Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Mar 27-31, 2023.

1. Twitter Publishes its Tweet Ranking Algorithm – As promised by Twitter chief Elon Musk earlier in March,, Twitter has published its recommendation algorithm code on GitHub for everyone to see. Also important to note that Twitter hasn’t included the weighting info connected to each element – i.e. how much emphasis each factor gets in driving the final output results. Despite Twitter noting that it had opted ‘not to release training data or model weights associated with the Twitter algorithm at this point’, some external coders have found the weighting data in the code base. 

According to a tweet from Peter Yang, likes and retweets are by far the most significant indicators of interest, which will help to boost tweet reach, while tweets with a URL only, or tweets that trigger negative user actions, like a block or unfollow, will limit performance. Twitter Blue subscriber tweets get a 2x-4x boost.

Overall, the release provides high-level insight into how Twitter’s algorithms work, while Twitter’s also provided a more layman’s explanation of the system, in order to help people understand how it decides what you’ll see in your timeline every time you open the app.

2. Google Releases 2022 Ads Safety Report – Google released their 2022 Ads safety report. I like to read these type of report to keep myself informed of what’s happening out there and how to protect our clients. Here are the main points you should be aware of:

  1. Google blocked 5.2+ billion ads. In 2021, they removed 3 billion ads.
  2. Google restricted 4.3+ billion ads
  3. Google suspended 6.7+ million advertiser accounts

Among the key reasons for blocking those billions of ads were trademark violations, legal requirements and misrepresentation within the promotions.

To enforce their policies at this scale, we rely on a combination of human reviews and automated systems powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. This helps sort through content and better detect violations across the globe.

3. Google Releases Ads Transparency Center – Google has announced that it is rolling out the Ads Transparency Center to users worldwide over the next few weeks. The Ads Transparency Center offers a searchable database of all advertisements on Google Search, YouTube, and Display. It will also show key information about ads, including advertiser details, where/when an ad appeared and ran, and its format. For political ads, it will  include the amount advertisers spent, the number of times the ad was shown, and the location targeting criteria.

Meta offers similar ad information in the Facebook Ad Library, where advertisers and users can browse ads from brands in several fields, including politics, housing, employment, and credit. Ad details include the design and copy for all ad variations, the platforms where the ad is displayed, and when the ad was launched. 

Google advertisers can use the Ads Transparency Center as a research tool to analyze competitors’ designs and ad copy to create Google Ads campaigns. 

In addition to the Ads Transparency Center, you can visit My Ad Center in your Google Account. Launched in October, it allows you to review ads you’ve seen recently on Google. You can control the ads shown to you by category, brand, and sensitive topics.

4. Google March 2023 Broad Core Update Finished Rolling Out – The Google March 2023 Broad Core update finished rolling out on March 28, 2023 at about 10:30 am ET. It took 13 days to roll out, kicking off on March 15th at 10:30 am ET and completing on March 28th at 10:30 am ET.

This was a global update targeting all types of content and impacting all regions, in all languages. If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google’s core update advice.

5. Google Search Console Report Breaks Out Merchant Listings and Product Snippets Reporting – Google has updated some of the reporting within Google Search Console to break out the differences between Merchant listings and Product snippets. Google said, “we are adding the ability to measure the impact of Merchant listing by splitting the Product results search appearance into two: Merchant listings and Product snippets.” You can now see how many clicks and impressions you get for those appearances/experiences independently of each other.

If you are an e-commerce business, you can see the difference in performance between how your search results do between Merchant listings and Product snippets now in Search Console. The new Merchant listings and Product snippets search appearances can be viewed in two places in Search Console: 

  • Merchant listings and product snippets reports as an overlay on top of the report charts
  • Performance report in the search appearance tab or through a filter

6. Google’s Advice On Identifying and Analyzing WebSite Traffic Drop – Understanding the reasons behind Google Search traffic drops is crucial. This week, Google’s Search Advocate Daniel Waisberg shared valuable insights on quickly spotting and analyzing the reasons for a decline in website traffic using Google Trends and the Search console performance report.

The timing of this informative guide is perfect, as Google just wrapped up its March 2023 core algorithm update. Many people are now evaluating its impact on their websites.  If you’re trying to figure out how this algorithm update (or any updates) has affected your site, the Search Console Performance report is an excellent starting point.

The main causes of organic traffic drop are:

  1. Technical issues : Errors that prevent Google from crawling, indexing, or serving your pages to users. These could be site-level or page-level technical issues.
  2. Manual actions: If your website doesn’t follow Google’s guidelines, some pages or the entire site may be less visible in Google Search results.
  3. Algorithm updates: Core updates may change how some pages perform in Google Search over time, leading to a slow decline in traffic.
  4. Search interest disruption: Changes in user behavior or external influences could affect the demand for certain queries.
  5. Seasonality effects: Regular traffic fluctuations due to weather, vacations, or holidays.
  6. Reporting glitches: Sudden major changes followed by a quick return to the norm could indicate a simple glitch.

To better understand the root cause of a traffic drop or fluctuations, perform the following steps:

  1. Login to your search console and go to your performance report.
  2. Expand the date range to 16 months to view the drop in context and identify any patterns or trends. Periodically export and store data to access more than 16 months of information.
  3. Compare the drop period to a similar period (e.g., the same month last year or the same day last week) to pinpoint the exact changes.
  4. Explore all available tabs to determine if changes occurred only for specific queries, pages, countries, devices, or Search appearances.
  5. Ensure you compare the same number of days and preferably the same days of the week.
  6. Analyze different Search types separately to understand if the drop was limited to Search, Google Images, Video, or News tab.
  7. Analyze general trends within your industry or country to identify changes in user behavior or competing products.
  8. Segment data by country and category for more relevant insights into your website audience.
  9. Examine queries driving traffic to your site for seasonal fluctuations or trends.

You are not alone if you think that this is a lot of things to do (monitoring and analyzing) just to identify the root cause. This is why you should work with your team, or a reputable expert/agency.