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Top TikTok Trends, Twitter Ads Suspended Due To Child Exploitation and New Changes To Mobile Search.

September 30, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Top TikTok Trends, Twitter Ads Suspended Due To Child Exploitation and New Changes To Mobile Search.”

Good Afternoon, and as always, welcome to this week’s Digital Roundup.

Summer is over, and as we welcome Autumn into our lives, it’s good to keep track of what’s trending! So our first story covers all the Autumn trends you need to know. We also have a story covering why advertisers are pulling out of Twitter, and how mobile search from Google is changing.

Tok 4 TikTok Trends For Autumn

A child holding a brown autumn leaf.

As of now, there are currently 1 billion active users on TikTok, and over 8.9 million of those are in the UK, if TikTok doesn’t have a part in your social media strategy, it’s seriously worth planning to engage with these users.

However, engaging with users is easier said than done, due to the nature of trends coming as quickly as they go.

So how do you keep track of a trend on TikTok?

The platform sees thousands of users upload videos daily, so it’s hard to stand out with videos that capture and connect with your brand’s target audiences.

However, you can use TikTok’s Creative Centre for businesses, which is a tool that’s designed to give you inspiration, but it’s easy to lose a few hours in the app trying to find something which fits into your brand guidelines.

As well as this, TikTok is constantly changing how its platform works, such as removing the Discover tab and changing it to a Friends and Search tab.

If you’re stuck for time or inspiration, I’ve got you covered with the top 4 TikTok Trends For Autumn.

Trend 1: It’s Corn!

The first trend combines the “It’s Corn” comedic audio which involves an interview with a young child describing why he loves corn, with something that you love, such as a product, and listing the reasons why you love it in text.

You can use the audio to show off your brand too, by showing off things like an icon, product you sell, or activity.

Trend 2: Sped Up Cool Kids

This trend utilises a sped version of the song Cool Kids by Echosmith, where creators will show off nostalgic photos or finds, as well as DIY Hacks.

The tone of the videos is usually targeting nostalgia, or they’re a before and after photo/video set, or even tutorials or recipes. They just have to be quirky or hipster-y.

One popular way to do these videos is to show a before of someone not using beauty or cosmetic products with the text “younger me would lose their mind if they saw what I looked like today”, and then an after photo or video.

Trend 3: I Put A Spell On You

Just in time for Halloween, the sound clip “I Put A Spell On You” by Working With Lemons is being paired with Halloween DIYs or festive tricks.

This sound clip can help you spotlight your brand by showing off creative, spooky decorations in your office or costume ideas.

You can use this clip with either text-to-speech or plain text.

Trend 4: J’s Lullaby

Our 4th trend involves storytelling in the content by utilising the whispery lullaby in conjunction with a gentle acoustic guitar in order to warm your viewers’ hearts. Content typically features weddings, romantic events, or love stories, so this is a good opportunity to show your brand’s emotional side.

Arguably, the content doesn’t need to be romantic, just emotional. Anything from customer testimonials to your brand’s community work would fit the trend.

It can take a lot of trial and error to research what sorts of trends fit into your brand guidelines and image, and how you want the brand to be presented on TikTok.

So it’s always worth using TikTok’s search to see what’s trending daily which can help you grow your viewer base.

TikTok insights also help you gain insight into who’s interacting with your content so that you can plan your next video better.

By staying consistent and on top of trends, you’ll definitely grow your user base.

Child Exploitation Forces Top Brands To Drop Twitter Ads

30 major advertisers have stopped advertising on Twitter this week after it came to light that their adverts were being run concurrently with content that promoted child pornography and abuse.

One example of this includes an advert for a children’s hospital being shown alongside harmful tweets which promoted child sexual abuse.

The Revolt Against Twitter

The fact that 30 advertisers had dropped out was revealed by Reuters (a cyber security firm), which reported that promoted tweets were showing in conjunction with toxic content.

One Twitter spokesman was quoted as stating that Reuter’s research and conclusions weren’t representative of the platform’s efforts to fight illicit tweets and harmful activity.

However, Reuters’ article stated that these big brand advertisers were notified that the tweets they were promoting appeared alongside toxic ones.

