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Google’s New Algorithm Putting the Spotlight on Page Experience

Google’s New Algorithm Putting the Spotlight on Page Experience

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Google’s at it again. It’s making more changes to the algorithm. It’s estimated that the search engine makes around 500-600 algorithm changes every year – but some are more significant than others. And this is one of them.

In 2021, we reported on how Google made Core Web Vitals a major ranking factor. The same year, they announced the roll-out of their Mobile Page Experience update. In March 2022, a page experience rollout to desktop search results was completed.

Dig into what’s happening and what it means for SEO with Abstract.

What’s happening with the algorithm?

The roll-out took 9 days to complete, finishing up on March 3rd 2022.

We’re now getting access to the desktop version of the Google Page Experience update. The new update will use the same ranking factors (aside from mobile-friendliness) as the mobile page experience update in 2021.

The desktop update will take into account:

  • Core Web Vitals:
    • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
    • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
    • First Input Delay (FID)
  • HTTPS Security
  • Absence of intrusive interstitials (intrusive ads)

So, if your website doesn’t meet some of the above criteria, you won’t notice a ranking boost on desktop following the algorithm change. Plus, if your competitors do meet the new criteria, they could overtake you in search results.

Aside from that, we don’t expect this to have a massive impact on rankings. Google itself has said:

“...while this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account. Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes. In addition, because we’re doing this as a gradual rollout, we will be able to monitor for any unexpected or unintended issues."

However – before you skip away feeling satisfied that this won’t affect you, do keep in mind that Google makes algo changes to reflect user demands. In other words, your website’s security, presence of intrusive pop-ups and core web vitals (speed, responsiveness and visual stability) all impact bounce rate. And that does matter to SEO. (Sort of).

How do bounce rates affect SEO?

Google wants to be sure users are satisfied when they land on a web page – are they engaging with said page or are they exiting without visiting any other pages (bouncing)?

Now, Google has repeatedly told us not to worry about bounce rate for SEO purposes. But here’s our take on it. If your site has a high bounce rate, this could signal other inefficiencies, such as a slow load speed, poor design, bad content or confusing navigation. It could also mean you’re targeting the wrong keywords and sending low-quality traffic to your website.

So, while bounce rate alone doesn’t directly affect your ranking, it’s worth chatting to an SEO consultant to uncover why your visitors aren’t sticking around.

Here’s how you can improve page experience

The page experience algorithm update is in place to encourage website owners to optimise for the factors that make the web more enjoyable to use. The idea is that your users can interact with your site with less friction, for a better online experience and therefore, more digital success for businesses.

To put it simply: Google wants the sites users love most to rank at the top.

To reach those top spots, consider the key desktop page experience signals and use them to your advantage.

1. Check your web vitals

Let’s touch on each CWV briefly.

• Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – how quickly does the largest content element load? Ideally, this should sit at 2.5 seconds or less.

• First Input Delay (FID) – how quickly does your web page become interactive? Aim for less than 100ms.

• Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – does your visual content unexpectedly shift around the page? Visual stability is the aim here.

•Don’t forget to make use of other Google tools like PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse and Chrome DevTools as well as Search Console for an in-depth analysis of core web vitals.

2. Have HTTPS security in place

Your domain should have HTTPS – not HTTP – in front of it. This signals a good level of security to Google, as does a padlock symbol in the search bar. Google doesn’t want to rank websites that aren’t secure, especially as users are increasingly aware of privacy and data security when they surf the web.

Enabling HTTPS is pretty straightforward. Here’s a guide from GoDaddy to help.

3. Get rid of intrusive interstitials

“Intrusive interstitials” translated into non-digital speak just means content that disrupts the stuff your user was expecting. For example, they come along to read a blog but are bombarded with popups and banners that make it difficult to read that blog at all, unless they click off everything else.

We’ve all experienced it – it’s intrusive and it’s annoying, right? If you are using popups, consider how they fit into your page’s design and make sure they’re not blocking users from engaging seamlessly with your content.

Want to keep the search engines on your side?

That was a rhetorical question.

Every online business wants to keep the search engines on side.

