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The week in search marketing (30/10/17)

AI gets spooky, SEO ranking factors in 2017, Facebook splits newsfeed, Twitter increases ad transparency, London buses go digital, Geordie Shore star breaks ad rules, Amazon gets keys to your house, pink kittens teach road safety, and over-50s get the cold shoulder


AI gets spooky

If artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the future of search marketing, consider its potential impact on fancy dress parties.

Janelle Shane, a research scientist based in Colorado, trained a neural network to procedurally generate Halloween costume ideas, based on a dataset of 4,500 existing costumes, and ended up with some original and intriguing ideas: including:

  • Grankenstein
  • Aldonald the Goddess of the Chicken
  • The Game of Nightmare Lightbare
  • Statue of pizza
  • Gandalf the Good Witch
  • Sexy the Spock
  • The Twin Spider Mermaid (artist’s impression below)

Twin Spider Mermaid

Source: Alejandro Tauber, The Next Web


SEO ranking factors in 2017

Panellists at New York’s Search Marketing Expo – SMX East used data from large-scale studies performed by Searchmetrics and SEMrush to offer the latest insights into holy grail of search marketing: Google’s ranking factors.

Herndon Hasty, digital marketing manager for The Container Store, rounded up the findings in his presentation:


SEO ranking factors in 2017 - SMX East

Source: Herdon Hasty/SlideShare


Facebook splits newsfeed, horrifies businesses

The social network just launched a test in six countries (Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia) which splits the newsfeed in two: the main newsfeed, which now contains only paid posts and posts from friends; and posts from pages users follow (now in ‘Explore Feed’).

So far, this has left many businesses seeing a significant fall in organic reach on the platform, with reports of engagement levels dropping by up to two thirds.

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri said in a blog post: “The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further.”

Twitter increases ad transparency

The micro-blogging platform has announced plans to “increase transparency for all ads on Twitter, including political ads and issue-based ads”. People can also report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback for every ad running on Twitter, whether or not they’re targeted, to help Twitter remove those that are inappropriate.

London buses get digital ads

Digital outdoor advertising has taken to the road as Google launched its first campaign for its latest Pixel devices on the digital, wrapped buses in London. Powered by Exterion Media, the platform displays geo-targeted messages on the premium digital screens to audiences throughout the capital

Dave King, MD at Exterion Media, said: “This is a huge moment for bus advertising; the product delivers stature, movement, scale, dynamism and geo-targeting – offering a whole new dimension to broadcast and narrowcast through this hugely attractive channel.”


google bus digital ads

Source: Exterion Media


Reality TV influencer breaks rules

In the first case of its kind, two Snapchat posts by the Geordie Shore star Marnie Simpson have fallen foul of the UK’s advertising rules. The reality TV star uploaded images of products from two firms that she has business relationships with, without identifying them as adverts:


geordie shore snapchat ads break rules

Source: PA/BBC


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) judged to be a breach of the rules against “hidden” advertising on social media. It is the first case of its kind to have involved Snapchat.

“These might be our first Snapchat rulings, but the principle behind them is as old as the hills – ads, wherever they appear, must be obviously identifiable as ads,” the authority’s chief executive Guy Parker told the BBC.

Google AdWords

As reported by SEOmonitor’s blog, Google AdWords (GA) has recently updated search volumes and re-aggregated more keywords, causing the search volumes to significantly increase. GA has yet to comment on the development.

Amazon in da house

The online retail behemoth Amazon (which this week also reported a Q3 revenue of $43.7 billion, signalling YOY growth of 34%) wants to, quite literally, come into your home. Available initially in 37 cities across the US, Amazon’s new Key service enables in-home delivery for Prime customers. Using the Amazon Key app and Amazon Cloud Cam, an intelligent indoor security, customers can allow couriers to unlock their front door to make deliveries.

The set-up also allows users to let friends, family and other visitors – cleaners, pet sitters, dog walkers, etc – into their homes when they are not there.


amazon key delivery service

Amazon’s new service gives couriers access to your home


Safe driving campaign has kittens

Think! the Government’s road safety body launched its ‘pink kitten’ campaign to demonstrate the dangers of being distracted by your mobile phone while driving. Shot in the style of a music video by the team behind Pharrell William’s film accompanying ‘Happy’, the camera pans down a busy street, which is littered with pink kittens. The film asks the viewer if they can spot the cats. Towards the end, a man is seen glancing at a pink kitten on his phone while driving his car. He doesn’t see a mother and child crossing the streets at traffic lights in front of him.

Shot in the style of a music video by the team behind Pharrell William’s film accompanying ‘Happy’, the camera pans down a busy street, which is littered with pink kittens. The film asks the viewer if they can spot the cats.

Towards the end, a man is seen glancing at a pink kitten on his phone while driving his car. He doesn’t see a mother and child crossing the streets at traffic lights in front of him. A driver travelling at 30mph will cover 100ft of road if they look at their phone for just 2.3 seconds.



The campaign also includes the clever use of a gif on social media:



Over 50s feel ‘invisible’

With around two fifths of the UK population aged over 50, you would think advertisers would be clambering to engage the ‘grey pound’. But, apparently, 68% of this age group don’t believe that they are accurately reflected in advertising. The cosmetics industry is cited as the worst offender by the YouGov survey, followed by fashion and tech firms.

Ben Glanville, head of data services at YouGov said that the fact that such a vast proportion of this key audience feels disconnected about how they are spoken to and about in ads and in the media, should make the industry pause for thought, saying “This is clearly something that brands, broadcasters, and publishers should think about as the rewards of speaking more directly to this group could be significant.”


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