may be headed down the latter route.

Microsoft, with it’s focus on the enterprise, might seem like an odd fit for TikTok. But remember it’s also the home of Xbox, The Verge points out in a look at why Microsoft is interested in TikTok. (Microsoft is also about the only would-be big tech buyer not facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S.)

A U.S. roof would allow TikTok to stay focused on building its creator ranks and fast-growing ad business with one less giant distraction — and help reassure users and advertisers that their data isn’t being siphoned off to China. Like LInkedIn, Microsoft could allow TikTok to run independently while taking advantage of data insights and integrations where it makes sense.

TikTok pulls the curtain back on its algorithm; calls out Facebook’s copycat behavior

TikTok has received even more scrutiny than other tech giants “due to the company’s Chinese origins,” TikTok’s recently-appointed U.S.-based CEO Kevin Mayer wrote in a blog post this week as the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google were called to testify in an antitrust hearing. 

In an effort to give users and regulators “peace of mind,” said Meyer, TikTok has launched a Transparency and Accountability Center in which experts can observe TikTok’s moderation policies “in real-time” and “examine the actual code that drives our algorithms.”

Meyer also called out Facebook for “launching another copycat product, Reels” on Instagram and made the case that TikTok offers American advertisers choice in the market.

The company announced a $200 million fund for American creators on the platform, with plans to grow it to more than $1 billion in the U.S. and more than $2 billion globally in the next three years to help it compete for talent against YouTube and Instagram.

Why we care. Even as its popularity swells, regulatory scrutiny and action could scare away advertisers and critically harm TikTok’s nascent advertising business. Meyer’s overture of transparency does not appear to have swayed legislators. In a bipartisan move Thursday, two U.S. senators asked the Justice Department to investigate Chinese-owned TikTok (as well as Zoom) over reports it has shared user data with China, a charge TikTok denies. Further, while TikTok should be applauded for exposing its algorithm, its competitors are likely to scoff at its suggestion that “all companies should disclose their algorithms, moderation policies, and data flows to regulators.” 

Highlights from antitrust hearings with the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google

  • Panel chair David Cicilline of Rhode Island raised concerns that Google “steals content” and uses its ability to surveil vast amounts of data to “identify competitive threats and crush them.” Pichai, again predictably, disputed the claims and said it uses data to improve results. 
  • Tim Cook of Apple, said the App Store is just another feature of the iPhone like the camera. 
  • Jeff Bezos was peppered with a surprising number of questions about its marketplace. Bezos said Amazon does have policies preventing internal access to third-party seller data for its own private label brands, but couldn’t say it hadn’t violated those policies. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jaimie Raskin and Ken Buck were among those who pressed Bezos on its use of third-party data to inform and market its own proprietary products and brands. 
  • Val Demings of Florida  pressed Pichai on Google’s decision to combine data from web traffic and Google’s properties in 2016 after saying it would not do so when it acquired DoubleClick in 2007. Pichai said users can turn ads personalization on and off and have made it easy to control their data. 
  • Zuckerberg said the environment has become even more competitive for Facebook since 2012.

Capture leads from Quora ads

lead generation forms in Quora ads

Quora has rolled out Lead Gen Forms for advertisers after a few months of beta testing. The forms can contain up to 12 fields and are prefilled with users’ Quora account information. Available fields include:

  • Contact Info: First Name, Last Name, Email, Business Email, Phone Number
  • Employment Info: Job Title, Company Name, Company Size
  • Location Info: City, State (US Only), Zip Code (US only), Country

You can download leads via CSV in the Ads Manager or use the Zapier integration to send leads to Salesforce, Gmail, Marketo or other system.

Why we care. Lead Gen Forms can reduce friction for users looking to engage with your company — whether to download a whitepaper, request a demo or sign up for a newsletter — and increase the number of leads you can generate from Quora ad campaigns. The Zapier integration means you should have no problem pushing that lead data into whatever CRM or email system you’re using. 

Facebook’s plan to bring India’s corner stores to WhatsApp

“The real power of digital infrastructure will get unleashed when startups and small businesses come online. In many ways they’re already on WhatsApp but we need to help them connect the dots,” Ajit Mohan, vice-president and managing director, Facebook India told live Mint in an interview.

“It is how we can make it easy to shop from within WhatsApp. Our goal with the investment in [Indian telecom firm] Jio is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, especially for small businesses across India. The first example of the collaboration would be to help millions of kirana owners [small neighborhood convenience stores] digitize their product catalogue and use WhatsApp to connect with their customers,” he said.