Our SEO services include not only an in-depth analysis of your current search performance, but they also involve consistent improvements to your online presence and a guarantee that we’ll stay on top of algorithm changes and best practices.

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Today for a free consultation where we talk all things business growth.

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Google Analytics As We Know it is Coming to an End

Google Analytics As We Know it is Coming to an End

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You may have only just gotten used to the changes to 3rd party cookies last year, but as a business owner in our digital world, you already know you don’t get much time to relax before another big transformation sweeps through.

This time, Google has announced it’s moving on from Universal Analytics to let Google Analytics 4 become standard in our website analyses. That means as of July 1st 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties (websites, apps, blogs, etc.) will stop processing new hits. And by October 1st 2023, all 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop – and that’ll be the end of Universal Analytics (UA).

Does that mean it’s time to panic? Absolutely not! Because Google has something else up its sleeve – Google Analytics 4 – and the transition can be seamless, as long as you’re ready for it.

Why is Google saying goodbye to Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics, the standard of Google Analytics we all know and tolerate (“know and love” felt like a stretch) is being deprecated in 2023. That’s mostly because many marketers, and Google itself, have picked up on its poor performance in delivering cross-platform insights.

Russell Ketchum, product manager at Google, explained their primary reason for the switch as:

“Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”

In other words, Universal Analytics relies on cookies and stores IP addresses (which is no longer ideal for privacy regulations). It also doesn’t operate across multiple platforms, so businesses are missing out on a comprehensive analysis of their marketing across the board.

Why is Google saying goodbye to Universal Analytics?

The sunsetting of Universal Analytics is designed to benefit business owners and marketers as a whole. 

Effectively, Google is making the change to keep up-to-date with how people interact online. It’s bringing improved user privacy and a better way to collect and measure insights across multiple websites and apps – because marketing doesn’t work in a silo. With paths to conversion more complex and more multi-screen than ever, the importance of connecting platforms to build a full picture of the customer journey is major.

So yes – the move to GA4 gets the thumbs-up from us.

Unsure if your Google Analytics property is affected by the change? If you created it before October 14th 2020, you’re probably using Universal Analytics and will notice a change. If you created your property after this date, you’re probably already using GA4 and you don’t need to do anything. 

If you’re still unsure, see how to check your property type.

Why is Google saying goodbye to Universal Analytics?

Here’s what Google had to say about its sunsetting of UA in favour of Google Analytics 4:

“...businesses need to navigate new challenges to understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of their customers — all while prioritising user privacy….Without a modern measurement solution, you leave essential insights on the table that can impact your business. So now is the time to make Google Analytics 4 your cross-platform Analytics solution.”

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits GA4 can offer.

1. Provide insights across multiple touchpoints

Cross-platform reporting is the biggie here. Google is aiming to simplify the typically complex process of tracking both web and mobile behaviour, and integrating mobile app analytics to move away from fragmented reporting which just causes more headaches.

GA4 will provide a complete view of the customer lifecycle, so marketers can analyse data that isn’t broken up by platform or independent sessions.

2. More accurate data-driven attribution reporting

Universal Analytics is only able to attribute sales to the last click, disregarding the multiple touchpoints and platforms that may have contributed to each sale.

Google Analytics 4 can assign attribution to provide an accurate overview of different marketing activities and the part they play in a conversion.

3. An increase in automation for more valuable data

Automation in UA is limited. In GA4, however, machine learning is amped up to improve and simplify insight discovery. This technology will change the game, generating predictive insights about your users for a deeper understanding of behaviour and conversions.

The latest version will also be able to create new audiences to help you organise your strategy, and automatically showcase critical insights.

4. Designed for data privacy

Google Analytics 4 is built to meet your data privacy obligations. It collects the data it needs without storing IP addresses or using cookies.

Running an enterprise? You can customise the software to meet your data needs, through the new Analytics 360 services.

5. Easy implementation for new users

First-time users often find implementing Google Analytics a challenge. GA4 is designed to take the burden away, with a setup assistant that walks new users through every step of the process.

First-time users often find implementing Google Analytics a challenge. GA4 is designed to take the burden away, with a setup assistant that walks new users through every step of the process.

