Launchpad - April '22 Edition

Welcome to Launchpad, the Monthly Digital Marketing Roundup - April'22 Edition

Wow, what a month April has been! We want to share with you what’s been going on in the digital marketing industry and wrap up what you might've missed this month from news to events.

 

What’s happening in the world of SEO?

The URL parameter tool in Google Search Console is no longer available

On April 26th, Google disabled support for the URL parameter tool in Google Search Console. If you try to use the URL parameter function to get to a specific Search Console profile, Google will tell you that "this report is no longer available here," and a warning icon will appear.

If you previously used the URL parameter tool, you should annotate your reports to reflect the fact that Google no longer uses this tool. So, over the next few weeks, keep an eye on your site's SEO health, analytics, and Search Console statistics to see if there are any changes in crawling, indexing or ranking that could be caused by this change.

For desktop users, Google Search will be launching Signed Exchanges

Google will offer Signed Exchanges in Google Search for desktop users in the coming weeks. Signed HTTP Exchange (SXG) is a subset of the emerging technology called Web Packages, which enables publishers to safely make their content portable. This will affect sites that utilise the varied user-agent header for dynamic serving, but it should not affect sites that use responsive web design or separate mobile and desktop URLs.

No action is required for sites that use responsive web design or separate mobile/desktop URLs. Sites that use dynamic serving (which changes depending on the User-Agent header) will need to mark their pages as mobile-only or desktop-only.

Google is experimenting with major modifications to featured snippets

The two new additions to Google's featured snippets are 'From the web' and 'Other sites say'. Both will provide a wider range of sources in the coveted featured snippet position. A typical highlighted snippet includes material from one website as well as a link to it.

Google will now present brief snippets from two or three different websites in a “From the web” test, linking to each source separately. The site's favicon is also included by Google. Another form of this featured snippet test is one in which Google groups three sites beneath the standard paragraph-style featured snippet, under the header "Other sites say."

Google Site Kit generates content ideas to write up

Google Site Kit, a tool created by Google for WordPress that allows WordPress sites to display Search Console, Analytics PageSpeed Insights, and AdSense data, has a new experimental feature that appears to pull from Google Question Hub.

If you haven't used Google Question Hub yet, you're missing out on a fantastic source of content ideas for your website. However, if you are using Site Kit with your WordPress site, Question Hub data appears to be integrated directly into the tool. So, use the content in that section to generate new content ideas for your website.

Google Search Console alerts for the removal of intrusive interstitials

Google appears to be sending notices to sites with intrusive interstitials via Google Search Console. The notice instructs the site owner to remove the obnoxious interstitials in order to "improve page experience" for your site. "Intrusive interstitials and dialogues are page elements that obstruct users' view of the content, usually for promotional purposes," according to Google.

The Google March 2022 product reviews update is now up

The third version of Google's product reviews update has been released. The update, which was announced on March 23rd, has now been completed after a 19-day rollout period.

If you have product review content on your website, you should check your rankings to see if you were affected. Did your Google organic traffic increase, decrease, or remain constant? In the long run, you'll want to make sure that your product review content has a lot more detail and effort put in.

What’s happening in the world of paid media?

Google will allow users to limit three more types of ads on YouTube and GDN

On April 28th, Google announced a global expansion of user controls that were first introduced in 2020, which limited alcohol and gambling ads. Users can now limit three more types of ads on Display, thanks to a recent announcement:

  • Pregnancy and parenting
  • Dating
  • Weight loss.

If users want to see less pregnancy, parenting, dating and weight loss ads on YouTube and Google Display, they can opt-in.

Google has officially decommissioned the old Google AdWords API

On April 27th, Google officially retired the old Google AdWords API. Google gave this notice a year in advance, and the day finally came when the AdWords API would no longer be fully supported.

Google Ads API version 10.1 is now available and includes support for discovery campaigns, campaign groups, local service campaigns, and more. Google issued a detailed release note outlining what's new in version 10.1, find more information here.