One of the quotes from Cole Haan, an executive, read:

“”We’re horrified,” David Maddocks, brand president at Cole Haan, told Reuters after being notified that the company’s ads appeared alongside such tweets.

“Either Twitter is going to fix this, or we’ll fix it by any means we can, which includes not buying Twitter ads.

A phone with the Twitter logo loading screen.

Twitter’s Ineptitude For Detecting Toxic Content

This all started when Twitter’s toxic content was brought to everyone’s attention with an article which was published by The Verge.

The article in question informs readers of a Twitter project to develop a platform which could compete with OnlyFans wherein users could pay a fee to share sexually explicit content.

However, before the new service launched, Twitter asked a team of employees, called the Red Team to test whether or not Twitter could successfully weed out toxic content so that the platform didn’t degenerate into the sharing of illegal content.

The service’s development ground to a halt when the Red Team concluded that the company was unable to detect abusive and toxic content.

The Verge’s article states:

“What the Red Team discovered derailed the project: Twitter could not safely allow adult creators to sell subscriptions because the company was not — and still is not — effectively policing harmful sexual content on the platform.

“Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale,” the Red Team concluded in April 2022. The company also lacked tools to verify that creators and consumers of adult content were of legal age, the team found.”

This all happened in the Spring of 2022, since the team found that Twitter couldn’t detect toxic content, the project was shelved until further notice.

But the story doesn’t end here, the cyber security firm Ghost Data found that Twitter was still having trouble detecting rogue users and accounts that were sharing illicit and harmful content.

Ghost Data carried out an investigation in September this year to really see how widespread the illicit child content issue is on the platform.

Ghost Firm began with known child exploitation accounts, and mapped out toxic accounts which followed them, as well as the social connections between each account.

Ghost Firm eventually identified more than 500 accounts that were responsible for 5,000 tweets related to illicit child abuse or exploitation.

Ghost Firm noted that the accounts they investigated were only the English ones and that accounts in other languages were yet to be investigated.

The Researchers’ Conclusion

The researchers concluded that if they carried out an investigation into accounts that weren’t in English, they’d find even more sexually explicit content which involved children.

However, one of the biggest conclusions was that Twitter only took action against just over a meagre 25% of the accounts that they’d identified as toxic during the first 20 days of September 2022.

The researchers wrote:

“We noted that Twiter (sic) suspended less than 30% (27.5%) of the users that publicly shared child pornography links, material, and references in the first 20 days of September.

To date, still, more than 400 users are active after « the purge».

Many of these users have been active for months.”

The researchers also identified that Twitter could be doing a better job at cracking down on toxic accounts:

“These results validate the alarming problem already discovered by internal employees and exposed by online media: Twiter (sic) cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and its executives are doing almost nothing to address this disaster.

We also uncovered evidence that such permissive policies on pornographic content are also inducing users to post non-consensual and rape videos, not to mention minors trying to sell their own nudity or sexual content.

…Probably a modest investment and a dedicated team, even applying our own basic techniques, would be suficient (sic) to easily locate and drastically reduce the illicit activities…”

So the conclusion that Ghost Firm reached is different to the one that Twitter reached, as twitter state that the company has a “zero-tolerance” policy for these types of issues.

Google To Roll Out 5 New Changes To Mobile Search

Google has announced new changes that will be rolling out the mobile search in the next few months at their Search On Conference, which was hosted earlier this week.

On the Google app for iOS, you can now utilise shortcuts which will carry out various actions rather than typing in a traditional search query.

As well as this, in the upcoming months, the mobile search bar will be enhanced with new features to help users get more relevant results.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new changes which were announced for now and the near future.

Google Search Shortcuts

You don’t just have to type with a text query to find something on google anymore.

You can find products by uploading a screenshot, or translate a piece of text with Google Lens, or just hum into your phone’s microphone to find a song.

Now, on Google’s app for iOS, you can see shortcuts which will let you carry out these advanced searches without any additional effort on your part.

