Episode 166 contains the notable Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of June 19 – 23, 2023. And the show notes for this episode was generated using generative AI. And like always, I curated the articles for the show.

1. YouTube’s New Thumbnail A/B Testing Tool – YouTube has launched a new thumbnail A/B testing tool that allows creators to test different variations of their thumbnail images to see which one performs best. The tool is currently in live testing with a small group of creators, but it is expected to be rolled out to more creators in the coming months.

The thumbnail A/B testing tool is a valuable addition to YouTube’s creator toolkit. By testing different thumbnail images, creators can ensure that they are using the most effective thumbnail to attract viewers and maximize their video views.

2. TikTok Expands TikTok Shops to All Businesses In The US, UK, Canada, and France – TikTok is expanding access to its TikTok Shops eCommerce program to all businesses in the US, UK, Canada, and France. The program allows businesses to sell products directly through TikTok, and it has been growing rapidly in popularity. In the first quarter of 2023, TikTok Shops generated over $1 billion in GMV.

To join the TikTok Shops program, businesses need to have a TikTok account and a Shopify or Ecwid store. Once they are approved, they can start adding products to their TikTok Shop and linking their product catalog to TikTok. Businesses can then tag products in their videos and create shopping posts that allow users to purchase products directly from TikTok.

The expansion of TikTok Shops to all businesses in these four countries is a major step for the platform. It will allow more businesses to reach a wider audience and sell more products through TikTok. This is likely to further boost the growth of TikTok Shops in the coming months and years.

3. Instagram Now Lets You Download Public Reels! – Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to download publicly posted Reels content to their camera roll. This means that users can now save Reels to their devices for offline viewing, sharing, or editing. To download a Reel, simply tap on the share icon and then select the “Download” option.

There are a few limitations to this feature. First, only Reels from public accounts can be downloaded. Second, creators can opt out of enabling downloads of their content in their Account Settings. Finally, some users have reported audio issues with some Reels content, which could be linked to Meta’s music licensing agreements.

Overall, this is a welcome addition to Instagram that will give users more flexibility with how they interact with Reels content. It will also make it easier for users to share Reels with others, even if they don’t have Instagram.

4. LinkedIn’s New AI Image Detector Catches 99% of Fake Profiles – LinkedIn has developed a new AI image detector that has a 99% success rate in catching fake profile photos. The detector uses a variety of techniques to identify fake images, including analyzing the image’s pixels, comparing it to other images in its database, and looking for inconsistencies in the image’s metadata.

The advent of AI-generated profile images has made it easier to create fake LinkedIn profiles, which has exacerbated an already huge problem. In the first half of 2022, LinkedIn detected and removed 21 million fake accounts.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that LinkedIn’s AI image detector is working well. An affiliate marketer who deployed fake LinkedIn profiles said that their success rate dropped significantly after LinkedIn implemented the new detector.

5. Meta Expands Reels Ads To Instagram And Tests AI Features – Meta is expanding Reels ads to Instagram and testing AI features to boost engagement and broaden advertiser reach. Previously, Reels ads were only available on Facebook. Now, advertisers can run ads between Reels on Instagram, expanding beyond Facebook. Meta is also introducing app promotion ads to Reels to boost app downloads. Additionally, Meta is testing AI to optimize music in single-image Reels ads, aiming for better viewer engagement.

6. Meta’s New Speech-to-Text Translation Tool Can Translate Text into Audio in 6 Languages – Meta has announced a new AI system called Voicebox that can translate text to audio in a variety of styles and voices. The system is based on a new method called Flow Matching, which allows it to synthesize speech with fewer learning and processing requirements than other similar systems.

Voicebox can translate text into audio in six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. It can also perform noise removal, edit content, and transfer audio style.

The system is still under development, but Meta plans to make it available to developers in the future.

7. GA4 Update: Now You Can Control Conversion Credit – Google Analytics 4 has added a new feature that allows you to select which channels are eligible to receive conversion credit for web conversions shared with Google Ads. This means that you can now choose to give credit to organic and paid channels, even if the last non-direct click was not from a Google ad.

