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This curated list includes important updates and insights from the month of June. To stay updated on the latest updates from the digital landscape, read our Digital Marketing Apple Page.

Digital Advertisement 
  1. Google rolls out features for advertisers to promote deals, drive in-store purchases. The announcement read

We have new features coming for Local campaigns to make it available to more advertisers and improve how you manage your locations and creatives. In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to set up your Local campaigns to drive calls to your business locations—even if you don’t have store visits measurement. By expanding Local campaigns to optimize for calls, more advertisers will now be able to access it and highlight what makes their stores unique across Google Search, Maps, YouTube and more.

Starting today, you can also create location groups to make it easier to promote a subset of business locations. For instance, if you’re selling special back-to-school product bundles at certain locations, use location groups to tailor your budget and messaging to this offer. Finally, asset reporting has started rolling out to give you better insight into creative performance. See what kinds of messaging and assets work best and use these learnings to improve your current and future creatives

    2. Instagram to begin showing ads in Explore tab. The announcement read

We're introducing ads in Explore slowly and thoughtfully in the coming months. After tapping on a photo or video in Explore, people may begin to see ads as part of their browsing experience just like in the main feed. As always, people have control over the ads they see.

3. Spotify expands its ads capabilities with podcast listener targeting. Read more here

4. Instagram rolls out branded content ads. The announcement read

There are two main steps for creating branded content ads. First, branded content creators need to enable their business partners to promote their post as an ad, which they can do in advanced settings. Once they do this, the business partner will see the post on Ads Manager under existing posts and can choose to run it as an ad in feed or stories format.

5. TikTok tests interest-based ad targeting. Read more here

6. LinkedIn rolls out a new Ads tab on LinkedIn Pages. The announcement read

In this tab, members will be able to view all the Sponsored Content (native ads running in the LinkedIn feed) that advertisers have run on LinkedIn in the past six months. 

7. LinkedIn announces integration with Moat Analytics to help advertisers measure the impact of video ads. Read more here

8. Final URL suffix, Parallel tracking + more custom parameters rolled out by Microsoft Advertising. Read more here

9. Google tests carousel of text ads on mobile: Report. Read more here

Social Media 

   1. LinkedIn Pages get new CTA button and analytics, mobile editing capabilities, more. The announcement read

Five new options make it easy to turn your Page visitors into potential leads, and new analytics dashboards provide deeper insight into how many visitors are clicking through.

Custom CTA button options include:

Contact us
Learn more
Register
Sign up
Visit website

We’re also introducing Communities Hashtags, a feature that allows you to associate your Page with relevant hashtags and join important conversations that members and organizations are having on those topics. 

2. Facebook to remove ‘Company Overview’ and ‘Biography’ fields from Pages. Read more here

3. Pinterest launches Complete the Look tool. The announcement read

We’ve built Complete the Look, which leverages rich scene context to recommend visually compatible results in Fashion and Home Decor Pins. Complete the Look takes context like an outfit, body type, season, indoors vs. outdoors, various pieces of furniture, and the overall aesthetics of a room, to power taste-based recommendations across visual search technology.

4. More than 50% of all tweets, for example, now include images + more insights for digital marketers - Mary Meeker's 2019 Internet Trends. Read more here

5. Facebook rolls out Study From Facebook app; it will pay users for market research. Read more here

6: Facebook Video Creation Kit Updates: save drafts of videos; automatically create multiple versions of a video with different aspect ratios + more. The announcement read

We've added more templates in the Video Creation Kit to help all businesses find a format that suits your brand and advertising objective. For example, we've added new, single-image templates that take a static image and add visually engaging motion to capture your audience's attention.

You can now add holiday and event-specific stickers to your videos to make your ads feel current and fresh throughout the year. We've released stickers for Easter and Mother's Day, and stickers for summer vacation and back-to-school are coming soon. You can find the stickers in the Effects tab within the Video Creation Kit.

7. There are more than 720 million people monthly and 140 million people daily who spend at least one minute in Watch. Here's the Facebook announcement 

8. LinkedIn adds new features such as: sharing a photo and tag people + sharing a moment with a video message + more to help users start conversations and build community. Read more here

9. Instagram makes it easy to add song lyrics to your Stories. Read more here

10. Twitter tests desktop redesign with trends on the right, navigation on the left. Read more here

11. Facebook Introduces New Cryptocurrency: Libra. Here's the Facebook announcement

Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.

12. Facebook shares updates on how comments will be ranked for public posts. Here's the Facebook announcement

13. LinkedIn Ad Review: a new regular feature on the LinkedIn Marketing Blog. The announcement read

Every month in the LinkedIn Ad Review will shine a spotlight on a top-performing piece of LinkedIn Sponsored Content. In the Review, we’ll analyze why the Sponsored Content’s headline, visual, and copy work together to get across the brand’s message.

14. Pinterest tests Story Pins. The announcement read

You may notice Story Pins showing up on your Pinterest home feed—you’ll recognize them by the Story icon below the image. A Story Pin can be made up of multiple pages, so you can tap into it from home feed to get the full experience. 

You can add comments or photos to a Story Pin just like you would any other Pin. You can also save Story Pins to your boards like any other Pin, though you can’t save an individual page from within a Story Pin.

 

Search

1. Google makes a “few tweaks” to Google Search Console to help webmasters and SEOs understand how Google is indexing their sites. Specifically, they can see if and when Google switched a site to mobile-first indexing or not.

As part of our continued commitment to mobile-first indexing (read more at https://t.co/7FXf67A84f), today we are announcing a few tweaks to Search Console reports that will help you understand how Google is crawling your website — Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) June 26, 2019

2. Google deprecates support for social profile markup. 

Social profile markup for Knowledge Panels is now deprecated. We now automatically discover profiles to include. Those who have claimed Knowledge Panels can also suggest any profiles not included. Learn more here: https://t.co/OgXAs8zsxy — Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) June 25, 2019

3. 49% of all Google searches are no-click: Study. Read more here

4. Google My Business rolls out more features to help businesses make their Profiles unique and descriptive. The announcement read

Find businesses quicker with short names and URLs: Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business. With this URL, businesses can easily refer customers back to their Profile - to catch up on latest updates, to make a booking or to write a review after a visit. In the coming months, people will also be able to search short names in Maps.  

Show personality with cover photos: Businesses can easily set their preferred profile cover photo, putting their best foot forward.

Identify companies with more prominent logos: Businesses have an additional branding opportunity with the logo feature. Those that have completed their core information (phone number, hours, etc) will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.

5. Google rolls out new search menu with icons. Read more here

6. Google Search Console adds 2 new features 

New feature landing in the Search Console URL testing tools (like the AMP Test, Rich Results & URL inspection tool):

1️⃣ Search within the markup
2️⃣ Copy the code & tweak it!

This makes checking the rendered markup and experimenting with it quicker & easier! pic.twitter.com/AVe90L5zF2

— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) June 24, 2019   

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It’s no secret that using digital technologies can benefit SMBs. They can target new customers and gain entry to a new market at a relatively affordable cost using digital tools. An analysis by Deloitte found that, businesses that are digitally advanced have more benefits than the ones who have low levels of digital engagement. 

Digital Channels, SMBs & Customers 

More than half of small businesses who responded to the Clutch Survey, market through their website (62%) and social media (61%). 

When it comes to small business marketing, SMB websites play a key role. A survey by BrightLocal found that consumers trust the content on local businesses’ websites than the information posted on Google My Business or online directories. 

Also, 48% of customers will stop considering a business if it doesn’t have a website, as per 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report.

Note for SMB Owners

Whatever be the aim of your SMB website ( be it generating sales, raising awareness on company's values, or telling your story) - make sure that it's aligned with the overall marketing strategy of the company. For instance, when PURE CF, a design and manufacturing company, changed its name from Cottage Furniture - it created a new website to rebrand and raise awareness.

We helped eMAR, a startup that provides electronic medication administration record (EMAR) system for care homes, get leads on a shoestring budget. After doing a detailed market analysis, we focused on only a few keywords on SEO & Google Ads. We started the ad campaigns after creating a website that works for their industry (again by retouching their existing website to keep the budget low). To know the full details on how we helped eMAR generate leads at a low cost, email at solutions@techshu.com 

Social Media

Facebook is still the most-used channel for SMBs. There are more than 90 million SMBs with an active presence on Facebook. And why not? It's still the biggest platform for consumers - with 2.4 billion monthly active users , it's just the right place for SMBs to reach out to users from different demographics.

