Pinterest is expanding their platform – directly into Facebook’s. Hoping to create some synergy that will bring in new users, Pinterest is launching new features directly available from Facebook’s Messenger.

The new features, built around a chatbot for Messenger, make it possible to use Pinterest without ever having to actually open Pinterest.

According to Pinterest, the move is actually just capitalizing on the social platform’s already existing presence on the site. Each week, nearly 1 million pins have been shared from Pinterest across Messenger before the launch of the cross-platform features.

Pinterest’s Facebook Chatbot

Pinterest’s new chatbot will allow users to browse Pinterest’s site and content with guided advice and recommendations. When you start a conversation with the chatbot, it will ask you to choose from a list of categories – such as “trending,” “food,” and “home.” Based on your choice, the bot will then show you a carousel of pins from that category.

You can also directly search Pinterest with text queries, however, you can not use the platform’s visual search technology by sending in pictures for similar pins.

While users might find this service to be a useful way to quickly find the pins they are most interested in, advertisers might be disgruntled to learn that the Chatbot will not include Promoted Pins.

Native Pins for Messenger

In the past, when you clicked on a pin that was shared on Messenger it would automatically open in Pinterest’s site or app. Now, pins will open within Messenger itself, thanks to the Chat Extensions feature.

Facebook’s Chat Extensions feature is designed to allow users to interact with content from other brand’s sites or apps without leaving messenger, therefore also making it easier to share that content again within Messenger.

Pinterest is using this to deliver Pins directly to users on Messenger, as well as including a gallery of Related Pins and a search bar to find more pins.

With these, users will be able to find and share pins within Messenger without ever having to leave the conversation they are having with their friends.

Interestingly, Facebook is also allowing Pinterest to generate revenue with this chat extensions. If a person’s Facebook account is connected to their Pinterest account, Pinterest will also include Promoted Pins within the Related Pins section and search results shown through the chat extension.

Pinterest just hit a major milestone and they are celebrating by teasing several new features coming soon.

According to a blog post last week, Pinterest officially surpassed 200 million monthly active users, representing more than 40% growth since last year. Notably, more than half of these users live outside the USA which shows how Pinterest is progressing as a global platform.

At the time of the milestone, Pinterest says that over 100 billion pins had been created. It also notes that 85% of all searches on the platform come from mobile devices.

Of course, the company isn’t using the milestone as an opportunity to relax or slow down. The announcement hints at several features planned for the near future.

“You’ve told us what you want to see next, so we’re building them—it’s that simple,” Pinterest says.

For example, pinch-to-zoom functionality has been widely requested and is slated to be released soon. But, that’s just the beginning. Pinterest is also starting to test “boards-within-boards”, allowing users to create subcategories for their Pinterest boards.

Over the next few weeks, Pinterest will be sending invitations to select users to begin testing the feature – as well testing other new ideas.

The platform is keeping mum about any other projects or features they have coming down the pipeline, but the milestone announcement says you can expect to hear more in the near future.

Do you ever look at how your ads are performing and wonder why all those clicks aren’t turning into sales for you? The answer nine times out of 10 is that your landing page just isn’t fast enough.

According to Google’s estimates, advertisers lose 20% of their possible conversions for every second it takes for their site to load. That may be even higher when those clicks are coming from smartphones and tablets.

Thankfully, Google and AdWords are about to start offering a way to make sure your landing pages load lighting fast – even if your normal website isn’t quite up to pace.

Starting in two weeks, advertisers will be able to create landing pages using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages technology. That means that your landing pages will be specially optimized for mobile users to ensure the fastest possible journey from click to conversion.

Since earlier this year, Google has powered the majority of its search ads using AMP to speed up the loading time substantially. While this means your ads showed up almost instantaneously for mobile users, the jump to a non-AMP page caused a jarring disruption in the shopping process which lost many impatient shoppers.

However, “by directing your search ad clicks to AMP landing pages, you can create the super-fast and delightful mobile experience that consumers expect.”

Source: CourseEnvy

No matter how good your marketing or advertisements are, you can’t succeed online without a great landing page. Whether you’re landing page is irrelevant to people’s interests or it is just too slow or cumbersome for mobile users, your potential customers are going to bounce back to the search results if they can’t get to what they need quickly.

Of course, no one intentionally sets up a bad landing page. Sometimes, you just can’t see what’s not working without an extra set of eyes to show you the problems you’ve overlooked. Thankfully, Google is helping give you exactly that, with a new Landing Pages tool designed to identify why specific landing pages need improvements.

The Landing Pages tool, which was announced earlier this year, is rolling out for advertisers over the next few weeks.

With this tool, you can quickly assess your landing pages based on the amount of engagement (clicks) each URL receives, as well as the “Mobile-Friendly Click Rate” (MFCR). The MFCR is a measure of the percent of mobile clicks coming to your landing page from smartphones or other mobile devices.

The new report allows you to identify exactly which landing pages need work. For example, pages that are not optimized for mobile but that receive a high MFCR should likely be improved and optimized to prevent high bounce rates.

Once it is completely rolled out, the Landing Pages tool will be able to provide data on landing pages for search, display, and video campaigns. However, currently, the MFCR data is only available for search campaigns.

Later this month, you can expect your Google ads to start looking quite a bit different, especially if you use sitelinks, callouts, or structured snippet ad extensions. The search giant has announced plans for a pretty big makeover, but only on mobile devices.

Here’s what you can expect to see changing:

Sitelinks

Google is changing sitelink extensions to a carousel format, allowing users to swipe through your different categories and pages of interest. According to Google’s data, the change makes searchers up to twice as likely to engage with your sitelinks.

“Going forward, we’re simplifying how mobile sitelinks will show by using both horizontal buttons and larger vertical links.”

Callouts and Snippets

Instead of being broken into a separate section of your ad, callouts and structured snippets will now be integrated with the ad copy. This also means they will appear in paragraph format. The upside is that this allows advertisers to include more callouts and snippets in their ads, and Google says users find the new format to be “more informative and engaging.”

Changes for Advertisers

While these changes can make your ads look quite a bit different when they are seen, there’s not much of anything changing on your end. Just keep running your campaigns as you have been, but keep in mind how they will look when the makeover rolls out later this month.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages

Since their launch, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) has been gradually growing in popularity and functionality. More than 2 billion pages now utilize the stripped-down and sped-up content system, and a new survey shows users are also responding very well to AMP.

A poll conducted by 9to5Google indicates that more than half of all internet users prefer to click on AMP content over regular links to full content hosted on your website.

The question posed by Justin Duino from 9to5Google asked: “Are you more inclined to click on an AMP link than a regular one?

With almost 1500 responses so far, 51% of people say the “Yes, I prefer the stripped down versions of websites when reading something.

The other responses include:

  • No, if I want to read something, I will open the link whether it’s AMP or not – 24%
  • No, I prefer loading the entire website – 13%
  • Yes, but only when my device is using mobile data and I don’t want to load a full website – 9%
  • Other – 2%

Of course, informal online polls are hardly considered incontrovertible proof. The results are open to interpretation and informed by numerous factors. For one, the people who frequent 9to5Google’s site are more likely to be tech-inclined and informed about the latest news and features in search. They also likely view Google in a more positive light than the average person.

Still, there is plenty of evidence that content producers and brands love AMP, but there’s been little effort to actually ask users how they feel about the format. Based on this, they are largely in favor of the stripped-down content that lets them get straight to what they clicked on with as little loading time as possible.

In an increasingly mobile world, the speed of your website can be a major make-or-break point for any business. Estimates suggest most sites lose half or more of their visitors just while their page is loading because people aren’t willing to wait around.

So, how can you fix your site and make it lightning-fast? Google can tell you specifically what you need to do with its Test My Site tool, which just received a new set of features this week.

Now, the tool can tell you a number of things about your site, including:

  • Your site’s mobile speed
  • The number of visitors you may be losing
  • How you compare to the competition
  • Specific recommendations about how to make your site faster

To show just how effective it can be to make your site faster, Google points to a case study from a Nashville fencing company. According to Google, Yard Dog Fence Company managed to double its sales just by following the recommendations suggested by the Test My Site Tool, such as reducing image size.

The days of waiting around for minutes while a website loads are gone. These days, people are likely to leave if your page hasn’t rendered in five seconds or less. It may seem like a tough challenge to speed your site up that much, but the Test My Site Tool will give you an actionable list made specifically for your site. With that as a roadmap, you’ll be able to make the changes you need to supercharge your site, improve your traffic, and increase conversions.

Facebook’s Instant Articles are touted as being the fastest way to deliver content on the web. They are even supposed to be faster than Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, which similarly streamline content to load as quickly as possible on mobile devices.

There’s just one problem: no one seems to be using them.

Even big publishers that initially led the charge to Instant Articles have slowly started dropping the service, opting instead to use regular content hosted on their website or relying solely on Google’s AMP platform.

This week, Facebook made strides to attract publishers back to Instant Articles by announcing new ways to implement ads and monetize content shared on their fast-loading pages.

The ads are designed to be minimally invasive, only appearing within the “Related Articles” section appearing below the full articles. The company has been testing these ads since March of this year, and say they provide an “incremental increase” in the amount of revenue generated by Instant Articles, according to a blog post shared on Thursday.

As you can see in the image above, the ads look similar to most advertisements across Facebook. They put the focus on a large image, with a small bit of descriptive text and a link. For now, videos aren’t allowed but that could potentially change in the future.

The main difference between these ads and standard Facebook News Feed ads is they now appear at the bottom of the page among links to other articles, instead of in your feed.

There is one catch, however. To include the new ads in the “Related Articles” section of Instant Articles, you must also be a part of Facebook’s Audience Network.

Interestingly, Facebook says the ads can be used for virtually anything – not just branded content. The only requirement is that the ads link directly to a landing page.

While the ads may bring publishers back to using Instant Articles, the advertisers themselves may be less happy about the new ad placement. Advertisers who opt-in to placing their ads in Instant Articles can’t control whether they are prominently placed above the ad or within the “Related Articles” section at the bottom. The good news is, they can choose to block specific publishers or types of content from including their ads. That means you can at least be sure your ads aren’t appearing alongside questionable or objectionable content that could hurt your image.

Paid search advertising continued to rise last year, accounting for almost $35 billion in ad spend, but the IAB’s latest revenue report shows big shake-ups in where that money is going.

During 2016, desktop paid search dropped by 10 points and was down by almost $3 billion. However, mobile paid search shot up, leading to an overall increase in paid search revenues by almost $6 billion.

As such, mobile ad spending also surpassed spending on desktop search advertising for the first time ever. Throughout the year, mobile accounted for 51 percent of digital ad spend in the US. Notably, it was even higher in Q4, where it represented 53 percent.

In total, digital ad spending accounted for $72.5 billion in 2016, rising 22 percent from 2015. Mobile is largely responsible for this increase, as it grew across every digital format, including search, display, and social. Most notably, mobile video ad revenue jumped 145 percent year over year. The cumulative mobile spending across formats nearly reached $37 billion in just the last year.

Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of IAB, best sums up the report by highlighting the versatility and ubiquity of mobile devices to reach customers no matter where they are:

“Mobile fueled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals. This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

YouTube Live

YouTube is arguably the largest online video platform on the internet (though Facebook is providing some tough competition), so it is interesting that the platform has been one of the slowest to provide a widely available way to live stream.

That may be starting to change, however, as YouTube is significantly lowering the number of subscribers a user needs before being able to stream.

YouTube only introduced its public live streaming feature back in February, although it has partnered with large events to provide live streams for years. Even then, a user needed to have at least 10,000 subscribers before they were allowed to start streaming.

Over the past week, that threshold was quietly reduced to just 1,000 subscribers. Rather than announce the change, it was only discovered after a change to one of YouTube’s help pages.

The subscriber requirement is just one of a couple different stipulations required for streaming. Users must also have a verified channel and have not received any live stream restrictions in the past 90 days. Live stream restrictions are punishments placed against channels that have violated YouTube’s terms of services.

To start a live stream, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the camera icon
  • Grant permissions allowing the YouTube app to access the Camera, Mic, and Storage.
  • Verify your account if you have not previously.
  • Tap GO LIVE.
  • Name your live video and set the privacy setting for your stream
  • Tap FINISH when you’re ready to end the stream