April was an eventful month for digital marketing. As always Google launched a number of interesting features for Search, Maps and Web Stories while social media platforms continue to keep us on our toes with new updates to compete with ClubHouse app.
We’ve summed up the most important:
Digital Marketing News, Insights and Updates from April 2021
1. Search Marketing News
Microsoft rolls out new price comparison beta
Microsoft has announced a number of new features for Microsoft Advertising. One of the most interesting ones is the price comparison that allows sites that use Microsoft shopping features to be eligible to show in the flyout panel that delivers discount codes.
The price comparison will appear within the toolbar of the panel when users browse and save a product on Edge or Collection. They would have to click on it to view the price comparison results.
This new feature by Microsoft is so interesting for retailers because they can offer relevant information to their target audience while they browse other retailers’ sites and with no extra effort from their part. The listing will grab the information from existing catalogs from Microsoft Merchant Center which means no additional work is required from businesses that already have created shopping campaigns.
The cherry on top is that, since this new feature is in beta testing, Microsoft won’t charge advertisers for the clicks they obtain through price comparison! Right now it’s only available on desktops in the US on Edge browser.
Google adds 3 new travel-oriented features to search results
Google is very well-known from listening and adapting to users’ needs. That’s why due to a recent increase in travel related queries, they have announced to add 3 new features to search results in the intent of helping people plan their next vacation during pandemic times. Google stated:
As vaccines become more available, many people are eager to start planning vacations again. We’re seeing more searches for travel-related destination information — like travel restrictions by country and where to travel, which both recently hit all-time highs.
When looking for travel information like hotels, flights or things to do, Search will show results regarding Covid-19 related advisories on destination. Additionally, they’re adding more detailed information regarding if you need to comply with quarantine requirements or show test results proof.
If users are logged in their Google accounts, they can choose to receive email notifications about restrictions updates from their selected destination by toggling “Receive an email if this guidance changes.”. These updates are country specific and will include information regarding any change on lifted or reduced restrictions.
Google lets users talk directly to them to fix indexing issues
As we said earlier about Google: they always have users in mind. That’s why they created a new feature that allows webmasters to communicate with them to solve indexing issues they can’t figure out by themselves.
Webmasters can now get directly in touch with Google’s search team to report any indexing problem they can’t find an answer to in the “community forums and support documentation.” The new feature is accessible in the footer of the URL inspection help document and indexing coverage report document, as a pilot only in the US.
Webmasters that want to access the reporting issue form need to have a verified Search Console account. Once there, they’ll need to answer a series of questions that try to help the user fix the issue by himself step by step before submitting to Google.
This solution is aimed to help SEOs fix indexing issues that aren’t related to quality or technical issues within the website, but rather with Google Search.
2. Marketing Tech Updates
WordPress plugin for Google Web Stories Updated
Even though there’s still some debate on whether web stories are worthy of our time and effort or not, new features keep coming and Google has updated their official Google Web Stories WordPress plugin with a feature that allows to embed content on webpages.
The plugin had many options available for content creators, but the ability to embed web stories was still missing until now. The new feature allows to do this very easily and also offers the possibility to embed web stories from other sites.
The process is very simple:
- Insert a Web Stories block
- Select the type of Web Stories you want to to embed:
- Latest Stories: display the most recent stories. The list will update automatically as new stories are published.
- Selected Stories: display a list of handpicked stories.
- Single Story: embed one single story by URL.
- Choose if you want to to display the Web Stories as a carousel, a grid, or a list.
WordPress wants to block Google FLoC
Google’s FLoC (Federal Learning of Cohorts) solution for a cookieless internet has been raising some eyebrows. Even though Google has stated that this new tracking system is safe and much less privacy-invasive than 3rd party cookies, some don’t agree.
Recently WordPress made their opinion very clear and proposed to block Google’s FLoC by default on all websites created with the platform. WordPress considers Google’s alternative for third party cookies a security concern:
Why is this bad? As the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains in their post “Google’s FLoC is a terrible idea“, placing people in groups based on their browsing habits is likely to facilitate employment, housing and other types of discrimination, as well as predatory targeting of unsophisticated consumers.
This is in addition to the privacy concerns of tracking people and sharing their data, seemingly without informed consent – and making it more difficult for legislators and regulators to protect people.
This is a proposal from a WordPress developer and website admins who do want to allow FLoC on their site, can override the code. Google said that they appreciate the community taking part on this initial test of their proposal and that they will adjust accordingly to all the comments received.
