12 January 2023
Google's Helpful Content Update: Everything you need to know
Hello 2023! After a wild ride of a year, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on the year that was 2022.
2022 saw some true high and lows across the board, as well as some seriously weird and wacky moments, but today we’re here to see what shaped the world of marketing in 2022, from social media to SEO and much, much more.
And of course, there’s a lot to get through, so let’s dive right in.
Powered by its people, social media is constantly on the move, always on the lookout for the latest trends and updates to benefit its users. So, here’s how the world of social changed in 2022:
For the past 2(ish) years or so, Instagram have really been feeling the heat from rival platform TikTok, who are deemed the topdogs when it comes to vertical video content.
So, in their constant bid to compete against TikTok, Instagram announced that they would be testing a new format in which Reels would take up the entirety of the screen. Essentially, the aim here is to put video at the front and centre, a mission Instagram have been chasing for a long time now.
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However, the test results didn’t leave much to be desired, with most users crying out for the old feed format. All in all, it doesn’t look like full-screen mode will be hitting our screens permanently anytime soon.
Not a stranger from controversy, Elon Musk made all the major news headlines this year with his big plans for taking over Twitter.
After signing a whopping $44bn deal, Musk has been up to his usual shenanigans ever since.
Backlash (and a lot of mockery) has sparked left right and centre since his takeover, firstly after his proposed plans to charge a $20 subscription fee for the blue verification tick, all the way to Musk reversing the ban on suspended users, such as US President Donald Trump, all under the guise of free speech.
So, 2022 saw Instagram trying to resemble TikTok, their biggest competitor, but October also saw TikTok trying to compete with Instagram too. At this point, we’re going to end up with duplicate platforms!
Anyway, TikTok introduced their brand-new photo mode back in October 2022, which essentially feels like the same format as Instagram carousels. Clearly, TikTok have their sights set on not just dominating video content, but photo content too.
After a full year without it, Meta Ads Manager has finally brought back the ability to compare your ad’s reported web conversions over different attribution settings or time periods. This includes 1-day view, 1-day click, 7-day click and 28-day click.
Overall, these analytics will come in really handy for those using paid ads on the regular, allowing marketers to further understand at what point users are taking action after engaging with your ad.
Make sure you’re making the most out of your ads by checking out how to utilise these settings here.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to design, and 2022 brought with it a lot of exciting rebrands, campaigns and more – let’s check them out:
Though the new name Evri caused a little bit of confusion with Hermes customers, there’s no denying that their rebranding exercise marked a significant innovation when it comes to design.
The new brand was almost entirely focused on typography, with Superunion working alongside typeface design company Monotype. By harnessing the power of AI, the partnership has managed to create an enormous 194,481 bespoke logo designs for the brand.
Though branding and logo design tends to rely on memorability and consistency, this branding exercise took a creative, and extremely bold, step away from that.
Due to the number of new logo designs produced by the AI platform, every vehicle across the Evri fleet is now plastered with its own unique version of the Evri logo. This creates a distinct, memorable, modern edge to the otherwise practical company, while still ensuring a level of uniformity to ensure cohesion.
Any design update to one of our beloved social media platforms is sure to be a challenging feat, but it seems like Instagram’s first design refresh in five years went by smoothly and seamlessly.
The main things to point out from the update are that the previously square logo now has polished, smooth edges, making it a ‘squircle’ if you will.
Additionally, Instagram is now further privileging their existing gradient motif, which helps add an element of moment to an otherwise static graphic. Finally, the platform updated their typeface to Instagram Sans, which is available in three styles, Regular, Headlines and Condensed. All in all, the changes were subtle, but mark a revitalised, modern upgrade for the platform.
A relatively quick one, but an unforgettable one nonetheless, was the drop of Netflix’s 4th instalment of the much-loved Stranger Things series, sparking a frenzy of the show’s merchandise to hit the shops.
The world went mad for Stranger Things this year, with Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill storming back into the charts after a huge 44 years since its feature on the show, alongside Hellfire Club t-shirts, keyrings, necklaces, hoodies and more dominating the high-street, as well as being a very popular Halloween costume for the year. After the madness in 2022, we’re eagerly awaiting the drop of the fifth season and what that will bring.
Music-lovers and casual listeners alike eagerly await the day that their Spotify Wrapped analytics are released, mostly so they can share their listening habits with the world. Or, simply pretend they didn’t see them at all if they’re a little embarrassing…
Anyway, with such a highly-anticipated occasion, those in charge at Spotify HQ have some very important choices to make on how to make Spotify Wrapped the best of the best.
Wrapped relies on its shareability, so users can show friends, family and followers what they’re into, which means it’s pivotal that the campaign remains eye-catching and enticing.
With this year’s theme behind the campaign being “Self-expression and Play”, the design was all about injecting fun, multiplicity and interactivity.
Design choices such as overlapping and interlocking shapes, referred to as “monograms” really highlighted this theme. Each monogram is designed within a 16×16 grid, each combining layers with varying characteristics, from round, soft shapes to sharp, spiked shapes, representing the diversity in Spotify user’s listening habits.
It’s not just the shapes that vary, the colour palette leaves no stone unturned with an enormous 48 different combinations of shapes and colours. And to top it all off, these distinct colours and shapes are paired with motion design that feels like it’s jumping out of the screen, highlighting the ever-changing personalities and behaviours of Spotify’s listeners.
