Digital Content Specialist
Google has released the March 2023 core update, aiming to improve how its systems assess content overall and present reliable search results for users. However, algorithm updates like this can impact sites, affecting their performance and ranking. The full impact of the latest core update isn’t yet known, since it takes time for the changes to become noticeable, as Google’s crawlers need to reassess and index pages. This makes it crucial for marketers to track metrics and look for traffic fluctuations and inconsistencies, especially after the end of March, once the update has been completed.
“As with any core update, there will be fluctuations in SERPs across most industries during (and sometimes after) the initial roll out,” says Indy Smith, SEO manager at iCrossing UK. “If you're concerned that you've been hit by the March core update, assess the relevance of your site’s page, especially considering Google's heightened emphasis on E-E-A-T in recent months. Start by asking whether your pages meet users' search intent before assessing the content’s trustworthiness and authority in order to reclaim position in search.”
“If you haven't already migrated over to GA4, it’s important to do so now,” says iCrossing UK’s analytics director, Richard Robertson. “As of July 1, Universal Analytics properties will no longer process any data so to ensure you continue being data-driven set this up before the deadline. You can try GA4 Set-up Assistant but we recommend you use this as an opportunity to revisit your existing UA set-up and build GA4 from scratch. This will help you utilise the new event parameters when implementing event tracking to enrich your data even further.”
TikTok recently announced updates to its community guidelines, the app’s rules and standards that apply to all the platform’s users. The company worked with 100 organisations around the word to strengthen its rules and make the app a safe place. The new guidelines will go into effect from April 21. In the following months, TikTok’s also planning to train its moderators to enforce the updated standards as they start to roll out. Some key changes include:
Protection of tribes: The platform added 'tribe' as a protected attribute in its hate speech and hateful behaviour policies.
Civic and election integrity: The organisation added more detail about protecting civic and election integrity, including its approach to government, politician and political party accounts.
“The rise of AI within social media might be a scary prospect for creatives within marketing, consumers and creators,” says Tilly Clough, iCrossing UK’s junior audience intelligence analyst.
“The idea of not knowing whether something is real or not is an Orwellian prospect. However, the protections that TikTok is putting in place show that platforms wish to protect human generated content. Marketers should ensure that they’re embracing new forms of technology such as AI, understand what AI-generated content looks like on platforms such as TikTok and work alongside it as AI isn’t going away anytime soon!”
Google has recently announced an update to Discovery ads, aiming to help advertisers engage with users when they’re most likely to take action and convert. The platform’s most engaging ad surfaces now enable brands to:
Spark audience interest with product feeds – meaning that advertisers can now choose from multiple layouts to craft rich and meaningful ads, like carousels, square, and portrait.
Turn data into results with product-level reporting and data-driven attribution. The latest update will help advertisers better understand their performance in Discovery and Video action campaigns.
Measure incremental impact with Conversion Lift experiments. Google’s measurement solution allows advertisers to measure incremental conversions based on users or geography.
Rob Dennis, iCrossing UK’s paid media manager, says: “The new Google Discovery product-focused features are extremely welcome. The improved reporting and product feed integration allow for significantly increased insight for marketers to know what products are driving performance. Discovery's audience-based targeting and focus on creativity enables retailers to position their brand through lifestyle imagery and to showcase their products outside of the standard product imagery. This will enable brands to highlight different aspects of their products to different audiences and to sell their brand through more than search and shopping alone.”
In a recent article, the Drum focused on the metaverse, asking about whether we’re progressing towards a vision of a seamless dynamic between the digital and physical world. The metaverse will offer many opportunities for businesses to reach and engage with their audiences. However, advertisers are sceptical as to whether they need to invest in this universal and immersive virtual world – as, despite its popularity, it seems like there’s some distance to go to get the public to engage with it. As we’re still in the very early days of the metaverse, marketers are still learning about how they can bring the masses into the next phase of the internet.
iCrossing UK’s head of audience intelligence Maria Bain says: “All the hype sees marketers stuck in our echo chambers. Understanding where audiences are with emerging tech can mean confronting our marketing privilege. Consumer-wise, we’re not there yet with the metaverse, as 31% of UK consumers have never even heard of it.”
For many marketers, lockdown changed the pitch process, bringing more business opportunities and allowing more time to respond to them, so creative teams could use their full potential. A recent Drum Network panel discussion with agency leaders also found that agencies faced challenges with remote working. Relationship building with the client has become harder and pitches seem to take longer and focus on things like contract negotiations.
Roger Barr, chief digital officer at iCrossing UK, says: “Sometimes, misalignment can cost the whole pitch. We had a process last year that lasted for five months, and that was partly due to personnel within the brand changing multiple times. In this scenario, we’d pretty much been picked, and then procurement got involved and the whole process got up-ended”.
To decide if a pitch worth the risk, agencies need to find out more about the pitch process and their competitors. “If there were going to be more than three agencies, we would have to have a powerful relationship already with that potential client, whether it be known people or some kind of previous relationship with some of the key decision-makers,” Roger adds.
A recent study showed that Storyblok’s content management system (CMS) provided a 582% ROI over a three-year period and paid for itself in less than six months. Research also revealed more benefits for businesses, including better customer experiences and their platform uniquely and intuitively addresses the pain points and bottlenecks inherent in so any CMSs over the years. The impressive results show that brands can benefit from Storyblok’s capabilities when creating and managing content, offering optimised digital experiences for multiple audiences and channels.
Dominik Angerer, co-founder and CEO of Storyblok said: “The amazing customer ratings and stories we’ve heard have always been a great indicator that businesses get a significant return on investment from managing their content with Storyblok. At a time when more businesses are scrutinising traditional CMS platforms and exploring how a composable, headless CMS setup helps them with content operations and creating content at scale, we believe this Forrester study proves that Storyblok is a smart CMS investment.”
MACH Alliance, a group of independent tech companies, conducted research to understand the impact of MACH investment on organisations. MACH aims to show how businesses could benefit from open tech ecosystems that are Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless. The results of the study highlight the importance of taking advantage of the latest innovations to stay ahead in a rapidly changing business environment. Research also found that:
Legacy is still holding companies back, with one in five companies spending over half of their IT budget on upgrades.
87% of those who have increased MACH are more responsive and ahead of the competition.
US leadership lacks understanding of MACH benefits despite the biggest legacy debt.
“The data tells us that too many companies are stuck keeping the upgrade wheel turning. If you add the cost of time and business standstill, the absolute cost is much higher,” said Casper Rasmussen, MACH Alliance President. “At the same time, fewer companies see themselves as agile early adopters, and fewer also see themselves as being ahead of the competition compared to our research a year ago.
“The pace of transformation is relentless but the cost of not innovating is much higher. While transitioning to MACH is no small undertaking, continuing the status quo is an ongoing, big undertaking, especially for larger organisations, which needs addressing. We’re not going to wipe legacy out of the picture overnight. However, those moving toward MACH are better equipped to mitigate future obstacles.”
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