Today we look back at some of the key changes and innovations across all aspects of digital in July. We give you a snapshot of what the update is, why it is important and what action you should take. All of this months changes are focussed on the world of search marketing. 

New product updates for Microsoft Search Advertising 

What is it?: On Wednesday July 7th, Microsoft announced the global rollout of a new beta, which will allow search advertisers to add lifestyle and product images to your text ads. These are being called Multimedia ads. On Monday the 12th July, video extensions have also been added to search creatives. 
Why is it important?: We always say don't forget about Bing to our clients and these two latest updates reinforce this. Both will help to bring a better experience and more engaging ad format to the customers viewing and clicking on your ads. The multimedia ad format should definitely bring more attention to your ad copy vs. the traditional ad, making it more likely that users will clickthrough to the site, helping advertisers create more awareness of their product and services and helping to stand out from the competition. 
What action should you take?: If you cannot access these new features in your ad account, speak to your Microsoft account manager to gain access to these new features. For the multimedia ads, we recommend that you specify your own assets rather than letting Microsoft automatically generate these. Also as these products are in Beta, we only recommend applying these new features to selected campaigns, to understand the benefit.  
One point to note with the video extension is that the user stays within the search results when they engage with this, consequently meaning that you will not gain traffic from this engagement. This will need to be taken into account when measurng the performance of campaigns with these extensions as you would expect your Return on Ad Spend to reduce. Please also note the mobile version of the video extensions is only available in the US. 
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Google's July 2021 Core SEO Update  

What is it?: Further to June's sister update, there was plenty of discussion in the industry about July's rollout completed on Monday 12th July. Experts have said that this second update was smaller than the previous update which rolled out in early June and that the 2nd, 9th and 12th July were the dates where sites saw the biggest fluctuations. 
Why is it important?: As the cost of acquisition through paid advertising continues to increase, the reliance on brands ensuring that they drive more traffic through low cost or free methods is more important than ever. Dependent on the sector you are in, SEO can deliver at least 25% of your overall traffic and conversions. Having a clear plan for both maintaining and growing existing rankings and being discovered for new search terms is essential to delivering on this potential.  
What action should you take?: Check back on how your rankings changed from the 1st to the 12th July (especially on the 2nd, 9th and 12th) to see if you were positively or negatively affected by the update. If you have seen a drop in this or other previous core updates, Google have provided questions which should be reviewed when assessing your on site content. Although quite generic, this is a good starting point. 

Google announce new timelines for removing cookies 

What is it?: On Friday 23rd July, Google announced it's new timeline for the privacy sandbox. This includes full API's being released before Q4 2022 and Chrome phasing out the support for third-party cookies over a three-month period finishing in late 2023. 
Why is it important?: As we have mentioned in recent updates, such a change will fundamentally change the ability to both target customers and track performance, especially with the market share that the Chrome browser has. 
What action should you take?: From an initial review of the timeline, we feel that the proposed timelines will be challenging. Whilst technically we are sure this is possible, the plan still doesn't take into account any of the unrest that has already been seen in the advertising and publisher community in 2021 continuing. Google will need to ensure that they have a clear plan for addressing this too. Irrespective, you should continue to invest in your first party CRM strategy, 

Our final thoughts ... 

Quite often Microsoft Search Advertising is often overlooked due to market share. Although Google is clearly the dominant force across most markets, we see lower competition and with it lower bid prices. If you are not already investing, the new updates from Microsoft reinforces the need to being testing. 
If any of the above has peaked your interest, don't hesitate to get in touch to understand how we can help you. 
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