Google Ads advertisers can now get leads while people are watching videos on YouTube as Google extends lead form to ads on YouTube. 

Image credit: Google 

Advertisers now have a new way to capture leads. Using lead forms extensions to YouTube and Discovery campaigns. These forms will appear after users show interest in products when they click the ads in the videos. The ad extensions have been in pilot testing since October last year but it as only made available in the Search campaign. Google announced the lead form ad extension will be made available in the Display campaign settings within the year said

The lead form extensions were tested out by Jeep and the company reported a 10x increase in the completed forms. Jeep said that the extension is a cost-efficient way of capturing leads as compared to other ad platforms. 

Optimizing leads 

The goal isn’t just to capture leads but also being able to qualify the leads coming in to ensure revenue. To do so, businesses need to connect their converted leads to their online campaigns. Advertisers will now have an easier time to import their offline conversions by using the information that people have given them in the lead form. It’s faster to integrate the information into their CRM system as well. Aside from qualifying leads, advertisers can also optimize their campaigns by using Customer Match. Customer Match allows businesses to continue their conversation with their prospects and their existing customers. Google said that they are working with Zapier to create a Google Ads integration. It will be easier for advertisers to import their data from Google Ads to their CRM system. This allows businesses to have a seamless view of their data from one platform to another. 

What does this mean for you?

Lead extensions help advertisers capture leads from their search ads and now, from YouTube ads and Display ads. The trick about leads is to monitor the leads coming and in and qualifying them since not all leads are valid leads. Google has been cracking lead forms in ads as it tested ou the contact form in extensions in 2010 and the cost-per-lead-ads in 2011. 

The results of the tests aim to help small to medium-sized businesses to capture more leads from their campaigns. Recently, Quora also made the same changes as it launched its own lead generation forms. Quora teamed up with Zapier to send the leads to other platforms including SalesForce, Gmail, and Marketo. 

Walmart Media Group announced its omnichannel analytics offering for advertisers.

Image credit: Walmart Media Group

Walmart launched its campaign performance dashboard for advertisers recently. It is on-demand access to omnichannel reporting for all of Walmart’s displays and sponsored product campaigns. At the moment, Walmart is now the largest omnichannel retailer across the US. With this omnichannel analytics, Walmart advertisers can now connect with their customers to their digital properties. 

Walmart’s self-serve ad platform was launched early this year and it gave advertisers access to real-time data on their ad performance. Walmart’s updates for its ad platform is very similar to the offers of Google Analytics. Customers these days want omnichannel integration, they expect for their order history and customer profile to follow them whatever platform they are. Walmart’s efforts are focus on omnichannel integration. 

The company has allotted $1.2 billion to improve its integration system focusing on omnichannel shopping. CEO Doug McMillion said that they are the first company to deliver a seamless shopping experience at a larger scale. He also shared that shoppers will have a better experience as they check out using their mobile devices (online) or when they are at a physical store purchasing what they need. 

Introducing the performance dashboard 

 Before the launch, Walmart piloted the Performance Dashboard to a dozen of its major marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Mondelez, Nestle Purina, and more. The Director of Commerce Sales at Nestle Purina from North America, James Kristof shared that the new tool provided them with relevant data to help with their campaigns. 

The performance dashboard capitalizes on the strengths of Walmart, which is its omnichannel retail. Walmart is still the reigning giant when it comes to the brick-and-mortar industry as about 90% of all US households shop at Walmart’s physical stores. While Amazon is a giant in its own rights, it hasn’t been able to have the same retail presence.

There are two separate dashboards – for the display advertising campaign and for the sponsored product campaign. Each of the hubs has a specific function and distinction. The Performance Dashboard is accessible via Walmart’s new Ad Center, it’s an all-in-one center for ad managers to check and manage all their campaigns. 

What does this mean for you?

Walmart’s enhanced ad marketplace gives advertisers more options and control over their ad campaigns. With the available metrics and analytics, they are also given more transparency. Targeting has also been improved so as to reach a more specific audience. 

Google announced that it’s rolling out manager accounts in the mobile app for a more efficient vide for users’ Google Ads accounts in one section. 

Image credit: Google Blog

Google Ads manager has been making life easier for marketers for a while now. With consumer behaviors and habits changing frequently, it can be difficult for brands and businesses to keep up. The changes have been keeping the marketers busier than ever but now with less time to manage their ads and accounts. Google aims to simplify and make the process more efficient by launching tools and automated solutions. Marketers will now be able to use the app in their mobile devices and see their manager accounts from there. 

