[Ep74/13Sep21] - YouTube Shared How Its Recommendation System Works & Other Digital Marketing Updates from the Week of Sep 13, 2021


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1. LinkedIn Rolls Out Articles, Live Events for Pages & Creator Accelerator Program - LinkedIn users have long been able to publish longer content from their personal accounts. Company pages, on the other hand, have been restricted by an arbitrary character count. LinkedIn’s new Articles For Pages gives companies the ability to publish long-form content for the first time, rather than being restricted by a character count.

In addition, company pages are getting a new way to produce live content through an all-new product called LinkedIn Live Events, which combines live streaming with event planning. The simplified experience allows companies to:

  • Promote a livestream in advance to a targeted audience
  • Notify registrants and select Page followers when the event goes live
  • Generate views on the event page from anyone on LinkedIn, whether they’ve hit “Attend” or not, during and after the show.
  • Share the replay of the live content for further reach and engagement.

LinkedIn is rolling out additional updates to Live Events to make the feature accessible and easy to use.

  • Fewer followers are required for access to LinkedIn Live
  • Automated and expedited review process for LinkedIn Live applicants
  • All Page admins can go live once a Page is approved
  • An expanded registration form for Events
  • A lead management integration with Zapier

It may not seem like the most obvious choice for creators, but LinkedIn is also looking to tap into the emerging creator economy, with the launch of its own ‘Creator Accelerator’ initiative to support in-app talent, and keep its top voices posting to the platform. The ultimate goal, of course, is to get these popular users to keep posting to LinkedIn more often, which will help drive on-platform engagement. You can find out more info, and apply for a spot in the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program here.

2. Facebook’s Invoice Fast Track Program & a New In-App Application Process for Grant & Loan Opportunities - Facebook’s launching an expansion of its Invoice Fast Track program, which enables SMBs to apply for Facebook to buy up their outstanding invoices, providing immediate cash flow benefits.

As explained by Facebook:

“For a low, fixed fee, eligible businesses can get cash immediately for the goods and services they’ve invoiced their customers for but would otherwise have to wait months to get paid - time and capital they can now use to invest in the recovery and growth of their companies. We will fund up to $100 million in invoices on an ongoing basis and are operating the program in partnership with Supplier Success and Crowdz.”

Through the program, eligible businesses can submit their invoices to Facebook, which Facebook will then pay immediately. Facebook then notifies the relevant customers that they’ll pay the Facebook Invoice Fast Track program when the invoices reach term – so essentially, Facebook becomes a debt collector of sorts on the business's behalf, while the business doesn’t have to wait around for the cash.

Businesses can find more information on the program at the dedicated Invoice Fast Track mini-site.

And on the opportunities side, Facebook is launching a new in-app application process for grant and loan opportunities, making it easier for SMBs to access resources and information.

The new resource showcase will highlight grant opportunities and business education programs, as well as SMB groups that can help provide guidance and support. Facebook’s partnering with a range of ‘mission-driven’ organizations for the initiative, which are focused on providing resources to owners from underserved communities, in order to ensure that such opportunities are reaching those most in need.

Business Page Admins will be able to access this new experience on Facebook by clicking on Business Resources and Small Business Funding.

As per Facebook’s latest State of Small Business report, more than 60% of small businesses are facing some form of difficulty in paying business-related expenses, as the COVID crisis drags on, and while the end is now seemingly in view, it’ll still be too far off for many to remain in operation at the current impact rates.

3. Shopify Makes it Easy to Market to Specific Countries - Up until now, if a business wanted to reach a global market, they’d have to sell on a marketplace or through another retailer. Shopify Markets is a new solution that will allow businesses to manage cross-border storefronts from a central hub. This eliminates the the need for a third party and allows businesses to sell directly to international consumers.

With Shopify Markets merchants can sell outside of their home country without having to worry about complexities like currency conversion, language localization, providing local payment methods, and duty and import taxes. All cross-border tools are available to Shopify merchants right out of the box.

With Shopify Markets, you can:

  • Easily enter new markets
  • Create tailored experiences for each market
  • Customize variable such as:
    • Local currencies and payment methods
    • Pricing and price rounding rules per market
    • Product availability per market
    • Local languages
    • Local domains with automatic SEO optimization
    • Automatically show the right currency / language based on buyer country
    • Duties and import taxes on behalf of the buyer to eliminate surprise costs at product delivery
    • Gain access to actionable insights and smart settings for each market
  • Manage everything from a single place

Shopify store owners can target single country markets, or create custom markets by grouping multiple countries together.

Shopify Markets is available in early access globally as of September 14, and will roll out to all merchants in the coming months.

4. Changing WordPress Themes Can Impact Your Google Rankings - Google's John Mueller said in one of his #AskGooglebot short video answers that changing your WordPress theme can directly impact your rankings in Google Search. It obviously depends on what is changing with the website when you change the theme, but in general, it can impact your Google rankings.

John first said that often when it comes to site themes, it is often more than just a splash of color on your web site. Often, the theme can impact how:

  • Content is displayed including, headings, text and images
  • Internal linking and the site navigation
  • Page load time and speed
  • Content options Structured data use

John then gave some tips on how to see if changing a theme impact your rankings at a high level, so watch the video here.

5. Google: Ignore Mobile Usability Issue Notices If Your Site Passes Live Test - Google's John Mueller said that if your page passes the live mobile usability test - that means you can ignore the Search Console notices of "new mobile usability issues detected for site." So as long as you pass the live mobile friendly test, you are good to go.

Why might your site pass the live test and you would still get these notices? Well, those email notices can be days late from what you might see on the live site. So if you fixed the issue already, and the live test picked up on it, then you are good.