Also, Facebook has rolled out several features to help SMBs get real results. For instance, with Automated Ads businesses can avail these benefits: 

  • Multiple versions of your ad: You can create up to six different versions of your ad automatically. We'll suggest call-to-action buttons, text and other creative details based on information from your Page, and once your ad is active, we'll automatically show the best-performing version.
  • Tailored audience suggestions: We'll provide audience options or recommendations based on information from your Page.
  • Recommended budget that generates results: We'll recommend a budget most likely to get you results based on your goal. You can also provide your own budget and we'll share the estimated results that you can expect.
  • Timely notifications about your ads: You'll receive notifications to help you understand how your ads are performing and how you can improve them. These can include suggested changes like refreshing an image or notifications when your ad starts generating results like a lead or sale.
Note for SMB Owners

Let's see an example of how a video ad campaign by UrbanStems on Facebook & Instagram helped the flower company get 4X return on ad spend. For Valentine’s Day, UrbanStems collaborated with Vogue and created animated Gifs that ran for less than 7 seconds. These ads featured a box labeled as “Vogue x UrbanStems” being unwrapped to showcase an amazing flower arrangement. The ads were displayed to readers of Vogue and other similar magazine brands on Facebook and Instagram till Valentine’s Day and for the rest of the 3-month campaign, the company ran generic video ads, showing them to a Custom Audience of people who visited their website and also to a lookalike audience based on the Custom Audience.

UrbanStem’s video ad campaign, which ran from January–March 2018, successfully accelerated the online floral company’s expansion across the US into new markets, showing:

4X return on ad spend
30% higher return on ad spend (during the same period that ad spend rose by 4.3X)

Instagram is another channel that most SMBs (particularly B2C ones) are attracted to. SpearmintLOVE, an online retailer of infant clothing and accessories, got 33.8X return on ad spend directly from Instagram. Here's what Shari Lott, Founder & CEO of the company has to say 

When it came time to scale the business, Instagram and Facebook became natural places to test our first ads. As a small business, we had less room for error, because every dollar is getting put back into our business.

LinkedIn is a popular channel for B2B SMBs. Business owners can download this free LinkedIn Pages Action Plan for Small Businesses to get an insight into the tactics needed to effectively grow their LinkedIn presence. Here's an example of how Argyle Social, makers of social media marketing dashboard, upped their lead generation campaign by focusing on paid ads on LinkedIn. They initially ran offers for a demo or a free trial to users to try their software platform. Though the campaign got them good results, but the company saw a huge increase in leads when they changed the offer to download a white paper about social media ROI ( Source: The B2B Social Media Book). The results are in line with the recent 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study which found that 

Challenges 

64% of business owners do all the marketing themselves (which usually means poor execution as they are short on time & have limited knowledge on digital), according to BrandMuscle’s “State of Local Marketing” report for 2018 Only 3% of the survey respondents said they were using an outside agency or vendor. And only 7% had a dedicated marketing person on staff. The same report found that : 

A survey by Local Search Association (LSA) found out the challenges SMBs face when selecting a digital marketing provider which include - 

  • finding a reasonably priced service provider (56 percent)
  • finding a provider that provides value or ROI (44 percent)
  • finding a provider that can be trusted (38 percent)
  • finding providers that understand their needs (35 percent)

Another challenge is finding and retaining good talent. 53% of small business owners with 49 or fewer employees said that staffing is a major concern for them, as per the 16th Annual SMB Insights. LinkedIn conducted a survey of 1,000 owners of businesses with 200 or fewer employees to understand the challenges when it comes to hiring. 

The report also mentions solutions to each of the challenges mentioned by the businesses. You can read this full-of-insights report here 

SMB Marketing : Need Help?

We have helped SMBs from India as well as different countries to help them meet their business goals. With offerings including: 

  • Digital audits at all level
  • Training & consulting
  • 360 degree project exceution 
  • Helping build your team  - we can help your business achieve the right digital success

Fill in the form below; one of our digital success team members will get in touch with you. 

 

 

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This curated list includes important updates and insights from the month of May. To stay updated on the latest updates from the digital landscape, read our Digital Marketing Apple Page.

Social Media 

1. For the first time in the last 5 years, Facebook lost share as the most important platform for marketers, dropping from 67% in 2018 to 61% in 2019. Get more insights at 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Download here

2. IGTV Now Supports Landscape Videos. Read more here

3. YouTube changes how real-time subscriber counts are displayed for creators with more than 1,000 subscribers. The announcement read

So what exactly will this look like? For channels with fewer than 1,000 subscribers, the exact (non-abbreviated) subscriber count will still be shown. Once your channel passes the 1000 subscriber milestone, we will begin to abbreviate your public subscriber numbers on a sliding scale. 

4. Instagram's redesigned Explore grid to feature Stories. Plus, new designs rolled out in Explore. Read the details here

5. Facebook rolls out two ranking updates based on surveys conducted. The announcement read

Using these survey results, we have updated our algorithm to prioritize the Pages and groups we predict an individual may care about most. Some of the indicators of how meaningful a Page or group is might include how long someone has followed a Page or been a part of a group; how often someone engages with a Page or group; and how often a Page or group posts.

Similar to the close friends update we announced earlier this month, these specific changes will not result in an increase of Page or group content. Rather, they will prioritize content from the Pages and groups we think you care about most so that you see them higher in News Feed.

6. Instagram introduces @shop account handled by an internal team which will curate shoppable posts from the app. More details here

7. Facebook updates its video ranking algorithm. The announcement read

We are sharing an update on three factors that impact video ranking on Facebook: 1) loyalty and intent, 2) video and viewing durations and 3) originality. These are not new principles, but we will be strengthening their influence among the multiple factors that determine video distribution. The changes will affect video distribution across Facebook, including News Feed, Facebook Watch and our “More Videos” recommendations.

8. YouTube announces changes to 'Preferred' Ad Offering; YouTube Originals become free to view. More details here

9. Twitter lets up to four users broadcast simultaneously. The announcement read

Starting today, your Tweets are going #IRL and now you can host a live video and invite up to three people as guests. Those you allow to join can be heard by everyone and can drop off at any time.

Digital Advertisement 

1. YouTube rolls out image-only Discovery Ads. The announcement read

Coming soon, Discovery ads are a simple and effective way to tap into the power of YouTube—and you don’t even need a video! Just upload your best images from your social campaign, then we’ll optimize your media mix for maximum performance across Gmail, Discover and the YouTube Home feed.

2. YouTube to roll out a new tool that uses machine learning to automatically create a six-second version from a longer ad. Read the report here

3. What businesses should know about the upcoming tool for managing off-Facebook activity.The announcement read

This feature may affect targeting. When someone disconnects their off-Facebook activity, we won't use the data they clear for targeting. This means that targeting options powered by Facebook's business tools, such as the Facebook pixel, can't be used to reach someone with ads. This includes Custom Audiences built from visitors to websites or apps. Businesses should bear this in mind when developing strategies for these kinds of campaigns in the second half of the year and beyond.

4. Facebook rolls out new ad options for mobile gaming advertisers; makes rewarded video and playable ads for game apps available via its Audience Network. The announcement read

We are sharing four updates related to game monetization for developers and advertisers:

  • New research on in-app ad monetization for games, as well as new Audience Network stats
  • Rewarded video expanding to all mobile game publishers and developers on Audience Network
  • Playable ads now available on Audience Network within rewarded video and interstitial placements
  • New metrics and simplified ad creation for advertisers using playable ads on Facebook and Audience Network
     

5. LinkedIn introduces a new Ads tab on Pages. The announcement read

In this tab, members will be able to view all the Sponsored Content (native ads running in the LinkedIn feed) that advertisers have run on LinkedIn in the past six months. Members can click on the ads, but the advertisers will not be charged for these engagements and the clicks will not impact campaign reporting.

6. Spotify tests voice-enabled ads with Unilever. More details here

7. Facebook simplifies video ad buying. The announcement read

Making ThruPlay the default optimization for video views campaigns will help simplify our video ad buying options and better align our offerings with what advertisers value. Starting in May, we will begin a phased migration from 10-second video views to ThruPlay optimization. And starting July 31, we will pause existing campaigns that use 10-second video views optimization, so be sure to adjust any campaigns you're running using 10-second video views optimization to now use ThruPlay optimization.

