George Nguyen – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Tue, 11 May 2021 14:03:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.4 Yelp announces Custom Location Targeting, budget recommendations and more features to expand reach for local businesses /yelp-announces-custom-location-targeting-budget-recommendations-and-more-features-to-expand-reach-for-local-businesses-348455 Tue, 11 May 2021 11:00:00 +0000 /?p=348455 Local business owners are no longer limited to advertising around their physical location.

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Yelp is now rolling out Custom Location Targeting, machine learning-generated budget recommendations and a number of other new features designed to give business owners more control over their presence and ads on the platform, the company announced Tuesday.

Custom Location Targeting (CLT). Businesses on Yelp can now designate specific locations for their ads to appear. Before this, they could only advertise in a radius around their location.

Yelp's custom location targeting interface
The Custom Location Targeting interface. Image: Yelp.

CLT is available now to new self-serve advertisers and will be fully rolled out in the coming weeks.

New budget recommendations. The platform has also redesigned its budget editing experience, adding machine learning-generated budget recommendations for advertisers.

Yelp's redesigned budget editor
The newly redesigned Yelp budget editor, with budget recommendations. Image: Yelp.

Yelp’s machine learning model analyzes the business’ profile, historical campaign performance and lookalike audience data to generate budget recommendations.

Connect Audience Model. Businesses that use Yelp Connect, a publishing tool not unlike Google Posts, to communicate with their customers are now able to market to a wider audience. This expansion, known as the Connect Audience Model, enables businesses to show their posts to people who have interacted with similar businesses or searched for relevant categories. Previously, Yelp Connect only allowed businesses to target people who’ve bookmarked or followed their Yelp profile.

This product was specifically designed to make Yelp Connect more useful for service-based businesses. “Since our initial pilot, Home and Local Services businesses have seen consumer engagement with Connect posts increase by 3 times on average, compared to previous engagement levels,” the announcement reads.

Additional announcements. The company also made several minor updates, including:

  • A step-by-step guide to help business owners set up their profiles and use Yelp to market themselves.
  • A revamped ad dashboard for the Yelp for Business mobile app, including some features that were previously only available on the desktop version.
  • Guidance on ad text to help business owners write more compelling copy.

Why we care. Yelp’s announcements are all about expanding reach and making advertising easier for local business owners. The new Custom Location Targeting has the potential to be a very useful tool for service-based businesses that operate in a geographic area different from their physical location. With the new consumer behaviors introduced by the pandemic, this might include real estate businesses, online tutoring services and various other service providers.

The Connect Audience Model helps businesses market to potential customers based on their interests and search history, which can enable them to reach higher-intent audiences. And, Yelp’s new budget recommendations may be able to tap into data that the platform has access to, but individual business owners do not, which may help them run more efficient campaigns.

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Phrase match is now the same across Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads; Wednesday’s daily brief /phrase-match-is-now-the-same-across-microsoft-advertising-and-google-ads-wednesdays-daily-brief-348420 Wed, 05 May 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=348420 Plus, nearly half of TikTok users have purchased something they saw on the platform

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Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, and happy Cinco de Mayo to those who celebrate it!

On Monday, some in the SEO community were discussing whether links to Google search results within featured snippets were something that we should be concerned about. The chatter started after technical SEO consultant Ramesh Singh tweeted a screenshot of a search conducted in India.

“We can confirm that this is a bug and is not intended behavior for links on featured snippets,” a Google spokesperson told us, “We are actively working on a fix.” As you might expect, some were quick to cast doubt on Google’s use of the term “bug” — you gotta love the community’s colorful reactions.

For now, that’s one less thing to think about. Remember, Google has tested something similar before: contextual links in featured snippets, which has yet to receive a wider roll out. If it does, we’ll keep you posted, but for now, keep on reading for all the latest search marketing news.

George Nguyen,
Editor

Microsoft Advertising to treat phrase match the same way Google Ads does

Come mid-May, phrase match will be expanded to include broad match modifier traffic, Microsoft announced yesterday. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Google made the same announcement back in February — Microsoft even links to Google’s announcement in their blog post. That may seem strange, but remember, part of Microsoft Advertising’s strategy is to make adoption as easy as possible for those already using Google Ads.

