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A new survey of US consumers has some surprising findings about what customers expect out of business websites.

The results from 1,013 respondents between the ages of 18-60 show that consumers have high expectations when it comes to how frequently your website is updated, what features are implemented, and how you are advertising your business online.

What Consumers DON’T Want in a Website

Of the respondents, more than 80% say they view a brand more negatively if their website is out of date. Additionally, 39% of consumers say they would reconsider buying a product or service if the website isn’t current.

The issue of advertising is also a prickly subject for consumers, based on the survey results.

Less than 10% approved of brands showing ads on social media based on a person’s browsing activity. Meanwhile, approximately 26% feel negatively about ads appearing on their social media feeds based on their browsing or device history – saying it is an invasion of privacy.

On the other hand, 41% of consumers say they don’t mind if websites keep personal data, but only if it is secured on used exclusively to improve the user experience.

Overall, consumers are largely conflicted. Approximately 50% of respondents say that they like the convenience of brands keeping data for to improve ads and user experience, but they are concerned about how else it might be used.

What Consumers DO Want in a Website

In general, consumers say ease of use should be the top priority in making their online experience better.

Approximately 50% of the respondents said they prefer user-created content like reviews and photos to help inform their purchasing decision.

Meanwhile, 25% say their favorite website feature is receiving a reminder when they have left a product in their shopping cart.

Perhaps surprisingly, a major feature desired by users is an on-site search engine. Nearly one-third of respondents say they are put-off if a site does not have a search box, while more than 40% say a search box is the most important feature on a site.


The survey includes a number of interesting findings about consumer behavior and desires online covering a wide range of topics. You can read all the details from Blue Fountain Media here.

 

Pinterest Ads

For the first time since its release in 2016, Pinterest is making major changes to its self-serve Ads Manager, including dynamic pricing and stock information.

All the changes coming to Ads Manager

Perhaps this biggest change is a new step-by-step campaign set-up tool that will walk advertisers through picking a business goal, customizing their audience, and selecting or creating Pins to promote.

Pinterest is also introducing ad placement options to select whether you want your ads to appear in feeds or search results at the ad group level.

Advertisers will also be given more control over when their ads are scheduled to run, as well as a “pause campaign” tool for reviewing Promoted Pins before they start running.

To help you better target your ads with a detailed audience, Pinterest is integrating the Audience Insights tool directly into the ad manager. This will keep you from having to switch back and forth between windows to create data-driven audiences for your ads.

At the same time, Pinterest is making some changes to its reporting dashboard to let advertisers make changes to multiple rows or campaigns at the same time.

Updates to Product Pins

As part of the revamp, Pinterest is greatly expanding the options available for Product Pins, including the addition of dynamic pricing and up-to-date stock information.

The company is also increasing the number of Product Pins that will include the shopping bag icon to directly link to a checkout page, making it easier to purchase items with just a few clicks.

The new Product Pins are replacing the Buyable Pin format and are already rolling out for both mobile and app versions of Pinterest.

New fashion and home discovery categories

Lastly, Pinterest is creating two new shopping recommendation categories for home décor and fashion retailers within the Style and Home sections. This will give these retailers more opportunities to reach new audiences and help ensure their ads are shown to the right audiences.

With the holiday season coming up, now is a good time to make yourself familiar with all the new advertising options on Pinterest. The social shopping platform is one of the biggest tools used by online shoppers to not only plan their holiday gift purchases but actively purchase new products as they browse.

Google's New Ad Strength Indicator

Google is giving advertisers a new tool to predict how their ads will perform before they start running.

The new ad strength indicator evaluates responsive and display ads, then rates them on a scale from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

The tool also gives specific tips on how you can improve your ads to improve their rating and improve performance.

When evaluating ads, the tool assesses a number of factors including relevance, quantity, and diversity of ad copy.

To help prepare for the rollout of the tool, Google provided a few bits of guidance:

  • For responsive search ads: Provide as many headlines and descriptions as makes sense for your business. At least five headlines are recommended.
  • For responsive display ads: Provide up to 15 images and five logos, headlines, and descriptions per ad.