6. Google Ads Combining Smart and Standard Display Campaigns - Beginning this month, Google Ads will combine standard Display campaigns and Smart Display campaigns into a single option. In addition, Google Ads will also be introducing optimized targeting to Display campaigns.

When advertisers create a new campaign, they’ll see the new Display campaign type. During the setup process, advertisers can choose what to automate or control manually, and they can change their automation choices at any time without having to create a new campaign.

As explained by Google:

“In the new Display campaign experience, you’ll have all of the reach and performance you’re used to, with the ability to choose the level of automation you prefer in bidding, creatives and audiences. A smooth setup process will allow you to choose between automation or control up front, and you’ll have the flexibility to change your automation choices at any time - without creating a new campaign.”

Essentially, the new process will merge Google’s Smart Display campaigns and regular Display creation into one flow, which will provide more ways to automate your ad targeting, or specific elements of your process that you want to use automation for.

In addition to this, Google’s also adding optimized targeting to Display campaigns, which provides additional automatic audience targeting options for Display advertisers.

7. Google Will Enforce Unique Product Identifiers on Free Merchant Listings - Starting September 15, 2021, Google has begun enforcing the requirement of products having unique product identifiers in the merchant feeds for free listings.

Google said a unique product identifier, also known as UPIs, are considered products that include Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names in the product feed you submit to Google Merchant Center.

Google said it may disapprove product feeds if they do not have UPIs. Google said “different products that use the same GTIN with the same variant attributes will be considered ambiguous and will be disapproved.” This includes “variant attributes” that include condition [condition] and multipack [multipack] for all products, as well as color [color] and [size] for apparel products, the company said. Also, Google said “if a group of products are identified as duplicates, only one will remain active and eligible to show in free listings.”

If you are taking advantage of the free Google Merchant Center and you are not using UPIs on your products in those feeds, you may soon start seeing those products being rejected and disapproved. Your next steps is to ensure you have UPIs on those products in those feeds. You can find a list of these approved unique product identifiers over here in the Google help docs.

8. YouTube Partners Can Appeal via Video - If your channel was suspended or rejected from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), you can create a video explaining more about your content and why you believe an appeal is necessary. Our teams will view your video and make an assessment – if found to comply with our policies, we’ll either approve your channel for YPP or turn monetization back on within 30 days. Upon review, your channel will be assessed in its current state. This means you should not delete videos before submitting your video appeal.

You can read more about the appeal process here.

9. YouTube Community Posts is Now Available to Channels with 500+ Subscribers - YouTube has announced that content creators with just 500 subscribers can now access and make Community posts. Earlier, at least 1000 subscribers were required to get access to YouTube Community. But starting from October 12, 2021, any YouTube channel owner with just 500 subscribers will be eligible

10. YouTube Shared How Its Recommendation System Works - YouTube has published a new overview of how its content recommendations system works, which is one of the central drivers of video reach and views on the platform, and may help YouTube marketers get a better understanding of what guides optimal response. If you are interested in increasing your presence and reach on YouTube then this is a must visit article for you.

Per YouTube:

“Our recommendation system is built on the simple principle of helping people find the videos they want to watch and that will give them value. You can find recommendations at work in two main places: your homepage and the “Up Next” panel. Your homepage is what you see when you first open YouTube - it displays a mixture of personalized recommendations, subscriptions, and the latest news and information. The Up Next panel appears when you’re watching a video and suggests additional content based on what you’re currently watching, alongside other videos that we think you may be interested in.”

Here are some of the key notes on exactly how YouTube’s recommendations process works.

  • Clicks – The videos you click on provide YouTube with a direct indicator of your interest in the content. But it’s not always the thing that defines your experience. For example, you might click through on a video looking for something, then not find it in that specific clip, so that click, in itself, is not a strong indicator of what you want. Which is why YouTube also measures ‘Watchtime’ as an additional qualifier.
  • Watch-time As it sounds, watch-time measures how long you actually watch each video you click on for, which helps YouTube recommend more specific content aligned with your interests: “So if a tennis fan watched 20 minutes of Wimbledon highlight clips, and only a few seconds of match analysis video, we can safely assume they found watching those highlights more valuable.”
  • Sharing, Likes, Dislikes YouTube also measures your share and like activity, another direct response measurement in the app. “Our system uses this information to try to predict the likelihood that you will share or like further videos. If you dislike a video, that’s a signal that it probably wasn’t something you enjoyed watching.”
  • Survey Responses Finally, and in addition to these explicit response indicators, YouTube also conducts regular viewer surveys to find out if users are having a good experience in the app. For example, if you watch a clip for 20 minutes, YouTube may ask you if you enjoyed the clip, and to give it a star rating to better guide its recommendation systems.

“So if you like tennis videos and our system notices that others who like the same tennis videos as you also enjoy jazz videos, you may be recommended jazz videos, even if you’ve never watched a single one before.”

YouTube does also note that it is working to limit exposure to what it identifies ‘low quality content’. YouTube also bans content that includes false health claims (like COVID conspiracy clips), while it’s also taking more steps to address political misinformation.

In seeking to limit the reach of borderline clips – those that don’t necessarily break the platform’s rules, but do present potentially harmful material – YouTube uses human evaluators to assess the quality of information in each channel or video. To determine ‘authoritativeness’, YouTube says that its evaluators answer a few key questions:

  • Does the content deliver on its promise or achieve its goal?
  • What kind of expertise is needed to achieve the video goal?
  • What’s the reputation of the speaker in the video and the channel it’s on?
  • What’s the main topic of the video (eg. News, Sports, History, Science, etc)?
  • Is the content primarily meant to be satire?