Here’s an example of how it will look:

A gif showing Google's shortcuts underneath the search bar.
Source: Google

Results In The Search Bar

Google is also making things even easier for mobile users to find a result by displaying links and results in the search bar itself.

Google will now start populating the results as you type in your query.

Google showed us what this would look like:

A search for Fort Funston, and the location being shown in the search results.
Source: Google

Enhanced Query Refinements

As well as results in the search bar, Google will show an assortment of query refinements when typing in a query.

As you begin typing your query, Google will offer up ideas to make your query more specific.

Again, see the example below, where it suggests options after a user has typed in “best Mexico cities”:

Mobile search for “Best Mexico Cities”
Source: Google

Google Web Stories

As well as easier and refined searches, Google are wanting to implement Google Web Stories to make searching more visual.

The idea is to show users relevant and helpful information from multiple sources, such as images, Wikipedia articles, videos, or map locations:

The results for Oaxaca being searched.
Source Google

You can tap on each story (which happens to look like iOS widgets) to learn more.

Combining Text, Images, and Video

You will no longer have to switch between individual text, video, or image tabs as they’ll all be combined into one big content feed:

The new combined tab.
Source: Google

Google Roll Out September Product Review Update, YouTube To Monetise Shorts, and TikTok To Ban Political Campaign Fundraising.

September 23, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Google Roll Out September Product Review Update, YouTube To Monetise Shorts, and TikTok To Ban Political Campaign Fundraising.”

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Weekly Digital Roundup, keeping you up to date with the latest marketing news!

This week’s stories include yet another Google update, positive news for YouTube Short creators, TikTok making the move to ban political fundraising content, and how Google commemorated the Queen.

Google Begin Rolling Out September Product Review Update

Google has confirmed that they have begun to roll out a product review update, which is the fifth in a series of algorithm updates specifically targeting low-quality reviews.

The update began rolling out on the 20th and should finish rolling out by the 27th if everything goes smoothly.

Google announced the update with their Google Search Central Twitter account, which linked the official page on their website for Search Ranking updates.

Historically, product review updates have taken two weeks to roll out in the past, but Google stated that the September product review update is actually “mostly done”

“For awareness, the September 2022 core update has not fully completed but it’s mostly done. We expect it will be fully complete within a week and will share on our updates page when it is done.”

Due to the fact that the update is mostly complete, you might already be seeing the effects of the update on the product review pages from your site.

Google said this about the impact:

If you see a change and wonder if it’s related to the core update or the product reviews update :

If you produce product reviews, then it’s probably related to that.

If not, then it might be related to the core update.

This update only applies to websites where product reviews are published, if you don’t publish reviews, your site won’t be affected positively or negatively.

What Is The Product Review Update?

The Google product review updates are devised to reward high-quality product reviews which share in-depth research.

If your product review pages aren’t up to Google’s standards, however, and have thin content that summarises the information you can find on a manufacturer’s website, you’ll be punished.

Google wants to rank product reviews that have been written by reviewers who have personally used the product they’re reviewing.

A black blogger applying makeup products.

This can be made clear to Google by doing the following:

  • Including your own photos and videos of the product
  • Writing about the benefits and drawbacks of the product
  • Comparing the product with competing ones
  • Noting other first-hand thoughts or observations

The product review update affects websites that publish long-form product reviews, such as those seen on websites like Wirecutter and Tom’s Guide.

It’s important to note that customer reviews are not the same thing as product reviews, if you only have customer reviews and not product reviews, you won’t be affected either.

YouTube To Monetise Shorts

YouTube has announced that it will be monetising its form of short-form video, Shorts, and that creators on the platform will be able to keep 45% of the revenue.

This is a significant and highly competitive update for content creators who earn money from YouTube.

Until this was announced, there hasn’t been a way to directly earn money from shorts, only long-form videos.

YouTube instead has a shorts “fund” that awards a creator with money for popular shorts, but this isn’t the same as what they’ve announced as it’s not a direct revenue stream.

As well as the shorts monetisation announcement, YouTube also announced that they’d be expanding and improving upon the YouTube Partner Program, which will assist creators in qualifying to earn revenue for long or short-form videos.

Here’s some more information about both announcements.

