Henry Powderly – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Tue, 30 Nov 2021 12:56:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 Tell us if you are planning to attend in-person events in 2022 /tell-us-if-you-are-planning-to-attend-in-person-events-in-2022-376492 Mon, 29 Nov 2021 15:14:18 +0000 /?p=376492 Please answer this quick, 3-minute survey and tell us how you are feeling about attending conferences in the coming year.

The post Tell us if you are planning to attend in-person events in 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Since the pandemic started we’ve been tracking how COVID-19 has affected the way marketers attend conferences and other business events through our Event Participation Index. And, as you’d expect, overall comfort with attending in-person events has grown since vaccines became available and activities like dining and movie-going have resumed.

But with the Delta variant wave having caused major spikes across the country, and the new Omicron variant sparking fresh concern, we thought it would be a good time to check in again about your attitudes toward in-person events. The data we gather helps organizers to better make plans and accommodations.

So, please answer this quick, 3-minute survey and tell us how you are feeling about attending conferences in the coming year. We will publish the results here in the next few weeks.

Click here to answer our survey.

The post Tell us if you are planning to attend in-person events in 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
We’re turning off AMP pages at Search Engine Land /why-were-turning-off-amp-pages-at-search-engine-land-376228 Thu, 18 Nov 2021 19:19:28 +0000 /?p=376228 We've seen a big drop in traffic to AMP pages, suggesting that the inclusion of non-AMP pages in Top Stories is taking a toll.

The post We’re turning off AMP pages at Search Engine Land appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
“Gasp! Think of the traffic!” 

That’s a pretty accurate account of the more than two dozen conversations we’ve had about Search Engine Land’s support of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages in the past few years. At first, it was about the headache in managing the separate codebase AMP requires as well as the havoc AMP wreaks on analytics when a nice chunk of your audience’s time is spent on an external server not connected to your own site. But, Google’s decision to no longer require AMP for inclusion in the Top Stories carousels gave us a new reason to question the wisdom of supporting AMP. 

So, this Friday, we’re turning it off.

How we got here

Even when Google was sending big traffic to AMP articles that ranked in Top Stories, the tradeoff had its kinks. For a small publisher with limited resources, the development work is considerate. And not being able to fully understand how users migrated between AMP and non-AMP pages meant our picture of return and highly engaged visitors was flawed. 

But, this August we saw a significant drop in traffic to AMP pages, suggesting that the inclusion of non-AMP pages from competing sources in Top Stories was taking a toll.

Our own analytics showed that between July and August we saw a 34% drop in AMP traffic, setting a new baseline of traffic that was consistent month-to-month through the fall.

Monthly AMP Page traffic to Search Engine Land from April 2021 to October 2021.

This week we also learned that Twitter stopped referring mobile users to AMP versions, which zeroed out our third-largest referrer to AMP pages behind Google and LinkedIn. We’ve seen LinkedIn referrals fall as well, suggesting that when November ends, we’ll be faced with another, lower baseline of traffic to AMP pages.

Publishers have been reluctant to remove AMP because of the unknown effect it may have on traffic. But what our data seemed to tell us was there was just as much risk on the other side. We could keep AMP pages, which we know have good experience by Google standards, and their visibility would fall anyway due to competition in Top Stories and waning support by social media platforms.

Read next: Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims

We know what a road to oblivion looks like, and our data suggests AMP visibility is on that path. Rather than ride that to nowhere, we decided to turn off AMP and take back control of our data.

How we are doing it

“If you are ready and you have good performance of your mobile pages, I think you should start testing.” That’s what Conde Nast Global VP of Audience Development Strategy John Shehata told attendees at SMX Next this month when asked about removing AMP.

Shehata suggested a metered strategy that starts with removing AMP on articles after seven days and then moves on to removing AMP on larger topical collections.

“If all goes well, then go for the whole site,” he said “I think it’s gonna be better in the long run.”

That, of course, hinges on the speed and experience of your native mobile pages, he said.

The Washington Post, which is still listed as an AMP success story on the AMP Project site, actually turned off AMP a while back, said Shani George, VP of Communications at the Post.

“Creating a reading experience centered around speed and quality has long been a top priority for us,” she added, pointing us to an extensive write-up its engineer team published this summer around its work on Core Web Vitals.

