Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Mar 20-24, 2023.

1. TikTok CEO Makes His Case To US Congress – TikTok’s fate in the US market is still unknown. However, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appeared before the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce this week, in which Chew had the opportunity to present TikTok’s case, and convince senators that TikTok does not pose a national security threat. In his pre-prepared testimony, Chew wrote that “More than 150 million people in the United States use TikTok on a monthly basis, with the average user today being an adult well past college age. Their videos provide a lens through which the rest of the world can experience American culture. Examples include TikTok’s role in bringing exposure to American musicians, artists, chefs, and many more. While users in the United States represent 10 percent of our global community, their voice accounts for 25 percent of the total views around the world.

It is interesting to note the average user age, as per Che’w example here, which is likely older than many would expect. The general consensus is that if the US imposes a TikTok ban, other regions will follow. It’s not a certainty that a ban will be imposed, but Chew’s written testimony doesn’t do a lot to provide new assurance.

2. LinkedIn Rolls Out 4 Updates For Business Pages – LinkedIn’s latest features for business pages aim to enhance brand visibility, audience engagement, and hiring efficiency. They are:

  1. LinkedIn now lets you plan your business page posts up to three months ahead for steady interaction with followers. Available now on desktop, this feature will come to mobile soon.
  2. LinkedIn is introducing live, audio-only discussions, eliminating reliance on external broadcasting applications. Listeners can engage in the discussion through emojis and request to speak if they wish to contribute verbally. 
  3. For businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, LinkedIn now offers an automatic job posting feature. Once activated, the platform will automatically share one open role daily as a pre-scheduled post. The posts can be edited after they’re shared.
  4. LinkedIn Pages can now follow other Pages, making it easier to join chats related to your field with a feed dedicated to content from the businesses you’re following.

It’s interesting to see that LinkedIn is doubling down on the audio segment at a time when Facebook is killing it. I’m not suggesting that the platforms should necessarily copy each other even though that seems to be happening a lot lately (esp Meta copying TikTok) however audio is a hard space to win in and the only one seems to be doing a decent job is Clubhouse. 

3. 6 New Features In Reddit Ads – Reddit has announced 6 updates to its Ads Manager to accommodate its growing global advertising business and cater to the diverse needs of its advertisers. These changes are effective immediately and offer specific improvements for self-service clients and international advertisers.

  1. Simple Campaign Creation: Enables advertisers to create a campaign with a single ad in just three easy steps: create an ad, set up targeting and budgets, and select payment. This feature is particularly helpful for self-serve advertisers who want to launch ads quickly and seamlessly.
  2. Automated Ad Creation: Allows advertisers to build and test multiple sets of ad variations to determine which messaging connects best with their target audience. This feature saves time previously spent creating new ads one-by-one.
  3. Multi-Currency Support: Advertisers from more than 40 countries can choose from various international currencies, including the Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), and New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
  4. Improved Community Search: Lets advertisers find targetable communities based on topic relevance, ensuring better reach to relevant audiences.
  5. Reporting Retention: Now supports a 12-month look-back, enabling advertisers to analyze their ads’ activity over time.
  6. Bulk Edit Improvements: Allow advertisers to change bids, budgets, and third-party reporting trackers for ads across multiple campaigns and ad groups simultaneously.

4. Instagram Adds Reminder Ads and Promoted Results in Search – Just two weeks back in episode#151 I covered “TikTok Enters The Search Ads Market Even Though It Is Inching Towards A US Ban”. In that show, I said that it will be soon that Instagram will copy this feature. And now my predictions came true. Maybe I should quit my day job and become a forecaster. Haha. j/k.

Instagram’s launching two new ad options, with Reminder Ads, that enable users to opt into alerts ahead of an event, and ads in search results, helping to better connect with users in a discovery mindset.

After a user opts-in via the ad CTA, they’ll then receive three subsequent notifications of that event, with the first coming a day before, then another 15 minutes ahead of the start time, with a final alert as it begins. Which will ensure that you don’t miss out – and while three reminders may seem a little much, if you’re really keen (or forgetful), it could be of benefit. Reminders can be set up to three months ahead of time, and once you’ve added a reminder to a post, you can create additional posts with reminders for the same event, without adding new event details. The event time will also be displayed in local time equivalent.

