1. Shopify Lays Off 10% Of Workforce – Tobias Lütke, the founder of Shopify, announced that it is letting go of ten percent of its workforce. He blamed himself for misjudging trends, resulting in too many employees. What was anticipated at Shopify was that the rapid Covid-era increase in E-commerce shopping would continue as a trend, hastening a greater adoption of online shopping.

Unfortunately, the forecasted boom in post-Covid shopping failed to materialize. The CEO said that he decided to scale up hiring to meet the increased demand and that now that the projections are falling short, he was forced to make a difficult decision. Shopify employees face a layoff in recruiting, support roles, and sales.

2. Instagram Backtracks And Rethinking Instagram Forward Strategy – In a new interview with Casey Newton, Adam Mosseri explained that Instagram will actually take a step back from recommended content, as well as its experiment with a full-screen, TikTok-like viewing experience.

For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great. So there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward. When you discover something in your field that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar – it should just be great. You should be delighted to see it, and I don’t think that’s happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feed that are recommendations, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then – if and when we do – we can start to grow again.

3. Revenue Roundup: Microsoft, Google & Meta – Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Microsoft ad revenue decreased by about $100 million due to reductions in advertising spend
  2. LinkedIn revenue increased 26%, while user sessions grew 22%.
  3. Total Alphabet revenue 13% increase YoY to $69.7 billion (from $61.9 billion by the end of Q2 in 2021)
  4. Google Ad revenue $56.3 billion (up from $50.4 in 2021)
  5. YouTube revenue $7.3 billion (up 5% from $7 billion in 2021), which missed analysts’ predictions of $7.5 billion
  6. Meta’s ad revenue dropped one percent in Q2 2022 compared to last year’s period.
  7. They brought in $28.82 billion from ads, though it expected to earn $28.94 billion. One positive trend to note is Facebook’s daily active users are up three percent. There are now 1.97 billion people logging in every day.
  8. Meta’s apps aren’t declining in popularity by any means. The audience is there. The problem is that advertisers have smaller budgets, and they’re not getting the same value from ads as they used to. To remedy the issue of declining ad revenue, Meta has plans to offer new types of monetization. More specifically, the company is working on ways to make money from Reels.

4. LinkedIn Launches Native Carousel Posts – LinkedIn users have been posting makeshift carousel posts for some time, using its PDF attachment option to create individual frames. And now, LinkedIn has decided to make it a fully-fledged functionality, with a new ‘Carousel’ post option being added to your update tools.

5. Pinterest Launches Real-Time Analytics – Pinterest has now officially launched real-time analytics elements within Pin Analytics on mobile, which will provide more data on exactly how your Pins are performing at any given time. Real-time insights are also available in the web Analytics platform, but now, you’ll also be able to access much of the same data on the go, which is likely where many more people are looking to check in.

Real-time insights are not available for audience metrics, like ‘Total Engaged Monthly Audience’ and age and gender filters. But you will be able to see overall data on response to your Pins, whenever you check in, which could be a helpful guide for your Pin strategy.

6. Google Extends Deadline For Third-Party (Tracking) Cookies To 2024 – Google is now expanding the testing window for its Privacy Sandbox APIs before it moves to disable third-party cookies in Chrome. They announced that it’s expanding the testing period for its Privacy Sandbox, and its alternative tracking tools, in order to give the industry more time to provide feedback and adjust to the coming shift. 

The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This feedback aligns with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.

We now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024. As always, you can find up-to-date timelines and milestones on the Privacy Sandbox website.

7. The Reason Why The Search Console CWV Report & PageSpeed Insights Differ – Google’s John Mueller explained that  the two scores are different because the method for calculations is different.

… there’s a difference between so-called field data and the lab data. Field data is what users have actually seen when they go to your website. And this is what we use in Search Console. That’s what we use for search as well. Whereas lab data is kind of a theoretical view of your website, like where our systems have certain assumptions where they think, well the average user is probably like this, using this kind of device and with this kind of a connection perhaps. And based on those assumptions, we will estimate what those numbers might be for an average user. And obviously you can imagine those estimations will never be a hundred percent correct.

So what Mueller is saying then is that Search Console scores reflect what actual site visitors saw. The way Google measures those actual numbers is through visitors who have opted in to allowing Chrome to provide anonymized core web vitals data. 

