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Google Sunsets Mobile Games Exclusion & More Recent News

May 7, 2019

It’s time for another installment of our online advertising news round-up—a recurring feature on the WordStream blog where we discuss all the latest stories from search, social, ecommerce, and beyond. Let’s dive in!

Google Ads sunsets content exclusion for mobile app games

Via an email sent to advertisers last week, Google Ads has announced plans to sunset the content exclusion for mobile app games at the beginning of July.

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Content exclusions, for those who don’t know, allow display advertisers to exclude certain categories of websites and mobile apps from their campaigns. If you sell kids’ board games, for example, you can use content exclusions to keep your display ads away from mature and sensitive content.

In addition to helping businesses avoid brand safety concerns, content exclusions also help them minimize wasted spend. If you’re paying for your display ads on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) basis, you have a strong incentive to keep those ads away from irrelevant audiences. Because mobile app games have almost nothing to offer to a lot of display advertisers—B2B SaaS companies, for example—the content exclusion that Google Ads plans to sunset has been an important one.

As you can see in the screenshot shown above, if you’re currently using the content exclusion for mobile app games to avoid wasting money on poor-performing display placements, you’ll need to make the switch to the topic exclusion at some point in the coming weeks. Topic exclusions, as the name suggests, enable display advertisers to prevent their ads from showing alongside content that addresses particular topics.

Facebook introduces lead gen templates for Messenger

Of all the new products and features unveiled at Facebook’s tenth F8 conference—an annual gathering of eager techies who want to learn more about what Facebook’s got coming down the pipeline—the most exciting, in my opinion, are Messenger lead generation templates.

Messenger, which boasts well over a billion users at the time of this writing, has become an increasingly popular way for businesses and consumers to interact. Accordingly, savvy Facebook marketers have taken to using the messaging platform as a channel for generating leads.

In order to make it easier for businesses to incorporate Messenger into their marketing strategies, Facebook has announced that lead generation templates will be available to all advertisers in Ads Manager later this year. With a template, you can create a News Feed ad that directs prospects to an automated question-and-answer flow within the Messenger interface.

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Via Facebook.

As you can see in the example shown above, the automated communication enables you to collect some basic lead information before connecting the user with a live customer support representative. Thanks to the lack of friction, you can deliver a great user experience while building a top-of-funnel prospect pool with relative ease.

In addition to lead gen templates, Facebook has also introduced an in-app appointment booking interface that allows users to reserve time with businesses directly within Messenger. Whether you’re advertising a barber shop, a sit-down restaurant, or any other business that allows or requires customers to make appointments, this new interface (which will also become widely available later this year) should help you remove some of the friction from that process while bringing leads into your CRM.

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Via Facebook.

Local businesses’ websites still matter to consumers

According to new survey data from BrightLocal, Google My Business hasn’t completely taken over as the go-to source of local business information.

Despite the undeniable prominence of Google My Business listings on the local SERPs—and the importance of optimizing accordingly—nearly half of the 500 consumers surveyed by BrightLocal said they’ll go to a local business’ website to find basic contact information, such as a phone number or a physical address. Additionally, when asked how often they go to a local business’ website after conducting a local search, 75% of survey respondents said they do so at least half the time.

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BrightLocal didn’t simply find that consumers still tend to visit local businesses’ websites; they also found that the majority of consumers consider websites more trustworthy than Google My Business listings. Evidently, keeping the information on your website accurate and up-to-date is just as important—if not more important—than doing the same on Google My Business.

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More broadly, this new data from BrightLocal emphasizes the importance of delivering a great site experience in general. Although a lot of your site visitors may simply be looking for contact information, you should still strive to make a good first impression—especially if you’ve got a competitor or two in your local market.

You don’t have to do anything flashy. A clear value proposition, a couple customer testimonials, and some pretty imagery can go a long way. As long as it’s obvious what your business offers and clear that your website’s been updated within the past decade, you should be fine.

Facebook makes ThruPlay default video ad optimization

Heads up, video advertisers: Facebook has announced its decision to make ThruPlay the default optimization setting for video campaigns.

When you use ThruPlay—introduced to advertisers in September of last year—Facebook optimizes your video ad delivery to maximize the likelihood of users watching the entire thing (or 15 seconds of it, at least). In fact, when you’re optimizing with ThruPlay, Facebook will only charge you when users watch at least 15 seconds of your ad.

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ThruPlay was initially rolled out as an alternative to the 10-second video views solution, which enables advertisers to optimize ad delivery to maximize the likelihood of users watching for at least 10 seconds. According to Facebook, ThruPlay drives just as much brand awareness.

Therefore, in order to simplify the process of buying video ads, Facebook will slowly sunset the 10-second video views solution. Starting this month, some advertisers will see their campaigns migrated over to ThruPlay. If any of your campaigns are still using the 10-second video views solution at the end of July, Facebook will pause them until you make the switch to ThruPlay.

Facebook updates video ranking algorithm

Striving to earn users’ loyalty at a time when streaming services are abundant, Facebook has announced an algorithmic update that prioritizes high-quality, original video content.

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Via Facebook.

In a brief post shared on the Facebook Newsroom blog, Product Management Director David Miller outlined the three factors that’ll soon become more influential in the process of delivering video content across News Feed and Facebook Watch:

  • Loyalty and intent: Facebook will reward businesses and content creators whose videos draw repeat viewers on a week-to-week basis.
  • Video and viewing duration: Facebook will reward businesses and content creators whose videos keep users engaged for several minutes at a time.
  • Originality: Facebook will reward businesses and content creators who share original video content (as opposed to repurposed video content).

To be clear, these algorithmic factors are neither new nor exhaustive. Facebook takes a range of additional metrics into consideration when determining which videos are prioritized across their platforms; the news is that they’ve explicitly highlighted these three factors in particular as the ones they’ll be focusing on going forward.

If there’s one thing you should takeaway from this announcement, it’s this: listen to the people who watch your videos. If you take viewers’ feedback seriously and let it inform your content going forward, you’ll improve the likelihood that they’ll keep coming back to watch more. Evidently, winning the loyalty of an audience will be key to the success of your video efforts.

Conor Bond

Conor Bond writes words about stuff on the WordStream blog. He likes to drink coffee, play basketball, and pretend he doesn't care about his inadequate facial hair.