Welcome to our fifth episode of our “Fortnightly Digital Marketing News Roundups”.

We know it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes in the Digital Marketing industry. Many of us work in busy offices, sometimes barely having time to grab a sandwich or a coffee. So, we wanted to make it easier for all of you to know what’s going on.

Learn about the changes coming to Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Ad Customisers, Twitter ArtHouse and so much more…

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    Martin: Hi Everyone, I’m Martin from Blue Thirst and welcome to episode 5 of our fortnightly digital news. We hope these stories from the World of Google ads, Facebook keep you feeling up to date with the rapidly changing world that is digital marketing. Lots has been going on in the last 14 days Instagram is launching a test today in Australia, New Zealand where is not going to show the number of likes of a post unless you are the profile owner.

    Google parallel tracking for display ads rolls out on the 31st July, don’t worry we will explain what it is and if you will be affected. Google is going to allow you to show customers product photos in your Google shopping ads… all our customers are gorgeous so we don’t mind. These stories and more coming up

    Martin: Google is Taking Ads API Back to Beta Over Performance Issues

    Emily: Google Expands App Campaigns Search Inventory on iOS Browsers

    Lucy: 5 Changes Coming to Facebook Messenger

    Emily: Microsoft Advertising Rolls Out Ad Customizers

    Lucy: Twitter ArtHouse launches to give brands more access to creators and influencers

    Katy: Bing showing a streamlined recipe carousel in search results

    Martin: Facebook is Showing Users More Details About Data Used to Target Ads

    Katy: Google: We Made Over 3,200 Changes With 654,680 Experiments In Search Last Year

    Emily: Google to Display Customer Photos in Shopping Ads

    Katy: The Google Unconfirmed July Search Ranking Algorithm Update Is Heated

    Martin: Parallel Tracking for Google Display Ad is mandatory from July 31st.

    Lucy: Facebook is shrinking mobile News Feed ad space

    Katy: Instagram hides likes count in international test ‘to remove pressure’

    Martin: Google is Taking Ads API Back to Beta Over Performance Issues

    Google has chosen to send their Ads API back to beta. There has been a number of problems on the newest API that Google has been encouraging users to switch to. A number of features such as: includeZeroimpressions variable have not been included which is very useful for analysis.There have also been some bugs around creating new audiences which can take 6 -12 hours to populate using the new API. If you update your audience data more than twice a day your audiences will never become live.

    This and other issues around slow response times, have led to Google deciding that the new Google Ads API is not ready for public usage and has been rolled back to beta.

    Emily: Google Expands App Campaigns Search Inventory on iOS Browsers

    iOS mobile web browser searches will now show app ads. The installs and in-app conversions from iOS browsers will be included in campaign reports.App advertisers do not need to do anything to gain access to this ad inventory. The reporting for active app campaigns will automatically get modelled conversions in their Google Ads reporting.

    If you’re an advertiser that relies on third-party tools then these conversions won’t be available. As iOS takes up a large amount of the mobile operating system market, this expanded inventory opens up a potential whole new audience gap for app advertisers.

    Lucy: 5 Changes Coming to Facebook Messenger

    At the F8 conference in May, Facebook announced multiple changes to Messenger. Facebook are developing a Messenger desktop app, as well as completely redesigning the Messenger app for improved speed. Outside of these updates, they are also developing a close friends group feature, that may allow users to have feeds that are only populated by specific people.

    They will be improving group video viewing, this will be done by implementing a seamless experience when sharing a video from the Facebook app to Messenger while inviting others to watch together while chatting. Lastly, and the part most exciting for marketers, they are looking to implement new messenger lead ad templates and appointment booking. This will allow businesses to more easily qualify leads from the platform.

    Facebook is putting a lot of focus on privacy here and enhancing connections between “closest friends” versus the entire cyber web. On the surface, this may feel troubling to businesses and create a sense that they are going to be left out of the most important activities that Facebook and Messenger users are taking part in.

    Emily: Microsoft Advertising Introducing Ad Customizers

    Ad customizers are being introduced in Microsoft which allow advertisers to create many different ad variations of a single ad. Microsoft states that ‘Ad customizers are parameters within the ad copy which get replaced by dynamic text when the ad is displayed to the user. The parameters follow this format {=FeedName.AttributeName:Default}.

    Advertisers can set up their ads to change based on a number of targeting options such as location, audience lists, devices etc. This will help save a lot of time in creating ads, while also having ads customisable to the users.

    Lucy: Twitter ArtHouse launches to give brands more access to creators and influencers

    Twitter is launching a new program to help connect brands with influencers and creators. It will involve a global team of content strategists, digital producers and influencer marketing specialists. It will offer video editing and live broadcasting services. Data shows that users spent 24% more time with an ad from a creator on Twitter than an ad directly from the brand. Ad recall rates were higher when a creator was involved, with branded creator posts delivering a 41% increase in purchase intent.

    Katy: Bing is now showing a streamlined recipe carousel in search results

    Bing has been testing and introducing a new feature in search results for food recipes. Here, users can type in the food they want to make and Bing will show rich results for recipes.

