Friday briefing 17/03

The marketing team gives us a roundup of this week's hot topics


Gordon Carslaw. Megan Reid. Joannie McLellan.

This week, the marketing team's been all fired up by Google updates and Snapchat research. Check out the latest news around Local Extension Display Ads, Snapchat woes and Google's new focus on reporting offensive content.

New from Google: Location extension display ads for local businesses

This week Google launched a new ad format on the Google Display Network to showcase local business information. Rolled out on Tuesday, the new ad format displays photos, store location and business information along with a headline with engaging copy to increase the chance of footfall to the store, for example ‘Visit Us today and get 10% off your Fancy Dress Costume’. There are also options to get directions, call or visit the website too.

How this will work is that if someone’s searching a certain topic, for example, ‘fancy dress ideas’ then an ad for a local fancy dress shop may appear with an offer to entice the searcher to go into the store. Google says that in testing, 60% of clicks on the extension information were to get directions or more information about a store location.

An example of an industry, it would be interesting to see this work in is the automotive industry. This could work well for car dealerships aiming to communicate with people looking for a new car. If they were to see your Location Extension Display Ad for example with a headline ‘Visit Today for 3 Years Free Servicing’ then it could well make all the difference in someone choosing to get their car from a local competitor. However, more importantly, to hit targets, it creates a sense of urgency to close a sale on that day.

So there we have it, Location Extension Display Ads. Have you seen these ads when you’ve been searching this week? If so we would love to hear your thoughts. For more information on the new extension and the process of setting them up, and to see how they look, check out Search Engine Land.

Gordon Carslaw, Senior Digital Marketing Executive


Snapchat: Not the platform marketers want...or need?

A while back, a good while back if you ask me, marketers got incredibly excited about Snapchat. It was a social network in which they placed a lot of value because they thought it could do many things, and solve a lot of problems for them. It was through Snapchat that their brand would become instantly cool, while also easily onboarding young new consumers, creating lasting relationships that would eventually lead to sales...

Many realise now that this simply wasn't possible and that while Snapchat is a great platform for giving more to already hyper-engaged users and running some pretty cool contests, it is a very difficult platform to crack - it requires a lot of content, and ideally, someone on the ground giving up-to-the-moment updates. As always, it comes down to relevancy of the channel to business or brand, and a strategy and activation to harness the potential of the channel or platform. Don't do it if it's not right for your business, regardless of how shiny, new or fun a channel may appear.

A study published by RBC Capital Markets in partnership with Ad Age found "Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, AOL and YouTube, Snapchat only outperformed AOL in terms of ROI, scoring a 3.43 out of a possible 8 points, according to the survey (AOL scored a 2.88). [Unsurprisingly] Google (6.98) and Facebook (6.72) led the pack, performing nearly twice as better than Snapchat."

For this and other reasons, Marketers seem to be slowly turning their backs on Snapchat - mainly due to the popularity of Instagram stories, and Facebook's new Snapchat clone Messenger Day. Other factors include poor analytics for ads, and limited ad set up tools.

Snapchat need to set themselves apart from the pack again to encourage more confidence in the value of the platform, and its revenue generating potential.

Megan Reid, Social Media Executive


Google cracking down on offensive content

In an effort to continually improve the search quality for users, Google introduced human ‘quality raters’ to evaluate search results according to a range of defined criteria. 

Google has a team of over 10,000 contractors assessing the quality of search results. Their feedback does not alter Google’s search results immediately or even determine that the content will no longer appear in search results, especially if Google decides there is a desire to reach such content. However, Quality Raters use a set of guidelines that is nearly 200 pages long, instructing them on how to assess website quality and whether the results they review meet the needs of those who might search for particular queries. Those guidelines have recently been updated to include a new section about “Upsetting-Offensive” content, a new flag for raters to use.

So what exactly is seen as Offensive Content?

According to Google, Upsetting-Offensive content contains the following:

"Content that promotes hate or violence against a group of people based on criteria including (but not limited to) race or ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality or citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Content with racial slurs or extremely offensive terminology. Graphic violence, including animal cruelty or child abuse. Explicit how­-to information about harmful activities (e.g. How To guides on human trafficking or violent assault). Other types of content which users in your locale would find extremely upsetting or offensive." 

For examples of content that is getting assessed or more information visit Search Engine Land.

Joannie McLellan, Search Marketing Executive