July 2022 Hotel Digital Marketing News | GCommerce

  1. GA4 Ads Bounce Rate! (and other features)

July 23rd marked the 1 year countdown for the sunsetting of Google Universal Analytics. That means if you haven’t set up GA4 to track your hotel’s website data, there’s a very real possibility you won’t have a full year of data once Google makes the full switch to GA4. There has been a lot of feedback regarding GA4 and I think a lot of marketers will be happy to hear that Google has now added bounce rate to GA4 (although it is a slightly different definition then UA bounce rate, so study up!). Learn more about bounce rate in GA4 and more here.

2. Google Announces It Is Delaying the Demise of 3rd Party Cookies
Google has officially delayed the demise of 3rd party cookies from July 2023 to until late 2024, stating it needs to provider marketers more time to test new Privacy Sandbox tools. What’s your reaction? Shocked or were you expecting this to happen? Our thoughts - not totally shocked is the main reaction coming out of the GCommerce camp.  Learn more here.

3. ICYMI: Introducing Metadesk

Have you heard about Metadesk yet? It is our new metasearch platform built for performance. From variable pricing to integrated custom audiences, metasearch has never been easier. Learn more at metadesk.pro

4. LinkedIn Launches Native Carousel Posts 

Have you been using the “ol’ sneaky” way of creating carousel style posts on LinkedIn? Good news! LinkedIn will be rolling carousel posts out to all users later this fall. Learn more and how to use the new post type here.

5. Facebook Announces Change to App Home Feed

Noticing anything different in your Facebook app? Facebook announced two feeds will now be found in it’s apps, mimicking app navigation and layout popular in TikTok. Over the past year it’s made other changes to keep up with the popularity of TikTok. Make sure your marketing isn’t falling behind. It’s time to jump in and start creating short-form video content to feed the algorithms and stay visible.  Learn more here.

6. Netflix Announces Partnership with Microsoft For Ad Inventory

Netflix has officially announced that Microsoft will be it’s ad partner for it’s new lower priced ad-supported subscription plan. This is a BIG win for Microsoft after it’s recent acquisition of Xandr media, which was announced this past December. Want access to this CTV inventory? It will be exclusively available via the Microsoft platform. Haven’t considered CTV/OTT ads as part of your strategy? Learn more here.

Flywheel News | June 2022 Digital Marketing Month in Review

  1. GCommerce Announces Metadesk, It’s New Hotel Metasearch Solution

GCommerce announced the launch of it’s new hotel metasearch solution, Metadesk, during HITEC’s 50th Anniversary in Orlando, FL the last week of June. The new platform offers on-demand data insights, easy-to-understand pricing and direct access to your campaign optimization specialists. Learn more at metadesk.pro

2. Google Ads & Microsoft Ads Officially Discontinue Support for ETAs

As of June 30th, 2022 advertisers are no longer able to create or edit expanded text ads (ETAs) on Google or Microsoft Ads. Since you’re still able to let them run, we recommend keeping an ETAs in your account if they are top performers. We also recommend taking those top performing ETAs and creating responsive search ad (RSA) versions. Responsive search ads are the new standard ad format and allow up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google then takes those headlines and descriptions and creates multiple ads using different combinations of those assets. It’s multivariate ad testing to the max.

3. New Google Ads Travel Features

In June, Google announced a few new travel specific features. The first is the ability for hotels to add/manage rates directly into their Google Business Profile. While this might sound appealing, we recommend only approaching rates and inventory via a direct connection to your hotel’s CRS via a connectivity partner since rates/inventory update constantly. Next is Feedless Onboarding that would allow advertisers to great hotel campaigns without needing a Hotel Center account. More to come as this is currently in beta. Finally, they announced adding travel specific goals to the new performance max campaign type.

4. GCommerce Attends HITEC’s 50th Anniversary, HSMAI and ROC in Orlando, FL

GCommerce was excited to attend the 50th anniversary of HITEC as well as HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference and ROC in Orlando, FL during the last week of June. The week included catching up with some of our incredible clients and partners as well as the announcement of our new hotel metasearch advertising solution, Metadesk.

