Five most important search marketing news stories of the week

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Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week we have possible bad news for AMP users and good news for AdWords customers who are tired of its UI.

Facebook begins thwarting ad blockers

As Al Roberts reported this week, Facebook has announced that it’s changing its desktop ads to thwart ad blocking software.

For those who wish to complain about the amount of ads on Facebook, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Ads & Business Platform VP, had this to say, “Facebook is ad-supported. Ads are a part of the Facebook experience; they’re not a tack on.”

So, nyah.

However Bosworth makes clear that Facebook has worked hard to introduce tools to help people control their experience, improve how they decide which ads to show and Facebook has created new ad formats that “complement, rather than detract from, people’s experience online.”

Are you using Facebook’s many ad controls? Do you even know they exist? Did you know that you can choose not to see those ads for hoodies that AMAZINGLY have your family name written on them!?

55% of searchers don’t recognise paid ads in Google SERPS

New research from Varn, that comes off the back of a fresh round of Google SERP changes, suggests that more than half of all searchers still can’t distinguish between paid and organic results.

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As reported by Graham Charlton this week, the results are also split by age, with the general trend being that the younger you are, the more likely it is that you’ll spot the ads. Though almost 50% of 25 to 34s still can’t distinguish between paid and organic, despite the paid results being labelled as such.

Google AMP may be leading to lower CTR

Google is rolling out its ‘accelerated mobile pages’ beyond the Top Stories in mobile SERPs, and this has lead some people to see lower click-through rates on results.

Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable has seen a lower CTR from AMP pages and Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive speculates that this could be due to the fact that users don’t understand what AMP means…

“Looking back the demo and seeing both AMP icons + mobile-friendly tags, I couldn’t help but think that the average user might understand mobile-friendly way more than AMP with a lightning bolt. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t that yield mediocre results for amplified pages in the search results (at least in the short-term)? And couldn’t that possibly lead to even more click through to mobile-friendly pages versus amplified pages?”

As Al Roberts reports, Gabe created a quick poll that asked respondents if they knew what AMP referred to. Here are the results:

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Perhaps Google should’ve spent more time educating its users, rather than panicking webmasters.

Google Now to deliver more ‘personalised’ results

As reported by Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal, Google’s personal virtual assistant Google NOW is experimenting with a new feature to bring you more content you care about…

“Explore Interests” lets users identify their interests from six different categories: Sports, TV, Movies, Musicians, People, and Stocks. Then you can get more detailed by selecting your favourite sports teams, favorite musicians, etc.

Google will then deliver new content from those interests directly to you in the form of a Google Now card. As Matt says, “Theoretically you can have all the content you’re interested in delivered to you without you having to search for it.”

New look Google AdWords is rolling out to users right now

Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land that the new look AdWords is gradually being rolled out to users from this week.

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The changes are purely aesthetic, rather than a complete overhaul, but it does bring AdWords – which was beginning to look quite dated – in line with its other, newer products.

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