8. App ads to soon appear on the YouTube homepage feed. More details here

9. Google is retiring the text-only AdSense ad unit. More details here

10. Twitter experiments with displaying more ads to users. More details here

Search

1. Google to soon roll out a new look for search results. The announcement read

The name of the website and its icon appear at the top of the results card to help anchor each result, so you can more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next.

When you search for a product or service and we have a useful ad to show, you'll see a bolded ad label at the top of the card alongside the web address so you can quickly identify where the information is coming from.

2. Google Maps uses machine learning to recommend a restaurant’s most popular dishes. More details here

3. Google says mobile-First indexing by default for new domains. More details here

4. Users can use Google Search, Maps or the Assistant to order food. The announcement read

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This curated list includes important updates and insights from the month of April. To stay updated on the latest updates from the digital landscape, read our Digital Marketing Apple Page.

Digital Advertisement 

1. Bing Ads is now Microsoft Advertising. Rolls out Sponsored Products. The announcement read

You'll see the change start today as BingAds.com becomes MicrosoftAdvertising.com Opens in new window. Our partner program is evolving too, becoming the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program. Over the coming months, all of our experiences and materials will be updated to reflect Microsoft Advertising.

For marketers, our new Sponsored Products Opens in new window (available in US only) enable manufacturers to boost visibility and drive more traffic for their top products in shopping campaigns. With this new capability, our clients can achieve better alignment of marketing efforts between manufacturers and retailers.

2. Google Assistant shows ads in some answers. Read more here

For some questions, the most helpful response might be showing you links to a variety of sources from across the web to learn more. In these cases, you’ll see the full set of search results from the web. When relevant, these results may include the existing ads that you’d see on Search today.

3. Facebook generated $14.9 billion in ad revenue during the first quarter of the year, with 93% coming from mobile ads. Also, 3 million advertisers use Stories Ads. Read more here

4. Facebook improves Ads Manager and Business Manager. The announcement read

We're also updating the campaign creation experience with a copy and paste functionality that will offer more flexibility when building ads. And we're adding an auto-naming feature that will make it faster for businesses to customize their campaign, ad set and ad names. We also plan to roll out more intuitive ad-level creative and placement editing tools. These updates to Ads Manager are expected to be available to all advertisers by next year.

5. Parallel tracking goes live for Google Ads display campaigns starting May 1. The announcement read

 We’re postponing parallel tracking for Video campaigns until later this year to give you more time to prepare. We’ll provide an update once we’ve finalized a new date.

6. Now marketers can easily manage their Pinterest and Quora Pixels via Google’s platform. Here are the instructions to add Pinterest tag to Google Tag Manager. And here are the ones for Quora.

7. Facebook dynamic ad campaigns and Snapchat Story Ads will both be available through Shopify. Read more here

8. Snapchat rolls out Snap Select which allows brands to buy and reserve six-second commercials during the most premium and popular shows without using an auction. Read more here

9. Price competitiveness and seasonality will each soon be factors for Google Shopping campaigns. Plus more signals to be taken into account. Read more here

10. Pinterest rolls out new conversion features for Promoted Pins and Videos. The announcement read

Conversion optimization is a new campaign type that optimizes Promoted Pins for specific consumer actions, rather than just clicks. For the first time, advertisers can choose conversions as a campaign objective and inspire people to take specific actions like online checkouts, increased signups or stronger leads.

We’re also expanding our Promoted Video offering to serve advertisers who have traffic or conversion goals. Promoted Video for ‘conversions’ goals will click into a landing page that houses the advertiser’s website, as well as a closeup of the video. Promoted Video has proven to be a powerful format to drive these objectives as it uses sight, sound and motion to demonstrate product features and benefits.

11. Facebook introduces brand safety inventory filters for Audience Network, Instant Articles and in-stream videos ads. The announcement read

Advertisers will now be able to choose from these three options:

Limited inventory offers maximum protection, similar to the opt-in category exclusions available today
Standard inventory provides moderate protection and is the default choice when placing ads. This is the same as no category exclusions today.
Full inventory selects minimal protection and ads may be delivered to all eligible content.

12. Twitter allows marketers to set an end date for promotions and sponsorships composed within Twitter Media Studio. Check the details here

13. Advertisers will increase spending on video content by 25% in 2019: IAB. Read more here

Search

1. Google may decide to charge for Google My Business listings. The report says Google is asking some local businesses to fill in a survey form to check whether they would pay for some features they are currently getting for free. 

2. Google starts showing more images in web search results. As per a report by SEOClarity, images in the Top 10 leapt from an approximately 24% occurrence to a 34% occurrence. 

3. Google My Business rolls out a feature to let businesses create a short name and short URL. Read more here

4. Google Posts can now highlight customer testimonials in some countries. Check the details here

5. 4% of the Google index hit by de-indexing bug : Moz data. Check the details here

Social Media

1. Snap rolls out new Augmented Reality & Camera Search Experiences. The announcement read

Scan is Snap’s camera search experience. Today, Snapchatters can “press and hold” on the Snapchat camera screen to Scan and unlock relevant experiences based on what is in the viewfinder or environment. Scan a Snapcode to unlock special Filters and Lenses, a physical product or barcode to surface search results on Amazon, or while listening to music to learn more about what’s playing through an integration with Shazam.

For the first time, Lens Studio will include templates for Snap’s all-new Landmarker Lens experiences. These Lenses enable augmented reality experiences that can transform the world's most iconic landmarks in real-time. Templates for five locations are available to creators today, including: Buckingham Palace (London), United States Capitol Building (Washington, D.C.), Eiffel Tower (Paris), Flatiron Building (New York City), and the TCL Chinese Theater (Los Angeles), with more to follow.

AR Bar” and “Scan” will begin rolling out soon to Snapchatters. AR Bar is designed to make it easier than ever before for Snapchatters to discover and navigate Lenses and camera search experiences on Snapchat. With AR Bar, for the very first time, Snapchatters will be able to Create, Scan, Browse, and Explore all in one place.

2. LinkedIn introduces Reactions. Check the details here

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Did you know that a 7-year old kid named Ryan who has a popular channel named Ryan ToysReview on YouTube took the No. 1 spot on Forbes' annual list of the highest-earning YouTube accounts in 2018? In our previous blog, we discussed the rising popularity of brand collabs between Instagrandmas and grandpas which in a way suggests that businesses are looking beyond millennials ! Let's dig deeper into more trends here - 

9) Numbers alone won't help in the selection of influencers 

Finding the right influencer to deliver your brand's message is a key factor in delivering the right message to your audience. But it remains a key challenge for marketers to find the right influencers. The number of likes and followers to measure the relevance of an influencer holds no water, especially in the age of bot and click farms that can fraudulently generate hundreds and thousands of them in a jiffy. 

So, how are brand marketers zeroing in on the right influencers? In a report from Celebrity Intelligence, titled Influencing Beauty over two-thirds of the respondents said social media analytics, including audience insights and engagement metrics, have proven the most useful in establishing authentic partners.

While there’s no debating the fact that numbers matter, but brands can't make decisions based solely on numbers alone. They have to look beyond the follower count and engagement metrics and evaluate the real reasons they might want to align themselves with an influencer. They have to focus on factors like the person's real interests, content themes, and values of the influencer. They have to evaluate whether the influencer represents those lifestyle characteristics that are important and relevant to the brand? Or does the influencer promote and engage in activities and causes that the brand supports? Here's an interesting read on what happened when Volvo Cars collaborated with Chriselle Lim, a fashion influencer, to promote their eco-friendly car wash. 

