Six of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week


Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week: changes to structured snippets, a new feature on YouTube, online ad stats and Bing is going to decide what you’re having for dinner.

Google AdWords doubles structured snippets

In August, Google introduced structured snippet extensions that allowed more information to be shown below a text ad, and now just in time for Christmas, Google has announced that advertisers can now add a… wait for it… second line of structured information to their ads. 


According to Google:

“Now if you select two predefined “Headers” and define two lists of customized values, they can both show with your ads at the same time – whether that’s a combination of styles and brands or destinations and featured hotels. For example, if you’re a retailer that offers window treatments, you might create one structured snippet for the most popular shutter styles and another for the services you offer.”

And you thought you were getting nothing for Christmas.

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) coming to mobile search in February 2016

The Accelerated Mobile Pages project is an open source initiative which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web, and according to a post on the AMP Project blog, Google will begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google Search as early as February 2016. 

Twitter will also begin to experiment with linking to AMP content after Pinterest’s trial revealed that AMP pages loaded four times faster and used eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages.

They may also get a ranking boost and a “fast” label. Although keep in mind the word “may” here… According to Search Engine Land, during a special press event in San Francisco, Google reiterated the importance of page speed and responded informally that it would likely label such pages as “fast”. Again, this last bit is incredibly tentative.

Online advertising lifts a flat European ad market

According to IAB data, and as reported by Warc, online advertising across Europe grew almost 10% in the first half of 2015 and is expected to grow even faster in the second half.

Online advertising was up 9.7% on a like-for-like basis in the first half to reach a total of €16bn. The full-year total is predicted to be almost €34bn.

Within the region, Central and Eastern European markets were growing fastest, at 12.9%, but more mature markets in Western Europe also reported an increase of 9.3%.

In terms of format, display advertising accounted for €5.6bn (35%) of all online advertising spend. Its growth rate of 13.0% was the highest of any format.

Mobile display advertising spend was up 57.5% to pass €1bn in the first half of the year and took a 24% share of all display advertising. Video also passed the €1bn mark.

What’s good for dinner? Bing will tell you

Bing is taking away the pain of having to decide what to eat at restaurants with the new ‘Menu Favorites’ feature. 

Using millions of user reviews, restaurant menus and other rich data sources, ‘Menu Favorites’ identifies the most popular dishes at each restaurant with “high quality results.”

You can see this at work if you search for a restaurant and look within its information card. When you click on any dish from the menu favorites section you’ll see descriptions and user reviews detailing the item. 


This will fly against my normal decision making process of ‘the one that sounds like it comes with the most fries’.

TV drives mobile app installs

According to Fetch (link launches a Pdf), mobile app installs can increase from anywhere between 56% to 74% after a relevant TV ad is shown.

The positive impact of a TV ad can apparently last up to two hours, with a 24% increase in installs in the first 10 minutes after viewing, falling to a 20% rise in the next 30 minutes. 

Unexpectedly, prime time (between 6pm – 7pm) was not the most ‘impactful’ period, but instead it was between midnight and 1am, when there was a 650% increase in app installs. Prime time was the second most effective period. 

YouTube introduces a permanent ‘trending’ tab 

It will be easier to find the latest videos of cats being terrified of harmless vegetables and parodies of The Force Awakens trailers on YouTube now, with a trending tab that surfaces ‘viral sensations’ in real-time.

According to The Verge, the tab uses an algorithm based on comments, views, and “external references,” and it collects all of the selected videos in one place instead of recommending them within YouTube’s homepage.

The videos featured here won’t have anything to do with your viewing history, although YouTube may choose to keep some particularly explicit videos out of the tab. That word ‘some’ implies more than it’s probably meant to.

Android users will be able to pick specific categories in the Trending tab (music, gaming, and news) but other platforms will have to wait/find their own explicit videos the old fashioned way.


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