Twitter is launching a new video ad option which allows advertisers to create and run short video ads (under 15 seconds) and only be charged if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds. 

The company describes the new ad unit as a “flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

What You Should Know

The new ads are similar to YouTube’s short bumper ads which typically run before pieces of content or as an ad-break during videos. As such, the ad is believed to be highly effective for driving high view rates.

For example, Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, says “this six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%.”

Oliveira and Dell were one of the select few given early access to the ad bid option. 

Last Notes

  • The new video ad option began rolling out on Monday and is expected to be live by the end of the week. 
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-Stream Video Sponsorships, and In-Stream Video Ads that are 15-seconds long or less.
  • Instagram considers a video to be viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are on-screen.

A new report shows that paid search ads are the fastest growing way to advertise online for retailers. 

According to the findings from eMarketer, retail advertisers in the US will spend a combined $13.12 billion on search ads in 2019, up more than 20% from last year. 

In 2020, it is projected that spending will grow even more, to $15.65 billion. 

While search engine advertising is an effective advertising method for most industries, the report suggests that retailers benefit more than other sectors due to specific tools and features. For example, it cites how search ads may appear in Google Maps and show local stock of specific products, which can help drive real-world traffic and sales. 

Based on their data, the report estimates that 46.3% of digital ad spend from retailers will be used on search engine advertising, compared to the industry average of 41.5%.

Similarly, this rate is expected to grow even more in 2020 to account for 47.3% of total retail digital ad spending:

“Retail overindexes on search because bottom-funnel search ads are essential for driving ecommerce, and Google Shopping ads have become a go-to ad product for retail advertisers. Conversion rates for retailers using Google Shopping ads range from 1.1% to 3.1%.”

Part of this growth may be attributed to new burgeoning opportunities outside of Google’s search ecosystem. For example, the report identifies Amazon search as a potential driving force for future retail advertising.

Google’s highly-anticipated “gallery ads”, which were first announced back in May at the Google Marketing Live conference, are rolling out to advertisers in beta. 

The ads are stylish, image-heavy carousels with up to 8 images which appear at the very top of search results. 

Each individual image can have its own unique caption and brands can include a call-to-action button at the end of the gallery.

In the announcement, Senthil Hariramasamy, Group Product Manager at Google Ads, says advertisers “can showcase your brand with lifestyle imagery and bring visual content forward to the results page, helping you connect with consumers before they visit your site.” 

With such a visible design and placement within search engines, these ad units will likely be highly competitive. They may be worth it, though, if they lead to similarly high results. 

The ads are available to all advertisers in 11 languages, including English, German, Japanese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Swedish, and Polish.  

Importantly, you don’t have to create specific campaigns for your gallery ads. Instead, you can simply use the new format to create new ads within your existing campaigns.

App ads on Google’s ad network will soon be eligible to appear in some very high-profile places as the ad platform is expanding app ads to both Google’s Discover feed and within YouTube apps. 

Currently, app ads are shown across a wide variety of apps in Google’s display network, as well as the Play Store, Google search results, and in select areas of YouTube. 

With the latest announcement, however, these ads will soon be appearing in a few more areas which could be highly rewarding to advertisers. 

Google Discover

 

Starting this week, app campaigns running in the US will automatically be eligible to appear within users’ Discover feeds when they are identified as being potentially interested in your app. 

Currently, Google says the Discover feed (formerly known as just the Google Feed) connects more than 800 million people with targeted content every month. 

Over the next few months, similar ads within the Discover feed will also be available to those in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Indonesia. The company also said it hopes to make the app ads available to all markets before the end of the year. 

YouTube 

In the same announcement, Google revealed that app ads are now eligible to appear at the top of search results from YouTube’s mobile app. Within the next month, app ads will also start appearing as in-stream video ads while viewing other YouTube videos 

Along with these announcements, Google says it is exploring the possibility of allowing ads to also display ads while loading content for users:

“Our new app open ad format allows you to show ads to your users as they wait for your app to load. Designed to seamlessly integrate with your app’s branding, this format gives you new ways to earn revenue while creating a good user experience. Reach out to your account manager to get started with this format in alpha.”

