From engagement bait crackdowns and podcast sponsorship guidelines to Google Chrome’s native ad-blocker and a shiny new app attribution tool, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.
Facebook’s Fighting “Engagement Bait”
Facebook is waging a continuous war to improve your News Feed. First it was misleading “clickbait” headlines, then it was low-quality site links. In the company’s latest announcement on Monday, they’ve vowed to penalize people and Pages that post “engagement bait,” which solicits likes, comments, and shares. Think: “Tag a friend who loves animals!” Engagement has long been a signal to the Facebook formula to grant a post greater reach. Starting this week, the network will demote spammy posts that attempt to game their algorithm. They’ll also be “implementing stricter demotions” for Pages that repeatedly use these tactics.
The network says this is all about improving authenticity, which has been their primary goal since the Fake News and Russian propaganda scandals from the 2016 campaign. Page admins should take the next few weeks to assess their strategy. You want to create content that users will share, but it should be more substantial than a request to share. Focus on starting meaningful and authentic conversations instead. To learn how to align with Facebook’s specifications for meaningful content and increase your chance of greater reach, check out Facebook’s News Feed Publisher Guidelines.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau Releases New Podcast Measurement Guidelines
Podcasts have creeped into our lives and filled a void we didn’t know we had for on-demand radio. Thanks to their booming success, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) projects ad revenues to increase by 85% to $220 million this year. To regulate how the podcasts, ads, and audiences are measured, the IAB has released a new version of its Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines. Some big changes? Downloads will only count after about a minute of audio has been delivered and users with the same IP address and app will count as one listener – even if they’re listening more than once in a 24-hour period.
These guidelines make it easier to eliminate bot data. They also provide best practices for both podcast creators and advertisers. Industry experts expect podcasts will flourish as a result of these clearler guidelines and principles. It will also even the measurement playing field, which is important for a new medium. Head here to check them out for yourself. The IAB has also released a buyer’s playbook for podcast advertising that can be helpful in leveraging this growing medium for your brand. Since Nielsen has found that podcast sponsorships and ads significantly lift both brand awareness and purchase intent, you should be paying attention.
Google Confirms Native Ad Blocker for 2018
After sending a warning in June, Google has confirmed that it will launch its own ad-blocking tool in the new year. Beginning February 15th, the big G will remove ads that are considered “bad” by the Coalition for Better Ad’s standards. That means things like full-page interstitials, ads that autoplay sound and video, and large sticky ads. This enforcement won’t be about singular ads, but the percentage of site views that contain a bad experience. That starts out at 7.5% in the first two months and shrinks to 2.5% after six months. To find out if your site contains these annoying or misleading ad experiences, you can check your Ad Experience Report. If your site isn’t doing so hot, you can fix the violations and submit your site for re-review. Google is offering ad experience guidance so site owners understand how their experiences should look and feel.
This change is meant to help publishers weed out intrusive and excessive ads. Even though it seems scary, it won’t hurt anyone following best practices with their ad formats. It’s just about creating advertisements that work for brands without detracting from user experiences online. Hopefully, the ultimate result will be overall better user experiences online that remove the need for blanket ad blockers. This more controlled blocking solution could restore ad impressions and fuel the digital advertising ecosystem down the line. It will, however, put more power in the hands of Google (who, spoiler alert, already has a lot).
What else you should know this week:
- Oath (a.k.a. Yahoo, AOL, Huffington Post, TehcCrunch, Tumblr, Flickr, and friends) has launched four new mobile formats. The first is an augmented reality tool that lets users see how products would look in their own space before they make a purchase. Another is a full-screen native canvas. The third is a coupon saver that integrates with mobile wallets. This also opens re-targeting options for the brands down the line. The last is a social media-like integration with real-time photo, video, and text uploads. In an increasingly competitive world, Oath is doing what it can to stand out on the devices where more consumers are going: mobile. Pottery Barn and The Home Depot are already trying them out.
- Christmas marks more than just the holiday season. December 25th and 26th are usually the biggest mobile download days of the year. And with New Year’s hot on St. Nick’s heels, you’ll want to focus some TLC to your app store SEO. Best practices like relevant keyword-inclusive titles and descriptions, eye-catching icons, and informational, engaging preview videos and screenshots should be in full effect, as should your chosen analytics platform. Keep your content fresh, but don’t over-optimize in a spammy way. You want your result to attract users seeking your app’s services.
Cool T00l Alert
Nearly all mobile apps use different tracking technology, which makes it more difficult to attribute clicks and conversions. That’s where branch comes in. They use linking infrastructures to track user behavior across devices, channels, and platforms, creating a customer journey across every touchpoint. A tool like branch could help you understand your users better, savings your analytics team time and helping you spend more efficiently.