Because we are a smaller, niche publisher, our plan is to conserve our resources and turn off AMP for the entire site at once. Our core content management system is WordPress, and AMP is currently set for posts only, not pages. But that includes the bulk of our content by far.

Our plan is to use 302 redirects initially. This way we’re telling Google these are temporary, and there won’t be any PageRank issues if we turn them off (or replace them with 301s). We’ll then see how our pages are performing without AMP. If there’s no measurable difference, we’ll then replace those 302 redirects with permanent 301 redirects. The 301s should send any PageRank gained from the AMP URLs to their non-AMP counterparts.

Of course, if the worst-case scenario happens and traffic drops beyond what we can stomach, we’ll turn off the 302 redirects and plan a different course for AMP.

It’s a risk for sure. Though we have done a considerable amount of work to improve our CWV scores, we still struggle to put up high scores by Google’s standards. That work will continue, though. Perhaps the best solace we have at this point is many SEOs we’ve spoken to are having trouble seeing measurable impacts for work on CWV since the Page Experience Update rolled out.

Maybe it’s not about traffic for us

The relationship between publishers and platforms is dysfunctional at best. The newsstands of old are today’s “news feeds” and publishers have been blindsided again and again when platforms change the rules. We probably knew allowing a search platform to host our content on its own servers was doomed to implode, but audience is our lifeblood so can you blame us for buying in?

We also know that tying our fates to third party platforms can be as risky as not participating in them at all. But when it comes to supporting AMP on Search Engine Land, we’re going to pass. We just want our content back.

The post We’re turning off AMP pages at Search Engine Land appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Twitter rolls back AMP support, no longer sends users to AMP pages /twitter-rolls-back-amp-support-no-longer-sends-users-to-amp-pages-376168 Thu, 18 Nov 2021 14:54:47 +0000 /?p=376168 With social media referrals to AMP pages cut down by the change, the reasons for supporting AMP are getting fewer.

The post Twitter rolls back AMP support, no longer sends users to AMP pages appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
If you are noticing less traffic to your website’s AMP pages coming from Twitter, turns out there is a reason for that: Twitter has subtly updated its AMP guidelines page on its Developer site to say support for AMP will be phased out by the fourth quarter.

How that might affect you. Previously, if a mobile user clicked on a link to your site, Twitter would redirect them to the AMP version of that page if an AMP version was available. Now, that won’t happen and users will just load the native mobile/responsive version of your content.

Read next: We’re turning off AMP at Search Engine Land.

Thanks for telling us. We’ve heard anecdotally that publishers have been seeing AMP traffic fall, especially since Google started putting non-AMP pages in its Top Stories section. But it was David Esteve, audience development specialist and product manager at Marfeel, and technical SEO consultant Christian Oliveira who spotted the update in Twitter’s documentation.

Looking at our own data, we’ve seen sharp Twitter referral declines since August. But, traffic completely bottomed out in November suggesting the rollout is complete.

Twitter referrals to Search Engine Land AMP pages in 2021.

We’ve seen similar declines in LinkedIn referrals to AMP pages and have reached out to the company to find out if it is also dropping support. We will update this post when we get a definitive answer.

Why we care. Since Google announced AMP will no longer be required for Top Stories, many publishers have been asking themselves if continuing to support AMP is still worth it. The main worry has been the risk of traffic loss if publishers rely fully on their native mobile experiences for ranking. But, if social media traffic to AMP pages is going to drop as support is lifted, the need for AMP seems to get smaller.

Read next: Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims

The post Twitter rolls back AMP support, no longer sends users to AMP pages appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Google adds local news features to search, giving publishers more exposure /google-ads-local-news-features-to-search-giving-publishers-more-exposure-376067 Tue, 16 Nov 2021 14:18:11 +0000 /?p=376067 Local news organizations depend on organic search traffic as queries like “news near me” have tripled in the past five years, Google says.

The post Google adds local news features to search, giving publishers more exposure appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
A screenshot of Google's "Popular on Twitter" feature.
Google is showing local news Tweets in certain queries now.

Google on Tuesday released new search features intended to give more visibility to local news content when searchers are looking for information about their communities.

The company said it has expanded a feature previously rolled out for COVID searches that adds a carousel of local news stories when relevant to a searcher’s query. For example, a search on “football” may bring up stories on local sports.

