Internet Marketing News: July Recap

August is here, which means it’s time to cue up the back-to-school commercials and, more importantly, get ready for the next installment of internet marketing news updates!

Before we dig deeper into individual news stories, let’s review June’s Share of Search report by ComScore to finish off the June Internet Marketing News Recap. Google, Ask, and AOL all saw no change in their share of search; however, Bing saw a .5% increase at Yahoo’s expense, which dropped half a percent. Below is the month over month percent change of search share:

ComScore Core Search Share Report June

ComScore also released their latest ComScore Video Metrix data.  According to this research, 183 million Americans watched more than 44 billion videos online in June. The number of video ad views surpassed 20 billion for the first time which means video ads accounted for 31% of all videos viewed in June, up from 27.9% in May. Google Sites, i.e. YouTube, were ranked the top online video properties, followed by Facebook, AOL, and VEVO.

And with that, let’s dive right in!

Google

  • Google rolled out the next version of Panda over a ten day period. As Google has said, these Panda updates are becoming more mature and affecting a smaller percent of webmasters.
  • Google is taking more action against fake search results injected into a user’s browser history. For example, some spammy sites use a technique where a user thinks he or she is pushing the back button to the search results but actually ends up on a fake SERP.
  • Google quietly updated the link schemes document in their webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials, and optimized anchor text in article or press releases to the type of links that violate their guidelines.
  • Launched as an invite only service in May, Google Maps is now open to all users. According to Google, the release is still in beta so users can expect to see an evolution of the new product.
  • The much awaited, and feared, Enhanced Campaign launch date arrived with a small surprise, more time for some. Google is actually rolling these out gradually over the next several weeks. With the roll out, Google also added an enhanced campaign bid adjustment reporting to Google Analytics. Marketers can analyze the traffic performance of reach bid adjustment within a campaign, by device, location, and time of day.
  • AdWords also announced a new beta, review extensions. This allows advertisers to add testimonials directly into the ad, either a direct quote or summary.
  • Google also announced an update to the way AdWords’ quality score is reported. The update is designed to tie the 1-10 score more closely to CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Google did assure marketers that the way quality score is calculated is not changing and ad performance won’t be affected by the new reporting.
  • Google introduced Google Chromecast, a small $35 device that streams content to your television from your computer, Android, and iOS device.  It currently allows you to stream Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome (in beta).

Bing

  • Bing and Klout became more integrated in July. Now Bing Search will influence a user’s Klout score based on the number of times a person’s name has been searched on Bing.
  • Microsoft launched a preview of Windows 8.1 which comes with “Smart Search” where users can search for something across the web, your device, apps, and the cloud, using, of course, Bing.
  • Adobe became the first to market Bing Product Ads, dubbed “Adobe Media Optimizer”. Similar to Google’s PLAs, Bing Products pull from merchant feeds to show images, prices, and other details. Bing Product Ads are currently in a “closed beta” through the holiday season with selected advertisers and will launch in the US during this quarter.

Yahoo!

  • Yahoo! Image Search now delivers Getty Images when searching for a travel-related category. Users can hover over an image to see details and can launch a full-screen slideshow view.
  • In July, Yahoo! acquired Admotive, a Mobile Tech start-up; Xonbni, an email management start-up; and Qwiki, a mobile video app.

YouTube

  • YouTube launched one-click embeddable “Subscribe” buttons to offsite pages, which allows users to subscribe to a brand/individual channel without going onto YouTube.

Facebook

  • Building on the June introduction of photo comments, Facebook now allows photo responses on brand pages. Users and brand managers can respond with photos when using the desktop or mobile browser version of Facebook.
  • Hoping to make advertising on Facebook even easier, Facebook launched “Facebook for Business,” a hub filled with tools for business, case studies, announcements, and marketing.
  • Facebook seems to be bouncing back financially, reaching its IPO amount of $38/share. One of the reasons for its success is the quarterly results of mobile revenue. Facebook says mobile ads represent 41% of their advertising revenue and mobile usage accounts for 71% of monthly active users (MAUs). Facebook ended the final quarter of the first year as a publicly traded company with a 51% increase in mobile MAUs and the overall share of revenue grew from 30% in the previous quarter.
  • Instagram, owned by Facebook, announced the ability to embed both photos and videos across the web.

Twitter

  • And of course Twitter has more hacking stories.  While Thomson Reuters seems to have been actually hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, Chipotle faked a twitter hack as part of a publicity stunt tied to their 20th anniversary promotional campaign.
  • Back in May, Twitter announced new TV ad targeting beta which now is available for all US users. However, when announcing this, Twitter featured real users tweeting their praise for the new ad platform. The issue was, the users never tweeted these things. Twitter fell under some heat and came back and apologized for the fake testimonials.
  • Vine, owned by Twitter, released its largest update introducing new features including 15 new channels, the ability to “revine,” and the capability for users to set focus and exposure for videos.
  • As rumored last month, Twitter is experimenting with retargeting, which will be available to US users. Twitter also supports “Do Not Track” so they will not receive browser-related information.
  • Also, Twitter is testing new features that display websites in which a tweet has been embedded. Below is an example of the new “Embedded on these websites” display:

Twitter Embedded on these websites display

Google+

  • With the new Google Maps roll out for iOS, Google is retiring the Google+ Local App on August 7th. This further integrates Google+ with every facet of Google where the retired app’s features will be rolled into Google maps for mobile.
  • When a user searches for a keyword phrase that triggers Google’s local listings, he or she can now click on the Google+ Local Review and it will pop up as an overlay rather than a new page. It is unclear if this is a gradual roll out or another Google test; however, it does seem odd that Google wouldn’t integrate the reviews deeper with maps and the Google+ brand page.

Google+ local review overlay

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn launched sponsored updates on its primary newsfeed, a new ad unit available to company page admins. These ads will be visible on desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

Pinterest

  • Pinterest is rolling out a new feature: personalized pin and board recommendations based on websites that you currently visit. Pinterest supports the “do not track” browser feature but will use cookies, log data, and device information to personalize its recommendations.

Foursquare

  • Foursquare launched a new advertising unit: Display ads, which are displayed once a user checks into a specific location. Captain Morgan is one of the first large brands to use this unit by displaying Captain and Cola ads (see below) when a user checks into specific bars, clubs, or restaurants. Foursquare is also expanding their advertising abilities to small businesses worldwide with a new self-service platform, similar to platforms like AdWords.

Foursquare Display Ads

What’s New at Catalyst

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 September for our August monthly recap!

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