[Ep64/5Jul21] - HTTPS boost : Google’s Magic Signal to Break Tie & Rank Higher on SEO & Other Digital Marketing Updates from the Week of Jul 5, 2021

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1. YouTube’s “New To You” Feature Will Help Viewers Discover New Content -
YouTube's rolling out a new feature called 'New to You', which is designed to help users discover content from channels that they've not previously viewed, but are aligned with their interests based on past viewing behavior.

The option is primarily focused on maximizing viewer engagement, but it may also help creators reach new audiences through targeted exposure.

How is this different from “Explore” page? Explore helps viewers find content in particular verticals - such as gaming or content that is trending worldwide. But content that is not necessarily personalized to them. In other words, it does not take their specific interests into account. But “New To You” is personalized to the viewer. So they take a balanced approach to things they think you might be interested in plus things that are farther afield from things you typically watch.

This is all being done for two reasons: a.)Help viewers explore content that is beyond their typical recommendations b.)creators having a chance to reach new viewers.

2. TikTok Introduces 'Shoutouts' - A Clone of Cameo - As competition rises for top creators, TikTok is working hard to provide more revenue-generation options, in order to keep its top stars from drifting off to other, more lucrative opportunities. Along this line, TikTok has this week added a new Cameo-like option called 'Shoutouts' in the app, which enables fans to pay to have platform stars send them a personalized video message. users are able to pay, in TikTok coins, to have their favorite creator send them a personalized message. The creator then has three days to either accept an assigned Shoutout or decline, then a further week to create the clip, which is finally sent to the users' inbox.

What are TikTok coins, you might ask? TikTok added its own virtual currency last year, which primarily enables users to purchase virtual gifts that can be sent to creators during TikTok live streams. TikTok virtual gifts As TikTok explains, users can purchase bundles of virtual coins in the app: "Coins can be found in your profile Settings within the “Balance” tab. Select the “Recharge” icon to view the coin denomination options."

So, like Facebook Stars and YouTube's Super Chat options, you exchange real money for on-platform TikTok coins, which you can then use to make donations to your favorite creators, through digital effects and stickers, and now, via Shoutouts as well. So how much does it cost to get your favorite TikTok-er to make you a custom video? Well it depends on what they want to charge - based on the above example, at 100,000 TikTok coins, that's around $US1800 at present. Which is pretty steep - but then again, the amount is variable, and some people will probably pay whatever it takes to be 'seen' by their favorite stars.

3. TikTok Launches New 'Unplugged' Info Sessions to Share Insights Into How Marketers Can Succeed -
This month, TikTok is running a range of free 'TikTok Unplugged' business info sessions, which will see some of the platform's biggest successes share their secrets and tips on how to grow your brand with TikTok marketing.

As explained by TikTok:

"Go beyond ads and collaborate with creators to get your brand in front of the TikTok community authentically. Learn about their creative processes LIVE on TikTok: UNPLUGGED Creators Spotlight sessions."

TikTok has a listed a range of sessions which will be broadcast throughout the month, which anyone can join from its dedicated site:

You can read more about TikTok's Unplugged Series, and sign-up for events, here.

4. TikTok Copies LinkedIn - Launches “TikTok Resumes" - Want to stand out to recruiters and HR managers? Maybe TikTok is your ticket, with the platform today launching its new 'Resumes' program in the US, which enables people to post personal job pitches via TikTok clips.

As explained by TikTok:

"TikTok Resumes is a pilot program designed to continue expanding and enhancing TikTok as a new channel for recruitment and job discovery. We're teaming up with select companies and inviting job seekers to apply for entry-level to experienced positions with some of the world's most sought-after employers, including Chipotle, Target, WWE, Alo Yoga, Shopify, Contra, Movers+Shakers, and many more, with a TikTok video resume."

The process of actually posting a TikTok Resume is fairly simple - candidates use TikTok clips to "showcase their skillsets and experiences", then post them to the app using the #TikTokResumes tag in their caption.

There's also a dedicated TikTok Resumes website where you can get inspiration and tips for your personal video pitch, and search through listed openings.

You can then apply to any listed job by providing a link to your TikTok application clip (as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile if you choose).

The program is accepting video resumes for U.S. job openings from July 7 through July 31.

5. Facebook Outlines 4 Key Areas of Focus for the Platform Moving Forward - This week, Facebook's Vice President, Ads & Business Products Dan Levy has provided a new overview of its evolving business focus, and the key elements that Facebook's looking to maximize as it continues to build for the next generation of user behaviors.

And there are some valuable pointers and notes here - first off, Levy outlines Facebook's four key areas of business product innovation.

a.) Privacy-enhancing technologies - Levy says that Facebook's working to develop new 'privacy-enhancing technologies' in order to minimize the amount of personal information that the platform takes in, while still enabling advertisers to focus their promotions with optimal efficiency.

b.)Product and business discovery - First off, Facebook's trialing a new option in user News Feeds which enables people to tap to browse content from businesses on topics - "such as beauty, fitness, or clothing, and explore content from related businesses". In addition to this, Facebook's also looking to build improved ad placements based on the content users are interacting with.

"So if you’re watching a travel video, we could show ads for hotels and flights." Facebook already offers this to a degree via its ad targeting options, but it's looking to get more specific, which could open up new ad opportunities.

