By Mark Eting
Bullseye Strategy Special Correspondent
It might sound minor compared to serious crimes like murder or kidnapping, but for digital marketing nerds like your friends here at Bullseye Strategy, the rampant creation of fake Google Maps business listings is inspiring us to fantasize about vigilante justice. The only thing that’s calmed us down as we grappled with this week’s news that there have been 11 million fraudulent local business listings on everyone’s favorite search engine has been some very good news for marketers from LinkedIn and Instagram. Here are some of the highlights from our roller coaster of a week.
Google Fakers, Exposed!
Let’s get back to those 11 million fraudulent local business listings on Google Maps: the Wall Street Journal reported that hundreds of thousands of new fake listings are added each week. This is a search engine nuisance that is destructive to local businesses and consumers alike. For every law firm, towing company and hair salon that has to compete with a “local” business that doesn’t actually exist, there are hundreds of customers who are getting scammed–and at the very least are wasting their time and clicks. Some digital marketing advocates feel that Google isn’t acting fast enough to clean up the mess, and the truth is, Google ultimately stands to profit as local businesses turn to paid ads to regain search visibility. We don’t mean to sound dramatic, but we feel like current legal consequences for this destructiveness aren’t severe enough to fit the crime, and it might be time to bring back the stocks and pillories, or at least some good old-fashioned tarring and feathering.
Loving New LinkedIn Lead Gen Options
While we did a lot of teeth-gnashing over what this Google Maps development will mean for our clients with local B2C businesses, our B2B strategists were popping the virtual champagne over news from LinkedIn that new lead gen options have greatly expanded. Business pages can now create custom CTAs such as “Visit website” and “Register.” We’re also digging a new community feature that allows businesses to associate with relevant hashtags so their posts will be part of trending conversation of interest to their prospects and customers. Combined with recent news about LinkedIn’s algorithm update, which will now rank content according to relevance and niche, we are feeling the LinkedIn love in a big way.
Instagram Explore Finally Includes Ads
We’re not going to lie: we’ve had our eye on Instagram’s Explore tab for quite some time. Half of Instagram’s users (that’s half of more than a BILLION people) engage within this tab every month, and the opportunity to offer some tasteful, relevant content that aligns with what users are most intrigued by has just been sitting there like an exquisite chocolate truffle resting temptingly on a plate. Well, the moment has arrived and we can eat that metaphorical chocolate! We’re savoring the announcement from Instagram that advertisers will be able to insert ads into users’ browsing experience. The ads can be bought through the Facebook Ads Manager API, and advertisers are being coached to create visually rich content to ensure engagement within an experience that, since its inception in 2012, has been about discovery and not transactions.
“Mark Eting” is the pen name of the Bullseye Strategy team. Check back with us next week for more news on what’s buzzing in the digital marketing industry.