Weekly Digital News Roundup: June 21-25
Google Officially Launches Local Results Carousel
- According to Search Engine Watch, the Google Local Carousel beta test that we saw last month is now rolling out to all U.S. users, Google announced. With the new style of carousel listings, when a user searches for a local results, such as a restaurant or hotel, instead of the traditional vertical listings most users associate with Google se
arch, there is now a horizontal carousel which features thumbnails, ratings, as well as the number of Google+ reviews. Users can then scroll sideways through the listings to see more results.
- One of the positive things to this new carousel style for local results is that businesses who might not rank in the top two or three required to see the results above the fold, can now see their business featured very prominently, complete with an image. However, there is no guarantee that your business will be one of the ones chosen to show in the carousel. Google search ranking algorithms also apply to the listings in Google Maps in determining which businesses are featured in the carousel.
- This will also mean it is that much more important for a local business to ensure that the thumbnail used for their local business listing is one that not only represents their business, but is eye-catching enough to draw searchers to their listing. Interestingly, Google’s algorithms will also decide which photo is used, although exactly what algorithms are used as unknown at this time, but they do suggest using high quality images on your Google business listing.
Facebook Takes On Twitter With Video
- According to the New York Times, on Thursday, Facebook introduced its own short-video service, built into Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app that Facebook bought last year. The new feature allows users to record as much as 15 seconds of video, enhance it with image filters and post it immediately.
- Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, said his team had been considering adding video to the service for two years, but waited until it could be made “fast, simple and beautiful.” Although neither Vine nor Facebook’s service is currently offering advertising, it would be easy to sprinkle a sponsor’s video ad into the legions of user-generated videos, much as Twitter and Facebook do now with text ads in their users’ feeds.
- The move underscores how video has increasingly become critical to companies like Facebook, which is seeking ways to keep its 1.1 billion users entertained and engaged — particularly on their mobile devices. Video also represents a lucrative and fast-growing area of online advertising and is expected to top $4 billion this year across the industry, according to the research firm eMarketer.
YouTube Says It Will Bring Advertisers Into Its Partner Program, Starting This Fall
- According to TechCrunch, YouTube just announced (as part of this week’s Cannes Lions advertising event) that it’s expanding its partner program to include advertisers. The program already provides the top YouTube content creators with access to resources for improving their production skills and distribution (and as a result improve their monetization). YouTube says the advertising program will be structured identically to the existing partner program but for advertisers.
- “By inviting advertisers into our partner program, we hope to give them access to resources and expertise that will help them develop even more compelling and authentic content on YouTube,” said Lucas Watson, YouTube’s vice president of video online global sales, in the announcement press release.
- With this program, YouTube-owner Google seems to be encouraging businesses to create advertising that’s designed specifically for the video site, rather than just repackaging existing TV ads and video content. The company also says it will “facilitate the development of strategic alliances with some of YouTube’s top creators” so that advertising and content can be integrated in new ways. The initial advertising partners are American Express, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, along with their ad agencies. This is currently just a pilot program, but YouTube plans to expand it to include 100 advertisers by the end of 2014.