    The results are shown in a carousel format of three recipes. Alongside this, Bing is also testing a Compare option for recipes which will let you compare the differences between each step of the recipes, including time to make, nutritional information and ingredients. Google already has a similar feature which shows recipes as a single snippet, but it seems Bing has one-upped them with the visual carousel format. Bing not only provides more relevant details for recipes than Google, but is more visually engaging for users.

    Martin: Facebook is Showing Users More Details About What User Data Has Been Used to Target The Ads They Are Seeing

    To see the data, you click on the three little dots next to an ad and on the drop down click “Why am I seeing this ad?”. Most of the data is around remarketing lists and similar to customer lists, but we have seen some funny ones. Our camera lady Lucy today was targeted on instagram due to being interested apparently in ground beef .  And that is how nicknames are made….

    Users will now be able to see the interests and categories used to target them and where the information came from. The tool links to options to hide ads from a particular advertiser or remove ad targeting data from their profiles. This is a bit of an attempt to make Facebook advertising more transparent and should mean marketers need to be using legitimate resources to collect data and create audience lists. It is useful if you see ads for maybe competing businesses and you want a bit of a spy on what they are using. The targeting descriptions are not that ground breakingly informative though.

    Katy: Google announces: We Made Over 3,200 Changes With 654,680 Experiments In Search Last Year

    Google has announced in a blog post that in the last year over 3,200 changes were made to their search engine systems. Google said “some of these were visible launches of new features, while many others were regular updates”. In 2016, Google said that they were pushing up to 16,000 new code updates per workday, but have not mentioned if this has been maintained. Either way, this is a lot of updates. If anything, this announcement demonstrates how quickly the Google ecosystem can change and how important it is for SEO specialists and website owners to stay up to date on the latest updates.

    Emily: Google Shopping ads can now contain customer photos

    Google has introduced a new feature that allows retailers to include customer photos in their shopping ads. This may happen if a customer leaves a review with a photo. Customers can choose to upload a photo when they leave a review of their purchase. If they do, their photo will automatically be sent to google, which can then be used in sopping ads. Retailers will be able to display customer photos if they work with a one of a group of third party review platforms. This could help with the authenticity of brands and provide more transparency with products.

    Katy: This Month’s Unconfirmed Google Ranking Algorithm Update Gets Heated

    There has been a lot of speculation around the rumoured July 11th search ranking update, which Google is yet to confirm. It has been reported across the SEO-world that sites have seen fluctuations in ranking positions and organic data since this update. Many users are asking the questions that Google are yet to answer. It is possible that this was an extension of the June 2019 update, rather than being this month’s update. Some are saying that this may be a small update made by Google that they did not expect to have such an impact. But Google’s stereo silence is raising concerns with site owners and Google are yet to confirm anything.

    Martin: Parallel Tracking for Google Display Ad is mandatory from July 31st.

    What is Google parallel tracking? OK the way a lot of tracking works is that when you click on an ad, first you have to visit a tracking url first. If you watch the address bar on your browser when clicking on some ads first you end up somewhere with a complex url and then are redirected back to the content that you want to see. This can be slow if the tracking software is working hard tracking lots of users.

    Parallel tracking works in a slightly different way. When you click on a parallel tracked link you’re immediately linked to the content you want and in the background and Google ad tracker loads handling all tracking data. Google extended parallel tracking to display campaigns in May. But we’re now approaching the deadline for making the switch. Advertisers using third-party tracking parameters need to have made the witch to parallel tracking by July 31st.

    For 99% of small and medium business this will represent no change. If you are running more complex tracking normally into CRM systems or if you are using a “per click ID” for example this won’t work with parallel tracking. I won’t go into this here but drop us a message if you are facing this as there are some workarounds using google click ids

    Parallel tracking will soon be the standard method for handling third-party click measurement. Google switched to parallel tracking for search ads last October. It will be coming to video ads later this year, Google said Wednesday. Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) is currently beta testing parallel tracking for ads and expects to make it available globally in the near future.

    Lucy: Facebook Is Shrinking Mobile News Feed Ad Space

    Starting in August, Facebook is changing mobile news feed post and ad layouts from a 2:3 aspect ratio to a 4:5 ratio. This means that ads will be showing less lines of text and smaller photo or videos. As only 3 lines of text will show before the ‘see more’ prompt, advertisers will have less opportunity to make their mark on potential customers.Additionally, videos will also need to be optimized, otherwise they will be automatically “masked” when the changes take effect.

    Katy: Instagram hides likes count in international test ‘to remove pressure’

    Instagram announced in May that they will begin testing hiding likes on posts. Instead of showing the exact number of likes for each post, Instagram will replace this number with ‘others’. This testing was completed in Canada and is now being rolled out to more countries this week. This is in a bid to remove pressure from users to put towards their plan to reduce online bullying. Instagram said “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love”. We are yet to see this update in our feeds but keep your eyes peeled as it should be out soon.

    Martin: Well that is it for another fortnight. Don’t forget you can subscribe to get these videos as soon as they are released. We also post each individual news article as they break on our Blue Thirst, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account if you can’t wait 14 days to hear from us again. Finally we are also on  Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, YouTube and Spotify if you prefer to watch us there. Well that is it for us. I hope all your customers convert and I will see you in 14 days time. Bye for now.