The Latest Digital Marketing Stories
As the seasons change and the temperatures fluctuate, it’s nice to know that at least one thing stays the same: Google dominated yet another month of the digital marketing headlines. The company made some big changes not just in search, but in paid media and digital analytics as well. There’s a lot to unpack from all the updates and adjustments, so get ready for some big info.
Ready to learn more? Read all about it in our February 2021 digital roundup.
Google provide clarity on expected core web vital impact
Toward the end of February, members of the Google team hosted a Search Central Live chat to answer numerous questions related to SEO (and the digital marketing community at large). Most notably, the company’s search liaison, Danny Sullivan, provided some clarity on the anticipated impact of the May 2021 Page Experience Update. He essentially said that it won’t reveal itself overnight and will instead “be relative,” meaning that “Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall.” Head to Search Engine Journal to read more.
Word count not seen as a factor of content quality
“Blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better,” says Google’s John Mueller when asked if “more text is better in the eyes of Google.” As he pointed out, it’s not as simple as bumping up the word count, because the additional copy must make sense in the context of the page and the related search queries. Plus, it must be useful to the readers, otherwise, you’re wasting resources on padding something that likely won’t see results. Read the full breakdown at SEJ.
Paid media stories
Google to roll out changes to broad match and phrase match
This past month, Google officially combined broad match modified with phrase match. This is in line with Google’s past changes to match types which focus more on semantics than specific words (or word order!).
Ostensibly, the new phrase match should match queries to your keyword whenever the meaning is the same, regardless of keyword order. However, when it’s all paired with the recent obfuscation of search terms, many marketers are dubious about Google’s ability to correctly identify intent. While the changes went into effect in February, the company noted that we shouldn’t expect to see an impact until July 2021. You can find out more about how this works at Google.
Responsive search ads officially become the default
Yes, you can still add new expanded text ads, but responsive search ads are now the default. These ads use machine learning to serve the best possible ad to the user based on their search, and Google reported that advertisers are seeing upticks in clicks and conversions when using this methodology. You can read more about this switch here.
Google to end Showcase Shopping ads
As of 1 April, Google will no longer serve Showcase Shopping ads and they’re removing the associated ad groups. This comes after nearly 5 years after they were launched in the summer of 2016, and the search giant explained that previous ad layouts, like the merchant carousel, will become part of the Product Shopping ad groups. You can learn more about this change at Search Engine Land.
All of these recent changes from Google point very clearly in one direction—we’re receiving more and more encouragement to hand over the reins to Google and rely on their machine learning as much as possible for our keyword selection, our bidding, and our ads. The role of the marketer is therefore to ensure we’re choosing the right information to give to Google for it to make those decisions for us and structuring this information in the best possible way to measure and optimize outcomes.
Digital analytics stories
Google Search Console adds new Association function
With the new Association function in Google Search Console, you can link distinct Google services to enable the blending of key data. For example, when you “associate” your site with your other Google services, you can view organic Search Console reports in Google Analytics. This is really just a nice way to streamline otherwise disparate bits of info in one place, and you can learn more at Google Search Central.
Enhanced conversions feature added to Google Tag Manager
Enhanced conversions is the latest feature added to Google Tag Manager, and it aims to “improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement.” Basically, this feature enables users to send a uniquely identifiable value (such as an email) anonymously to Google. Then, Google can match the value against its logged-in customers to deliver a greater scope of attribution options. You can learn more about how this feature works at Google.
We have more exciting news to share with you from our team. In addition to new blog content, we are continuing our free webinar series featuring deep insights from our digital marketing experts.
Our free series of weekly webinars continues this month, and we’ll cover topics such as how to improve retail product feeds for all channels, lifting the hood on website visibility, and much more. Head to our Webinars page to learn more and sign up for an upcoming course!
Here is the blog article we published in February:
- Paid Media Trends in 2021: Want to know what’s happening in paid media this year? Read this new article from Campaign Director Ben Alwin to get the inside scoop.