Why we care. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on small businesses while at at the same time accelerated consumers’ shift to digital and the business need for digital transformation. The social networking giant sees big opportunity in becoming India’s digital tether between SMBs and consumers. 

Google is also investing heavily in Jio Platforms (to the tune of $4.5 billion). The companies are partnering on an Android-based operating system for new Jio mobile devices with the aim of getting millions of more Indians online: a massive new market for ads and apps.

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Will Google’s Ad Disclosure schema catch on? /will-googles-ad-disclosure-schema-catch-on-338583 Fri, 31 Jul 2020 19:02:42 +0000 /?p=338583 It's among several initiatives the company is working on as privacy takes center stage.

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Google announced some updates to how it plans to inform users about the ads they see, including a new type of schema, as well as the latest on Privacy Sandbox proposals to manage ad serving, measurement and more without third-party cookies and cross-site tracking on Friday.

Ad Disclosure schema. Google’s testing an Ads Transparency Spotlight tool that relies on what it calls Ad Disclosure schema to show users information about the ads served on web pages.

The Ads Transparency Spotlight tool is available now as a Chrome extension in alpha stage. (You can also enable it in Microsoft’s Edge browser if you allow extensions from other stores.)

At this point the tool only shows data on ads purchased through Google Ads that have implemented Data Disclosure schema. Google’s hoping the schema catches on with other ad sellers. See this Github page for the types of data it can support.

The aim is to let users see “detailed information about all the ads they see on the web,” but it will need to get broad buy-in and implementation of Ad Disclosure schema to get there.

When the extension can’t detect any ads on a page, you’ll see this message: “Currently can only show information about display ads purchased through Google Ads. These ads have implemented a new Ad Disclosure Schema. As others implement the Ad Disclosure Schema into their ads’ HTML, they will appear here, too.”

If it does detect ads, at this point it simply lists the number of ads detected and the platforms used to buy them — currently just Google. The idea is to add information about why an ad was served. and include other controls in the tool.

An Entities tab lists all companies and services with a presence on the page — content delivery networks or analytics providers, etc.

About this ad. A new look for ad disclosures shown to users will be called “About this ad.” It will still continue to feature the “Why this ad” and “About the advertiser” sections. The verified advertiser information is pulled from your Ads account as part of the advertiser verification program that Google introduced for all advertisers in April.

The About this ad experience, shown below, will first start showing on display ads bought through Google Ads and Display & Video 360 in the coming months, followed by other ad formats in 2021.

The new experience will roll out in the coming months.

Google says Why this ad receives more than 15 million user interactions daily and that it is now available when Google ads appear on connected TVs.

Privacy Sandbox update. Privacy Sandbox is the Chromium initiative for proposed alternative privacy-centric solutions for enabling advertising in ways that don’t rely on third-party cookies, device IDs or techniques like fingerprinting.

“One of the proposed APIs, for trust tokens that could combat ad fraud by distinguishing between bots and real users, is now available for testing by developers, and more will move to live testing soon,” wrote Mike Schulman,
vice president of ads privacy and Safety at Google, in the Friday’s blog post.

Safari and Mozilla already limit third-party cookies and Chrome is set to phase them out by 2022. This has significant implications for the entire ecosystem. In a guide for marketers published this month, Google says suggests brands focus on building direct (i.e. first-party) relationships with users and learn to be flexible with targeting and measurement “when personalization is limited.”

For more on where ad privacy is heading and how to prepare, read:

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Google blows up ad headline font in new test /google-blows-up-ad-headline-font-in-new-test-338451 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 11:18:30 +0000 /?p=338451 Headline one goes big in this latest Google Ads test.

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Google is testing a larger font size in ad headlines.

The first headline displays in a considerably larger font on line one with a second headline appearing below it. The test was spotted by PPC hubbub.

We have been able to replicate this on the Google mobile app. In the example we captured, only the ad in the absolute top position displays with the new test formatting. In the screenshot below, the Geico ad at the top exhibits the test formatting with the much larger font size for the first headline while the Progressive ad in position two renders with the normal headline font treatment.

Google is testing larger fonts in ad headlines.

In the search result captured by PPC hubbub, all of the ads in the top positions above the organic results showed the test headline treatment.

Why we care. It’s easy to see this treatment yielding higher click-through rates. Google is always running tests and there’s no telling if this one will stick, or if it would roll out for just the absolute top ad, all top ads or even all ads on the page. Google often reserves features for the ad in the absolute top position, making it more desirable and competitive in the ad auction. But, it’s clearly testing the treatment in the absolute top ad against the impact when all four top ads get the big-font treatment.

