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Pinterest and Amazon Ad Partnership; New Ads on YouTube Shorts; Bizzare advice from Google; Colin vs Cuthbert; Key dates in May & More

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery. Each week we cover the latest developments and everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing. This week we cover:

  • Pinterest and Amazon announce advertising partnership
  • New advertising opportunities on YouTube Shorts
  • Social media ad spend in the UK drops for the first time as small businesses face financial pressures
  • Is Meta updating location targeting settings?
  • Google’s bizarre advice on syndicate content
  • Latest advice from John Mueller
  • Google Search Console APIs – Training
  • Google Ads to update dangerous products policy in July 2023
  • WordPress vulnerability discovered in popular Insert Headers and Footers plugin
  • WordPress AI integration on the horizon?
  • HTTPS lock icon going away on Chrome

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered and look ahead at key content dates coming up.

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

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

Pinterest and Amazon announce advertising partnership

Pinterest has announced a major advertising partnership with Amazon, which will make the e-commerce giant its first-ever third-party advertising partner. Under the multi-year deal, Amazon ads will be integrated into Pinterest’s platform, directing users to Amazon’s website to complete their purchase.

The integration will be rolled out over several quarters, with no specific details on ad placement or short-term revenue forecasts. Pinterest does not expect any significant impact on its revenue until next year. The partnership could provide a more seamless shopping experience for users, as most Amazon customers already have their payment information on file, leading to faster checkouts.

By leveraging Amazon’s advertising capabilities and Pinterest’s large user base, advertisers can potentially achieve higher conversion rates and increased return on ad spend.

 

New advertising opportunities on YouTube Shorts

Google has announced new advertising capabilities for YouTube Shorts through its Video reach campaigns to help advertisers reach new audiences. The Video reach campaigns use Google AI to serve the best combination of ads, improving reach and efficiency on YouTube.

In addition to Shorts, In-feed video ads will also be added to the campaigns to bring more opportunities to connect with the audience across YouTube.

YouTube is also introducing the YouTube Select Run of Shorts lineup to ensure ads appear alongside popular and relevant videos in viewers’ Shorts feed, reaching 1.5 billion logged-in monthly Shorts users. Including a new feature called “First Position on Shorts” that enables advertisers to have their content displayed as the first video when a viewer starts scrolling on Shorts, positioning their brand at the forefront of trending content.

With these updates, YouTube aims to make short-form video advertising a seamless addition to campaigns and help brands stay relevant and connected with viewers.

 

Social media ad spend in the UK drops for the first time as small businesses face financial pressures

The latest AA/Warc Expenditure Report has revealed that advertising spend on social media channels dropped by 13.9% in the second half of 2022 in the UK.

This is the first time the UK market has seen a decline since measurement by the Advertising Association (AA) and Warc began in 2014. However, the growth in the first half of 2022 is broadly in line with previous periods, with spend on social media particularly strong post-pandemic. Over the full year, social media spend increased by 4.9% while the overall category grew at 10% in 2022 and is projected to grow by 1.7% in 2023.

The decline in the latter half of 2022 also coincides with a period of unrest within the wider social media ad landscape, including Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter in October. The decline is attributed to the financial pressures facing small businesses, with reduced advertising activity among the SMEs who comprise a ‘long tail’ of ad volume on social platforms and whose margins are under incredible stress as inflation bites. The decline in the latter half of 2022 is expected to continue in the first few months of 2023, according to the report’s authors.

The report also suggests that advertising spend in the UK is expected to grow by just 0.5% in 2023. This marks a significant downgrade from the 3.8% growth predicted in January. The report found that online classified and direct mail are among the channels expected to see declines, with national newsbrands, regional newsbrands and magazine brands also predicted to suffer at faster rates than in 2022. Cinema and digital out-of-home advertising are expected to see the strongest growth in 2023, at 37.2% and 6% respectively. Despite this outlook, global marketers surveyed by Nielsen expect their budgets to increase this year.

 

Is Meta updating location targeting settings?

There are reports that Meta has updated its location targeting settings for some accounts, removing the dropdown menu for location targeting and leaving only the “Living in or recently in this location” option.

Advertisers will no longer need to choose a specific type of location targeting. The change applies to all campaign objectives and optimisations.

If this change is rolled out to everyone, advertisers will need to adapt to these changes and optimise their campaign objectives accordingly to reach their desired audience and improve ad performance.

 

Google’s bizarre advice on syndicate content

Google has updated its advice regarding syndicated content, stating that the canonical link element should not be used to avoid duplication by syndication partners. Instead, partners should block indexing of the content to avoid duplication. Yeah, right? That’s unlikely.

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Google previously advised using the canonical tag, but this was not always effective in preventing syndicated content from outranking the original source. The update means that publishers who have been using the canonical tag to avoid duplication may need to take a different approach.

Lily Ray, a well known SEO professional, reacted to the update by spitting out her coffee…

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I agree. What’s the point in having the tag if it’s not respected.