The new treatment may save advertisers time when it comes to managing keywords, but it may also take time for advertisers to recalibrate their campaigns and traffic may fluctuate as Microsoft flips the switch. And, for advertisers using both Microsoft and Google’s platforms, that’s one less thing to remember since both will soon treat phrase match the same way.

Read more here.

Almost half of TikTok users have purchased products and services they saw on the platform

Forty-nine percent of users reported buying something from a brand after seeing it reviewed, promoted or advertised on TikTok, according to an Adweek-Morning Consult survey. For comparison, that same study also found that 41% of adults bought something after seeing it on Facebook. These stats might be compelling, but remember that you’re not advertising to all the users on a platform, just the ones that are part of your target audience.

Why we care. More than 7 out of 10 Gen Zers reported having a TikTok account, which means that if they’re part of your audience, it might be worthwhile to establish a presence on the short-form video format if you haven’t already.

On the other hand, perhaps Facebook is a better bet if you’re marketing to millennials as 60% reported purchasing something they saw there. For Gen Xers, that figure drops down to 48%, falling even further to just 27% of baby boomers. If you only have the resources to invest in one social media platform, choose the one that’s most likely to influence your audience’s purchasing decisions.

Advertisers can now bring their customer segments into Microsoft Advertising via a new integration

A new integration between Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s customer data platform, and Microsoft Advertising now enables advertisers to target their customer segments via Customer Match. Along with that integration, the company also revealed that Customer Match is out of open beta and available in all markets except the EU, U.K. and China.

The integration can facilitate audience segmentation and targeting for those that use Microsoft’s platforms, and Customer Match is a useful way to use your own first-party data to get your message out to audiences, regardless of what happens as we move away from third-party cookies. Interestingly, Google also announced instant match rates, a new feature for Customer Match on its platform last week.

Read more here.

Twitter vs. Clubhouse and SEOs <3 Star Wars

Twitter moves in on Clubhouse’s territory. Twitter will let hosts of Spaces, its feature that competes head-to-head with Clubhouse, charge attendees to listen. Spaces has also rolled on Android devices, as where Clubhouse is still only available on iOS.

May the 4th be with you. I hope the Star Wars/SEO crowd will forgive me for being a day late. Here’s an awesome thread of SEO Star Wars memes started by Izzi Smith; many more contributed their own gifs and memes as well.

The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompts gallery. If you’re marketing an app, you’re probably aware that Apple’s iOS 14.5 update only provides you with two sentences to convince users to let you track their behavior. Here’s a site that features screenshots of what some brands are telling users. Check out what ASOS and Macy’s did; using the right language might just persuade your audience.

How will Google’s employee churn affect its business and the industry?

I don’t have an answer for that, but a string of high-profile departures typically isn’t a good thing. And, quite a few of them are now Apple employees: At the end of 2018, John Giannandrea, Google’s former SVP of engineering, joined Apple as its VP of machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy. The following year, Apple further committed to its AI efforts when it hired Ian Goodfellow, a former Google senior staff research scientist who now bears the title of director of machine learning in the special projects group.

At the end of 2020, Google dismissed Timnit Gebru, a leading ethical AI researcher and the company’s first Black female researcher. She did not move on to work at Apple, but one of her former colleagues and supporters, Samy Bengio, who resigned after Google fired Gebru, has been hired to lead a new AI research unit under John Giannandrea, Reuters reported. Bengio had spent 14 years of his career at Google before he resigned.

And now, there’s a history of walkouts and employee activism that would’ve been hard to imagine in Google’s early years. What might that say about the company’s priorities and ethics? How might that affect the search industry?

We operate in a high tech industry and people move around all the time, but you’d have to turn a blind eye to a lot of factors to dismiss these patterns. And, where is Apple headed with all of this AI talent? My inbox is open to your thoughts (as it always is); email me at gnguyen@thirddoormedia.com (subject line: You can’t fire me, I quit).

