What's New in Search? 20th May 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 Digital Marketing.

PPC

Giada reviews the latest Product Listing Ad updates:

The GTIN update, which came into effect on May 16th, was aimed at improving the shopping ad experience, as Google claimed that products with GTINs saw up to a 20% increase in conversion rate compared to those without. This is just one of the many ways Google is trying to optimise Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which continue to take centre stage following the SERP layout update.

Other updates include testing new advert formats on desktop, which contain 3, 4 or 6 individual products instead of the usual 5, and launching PLAs within image search. This last feature will come into effect next Monday 23rd May, and will be applicable to any shopping campaigns that are opted in to Search Partners.

Search Engine Tests:

At the beginning of last week, Google started testing the replacement of blue title links with black hyperlinks. This is not the first time that Google has fixated on the colours that it uses on its services, and a similar test that they ran a few years ago led to an extra $200 million in revenue.

If this new test were to perform well (which seems highly unlikely after the overwhelmingly negative initial feedback), we would expect the change to roll out to paid ads as well, as part of Google's overarching plan to unify the user's experience on the SERPs.

In other Search Engine news, Bing is currently testing the impact of pulling tweets onto its search results listing pages, in a similar fashion to Google, through the use of carousel cards.

Sitelinks:

Google appears to be trialing a new look for sitelinks on mobile through the use of carousel sitelink cards. The example below from Search Engine Land shows that price is the key element that stands out, so it seems more like a twist on table extensions for mobile rather than a new sitelink format:

Additionally, a new Sitelinks report in the AdWords section of Google Analytics allows you to gain insight into searcher behaviour, post-click of a sitelink.

SEO

Alex discusses further mobile updates affecting Search this week:

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since the latest mobile friendly algorithm boost, and we are still seeing more and more updates in the mobile SERP’s, including a new google mobile friendly tool.

AMP for ED:

Currently at Enjoy Digital we are working on building our first AMP pages. Google have updated the search console just in time with a new AMP section, which allows you to see any errors which may occur within your AMP pages. In addition, the new section also allows you to see how people are finding your AMP pages. This means that you will be able to see which queries that have lead your AMP pages to be visible.

Rich snippets providing recipe ‘cards’:

Another new feature that is only just appearing in the mobile Google results, is something called ‘Rich cards’. Rich cards are similar to rich snippets and are results with additional information. The rich cards appear in a pack similar to the ‘app pack’. They are small tiles which you can scroll through. Currently Rich cards have only been created for two sectors or themes; recipes and movies.

For example if you were to search for cake recipes then these cards would appear with an image, the star rating, the time it would take to make them, and more- all appearing in a carousel. Just to confirm the existence of this new feature, Google have also implemented a ‘rich card section’ into the search console.

Social Media

Kathryn discusses the latest Twitter news affecting social media marketers this week:

Although the saying goes ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’, Twitter users have often been left frustrated by the decreased word count on a tweet when a photo or visual has been added.

However, social media marketers this week rejoiced the latest news that Twitter will finally be removing this restriction! This new update will also include links, allowing tweets to now contain the full URL, instead of a shortened version created using Bit.ly or Ow.ly.

This is great news for us as social media marketers, particularly when relaying images and updates to get the message across from big events, as well as for social campaigns and company news.

The Twitter character update is due to roll out in the next two weeks, so it will be interesting to see whether Twitter still have the same punchy, snapshot view and feel which makes it unique, and ideal for quick style journalism and real-time events?

It also leaves us wondering, will this be the first step towards Twitter removing its character count altogether, allowing for long form content? We will have to see.

Gunning for monetising social:

With Arsenal football fans the most prolific Twitter users out of the Premier League clubs, Arsenal FC is looking to convert more of their supporters into customers.

The club’s head of marketing thinks the Gunners can overcome this big marketing challenge through “the power of our brand, the power of content and the power of the relationship” which fans can gain through engaging with the club, leading to football potentially being one of the first sectors to turn social engagement into sales. I’ll be watching out for Arsenal ticket offers and merchandise adverts appearing on Twitter soon!

PR

Our PR intern, Beth, rounds up some of the biggest PR campaigns. This week, she discusses how the NHS’s is going virtual to change perceptions of blood donation:

NHS Blood and Transplant are hoping to benefit from increased donations by allowing the public to give virtual reality blood via iPhone. With the use of smartphone technology, participants’ arms are scanned and a virtual plaster and tube will then appear. The tube then triggers a ‘blood bag’ that then appears on billboards in both London and Birmingham.

Due to the simplicity of this ‘virtual blood donation’, the NHS hopes to not only gain further blood donations, but also reduce the stigma and reluctance surrounding giving blood.

Monkey Business:

To promote its green tea project, PG Tips sailed a 6 metre tall version of its Monkey mascot down the River Thames.

Made out of a total of 110,486 plastic leaves, the statue passed under Tower Bridge at 8am, before spending lunchtime in Central London, much to the delight of thousands of social media users who captured the moment with the hashtag #GreenTeaMonkey.

After the venture, the much beloved British brand then spoilt passers-by with a green tea tasting session in Waterloo station.

An ‘unmissable’ political message:

The “Unmissable” campaign launched by the European Commission hopes to encourage people to register to vote leading up to the EU Referendum on the 23rd June.

With the help of pink neon style signs, this campaign stands out from the chaos and the noise of campaigns run by every political party and reminds the public that they only have until the 7th June to register to vote.

The campaign will run right up until polling day and will be launched across billboards, on demand services, TV, radio and social media. A booklet about the referendum will also be issued to over 28 million households across the UK.

Stay tuned for more updates on the world of Search!

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