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Bing has unveiled the top marketing keywords searched for throughout last year, based on their US search data. The new reveal sheds light on what people are thinking of and what the biggest upcoming trends are, with personal assistants beating out the competition.

”Personal assistants and artificial intelligence were a clear priority for marketers over the past year. Advances in chat bots and virtual assistants, such as Alexa, Cortana and Amazon Echo – as well as updates to several smartphone chat bots, were likely drivers for these search terms.”

Of course, Microsoft owns both Cortana and Bing, so it is possible that played a role in the high rank of personal assistants on the list. Still, the popularity of other services such as Siri and Alexa shows that virtual assistants are quickly becoming a major part of the tech and marketing landscape.

In addition to personal assistants, Bing says augmented reality and virtual reality are also poised to play a big role in marketing.

”Virtual and augmented reality came second to intelligence, with the popularity of searches representing the growth of this technology throughout 2016 – and it’s likely continual development into next year.”

Check out the rest of the top marketing search terms for 2016 below:

  1. Personal Assistants/ Intelligent Agents
  2. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
  3. Search Marketing
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. Email Marketing

Smaller local businesses are overwhelmingly lagging behind the rest of the market when it comes to getting online and increasing visibility and audience outreach through optimization and search engine marketing. Unfortunately the longer these companies wait to expand their business online, the further they fall behind the curve. Thankfully, Trond Lyngbø created a comprehensive article exploring the most important information anyone running a smaller local business needs to know about SEO and online marketing.

All week we try to keep you up to date with the most important SEM news across the web, but inevitably there are smaller stories that fall through the cracks. That’s why we compile all the most important news we missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. Despite the distractions of the world cup, there have been some pretty big announcements throughout the week. So, let’s get to it.

Google Preps Online Retailers With Best Practices

Google Shopping

With the clock ticking before Shopping Campaigns becomes the default campaign type for running Product Listing Ads at the end of August, Google is trying to help prepare retailers and marketers by issuing best practice guidelines to help everyone make the transition smoothly.

For the most part, the guidelines listed aren’t far off from the original PLA recommendations. Yes, the paper covers product feed optimization and newer updates, but most of it is a refresher for those who have been working with retailers for a while now, including classic rules like “use relevant titles and high quality images.”

However, marketers and retailers may be interested in the new recommendations about how to structure new shopping campaigns, especially as we enter the transition period.
You can download the whitepaper of the guidelines from Google here.

Sneak a Peak at Google’s New Reconsideration Rejection Forms

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Last week, Matt Cutts made headlines throughout the SEO community by announcing that Google will be revising their reconsideration requests rejection notices with more detailed information in some cases. Of course, there were plenty of skeptics, but an example of the rejection notices has been shared on Twitter by @johnwarddoyle.

Surprisingly, it seems Google made good on their promise.

Don’t get too excited. The individualized response is short and easily missed, but rejection notices at least offer some useful information for repairing a site now. Largely the note is the same as before, but down at the bottom you will see a new section titled “A note from your reviewer.” Here, you will find specific advice relevant to your site that could be potentially highly useful.

Facebook Shows Off Their Snapchat Competitor

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After having a $3 billion offer refused by Snapchat – the popular self-destructing photo messenger app – Facebook is trying to fight back. This week Facebook announced Slingshot, an app obviously influenced by Snapchat’s concept, but with a new twist.

Slingshot does allow users to send photos or short video messages that will delete automatically after a short period of time, but there is more to it:

To get started on Slingshot, shoot a photo or video… add some text and color, then sling it to a bunch of friends. Here’s the deal: friends won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you. They can then reply with a reaction – or simply swipe your shot away.

The concept encourages reciprocal communication more and could potentially catch on, but it could just as easily fall apart in the shadow of it’s better-established rival. With the faltering youth activity on Facebook, it is hard to know how much traction this type of app can get.

Major Brand’s Seeing Engagement Plummet on Facebook

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Speaking of Facebook’s problem of bleeding activity and user engagement, recent reports show that it isn’t just the teen demographic evaporating from the site. Facebook analytics provider Simply Measured says consumer engagement with Facebook posts from almost all top Interbrand companies are down significantly from last year.

According to the firm, monthly engagement is down over 40 percent since May 2013.
Only two brands on the list (MTV and Harley Davidson) say increases in engagement, while the others saw huge decreases. Overall engagement was down at least 50 percent.

Most troublesome for Facebook, the report outright cites the decreasing organic reach available on Facebook as a primary blame for the decline in engagement.

Facebook’s Graph Search Makes Its First Appearance on Mobile

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While Facebook’s Graph Search hasn’t been officially released on mobile yet, but it is most likely getting very close to being rolled out. Over the past week, many people reported encountering a test showcasing in-depth integration for the Graph Search for mobile users with all the same features you’ve come to recognize.

