Click Through Reads #41: Showcase Shopping Shutdown

Hello Click-Through-Readers! One of our top stories this week could impact some ecommerce brands who found success with Showcase Shopping Ads. Google announced they are discontinuing this ad format after over three years of offering it. Next we will cover a big move by Snapchat with a recent acquisition of a Berlin-based retail tech startup. Other news stories this week include the new TikTok Ad Library, new Facebook targeting updates, a potential new acquisition by Microsoft, and an article that suggests reviews are trending to be more unreliable.  

Google Will Discontinue Showcase Shopping Ads

Starting April 1st, 2021 - Google will discontinue Showcase Shopping Ads. Showcase shopping ads were originally launched in 2017 and they helped shoppers explore products and brands. Think of it as a swipeable carousel for shopping. During the initial launch, Google found that shoppers who engaged with the ads were more likely to consider the brand as they narrowed down their search. 

Snapchat Acquires Retail Tech Startup, Fit Analytics

Snapchat recently acquired Fit Analytics, a Berlin-based retail tech startup. This purchase gives insight to Snaps future as being more than just a camera app. Fit Analytics’ technology lets people enter their own measurements into a tool that uses machine learning to help them find the right-sized apparel and footwear. They also developed a wider set of personalization tools and other analytics to help retailers figure out how to sell more overall. Around 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds in the US are on Snapchat. They bring with them $323B in direct buying power. This acquisition will allow Snapchat to diversify their revenue beyond ads.

TikTok Launches Ad Library for Inspiration

TikTok recently launched an Ad Library called Top Ads that allows advertisers to discover the best performing auction ads on TikTok. Unlike other platform ad libraries the tool does not allow you to see what specific advertisers are running. Top Ads enables you to  search by region and industry. This showcase is designed to help drive inspiration and provide visibility into the top performing ads, users can sort by CTR, impressions and 6 second view rate.

Clicking on an ad allows you to see more details about it:

  • Active/inactive
  • Caption
  • # of LIkes
  • # of Comments
  • # of shares
  • Video duration

Facebook Update Enables Targeting Specific Groups and Individuals 

Over the next few months, Facebook will propagate new restrictions to limit the reach of problematic groups and members who continuously violate their rules and community standards. Facebook’s focus is to inhibit the spread of harmful content, such as hate speech and misinformation.

New Restrictions on Groups 

The goal of these restrictions is to increase difficulty in finding groups that violate community standards. Among these new measures:

  • Demote groups that violate rules within the recommendation system;
  • Warn users of pattern of Community Standards violations when attempting to join problematic groups;
  • Limit group invite notifications of problematic groups;
  • Demote group content in member news feeds.

New Restrictions on Individuals 

Facebook is initiating a tiered level of restrictions against individuals that post harmful or misleading content. When an individual has repeated violations in groups, they will be: 

  • Blocked from posting or commenting for a period of time in any group;
  • Unable to invite others to any groups;
  • Unable to create new groups;

Restrictions will get more severe as individuals accrue more violations. Serious harmful activities from an individual will result in an immediate removal.

In January, Facebook stopped recommending civic and political groups to members in the United States: This mandate will roll out globally to provide less divisive content to members worldwide. 

You can read more information on these changes from this article published on Facebook Newsroom.

Microsoft is in talks to buy chat app Discord for more than $10 billion, according to reports

Discord is a voice-chat and messaging app that has boomed in popularity during the pandemic, and Microsoft is looking to purchase it for more than $10 billion. There are talks with other potential buyers as well as rumors about Discord going public instead of selling themselves. Discord offers audio, video and text chat on Mac, PC, iPhone, and Android and launched in 2015 specifically for the gamer community but has since grown to a larger audience. It now has around 140 million active users per month.

Trends Signal Reviews are Becoming Less Reliable

When you’re about to eat somewhere or purchase something, how often do you tend to look at the reviews of others? Personally, I always read reviews -- if someone has already had an experience with something I’m interested in, I want to know what to expect.

Reviews are crucial to businesses nowadays - they can oftentimes make or break a sale. With that said, it’s important to stay updated about how reviews are affecting businesses. Here are 4 reviews trends industries are seeing:

  1. More 1- and 5-star reviews, less 2- and 3- star reviews: Buyers are becoming more black and white with their experiences. With this information, it’s crucial companies develop a customer support team who are able to handle the 1- star reviews appropriately.
  2. Less people are saying they “trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.” Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, which is why reviews are so important. It seems organic word-of-mouth marketing is still valuable, but trends are saying people are relying less on the words of online strangers.
  3. Fake reviews are increasing. In 2019, Yelp removed 7% of reviews due to being flagged as “fake.” In 2020, this number increased to 8%. If this trend continues, businesses can expect that users will slowly stop trusting reviews, and they will lose a significant amount of power in the user's decision-making process.
  4. There were less reviews in 2020 due to COVID-19. This is expected as millions of businesses shut down around the world once the stay-at-home order kicked in.

As a digital marketing agency, we know reviews play a powerful role in SEO, and a good customer support team can assist in the success of paid ads. With these trends, businesses should focus on creating a review solicitation strategy in order to stay ahead of the game.

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