Why we care. Local news organizations depend on organic search traffic and, according to Google, queries like “news near me” have tripled in the past five years. Unfortunately, that also comes as local news companies continue to struggle for survival. According to The Poynter Institue, a journalism advocacy group, more than 90 local news organizations closed during the pandemic. That’s on top of declines that have stretched back years. In 2019, the New York Times reported that 1 in 15 U.S. newspapers had closed in the past 15 years.

So, it’s certainly good that Google is finding ways to give the surviving local news ecosystem more visibility.

Read next: Google News app will display non-AMP content and send readers to publisher pages

Not just news sources. In addition to adding the local news carousel, Google also is adding a “Popular on Twitter” carousel for queries on local news topics. While local news organization tweets may be included, the feature will also pull in tweets from a range of sources it deems to have local authority on those topics.

Remaining questions. The new features are noble and timely, especially as COVID created closer bonds with homes and local communities. What will be interesting to see is whether the added visibility benefits the most vulnerable local publishers. While regional dailies and local TV affiliates have not been spared by declines in local publishing, community weeklies, alt-weeklies and other niche local publications struggle the most. Will they be able to compete for slots in these carousels?

“Any publisher’s content is eligible to rank within the carousel if their content is relevant to what a reader is searching for,” said Meghann Farnsworth, a Google spokesperson. “Publishers with more Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness for a given topic or location will rank accordingly.”

But Google acknowledged that the new carousel is not reserved for local publishers, just local content.

“Local news includes sources with news about the user’s location, which is often local publishers but can sometimes include national reporting as well,” said Farnsworth.

News SEO. These new features also highlight why good SEO is essential for local news organizations. Inclusion in Google News (if you can even get in), authoritative news content that demonstrates E-A-T and a speedy website with good UX all help determine SERP visibility, even for smaller local audiences.

Here’s what the local news carousel looks like.

The post Google adds local news features to search, giving publishers more exposure appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims /google-throttled-amp-page-speeds-created-format-to-hamper-header-bidding-antitrust-complaint-claims-375466 Sun, 24 Oct 2021 22:46:37 +0000 /?p=375466 Recently unredacted sections of the complaint paint a damning picture of Google's motivations that, if true, could erode any trust it has left with publishers.

The post Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Newly unredacted complaints against Google allege that the search giant’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which the company claimed would “dramatically improve” mobile web performance when it launched in 2015, was in fact a scheme to coerce publishers into using the format in order to limit advertising dollars not spent on its own ad exchanges.

The complaint, which is led by the State of Texas on behalf of 16 mostly Republican states, goes so far as to allege Google even throttled the load speed of pages not using AMP in order to give a “nice comparative boost” to AMP.

“Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow,” it reads. “‘Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,’ Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with ‘how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower,'” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, which cites internal Google documents, was originally filed on Sept. 9 and was heavily redacted. However, a ruling by a Manhattan judge forced the release of the mostly unredacted version on Friday.

Google spokeswoman Allie Bodack, however, called the lawsuit “riddled with inaccuracies,” in an emailed statement to Search Engine Land.

“In reality, our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. There is vigorous competition in online advertising, which has reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers,” she said. “We will strongly defend ourselves from [Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s] baseless claims in court.”

Targeting header bidding. At the center of the issue is header bidding, an advertising practice where publishers can place their ad inventory on numerous ad exchanges at once. It’s a method meant to sidestep Google’s “waterfall” approach to bidding, which often favors Google’s ad servers. Publishers generally like header bidding because of its potential for higher revenue and transparency. 

However, header bidding requires publishers to place JavaScript on their pages to trigger the auction, and AMP pages do not support that JavaScript.

“To respond to the threat of header bidding, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a framework for developing mobile web pages, and made AMP essentially incompatible with JavaScript and header bidding. Google then used its power in the search market to effectively force publishers into using AMP,” the complaint alleges.

Google also denied this, pointing to a January blog post where it said, “Engineers at Google designed AMP in partnership with publishers and other tech companies to help webpages load faster and improve the user experience on mobile devices—not to harm header bidding.”

