Tom Shurville
Tom Shurville Managing Director

Distinctly monthly news roundup – September 2020

Tom Shurville
Tom Shurville Managing Director

Welcome to your monthly news update from Distinctly. Below you’ll find stories on the very latest developments and rollouts in the worlds of PPC and SEO.


Microsoft Ads integrates LinkedIn Ads targeting

LinkedIn targeting is now available for search ads in the UK, US and a number of other territories. This is long-awaited news for PPC managers as advertising is both persona-driven and costly, with B2B ad spend frequently wasted on clicks from consumers where the larger companies they work for are the intended target. The new feature will allow for precise targeting of users further down the marketing funnel and greater insight into audience behaviour. Additional targeting functionality is expected to be added in the coming months.

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy  

Google has announced that it will no longer show advertisers search queries that triggered their ads unless a ‘significant number’ of searchers have used them. The move is said to be in response to the privacy risks posed by terms that could identify the users searching them. It is not yet clear what qualifies as ‘significant’ – but for some advertisers this will impact a significant percentage of their ad spend as terms which only get one impression can make up a lot of low cost per click opportunities. Read our Senior PPC Manager Rob Laver’s take on the news here.

Google’s advertisers will take the hit from UK digital service tax

Advertisers are set to shoulder the cost of the UK’s digital services tax on behalf of Google, which has announced that from November an additional fee will be charged for ads on Google and YouTube. This will see advertisers’ costs increase by 2% in the UK, and it follows similar moves by Amazon which passed the same tax to sellers using its platform. While it is a common response by big tech companies to these types of cost increases, the move has not been without criticism from bodies representing advertisers.


Google says you can recover from core updates without a new core update

It’s long been understood among SEOs that if a site’s organic traffic is negatively impacted by a Google core update, full recovery is unlikely until the next core update is rolled out. This can leave sites awaiting recovery for several months. However, Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that this is not the case, and that small unannounced updates are constantly made to search algorithms in the periods between core updates. This means efforts to improve a site during this time are not wasted, and a site’s performance may start to improve incrementally before a bigger change becomes noticeable after the next one.

Google My Business gains more new attributes for listings

Responding to shifting customer priorities when choosing one business over another, Google My Business has added a range of Covid-19 safety measures to the listable attributes that users can display. Alongside regular information such as opening hours and reviews, businesses can now show in a listing whether masks or temperature checks are required, and what PPE is worn by staff. These extra details should not only help customers make informed choices but encourage businesses to take the necessary precautions.

No, an Apple search engine is not coming. This data shows why

There has been growing speculation recently that Apple is gearing up to launch its own search engine, a move which would consolidate its powerful hold over tech markets. This is based around reports that its longstanding deal with Google (which allows Google Search to take the default position in Apple’s Safari browser) is coming to an end, as well as Apple’s expansion of existing search tools such as Siri Spotlight. However, this article from Thinknum looks to put paid to those rumours by examining Apple’s hiring data for job listings relating to “search” – but both sides offer some compelling evidence.


Beyond the traditional: How YouTube is looking to turn lockdown viewing habits into a marketing win 

Ofcom data has revealed that 42% of UK adults used YouTube in just one seven-day period during lockdown, equating to 22 million people and making it more popular than Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Many have tried using the platform for the first time during the pandemic. As we enter many businesses’ busiest period of the year for advertising, indications show that traditional TV should no longer be the sole focus of ad spend. With greater potential for targeted advertising, YouTube should be factored into campaigns in a way that reflects the fact that these reshaped viewing habits are here to stay.

Emojis in email subject lines: do they affect open rates?

A new study by Search Engine Journal attempts to pin down the difference in open rates between subject lines with and without emojis, by A/B testing 3.9 million emails. The results don’t give as definitive a picture as expected. However, they do show a slightly higher open rate for non-emoji subject lines, but a higher click-through rate for emails with emojis. Emojis can also cause a higher rate of unsubscribes and abuse reports, showing that overall there is a real possibility of creating negative sentiment for a brand by using them.

Amazon’s murky world of one-star reviews

With third-party vendors selling more physical goods on Amazon annually than the tech giant itself since 2015, reviews have become a key influencing factor in the success of online sellers. Recently, the company has cracked down on fake five-star and four-star reviews unfairly boosting the reputations of vendors, causing many to try sabotaging rivals with fake one-star reviews instead. When an average review score tips below 4.5 it can be near-impossible to generate sales, meaning just a few one-star reviews have caused some sellers to abandon their online business altogether.

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