News of the Week: Google changes ad appearance and zero position

Google ad appearance

These two big-little changes are significant for both SEO and paid media – and they change Google’s relationship with its users

The past week has been marked by the loss of one of the funniest people of all time: Terry Jones. One of the members of the British humor group Monty Python, Jones was 77 years old and suffered from a rare form of dementia. Tributes came from all over, like an emotional one from his close friend Michael Palin.

Terry Jones is responsible for some of the group’s most memorable skits, as well as being the director of Monty Python’s most famous film: In Search of the Holy Grail (1975). He also wrote and starred in a skit that ended up in the vocabulary of every marketer: SPAM.

That’s right, the Email Marketing horror has its name inspired by a painting that aired in 1970. In the video below, you can see parts of the sketch and also understand a little of the context of the name spam – it’s a type of canned pork meat.

Now, keep reading the post with the news from this past week. Before, subscribe to our newsletter. We promise we won’t spam you, honoring Terry Jones’ legacy!

Google changes the appearance of ads and positions 0

With two small-big changes, Google managed to bring its flagship product into the Digital Marketing spotlight this week. The search engine – and consequently the results page – presented new features that directly affect SEO and paid media strategies.

Starting with the most significant change, although you might not notice it here in Brazil: the appearance of desktop ads. Historically, sponsored links have always been different from organic search results. This served so that the user could, precisely, differentiate them when choosing what to click.

Over the years, these differences have drastically diminished. If before there were colored boxes, then colored symbols and borders, now Google has put aside its modesty for real – it had already left it on mobile, by the way. As a picture is worth a thousand words, see how SERP is now, in English:


Notice how the ad at the top looks the same as the organic results, with the exception of the word “Ad” for the icon of the site below. Icon, by the way, which is also a recent addition to the desktop – Google argues that the favicon draws attention to the organic result, but looking at the image above, it’s pretty easy to argue back.

Ah, as I said, in Portuguese this will not be so remarkable. This is because we are seeing the word “Ad” and not “Ad”, therefore a little longer and more distinct from the favicon. Still, the gigantic, billion-dollar English ad market – which accounts for a huge chunk of Google’s revenue – will be totally impacted.

The distinction between organic and paid results was a cornerstone of the trust relationship between Google and its users. That has definitely changed: a lot of people will click ads unknowingly. For Marketing professionals, the dilemma between investing efforts in SEO or paid media will get even more complicated.

Position 0

The other plastic surgery that the results page went through this week refers to position 0 (or featured snippets ). Before, the desired position, in addition to being highlighted from the others at the top, was still duplicated in its original position, on the first page. From now on, this duplication will no longer happen.

Google justified itself by saying that the results page will be more organized. In the ad tweet, SEO professionals wondered if this means that position 0 is now position 1 – there was no response. Probably not: the URL that you uploaded is still technically in its original position and can be moved back down at any time.

What doesn’t change is the search by the Marketing teams at the top of the results page. How to do this? With quality content that solves the pain of your persona. Or with a lot of advertising budget, by the way.

Netflix metrics went crazy

Netflix reports its  Q4 2019. The streaming platform gained nearly 9 million new subscribers in the period, reaching a total of 167 million worldwide. In just these last 3 months, the revenue was 5.5 billion dollars. It’s a lot of money and a lot of people!

With such impressive numbers, you’d think Netflix was pretty cool about audience data, right? It seems not. The board staff decided to change a very relevant metric: how many minutes does it take for someone to watch a movie or episode to count how… watched.

Before, the count was as follows: 70% of the total time of the episode or movie. Now, according to the report, the intention is much more modest: 2 minutes. That’s right, something a little bigger than the trailer of a series or movie. It’s true that the modern Internet user’s attention span is getting shorter, but that’s kind of ridiculous.

It’s worth remembering that one of Netflix’s hottest releases last year, the movie The Irishman, is no less than 3 and a half hours long. So now you know: just watch the first 2 minutes to tell your friends you’ve seen it. But don’t do that, the feature film is very good!

Bill Gates celebrates 10 years of his Twitter account

Bill Gates released a video to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his Twitter account. He tweets a lot to his 48 million followers and has seen fit to compile a compilation of his favorite posts – made by himself, of course. The result is a small summary of the past decade, including statistics and even memes.