2018 Q3 Digital Marketing Round-Up: SEO & Social Media Updates

November 01, 2018

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2018 Q3 Digital Marketing Round-Up: SEO & Social Media Updates

There have been several Q3 updates in digital marketing, including algorithm updates and new shopping & advertising features on social media.

Here’s What Happened in Q3

SEO Updates

Google Speed Update Released To All Users

In July, Google released a new algorithm update to all users that uses site speed as a mobile ranking factor. This does not affect the desktop version of a website. As mobile users continue to grow, the mobile user experience is more important, including the speed of loading and displaying a page. The update only impacts the “slowest of sites on the internet,” as well as a small percentage of queries. A site with below-average speed can still rank well if it has high quality and relevant content.

Update source

Google Rolls Out Updated Core Search Algorithm

Google’s August primary algorithm update, nicknamed the Medic Update, was thought to originally have impacted only medical and health websites. However, since the algorithm hit on August 1, it has had a negative effect on local and organic rankings. Pages with advice based on questionable expertise and trustworthiness have been demoted in the algorithm. A high-level look at sites that experienced drops in rankings include pages with financial information, medical information, legal information, and transactions for shopping or finances.

Google tweets release of August core algorithm update
Source: Search Engine Land

Updated Google Search Console Adds New Reporting Features

Since the release of the new beta Google Search Console, Google has re-incorporated features from the old Search Console, including:

  • Managing users and permissions directly in Search Console
  • Adding sites and validating ownership directly in Search Console
  • Making mobile usability report available in the new Search Console

Carrying over these features from the old version allows for easier account management and more detailed reporting while operating the new version of the tool.

Update Search Engine Land

Google Says It’s Ok To Place Reviews From Yelp, Google Maps, And Other Sites

Google Webmaster guidelines say it’s fine to take reviews from third-party services and place them on a website. According to Google analysts, the addition of reviews will not likely lead to a lift in rankings. However, it’s an efficient way for marketers who are strapped for time to create a better, more engaging user experience, which can improve overall website performance.

Yelp and other reviews can be place on a brands website

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Admits It’s Using Very Limited Personalization In Search Results

Outside of a searcher’s location or immediate context from prior queries, search results are not personalized. When examining search engine results pages and rankings, successes and failures of a website and its ranking can be more successfully tracked without the consideration of personalization.

Source: Search Engine Land

Social Media Updates

Instagram Gives All Brands Access To Collection Ads & Shopping Bag Icon For Stories

As of July 10, all advertisers have access to Collection Ad units on Instagram. Collection Ads have a carousel display of images that users can swipe through in their feed to browse multiple products from a brand without leaving the app. Brands can now also include a small Shopping Bag within their Stories. These clickable icons are placed on specific products and give users more information or link directly to the brand’s site for purchase.

Instagram’s Collection Ads and New Shopping Bag Icon open to all brands
Source: Marketing Land

Facebook Rolls Out Watch Party To All Facebook Groups

Facebook’s Watch Party rolled out on July 28, which allows group administrators and moderators to select any public video hosted on Facebook and share it with other members of their group. The videos can be either live or recorded videos from Facebook.

Other new features give viewers the ability to suggest videos and let multiple co-hosts add new videos to the queue. These updates aim to foster a stronger community by allowing members to consume content at the same time and in the same place, adding their own commentary to the experience.

Source: Social Media Examiner

Snapchat Increases Advertising And e-Commerce Options

As of July 31, Snapchat began selling 6-second video commercials through its self-serve platform. The beta is currently restricted to select users. Not long after the new 6-second ad unit announcement, Snapchat followed in Instagram’s steps and released Shoppable Snaps and the ability to import catalogs to create Collection Ads.

Source one: Marketing Land

Source two: Marketing Land

Pinterest Opens Up Wide-Format Promoted Videos To All Advertisers

Wide-screen video ads are now available to all advertisers on Pinterest following a successful beta release. Video ads can be placed in both 1:1 and 16:9 ratios so they take up both grids in the feed, making content harder to scroll past and ignore. According to Pinterest, Adidas tested this new feature during the beta stage and reported a 12.6% lift in ad awareness with viewers who watched the brand’s World Cup video displayed at maximum width.

Pinterest new promoted video size takes up both grids on mobile

Source: Marketing Land

Facebook Removes 5,000 Ad Targeting Filters To Prevent Discrimination Against Ethnic & Religious Groups

As of August 21, Facebook removed 5,000 targeting filters that could limit the number of ads for jobs, housing, and credit applications shown to specific ethnic or religious groups. Those who were advertising to segments with ethnic or religious filters will have to certify they are following Facebook’s non-discrimination policy. These marketers and brands will have to adjust targeting strategies with the removal of these filters.

Source: Marketing Land

Twitter Releases New US-Specific Issue Ads Policy

In a move similar to Facebook, Twitter wants to ensure that promoted information about politics and issues of importance is accurate and not misleading. According to their new US-specific Issue Ads Policy, users and marketers who want to promote an ad that refers to an election or clearly identified candidate, or that advocates for legislative issues of national importance have to be certified by verifying their identity and US location.

Source: Marketing Land

Facebook Rebrands Canvas Ads To Instant Experience Ads

Facebook rebranded its Canvas ads to Instant Experience ads in early September. Updates include a new form template that makes it easier for users to submit contact information, and an automatic attachment of a Facebook Pixel to ads.

Advertisers using a Facebook Pixel on their site can use the same Instant Experience pixel to re-engage with visitors who interacted with the Instant Experience ads. Third-party pixels can also be added to Instant Experience ads to track campaign performance and compare performance using other analytics tools.

Facebook’s Instant Experience ads and new Pixel Capabilities released

Source: Marketing Land

LinkedIn Brings Dynamic Ads Into Campaign Manager Platform

Advertisers can now create, manage, and track Dynamic Ads in the platform’s Campaign Manager. Dynamic Ads are personalized ads tailored to members based on their specific LinkedIn profile data, such as profile picture, company name, or job title. For advertisers, this means they can manage campaigns and track performance more seamlessly.

Source: Marketing Land

Twitter Finally Back To Chronological Timelines

After Twitter announced on September 17 that it was “working on new ways to give you more control over your timeline”, users now have the option to turn off the algorithmic timeline. Twitter’s ad targeting filters and units are not directly affected by the update, so advertisers will have all the same capabilities. Organic content performance, however, could be impacted – some content may no longer be prioritized atop a user’s timeline if they have opted out of the algorithm.

Twitter announces user control over timeline algorithm

Source: Marketing Land

Conclusion / What Marketers Need To Know

Digital marketing continues to change quickly. The search and social landscape makes rapid changes and updates every day. Keeping up with the latest trends is crucial to staying competitive and captivating, especially in the lead-up to the holiday season.

To get the latest updates in digital marketing, continue following the Nina Hale blog and subscribe to our newsletter below.

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