November was an exciting month in the digital world! With Black Friday and Cyber Monday taking ecommerce by storm yet again, the rest of the industry was just as busy! We’ve seen Twitter diving into holiday trends with #HolidayisHappening, Google making both in-search charity donations and job searches easier with the launch of various new features, Pinterest launching Pincodes just in time for Q1 campaigns and Google helping to fight restaurant queues like ‘foodie’ superheroes.
We summarise some of the best stories to hit the digital space last month in the Ayima November round-up.
Black Friday: online dominates high streets
It’s official: online shopping won big this year on Black Friday over brick-and-mortar shops. According to reports, digital retailers raked in £1.4 billion, which represents an 11.7 percent increase over 2016. As for High Streets? Their sales dipped some 3.6 percent, and experts say this change in shopping points to the fact people don’t feel the need to “brave” the crowds associated with the retail holiday.
But it actually goes a bit deeper than that, according to data shared by Google leading up to the big day. As part of its Think With Google initiative, the company found that shoppers are simply doing more online research before they open their wallets. That’s particularly true on mobile, where Google has seen some big jumps in searches around particular terms and phrases since 2015. For example, “ideas”-based searches increased by 55 percent, searches containing the phrase “Black Friday” grew by 80 percent, and location-based searches (“where to buy”) were up by 85 percent.
This is all part of a clearly growing trend of people preferring to not only do their research online, but shop there, too. The bigger uptick in mobile is especially noteworthy, as Google has seen a 40 percent jump in mobile transactions during the Black Friday period. The message here is clear: if you’re a retailer, you need to make sure your mobile game is on point.
Giving back is now as simple as a click (or tap)
To kick things off on a particularly high note, Google has started rolling out an even easier way for people to donate to their favourite charities. It’s all in the spirit of the holiday season and this year’s #GivingTuesday celebration (28 November), which helped raise millions of dollars for charities across the U.S.
And now, giving back is simpler than ever. When you search for certain U.S.-based charities on Google, you’ll see a big DONATE button appear within the knowledge graph alongside pertinent information from the organisation.
So far, the feature only applies to a list of charities in the States that have registered as part of the Google For Nonprofits initiative. However, Google made it clear that the list is ever-growing, and that they hope more organisations continue to sign up.
Google cracks down on content
Google has sounded the alarm that they will start cracking down on webmasters serving disparate content between their original (canonical) and AMP pages. You have until 1 February 2018 to get your content in order—in other words, as similar as possible—or else you may not continue appearing in the coveted Top Stories carousel.
As you may already know, the goal of the AMP format is to provide a quicker, better user experience of existing content. However, it seems that some webmasters are instituting certain practices, such as abbreviated content, to make sure that users click through so they can view the original content. In the case that this happens post 1 February 2018, Google will serve the user the non-AMP version and notify the webmaster via Search Console that they must amend their content to have the AMP version appear again.
It’s worth noting that there is no actual penalty that occurs here, just the inability to appear in the Top Stories. If you’re unsure about your AMP implementation, check out Google’s guide.
Finding your dream job just got easier thanks to Google
In early 2017, Google rolled out a new feature that aimed to make it easier for job-seekers to find their future new place of employment—directly through Search. And after receiving a bunch of feedback in the ensuing months, the company has announced a set of updates that should simplify the process.
As of mid-November, users have been able to view the following new bits of information that have long been crucial to the job search:
- Salary: Google estimates that 85 percent of job listings are missing salary info, but they’re working to provide estimated salary ranges for their postings based on job title, location and employer by pulling info from sources like LinkedIn and PayScale.
- Location: Narrow down where you’re searching for your new gig by applying the 2-to-200 mile radius feature to make sure you’re only seeing postings in your specified region. You can also input “anywhere” if location doesn’t matter.
- Applying: Let’s say you have a profile and CV built on Monster. Chances are you don’t necessarily want to spend time filling in that same information on another site, right? Well, Google is working to serve job postings at your preferred platform, which makes sense considering employers often post openings on multiple sites anyway.
There’s a fourth new function that may have been rolled out as you read this: Saved Jobs. Think of it like a bookmark for a job posting.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to get your own job listings just right, read our definitive guide to Google Job Search SEO.
