With digital moving so fast, it’s more important than ever to stay up to date! As the first month of 2020 comes to an end, we’ll cover the marketing stories that made the headlines - and January was definitely a busy one!
From Google’s January 2020 Core Update to exciting new social media features being tested, discover the digital marketing news you might have missed.
Google January 2020 Core Update
There was big news for search this month, as Google announced a January 2020 Core Update. Although Google is constantly making changes, a core update is a change to the main search algorithm. It may impact the way Google calculates importance and weighting of page ranking factors.
In a statement on their blog, Google clarified the situation:
“Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.”
So, where does this leave your content? As always, it’s important to focus on Google’s guidelines by creating quality content that focuses on user intent.
We’ve been closely monitoring our client’s accounts since the update. As a result of white hat SEO techniques, one of our clients saw an organic traffic lift of almost 50%!
Facebook updated Custom Audiences and its Privacy Check-Up Tool
As Mark Zuckerburg said himself, the future of Facebook is private. After coming under fire for privacy and data concerns in recent years, Facebook is taking steps to become more transparent.
The Privacy Check-Up tool highlights how personal data is being used and displayed by Facebook. It’s now split into four clear sections, giving users and easy overview of what information Facebook collects and tips for strengthening account security.
Facebook uses the data it collects, such as location and interests, to display personalised adverts to its users. A ‘custom audience’ is a list of collected data uploaded by advertisers. It’s often made up of their best customers. Users will now be able to hide ads that are targeted to them using custom audience data. Brands will need to reconsider the relationship they have with their customers and the message they’re using.
Twitter tested new feature for limiting replies to tweets
In an effort to be at the forefront of online discussion and real-time news, Twitter is always adding new features for users. The platform’s director of product management Suzanne Xie showed screenshots a new replies feature during a presentation at CES.
The feature will provide users with four options when tweeting:
- Global - anyone can reply to the tweet
- Group - only people you follow or mention will be able to reply
- Panel - only people directly mentioned in the tweet can reply
- Statement - no tweet replies allowed
It’s hoped that this will facilitate discussion on Twitter and make it easier to follow along with, although some have expressed concerns that it could be used to create biased replies.
Twitter also announced reactions in DMs, similar to Facebook messenger. Users now have more options for responding to messages.
Google Assistant surpassed 500 million monthly users
In January, Google Assistant announced that 500 million people are now using the service across smartphones, TVs and smart home devices each month.
Whilst Google has a smaller share of the voice assistant market compared to the likes of Siri and Cortana, there’s room for expansion and Google is heading in the right direction.
Google also announced a number of new features for the virtual assistant, including long form reading, scheduling actions and sticky notes. It’ll be interesting to see how Google Assistant continues to develop and grow.
Instagram Started Testing Desktop DMs
Social media managers, this one’s for you!
Instagram has announced it’s testing desktop DMs. For brands, this could make Instagram DMs a more viable option for customer service, as messages would be easier to manage and respond to. Currently, Twitter is the go-to for customer service, but brands may soon be able to answer requests on Instagram just as easily.
Some have speculated it may also be another step towards connecting messaging across Facebook’s trio of core apps: Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp.
Google introduced a new shopping section to search
Google search is making it easier to find and compare clothes, shoes and accessories from across the web in one place. For example, searching for ‘women’s jacket’ will identify popular products and will let you filter by style, department and style.
On their blog, Google explained further:
“To make this feature possible, Google indexes and organises products from over a million online shops, and updates this information regularly. Just as we don’t charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, participating retailers appear in this new feature for free.”
LinkedIn announced new features for Pages
LinkedIn wants to help businesses connect in more personal and interactive ways. The platform has introduced three new features for business pages, aimed at allowing brands to build stronger relationships with their customers and employers.
Here's an overview of the new features:
- Invite connections to follow your business page, grow your community and reach new audiences
- LinkedIn Live is rolling out on Pages, to engage in real-time conversation with your followers
- Post as an individual or an organisation
As these features roll out for all business pages, it’ll be interesting to see how brands take advantage of them.
Google added new ‘collections’ listings
Google is looking to make your search history more functional with a new feature that rivals Pinterest. Topically related searches will be gathered into ‘collections’.
Google says they’re making it “easier to jump back into your task without digging through your search history”. A ‘find more’ button will display relevant websites, images, products and related searches for each topic.
It also comes with a collaboration feature that “lets you share and work on a collection with others. When sharing a collection, you’ll have the option to let others view it or make changes.” Sounds very similar to a shared board on Pinterest!
Google announces changes to Featured Snippets
In the aftermath of the Core Update, Google rocked the boat again this month by confirming that webpages with a featured snippet won’t be repeated in the first page of organic listings. This means web pages will only get one chance to appear on the first page.
What is a featured snippet?
A featured snippet, sometimes referred to as ‘position 0’, are search results that are featured on the top of Google’s organic search results. They’re aimed at answering the question straight away, without the user having to click any links. Appearing as the featured snippet for a search term boosts brand exposure.
As this is an unknown scenario for SEO’s, it’s important to monitor traffic and collect data on the results following the update.
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