Happy March! Here is an overview of the top internet marketing news stories of February 2014.
- Google is displaying a video result above the traditional text search results for when users search for video related content. The video player is using YouTube exclusively and users can click to play the video on the SERP page.
- Google is displaying full range of restaurant menus above the search results when a query is placed specifically looking for menu information on a particular restaurant. Google has confirmed this development but has not cited the data partner.
- Google Now has been updated to include TV/video recommendations, Airbnb reservations, and a simplified version of alarms. TV and video recommendations can be enabled when a user selects a TV provider and/or on demand provider.
- Google is also testing additional ad units on its Knowledge Graph panel. The panel features links to Google Play to watch a movie or TV show on related queries.
- Fox partnered with Google to allow American Idol viewers to vote directly on the Google Search Results page. Users can search for [American Idol] or [Idol] from a mobile, tablet, or desktop and vote up to 50 times per contestant by clicking on the contestants photo.
- Google has begun penalizing websites for spamming Rich Snippets such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking irrelevant or misleading content, and any manipulative behavior that violates Google’s Rich Snippet Quality guidelines.
- Google updated the Page Layout Algorithm to penalize sites that are top heavy with ads. This is the third confirmed update to the January 2012 update which downgrades the rankings of web pages that use too many ads at the top or ads are too distracting for users.
- Google and Yandex integrate their online display advertising platforms. Google’s demand-side ad platform DoubleClick Bid Manager will be connected to Yandex’s real-time bidding system
- Bing released new Winter Olympics search features and counter which allows users to track medals. Bing announced their feature before Google and Yahoo.
- Bing also improved its tax related search results in time for the spike in related searches before the April 15th deadline. Bing will show you the most searched forms, where to mail or e-File your taxes, and links to download the forms.
- Bing has added timelines for famous or influential people when relevant. The timeline data includes the year and a short blurb on the event that occurred at that time. Below is an example for Theodore Roosevelt.
- Bing added three new apps for Windows Phones: Bing Travel, Food & Drink, and Health & Fitness app. In addition, Bing updated its Sports and News apps a well as their iPhone app. The search widget allows a voice and text search. The app has added screen titles to display trending queries and images as well as a shaking feature which will display a new trending story.
- Yahoo is rumored to be planning a return to the search market. Marissa Mayers has reportedly spearheaded two projects, Fast Break and Curveball. The projects will help expand with Yahoo’s search in house. Yahoo is currently in a one year contract with Microsoft which will end at the end of March, most likely too soon for Yahoo to plan an exit strategy.
- Yahoo gave $10 million to Carnegie Mellon University to support “inMind”, a project to develop the next generation intelligent assistant, potentially a Siri competitor.
- Yahoo will be incorporating local content and listings from Yelp into its main search results.
- In honor of Facebook turning 10 in February, Facebook gave users the ability to download a “look back” video that compiles and highlights top moments in their life through pictures and posts since they created a profile. According to Sheryl Sandberg 200 million people watched their video and 50% of them shared it.
- Facebook gives advertisers more targeting options on their platform. Advertisers can target people on location, demographic, interest, and behaviors. The full explanation can be found on their blog.
- Facebook is changing its newsfeed algorithm to now include content from pages you don’t follow but were tagged by a page you like or follow. Facebook uses the example that Dwight Howard fans might see a post by Bleacher Report that mentions Dwight Howard, even if they never liked Bleacher Report.
- Facebook has killed off their email tool where users automatically get a @facebook.com email address with every profile. For the few that use Facebook email, messages will be redirected to the user’s email that he or she signs in with.
- Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $16 billion in stocks and cash, it will continue to operate independently and Mark Zuckerburg said there is no plan on adding ads to the service.
- Facebook released a new app called Paper: displays content from your newsfeed and top trending content into info card like messages. This will allow users to “explore and share stories from friends and the world — in immersive designs and fullscreen, distraction-free layouts”
- Twitter added Promoted Accounts to search results instead of just allowing advertisers to promote a specific tweet.
- Twitter is testing a new redesign which would make profile pages look similar to Facebook.
- Susan Wojcicki, formerly senior vice-president of ads and commerce, has been appointed as CEO of YouTube. Susan is Google’s 16th employee and housed the Google team in her garage in 1998.
- YouTube redesigned their site to display better on any screen size and emphasize playlists. Playlists that a user likes or creates will now be listed in the left sidebar and the front page is simple only showing “What to Watch” and “My subscriptions”. Below is a screenshot provided by YouTube:
- Pinterest has updated its mobile and iPad apps offering some of the recent product updates to its mobile users. Mobile users can now see and pin GIFs which was unveiled in January for desktop users. IPad users can now interact with Place Pins which were released last November.
- Pinterest users now have an unlimited amount of secret boards where previously they were limited to only six.
- LinkedIn announced it is acquiring Bright, a data-focused job search service for $120 million. Bright uses data to match job seekers with employers by providing a “Bright Score”.
- LinkedIn opens up the ability for all users to publish long form posts similar to LinkedIn Influencers. LinkedIn says these influencer post do well generating an average of 31,000 views and 80 comments per post.
- LinkedIn updated the “who’s viewed your profile” page incorporating additional data and insights as well as tips for increasing views. Below is a screenshot of what the new page looks like.
- Microsoft is investing $15 million into Foursquare as part of a licensing deal which integrated location data into Microsoft’s platforms.
- Yelp redesigns their business profile pages to be more visual. The new pages also emphasize images, featured user reviews, and local content. Below is a screenshot provided by Yelp:
What’s New at Catalyst?
- Check out our Thoughts Page featuring our latest publications, blog posts, and featured articles including:
- Writing for Search: Where Meta Tags Meet David Ogilvy by Benjamin Spiegel on ClickZ
- 7 Ways Glass Will Change Search, and How it Should Change Your Marketing by Dan Cristo on Marketing Land
- Content Marketing: How To Measure Content Performance Holistically by Benjamin Spiegel on Marketing Land.
- Conquering Content Marketing, Step 2: The Content (and Plot) Develops by Dan Cristo on Search Engine Watch
- Sign up for the Catalyst Must-Have Digital Insights e-Newsletter for the latest thought leadership, industry updates, and Catalyst news.
- Catalyst is hiring! We have open positions in each of our offices. Be sure to check out our Careers Page for the latest open positions.
Have any questions about any of the above stories or think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below. Also, be sure to check back in early April for our March monthly recap!