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MGID’s Ukraine operations continue despite the bombs



MGID's Ukraine operations continue despite the bombs

Svatoslav Mutsko, Account Manager (Sales), APAC & LATAM at MGID, working in a cellar near Kyiv, after a bomb attack (courtesy MGID)

“People are very dedicated to this, that’s one thing,” said Michael Korsunsky, CEO of North American operations for global native advertising platform MGID. “The second is the sense of normalcy. It’s a distraction from the nightmare that’s happening. It also helps psychologically to maintain something that hasn’t been broken.’

We had been reviewing photographs of MGID staff members driven to cellars with their laptops by the sound of air alarms.

Korsunsky himself is based in Santa Monica. MGID’s global CEO, Sergei Denisenko is Ukraine-based, as is a large MGID team mainly devoted to R&D, engineering and tech support. How many? “It’s hard to say,” said Korsunsky. “We originally had about 600 people in that office, but because of COVID the office was a come-as-you-wish basis for the last couple of years. Some people went to Western Ukraine, some people went to Poland, some people went to Germany and a lot are still in Ukraine. Until we can make sense logistically of what’s happening, it’s difficult to see how many people are physically in Ukraine and how many are in different areas.”

Right now, men aged 18 to 60 cannot leave the country, although Korsunsky said there were plausible candidates — perhaps Slovakia or Estonia — if the decision was taken to relocate the Kyiv operation.

A decentralized model

Founded in 2007, MGID is one of the oldest platforms of its kind. “Today we operate in 276 countries and have physical offices in 11 countries with close to 1,000 employees,” said Korsunsky. “Different geographies and regions require different approaches to the market and we go into each market with the intention of connecting local demand to local supply — so we open physical offices, we hire local people, we work with local agencies; what that of course does is force a distributed model for the company in terms of resources.”

The decentralized nature of MGID’s operations was only underlined by COVID, with many staff choosing to work remotely. It ultimately turned out to be a good thing that resources were not concentrated in one location, and decentralization has meant that the war has had no impact on MGID’s operational capacity. “We kind of saw this coming,” Korsunsky mused. “Nobody believed it would happen, but the signs were there, right?”

Korsunsky himself was born in Ukraine. “I left during the Soviet Union, so the country did not independently exist. To me this is completely insane, like science fiction of a very poor caliber. It’s like California fighting with Kansas, for example. It makes no sense.”

An open letter to the adtech industry

Shortly after the opening of hostilities, MGID released an open letter to the adtech industry, calling for “access to reliable and truthful information about Russia’s aggression in Ukraine” and including a link to make donations to the National Bank of Ukraine’s special account for Ukraine’s armed forces.

“All of us in the industry understand that content integrity, especially during these times, is crucial,” said Korsunsky. “What we’re asking for is a sense of responsibility when distributing content. In addition to that, we need to offset the disinformation impact by sharing more approved and legitimate news. Obviously Russia is very good at disinforming and spinning things. We ask for support for truth, and if there is an ability to provide humanitarian help, to try to organize that.”

Korsunsky thanked publisher partners that have allowed MGID to insert an in-content impact widget in articles at no cost: “It’s just a link to official humanitarian groups that can collect funds and distribute them properly. The more people see it, the better the impact will be.”

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The bombs need to stop

We asked Korsunsky what hopes he had for the immediate future. “I don’t believe any argument can be heard until the bombs stop. It doesn’t matter if there is any perceived legitimacy from the Russian perspective on why this happened. Until the terror stops, no one’s going to listen. My hope is for no loss of life; everything else can be restored but life cannot. There are no winners in this situation.”

Despite damaged infrastructure and economy and loss of life, Korsunsky believes Ukraine can nevertheless be restored. “We also have millions of Russian people who didn’t want this war, and they’re severely impacted. So there’s no win-win, it’s more of a lose-lose. I think everybody’s main hope is for a quick resolution of the military conflict. Then everything else can be dealt with.”

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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2022 YouTube and Video SERP Result Changes



2022 YouTube and Video SERP Result Changes

When you think of video results on Google in 2022 (and video optimization), you might think of something that looks like this (from a search for “flag football”):

In mid-October, we noticed a drop in this type of video result, and that drop became dramatic by late-October. Did Google remove these video results or was our system broken? As it turns out, neither — video results have split into at least three distinct types (depending on how you count).

(1) Video packs (simple & complex)

The example above is pretty simple, with the exception of “Key Moments” (which debuted in 2019), but even the familiar video packs can get pretty complex. Here’s one from a search for the artist Gustav Klimt:

All three of the videos here have Key Moments, including a pre-expanded section for the top video with thumbnails for each of the moments. Some specific SERPs also have minor variations, such as the “Trailers & clips” feature on this search for “Lion King”:

Video packs are still often 3-packs, but can range from two to four results. While only the header really changes here, it’s likely that Google is using a modified algorithm to surface these trailer results.

(2) Branded video carousels

Some videos are displayed in a carousel format, which seems to be common for branded results within YouTube. Here’s an example for the search “Dave and Busters”:

While the majority of these “brand” (loosely defined) carousels are from YouTube, there are exceptions, such as this carousel from Disney Video for “Lightning McQueen”:

Like all carousel-based results, you can scroll horizontally to view more videos. Google’s mobile-first design philosophy has driven more of this format over time, as the combination of vertical and horizontal scrolling is more natural on mobile devices.

(3) Single/thumbnail video results

Prior to breaking out video into separate features, Google typically displayed video results as standard results with a screenshot thumbnail. In the past month, Google seems to have revived this format. Here’s an example for the search “longboarding”:

If you hover over the thumbnail, you’ll see a preview, like this (edited for size):

In some cases, we see multiple video results on a single page, and each of them seems to be counted as one of the “10 blue links” that we normally associate with standard organic results from the web.

There’s also a variant on the single-video format that seem specific to YouTube:

This variant also shows a preview when you hover over it, but it launches a simplified YouTube viewing experience that appears to be new (and will likely evolve over time).

(4) Bonus: Mega-videos

This format has been around for a while and is relatively rare, but certain niches, including hit songs, may return a large-scale video format, such as this one for Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero”:

A similar format sometimes appears for “how to” queries (and similar questions), such as the one below for “how to roundhouse kick.” Note the text excerpt below the video that Google has extracted from the audio …

While neither of these formats are new, and they don’t seem to have changed significantly in the past month, they are important variants of Google video results.

(5) Bonus: TikTok results

Finally, Google has started to display a special format for TikTok videos, that typically includes a selection of five videos that preview when you hover over them. Here’s an example from one of my favorite TikTok personalities:

Typically, these are triggered by searches that include “TikTok” in the query. While it’s not a standard video format and isn’t available outside of TikTok, it’s interesting to note how Google is experimenting with rich video results from other platforms.

Does YouTube still dominate?

Back in 2020, we did a study across 10,000 competitive Google searches that showed YouTube holding a whopping 94% of page-one video results. Has this changed with the recent format shuffling? In a word: no. Across the main three video formats discussed in this post, YouTube still accounts for 94% of results in this data set, with Facebook coming in at a distant second place with 0.8%. This does not count specialized results, such as the TikTo results above.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re tracking video results, and have seen major changes, be aware that they may not have disappeared – they more likely morphed into another format. This is a good time to go look at your SERPs in the wild (on desktop and mobile) and see what kind of video formats your target queries are showing. Google is not only experimenting with new formats, but with new video-specific markup and capabilities (such as extracting text directly from the soundtracks of videos and podcasts). You can expect all of this to continue to evolve into 2023.

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