Happy April! Here is an overview of the top Internet marketing news stories of March 2015.
- As expected, Google released car insurance comparisons that deliver up to 14 sponsored listings from insurers with rate quote information.
- Google announced they are releasing a new “ranking adjustment” to penalize doorway pages that exist to maximize a brand’s social footprint but that offer minimal user value.
- In an effort to get local business online and improve current data, Google introduced a program called, Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map. Similar to Facebook’s Blueprint, this portal provides online resources for businesses to update and complete their online presence.
- Googles launches an online store for hardware dubbed, Google Store. The launch coincided with the debut of their latest Chromebook Pixel laptop.
- Bing is testing a new favorites feature that allows users to bookmark images when using Bing’s desktop image search.
- Bing is also testing the removal of page number navigation, basically eliminating page 2 and beyond. The test seems to be isolated to long tail keywords but does include a link to view all search results.
- The search engine introduced Distill, a Q/A community similar to Quora and Yahoo Answers. Right now the community is invite-only but you can request an invite at their site.
- Yahoo announced that Audience Ads are now available on the Brightroll Demand Side Platform, the video advertising platform the company acquired last November. Advertisers can leverage behavior and demographic data from Brightroll as well as user data from Yahoo Search and Yahoo Mail.
- Yahoo Search added an interactive mortgage calculator for related searches. Similar to Google, the calculator appears above the Organic results.
- Autoplay is now the default on YouTube where the platform will automatically play a related video at the end of the user-selected video.
- YouTube now supports 360 degree videos such as the one below. These videos are accessible via the website and Android app. IPhone and iPad are coming soon.
- Facebook is slowly opening up access to Topic Data. This enables marketers to better understand consumer feelings toward a product, event, or brand—something traditionally done via Twitter. Currently, access is limited through DataSift.
- In an effort to further enhance its ad relevancy, Facebook acquired TheFind, a shopping search engine. TheFind will retire its search engine in an effort to work with Facebook.
- Facebook Video can now be embedded into a website without the corresponding post. The end user experience feels similar to YouTube embed options.
- At F8, Facebook launched App Analytics to help developers that have App Events refine their user measurements. This data helps with cross-device tracking, segmenting, funnel development, and improving advertising through retargeting.
- Also at F8, Facebook announced it would be opening up its Messenger App/Platform to third parties. One new feature is called Messenger for Business, a way for consumers and businesses to interact. For instance, a user could receive shipping updates via messages instead of having to manually log into the delivery service’s website.
- Facebook also unveiled VR “spherical videos,” a.k.a. 360 degree videos that will run natively on Facebook’s newsfeed and are compatible with VR headsets like Oculus Rift.
- Instagram introduced a new carousel ad unit with the platform’s first hyperlink call to action.
- Instagram also released a new collage app that allows users to combine multiple photos into one image, dubbed Layout.
- Twitter video users, or fans of them, can now embed Twitter-hosted videos directly on a website without the associated tweet.
- Soon after Meerkat took SXSW by storm, Twitter announced Periscope Streaming Video App and launched it to the public.
- Partnering with Foursquare, users can tag a specific location in a tweet. This feature is rolling out to US and Canadian users over the next few weeks.
- Twitter redesigned their analytics.twitter.com portal into the new “account home.” The new dashboard features overall engagement information and a quick promote feature.
- Twitter released Curator, a real-time search and display tool for publishers. The invite-only tool allows publishers to search, filter, and display tweets or vines around a specific topic.
- Pinterest continues to advance its ad targeting capabilities beyond the original 30 categories. In addition, Pinterest said animated pins are on the horizon and users and advertisers can expect tests soon.
- LinkedIn has updated its Sponsored InMail product boasting 100% deliverability as well as introduced new targeting options for the messaging platform. The new targeting options include company size, job function, and seniority.
- Amazon unveiled Home Services, entering the local service provider space against Yelp and Angie’s List. The e-commerce giant has vetted local vendors across 700 professional service types for consumers to engage with.
- The e-retailer also announced Dash, a new hardware device. This WiFi-connected button allows Amazon Prime members to automatically reorder household brands like Tide, Bounty, and Maxwell House. Below is a video explaining the new product.
Have any questions about any of the above stories or think we missed something? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, be sure to check back in early May for our April recap. In the meantime, check out our Thoughts Page featuring our latest publications, blog posts, and featured articles; and sign up for the Catalyst Must-Have Digital Insights e-Newsletter for the latest thought leadership, industry updates, and Catalyst news.