It has been a busy March in the world of digital marketing and we mark it with a bumper edition of the Digital Revolution, with 3 headline updates across social and search, with 2 bonus paid media updates. 

Pinterest Trial New Ad Format 

What is it?: On the 3rd March, Pinterest unveiled a new video ad format. Initial views of this Alpha test show advertisers appearing in a highly premium placement, on the apps search. The ad format is extremely shoppable, with the ability to serve recommended products and shop within the Pinterest app. The ad can be procured by advertisers for 24-hour periods. 
Why is it important?: Whilst Pinterest is known for its image based format and is more of a discovery platform, consumer demand for video content coupled with the TikTok’s popularity and Instagrams developments, make the development of more video content a must. Whilst this isn’t the first video asset available for advertisers via the platform, it’s a sure sign that Pinterest continue to acknowledge the need to run video content alongside collection imagery and connect awareness based advertising with direct response. 
What action should you take?: As the product is still in Alpha, information and availability is limited. We would expect that further testing will be offered to brands who continuously update their organic platform with highly engaging content and invest consistently via the paid ads platform. We would recommend that you get in touch with your Pinterest account manager to understand more. 

TikTok to Enter the Search Market 

What is it?: On the 9th March, it was reported that TikTok plan to enable keyword based advertising within their platform. 
Why is it important?: Only in last months updates, we predicted that TikTok’s current ad platform would make them the dominant destination for both consumers and advertisers. This latest announcement seemingly will provide the opportunity to secure this dominance, however at a more accelerated rate. Whilst there has been many attempts to topple Google’s dominance over the last 20 years, this threat seems more genuine and significant than any other media platform, with TikTok’s global brand awareness and consumer engagement, especially with the new generation of Internet users. If TikTok are successful in launching a search solution, this competition will be massively advantageous for advertisers, with Google potentially having to review the bid prices they charge to remain relevant and retain share of market. 
What action should you take?: Like the new Pinterest ad spot, there is very little information as it stands on what TikTok are planning and the rollout plan. TikTok have openly communicated that the work that they are doing to test the solution is behind the scenes … 
“We are in the very early stages of testing search ads in select regions. For clarification – at this stage, advertisers do not have the ability to bid on specific keywords for advertising purposes. This part of our testing is managed by TikTok based on keywords that would be most relevant and impactful to the advertiser and their specific ad.” 
We will continue to keep you abreast in future updates. 

Google Core Update Launch and Rollout In March 

What is it?: On the 15th March, Google announced the latest iteration of its core update, 6 months after the last update. The rollout took 13 days and 7 hours, just shy of the 2-week rollout period for previous Core Updates. As a reminder, the Core Update is complementary to the Helpful Content Update, which appraises the quality and relevancy of content. 
Why is it important?: Following the rollout, analysis from multiple sources suggest that this latest core update was more volatile and impactful than previous updates. Whilst you may not have been affected, we would recommend gaining clarity from your internal teams and / or your 3rd party SEO agencies. 
What action should you take?: As with previous updates, we would always advise that you use your SEO ranking platforms along with Search Console to understand whether you have been temporarily affected (either positively or negatively) by this update. If you believe you have, referencing the Google Core Update advice previously provided by Google would be the first step. 
In this period, Google also launched a new diagnostics dashboard, allowing marketers to monitor any issues with indexing and crawling, along with the reporting of historical and future updates, which we would recommend you bookmark and keep a regular check of. 

Paid Media Bonus Updates … 

Out of the two new ad formats launched, we believe that the Reminder Ads will be the most popular and impactful for advertisers across all sectors. The most obvious use case is to target consumers for events such as Instagram Lives, to increase audience awareness and attendance. 
For those looking to venture into awareness-based marketing and combining this objective with driving interest and actions, these latest developments from Google are certainly worth trialling. 
Product feeds integrated within the Discovery ad format 
Product-level reporting and data-driven attribution 
Conversion Lift experiments enabling incrementality testing 
As we love data and proving the performance of new initiative, our favourite has to be the geographical conversion uplift experiments. 

Our final thoughts ... 

As many businesses enter their new financial year, there are plenty of new opportunities to take advantage of, especially to create awareness and develop engagement with new audiences. We would certainly recommend using some of your marketing test pot over the next quarter, especially with the paid media bonus updates. 
If any of our March updates have peeked your interest, don’t hesitate to get in touch to understand how we can help you. 
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