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Latest in Search; Cookies on Chrome until 2024; Economy fears; Ad revenues impacted for Google, Meta, Microsoft & More; And the best ads of the week

Here’s this week’s Digital Discovery. Everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing.

This week includes the latest Google Search Updates; Cookies on Chrome until 2024; Brands and consumers react to economy fears – while ad revenues impacted for Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat & Twitter; And the best ads of the week.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update…

Latest Google Search updates

A quick update on what has changed over the last week in Google Search – good for SEOs and PPC professionals.

Google July 2022 product review algorithm update rolling out now

This update applies to websites that publish long-form product reviews.

The update started on 27 July and should conclude within two to three weeks.

The algorithm is designed to reward reviews that share in-depth research rather than thin content that summarises the information you can find on a manufacturer’s website.

In short, Google wants to see that you’ve tested and experimented with the product you’re reviewing first-hand.

Best practices here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/ecommerce/write-high-quality-product-reviews

New Google Shopping experience scorecard

The program will monitor the experience you provide to customers in several areas, including shipping speed, shipping cost, return cost, and return window. You’ll be given a rating of “Excellent”, “Comparable”, or “Opportunity” on each metric.

If provide an “excellent customer experience” Google will, in turn, reward you with “a boost in rankings,” “a badge” and “other benefits that will help consumers find your business,” within the Google Shopping tab in Google Search.

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Note: This is only available if you’re participating in Buy on Google or free listings in the US.

Read more here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/11192630

Google showing return grace period within some product search results

Google is now displaying the number of days you can return a specific product at a merchant directly in the search results snippet. Google shows a short section right under the main snippet for some search results that says “30-day returns” or “15-day returns” and so on.

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Google Analytics 4 Now Reports On Performance Max & Smart Shopping

Google Analytics is updating reports for GA4 properties with a segment of data counting traffic from Performance Max and Smart Shopping campaigns.

Data from both campaign types are now listed under a new channel group called “cross-network.”

Cross-network is a new channel group you’ll see listed in reports alongside other sources like Organic Search, Paid Search, Paid Social, Display, and others.

Read more: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-analytics-4-now-reports-on-performance-max-smart-shopping/459136/

Cookies on Chrome until 2024

Last June, Google said it would remove cookies in the second half of 2023. Before then, in January 2020, the company pledged to make the switch by 2022.

Google has again postponed the sunsetting of third-party cookies on Chrome, giving publishers, developers and advertisers more runway to innovate for a privacy-centric, anti-tracking digital ecosystem.

Read more:

https://blog.google/products/chrome/update-testing-privacy-sandbox-web/

https://techcrunch.com/2022/07/27/google-delays-move-away-from-cookies-in-chrome-to-2024/

Brands and consumers react to economy fears

Consumer confidence stuck at lowest level on record

The cost of living crisis is weighing heavy on consumers’ minds, with confidence “languishing” at a historic low.

Consumer confidence continues to suffer, stagnating at a historically low level, as the cost of food and fuel spirals and soaring interest rates “darken the financial mood of the nation”.

Read more: https://www.marketingweek.com/consumer-confidence-stuck/

Half of UK anticipating stressful Christmas shopping amid cost-of-living crisis

53% of Brits believe it will be a stressful Christmas this year due to the cost-of-living crisis, while a further 37% believe it will be stressful due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

This is according to a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by the IPA.

Read more: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2022/07/28/half-uk-anticipating-stressful-christmas-shopping-amid-cost-living-crisis

Marketing budgets on the rise despite adspend decline

Good and bad news for marketers

The latest IPA Bellwether Report for Q2 2022, released last week concluded that total marketing budgets across the UK have increased, however the report predicts that the next four years is set to look uncertain, with UK ad spend set to decline as the cost-of-living crisis hits the UK economy.

Read more: https://www.cim.co.uk/newsroom/marketing-budgets-on-the-rise-despite-adspend-decline/

Co-op to cut marketing and customer roles by a fifth

Co-op is making 400 redundancies at its head office as it faces increased costs and a “tough” economic environment.

Co-op is expecting to reduce its customer and marketing roles by around 20%, as the group plans hundreds of redundancies to manage increased costs and a rocky operating environment.

Read more: https://www.marketingweek.com/co-op-cuts-marketing-team-by-one-fifth/

Shopify Lays Off 10% Of Workforce

Tobias Lütke, the founder of Shopify, announced that it is letting go of ten percent of its workforce. He blamed himself for misjudging trends, resulting in too many employees.

Unfortunately, the forecasted boom in post-Covid shopping failed to materialise.

Read more: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/shopify-lays-off-10-of-workforce/459305/

McDonald’s sees ‘big opportunity’ to go ‘harder and faster’ on digital

McDonald’s is looking at digital, loyalty and creativity as key opportunities for growth amid a difficult economic environment.

Read more: https://www.marketingweek.com/mcdonalds-big-opportunity-digitals-sales/

Unilever ascribes brand growth to ‘precision’ pricing action taken to offset inflation

Unilever is prepared to temporarily accept a loss in volumes and competitiveness to protect its brands as inflation bites.