A damning indictment of AMP. The complaint is not wrong that publishers have held a love/hate relationship with AMP. The premise itself goes against publisher instincts. AMP requires us to create versions of our content on servers we do not own using templates we have limited control over. The tradeoff meant improved user experience on mobile and a greater likelihood of showing up in Top Stories, a placement that can yield significant traffic. Using AMP wreaks havoc on internal analytics, too,  since it makes it very difficult to track users migrating across a site’s AMP and non-AMP pages.

The complaint, however, claims the speed benefits are both exaggerated and manipulated due to Google’s alleged throttling of non-AMP pages.

“All those years, all those Googlers, devs, & SEOs defending AMP… And this is just the tip of the iceberg,” wrote SparkToro founder Rand Fishkin on Twitter, sparking a thread of outrage and disgust over the allegations.

Google earlier this year stopped requiring publishers to use AMP in order to score Top Story placements. But it also rolled out its Page Experience Update this year too, which it claimed made factors like site speed a ranking factor. The combination surely had publishers wary of ripping out their AMP architecture (it certainly does for us).

Why we care. First, these are allegations made in a highly politicized lawsuit, and without access to all of these internal documents it is difficult to tell whether some of these claims represent flawed interpretations. But Google’s lack of transparency has always worked against it in terms of public trust.

This lawsuit, one of four antitrust complaints now, highlights way more than possible manipulation around AMP. It also highlights alleged collusion with Facebook to give the social media giant an unfair advantage in ad bidding. All of this supports a growing concern over the toxic relationship between Google, the only search platform that frankly matters for publishers, and the content creators and search marketers looking to compete fairly for placement on its platform. Whether it’s the favoring of Google properties in results, the ad-position takeover of the SERP, the rise of on-SERP elements that stifle clicks to actual content creators and the ham-fisted rewriting of publishers’ titles, creators are fed up.

“I’m so sick of Google. And I unfortunately make a decent part of my living working with it. That makes me sick to my stomach,” wrote SEO Sam Insalaco in response to Fiskin’s Tweet.

The AMP allegations also strike a nerve for publishers, whose businesses have seen incredible disruption in the past decade as advertising shifted to search and social and reach became so dependent on Google. AMP was heralded as a way to give publishers a chance to stand level with the competition. If these allegations are true it’s hard to believe publishers would ever trust Google again.

The post Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Delta variant has marketers less eager to return to in-person events this year /delta-variant-has-marketers-less-eager-to-return-to-in-person-events-this-year-351478 Tue, 24 Aug 2021 13:41:29 +0000 /?p=351478 Though respondents to MarTech’s Event Participation Index say they are budgeted to attend only a few events in-person in 2022.

The post Delta variant has marketers less eager to return to in-person events this year appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Dubai, UAE – June 21-24, 2021: Scene at Arab Health 2021 – the largest healthcare trade exhibition in the Middle East – held at Dubai World Trade Centre during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

A new wave of caution for in-person gatherings is sweeping over marketers as the COVID-19 Delta variant is causing cases to spike, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.

Marketing professionals we surveyed this summer give it a 5 out of 10 chance, on average, that they will attend an in-person event through the end of 2021. The results showed a slight decrease in optimism compared to April, when respondents gave a 6 out of 10 chance, on average, that they would attend an in-person event in the fourth quarter of 2021.

About 30% of the nearly 170 marketers we surveyed in our latest Events Participation Index, said it was extremely unlikely (1 out of 10) that they would attend an in-person event this year. On the other hand, 20% said they were extremely likely (10 out of 10) to attend an in-person event this year.

This comes as several trade shows, conferences, and smaller regional shows are being planned for the remainder of 2021. It also follows an announcement by the New York Auto Show that it will not hold its 2021 event, despite optimism earlier this year that it could host tens of thousands of attendees in person.

The outlook improves slightly for 2022. Respondents on average gave it a 6 out of 10 likelihood that they would attend an in-person event in the first half of 2022. That jumped to 7 out of 10 for the second half of 2022.

All of this suggests that the kind of attendance seen in conferences, trade shows and more before the pandemic will not return in the near future.

Looking to 2022

Despite lingering concerns over safety, both attendees and exhibitors are budgeting to attend in-person events in 2022. But they plan to attend far fewer than before the pandemic.

About 78% of respondents said they are budgeted to attend a small number of in-person events in 2022, while only 12% said they were budgeted to attend many. We saw the same trend with exhibitors, which make up a smaller proportion of our respondents. Nearly 19% said they were budgeted to exhibit at a small number of in-person events next year, compared to 5% who expect to exhibit at many.