The Google Ads mobile app

With the mobile app, marketers can now monitor campaigns in real-time. Aside from that, they can now apply the recommendations and improve their performances. The manager accounts allow users to manage all of their Google Accounts in one place.

Other tasks you can with the mobile app are as follows: 

  • See the campaigns, evaluate, and compare the performance of all their accounts. 
  • Use the push notifications to check all the accounts – anytime, anywhere. 
  • Discover trends and performance insights for all your accounts in the Overview section. 
  • Use the optimization score to improve campaign performance and prioritize the recommendations for your accounts. 

Recommendation page 

Marketers can get all the new trends and tips on how they can improve their campaigns from the Recommendation page. There’s also the optimization score to help marketers prioritize the recommendations for their accounts. The Recommendations page will also be available in Google Ads Editor in the coming months. 

Google will have upcoming changes in the portfolio bid strategies in the next weeks. You’ll be able to monitor and manage your portfolio bid across your accounts. Using a single portfolio, it’s going to be easier for you to drive performance from all your accounts. There will also be a bid strategy reports in the coming weeks. 

What does this mean for you?

Using the manager accounts, marketers now have an easier way to access and get top-level performance data from all their accounts via their mobile devices. The downside to this is for marketers to take extra caution as it will be tempting for them to just tao the apply all button from their recommendations. Marketers still have to evaluate their campaigns and strategies as every action will lead to consequences that will impact the performances of their accounts.

“All these advertisers will be back,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Image credit: BBC

Several brands and industry giants have announced that they are boycotting Facebook advertising and unless the platform makes changes in its policies regarding social issues, these brands aren’t coming back. Despite the loss, Zuckerberg isn’t worried and has not hinted at any changes in the company policies. 

As reported by The Information, he said that all these advertising will be back on the platform soon. For him, the boycott is more of a reputational and partner issue rather than an economic issue. Zuckerberg also noted that the revenue coming from all these brands who decided to temporarily stop their ads take up very little space in Facebook’s overall revenue. The threat is small, he added. 

#StopHateForProfit campaign

The campaign started a civil rights movement for the previous weeks and many bug companies and personalities have shown their support. The Boycott has shed light on the company’s lack of policies in fighting against hate speech and protecting the innocent lives of people of color and those from the minorities. The misinformation and threats of violence in the platform is too rampant that many are calling for changes. 

Previous UK deputy prime minister and now Facebook’s VP Global Affairs and Communications, however, reassured companies that Facebook doesn’t benefit from hate speech and the company is looking for ways to remove hate speech in its platform. 

Facebook is making efforts in hearing out what the critics have to say but no solid decisions have been made as that will ultimately come from its CEO. 

What does this mean for you?

Brands have good intentions for supporting the cause but it doesn’t mean that it’s good for their business as well. Research from the University of Oxford has shown that brands will suffer in the long run due to Facebook’s influence over other medial channels. Temporarily pausing their ads on Facebook and letting it on will affect their brand and will impact their overall effectiveness in all the other advertising channels. Facebook ads indirectly help make other channels more effective and taking out Facebook ads from their strategy will affect their ads on other channels in the long term. 

While it wasn’t wrong for advertisers to take down and temporarily withdraw their ads to emphasize the spread of unsafe and unacceptable content. However, for the advertisers, this decision may prove to be detrimental for them especially in this economy. 

WordPress sites now have a new tool to ensure increased traffic to its site. 

Image credits: Google, Templates available for Web Stories

Site owners have been asking Google for plugins and tools to increase the traffic in their sites as traffic revenues are only limited from search engines and social media platforms. The other method to get good traffic is to make sure that your site content ranks among the top and appear on the first page of the search result. These are the only available methods that sites could use to increase their site traffic. Fortunately, Google announced a new plugin recently which is called Google Web Stories. 

What is Google Web Stories?

The entire description of the plugin is Visual storytelling for WordPress. This is basically a custom editor that allows users and site owners to create AMP-powered stories in WordPress. The beta can be downloaded from WordPress’ plugin directory. Google is also asking for feedback and improvements from developers who want to contribute to the plugin via the GitHub repository. 

The main purpose of the Web Stories is to enable visually-rich stories using a mobile-focused format. Stories format is one of the most effective brands and marketing strategies today. As for WordPress, the stories will be used to give chunked news and information to the site visitors. Each of the pages of the Web Story has a maximum of 10 words. Google recommends between 4 – 30 pages of content. The content can be monetized using affiliate links, Google DV, and Google Ad Manager. Mobile users are the target of the new plugin, it’s for people who want information in chunks, in a glance, or in a quick sneak peek. 