Shorts Monetisation

Beginning in early 2023 (likely Q1), content creators who are enrolled in the YouTube Partner Program will be able to monetise their short videos,

YouTube will add the revenue that’s generated from Shorts into a pot and pay creators out at the end of the month, where they will keep 45% of the revenue based on their share of total Shorts views.

This 45% tactic is a fascinating approach and should incentivise most content creators to buy into the Shorts movement due to the fact that the more ad revenue that gets generated through Shorts, the more every content creator will be paid.

YouTube stated that this model is sustainable by design, we’ll have to see how it plays out in the long run though, as they will be competing against the megalithic platform TikTok, which is showing no signs of slowing down.

A jar of copper coloured coins which have spilled.

YouTube Partner Program Expansion

In order for you to benefit from the above, however, you need to be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program.

In order to entice more Short-focused content creators, YouTube is introducing new eligibility criteria for the program.

Around the time that Shorts monetisation will begin, creators will be able to apply to the Partner Program if they’ve got over 1,000 subscribers and have received 10 million Shorts views over 90 days.

This significant change will allow creators to qualify for the program even if they don’t make long videos.

More details will be revealed when the updates are closer to launching.

TikTok To Ban Political Campaign Fundraising

TikTok will start requiring accounts which belong to government officials, departments, or parties to be verified with a blue tick, and any videos or content which call for fundraising will be deleted from the platform.

TikTok and its parent company, known as ByteDance, have sworn to shut down political disinformation campaigns just in time for the American midterm elections in November. They previously allowed political advertising, but after facing scrutiny from US lawmakers, they banned it.

A shadow of someone dropping an envolope into a ballot box.

If you have a political account, then you can request verification, you’ll then have to through a multiple-step process so that your identity can be confirmed.

TikTok is also updating its policies so that campaign fundraising content or videos will be prohibited, and verified accounts won’t be able to access any ad features. Political accounts won’t be able to access gifting or digital payments either.

Black Google Logo To Commemorate Queen Elizabeth II

This week, Google turned the logo on its UK homepage black in order to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

The temporary sign of respect was implemented on the 19th of September, which was the same day as the Queen’s funeral, which was attended by dignitaries and leaders from across the world.

The logo for Google is typically blue, red, yellow, and green, but on Monday it was black and featured a black ribbon which read “Thank you, Ma’am” There was also a link which led visitors to a webpage which summarised the legacy of the Queen, who sadly passed away on the 8th September at the age of 92, she ruled the UK for more than 70 years.

Here’s a screenshot of how the change looked:

The google home page with the black Google logo.
Credit: Dezeen.com

If you hovered your mouse over the black logo, you could see a text box which read “Queen Elizabeth II: 1926-2022”.

The black bow could be found in other Commonwealth nations such as Canada and Australia. Originally, the logo was grey which was implemented on the 8th September after it was announced the Queen had passed.

The Google logo has changed before, when George H.W Bush, former president of the United States, died, the logo was changed to grey. The logo also turns grey on US Memorial Day.

Google Roll Out New Core Update, Twitter Testing New Sharing Features, and Google Chrome Improving Site Speeds.

September 16, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Google Roll Out New Core Update, Twitter Testing New Sharing Features, and Google Chrome Improving Site Speeds.”

Good Afternoon, and welcome to this week’s Digitial Roundup.

This week, markets should be aware of Google rolling out their new core update, why Twitter is using the WhatsApp logo for the share button, the new innovative technology being integrated to Chrome, and why notifications for Safari are changing on macOS devices.

Google Begin Rolling Out New Core Update

Google announced on the 12th of September via Twitter that they’d be rolling out a new core update, which will take up to two weeks to finish rolling out.

The initial response from marketers and the wider search community was a positive one, although there was some criticism from affiliate marketing Facebook groups.

What is a Core Algorithm Update?

Core algorithm updates get announced by Google when they’re making changes that are significant enough to be felt by website publishers/owners and marketers.

Google’s Search Central account announced the core update, linking to the developers.google.com post

So what is a core algorithm update?

A core algorithm update can be described as multiple changes to parts of Google’s algorithm.

