The joys of digital for one more week! Google is testing ads in organic results, we go meh; some best practices for Google Ads; changes in social video trends and viewership; Meta, Google Amazon, Microsoft make heaps of money each quarter, Snap, not so much, but thanks for playing; Google continues its shift away from Rich Results without even a hint of self-realising irony. Read on and be educated, informed and entertained!

Google Testing Ads in Organic Results

I’m still a bit unsure as to whether this story is a bit of a furphy, or not. It seems that Google is testing ads “in between organic results” (shock, horror, and doing what the rest of the internet has been doing for the last 15 years). 

Google organic SERPs have pretty moved to infinite scroll, where there are no more 10 results to a page and then you click the next number in the bottom set of blue links, but instead you scroll endlessly looking for that unicorn amongst the dross. In doing this, it lost an ad spot at the bottom of the list, and other navigational / promotional spots under the Next Page links. 

If there is no intra-page delineation, the only thing you can do if you have lost an ad spot is to re-inject it. With the mess that is now Google Organic SERPs pages, it’s very hard to know *where* the ad injection should or is. Google moved away from the 10 blue links a long time ago, so it’s no longer after the 10th organic link, but might be after the second People Also Ask, and so on. 

For once, I’m neutral on this. I see it as a result of infinite scroll, re-injecting ads into spots where they previously would have been, rather than squeezing ads in places where they weren’t before. And as I said, the rest of the internet has been doing it for a long time. 

Want to talk about running large sites and monetising them? I’m your Virtual Chief Digital Officer. Or if you you want to talk about ranking high in Google Search, I’m your SEO expert. 

Google Ads Best Practices

Dear old Google Ads, useful, annoying and still after all this time, one of the best ways to sell product, as you can see from the amount of money Google makes from ads as mentioned elsewhere this week. These suggested Best Practices are pretty decent. 

Let Google run automated bidding in most cases – yup. There’s almost not point trying to outsmart Google on that one unless you have very specific campaign objectives. 

Manage Broad Match – again, yup. I think Google just wants us to give a few starter keywords and away it goes, especially now its keyword and entity matching is getting so much better. But my experience is you’re better keeping to Phrase and Exact until you have a solid understanding of the audience and conversions. 

Use Performance Max – again yup. I think this is a brilliant innovation, but it is not suitable to replace search ads yet. Better to run as a secondary / catch-all campaign. 

My own one: avoid phone calls from your latest Google rep. Unless you are spending heaps, the Google advice is pretty generic and usually involves spending more and broad matching on the letter “s”. These days though you need to be spending squillions to talk with people at Google who know what they are talking about.  

Instead, let’s have a chat about running or optimising Google Ads PPC campaigns.

Social Videos Trends

I’ve been banging on to all and sundry about short-form video and just video in general for the last little while and it’s final getting to a spot where I can say “I told you so” (although if I’m honest, I don’t usually wait). This article about social media video trends is very handy.  

YouTube is smashing out the numbers with something like 25 million accounts uploading 770 million videos, but with a flattish 24 trillion views and 750 billion engagement. So more videos for the same views and the same engagements. People maybe only have so much time and love to give. TikTok is moving to the middle with an increased max length up to 10 minutes and shifting to 15 minutes soon.

Facebook on the other hand (yes, facebook) has lost the teen market, something I wrote about forecasting the death of facebook a long time ago, but is slowly reimagining its newsfeed as more of a meme feed with less social interaction and more bait of one kind or another. Its video size is about half that of YouTube. Insta on the other hand is very small in terms of uploader accounts, but those that do get heaps of engagement providing it’s on trend. X is just disintegrating as a video platform, as well as any other kind of platform.

So, if you can strike it big, YouTube is still the 800lb gorilla. TikTok will probably be there soon, but is morphing a little as it gets older from lip-syncing songs & dances to more taking head videos. The jury is out on the value of a TikTok video just yet. FB and Insta are relatively easy to compete in due to their size, but you have to have the right content for their feeds it seems. My video feeds for both are very different. 

TikTok changed the video world, and to a certain extent, it made the social world less social, and it’s a good thing as it made YouTube sort itself out and gave FB and Insta a new avenue. 

Want to find out about social media management? Or how short form video should be a big part of your content strategy? Talk to me today. 

Meta / Google / Amazon / Microsoft / Snap Quarterly Ad Results

Oh my. What a lot of dollar signs and the mention of billions of dollars as the majors go through their quarterly reporting season to give us their results. Obviously, we pore over this data far too much and place far too much emphasis on quarterly results, ending in executives making decisions which benefit them in the very short-term and not the user. 

So, who got what? Meta’s revenue went up 23% to $34 billion, profit of $11 billion; Amazon’s Ad Services generated $12 billion in revenue, up by 26%; Microsoft went up by 10%, although it’s dollar figure is somewhere in the fudge of its general revenue of $56 billion last quarter; Google went up by 10% to around $60 billion in advertising revenue; even little ol’ Snap went up by 5% off the back on $1 billion in revenue. Xitter did not release any figures as far as I’m aware, but they’re not thought to be looking good. 

What does this show us? That Google is still the absolute dominant force in advertising, Meta is around half Google’s size, and Amazon Ads, while pretty big, are still 20% of Google and 30% of Meta. That’s pretty sobering. Microsoft on the other hand is massive in its own rights, just not in advertising, even across all the sub-products and networks it owns and does well with (LinkedIn, GitHub, Minecraft etc etc). 

Want to talk Digital Marketing and create digital strategies to build your presence and business? Make me your Virtual Chief Marketing Officer :-) 

Google Rich Results Deprecation

I may have missed the memo, although I first wrote about Google wanting to ditch structured data a long time ago, but Google is moving away from Rich Results at a rate of knots, as they have now removed Event Rich Results from the organic listings. So, that’s FAQs, How To’s, and Indented Results all gone in the last few weeks. 

So, what’s up? Well, there’s a likely combination of snippet spam, which Google hasn’t been able to algorithm its way out of with those nasty spammers junking up results with useless information; end-user utility, as Google’s tracking may have shown that users just did not click on the results, or use them in the way they were intended; ore it may just be that Google wants to use the space for advertising, as they take up a fair space on mobile display which could be better served by including another ad – you think I jest, but have you seen the Google antitrust court dramas?.

I think this is a worsening of Google’s search results unfortunately, moving away from Google’s core offering of giving us useful information, or links to useful information, in return for us clicking their ads. Rich Results are really useful in a way that SGE isn’t.

Give me a shout to talk about SERPs and SEO. Let’s find a way to show your content off in organic search :-)