Friday recap: Increased reach for Instagram Stories, new ad guidelines from Google and smarter AdWords bidding strategy
It’s been awhile since our last Friday Recap, which may or may not be due to the absence of a certain writer that has been off holidaying for the last three weeks…
However, after looking back on news stories from late May and early June it would appear that the content marketing world had a little holiday as well. However, while nothing groundbreaking has occurred, there have still been regular updates from all your favourites.
Some highlights include an increase in reach for Instagram content, rewards for publishers with good ads on their sites and a more intelligent bidding strategy for AdWords users, backed by Google’s machine learning technology.
Instagram location and hashtag stories
To improve the functionality of the Stories feature in Instagram, the company has added two new ways that users and brands can get their content seen by a wider audience.
Two new Stories rings were introduced – one for locations and one for hashtags.
The location stories is a compilation of stories from users and brands that are near you. To have your story featured here you must include location stickers in it. The locations are also searchable so that you can find stories from particular locations all over the world.
Hashtag stories work the same way, by grouping together all stories that use the same hashtag. Like locations, you can also search various hashtags to see the stories that have included that tag.
These updates will really open up the possibilities for expanding the reach of your content, and for connecting with people that have similar interests to your brand.
Of course, if you don’t want your content to appear in these ‘larger’ stories, you can choose to opt out.
The new features are available with version 10.22 of Instagram on iOS and Android.
New ad guidelines by Google could be good news for publishers
Google has now teamed up with the Coalition for Better Ads in a bid to improve the online experience for its users.
Any publisher that uses ads could be affected by this partnership, however those with good ad experiences on their site could reap the rewards.
Google acknowledged that a huge number of online content creators use advertising to as a form of revenue from their work, but not all of them have ads that are either useful or engaging for their site visitors.
“The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising. That means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging—ones that people actually want to see and interact with. But the reality is, it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web…”
As a result of this, many people choose to install ad blockers to get rid of all the ads they see, as opposed to just the ones they find annoying or disruptive. Google recognises that this has a huge impact on publishers who depend on the ad revenue to keep producing content.
Google also said that “With Funding Choices, now in beta, publishers can show a customized message to visitors using an ad blocker, inviting them to either enable ads on their site, or pay for a pass that removes all ads on that site through the new Google Contributor.”
The Funding Choices feature is already available to publishers across Australia and New Zealand. For more information visit the official Google blog post.
Maximised Conversions for Smart Bids in AdWords
Google is introducing a new strategy for its Smart Bidding feature to help users set the right bids and bid adjustments.
The new strategy, called Maximise Conversions, will automatically set bids within AdWords campaigns to get the most out of an advertising budget in terms of conversions. All users need to do is set a daily budget and change the bidding setting to ‘Maximise Conversions’, and it will automatically delegate advertising spend amongst campaigns.
As an example, Google said that “if you’re a clothing retailer trying to quickly sell last season’s styles, Maximise Conversions will help you get you the most number of sales from your existing budget by factoring signals like remarketing lists, time of day, browser and operating system into bids. Smart Bidding uses Google’s machine learning technology to optimise for conversions across every ad auction…”
You can find out more about the new bidding strategy in the AdWords Help Centre.
No more DMOZ listings, time to improve your meta descriptions
If you haven’t been putting much thought toward how your snippets appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), now might be the time to check them.
A Snippet is what appears as a result for your site when it appears in the SERPs. It consists of a title and a short description.
Until now, Google has pulled the information that makes up the snippet from the content of the page, the meta description and the DMOZ listings. The DMOZ listings was used as a last resort, if the actual words on the page were not a good representation of the content on that page, or if the meta description was missing.
DMOZ, also known as the Open Directory Project, contained listings for sites according to main categories and sub-categories. Google said that “For over 10 years, we relied on DMOZ for snippets because the quality of the DMOZ snippets was often much higher quality than those provided by webmasters in their meta description, or were more descriptive than what the page provided.”
However, DMOZ has now been closed, so Google can no longer access the listings for snippet information.
Therefore, it’s now very important for webmasters to check their meta descriptions and make sure they are accurate and detailed representations of the page content.
If you need some help creating your meta descriptions, check out the Search Console Help section.
Data GIFs in Google
Google has introduced a new tool for creating simple data visualisations, to represent simple figures in a more engaging way.
The Data Gif Maker is designed to “show share of search interest for two competing topics”, according to Google. You just need to enter two different data points, give them a label and provide a description then you’re good to go.
It’s a handy tool for providing comparisons of two different search topics and their volumes of interest.