Markestic Monthly

2021 January

Happy 2021! We hope that you had some time to relax and head into the new year refreshed & full with energy! We’re pretty sure that 2020 won’t be the ideal year for benchmarking (as you couldn’t really compare YoY numbers between 2019-2020), but still, it’s worth a shot to look back and on this past 12 months, sum up all we’ve learned from this whirlwind time, and look forward!

Every news starts with a short summary with the key points, however, if you are willing to dive deeper into a certain topic, you can always find an additional link for further reference.

1. Interactive Search Results Page Coming to Google

Search Engine Journal

Google is testing a new feature, in which users are able to have a sneak peek of the images of a website in the search results section. The company is testing the function using a control group in order to have a deeper understanding of user intent and how these images can benefit the user. If this feature is made available to all users, it  could have a serious effect on a page’s click through rate.

Although there hasn’t been any official comment on this feature from Google, read more about Search Engine Journal’s report of everything we know so far. 

Featured images will appear like this in search results. 


2. ‘Why’ Dominated Google Search in 2020

Search Engine Journal

It’s time for another year-end toplist, and Google has published its Search Term report for 2020. In a year like no other, people turned to the tech giant for their everyday questions, with ‘why?’ questions dominating the report. There’s also a noticeable shift because of staying at home and quarantining, since people started asking lots of ‘how-to’ questions to help them adapt to the change (e.g . how to cut men’s hair at home or how to make masks, hand sanitizer, etc.), but the US election and the BLM movement also made a serious impact. You can take a look at the global report here, and you can also filter by 70 countries individually.

Read more on Search Engine Journal’s thoughts about the report.

Google’s video about the search trends of 2020. 

3. Google Introduces Try It On Feature and Recommendations


In the big rush of the holidays, Google has launched its brand new features. The Try it On feature is accessible for those looking for beauty products online, and it helps users to see how a certain product (e.g. lipstick) looks on various skin tones – and with the VR technology, it also lets them try it on! In another update, in order for users to get the ‘in-store’ recommendation-feeling, the tech giant will now show recommendations from beauty, apparel, home and garden experts for products in Google Discovery and Shopping. Although these features are only available in the US (so far!) they are important since it marks another attempt of Google to help shoppers stay at home and ecommerce businesses. On the other hand, it uses VR, which could be a new direction for upcoming updates.

Read more about what Google had to say about the feature. 

4. Paid Social Trends for 2021


After the craziness provided by 2020, no one’s brave enough to make any big predictions for 2021, but there are some trends that we can expect to continue in the new year – and they are worth keeping an eye out for! One of these is the constantly expanding number of placement types of Instagram – with Reels and IGTV getting more focus, and the platform putting a high emphasis on ads, there’s a chance that soon we’ll be able to communicate with our audience through IGTV and Reels ads. You can read more about IGTV here, and Reels here. It’s also worth it to keep experimenting with other paid social platforms besides Facebook – like Pinterest, Twitter, Tiktok, Snapchat, etc., since it’s always good to have a backup in case there’s a problem with Facebook’s algorithm, and you may find a more efficient channel to reach your audience!

Read more about Wordstream’s predictions. 

5. Google Adds Gift Guide to Shopping


Google really tried to do everything it can to help shoppers and marketers in this crazy holiday season. With analyzing shopping and search trends, they have created various categories for buying personas with a shopping list within – e.g. The Chef lists all the trending kitchenware products. While it’s only available in the US, and it’s a feature benefiting the users, there’s a key takeaway for marketers: it’s getting more and more important to keep an up to date online profile, since with Gift Guides, users can search for nearby stores selling a particular item, and they can even see the price range of that certain store.

Read more about Shopping Gift Guides here. 

Google introduced these ‘personas’ in their gift guide: the Chef, the Athlete, the Techie, the Decorator, the Wellness Guru, the Gamer, the Kids.

6. Google Ads Updates in December


Last month Google rolled out a lot of updates to its Ads platform. They have introduced Lead Form extensions earlier, and now they have rolled out some updates for the service: now it’s more easier to connect them to campaigns, and they have added 50 more questions to help you customize your form – in addition, in a collaboration with Zapier, they made it more easier to connect your lead forms to your CRM system.

Engagement campaigns for Apps are already introduced globally, which aims to target your already existing users, to make them come back to your app with the use of deep linking (linking inside the app) – the requirement is having at least 250,000 installs.

