Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week

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

This week: some of your favourite social networks turn against you, Bing and AOL become buddies and we discover the best way to share videos on Facebook.

Bing now officially powers AOL Search 

As announced on January 4 via the Bing Ads blog, Bing now “powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.” 

This also means that all major Bing Ads ad products are enabled for AOL search traffic too.

According to the post, one in five searches happen on, and by providing Bing search results for the number three (Yahoo) and five (AOL) search providers in the US, Bing powers close to one-third of US PC web searches.

And being as we’ve talked about AOL briefly, here’s my favourite advert ever made.

Twitter plays with fire

As you will no doubt already be aware, Twitter is considering a major upheaval to its core USP by lengthening its 140 character limit to a much more loquacious 10,000 character limit. This may happen as soon as ‘the end of Q1 2016’, an abbreviation which has more characters than ‘the end of March.’

In this lengthy post, our own Chris Lake discusses how this mooted change reflects a personality crisis in Twitter.

Personally I’d just like to see a ‘maximum number of tweets’ limit per day given to all users, in a draconian crack down on you waffling on and not getting any real work done or watching television properly.

Fewer native ads to run in 2016

2014’s favourite buzz-thing, native advertising is facing a shaky future, or at least a temporary ‘blip’. According to a survey by Trusted Media Brands Inc on preferred mobile advertising formats, 45% of marketers say they’re going to use native ads in 2016, a dip of 5% from 2015.

Marketers complain that native ads are hard to measure, not easy or quick to produce and the sell through rate for native, even for sites with a stated emphasis on the format can be 5% or less.

Facebook Messenger now has 800m users

At the end of 2015, Facebook reached a major milestone. It now has 800 million people using Messenger each month. 

It obviously helped that in 2014 Facebook forced its app users to download the separate standalone Messenger app if they wanted to carry on communicating with friends ‘beyond the wall’.


What’s coming up in 2016?

Facebook believes that as old ways of communicating disappear, so to will the need for a phone number, as voice and video calls no longer technically require one. There will be an increase in private group message threads, as well as an opening up of the ability to achieve tasks within the Messenger app itself, such as ordering an Uber or purchasing tickets.

“Our early tests in 2015 with brands are showing that interactions will happen more and more in your Messenger threads, so we’ll continue making it easy for you to engage with businesses, and we’ll also do more to enable additional businesses and services to build the right experience in conversations.”

So brands appearing in your private messaging apps then? In 2017 we may see a shift back to using rotary telephones and going ex-directory.

Native Facebook videos dominate Newsfeeds

Quintly has discovered that Facebook page owners prefer loading videos directly to Facebook, rather then posting a YouTube, Vimeo or Vevo link.


Youtube videos only account for 1/4 of all videos posted by page owners. Other video players such as Twitch, Vevo and Red Bull’s media player only have a combined share of 10%.

Obviously it’s in Facebook’s best interest to give preferential algorithmic treatment to its own video service above its rival Google’s. There are also more tools at the Facebook video marketer’s disposal, such as the contemptible auto-play function.

This has led to Facebook native videos achieving four times the number of interactions over the competition.


That’s it. Happy New Year by the way. Sorry I forgot to mention that at the top of the page. How rude!

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