The Web Stories has a dashboard screen in the admin. The dashboard has all the visual list of created stories that users can scroll about. There are also templates available for site managers to customize their story pages. 

What does this mean for you?

Web story formats are best for mobile users as they offer bite-sized information. It’s also effective for brands and site owners as it encourages a significant amount of traffic. This WordPress plugin is still in its beta form, it lacks the animation and some page attachment support. Google has said that the final version won’t be available until the summer of 2020. The final version will have more features and will be a lot better as opposed to the current version. 

Instagram Stories are now one of Facebook’s most successful projects. Due to its success, an overhaul is coming to the platform. 

Image Credits: Instagram

More than half of Instagram users are using Stories on a regular basis, that’s 500 million people using the feature. This number is bigger than the active user base of Snapchat. The very first app that used Stories. With the attraction that Stories is brining to Instagram, the platform is making some changes with its format. 

Instagram Stories’ new format

Facebook-owned Instagram is now testing a feature that enables its users to see the Stories in a page via the home screen and a new page exclusive for Stories. Users will be seeing two rows of Stories this time instead of just seeing it at the top of their mobile screens. There’s a button that users can tap to See All Stories. Rather than a single row of scrollable Stories, there will now be a two-row carousel that can be expanded to a whole page section. Instagram first hinted with changes in its Stories back in May but there was no confirmation as to whether it’s a long-term change or not. 

Instagram confirmed the feature and said that the company is now testing the feature of a few of its users. No further details were given except announcing that the test has been going on for more than a month. 

The emerging of Stories 

All the leading social media today now have a Stories feature in their platforms. Snapchat started the craze, the others followed suit. Based on the report of Statista, the percentage of users using Stories in each platform is increasing. 

  • Facebook: 76%
  • Instagram: 83%
  • YouTube: 76%
  • Snapchat: 87%

What does this mean for you?

More than half of the users are using Stories on a daily basis. This feature is one of the most effective ways to increase a brand’s visibility. About 62% of Instagram users have said that they’ve become more interested in buying products from certain brands because of the brands’ Stories. 

This feature is vital for businesses’ campaigns. Brands and startups can even use Stories to run an ad. Several brands have used Instagram’s hyper-targeted ad platform using the Stories. The Stories feature is also a great way for brands to engage with their customers and followers. It can attract a more direct and personal kind of engagement with the customers. 

Instagram is giving more options for businesses and creators to earn money on the platform. 

Instagram announced the expansion of its shopping platform to include more businesses and creators. Creators and businesses can be eligible for the new changes by going over its Commerce Eligibility Requirements. It’s a guideline for interested businesses should adhere to if they want to start selling on Instagram. 

Instagram said that the platform is open to all who are looking forward to joining the foray of e-commerce. It’s open to artists, musicians, food blogger, and any other creator who want to sell their merchandise and other products to their customers. Instagram released this feature just in time for its rival, Google, as its also working on making its platform open to diverse sellers and giving its creators and SMBs more options to earn more revenue. Just recently, YouTube also allowed its creators to sell their merchandise in the platform where YouTube takes a small commission from it. 

Instagram further said that businesses must tag every single of their products on Instagram via a single website that they own and sell from. This will allow customers to have a trusted shopping experience. This also means that once businesses try Instagram Shopping, they can’t link their items to other platforms including Amazon. They can link them to other approved eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify. 

How does it work?

Instagram has updated its sign-up process to make the platform accessible for small businesses and creators. Users are notified once they’re done signing up and approved. There is also an updated onboarding process for existing businesses in the coming weeks. It will have instructions and guidelines that they can follow to make the transition. 

If you want to see the updated Commerce Eligibility Requirements, you can go to Instagram’s Help Center. The requirements will be effective starting July 9 in all markets supported by Instagram Shopping. 

What does this mean for you?

Even before the pandemic, eCommerce has been one of the biggest revenue streams of many businesses. It’s been easier to reach more customers and make a much wider customer base online. eCommerce is also Instagram’s focus as it brings small businesses and creators into the platform. With millions of users, it’s a reasonable platform for small businesses and creators to dive into. It gives them a space to put their products and reach out to their consumers and potential customers in a more personal and direct way. 

Bing introduces its new image-based product search that’s now available for clothing and shoes. 

Microsoft’s Bing added new features to its Shopping results as announced last week. Users can now click on the visual search icon or the product results to see any similar products and items. Typically, consumers can look for products on the platform in three ways. 

