30-in-15: March 2016 Edition

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Get ready for some quickfire digital marketing news as we go into our first edition of 30-in-15: 30 days of digital marketing in under 15 minutes.

Search Marketing

Google releases its answer to Facebook’s Instant Articles – Google AMP. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and is an open source project that will allow pages to load lightning fast on mobile devices. It does this by stripping away all extraneous elements on a website, for example Javascipt and embeds. It’s still relatively new, but with the strong support it has from Google, WordPress (which powers 25% of all websites) and online publishers, we expect it to be adopted quickly.

With Google announcing that it is going to strengthen its mobile ranking signals in May, it’s definitely something you want to pay more attention to right now.

Google is completely redesigning AdWords: Offers first peek (SEL) – It seems like our favourite pay-per-click platform is up for a revamp. Google announced a few days ago that they are redesigning the AdWords interface using its Material Design principles.

The last time Google redesigned the interface was way back in 2008 when it was still figuring out search marketing. With the importance of AdWords – which makes up the bulk of Google’s US$75 billion revenue – and the way digital marketing has changed over the years, it’s definitely time for a refresh. If that news is making you feel nostalgic, join SEL as they take a look back at 15 years of Google AdWords.

Since we’re on the topic of AdWords redesigns, some of you guys might already notice that Google has removed all side-rail ads from its search results page as show below. Don’t worry, there’s nothing to panic about but you should monitor your click-through-rates (CTRs) to determine how the change affects your account.

AdWords Remove Side-Rail Ads

According to the bright people who spoke at LSA16, search marketing is headed for disruption and it’s more than just at a cosmetic level. Voice searches increased to ten percent of all organic searches in 2015. That means that over 50 million searches globally were conducted through virtual assistants such as Siri, GoogleNow and Cortana. As artificial intelligence (AI) on these thingamajigs get better and they can better understand the intent behind search queries, we can expect keyword-based searches to lose even more of their glitter.

In case you’re labouring under the delusion that everything on Google is algorithm-based, you need to know that they do have manual (i.e. human) search quality raters that help determine the quality of a webpage.

Since we’re on the topic of AI, last year Google announced that RankBrain was one of the top three ranking signals. But what about the other two, you ask? Links and content, according to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google. Not exactly groundbreaking news but it’s rare to get any confirmation on ranking factors from Google so we’re taking that as a win.

Well, at least Google’s AI is proving much more useful that Microsoft’s effort. Their innocent teen girl AI became a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.

 

Social Media Marketing

In what can be called unsurprising news, Instagram announced that it will soon be shifting its feed from its current reverse-chronological feed to an algorithm-based one. Essentially, it will start showing posts out of order based on what it believes the user cares about the most. This is an attempt to improve its declining engagement rates.

This follows in the footsteps of Twitter who changed its feed to attract new users. However, unlike Instagram, Twitter’s algorithm is a feature that can be turned on and off.

Google doesn’t seem to want to give up on Google+, which we all thought would have gone the way of Google Buzz by now. In the last month, it has separated some of its services into Google’s Photos and Streams and hired the founder of the controversial website 4chan to help revive this ailing social network.

General Sales & Marketing

The Pyramid Principle is an approach I absolutely love and will probably help you get your messages across better to busy executives.  while researching this article and I think it’s an awesome approach to communicating with busy executives. Essentially, it advocates that ideas in writing should always form a pyramid under a single thought – the single thought being the solution to a client’s problem.

  1. A client wants a solution and your professional opinion first and foremost;
  2. This is supported by your arguments, stories and justifications;
  3. Which are in turn supported by data, analysis and facts

FYI, if you’re in Malaysia, you might not be able to visit the link since Medium is banned in Malaysia. But since most of you are savvy marketing folks, you should be browsing the Internet via your VPN, no?

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Fairuze Shahari

Fairuze Shahari is a principal consultant at CloudRock. When he's not furiously downing G&T's, Fairuze Shahari writes for CloudRock, an inbound marketing agency.