When it comes to advertising and digital media, things are always changing. So, how can you keep your strategy for SEO, Paid Search, and Social Media up to date when everything moves quickly? That’s where you can rely on your experienced marketing partner, like Stream Companies. We’re consistently keeping an eye on new trends and technologies. Let’s explore some of the latest updates in digital and media and how they can help you further your campaigns.
As far as Search Engine Optimization goes, the biggest thing on the horizon is almost a year away. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with it now. Knowing the ins and outs of updates before they occur and getting prepared for them is critical when it comes to SEO.
Switch Now to Track Year Over Year Data
Switching over to GA4 before the deadline makes things easier for advertisers. It can help you get a head start on the competition, get comfortable with the new metrics, and allow you to begin tracking data on them now. Year over year (YOY) data will be valuable next summer when other organizations are starting from square one.
Out With the Old, in With the New
To move Google Analytics forward, GA4 brings about changes to the metrics used to track data. Some familiar metrics will be phased out, including Bounce Rate and Unique Pageviews. On the other hand, several new metrics will be introduced, including:
- Engagement Rate—Tracks any session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has at least two pageviews, or results in a conversion.
- Active Users—The number of users who have been active in the last 28 days.
Along the same lines, certain metrics will remain in place but see significant change. For instance, Pageviews will still track how many pages a user visits, but it will now include repeated views of the same page. Conversions will be refined to only include conversion events that have been set up in Google Tag Manager.
Advantages of GA4
The implementation of GA4 offers new benefits to both advertisers and businesses. From gathering information to making data tracking easier and more secure, some of the new features that offer lots of upsides include:
- Cross-Platform Tracking—GA4 features seamless integration with Google’s advertising platforms. This enhanced data tracking across platforms allows campaigns to learn more, perform better, and provide clients with an even greater return on investment (ROI).
- Subdomain Tracking—Automatically keeps track of data across subdomains, such as digital retailing tools.
- Predictive Metrics—Monitors user interaction and other metrics to analyze the potential future behavior of specific users.
- Insights on the Buyer’s Journey—Machine learning offers greater insight into the Buyer’s Journey on a variety of platforms and devices.
- More Privacy Focused—With an added focus on security, GA4 offers more reliable data tracking and peace of mind.
More Refined Reports
With new metrics come new reports. GA4 gives you more ways to view and analyze data, which allows you to make the necessary changes to your campaign, website, or mobile app going forward. Some of these new reports include:
- Explorations Tab—The reporting hub that offers data regarding users and their behavior.
- Funnel Exploration—Helps analyze digital retailing tools by letting you add steps to the checkout process.
- Next Steps—Allows you to see all the steps a user takes, including where they fell out of the funnel, so you can make the necessary adjustments.
- Free Form Report—Measures search query vs. keywords to give further insight into how SEO-friendly your content and campaign are.
Stream Team Response
So, how is Stream preparing for the shift to GA4? Actually, we already have. Stream is a founding member of the Automotive Standards Council for Google Analytics 4. The allows us to be involved in conversations around industry standards and serve as a resource for dealers, vendors, and manufacturers.
Not only that, but we’re constantly monitoring both GA4 and Universal Analytics to make sure our team and our clients are ready for the transition next year.
Like SEO, Paid Search methods are always evolving. By phasing out existing types of ads and introducing new ones, Google is gearing up to maximize the results of individual ads and campaigns as a whole. Some of the recent developments in Paid Search include:
Auto dealers want to showcase their inventory. Customers want to see what’s available before they buy. To benefit both sides, Vehicle Listing Ads (VLA) have arrived. While they were rolled out only recently, these ads give dealers a fantastic way to promote their vehicles.
So, how do they work? Through machine learning, Google gets to know your account, its intended audience, how people are engaging with the ads, and how conversions occur. This can take a little longer with new accounts than it can for existing ones, but ordinarily, this process takes between two and three weeks.
Once that’s complete, the VLA is active and optimized. Images and information about the vehicles in your inventory can be featured right under Google’s search bar. If a user sees a vehicle that they’re interested in, they can click on it and go right to your website. Some of the ways this can benefit your automotive campaign include:
- Target the listings that are most relevant to a customer’s search query
- Provide more qualified leads by showing customers key information
- Increase exposure for both your business and your selection
- Optimize more conversions both online and offline
Dealers can use VLAs to show off both their new and used inventories. Either way, there are a couple of steps dealerships should take to make sure VLAs are working for them.
First, keep a nice variety of vehicles in stock. The more inventory you have, the more listings Google can present. Second, include high-quality photos of every vehicle. VLAs are a visual medium that need strong imagery to draw people in.
Evolution of Expanded Text Ads
This summer marks the end of Expanded Text Ads and the birth of Responsive Search Ads. Starting in June, Expanded Text Ads can no longer be created or edited. Instead, they are transitioning to Responsive Search Ads.
With a Responsive Search Ad, you can enter multiple headlines and descriptions. This allows Google to automatically try different combinations and see which ones perform well. Essentially it creates the highest performing ad it possibly can by responding to what’s most effective.
For businesses that currently have Expanded Text Ads, Google can convert them for you. However, to increase the chances of your campaign being effective, it’s still a good idea to build them from scratch too.
Meet Performance Max
The second quarter of 2022 saw the introduction of Google’s Performance Max campaign. It allows advertisers to combine all sorts of Google products and services into a single campaign. This includes display, video, Google Maps, Gmail, and more.
Local campaigns and smart shopping campaigns are already being absorbed into Performance Max. These upgrades should be completed by September of this year. Stream is currently running a beta version of this for a few select auto groups, which expect to see solid results.
Social media platforms continue to expand on user-friendly features by adding more options for customization and engagement. Clients, brands, and individual users can further their social media presence with updates such as:
Pin Additional Instagram Posts
As of June 2022, Instagram users can now pin up to three organic posts or reels to the top of your profile. This presents an excellent branding opportunity. By pinning a few UPSs or your business’ most liked posts, it’s easy to draw customers in quickly.
Since these posts will be the first thing visitors see, they should be treated like a branding initiative. On top of introducing your business, pinned posts are also a great way to promote specific sales, specials, or products. Social media is all about staying relevant, though, so it’s a good idea to swap these out and pin new posts every once in a while.
Keep Things Safe & Simple With Facebook Basic Ads
Facebook is developing Basic Ads that don’t rely on anonymous user data. Instead of specifically targeting certain audiences, they rely on engagement to reach a broader audience. This makes them more privacy friendly, and a solid long-term approach to building brand awareness.
More Options With Reels
In an effort to keep pace with TikTok, Meta is building out their Reels to give users additional options. This includes longer run times, sound syncing capabilities, and incorporating interactive stickers. In addition to editing, users will now have more control over where their Reels will be located. Some placement options include Facebook stories, feeds, and the Watch tab.
From a marketing standpoint, these changes allow businesses to interact with customers in more places and in more in-depth ways.
Increased Engagement With Avatars
TikTok and Meta are inviting you to step into their platforms with digital avatars. These avatars will serve as a virtual representation of users on TikTok and in the metaverse. Both companies are still in the development phase, but digital avatars offer all sorts of possibilities for advertising and the customer experience. Be on the lookout for more updates on avatars later this year.
Continue the Conversation With Stream Companies
To learn more about what’s new in digital and media and continue the conversation on this ever-changing landscape, contact Stream Companies. As an integrated agency at the forefront of innovation, we’re always on top of the latest news on how our clients can best utilize Social Media, Paid Search, and SEO to convert leads. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!