How to prepare for the change-over

The end of UA is fast approaching, so any marketers that want year-on-year data in Google Analytics 4 will have to make the transfer soon. Google is taking steps to make the switch-over as seamless as possible, storing data in UA for at least six months after the tool is deprecated.

After this date, we’re not sure whether the historical data of advertisers that use the platform will be available.

And while the roll-out of GA4 is a step in the right direction to make marketers’ lives easier, it’s not backwards compatible and so you will need to roll out the new implementation manually.

Luckily, you can use the Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant to get moving.

The Assistant will automatically create your GA4 property, using basic settings from your UA site. You can manually configure settings as you go along (such as conversions and audiences) to start benefitting from the deep analysis on offer.

We recommend setting some time aside to get used to the updated software, to make the most of a more complete view of your data. Getting the hang of GA4 might take a bit of time, as you’ll have to navigate new metrics and different reports.

Count on Abstract Digital for a website performance boost

We’re performance marketers and data nerds at heart. We work with businesses to create a full-scale strategy to help you digitally grow, through smart tools and an unbeaten knowledge of the landscape.

Ask us to analyse your marketing data to make some recommendations that would see your business take off in 2022 and beyond.

Get in touch for a free strategy session

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The Start-to-Finish of Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

The Start-to-Finish of Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

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We probably don’t need to tell you how important content marketing is for your business. You already know that 80% of marketers make content a top priority, and that content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional forms, yet costs 62% less. Right?

Here at Abstract Digital, we know the reasons why you’ve probably been putting off launching a content marketing plan until now. There’s way too much competition out there! I tried blogging and nothing happened! Do you really think I have the time?!

Sound familiar? We get it. That’s why we’ve put together the only guide you need to create a content marketing strategy. From starting strong to finishing even stronger – grab a pen, make some notes and nail your brand’s organic marketing.

1. The tools & talent you’ll need to get started

Before you begin furiously tapping at your keyboard, let us emphasise the importance of using data to drive your strategy. Guesswork is fun (and tempting) but we’re not playing Snakes & Ladders here. This is your business. You need a strategy. So you could say we’re playing chess. 

Luckily, there are plenty of free and premium tools out there to help guide your strategy. We’re going to cover some of our favourites, so you can start playing around with data and build the bones of your content plan.

“Data-powered content - because research is less work than guesswork.”

Free & paid

Free & paid

Free & paid

Free & paid


“There are 3.5 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of those have never been seen before. They’re like a direct line to people’s thoughts…”

But who is going to run your content strategy? Does anyone in your team fit the bill? As of 2020, the most in-demand hard skills of a content marketer include:

  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Strategy
  • Analytics
  • Editing
  • Email marketing
  • Research
  • Blogging

It’s a versatile skill set, and not all businesses can afford to hire an in-house content marketing specialist. If that sounds like you, consider outsourcing your strategy to a content marketing agency.

2. How to ideate the strategy

Now that your content marketing toolbox is full and you know who is going to put your strategy into action, it’s time to build out the flesh of your campaign. In other words, what is the content of your content marketing plan?

This step is essential. Without it, you’ll find yourself staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor. Content ideation is all about making sure you’re never short of topics, and that your content plan encourages long-term SEO value through topics your audience is genuinely interested in.

“Forget the lightbulb moment.”

So, how do you do it? First of all, you ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What are my goals?

Then, we can create a plan using the tools we mentioned in the first step.

1. Who is my audience?

Your target audience is the group of people most likely to consume your content. That means everything from your topics to your tone-of-voice needs to resonate with them. An estimated $37 million is wasted in ads that don’t engage their target audience, so knowing who you’re speaking to is key.

Develop audience personas that best define your customers, starting with 1, 2 or 3 personas. You’ll want to cover the obvious demographics, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Education

However, you should go a little deeper than that. Why? According to demographics alone, you’d find yourself applying the same marketing to Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles. Don’t forget to also analyse:

  • Personality
  • Wants/needs
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Interests

2. What are my goals?

A single piece of content that ranks for high-value terms, generates social shares and creates revenue is a unicorn. In all honesty, if you’re going after everything at once, you’re going after nothing. It’s very rare that one blog takes a reader all the way from the awareness through to the conversion stage, so assign one job to each piece of content.