5. Microsoft Advertising Now Requiring Advertiser Identity Verification

Following suit with Google, Microsoft Ads is now requiring advertisers to verify identity to ensure it’s users are seeing ads from trusted sources. Learn more here and be prepared to supply your agency or advertising partner with necessary documentation. 

Flywheel News | May 2022 Digital Marketing Month in Review

  1. Google Enhances Trip Planning Tools 

Google launched a few features to assist users with travel planning. Most notable for hotels includes interest based filters in Google Maps, hotel search by landmark/attraction proximity and a new feature that allows people to save hotels and vacation rentals. Learn more here

  1. Google Includes Customer Match In Smart Bidding Signals 

The demise of 3rd party cookie tracking is no doubt on your mind. 1st party data and customer lists are the key to remarketing in this new “cookieless” world. Within Google’s eco-system, Customer Match lists have emerged as a way to retarget your 1st part data lists and create beneficial similar to prospecting lists for campaigns. Google announced that Customer Match lists will now be used in Smart bidding and campaign optimization. 

  1. TikTok Introduces New Integrations For Content Platform Partner

Social media managers around the world rejoice! You can now use your favorite social content publishing platform to post content directly to TikTok. Learn more and view the list of integration platform partners here.

  1. Google Marketing Live 2022 Features Extensive Product Announcement

Every year, the entire marketing industry eagerly anticipates the arrival of Google Marketing Live. This 1.5 hour event is a heavy hitting list of product and feature updates coming to the Google marketing suite of platforms. It included updates on everything from video to conversion lift testing, new audience capabilities and more. Discover the recap here.

Flywheel News | April 2022 Digital Marketing Month in Review

  1. Google Tests Larger Images In Desktop Search Results

If you’ve searched for something on Google in the past month or so (and chances are, you have), you may have noticed larger images directly in your desktop search results next to each organic listing as shown in the below screenshot. This is currently just a test, but is interesting since image extensions were launched recently. Maybe, Google is trying to once again blend organic results with the paid ads layout on the page. Time will tell if these changes stay.

  1. Celebrity Cruises Launches The All-Inclusive Photo Project

In April, we discovered the All-Inclusive Photo Project that was started “to change the faces in travel marketing” by capturing “stunning imagery of a range of diverse changemakers” that is open source and available to any travel company to use in their own campaigns. Let’s face it, our industry needs to evolve and that starts with representation in our marketing campaign imagery. The All-Inclusive Photo Project offers stunning photos of with a diverse representation of people by world renowned photographers. Check it out here.

  1. Google Confirms Not Resolving Real Time Issues In UA: Time To Move to GA4

Add it to the list, another issue in Universal Analytics that Google says it is “no longer seeking to resolve”.  While many experience issues with real time reporting in Universal Analytics, Google states that GA4 properties “have an improved Realtime report that does not suffer from this issue.” Read more here.

  1. Microsoft Ads Extends RSA Migration Deadline By 60 Days

For Advertisers that are not yet ready to migrate to responsive search ads on Microsoft Ads, the platform has extended the deadline from June 30th to August 29th. Expanded text ads created prior to that date will be eligible to show past the deadline. GCommerce has prepared all accounts for this migration but have left top performing ETAs on until they will no longer be shown within the platform. Learn more here.

5. Webmasters Beware: Google Sending Notices To Remove Intrusive Interstitials

Google has previously stated that intrusive interstitials on websites have a negative impact on your page’s ranking within the search results. Google is now sending notices via Google Search Console to site webmasters where intrusive interstitials have been found. If you are a site that has become dependent on intrusive interstitials, try a different approach as outlined in Google’s documentation here or using The Hotels Network’s great selection of website personalization and messaging formats.

6. Instagram Extends Reel Length To 90 Seconds

Previously, Reels were capped at 60 seconds in length. Instagram has now extended it to 90 seconds. Short form video content continues to be a top performer for engagement and growth within social media and if your brand isn’t focused on production of these assets yet, make sure you make it a priority in your 2023 budget planning.

