[Ep69/9Aug21] - New Requirements for Google Podcasts Recommendations & Other Digital Marketing Updates from the Week of Aug 9, 2021

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1. Instagram Rolls Out Limits Feature to Prevent Abuse - Instagram announces 3 new features to help protect people from abuse :

  • The ability for people to limit comments and DM requests during spikes of increased attention
  • Stronger warnings when people try to post potentially offensive comments
  • The global rollout of our Hidden Words feature, which allows people to filter abusive DM requests

2. Facebook Announces First-Ever #BuyBlack Summit - As part of its expanded effort to support Black business owners as they deal with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, Facebook has announced a new #BuyBlack Summit, an all-day event that will provide advice and guidance for Black-owned businesses, to be held on August 24th. Sign up for the event and learn more https://buyblacksummit.splashthat.com/

3. Facebook Shares New, Privacy-Focused Approach to Advertising - The spin from Facebook is that they are helping to provide more insight within the data limitations in place after Apple’s ATT. And now they are developing a set of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) for ads, which will minimize the amount of data gathered and processed, in order to help protect personal information, while still facilitating insight into campaign performance. They are:

Secure Multi-Party Computation (MPC) - allows two or more organizations to work together while limiting the information that either party can learn. MPC is useful for enhancing privacy while calculating outcomes from more than one party, such as reporting the results of an ad campaign or training a machine-learning model where the data is held by two or more parties.

Today, this type of reporting requires at least one party to learn which specific people made a purchase after seeing a specific ad. With MPC, say one party has the information about who saw an ad and another party has information on who makes a purchase. MPC and encryption make it possible for both parties to learn insights about how an ad is performing, without the need to entrust a single party with both data sets. Last year, they began testing a solution called Private Lift Measurement, which uses MPC to help advertisers understand performance.

On-Device Learning - trains an algorithm from insights processed right on your device without sending individual data such as an item purchased or your email address to a remote server or cloud. For example, if lots of people who click on ads for exercise equipment also tend to buy protein shakes, on-device learning could help identify that pattern without sending individual data to a Facebook server or cloud. Then, Facebook can use this pattern to find an audience for protein shakes using ads. Similar to a feature like autocorrect or text prediction, on-device learning improves over time. As millions of devices each make small improvements and start to identify new patterns, these patterns can train an algorithm to get smarter so you may see more ads that are relevant to you and less that aren’t. On-device learning data can be further protected by combining it with differential privacy.

Differential Privacy - is a technique that can be used on its own or applied to other privacy-enhancing technologies to protect data from being re-identified. Differential privacy works by including carefully calculated “noise” to a dataset. For example, if 118 people bought a product after clicking on an ad, a differentially private system would add or subtract a random amount from that number. So instead of 118, someone using that system would see a number like 120 or 114.

Adding that small random bit of incorrect information makes it harder to know who actually bought the product after clicking the ad, even if you have a lot of other data.

4. Video Calling on LinkedIn Is Now a Reality - After adding support for various third-party video providers over the last year in order to facilitate video meetings in the app, last week, LinkedIn quietly rolled out a new, native video option within its messaging platform, which provides another way to connect with users, without the need to download a separate video app.

As explained by LinkedIn:

"From an initial job search to a 1:1 conversation, we wanted to drive the productivity of our members end to end while keeping them safe. By adding video conferencing as a part of the messaging experience, members can connect virtually while maintaining the context of their existing conversation. Now, members can easily schedule free video meetings with their network without the need to download a client or sign up to any service."

5. Google Search Console May Contain Bot Traffic Data - Google's John Mueller confirmed that Google Search Console does not filter out all bot traffic. John said on Twitter in response to someone suspecting seeing bot traffic in the Performance report, "sometimes it can be from bots - we don't necessarily filter all of that out in Search Console."

6. Google Ads attribution models now support YouTube and Display - Attribution is a common issue for search marketers and continues to be muddied as more of the web focuses on privacy. The ability to model your attribution journeys through YouTube and Display will help marketers determine which channels to invest in and which channels could use a different strategy.

As of August 9, Google Ads has upgraded all non-last click models, including data-driven attribution, to support YouTube and Display ads. In addition to clicks, the data-driven attribution model also measures engaged views from YouTube.

Along with knowing which channels are contributing along the buyer journey toward a final conversion (whatever that looks like for your business), the new inclusions mean that “when used along with automated bidding strategies or updates to your manual bidding, data-driven attribution helps to drive additional conversions at the same CPA compared to last click.”