According to 2020 research from the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers achieved the following goals via their content last year:

  • Create brand awareness
  • Educate audience
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture audience
  • Build loyalty with existing customers
  • Drive event attendance
  • Generate sales/revenue
  • Build a subscribed audience
  • Support the launch of a new product

Use this list for inspiration and apply frameworks (such as SMART) to get specific with your goals.

“Content marketing goals must match a meaningful business goal.”

3. Ideate the strategy

Now it’s time to explore ideas and decide what your content marketing strategy will look like. One effective way of doing this is to identify trending, shareable topics in your niche. To do this, use the tools we mentioned above (Semrush, HubSpot, BuzzSumo, AnswerThePublic and Google Trends). 

Input the keywords related to your brand or industry and these tools will spit out existing high-performing articles and trending search terms. Use these for inspiration and begin generating your own content topics.

For more sources of inspo, head to Reddit and Quora and learn the questions people are asking – then answer them in your blog posts, videos, social media updates, etc. Check out relevant industry news, too. 

Your strategy needs to be a mix of current topics alongside some ever-green content. At this point, just jot down 10-15 topics grouped under around 3 or 4 “content pillars”. A content pillar is just a fancy way of saying a theme or category, under which multiple pieces can be grouped. For example, if you own an ethical makeup brand, your content pillars might be:

  • Skincare ingredients that are kind to the planet
  • Choosing the right ethical foundation for your skin type (How to look after your skin in your 30’s (or whichever age group describes your primary target audience)

Below each of these three pillars, you would then go onto write blogs, eBooks, social media posts, emails, etc. to explore sub-topics in more detail. We’ll get to the actual calendar and identifying content types based on channel very soon.

3. Identifying content types based on channel

You know what you want to talk about, but who are you going to talk to? The unique beauty of content marketing is that it lets marketers have conversations with consumers, rather than talking directly at them, like with most traditional channels.

Since you’ve already worked through your audience personas and objectives, you’ll already have a sense of where your potential customers are hanging out, and how you want to reach them.

Also consider where you currently have a strong online presence. Do you have an engaged email list, or do your Instagram posts usually land? Check out metrics on each live marketing channel you use right now to see what’s working. These are the channels you should build on.

Not sure? Head to Google Analytics and check out your acquisition data. You can also use BuzzSumo’s Content Analysis tool. Punch in your website’s domain and see which type of content gets the most shares and where – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Narrow down where you’ll be sharing your content. Then, decide which content types you’ll be focusing on. As always, data is your best friend! Look inwards at what has worked for you in the past, as well as what’s working for your competitors.

Here are some popular content forms that you can pick n mix for your own business’ strategy:






Case studies

4. Curate your content calendar

At this point, you’ve probably got a bunch of messy notes from brainstorming sessions. This is a good thing! Because it’s time to put it all together with a clear content marketing calendar.

There is a selection of tools you could use to plan out your content calendar. If you don’t have much content, your Google Calendar or Google Sheets (with colour coding) should suffice. However, if you have more than one person on your team and want to enjoy a better degree of organisation, explore some of the following tools:

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • CoSchedule
  • Notion
  • Basecamp

Otherwise, look out for free content calendar templates online and personalise them to create your own. HubSpot has some good free calendar templates.

The first step to putting your content calendar together is to decide how often you’ll publish something. Do you want to publish once a week, twice a week, or less or more than that? CoSchedule recommends only publishing twice a month if you’re a beginner, but you can decide what works best for your brand. Later on, tweak the schedule to better suit your business if necessary.

You can decide how you want to group your campaigns. One easy way is to group them by the content pillars you defined earlier. Focusing on one pillar per month keeps things pretty straightforward, and means we can start with a non-intimidating three-month strategy.

Then, it’s simply a case of slotting your topic ideas into your calendar. Remember to use a colour coding system so you can identify the goal and funnel stage of each piece: is it there for awareness, informational or conversion purposes?