When Volvo Cars launched an eco-friendly car wash solution in the USA, its campaign was around the cause of water conservation instead of product promotion. It rolled out a #DrivingDirty campaign, where the company challenged consumers to stop washing their car:
At Volvo, we’ve always stood for what matters to people. Saving water matters to us all. So whether you drive a Volvo or not, please help conserve water. Turn your dirty car into a badge of honor by writing #DRIVINGDIRTY on it nice and big. Ten post it online to get your friends and family involved too. We also know sometimes you just have to wash your car – like for dates and job interviews. So we introduced Consciously Clean: a waterless carwash solution that makes it easy to keep your car clean and your conscious cleaner.
To spread its message and reach a broader audience, Volvo collaborated with influencers and one of them was Chriselle Lim, a fashion influencer with over a million Instagram followers. Her feed, usually is filled with photos of her family, travels, and fashion trends. However, when she posted a photo promoting the eco-friendly car wash, negative comments flooded in. You can find it all here
Lim's loyal audience was young and fashionable women who could relate to her thoughtful advice on fashion and being a mom. And Volvo thought that through her they could reach a broader and a completely new audience. But they didn't realize that her audience  would call her out on the post as they thought it was done solely for financial gains

 

10) Influencers working as real partners 

In the early years of influencer marketing, the relationship between a brand and an influencer was seen in a transactional approach. Brands provided the influencers with product samples and the influencers featured these products in their content in a positive way. Typically, the role of influencers in many ways was limited to the top funnel of the customer journey. These dynamics still exist; however, we are seeing an emerging trend of influencers playing a direct role in sales. For example, Maybelline New York ran a successful live streaming event featuring celebrity Angelababy on social media app Meipai selling 10,000 lipsticks in 2 hours. Another famous example is that of Chinese fashion blogger Becky Li who sold 100 limited-edition Mini Cooper cars in just 5 minutes via the popular Chinese WeChat app. 

Influencers are looking for meaningful relationships with brand. They don't want their roles to be simply limited to content creators - they want to get actively involved with brands as real partners. For example, L’Oréal Paris has a long-term collaboration with a few top-ranked influencers whom the brand calls its  “beauty squad”. They are the brand ambassadors of L’Oréal who publish “how-to” guides, give tips on L’Oréal platforms, and participate in new product development. The results of such kind of relationship-based approach are impressive - L’Oréal’s Beauty Squad has seen its followership increase from 4.6 million to 6.3 million in just 12 months. 

NEW L’Oreal Paris Beauty Squad | Victoria | Kaushal | Emily | Patricia | Ruth - YouTube

Similarly, MAC Cosmetics partnered with 10 beauty influencers from 8 countries to co-develop a new line of lipsticks for each of their country’s local consumer markets. Each influencer worked closely with MAC Cosmetics labs to create their own colors and packaging for the launch. The brand regularly shared BTS clips of the group's lipstick creation process from their lab on their Instagram stories and Snapchat.

research by HBR found that 

Influencers appreciate it when their style and voice are taken seriously by the brand. As Annie (a beauty and lifestyle influencer, with 12,000 followers on Instagram) told us: “Surprisingly, over time I became friends with all the brands I collaborate with… actually not with the brands but with the people who are in charge of these brands.” What’s happening here is a process in which the brand and the influencer get to know and trust each other through a highly customized communication.

11) Brands partnering with local influencers 

In 2017, Airbnb launched its #LiveThere contest in India. The contest winners visited their favorite destinations with popular celebrities – Nikhil Chinapa in Thailand; Anusha Dandekar in Milan; and Radhika Apte in London. These celebrities shared insights based on their respective interests to help the winners experience these cities like a local. Nikhil Chinappa shared insights on how to best enjoy music and adventure in Thailand, Anusha Dandekar gave insights into the hidden fashion hubs in Milan, while Radhika Apte suggested the best way to experience art and theatre in London. #InMilan with @VJAnusha received 3.2 Million+ views on Facebook; #InThailand with @nikhilchinapa received 1.7 Million+ views on Facebook; and #InLondon with @Radhika_Apte received 1.6 Million + views Facebook. 

Local influencers are increasingly becoming a critical aspect of global marketing strategy as they have a local online fan following with regard to their particular area of expertise and they are at a much better position to influence the actions/decisions of their audience than a global influencer can do. 

The voice from the local level can be even more important than the global players — people connect more to their local influencers — as the Millennial generation is extremely interested in authentic messages. That’s why the voice of people who are authoritative and have their own point of view on a special topic is where Millennials will go to listen who are interested in that topic — they won’t necessarily only turn to a mainstream global influencer.

Bruna Scognamiglio, Vice President Global Influencer Marketing for Gucci Beauty

12) Quality content is still the king. Also, new storytelling formats to gain traction 

In a survey by Socialbakers, it was found that sponsored & non-sponsored content by influencers receive nearly the same engagement. What matters is the story told in the right way. 

Marketers are exploring new formats other than sponsored Instagram posts to leverage the power of influencers. For instance, Mercedes Benz created a 360-degree video featuring the Instagram-famous wolf dog, Loki, and his owner Kelly Lund. The video shows Kelly Lund drive a Mercedes through Crested Butte, Colorado and giving the audience a glimpse of the snowcapped mountains laden with evergreen trees through Loki’s eyes.

 

Mercedes-Benz – Loki (360° Experience) - YouTube

Scotch whisky brand, Lagavulin, released a video starring Nick Offerman where he's seen silently sipping whisky in front of a fireplace for a full three quarters of an hour in total silence. A clever spin on yule log videos, the video was aimed at creating a connect with a whole new demographic of digital natives through YouTube. It garnered 2m views in just one week, and the brand’s YouTube channel subscribers increasing from 5.5K to 23K due to the campaign. It even won a Shorty Award for Best Influencer Marketing Campaign.

Nick Offerman's 'Yule Log' - YouTube

13) More collabs for cause marketing

Kantar’s Purpose 2020 study found that brands that consumers perceive as having a positive impact on society grow at 2x the rate of other brands. We've seen influencer campaigns promoting different causes or standing for something such as Nike's collab with Colin Kaepernick, CoverGirl hiring James Charles ( who at that time had 400,000 followers on Instagram) as its first cover boy, and L'Oréal Paris partnering with transgender model Hari Nef for its True Match foundation line.

And these cause marketing campaigns aren't one-time events with short-term goals. In February this year, Nike unveiled "The Kaepernick Icon Jersey" with the sporting goods giant saying "The Kaepernick Icon Jersey is a celebration of those who seek truth in their communities...and those who remain true to themselves."

14) Kids as influencers to target the younger generation

There are 50 million kids aged 11 and under who represent $1.2 trillion in annual buying power ( *Source - Digitas Perspective, “The Next Generation of Consumers" ).  A study from Facebook has shown that

  • 64% of parents say their kids play a key role while the family zeroes in on a vacation destination.
  • 62% of parents of teen children believe their kids have more influence on their buying decisions than they had over their parents before them
  • 71% of parents believe their kids influence on how much they spend on products.

The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth $5 billion to $10 billion by 2020, and kids are increasingly becoming an important part of the influencer marketing landscape because they can relate better to kids than a scripted or overly cliched & promotional traditional TV advertisement would. Brands such as Target and Walmart are partnering with kid influencers to launch new collection of toys and apparels. Target's kids’ apparel and accessories brand named Art Class was designed by kids including influencers such as Loren Gray ( at the time of design was 15 years old and had 6.5m Instagram followers) and Nia Sioux ( at the time of design was 16 years old and had 4.5m Instagram followers). Each influencer used Instagram to tell the audience how much fun they had working with the retailer to create looks that're original. Ryan of Ryan Toysreview launched Ryan’s World, a toy and apparel collection sold exclusively at Walmart. 

The Takeaway

Authenticity is the key - users are reluctant to trust online communication from brands: up to 25.2% of U.S. Internet users blocked ads on their devices in 2018. Brands are realizing it and are trying to find and collaborate with the right kind of influencers to put forth their brand messages. Also, influencers and brands will be looking for more win-win relationships, where influencers work as real partners with the businesses and not merely as a tool to promote brand messages - we will be seeing more influencers co-designing products and participating in conversions and sales in a more direct way. 

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This curated list includes important updates and insights from the month of March. To stay updated on the latest updates from the digital landscape, read our Digital Marketing Apple Page.

Digital Advertisement 

1) Google adds several new features to keyword planner.The upgrade includes:

  • Up to 10 seed keywords when searching for new keyword ideas.
  • Keyword trends can be viewed or downloaded for individual keyword ideas.
  • Grouped ideas can be viewed by keywords by theme or added to sets as a group.
  • Saved ideas can be added to an existing campaign.
  • Get suggested daily budgets based on the max CPC bid and forecasted costing.
  • Get a detailed competition value column that shows ranking across keyword ideas.