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Advertisers can now bring their customer segments into Microsoft Advertising via a new integration /advertisers-can-now-bring-their-customer-segments-into-microsoft-advertising-via-a-new-integration-348393 Tue, 04 May 2021 15:00:00 +0000 /?p=348393 And, Customer Match is now generally available to all advertisers on Microsoft’s platform.

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A new integration between Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s customer data platform, and Microsoft Advertising is now available, the company announced Tuesday at its Microsoft Business Applications Summit. The integration enables advertisers to use their customer segments from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to reach users in the Microsoft Search Network and Microsoft Audience Network via Customer Match targeting.

Customer Match is now available in more markets. Alongside the announcement of the new integration, Microsoft also revealed that Customer Match is now available in all markets except for the EU, UK and China.

Microsoft Advertising’s Customer Match feature has been available via its pilot program here in the U.S. and in open beta in markets around the globe for some time; but if you weren’t in the original pilot or open beta, you can now access it.

How it works. Customer segments are first created within Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. After the connection between Microsoft Advertising and Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is configured, customer segments will appear in Microsoft Advertising’s Audience page, along with all your other segments.

Why we care. This new integration can facilitate audience segmentation and targeting for advertisers on Microsoft’s platforms.

As the industry transitions away from third-party cookies, many advertisers (and the agencies that work with them) have been proactive about finding alternative ways to reach audiences. This may be even more important now that it seems like Chrome will be the only browser to support FLoC, Google’s proposal to replace third-party cookies, and because the proposal has faced increased scrutiny by regulators in several EU countries. First-party data is one way to ensure that you can get your message to customers regardless of what may happen as we move on from third-party cookies, and Customer Match is a convenient way to target those audiences.

RELATED: Instant match rates are now available for Customer Match lists in Google Ads

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Microsoft Advertising to treat phrase match the same way Google Ads does /microsoft-advertising-to-treat-phrase-match-the-same-way-google-ads-does-348411 Tue, 04 May 2021 13:43:22 +0000 /?p=348411 The new treatment will begin in mid-May.

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Microsoft Advertising will expand phrase match to include broad match modifier traffic, the company announced Tuesday. The change, which will start in mid-May, is to “simplify keywords and improve your relevancy when reaching customers,” the announcement reads. This new treatment for phrase match will bring the platform in line with Google Ads’ updated phrase match, which rolled out in February.

What’s the difference? The updated phrase match treatment means that your ads will be shown for searches that include the meaning of your keyword. Microsoft’s example is matching the query “winter vacation in Miami” to the keyword “Miami vacation.”

Word order will be respected “when it’s important—for example, it won’t match ‘milk chocolate to the keyword ‘chocolate milk.'”

Broad match modified (BMM) keywords are going away in August. Advertisers will no longer have the ability to create new BMM keywords beginning in August 2021. Their existing BMM keywords, and any keywords with partial BMMs, will serve under the new phrase match treatment. For reference, Google is also set to deprecate BMM keywords the month prior, in July.

No action is required as the switch will happen automatically and advertisers will retain access to their historical data.

Launching in other markets starting in June. This change will roll out in the U.S. and Canada over the next few weeks and in other markets beginning in June. Until then, phrase match and broad match modified keywords will continue using the old definitions.

Why we care. As we noted when Google first made this change, the new treatment may save advertisers time when it comes to managing keywords. On the other hand, it may also take time for advertisers to recalibrate their campaigns and traffic may fluctuate as Microsoft flips the switch.

Additionally, part of Microsoft’s strategy is to make adoption as easy as possible for those already on Google Ads. The change simplifies things for advertisers that are considering (or already) using both Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads as they’ll no longer have to factor in two different phrase match treatments.

RELATED: Google’s updated phrase match simplifies keywords and worries advertisers

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Bing’s new shopping features emphasize comparison shopping /bings-new-shopping-features-emphasize-comparison-shopping-348357 Fri, 30 Apr 2021 20:37:34 +0000 /?p=348357 The updated interface helps it reach parity with Google Shopping, but both search engines are looking to provide users with features and data that Amazon doesn't.