Levy says that they're also looking to help boost small businesses specifically, with a new badge that will be displayed on some ads from SMBs.

c.)Commerce - Levy says that a billion people now visit Facebook Marketplace each month, while Facebook and Instagram Shops, which were launched last May, now see over 300 million monthly visitors. "Facebook and Instagram are fast becoming a destination to buy and sell and over the coming years, we are building a modern commerce system to meet that demand across ads, community tools, messaging, Shops and payments. It's all in service of creating a personalized, seamless customer journey, in which it is easier to discover a product, learn about it, decide to buy it, pay for it, and find it on your doorstep."

d.)Business tools beyond marketing - Levy also notes that Facebook's continuing to work on improved business management tools and processes, in line with these trends, while also adding in new elements like job listings (and resume uploads on profiles) as well as improved messaging and digital education tools.

6. Facebook Launches 'Creative Guidance Navigator' for Marketing Stats and Tips - This week, Facebook has launched what it's calling 'Creative Guidance Navigator', which is a mini-site of various ad tips and notes that can help improve your ad creation approach. The mini-site is fairly straightforward - The main listing displays a range of Facebook ad tips, one-by-one, with a 'Load more' prompt at the bottom to generate more examples of relevance.

You can also filter the display by ad format, industry, region and more to get more specific creative notes of relevance to your brand niche. You can check it out here https://www.facebook.com/business/creative-guidance-navigator

7. Facebook Updates Conversion Modeling and Events to Tackle ATT Changes - Here's what's changed:

First off, Facebook will now allow advertisers to update their focus event for a campaign without the advertiser having to pause and manually restart it with every change. That'll make it easier to keep your campaigns moving, with more flexibility to change focus based on performance trends.

Facebook's also adding estimated conversions into its 7-day click attribution window, which will help advertisers account for data lost due to the ATT update. With the ATT changes, many Facebook advertisers have seen a significant reduction in conversions because Facebook is no longer able to track them, but this will provide a more accurate view of performance based on modeled estimates. Many advertisers are also reporting major mismatches between their data reporting tools, because they can't connect the dots between Facebook reporting and their actual performance, and this will help to reduce those gaps.

And lastly, Facebook's providing more flexibility for marketers looking to maximize performance to Android users, by expanding their event options in their campaign set-up. That will mean that advertisers looking to target Android users will have more capacity to optimize their campaigns based on performance - though this won't help those looking to reach users on iOS.

8. Microsoft Advertising Updates - On July 6th, Microsoft Advertising announced its July product releases and updates. Here’s what you need to know!

  • Microsoft Expands Verticals for Dynamic Remarketing - they will expand dynamic remarketing to additional verticals including automotive listings, entertainment events, and the travel industry (specifically tours and activities). Dynamic remarketing uses product IDs to identify what product an audience has interacted with and then uses that to deliver targeted ads.
  • In-Market Audience Data Refined - Updated the user experience for advertisers implementing in-market audiences. Now, when advertisers are adding in-market audiences, they’ll be able to easily see how big a segment size is based upon the specific markets that they are targeting within that campaign. Previously, by default, the audience size was global. Now, if a campaign is targeting the U.S., the audience size will be reflective of those audience members that are within the US only.
  • Automated Bidding Expands to the Microsoft Audience Network - This change will only be effective for search campaigns that are opted into the audience network. Standalone audience campaigns (with no search components) will have this feature available in future months.
  • New insertions for your Responsive Search Ads - Two new ways to customize responsive search ads with the addition of countdown customizers and location extensions. Countdown customizers allow advertisers to dynamically insert countdowns into your RSAs to key moments for your business; like sales or online events. For instance, you could countdown to the end of a sale or the end of a shipping window to be delivered by a specific date. Location insertions allow advertisers to add locations into your RSAs to maximize relevancy to the searcher based on their location.
  • New Action Extensions - Has expanded the number of actions available for action extensions! For more information on setting up those, see the help documentation.
  • Deprecation of Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool - For the time being, the tool is still accessible but it won’t be updated or maintained going forward. Instead, advertisers should plan to use the Keyword Planner within the UI.
  • Multimedia Ads For Search - The ads will combine advertisers’ images, headlines and descriptions using machine learning to create engaging, attention-grabbing ads. Multimedia ads will be delivered on the Bing.com search pages and will be featured prominently in the mainline at the top of the SERP or on the right rail. There will only be one multimedia ad per page, so only one advertiser can deliver a multi-media ad at a time. Folks that are familiar with Google’s responsive display ad creation will find the setup of Multimedia Ads to be very familiar. The proves also closely resembles the creation process for Responsive Search Ads, but with the ability to use rich visual assets in combination with text.

9. Machine Learning Will Not Replace Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Google’s John Mueller recently did a Q&A in which he was asked the question of about the future of SEO industry. What Mueller essentially said was that regardless of how advanced machine learning gets, it is unlikely that it will end up rendering good old fashioned SEO obsolete anytime soon. He definitely struggled to come up with a satisfactory answer though, but it is heartening to think that an executive with such a high ranking position in Google decided to give good news in this regard.

10. HTTPS boost : Google’s Magic Signal to Break Tie & Rank Higher on SEO - Google doesn't typically disclose what factors go into its ranking algorithm—it's a well-guarded secret. But, in the second part of the Search Off The Record podcast released on July 6, 2021 Gary Illyes from Google explained how Google does ranking. In short, they assign a score to each page (using different algorithms such as PageRank, RankBrain and etc) in a result set based on topicality and relevancy based on the query and content of the page. It is highly unlikely that two pages will have the same score. However, if any two pages ends up with the same score then they use the score from HTTP boost, which is a magic signal, and works as a tiebreaker.

HTTP boost is nothing but having SSL turned on for your website. There you go folks, if you were unsure about the importance of SSL now you know how important it is and hope you turn it on.

This was an interesting podcast to listen to, so I’m embedding the audio at the start time below at 28:52 where Gary explains how results are returned. Give it a listen if you want to geek out on SEO ranking.

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