Welcome to the most recent Digital Marketing news roundup, where we inform you of the best news to pay attention to so you don’t have to find it yourself! This week, there’s important news for companies who still use Google Universal Analytics, as well as Instagram users. Stay tuned for the full stories:
Google set to sunset Google Universal Analytics for Google Analytics 4
On Wednesday 16th March 2022, Google announced they will be deprecating Universal Analytics next year, in favour of the newer Google Analytics 4. Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on the 1st July 2023.
Data that was previously processed in Universal Analytics will be stored for at least six months after the above date.
Why is Google making the switch?
Marketers reading this may be wondering why Google is making the switch, Russell Ketchum who is the director of product management confirmed that:
“Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies, this measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”
GA4, or Google Analytics 4 is different from Universal Analytics because it operates on multiple platforms, doesn’t just rely on cookies, and has an event-based data model for analytical measurement. GA4 also does not store IP addresses, which will help companies with GDPR policies.
If you’re not set up on GA4, now is the time because configuring it for your domain will mean that you can start tracking metrics right away and get some historical data for when universal analytic support is deprecated.
Read Google’s blog post announcing this change.
Google on fake business prevention
On the topic of Google, in a report released recently, they spoke about how Maps information is kept reliable and one of the ways they do this is by removing fake businesses, and the number of fake businesses removed in 2021 is a whopping seven million.
On top of this, Google stopped tens of millions of fake business profiles from being created and removed over one million user accounts linked to fake businesses.
In 2022, it is becoming harder for Google to verify the legitimacy of information liked to business profiles due to the number of User Contributions increasing day by day. The statistic for User Contributions per day in 2021 was a total of 20 million, which is a significant number of photos, contact information, and business hours for businesses listed on Maps.
How Google keep the information reliable
In order to keep information reliable for users, a combination of machine learning and human operators is used to identify any fraudulent or abusive content in Maps or Business Profiles.
Contributions from users increased by 30% in 2021 compared to 2020, although less than 1% of this was considered abusive.
This small percentage indicates that “bad actors” will try to make abusive edits or even try and create fake Business Profiles.
Here are a few interesting statistics from the report
The fake information removed by Google in 2021
In the report, it’s revealed they:
- Blocked over 100 million abusive edits from going live.
- Removed seven million fake Business Profiles.
- Received 630K reports of fake Business Profiles, which were at acted on.
- Stopped 12 million attempts to create fake Business Profiles.
- Stopped eight million attempts to claim Business Profiles from people they didn’t belong to.
- Disabled over one million user accounts due to policy-violating activity, such as online vandalism or fraud.
- Put protections on over 100K businesses after detecting suspicious activity and abuse attempts.
- Blocked or removed 95 million policy-violating reviews.
- Took down over one million reviews that were directly reported.
- Blocked or removed over 190 million photos and five million videos that were low quality or violated content policies.
As you can see from the above statistics, they are remaining committed to ensuring that information on Google Maps and the Business Profiles have reliable information.
Instagram introduce their new feed options for all users
Back in 2021, we covered the story of Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) confirming that chronological feeds would be making a comeback.
Well, as of 23rd March 2022 Instagram users can now choose from 3 different feed options:
- The default Instagram feed, which is algorithmically sorted.
- The following feed, which shows a chronological feed from users that you follow.
- The favourites feed, which is a curated list of account posts that you can compile.
The options are accessed by tapping the down arrow next to the word “Instagram” in the top left-hand corner of the feed, and it looks like this:
Unfortunately for users, neither “Following” nor “Favourites” can be set as the default feed, so users will need to select their preferred feed every time the app is opened. Instagram confirmed the reasoning is because users are “more satisfied” with a ranked feed, so they won’t default people to a chronological one.
Ever since the chronological feed was removed from users back in 2016, they have been crying out for the option to return, contrary to Instagram’s study, so I imagine this will be pleasing to a lot of people.
For Favourites, users can set up to 50 accounts to be listed as one, when viewing the Favourites feed, they’ll only see posts from those 50 accounts.
Google launch their third product review algorithm update
Google has begun to roll out their third product review algorithm update for search results, which expands on the review updates which were introduced last year.
The first product review update which was launched in April 2021 was designed to reward content with first-hand research, and the second update for product reviews was launched in December 2021.
The most recent update shows that Google is continuing their effort to surface higher-quality reviews for products in search results, a quote from the announcement reads:
“Today, we’re launching another update that builds on that work to enhance our ability to identify high quality product reviews. This will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful.”
Google has confirmed the update will take several weeks to roll out, and will impact rankings for product reviews on multiple sites.
Google’s guidance for writing product reviews
With this update, Google has published new guidance for writing product reviews to make sure they meet the search engine’s quality threshold. They recommend meeting the following criteria whilst writing a review:
- Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions
- Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it’s used
- Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience
- Cover comparable products, or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors
Multiple product review guidance
Since Google launched the first update back in April last year, the guidelines haven’t been clear in terms of whether they apply to reviews of single products or if they apply to reviews of multiple products.
Google has now confirmed that the product review updates do also apply to ranked lists such as top tens, and comparative reviews.
“Yes. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. The best practices we’ve shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked lists, you may want to demonstrate expertise and reinforce authenticity in a more concise way. Citing pertinent results and including original images from tests you performed with the product can be good ways to do this.”
Google has the following guideline for when you’re writing multiple product reviews or if you’re recommending a best overall product:
- What sets the product apart from others in the market
- Why is the product particularly suited for its recommended purpose?
- First-hand evidence to support your claims
Read the most recent guidance online.