Read more about the updates here

2) LinkedIn adds Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting with Microsoft Bing Data, and Audience Templates. The announcement read 

Recently, we announced interest targeting in Campaign Manager, which allows you to reach members with relevant ads that match their professional interests. Now, we’ve expanded interest targeting by allowing you to target based on a combination of your audience’s professional interests on LinkedIn and the professional topics and content your audience engages with through Microsoft’s Bing search engine, in a way that respects member privacy.

Audience templates make it easy to find the right audience. If you’re new to advertising on LinkedIn or are an existing advertiser looking to reach new audiences, audience templates can help.  This gives you a selection of more than 20 predefined B2B audiences (and growing) that help you get started faster.

 3) Facebook advertisers planning to run housing, employment or credit ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code. The announcement read 

Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.
We’re building a tool so you can search for and view all current housing ads in the US targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you.

4) Facebook to replace relevance score with 3 new metrics in April. The announcement read

Similar to relevance score, these ad relevance diagnostics are not factored into an ad's performance in the auction. We think that this level of granularity will offer reporting that's more actionable for businesses.

Ad relevance diagnostics will measure relevance across these three dimensions:

  1. Quality ranking: How your ad's perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.
  2. Engagement rate ranking: How your ad's expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience.
  3. Conversion rate ranking: How your ad's expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimisation goal and competed for the same audience.

5) Shopping Ads on Pinterest are available to all businesses through the self-serve tool Ads Manager. Once products are on Pinterest, brands can easily promote items from their existing product feed with Shopping Ads. Read more here

6) Google Ads to include cross-device conversion data to all attribution reports. Read more here

7) Google rolls out policy manager in Google Ads. Read more here

8) Amazon to launch video ads in mobile-app search results — report. Read more here

9) Facebook users can see when a Custom Audience list is uploaded and if the advertiser worked with marketing partners to run the ad. Read more here

10) Google's ad manager will move to first-price auction. The announcement read

With this change, every offer from programmatic buyers will compete in the same unified auction, alongside inventory which is directly negotiated with advertisers. An advertising buyer’s bid will not be shared with another buyer before the auction or be able to set the price for another buyer. The buyer that wins the auction pays the price they bid. By simplifying our auction in Ad Manager, we can help make it easier for publishers and app developers to manage and get fair value for their inventory.

11) Bing Ads rolls out a new 3D ad format to promote the new Galaxy S10 phone. Read more here

12) Google Ads rolls out Budget Planner forecasting tool. Read more here

13) Google rolls out Shoppable Ads on Google Images. The announcement read

This new format enables you to highlight multiple products available for sale within your sponsored ad among Google Images results. We’re currently testing this on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries like “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”.

Social Media 

1) Checkout introduced in Instagram. The announcement read 

When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or color, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out.

2) Facebook tests new ways for Pages to archive and share Stories.

“We’re always looking to bring more Stories features to Pages on Facebook, like Stories Archive and the ability for people to share a Page’s story. We will continue to learn and iterate as we test more features like these,” said a Facebook spokesperson in an email to Marketing Land.

Read more here

3) Pinterest launches catalogs. The announcement read

Brands can now upload their full catalog to Pinterest and easily turn their products into dynamic Product Pins, which means more shoppable Pins across Pinterest. A new dashboard allows businesses to organize their feed so their products can be discovered and purchased by Pinners.

The other updates include 

Shop a brand (pictured above): A new dedicated section from retailers is starting to roll out beneath Product Pins. You’ll soon be able to dive into a brand’s catalog by clicking “more from [brand]”.

Personalized shopping recommendations: Alongside style, home, beauty and DIY boards, you’ll see in-stock ideas related to what you’ve been saving, to match your style. Just click “more ideas” then the shopping tag to start shopping ideas picked for you. Tap + to quickly add the Pin to your board, or click the Pin to go straight to checkout on the retailer’s site.

Shopping search: With more in-stock Product Pins, there are more products to search. Just search for a product like “midi skirt”, “men’s watches” or “outdoor furniture” and shopping results appear on the top of home feed. To start shopping, click “see more”.

4) Internet Archive to preserve public Google+ posts. Read more here

Search 

1) Google is retiring the info command as it was an alternative way of discovering canonicals. It was relatively underused, and URL Inspection tool provides a more comprehensive solution to help publishers with URLs. Read more here

2) Bing delivers text-to-speech and greater coverage of intelligent answers and visual search. The announcement read 

The updated Bing app can now change text to speech, meaning Bing can speak answers to your queries back to you with a voice that’s nearly indistinguishable from a human’s. The Bing app also supports speech as an input, meaning you can speak to your mobile device and Bing will change your spoken word to text and search that query for you.

Bing intelligent answers allow you to get comprehensive, summarized information aggregated across several sources in response to certain queries.

Visual search is another area in which recent developments have enabled huge strides in efficiency and coverage.

Visual search allows you to search using an image. For example, if you see an image of an accent light you like, Bing can show visually-similar decor and even show purchase options at different price points if the item is available online. To save you time, visual search also automatically detects and places clickable hotspots over important objects you may want to search for next.

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These health awareness campaigns are designed with a strong purpose and intention to raise awareness about different life-threatening diseases and to bring a positive change in the health system. Here's the curated list. 

 

1) ALS Association - Ice Bucket Challenge  

The Ice Bucket Challenge is one of the most talked about health awareness campaigns with participation from a host of celebrities including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Kim Kardashian, and Taylor Swift. Aimed at raising awareness about the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the campaign went so viral that in just eight weeks it managed to raised $115 million for the ALS Association. Know more details about the campaign here. See what the founders of the challenge have to say

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Founders: "Every August Until A Cure" - YouTube

2) Worldwide Breast Cancer - Know your Lemons

Worldwide Breast Cancer broke the taboo and fear of breast cancer by sharing an illustration that used 12 lemons to show the signs of breast cancer. The image has been picked up on multiple social media platforms and has been seen by over 200 million people so far.

3. Nivea Doll 

Aimed at kids learn the importance of UV protection, this campaign featured kits containing UV sensitive toy dolls and Nivea sun screen. The dolls turn red in sunlight and would turn back to normal skin colour on application of Nivea sunscreen. This campaign earned a top spot on the 'Good Report' list of  cause-related campaigns. 

NIVEA DOLL - English Version - YouTube

4. Instagram’s Most-liked Egg Teams Up With Hulu 

We see Instagram’s most liked egg cracking and a caption popping up reading: "Phew! I feel so much better now. If you're feeling the pressure, visit talkingegg.info to find out more. Let's build this list together."

It was broadcast first on Hulu as part of their Super Bowl coverage; you can find it now on the egg's Instagram page with a link that directs users to a website featuring a list of countries and the different mental health services available there. 

5. Samsung Backup Memory

Recognition is one of the biggest challenges for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. In order to help Alzheimer’s patients, Samsung created the Backup Memory app which shows details of people saved in the app to stimulate memory in Alzheimer’s patients. This app was one of the projects that won Samsung prestigious honors at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015. 

 

BACKUP MEMORY - YouTube

6. Takeda - Lighter Blue 

Shedding light on one of the less-talked-about health topics, depression, the campaign Lighter Blue used a fictional character ‘Blue’ to educate depression sufferers with humor. Rolled out on Facebook in 2016, the campaign received 3.3 million engagements. 

7. Life Saving Dot ( Jeevan Bindi) by Talwar Bindi 

The campaign was aimed at fighting iodine deficiency amongst rural young women. Bindis fortified with iodine were distributed amongst women across rural India so that they get more iodine through skin absorption.Through the course of the day, women who wore these bindis absorbed 12% of their daily dose of iodine.
 

Life Saving Dot - YouTube

8) Huggies - Meeting Murilo

The experience of holding one's baby for the first time is a magical experience for every mother. In this campaign, Huggies helped a visually impaired mother-to-be touch and feel the face of her unborn child. The brand did this by 3D printing the ultrasound scans of the baby’s face.

 

Meeting Murilo - [Huggies] - YouTube

9) GlaxoSmithKline’s My Asthma App

MyAsthma app has been designed to help asthma sufferers take control of their condition. Asthma sufferers can record their symptoms and compare them alongside measures of things including pollen, pollution and the weather to see if there is any correlation, so they can spot patterns and identify trigger. 