2022 attendance might also be limited by geography. While 56% of marketers said they would attend regional events that they could access through ground transportation or by driving, only 40% said they would fly long distances to attend.

Of course, willingness to attend an in-person conference depends on how safe attendees feel, so it is not surprising that 70% told us organizers should only allow vaccinated adults to attend.

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which could lead to more vaccine mandates across the US. New York City has already mandated proof of vaccination for visiting restaurants or gyms, and several major employers are also requiring staff to be vaccinated. The Consumer Technology Association’s upcoming CES 2022 event in January will also require proof of vaccination to attend.

Still, 30% of our respondents disagree with mandating vaccination, suggesting that organizers should expect mandates to be another limiting factor on attendance.

What hybrid means to attendees

Offering a digital component to a live event is not new. Conferences like SXSW, TechCrunch Disrupt and more had incorporated digital live streams into their events before the pandemic. But with the lockdown proving the value of virtual events, organizers are betting that hybrid events that pair in-person and digital experiences is the future. However, what attendees want from hybrid events is not so clear-cut.

About 32% of the marketers we surveyed said they would prefer a hybrid event where the in-person experience is smaller and more intimate paired with a large virtual experience. On the other hand, 25% said they would prefer a larger in-person event paired with a scaled-down virtual offering.

About 26% said the in-person and digital components of a hybrid event should be identical in scope while 17% said they saw no value in hybrid event experiences.

The virtue of hybrid during pandemic times is it gives organizers a chance to engage a larger audience that includes both in-person and virtual attendees. About 40% of the marketers we surveyed said they would attend an event in-person and access virtual components. About 22% said they would attend in-person only while 38% said they would attend the virtual components only.

Virtual to stay

Many of our respondents commented on how the past 18 months have changed their views on professional training and networking. For many of them, virtual events expanded their access to actionable information.

“It’s wonderful getting the benefit of top-notch presentations from the safety of my office. Going virtual has allowed vastly more people to ‘attend’ events and learn from the best,” wrote one respondent.

“While I love in-person events, I feel like I’ve attended more virtual events and training than I would have otherwise. It’s probably a combination of a reduced overall time commitment, and not having to pay for travel. I also feel like the level of training I’ve received hasn’t diminished from not being in-person,” wrote another.

But when it comes to networking, digital experiences miss the mark for many professionals, which is surprising in the age of social networking.

“I have not found virtual networking to be useful. It’s impossible to genuinely connect when there are so many participants, and the camaraderie that comes from being at a conference in person is totally gone. I don’t know what the magic ingredient is (mutual bonding over bad coffee and lack of sleep?) but online, networking interactions feel much more forced,” one marketer said.

Maybe this response sums it up perfectly.

“Virtual training is possible. Virtual networking … not so much.”


Events Participation Index timeline

The post Delta variant has marketers less eager to return to in-person events this year appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Answer MarTech’s survey on attending or exhibiting at in-person events /answer-martechs-survey-on-attending-or-exhibiting-at-in-person-events-350582 Mon, 19 Jul 2021 18:01:42 +0000 /?p=350582 MarTech's Event Participation Index has been following how ready marketers are for conferences. Please tell us your thoughts.

The post Answer MarTech’s survey on attending or exhibiting at in-person events appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Pre-pandemic life is starting to return. Travel is up. Masks are coming off. And indoor dining is an option once more.

The relaxation in pandemic restrictions is also rippling through the business world as conferences and trade shows schedule in-person events for this summer and fall. We’re not surprised, since the last edition of our Events Participation Index showed that many marketers were ready to hit the conference hall floor as early as the third quarter of 2021.

But a sizable number of marketers still seemed luke-warm to the idea of business travel, which is why we are once again asking marketers to share their sentiments on returning to in-person events.

Please click here to take our 3-minute survey.

We will publish the results in the coming weeks on MarTech.

The post Answer MarTech’s survey on attending or exhibiting at in-person events appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Hey search community, we’re hiring a content and SEO manager for MarTech and Search Engine Land /hey-search-community-were-hiring-a-content-and-seo-manager-for-martech-and-search-engine-land-349198 Thu, 03 Jun 2021 15:21:37 +0000 /?p=349198 We are looking for someone who can help us grow our audience of digital marketers through SEO, content and website optimization, and by building content destinations that drive organic search traffic.