This new feature can help you to get a more accurate picture of the impact of your marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re running a paid campaign and you see that organic traffic is also converting, you can now give credit to both channels. This will help you to allocate your budget more effectively and improve your ROI.

8. Google Sues Rank and Rent Marketer: What You Need to Know – Google is suing an online marketer for violating its terms of service and for engaging in activities that mislead users and violate both federal and state laws. The marketer, who was a member of a public Facebook group called “Rank and Rent – GMB Strategy & Domination,” is accused of creating fake businesses and fake websites, and then associating them with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone numbers whose area codes correspond to the fake businesses’ supposed locations. Google alleges that the marketer has been associated with over 350 fake Business Profiles listings since mid-2021.

9. Google Launches New INP Report in Search Console to Help you Prepare for FID to INP Transition – Google has launched a new report in Google Search Console to help site owners prepare for the upcoming change of First Input Delay (FID) to Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a Core Web Vital metric. The report, which can be accessed by clicking this link and selecting a property, shows how well your site performs with the INP metric.

INP is a measure of how long it takes for a user to be able to interact with a page after it has loaded. It is a more accurate measure of user experience than FID, as it takes into account the time it takes for the browser to paint the first content on the page as well as the time it takes for the user to be able to interact with that content.

The INP report in Google Search Console shows the following data for each page on your site:

  • The average INP for the page
  • The percentage of users who experienced an INP of 100 milliseconds or less
  • The percentage of users who experienced an INP of 300 milliseconds or less

Google has not yet announced a specific date for the FID to INP transition, but it is expected to happen in March 2024. By using the INP report in Google Search Console, you can start preparing your site for the change and ensure that your users have a good experience.

10. Google Postpones Data-Driven Attribution Switch: What You Need to Know – Google has postponed the switch to data-driven attribution in Google Ads from June to mid-July 2023. This means that first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models will still be available for new conversion actions until mid-July. However, once the switch is made, these models will be removed from all Google Ads reporting. Advertisers who want to continue using these models will have to manually switch to them.

The reason for the postponement is that Google wants to give advertisers more time to prepare for the switch. Data-driven attribution is a more complex model than the other attribution models, and it requires more data. Google wants to make sure that advertisers have enough data to get accurate results from data-driven attribution.

11. Google Ads Now Lets You Track Store Sales and Optimize Your Bids –  Google has announced that store sales reporting and bidding are now available across Performance Max campaigns within Google Ads. This means advertisers can measure total sales wherever customers prefer to shop and optimize their bids for in-store revenue.

To use this feature, you’ll need to upload and match your transaction data from your business to Google. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see how your ads translate into offline purchases.

Store sales reporting and bidding offer a number of benefits for businesses, including:

  • The ability to measure the true value of your ads in terms of in-store sales
  • The ability to optimize your bids for in-store revenue
  • The ability to gain insights into how your ads are driving offline purchases

If you’re using Performance Max campaigns, I encourage you to take advantage of this new feature. It’s a great way to track the impact of your ads on your offline sales and optimize your bids for maximum results.

12. Google’s John Mueller Warns: Custom Elements in Head Can Hurt SEO – Google’s John Mueller has advised against using custom elements in the head of a web page. Custom elements are HTML tags that are not part of the standard HTML specification. They can be used to add new functionality to web pages, but they can also disrupt how Google renders and indexes pages.

Mueller’s warning comes after a user on Twitter asked him if it was technically valid to have a custom element in the document head. Mueller responded that using custom elements in the likely breaks page rendering in Google Search. This is because Google’s crawlers may not recognize custom elements, which could lead to the page being indexed incorrectly or not at all.

As an alternative to custom elements, Mueller recommends using JSON-LD tags. JSON-LD is a lightweight markup language that can be used to add structured data to web pages. This data can be used by Google to better understand the content of a page, which can improve its ranking in search results.