Snapchat is launching a new advertising tool, called Instant Create, which promises to do all the heavy lifting of creating a Snapchat-optimized ad for you.

With the tool, you can create ads that can be published across the platform in just three steps:

  • Select an objective, such as web visits, app installs, or app visits
  • Enter your business website
  • Target your audience

From there all you have to do is review and publish your ad!

At the same time, Spachat has introduced an “Advanced Create” option which is intended to help generate multiple ad sets at a time. 

What Do The Ads Look Like?

As most of the process is automated, you may have some concerns about how your ad can be unique for your brand. 

With Instant Create, you can choose to upload your own images for your ad and work with the platform’s most popular ad template. Or, you can simply input your company’s website URL and the tool can pull photos directly from your website to fill your ad with. 

While the tool makes it easier than ever for brands with limited means to explore the idea of Snapchat advertising, brands with more experience advertising on social media will likely prefer the less restricted traditional ad creation tools.

Facebook is changing how videos and photos appear on mobile devices, with new aspect ratios for visual posts and less accompanying text in the mobile news feed. 

This means you’ll have to make some changes when optimizing for Facebook’s mobile news feed if you want everything to appear properly in your posts.

What’s Changing

In the past, images on Facebook were optimized for a taller 2:3 aspect ratio to a more square 4:5 aspect ratio. 

Anything taller than that will be cropped out in preview images within the news feed, only actually viewable to those who tap to see the full image. 

At the same time, the platform is reducing the lines of text accompanying these posts – going from 7 lines of text to just 3 lines. 

Anything longer than that will be hidden behind a prompt to show additional text. 

Both of these changes will be put into effect starting on August 19th, giving you a few weeks to make adjustments to your upcoming posts. 

According to a spokesperson from the company, the tweaks are “designed to simplify our formats and improve the consistency of our mobile experience.”

In turn, the company says the new post format will increase the impact of mobile ads and make it easier to use the same content across both Facebook and Instagram.

Pinterest has launched several new features aimed at making it easier for businesses to share and manage their videos on the platform. 

Businesses now have access to a new video upload tool which simplifies the upload process, a new tab within their profile solely dedicated to videos, and a new analytics tool which gives a long-term view of how your videos are performing. 

On top of all of this, Pinterest has also expanded its Pin Scheduler tool to allow businesses to schedule posting video content in advance. 

The Big Picture

While these new tools signal Pinterest’s devotion to improving its video offerings, it also signals a larger shift for the company. 

Pinterest has typically lagged behind other social networks when it comes to tools or features aimed at businesses. Over the last year, however, the company has paid significantly more attention to these areas by expanding its advertising tools, launching new e-commerce features, and, now, making video content more feasible. 

In the announcement of the new features, CEO and founder of Tastemade, Larry Fitzgibbon echoed this sentiment and expressed just how effective sharing videos on the platform can be:

“As early adopters to video on Pinterest, Tastemade has successfully driven over one billion video views and 200 million engagements year-to-date, while growing our following 100% year-over-year,” said Tastemade CEO and Founder Larry Fitzgibbon, “It’s clear that Pinterest users are hungry for videos that are both entertaining and actionable.”

Pinterest also says that videos on the site outperform videos on other social networks because their platform is more likely to resurface content over time.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation has landed Google once again in the hot seat as the report claims Google Maps is filled with millions of fake business listings. 

Over the course of the article, reporters say they found some Maps search result pages where more than half of the local results included fraudulent or misleading information characteristic of a fake listing.  

For example:

“A search for plumbers in a swath of New York City found 13 false addresses out of the top 20 Google search results. Only two of the 20 are located where they say and accept customers at their listed addresses, requirements for pushpin listings on Google Maps.”

In some cases, the fake listings are simply phantom businesses with no real purpose or to misdirect customers. However, the Journal believes others are designed to scam potential customers out of large amounts of money. 

