Design changes will be rolling out in your search results on mobile. From the rearrangement of information in ads to the addition of favicons in organic results, Google’s search result revamp is the search engine’s way of decreasing a user’s search time and emphasizing the sources that information is coming from.
Search Ads Branding & Design Changes
The most noticeable changes coming to mobile search results are the branding and layout revamps for search ads. Currently, we have come to expect each search ad to be accompanied by the word ‘ad’ in green, outlined text next to a web address and underneath the ad’s headline. However, with Google’s new changes, search ads will now have the word ‘ad’ in bold, black text displayed next to the web address and above the ad’s headline. Changes to the design and layout of search ads is expected to make sources of information more obvious to users.
Organic Search Results Changes
You may have noticed Google testing website icons in search results on and off over the years, but these favicons are now set to appear in organic search results on mobile over the next couple of days. These favicons are icons that will show up at the top of a search result block to the left of the website’s name and breadcrumbs. The name and breadcrumbs will also both now appear in black text instead of green. Favicons should represent the website’s company or organization’s branding. To set up a favicon for your website, you can follow the steps on Google’s support page here.
Although Google is first making these changes only for mobile, it is expected that they will add them to desktop in the near future. In an effort to highlight sources behind information, these changes to search results are rolling out just as Google has also started adding more images and other visual elements to mobile search result pages to also enhance the overall user experience.
Pinterest is expanding its services for advertisers just before its Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the introduction of two new tools for Promoted Pins and Video. These tools are currently available for any brands that have a Pinterest business account, making advertising on the social media platform more effective than ever before.
One of Pinterest’s new tools is conversion optimization for Promoted Pins. With conversion optimization, advertisers have the ability to optimize their Promoted Pin campaigns for consumer actions including online checkout, email sign up, and more. Before this new tool, advertisers were only able to optimize for clicks, but now they have the ability to optimize their campaigns for more specific actions. This new tool makes it both easier and quicker for advertisers to reach their goals through Pinterest advertising by targeting people who are most likely to take specific actions.
Pinterest also unveiled that Promoted Video will now expand to serve advertisers who have traffic or conversion goals by taking users to a landing page with the advertiser’s website. This landing page will also have a close up of the video.
Pinterest building out its advertising offerings will give advertisers easier ways to connect with Pinners based on their individual goals. With 265 million users, Pinterest has quickly become an effective advertising platform over the years. Although Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram remain the social media advertising giants, Pinterest connects you with a different type of audience and is worth looking into for your marketing strategy.
Last year, Google started including thumbnail images with search results as another way for users to find the result that best fits what they were searching for. Although thumbnail images have been common throughout the past year, RankRanger, an SEO tool provider, reported a spike in the frequency that thumbnail photos are popping up in mobile search results through Google.
The report from RankRanger found that from March 7 to 11, the percent of mobile search result pages with thumbnail photos on Google jumped from 40 percent to 75 percent. This jump in frequency comes a few months after Google announced that they will be heavily focusing on image search in 2019, so this test with mobile search results showing more photos may be part of Google’s shift in focus for the next year.
With thumbnail photos clearly becoming a focus for Google, companies should stay ahead of the game and evaluate their websites and pages to ensure they are populated with relevant and optimized images that may be pulled by Google for thumbnail photos. When it comes to SEO, even if your company’s website is not ranked in the first couple of spots, it is possible for a thumbnail photo to make your result stand out from your competition while featuring a product or corresponding image.
As Google continues to push out more features that makes search more user-friendly, it is necessary for companies to keep up and make changes accordingly to benefit from the changes. As we dive deeper into 2019, images will only continue to be useful tools that should not be overlooked when designing a website and implementing an SEO strategy.
Marketers were taken aback recently when possible evidence that Google is beginning to test ads in Assistant results was posted on social media. Last Wednesday, an Android user, Gennaro Cuofano, posted a screenshot of his Assistant search results to Twitter. The screenshot showed an advertisement at the top of the search results with organic results following it.
After this screenshot caused a frenzy on the internet, Google responded by saying, “we’re always testing new ways to improve the experience on phones, but we don’t have anything specific to announce right now.” Although Google did not confirm whether or not it is currently testing the ads, Assistant advertising has been an obvious next move from Google now that more than one billion devices are equipped with Assistant technology.
If the Twitter post was indeed a test for Assistant ads, the next wave of pay-per-click and search engine optimization strategy tweaks could soon be approaching. From the screenshot, it looks as if the top ad in search results would be the ad that got the highly-visible spot in Assistant results. This means that competition to be first on search results could heighten (thus making bids more expensive) as more and more users turn to voice assistant technology.
At the rate that Assistant searches on mobile devices are growing, it will become increasingly valuable for Google to start this kind of advertising. Because of this, marketers should stay on top of these advancements to be ahead of the game if (or, more likely, when) Assistant ads do go live.
With smartphones, tablets, and voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echos, voice search has changed the way consumers search for information and purchase products. As this trend becomes stronger with new technology, OnBuy.com conducted a survey that discovered what consumers are currently buying with a voice assistant and how they feel about voice assistants as a whole.
OnBuy.com surveyed 1,203 U.S. consumers to better understand this trend of voice search and voice assistants. According to the survey, 25 percent of consumers said they are most likely to buy everyday household items through voice assistants, followed by apparel and entertainment both with 21 percent. Only 10-20 percent of consumers said they are most likely to buy games, consumer electronics, groceries and travel and under 10 percent mentioned furniture, appliances, prepared meals, and local services.
As for consumers perceptions on voice search, the top reasons the interviewees liked using a voice assistant is because it is hands-free, they can do other things while shopping, and they get faster results and answers. What they do not like is that it is not comfortable shopping by voice, they do not trust a voice assistant with payment information, and that there is no screen to see what they are shopping for on smart speakers.
The voice search and assistant trend has exploded over the past year and shows no sign of slowing. According to RBC Capital Markets, voice shopping on Alexa alone could generate more than $5 billion per year in revenue by 2020, while Juniper Research predicts that global ad spending on voice assistants will reach $19 billion by 2022.
With consumers adopting voice assistant and voice search technology as quick as they have been, it is important for companies to learn more about voice search and implement it in their marketing plans for 2019.
Not long after Snapchat launched Stories and changed the way users share content, many other social media giants began to mimic its innovative format. First, we were introduced to Instagram Stories, then WhatsApp and Facebook followed in its footsteps, and now YouTube is jumping on the bandwagon with their own version of Stories.
Currently only available for creators with a following of 10,000 or more, YouTube is changing up the Stories format that we are familiar with by allowing content to be seen for up to seven days instead of the 24-hour period that we are used to on other platforms. Creators can add filters, stickers, and text to their Stories, and subscribers can interact with them by liking, disliking, or commenting on the posts just as they would be able to on a regular video.
Although YouTube Stories were launched with creators in mind, marketers are also given yet another channel to reach consumers. If a brand has 10,000 or more subscribers, using YouTube Stories to feature day-to-day activities, generate excitement in product launches or events, show behind-the-scenes content, and more can allow the brand to capture the attention of consumers who might not have time to watch a full video. Also, since Stories stay at the top of users’ news feeds for up to seven days, brands that have relationships with YouTube influencers can promote products on their Stories in addition to long-form videos at a more frequent rate.
YouTube creators often spend hours upon hours filming and editing videos, but with YouTube Stories, creators as well as brands can connect with subscribers on a more casual basis. Benefiting both creators and marketers, this content format is likely to continue to develop and spread across other social media platforms.