Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond.
This week, Google’s emoji conquest of the SERP is advancing on AdWords titles, Snapchat influencers may be fleeing the platform for greener pastures, and Facebook is making it easier for advertisers to compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms.
Also, Google’s Next Cloud Conference has revealed that Google’s machine learning technology can recognize objects in videos, and an unconfirmed ranking update dubbed “Fred” has been shaking up the SERP over the past few days.
Emoji appear in Google AdWords ad titles
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the official return of emoji to the Google SERP, after a decision was taken to remove them in 2015. Now, emoji have been spotted in the wild in AdWords ad titles, suggesting that a possible roll-out might be on the cards there too.
Clark Boyd reported on the development for Search Engine Watch this week, looking at where emoji have been identified in ads, and what this could mean for advertisers and marketers if it does become permanent.
As investors bet on Snap, some Snapchat influencers bet on other platforms
Last week, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, went public to huge investor excitement, closing out the day with a $34 billion valuation, with shares valued at 44% above their offering price.
But as is so often the case with social media, the road for Snapchat hasn’t been completely smooth. Al Roberts reported on our sister site, ClickZ, that some Snapchat influencers are departing for other platforms after experiencing a rocky relationship with Snapchat.
One influencer, Mike Platco, was turned away when he attempted to visit Snap’s offices in 2014. Today, he has some 500,000 followers on Snap and reportedly earns as much as $80,000 for campaigns, but his relationship with Snap apparently hasn’t warmed much over the years. As a result, Platco is working to move his followers over to Instagram.
“Every single bad thing I could possibly say about Snapchat, I could say the opposite of how my relationship is going with Instagram,” he told BuzzFeed.
Roberts looked at the possible reasons for Snapchat’s decision not to roll out the red carpet for influencers, as well as whether this tactic may backfire if its user growth and revenue figures come as a disappointment to shareholders further down the line.
Facebook Advanced Measurement will let advertisers compare Facebook ad performance
This week, Facebook announced the launch of a new service known as ‘Advanced Measurement’, which will allow advertisers to compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms.
According to Business Insider, Advanced Measurement will allow advertisers to compare their Facebook campaigns to the campaigns they are running through providers like Google AdWords and the Google Display Network.
Specifically, advertisers will be able to determine which campaigns on which platforms “drove the most purchases on their online store, or had the highest reach among their desired target audience.”
As Al Roberts wrote for ClickZ, by making advanced attribution tools like Advanced Measurement accessible to all of its customers, Facebook could help allay some of the growing concerns advertisers have about the accuracy of its metrics – providing that companies are still prepared to trust Facebook’s reporting.
Google’s machine learning technology can recognize objects in videos
Visual search could be the next big frontier in search development, as developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning make it possible to recognize, compare and analyze images with increasing accuracy.
Until now, it has seemed like Google has been lagging behind slightly in the race for visual search dominance, as other contenders like Pinterest and Bing forge ahead with advanced visual discovery tools and technology. But that may no longer be the case.
Image: Google Cloud Platform
The Verge reported Wednesday on a revelation from Google’s Next Cloud Conference, which ends today, that a new “Video Intelligence API” developed by Google has the ability to identify objects in videos, understand the nature of those videos (e.g. a commercial), and can pull up videos with certain types of scenes in them, based on a keyword search.
The Video Intelligence API is currently in private beta, but should it become more widely available to the public, it would further expand the capabilities of visual search and recognition into the realm of video, in the same way that searching “sunset” in Google Photos can bring up your best shots of the early evening sky.
Unconfirmed Google ‘Fred’ update is shaking up search rankings
Another week, and another Google algorithm change has the search community abuzz with speculation about what could be going on.
The first signs that an update might be taking place came early on the morning of Wednesday 8th, and SEO Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz observed that most of the active conversation was centered around the Black Hat World and WebmasterWorld forums. Many users were reporting sharp drops in traffic and keyword rankings taking place late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, although no-one was able to pin down an exact cause.
Over on Twitter, Google’s John Mueller was typically vague when asked to confirm whether an update was taking place:
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) March 9, 2017
However, an amusing conversation then spawned around naming the (suspected) update, which culminated in it being dubbed “Fred” after Gary Illyes declared that “From now on every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred”.
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) March 9, 2017
Have you experienced any ranking turbulence from Hurricane Fred? Do you have any theories as to what kind of sites Google might be targeting with the update? Leave a comment!