The post Hey search community, we’re hiring a content and SEO manager for MarTech and Search Engine Land appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
We know our audience is made up of talented SEOs, which is why we’re very excited to announce that we are looking for an experienced content and SEO manager to work on Third Door Media’s flagship brands MarTech and Search Engine Land.

Specifically, we are looking for someone who can help us grow our audience of digital marketers through SEO, content and website optimization, and by building content destinations that drive organic search traffic.

What you will do

As Manager of Content and SEO your main responsibility is increasing the size of our audience through organic search and maximizing engagement with our content on our editorial properties Search Engine Land and MarTech. Key tasks include:

  • Keyword research, search trend and competitive analysis
  • Management of content archives, including updating, redirecting or repositioning content to align with SEO goals
  • Creation of articles, guides, landing pages, wikis or other content destinations designed to give searchers the answers they seek
  • Content optimization for all new content, leveraging good SEO practices
  • Creation of in-article features designed to increase engagement
  • Tracking all content analytics and reporting on trends and opportunities to the editorial and the management team

Who we are looking for

The ideal candidate is someone who has both experience in content and on-page SEO and has a working knowledge of the topics we focus on at Third Door Media: digital marketing, marketing technology, marketing transformation and search marketing. Further, the ideal candidate is:

  • Driven by data and endlessly curious
  • Believes in the value of SEO and knows how to leverage best practices
  • Is a strong writer who can create compelling content, whether it’s deep destination pages or snappy descriptions, briefs and headlines
  • Is highly organized  
  • Knows how to tell a compelling data story
  • Has 3-5 years experience working in SEO, digital media, content or audience development,
  • BONUS: Experience with creating content beyond text: Design, Video, Data viz, Infographic, etc.

If you are interested, please send me your resume, cover letter and clips or portfolio to hpowderly@thirddoormedia.com.

The post Hey search community, we’re hiring a content and SEO manager for MarTech and Search Engine Land appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Most marketers expect to attend in-person conferences by early 2022 /most-marketers-expect-to-attend-in-person-conferences-by-early-2022-348198 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 14:22:55 +0000 /?p=348198 But as employers once again allow staff to travel, professionals are also growing fonder of virtual events.

The post Most marketers expect to attend in-person conferences by early 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Mayur Gupta, former CMO of Freshly, speaks at the 2019 MarTech conference in San Jose.

For organizers forced to abandon conference centers for digital consoles, here’s the good news: The majority of marketers are ready to come back to in-person conferences by the start of 2022. But improvements in virtual conferences and lingering uneasiness about the pandemic will likely mean smaller shows at the outset.

About 38% of the nearly 250 marketers we surveyed in March said it is extremely likely that they will attend an in-person show in the first half of 2022, while about 45% gave the prospect a moderate to somewhat likely possibility. The numbers shrink as you get closer to the present, with only 21% saying it is extremely likely they would attend in-person events in the fourth quarter of 2021 and an even smaller 17% saying it is extremely likely they’d attend in the third quarter.

The results were part of the March edition of the Events Participation Index survey, which we have fielded regularly since the beginning of the pandemic to help organizers understand the attitudes of the marketing community towards conference attendance.

The increased likelihood that marketers will attend in-person events soon comes as more employers lift restrictions on business travel. According to our survey, 23% of respondents said their companies already allow work travel. About 30% said their employers will lift restrictions in the third quarter, 17% said their employers will lift restrictions in the fourth quarter and 30% said their employers will not lift restrictions until 2022.

Related: Marketers say COVID vaccines create hope for quick return of in-person events

The responses should give organizers hope that in-person shows could succeed if held in the fourth quarter or early 2022, but they also suggest a percentage of marketers are still very unsure about their willingness to attend in person.

In fact, 55% of respondents said they would only attend virtual events in 2021.

Here to stay

The COVID-19 pandemic essentially shut down the in-person events and entertainment industry overnight, but it gave new life to digital events. The pivot also equalized experiences, as major trade shows and smaller regional conferences were generally reduced to video-based education and networking. It’s a medium that found an audience out of necessity, and it’s likely to stick around.