10) Movember

The idea for Movember was born in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. The first Movember challenge consisted of 30 Aussie friends (self-proclaimed “Mo Bros”). They challenged each other to grow their moustaches for an entire month to check if their efforts could bring back moustache as a fashion statement. When their bold mustaches became a starting point for conversations, the founders decided to attach the challenge to a generous cause - raising awareness on prostate cancer. The campaign since its beginnings with 30 participants, has witnessed more than 5.2 million Movember participants and has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects across 20 countries. 

What is Movember? - YouTube

11) Booberang

This 60-second ‘breast check’ film by Leo Burnett London takes a no-nonsense approach while featuring breasts of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones and explaining how to check them for early signs of breast cancer.
 

Booberang breast check - YouTube

We will keep on adding more to this list. So, stay tuned to this space. 

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There were a host of updates in the digital advertising landscape in 2018. Here's a curated list of important updates from all the channels to help advertisers navigate the ever-changing ad landscape. To get your daily dose of digital marketing updates, follow our Digital Marketing Apple 

Google Ads

1. Google rolls out responsive search ads which adapt to users’ queries. The announcement read

Simply provide up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines, and Google will do the rest. By testing different combinations, Google learns which ad creative performs best for any search query. So people searching for the same thing might see different ads based on context.

2. Google AdWords becomes Google Ads. The new Google Ads brand makes it easier for marketers to advertise across partner pages, video, search, and more in order to reach potential customers. For small businesses, Google rolled out Smart Campaigns - It brings the machine learning technology of Google Ads to small businesses and helps them get results without any heavy lifting—so they can stay focused on running their businesses. Read the full announcement here

3. Google rolls out responsive display ads. The announcement read

Responsive Display Ads combine your creativity with the power of Google’s machine learning to deliver relevant, valuable ads across the web, at scale. Just provide a few simple inputs about your business-up to 15 images, 5 headlines, 5 descriptions, and 5 logos. Google uses machine learning to test different combinations and show the ads that work best. On average, advertisers see 10% more conversions at a similar CPA when using multiple headlines, descriptions, and images with responsive display ads (versus a single set of assets).

 

4. Advertisers can add an additional headline and description to text ads. The announcement read

One of the advantages of responsive search ads is that they give you more room to convey your message. While we work on improving responsive search ads across languages, it’s important to extend that same advantage to your existing text ads. That’s why, starting in late August, you’ll be able to add a third headline and second description to your text ads. In addition, your descriptions can have up to 90 characters.

5. Google rolls out Reach Planner for YouTube & video ad forecasting in AdWords. The announcement read

 Now, for the first time, advertisers can forecast the reach and frequency achievable on YouTube and across Google’s video partners, in over 50 countries. This resource will simplify the planning process by providing unique reach across devices, for all core audiences and video formats.

6. Google updates ‘Ad Settings’ to allow users to give users more options for limiting ad personalization and is expanding the “Why this ad?” notices across all services that display Google Ads. Read more here

7. Google rolls out video in Showcase Shopping ads and shoppable images on publishers' sites. 

Video in Showcase Shopping ads is the next addition to the Showcase Shopping ads we launched last year, which let you upload multiple images to a single ad and promote your products through beautiful imagery, descriptions, products, and relevant promotions.

Read more here

8. Google rolls out ‘Ad Strength’ Indicator to help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their ads before they go live. Read more here

9. YouTube introduces TrueView for reach. They combine the in-stream format of its six-second Bumpers with CPM buying. Read more here

9. Google launches AdSense Auto ads that "use machine learning to make smart placement and monetization decisions on your behalf, saving you time." Read full announcement here

Some of the benefits of Auto ads include:
1. Optimization: Using machine learning, Auto ads show ads only when they are likely to perform well and provide a good user experience.
2. Revenue opportunities: Auto ads will identify any available ad space and place new ads there, potentially increasing your revenue.
3. Easy to use: With Auto ads you only need to place the ad code on your pages once. When you’re ready to use new features and ad formats, simply turn them on and off with the flick of a switch -- there’s no need to change the code again.

10. YouTube expands non-skippable ads to all the channels that can already monetize their videos. Watch the announcement here

11. YouTube starts testing ‘ad pods’: 2 skippable ads delivered back-to-back. The announcement read

Why does this solution make sense? Because when users see two ads in a break, they’re less likely to be interrupted by ads later. This new experience, launching on desktop this year then followed by mobile and TV screens, aims to accommodate viewer preferences while continuing to help advertisers connect with their most important audiences.

12. Audio ads become available to all DoubleClick Bid Manager customers globally. Marketers can access ad inventory from Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud and TuneIn. Read more here

13. Google makes its Video Ad Sequencing tool available globally. It lets you tell your brand story over a series of ads set in a specific order, or showcase your product message across multiple pieces of content.Read more here

Our recent research shows that videos in a sequence contribute to significant gains in ad completion rates. And, in a new study with Ipsos, we found that sequences of 6-second ads and TrueView ads drive brand lift across the customer journey. In fact, sequencing a 6-second ad followed by a TrueView had a significant impact on Ad Recall and Purchase Intent, with an average lift of 118% and 40% respectively

14. Advertisers can build Display ads with local inventory feeds using local catalog ads. Read more here

15. Google introduces TV screens device type for video ads that will allow advertisers to target users watching YouTube on connected TVs. Read more here

16. Google improves attribution for TrueView for Action ads on YouTube. Here’s what’s changing: 

  • Our system will now count an ‘Engagement’ whenever a user clicks or watches 10 seconds or more of your TrueView for action ad using maximize conversions or target CPA bidding. 
  • By default,  a ‘Conversion’ will be counted when a user takes action on your ad within 3 days of an ‘Engagement.’ You can ask your Google team to customize this time frame if you prefer an alternative.  
  • For users who click your ad, we’ll still attribute conversions according to the conversion window you have set (the default is 30 days).

Read the full announcement here

17. Google launches four new search ad position metrics. Read the full announcement here

  • Impr. (Absolute Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impr. (Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS - the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS - the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

18. Google rolls out pay for conversions bidding in Display campaigns. Read more here

19. YouTube adds new call-to-action extensions to ads. The announcement read

When you want to offer a call-to-action, but your primary objective is something other than clicks or conversions (such as awareness or consideration), we will offer a new call-to-action extension that can be applied to TrueView in-stream ads, and later, to Bumper ads and TrueView video discovery ads

20. YouTube Originals will become free and ad-supported by 2020. Read more here

21. Google opens AMP Story Ads to all websites. Read more here

22. AdSense users to submit all new sites for verification. Read more here

23. Google rolls out three new measurement features : Custom viewability metrics, Unique Reach reporting, and Brand Lift measurement for all video buys for enterprise-level ad buying platform Display & Video 360. Read more here

24. Google Data Studio comes out of Beta. Read more here

25. YouTube drops the number of required subscribers for Channel Memberships to 50,000. Earlier the required number was 100,000. Read more here

26. Google lets users mute repetitive remarketing ads. Read the announcement here

27. YouTube launches Video Experiments to help advertisers test ads in a real-life setting at a "very low cost". Read more here

28. Google tests ads in its app Feed. Read more here

Bing Ads

1. Bing Ads now supports 3rd headline, 2nd description in text ads. The updated Expanded Text Ads format now allows you to:

  • Add an additional headline and have up to three headlines in your title.
  • Add an additional description and have up to two descriptions.
  • Use up to 90 characters for each of the two descriptions.

Read the full announcement here

2. Bing Ads rolls out advanced bidding strategies: Target CPA & Maximize Conversions. Read more here

You can enable Target CPA and Maximize Conversions for campaigns that are targeting locations within the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States. Conversion-based bidding strategies (Target CPA and Maximize Conversions) require at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days to turn this feature on

 

3. Bing launches LinkedIn profile targeting for Bing Ads. Read the full announcement here

We're making it easy for our clients to get started with LinkedIn Profile Targeting right away through the Bing Ads platform using familiar campaign creation and management tools. To start, we're offering bid only targeting, with exclusions coming soon. It works across text ads, shopping, and basically all Bing search products (available in the US only).

4. Bing Ads launches Price Extensions. Read the full announcement here

With Price Extensions, advertisers can directly show potential customers the product or service they want, when they’re looking for it, front and center on Bing Search results. Clicks on Price Extensions can link to your website or a preferred third-party storefront like Amazon.

