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This week sees the introduction of ‘session’ data in Google Analytics, Google making paid search more secure, Facebook clamping down on spam and US Airways accidently tweeting a piece of profane imagery.
Within Google Analytics many webmasters will today notice that ‘Visits’ are now referred to as ‘Sessions’ – at first this may seem just a change of terminology but is in fact a bit more complicated. Nick Mihailovski from Google wrote:
“The Visitors web metric and Active Users app metric are now unified under the same name, Users. And, Visits are now referred to as Sessions everywhere in all of Google Analytics. We’ll be making these changes starting today, and rolling them out incrementally over the next week.”
This means that those who aren’t using app tracking will generally see no change, but those who do can expect to see some differences that offer both further insight and more unified metrics. One of our digital marketing analysts, Helen Nash, has put together a breakdown of this change and what it means for webmasters.
Google has been slowly securing its search data since 18 October 2011 with the introduction of (not provided). On 9 April 2014, this move began to happen with paid keyword data too. Paul Feng, product management director for AdWords, wrote:
“Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com.”
Feng’s statement caused a flurry of rumours and concern but, in reality, there is not much for most webmasters to worry about; paid keyword data won’t be lost but instead will likely only be accessible from the AdWords search terms report and possibly in the AdWord sections of linked Google Analytic accounts.
The big issue with this change is not how it affects webmasters but how certain third party tools that have been using this data will be affected. Instead of simply pulling keywords from the referral data, these tools will instead need to pull from the Search Query Performance Report and therefore those affected tools will require updates. In short, there is no need to panic: paid keyword data isn’t being removed but simply being made more secure.
On 10 April 2014 Erich Owens and Chris Turitzin from Facebook announced a shake-up to the News Feed algorithm that aims to clean up the spam that has been making its way into the feeds recently. They wrote:
“Today we are announcing a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would. Our update targets three broad categories of this type of feed spam behavior.”
These three broad categories are:
These changes are great for users in that they’ll receive more tailored and curated content. It’s also great for marketers who won’t be competing against weak and spammy content any longer – just remember to keep sharing quality and relevant content to your audience.
The major American airline US Airways got into hot water with its Twitter account this week as it accidently tweeted a graphic photo in a response to a customer enquiry. The BBC report that the mistake resulted from a member of staff accidently pulling the image from a tweet that the company had earlier received and flagged as inappropriate.
Luckily for the unfortunate member of staff, US Airways has decided to not fire the employee as it understands it was simply a mistake. Matt Miller from American Airlines Group said: “it was an honest mistake and it was done while capturing the tweet and flagging it as inappropriate, our standard procedure”.
US Airways has since issued an apology on from its Twitter account and seems to have not actually been negatively affected by the mishap – likely because the airline company understood the issue at hand and responded calmly and honestly about what happened.
We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.— US Airways (@USAirways) April 14, 2014
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