Six of the most interesting SEM 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: updates to multiple Google products, a single concession to Bing and many instances of mobile phone screenshots that you can barely tell the difference between.

Who’s this text from? I hope it’s that guy I met last week! Oh no, it’s a remarketing text from AdWords

Google has announced a new AdWords feature that could mean holiday offers and updates are texted right to the smartphone in your pocket/smartwatch on your wrist you definitely don’t regret buying.

The new ad format, currently being trialled for the holidays, means that people can click to subscribe to a “Google service that tailors promotional messages to products they’re interested in.”

After subscribing, their phone numbers will remain private and they have the option to opt out of receiving messages at any time. So it’s your own fault you’re experiencing a crushing disappointment after checking your phone to see if Steve has texted you.

As an example, let’s use another one from Google… 

“If someone searches for ‘black friday deals’ and subscribes from the ad below. They can now receive text messages from Google on their mobile device showcasing relevant offers from a variety of retailers. Consumers can choose from a variety of product categories including computers, phones and gaming consoles.”


To give this a try, text “JOIN” to one of the following phone numbers to see when holiday deals begin posting later this month:

  • For Black Friday – 847-904-0608
  • For Cyber Monday – 847-906-8958
  • For Holiday deals – 847-904-0596
  • For asking Steve why he hasn’t called yet – 555-001-1002

‘Thick data’ now a thing

Yep. According to Harvard Business Review, which I have no business reading, truly valuable customer data comes in two forms: thick data and big data. 

‘Thick data’ is generated by ethnographers, anthropologists, and others adept at observing human behaviour and its underlying motivations, whereas ‘big data’ is generated by the millions of touchpoints companies have with customers. 

Big data only gives marketers half the picture they need, thick data will help them understand the why? as well as the how much?

“It’s only by combining the two forms of data that a complete picture emerges and real solutions to the strategic problems facing CMOs may be found”

Take from this what you will, I just wanted to write the phrase ‘thick data’.

Google now showing app-only content in search results

As I discussed earlier this week in our guide to app indexing, for the last couple of years Google has been able to show content from apps in search results, but only content that matches the same pages on the web. 

However starting from this week Google will able to show some ‘app-first’ content in search as well.

Here are Google’s own examples of how it will work…

“If you need a hotel for your spur-of-the-moment trip to Chicago, search results will now include results from the HotelTonight app. Or if you’re thinking about visiting Arches National Park, you will now find details about the 18-mile scenic drive from the Chimani app.”

Google will also allow you to stream from some apps that you may not already have installed, provided your WiFi is up to scratch. 

Using Google’s example again, with one tap on a ‘stream’ button next to the HotelTonight app result, you’ll experience a ‘streamed version of the app, so that you can find what you need and complete a booking as if you were in the app itself.


This is all thanks to “a new cloud-based technology that we’re currently experimenting with”, which is the modern of equivalent of saying “yeah it’s just magic okay, you wouldn’t understand.”

WordPress now has 25% marketshare of all content management systems

This is an impressive increase from 13.1% just four years ago. So one in four website CMSs are powered by WordPress. As a habitual podcast listener, I may hear a Squarespace advert almost 10 times a day, but it has a long way to go with its 0.3% marketshare. Maybe get in on the second season of Serial guys.

Bing mobile app gets an update

As well as a redesigned home page and a touch-optimized interface, the Bing app now can access deep links within your other apps to stream movies or music directly without having to search or launch multiple apps.


And here’s a video that handily summarises the above, which makes a mockery of all the time and effort it took to read the actual words above.