Welcome to ‘What Happened in Search’.
Packed full of the week’s search marketing news each Friday, this week’s stories include the launch of Facebook M, Google testing video ads in search results, and the impact of the Local Pack update.
FACEBOOK M LAUNCHES
This Wednesday, Facebook released a test of its digital assistant; Facebook M. The new tool has been launched within Facebook’s Messenger app and is set to compete with similar products from Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.
Setting it apart from its competitors, the tool will be backed up by human ‘trainers’, who will be able to take over where machines aren’t capable.
The latest foray into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in daily life, Facebook M aims to provide personalised answers to queries or service requests, which users are able to send in natural language.
Last Friday, Google began testing promoted video ads within its search results.
As the search giant’s search advertising offering continues to evolve, Google is remaining tight-lipped on the subject for now.
It is unclear if this will lead to a fully-fledged product, but as the digital video advertising market continues to mature, it’s one that Google can’t afford to ignore.
The move follows last month’s news that both Bing (with its ‘Rich Ads’) and Yahoo display promoted video ads in their search results, so Google is playing catch up on this front.
2015 REVIEWS SURVEY
In an annual survey conducted by BrightLocal, the ‘consumption, attitudes and influence’ of consumer reviews of local businesses were analysed – based on data from over 2,000 respondents in the US and Canada.
The survey found that 92% of people read online reviews of local businesses, and that 33% of them do so regularly.
For 73% of respondents, PCs are the most popular device for reading reviews.. Perhaps the most compelling stat is that 87% of people surveyed said that they wouldn’t consider purchasing from a business with a low rating.
LOCAL PACK IMPACT
This month, Google updated the format of its local business map results, which previously was seven-pack. The new display format now shows only three results, though it is expandable.
The update has resulted in the local pack is now in number one position 93% of the time, compared to 25% previously.
addmustard’s Technical Services Director, Joseph Patterson, says,
“As search habits continue to change Google is yet again is placing more emphasis on localised results, this further reassuring the need for localised visibility and the associated optimisation.”
GOOGLE PROBE WIDENS
The European Commission has expanded its antitrust probe of Google to investigate whether it “abuses its dominance in advertising contracts with website operators and copies content from rival sites.”
With the EC in the late stages of its vertical search inquiry, Google has until August 31st to submit a rebuttal.