In another update, to make your optimization score more understandable, now your campaign goal is displayed next to it, and the top recommendations for improving your campaign are now highlighted, in order for you to have a better understanding of the priority of the improvements.

They have also updated Google Ads Editor with some new tools: it now supports image extensions – now you can add additional information to you campaigns, there are now six more types of recommendations for you campaigns available, and now you can check your ad strength for responsive search ads. 

7. Estimated Size of Similar Audiences Made More Accessible

Google Ads

Similar audiences are a great tool to help you find potential customers that have something in common with your already existing customers – and of course when thinking about these audiences, it’s important to have an idea about their size. Previously in Google Ads you were only able to see the estimated size when you applied them to campaigns. From now on, you can see the estimated size of the audience directly from the Audience Manager.

Read more about Google Ads new addition. 

You can see the estimated size on the right side of the panel. 

8. Most Consumers Changed Brands in 2020 – But Why?


HubSpot published an article based on research carried out by McKinsey in 48 countries about consumers and their shopping habits after 2020. One of the most important takeaways from the article is that 2020 not only had a big impact on people’s current spending habits, but they will also be cautious about their finances – buying the cheaper version of certain items and/or doing careful brand and product research. In addition, it’s important to note that over 60% of global consumers changed their shopping habits  (new retailer or brand) and the main reasons for that were value, availability and convenience. With ‘essential products’ being in the focus, some brands had though times to make use of their product in these times – some of them communicated how they reacted to the pandemic (helping the people in need) and some of the realized unusual benefits of their product and created that a value (e.g. mint brand fighting mask breath). Health has also become more important to a wider audience as well. And as for concerning the future, people will remain cautious with going outside – and staying convenient, will do most of their shopping online.

Read HubSpot’s article for further findings and cases on how brands reacted for the pandemic.

9. LinkedIn Introduces Product Pages


In order to help boost ecommerce, LinkedIn has introduced Product Pages. The feature is similar to what Facebook and Instagram has introduced before, although since the platform is mainly focusing on B2B purposes, you can publish various services on your ‘Product Page’. There is also a possibility to post testimonials and reviews from your customers as well. There are about 10,000 product pages published for the more than 700 million LinkedIn users – however, no reports are available of the effectiveness of the feature yet. 

Read more about LinkedIn’s new feature.

10. First-party data offers a solution for privacy and performance

Think with Google

With growing regulations of first-party data all over the world (GDPR, CCPA, LGPD), marketers can find themselves facing the questions: how can they serve consumers’ needs and create ads that communicate with them and also respect their privacy? If you think about it, first party data lets you do just that: build relationships, offer value in exchange for data, boost ad performance. Along the customer journey, customers share personal data with businesses – in exchange, they expect personalization and value, such as discounts, loyalty programs, etc. Furthermore, using these kinds of data also helps marketers to boost ad performance.

Read more about Google’s findings. 

11. What is the key to growth in purchases on mobile?

Think with Google

While some companies have already realized the benefit of mobile optimization, some are doubtful, claiming that there’s only a low percentage of traffic coming from mobile – but experts say that if there’s a lack of mobile conversions, only the bad user experience is to blame. If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work at all. In Google’s article, they introduce the case of online delivery platform, Just Eat how they have put a high emphasis on their mobile platform – ever since 2007, when smart phones weren’t that common. They claim it’s their mindset to focus on mobile – their advice is not to focus on the transformation from desktop to mobile, but start with the latter. They emphasize the key elements: using quantitative data on what the user is doing, and UX research on why they do that. To get honest feedback on their platform, they have provided weekly allowances for their employees to use their platform – the result was a fully optimized checkout process, which is of high importance when digitalization is being the new normal. As for the top three tips for mobile success, they said:  “Stay flexible and dynamic. Know where your future lies but keep in mind that it can change. And add value to everything you do.”

Read more on Takeaway’s journey and thoughts on mobile-first. 