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Facebook’s default Limited Data Use period ends Aug. 1: How to stay CCPA compliant /facebooks-default-limited-data-use-period-ends-aug-1-how-to-stay-ccpa-compliant-338406 Wed, 29 Jul 2020 18:01:45 +0000 /?p=338406 Advertisers can now opt to extend the LDU transition period to October.

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On July 1, Facebook automatically opted advertisers into its new Limited Data Use setting for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) compliance. When Limited Data Use (LDU) is enabled, Facebook restricts the way data from users detected to be from California can be stored and processed. The feature is already having a dramatic impact on advertisers.

CCPA gives California residents the right to know how their data is being used, what categories of data are being collected and sold (e.g., name, IP address) and the ability to opt out from allowing companies to do so. It doesn’t just apply to business based in California. Like the EU’s GDPR, CCPA applies to any affected businesses that receive personal information from California residents.

If you’re not familiar with Facebook’s Limited Data Use, yet, see contributor Simon Poulton’s thorough overview about how Facebook’s handling of California user data might affect your business. And read this from our sister site MarTech Today if you’re unsure if CCPA applies to your business.

As a baseline, one or more of the following conditions must apply for CCPA to apply to a company:

  • Has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million;
  • Possesses the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
  • Earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

Potential action required

In the Events Manager in Facebook Ads Manager, there is an option to extend the transition period and keep Limited Data Use on by default until October 20, 2020.

If you need more time to implement Limited Data Use for your Facebook events, you’ll want to check that option.

Limited Data Use can be implemented for FB Pixel, Conversions API, App Events API, and Offline Conversions. See the developer documentation for implementing LDU.

If you take no action, Facebook will no longer flag users detected to be residing in California. Per Facebook, take no action or end the transition period now if:
(a) Your business isn’t subject to the applicable law.
(b) You’re complying with the applicable law in another way (for example, filtering events before sending them to Facebook).
(c) You’ve completed implementation of Limited Data Use for this data source.

Advertisers feeling the effects of Limited Data Use

Many advertisers are acutely feeling the targeting and attribution limitations as a result of Limited Data Use as it puts many of California’s nearly 40 million people out of reach.

“Facebook’s limited data-use policy has blown up performance in California for all brands.” said Joe Yakuel, CEO of ad agency WITHIN, which manages e-commerce advertising budgets for Nike, Hugo Boss and Shake Shack.

Yakuel said in the first six days of July, the CPA (cost per acquisition) in California was 500% higher than other states and conversion rates dropped by 84%. As a percentage of overall U.S. ad spend, California fell from 10% to 5.5%.

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How are marketers improving remote team communication? /how-are-marketers-improving-remote-team-communication-338349 Tue, 28 Jul 2020 19:15:05 +0000 /?p=338349 With the pandemic forcing people to work remotely, managers and employees have had to adjust what good communication looks like to keep projects moving forward, generate ideas, keep stakeholders happy -- and boost team morale.

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Communication skills have always been important for marketers and they only get more important the further you are in your career. Being a “good communicator” takes on different shapes depending on whether you’re communicating within your own team, cross-functionally or with clients, executives or other stakeholders. Remote adds another dimension.

“It’s been pretty eye-opening,” Mike Henderson, CMO for SuretyBonds.com, said of the shifting demands for communication since the pandemic sent everyone home during a Live with Search Engine Land session on in-demand marketing skills. “It’s just vastly different how people communicate, or the lack thereof, when they don’t have to be face-to-face with you.” Here are ways Henderson and other marketers are keeping things running smoothly while maintaining trust and accountability.

Tips for improving internal communication for remote teams

Standup meetings. These short status meetings can keep people accountable and projects moving forward. For remote teams, they also ensure everyone on the team or project connects once a day.

“We started morning standup meetings that have had a major impact on the team’s productivity and my visibility into what’s getting done,” said Henderson. “We’ve been running on an agile framework for a few years now (using Jira and Confluence), but were skimping on the daily huddles. This is something I plan to keep regardless of being remote or in-person.”

Simon Poulton of WPromote said they’ve re-instated regular standups as well. “Full adoption of agile (daily stand up meetings, cameras on) – we were doing the planning prior, but would get lazy on stand-up follow through; now it’s a daily 15 min opportunity to see the team and get things done,” Poulton said.

