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February 2022 News You Can Use

A new year is underway, and the digital marketing news is heading full steam down the track. If you can’t yet get a whiff of spring, just wait a month or two. Sunshine is coming, and the digital marketing world is gearing up to leverage the neverending flow of technological advancements.

For instance:

  • Google Topics is launching
  • The metaverse is getting ready for (more) business
  • YouTube Media Kit will soon be ready
  • Performance Max will rock Google Ads
  • Congress will consider a bill aimed at banning targeted ads

Get those stories, and more, in this edition of Stukent’s News You Can Use. Online marketing is a career path that doesn’t permit complacency. To compete, you must keep learning, changing, and advancing. 

So, let’s do it!

GOOGLE INTRODUCES TOPICS API

Topic: Online Advertising

Key Point: Google’s much debated plan to introduce Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) to better protect user privacy has given way to a new concept for interest-based advertising. The company recently announced a Privacy Sandbox to allow developers an inside look at the proposal known as “Topics.”

Topics will continue the move towards the elimination of cookies, but will provide advertisers an inside look at user interests. MarketingDive quoted Sheri Bachstein, GM of IBM Watson Advertising and CEO of The Weather Company, as saying this:

The devil will be in the details but on the surface, Topics seems to most closely reflect contextual advertising which has been around for some time. While that approach has value, the marketing and advertising industry is looking for more innovation.

Will Topics gain acceptance as the replacement for FLoC? Time will tell. Meanwhile, why not go play in the sandbox a bit?

DISCUSSION IDEAS: After researching the Topics proposal, do you think Google will require users to opt-in to tracking? If so, what effect will that have on the amount of useful data advertisers can collect?

EXPERT SAYS ALL BUSINESSES WILL CREATE A VIRTUAL PRESENCE

Topic: Online Advertising | Ecommerce

Key Point: In an iTechPost interview, Nikita Rvachev, founder of the international marketing company, Aitarget, provided his views on the future of advertising. Heads up: This article is well worth the reading time. 

Rvachev touches on where targeting technologies should be headed, describes a case where API helped boost the effectiveness of sales videos, the importance of A/B testing, the process involved in testing video ads, where advertising is headed . . . and more.

Concerning virtual reality (aka “metaverse”), Rvachev says this:

The line between the real and virtual worlds is blurring. We see a big shift in budgets towards virtuality, especially in e-commerce, delivery, and gaming. All businesses will create a virtual presence, which means they will need advertising to accompany these processes.

He also paints a hopeful picture of what can (and maybe should) happen in the world of advertising:

It will become more and more personalized. Ideally, we will come to the conclusion that a person will be shown only one product for the whole day: but it will be so relevant for them that advertising will not be an intrusive service, but a real help.

The interview is relatively brief, but chock-full of digital marketing vision from a guy whose experience and results suggest the importance of listening to what he has to say.

CORE WEB VITALS UPDATE COMING IN FEBRUARY

Topic: SEO

Key Point: Many SEOs say an unannounced core web vitals update rolled out in January, but Google says the main event will occur in February and continue through March. Search Engine Land notes that the coming update “will include all the current signals of the mobile version of the page experience update, outside of the page needing to be mobile friendly.”

How to get ahead of the curve? SEOs should work hard to optimize for user experience in advance — putting factors that include page load speed at the forefront of concerns. 

Two more points from the Search Engine Land article: This update shouldn’t cause too much upheaval, since the same metric thresholds webmasters applied to mobile performance will apply to desktop. In addition, Google will provide additional help in Search Console before the update is applied.

DISCUSSION IDEAS: What is the purpose of the core web vitals updates, and what should webmasters do to prepare?

NEW PROPOSAL IN CONGRESS WOULD BAN TARGETED ADS

Topic: Online Advertising

Key Point: Congressional Representatives Eshoo, Schakowsky, and Booker introduced their Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022 recently. The proposed legislation would “prohibit targeted advertising by advertising facilitators and advertisers, and for other purposes.”

