Digital Recap: Google Intros “Most Important Update in 5 Years”

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We’re collecting a host of links, videos, and assorted analysis on the ever-changing world of digital marketing. We invite you to skim, share, analyze, argue, and refute – just so long as you don’t get embarrassed at the water cooler again. Here are the latest digital marketing news and trends for the week of October 25, 2019.

Google Introduces “One of the Most Significant” Shifts in Company History

Google announced Friday improvements to its search engine technology that would push search results to “something closer to language” as opposed to keywords, according to Google search chief, Ben Gomes. The shift is powered by an artificial intelligence tool that’s able to analyze long, complicated sentences rather than just groups of words.

The update has been tabbed BERT, and Google says it’s the most important update in five years and will affect 10% of all search queries. BERT is able to identify context and nuance in natural language text, and in theory, find more relevant results for user queries. This is likely to reward sites with clean, precise copy that directly answers user queries.

Here’s an example of how BERT works in a post from Roger Montti at Search Engine Journal:

“…The phrase was “how to catch a cow fishing?

In New England, the word “cow” in the context of fishing means a large striped bass.

A striped bass is a popular saltwater game fish that millions of anglers fish for on the Atlantic coast.

So I typed the phrase, “how to catch a cow fishing” and Google provided results related to livestock, to cows.

Even though I had purposely used the word “fishing” to provide context, Google ignored that context and provided results related to cows. That was on October 1, 2019.

Today, October 25, 2019 the same query results in search results that are full of striped bass and fishing related results.

The BERT algorithm appeared to have understood the context of the word “fishing” as important and changed the search results to focus on fishing related web pages.”

Stay tuned for more updates.

Ads Increase Brand Favorability With Podcast Fanatics

A study from PodcastOne and Edison Research showed that 60% of people who spend at least five hours a week listening to podcasts view advertisers positively on their favorite podcasts.  Here are a few findings:

  • 44% of “super listeners” have a more positive opinion of a company when a podcast they listen to mentions that brand
  • 70% of “super listeners” say they would consider a new product or service from a company that sponsors or advertises on a podcast they listen to regularly
  • 43% of respondents said they prefer to purchase products from brands that advertise on their favorite podcasts if price and quality between two brands are similar
  • Just 25% of respondents said there are too many ads in podcasts, compared to 62% for TV, 47% for AM/FM radio, and 45% for streaming audio.

Gen Z Expects Brands to Be Socially Conscious

68% of young adults ages 18-24 expect brands to “contribute to society”, and 61% said they are willing to pay for more products that were produced in an ethical and sustainable way, according to a survey by Crowd DNA.

A separate study from Qualtrics reinforced Gen Z’s preference for social consciousness from brands, revealing that 77% of Gen Z Facebook and Instagram users “feel more positive” about a brand when it promotes gender-equality themes on social media.

Brands must always be careful when promoting anything that can be construed as political, but when it comes to Gen Z customers, a bolder stance can create goodwill and a profitable buzz.

 

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