What’s new in Search? 26th February 2016

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

Welcome to our weekly round-up! Every week we discuss what’s been happening in the integrated world of social, content marketing, PR, PPC and SEO.


Giada takes on the big news in PPC this week:

At the end of last week, Google announced a revolutionary search engine result page (SERP) layout on desktop. This will see four ads displaying above the organic results, and the removal of right hand side adverts.

Despite Google initially stating that these would only affect a small percentage of highly commercial search queries (eg. car insurance), up to a third of all searches on desktop have been affected.

The new layout will be a good opportunity for Shopping ads or product listing ad (PLAs), as they will still be appearing on the side, leading to higher click-through rates (CTRs). However, we do still expect to see increased competition levels as advertisers fight to remain within the top 4, causing increased cost-per-click (CPCs).


Kathryn pulls a face at credit card firm Mastercard’s new ID verification system:

To engage with a selfie-savvy audience, Mastercard will now be accepting selfie photos for online payment ID verification, after a survey revealed that ’92%… preferred the new system to passwords’.

The BBC reports that the app, available this summer, will require users to blink whilst using the Identity Check app’s selfie feature, to prove they are taking a new photo and not just using a pre-taken photo, helping to curb fraud through ID theft and account hacking.

This should at least make payments more interesting.


Laura’s take on what’s got Facebook users feeling emojinal:

Facebook has updated its Like button to include a series of emojis, or ‘Reactions’. These will appear along with the Like button, for users to express a wider range of responses to a post.

This will have an interesting effect on engagement analytics, and it will be fascinating to see how Facebook insights rank the varying Reaction responses to gauge a post reach and impressions.


Alex discusses how the latest changes in Search could have an effect on organic listings and AMPS:

Organic listings

As Giada mentioned, four ads will be placed at the top of the SERP’s, causing the organic listings to be pushed further down.

This change is only allowing the top organic listing to be shown before you scroll, which is going to make this more valuable, leading to a rise in CTR on this position, and the CTR decrease for all other results.

It will be interesting to see how it will effect traffic and conversions in the long run for businesses. I look forward to seeing some further evidence and case studies.

AMP pages

One of the newest updates in Search this week is the introduction of accelerated mobile pages (AMP).

These pages will make your mobile experience more engaging as fewer ads will eliminate reading disruption. AMP pages will also make page loading times roughly 4X faster.

Although having an AMP doesn’t necessarily mean it will be prioritised in the rankings, Google have reiterated that load time and page speed are ranking factors.

Content Marketing

Who doesn’t wish they could whip out a pet kitten and play with it any time they want? Kathryn discovers how McVities have made it possible through augmented reality:

To support its latest advert for its Sweeet campaign, the new McVities app gives users the chance to play with a virtual realistic kitten by using their own device screen to place it in their own surroundings. Users can also dress up the kitten in a variety of novelty hats (with some fun references to popular memes including ‘cat breading’ and Lime Cat).

The ‘iKitten’ looks to be a popular app. However, I feel they missed a trick with the name. McKitties, anyone?

Stay tuned for more updates on the world of Search! 

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