Here are the biggest announcements, product updates, and news stories impacting the digital marketing industry last week:
Google Retires Old Text Ads - Launches New IF Ad Function
On January 31st Google officially retired the old standard ad text formats that had ruled the Google AdWords for more than 15 years. It was widely known this change was coming, but it still marks the first MAJOR change to Google AdWords in 2017. Google also announced yesterday that it was launching an IF function that allows ads to be customized based on a searchers device and if they are part of an audience list. As the saying goes, out with the old, in with the new!
The big win of the IF functionality is the ability to show different ad text, calls to action, and/or offers based on the searchers device. Ginny Marvin offers a basic breakdown of the new IF function in her write up on Search Engine Land.
Google Launches AdWords Pilot
It was a busy week for Google AdWords changes! Last week Google also announced it was launching a test of its new AdWords Pilot. The function is designed to create new ads based on existing ads and landing page copy. In the trial version, the ads were created by Google employees and automatically added to the appropriate ad groups. Google said the ads could boost ad group performance by as much as 15%. Here is how they appeared in select advertisers accounts:
The rollout was a test and advertisers were notified in advance and given an opportunity to opt out, so do not worry if you are not seeing this in your Google AdWords account. It is unclear if Google will roll this out across all of AdWords but it is an indication that Google is exploring machine based learning for ad creation. Click here for the full breakdown from Search Engine Land.
Facebook Adding New Ranking Signals For Stories
The explosion of "fake news" claims during the 2016 presidential election, and ensuing backlash, has forced Facebook to make some serious changes to how it determines what stories make it into the Newsfeed. Last week they announced two new ranking signals designed to deter fake news. First, they designed a new model that determines the authenticity of pages. Posts that are more "authentic" are more likely to make it into the Newsfeed. How often posts are hidden after users read them is a major component of this new signal.
The second change has to do with timing. Posts that receive extremely high engagements in a short period of time will receive priority and increased visibility in users' Newsfeeds for a short period of time. If a sports team posts a picture or video after a last minute win that receives a huge burst of engagements, it will be given a short term boost in visibility. Click here to read the full announcement from Facebook.