Digital Marketing Updates: March 2024

Welcome to March! Read on for the latest developments in digital marketing platforms and tools.


Spam Traffic in GA4

There have been several recent instances of spikes in spam traffic that have been reported by a large number of websites. One that appears to be affecting pretty much everyone is a jump in traffic coming from Warsaw, Poland, mostly from a small group of referring domains. A number of sites also experience a smaller surge coming from Miami, Florida.

GA4 automatically excludes traffic from known bots and spiders, search engine crawlers for example, but does nothing to filter out malicious bot traffic. 

In most cases, malicious bots are not doing any meaningful harm to your site, apart from adding unwanted load to your web server. But they are polluting your Google Analytics metrics, making it hard to separate the signal from the noise. 

Read our tips on how to identify and remove GA4 spam traffic.

Frustrated by GA4?

One of our favorite GA4 resources, Julius Federovicius, has a solution for you.

#gamechanger 🙂


Google Clarifies If HTML Structure Matters

Google clarifies that the specific structure of HTML does not matter as much as its contents, or the surrounding paragraph’s text. Google implements a semantic approach to assessing a page’s relevance, and focuses more on what is said in the text versus the types of headers used, or their orders.

HTML structure still matters for accessibility best practices, but this shouldn’t be a main focus for webmasters trying to optimize their sites for improved rankings. Ensure that the headers and their surrounding text house valuable information for users, and keep HTML structure in mind for an accessible website.

Google Introduces Structured Data Carousel Rich Snippets

Google is testing a list-like rich snippet that allows users to scroll horizontally and see more entities from a given site. This host carousel will be eligible for sites that utilize the itemList schema type in conjunction with one of the following schema types:

  • LocalBusiness
  • Restaurant
  • Hotel
  • VacationRental
  • Product
  • Event

Here is an example of what this rich snippet carousel would look like on SERPs:

rich snippet carousel

Paid Media

Google Pmax Placements & Image Generation

Google will allow Performance Max campaigns to opt out of specific ad placements on the Search Partner Network, as well as report on such placements, in a new feature rolling out March 4. Prior to November, advertisers had no way to opt-out of any Search Partner Network placements. This feature is likely in response to a report from industry-watcher Adalytics which reported that Pmax ads were showing up on a variety of inappropriate websites. Lack of granular insights and control continues to be a concern with Pmax campaigns.

Another change last month allows Pmax ads to take advantage of AI-generated lifestyle images showing people in action, and adds more image editing options directly inside of Google Ads. These changes should make it easier for advertisers to include a variety of images to support broader placements of their ads.

Instagram Expands Creator Marketplace

Meta announced machine-learning based recommendations in an expanded Creator Marketplace, designed to help advertisers connect with Instagram creator accounts and run partnership ads (previously called branded content ads).

Pinterest Partners with Google Ads

Pinterest announced a partnership with Google, so that advertisers using Google Ads can be seen by Pinterest users. The partnership seems to be in a roll-out phase, with not many details yet available.

Avoid Apple Service Charge When Boosting Meta Posts

Posts boosted via Facebook or Instagram’s apps on an iPhone now include a 30% service charge, in a change implemented in February but announced way back in 2022. Advertisers can avoid this upcharge in several ways, including using a browser instead of the app and logging in through Meta’s Business Manager or Ads Manager.

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