Marketing News You Need to Know – 8th March 2024

08 March 2024
by Atlas SEO
3 mins
Marketing News You Need to Know – 8th March 2024

Google finally rolls out first core update of 2024

After weeks of chatter about search ranking volatility, Google confirmed the first core algorithm update of the year on Wednesday. The March 2024 core update is a big one; there will be numerous search quality enhancements and spam updates. The major tweaks to the core system mean this update could take four weeks to roll out fully – that’s two weeks longer than Google’s usual timeframe for a core update.

Google’s Director of Product, Elizabeth Tucker, says the latest changes will “reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%.” SEOs should buckle up as updates to multiple core systems will also cause “more fluctuations” in rankings than normal, according to Google Search Quality team member Chris Nelson. The update started midweek (5 March) so things might not settle down until after the Easter holidays.

Meta uses AI to boost its video recs on Facebook

Meta is now integrating AI into its recommendation algorithm to boost engagement. It’s already working, too. Facebook head Tom Alison said this week that the AI-powered algorithm has increased watch times for videos by 8-10%. It is currently being used for Reels but will soon be leveraged for clips across all formats on Facebook, including the main feed and Groups. The move is part of Meta’s “technology roadmap”, which outlines its plans for new tech and features through to 2026.

Technical issue downs major platforms

There were brief fears of an internet implosion on Tuesday after several major platforms went offline. Meta was the most affected, with hundreds of thousands of users reporting issues with logging in to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Fortunately, the “technical issue” was resolved after two hours and normal service was resumed. Meta later apologised. The latest downtime pales in comparison to the six-hour outage it suffered back in 2021, which also affected WhatsApp.

X wants to hide likes and reposts

Elon Musk’s tinkering with X continues after he said this week that visible counters for likes and reposts may soon be jettisoned from people’s timelines. During a speech at a Morgan Stanley conference, Musk said displaying the metrics in posts makes the platform appear “untidy”. Later in the day, in response to a question about hiding likes and reposts, he added on X: “That is definitely happening. Just view count, as proxy for the other metrics, will show on the timeline." 

Social media engagement doesn’t translate to higher content views

Finally, a new study from Memo has found that there is no correlation between high levels of engagement on social media and page views for publishers. Only a fraction of news readers navigate to articles from social media; just 1%, according to the new research. Memo noted: “The social media landscape is shifting. Platforms are adjusting algorithms to de-prioritize news in an effort to combat the spread of misinformation.”

However, there was “low-end moderate” correlation in three news categories: sports and athletics, politics and crises (breaking stories). It appears that relying on social media for referral traffic is no longer a viable strategy, though it can still support efforts to drive engagement. Memo concluded that social media is no longer the “end-all-be-all” for comms teams and publishers.


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