12. How will the Google page experience change in 2021?

Search Engine Watch

Google has been talking about a new ranking method for their search results page for quite some time now – there’s still some time for you to prepare for the changes, but some further details have surfaced about the update. The core idea of the update is to make sure that search users will be directed to a mobile-friendly and safe website, providing straightforward browsing experience. The new ranking method will take a lot of criteria into account: loading time of the largest content of the page, responsiveness to user’s click, the page’s mobile friendliness, safety of a website, using SSL (https) and also the pop-ups that are hard to get rid of and keep the visitors away from accessing the content. If you know for sure that your page passes all these and provides an excellent page experience, you probably have nothing to worry about.

However, if some of these are a problem on your site, it is worth it to check out Search Engine Watch’s article about the topic, since they provide some ideas on how to improve your website. 

13. Facebook Updates Concerning Pages


Facebook updated its pages experience, a move to help creators build a community and achieve their business objectives more easily. The update includes a newly designed layout for pages, which enables users to see bios, posts in a simpler way. A dedicated News Feed for businesses has been introduced as well, helping creators to engage with their fans and it will also include suggestions – people, Pages and Groups that a business might be interested in. A new Q&A format has been added as well – you can host a Q&A on your page, and the questions answered will be available in a stack of questions that your followers can swipe through. (More about hosting a Q&A here.) Probably the biggest update is the removal of the Like button from pages – from now on, people can only ‘follow’ a page, which gives a more clear view for page editors about their audience, since followers get regular updates about the page’s activity. They have also added new Page Management Tools – from now on, it will be easier to grant varying levels of access to manage specific tasks (Ads, Content, Messages, etc.) in order to help account safety and integrity. They also improved Facebook’s ability to detect activity that isn’t allowed on the platform – hate speech, violence, etc. They have also made some updates to the verified badge – a move to make it easier for users to identify posts and comments from authentic Pages and profiles.

Read more on Facebook’s update to Pages. 

14. How did UK customers search in 2020?

Think with Google

Think with Google UK published a year-end summary of how search trends changed in a hectic year like 2020. We believe there’s no surprise in the report – in the spring there was a big jump in DIY and at-home related topics, but still it’s interesting to see how people react in these times – and how you can have a clear picture of that from their search habits. Although there is still some uncertainty about the upcoming months (with some optimism concerning the vaccine, which shows in search trends as well) there are two things that we can be sure of: there will be a higher focus on localization and digitalization. The key takeaway from the article: use real-time data for your marketing strategy – Google can help you to better understand evolving needs and opportunities within them. Automation is also becoming more and more important, since it can help you with the rapidly changing needs of customers. And of course, don’t be afraid to leverage all the potential of digital marketing tools! 

Read more about how UK customers searched in 2020.

Think with Google UK’s summary of the search trends of 2020.

15. How did HubSpot succeed with their ads on various platforms?


At the beginning of 2020, HubSpot’s analytics team saw a decrease in their traffic coming from regular responsive ads. They realized that their audience is really diverse regarding their needs and interests, and although their already existing ads might work for some, they might not work on others. They started testing out various other platforms for their brand awareness campaigns. They started with podcast ads, a great tool they used for measuring the performance of these ads is called Podsights. They also tried out Hulu ads, their first ads on streaming platforms, and since Hulu’s ads are unskippable, it provided a wonderful opportunity for HubSpot’s team to test different creative messaging. They also experimented with YouTube Ads, and they tried out affinity audiences (including people who, according to Google’s algorithm, might be interested in your product), which provided them a cost-efficient way to reach new people and resulted in a great brand lift. The key takeaway of the article is to not be afraid of trying out new methods, they can be very effective tools of your campaign and strategy!

Read more on HubSpot’s experiment with various platforms. 

16. Why Are People Leaving WhatsApp?


A couple of days ago, WhatsApp notified its users about a change in their terms of policy: from 8th February, ‘as part of the Facebook family of companies’, WhatsApp users’ data will be shared with the owner of the application, Facebook. Although they claim that this will not affect their European users, the notification was sent to every user. User reactions flooded Twitter, and some, including Elon Musk, recommended worrying users to use Signal, another private messaging app that does not share user data and allows users to keep their messages hidden. Besides Signal, another similar application, Telegram became popular as well, resulting in millions of downloads for both apps in the past week. Facebook has made some updates and improvements to WhatsApp, in order to help businesses in e-commerce reach their costumers and communicate with them more efficiently. As to how this change will affect WhatsApp popularity and businesses using the app in the long term, we will have to wait a couple of weeks to find out. 

Read more about the user’s reaction to WhatsApp’s changes.