13. Your Homepage is Not Indexed? Fix It With These 3 Steps! – Google’s John Mueller explained in a recent Twitter thread that there are a few reasons why a homepage might not be indexed by Google. These reasons include:

  • The homepage may not be linked to from any other pages on the site.
  • The homepage may have been blocked from crawling by robots.txt or a meta robots tag.
  • The homepage may contain errors that prevent Googlebot from crawling it successfully.
  • The homepage may not have enough content to be indexed.

Mueller also said that the crawl budget, which is the amount of time and resources that Googlebot has available to crawl websites, is not usually a factor in why homepages are not indexed. However, if a site has a large number of pages, the crawl budget could become a limiting factor.

To fix a homepage that is not indexed, you can try the following:

  • Add links to the homepage from other pages on the site.
  • Remove any robots.txt or meta robots tags that are blocking the homepage from being crawled.
  • Fix any errors that are preventing Googlebot from crawling the homepage successfully.
  • Add more content to the homepage.

If you are still having trouble getting your homepage indexed, you can use Google Search Console to troubleshoot the issue.

14. Launch a New Domain Before Migrating Content to Reduce SEO Risk – Google’s John Mueller says it can be beneficial to launch a new domain before migrating your site to it. This can help to reduce some of the risks associated with migration, both internal and external. For example, if you launch the new domain and start building links to it, this can help to establish its authority before you start migrating your content. Additionally, if there are any problems with the migration, you can still keep your old domain up and running while you troubleshoot.

Here are some of the benefits of launching a new domain before migrating your site:

  • It can help to reduce the risk of losing traffic during the migration.
  • It can help to build up the authority of the new domain before you start migrating your content.
  • It gives you a chance to test out the new domain and make sure it is working properly.

15. Google’s Gary Illyes: Don’t Use AI for SEO – Google’s Gary Illyes recently warned SEOs against using large language models (LLMs) and artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose SEO issues. He said that these tools are not yet sophisticated enough to provide accurate insights into the complex factors that affect search rankings. Instead, Illyes recommends using traditional SEO methods, such as manual analysis of site data and search console reports.

16. Google Ads is Phasing Out DSAs: Are You Ready for PMax? – Google Ads is asking advertisers to “upgrade” from dynamic search ads (DSAs) to Performance Max (PMax) campaigns. This is because Google is gradually phasing out DSAs in favor of PMax, which is a more sophisticated campaign type that can reach a wider audience and generate more conversions.

When you upgrade your DSA campaign to PMax, your existing assets, settings, and budget will be used to create a new PMax campaign. You can then continue to optimize your PMax campaign as you would any other Google Ads campaign.

Some PPC experts believe that this is the beginning of the end for DSAs, and that Google will eventually force everyone to switch to PMax. If you’re currently running DSA campaigns, it’s a good idea to start planning your transition to PMax now.

17. Microsoft Ads Renames Platforms and Integrates AI – Microsoft is renaming several of its advertising platforms and integrating AI into its ad platforms to help advertisers automate campaign creation and improve campaign management efficiencies. The name changes include:

  • Microsoft Advertising becomes Microsoft Ads
  • Xandr becomes Microsoft Audience Network
  • PromoteIQ becomes Microsoft Retail Media

Microsoft is also adding AI-powered predictive targeting to its ad platform. This will allow advertisers to target their ads more effectively to potential customers.

18.  Microsoft Launches AI-Powered Advertising Tool That Can Help You Increase Your Conversion Rates – Microsoft has announced the launch of Predictive Targeting, an artificial intelligence-powered advertising tool that uses machine learning to help advertisers reach new, receptive audiences and drive higher conversion rates. Predictive Targeting is now available to all advertisers on the Microsoft Audience Network.

The tool uses a variety of data points, including website traffic, search history, and social media activity, to create a profile of each user. This profile is then used to predict which ads are most likely to be clicked on by each user.

Predictive Targeting is available through Microsoft’s Advertising Platform, and it can be used to target ads across a variety of channels, including search, display, and video.  For more information on Microsoft’s predictive targeting feature, read its complete guide here.