The bill would allow “contextual advertisements” based on the audience visiting a particular website or for the search terms used, but would take a sledge hammer to ad targeting in other regards. Fines would be levied per incident, up to $5,000 for each occurence.

Will the bill pass? It’s too early to tell how much support it will generate. One thing for sure, though: The move towards greater consumer privacy is well underway.

YOUTUBE’S NEW MARKETING TOOL FOR CREATORS

Topic:   Social Media Marketing

Key Point: YouTube announced the forthcoming rollout of the new YouTube Media Kit. The feature will be accessible through YouTube Brand Connect and will boost YouTube creators’ ability to get their work in front of the brands who need them. To get on the list of YouTube Partners who can’t wait to get their hands on the new Media Kit, first make sure you’re properly registered.

SocialMediaToday covered the story, suggested helpful tips, and provided screenshot previews in their article on the topic. The hope is that the Media Kit will help creators earn more money from their YouTube efforts.

And speaking of YouTube, did you know the company generated $19.7 billion in revenue during 2021? The platform’s 2.3 billion monthly users watch more than one billion hours of video every day. No wonder YouTube is the second largest search engine and the second largest social media platform on the planet.

NEW ROBOTS TAGS ACTIVATED BY GOOGLE

Topic: SEO | Web Development

Key Point: Google introduced the “indesifembedded” robots tag to allow webmasters and developers more control over indexing. Search Engine Roundtable provided examples of how the tag might be used in this article.

Here’s how Google describes the tag:

The indexifembedded tag addresses a common issue that especially affects media publishers: while they may want their content indexed when it’s embedded on third-party pages, they don’t necessarily want their media pages indexed on their own. Because they don’t want the media pages indexed, they currently use a noindex tag in such pages. However, the noindex tag also prevents embedding the content in other pages during indexing.

Note: The new tag works with the noindex tag, but only when applied properly. Check the announcement from Google Search Central for details.

DISCUSSION IDEAS: Read the two articles linked above, then discuss ways the indexifembedded tag could be useful in digital marketing.

90% OF CUSTOMERS WILL SHARE EMAILS FOR AN INCENTIVE

Topic: Digital Marketing | Content Marketing

Key Point: Digital marketers often rely on freebies to encourage readers to provide their contact information, but Google and Boston Consulting Group quantified the concept. The result: 90 percent of customers will give a company their email address whan a small incentive is offered. Without the incentive, just one of three will share that information.

Search Engine Journal reported the story, dove deeper into the concepts, and recommended three ways to “win with data conscious consumers.”

DISCUSSION IDEAS: The study found that 90 percent of “customers” will share their email address for an incentive. Does that number apply to all visitors to a website or only those who have previously purchased something from the site? If you can’t determine that by searching, how could you dig further to get to an answer?

UPGRADE TO PERFORMANCE MAX

Topic: Online Advertising

Key Point: Google says it’s time to “get ready for smart shopping and local campaign upgrades.” Why? Here comes a one-click upgrade tool called “Performance Max.”

Smart Shopping campaigns will automatically upgrade this summer, but you can choose the upgrade beginning in April. To get a headstart on the process, download the best practices guide now, and  attend the introductory webinar on February 22.

Another excellent resource is this article wherein SearchEngine Journal says Performance Max will replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns by Q3 2022.

The Next Step Is Up to You

Will you dig deep to keep upgrading your digital marketing skills, or will you pull back the throttle and complain about the COVID pandemic? 

Here’s a good rule to follow: Don’t hide in your bed with the covers over your eyes, but don’t be stupid either. And one thing that’s never foolish is putting in the time to get better at the craft you’ve chosen for a career.

Here’s another maxim, this one from pro sports: No whining, no complaining, and no excuses. One leads to the other, and they all lead to losing the game.

Are we being tough on you? You bet. But it’s because we want you to succeed. Companies everywhere need your help to get back on track and keep building on the hard work our predecessors performed on our behalf.

Never stop moving forward with your dreams.

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