What We Learned Last Month (August Edition) - The Essential Catch-Up from the World of Digital Marketing

August has passed us by in a flurry of announcements and big stories in the digital marketing world, not least from Google, or should we say Alphabet? If you've had a busy month (or who knows, possibly even been away on holiday. Wishful thinking?), we've put together the must read stories to ensure you're all clued up with August's biggest developments.

Google is now Alphabet

It’s perhaps unsurprising that we’ve started with this, but Google has made the huge decision to create a new company called Alphabet to oversee it’s huge collection of products and services. Google’s core offering (including Search, Ads and Youtube) will keep its name and get a new CEO, Sundar Pichai, while the current management team will move up to Alphabet. There is so much analysis out there, but this great post from Stratechery dives into the motivation behind the change.

For the full lowdown on Alphabet read Danny Sullivan's indepth post on Marketing Land

Facebook hits 1 billion users in a single day

In its 11 year history, Facebook has enjoyed plenty of numeric milestones, but on Monday 27th August it hit a billion users in a single day. The average daily user figure is already up at 968 million and it has 1.49 billion active users.

Martin Beck has covered the momentous occasion over at Marketing Land.

It's been a busy month for Facebook.

...and launches a (partially) people-powered personal assistant

It’s been a big month for the social media behemoth, as it has also launched a Siri/Google Now/Cortana competitor, called simply ‘M’. The differentiating factor is the use of real people to deal with the ‘trickier’ requests that the software can’t handle. It’s currently doing rounds of internal testing.

The Guardian's Stuart Dredge has all the details so far.

Google comes out swinging against EU antitrust charges

In the face of ongoing action by the European Commission against supposed anti-competitive practices, particularly in relation to the display of paid merchant ads, Google has published an exhaustive rebuttal that refutes the EC’s claims.

You can read the full story over on their blog.

Twitter rolled out fully in Google search results

While you might have spotted occasional tweets being shown in desktop results recently (they’ve been showing in mobile since May), Google has now rolled out the addition to all users globally, as long as they’re using the search engine in English.

Learn more about the new SERP feature from Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land.

New ranking factors released by Moz

Moz’s biannual survey of ranking factors has once again been released, in which correlation data and expert opinions are collected to find what affects search rankings the most. Cyrus Shepard’s post details the all important results along with a number of key points to take away with you. Rand Fishkin will be discussing the ranking factors in detail at SearchLove San Diego and London in September and October respectively.

See Cyrus' full post here.

Rectangular photos now allowed on Instagram

It might not seem like such a big piece of news, but Instagram has been famously rigid in only allowing square photos, but it’s finally made the move to allow your choice portrait and landscape shots. This will be particularly useful for marketers using the same images across multiple social platforms.

Alexis Kleinman of Huffington Post has all the info.

Distilled News

In Distilled news, one of the month's most popular blogs was from head of PPC Rich Cotton, all about mobile and conversational search.

In August, we handed over the reins of our blog to our resident PPC experts. Head of PPC Rich Cotton has given his take on how mobile and conversational search will have a huge effect on PPC, while our PPC Analyst Troy Evans gives a checklist on all the access and settings you should go over with every new client.

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