In addition, include the following key info:

  • Date of publication
  • Time of publication
  • Title/topic
  • Format
  • Platform
  • Any visual assets
  • Author/creator

It’s also handy to set up a place where you’ll measure the results of each piece. Ongoing feedback such as audience engagement will help to shape your ongoing content marketing strategies. 

Creating a content calendar might feel like a lot of work, but once you have one, you’ll wonder how you ever got through without it! We love it because:

  • It keeps you and the team organised
  • You can schedule content ahead of time, meaning if you take a holiday, your audience won’t be met with radio silence
  • Tracking success provides a better foundation for future content strategies
  • Strategy is always more successful than guesswork
  • It prevents redundant and repetitive content
  • You can showcase a consistent voice and regular messaging
  • It’s great for SEO

“In general the further ahead you plan your digital content publishing the better placed you are to produce a consistent flow of content that builds your brand’s perceived expertise in your chosen subject areas.”

5. Measuring the success of your content strategy

One of the great accomplishments of digital marketing is that just about everything is measurable. Despite that, we see so many businesses putting their all into creating and releasing content, but neglecting to check up on its performance.

Analysing what works is essential, so don’t skip this step! It helps you to shape all future content marketing strategies so your business can continue to grow.

This is where you look back to your goals and assess if you were effective in reaching them. Did you make more sales? Build your email list? Generate enquiries? If the words “data” and “analysis” fill you with dread, we’re going to list some ways to measure the success of your content strategy that even beginner analysts can take onboard.

“If you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing.”

To get started, you’ll need (another) collaborative tool that everyone on the team can access, such as Google Sheets or Notion. Define your goals and list some metrics associated with them. For example:

  • We want to generate more leads. We will track eBook downloads, form completions, blog subscribers and email subscribers.
  • We want to create brand awareness. We will track website traffic, social media follows, social media comments and engagement, mentions, downloads and referral links.

There are a plethora of tools available for measuring performance, but keep in mind that you should place your focus on the analytics that matter most to your goals. We’re going to cover some of our favourite, easy-to-use tools.

Social media platform built-in analytics



Free & paid


Free & paid

Need a helping hand with your content strategy?

If building your own content marketing strategy still seems a little overwhelming, or you’re simply too busy making your business amazing to commit to one, reach out to Abstract Digital.

We strategise, create and optimise, for a content marketing plan that’s aligned with your business’ goals and is proven to generate more leads than outbound marketing.

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1st Party Data Vs. 3rd Party Data: Why It Matters For Your Brand’s Strategy

1st Party Data Vs. 3rd Party Data: Why It Matters For Your Brand’s Strategy

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When Google announced it would be phasing out the use of third party cookies by 2022, it dawned on advertisers that much of their current data collection methods were as good as dead. While some organisations are still stressing, others are reviewing their response to the change and shifting their strategy.

You’re going to want to be in the second camp. With the resolution of third party cookies comes the focus on first party data. We built this guide to help you understand the differences between the two, and why this knowledge should form a key part of your marketing strategy this year.

What is first party data?

First party data is collected by your company. This data is taken directly from your audience, which includes site visitors, customers and social media followers. This type of data is most often used for retargeting campaigns; because it’s based on your audience, it provides the best indication of what future behaviour might look like.

This data is mostly collected from:

  • Actions/behaviour that take place on your website or app
  • Your CRM
  • Your social media communities
  • Subscription-based emails
  • Surveys and customer feedback

What is third party data?

Third party data is collected by an external business that doesn’t have a direct link to your own customers. This data is then sold to businesses like yours to help them with targeted marketing strategies, but this means it’s also available to your competitors.

Third party data is most often collected through surveys, interviews and feedback forms. Best practices dictate that third party data should be used as a complement – not in place of – your own data collection methods.

Customer data platforms at the heart of your strategy

Instead of dwelling on the absence of third party data, the companies getting ahead are those enhancing their marketing strategies using their own data. Taking control of your own data starts with building an effective customer data platform (CDP).