About 92% of marketers who took our survey said organizers should keep offering virtual events even when in-person events return. And the reasons are not surprising. Most cited the ability to attend more events and to more easily integrate them into their schedules. Others cited safety during the pandemic and the lesser environmental impact of digital shows. But most often respondents cited the expense.

“While we can only send one person to a live event based on costs, we can send a handful to online workshops,” wrote one respondent.

While in-person attendance can cost a company four figures to send a single employee when you factor in ticket, travel and hotel, virtual events have largely been either free or far less expensive. The average cost for a virtual event ticket was $443 in the last six months of 2020, according to a study by event management company Bizzabo.

Martech emerges

The pivot to virtual events gave a lot of momentum to software like webinar platforms, event management and registration, video and, of course, conferencing platforms. Some platforms had so much interest that waitlists formed. On24, one of the most established players in webinars and digital events, rode that momentum to an initial public offering in February. And Google’s Meet video conferencing platform went from being an afterthought to being updated and enhanced aggressively to keep pace with Zoom.

But the surge in demand for virtual event tech hasn’t yielded any clear leaders. In fact, it highlighted the ingenuity of marketing teams in leveraging a range of different technologies to produce online events. In a recent survey of event organizers, Zoom was by far the most prevalent tech that respondents said they used or will use with 13% adoption, according to the CEIR Global Virtual Event Trends report. In the next highest percentage, 6% of respondents said they used a mix of internal resources to pull these off. Popular tools like On24, YouTube, Vimeo, and StreamYard were used or will be used by only 2% of respondents.

In fact, out of the 100 tools mentioned, 80 were used by 1% or fewer respondents.

Packing their bags

While virtual shows may have earned a place in the events world, marketers still expect to return to in-person experiences and are currently vaccinated or in the process of getting vaccinated. According to our survey, only 13 percent said they do not plan to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

When they do return, however, they expect changes to the in-person experience. Most respondents said they will want to see mandatory mask-wearing, sanitizer stations and better distancing. Others want organizers to request proof of vaccination from attendees.

A few even suggested ensuring venues have the latest air filtering systems installed to remove contagions.

All of these point to the central question for organizers: What will all of this cost? Organizers will need to weigh the impact of those expenses against the likelihood of smaller attendance numbers.

“Don’t be greedy and pile lots of people in,” one respondent said. “Reduce the capacity so that everyone still feels safe.”

Related video: A technologist’s guide to hacking virtual event production

The post Most marketers expect to attend in-person conferences by early 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Can you believe we’re talking about in-person events?; Thursday’s daily brief /can-you-believe-were-talking-about-in-person-events-thursdays-daily-brief-347008 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=347008 Plus, Google blocked 3.1 billion ads that violated their policies last year

The post Can you believe we’re talking about in-person events?; Thursday’s daily brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>
Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, remember when virtual events weren’t really a thing?

As with much over the past year, that sure has changed. We’re not just saying that because we know first hand what it takes to pivot from an in-person conference organizer to putting on a series of virtual shows. Just look at what SXSW is doing this week, or even how The New Yorker has jumped into the fray, and it’s clear that what it means to be an event is likely forever changed.

But I’m also struck by what Gartner’s Craig Rosenberg told us yesterday during a MarTech session on digital transformation no less: “The first time you do a face-to-face event, everyone will come. We just want to see each other.”

We saw that level of hope when we last fielded our Events Participation Index survey at the start of 2021. At the time, only 20% of the marketers we surveyed said they felt it was unlikely that they would attend an in-person event in the second half of 2021. Now, with vaccinations accelerating, we want to know if confidence has grown even larger.

Please let us know by taking our latest survey here. It is only a few short questions, and your answers can help organizers understand when the right time will be to bring back an in-person conference.

Just like Craig said, we just want to see each other too.

Henry Powderly
VP, Content

Google blocked 3.1 billion ads that violated their policies last year

Google’s annual Ads Safety Report lists misinformation around COVID-19 and the political climate as well as ad fraud as top concerns last year.

COVID-19. The company banned ads related to price gouging of important pandemic-related supplies like masks and hand sanitizer. Their policies included restrictions on ads that promoted false cures and opportunistic abuse of audiences.