Discovering products via images

Customers used to look for products using keywords but that’s no longer the case in this new update. Shoppers now have a better and more efficient shopping experience as they search for general terms like shoes and clothes. They can select images of products from the shopping section, and click on images of similar products that they are looking for. Another way for shoppers is to crop the image to highlight a feature of the products they wish to purchase. 

If the shopper already has a specific product in mind, he/she can also upload the image on the web, or the image of the store to get similar product search results. Bing now has a Goes Well With, a feature that suggests and recommends products that match well with the item of your choice. It is a bit similar to Pinterest’s suggestion feature. 

Bing said in a post that it’s continually aiming to improve its platform to make it easier for customers to find the products they’re looking for from the stores that are included in the search site. 

Online shopping during the pandemic

People have clung to online shopping, and the numbers have risen significantly over the past few months. For Microsoft Bing Shopping, it has seen a 40% increase in its shopping volume. Aside from the new image-based search, consumers will now be notified with price drops on the items they’re tracking. The trackers check out multiple sellers in the platform for the consumers to get the lowest price available. 

Snap announced the coming features for its AR platform and other updates for its developers. 

Snapchat released updates and features for its platform in the recent Snap Partner Summit 2020 last June 11. In the same event, it was revealed there will be new originals coming into the app from a number of companies announced their renewals including ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, and Disney. The shows will then be incorporated into the app’s AR technology. Head of Snap, Sean Mills said that the AR update is expected to become a massive hit for its users.

Image credit: DigiDay

Snapchat is the biggest social media that heavily uses augmented reality today. In an estimate, more than 170 million users use AR on the platform on a regular basis. That number encouraged snap to further their AR technology. 

New Snap updates 

The new update coming to Snap’s AR is called Scan. with Scan, users automatically get relevant AR lenses. Users can also search and select the AR lenses of their choice via the Explore Tab or the voice-based commands. Users can expect a set of new types of lenses in the days to come. There is also the Discover platform where shows for its users from Disney, ESPN, and other partner companies will be placed.

The Happening Now will be a news section. Its content will come from news sites including Reuters, NBC News, Bloomberg, BuzzFeed News, and more. Snapchat now has a new action bar that automatically changes depending on the interest of the users. 

Snap keeps growing

The platform is among the fastest-growing social media platform. Without including the AR platform and the number of users it attracts, Snap is already amassing millions of unique users with over 10 million for the first quarter in 2020. The partnership with other companies for shows vastly increased Snap’s recent earnings. 

Snap’s spokesperson said that the non-skippable ads now run within its shows and advertisers can have their slots only if they buy Snap commercials. The increasing number of shows coming to Snap also means more content for which advertisers can put their campaign ads. 

Some of the updates revealed in the Snap Partner Summit are already available for both Android and iOS users. The original contents, however, are expected in the coming weeks, says Snapchat. 

 Amazon has announced that it’s putting its facial recognition software, Recognition to rest for a year. 

In a blog post from Amazon, it announced that it’s putting a halt in its facial recognition service for a year. The company bans the police force from using the software in the midst of the worsening protests regarding the racism and law enforcement bias. 

Many A.I. researchers have expressed their anxiety over how facial recognition software often is bias and inaccurate when used for people of color. They’re also concerned that the police force, especially those with deep-seated history of racial discrimination, may use the said technology for their own advantage and oppress the people of color and other socially marginalized communities in the society. 

Although Amazon isn’t the only providing the police with such software, Amazon is by far the biggest among them. However, knowing that the Recognition software has issues on inaccurate recognition for people of color, Amazon has no further reason not to put a halt to offering service. However, it will still keep other organizations to use it including Thorn, Marinus Analytics, and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. These organizations have been known for using Amazon’s Rekognition in their various endeavors of helping missing children reunite with their families.

Fight for justice and racial equality 

The company passed on the responsibility to Congress. The one-year moratorium will hopefully enough time for the congress to whisk a solution and implement rules that would promote equality among people. Along with other industry giants, they are imploring the government to put stranger regulation what would govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology now and in the future. 

This announcement was made just days after IBM announced that it’s withdrawing its facial recognition software pursuits. IBM’s Chief Executive, Arvin Krishna said that thor decision was to emphasize their pursuit for justice and racial equality. Amazon will use this time to further improve its facial recognition software and lobby Congress to create industry-friendly regulations. 

Recognition is only a part of the whole, it’s under the Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing division. Many have been and are still opposed to the use of facial recognition as they believe that it’s an invitation to one’s privacy, it’s the government’s way of spying on its citizens and it fuels police violence among others. 

The facial recognition technology has a long way to go and have much application. It may even be applicable to advertising in the later future. But as for now, Rekognition isn’t for any other use but for child trafficking and related causes.