At Search Engine Land, we’ve always worked remotely, so when the pandemic hit, little changed in the way we work and communicate. The one exception is that our daily video standup calls became a little less all-business and a bit more conversational. This was particularly true in the early weeks when anxiety levels were high, kids were home and it was just generally harder to concentrate. Having those few minutes to connect and decompress a bit helped while still usually keeping them to 15 minutes max.

You may find a daily meeting is overkill and a different schedule works better. The important part is to have something regularly scheduled. “We’ve started having twice-per-week full team standups where all the functions across the team share updates on what they’re working on,” said Natalie Barreda, senior manager of media at T-Mobile. “Additionally, we’ve made better use of Slack by sharing daily updates on pacing, budget changes, etc.”

Status updates. Whether you’re using Slack, Teams or another communication platform, letting people know when you’re not available is a key piece of remote communication.

An internal Slack channel (ours is called “Where Am I”) to let teammates know when you’re stepping away from your desk to take a walk, a call or whatever else will keep people from feeling like you left them on open, as the kids say.

Christine Shepherd Zirnheld from Cypress North said it’s customary for team members to post in Slack when they’re stepping away from their desks “even if it’s only for five minutes.” “Does that feel like babysitting?,” I wondered. “No I never thought about it that way! We’re big on internal Slack calls so it’s nice to know when people aren’t available. That’s the main purpose,” Zirnheld said via Twitter.

The flip side of using status updates is to encourage people to take that walk and not feel glued to their desks. “We’ve started a team policy of Slack emojis/status updates to indicate your availability or not. Helps people feel more comfortable with a screen break,” said Aaron Levy of Tinuiti.

Want to automate Slack status updates? Holopod is one tool that integrates with Slack and Google calendar to automatically post status updates for calls, coffee breaks, etc. and snooze notifications to keep down the Slack noise during high-concentration periods.

Video or no video? How many calls did you have over video versus just voice before the pandemic compared to now? A benefit of video is being able to pick up facial cues in conversation that get missed when you’re just on the phone. Presumably, people are also paying more attention when they’re on video — but that’s far from a guarantee.

Sometimes a regular phone call can be better. Many people prefer to pace when they’re on the phone and are going to be more attentive if they can get up and walk around than if they have to stare at a bunch of heads on a screen. Don’t discount the benefit of a walk and talk for one-on-one problem solving or brainstorming sessions.

“Be respectful of screen time. We’re all encountering Zoom exhaustion,” said Amy Do, social director for Barkley US.

Meeting fundamentals still apply. Notes and documentation are even more important when teams are remote. You can shorten meetings by sending out or updating shared agendas in advance of meetings. “Recaps and meeting agendas. Including pre-reads w/ mtg invites are great too,” added Do. Cloud-based recaps and running meeting notes ensure everyone can stay up-to-date even if they couldn’t attend a meeting.

“Always, always recap phone calls. Always,” said digital strategist Amalia Fowler. “Actionables delineated for each team with deadlines. Then make appropriate follow-up task for yourself in [your] project management tool of choice. When things don’t happen / get delayed then it’s easy to figure out the hole.” Fowler says she’s documenting a lot more and making sure the team is routinely using the processes and tools available.

An evergreen skill

In talking about the skills they hire for during Live with Search Engine Land, both Barreda and Henderson said communication remained a priority. In this article, we’ve mostly focused on team communication, but if you want to advance your career, start honing your persuasion skills. That includes being able to tell stories with data and be able to effectively communicate to clients and executives.

“A huge one that I look for is just people who can communicate in a way that is influential,” said Barreda. “On the agency side, you’re constantly influencing your clients to try out a new tool or spend more money or try a new feature… but when you’re working on the enterprise side of things … a lot of times we are influencing people to showcase the value of what we’re doing. Numbers obviously speak volumes, but if you can’t communicate it in an influential way … it doesn’t land.”

Watch the session below.

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Social Shorts: Twitter ad engagement drops, Snap Minis launch, more brands pause Facebook Ads /social-shorts-twitter-ad-engagement-drops-snap-minis-launch-more-brands-pause-facebook-ads-338311 Mon, 27 Jul 2020 12:00:00 +0000 /?p=338311 The social media marketing week in review: A round up of news and announcements you may have missed.

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Twitter ad engagement suffers. Snapchat user gains slow

Twitter’s ad engagement declined along with a steep drop in ad revenue.