Flywheel News | March 2022 Digital Marketing Month in Review

  1. The New Google Marketing Platform SA360 UI Has Arrived

An announcement that has been met with much excitement here in the GCommerce office, Google Marketing Platform has officially launched their new SA360 user interface. GMP’s SA360 is a platform we use for enhanced campaign optimization and measurement across both MIcrosoft Ads and Google Ads search networks. The updated interface will make it easier to build, manage and scale campaigns across advertising platforms allowing us to save time and drive better results.

  1. Google Has Set An End Date For Universal Analytics - Are You Ready?

It’s Official. On July 1, 2023 Universal Analytics will stop receiving hits. You’ll still be able to view the data, but Google is also set to announce a date for when that will no longer be accessible. The countdown is on. If you don’t launch GA4 by July 1, 2022 - you will officially not be able to view reporting data in Analytics that shows YOY data. We recommend reaching out to our GA4 experts to get the new version of Google Analytics set up ASAP.

  1. Google Adds Free Hotel Booking Links to SERP and Map Results

Another tactic in Google’s consistent effort to get more hotels signed up for Google Hotel Ads, they have now opened up visibility of free hotel booking links on the Google SERP and Maps. This means more visibility and promotion of Google Hotel Ads and it’s organic booking link section. If your hotel has yet to participate with Google Hotel Ads and metasearch, it’s not too late. Get signed up today via a Metasearch program such as GCommerce’s Hotel Metasearch.

  1. Google Business Profile May Require Additional Verification Methods

Be on the look out. Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), may start requiring more than one verification method for businesses moving forward. Verification methods can include phone, text, email, video recording, live video call or postcard.

5. Instagram Testing Reels/Stories in Main Feed

Most likely in an effort to combat market share lost to TikTok, Instagram is now testing the inclusion of Reels and Stories within the Main Feed. Reels has become the “largest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram and users spend more time with Stories than they do with their main feed”. If your hotel isn’t producing and sharing this type of organic social media content, you are falling behind with the type of content users want to consume and chances are, you’re missing out on engagement and growth opportunities.

Flywheel News | January 2022 Digital Marketing Month in Review

  1. Google Business Profile 7 Day Manager Delay

Wondering why you can’t access all the features to the Google Business Profile page you just received access to? Well, Google is now making new owners or managers wait 7 days before they can manage all features of the profile. Please take this into account as you add new managers to your pages. 

  1. Google Looking to Make Website Crawling More Efficient 

Google announced that they are trying to find ways to make website crawling more efficient and environmentally friendly. One comment that stood out to our team here was Gary Illyes saying people change the last mod date in the XML sitemap when the URL has not changed and that they “are just not going to use it” due to misuse. Could this change best practices for XML sitemaps? We’ll be monitoring it to see. Read more and listen to the entire podcast here.

  1. Google Kills FLoC and Introduces An Alternative 

When Google announced that Chrome will be removing support for 3rd party cookies sometime in 2023, everyone was eager to understand replacement technologies to help fill the gap in targeting. For a long time Google was positioning FLoC (Federated Learning Cohorts) as a viable solution. Google has announced that it will replaced FLoC with “a new interest-based targeting proposal called Topics”. According to Search Engine Land, “The Topics API will select topics of interest (based on the user’s browsing history), without involving external servers, and share those topics with participating sites”. Topics will be assigned to users based on their browsing history and can include topic segments such as Travel or Fitness. Time will tell if all browsers adopt this latest solution from Google but for now it’s in its infancy in testing, just within the Chrome browser. Learn more here.

  1. Google Testing Emojis In Search Ads? 

And by emojis they mean favicons from websites. Google has toyed around with emojis in search ads multiple times in the past but it was never a permanent change to how advertisers can use symbols/characters within ad copy. This newest test pulls the website’s favicon into the search ad in a move that Google’s Ad Liaison calls “a series of small experiments to help users more easily identify the brand or advertiser associated with the Search ads”. Time will tell if this experiment sticks. Have you seen examples of these while browsing Google’s search results?