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Bing has added aggregated ratings, expert reviews, product specifications and the ability to compare historic prices across sellers to its shopping search engine, the company announced Thursday.

shopping listings for laptops in Bing Shopping search
Examples of Bing Shopping results featuring aggregated and expert ratings. Image: Bing.

Clicking on the details within a shopping result takes the user to Bing’s detail page for that product (shown below). There, users can compare buying options, check out the price history, see excerpts from expert reviews and view product specifications.

A Bing product detail page compared with a Google product detail page.
Bing Shopping’s new product detail page experience (left) compared with Google Shopping’s product detail page (right).

Why we care. These at-a-glance features may facilitate comparison shopping between products. Historical pricing data may also help users make buying decisions as well as inform marketers of how competitive their pricing is. In addition, these updates help Bing reach parity with (and in some regards, surpass) Google’s shopping search capabilities.

Over the last few years, and especially since shifting consumer behavior due to the coronavirus pandemic resulted in an e-commerce boom, Bing and Google have dedicated more resources towards building out their shopping capabilities. Although Amazon remains the most dominant platform in the sector, Bing and Google are providing users with more comparison shopping features, such as the ability to sign up for alerts when prices drop.

For Bing and Google, it’ll take a critical mass of these features to make them serious Amazon competitors. And, even if the search engines achieve this, Amazon is likely to maintain its position as the market leader due to its Prime subscription benefits, among other factors. However, success for the search engines doesn’t look like what it does for Amazon — if they can create better shopping experiences and save customers money (through features like the aforementioned price drop alerts or price comparison tables), then they can attract more users and sell more ads.

More on the news.

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Instant match rates are now available for Customer Match lists in Google Ads /instant-match-rates-are-now-available-for-customer-match-lists-in-google-ads-348312 Thu, 29 Apr 2021 20:56:45 +0000 /?p=348312 Having match rate data upfront can help to contextualize performance expectations.

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When advertisers upload a customer list, Google will now show them the estimated match rate (the percentage of the list that is usable with Customer Match) the company announced Thursday. Match rate data is also be available for previously uploaded customer lists as well.

The screen shown after a customer match list is successfully uploaded.
The estimated match rate is shown after advertisers upload a customer list. Image: Google.

Improving your match rate. To get the most out of your customer lists and increase your match rate, Google recommends adding as much customer information as you can: “Advertisers who uploaded two types of customer information saw an average list size increase of 28%, and with three types they saw an increase of 35%.”

Keeping your customer lists up-to-date can also provide Google with more information to reach your audience. Traffic and conversions for Customer Match lists increased by an average of 17% after they’ve been updated, according to Google’s internal data.

a suggestion to update a customer match list within Google Ads.
A suggestion to update a Customer Match list within Google Ads. Note: The “+6%” figure in the top-right-hand corner of the suggestion is a part of the Recommendations page, not an estimated increase in match rate. Image: Google.

Google will also automatically show a suggestion on the Recommendations page to remind you to update your lists.

Additionally, fixing any formatting issues can also help to increase your match rates.

Why we care. Prior to this update, advertisers had to wait to see what their match rate was. Having it available instantaneously can help to contextualize performance expectations and enable them to troubleshoot their lists much earlier if the match rate seems inaccurate.

With the deprecation of third-party cookies, advertisers may turn to first-party data to help them reach customers. Customer Match is one way for advertisers to take advantage of the data their customers have given them, and having an instant match rate makes it a bit more transparent and easier to use.

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Apple’s App Tracking Transparency is live; Wednesday’s daily brief /apples-app-tracking-transparency-is-live-wednesdays-daily-brief-348227 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=348227 And, at what point does “disruption” become permanent change?

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Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, today is National Superhero Day and that’s enough of a segue for me.

It’s really not about the “super” part. This “holiday” made me think of the many kindnesses that I rely on daily to perform my job, which boils down to serving the search community. Every time I tweet a request for perspectives on breaking news or reach out to my network to see if anyone knows of a person that works in a specific vertical, I usually get what I need, thanks to the professionals that I am fortunate enough to write for — thank you very, very much.

