From LinkedIn video ads and mobile-first indexing to Apple Business Chat and Facebook’s third-party data ban, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.
LinkedIn Rolls Out Video Ads
Starting Thursday, LinkedIn will extend video services to Company pages, meaning businesses and publishers can leverage video on their page and for in-feed sponsored content. More than 700 advertisers have been beta testing LinkedIn video ads since October and found that members spent about three times more time watching video ads rather than static ones. The beta program also determined that Company page videos are five times more likely to start a conversation than other forms of content. To make it even easier to reach the right audience, LinkedIn video ads will have audience targeting based on job title, seniority, industry, skills, and company name. Brands can also tailor video campaigns to build awareness, generate leads, or drive website traffic. Video for Sponsored Content ads will also have a measurement tool. These video products will be available to all businesses in the coming weeks.
This is great news for reach and engagement on LinkedIn. Video has proven to be extremely effective for capturing attention on social media. Organic video was first introduced on LI in August. Creators have found it effective for sharing knowledge and expressing themselves. Now, brands can captivate a business-oriented audience with video at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is especially exciting for B2B marketers, who have had trouble finding an environment for their video campaigns. Native video ads also let you target videos based on Matched Audiences, which provides demographic and interest data for those who have visited your site. While creating a video, don’t just think about products and services. Consider your company mission and share customer stories and thought leadership.
Google Begins Mobile-First Indexing
On Monday, Google announced that after a year and a half of experimentation and testing, they’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. In the past, the big G crawled, indexed, and ranked sites using the desktop version of their content. That hasn’t always provided the best experience for mobile searchers. Mobile-first indexing simply means that they’ll index and rank using the mobile version of a site. All the sites that Google is migrating will be notified via Search Console. Google will start to show the mobile version of their pages in search results and cached pages.
Google emphasized that indexing is about how they gather content, not how they rank it. And this is rolling out gradually, so there’s no need to panic. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing doesn’t have any advantage over desktop content or mobile content that’s crawled differently. They do, however, encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly. A site with a better mobile experience would likely receive better rankings – even for desktop searches. If you have a separate mobile site, make sure it contains everything your desktop one does. Even if you have a fully responsive site, you may have some work to do. Optimize images and other dynamic elements for the mobile experience, keeping page speeds high and load times low. Check out Google’s best practices for mobile-first indexing for more info.
Apple Releases iOS 11.3
Yesterday, Apple rolled out iOS 11.3. Noteworthy updates include improved AR experiences, a Health feature that helps patients access personal records, new Animojis, and greater visibility into the phone’s battery performance. The new operating system also makes it easier for users to understand how Apple may use their data. Whenever Apples asks for personally identifying information, a new icon and detailed privacy information will pop up. This comes at a time when Google, Android, and Facebook are facing privacy issues. Apple wants to stand out for taking a modern and transparent approach. Most exciting for brands, though, is the new Business Chat feature. Very similar to Facebook Messenger for Business, the iOS 11.3’s Business Chat lets users communicate directly with businesses using their iPhone and iPad Messages app. Conversations can be continued on an Apple Watch or a Mac.
Apple first announced Business Chat in June. It’s now available in beta in US and Canada. To use the feature, a business must register with Apple and work with a customer service platform partner like LivePerson, Salesforce, or Zendesk. You’ll start to see the option pop up for participating businesses like Marriott and Wells Fargo when you search for them in Maps, Safari, or Spotlight Search. It may be late to the party but Apple Business Chat poses a serious threat. And with the potential to share notifications and integrate Apple Pay, it could be very effective if used creatively.
What else you should know this week:
- Zenith Media has released its predictions for the years ahead. Their research reveals that just one year after digital first overtook TV advertising, global TV ad spend will total $187 billion and global digital spend will reach $227 billion. By 2020, Zenith predicts digital will represent nearly 45% of total ad spend, followed by TV at 31%. Mobile will be the biggest contributor to ad revenue growth and search will be the dominant channel. Of course, the exact figures may be off but the predictions make sense. Even though some brands may have concerns about the effectiveness of certain digital media investments and the safety of the environment overall, digital spend only seems to grow.
- Instagram began with a 1:1 aspect ratio across the board. It’s since evolved from square to landscape and portrait. With Stories, the latest and arguably most popular element of the platform, content is full-screen. Along the way, advertisers have created separate creatives for each format. This week, the Facebook-owned social network announced automatic full-screen support to make things a little easier. Now, Ads Manager will automatically transform creatives to full-screen for use in Stories (so long as they adhere to Instagram Feed aspect ratios). IG will also use pixel matching technology to make the creative appear native. The platform’s “swipe up” functionality will also be supported in case advertisers want to include a link in their full-screen ad. Instagram is no doubt hoping the easier process will lure more brands to test Instagram Stories advertising.
- Google is expanding its Consumer Surveys and Surveys360 products to more than 50 countries. Designed to provide quality market research to businesses of all sizes, GSC launched in 2012. The platform makes it easy to access insights from real people. Surveys360 is very similar, but adds advanced targeting, reporting, and sharing features for enterprises. Now, global companies will have a chance to gather consumer research and complete brand awareness studies in hard-to-reach markets. They’ve also added support for 12 different currencies and 18 languages. Google says it plans to roll out surveys to even more countries later in the year and will offer iOS targeting for surveys as well. Before you make any plans, check the details for each country GSC is in.
- In a hunt for some good PR after last week’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg printed a full page apology ad in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and six UK papers on Sunday. But that’s not all. In a surprise twist yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s ending Partner Categories, which has provided third-party data to advertisers since 2012. It will be completely phased out over the next six months. Just about half of Facebook 1,200 targeting criteria, including household income, will disappear. Advertisers hadn’t made too much of a stink about the Facebook drama at first. But now, they may consider taking their budgets to other ad networks. Or at least become more clever with targeting strategies and creative. Facebook has to focus on retaining users to keep the public – and advertisers – happy but advertisers have to do what they can to reach their audience. Hopefully, FB will start offering comparable prospecting and targeting parameters. We’ll just have to wait and see.