There are 3 stand-out reasons to make data collection a key part of your strategy:

  1. Effective targeted advertising
  2. Automation
  3. Customer privacy

Targeted advertising

A CDP is a type of marketing technology that’s gaining momentum at the moment, for obvious reasons. It combines all of your customer data into unified customer profiles, for use in marketing campaigns. When you make first party data collection a driving point in your brand strategy, that means you can continue rolling out effective relevant advertising.

Because this data is collected straight from the source (your audience), you know it’s accurate and tailored to your business. You can use this for retargeting, nurturing, and during the selling stage.


Customer data platforms collect first party transactional, behavioural and demographic data for a 360-degree profile that can be used by automation tools. Incorporating automation technology into your strategy boosts efficiency across processes and enhances personalisation throughout the buyer journey.

As put by the Founder of CPD Institute, David Raab:

“The most challenging barrier to marketing automation success is data integration between the various marketing systems of an organisation.”

From segmenting email lists through to sending out personalised promotions, first party data merged with automation enables you to engage your audience with the stuff that really matters to them.


A very key concern of today’s consumers is privacy. For a long time, brands and third parties have collected customer data without a great deal of transparency. With Netflix shows such as The Social Dilemma educating the general public on what’s happening behind the screen, users expect data protection – and many won’t interact with brands that don’t explicitly provide this. 87% of consumers are concerned about how their data is collected. So, having a transparent privacy policy in place has become more than just doing the right thing – it’s a competitive advantage.

Dive into a data-backed strategy

A survey carried out by Campaign found that 96% of advertisers feel ready for a world without third party cookies. That’s great news all around, because collecting data directly from consumers is more relevant, cheaper and competitively advantageous.

We use automation and leading marketing tech to build powerful customer data platforms, so your campaigns are backed by real insights and targeted to the people that care. Get in touch to find out more about how we put data at the heart of your strategy.


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Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know in 2021

Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know in 2021

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For a while now, better user experiences have been an important ranking factor in the eyes of Google. Studies and research by Google found that users prefer sites with a great page experience. No real surprise, there.

However, instead of sitting on this information, Google is placing a greater focus on Core Web Vitals (CWV) this year. This is all about making “the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces”, which should improve engagement and contribute to business’ SEO success. Let’s take a look at what Core Web Vitals are and why businesses need to be prepared for May 2021.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that cover a website’s speed, responsiveness and visual stability. In other words, they’re important factors that contribute to user experience. 

Google itself described the concept in the following way:

“Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!)”

CWV can shift as time goes on and what users class as a “good page experience” changes. For now, the 3 Core Web Vitals as defined by Google are:

  1. LCP – Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for the largest content element to appear on the screen. An ideal LCP is 2.5 seconds or less.
  2. FID – First Input Delay: The time it takes for a web page to become interactive, which ideally should be less than 100ms.
  3. CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift: How much visual content unexpectedly shifts around the page. A good measurement is less than 0.1.

What’s all the fuss about May 2021?

In May 2021, we can expect a core algorithm update that will use Core Web Vitals as a major ranking factor. As the next step in Google’s focus on internet speeds and website load times, it’s important that businesses pay attention.

The roll-out follows increased interest in UX, with 70% more users engaging in Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights.

In addition to the Core Web Vitals mentioned above, the following existing search signals will still be taken into account:

  • Mobile friendliness: Sites optimised for mobile devices
  • Safe browsing: Sites are free of malware and security issues
  • HTTPS: The protocol represents a secure connection
  • No intrusive interstitials: No disturbing pop-ups that cover site content

Why it matters for your business

Now you know what to expect from the May algorithm update, you can get prepared. Making sure users interact with your content and have a speedy, positive experience, can mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

When you don’t optimise your website’s load time, a few things happen. The buying decision of 70% of consumers will be impacted, and your conversion rates will drop by around 4.42% with each second that passes.

That means it’s time to ask yourself: Are my core vitals up to scratch? Unfortunately, there’s no blanket solution to making sure page speed and interactivity are optimal, since each CMS and online store platform works differently. 