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The most anyone has gotten out of Facebook is the response “we’re testing improvements to Facebook mobile search.” But, I would wager the release will be sooner than later. The current testing version for mobile seems to be able to handle all the complex searches capable on desktop and appears to be largely ready for release.

Twitter Finally Adds Animated GIF Support

Twitter’s announcement this week may seem super minor, but it has received nearly as much coverage this week as any other bit of information relevant to online marketing. The reason is simple: internet users love GIFs and this week Twitter announced you can now post and view animated GIFs on Twitter’s website and mobile apps.

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Of course, the announcement came in the form of a Tweet featuring an animated GIF from Twitter Support.

Previously, users could share links to GIFs via third-party services like Imgur, but starting this week you can now share and view the moving images directly on Twitter.

Importantly, GIF’s won’t start playing automatically in your feed like they do on Tumblr. Instead, when a GIF is shown, a white play button will be overlayed, allowing you to choose when a GIF starts playing.

All week we try to keep you up to date with the most important SEM news across the web, but inevitably there are smaller stories that fall through the cracks. That’s why we compile all the most important news we missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. After a quiet week before, nearly all of the major platforms have made announcements this week. Let’s start with Google and work our way down.

Google Starts Warning Searchers About Mobile URL Redirects

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Google has been warning webmasters about faulty mobile redirects for months, including suggesting they may one day start receiving penalties for sending mobile searchers to the front page of a site rather than the content relevant to their search. It appears Google has opted for another solution, which allows mobile searchers to decide if they want to proceed.

Google alerted webmasters this week that smartphone searchers will begin seeing warnings for sites with redirects that don’t take them where they want to go. An example of how these warnings will appear is above. On a Webmaster Central blog post, Google stated:

We’d like to spare users the frustration of landing on irrelevant pages and help webmasters fix the faulty redirects. Starting today in our English search results in the US, whenever we detect that smartphone users are redirected to a homepage instead of the page they asked for, we may note it below the result. If you wish to proceed to the page, you can click ‘Try Anyway.’

Google Adds World Cup Street View Tours and a Loch Ness Easter Egg

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Just a week before the World Cup kicks off, Google has added street view images that will allow users to tour all 12 stadiums that will be used for the tournament. Whether you want to stand in the middle of the field and do a little spin, or preview the view from the stands, you’ll be able to give a look from anywhere within the stadiums.

Google has also added significantly more images from Brazil’s painted streets and other sites across the country, but perhaps one of the most popular finds on Google Maps this week is an Easter Egg found far away from Brazil.

If you’d rather hunt legendary monsters than watch soccer, Google Maps is able to give you directions to Loch Ness. If that isn’t enough for you however, Google says you can always catch a ride on Nessy.

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If you get directions from Fort Augustus to Urquhart Castle in Google Maps, you will get the option to travel via Loch Ness Monster. You just have to click on ‘Route Options’ and then choose ‘Fewer Transfers’ or ‘Less Walking.’ Though you have to wonder how no one has managed to get a picture of Nessy while hopping a ride down the Loch.

Bing Celebrates Its 5th Birthday With Some Memories

Bing turned five earlier this week, and to celebrate it has posted a retrospective of the last five years. Bing is also offering Bing Reward credit perks to any user who searches on the site before June 9th.

The retrospective covers all of the ways Bing’s appearance has changed over the past five years, but it also covers how it has worked to achieving its initial goals of leveraging semantic search, introducing new verticals, and generally expanding how search could function in our lives.

Bing Shows Off New Dynamic Carousel For Music Video Searches

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Bing has prided itself on being ahead of the curve in respect to music and music video searching and discovery, and its latest feature continues to expand on the functionality it previously offered for music video searches.

Bing has recognized that people search for music videos very differently than they do other video content. By exploring these changes in user behavior, Bing was able to determine that music video watchers wer significantly more likely to hang around and check out other content instead of moving on once they found the video they were looking for.

To give users easier access to all the music videos they may be interested, Bing has implemented instant access to an artist’s top hits as soon as you search only the artists name. Bing describe this as a dynamic carousel, because it allows you to open up songs and videos from teh carousel and play it within the same window. You will never have to keep going back and forth between choosing the video you want to watch and actually watching it.

The carousel also allows you to view all of an artist’s albums and watch the videos for those songs as well.

Pinterest Continues To Work Towards An Actual Ad Platform

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Pinterest has made its intention to establish an ad platform for their social network very clear ever since it unveiled Promoted Pins. However, Pinterest is working slowly to guarantee that the ads shown on their platform won’t stick out or detract from the experience, and as such it has been very hands on and selective about who it allows to run ads.