We’re starting to get a clearer picture of how the pandemic affected social platforms last quarter. This week, even as monetizable daily active users increased by a whopping 34% to 186 million, Twitter reported ad revenue fell by 23% year-over-year to $562 million in Q2 (total revenue was $683 million, down 19% year-over-year), that’s coming off flat ad revenue growth in the first quarter of 2020. Twitter’s sharp decline in ad revenue was matched in a steep drop in ad engagement and cost per engagement. 

Why we care. The trends of these two metrics, shown in the chart above, put in stark light the challenge Twitter’s ad business has been facing for many quarters now. Performance advertisers require engagement with their ads. Ned Segal, Twitter’s CFO, said in a statement that the company is still focusing on performance ads. “We have completed our ad server rebuild and are making progress accelerating our performance ads roadmap. With a larger audience and progress in ads, we are even better positioned to deliver for advertisers when the live events and product launches that bring many people and advertisers to Twitter return to our lives.” (The company is also looking at subscription options.)

Earlier in the week, Snap reported revenues rose by 17% year-over-year to $454 million. Investors were disappointed the big bump in users that Snapchat saw at the beginning of shelter in place didn’t continue. Daily active users were up 17% to 238 million, just shy of the 239 million the company had been shooting for.

Why we care. Snap’s ad revenues were impacted by disruptions to industries such as transportation services, restaurants and entertainment venues, but Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said e-commerce, streaming and gaming advertisers are leaning into the platform. While Snapchat’s audience skews young, the company also noted that the daily average number of Snapchatters over the age of 35 engaging with Discover content increased by over 40% year-over-year in Q2 2020. The company also said it’s benefiting from Facebook’s brand safety troubles with more brands taking a fresh look at Snapchat.

Twitter strikes at conspiracy content

twitter bans QAnon activity

Twitter said it will take action against conspiracy theory-ridden QAnon content on its platform starting this week. It will permanently suspend accounts tweeting about the topics, block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on Twitter, and content and accounts associated with QAnon will not serve in Trends and recommendations. Twitter took down 7,000 QAnon accounts and is limiting 150,000 others that flood the platform with abusive content and coordinated attempts to get hashtags trending, NBC News reported.

Why we care. Twitter’s action against misinformation and conspiracy theories is significant for a platform and stands in stark contrast to Facebook’s “we aren’t arbiters of truth” approach in the midst of an advertiser boycott over brand safety and content moderation concerns.

Facebook Ads boycott: More brands quietly sit out  

walmart cut facebook ads spending in july, media matters

Several large brands have quietly paused ads on Facebook. Disney pulled ads for Disney+, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Walmart, Geico, Allstate, Kellogg’s, Kohl’s, Dell, McDonald’s, Peloton and Ikea stopped advertising early in the month, per a new report from watchdog group Media Matters. Walmart was Facebook’s second-biggest spender in 2019 at more than $145 million, Media Matters estimates. 

More than 1,000 advertisers such as Unilever, Starbucks, Adidas and Verizon signed onto the #StopHateForProfit campaign and agreed to stop advertising via Facebook Ads for the month of July over concerns about content moderation and policy enforcement around objectionable content. 

Why we care. The financial dent of these big advertisers alone won’t cripple Facebook, which has millions of SMB advertisers facing their own challenges due to COVID-19. Nor is that the point. “It’s more for us to assess, as marketers and arbiters of our brands’ equity, whether we should continue defaulting to a platform that stands in opposition to consumer sentiment today,” Elijah Harris, senior vice president of paid social at IPG Mediabrands told Business Insider last month. Facebook published an update on its brand safety efforts. One step involves enlisting the Media Rating Council (MRC) to conduct an evaluation of its partner and content monetization policies and brand safety controls as well as the accuracy of Facebook’s related reporting. 

Snap Minis start rolling out

Snap Mini apps are now available

Snapchat has released the first set of mini apps on the platform. The lightweight HTML apps “are designed to improve engagement among users by enabling them to perform a range of additional tasks without leaving the Snap app,” TechCrunch reported.

The initial apps are Headspace for mediation, Flashcards for studying with friends, Prediction Master for messaging and Let’s Do It, developed by Snap to allow users to make decisions with their friends.

Why we care. The mini apps are available within Snapchat’s Chat section and are part of a strategy to beef up engagement among the app’s 229 million daily users who represent roughly 90% of 13 to 24 year-olds in the U.S. More engagement means a more enticing environment for brands and advertisers. Last week, Snapchat debuted brand pages that give brands a home base, similar to other social networks.  

