Episode 183 contains the important Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Oct 16-20, 2023.

1. Microsoft’s New Automated Bidding Features for Your Business! – Microsoft Advertising has rolled out two automated bidding strategies, Target CPA and Maximize Conversions, to all advertisers. These features aim to simplify the advertising process and are now available in all regions where Microsoft’s Audience Ads are served. Automated bidding strategies help you optimize your ad campaigns without constant monitoring, freeing up your time for other business tasks.

Target CPA allows you to set a cost-per-acquisition goal, and the system will automatically adjust your bids to meet that target. Maximize Conversions, on the other hand, aims to get you as many conversions as possible within your set budget. Both strategies offer flexibility in budgeting and performance measurement, putting you in control while also reducing manual effort.

Microsoft’s Audience Ads are native display ads that leverage Microsoft’s data insights to target your desired audience effectively. These ads appear on various platforms like MSN, Outlook, and more. 

2. Google’s October 2023 Core and Spam Updates Completed! – Google has finished rolling out two significant updates that you should be aware of: the October 2023 Core Update and the October 2023 Spam Update. These updates can affect your website’s visibility on Google, so let’s break it down.

October 2023 Core Update: This update took almost 14 days to roll out completely, starting on October 5th and ending on October 19th. It had a significant impact on SEOs and websites, causing a lot of volatility in search rankings. The update is global and affects all types of content. If you’ve noticed changes in your website’s performance, this could be why. Google hasn’t specified what percentage of queries were impacted, but it’s safe to say that the reach is wide.

October 2023 Spam Update: This update started on October 4th and ended on October 20th. It targets spam techniques that violate Google’s policies, particularly in languages like Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, and Chinese. If your website was affected, Google suggests reviewing its spam policies.

Interestingly, these two updates overlapped, making it challenging to pinpoint which update caused changes to your website’s rankings. If you’re not involved in spammy practices and see changes, it’s likely due to the Core Update. If you do engage in spam and notice alterations, it’s probably the Spam Update.

Why Should You Care? These updates can either elevate your website’s visibility or push it down the search rankings. If you’ve been hit, it’s crucial to adapt your strategies accordingly.

Need Expert Guidance? If all this sounds overwhelming, we’re here to help. Contact us for expert advice on navigating these Google updates seamlessly.

3. YouTube’s New AI-Powered “Spotlight Moments” – YouTube has launched an advertising feature called “Spotlight Moments,” designed to boost your brand’s visibility during key cultural events. This new feature uses artificial intelligence to place your brand’s videos next to the most relevant and engaging content related to specific cultural moments, like Halloween or Christmas.

Here’s how it works: YouTube uses AI to identify popular videos related to these cultural moments. Your ads will then be served alongside this content, giving your brand a chance to shine during these high-traffic periods. All these videos will be curated into dynamically updated playlists on a sponsored hub called the “YouTube Culture Hub,” which will also feature your brand’s logo.

“Spotlight Moments” offers a unique opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility and reach your target audience during times when they are most engaged. The big question, of course, is what kind of return on investment (ROI) you can expect from this new ad package.

4. YouTube with New Product Targeting Features! – YouTube is introducing a new feature that allows creators to add timestamps to tagged products in their videos. This new feature aims to enhance your advertising strategy by targeting potential customers at the most opportune moments.

When a timestamp is added to a tagged product, a shopping cart button appears at a time when viewer engagement is expected to be high. This precision in targeting can result in increased engagement and conversions.

The feature is especially timely as YouTube plans to remove some ad controls for newly uploaded videos next month (removing individual ad controls for newly uploaded videos in November for the following ad types: Pre-roll, Post-roll, Skippable, and Non-skippable. Moving forward, creators will only be able to decide between displaying ads before or after a video, and whether to have this option on or off. If they turn this option on, YouTube will automatically decide which ad type to display as appropriate), giving creators and sponsors more control in the meantime.

But that’s not all. YouTube is also rolling out additional features to improve the shopping experience. One such feature allows creators to bulk tag affiliate products in video libraries, potentially earning revenue from older, high-traffic content. Additionally, a new reporting tool will soon be available in YouTube Studio to reveal which affiliate products are generating the most revenue for brands.

5. Google Ads Certification Now Requires Video Recording: What You Need to Know! – Google Ads has recently updated its certification process, adding a new layer of scrutiny for those taking the exam. The new rules require test-takers to record themselves during the exam, among other requirements.

Specifically, you’ll need to take a picture of your photo ID, a picture of your face, and record a video of your test-taking environment. These steps are part of Google’s efforts to ensure exam integrity. During the exam, a live proctor will monitor your activity via webcam and screen-sharing software. If any unauthorized behavior is noticed, the proctor will pause your exam and message you. The guidelines also prohibit the use of open books, notes, scratch paper, and even restroom breaks during the exam.

The new rules have stirred some reactions in the community, with some finding them overly strict, especially for those who work from home and may have other people around. According to Google, the changes aim to maintain the credibility of the Google Ads certification, making it a more reliable indicator of expertise. However, I disagree with Google.

6. 📊 Google Shakes Up Ad Attribution: What You Need to Know! – Google has recently announced that it will be retiring four rules-based attribution models in Google Ads and Google Analytics. If you’re not familiar with attribution models, they are essentially methods to understand how different marketing channels contribute to conversions. The models being retired are First Click, Linear, Time Decay, and Position-Based. This change is significant because these models help you understand how your ads are performing and where your customers are coming from.

Why is Google making this change? According to Google, these models are being retired due to low adoption rates, with fewer than 3% of conversions in Google Ads using these models. Instead, Google is encouraging advertisers to switch to data-driven attribution models, which use advanced AI to better understand customer behavior. Google claims that switching to these data-driven models can result in a 6% increase in conversions.

What does this mean for you? If you’re currently using any of the retiring models, your settings will automatically default to “Paid and Organic Data-Driven Attribution.” While Last Click models will still be available, tracking anything other than the last click will become more challenging. This could make it harder to understand the customer journey and optimize your ad strategy.

If you’re concerned about how these changes will impact your advertising efforts, we’re here to help. Contact us for expert guidance on navigating these updates and optimizing your ad strategy.

7. 🔍 Google Changes the Game: What You Need to Know About Favicons and Crawling! – Google has recently made changes to its favicon search developer documentation that could impact how your website’s favicon appears in search results. If you’re not familiar with a favicon, it’s the small icon that appears next to your website’s name in browser tabs and search results. It’s a small but crucial part of your online branding.

Previously, Google had a separate user agent specifically for downloading favicons from websites. This user agent has now been removed. Instead, Google has clarified that if you want your favicon to be displayed in search results, you must allow both “Googlebot-Image” and “Googlebot” to crawl your pages. In simpler terms, you need to make sure that Google’s web crawlers can access both your website’s homepage and the favicon file. If either is blocked, your favicon won’t show up in Google’s search results.

This change means that you no longer have to request indexing specifically for your favicon; it will be automatically crawled by Googlebot and Googlebot-Image. The update aims to streamline the process and make it easier for website owners, but it’s essential to ensure that your website is configured correctly to take advantage of this.