Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Image by Norbet, available via CC BY 2.0

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

This week, Pinterest’s acquisition of Google’s former image search lead, Randy Keller, as Head of Search shows how serious the social network is about visual search; and Twitter’s Q4 earnings have raised questions about the company’s long-term prospects. Plus, a new study shows voice search on the rise, and Google tests a way for users to report offensive autocomplete suggestions.

Google’s Randy Keller joins Pinterest as Head of Search

We’ve known for a while now that visual search was becoming a key part of Pinterest’s offering as a social platform, and the past couple of weeks have seen Pinterest make even more moves to cement its position at the forefront of visual search. On February 7, Pinterest released a new set of visual discovery tools, including the long-awaited Lens, a visual recognition and search tool which lets users search the real world using the camera in their Pinterest app.

Then came the announcement that Google’s former Head of Image Search, Randy Keller, has jumped ship to join Pinterest as Head of Search – a brand-new role which has just been created at the company. If anyone was in any doubt before about Pinterest’s plans to make search a central focus, they won’t be now.

So what’s next for Pinterest and visual search, and more importantly, how can it use its visual expertise to drive revenue and keep users engaging with its platform in the long term? Clark Boyd took an in-depth look this week at whether Pinterest can crack (and monetise) visual search, and how it could potentially gain an edge over titans like Google and Amazon if it plays its cards right.

Twitter’s Q4 earnings raise questions about the company’s long-term future

While Pinterest explores new ways to monetise its platform, things aren’t looking so positive for another social network: Twitter.

Twitter’s Q4 earnings are in, and the numbers fell far short of analysts’ and Wall Street’s expectations, raising questions about the social network’s long-term future. And while Twitter is reporting a 11% year-over-year growth in Daily Active Users, it won’t actually release the figures, claiming that “Growth rate is what we are most comfortable sharing at this moment in time.”

Where does Twitter go from here? Al Roberts assessed the situation over on our sister site, ClickZ, concluding that some major changes may be in order if Twitter wants to turn its fortunes around.

New study shows a steadily increasing adoption of voice search

Voice search is already a fast-growing movement in the search industry – and the latest figures indicate that it’s winning increasing ground in daily use. A new study published by digital marketing agency Stonetemple shows the inroads that voice search is making into people’s daily lives, with 59% of Americans surveyed saying that they use voice search to look up information on their smartphones.

However, there are still obstacles to voice search becoming truly mainstream, such as the stigma around using it in public. Tereza Litsa took a look at the findings for Search Engine Watch to discover when, how and how often people are using voice search, and what that means for its future.

The downfall of PewDiePie could hurt influencer marketing on YouTube

If you follow news around YouTube, gaming or even online media in general, you’ve probably heard that YouTube’s most famous figure, PewDiePie, has been dropped by Disney’s Maker Studios following an investigation by the Wall Street Journal into videos he has published containing anti-Semitic themes.

This was followed not long after by a similar decision from YouTube to cut ad revenue to PewDiePie’s videos, removing him from the Google Preferred advertising program and cancelling the planned second season of his original YouTube series, Scare PewDiePie.

But PewDiePie’s series has been a core component of the promotion for YouTube Red, its paid subscription service; and while many support YouTube’s decision to distance itself from PewDiePie, the star’s downfall could also spell serious trouble for the future of YouTube Red and influencer marketing in general.

Google tests method of reporting autocomplete suggestions

We’ve all heard the jokes and stories about the weird autocomplete queries that pop up when you input certain things into Google, confirming beyond a doubt – as if we didn’t already know – that sometimes people are awful. But while Google can’t control the things its users search for, it has decided to start taking control of whether or not they show up as autocomplete suggestions.

Accordingly, Search Engine Land has reported that Google is testing a new way to report offensive autocomplete suggestions, with a small gray ‘Report offensive query’ link appearing beneath the autocomplete options. The feature is in limited testing still, so it might look different once it’s officially implemented.

Image: Search Engine Land

A spokesperson for Google confirmed the test in a statement shared with Search Engine Land, saying:

“Autocomplete predictions are based on searches previously carried out by users around the world. That means that predicted terms are sometimes unexpected or offensive. We have been actively working on improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web. In addition, we’re experimenting with a new feature that allows people to report offensive Search predictions. We’re working to incorporate such feedback into our algorithms, and we hope to roll this out more broadly over time. Autocomplete isn’t an exact science and we’re continually working to improve it.”

Related reading

Modern flat design style illustration of driving organic traffic.

Simple Share Buttons