That’s my specific experience, and I’ve discussed with others why they do (or don’t) engage with potential colleagues on Twitter or LinkedIn. There’s just so much knowledge and experience and networking that you can tap into, and you can be that bridge for someone else that may really need guidance. So, if you see a post by someone and you’re in a position to help them along their journey, I hope you’ll choose to do so. It’s just good karma.

Keep on reading for all the news and data you need to know today, as well as a music video that is sure to knock your socks off.

George Nguyen,
Editor

Reassess your ROI for better reporting and strategic insights

top_challenges_measuring_content_marketing_performance

When it comes to measuring content marketing performance, almost half (46%) of B2B marketers consider determining ROI to be a top challenge, according to data from Ascend2 and KoMarketing. So, what are some factors that can enable you to effectively measure your B2B content marketing campaigns? The greatest proportion of respondents, 61%, said it was “establishing a reliable process/strategy,” followed by having a “high-functioning staff/resources” (40%) and “defining organizational goals” (38%).

Why we care. Estimating your ROI can come down to a range of factors, which makes it even more important to get as precise as you can. What you’re telling stakeholders is going to affect the budget you’re given. So, if you’re not confident in your ROI estimates, take some time to pinpoint where the noise is coming from and isolate it so that you can also gain a better understanding of how your content performs, which can also tell you how to iterate on it or if it’s time to shift strategies.

Will Apple’s App Tracking Transparency change the game for advertisers?

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It’s been about ten months since Apple first announced that apps will have to seek explicit consent from users if they want to track their activity across other apps and websites, but App Tracking Transparency has finally launched as part of iOS 14.5.

You may recall that Facebook decried the new feature, even going as far as to take out ads in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal stating that it was taking a stand against Apple on behalf of “small businesses everywhere.” It’s easy to see that Facebook is downplaying how Apple’s change affects its own business, but many small businesses do rely on personalized ads to reach audiences.

iPhones accounted for 62% of all domestic ad impressions on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the Audience Network in March (up from 56% compared to the year prior), according to Tinuiti’s Q1 2021 Facebook Ads Benchmark Report. Android, on the other hand, accounted for 29%, which is actually a slight decrease from what it was in March 2020.

Why we care. This discrepancy highlights the potential impact that App Tracking Transparency may have. “With Apple devices accounting for such a large share of ad impressions, it will be crucial for advertisers to quickly adapt to the new state of campaign optimization and management to succeed moving forward,” a representative for Tinuiti commented.

Tracking down fake e-commerce listings

One in five fake e-commerce listings came from just 3% of repeat offenders, a new study from brand protection company Incopro found. Eliminating this cohort of illicit sellers couldn’t prevent up to $78 billion in annual losses for brands.

The study resulted from a statistical analysis of 1.5 million IP enforcements across over 750 brands. Incopro looked at 34 platforms, including popular marketplaces and social sites, and determined that a strictly enforced “three strikes” policy on offending fake posters would protect brands and consumers alike.

Incopro makes two baseline recommendations for e-commerce marketplaces:

  • All seller identities should be verified; and
  • All sellers should be removed from the marketplace or social site if identified as selling illicit goods and services on more than three occasions (“three strikes”).

Currently, 68% of the selling platforms Incopro surveyed have some policy in place to root out repeat offenders. Only three of the platforms (Alibaba, Aliexpress and Taobao) go as far as banning the illicit sellers.

Why we care. Why wouldn’t e-commerce marketplaces and social platforms want to build trust between sellers and consumers? As big brands focus more of their strategies on social commerce, they have to be assured that the environment is safe for their brand and not wasteful to their bottom line.

Do you even love digital marketing if you haven’t recorded a song and filmed a music video about it?

Catch Barry and Mordy’s chat on Clubhouse today. Our own Barry Schwartz will be joining Mordy Oberstein to discuss what’s new, what’s old and what you should know about SEO these days on today’s edition of Open Mic SEO. Listening to these two is equal parts enlightening and entertaining; if you’ve got the time, it starts at 10am ET on Clubhouse.

