Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/01/22/seven-of-the-most-interesting-sem-news-stories-of-the-week/

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week: Google begins experimenting with its PLAs, there are some stats on ad spend, we answer “what is the most trusted media source?” (I’ll give you one guess) and there’s a very tenuous time-frame for when Penguin is arriving.

How Google fought bad ads in 2015

Google has released a report on how it helped to clean up the bandit-populated wasteland we call the internet. Google has more than 1,000 sheriffs dedicated to taking down bad ads. In fact 780m ads were shot down from the top of saloon bar roofs on to the hay bails below or drowned in a horse trough.

Here are some of the black-hatted baddies Google busted in 2015:

Counterfeiters: Google suspended more than 10,000 sites and 18,000 accounts for attempting to sell counterfeit goods.
Pharmaceuticals: blocked more than 12.5 million ads that violated healthcare and medicines policy.
Weight loss scams: suspended more than 30,000 sites for misleading claims.
Phishing: stepped up efforts to fight phishing sites, blocking nearly 7,000 sites as a result.
Unwanted software: disabled more than 10,000 sites offering unwanted software, and reduced unwanted downloads via Google ads by more than 99 percent.
Trick to click: toughened up on ads designed to look like system warnings from your computer. Google rejected more than 17 million.

google better ads report

Social ad spend increased 50% year-over-year

New research from Kenshoo (gesundheit) suggests that spend on social advertising increased by 50% in the final quarter of 2015 with most of that growth helped along by the introduction of Facebook Dynamic Product Ads and Instagram ads.

Spend on search advertising in…

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