Ecommerce Marketing Roundup: Industry Updates From May 2016

Running a successful online store is time-consuming to say the least. What’s more, ecommerce changes and updates are constantly rolling out. These can directly affect your business, so staying in tune with the latest happenings is an absolute must.

If you don’t have a spare hour or two each week (or every day in reality) to parse through the seemingly endless array of news articles and digital marketing blogs out there, don’t worry – just keep reading.

Our new ecommerce roundup series was created to make it easy for even the busiest entrepreneurs to stay up to date on what’s actually important with this quick monthly read. We’ve sifted through the fluff and not-so-important chatter to bring you the top stories and industry updates you should know about. So with that, let’s get to it:

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Boost Has Been Rolled Out

According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller, as of May 12th, Google has fully rolled out the second version of their mobile-friendly update. Google first mentioned that they were planning on boosting the mobile-friendly algorithm this May back in March, and it looks like they’ve kept their word.

This algorithm boost is aimed at increasing the effect of the mobile-friendly ranking signal. So, if your site is already mobile-friendly, you have nothing to worry about as “you will not be impacted by this update.”

However, if your site is not currently mobile-friendly, you may continue to see a gradual decrease in mobile visits as the algorithm works to boost mobile-friendly sites in the mobile search results while further demoting non-mobile-friendly websites.

Because the mobile-friendly algorithm is a page-by-page signal coupled with the fact that it can take time for Google to crawl, assess and index each page, any impact is likely to be gradual and slow to show up.

Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly?

Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Want some information on what makes a website mobile-friendly? Check out Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. Google’s new mobile-friendly testing tool is now linked from Search Console’s mobile usability report and is also available directly here. The update tool allows you to open the site-wide mobile usability report in Search Console to learn what specifically is working for or against your site. You can also learn more about mobile-friendly pages in general through its help center articles and you can post questions or comments in Google’s discussion groups.

Click here for more information about Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm and mobile-friendly solutions for your Volusion store. You can also view Volusion’s selection of responsive (read: mobile-friendly) templates here.

A Big Change Coming Soon to Google Maps: Advertising

Google has unveiled what it is calling the “next generation” of local search ads aimed at driving more online traffic from Maps to local businesses. These ads will appear within Google Maps (on the app as well as both the desktop and mobile versions of the site) and will offer local business a new way to reach consumers.

In the new ads, brand logos will appear directly on the surface of the map. These “promoted pins” could appear as you look at a map or could show up along your driving route when you are near an advertiser. When a brand logo is clicked, a business page appears at the bottom of the screen and can display coupons or let the user browse the store’s inventory.

Google says it’s seeing growing demand from advertisers for the kinds of ads that reach consumers on mobile devices. Google is now serving up trillions of searches a year, and with more than half of those coming from mobile devices and a third of those mobile searches being tied to a specific location, it’s pretty clear to see what is driving advertiser interest.

Google has not said when users may start seeing Maps ads.

Instagram Analytics for Businesses and Brands

Instagram has been busy preparing to launch a series of new tools that will be available for businesses and brands using its platform. Some of these tools include the ability to track the analytics around a post, business profiles with contact buttons, and direct access to maps and directions via a business’ profile.

Instagram’s analytics will be called Insights and, much like its Facebook counterpart, will focus on follower demographics and post analytics.

The follower analytics section provides specific demographic information about businesses’ Instagram audiences such as age, gender and location – by country and by city. It will also report on metrics that allow you to track how many new followers you have gained on an hourly and daily basis presented in visually-appealing graphs and charts. Check out your follower analytics to see which posts were the most effective in converting users into followers.

The post analytics section focuses specifically on how the account’s content is performing and includes metrics such as impressions, reach and website clicks. One of the modules in this section shows top posts sorted by impressions over the past week or past month. The best part about this feature is its visual presentation: a thumbnail grid of top-performing posts with the total number of impressions overlaid on top of the original image. This provides a visualization of the content that works well for brands and speaks to their target audiences – valuable insights for future content strategies.

These new tools have been in the works for some time and have been slowly rolled out to some users, but Instagram hasn’t confirmed what percentage of its user base already has access to them. The new analytics tools should be fully rolled out in the next few months.


We hope after reading this, you feel more confident in knowing what’s happening in the ecommerce marketing world. We’ll be back next month with another round-up – hopefully you’ll have a chance to test out these new developments by then. And feel free to add anything we missed in the comments below!