Pointers for marketing on Reddit. Marketer Chantelle Marcelle tweeted a thread of notes she took during an AMA with Will Cady, Reddit’s head of brand strategy. It’s a great list of tips for those looking to leverage Reddit for branding or community marketing — my favorite tip is: “Don’t confuse critics for trolls. People who are taking the time to criticize usually are the people who care about what you’re doing the most. Even if you don’t have a good answer to share at that time, just acknowledging that you hear them can be hugely helpful.”

The SEO Rapper. This time, it’s not Mike King (although I’m not sure Mike raps specifically about SEO). Check out this music video by Charles Lewis, simply titled “Digital Marketing” — the chorus is pretty catchy: “First build a site, next drive traffic, then get leads, see it’s not magic…”

At first it was “disruption,” but at this point, it’s just table stakes

You’ve likely heard it before: years of digital transformation crammed into a 12-month span. Some of these changes have been more obvious than others; for example, numerous companies have instituted a permanent WFH policy. While the pandemic prompted many of these shifts, it was only one component of what we experienced in 2020. Employees, as well as the general public, now have increased expectations for companies to take up social and environmental causes. And, privacy and the fair treatment of workers in the gig economy continue to be important considerations for informed customers.

In days long gone, these issues were most commonly championed by tech companies, but in Time Magazine’s piece “Every Company is a Tech Company Now. The Disruption is Just Beginning,” Edward Felsenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and CEO, argues that these issues, along with the ability to rapidly evolve your business, have become table stakes for any large company. These entities wield an amount of influence unlike anything we’ve ever seen — I think most marketers would agree that the businesses they represent could go boom or bust depending on the changes that the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Apples of the world decide to implement.

The main takeaway for me was that these companies could use their influence for good or bad, and sometimes both at the same time. Weighing out those decisions is something that every marketer should be doing: take Apple’s App Tracking Transparency for example. Will you be framing this to your clients in a way that villainizes Apple, or in a way that emphasizes why user consent is important? I believe that if we take part in this change, by engaging in discussions amongst our colleagues in the industry as well as with decision-makers at these multinational corporations, we’ll at least have done our part to nudge progress in the right direction.

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Google announces additional travel advisory notices in search and updates to its trip planning tools /google-announces-additional-travel-advisory-notices-in-search-and-updates-to-its-trip-planning-tools-348218 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:00:00 +0000 /?p=348218 The user-oriented feature updates will help Google maintain an edge over competitors in the online travel sector.

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Additional COVID-related travel advisory and restriction information will be shown in Google search, the company announced Wednesday. In addition, Google is also rolling out a revamped Explore section for its travel planning site as well as road trip support for Maps on desktop.

Travel advisory information in Google search
Image: Google.

More travel advisory and restriction information. When users search for flights, hotels or similar travel-related queries, Google will show travel restriction details (shown above) for their destination. This information can include whether visitors must provide their immunization records, proof of test results or whether they must quarantine once they arrive.

Google COVID-19 Advisory Email
An example of the email travel advisory updates. Image: Google.

Users that are signed in to their Google account can track travel advisories by toggling the “receive an email if this guidance changes” switch. When they do, they’ll be alerted when restrictions are added, lifted or reduced. These notifications are specific to the destination country, but information for specific states is also available within the U.S.

These new features add to the travel trends and advisory notices Google rolled out in August 2020.

The redesigned Explore section. The company also announced a revamped Explore section within google.com/travel. Users will now see more destinations on the map, like national parks and smaller cities, and Google has added the ability to filter destinations by interests (outdoors, beaches, skiing, etc.). The “Travel Mode” filter at the top of the map can also be used to see only cities with airports. When users select a destination, travel advisories and restrictions are also shown as well.

Road trip support for Maps on desktop. Google Maps on desktop now supports road trip planning. After entering a starting location and destination, users can select from different types of places to stop at via the options at the top of the interface. This feature is already available on the Android and iOS versions of the Maps app.

Image: Google.

Why we care. Google has made itself a key player in the online travel sector through feature developments and acquisitions dating back to 2010, when it acquired flight information software company ITA Software to create its flight search engine. With this latest announcement, the company continues to solidify itself as an all-in-one travel planning tool that can help users comparison shop for flights, plan road trips and stay informed about travel restrictions.