Google doesn’t measure every site visitor, only those who have opted in to sending that data to Google. 

Contrasting with Search Console’s field data, PageSpeed Insights is creating a simulation of what a user might experience. The purpose of Search Console data is to show what real site visitors are experiencing. The purpose of PageSpeed Insights data is to provide an estimate of what’s going on in order to provide diagnostic feedback on what may be causing poor webpage speed performance.

And similarly, the data that users have seen, that will change over time as well, where some users might have a really fast connection or a fast device and everything goes really fast on their website, or when they visit your website. And others might not have that. And because of that, this variation can always result in different numbers. Our recommendation is generally to use the field data, the data you would see in Search Console, as a way of understanding what is kind of the current situation for a website. And then to use the lab data, namely the individual tests that you can run directly yourself, to optimize your website and try to improve things. And when you are pretty happy with the lab data that you’re getting with your new version of your website, then over time you can collect the field data, which happens automatically and double-check that users actually see it as being faster or more responsive as well. So in short, again, there is no absolutely correct number when it comes to any of these metrics. There is no kind of like absolutely correct answer where you’d say, this is what it should actually be. But rather, there’s different assumptions and different ways of collecting data and each of these are subtly different.”

  • The purpose of the Search Console tool is to provide granular snapshots of real-world site performance.
  • The purpose of PageSpeed Insights is diagnostic, to identify problems and offer suggestions for improvement.

8. Google Wants You To Replace HTTP Links With HTTPS – Several years ago, Google’s Gary Illyes said replacing links isn’t worth it when proper redirects are in place. Now, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller says you should always try to replace internal links pointing to HTTP URLs with the newer HTTP versions. 

Here are the reasons why replacing old HTTP internal links with https is a good idea:

  • First, it’s cleaner than having a bunch of redirects. And, unlike external links, you have complete control over the URL visitors are sent to. Anyone clicking on a link that redirects to HTTPS has to go through the HTTP version first. Getting rid of the extra ‘hop’ means visitors get to the content faster. 
  • Relying on redirects for internal links is a fool’s errand. Many things can go wrong, such as redirect chains, redirect loops, and broken links. If a site loads images with HTTP URLs, it can cause browsers to give visitors a “not secure” error message, deterring them from staying on your site.
  • Redirects eat your crawl budget because every redirect counts as a page crawled. Google can potentially crawl more pages per session without the redirects in place.
  • Lastly, you can’t depend on redirects working indefinitely. Redirects can break or get deleted while replacing the links ensures they’re changed forever.

9. The 411 On Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines Update – Google has made a variety of significant updates to its Search Quality Rater Guidelines. The most significant overhauls were to Google’s definitions of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life), and the extent to which E-A-T matters as a matter of page quality.

Google defines YMYL topics as either being inherently dangerous (violent extremism), or harmful because presenting misinformation related to the topic can be harmful. For example, providing bad advice related to heart attacks, investments or earthquakes could cause harm to the user.

Google also revamped its definition of what it means to be a low-quality page. In a previous version, Google claimed a page may be low quality, in part, because the creator of the main content may lack sufficient expertise for the purpose of the page. This statement was deleted. Google now expands upon the role of E-A-T in determining whether a page is low-quality.

You can download the full 167-page PDF raters guidelines over here

10. Google Ads Will Now Automatically Update Conversion Attribution Models – Google has sent an email letting advertisers know that if their account qualifies then their ad accounts would be switched to data-driven attribution. Advertisers have until August 24 to cancel the auto-switch.

Google announced in September that data-driven attribution would become the default model, but advertisers would still have access to the five other rule-based models. Data-driven attribution uses advanced machine learning techniques to more accurately understand how each marketing touchpoint contributed to a conversion. According to Google, data-driven attribution takes multiple signals into account including ad format and time between the ad and interaction and conversion.

11. Google Merchant Center Now Accepts Gated Product Listings – Google has updated its Merchant Center policy to no longer automatically disapproved free listings for products that have login required and/or restricted purchase access. Google said it now will list these products as active but with the caveat that they may “have limited visibility on Google.”

Google explained “Login required” issue status means that customers visiting your store website need to provide account access information, such as entering a username and password or installing a program, before being able to view your products.

