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Google Adds New Ad Tools, Including Updated Visual Options and Prompts for Search Ads

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Google continues to add new tools to help businesses shift into digital marketing, as many look to replace operational capacity that they’ve lost due to the COVID-19 lockdowns around the world.

Google’s latest update involves new ad types, including new markers on search ads to prompt audience action, and improved display types to assist in branding.

First off, Google’s launching a new beta program for image extensions, which will enable advertisers to include product visuals in search ads.

Google ad extensions example

As explained by Google:

“To help you grow online sales with your Search ads, we’re launching an image extensions beta program. You can easily add high-quality, rich assets, so shoppers can quickly see products to consider and take action faster. With image extensions, you can upload relevant images or automatically curate them from your website with machine learning.”

The option will provide new capacity to generate interest from search listings, which could help drive more direct response.

Google’s also adding new highlight markers for limited time offers, shipping capacity and product availability in search ads, while Google’s also now testing new, dynamic carousel displays of your most relevant products in Display ads.

Google ads update

Google’s also adding enhanced branding tools:

“Starting today, you have new creative layouts, automatically generated video ads, and updated dynamic ads – which can now display your business name alongside your logo, emphasize your latest promotions, and even spotlight a single product.”

Google ads update

And lastly, Google’s also adding some new information resources to its Advertising Solutions Center, including customer and trend research to help guide your strategic approach.

Google ads update

The new options add to the various new tools and options Google has launched in recent months to help businesses looking to maximize their digital advertising opportunities. Google also launched a new video series in May, which showcases interviews with experts on the latest trends and developments, while it’s also added a Digital Toolkit assistance mini-site, which provides guidance on how to improve your Google business listings, based on your website and geographic data. 

Given the rising reliance on digital connectivity and eCommerce options, more businesses are obviously looking for pointers and tools, and Google’s various information and ad updates can definitely help to facilitate more opportunity.

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Worth considering in your process.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Iran ‘throttling’ internet to limit protest footage: activists

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The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared

The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared – Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File John Randeris HANSEN

Stuart WILLIAMS

Iran is imposing increasingly severe restrictions on access to the internet, albeit still short of a total shutdown, in an apparent bid to limit the sharing of footage of protests which have erupted nationwide, activists charge.

Campaigners and Persian-language television channels outside Iran have noted a reduction in the posting of footage of the protests filmed on mobile phones, almost two weeks into the movement that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini.

The authorities have already restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp — until now the last remaining unfiltered social media services — and have now clamped down on apps like the Google Play Store as well as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that seek to circumvent local access restrictions.

“It’s still not an internet shutdown, and it’s hard to even describe what they are doing to the network as ‘shutdowns’. Perhaps extreme throttling is the best simple term for it,” said the Iran researcher for freedom of expression group Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani.

“But the disruptions are heavy,” she told AFP, saying disconnections were hitting a peak from late afternoon to midnight when most protests take place.

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The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 when a crackdown on less than a week of protests, according to Amnesty International, left at least 321 people dead.

Videos of protests and alleged abuses by the authorities are still filtering out onto social media channels, but not in the same volume as when protests first erupted following the death of Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.

“The authorities seem to have learned how dangerous this is for their economy or overall public relations,” commented Alimardani.

– ‘Massive hurdle’ –

Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), which says 76 people have been killed in the crackdown so far, said internet access has either been “severely disrupted or completely cut” over the last days.

“Internet disruptions continue to cause delays in reporting” deaths in the protests, it warned.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: “Twelve days after the beginning of the protests, the internet network is still down daily throughout the country.”

In response, social media giants have sought to offer assistance to Iranians, the United States has even agreed sanction relief on some software, and tycoon Elon Musk has offered his Starlink satellite internet network.

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But how much such measures can help, especially in the short term, remains unclear.

“Internet outages are happening more frequently worldwide, including in parts of Iran this week,” Google said in a statement on Twitter, saying its teams were “working to make our tools broadly available” following the eased US sanctions.

“We hope these changes help, in some small way, people safely access information at this important time,” it added.

Iranians have long used VPNs to access sites blocked in Iran — even government officials including the foreign minister have Twitter accounts despite the network being blocked in the country.

But Alimardani described using and accessing VPNs right now as “hit and miss” for Iranians with the blocking of the Google Play Store, a major blow when most Iranians are using Android mobile phones with their Google operating systems.

“This is a massive hurdle to downloading safe and new VPNs that work,” she said.

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