Friday recap: Google Ads, Instagram shopping is expanding and Twitter launches Periscope Producer API
Do you have a Google Ads account? If so, you might be interested in the updates announced this week.
Google published a number of posts to its blogs with updates and changes to Google Ads. They will affect how your keywords match up to search queries, new reporting features for video ads on YouTube and safety controls to determine where your ads can be placed.
Google also provided a summary of its #NoHacked project from 2016 with some of the findings, as well as advice for site owners. Meanwhile, Instagram expanded its shopping features to make it available to more users and Twitter launched Periscope API for producers.
Google Ads update
Close variants for keywords
Google announced this week that close variant matching for keywords will be expanded to include additional re-wording and reordering for exact match keywords.
Close variants are designed to match results returned in search to any search terms that have the same intent. Some search queries may be worded differently but are ultimately looking for the same result. As outlined in the official blog post, a person searching for either ‘running shoes’ or ‘shoes for running’ ultimately means the same thing. Google said that “You shouldn’t have to build out exhaustive keyword lists to reach these customers, and now you don’t have to.”
The change will mean that certain propositions that don’t impact the intent of the search query may be ignored, like ‘the’, ‘to’, or ‘in’.
Google will now also determine matches to your keywords by changing the order of words in the search query, as long as the intent remains the same. This will only occur if the reordering doesn’t change the original meaning of the words, and additional words will never be added.
This will save advertisers a lot of time having to create different versions of their keywords to account for different order or phrases! Google has said, however, that if you already have lists with reworded and reordered keywords that this method is still preferred, so don’t go rushing to change up your campaigns if it isn’t necessary.
For more information check out the Google Ads blog post.
New video reporting
Google Ads will be making changes to its reporting features to improve data for video ads on YouTube.
The first feature introduced is Unique Reach in Ads, which will shows advertisers the number of unique users, average impressions per user across devices, screens and platforms. The second part of Google’s research is aimed at how well videos capture people’s attention.
Google said that “In analysing data from over a thousand YouTube ads, we’ve learned that users who both see and hear ads experience higher brand awareness, higher ad recall and higher consideration than those who only see or only hear ads.”
To provide further insights into this data, Google will provide reporting features that determine the actual watch time of the videos, not just whether they can see and hear it. Google said that “by looking at watch time across your YouTube campaigns, you can get closer to understanding which ads are holding the attention of your viewers, and are thus most likely to make an impact.”
The new metrics will be available soon in your Ads account.
Ad placement with safety controls
Google has reconfirmed its strict policies that define where ads should appear and reminded advertisers of the tools available to them, in an effort to improve its safety controls.
The policies state that ads should never be displayed on pages that contain hate speech, gory or offensive content. The company also acknowledged, however, that due to the amount of sites and videos in its network sometimes things slip through the cracks. Any ads that do appear alongside content that violates Google policies will be removed.
Currently, advertisers can use the topic exclusions and site category exclusions to further prevent their ads appearing in the wrong places. Over the coming weeks, however, Google will be undertaking a review of its policies and controls and will make changes that give advertisers even more control.
Google’s work on hacked sites in 2016
Google is continuing its #NoHacked campaign and has provided a summary of what came out of its work in 2016 on stopping hackers.
Google has warned site owners that 61% of webmasters who were hacked did not receive a notification from Google because their sites were not verified in Search Console. If you haven’t done that already, this is a good prompt to do so!
Due to requests from webmasters, Google has created new, simpler documentation around hacking and understanding when it happens and what to do next, like ‘Glossary for Hacked Sites’ and ‘How do I know if my site is hacked?’.
As the methods for hacking are constantly changing, Google publishes its research and information to help site owners stay alert and protected. The latest research publications can be found here.
Shopping on Instagram expanded
After trials that began in November last year, Instagram has announced it will be opening up the shopping feature on its platform to more brands.
The feature displays prices for products in Instagram posts, with the ability to click through for more information and then on to a purchasing page on the brand’s website. Instagram will now be rolling out this feature to ‘thousands of businesses that sell apparel, jewellery or beauty products.’ As a new addition, these businesses can also create the posts from their phone, tagging products the same way you would tag a person.
Insights for these new posts will be coming soon. Check out the blog post here for more information and reviews from the testing phase.
Twitter announces producer API for Periscope
Soon, producers will no longer need to connect to the Periscope app to publish their live videos.
Last year Twitter rolled out Periscope Producer which allowed users to connect cameras and other production software to Periscope in order to publish high-quality live video content. Twitter is now rolling out an API that will enable producers to stream their live video through Periscope without needing to connect to the app.
Twitter said that “The API enables third-party applications to authenticate Periscope accounts, configure streams, start and stop broadcasts and publish broadcasts to Twitter.”
To apply for access to the private beta, visit the Developer Partners waitlist page.