Marketing Recap – April


Emily is one of our senior account managers at Affinity who specialises in copywriting and paid social media, with a keen interest in how companies can leverage content to power their brands.

On occasion, we pen these marketing updates with the looming sense that everything is getting a little more dystopian and AI is purging all remnants of humanity from our beloved interwebs. 

But with this recap, there are heaps of positive changes, from Instagram giving content creators their power back to YouTube offering additional ways to make money.

After all, it’s people and their content which make the internet great, and that’s something that AI should only ever be used to enhance, organise and promote – not replace. So stay tuned and dive into the exciting realm of marketing updates from April.

  1. Google’s latest core algorithm update rollout is now complete.

Another core update? We’d love one, thanks. This update started on March 5th and completed 45 days later on April 19th. This was a big update; Google said that this update is more complex and involves tackling spam and low-quality web content.

  1. Google says ‘links are not important’

At a recent conference, Gary from Google said “We need very few links to rank pages” and later tweeted “I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”.

This goes against their own documentation and what literally everyone knows to be true, and it’s a whole thing which I could write about until my fingers bleed so you should probably just read what the Search Engine Journal had to say about it.

Sigh. There is something in it though; you can’t rely on links to make rubbish content or an unusable website appealing to users, and you can’t trick Google into sending people there either. 

Olden-day blackhat link-building techniques are rendered useless now, which is great, but links are going to remain a relevant factor for a long time to come, thanks, Gary.

  1. Performance Max for Marketplaces means you can sell without a website

This update is a bit of a surprise. Websites and selling go hand in hand, to quote Alan Partridge; “strawberries and cream, eggs and bacon, Johnson & Johnson…(etc)” – yes, websites and selling products. 

Google, in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to plugin to the marketplace, has launched Performance Max for Marketplaces to let sellers advertise marketplace products, even if they don’t have a website. 

You don’t need a merchant centre account either, but you do need to be active on a participating marketplace. So, could this mean that Amazon gains even more monopoly as individual sellers will be able to run ads without a site? 

It’s obviously in Google’s best interests to improve ease of use for advertisers. However, if companies are using Google Ads and spending a lot, their performance may suffer if they’re suddenly competing with multiple new companies with a lower bar to entry, so they will reduce spending. 

  1. Meta ad revenue surges in Q1

If you’re in the industry, you’ve probably heard a lot about how Meta advertising has changed for the worse. Naysayers will tell you that interest targeting is declining, they’re pushing you toward automatic campaigns and the LinkedIn-fluencers are saying you should be dropping everything and running to TikTok.

As someone who works in various Meta accounts each day across many verticals and spend levels, this simply isn’t true. 

Yes, we’ve had to adapt – but Meta has quietly been improving, and if you can keep up, it’s perfectly viable and services businesses that don’t have enormous budgets to gamble.

Their Advantage+ options have significantly improved. Whilst after the initial release they were being swerved by most, they are now a crucial part of the paid social toolkit – and, in most cases, they work. 

This and various other factors, like an increase in daily users & many independent sellers dipping their toes into advertising, have likely contributed to Meta’s ad revenue increasing by 27% in Q1. Let’s hope this is good news for everyone, and not just the pockets of The Zuck.

  1. Instagram targets rip-off content

Instagram announced some changes in a recent blog post, and one of them is a pledge to help original content creators – hurrah! 

We all know what rip-off content looks like, it will be someone else’s video that is either completely pinched and reposted, or ‘re-formed’ alongside someone playing a video game or in a blank frame, etc.

Well, Instagram is going to punish serial offenders by not recommending and/or removing content from the platform. They will target those who are not enhancing or providing commentary to the content and are simply reposting to gain engagement that should’ve gone to the original creator. 

Instagram is also going to start adding labels to ensure the creator gets credit – a positive step I feel, although may be used in the wrong way if content that was never meant to be shared gets stolen. 

This change will roll out over the next few months, a great step in supporting creators and ensuring they get the credit for their content. 

  1. YouTube launches Affiliate Hub 

YouTube is offering creators a new way to make money. It can be tricky for creators to earn an income from the platform, especially those with a smaller or more niche following, so this is a welcome step in the right direction. 

The Affiliate Hub features expanded product tagging, shopping collections and e-commerce platform integration. 

Creator Insider has made a great video about this update which gives you a little more in-depth information and you get the benefit of a lovely Irish accent. 

  1. Yahoo buys an AI news app

I always forget that Yahoo (which for me is a throwback to the 00’s when it was basically Quora for people in high school) still exists. Anyway, they’ve bought Artifact from the co-founders of Instagram. 

Apparently, Yahoo does still have millions of readers, and Artifact & Yahoo are now joining forces to give this techy news aggregator a big boost in exposure. Artifact’s co-founders plan to advise Yahoo but will not be joining the company.

The Artifact app is known and used for curating and personalising news content for users, but this app will retire once the acquisition is completed to be absorbed by Yahoo. 

  1. Google changed its own cookie deadline, again

We’ve spoken about it before and were all geared up to wave goodbye to Chrome cookies soon, but Google has pushed forward its self-imposed deadline. 

As Alyssa Boyle from Ad Exchanger summarises perfectly, “Third-party cookie deprecation truly is a tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Google announced this on The Privacy Sandbox, essentially saying the antitrust regulator needs “sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests.”

We don’t want to talk about cookies anymore. If you mention it in our office, you’ll get a ball of paper thrown at your head. 

Navigating the changes the marketing world has to offer can be tricky, but we’re always here to help. If you want some advice or just want to tell us what you’d like to see in these articles in the future, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you.

Marketing Recap – April

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