Changes to Videos ads, plus Google and the UK; Monday’s daily brief
And why algorithm updates shouldn’t shake you
Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Happy Monday, Marketers, and let’s talk lab mice,
A few years ago some researchers did a study about frustration. They gave mice a sugar cube behind a small port. All the mice had to do was poke their noses in to get a taste of the sugar. At first the scientists made it very easy for the mice to get a taste. But slowly, over time, they pulled the sugar cube further into the port and made it more and more difficult for the mice to reach it. Some valiant mice tried and tried and tried, but, unable to accomplish their goals, eventually every single mouse gave up and stopped trying to taste the sugar.
And that’s exactly what happens to your audiences when they can’t accomplish their goals online. Even the most persistent user will eventually leave your site (and not come back) if they can’t get done what they set out to do.
This is why user experience is so critical — even to search marketers. Epic ad copy, mind-blowing creative and an amazing SEO campaign can’t make up for a frustrating user experience in another part of your site. (We’ve got a whole track dedicated to user experience at SMX Advanced tomorrow for exactly this reason.)
The easiest way to do this is to jump out of your silo to see what’s going on across the site and further down in the funnel. And make sure you’re not treating your users like lab mice.
Director of Search Content
TrueView for action campaigns will be transitioned into Video action campaigns in early 2022
Advertisers will continue to be able to create new TrueView for action ads until September 30, 2021 and their existing ads will run until early next year. Beginning next year, though, Google Ads will begin transitioning all TrueView for action campaigns into Video action campaigns, the company announced Friday.
Video action campaigns utilize skippable in-stream and video discovery ad formats, and run on YouTube’s home feed, the watch page, the watch next feed and Google video partners. This campaign type drives 20% more conversions per dollar compared to TrueView for action, according to Google internal data, so the change may increase efficiency for advertisers. However, advertisers should be aware that they can not opt out of any available inventory when using Video action campaigns. If you’d like to transition your TrueView for action ads sooner, Google Ads will be launching a “copy and paste” feature to help you do so — you can expect that to arrive in the coming weeks.
Google agrees to not favor its own products or access user personal data
Google has agreed to work with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a UK regulator, on their Privacy Sandbox. The CMA launched an investigation into Google’s FLoC in January of this year when advertisers voiced concerns about both the privacy and competition implications of Google eliminating third-party cookies in Chrome.
“The CMA was concerned that, without regulatory oversight and scrutiny, Google’s alternatives could be developed and implemented in ways that impede competition in digital advertising markets,” said the CMA website.
Google’s commitments. The CMA is now reviewing Google’s commitments and, “If accepted, the commitments would be legally binding,” according to the CMA’s announcement. Google agreed, among other things, that it “will not discriminate against its rivals in favour of its own advertising and ad-tech businesses when designing or operating the alternatives to third-party cookies”; and further that it will “implement the proposals in a way that avoids distortions to competition and the imposition of unfair terms on Chrome users.”
Why we care. Depending on how the engagement plays out, this could mean that Google doesn’t implement FLoC as quickly as anticipated and could stick with third-party cookies for longer.
Google adds Optimization Score to Video action campaigns
Google Ads announced last week that they’re adding their Optimization Score to Video action campaigns. Created to offer suggestions to maximize campaign performance, Optimization score runs from 0% to 100%.
“We’ve also added recommendations for Video action campaigns that help you follow the best practices that drive the most impact,” wrote Irina Su, Product Manager for Google Ads.
Why we care. Google says recommendations for their Optimization Score are based on helping your campaigns perform their best, but many advertisers know that accepting all recommendations across the board can often mean a dramatic increase in spend. Make sure any clients running video campaigns are aware of the change and understand that they don’t have to accept every recommendation.
On the hunt for something new in 2021? Here are the latest career opportunities in search
Director of Paid Media (PPC) @ Workshop Digital (Richmond, VA or remote)
- Develop and implement a strategic vision for the Paid Media team
- Maintain standards of performance and ensure successful campaign execution across evolving and expanding set of Paid Media services
Copywriter @ Facebook (remote + 3 locations)
- Write and concept big ideas for all mediums, including mobile, social, app design/product, film, interactive, content, activations, OOH, print, events, experiential, events, etc.
- Understand how writing and conceptual ideas can be used to tell a story on behalf of a brand and within an app/product
Director of SEO @ RetailMeNot (remote)
- Develop and drive the overall SEO strategy across ZMG Shopping brands including how the search strategy for each of the individual sites ladders into the bigger picture
- Understanding of the shopping search space, particularly as it relates to savings and deals consumer behavior
SEO Content Writer @ HubSpot (Cambridge, MA or remote.)
- Update (and sometimes write) blog content for improved tone, style, formatting, accuracy, structure, and user experience.
- Execute upon insights flagged by the SEO team.
Related video extensions, commercial truck loans and really expensive ads
Related video extensions are now globally available. With related video extensions, you can show a list of 2 to 5 related videos below your video ad on the YouTube mobile app.
What do commercial truck loans and Google’s June core update have in common? No, there isn’t a punchline here, but a very interesting case study in bringing the oomph to your product and service content.
TikTok will charge over $2 million for a homepage takeover ad in Q3. “The total price has gone up in large part because of the app’s growing customer base. The app had more than 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. as of last August, up from 11 million early in 2018,” wrote Lucas Shaw for Bloomberg.
Don’t panic: ‘Algorithm updates’ aren’t the end of the world for SEO managers
“The Google algorithm is made out to be some sort of mystical secret recipe cooked up in a lab designed to simultaneously rob and reward sites at the whims of a magical, all-knowing wizard,” said Eli Schwartz in TechCrunch. I can only imagine movie-Dumbledore yelling, “Harry! Didja put yer name in the Goblet of Fiyah?!”
Well, SEOs, did you? In essence, we all do when we decide to learn and practice search engine optimization. But I agree with Eli here that, any time Google announces an update, search marketers gird their loins and prepare for battle.
But, actually, for as much as search engines evolve their algorithms and keep us on edge, the fundamentals of SEO have remained the same across time — focus on your audience, answer their questions exhaustively, do what’s in the interest of helping them achieve their goals. As long as we’re worrying about that, we don’t need to freak out too much with every Google announcement.