Friday briefing 27/1

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


Megan Reid. Gordon Carslaw. Joannie McLellan.

This week, Megan's been looking at Facebook Messenger ad tests, Gordon's exploring new colour coding of ads in the SERPs, and Joannie's continuing the discussion around voice search and SEO.

Facebook tests advertising within Messenger

Could ads be coming to a chat window near you? Facebook announced today that they have begun testing ads for their Messenger platform in Thailand and Australia. The new ad units will be featured in the lower part of the Messenger home screen, in the area below your recent conversations – the same place you’ll see birthday notifications or a listing of friends currently active on Messenger.

The ads are large and in charge. Which is great for advertisers, although perhaps not the best for users as Messenger becomes less about pure human conversation, even though there are now almost 40,000 Messenger bots currently active and employed in upping brands' presence with the help of AI.

Frequent users of Snapchat, however, will notice how similar the new messenger layout looks to the Snapchat story and discover screen, which could mean users used to the other social media platform could interact well with the new ad format of Messenger. With almost a billion people on Messenger every month it's becoming THE place for brands to want to advertise. It will be interesting to see which type of brand becomes the best fit for users in the mood for a chat.

For instance, if you’re chatting to a friend with a birthday in a week, and an event that you are attending; will you be served ads for birthday presents e.g., or online card suppliers such Papier.

The opportunities seem endless so definitely watch this space. Read more on Social Media Today.

Megan Reid, Social Media Executive


Google Testing new colour Ad Labels…again.

This week, in the UK, Twitter user @matibarnes spotted something different when searching for ‘current accounts’ on Google. Google are at it again it seems, when it comes to labelling adverts in search results. A new Ad Label has appeared, this time a green outline label on a white background.

In 2016 Google made the switch from yellow to green and at the time it was questioned by many as making it difficult and confusing to distinguish ads from organic listings on SERPs from paid ones. However, Google reported that it had made no impact from a consumer confusion standpoint. Google’s Director of Product Management, Sundeep Jain, said that the move was to make the elements on the page simple, especially for mobile: “We want to make it easier for users to digest information on the page, so we’re gradually trying to reduce the number of variations of colours and patterns on the page and bring a little harmony to the page, which is why we reduced one of the colour elements on page”.

Check out the new testing of ad labels here and keep us posted if you see the new label in your search results. You’ll find more here on Search Engine Land

Gordon Carslaw, Senior Digital Marketing Executive.


Rise in Voice-First Home Devices: The Newest SEO challenge?

“Voice-First” home assistant devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home have seen a massive rise in popularity. VoiceLabs have stated that Google has sold somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 Home devices since its launch in November 2016.

In 2015, there were 1.7 million voice-first devices shipped. In 2016, there were 6.5 million devices shipped. In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 24.5 million devices shipped, leading to a total footprint of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation. There are also rumours of Apple launching their own version of a “Voice-First” home assistant in 2017.

For those unaware of these devices, Google Home sells itself as “a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant.” Users can ask Google Home questions, get breaking news or play games with the Assistant as well as a range of other features. With the Amazon Echo, which is controlled by the Alexa Voice Service, users can get answers to questions, get delivered audiobooks and provided with sports scores. Amazon claims that “Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and is continually learning, adding new features and skills.” So with the rise of Voice-First devices how can SEO experts take advantage? Our Senior Digital Marketing Exec Gordon has all the answers for you here.

For more info on this intriguing topic of changing consumer behaviour, check out the following articles:

Joannie McLellan, Search Marketing Executive


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