Digital Marketing Industry Updates: June 2023

Digital marketing is always moving ahead. This month, we examine two AI-related announcements from Google, beat the drum about the big Google Analytics change, and more. Read on!

Analytics

The Sunset of Universal Analytics

Maybe you’ve heard? Maybe from us? Google Analytics is transitioning from its old version, Universal Analytics, to GA4. Universal Analytics will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. They say you’ll be able to access your Universal Analytics data for at least 6 months, so archiving historical data is not as urgent as getting up to speed on GA4, but we will be talking about various strategies in the coming months.

If you’re still not using GA4, or you’re not sure it’s set up correctly, reach out. And if you, like us, are tired of Google’s relentless popups reminding you to take action, someone built a plugin for that 🙂

Understanding Data Discrepancies

One of the concerns we are hearing from our clients is, “why don’t GA4 and Universal Analytics match?!?” Honestly, there are dozens…no, millions of reasons data can be different between different systems. So aiming for directional consistency as we face the July 1 cutoff for Universal Analytics is a solid approach. That said, take a look at our explanation of the 7 most common causes of GA4 vs. UA data discrepancies as you make sure you’re prepared for the July 1 cutoff.

GA4 Resource Library

We’re all on a learning curve with GA4, but Two Octobers’ Head of Analytics (and Co-CEO) Nico Brooks is here to help. Our growing library of GA4 how-tos and solutions will help get you oriented and fluent.

SEO

Google Recommends Blocking Syndicated Content From Being Indexed

Google has indicated that canonical tags won’t necessarily stop syndicated content from outranking the original source. Instead, requiring your syndication partners to block its content is the best way to help avoid duplication issues.

Canonical tags have often been the default tactic for duplicate content issues with syndication partners, but we’ve seen plenty of instances where syndicated content outranks the original with or without a canonical tag. Talk to your syndication partners about blocking the pieces of content they’ve syndicated from search results. If you’re currently syndicating content but want to keep your organic rankings, focus on unique content to avoid these duplication issues.

Google’s Generative AI Search

Google is testing AI search capabilities as a main feature of its search results. It’s similar to AI programs such as ChatGPT, and is featured as the top result on SERPs.

This will be an incredibly significant update if Google rolls it out to the public, as it can change the very nature as to how we view organic rankings. Users will have the ability to ask follow up questions to further clarify their query, possibly keeping users from scrolling to find a suitable result. The generative AI search results also takes up large amounts of real estate on search results, making it critical to be a site linked within the generative AI search result.

Google is avoiding “Your money, your life” generative AI search content, as to avoid harmful misinformation being pushed by their AI. This could change as their product improves, but it makes sense that Google will avoid those issues in its early stages, as accuracy has plagued other AI responses.

This is all still in a testing phase, so the final product of Google’s generative AI search can still change. But this is something all companies should keep a pulse on as we await more information on when this will roll out globally, and what we can do to benefit from the update.

Google Reveals News Topic Authority Signals

Google developed a topic authority system to help ensure news articles featured on search results are relevant to a user’s news query and reliable. The signals that Google relies on to achieve this result include:

  • If a source is notable for a particular topic or location
  • How often a report has been cited by other notable publications
  • The reputation of a source given their reporting history/awards

This isn’t a new system that Google has launched, but it is a system they’ve finally explicitly revealed to the public. If your news content is related to topics you frequently cover, is often cited as source information by other publications, and you have established yourself as a reputable source, you have a good chance that your article will be ranked high on search results.

Paid Media

The Era of AI-powered Google Ads

At Google Marketing Live, Google’s ads product innovation showcase, Google touted several AI-driven improvements. Among them, Performance Max campaigns will get generative AI to make it easier to create a larger variety of customized assets. These changes should make it easier to optimize performance with more creative options. Google is also moving forward with generative AI in search ad copy. The goal is to improve ad relevance and to encourage higher engagement rates.

Microsoft Ads + Roku: Key Findings

Microsoft Ads and Roku collaborated to find a connection between TV streaming, search, and native advertising, and found a cross-platform lift in conversions when ads were running concurrently. Their case study showed a 9% increase in brand searches per user and 43% increase in retail brand search volume after seeing an ad through streaming.

For clients who are focused on increasing brand exposure and growing top-of-funnel prospects, this case study confirms that display marketing, including CTV, can have a strong influence on user behavior. With users moving away from traditional cable packages and streaming services now being the norm, this study demonstrates how top-of-funnel connected TV advertising can enhance online efforts.

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