The tool will roll out in stages and will likely take until early next year to be fully available.

First, the ad strength indicator will begin appearing when constructing responsive search ads within the next few weeks. Then, in early September the tool will be given its own column in the Google Ads interface. Finally, the ad strength indicator will be brought to responsive display ads in “several months.”

Along with the announcement of the ad strength indicator, Google also rolled out a number of several updates to responsive search ads.

The biggest change is that advertisers can now preview ad combinations as you are building them, letting you see several possible combinations while you work. This can help shape your ads to ensure ads will always be relevant and readable.

Google is also providing more information about responsive search ads in search reports, including data for headlines, descriptions, and top combinations.

These changes to responsive search ads are already rolled out and available to all advertisers.

Many think that B2B marketing requires a completely different approach than marketing from a business directly to consumers. There is the belief that they B2B audiences don’t use social media or Google the same way that other audiences do and that you have to use a more “old-school” approach.

However, a new survey from Clutch shows that B2B audiences are just as, if not more likely, to use search engines and social media to find business information as other demographics.

The survey of 384 consumers of online business content found that 87% frequently find business content using search engines, 85% use social media to find business content, and 75% encounter content most frequently on company websites.

The findings show that it is more important than ever for B2B-focused companies to modernize their marketing techniques and connect with clients through popular platforms like Google and Facebook.

As part of ensuring they are working with only the most reliable businesses, B2B customers extensively research the companies and products they need online as part of their purchasing process.

They also widely use the internet to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and news in their industry, providing ample opportunities for businesses to advertise and market themselves in their niche.

According to the survey, nearly half of B2B audiences primarily read business content online to stay aware of the latest happenings in their industry. The second most common reason was to inform their purchasing decisions.

The big takeaway here is that B2B marketing shouldn’t be stuck in the past. Purchasers are incorporating modern sources of business content and doing an increasing amount of their business purchasing online. Unless, you’re making your brand a part of those online conversations and research, you’re missing a chance to bring in customers looking for the products and services you offer.

Facebook is changing how it handles the ads shown by Pages across the platform, with a new “Info & Ads” section that details all the ads your Page is running.

By going to a Page’s “Info & Ads” tab, you’ll be able to see every ad the company is running across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s partner networks whether they were targeted to you or not. You can also flag suspicious ads with a “Report Ad” button.

The tab will also include detailed information about Pages, including when it was created and any recent name changes to the Page.

“The vast majority of ads on Facebook are run by legitimate organizations — whether it’s a small business looking for new customers, an advocacy group raising money for their cause, or a politician running for office. But we’ve seen that bad actors can misuse our products, too,” writes Facebook’s director of product management, Rob Leathern, and its product marketing director, Emma Rodgers, on the company’s news blog.

The change was initially announced last October as part of sweeping changes to how Facebook handles political ads but has largely flown under the radar until now.

Facebook says this is just the beginning of changes to increase transparency between Pages and the social network’s ad platform. The company will be rolling out changes to political ad labels to Brazil ahead of the country’s upcoming elections and will continue to encourage greater transparency in advertising around the globe.

Chances are, you’ve been calling Google’s ad platform “Google Ads” most of the time you talk about running ads on the search engine and its network. Now, Google is too. AdWords is being rebranded to simply “Google Ads” as part of an effort to simplify the search engine’s services.

Google is also consolidating its other advertising products into either the “Google Marketing Platform” and “Google Ad Manager.”

According to the company, the change is designed to make it easier for small businesses to take part in online advertising across a variety of channels.

“This is primarily a name change, but it is indicative of where we have been directing the product” over the past few years, said Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president for Google’s advertising services, at a press event announcing the change.

Google’s Advertising Trifecta

From now on, Google’s ad platform will be split between three major brands – Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager

Google Ads

Google Ads will encompass all of the services previously provided by AdWords, which Ramaswamy said will act as “the front door for advertisers to buy on all Google surfaces.”

The switch to Google ads will also include a significant change to Google’s default advertising format. The company is launching a new default ad mode called Smart Campaigns, which is designed to prioritize the actions advertisers want most. This includes using machine learning to optimize images, text, and targeting to boost performance as the ad runs.