Political ad bans. Google also initially banned election-related ads after US polls closed on November 3 through December 10. When the insurrection at the Capitol occurred on January 6, Google again shut down all ads mentioning politics, impeachment, the inauguration, and the insurrection at the US Capitol.

Stopping fraud. To combat fraud and spam ads, Google Ads implemented their advertiser identity and business operations verifications programs. These new programs plus automated detection technology and the human review processes intercepted 968 million violating ads.

Brand safety.  Google was also sensitive to brands’ need for control over where their ads displayed as there were increases in hate speech and calls to violence online. The company says they have continued to invest in automated technologies to prevent the monetization of harmful web content.

Why we care. With constant evolution, Google’s Ads Safety Report indicates that it’s evolving its platform and AI to keep up with the ever-changing global situation to help protect both advertisers and users.

Read more here.

Did you get the SharedArrayBuffer warning in Search Console? Here’s what it means

Web-facing pages are an information security battle zone as we fight hackers who try to steal company secrets. Modern web pages often leverage resources from more than one origin (domain). This often leads to vulnerabilities. 

As pressure mounts surrounding security concerns that affect new features, webmasters have a growing list of options from browser makers, including directives for handling “cross-origin” resources to help prevent information leaks.

The SharedArrayBuffer warning. CPUs, which are vulnerable to a timing flaw by virtue of Spectre, allow access to a memory cache where SharedArrayBuffers store data. The timing flaw allows a malware-wrought page to race to access memory and all your other pages, not only those pages opened by following a link from one to another, but any page open in your browser.

Why we care. Given that failing security policies already trigger warnings for you in Lighthouse, Search Console, and with error messages in browser consoles, we need to understand details in order to offer our advice for what to do. When we’re involved in web development ourselves, then we want to have specific information prepared so that we can guide or conduct the implementation of a fix as part of our work. Information security plays an important role, as evidenced by SharedArrayBuffers, cookie policy changes, and many more such matters which are likely just out on the horizon.

Read more here.

Video SEO, page load time, and the new Google Ads summary layout

Video SEO: Ranking on Google vs. Ranking on YouTube. Once you’ve put on the finishing touches and have uploaded your video, you need to do more than just cross your fingers and hope it ranks within the search results on Google and YouTube. These video strategy tips ensure your audience is able to find all of your hard work.

How Does Page Load Time Affect Your Conversion Rate? As a consumer, you know how you respond to slow sites. You hit the back button or close the browser. As a business owner, you’re well aware of this. You’re a consumer, too, after all. So, you know page load time and conversion rate are related. But how exactly? How does it affect the bottom line?

Google Ads announces new summary view with simplified layout. The streamlined new summary configuration can help advertisers and small businesses who may be newer to Google Ads. Users can view performance in one place, improve performance with custom recommendations, create and edit campaigns more easily, and manage keywords in one place, according to the announcement.

Wikipedia launches a commercial option for big tech, but how will the community react?

The Wikimedia Foundation announced the launch of Wikimedia Enterprise, a new service designed for the sale and efficient delivery of Wikipedia’s content directly to tech companies like Google (who uses Wikipedia for rich snippets all the time).

Previously, Wikipedia has made a bi-weekly “data dump” of all the information available on the site for tech giants to sort through and upload as they see fit. “[Tech companies] all have teams dedicated to Wikipedia management—big ones,” says Lane Becker, a senior director at the foundation. These teams essentially sort through and manage the data from Wikipedia for these tech companies to consume and use as needed. The paid service the new Wikimedia Enterprise will be selling is this same data but in a format that makes it much easier for big tech to handle. With negotiations already underway, the question now is how the Wikipedia volunteers and community will react to the monetization of the website and service:

“Wikipedia is an extraordinary resource, a cumulative effort over two decades to describe the world, both its long past and its of-the-moment twists and turns. As it’s grown, it’s remained committed to its core noncommercial ideals. Big Tech companies, on the other hand, have proven themselves to be rapacious capitalists—they take as much as they can and ask for permission later. They will imitate a competitor in a heartbeat to gain control of a service they consider valuable. Wikipedia’s decision to enter into an agreement with them and begin an explicit relationship, as opposed to an unspoken one, carries the risk that the commercial world’s values—as well as its ample rewards—could come to dominate.”

The post Can you believe we’re talking about in-person events?; Thursday’s daily brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

]]>