Internet Marketing Round-Up January ‘17

Hey everyone!

How is the New Year treating you so far? There’s already plenty of interesting and exciting internet marketing news for the first month of 2017. Here’s what you need to know to start the year off on the right foot!

Bing Introduces Health-Based Search Updates

Did your New Year’s resolution involve improving your health? Bing released a new health-focused update designed for everyone starting the year with a commitment to fitness.

As we saw last year, Bing’s Black Friday Flyers Carousel offered holiday shoppers an easy way to view Black Friday deals. The same concept is now available for searchers looking for info on healthy living.

Bing carousel are activated by searches for “workouts” and “exercises.” The images returned link to a variety of exercise options. Searches for “yoga” and “Pilates” also display a carousel, including how-to videos for specific yoga poses.

Of course, healthy living is about more than just exercise. Proper diet is important, too. Bing has improved their food search experience by including information on low-fat recipes and calorie counts.

Bing’s carousels are similar to Google’s Quick Answers and featured snippets. While Bing’s carousels don’t have the reach of Google’s Quick Answer, Bing does have a unique advantage. Their carousels can easily tie into current events.

So far, we’ve seen carousels related to Black Friday and the New Year. As 2017 continues, expect to see more time-specific Bing carousels. If you plan accordingly for these upcoming carousel events, you can get a jump on your competition.

Post-Black Friday Lull for Retailers

According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday 2016 was a huge success. But this only tells part of the story. Retailers offered deep discounts and longer-term deals last year. While this is great for customers, it also means retailers have work to do in order to match 2015 sales levels. Keep an eye out for changes in retailer behavior during Black Friday 2017.

Instagram Emphasizes Social Commerce

Last year was a big one for Instagram. They added a host of new features and improvements, including a new shopping feature designed for visual shopping. Instagram partnered with 20 major U.S. retailers including Kate Spade, Abercrombie & Fitch, JackThreads and Warby Parker. These brands have access to these two features:

  • Tap to View – Showcases up to five products with detailed descriptions, price and other relevant info.
  • Shop Now – This is a new link which leads directly to the brand’s website.

Expect to see more emphasis on commerce from Instagram through the year. If you’re not already on Instagram, 2017 is the year you’ll probably want to develop a profile.

Instagram Rolls Out Saved Posts

In other Instagram news, the platform announced Saved Posts. This lets users easily collect their favorite posts in one place by tapping the bookmark icon.

Facebook and Snapchat have similar features. So Instagram isn’t breaking any new ground here. But with over 500 million monthly users, any move the platform makes towards increased user-friendliness is worth noting. Is 2017 going to be the year of Instagram? Marketing pros would be wise to pay attention to Instagram throughout the year.

Instagram Will Show Ads in Stories

Five months ago, Instagram introduced Stories. This is a pretty blatant copy of Snapchat’s Stories product, but Instagram users sure didn’t seem to mind.

Stories are a collection of photos and videos which people post. They’re visible only for 24 hours.

Over 150 million people check out Instagram Stories each day. That’s about half of Instagram’s daily audience. It’s also roughly equal to Snapchat’s daily audience.

With numbers like these, it’s really no surprise Snapchat is introducing ads into Stories. Similar to Snapchat – no surprise there – Instagram’s ads will be inserted between Stories.

The ads will start in the next month or so. Major advertisers already on board include Nike, McDonald’s, L’Oreal and Airbnb.

The big difference between Instagram’s ads and Snapchat is that Instagram is owned by Facebook. So their ads are powered by Facebook’s Power Editor ad-buying tool instead of third-party ad-buyers.

Just another reason to pay attention to Instagram this month and into the year.

“Fake News” Will Likely Impact Local Search

“Fake news” was a major topic of discussion throughout 2016. While your business probably doesn’t rely on fake news, you can still be affected. Local search is most likely to run into problems from “fake news.”

Online advertising already faces issues of trustworthiness. As more “fake news” spreads online, this consumer trustworthiness further decreases. You’ll want to be aware of this as you market your brand throughout the year. Potential customers are likely to be very suspicious of many claims they encounter online.

Google Attempts to Tackle Non-Authoritative Information

A recent Guardian story revealed something pretty startling about how Google ranks sites. A search for the question “Did the Holocaust Happen?” results in numerous Holocaust denial sites, including in the very top spot.

Google has begun making changes to combat these non-authoritative websites. This will likely be an on-going issue throughout the year. Expect to see many developments regarding both fake news and non-authoritative information.

Google Image Search Displays AMP Results

Accelerated Mobile Pages are Google’s fast-loading mobile web pages. They were first launched in February of last year when they appeared in the Top Stories carousel. In August, AMP was expanded to the core mobile search results.

This year marks further expansion as AMP now appears in Google Image Search. Users can click to go directly to the AMP version. This seems to signify a trend of mobile-first for Google’s search index.

Google Begins Implementing Mobile Interstitials Penalty

Interstitials are pop-up ads which cover the entire page. They appear while a website is loading. These types of ads are exclusive to mobile. As many people already know, interstitials are extremely annoying.

Starting on January 10, Google began penalizing interstitials. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller clarified the details in a series of tweets. The penalty affects interstitials which appear between the search results page and the mobile site.

Interstitials which appear between the pages of the same website are not penalized. Neither are interstitials which appear between an AMP page and a regular site page.