5. Bing Ads starts supporting language targeting at the campaign level. Advertisers can -

  • Reach more customers. Targeting additional languages allows you to gain ad impressions on more queries and increase your reach.
  • Show more customer-friendly ads. By being able to serve ads in more languages, you can improve ad quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Make updates with flexibility. You can update the set of languages you choose to target at any time, even after the campaigns are active.
  • Import across platforms more easily. Multiple language targeting at the campaign level makes it easier to import campaigns from Google Ads. Bing ads will import all the supported languages for the campaigns and set the ad group language to use the campaign settings.

Read the announcement here

6. Bing Ads lets advertisers import Product Ads from Google AdWords. Read more here

You can now import from Google Ads:

20 thousand campaigns
10 million ad groups
20 million keywords
20 million ads
5.5 million ad group-level and campaign-level negative keywords combined
10 million ad group product partitions
200,000 all other entities combined
3 million targets

7. Bing removes sidebar text ads. The announcement read

Here are more specifics around the changes we are rolling out:

  • Text Ads will no longer be served on the sidebar, while Product Ads will continue to be served on the sidebar.
  • Bottom of the page (BOP) ads increase from 3 ads to 4 ads. Moreover, BOP ads allow for richer ad formats, which sidebar ads didn’t.
  • This change applies to the Bing SERP only.  No impact for syndication partners including Yahoo and AOL. 

8. Bing Ads roll out Performance Targets feature to help advertisers set targets on groups of their campaigns and track the performance on the metrics they select, all in Bing Ads online. Read more here

9. Bing Ads rolls out new Competition tab with 2 main sections: Audience Insights and Recommendations. Read more here

10. Bing Ads rolls out an update which lets users manage targeting settings in bulk. Location targeting, ad schedule targeting, and device targeting settings can all be changed from the same place. Read more here

11. Bing Ads roll out in-market audience targeting to all advertisers. Read more here

Facebook Ads

1. Facebook starts testing AR ads in the News Feed. Read more here

2. Facebook launches ads on Stories.  The announcement read 

Facebook Stories ads support every objective that's currently available for Instagram Stories ads, including reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic and lead generation. Facebook’s full suite of targeting and measurement capabilities is also available for stories ads across platforms.

3. Facebook users can see all the active ads run by a Page. The announcement read

From the Info and Ads tab, people will be able to view the active ads a Page is running across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network, even if they’re not in the target audience. 

4. Facebook rolls out playable ads, retention optimization and minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding. The announcement read

Playable ads can also help advertisers drive higher-intent installs from people who have experimented with the game and are therefore more likely to play after installing.

Retention optimization allows gaming marketers to deliver their ads to the people most likely to play their game, helping gaming developers better monetize their apps.

Over the next few weeks, we will roll out minimum ROAS bidding. Advertisers will now be able to set a minimum spend to find the players most likely to make in-app purchases, and eliminate spend on connecting with players less likely to engage.

5. Facebook expands Ad Breaks (a 15-second in-stream video ad) to 21 more countries, including India. Read more here

6. Facebook introduced News Feed ads that launch a chat in WhatsApp. The announcement read

Businesses running these ads will receive aggregated metrics in Ads Manager to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns, including:

Conversations Started: The number of conversations attributed to your Facebook ad campaign from people starting a new thread with you or messaging you for the first time in more than a week.
Messaging Replies: The total number of messages that people sent to your business attributed to the ads you ran on Facebook.

7. Facebook starts to test search ads in its search results and Marketplace. Read more here

8. Office Depot becomes the first brand to take advantage of Facebook’s holiday-themed AR ads with the launch of its “Elf Yourself” ad campaign. Read more here

9. Facebook Attribution becomes available to all advertisers. The announcement read

Facebook Attribution helps you measure the impact of your ads across the Facebook family of apps and services and across publishers. For example, using the new data-driven attribution model, you can see how your ads on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger are contributing to incremental business results compared to if you were not running ads. And to gain a better understanding of your audience’s digital journey, you can use cross-device reporting to learn the device your customers engaged with your ads on as well as where they converted.

10. Facebook’s Marketing API v3.2 to alert advertisers if an ad fails to deliver and will provide details on what happened. Read more here

11. Facebook runs autoplay video ads on its messaging app. Read more here

12. Facebook takes action against clickbaity ads. Read more here

Engagement bait: Ads with spammy content asking people to engage with it in specific ways, such as requesting likes, comments and shares

Example of Engagement bait low quality ad

Withholding information: Ads that purposefully withhold information to entice people to click in order to understand the full context

Example of Engagement bait low quality ad

Sensationalized language: Ads that use exaggerated headlines or command a reaction from people but don't deliver on the landing page

Example of Engagement bait low quality ad

13.  Facebook Pixel adds a first-party cookie option. It will allow advertisers globally to continue to access data from Apple’s Safari browser. Read more here

14. Facebook launches ThruPlay video ads and In-Stream Reserve and In-Stream Reserve Category options for marketers. The announcement read

In-Stream Reserve allow advertisers to reach people watching video from a selection of the most engaging, highest quality publishers and creators. These placements are bought in advance and delivered to in-target audiences verified by Nielsen.

In-Stream Reserve Categories allows advertisers to choose content packages in specific categories, including sports, fashion/beauty and entertainment, bought in the same way as In-stream Reserve.

Completed video views are particularly important to advertisers seeking to tell their story and build brand affinity, so we’re introducing ThruPlay, which allows advertisers to optimize and pay only for ads that are watched to completion, or for at least 15 seconds.

15. Facebook offers new, creative ad tools. The announcement..

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This curated list includes important updates and insights from the month of February. To stay updated on the latest updates from the digital landscape, read our Digital Marketing Apple Page.

Digital Advertisement
  • YouTube lets some advertisers buy masthead ads on CPM basis. The announcement read

Through the beta, advertisers can purchase the Masthead on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, and customize the audiences they want to see it. The placement will remain as a reserved buy, with impression guarantees across campaign flights that can range from a single day and up to seven days, ensuring brands can drive the visibility they need on the dates that matter most.

In addition to driving mass reach, the Masthead is also memorable and effective: Masthead ads have a significant impact on Ad Recall, with an average lift of 92%, and drive an average 46% lift in Purchase Intent.2

  • Maximize conversions bidding will become globally available to advertisers using TrueView for action. Read more here
  • Parallel tracking for Display and Video campaigns available May 1st, 2019. Read more here
  • Facebook will show users the agencies, partners involved in Custom Audience targeting. Read more here
  • 1 of 3 marketers shifting ad spend from Facebook and Google to Amazon, study says. Read more here
  • Facebook introduces showcase for premium video advertisers. Read more here
  • Quora announces bulk ad creation and editing. The announcement read  

Bulk ad creation
You can save time creating ads and uploading them in bulk using an Excel spreadsheet or CSV. Quickly create multiple text ads variations in minutes, test your hypothesis, and see how your audience reacts to a certain combination. With the bulk ads editor, you can leverage the power of Excel to easily experiment and test different combinations of text, headlines, body descriptions, urls, and call to actions. Currently, the bulk ad creator is only available for text ads.

  • Click share coming to Search campaigns. Read more here
  • Google tests ads in Assistant results. Read more here
  • 2018 a "landmark year" for digital advertising, the IAB credits the surge in spend with strong growth in the over-the-top (OTT) and direct-to-consumer (DTC) markets: Study. Read more here
  • Digital advertising in the US is finally bigger than print and television. Read more here
  • Amazon extends Sponsored Products to AmazonFresh for CPG brands. Read more here
  • Google revamps Test My Site mobile site speed tool. Read more here
  • Facebook testing new Ads Manager interface. Read more here
  • Display ads created using the AMP framework perform best on AMP web pages. Read more here
  • Google Ads introduces three new features for responsive display ads: video assets for responsive display ads, new combinations report, and ad strength scorecard. Read more here
  • 77% of US ad fraud classified as highly sophisticated: Study. Read more here
  • Digital marketing spend to reach $146B by 2023, but search landscape is changing. Read more here
  • Disney, Nestlé, 'Fortnite' creator pull YouTube ads amid concerns over predatory content. Read more here

 

Search
  • Search Console will soon begin assigning search metrics to the (Google-selected) canonical URL, rather than the URL referred to by Google Search. Read more here
  • Product card buttons pop up on desktop search. Read more here
  • New Messenger feature gives you ability to remove messages for everyone. Read more here

 

Social
  • LinkedIn Pages have new additions - Content Suggestions, Page Analytics, and Pages Toolkit. Read more here
  • YouTube may disable downvotes to curb mob spamming. Read more here
  • Vertical video outperforms square video within the Facebook News Feed: Study. Read more here
  • Link posts have the biggest share of all Facebook posts: Study. Read more here
  • YouTube expands test of its Instagram-like Explore tab to more devices. Read more here
  • Reddit's testing a tipping option to pay creators on the platform. Read more here
  • LinkedIn launches LinkedIn Live. Read more here
  • Instagram tests new title option for Instagram Live. Read more here
  • Instagram's working on new updates for IGTV, Public Collections. Read more here
  • LinkedIn launches new group features.  