As you would expect, all of these practices are expressly forbidden by Google, but the Wall Street Journal says the policy is poorly enforced. 

In fact, the report says hundreds of thousands of fake listings are appearing monthly:

“Hundreds of thousands of false listings sprout on Google Maps each month, according to experts. Google says it catches many others before they appear.”

How This Hurts Businesses

The fake listings do more than cause consumers unnecessary frustration or potentially scamming customers. They also hurt businesses who are pushed out of the top search results by fraudulent businesses.

Getting your business into the organic local results without paying for ads is already a gamble that can involve hours of hard work optimizing your website and listing. Adding fake competition just makes the arena even more competitive and encourages more businesses to spend money on local ads instead. 

How Google Fights Fake Listings

Google openly acknowledges that it has an issue with fake business listings, though the company says it is already taking extensive steps to fight back. 

In an article on the company’s blog, Google explained:

“It’s a constant balancing act and we’re continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems. But we can’t share too many details about these efforts without running the risk of actually helping scammers find new ways to beat our systems—which defeats the purpose of all the work we do.”

Specifically, the search engine says it has removed more than 3 million fake business profiles over the past year – 90% of which were removed before they could ever be seen by users. 

Approximately 85% of these profiles were removed by Google’s automated internal systems, while around 250,000 fake business listings were reported by users and then removed. 

Google may be making significant efforts to fight the problem of fake business listings, but The Wall Street Journal makes it clear there is still much to be done.

LinkedIn will begin showing all the sponsored content an advertiser has run within the past six months in an “Ads” tab on the associated LinkedIn pages.

The company announced the change this week as part of an effort to bring more transparency to advertising across the platform:

“At LinkedIn, we are committed to providing a safe, trusted, and professional environment where members can connect with each other, engage with relevant content, and grow their careers. Increased transparency to both our customers and members is critical to creating this trusted environment.”

When viewing an advertiser’s page, users will be able to click the “Ads” tab to view every ad that company has run in the past six months.

Users can also click on the ads as they typically would, but the advertiser will not be charged, nor will it impact campaign reporting.

Obviously, the tab won’t include any of the information behind the ads, like who they targeted or the budget for that campaign.

In my eyes, this seems like a reason to ensure your LinkedIn advertising is consistently high-quality, with the upside that high-performing ads have a chance to lead to sales without having to pay for those ad clicks.

A new study focusing on small businesses in the US reveals that a huge number of small brands are working without any sort of plan for their marketing.

The survey from Outbound Engine asked 350 small and medium business (SMB) owners about a number of areas, including revenue growth, stress, their biggest hurdles, their marketing strategies, and more.

Of the business owners surveyed, approximately half of all SMB owners do not have a marketing plan for 2019 and are unlikely to create one.

Small Business Marketing Struggles

The lack of marketing plans in the survey is largely attributed to an increase in small businesses being overwhelmed or working with limited budgets.

According to the report, 62% of SMB owners say they are as or more stressed about their business this year compared to last.

Further, the study finds that:

  • 25% of SMB owners surveyed are unsure of how they plan to grow their business in 2019.
  • More than half (55%) of SMB owners spend less than 5% of annual revenue on marketing.
  • More than 58% of SMB owners spend five or fewer hours on marketing each week.
  • 86% of respondents say they prefer to spend their time on other business activities rather than marketing.

Small Changes Lead to Big Rewards

While the study shows that many businesses feel lost or unable to focus on their marketing, it also reveals that investing just a little more time or money can pay dividends and reduce business stress.

According to responses about last year performance, small increases in marketing investment led to more revenue growth for SMBs in 2018. Additionally, spending just 5% more time on marketing was tied to increased revenue growth.

This is reflected in the finding that 81% of respondents who invested between 5% and 10% of annual revenue into their marketing reported revenue growth in 2018. Meanwhile, only 50% of respondents who invested less than 5% of revenue into marketing saw growth.

The full report is available in PDF form here.