Google Marketing Platform

The Google Marketing Platform will combine the services previously provided by DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360. This makes the Marketing Platform the source for high-end tools intended for large businesses or ad agencies.

This platform will also include a number of new features from DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio, and Audience Center.

Google Ads Manager

The last brand announced this week is Google Ad Manager, which will combine all of Google’s monetization tools for publishers, such as the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers.

As Jonathan Bellack, director of product management for publisher platforms, explained, this is the result of a three-year-effort to merge the two products into a more integrated ad-buying service.

“These categories have just been breaking down for a while — all of our publishers already log into one user interface,” Bellack said. So the only thing that’s really changing is “the logo.”

The rebrand is believed to begin in July, but Google’s representatives say the ad platform will remain familiar and usable for everyone accustomed to Google’s services.

“The look and feel is going to change a little bit, but the core functionality is not changing,” said Managing Director for Platforms, Dan Taylor.

Don’t you wish you could somehow run one set of ads with the perfect headline for anyone who sees it, even when they have different needs or interests? AdWords is bringing that fantasy a little closer to reality with Responsive Search Ads.

These ad formats, currently in beta and available to some advertisers, allow you to set up one ad with multiple varying headlines and a few different descriptions which are alternated based on your advertising goal and the user’s intent.

Interestingly, these ads also get more screen real estate than standard text ads while Google is giving them a try.

The idea is to make your ad more versatile and to do the function of A/B testing for you without all the manual work. This also allows you to have a wider variety of keywords trigger your ads.

You can set up to 15 different headlines and four unique descriptions in a responsive search ad. With these, you can include headlines or descriptions for any scenario that might bring potential customers upon your services or products.

When shown, the ads will include up to three headlines instead of two, and up to two 90-character descriptions instead of the usual one 80-character description.

To best plan for this, Google recommends writing your first three headlines as if they will be shown together (in any order).

Google also suggests making headlines distinct by focusing on different features, benefits, or offers.

You can also “pin” certain headlines or descriptions into specific positions. This allows you to guarantee one headline will always be shown on top or a disclaimer is consistently positioned at the bottom of the ad.

Bing is changing up how ads appear in its search engine by increasing the number of ads present at the bottom of the page and removing text ads from the sidebar of search results for US users.

Specifically, Bing is increasing from 3 bottom-of-the-page ads to 4 ads and removing sidebar text ads in the United States. Product ads, on the other hand, will remain within the sidebar.

This change also means that Bing will no longer be allowing advertisers from the US to run sidebar text ads at all.

According to the announcement, Bing was motivated to remove sidebar text ads because bottom-of-the-page ads often include richer ad formats that provide more in-depth information that possible in the sidebar.

While these changes are currently limited to the United States and Bing Ads will continue offering sidebar text ads in other countries, the company says it will be considering removing the ad type in other counties in the future.

As the announcement says, “as part of the constant evolution of the Bing search engine results page (SERP) to provide more value for our users and our advertisers we are regularly evaluating performance and quality of our ads, including ad position on the SERPs.”

Based on their data, Bing says removing the sidebar text ads increases the overall clicks for advertisers, especially those running Mainline Text Ads and Product Ads.

Google has been teasing a massive revamp to the AdWords experience for months, and now it’s finally here.

The company says the redesign and new features provide a faster, more intuitive experience with a better focus on meeting advertisers’ goals.

What’s New

The biggest changes to the ad platform are mostly focused on design and speed.  The ad interface is less cluttered and easy to navigate, letting you put more focus on your advertising efforts without distraction.

The streamlined style also allows pages to load up to 20% faster according to Google.

Visualizations have also been improved to make it easier for you to see how your ads are performing and how people are engaging with your business.

The new experience also brings a few new features like bid adjustments and landing pages. These features have been available to those who got into the revised AdWords experience early, but this is the first chance for most advertisers to test them out for themselves.

Google has put together a number of new guides and videos to help everyone get accustomed to the new AdWords experience. You can get started by checking out the guided tour, how-to videos, or the best practices guide.

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.