Facebook Introduces New Live-Streaming Features for Pages

Is this the year of Facebook video? They’re certainly starting the year off in that direction. Facebook recently made it easier than ever before to broadcast live video.

Their new live-streaming features are for Pages, web broadcasts and pinned comments. You can now broadcast live from your laptop or desktop. This will create more professional camerawork by eliminating any handheld shaking.

You can also now affix a comment to the bottom of a live broadcast. The ability to pin comments lets broadcasters highlight comments. These pinned comments can help serve as a prompt for viewer engagement.

There’s another benefit to pinned comments. As regular video broadcasters know, most live comment streams will be filled with low-effort posts like “Hi!” “LOL” and even trolling. Pinned comments provide less space for those types of posts.

When broadcasting live, the stream now shows up on top of the Page’s video library page. Link to your page with the URL facebook.com/YOURPAGE/videos.

Additional features have been added for branded live streams. This is useful for brands who hire publishers and/or celebrities to produce live streams on behalf of the brand.

Now, non-admins can broadcast live from a page’s account. This is called the Live Contributor feature. There are a variety of uses:

  • News media can let individual reports broadcast live from the scene
  • Brands can let celebrities broadcast on location

Say Goodbye to Dashboard

Six months ago, Twitter launched Dashboard, their all-in-one app designed to manage business accounts. Never heard of Twitter’s Dashboard? Well, you’re probably not alone.

Twitter is shuttering the Dashboard app on February 3rd. The app launched last year with very little promotion.

Dashboard included a scheduling tool, drafted posts, multiple account management and more. The app worked well and seamlessly integrated into Twitter. However, there wasn’t really anything here a Twitter user couldn’t find in various third-party products. Seems as if most people had already found a way to manage their Twitter accounts.

Twitter seems to understand the need for more management tools. They expressed the need to bring the best features of Dashboard to the Twitter community at large. Twitter might be undergoing some changes this year.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Super Bowl LI is less than one month away. Even if you’re not interested in the sport, the marketing opportunities can’t be passed up. If you sell a product or service similar to what’s being advertised during the game, you might be able to latch on to customer interest.

AdWeek has a list of brands which will be airing ads during the big game. Some highlights include:

  • Audi
  • Avocados from Mexico
  • Buick
  • Busch
  • Febreze
  • GoDaddy
  • Honda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Clean
  • Skittles
  • Turbo Tax
  • WeatherTech

While your brand probably isn’t airing any ads during the Super Bowl, you’ll still likely want to check out some of the most expensive, attention-grabbing ads of the year.

NFL’s Social Media Policy Revisited

Last year, the National Football League took steps to limit the sharing of game video on social media. Violators could be fined up to $100,000. This policy was created to help curb the 2016 drop in TV ratings for NFL games. The NFL believed the dip was caused by people choosing to watch highlights on Facebook and Twitter instead of watching the games in full on TV.

As the year came to an end, the League changed their policy due to backlash. The angry outcry came not just from fans but from NFL teams, too. The new policy allows for live video and Snapchat.

Next month brings the Super Bowl, one of the most watched events in the world. The new, relaxed rules on social media might be an interesting opportunity for internet marketers during the big game.

AOL Offers Free Wireless Data

Remember AOL? While we’re long past the days of dial-up modems and “You’ve got mail,” AOL is still alive, if not exacting thriving. They’re hoping to change that, however, by offering free wireless data.

AOL was bought by Verizon in 2015 for $4.4 billion. Verizon is leveraging their wireless network in an attempt to boost AOL’s profile. This new “ad creative framework” is called BrandBuilder. Not much else is known about BrandBuilder at the moment, but this is something marketing pros will want to keep an eye on.

Amazon is #1 for Product Search

Google is the top dog when it comes to overall search. That should be no surprise to any involved in SEO. But what might be surprising is Google is NOT the number one site people turn to when searching for products.

According to a recent report from financial services firm Raymond James, 55% of all product searches start on Amazon.com.

While other surveys have found similar results, the Raymond James is the most recent. As you plan your paid search campaigns for the year, don’t forget about Amazon. You might even want to redirect some of your PPC efforts towards Amazon.

Mid-Roll Ads Coming to Facebook (Along with Revenue Sharing)

Facebook’s growing popularity as a source for video is being monetized. They’re about to introduce a mid-roll ad offering. The good news for creators is 55% of the revenue generated will be shared with video creators

Facebook is nearing maximum saturation for ads which can be displayed in a user’s News Feed. So we can expect to see different methods of Facebook advertising in the coming months and years. Video ads are the first but likely won’t be the last.

It’s Official: Google’s Link Command is Dead

Do you use Google’s Link command? If so, you should stop. For those unfamiliar, the Link command is “link:www.domain.com.”

Last year there were plenty of signs this command wasn’t working as intended. But this month the command was officially deemed dead. Google’s John Mueller sent out a tweet telling webmasters not to use the command.

This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone who follows the latest SEO news. But the Link command can be confusing. Using the command does return results, just not useful or relevant ones. The best way to find links is to look at your link report in Google Search Console or use a third-party tool.

January 2017 is already starting to look like a busy year for those of us in SEO and Internet Marketing. Stay tuned for even more info as the year continues. Here’s hoping you’re already off to a great start in 2017!

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