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March 2019 Digital Marketing Updates


If you’re not a marketer, keeping up with all of the changes and updates in the marketing industry can be challenging (it’s even challenging for us marketers to keep up with everything). At Firetoss, we want to keep you informed on the biggest updates happening within our space. So, here are some of the interesting and unexpected updates and changes we’ve seen in technology and digital marketing recently.

Google March 2019 Core Update

On March 13th, Google confirmed the release of a broad core algorithm update that many SEOs had been speculating about after seeing massive ranking volatility. On top of that, Google issued a new naming system for their updates to avoid confusion and notify users of the type of update and when it happened. So, officially the “March 2019 Core Update,” SEOs and webmasters alike are trying to figure out what the update was targeting.


Many believe that as opposed to a mere update, it was actually more of a reversal of the “Medic Update” released last year that caused waves in SEO communities and forums (we even dedicated two blogs to it). This speculation is based on the fact that some websites saw recoveries after seeing significant drops in traffic and rankings during the major update last fall. However, not everyone saw a recovery from the previous core update. Search Engine Land collected data from a survey where 58.1% claim they saw a recovery, while the other 41.9% did not. While it’s still too early to know what this update really means, we will keep you notified as new information is released.

Prepare to Lose Average Position in Google Ads

Recently, Google announced it would be getting rid of the average position metric. Google is constantly changing and updating across its platforms in an effort to improve, however, what makes this announcement so shocking is that average position was one of the original search metrics and has been used by account managers, business owners, and marketers for years. So, why the change?

Google is replacing the average position with other metrics thought to more accurately represent an ads prominence on a page. Until now, the average position metric has been used to identify the ordering of paid search results. However, if your ad is reported to be in the #1 average position, this doesn’t always mean that it appeared at the top of the SERP. Due to this discrepancy, Google doesn’t think the metric is as relevant and useful anymore (and many marketers agree).

Instead, late last year, Google rolled out Top Impression Rate, Absolute Top Impression Rate, Top Impression Share, and Absolute Top Impression Share. These metrics are essentially meant to supply the same information to ad managers and owners but in a clearer way.

Google search engine results page showing ad positions
Via Google

So, if you have been using average position as an essential insight to direct your bidding strategies, you may want to add these newer metrics into your gameplan. Average position won’t disappear until September, so you still have time to adjust.

Duck Duck Go Added to Chrome Browser as Default Option

Google recently released the latest Google Chrome web browser update, Chrome 73.0.3683.75. With this new update, a new default search engine option was added in over 60 countries, including the U.S. and U.K. The new option is for DuckDuckGo, a search engine that rivals Google and promotes privacy online.

At a time when Google is under fire for it’s privacy policies, DuckDuckGo has been proving popular, resulting in increasing query volumes. As DuckDuckGo continues to grow, it’s not outrageous to believe that the privacy-focused search engine will eventually exceed Yahoo’s market share. So, it might be time for SEOs to start paying attention to this search engine darkhorse.

All Summed Up

In the coming weeks expect more information and updates about the March 2019 Core Update. We will start seeing more websites affected, whether good or bad and hopefully, start noticing patterns that can help us understand the update’s purpose. For those advertising online, as you manage your Google Ads accounts this week, remember to pay more attention to metrics besides average position. Determine what other KPIs can help you make bidding and strategy decisions in the future when you lose access to average position. And last but not least, keep an eye out for the growing popularity of DuckDuckGo. SEOs don’t pay much attention to the search engine currently, but that could all change if the site continues to acquire users and increase its search volume.