Into the First Quarter: Updates in the Digital Landscape

The first quarter of the year brought a new set of changes to the digital landscape. As some search experts predicted, the start of the year is all about the rise of e-commerce and new marketing platforms. Those who have an eye for trends find these changes an exciting opportunity to expand their online efforts and go beyond the search capabilities of Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

As we move to the next quarter of the year, let’s have a recap of the changes that took place during Q1 and their impact on the digital landscape.


A New Layout for Product Listing Ads

Google is driving towards the commercial intent of today’s online users by removing right hand side ads and pushing organic search results further down. This shows the availability of Product Listing Ads on the right side of the SERPs.

Google is testing a new layout for PLAs—traditionally, Google PLAs appear with only five to eight featured products. The search engine is now introducing up to 16 products with its expandable layout. Representatives from Google say this change is global and will affect all languages. While the search engine is still experimenting with its PLAs, it says a lot on the direction that commercial queries might take.

Product Listings Ads
Source: Channel Advisor


Mobile Commerce

Mobile Commerce

Google Shopping reports that mobile users are the main contributors in sales growth, with an increase of 45%. During Holiday 2015, results show 23% of overall e-commerce transactions took place with a smartphone. This shifts the shopping catalyst from traditional e-commerce transformation towards mobile.

Mobile transactions highlight the need to optimize checkout pages for mobile versions of websites. Many businesses are now incorporating seamless payment services and applications into their checkout pages for the convenience of mobile shoppers—Apple Pay and Android Pay are just a few examples of popular “mobile wallets”.

Mobile commerce is expected to grow by 300%. This poses the question, “What can we do to drive the potential revenue from mobile shoppers?” Businesses still have the rest of the year to get a grasp of the fast pace of mobile commerce.


Facebook Video and Snapchat Ads

With online users changing the way they absorb information, video ads are taking shape as one of the most powerful tools of marketers. The faster you communicate through videos, the better. And, this is where Facebook is headed with its updated features for video ads.

The social network site is adding automated captions for video ads to increase view time. The site is developing a captioning tool to generate descriptions for video ads, so businesses and marketers don’t have to add these themselves.

Facebook Video and Snapchat
Source: Facebook and Snapchat

Snapchat is also making its way to mainstream video ads on social media. At the start of the year, Bloomberg News reports 7 million videos uploaded by users daily. Industry authorities connect this huge leap in Snapchat usage to the growing number of mobile users.

Many businesses are using this platform to create promotional videos and build a new image across their target audience. Major brands and organizations such as McDonald’s, 20th Century Fox, and even the NBA are using this video platform to create a buzz, much like how they would with word-of-mouth marketing.

The year is far from over—you can expect more surprises to come in the coming months. Stay updated with the trends, so you can gear up for any shift in the digital landscape.

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