mobile phone being held above a laptop
Google Signals Beta has launched – Your customer journey just got a lot clearer!
September 18, 2018

September 2018 Digital Marketing Updates

Alpha Digital
Our values are at the core of our business and drive us every day. We love working with clients and partners with similar philosophies!

September 2018 has highlighted the value of rich visual content, video and AI in the digital marketing world. Data visualisation continues to drive great marketing and we enter awards season for online marketing! Also, if you’re not thinking about mobile experience first, get started!

Ready to access more insights?

Read on for the 7 SEO, PPC and digital advertising September updates you need to know!

1. Vertical videos are now available on YouTube ads

Over 70% of Youtube watch time is now occurring on mobile devices (there are no surprises here!). With the continued growth of Instagram’s IGTV and Facebook watch, Youtube has really had to step up the game in their offering. Therefore, they’ve made video ads available for TrueView and Universal App campaigns.

Their advertising solutions now include both horizontal and vertical videos, that take up the majority of a mobile screen to maximise impact.

The ads still have the same functionality, with a tap taking users to a company website. However, they now provide a far better user experience.

When creating your video assets, think about how you could use the following supported aspect ratios:

  • Landscape: 16:9
  • Vertical: 9:16
  • Square: 1:1

2. Showcase ads on Google Shopping can feature videos instead of images

Showcase ads are a multi-image shopping format that Google rolled out last year. When users click on them, they are taken to a Google-hosted landing page with promotions, descriptions and products from an advertiser.

Video can now be displayed in the featured image position on the hosted landing page. It’s an engaging new way to capture intent-driven online searchers and is available to advertisers currently running showcase shopping ads.

3. Google debuts shoppable image ads

Google has also debuted shoppable image ads to capture shoppers as they look for information and inspiration online. Most shoppers search for images before going to a store and this is a new way to get in front of them.

The new shoppable image ads can be shown on search partners and within Google image search. They can be identified by tag icons, pricing and sponsored labels.

4. Data Studio now available for all users

We do love a good data visualisation!

Data Studio is part of the Google Marketing Platform and is a much-loved tool for collating and presenting data. It visualises data from a range of sources such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Youtube Analytics, Google Sheets and more!

By allowing marketers and business analysts to sort and cross-check their data, it empowers them to better track advertising channels and performance metrics.

The great news is that it’s now available to all users for free!

That means you can connect many different data sources and create custom reporting templates (one of our favourite pastimes!) Data visualisations can truly shed a light on areas for digital marketing focus (really, graphs soothe us…).

5. Google local post character length decreased to 1500 characters

Google has made the maximum length of posts in Google My Business 1500 characters (approximately 250 words). Previously, the post length was 100 – 300 words.

The goal is to make sure that Google My Business posts pack a punch! The more succinct the better, as they show up in maps and search results. Your focus should be on providing short bursts of information that can be absorbed quickly.

6. Google Images are enhanced by AI

Google is using AI to make image search more visual, enjoyable, informative and shall we even say… immersive!

There are 4 exciting new features to look out for.

AMP Stories for Notable People

Google is now constructing AMP stories (that reads tappable videos) from images on the web. They’ve started off with notable people like celebrities and athletes. You will start seeing facts and important moments from their lives in a rich visual format. You can then tap the articles for more information and content.

Preview topics with featured videos

Featured videos will now show up to help searches quickly find multi-faceted information on a topic. Let’s say you’re planning a trip. You will now see featured videos in your search that show you what to expect on your travels. For example, cultural highlights and important landmarks.

Google is using AI to get a deep understanding of a topic space and show the most relevant videos and subtopics.

Visual journeys with Google Images

Google image searchers want information or help – not just an image. Therefore, Google has launched smarter algorithms to find higher quality images that are accompanied by great on page content. They also prioritise high authority sites on a topic area and frequently updated content.

They also prioritise images that are high up on the page or central to it. Therefore, product pages with a pair of shoes will be prioritised above category pages showing a range of shoe styles in image search.

You can also see more context around images, including captions and page titles. So, ensure your images sit alongside great on page content.

Explore Images with the AI Google Lens

Users can now hone in on elements within an image and learn more about them with Google Lens. For example, you might want to learn more about a landmark or a cute dog within a photo. The new AI tech in image search analyses images and detects objects of interest within them. Searchers can click on the detected items or draw on an image to trigger related results and dive deeper into their search.

The big marketing takeaway from all of this. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – create rich, engaging visual content and on-page optimisations.

7. SEMRush awards shortlist announced

Our recent SEO & SEM Campaign with Matt Blatt has been shortlisted for The Best Use of Data in a Search Campaign at the SEMRush Awards.

The SEMRush Awards celebrate the best marketing campaigns and teams driving business growth. As big believers in the ability of data insights to drive performance, it’s needless to say – we’re excited!

Stay tuned for the awards to be announced on October 23!

Ready to start using these insights to your advantage? Get in touch with one of our digital marketing experts today!