Tech Treats: 20.06.16

Welcome to Tech Treats, our weekly feature where we provide our clients with the latest news on all things digital marketing. From current trends and innovations, to fresh tips on getting the most out of your marketing spend, we’ll ensure you’re always kept in the loop!

New YouTube Director suite will make it easier to create video ads

Last week marked the release of YouTube Director, a new suite of video editing tools to make it easier for advertisers to create their own video ads.

The new suite, which appears to only be available to US advertisers at present, will enable any business to quickly create video ads using their mobile devices.

With the YouTube Directory for business app, users are able to choose from a range of templates, and shoot and edit videos without the need for previous editing experience.

Other features include YouTube Director animated video, a tool that automatically creates video ads from your logo and app screenshots, and YouTube Director onsite. The latter is a service that sends a professional filmmaker to film your ad, providing you have spent at least $150 on YouTube advertising.

The TJM take: Although this is currently only available in the US, we’re looking forward to seeing what the quality is like, as well as how it can help smaller businesses.

Although YouTube clicks are not very expensive, the cost of producing a good video is often the reason businesses don’t utilise it. The new Director suite is free of charge so it will hopefully ensure more businesses can use the platform (though not all of us are the next Quentin Tarantino!)

Google tests click to SMS messaging in new ad extension

As an eagle-eyed user noticed last week, Google AdWords has begun testing a new SMS messaging ad extension.

Similar to the existing clickable call buttons that appear in mobile search results, this new ad extension will enable searchers to easily text the company behind the ad. As Search Engine Land explains in their original report, clicking the TEXT icon will bring up your phone’s default messaging app and prefill the text with an auto-populated message.

Here’s a screenshot of how this icon appears in search results:

SMS ad extension

Image of the SMS message ad extension. Source: Search Engine Land

The TJM take: Whether this extension becomes widely available is yet to be seen, although we’re very interested to see how this concept could evolve.

We are debating in the office who can benefit from this. Would food delivery services or taxi firms be able to utilise this? Would smaller businesses who struggle to answer the phone want this? We are still not convinced.

Our other feeling is that while this may not be great now, the long term plan is to allow business to push customers onto their Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or iMessage apps and then service them there. Apple has been investing in a more natural feel to their bot service and this would be the perfect front door!

As we have noted before, Google has difficulty capturing mobile numbers and aligning them to devices and search engine usage. This could be a reason for people to happily give up their data without knowing it...

You can now compare search queries in Google Analytics

Google has added the capability for users to compare one search phrase to another within the Search Analytics report, Search Engine Land has reported.

Originally spotted by Twitter user @Jonny_J_, this new feature can be accessed by logging into your Search Console account, and accessing the Queries section in Search Analytics.

You are currently able to compare just two search queries.

The TJM take: This will be a useful feature for improving both SEO and PPC campaigns as users won’t necessarily arrange their search queries in the same order.

For example, when looking for a local estate agent, some users may search for ‘Cardiff estate agents’. Others, however, may choose to first enter ‘estate agents’, then complete a second search for ‘estate agents Cardiff’ to yield local results.

Targeting for Twitter ads can now be based on emojis

Yes, you read that correctly. Twitter will now allow its advertisers to target users based on the emojis they use in their Tweets.

Put simply, this means that if a user tweets the pizza slice emoji, they may start seeing ads from pizza delivery services appear in their Twitter feed.

The TJM take: In the TJM office, we’re somewhat divided on emojis- some of us love them, and some of us consider their usage to be a negative reflection on the person that uses them or can even understand more than 3 of them...

Love them or hate them, emojis help to change the tone of your message, and it’s clear that they have become a language of their very own. Last year, in fact, the laughing emoji that cries tears of joy was named the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.

With emoji use continuing to increase, it’ll be interesting to see if other social networks jump on this.

Facebook asks users to confirm interests for ad targeting

Members of the TJM team have noticed that Facebook is now asking users to confirm the topics they have an interest in to enable better ad targeting.

An example of how this appears can be seen in the screenshot below:

Facebook advert preferences

The TJM take: On the one hand, if you are going to see adverts, then they might as well be focused on your interests. However this may change over time, and some people will block stuff ‘just because’ even if they were slightly interested.

…and one last thing: Apple is now blocking Flash on desktop

Last week, we came across reports that Apple’s Safari browser will now start blocking Flash by default. This will come into play with the next version of macOS and will be aiming to encourage more websites to switch to HTML5.

Are there any topics you’d like covered in future Tech Treats updates? Send us a message on social media or drop us an email.

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