Hungry? Don’t jump in line: Google launches live restaurant waiting times
Google has once again updated their live restaurant feature in the SERPs, and they now allow users to get a handle on just how long they’ll have to wait for a table at their favourite restaurant. Previously, you could see other, related bits of information that may have given you a leg-up on other would-be diners, such as the most popular times and duration of stay at your restaurant of choice.
But this new feature, which is coming soon to Google Maps, provides an estimated wait time that allows you to plan ahead in case you’re headed somewhere at the last minute (or the place doesn’t take reservations). The data is pulled from a similar set to the popular times/duration feed, and you can find it in the same area of the restaurant’s business listing. You’ll find estimated wait times for other hours of other days, too.
Or you could always go completely old-school call ahead of time, just to be sure.
Offline to online experiences with Pinterest's new Pincodes
Pinterest is continuing to bridge the gap between our offline and online lives with the reveal of their latest feature, Pincodes. Consider it the next step forward in their pre-existing feature, Lens, which allows users to receive inspiration based on items and products viewed through their smartphone’s camera. Let’s say you like that new pillow set your friend bought. Well, Lens will recognise it and provide ideas for you to peruse based on the set.
Pincodes pushes that idea forward by allowing retailers to get even more specific with what users see through Lens. They’re essentially Pinterest-branded QR codes that brands can use to provide even more relevant shopping opportunities to consumers. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, you may want to consider implementing Pincodes in the new in-store product display you’ve spent time and money getting just right.
Some brands, like Nordstrom, are already taking advantage of Pincodes throughout their stores, while others have interesting plans in the works. Kia, for example, will have a Pincodes feature available at the L.A. Auto Show in early December to provide a more in-depth look at its latest model, the Stinger.
#HolidayIsHappening: Twitter Launches First Holiday Insights Campaign
Social media marketers with their eyes on the holiday shopping season are having some of their work done for them thanks to a new collaboration between Twitter and digital business/tech network, Cheddar. They have teamed up for their first-ever holiday insights campaign called #HolidayIsHappening wherein they’re tracking all the trends surrounding, well, the holidays.
Whether it’s a delicious side dish everyone’s talking about, a new car advert, or the latest kids’ toy that’s flying off the shelves, you’re likely to find out more about it through this project. You can then use that information to learn what your audience is particularly interested in this holiday season—and how you, too, can capture their attention. Twitter’s team says they’re making sure of that by focusing on holiday-related tweets that show actual consumer intent, which it claims “give[s] brands and marketers actionable insights to optimise their campaigns in real time.”
If you’re interested in viewing the #HolidayIsHappening insights, visit @cheddar every Tuesday and Friday between 3-4 p.m. EST.
Google and Salesforce team up for better integration of online and offline customer interactions
The spirit of collaboration appears to have been in full swing in November, because Google and Salesforce announced they’re teaming up to connect sales, marketing and sales data for marketers to better understand user behaviour. With this information, they’ll be able to more easily integrate online and offline customer interactions, which will provide a more complete idea of the customer journey. Marketers will also see what does and doesn’t work when it comes to engagement with ads, websites, offline sales teams, and the like.
This will all happen through a four-part integration between Google Analytics 360 and two Sales Force products (Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud), and will allow clients to fully understand a customer’s path from awareness to conversion to retention. In doing so, they can more quickly jump on opportunities throughout the sales funnel and better serve their audience.
It’ll also provide a better understanding of exactly how marketing campaigns are performing by also including offline conversions in Google Attribution 360’s attribution modelling. This will show a more comprehensive view of the ROI for each marketing channel, because you can see how customers are engaging with digital properties.
As we mentioned earlier, Google and Salesforce plan to roll this out in 2018, so stay tuned.
Want more? Check out these other top stories from November:
- Job postings and applications directly on Facebook
- Identifying credible content online, with help from the Trust Project
- Facebook launches new features to help brands grow internationally i.e. dynamic language optimisation, multi-country lookalikes audiences, multi-city targeting, cross-border insights finder
- Snapchat's redesign separates social from media