Google explained “Restricted purchase” issue status means that the ability to buy products on your store website is limited to certain customers as defined by location, device type, information provided, or some other exclusive criteria. Fields like business information should be optional and content should be consistent and available to visitors in all locations.

12. Google Publishes 6 Tips For E-Commerce Sites – Google published a new video offering six tips for how to make ecommerce sites eligible for special presentations in the search results. 

  1. Title Tags – If the title element doesn’t adequately describe what the webpage is about that Google will rewrite it, using content from the heading at the top of the page or even the anchor text from links to the webpage. Take extra care with automated product title tags to ensure there is no duplicate content or missing information. Avoid dynamically generated title tags to add availability or price data to the title tag because there’s a lag between when the title tag is updated and when Google eventually shows the updated title link in the SERPs. By this time, the information may be outdated.
  2. Include High Quality Images – High quality images are a user experience consideration in that they help potential customers make up their minds about a product. Audit your site for low quality images and replacing them with higher quality photos. Checking the Max Image Preview meta data because it guides Google on how to show those images in the SERPs. Lastly, use product structured data to help Google identify the correct images to show in the search results. Many businesses consider things like images in terms of how they may help their webpage rank better in the search results. But it’s more productive to consider product images in terms of how they help users decide to purchase a product.
  3. Share Rich Product Data – Structured data helps Google better understand webpages and makes them eligible to be displayed as rich results, what he referred to as “special presentation treatments” in the search results. The following are essential elements for product structured data to include: 

    1. Product title 
    2. Description 
    3. Images 
    4. Ratings 
    5. Price 
    6. Availability
  4. Share Price Drop Data – Sharing pricing information with Google can make the product page eligible for a special price drop presentation in the search results, which may call attention to it. Appearing in the search results with a special price drop presentation isn’t guaranteed. To make a page eligible for price drop rich results, you must include the Offer property in the product structured data that is a specific price point and not a price range.
  5. Identify Products You Sell – This tip advises using accurate product identifiers such as GTIN identifiers, using a combination of Google Merchant Center feed and product structured data. Following this advice can make a product eligible for listings such as the product carousels.
  6. Create a Business Profile – Creating a Google Business Profile if the business has a physical presence. This makes a site eligible for a special listing alongside the search results. This type of listing is only available for businesses with a physical store presence or a covered service area.

Watch the Google YouTube Video – How to Make Your Ecommerce Website Stand Out in Google Search (6 Tips)

13. YouTube’s New Feature Will Help You To Turn Your Long Form Videos Into Shorts – YouTube is looking to encourage more short clips via a new option that will enable creators to convert segments of their existing long-form content into minute-long Shorts variations. 

The new ‘Edit into a Short’ option will enable you to select a section of your regular video uploads to then cut into a bite-sized version.

14. YouTube Answers Common Questions On YT Shorts – YouTube demystifies the Shorts algorithm in a Q&A video that addresses several of the most common questions creators have about gaining visibility with short-form content. Here’s a recap of each question and answer in the video.

  • Should I Mix Long And Short-Form Content On The Same Channel? – “We’ve done some analysis recently where we looked at audience growth for channels that only made long-form videos, and channels that made both long-form and short videos. Channels that made Shorts actually seemed to be growing faster. We anticipate that audience demand for short-form content is here to stay. This is a format that’s becoming increasingly popular, and the very reason we’ve been testing so much in more mobile-first creation tools and Shorts discovery.
  • Will YouTube Recommend More Long-Form Videos If People Watch My Shorts? – “Viewers watching Shorts aren’t always the same viewers watching longer-form content… For this reason, we separate Shorts and long-form content from watch history. So when someone discovers a new channel via Shorts, we’re not currently using that to inform what longer videos are recommended to them outside of the Shorts experience.
  • Is There A Benefit To Starting A Separate Channel For Shorts? – “Try to group your channels around similar audiences who enjoy the same or similar content. Separate them out when your viewers have totally different interests… If you start building up different audiences with different interests then consider making a separate channel.
  • How Many Shorts Do I Need To Upload Before The Algorithm Recommends My Content? – “Every Short is given a chance to succeed no matter the channel or the number of videos on the channel. Performance of a Short is dictated by whether or not people are choosing to watch and not skip a video in the Shorts feed. That audience engagement is often built over time as opposed to happening instantaneously.