Whilst the algorithm is constantly being changed and updated, what separates a core update is that the changes are much more noticeable.

The changes should now be beginning to take effect because they will have reached most of Google’s data centres.

As of now, there’s no confirmation on how this will affect search engine results pages. What we do know is that because it’s a general update, most search results across most languages will be affected.

How should I respond to a core update?

Right now, it’s not worth making any changes off of the back of any positive or negative results you see in Search Console due to the update.

Wait for the changes to fully roll out first, and then depending on what’s been affected, you can make a plan of action.

Twitter Testing “WhatsApp” Share Button In India

Twitter has begun to test a new WhatsApp share button for India-based users. The new share button was announced via a Twitter India tweet:

The feature substitutes the share button for a WhatsApp icon but provides identical functionality. Once you click the icon, you get the typical options: copying the tweet link, sharing it to other apps, sending it as a DM, or bookmarking it.

On the surface, it appears to be a one-click share to share to WhatsApp, but you actually need to click “share tweet via” first.

Why the change?

WhatsApp has over 581 million users in India, which is expected to grow to 795 million by 2025.

By integrating this aesthetic change, Twitter is trying to spread tweets outside of its own platform onto meta-owned platforms such as WhatsApp.

Twitter said the following to TechCrunch:

“We are replacing the share icon on Tweets with the WhatsApp icon for the majority of people who use Twitter on Android in the country, so sharing their favorite or noteworthy Tweets is easy even beyond Twitter, making the experience more open, accessible, and holistic for them,”

Streamlining cross-platform sharing will allow Twitter to track engagement from people who aren’t logged into the app.

Due to the fact this feature is still being tested on a small group of users, we’re yet to see if the test is successful, if it is, then it could be brought to a wider group of Twitter users.

Chrome Using Interactive Screenshots To Improve Site Speeds

An image of a group of ice cubes.

Google has announced that they’ll be using new technology in the popular browser Google Chrome, the technology will facilitate interactive snapshots of webpages that will speed up the user experience on sites.

The name for this technology is Freeze Dried Tabs, and it’s currently in use in the latest Chrome update.

The technology could be summarised as a hybrid of a webpage and a screenshot that can be scrolled or clicked on, then once the page has fully loaded, Google will switch you across to the webpage seamlessly.

The idea behind the technology is to improve the web experience of site visitors because they’ll be able to engage with a web page faster.

Freeze Dried Browser Tabs

Google is calling the screenshot webpage hybrid Freeze Dried Browser Tabs.

They’re a new way for a site to deliver web pages, but it’s not used for every site that a Chrome user visits.

They’ll mostly be used when switching between a tab or starting up/recovering your Chrome browser.

An optimised website on Chrome takes approximately 3.4 seconds, with a Freeze Dried Browser tab, it’s sped up by approx. 20%, so it would load in 2.8 seconds.

This is an innovative and remarkable new technology that should help both desktop and mobile users of Chrome in the future, and will no doubt lead browser competitors to build or replicate this idea.

There’s no layout shift when you’re moved from a tab to the live site, and it even renders content that you’d need to scroll down to see.

How the technology works

Google confirmed that the technology operates in a unique way, they take a snapshot of the visual state of the web page as a vector graphic and capture the hyperlinks.

They then play back the graphic in a lightweight fashion by rasterising the vector. This reduced the rendering cost of showing a full web page and still supports hyperlinks.

Web Push Coming To iOS

The message service alert Web Push from Webkit is soon to be supported by WebKit for iOS users on Apple devices. This was announced via a tweet from Jen Simmons, who’s a member of the Safari and Webkit dev team:

Web Push is an opt-in notification service, where users are asked to give permissions before they’re sent notifications from the service. There’s no release date but once it’s released, it will be available to users of macOS Ventura.

Notification Standards

Developers have been able to send notifications through Safari for a long time on macOS, but these notifications followed a different standard.

The integration of Web Push means that Safari applications will be able to send push notifications to the same web standards of other browsers, so no additional lines of code or application changes will have to be implemented first.

These standards include PushAPI, notifications API, and Service Workers. Safari Web Push will use the same notification service that powers Native Push on all iOS devices.

