September 2016 Internet Marketing Update: Roundup of Some Recent Changes

As we experience the gradual shift from summer into autumn, our team at JB Media Group is also witnessing changes in digital marketing concerning some things you may use every day. We’ve compiled a list of several recent articles covering changes and trends that we’re excited to share with you. If you’re a small business relying on the search volume results of your Google Keyword Planner or a nonprofit Google Ad Grant recipient hoping to apply for Grantspro, this is especially a must read.

Online Advertising

Changes to Google Keyword Planner

Back in August, Google confirmed updates to the Keyword Planner that affect the level of detail in search volume results. This came as both a frustration and relief as many folks were getting these out-of-the-ordinary results and couldn’t figure out if it was a change or simply a glitch.

A representative for Google on the Google help forum wrote “advertisers with lower monthly spend may see a limited data view in the Keyword Planner. For example, you may see values such as 0, 1–100, 100–1K, 1K-10K, 10K–100K, 100K–1M, 1M+ in the average monthly searches column.” If you have a large budget for advertising with Google AdWords, then you may not have noticed this and it probably still won’t affect the way you use the Planner.

Greg Finn, of Search Engine Land, wrote on the topic in “Google Officially Throttling Keyword Planner Data for Low Spending AdWords Accounts.”

According to Google, “most” advertisers will see Keyword Planner data as usual. But AdWords users with a “lower monthly spend” could see limited data in the planner. How limited? Very. The ranges that Google will provide for those with small (or no) spends makes the tool almost useless. -Search Engine Land

Google Keyword Planner Data

Screen grab by Search Engine Land

While we don’t have a quick solution for this, you can still use the Planner to gain insight on data such as suggested keywords and ad groups. If you still decide to run a Google Adwords campaign, none of that will be affected by this Planner change.

Google is No Longer Accepting Grantspro Applications

Google AdWords is a service open to businesses wanting to show ads on Google and its advertising system. And, depending on how the keyword bidding goes, costs can surpass many nonprofit organizations’ budgets.

Cue Google Ad Grants.

For more than a decade, 501c3 nonprofit organizations that meet certain eligibility requirements can receive up to $10,000 of in-kind advertising each month through Google Ad Grants. That’s free advertising to help the organization achieve their mission and have a greater impact in their community. Once set up, the process works just like Google AdWords online advertising. For more on Google Adwords and its display format, check out Peter Frisa’s post on our JB Media blog.

For several years now, Google Ad Grantspro was a related program that offered eligible Ad Grantees an increased budget of $40,000 per month. Google announced at the beginning of this month that they will no longer be accepting new Grantspro applications.

In this September 1 article, Search Engine Land explains the change. “It’s not clear why the Grantspro program has stopped taking applications, but it’s not the first time Google has put a moratorium on Grantspro submissions.” They updated their article September 2 to include the following statement from Google:

The Ad Grants team is no longer accepting applications for the Grantspro program as part of new efforts to streamline the program. This update aside, the program will continue to remain open and free to all eligible nonprofits. -Google

Update! Expanded Text Ads

On a different note: Remember Peter Frisa’s new features in Adwords blog from June 2016? We have more updates to add! Now we get to use more characters when writing ads. From longer headline fields to a customizable display URL, here are some useful changes brought to us by the Google support site designed for a mobile-first world.

As part of the AdWords upgrade that took place, we can also create responsive display ads! This means we can upload a photo (or logo), put our own text on it, and it will serve on the Google Display Network (GDN). Pretty cool, huh?


This image by WordStream outlines how the new responsive GDN ads will be more attractive and allow for more control of a brand’s messaging and more room for content (230 total characters of text + an image).


Certain Pop-Up Ads Will Incur Penalty in 2017

An intrusive interstitial (interstitial meaning “in between”) is basically an a pop-up advertisement that obscures the information you’re trying to read on a website. We’re pretty sure you’ve experienced it and we’re sure you’ve probably been more frustrated than excited to see it. Penalties for having these intrusive interstitials will cause pages to “not rank as highly” as they once did.

In “The Google Intrusive Interstitial Mobile Penalty Coming January 10, 2017,” Barry Schwartz, of Search Engine Roundtable, reports on intrusive interstitials and what kinds of ads are and are not okay by Google’s standards.

By far, most users and webmasters are incredibly happy with this news. A WebmasterWorld thread has some of these comments, “about friggin time way overdue.” But not everyone agrees, or at least they are calling what Google says versus what they practice hypocritical. One user said, “Adsense has been pushing ‘Page level ads’ – anchor/overlay ads and full-screen ‘vignette ads’ for months. Are these going to compromise rankings? Or not?” -Search Engine Roundtable

Barry adds, “But overall, most people are happy with this announcement and Google is giving people plenty of time to make the changes they need to make. If only there was a testing tool to confirm your interstitial is good and not bad.”

We’re hoping that such a testing tool comes out. And if it does, you can be sure we’ll bring it to you in a future roundup.

Social Media

Social Media Video Marketing

You don’t have to scroll far to see that video is an important tool on social media for both users communicating with their networks as well as advertisers trying to engage their target audiences. And you don’t have to be a professional producer to know when a video has been created effectively and when it falls short. In his article “How to Create Your Own Social Media Video Marketing Strategy,” Michael Patterson, of Sprout Social, presents a comprehensive guide to help businesses get their strategies off the ground.

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Industry Report, 60% of marketers are currently using video and 73% plan to increase their use of video. Make sure you’re establishing your strategy early so you’re not left in the dust. -Sprout Social

Michael knows you’re probably operating on a tight budget and he gives solid advice on what lighting equipment and microphone to consider. He also throws in some examples to illustrate his points. (Takes notes on video marketing and also learn to make a cheesy chicken broccoli bake in less than a minute.)

Phew! And this isn’t even a quarter of what we’re reading and discussing right now. We spend a lot of time in the world of digital marketing and we quite like it here.

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