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Product feed optimization: Here’s more reason to use those attributes /product-feed-optimization-heres-more-reason-to-use-those-attributes-338176 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 16:05:33 +0000 /?p=338176 Google is surfacing product attributes such as "Material" in Shopping ads.

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google is pulling attributes from product feeds in Shopping ads
Google is showing attributes from product feeds in Shopping ads.

If you needed more reason to pay attention to all the attributes available for your products in your Google product feed, here’s one: Google is surfacing more attributes from merchants’ product feeds in Shopping Ads.

The example above, spotted by Jackson Lo, SEO lead, international growth at Shopify, this week, shows apparel ads with the “Material” attribute. A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land that surfacing attributes in Shopping ads is live on mobile and is now being tested on desktop.

I was curious if this was mainly showing on ads for brand queries, but I was also able to get the materials attribute to surface on a non-brand query on mobile:

materials attribute showing in google shopping ads

Why we care. Google says it is continually testing showing different information in Shopping ads relevant to specific verticals.

That means it’s even more important to fill in as many attributes for your products as possible because you never know when it might be surfaced in Shopping ads. That’s in addition to using them to ensure your ads surface for relevant queries and when users click on available search filters.

If you haven’t audited your Google product feed in awhile, this is a good reason to bump it up on your to-do list.

How to optimize your product feeds for Google attributes. Review all of the attributes available, paying particular attention to those relevant to the types of products you sell. Sticking with the apparel category as an example, the material, pattern, gender, age_group, color, size, size type, size system. You can find the full list of Google product feed attributes here.

In addition, be sure you’re using the item_group_id attribute to group product variants together in your feed (see this help page). This way, when someone looks at your product in Shopping, it will show the product with its variants (colors, patterns, etc). This is applicable to apparel, shoes, electronics, furniture, makeup and groceries.

Surfaces across Google. You’ll notice many product feed attributes are required in order to be eligible for enhanced listings on Surfaces across Google. Be sure to opt-into surfaces across Google in your Google Merchant Center if you want to be included in the free product listings in Google’s Shopping tab, Search, Images, Google Maps and Google Lens.

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Buy on Google goes commission-free, will enable checkout via PayPal, Shopify /buy-on-google-goes-commission-free-will-enable-checkout-via-paypal-shopify-338168 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 14:20:13 +0000 /?p=338168 This is the second big shake up for Google's commerce efforts this year.

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Earlier this year, Google surprised merchants by opening up the Google Shopping tab in its search results to free product listings. Now for the next phase of the shakeup: commission-free access to Buy on Google, the company’s native checkout from product listings. It is also integrating with third-parties to make it easier for merchants to streamline order management and payments.

buy on google going commission free
Items available to Buy on Google are indicated by a shopping cart icon in Google Shopping.

Why we care. The combined moves of making Google Shopping and Buy on Google checkout free for retailers will make it much more accessible to a wider range of sellers than other marketplaces. Not charging a commission is a significant differentiator for Google Shopping from other marketplaces — most significantly Amazon, which charges fees typically ranging from 8 to 15% per item sold.

In turn, Google is betting that more sellers, more products and easier checkout, particularly on mobile, will make it a product search destination for more users. Integrations with third-parties, including Shopify and Paypal (more on that below) will be attractive to sellers because it gives them more control over their order management and data.

Buy on Google debuted as Google Shopping Actions in 2018. (That product name is no longer.) Items available to Buy on Google are indicated with a shopping cart icon. Items bought through the program are covered by Google’s guarantee for a refund if something goes wrong with an order.

SMB focus. Google said it has seen “a significant increase in demand to buy from and support small businessses. It will add a small business filter to the Shopping tab to make discovery easier and focus on adding more features to make digital commerce onboarding easier for SMBs.

Shopify, PayPal integrations. In addition, Buy on Google will integrate with third-parties, starting with Shopify and PayPal. When users opt to buy from participating merchants via “Buy on Google,” they can choose Shopify or PayPal payment options when available. For Shopify merchants it also means inventory and order management from Buy on Googleorders can flow directly through Shopify.

“So, if a retailer wants to sell directly on Google, they can get started even faster and continue using the tools and services that already work for their business,” said Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce in a blog post Thursday. “Or, if they’re new to selling online, they’ll be able to choose from multiple options when they sign up in our Merchant Center.”

Google had already enabled an integration with Google Merchant Center and PayPal in May, so this next step makes sense.

Available in U.S. first. The changes to Buy on Google will roll out in the U.S. first, with availability in international markets coming later this year and in 2021. Free listings on Shopping are expected to be available in all applicable markets by the end of this year.

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