This is likely to keep users within Google’s ecosystem, which makes it more difficult for Google’s competitors in the travel industry. As is the case with many of these user-oriented updates, there may also be trickle-down effects for marketers as we must leverage the platforms that our audiences use (in this case, Google) to market to them.

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The Google product reviews update was big, just not big for everyone; Wednesday’s daily brief /the-google-product-reviews-update-was-big-just-not-big-for-everyone-wednesdays-daily-brief-347965 Wed, 21 Apr 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=347965 And, no, tCPA and tROAS aren’t going away.

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Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, “is this new?”

That’s the question my colleague Barry Schwartz is known for answering on Twitter, and it’s important to be aware of SERP feature updates, but the freshness of a search engine experiment is secondary to how it may affect our business or our clients’ businesses. 

Naturally, figuring out how a change in the SERP’s layout or a new type of rich result, for example, might affect our visibility is much more difficult to unpack, but that’s why we get paid to do what we do. Search engines have gotten better at communicating substantive changes, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to research every new experiment Google, Bing or another search engine conducts — just focus on researching changes that impact the sector you’re in. The benefit of this approach is that you can wait on industry coverage (ideally from your team over here at Search Engine Land) to provide a digest of the most important points.

Of course, there’s something of a thrill to be had in being the first to see a new feature or being able to trigger it yourself, and I get that, too — after all, somebody’s gotta be first to start the conversation. Perhaps you’ll find something to talk about below, so keep on scrolling for the news.

George Nguyen,
Editor

Was the Google product reviews update big?

rankranger-product-reviews-update-comparison

We asked RankRanger, Searchmetrics, Semrush, SEOClarity and SISTRIX to sum up the Google product reviews update that launched over a week ago. It seems like it was big — but not as big as a typical Google core update.

Of course, those impacted may have seen huge gains or losses and, for any individual site, those changes can be a big deal. But overall, this was a smaller one, likely because of the niche focus of this update (i.e., targeting only product review content). We also shared some of the community chatter regarding this product review ranking changes and more.

Check out the data.

Target CPA and Target ROAS will be bundled with other Google Smart Bidding strategies

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The Target CPA (tCPA) and Target ROAS (tROAS) Smart Bidding strategies will soon be appearing as optional fields under the Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value bid strategies, respectively, Google announced Tuesday. This was “soft announced” via the Google Ads Developer Blog back in February, but many PPC professionals interpreted it as Google deprecating the tCPA and tROAS bid strategies.

That’s not the case: tCPA and tROAS will remain available, but beginning later this year, advertisers will only be able to see those settings as optional fields bundled with the above-mentioned Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value strategies. When this update occurs, Google will notify advertisers in advance before automatically switching their current tCPA and tROAS strategies to the new fields. While this change is really a surface-level tweak to Google Ads’ interface, being unaware of it may lead advertisers to think that the tCPA and tROAS strategies are no longer available or function differently than they’re used to.

Read more here.

Business execs craving social data, The Harris Poll finds

A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll, and commissioned by social media listening platform Sprout Social, gives an idea of the extent to which social media is cementing its place at the center of marketing strategies and consumer engagement. Marketers realize the stakes by how high they rank social media and data within their priorities, and the data on consumer behavior and attitude shows why. Here are some of the most significant data points from the survey:

  • 85% of executives report that social data will be a primary source of business intelligence for their company moving forward;
  • 91% of executives anticipate their company’s social media marketing budget will increase over the next three years, and the majority expect it will increase by more than 50%;
  • 78% of consumers are more willing to buy from a brand and 77% will choose a brand over a competitor after a positive experience with a brand on social media;
  • Social media is the #1 preferred way for consumers to learn about brands — even ahead of TV, email and print advertising;
  • The majority of Americans (54%) increased their use of social media over the past year, with Gen Z (65%) and Millennials (63%) driving the greatest surge in usage and
  • 62% of consumers believe businesses that don’t have a strong social presence will not succeed in the long run, yet fewer than half of executives describe their current social media strategy as “very effective.”

