PING — Top Digital Marketing Stories — January 2018
Skilfinity is a digital marketing startup…Don’t hit the close button yet — let us make the point, I promise, this isn’t a sales pitch.
Restarting — Skilfinity is a digital marketing startup, and like most marketers, it’s in our blood to keep up with the latest trends and news of the industry. Needless to say, we read a lot (about 15–20 digital marketing stories each day) and the intention is, of course, to help our clients and ourselves equally. I know, not everyone can make similar kind of time investment to keep up and thus we are starting PING — Our monthly DIGITAL news roundup.
Without further ado (clenching my fingers to avoid writing more about why the name PING) let’s take a look at what are the top stories in digital marketing and our point of view.
1. Friends and Family-focused newsfeed says Facebook
Facebook announced that it will recondition its News feed that will once again change the type of content users see first and more frequently. On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg announced significant changes coming to its news feed that will directly affect businesses, brands, and media.
Mark, in his announcement, said: “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
According to Mark, Facebook is deviating from its main aim of staying connected and getting closer to the people who matter. So, the site is taking steps to push more personal content.
So what does this mean for us marketers and businesses who incorporate Facebook into their digital marketing strategy?
IMPACT: It means that one will be more likely to see one’s friends’ posts/pictures at the top rather than some videos from brands and publications. Thus, businesses (more so for pages with posts that don’t see a lot of engagement) can expect to see less engagement. “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” read the official statement.
SOLUTION: In the near future, in order for pages to continue to make an impact on Facebook, marketers will have to avoid any phrase or wording that could be described as “engagement bait”. So terms such as “tag your friends” or “comment for a chance” are a strict no-no, as Facebook actually penalizes pages who use it in their news feed rankings.
Also, marketers will need to be more creative about creating posts that drive organic conversation and engagement among users, like live videos, which according to Facebook gets 6X the engagement. As Hubspot says this is an opportunity for brands to drive engagement through meaningful content.
2. Google launched its new Search Console
On January 8, Google announced that after a comprehensive beta user testing, it is now starting to roll out the beta Google Search Console for all its verified users. Google said that new Search Console provides “more transparency into Google’s indexing, stateful two-way communications between Google and website owners to help resolve issues faster, and a responsive user-interface.”
The four new features of the new Search Console are:
a) Search Performance Report:
With the help of new Search Performance report, now you can see 16 months of data, which means you can do an in-depth analysis of your website’s performance. This report provides view clicks, impressions, CTR and average ranking positions, along with additional features like segmentation and filtering.
Coverage Report: This report provides you with insights of how well your website is being indexed by Google and the reason your URLs are not being indexed( if at all). You will also be able to track down the improvements and indexing over time. Additionally, it also allows you to resubmit the URL for indexing once changes have been made.
c) AMP Status Report
This report helps you to analyze everything related to AMP URLs e.g, it gives you warnings, errors, shows issues and displays diagnosis. It also allows you to fix issues and test URL validity.
d) Job Posting Report
This report is for people who post job listings on their website. The report displays statistics, indexing issues and solutions related to job listing results.
SEO Implications — Yes Of course! Big ones. As Jayson DeMers, Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom notes in his recent Forbes article,
• More transparency.
First and most importantly, it means Google is opening up about some of the search performance data it’s limited in the past. There’s little more frustrating as an SEO than having conflicting data sets or being blind to certain aspects of your performance, so it will be a breath of fresh air to get more information straight from the source.
• Streamlined communication and fixes.
Google’s new features also greatly improve the process of communicating website errors within your team and eventually fixing them. Being able to share information with a single button will drastically cut response times, and having a fix validation feature will lead to greater confidence in your work.
• Better support for auxiliary features.
Google also appears to be supporting its auxiliary features, including AMPs and Google for Jobs, with more data. This is a boon for anyone taking advantage of these features, and I expect to see similar functionality for other features in the near future.
3. WhatsApp launched its Business App
Towards the end of January 2018, WhatsApp has launched a separate app, designed for small businesses for easy connection with their customers. The best part is it is absolutely free.
WhatsApp Business users can create a business profile and add details like the company’s website, location and contact information to it. The app also comes with smart messaging tools like quick replies and away messages. WhatsApp Business also supports WhatsApp Web wherein you don’t need to have a mobile app to operate. WhatsApp Business has a similar logo to the regular WhatsApp app, but its green speech bubble badge contains a white B rather than a phone symbol. A Business account with a green checkmark badge in its profile has been verified as “an authentic brand” by WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business is currently only available to Android users living in the UK, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the US. Read the detailed FAQ before leveraging the tool, for best user experience.
4. YouTube has introduced new rules amid advertisement controversy
YouTube has taken a step to discourage brands to publish shady and offensive videos by tightening monetization rules. A video that showed compromising content by Logan Paul, one of You Tube’s star creators and influencers, has led YouTube to take this action.
Previously, channels with 10,000 views qualified for YouTube Partner Program. However, according to the new rule, from February 20, channels will need 1,000 subscribers and to have achieved 4,000 hours of watch time over the last 12 months regardless of total views, to be able to monetize the channel. This is the biggest change to advertising rules on the site since its inception. Although this new change is a big blow to small creators and business, YouTube supported the act by saying “We understand this affects many channels, but believe it’s necessary to protect our creators.” All Google Preferred channels will also now be manually reviewed, with ads only running on videos that have been approved
5. Mobile search ranking will be based on page speed
Google announced that starting July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile search ranking. Google recommends that developers can use the Chrome User Experience Report, Lighthouse, and PageSpeed Insights to evaluate their webpage’s search performance.
Back in 2010, Google said page speed was a ranking factor but it “was focused on desktop searches” only. Now, in July 2018, it will look at how fast your mobile pages are and use that as a ranking factor in mobile search. Google has been promising to look at mobile page speed for years now, and it is finally coming. Interestingly, Google also says that a slow webpage may still rank higher if it has relevant content.
Overall, it has been an eventful start to the year, with almost all updates directing us marketers to pivot branding through meaningful content. So let’s get cracking and watch this space for more updates each month.