7. YouTube Updates Default Settings on Kids Content, Implements New Restrictions on Promotions - YouTube has announced some new measures to assist in protecting young users from questionable content and unwanted exposure on the platform, with new default privacy settings for uploads by young people, and new reminders and prompts to help avoid overuse.

First off on the new upload settings - in the coming weeks, YouTube says that it will upgrade the default privacy settings for uploads from users ages 13-17 to 'the most private option available'.

So kids can still mitigate the defaults, but by using this as a starting point, YouTube's hoping to ensure that younger users gain more awareness of the risks involved in such, potentially limiting unwanted exposure in the app.

YouTube's also looking to tackle overuse, with the addition of 'take a break' and bedtime reminders, also by default, for all users ages 13-17. So, again, savvy youngsters can just switch these settings off if they choose - and most of them are far more savvy and attuned to such than their parents. But by implementing new defaults, YouTube's looking to increase awareness of its various options in this respect, with a view to improving safety.

And finally, in what may be a big blow for kidfluencers, YouTube's also removing more commercial content from YouTube Kids.

8. Google Ads Editor Rolls Out New Features: Lead Form Extensions, Hotel Ads & More - Google Ads Editor is a tool that allows advertisers to make changes in bulk, making it easy to make optimizations and edits across multiple keywords, ads, ad groups and/or campaigns, easily and seamlessly. With Google Ads Editor, changes are made offline before being pushed live. Making adjustments offline allows advertisers better control and visibility into changes before pushing them live. This week, Google Ads released a new version of Google Ads Editor with a slew of new features. Here's what you need to know!

Lead Form Extensions - Previously only accessible through the UI, lead form extensions were released in 2019 allowing users to append a lead form to their ads so that prospects could complete the form without ever leaving the SERP. Since their initial release, users could only create or edit lead form extensions within the UI. Users can now download, edit, and create lead form extensions within Google Ads Editor. Lead Form Extensions.

YouTube Audio Ads - Similarly, YouTube Audio Ads, which were released in 2020, were previously only available to set up directly within the UI. Now audio ads can be set up through Google Ads Editor.

Hotel Ads - Users can now use Google Ads Editor to manage Hotel Ads, which are feed-based ads that help hotel advertisers promote prices and availabilities of their properties on any given day. Since 2018, Hotel Ads have been available but only accessible to work on through the Google Ads UI.

9. Google Provides More Transparency Over Custom Bidding Process - Custom Bidding is Google's automated bidding strategy for Google Ads 360, which enables advertisers to assign a value to a conversion or purchase, which Google's system can then optimize for within its process. It can be a good way to maximize campaign performance, based on Google's ever-evolving machine learning processes - but up till now, Custom Bidding has required a degree of technical expertise to implement, due to coding elements.

To mitigate this, and lower the barrier to entry, Google's now adding 'Floodlight activities', which are pre-created HTML code snippets that can be used to track conversions, or other information about transactions.

Through this new process, you'll be able to choose pre-determined goals for your Custom Bid approach, then export the code for insertion on your site. So there is still a level of technical expertise involved - but you won't have to understand all the code parameters and build the relevant HTML yourself.

In addition to this, Google's also adding 'pay per viewable' impressions for display and video campaigns, providing more customizable campaign elements, while it's also adding a new 'Bidding Insights' report, which will provide more transparency over its automated bidding processes.

10. New Requirements for Google Podcasts Recommendations - Beginning on September 21, Google will enforce new requirements for podcasts to show in recommendations on the Google Podcasts platform, the company told podcast owners via email on Thursday. Podcasts that do not provide the required information can still appear in Google and Google Podcasts search results and users can still subscribe to them, they just won’t be eligible to be featured as a recommendation.

The new requirements. Starting on September 21, to be eligible to show as a recommendation, podcast RSS feeds must include:

  • A valid, crawlable image: This image must be accessible to Google (not blocked to Google’s crawler or require a login).
  • A show description: Include a user-friendly show description that accurately describes the show.
  • A valid owner email address: This email address is used to verify show ownership. You must have access to email sent to this address.
  • A link to a homepage for the show: Linking your podcast to a homepage will help the discovery and presentation of your podcast on Google surfaces.
  • The podcast author’s name: A name to show in Google Podcasts as the author of the podcast. This does not need to be the same as the owner.

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