Posted on 31/08/2023 by Melanie Comerford

Digital Marketing News August 2023

The volatility of the previous months in the digital marketing world showed no signs of slowing down in August. There were major ranking changes in the SERPs and it was finally announced by Google that a broad core update was taking place. There were also plenty of other PPC, AI and social media related developments to stay up to date with – so let’s take a look at some of the key changes.

SEO News

Google August 2023 Core Update 

Google announced their newest core update – their first since mid-March – which was released on August 22, 2023. The update is designed to improve the quality of search results by rewarding websites that provide high-quality content. The roll out period is thought to be roughly 2 weeks, although it’s already had a high impact on some websites.

Some sites have seen traffic gains of up to 80% whilst others have experienced traffic losses of up to 80%. The 25th of the month seemed to be the time in which most sites saw the biggest fluctuations in rankings, although the update does not seem to be as widespread as previous core updates. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the August core update as it develops. 

Social News

Instagram Enhances Music and Engagement Features

Instagram is amplifying its music-centric features, introducing music for carousels and expanding song lyrics in Reels to more regions. These enhancements align with the platform’s broader strategy to tap into current music usage trends. 

Additionally, Instagram is rolling out shares and comment counts for posts, a move that has raised eyebrows given their decision to remove like counts last year. The platform is also testing a new format with multi-advertiser ads on Reels, aiming to boost impressions and lower CPMs for advertisers.

TikTok’s Travel Playbook and EU Privacy Changes

TikTok is catering to travel brands with its new Travel Playbook, as data reveals a whopping 96% of its users are scouting for travel experiences. The guide offers insights into engagement, content trends, and effective ad strategies. On the privacy front, in line with the EU Digital Services Act, TikTok is enhancing user privacy controls. Accounts for users under 16 will be set to private by default, and EU users will have the option to turn off personalisation in the app.

Closeup of TikTok on someone's phone

YouTube Innovates with Q&A Stickers and AI Summaries

YouTube is pushing the envelope with its new features. The platform is testing Q&A stickers for mobile, allowing creators to engage more deeply with their communities. Another exciting development is the AI-generated summaries for videos, which will give viewers a snapshot of the content before diving in. This feature aims to enhance user experience by helping viewers decide if a video aligns with their interests.

X’s Evolution and TikTok’s Subscription Spotlight

X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is undergoing significant changes. From working on a semantic search powered by AI to launching a brand toolkit, X is gearing up to offer a more comprehensive user experience. Meanwhile, TikTok is spotlighting subscriptions to enable users to showcase community benefits through images, enticing non-subscribers to join the fold.

Pinterest Gears Up for the Holidays

Even in August Pinterest is going full holiday mode. The platform has released an infographic detailing user behaviour and recommended actions for each month leading up to the holiday season. Brands are encouraged to start their advertising campaigns early, with August being the ideal month to capture users open to new ideas. 

PPC News

Google Launches Enhanced Customer Service for Small Businesses

Google has rolled out a premium customer service pilot program specifically designed for small advertising clients, offering the kind of personalised support that was once exclusive to larger advertisers. Aimed at elevating the customer experience for advertisers of all sizes, this enhanced support service is available to small businesses for a flat rate of £40 per call.

The service is not yet accessible to all users as it is currently in its beta phase. Nevertheless, it holds significant promise for small businesses that have found Google’s existing automated self-service options to be insufficient.

To check if this upgraded customer service feature is available on your advertising account, navigate to the help icon and select the “Contact Us” option. Ask a general question and follow the available options.

YouTube Experiments with New Anti-Adblocker Popup Featuring Countdown Timer

A new popup designed to counter ad-blocking software, which includes a countdown timer signalling when the next advertisement will be displayed. The timer, ranging between 30 to 60 seconds, is situated at the top right corner of the popup, informing non-subscribers of the time remaining before the next ad starts.

Users are presented with two options: they can either opt to “Allow YouTube Ads” or explore the “Try YouTube Premium” alternative.

Youtube on a laptop screen

Google’s Demand Gen to replace Discovery ads in October

The newly introduced AI-driven Demand Gen campaigns combine both image and video advertisements in a unified platform, designed to boost conversions, website visits, and specific actions like registrations and adding items to the cart. These campaigns are operational not only on YouTube’s Home, Search, and Watch Next features, but also on Discover and Gmail.

Additionally, Demand Gen campaigns are also compatible with:

  • YouTube Shorts
  • YouTube in-stream ads

YouTube tests smaller ‘Skip Ads’ button

The revamped ‘Skip ads’ button will now feature more subtle text, a less opaque background, rounded edges, and lowercase lettering for the word ‘ads.’

This subtle design change aims to divert attention away from the option to skip ads, which could result in higher view rates, expanded reach, and increased conversions. 

Consequently, this may encourage more advertising spend on the platform. However, marketers should be cautious, as making ads more intrusive could potentially have a negative impact on users.

Instagram Tests Four Sponsored Posts on Single Screen in New Multi-Advertiser Format

Instagram is testing a fresh ad design that consolidates four sponsored posts onto a single display. This innovative approach to multi-advertiser ads clusters related promotions from various businesses and delivers them to users who have recently engaged with similar products or services.

While this feature could maintain cost-effective CPM rates, it risks irritating users and could thereby reduce brands’ ability to seize consumer attention at the right moment. This could negatively impact click-through rates and ROI.

Content News

AI continues to dominate the content marketing world and it seems like there are new, revolutionary tools released every day. This month we want to shed some light on these AI-driven image tools that are changing the way we work. Websites such as Ideogram and Playground AI can generate incredibly detailed imagery using only a single human prompt. Whether you require a colourful, playful illustration or a photorealistic portrait, AI image generation tools could be the solution you need.

It’s important to be aware of the copyright issues if you plan on using AI imagery for a website. It very much remains a grey area and although it’s not currently possible to copyright robot-created art, it’s always best to be safe. Always read the copyright laws on whichever AI image software you opt for.

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Mel is our Partner Strategy & Delivery Manager and also a CIM Chartered Marketer, a testament to her commitment to excellence in the field. But Mel’s contributions don’t stop at the office door. Beyond her professional endeavours, she leads an active life as a qualified run leader and dedicated volunteer. Her experience in these roles has streamlined her leadership and teamwork skills, making her an invaluable asset when it comes to collaborating on projects and ensuring their success. Her sharp insights, strategic thinking, and knowledge have made her a backbone in our team’s ability to drive results for clients in this industry. Mel will make sure that we can approach marketing challenges from all angles and deliver outstanding results for our clients.

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