Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Mar 06-10, 2023.

1. Reddit Shuts down ‘Reddit Talks’ & Twitter Is Removing Archive of Recorded Live-Streams – Remember Clubhouse? Clubhouse, at one stage, reached 10 million weekly active users, and had a $1 billion valuation, with many experts proclaiming it as a new paradigm, and the next big thing for social connection. That, predictably, led to copycat features cropping up in every other social app, including Twitter Spaces, Facebook audio rooms, LinkedIn live chats, and many more. But now, almost all of them have been depreciated, deprioritized, or shelved entirely, as interest in social audio continues to wane. And now Reddit Talk, Reddit’s own variation of the same, is the latest to be added to social audio scrapheap. Per Reddit, “We have made the difficult decision to sunset the Reddit Talk product in the coming weeks. Hosting Reddit Talks will continue to be available until March 21. The ‘Happening Now’ experiment will also wind-down on this date.”

In the meantime, Twitter has informed users that it is removing its live video archive ‘soon’ as Twitter reviews its storage costs, and looks for more ways to cut down on capacity.  There’s no mention of audio recordings of live Spaces as yet. But if I were you, I would download and save the data. In a way this makes sense to remove old archive and reduce costs so I am wondering if other platforms will follow suit. Or may be charge a fee to host content after a certain amount of time?

2. Page Size Is Not A Ranking Factor – Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter, “Page size is not a ranking factor.” Meaning Google does not have anything specific signal that says page sizes of X to Y get a ranking boost or decline. Of course, if your page sizes are so big that users, browsers and bots chock on the files, that can be an issue. But finding pages like that are generally rare. Recently, John also said that core web vitals should not be a priority for most small businesses (I covered this on episode#149). John also said previously that CSS size does not generally impact rankings either. #seoMythBusted

3. YouTube Discontinues Overlay Ads – Finally after years of bothering the billions of viewers out there, YouTube has announced the removal of Overlay Ads. From April 6, 2023, creators will no longer be able to activate or add “Overlay ads” from within YouTube Studio when accessing monetization options. According to YouTube, the move is in response to feedback from viewers who find these ads disruptive. 

Overlay ads are known to be less effective than other ad formats, such as pre-roll ads, which play before a video begins. As a result, creators often earn less revenue from overlay ads, despite their videos receiving a high number of views

Sounds like, YouTube staff never consumed content on YouTube and that they had to collect years of data to realize that Overlay Ads are a nuisance. Or does it have to do something about the competition from TikTok and Meta (Instagram/FB)?

4. Microsoft Launches Local Search Ads – Microsoft has announced Local Search Ads which are designed to give businesses greater prominence on the local results entity on Bing’s search engine results page and Bing Maps on PC. You can use local search ads to promote your  products and services to potential customers in the area. Additionally, the ads provide essential business information, such as the company’s location, phone number, and hours of operation. This feature is especially useful if you are relying on foot traffic. By providing this information upfront, companies can make it easier for customers to find them and make a purchase.

5. Google Expands Local Service Ads to Five More Categories – Google has announced an expansion of its Local Services Ads offering, which enables businesses to better highlight their services in local queries. With Local Services Ads, you can advertise your services at the top of Google Search results pages and receive phone calls, messages and appointment bookings in the areas you choose. 

Google originally launched Local Services Ads with home service businesses, but now, more than 70 types of service area and storefront businesses are eligible for these promotions. The five new Local Service ad categories are: Education, People Care, Pet Care, Wellness and Health Care.

6. Google Ads Rolled Out Performance Max For Hotels – Google is rolling out Performance Max for travel goals to all hotel advertisers over the next few weeks. Performance Max for travel goals creates ads in multiple formats that will automatically serve across Google channels and inventory, including Google Maps, Search, YouTube and Hotel Ads (coming later this year). During campaign setup, just pick your hotel properties from a map using their hotel picker tool. Then it’ll pre-populate ads for your hotel — including creative elements like copy, images and URLs — in every format. You can edit any of these pre-populated assets or upload your own instead.

In the announcement, Google shared that advertisers who use Performance Max achieve on average over 18% more conversions at a similar cost per action. And searches for “book a flight” has grown more than 70% in 2022. The question to Google, what are the stats for hotel search volume? That will be a better representation of a demand vs pulling the “book a flight” data since there is this thing called “AirBnb”.

7. TikTok Enters The Search Ads Market Even Though It Is Inching Towards A US Ban – TikTok has added another handy research tool for marketers, with a new ‘Keyword Insights’ element in its Creative Center, which enables you to find more info on which keywords and phrases are resonating best in TikTok ads.

TikTok’s search ads platform will allow businesses to bid on specific keywords and phrases related to their products or services, just like they would on Google. However, TikTok’s platform will likely offer some unique features and targeting options that Google does not.  For example, TikTok’s platform may offer more robust audience targeting options, allowing advertisers to reach users based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics. This could make TikTok’s platform more appealing to advertisers looking to reach specific audiences. However, it has a long way to go before it can take the crown away from Google. After all, you can not use TikTok to get directions (Google maps or Apple maps). Nevertheless, competition is good. 

Also TikTok faces potential bans in the US and Europe after an investigation found them spying on journalists and due to concerns around its exposure to the Chinese Community Party (CCP). So I would hold off from deleting my Google Ads Account if I were you. #JustSaying.