Turn the beat around: Over half a million new businesses opened in Q1 2021; Thursday’s daily brief

Plus, Microsoft Advertising announces new products and features

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Good morning, Marketers, and let’s chat give and take,

I joined my friend Mordy Oberstein on a Clubhouse chat yesterday where we dissected the tug-of-war between search marketers and Google. There was a lot of good conversation about intentions, mistakes, and feelings (search marketing therapy maybe?). But here were some of the most interesting takeaways for me:

  • Google’s goal is to meet searchers’ needs so they continue to use Google and click on/watch ads;
  • The community liaisons likely want to say more than they can but have to consider every audience and word things carefully;
  • Sometimes search marketers overreact to announcements and even small mentions from Google reps (Who? Us? Never!) and
  • Google could be much more transparent with the search marketing community (and even with small businesses that are trying to figure it out on their own).

What do you think of the back-and-forth between Google and search marketers? Could one exist without the other? Let me know your thoughts [email protected].

Carolyn Lyden,
Director of Search Content

Microsoft Advertising Partner Summit announces video ads, in-browser price comparisons and Facebook import

Microsoft’s Advertising Partner Summit begins today and includes the announcement of multiple new product updates and insights. Here are some of the key announcements:

  • Video ads in the Microsoft Audience Network. Microsoft is kicking off a pilot for video ads in the US and the UK. Previously you could only bid CPC in the Microsoft Audience Network, but the pilot of video ads will allow both CPC and CPM bidding.
  • Facebook import for Microsoft Audience Network. If your audience is active on Facebook and other native channels, this new import feature allows you to pull over campaign structure from Facebook into Microsoft Advertising.
  • Coupons and price comparisons on Edge browser. A new pilot is launching in the U.S. on desktop of price comparisons and coupons native to the browser. This will present advertisers the opportunity to surface their products to buyers looking for specific items online.

Why we care. These new product announcements and continued research in product improvement give advertisers and small businesses more options to take advantage of the search market on Microsoft Bing. 

Read more here.

More than half a million new businesses opened in the last year

Yelp released its Q1 2021 Yelp Economic Average (YEA) report, which reveals strong signals of local economic recovery through new business openings, business reopenings and consumer interest changes. Key findings from the report indicate that business reopenings are hitting their highest levels since Q2 2020 and more new businesses have opened in Q1 2021 than any other period over the last 12 months. What local businesses are seeing the biggest increases?

  • During the first quarter, restaurant and food business openings (18,217) were up by 5% from Q1 2020 and down by only 4% from Q1 2019. 
  • Every state in the U.S. saw more than a 90% increase in consumer interest for real estate agents compared to Q1 2020.
  • In preparation to move or declutter, consumer interest for junk removal services was up by more than 100% in every state.
  • Consumer interest was also up by more than 100% in nearly every state for architects, electricians and handymen.

Why we care. If you’re an SEO or PPCer working in local or for SMBs, you may have seen an increase in demands for your services too as these industries have started to recover after the pandemic.

What do SEOs think of the latest Google lawsuit?

ICYMI. The Daily Mail, a British news tabloid, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google saying that “Google punishes publishers in [organic] search rankings if they don’t sell enough advertising space through Google’s marketplace,” wrote Patience Haggin for The Wall Street Journal. This came after our own Barry Schwartz wrote about how the Daily Mail’s SEO posted in a search forum in 2019 asking for advice when they lost over half their traffic to an algorithm update.

Google’s response. “The Daily Mail’s claims are completely inaccurate. The use of our ad tech tools has no bearing on how a publisher’s website ranks in Google Search. More generally, we compete in a crowded and competitive ad tech space where publishers have and exercise multiple options. The Daily Mail itself authorizes dozens of ad tech companies to sell and manage their ad space, including Amazon, Verizon and more. We will defend ourselves against these meritless claims,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

SEOs react. “Let me get this straight, the Daily Mail is claiming that Google suppresses their organic results because the algorithms prioritize publishers with larger ad budgets? So basically they did 0 research about how search works before filing the lawsuit,” tweeted Lily Ray from Path Interactive. “The Daily Mail is failing to meet users’ needs. They fail at #MobileFirst (Due in Feb), Nonintrusive Interstitials, [and] the site takes 45 seconds to load,” agreed Lea Scudamore from AimClear. “This is absolutely hilarious. Any SEO would tell you why Daily Mail doesn’t rank well. It’s because it’s a terrible website with thin content and an awful user experience,” said Kate Neuens with Beyond Identity.

What do attendees want from your presentation?

Malcolm Knowles was an influencer in American adult education and developed four principles he felt should be taken into consideration when teaching adults. As noted in this article that summarizes Knowles’ theories and principles, the principles indicate that… 

  1. Adults want to be involved in the planning of their education; 
  2. They bring life experiences to their learning;
  3. They want it to be relevant to their life or job; and 
  4. They like it to be focused on solving a problem. 

You may be wondering what this has to do with a presentation that you’re developing for an event next month. Although presenting at an industry event isn’t the same as developing formal training, the audience you’re speaking to is adults, and they are there to learn so why not take some of these principles of adult learning into consideration?

The second two principles easily translate to what your presentation should do — help your audience solve a problem that they are currently facing. The first two principles are a little tougher to accomplish in an event setting. However, you could survey attendees before you present in order to find out what information is really important to them. That would get them involved with the direction of the presentation. In terms of your audience bringing their life experiences to learning, if you are planning a Q&A period, it’s great to get the attendees to answer each other’s questions. People often want to share experiences and offer advice. Plus, attendees often say they want to hear from their peers facing similar challenges.

I hope this gives you a little insight into the adult learner and helps you plan a more memorable presentation. As always, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

Search for women-led businesses, IDFA launch next week and, well, a cool TikTok

Google prompts searchers to look for women-led businesses. “If you’re a woman running a business, it’s a good idea to get this attribute added to your GMB listing!” tweeted Joy Hawkins.

IDFA officially launches next week. Apple confirmed that the IDFA prompt that will ask users to opt-in to cross-app data collection will launch next week. “IOS 14.5 has a lot of new features, but the one that’s being most closely watched is called ATT, or App Tracking Transparency,” said Kif Leswing.

Our fave PPC TikTok-er gives IDFA the Toto treatment. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Mark Zuckerberg’s perspective on Apple’s IDFA set to the tune of Toto’s Africa, have we got a video for you… 

The almost-complete guide to Cumulative Layout Shift

Jess Peck’s almost-complete guide to CLS is both hilarious and ridiculously helpful. Yes, she drew us in with the “Confession Time: I don’t care about the Core Web Vitals (CWV) update” intro, but we stayed for the meat — and it’s really meaty.

First, it starts with the definition of CLS for any person to understand (because we’ve all experienced it): “CLS is when you’re about to click on a link, and the whole page shifts and you click on a different link instead. It’s when you’re halfway through a blogpost and an ad loads and you lose your place. It is when… the layout shifts. At least, that’s what it’s trying to measure — both those shifts, how often they happen, and the irritation that causes the user.”

Then Peck deep dives into how to measure and fix CLS issues ahead of Google’s Core Web Vitals page experience update (which has been moved to a June launch). But most interesting is the data behind it: 

  • Conversion rate drops as CLS score degrades
  • All sorts of things can happen to bounce rate with CLS score changes

It’s worth the read, plus you’ll chuckle along at the gifs and examples: “Here’s some stuff to send your stakeholders. 1. Users don’t like bad CLS, and 2. Even if they did, Google doesn’t.”

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Carolyn Lyden
Carolyn Lyden served as the Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search, and analytics, she focuses on making marketers' jobs easier with important news and educational content.

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