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This week: Facebook’s new tool may affect the way you do business, Google will show ads on its mobile home page, and chatbots are earning businesses some serious bucks.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook: New ‘Clear History’ Tool May Impact Targeting
Facebook is rolling out a new feature. And it could impact your digital marketing efforts.
The social media giant will soon unveil a “clear history” tool that will allow users to disconnect their browsing habits from their Facebook profiles.
That could impact your targeting efforts.
Why? Because it effectively cancels out the Facebook Pixel. People who clear their histories won’t be eligible for targeting.
“It’s important to understand that advertising and protecting people’s information are not at odds,” said Facebook in a statement. “We can do both.”
Facebook advised marketers to consider the “Clear History” feature when planning their strategies for the second half of 2019.
Google Shopping Gets an Upgrade
Google Shopping just got a makeover.
For starters, it’s now personalized. Soon, shoppers will see product recommendations based on their online habits.
In fact, it’s completely personalized. No two Google Shopping home screens will look the same.
Shoppers will also have the option to buy locally, pick up in the store, or purchase online.
According to Google, the company has mapped more than two billion products to local stores.
The new experience is also a merger between Google Shopping and Google Express.
If you’re unfamiliar with Google Express, it’s a partnership effort between Google and local retailers to offer shipping services. You can think of it as a direct shot at Amazon.
Now, it looks like Google Express is under the umbrella of Google Shopping. One day, it will probably go away with Google Shopping handling the Express features.
The new Google Shopping also handles payment on behalf of retailers. That makes it easier for customers to complete their transactions.
Finally, Google is also offering a streamlined customer service experience.
Here’s what the company said about that in a blog post: “The blue shopping cart on the item shows shoppers they can seamlessly purchase what they want with simple returns and customer support, backed by a Google guarantee. So people can buy confidently, knowing Google is there to help if they don’t get what they were expecting, their order is late, or they have issues getting a refund.”
Report: Chatbots Could Drive $112 Billion in Retail Sales by 2023
According to a recent study by Juniper Networks, retail sales from chatbots will double annually for the next few years, reaching $112 billion by 2023.
The rise of chatbots is expected to save companies money as well. That’s because they can automate sales and support processes.
“Retailers can expect to cut costs by $439 billion a year in 2023, up from $7 billion this year, as AI-powered chatbots get more sophisticated at responding to customers,” Juniper said.
The study also indicates that shoppers will warm to chatbots in the near future. That prediction lines up with a survey from Uberall showing that 80% of consumers said they had a “generally positive” experience with chatbots.
Google Will Show Ads on the Mobile Home Page
Google will soon run ads on its home page in mobile browsers. They’re called Discovery ads.
Discovery ads will appear in Google’s “Discover” feed as well as YouTube’s home feed and the Gmail Promotions tab.
The ads live up to their name. They help consumers find products they didn’t even know they were looking for.
Discovery ads include a creative within a swipeable carousel.
Google has been testing the new ad format since at least October of 2018.
Report: SEO Is a Top Acquisition Channel for D2C Brands
According to a new survey from Yotpo, 51% of direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies say that SEO is one of their top acquisition channels.
In addition to SEO, respondents said that social media (61%) and direct traffic (50%) are their top sources for revenue.
Paid search took a distant fourth place (26%).
Almost half of those surveyed (47%) said they plan to increase their Google Ads ad spend in 2019. About a third (32%) said they’ll increase spending on Google Shopping ads.
Around half of respondents said they’ll increase social media ad spending as well.
New YouTube Tool Will Create 6-Second Ads Automatically
Looking to produce a short video ad from one of your longer ads? YouTube has a tool for that.
Or at least it will have a tool for that in the near future.
YouTube is working on a “Bumper Machine” that can create a 6-second video ad from a 30- or 90-second ad. It uses an algorithm to extract the key elements from an ad and puts them together in a shorter clip.
Alas, it’s not perfect, though. You’ll still need to do a little bit of tweaking to get your 6-second ad just right.
Bumper Machine is currently in alpha testing.
Poll: Marketers Losing Interest in Facebook, Twitter
According to the latest Social Media Examiner marketing poll, marketers aren’t as happy with Facebook and Twitter as they used to be.
Still, Facebook is the most popular social media platform with marketers. Almost all (94%) of those surveyed said they use Facebook for marketing purposes.
But in a warning for the social media giant, 10% of respondents said they plan on decreasing their reliance on Facebook.
Also, only 51% said they would increase spending on organic reach on Facebook in 2019. That’s down from 62% in 2018.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (73%) said they use Instagram. That’s an increase from 66% in 2018.
Interest in Twitter fell from 62% last year to 59% this year.
Also, only 35% said they’ll increase spending on Twitter this year. That’s down from 44% last year.
Google Now Showing Podcast Results in Search
We should have seen this coming.
Google is rolling out podcast results in search.
Please note: Google doesn’t just show a podcast in search results based on the title or metadata. It also transcribes the entire podcast and uses the content to determine relevance.
So all those marketers who’ve been delivering podcasts for the past few years are going to be pretty happy that they opted for that strategy.
You can also use podcast structured data to help Google gain more insight about your podcast.
It looks like the next phase of SEO is podcast optimization.
Rolling out this week you’ll be able to search for and play podcasts directly in Google Search across Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, a step toward making audio a first-class citizen across Google.
Instagram Stepping Up Efforts Against Apps Selling Likes and Followers
It looks like Instagram users will have to get likes and followers the old-fashioned way: by earning them.
According to a new report, Instagram will start issuing warnings to users who appear to have purchased likes or followers.
One of the warnings says flatly: “Using Apps to Gain Followers Isn’t Allowed.”
It’s an effort by Instagram to stop people from pretending to be influencers when they really have no significant following.