Now, businesses of all types have been given access to a do-it-yourself Promoted Pins tool that allows them to promote their own pins to more people and increase visibility. Similar to most other social ad platforms, these will work on a cost-per-click basis through ads.pinterest.com.

Pinterest also announced they would be expanding the analytics tools offered to users, giving them more insight into who is clicking and re-Pinning your content. You can get more information from their announcement.

LinkedIn Joins The “Large Cover and Profile Photo” Club

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LinkedIn announced earlier this week it would be making a major design update to user profiles, which will feel very familiar to anyone who uses Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Currently, the layout is only available to premium users, but LinkedIn says it will be available for all users after a short period. It isn’t entirely clear why LinkedIn would stagger the rollout of this layout change, but you can add it to the list of social media sites that are beginning to look very, very similar.

With the constant stream of information coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important news. That’s why we compile all the biggest stories you may have missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. This week, Pinterest dominates headlines. Let’s get started:

Pinterest Finally Starts Paid Test of Promoted Pins

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Last fall, Pinterest announced they would be making their first foray into paid ads on the social media platform under the title of “Promoted Pins”. They ran some tests shortly after the announcement to gauge how their users responded to the ads. Now, Pinterest declared they have officially begun a small paid test of the Promoted Pins while working with a small group of brands from the U.S. The test will only be shown in Pinterest’s search and category fields.

Pinterest lists the entire list of brands taking part in the test, including ABC Family, Banana Republic, GAP, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. If you do happen to catch one of the Promoted Pins being tested, Pinterest would like users to give feedback via a form found here.

Pinterest Reveals the Most Popular Categories On Each Day of the Week

Twitter Daily Trends

Just about every social media platform has their own mini-trends that influence what type of content gets shared the most at a certain time. Facebook users follow predictable patterns of usage times and the success of content on Reddit is partially decided by the “prime sharing times” when users are more likely to see new content. Similarly, Pinterest recently shared a post on their blog detailing the most popular categories for each day of the week.

4 Statistics About Pinterest You Need to Know

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On the topic of Pinterest trends and data, RJMetrics recently ran a study of 50,000 random pinners and their pins to analyze how people are using Pinterest. At first glance, the data may seem like old news, however the details found in the study give strong insight into what pinners are interested in, what they are likely to share, and when they are most likely to Pin. For example, it is no secret that the majority of Pinterest’s users are female, but it may come as a surprise that around 80 percent of pinners are female, and an whopping 92 percent of all pins on the site come from women.

You can get all the details from the study in RJMetrics’ report on their site.

Google Maps Adds Location Based Quick Facts

Yesterday, Google announced via Google+ that they have added a new section on map results for location searches named “Quick Facts.” As many have pointed out, the section looks quite similar to the Knowledge Graph that appears on some Google searches, and has the same type of very quick information about the area you are searching for. The Quick Facts are pulled from Wikipedia and other data sources typically used in the Google Knowledge Graph.

You can get an idea how the Quick Facts operate thanks to the example Google released of the results for Angkor Wat in Cambodia below.

Quick Facts

Twitter Introduces a Mute Button To Quiet Individual Users

Earlier this week, Twitter revealed they will be adding a new feature for its iPhone and Android apps, as well as Twitter.com, which allows users to mute specific people and forbid their tweets from appearing in your timeline. You can mute users two different ways. You can either mute a user from a Tweet by clicking on ‘more’ followed by ‘mute @username’ or you can mute users from their profile page.

When a user is muted, their Tweets and Retweets will be no longer visible in your home timeline and you won’t receive push notifications if you previously set up that feature for the user. However, the muted user will still be able to see, face, reply to, and retweet anything you share. From the muted users perspective nothing will have changed.

You will be able to unmute users at any time and the new feature is expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Facebook and Twitter See Slightly Less Global Usage While Instagram and Tumblr See Big Increases

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Facebook and Twitter still hold a strong hand on the social media landscape/ However their grasp may not be safe forever as new survey data from GlobalWebIndex shows a slight reduction in usage for both networks over the past six months. They Facebook may not be too nervous yet. The survey of more than 40,000 internet users in 32 global markets, excluding China, found that as much as 82% of users worldwide have Facebook accounts.

However, several reports suggest the small dip in usage may be an indicator of a growing trend within Facebook, opening the door of opportunity for smaller and more focused social platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr.

The survey also found a significant growth in the use of mobile apps. Out of all apps, Snapchat saw the biggest rise in use as it is accepted by more and more teens worldwide. You can download the full report from GlobalWebIndexhere, but Martin Beck also summarizes the findings over on Marketing Land.