Unilever’s CEO believes the company has “fine-tuned” an inflation “playbook” to navigate the tough economic environment

Read more: https://www.marketingweek.com/unilever-ascribes-brand-growth-to-precision-pricing-action-taken-to-offset-inflation/

Coca-Cola ups marketing spend to ‘earn’ higher prices

Speaking to investors on 26 July, chief financial officer John Murphy said the decision to increase spend was made to “create more value” for Coca-Cola’s brands, and to “continue to earn respect of price points”.

His comments reflect those made by CEO James Quincey in October last year, when he insisted Coca-Cola’s brands needed to “earn the right to adjust their prices”, even as steep inflation rates loomed on the horizon.

In terms of pricing, Quincy said the company doesn’t want to “arrive at a recession with a big build-up of cost increases that have not gone through”, but similarly doesn’t want to “get ahead and anticipate inflation by pricing ahead of it

Read more: https://www.marketingweek.com/coca-cola-ups-marketing-spend-to-earn-higher-prices/

Ads of the week

Heinz AI

Britain Get Talking

More than 400,000 young people in the UK are being treated for mental health problems – the highest number on record. To raise awareness, ITV’s mental health campaign Britain Get Talking and creative agency Uncommon have released a new ad that encourages adults to take the time to speak to the teens in their lives.

KFC 14 minute film

Ad revenues impacted for Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat & Twitter

Google search ads beat targets despite global ‘uncertainty’

Alphabet announced earnings and while it missed expectations, earnings were not that bad.

Here are some key takeaways:

Total Alphabet revenue 13% increase YoY to $69.7 billion (from $61.9 billion by the end of Q2 in 2021)

Google Ad revenue $56.3 billion (up from $50.4 in 2021), up about 13.5%

YouTube revenue $7.3 billion (up 5% from $7 billion in 2021), which missed analysts’ predictions of $7.5 billion

Microsoft reports decelerating advertising revenue

Microsoft announced the slowest growth in its digital advertising business in more than a year

Announcing its quarterly results Tuesday afternoon, Microsoft said revenue was $100 million lower than expected for LinkedIn and for Microsoft search and news advertising

The company cited an overall slowdown in ad spending, as the economy impacts marketing budgets.

Some of the highlights:

  • Revenue: $51.9 billion, up 12%, vs. $52.4 billion expectation.
  • Microsoft Bing search ad revenue increased 15%
  • Linkedin revenue: $3.7 billion, up 26%, vs. 46% growth a year ago.

Meta reports first ever decline in ad revenue

Meta’s latest earnings report reveals the company’s first-ever year-over-year decline in advertising revenue, signalling a downward trend that it expects to continue.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his company missed targets due to an economic slowdown that’s affecting the whole digital ad market

One positive trend to note is Facebook’s daily active users are up three percent. There are now 1.97 billion people logging in every day.

Daily active users across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp are up four percent from last year.

There’s no indication users are losing interest in Meta’s suite of apps, which means there’s an opportunity to boost revenue if the company can figure out how to make ads more effective.

The audience is there. The problem is that advertisers have smaller budgets, and they’re not getting the same value from ads as they used to.

Meta’s goal is to be more like TikTok. As Meta increases its focus on Reels, that will inevitably lead to other types of content getting shown less.

For businesses and marketers, it’s worth considering how to incorporate short-form video into the mix to maintain visibility on Meta’s apps.

To that end, if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for with Facebook ads, Reels could be a viable solution to expand your reach.

Read more: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/meta-reports-first-ever-decline-in-ad-revenue/459341/

Twitter suffers revenue decline as advertisers retreat

Twitter announced that its Q2 revenue amounted to $1.18 billion, down around 5% on the previous quarter and 1% on the corresponding period last year — analysts had estimated its Q2 revenues at around $1.32 billion.

This, according to Twitter, reflects “headwinds’ in the advertising industry related to the current economic environment, while it also pointed to “uncertainty” caused by Musk’s attempts to pull out from the deal.

Twitter also revealed that it spent $33 million in Q2 on Elon Musk’s pending acquisition.

Elsewhere, Twitter’s monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) actually increased 16.6% year-on-year to 237.8 million; however, this fell marginally short of estimates, which were pegged at 238.08 million.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2022/07/22/twitter-posts-quarterly-sales-drop-and-says-it-spent-33m-on-pending-musk-acquisition/

Snap misses on Q2 revenue, declines to forecast its future financial performance

Revenue was $1.11 billion for the quarter, up 13% from the same period a year earlier but coming in below its previous guidance of 20% to 25%. Snap also declined to predict its future financial performance due to “uncertainties related to the operating environment.”

The company also reported that its daily active users increased 18% year over year to reach 347 million.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2022/07/21/snap-misses-q2-revenue-declines-to-share-future-guidance/

ITV digital ad revenue up 20% with record viewers logging on to the Hub

ITV has said it is performing ahead of expectations after reporting “significant revenue growth” of 8% to £1.68bn in the half year leading up to June 30. Notably, total advertising revenue rose 5%.

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2022/07/28/itv-digital-ad-revenue-up-20-with-record-viewers-logging-the-hub

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

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