Another week of digital marketing news awaits with Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck in the latest episode of their award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast. Episode 307 featured special guest special guest Joel Klettke, founder of Case Study Buddy, who joined in the commentary and analysis on the week’s news:
Google Announces New Game-Streaming Service: Stadia
From Vlad Savov on The Verge we saw this headline: Stadia is about the future of YouTube, not gaming. The sub-headline says Google is starting a revolution just to keep things as they are. What’s this all about?
- Tom Brodbeck: Stadia is Google’s new cloud-based gaming platform. This idea of streaming the gaming experience has been the Holy Grail among gaming companies, but the technology hasn’t been robust enough to handle it. If successful, then gamers could finally get away from the gaming consoles they’ve been required to buy in the past. Google thinks they have the technology to pull this off. The way this relates YouTube is that when YouTube first started, it was mostly gamers streaming video of themselves playing games. With Stadia, players can invite those who are watching online to join in the game. You would just click a button in the YouTube channel and within seconds you’d be inserted into the game.
- Erin Sparks: Right now, Steam is the leading online gaming platform, and they’re making money hand-over-fist. Other companies include Epic and Emulator. You don’t have to have the hardware at home for the powerful rendering needed because that will be handled behind-the-scenes. Google sees this is where it’s at – getting away from the consoles once and for all.
- Joel Klettke: It will certainly be interesting to see if Google can really dominate this emerging part of the gaming industry. I remember thinking as a kid back in the day why in the world Microsoft was getting in on gaming. Keep in mind, Google doesn’t always hit home runs. There’s the epic Google Glass failure, not to mention Google+ so it’s not just a foregone conclusion that they’re going to succeed in this.
- Tom Brodbeck: And all the data they’re going to collect on gamers using the system will allow for super-precise ad targeting.
- Joel Klettke: There are people whose sole job is negotiating with companies to sell in-game advertising space.
- Erin Sparks: It’s product placement in a virtual environment!
- Tom Brodbeck: But lots of people literally just ignore the ads.
Instagram Gets the Edge on Amazon with In-App Discovery Shopping
- Erin Sparks: Instagram just upped its game as a shopping destination. Users will now, for the first time, be able to make purchases of some products from directly within the app. There are 20+ companies participating in the initial rollout including big names like Nike and Zara, along with smaller brands like Outdoor Voices and Warby Parker. This is an interesting move given that some people have been moving away from some of the big social media platforms to get away from so much ad exploitation. Is Instagram doing harm by making itself a commerce-laden environment?
- Joel Klettke: I think not. And the reason is because of how people use these different platforms. The way people engage with Instagram and its celebrities and influencers. In my house we have various baby products because my wife followed someone on Instagram who also has that product. There’s a natural dovetail there with this move. But if they do it right, in kind of a low-key way to shorten the distance between desire and purchase because you don’t have to leave Instagram to make the buy, it could work well, unlike how it just pisses people off in Snapchat, Facebook and other platforms.
- Tom Brodbeck: People are on Instagram because they’re bored, right? So, if they notice something cool, they might go ahead and buy it. This is a good play for Instagram, but not a good play for people’s pocketbooks. It’ll really make the celebrities and influencers on the platform that much more powerful for marketers. And it’s true that Amazon’s biggest weakness is that it’s a storefront, not a social network.
Google Cautions Against Adding Unnecessary Text to eCommerce Category Pages
As reported by Matt Southern over at Search Engine Journal, Google says don’t blindly stuff text into ecommerce category pages. Does Google really need to warn people about this? Seems like it ought to be widely known by now.
- Tom Brodbeck: eCommerce retailers often have products in multiple categories, so an SEO tactic has been to put more content on those category pages than just product photos with minimal descriptive text. You’ll find paragraphs of text on the category page about the general product category and not just the product listings.
- Erin Sparks: Yes, and SEO technicians have seen category pages flagged for being thin on content, so it made sense to beef up the content. The problem has to do with what you put there. Google is scrutinizing that content very carefully, so it has to really add value and not just be random crappy content stuffed with keywords.
- Joel Klettke: The fact that Google even had to say this warning made my soul die a little bit. You could literally replace anything in that hedline and it should apply as general good advice for life – don’t do anything blindly! As a guy who writes for a living, you should never blindly stuff anything into anything!
- Tom Brodbeck: Unless it’s stuffing meat into meat.
- Erin Sparks: Oh, yeah you better believe it. Have you ever experienced a bacon taco before? We’ll talk later.
- Joel Klettke: Okay, bacon tacos aside, it’s just sad that Google saying this is considered news. It’s just soul-crushing for me.
Connect with Joel Klettke
Twitter: @JoelKlettke (https://twitter.com/JoelKlettke)
Case Study Buddy website: https://casestudybuddy.com
Case Study Buddy Twitter: @casestudybuddy (https://twitter.com/casestudybuddy)
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