The search ads will help to connect users based on contextual keyword. “Ads will show up in the feed that people can scroll when they tap into a post from search results. We plan to launch this placement globally in the coming months.”

You can learn more about Reminder Ads here, while Search Ads are being rolled out with selected accounts from this week.

5. Microsoft Introduces Category-Based Targeting For Retailers – Search advertising is evolving, especially in retail media. Keyword targeting has been ubiquitous in search advertising for a long time, as it is an effective way for advertisers to reach shoppers who search via keywords. But traditional keyword targeting has constraints within the retail media space. It may limit campaign reach and performance for advertisers and the advertising revenue generated through a retailer’s retail media programme. Microsoft’s retail media platform, PromoteIQ, has launched an innovative solution to address these constraints. 

To address advertisers’ desire to maximize their reach to relevant shoppers on a retailer’s website and app, Microsoft’s retail media platform, PromoteIQ has launched a new solution that targets retail shoppers based on the categories they browse, and leverages keywords as a booster for campaign bids. This new solution will give advertisers the ability to unlock the benefit of insights into retail shoppers’ behaviours, achieving stronger performance for both advertisers and retailers.

With Microsoft PromoteIQ, advertisers can boost bids with keywords to show ads to those shoppers who are searching for specific products on a retailer’s website and app, for a higher chance of converting purchase intent to a sale.

Unlike traditional keyword targeting—which requires advertisers to research and build an exhaustive list of keywords per campaign—when managing retail media campaigns that leverage category behaviours with the Microsoft PromoteIQ platform, advertisers only need to test and retain a few high-performing keywords. For retailers, the efficiency in campaign management translates into more demand.

Microsoft said that in their tests, “campaigns that boost bids by keyword whilst targeting by category exhibit 320% higher click-through-rate (CTR) than the campaigns without boosting bids by keyword.

6. Countdown to GA4 : Google Ads Can See A Significant Impact If Not Using GA4 – As the sun begins to set on Google Analytics Universal Analytics (UA), businesses should be gearing up for the transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Google Ads Liaison, Ginny Marvin reminded advertisers that some “”the GA4 deadline is fast approaching. Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new data on July 1. That means new data will stop flowing from UA properties into Google Ads which could significantly impact campaign performance.”

For example, advertisers who are currently using Performance Max (PMAX) campaigns and pulling in conversions from UA, may see a drastic decrease in campaign spend, higher ROAS/CPA is set (as system won’t detect any conversions). This is bad for the advertiser as well as Google since Google makes also money when your ads get served/clicked. 

If you are unsure whether you need to migrate or have already migrated then you can talk to us.

7. 3 New Features In Google Discovery Ads – According to the Google’s announcement, the 3 new features in Discovery Ads will help a merchant stand out on most engaging ad surfaces:

  1. Rollout of Product Feeds to all Discovery Advertisers that show consumers items based on their interests and intent. Specifically, retailers can use lifestyle images and short text with their Google Merchant Center catalog to deliver more relevant ads. Google claims that by adding product feeds to Discovery ads with sales or lead gen goals, advertisers can achieve 45% more conversions at a similar CPA on average. What’s more, you can pair them with a Video action campaigns to drive deeper consideration and engagement with consumers who are exploring content on YouTube.
  2. Product-level reporting (launching later this month) will allow advertisers to track how their Google Merchant Center catalog items are performing in product feeds against metrics like impressions or clicks. For example, a retailer who’s promoting a wide range of products can now see which types of products are generating more interest and take business-related actions. Starting in Q2, Discovery advertisers can get a more accurate view of their campaign performance within the Google ecosystem through data-driven attribution (DDA). DDA gives credit for conversions based on how people engage with your ads, and uses your account data to determine which campaigns have the greatest impact on your business goals. You can then pair those insights with automated bidding strategies like Max Conversions to get even more conversions. Advertisers who switch to data-driven attribution from another attribution model typically see a 6% average increase in conversions.
  3. To accurately assess the effectiveness of campaigns, Google introduced Conversion Lift experiments last year. This is one of their most recent measurement solutions that enable advertisers to determine incremental conversions based on either users or geography. Now Google is rolling out conversion lift experiment. This is  for advertisers who are running both Discovery ads and Video action campaigns,and wants to measure their ads impact based on Geography. You do have to reach out to your Google account representative to learn how you can participate. In my opinion, unless you have a large budget it’s best to wait.

