Hey digital entrepreneurs, we hope that you are staying safe and healthy wherever you are in the world.
As you hopefully enjoy the stay-at-home lifestyle, we are checking in with the latest edition of The Entrepreneur Monthly for March 2020.
In The Entrepreneur Monthly, we’ll break down all the news you need to know from the past month. We’ll cover important news about SEO, social media, WordPress, marketing, product launches, and anything else that might affect your digital business. Then, we’ll share it here on the blog and in our newsletter.
If you want to make sure you never miss an update, subscribe to the Blogging Wizard newsletter via the form at the end of this post to get The Entrepreneur Monthly delivered straight to your inbox every month.
This month, Google announced $340 million in ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses to help them cope with Coronavirus shutdowns. Other big tech companies are also adjusting to the global pandemic with big shifts, such as Facebook moving its product development focus to Facebook Live.
This is The Entrepreneur Monthly for March 2020.
Google offers $340 million in ad credits to SMBs
In order to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are affected by the Coronavirus situation, Google is offering $340 million in ad credits to small and medium-sized businesses around the world.
This is part of an over $800 million effort from Google that also includes $250 million in ad grants to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations. Google is also offering cloud compute resources to researchers and is investing $200 million in a fund to support small businesses with access to capital.
So who qualifies for the $340 million in ad credits and what do you have to do to get them?
First, Google says that it’s providing the credits to “SMB advertisers that have been active advertisers since Jan 1, 2019, and comply with all Google Ads T&Cs”. So you need to have been an existing advertiser to get the credit – it’s not something that you can sign up fresh for.
If you are a small or medium-sized business that’s been actively advertising since Jan 1, 2019, Google says that you “will be informed in the coming months through notifications within [your] Google Ads account.”
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t give a specific date – they just say “in the coming months”.
If you get one of the credits, you can use it on any Google Ads channel, including Search, Display, and YouTube. The credit will expire on Dec 31st, 2020, though, so don’t wait around too long to use it.
To learn more, you can check out Google’s dedicated help article for the ad credits.
Facebook works on expanding Facebook Live features
Because of the abrupt shift in how people are living their lives due to the Coronavirus, Facebook is changing its focus to Facebook Live because lockdowns around the world have driven up usage.
Part of this involves taking resources that would’ve been dedicated to features encouraging in-person gathering (like Facebook Events and Marketplace) and applying them to Facebook Live.
As part of that pivot, Facebook is focusing on quickly rolling out the following new Facebook Live features within the coming weeks:
- People will be able to watch Facebook Live videos without needing a Facebook account.
- Facebook will add automatic closed captioning to live videos.
- Digital tipping (like Twitch) will be expanded to more streamers as a way to make money.
- Charities will be able to use toll-free phone numbers to take live calls.
Facebook also plans to roll out a new creators dashboard for managing live videos.
To learn more about these new features and the pivot, check out this article from Bloomberg.
Search Engine Journal breaks down the new Facebook redesign
Let’s keep things rolling with Facebook…
In a previous edition of The Entrepreneur Monthly, we mentioned that Facebook is working on a big redesign of its web interface.
That original update was a little sparse on the details, but now Search Engine Journal has published a convenient, annotated breakdown of everything that’s new with the updated design.
Roger at Search Engine Journal breaks down the new homepage, single post pages, and more – it’s definitely worth a read as it might affect how users engage with your pages and advertisements.
Pinterest is launching a new Verified Merchant Program with blue checkmarks
If you’ve been sad that you can’t take your blue Twitter checkmark to more platforms, I have great news for you – Pinterest is launching its own Verified Merchant Program that gives you a chance to get a blue checkmark on Pinterest.
In addition to getting a blue checkmark on your profile and product Pins, you’ll also get:
- Early access to Pinterest’s new Conversion Insights tool.
- An option to connect your product catalog to Pinterest and get a special Shop tab on your profile.
- A chance to appear in dedicated shopping experiences, like related products.
The Verified Merchant Program is free to join and open to all merchants in the USA (with a roll out to other countries later in 2020).
To join, you’ll need to:
- Meet Pinterest’s Merchant Guidelines.
- Connect your product catalog to Pinterest.
- Install the Pinterest tag on your website.
If you have an eCommerce store, this seems like a no-brainer for boosting your visibility on Pinterest.
To get started, head to the official Verified Merchant Program page. You can also learn more in this article from Ad Week.
Amazon bans nonessential items from FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
In response to the global Coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has made some changes to the FBA program that many merchants rely on.
Amazon will be “temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers.”
Here are some of the products that Amazon is prioritizing:
- Baby products
- Health and household
- Beauty and personal care
- Industrial and scientific
- Pet supplies
Essentially, this means that Amazon will not accept shipments for discretionary items through April 5.
To learn more about the policy, check out this article from Vox/Recode.
Google makes it easier to appeal disapproved/limited ads
If you’ve been frustrated by having your ads limited or disapproved on Google Ads, you’ll be happy to know that Google is launching a feature to make it easier for you to appeal policy decisions.
Before, you had to contact the Google Ads support team to appeal a decision. Now, you’ll be able to appeal an ad right from the Google Ads interface (after fixing the issue, of course).
If an ad is eligible to be appealed, you’ll see a new Appeal link when you hover over that ad in the Google Ads interface. You’ll also be able to monitor the status of your appeal through the interface.
However, don’t celebrate too soon! Due to the Coronavirus situation, Google’s ad appeals team will take longer to work through appeals as Google is trying to limit the need for its staff to come into the office.
To learn more about the new feature and see some screenshots of the new dashboard tool, you can read this article from Search Engine Journal.
NPR shares some tips on how to work from home
For those who are new to full-time working from home, NPR Life Kit published an article with eight tips on how to “make working from home work for you”.
A lot of other publishers are getting in on the action, as well. So if you’re still struggling with working from home, you can find plenty of help.
Google cancels its infamous April Fools’ jokes this year
Finally, while this might not affect your business, you might notice that there won’t be any April Fools jokes from Google this year.
Out of respect for the gravity of the Coronavirus pandemic, Google canceled its plans, which will make it the first year since 2004 without a big Google April Fools prank.
And that wraps up all the latest news you need to know from March 2020. Check back next month for more great news about SEO, social media, WordPress, blogging, and more.