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October Updates to Paid Advertising Platforms



In this monthly post, we bring you the latest from all of the major platforms.

Google Ads

What: Google rolls out conversions by time reporting

Details: Reporting can now be viewed based on the date in which the measured action took place.

Impact: Previously, Google Ads prescribed the conversion action to the date of the click. Much like Google Analytics, this update allows an analysis of performance based on the date of completion(form submission, sale, etc).

What: Easier cross-account analysis with Report Editor

Details: Manager Accounts can now analyze and identify cross-account patterns in their data without leaving Google Ads.

Impact: Prior to this update, customers utilizing numerous accounts for billing or budgeting purposes would need to pull multiple reports or use a data aggregator such as Supermetrics to quickly identify cross-account opportunities. The update allows for this type of analysis to take place within the Google Ads user interface. Unfortunately, this is mainly useful for in-house teams. Most agencies will quickly eclipse the 10 account limit, thus making the feature unavailable for their Manager Account.

What: Location targeting available for Google Smart Shopping

Details: Smart Shopping campaigns now have the ability to target certain countries, states, cities, and zip codes. Radius targeting remains available in the Advanced search link, while exclusions are also an option.

Impact: Previously, Smart Shopping campaigns targeted all countries. In scenarios where an advertiser only has a business opportunity in the United States, the algorithm quickly accounted for that with only a small number of impressions showing in irrelevant geographic regions. That said, the update provides peace of mind for geo-restricted advertisers while eliminating the chance of any such inefficiencies.

What: Google is beta testing lead form extension ads

Details: Google is testing the performance of a new ad extension which helps advertisers capture leads via text ad campaigns. The lead form extensions will include a headline, business name, and 200 character description. Information collected is limited to name, email, phone number, and zip code.

Impact: The convenience of this extension could significantly increase lead generation. Analysis of lead quality and any impact on the customer sales journey will remain important.

What: Google is changing the look of their call-only ads

Details: The business name and headline will show directly below the phone number along with a larger phone icon.

Impact: The new look will help call-only ads stand out from other text ads likely reducing accidental clicks.

Microsoft Ads

What: Microsoft Advertising will follow Google’s lead, to sunset accelerated delivery

Details: As announced in September’s paid platform updates, Google removed accelerated delivery as a budgeting option. Bing will now follow-suit starting November 1st, 2019.

Impact: Standard delivery is the preferred option for most accounts, therefore many advertisers will see little to no impact. For those utilizing accelerated budgets, slight bid and budget adjustments may be needed to maintain current spend levels. Chances are, advertisers have already adjusted to this change in Google with those optimizations “trickling down” to Bing prior to the elimination of this setting.

What: Microsoft Advertising announces a redesign for its user interface

Details: Thanks to Google’s user interface overhaul over a year ago, account managers are no stranger to adjusting to a new navigation system. A definite timeline was not included in the announcement, however, beta testers can request early access from this form.

Impact: Microsoft is aiming to modernize the look, feel, and functionality of the product. A global menu bar will make it easier to switch accounts, quickly access tools, and navigate to settings. The main menu on the far left will be designed for quick and easy access to your campaigns. Much like Google, we can expect early growing pains that will soon be forgotten as familiarity sets in.


What: Quora expands targeting options for advertisers with keyword history targeting, browser targeting, and gender targeting.

Details: Quora continues to develop as a bonafide PPC platform with a trio of new audience targeting options:

  • Keyword history targeting: Reach people who have previously shown an interest in subjects related to your business based on your keyword set. Ads will trigger on question pages and a user’s feed for those that visited a certain group of pages within a given time period.
  • Browser targeting: Target ad sets to specific browsers such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.
  • Gender targeting: Target ad sets to a given gender.

Impact: Quora’s growth as a PPC platform is undeniable. Developments such as these make the path to profitability on the platform more direct. For keyword history targeting, advertisers gain repeat access to a lower-funnel, highly qualified audience. For browser targeting, software with a browser-specific design can be properly advertised. And lastly, advertisers with gender-specific products or messages have gained the ability to properly bid and budget according to that segmentation.


What: Use and-or targeting for objective-based advertising campaigns

Details: The and-or feature helps you further refine your targeting criteria by using either narrow audience further or exclude people.

Impact: Previously any “or” scenario meant an additional campaign and audience set. This feature provides more flexibility when looking to achieve audience scale.

Did we miss any major monthly updates? Not covering a certain platform close enough? Feel free to let me know on Twitter @Will_Larcom

Feature image from Patrick Slaven

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update



This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

Here’s what happened in the world of Google and search engines this week:

1. Google’s June 2024 Spam Update

Google finished rolling out its June 2024 spam update over a period of seven days. This update aims to reduce spammy content in search results.

2. Changes to Google Search Interface

Google has removed the continuous scroll feature for search results. Instead, it’s back to the old system of pages.

3. New Features and Tests

  • Link Cards: Google is testing link cards at the top of AI-generated overviews.
  • Health Overviews: There are more AI-generated health overviews showing up in search results.
  • Local Panels: Google is testing AI overviews in local information panels.

4. Search Rankings and Quality

  • Improving Rankings: Google said it can improve its search ranking system but will only do so on a large scale.
  • Measuring Quality: Google’s Elizabeth Tucker shared how they measure search quality.

5. Advice for Content Creators

  • Brand Names in Reviews: Google advises not to avoid mentioning brand names in review content.
  • Fixing 404 Pages: Google explained when it’s important to fix 404 error pages.

6. New Search Features in Google Chrome

Google Chrome for mobile devices has added several new search features to enhance user experience.

7. New Tests and Features in Google Search

  • Credit Card Widget: Google is testing a new widget for credit card information in search results.
  • Sliding Search Results: When making a new search query, the results might slide to the right.

8. Bing’s New Feature

Bing is now using AI to write “People Also Ask” questions in search results.

9. Local Search Ranking Factors

Menu items and popular times might be factors that influence local search rankings on Google.

10. Google Ads Updates

  • Query Matching and Brand Controls: Google Ads updated its query matching and brand controls, and advertisers are happy with these changes.
  • Lead Credits: Google will automate lead credits for Local Service Ads. Google says this is a good change, but some advertisers are worried.
  • tROAS Insights Box: Google Ads is testing a new insights box for tROAS (Target Return on Ad Spend) in Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns.
  • WordPress Tag Code: There is a new conversion code for Google Ads on WordPress sites.

These updates highlight how Google and other search engines are continuously evolving to improve user experience and provide better advertising tools.

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate




A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users



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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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