HubSpot acquires media company The Hustle and expands their CRM Platform with the launch of Operations Hub
The giant CRM platform announced they signed an agreement to acquire The Hustle, a media company that produces newsletter, podcast, and premium research content. Their objective is to keep offering their community very valuable and relevant content through a more diverse set of media:
For many customers, their first introduction to HubSpot is through our educational blog, Academy, and YouTube content, not our software (…) By acquiring The Hustle, we’ll be able to better meet the needs of these scaling companies by delivering educational, business, and tech trend content in their preferred formats.
With this move they show they’re listening to their audience and giving them what they want. HubSpot is betting for content marketing as their main strategy to reach out and get in touch with their target: entrepreneurs, startups, and scaling companies.
Keeping up with this in mind, they also announced they are expanding its suite with the launch of Operations Hub. The objective is to make companies’ lives a little easier by automating processes, unifying data and aligning teams’ purposes.
With Operations Hub, users can unify customer data in a connected CRM platform, automate a host of time-consuming tasks, maintain a clean database with ease, and ultimately, play an active role in shaping their company’s strategy.
With the Operations Hub they want to include operations teams to the heart of the platform and help companies have seamless inner interactions. Hubspot believes that companies have to run better on the inside in order to offer a great customer experience, and the way to do so is for team members to work together in a unified CRM.
Operations Hub joins CMS Hub, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub as part of the HubSpot CRM platform.
3. Social Media Marketing Updates
Facebook and Instagram let business schedule stories
Last September Facebook introduced Facebook Business Suite. It’s an all-in-one platform designed for businesses to manage their social media activity from Instagram, Messenger and Facebook. Since the launch new features are being added constantly.
More recently a new capability was added in which businesses are now able to schedule stories on both Instagram and Facebook. Scheduling posts has always been a desired feature for any social media manager, since it helps plan ahead, save lots of time and maintain community engagement.
By going to “Create Story” on Home, or by navigating to the “Posts & Stories” tab on the Business Suite app on iOS,Android or desktop, businesses can create and schedule stories very easily.
It doesn’t end here. Facebook also added a feature that allows users to edit scheduled posts. If users wish to, they can access the “Scheduled Posts”section, select the post they wish to edit, choose “Edit Post” , make the changes and save it. In some time, they will also add a feature to Create and Manage Albums and Save Posts in Drafts.
Reddit announces Clubhouse competitor Reddit Talk
Clubhouse appearance has shocked the social media world and now almost all platforms are preparing to launch their own version of the audio-only chat rooms wonder. We already talked about Facebook’s option, Twitter Spaces and now it’s Reddit’s turn with Reddit Talk.
Reddit announced the intention to join the only-audio social media hype with their own version. It seems to be in very early stages of testing periods but the platform has invited moderators to join a waiting list, which indicates that they are moving pretty fast on the subject.
The moderators will be able to start talking immediately and they can invite redditors to participate as listeners. It will be available for both Android and iOS devices unlike Clubhouse which is only available for iOS with many interesting features:
We’re testing ways for hosts to customize the look and feel of Reddit Talk through emojis and background colors. Redditors can change their avatar’s appearance to fit the talk as well. We’re also exploring features to support AMAs and other types of conversations.
Moderators will have complete control over the rooms, being able to invite, remove and mute listeners. Reddit is really focusing on creating a complete experience for each room.
Twitter launches test of a new profile type called Professional Profiles
The new Professional Profiles will provide businesses a new way to present themselves on the social media platform:
Professional Profiles are a new tool that will allow businesses, non-profits, publishers, and creators – anyone who uses Twitter for work – to display specific information about their business directly on their profile. We’re starting with a small pool of businesses in the U.S. and will give more accounts access to Professional Profiles in the coming months.
This new layout for professionals shows different information than regular profiles. It includes address and contact information and other elements like products displays, image galleries and business categories are being developed for the future.
They’re starting to test with only a handful of businesses while taking notes to make the new Professional Profiles exactly what Twitter users expect them to be.
To sum up!
It seems to be like digital marketing news from April 2021 are all tied together by the common thread of complying with users expectations and improving user experience. Google, HubSpot, Twitter and Facebook updates are all aiming into pleasing people’s needs with features that help them improve their working processes.
Which new feature or update caught your attention the most?
Make sure you check out: