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.

Google has started automatically adding a large “Request a Quote” button to eligible business listings in its local search results.

The button appears to be limited to just businesses who have opted into the Google My Business messaging feature, which would allow customers to directly message a company representative. However, it is unclear what specific industries the button is being added to.

With the new feature, users can now immediately request a quote from your company directly from the local search results – without ever visiting your website. 

While that means less traffic to your website – and potentially less informed leads – it also makes it more convenient than ever for potential customers to initiate the sales process.

While we can’t guarantee your listing will be given the “Request a Quote” button, we do know that being signed up for GMB’s messaging feature is a requirement for the new feature. 

To turn on messaging for your own listing, just follow these steps:

  • Download and open the Google My Business app
  • Log in with the credentials for the account associated with the listing
  • Open the location you’d like to manage
  • Tap Customers
  • Tap Messages
  • Tap Turn on

Once this is done, you will be able to receive messages from customers within the app. Users will receive their responses through their Google Maps app.

When it comes to growing your business on social media, everyone automatically starts thinking about Facebook. That’s great if you have a brand which suits that platform, like a clothing brand, athletic equipment company, or content publishing website. 

For B2B companies, though, it may not be the most useful. 

In fact, you might be better served by another platform entirely: LinkedIn.

Despite its reputation as an “online resume site”, LinkedIn has proven itself as a powerful platform for connecting businesses, finding leads, and increasing sales. 

It is so powerful that one study found that 92% of B2B marketers agree that LinkedIn is the best place to win leads and 64% of corporate website visits come from the platform. 

If this has got you intrigued, I want to share a few quick tips you can use to start improving your LinkedIn presence today:

1) Your Personal Profile is as Important as Your Business Profile

This one might seem a little odd to those coming from other social networks like Twitter or Facebook. 

On those sites, you can typically keep your personal profile completely separate from your professional pages without any issue. 

On LinkedIn, you are expected to interact as a representative of your current company. As such, it is important for you to put just as much, if not more, effort into maintaining your personal profile compared to your company’s profile. 

2) Share Content

If you want to engage with the community on LinkedIn and make a name for yourself, you have to start speaking their language. Coincidentally, the language of LinkedIn is content. 

Passionate business owners and representatives use the site to talk about their experiences, share tips, and otherwise “talk shop”. 

If you want to stick out, you have to start sharing your own tips and information, commenting on theirs with your own thoughts, and start being a part of the conversation. 

3) Follow Up With Real-World Connections

How often do you meet someone who seems like a great prospect, exchange business cards, and then let that person disappear into the ether – never to be heard from again? 

Whether it’s a guest at a networking event you recently attended, a friend-of-a-friend, or a prospect you spoke to the other day, there is always a good chance you can find them on LinkedIn. 

This will not only give you the ability to touch base with a prospect you let fall away not too long ago, but it will help you constantly prove your value to potential customers until they eventually need you. 

Make a practice to connect with any professional acquaintances you make to keep in touch with them and keep your brand in their mind. 

4) Join or Start Groups

Another great way to get in on the discussion with other people interested in your industry is with LinkedIn Groups. 

This is where people have a more focused conversation, asking for help with problems or sharing the latest news in your market. There are tons of groups out there for you to join in with pre-established audiences of other professionals in your industry, or you can always choose to start your own group and really position yourself as an authority. 


LinkedIn has grown a long way from the small little resume listing site it may have started as. These days, it is a central hub for both businesses and professionals from all industries around the world to connect and establish their reputation. Most importantly, it has also shown that it can be a reliable source of leads and revenue.

A recent study from BrightLocal highlights exactly how powerful Google My Business is for helping local companies get found by local consumers and increase their sales. 

The findings are the result of research from 45,000 businesses using GMB from 36 different industries from 4 countries. 

Based on the findings, it seems that GMB not only helps improve search engine visibility, but phone calls, store traffic, and more. 

GMB Gets Your Business Found Over 1,000 Per Month

On average, the study says an individual business gets found in Google My Business listings in 1,009 searches each month – or approximately 33 times a day. 

Importantly, more than 80% of those searches are “discovery” searches which seek out a business category rather than a specific business name. 

The findings also revealed that three-quarters of these searches were done using Google Search, while the other 25% was done on Google Maps. 

5% of GMB Listing Views Convert

Local businesses receive an average of 59 actions each month from their Google My Business listing, according to the report. 

When you compare that with the 1,009 views each month, that suggests roughly 5% of GMB listing views directly lead to a website click, call, or direction request. 

Compared to BrightLocal’s findings from 2017 to the most recent study, that is a 25% improvement in conversion rates – rising from 3.87% to 4.83%.

Specifically, businesses received approximately 29% more website clicks from their GMB listings and 22% more calls. 

Other Findings

The study noticed that listings with more images received more views compared to those with fewer photos. 

Overall search volume also increased from 2017 to 2018, with direct searches up 38% and discovery searches rising by 6%.

To see the full report on the performance of GMB listings, click here.

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.

If you have claimed a short name for your Google My Business listing, you may want to be on the watch for a new bug which is causing some GMB listings to be suspended. 

Short Names for GMB were first introduced back in April as a way for businesses to create unique URLs for their Google My Business listings and easily differentiate individual locations in search results. 

However, a wave of reports suggests that some who claimed a short name for their legitimate listings are being suspended and removed from search results entirely. 

It is important to note that the issue does not seem to be affecting all Google My Business listings with short names. Still, the issue is widespread enough for many agencies to be sounding the alarm. 

Specifically, Joe Youngblood started alerting others about the issue last week, including sharing screenshots from a Facebook group where those affected were speaking out. 

As you can see, the issue only affected 2 of more than 10 listings the person above manages, with other listings using short names being entirely unaffected. 

The initial reports of the issue began early last week, but new cases are still being reported this week. SEO professional Lily Ray says one of her listings was suspended yesterday, almost immediately after adding a short name to the listing. 

While Google has not officially confirmed the problem, many say they have been able to get their listing successfully reinstating when notifying the search engine. 

With all this in mind, you might consider holding off on adding a short name to any of your Google My Business listings until the bug is fixed. If you already have a listing with a short name, it would be worthwhile to check that it is still properly showing in search results and has not been suspended.

Today is International Small Business Day, and Google is celebrating the day with a new hub full of marketing resources for small business owners and marketers.

Many of the tools and features included were developed as part of the ‘Google for Small Business’ initiative and were created using feedback from small business owners around the world. 

In the announcement, Product Management Director at Google described the initiative as a personal effort to help businesses save time and grow their business more effectively:

“I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many small business owners and the challenges they face. Most of them tell me that they need help saving time at work, or that they need easy tools to help them promote their business.”

In the new Google for Small Business hub, you will find:

  • Personalized Plans: By completing a few quick questions about your business and your current goals, you will receive a customized step-by-step plan you can follow to accomplish your goals.
  • In-Person Workshops: Stay up-to-date with any upcoming free Grow with Google workshops happening in your local area.
  • Latest News: Stay updated with the latest news about tools and services for small businesses.

Facebook is making some changes to how it handles comments in its algorithm to better promote real discussion.

Everyone knows that Facebook uses an algorithm to help sort which posts get shown to users, but you may not be aware that the social network uses a similar system to help rank comments.

With the new update, the company says it will do a better job or highlighting comments with specific “positive” quality signals, while demoting low-quality comments.

Comment Quality Signals

According to the new announcement, Facebook will be using four types of signals to analyze comments:

  1. Integrity Signals
  2. User Indicated Preferences
  3. User Interaction Signals
  4. Moderation Signals

Integrity Signals

Facebook’s “Integrity Signals” are designed to assess the authenticity of comments. Specifically, it will be looking to see if comments violate community standards or qualify as “engagement-bait”

Engagement Bait is a practice which involves either explicitly encouraging users to react, like, share, subscribe, or take any other form of action in exchange for something else. This can even be something as innocuous as asking followers to do push-ups.

User Indicated Preferences

User Indicated Preferences are established through Facebook’s direct polling of users. By doing this, the social network is able to directly ask users what they want to see in comments and what they think promotes real discussion.

User Interaction Signals

These are pretty self-obvious. User Interaction Signals are indications whether a user has interacted with a post.

Moderation Signals

Moderation Signals are based on whether other users choose to hide or delete comments made on their post. Facebook explains this practice in a bit more detail, saying:

“People can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting, or engaging with comments.

Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking.

People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings.”

Why Facebook Ranks Comments

As with Facebook’s post ranking algorithms, the primary goal of Facebook’s new comment algorithm update is to promote the best quality content within people’s feeds while hiding spammy or low-quality content. As the company says in its announcement:

“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:

  • The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or

  • The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.”

You can read the full announcement from Facebook here.