Why we care. This isn’t just about competitive posturing and building awareness on social media platforms (or putting out public relations-related fires). Instead, to leverage the increase in consumers’ time and attention on social, brands will have to use social listening and other tools to build predictive models, especially for new customers not included in the brand’s first-party data stores. The most important stat on consumer behavior from this survey is that consumers find social media presence as the number one source of information about a brand, and a top indicator of brand success. How does this factor affect a brand’s search strategy?

Health insurance advertisers in the U.S. now required to pass Google Ads certification

Health insurance providers hoping to advertise on Google Ads will have until June 2, 2021 to complete the platform’s certification and provide proof that they are permitted under state law to sell health insurance. The certification is another effort by Google Ads to ensure trustworthiness of advertisers in the healthcare and government services space.

“When people come to Google with questions about healthcare coverage and insurance plans, we are committed to creating a high-quality ad experience – one where they’re connected to trustworthy providers, and the promotion is clear from the ad itself. This new certification creates an additional layer of protection on top of our longstanding misrepresentation policies, which prohibit advertisements with misleading claims about insurance plans or the advertiser’s affiliation with the government,” said Terri Ozoroski-Ghen, director, monetized policy, trust & safety at Google.

Why we care. If you work in the healthcare advertising space, this is something to ensure your clients and business are in compliance with. Advertisers can begin to apply for certification on May 3, 2021. And if the certification is not complete by June 2, 2021, the search marketers’ health insurance advertisements will no longer be served.

Read more here.

Bite-sized distractions that *hopefully* won’t send you down a rabbit hole

Regex — I say it “rej-ex”. Don’t @ me. Apparently, I’m wrong, at least according to Google’s pronunciation. Marie Haynes has a poll, it’s going to end around about 2pm ET today so weigh in before then to see if you’re part of the majority or just go check out the results. I’m not changing the way I say it though, feel free to giggle at me the next time I present.

A helicopter on Mars. People really like Google’s Easter eggs, and there’s a new one to celebrate the first successful flight on the red planet.

The Marketoonist does it again. This one hits close to home. I’m thinking about buying a print and having it framed but I’m not sure I want to make this period of transition in the PPC industry a part of my home decor.

The post The Google product reviews update was big, just not big for everyone; Wednesday’s daily brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Target CPA and Target ROAS will be bundled with other Google Smart Bidding strategies /target-cpa-and-target-roas-will-be-bundled-with-other-google-smart-bidding-strategies-347924 Tue, 20 Apr 2021 15:00:00 +0000 /?p=347924 Advertisers are still able to use tCPA and tROAS, but later this year, these options will only appear with Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value, respectively.

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The Target CPA (tCPA) and Target ROAS (tROAS) Smart Bidding strategies will be bundled with the Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value bid strategies, respectively, Google announced Tuesday. Moving forward, Maximize Conversions will have an optional tCPA field, and Maximize Conversion Value will have an optional tROAS field.

tCPA and tROAS will remain available. New tCPA and tROAS bid strategies can still be created, but beginning later this year, advertisers will only see the updated options: Maximize Conversions with an optional tCPA and Maximize Conversion Value with an optional tROAS. Google will notify advertisers in advance before automatically switching their current tCPA and tROAS strategies to the new fields.

In February, Google published a soft announcement containing this same information on its Ads Developer Blog, but many PPC professionals misinterpreted this as Google sunsetting tCPA and tROAS. Under the new configuration, you can still optimize your bids like you would with tCPA and tROAS by filling in the optional fields under Maximize Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value.

What you should use. Aside from the settings you’ll be using once this update rolls out, not much is actually changing in terms of how bid management works. The table below shows the new settings that will be equivalent to the ones you might already be using now.

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Image source: Optmyzr.

Why we care. While this change is really a surface-level tweak to Google Ads’ interface, being unaware of it may lead advertisers to think that the tCPA and tROAS strategies are no longer available or function differently than they’re used to. Additionally, it’s important for advertisers to understand how each Smart Bidding strategy works so that they can select the one that best aligns with their goals.

The post Target CPA and Target ROAS will be bundled with other Google Smart Bidding strategies appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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