As digital marketers, we strive to be constantly up-to-date on the latest happening in the online world. We have Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Web Design, and more covered. Staying on top of digital news is our job and not only pushes us with our ideas and strategies but ensures our clients come out on top as well. Whether it’s a new app exploding on the scene, a Google algorithm update, or the latest behavior tracking tool we’ll review, preview, and make note of it here. So if you’ve missed checking your RSS reader or your favorite sites this week no worries. New to 2016 is our what we’re listening to section full of a podcast, song, or piece that has been in our heads all week. Check it out to find out what you should be listening to regardless of topic. Come back every Friday for a new collection of our favorites and the most noteworthy pieces from the digital news sphere.

What We’re Reading for March 4th

Publishers Team Up to Take On Google/Facebook

The nature of the web is that everyone can be a publisher, quickly and with little barriers. With Google and Facebook continuing to dominate the percentage of consumer attention, smaller publishers are teaming up to share traffic and consolidate efforts in hopes of taking a larger share. This move obviously has a lot to do with monetizing the traffic they receive, but more about earning increased consumer attention. (Contributed by Director of Search Marketing Justin Emig)

Google Shares Thoughts Behind Removal of Sidebar Ads

Google’s Director of Performance Ads Marketing shared insight into its recent decision to remove ads from the right side of desktop searches. The main reason was to make user experience consistent across all platforms. They added that showing fewer ads is a better reflection of how people engage with Google. According to the search engine, this change won’t greatly impact small advertisers or costs-per-click in aggregate. If you’re still at a loss following this change, Google offers advice on next steps. In addition, you can read our thoughts on this monumental Adwords update. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Ellen Borza)

Google Adds Animal Sounds to SERPs

In a completely adorable move by the search giant 19 animal sounds have been added to the knowledge graph. When users search terms related to animal sounds such as, “animal noises” or “what sound does a cow make” the knowledge graph populates with the ability to hear that sound as well as a slider with other animal sounds. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Anna Horn)

Build Custom Formulas Within Custom Columns

Google Adwords advertisers now have extra functionality within custom columns. Previously, advertisers could only created new colums based off of already available metrics. With this new custom formulas update, users can now create formulas to create totally new custom metrics. (Contributed by Paid Search Specialist Bill Hartz)

Facebook to Favor Live Videos Over Recorded Videos in News Feed

Are you ready to up your Snapchat game? According to Facebook, live videos are viewed three times more often than recorded videos. Thus, Facebook will start giving preference in the News Feed to live videos. (Contributed by Technical Search Strategist Claudia Pennington)

How New & Existing Customers Interact With Your Paid Search Ads Differently

There is a difference between how new and returning customers interact with paid search ads. A returning customer is more likely to include a brand in their search, while a potentially new customer is likely to be browsing around with broad terms. It’s important to reach the customer at the right time with the right message. Additionally, a potential customer’s intent is different depending on device type; new customers are more likely to search on mobile, for example. Lastly, returning customers are more likely to convert when ads appear in lower ad positions, which is not necessarily the case with new customers. The takeaway: interact with new and returning customers differently. Segment by customer type and appropriately optimize for acquisition and retention. (Contributed by Paid Search Specialist Kevin Koehn)

Should We Still Bother with SEO Tags?

Title, header, and blog post tags have always played an important role in SEO. But search algorithms are always evolving to ensure that users receive the best possible results for their queires. Throughout this evolution, we’ve seen the significance of SEO tags change. So are are these on-site elements still ranking factors? The short answer is: yes, but SEO tags are not as strong a ranking signal as they once were. The main thing to remember is that search engines evaluate behavioral factors such as time on site, pages viewed per session, and bounce rate when determining a site’s organic rankings; optimizing page tags to provide the best user experience possible will affect these engagement metrics and, ultimately, affect the site’s search rankings. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Emily Long)

What We’re Listening To

NPR’s Fresh Air, “Maggie Smith On The Pressures Of Acting: ‘You Want So Much To Get It Right'”

As a fan of podcasts and Maggie Smith, this was one of my favorite episodes from Fresh Air that I have listened to. Her enthusiasm for great characters and storytelling is apparent as well as her love for her job and Leonardo DiCaprio. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan or just love clever women then this episode is for you. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Anna Horn)

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