 

Latest advice from John Mueller

The team at Search Engine Journal have covered three instances of John giving SEO advice webp images, ecommerce seo and ‘dumb’ seo questions:

1.     John Mueller clarifies webp image indexing confusion

2.     Ideal number of products on a page

3.     John Mueller tackles ‘dumb’ SEO questions

 

Google Search Console APIs – Training

A new video has been added to the Search Console Training playlist from Google Search Central on YouTube. In the video, Daniel Waisberg discusses the Google Search Console API, a tool that enables programmatically pulling data from the Search Console. The video details four distinct methods available via the Search Console API, each with a specific focus on different data sets that can be exported.

By leveraging these APIs, developers can build custom applications that can programmatically pull Search performance data, which can be used for internal dashboards, as well as external products.

 

Google Ads to update dangerous products policy in July 2023

Google Ads will update its Dangerous products and services policy in July 2023 to include ads for items that pose an imminent, proven, and unresolved risk of death or severe bodily harm. Accounts found to violate this policy will be warned at least seven days before any suspension takes place. Advertisers are recommended to review the policy and remove any ads that fall within the scope of the updated policy.

 

WordPress vulnerability discovered in popular Insert Headers and Footers plugin

The WPCode – Insert Headers and Footers + Custom Code Snippets WordPress plugin, which has over one million installations, has been found to have a Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability that could allow an attacker to delete files on the server. This is the second vulnerability discovered in 2023 for the plugin, with the first being in February 2023. WPCode has released a security patch, and users are advised to update their plugin to at least version 2.0.9.

Need help keeping your WordPress site secure and optimised? Check out our WordPress Maintenance Packages

 

 

Best Ads of the Week

Cuthbert vs Colin

Aldi has reignited the caterpillar cake wars with a new ad featuring Cuthbert the Caterpillar and M&S rival Colin. The advert pits the two brands against each other, with Cuthbert tasting both M&S and Aldi’s cakes before declaring he likes both. The ad ends with the line “Aldi. Like M&S. Only cheaper.”

Aldi has previously run its long-standing “Like Brands” campaign to compare its own products with branded alternatives on price. This campaign has helped Aldi gain market share and become the fourth biggest supermarket by market share in the UK. However, the recent legal ruling in favor of Lidl over Tesco could pose a threat to Aldi’s ability to create cheaper lookalike products.

 

WordPress AI integration on the horizon?

Contributors to WordPress have begun discussing the possibility of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the ecosystem. No decisions have been made about whether AI will be included as a plugin or in the core of the WordPress platform. It is thought that integration of AI may be better achieved through external plugins rather than being hard-coded into the WordPress core. Several contributors shared their opinions about the future of AI in WordPress, with one suggesting that it could be used as a diagnostic co-pilot to identify problems on WordPress sites and offer solutions. Others suggested using AI as a chatbot within collaborative teams.

 

HTTPS lock icon going away on Chrome

Google Chrome will replace the lock icon in its address bar with a “tune” icon to emphasize that security should be the default state and to make site settings more accessible.

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The lock icon was originally used to signal that a site is secure, but now HTTPS is the norm and the icon has been found to be confusing for users. The new tune icon does not imply trustworthiness and is more obviously clickable. Chrome plans to release the new icon in early September 2023 as part of a general design refresh for desktop platforms. The lock icon will continue to exist as a precisely scoped entry point to connection security information.

 

KEY CONTENT DATES

May

  • 01 May 2023: May Day (Bank Holiday), International Workers’ Day
  • 02 May 2023: World Asthma Day
  • 03 May 2023: World Press Freedom Day
  • 04 May 2023: Star Wars Day, International Firefighters Day, World Password Day
  • 05 May 2023: Cinco de Mayo, National Space Day
  • 06 May 2023: Coronation of Charles III and Camilla, International No Diet Day
  • 08 May 2023: World Red Cross Day
  • 09 May 2023: Eurovision Song Contest (9th to 13th) Begins, Europe Day
  • 11 May 2023: National Eat What You Want Day
  • 12 May 2023: International Nurses Day, National Limerick Day
  • 13 May 2023: World Cocktail Day, Eurovision Song Contest Final, International Hummus Day
  • 15 May 2023: International Day of Families, National Vegetarian Week (15th-21st) Begins
  • 16 May 2023: International Day of Light, Love a Tree Day
  • 17 May 2023: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, National Numeracy Day
  • 19 May 2023: Endangered Species Day
  • 20 May 2023: World Bee Day, World Whisky Day
  • 21 May 2023: World Baking Day, International Tea Day, World Meditation Day
  • 22 May 2023: World Goth Day, Chelsea Flower Show (22nd-27th) Begins
  • 23 May 2023: World Turtle Day
  • 25 May 2023: National Wine Day
  • 28 May 2023: World Hunger Day,
  • 29 May 2023: National Biscuit Day, National BBQ Week (29th May to 4th June) Begins, Gloucester Cheese Rolling Day
  • 30 May 2023: National Creativity Day
  • 31 May 2023: World No Tobacco Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter 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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