You can, however, use PageSpeed Insights and other reporting tools to check that the following levers for each Core Web Vital are optimised:

  1. LCP – server response time, loading time for CSS, images and fonts, and rendering 
  2. FID – code from third parties, JavaScript run time, volume of server requests 
  3. CLS – size of images and videos, stable size of preloaded elements, space for potential advertising

Get a site analysis from Abstract Digital

If you’re not sure how to optimise your site for the May 2021 algorithm update, we can help. Our team of SEO technicians carry out in-depth site analyses to ensure CWVs meet the expectations needed to rank.

Just send us a message for a quote.

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Algorithms in Advertising: How Machine Learning & AI Help Marketers Sell

Algorithms in Advertising: How Machine Learning & AI Help Marketers Sell

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We’re not mind readers or magicians, but the algorithms can sometimes make it seem that way. Love them or hate them, algorithms simply come back to the basics of computer science. They work on a set of “if-this-then-that” rules, but have developed to offer marketers a whole host of ways to sell to their customers.

Using knowledge about specific customers, demographics, previous and predicted behaviour, and data about similar customers, companies have information at their fingertips that better equips them to sell, upsell, cross-sell, promote, and so on.

Algorithms are everywhere. They play a part in what we buy, what we watch, and even what we believe. Estimates say that 35% of what we buy on Amazon, and 75% of what we watch on Netflix can be put down to algorithms. For our purposes, we’re going to look at the core algorithms we as digital marketers use: Google and Facebook.

Machine learning in Google Ads

Google messes around with its algorithms all the time. It’s impossible for advertisers to predict what’s going to happen next. As of 2021, Google has more than 200 ranking factors in its organic search portfolio, and uses machine learning in services including Gmail, Google Search and Google Maps. But we’re going to look at how Google Ads uses machine learning and artificial intelligence in PPC advertising.

Google uses a Smart Bidding feature that automatically optimises your PPC campaign for you. Once you’ve completed the initial setup, this leverages Google’s user data metrics to optimise bids and maximise conversions. Machine learning is based on patterns, so Google uses stored information from years of PPC ads to automatically boost new campaigns.

This helps advertisers in a few ways:

  • Google is a mega name in the space, with access to massive amounts of data. It uses this to find your ideal audience and to understand when they’re most likely to convert.
  • You can save time and leave most of the optimising to the machines.
  • There’s little manual maintenance needed; Google Ads campaigns need tweaks every now and again, but machine learning takes care of actually showing your ads at the most optimal times.
  • Your audience gets a more personalised experience that’s essential to appeal to modern consumers.

Machine learning & Artificial Intelligence in Facebook

Artificial Intelligence relies on a lot of data – something Facebook isn’t short of. Facebook uses the technology in a way that focuses on emulating human intelligence, with Mark Zuckerberg saying he wants to “enable computers to understand language more like humans would”.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company pledged to use AI to solve issues across 7 key categories:

  1. Hate speech
  2. Terrorism
  3. Nudity
  4. Graphic violence
  5. Spam
  6. Suicides
  7. Fake accounts

But of course, advertisers provide the biggest chunk of the company’s income (98% of its revenue comes from selling ads), so Facebook is also using machine learning and AI to help marketers connect with their customers.

The way users communicate and interact on Facebook is a huge source of its data. What they like, don’t like, their lifestyle, the devices they use, what they buy and watch, and who they speak to. It’s all collected and quantified by AI, to give structure to the messy information and generate valuable insights from it.

Some (slightly futuristic) ways AI benefits marketers on Facebook include:

  • Facebook uses a tool called Deeptext, which deciphers the meaning of textual content and then shows users relevant ads based on the conversations they’re having.
  • Machine learning models predict how likely a person is to take an advertiser’s desired action. It uses information like the person’s behaviour on and off Facebook, time of day, and the ad’s content.
  • Facebook revealed that it uses multiple layers of machine learning (ML) models to manage what people see in their News Feed. ML predicts what users are likely to be interested in or engage in, based on who/what they follow, and their previous engagements. When ranking ads in the News Feed, this information helps machines to work out which users are most likely to take action when they see particular ads.

