Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Feb 3-10, 2023.

1. YouTube: Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events Through Cost-Per-Hour Masthead Ads – YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments. By using the Masthead Ads, brands and advertisers can maximize visibility, reach and impact, delivering their message to a captive audience and potentially increasing conversions. For example, “During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

However, there’s no indication right now how much the Masthead ads cost, or how much of the inventory is available. They may be a better option for national brands versus small or local businesses.

2. Pinterest Posted Its Q4 ‘22 Earnings Report – Pinterest has posted its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2022, showing steady increases in both users and revenue. Pinterest added five million more active users – most of them coming from Europe – during the last quarter of 2022. Here are the user breakdowns:

  • 95 million users in US & Canada (same as Q3’22)
  • 124 million users in Europe (+4 million from Q3’22)
  • 231 million users in Rest of World (+1 million from Q3’22)

Pinterest’s big winner on this front has been Idea Pins, its Stories-like option which presents uploaded video in a swipeable, full-screen display. The emphasis on this format has helped boost the platform’s appeal with younger audiences, with Pinterest reporting that Gen Z was the fastest-growing demographic on the platform, increasing double digits year over year. 

On the revenue front, Pinterest posted a 4% year-over-year increase, after bringing in $877 million Q4’22. Revenue breakdowns:

  • $722 million in US & Canada (+$147 mil from Q3’22)
  • $123 million in Europe (+$37 mil from Q3’22)
  • $32 million in Rest of World (+$8 mil from Q3’22)

Average revenue per user (ARPU) is $7.60 for US & Canada, $1.01 for Europe, and $0.14 for RoW.

Based on what I read, it feels cost of ads in Europe and Asia are significantly cheaper than it is in America & Canada. 

3. Microsoft Ads Update –  Here are the new products and features announced this week from Microsoft Ads:

  1. Last-touch attribution is also now available in all Microsoft Audience Network markets! This feature allows you to change your conversion goal attribution, which will allow Microsoft’s Automated bidding solutions to take both click-based and view-through conversions into account.
  2. Enhanced cost per click (ECPC) is now available in all markets for the Microsoft Audience Network. 
  3. For all Automated bidding tactics, Microsoft Ads now also have data exclusions, which will help inform Microsoft Advertising’s Automated bidding algorithms in case there’s a data outage on your website or any other unintended conversion tracking changes. This will allow you to ensure your Automated bidding algorithms get precise information and maintain optimal performance!
  4. Google Import in Microsoft Advertising makes transferring Smart Campaigns from Google Ads over to Microsoft Advertising easy, helping you reach more customers instantly. And as of this month, this capability is now available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Singapore. Save time and import your Google Smart Campaigns in just a few clicks today!

4. Google Recommends JSON-LD For Structured Data – Google updated the structured data guidance to explain that while any of the three structured data formats (JSON-LD, Microdata & RDFa)  are acceptable to Google, however they prefer JSON-LD. Here is what they wrote:

Google Search supports structured data in the following formats, unless documented otherwise. 

In general, we recommend using a format that’s easiest for you to implement and maintain (in most cases, that’s JSON-LD); all 3 formats are equally fine for Google, as long as the markup is valid and properly implemented per the feature’s documentation. 

In general, Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data if your site’s setup allows it, as it’s the easiest solution for website owners to implement and maintain at scale (in other words, less prone to user errors).

5. Google Is Now OK With AI-Generated Content – Last year Google was against AI generated content and Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller during April 22 SEO Office hour said that content automatically generated with AI writing tools was considered spam and is against its webmaster guidelines.

However, ChatGPT has changed the game so much so that now Google has clarified that AI-generated content is not against its guidelines, revising its previous stance on AI-created material, and how it will, or won’t be ranked by Google Search. This is what Google wrote in their search central blog post

When it comes to automatically generated content, our guidance has been consistent for years. Using automation- including AI – to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our spam policies. This said, it’s important to recognize that not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam. Automation has long been used to generate helpful content, such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts. AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web…. 

Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.