New client acquisition objective added to Google's Performance Max

Performance Max, Google's most automated campaign type, is gaining a new optimisation tool geared at generating new business.The addition comes in the form of a new customer acquisition goal, which will allow advertisers to target people who have never used their services before. Additional enhancements have been announced to assist marketers in identifying high-level insights and to facilitate the move to Performance Max.

The ability to use your data to assist Google in finding (and serving) new clients is the most significant addition to PMax campaigns. Advertisers have several options for acquiring new customers, including:

  • Customer Match lists
  • Conversion tags
  • Google’s autodetection method.

Google updates its three-strike Ads system with nine new restrictions

Google has added nine new restrictions to its three-strikes system for advertisers who break the rules. The three-strikes system was announced in July 2021, testing began in September, and implementation will take place in June 2022. Running advertisements on any of the following may result in a strike against your account:

  • Compensated sexual acts
  • Mail-order brides
  • Clickbait
  • Misleading ad design
  • Bail bond services
  • Call Directories, forwarding services
  • Credit repair services
  • Binary options
  • Personal loans.

If you don't break Google Ads policies for 90 days after receiving a first or second strike, the strikes will expire. Find more information about Google’s three-strike Ads system here.

Google Ads custom columns to receive significant upgrades

Previously, advertisers could see column breakdowns by conversion, device, and network using these custom columns. These columns are becoming increasingly more efficient. The new upgrades will give advertisers far more control and customisation options over what they see in the main Google Ads web interface, including:

  • Spreadsheet functions
  • The capacity to generate and compare dates from different time periods
  • Options to reference other custom columns within formulas
  • Filter ability for custom variables for conversions
  • Formulas using non-metric columns (e.g the ability to pull in campaign names, budgets and more)
  • New column formats such as “Date”, “Text” and “True/False”
  • The ability to apply multiple filters to one formula.

Google Ads now has dashboards for account managers

On April 13th, Google Ads announced that advertisers can now use dashboards at the manager account level, along with five improvements that should make your dashboards faster and easier to use.

The dashboard is divided into the following sections:

  • Top Level summary
  • Conversions over time
  • Top search terms
  • Campaign Performance Report
  • Search Auction Insights
  • Top Locations.

Google has also introduced these five improvements, you can now:

  • Change the entire dashboard's date ranges and filters
  • Add interactive table cards, rich formatting features and conditional formatting
  • Quicker downloads of higher-quality reports
  • Cards and layouts are dynamically resized based on the size of the window
  • Copy over existing saved reports to make a dashboard card.

What’s happening in the world of social media?

Elon Musk has bought Twitter for $44bn (£34.5bn)

"Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it." Elon Musk said in a statement announcing the deal. Twitter is about to see some big changes, but how will the platform change? There have been hints as to what we can expect to see from his takeover...

  • A focus on freedom of speech
  • Enhancing Twitter with new features
  • Making algorithms open source (to increase trust, defeat spambots and authenticate all humans)
  • A crackdown on the disruption of scammers/impersonators
  • Changes to Twitter adverts (premium version, make adverts disappear)
  • An edit button for Twitter!

Hootsuite has added Instagram carousels to its service

Hootsuite has included Instagram carousels (multi-image/video posts) to their social media management platform. This means that they'll be no more mobile workflows, no more push notifications and no more hopping between desktop and mobile. Here’s where you can learn more about Instagram carousels and how to use them.

The Instagram algorithm has been tweaked to favour original material

Instagram's home feed ranking algorithm is being improved in order to increase the visibility of unique content. Instagram's CEO, Adam Mosseri, announced the change as part of a larger effort to promote ingenuity and give credit where credit is due. He goes on to discuss three enhancements that will help creators receive credit for their work:

  • Changes in the home feed ranking
  • Tags on products
  • Improved people tags.

Watch out for our May round-up next month.

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