8. Google Ads Tests Blue Badges For Verified Advertisers In Search – Looks like “blue check mark” is the flavor of the season. After Meta rolled out a blue checkmark program, Google is testing showing blue badge icons and labels on some search ads for advertisers who are verified by Google Ads. The blue label is a blue circle with ridges and check mark within it.  This is from the ongoing Google advertiser verification program and some users are seeing Google little blue check marks for advertisers who are verified.

9. Google Clarifies Its 15MB Googlebot Limit – Google has updated the Googlebot help document on crawling to clarify that the 15MB fetch size limit applies to each fetch of the individual subresources referenced in the HTML as well, such as JavaScript and CSS files. Google initially added information about this 15MB limit several months ago, which caused a lot of concern in the SEO industry, The help document now reads:

Googlebot can crawl the first 15MB of an HTML file or supported text-based file. Each resource referenced in the HTML such as CSS and JavaScript is fetched separately, and each fetch is bound by the same file size limit. After the first 15MB of the file, Googlebot stops crawling and only considers the first 15MB of the file for indexing. The file size limit is applied on the uncompressed data. Other Google crawlers, for example Googlebot Video and Googlebot Image, may have different limits.

Furthermore, Gary Ilyes posted on LinkedIn that, “..The 15MB resource fetch threshold applies on the JavaScript resources, too, so if your JavaScript files are larger than that, your site might have a bad time in Google Search. See for information about the fetch features and limitations. Yes, there are JavaScript resources out there that are larger than 15MB. No, it’s not a good idea to have JavaScript files that are that large.”

Also note that the 15mb limit is just about fetching,  it’s totally separate from the indexing side.

If the talk about css, java script, fetching, and indexing is making you dizzy then it’s a sign that you need assistance from a reputable agency/expert.

10. Non-Supported Rel Link Attributes Do Nothing In Google Search – The Rel Link attribute has been covered in past episodes (Ep 141, 91). Given the amount of confusion and bad advice floating around the web, Google’s John Muller clarified that only the supported Rel Link Attributes (nofollow and me) works. The rest has no impact on your Google search index or ranking. He went on to say that you can even use made like

. However, the Google bot will just ignore it. 


11. Google: Keyword Stuffing Alone Does Not Make A Page Unhelpful – Google’s John Mueller said that keyword stuffing alone would not make a page be deemed unhelpful. John added that Google is good at ignoring tactics like keyword stuffing, so that alone likely won’t be the reason for ranking issues in Google Search. According to him, keyword stuffing is easy for search engines to ignore, it was one of the first things that people did to manipulate the results back in the 90’s :-).

The discussion on Keyword stuffing came up after a poster inquired if it is possible that they got hit by the helpful content update because they have too much content on one page. I looked at the page the posted shared and I’m not surprised that they got hit by the latest helpful content update because the page seems to have thin content.

P.S: In 2018, John Mueller said something similar, saying that keyword stuffing alone wouldn’t result in a penalty and then last year saying keyword stuffed URLs doesn’t lead to a penalty either.

12. Google: This Is How We Process Your Robot.txt – Google’s John Mueller posted a clarification on how and when Google processes the removal requests, or exclusion requests, you make in your robots.txt. The action is not taken when Google discovers the change in your robots.txt, but rather after first the robots.txt is processed and then the specific URLs that are impacted are individually reprocessed by Google Search.

Both have to happen. First, Google needs to pick up on your changes in your robots.tx and then Google needs to reprocess the individual URLs, on a URL-by-URL basis, for any changes in Google Search to happen. This can be fast or not, depending on how fast the specific URLs are reprocessed by Google.

In fact, many search engine ranking algorithms work this way, which is why when an update rolls out, sometimes it takes about two weeks to fully rollout because that is how long most important URLs on the internet take for Google to reprocess them.