When the machines & humans work together

Relying on ML and AI is only half of the story. We believe that effective advertising needs that personal touch. The specialists at Abstract Digital have an intimate understanding of core advertising algorithms, and can use this to boost your digital marketing and ensure it reaches the right users at the point of intent.

For more information about how we strengthen data-backed ads with creativity, get in touch.

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Data Privacy Changes in 2021: iOS 14 & 3rd Party Cookies

Data Privacy Changes in 2021: iOS 14 & 3rd Party Cookies

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There’s an ongoing internal battle happening among online platforms. Protecting users’ privacy vs. sharing data for advertisers to work in more refined ways. The two don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. However, following widespread concerns about the privacy of Facebook and WhatsApp users, for example, some changes are expected to roll out this year – with user data security at their heart.

The general consensus about data privacy in 2021 is that companies will have to be more deliberate and transparent in the way user data is collected. Two of the most significant changes  are around iOS 14 and 3rd party cookies. Let’s take a dive into what we can expect, and what the changes will mean for users and advertisers.

Apple’s iOS 14 privacy move

Apple has confirmed new privacy features in their iOS 14 update. According to the brand, the features will “improve user transparency and control over how apps access your location, photos, microphone, and camera.” And it’s set to be a game-changer for iPhone users.

Back in 2020, Apple announced an App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature which would require that all apps gain explicit permission from users before they’re allowed to track them, but the date was pushed out because of backlash from companies like Facebook. Instead, ATT became a major part of the iOS 14 rollout this year.

So what’s new?

Before the update, users were not given the explicit option to opt-in or out of data sharing with apps. When you used an app on your phone, companies could then track you across other apps and websites, for targeted advertising purposes. This tracker was known as the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and while it shared information about your online activity, it didn’t share your personal information.

Apple is now adding more transparency to the process. Users get to say whether or not apps can track them. It’s a highly user-centric feature, which focuses on opting in for what you do want, rather than opting out of what you don’t. While this gives users more control over the data they share, they will find that ads they see are less personalised.

What does that mean for advertisers?

Before the iOS 14 update, around 70% of users shared their IDFA with apps. That figure is expected to drop to around 10%.

There are two main ways this will impact digital advertisers:

  1. Ad targeting – many types of targeting, such as device-level targeting, will no longer work for users that have opted out of IDFA sharing. That means advertisers will likely see a reduction in audiences they can target.
  2. Ad measurement – Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) had previously used the IDFA identifier to build their measurement and fraud abilities. With this gone, there’s likely to be less data for MMPs to measure fraud and performance with.

With mobile app targeting taking a hit, app developers and marketers are on the look-out for new ways to hyper-target users.

The phasing out of 3rd party cookies

In another move towards more data privacy, Google is set to phase out the use of 3rd party cookies over the next year or two. This will apply to Chrome, with Safari and Firefox having already phased out the cookie. In March 2021, Google announced that it “will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web”. They also said that 81% of people believe the risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits.

So what does it all mean?

What is a 3rd party cookie?

3rd party cookies have been long used by advertisers to track website visitors, collect their data and use this to build better user experiences and more targeted ads. They can also show brands what their visitors are getting up to in other parts of the web.

On the more technical side of things, cookies are a small bit of data that’s stored as a text file. They let websites keep track of user behaviour, making them handy for features like shopping carts, login details and remembering your location.

What does that mean for users and advertisers?

Over the years, cookies have picked up a negative reputation amongst online users, mostly because of misuse from advertisers. And, because 3rd party cookies are unable to track users across multiple devices or apps, they weren’t all that great at building the full picture, so users were not getting the seamless journey they wanted.

So while the phase-out might seem alarming at first, there’s no reason to panic. Marketers and data engineers are working on alternative solutions such as Privacy Sandbox, which will push out improper tracking and enable sophisticated ad targeting within Google Chrome.

Let us worry about the technicalities

In the wake of changes in digital marketing (of which there are many!), the best thing to do is stay up-to-date with related news so you can understand how it might impact your business. The team at Abstract Digital love that stuff. When we become your partner, we’re also on-hand for advertising consultancy and making sure your business stays on top of emerging trends.

Get in touch to find out more about our suite of services.

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