15 years of Google Trends; Thursday’s daily brief

15 years of Google Trends; Thursday’s daily brief

Plus, Instagram tests out more ecommerce support and adds contact “Limits.”

Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, Google Trends is 15 years old!

Well, it’s actually about 15 and 3 months, but the company decided to publish a few posts about it yesterday. That inspired me to look back on the top trending searches of the last few years. I hope you like nostalgia because here they are.

  • 2020: “Election results”
  • 2019: “Disney Plus”
  • 2018: “World Cup”
  • 2017: “Hurricane Irma”
  • 2016: “Powerball”
  • 2015: “Lamar Odom”
  • 2014: “Robin Williams”

Every time I look at historical Google Trends data, I’m always surprised (yet still somehow not surprised) at what captured our interests and how those priorities have changed over the years. I’ve got my fingers crossed for trends worth fondly reminiscing about in 2021.

Nostalgia trip aside, Google Trends can be a very useful tool for marketers — if you’re unfamiliar, the company has posted an article with tips on how to get the most out of it. And, I’ve included a link to an interview with the person who led the team that launched Google Trends back in 2006, you can find that at the top of the Shorts section.

George Nguyen,

Instagram is adding more e-commerce support with ads in the Shop tab

Instagram is now testing ads in the Shop tab, TechCrunch first reported on Monday. The ads, which are rolling out now to mobile users in the U.S., can include a single image or a carousel of images, and the test is currently only open to a handful of retailers.

Why we care. Ads in Instagram Shops may provide retailers with a new way to target audiences that are ready to shop. This is especially valuable as the industry moves away from cross-app tracking and third-party cookies, which may be less of an issue in this context since all of the user’s activity happens in the app.

Read more here.

Google Ads will soon block ad targeting based on age, gender or interests of people under 18

With virtual schooling (and the general digitization of life), kids are more online than ever. That’s one of the reasons Google provided for implementing its new ad targeting restrictions. In the coming months, the company will expand safeguards to block ad targeting based on the age, gender or interests of users under 18. Google will also prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens.

In addition, the company is introducing a new policy that enables users under 18 years old (or their parent or guardian) to request removal of their images from Google Image results and is defaulting YouTube uploads to private for kids between 13-17. Instagram knocked over the first domino when it made similar policy changes late last month, so we might see other players do the same. While advertisers should not be drastically affected, you may see changes in your ad metrics as audiences are potentially taken away from your targeting.

Read more here.

Instagram introduces the ability to limit comments and DMs from accounts that don’t follow you

Instagram Limits
Image: Instagram.

Instagram is introducing Limits, a feature that will automatically hide comments and DM requests from users who don’t follow you (or your brand) or who only recently followed you, the Facebook-owned company announced yesterday.

“Our research shows that a lot of negativity towards public figures comes from people who don’t actually follow them, or who have only recently followed them, and who simply pile on in the moment,” the company said in the announcement, “We saw this after the recent Euro 2020 final, which resulted in a significant and unacceptable spike in racist abuse towards players. Creators also tell us they don’t want to switch off comments and messages completely; they still want to hear from their community and build those relationships.” Limits is now available to all users globally.

Why we care. Over the past few years, but especially since last year, brand safety has been a major concern for many businesses. Limits can help brands on Instagram stem the flurry of comments that may come in response to their stance on polarizing topics (like mask mandates, for example). It can also prevent them from alienating their longtime followers on the platform since those users will still be able to comment or send DMs.

Behind the scenes of Google Trends, standing out from the rest of the pack and your suggestions for custom columns in Google Ads

The Google Trends origin story. As I noted in the intro, Google Trends is now 15 years old, and in recognition of that milestone, the company has published an interview with Yossi Matias, VP of engineering and research, who led the team that launched Trends all those years ago. Matias shares where the idea for Trends came from, how the tool has changed and what working on Trends in 2020 was like. 

Dare to be less same. This week’s Marketoon is all about standing out in a “sea of sameness.” Even slight — and sometimes, arbitrary — distinctions can make all the difference, just look at Fiji Water’s bottles.

What custom columns would you like to see in Google Ads? Google’s Ads Product Liaison Ginny Marvin is looking for your suggestions.

On behalf of third-party sellers, Amazon will pay up to $1,000 for property damage and personal injury claims

Amazon is expanding its A-to-z Guarantee to facilitate the resolution of personal injury and property damage claims between customers, merchants and their insurance providers. This program, which will begin on September 1, includes payments of up to $1,000 per claim (that covers about 80% of cases, according to the ecommerce platform).

The resolution program is offered at no cost to sellers and Amazon may step in to pay claims for higher amounts if the seller is unresponsive or rejects a claim that the platform believes to be valid. If the seller doesn’t respond to a claim, Amazon may decide to pursue the seller separately. If a seller rejects a claim that Amazon believes is valid, Amazon may still intervene to address the customer’s concern, but the seller will still have the opportunity to defend their product against the claim.

“Wow, so magnanimous of you, Amazon!” is what some may be thinking. But, in 2019, a panel of Pennsylvania judges decided that Amazon is liable for personal injury resulting from goods bought on its platform — even goods sold by third parties. This new program may help Amazon get out ahead of potential lawsuits by resolving claims before customers lawyer up.

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