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Good morning, Marketers, and happy Cinco de Mayo to those who celebrate it!
On Monday, some in the SEO community were discussing whether links to Google search results within featured snippets were something that we should be concerned about. The chatter started after technical SEO consultant Ramesh Singh tweeted a screenshot of a search conducted in India.
“We can confirm that this is a bug and is not intended behavior for links on featured snippets,” a Google spokesperson told us, “We are actively working on a fix.” As you might expect, some were quick to cast doubt on Google’s use of the term “bug” — you gotta love the community’s colorful reactions.
For now, that’s one less thing to think about. Remember, Google has tested something similar before: contextual links in featured snippets, which has yet to receive a wider roll out. If it does, we’ll keep you posted, but for now, keep on reading for all the latest search marketing news.
Microsoft Advertising to treat phrase match the same way Google Ads does
Come mid-May, phrase match will be expanded to include broad match modifier traffic, Microsoft announced yesterday. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Google made the same announcement back in February — Microsoft even links to Google’s announcement in their blog post. That may seem strange, but remember, part of Microsoft Advertising’s strategy is to make adoption as easy as possible for those already using Google Ads.
The new treatment may save advertisers time when it comes to managing keywords, but it may also take time for advertisers to recalibrate their campaigns and traffic may fluctuate as Microsoft flips the switch. And, for advertisers using both Microsoft and Google’s platforms, that’s one less thing to remember since both will soon treat phrase match the same way.
Almost half of TikTok users have purchased products and services they saw on the platform
Forty-nine percent of users reported buying something from a brand after seeing it reviewed, promoted or advertised on TikTok, according to an Adweek-Morning Consult survey. For comparison, that same study also found that 41% of adults bought something after seeing it on Facebook. These stats might be compelling, but remember that you’re not advertising to all the users on a platform, just the ones that are part of your target audience.
Why we care. More than 7 out of 10 Gen Zers reported having a TikTok account, which means that if they’re part of your audience, it might be worthwhile to establish a presence on the short-form video format if you haven’t already.
On the other hand, perhaps Facebook is a better bet if you’re marketing to millennials as 60% reported purchasing something they saw there. For Gen Xers, that figure drops down to 48%, falling even further to just 27% of baby boomers. If you only have the resources to invest in one social media platform, choose the one that’s most likely to influence your audience’s purchasing decisions.
Advertisers can now bring their customer segments into Microsoft Advertising via a new integration
A new integration between Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s customer data platform, and Microsoft Advertising now enables advertisers to target their customer segments via Customer Match. Along with that integration, the company also revealed that Customer Match is out of open beta and available in all markets except the EU, U.K. and China.
The integration can facilitate audience segmentation and targeting for those that use Microsoft’s platforms, and Customer Match is a useful way to use your own first-party data to get your message out to audiences, regardless of what happens as we move away from third-party cookies. Interestingly, Google also announced instant match rates, a new feature for Customer Match on its platform last week.
Twitter vs. Clubhouse and SEOs <3 Star Wars
Twitter moves in on Clubhouse’s territory. Twitter will let hosts of Spaces, its feature that competes head-to-head with Clubhouse, charge attendees to listen. Spaces has also rolled on Android devices, as where Clubhouse is still only available on iOS.
May the 4th be with you. I hope the Star Wars/SEO crowd will forgive me for being a day late. Here’s an awesome thread of SEO Star Wars memes started by Izzi Smith; many more contributed their own gifs and memes as well.
The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompts gallery. If you’re marketing an app, you’re probably aware that Apple’s iOS 14.5 update only provides you with two sentences to convince users to let you track their behavior. Here’s a site that features screenshots of what some brands are telling users. Check out what ASOS and Macy’s did; using the right language might just persuade your audience.
How will Google’s employee churn affect its business and the industry?
I don’t have an answer for that, but a string of high-profile departures typically isn’t a good thing. And, quite a few of them are now Apple employees: At the end of 2018, John Giannandrea, Google’s former SVP of engineering, joined Apple as its VP of machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy. The following year, Apple further committed to its AI efforts when it hired Ian Goodfellow, a former Google senior staff research scientist who now bears the title of director of machine learning in the special projects group.
At the end of 2020, Google dismissed Timnit Gebru, a leading ethical AI researcher and the company’s first Black female researcher. She did not move on to work at Apple, but one of her former colleagues and supporters, Samy Bengio, who resigned after Google fired Gebru, has been hired to lead a new AI research unit under John Giannandrea, Reuters reported. Bengio had spent 14 years of his career at Google before he resigned.
And now, there’s a history of walkouts and employee activism that would’ve been hard to imagine in Google’s early years. What might that say about the company’s priorities and ethics? How might that affect the search industry?
We operate in a high tech industry and people move around all the time, but you’d have to turn a blind eye to a lot of factors to dismiss these patterns. And, where is Apple headed with all of this AI talent? My inbox is open to your thoughts (as it always is); email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: You can’t fire me, I quit).