NEW @LinkedIn Group Features!
- Receive notifications for all new group posts

- See new posts initiated by your connections in main feed + in notifications

- Recommend important conversations feature

- Require approval of new posts option

- Upload a cover image to your group pic.twitter.com/bXlvNJWbxC

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) February 12, 2019

Advertising & Branding
  • Hulu taps viral Instagram egg for mental health PSA after Super Bowl. Read more here
  • 75% of consumers like discounts and offers: Report on Brand Loyalty. Download here
  • Kellogg sees 18% sales bump through pilot for VR merchandising tool. Read more here
  • 81% of brands could disappear and European consumers wouldn’t care. Read more here
  • How Oral B is using AI, data and smart mirrors to take the brand beyond oral health. Read more here
  • Unilever increases investment in marketers as it shifts from ‘big’ to real-time campaigns. Read more here
  • How Cars.com intercepted Super Bowl conversations to increase traffic 42%. Read more here
  • Jeep racks up 106M online views without running Super Bowl ad. Read more here
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 Here we discuss examples of brands & organizations who got the social media game right with the right insights and right content. 

1. Nike: 

Nike’s association with American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem instead of standing, to protest racial injustice in the US, triggered tons of conversation online and offline. Some took to social media to upload videos of them burning Nike products, whole others applauded the brand for taking a strong political stance. The ‘Just Do It’ campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick was released on the brands’s 30th anniversary in 2018 and pushed the brand’s mention on social media by 135% in a week. It garnered  2.7 million mentions of Nike within 24 hours of the announcement made by Kaepernick. 

Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/SRWkMIDdaO

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018

 

It was reported that Nike saw a nearly 17% increase in foot traffic at 242 stores in the country during the week after Labor Day compared to the same period in 2017. The company witnessed a 31% increase in its online sales. 

Expert Observation: 

It can turn some people off for sure. And it can turn some people on...Nike wins in either case, because they’re burning something they already paid for.

Ed Castillo, former chief strategy officer at Arnold Worldwide and TBWA/Chiat/Day

2. Oreo:

Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet ‘You Can Still Dunk In The Dark’ shows the power of real-time marketing.  When the power went out in the Superdome during a Superbowl match durung the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII Oreo tweeted saying ‘You can still dunk it the dark’. Within one hour it got 10,000 retweets.  

Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC

— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013    

Expert Observation:

It's textbook example of how Twitter can be used in real time to tailor a product message.

Bob Dorfman, a creative director at Baker Street Advertising

3. Dove:

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Campaign that aimed to show women that they were more beautiful than they though they were. An FBI-trained sketch artist was asked to make sketches of women whom he couldn't see. The portraits were based on the descriptions the women provided and the descriptions provided by strangers. The resulting sketches—the ones based on strangers’ descriptions were more beautiful and and looked more like their subjects than the ones taht were based on the descriptions provided by the women themselves. The idea was - women are too critical of themselves; hence, the tagline: “YOU are more beautiful than you think!”

 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think (3mins) - YouTube

In the first month of the launch, the video was watched 114 million times. And the campaign was the most watched internet video of 2013. The campaign has generated almost four billion PR and blogger media impressions. 

Expert Observation: 

I think what made this campaign perform particularly strongly is the content, which elicited the intense emotional responses of 'warmth, 'happiness' and 'knowledge' from its target demographic — one of the key factors behind a video's sharing success...But, more importantly, we are really seeing social motivations behind sharing becoming a lot more important. Brands have to give people a reason to share the video.

David Waterhouse, the global head of content and PR Unruly Media in his interview to Business Insider 

4. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

Launched to raise awareness for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease and to raise funds, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge involved people to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over their head and three other people to do the same or make a charitable donation towards the cause. The campaign went so viral that in just eight weeks it managed to raised $115 million. With celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey taking up the challenge, the campaign got viral across social media platforms. Between June 1 and August 13, 2014, the campaign was mentioned nearly 2.2 million times on Twitter. Over 1.2 million videos were posted on Facebook of people taking up the challenge.

Bill Gates ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - YouTube

Expert Observation 

It makes you look good to be part of this movement. There is also the challenge aspect of it…. It’s almost like a duel: You’re calling out a friend of yours and it’s very hard for the friend to say no. It’s a signal of who they are so they want to step up to the challenge…. It’s almost the best type of chain letter in that respect.

Jonah Berger, Wharton marketing professor

5. Old Spice:

Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like - YouTube

Old Spice’s ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ campaign launched just prior to the 2010 Superbowl became a viral video sensation. It's received more than 50 million views on YouTube.  5 months after the campaign was launched, Old Spice came up with a Response Campaign, as they wanted to engage with their users on a more personal way. On the morning of July 13, 2010, Old Spice posted a simple message on their social channels which said

Today could be just like the other 364 days you log into twitter, or maybe the Old Spice man shows up @OldSpice.

— Old Spice (@OldSpice) July 13, 2010

For the next two days, Isaiah Mustafa, dubbed as “Mr Old Spice,” responded to the tweets with the help of nearly 200 personalized video responses which were posted on YouTube. More than 2,000 users sent queries which included Ashton Kutcher, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose, and ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos. The “response” videos recieved super positive response, they were viewed more than 46 million times. In fact, in the first 24 hours the response videos were viewed more times on YouTube than President Obama’s 2008 election-night acceptance speech.

Here're some interesting numbers to look at 

  •     1.2 billion earned media impressions, including features on national broadcast networks and international media outlets
  •     2700% increase in Twitter followers
  •     800% increase in Facebook fan interaction
  •     300% increase in traffic to the Old Spice website 
  •     Old Spice has become the #1 Most Viewed Sponsored YouTube Channel

Source: https://www.pg.com/en_US/downloads/innovation/factsheet_OldSpice.pdf

Expert Observation: 

There's never been a campaign that has answered users' questions so personally and so quickly...It just it wasn't just that, it's the way that they did it. The writing was brilliant. The acting was brilliant.

Matt Fiorentino, senior marketing analyst for Visible Measures,

6. Share A Coke 

Share a Coke has been one of the most successful digital campaigns of Coca-Cola. The brand gave people the opportunity to order personalised bottles of Coke through a Facebook app and people shared the images of Coke bottle with their names on it on social media. The campaign was originally trialled in Australia in 2011 and produced some amazing results. 

Let's look at the numbers - 

  • In Australia, young adult consumption increased by 7% during the campaign. It earned a total of 18,300,000-plus media impressions.
  • Traffic on the Coke Facebook site increased by 870% and the Facebook page grew 39%.
  • In Australia,  seventy-six thousand virtual Coke cans were shared online and 378,000 custom Coke cans were printed at local Westfield malls across the country. 
  • Globally, Coca-Cola has seen its Facebook community grow by 6.8%.
  • The hashtag has also been used 29,000 times on Twitter (Brandwatch, 2013).

Sources - https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/jul/24...

                https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/share-a-coke-campaign-post-analys...          

      

Expert Observation:

People loved that this campaign spoke to them directly by using their names, or those of their friends and family. They were also engaged in the participative element of the campaign, particularly by sharing images of the personalised Coke bottles on Twitter and Facebook. Share a Coke spoke to them as individuals, while making them feel more connected to the brand and to one another – and that is the secret to its success.

Jane Carn, head of qualitative research at YouGov. 

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