SocialB - Monthly Roundup Header - March 2019

Digital Marketing Roundup – March 2019

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 04 Apr 2019 by Pooja Shevade
Digital Roundup

What Happened?

  • Instagram Rolls Out Checkout For E-Commerce – read
  • New Google Update – read
  • Google Assembles New Ethics Panel – read
  • Google Drops ‘Info:’ Command And Adds To URL Inspection Tool – read
  • Amazon Introduce Video Ads In Mobile-App Search Results – read

Instagram Rolls Out Checkout For E-Commerce

Instagram is introducing product checkout on its app for a limited number of brands. What this means is that users will be able to purchase products without actually having to leave the app.

Currently, ‘Checkout On Instagram’ is being rolled out in the US. Some of the brands that have made the cut are Adidas, Zara,  MAC Cosmetics and H&M. The others on the list can be found here.

The company said it will be making the feature available to more brands over the coming months.

How does this work?

As per the official announcement,

“When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or colour, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out.”


What This Means For Brands

Instagram reported that the number of users that tap on product tags in the app every month has grown from 90 million last September to 130 million now. With this new rollout, the platform has become more e-commerce friendly. With in-app purchases, brands will be able to shorten the buying journey for Instagram users as it would reduce the time from product discovery to purchase by getting the user to buy from within the app itself.

New Google Update

On 12th March, many websites saw their rankings change either for the better or for the worse. This was the result of a new Google update named ‘Florida 2’ by the WebmasterWorld forum, which was rolled out with the intention of improving the overall quality of search and how well the results match the user’s intent.

What This Means For Brands

While this was a broad core algorithm update, we recommend businesses following SEO best practices of providing high-quality content that solves the searcher’s query, building relationships (and links) with other similar websites in your niche, and making sure your website is 100% readable and indexable by search engines.

Google Assembles New Ethics Panel

Google has assembled an external panel of advisers designed to monitor the tech giant’s own research, to ensure its AI remains ethical and ‘socially beneficial’.

Named ‘The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council’, the eight advisors include experts in mathematics, philosophy, psychology and computer science from reputable institutions, including Oxford University. They will meet four times this year, with their first meeting in April.

Google has come under a lot of criticism lately over how it plans to use its emerging tech, including from its own employees. For example last year, Google’s then-head of cloud computing described their facial recognition tech as having inherent bias due to lack of diversity in their data. Some employees have also resigned in recent months in response to Google’s plan to develop AI tech that controls drones – although this project is no longer going ahead.

Issues like these are exactly why the panel was founded. The group will “consider some of Google’s most complex challenges”. They will monitor the organisation’s research and development against Google’s own set of AI principles, developed last year. The principles include being ‘socially beneficial’ and ‘avoiding creating or reinforcing unfair bias’.

What This Means For Brands

Not that the public were about to boycott Google any time soon anyway, but it’s reassuring to see that Google is taking concrete steps to stay on consumers’ good sides. From a brand’s point of view, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on Google’s AI developments to look for opportunities to interact with/learn about consumers, as well as their advertising policies to see how it affects your current strategy.

Google Drops ‘Info:’ Command But Has Added Canonical Info To URL Inspection Tool

Google announced that they will be dropping the ‘info:’ command. The command was primarily used to tell users which URL Google considers the canonical URL in their index. Google has been telling webmasters this is the best way to find the canonical URL of any URL in Google’s index. Now, you can only know this information if you have verified Google Search Console access.

In retiring this tool Google decided to add the ability to see what Google selected as the canonical URL within the URL Inspection Tool. This is the URL selected by Google as the authoritative version of this page. Other versions can be served in search results, depending on factors such as the user’s device type or language. This is not available in the live test, as Google selects a canonical URL only after a page is indexed.

What does this mean for users?

Essentially, all Google has done is moved the location of the functionality, turning it from a command that you use on search to part of a wider tool alongside a report that gives other bits of valuable and related information.

Amazon Introduce Video Ads In Mobile-App Search Results is beginning to roll out video ads on its smartphone apps. With the increasing power of video advertising online, Amazon is jumping on the opportunity to introduce it to their mobile app. The report states “Amazon has been beta testing the ads on Apple Inc.’s iOS platform for several months.” This will be rolled out on the Android version of Amazon’s mobile app later this year.

However, you’ll have to have a big budget to be able to utilise this in your marketing plan. The Bloomberg report features a quote from an unnamed individual close with the topic, “Amazon is requiring a $35,000 ad budget to run the spots at 5 cents per view to run the ads for 60 days,” one person said. “Prices can vary by category and not everyone pays a fixed rate,” stated another person.

What Does This Mean For Advertisers?

With this in mind, we must question a few things; how successful is Amazon’s new venture going to be with the information presented to the public? Will this type of advertising be more achievable for smaller brands? Or, are they contributing to the monopolisation that big businesses already have in the market?

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