And as always, we can’t wait to see what 2023’s Spotify Wrapped will look (and sound) like!
Nothing ever stays the same when it comes to SEO, with algorithm updates and changes always at the forefront, so it’s no surprise that a lot went down in 2022. However, two main changes hit the headlines this year.
Google announced they’d be using page experience as part of their desktop ranking systems from February 2022. Based on the same page experience signals that were rolled out for mobile earlier in the year. They also supported this role out with a search console report that breaks down how desktop pages are performing for users in detail, flagging any problem pages before an audit.
This meant that the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, the non-core vitals and all the thresholds in between would be taken into consideration for ranking desktop pages as well as mobile ones.
Other aspects of page experience signals, like HTTPS security and the absence of intrusive interstitials stayed the same, as well as mobile-friendliness signals that weren’t and aren’t factors for desktop rankings. We covered the intricacies of core web vitals when they were first factored into Google’s major ranking factors, check out what we thought back then in this article.
So what did this update represent? Basically, anyone whose main traffic source comes from desktop, needed to put in the same work that everyone did in 2021 to pull their mobile page experience up to scratch. If you didn’t and you saw a drop in traffic, leads or sales at the start of 2022, this could have been the cause!
Hinting about Google Analytics 4 since October 2020, Google will finally retire Universal Analytics in 2023, which means that any of your historic data after this point will be lost.
So, for any marketer, this has meant the transition over to GA4, which has been a big adjustment for many. GA4 burst through the door with a whole host of changes, but the main change was in how users are tracked.
Essentially, users were once tracked based on sessions, whereas in GA4, users will be tracked based on events. This means that instead of creating a new session every time the same person returns, GA4 won’t count a shift in source as a new session. For your data, this may mean that your session counts may be significantly lower than before, however, it allows for far superior accuracy than session-based data tracking.
There’s much more that goes into the GA4 update, but we’ve got to keep things quick. So, if you’d like to know more, whether it’s about GA4 in general or how to set it up for yourself, check out our GA4 guides here.
At the start of September last year, Google announced the rollout of the highly anticipated Helpful Content update, part of Google’s automated ranking system. And that’s an important thing to note, this isn’t an algorithm update as such, this is a system update baked into the core ranking algorithm.
To cut a (very) long story short, the update aims to improve user experience by boosting the visibility of high-quality content – great news for those that produce quality content on the regular. Essentially, it’s about content writers creating content that puts the people first, rather than the search engine. A few tips include:
• Always keep your audience in mind, making sure your content is credible and accessible for those that’ll be reading it.
• Don’t write solely for the search engine, while SEO practices are still essential, awkward keyword-stuffing no longer has a place.
• Make sure your content is valuable and adds something new to the topic, rather than just regurgitating other work.
The September update to the Helpful Content System caused mass panic within the SEO community, maybe a slight over exaggeration but only slightly. When in reality, it shouldn’t if you’re creating content with an intent and not for the sake of it. That said, Google can’t have been happy with the results of the update, as they rolled out a supporting update in December!
For more information on who was impacted, why and how, check out our recent blog on the Helpful Content System in all its glory.
It’s always important to stay ahead of the game when it comes to email, so take a look at what went down as of 2022 in the wonderful world of email marketing:
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) are a handy tool that allow email marketers to display their sender logo in the preview section of a user’s inbox, reinforcing trust and brand recognition as a result.
Luckily, 2022 saw Apple finally join the ever-increasing list of email companies that utilise BIMI, enabling email inboxes like Apple Mail to display brand logos. According to the research, Apple’s new implementation of BIMI will enhance the email experience for almost 60% of desktop client market share – great news all round!
Apple holds the ability to make a significant impact across every industry and every sector, and the world of marketing is no different.
Back in 2021 (which feels like an age ago now), Apple announced its new iOS 15 software update, stating how it would take aim at third-party marketing, including privacy protection features for users like Mail Privacy Protection.
For users who choose to opt-in, this feature will prohibit companies from seeing whether or not people opened their emails when using the Apple Mail app. And of course, reduced email analytics will never be welcome news for an email marketer.
One year has now passed since its release, so, what impact did this have on email marketing?
On average, open rates during the first 11 months after this update were almost 94% higher than the year before. Clearly, brands need to continuously evolve in accordance with Apple’s updates. Luckily, this article compiles a few top tips on what ecommerce email marketers can do to adapt.
A little bit of a random one to finish us off, but we couldn’t speak about 2022 without mentioning Oxford’s Word of the Year.
The Word of the Year is a word or phrase that should reflect the year just gone, something that will have lasting significance. Other examples include ‘vax’ in 2021 and ‘selfie’ in 2013. But for 2022, we’ll warn you, it’s a little bit of a weird one.
Oxford’s Word of the Year for 2022 is ‘Goblin mode’!
Slang term ‘Goblin mode’ was crowned the winner this year, which apparently means ‘a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy’. We’ve got plenty we could say about this one, but we’ll leave you to formulate your own opinions…
And there we have it, that concludes our roundup of a busy, busy year! There’s plenty more, but we didn’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. However, if you like what you read, we’ve got plenty of monthly updates throughout 2022 for you to get through if you check out our blog.
Still the same great data driven services, but now with a different nameGot It