A Busy Week For Google

Thanks for subscribing to The Cache - a weekly summary of the most important stories, trends, & commentary in eCommerce marketing, curated by Rob Bettis.

A quick personal note, as this newsletter goes out to dozens of wonderful eCommerce brands. You have been a true inspiration to me in recent months.

I watched as your kick-in-the-face circumstances were dealt by COVID-19. I was on the sideline as you took your lumps and gathered yourself. And I had a front-row seat as so many of you regrouped and skillfully retooled your business to deliver on your brand promise to your loyal customer base.

To watch it unfold was nothing short of inspiring. I suspect the last few months were more for the history books than the pocket books, but nonetheless, you should be proud of the work you’ve done to whether the storm. And when the smoke clears, your companies will be better for it.

🔎 Search

Google May 2020 Core Update rolling out

Whenever Google updates its search ranking algorithms, it means that your site can do better or worse in the search results. Knowing when Google makes these updates gives us something to point to in order to understand if it was something you changed on your web site or something Google changed with its ranking algorithm. Today, we know Google will be releasing a core ranking update, so keep an eye on your analytics and rankings.

I do a lot of white-label work for agencies and I previously ranked on the first page for many of those terms.

After this core update, my listings fell 30+ positions. Were you impacted by this update? If so, reply and let me know the details.

I Spent $6 Million on Google Ads Last Year

Here are 4 lessons I learned, including an underrated platform to advertise on

This isn’t from last week, but I found it last week. So that counts, right?

Anyway, I find #2 and #3 to be especially true.

Google’s got a new Shopping ad test — and it’s a weird one

The folks at SEMrush spotted this Shopping ad test Thursday. In the screenshot below, the product listing ad (PLA) for Body Candy Body Jewelry is accompanied by a text block below it with a blue linked headline and description (more on the copy in a bit). The text is still in the Ads card, but as SEMrush notes, the average person is unlikely to understand it’s not an organic listing.

This seems…unlikely…to stick. But I guess we’ll see.

Google is continually expanding its list of ad extensions to give advertisers options to enhance their ads. One of their latest extensions that is still in Beta but beginning to show up in ad accounts is Image extensions.

Image extensions allow advertisers to upload images to complement their existing text ads. Image extensions can help drive performance for advertisers, giving text ads a visual element that enhance their message.

This seems like a natural accompaniment to the new organic Shopping listings, as Google battles Amazon for product search share.

Google posted some of their Google Ads preventative measures from 2019 saying they blocked over 5,000 bad ads per minute last year. Google blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads, suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts, terminated over 1.2 million publisher accounts and removed ads from over 21 million publisher web pages.

I complain about automated ad review, but when you consider the scale at which Google operates, it is mind-blowing. 🤯

Google Smart Shopping Beta Testing New Customer Only Goal

Google’s Smart Shopping product is beta testing a new Conversion goal: New Customer Acquisition. Dubbed “NCA,” this new goal type allows advertisers to set Smart Shopping campaigns to optimize towards acquiring new customers specifically.

Google: International Targeting Won’t Affect Other Regions

Google Search Console, in the old version, has a feature for international targeting. It lets you communicate to Google that your site is more relevant in a specific region. Gary Illyes from Google said on Reddit that this is a strong hint that “may help a little in that particular region, but won’t affect your site in other regions.”

🗣 Social

Pinterest launches Shopify partnership

Today we’re launching a new app with Shopify that gives their more than one million merchants a quick way to upload catalogs to Pinterest and turn their products into shoppable Product Pins, in just a few clicks.

This is a really big opportunity for many of my clients, as Pinterest is home to more than 350 million shoppers. And the more automated, the better.

Facebook names 20 people to its ‘Supreme Court’ for content moderation

Facebook on Wednesday appointed 20 people from around the world to serve on what will effectively be the social media network’s “Supreme Court” for speech, issuing rulings on what kind of posts will be allowed and what should be taken down.

The list includes nine law professors, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Yemen, journalists, free speech advocates and a writer from the libertarian Cato Institute.

Facebook has taken steps to try to make the board independent, creating a $130 million trust to pay for its operation and pledging that it cannot remove members from the board. Facebook will refer cases to the board for its consideration when the company considers them “significant and difficult,” and Facebook users will be able to suggest cases through an online portal.

An obviously wise political move by Facebook, who desperately wants to remove itself from the crosshairs of free speech & moderation debate in Washington.

However, it is worth noting the control Facebook still has in the implementation of the board’s rulings. I wonder what safeguards will be created to ensure the board’s rulings are accurately executed.

📈 Reporting & Revenue

Businesses are using a variety of resources to understand changing consumer interests—including Google Trends, social listening, surveys, and their own data—in order to help make decisions on the fly. But if they don’t know what to look for, there isn’t an easy way to understand which product categories are gaining in popularity, and might pose an opportunity.

That’s why we’re launching a rising retail categories tool on Think with Google. It surfaces fast-growing, product-related categories in Google Search, the locations where they’re growing, and the queries associated with them. This is the first time we’ve provided this type of insight on the product categories that people are searching for.

🛍 Marketplace

All-New Shopify POS: Rebuilt for Today’s Retail Experience—and Free Until October 31, 2020

That’s why we’re introducing the all-new Shopify POS. We’ve fully reimagined our point-of-sale to help brick-and-mortar retailers like you strengthen sales and relaunch or reopen stores into today’s retail environment. And to ease any current financial pressure, we’re making it completely free until October 31, 2020.

Several very timely & powerful additions for those who operate brick & mortar stores alongside your eCommerce channel.

🔒 Security

Elementor Pro Critical Vulnerability

Elementor Pro is the paid version of the Elementor WordPress page builder plugin. This vulnerability does not affect the free version of the Elementor plugin.

The vulnerability is rated as “critical” according to WordFence.

A hacker would need to be registered with the website in order to take advantage of the vulnerability.

If you run an Elementor Pro powered WordPress website and you allow site visitors to register in order to comment or contribute to the site, then you may be vulnerable.

If however your Elementor Pro WordPress site does not have registered users you may still be at risk.

The reason you may still be at risk is because another plugin Ultimate Addons for Elementor, allows a hacker to register as a subscriber even if registration is prohibited.

That means that the Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugin allows a hacker to hack Elementor Pro.

I remember when Wordpress seemed so magical. But they became a victim of their own success. These days, logging into a Wordpress site is like going back in time - where security updates can’t be run for fear of breaking custom themes and vulnerabilities like this seem to be a far too common occurrence.

🦠 Coronavirus

Gen Z wants fun, exciting ads amid pandemic boredom, survey says

Generation Z consumers want to see fun and exciting advertising to help fill the hours spent in social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. About 50% of younger consumers said they feel bored, compared with 30% of adults ages 25 or older, per survey results that market researcher Magid shared with Marketing Dive.

👋 Holla!

Questions, comments, inquiries? I’d love to hear from you! Email newsletter@robbettis.com.