Google Update Its Spam Guide, Ranking Signals To Know For Facebook Videos, And Instagram Reduce Shopping Features.

September 9, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Google Update Its Spam Guide, Ranking Signals To Know For Facebook Videos, And Instagram Reduce Shopping Features.”

Good afternoon and thank you for reading this week’s Digital Roundup.

In this week’s digital marketing news, we look at how Google’s new guidance for abuse and spam prevention, the top 4 ranking signals to pay attention to for Video content on Facebook, why you need to prepare alternative solutions to Instagram shopping, and how Yahoo’s new acquisition is helping fight fake news.

Google Update Its Spam and Abuse Guide

In a positive update for website owners, Google has made transparent changes to its spam and abuse resource centre, which is located on Google Search Central,

The most significant change to the resource centre is the inclusion of more robust suggestions to prevent abuse and guidance on identifying spam accounts, rather than just focusing on how to monitor them.

Spam and Abuse Prevention

Before this update, the first section in the resource centre spoke about “Web hosting services that are available without payment”. This has been changed to “Prevent abuse on your site and platform”.

The Web Hosting section focused on websites that use hosting services without payment, but now, even the most secure sites can have spam and abuse.

The newly improved spam prevention section gives all website owners using the resource centre more content to help them take actionable steps to protect their business’ website.

Google updates content on preventing abuse in Search Central.
Credit: Search Engine Journal

Google’s Suggestions

Google’s suggestions to prevent abuse and site spam are as follows:

  • Publish a clear abuse and spam policy during the sign-up process
  • Identify spam accounts by reviewing specific interaction patterns
  • Use manual approval for suspicious user interactions
  • Use blocklists to prevent repetitive spam attempts
  • Block automated account creation
  • Monitor site and platform for abuse

There are also additional new sections on the page, which contain manual as well as automated approvals for content or accounts that are deemed spam.

There are also suggestions on how to identify and block certain IPs, and plugins which help to automate this process.

Ranking Signals For Facebook

Meta has released the four top signals that Facebook’s algorithm uses to determine which videos will receive more attention and distribution compared to others in a recent blog post.

The top four ranking signals the algorithm uses are:

  • Originality
  • Audience Retention
  • Audience Loyalty
  • Engagement

In the blog post, Meta explained the video distribution strategy that the algorithm uses:

“Facebook’s video ecosystem values original content and encourages intentional and loyal consumption. We want videos on our platform to be authentic, enduring, and entertaining, which can turn casual viewers into passionate fans.”

What this means is that if the videos you publish are original, and audiences keep coming back to watch, then the content that’s published will surface on people’s feeds more often.

Here’s some more information on the signals that were listed.

Originality

The algorithm and Facebook by extension prefer videos that are created by the person or team that publishes them.

If the content isn’t 100% original, as long as you add something of value to the source material, then the video will still be prioritised.

An example of this is a creator adding a voice-over or commentary to an existing piece of content.

Ideally, you should avoid aggregating existing content if you cannot add something new to it.

Audience Retention

One of the strongest distribution signals is content that keeps an audience hooked.

In the blog post, Meta explained:

“Retention is one of the indicators of how well the content was received by the audience – a slow and gradual decline in the audience retention graph can show that the topic and structure of the video match well with what your audience wants to see, while an early drop off may mean that the content isn’t what the viewer expected.”

You should plan your videos around a storyline, make them mobile-friendly, and focus on good video production, and you should be able to retain viewers.

An image of a video camera recording an out of focus woman.

Audience Loyalty

Audience loyalty is also a ranking signal and goes hand-in-hand with audience retention.

Audience loyalty refers to how many times a user comes back and views more of an account’s video content.

This signal is improved if a user who’s watched a video goes out of their way to search for your account or the video again.

Meta’s recommendation is to publish “bonus” content such as B reels whilst you’re waiting to publish higher-production content.

You can also optimise for Facebook search by using proper titles and relevant hashtags.

Engagement

The final key ranking signal is engagement.

The algorithm prioritises videos that generate conversations and interactions with other users.

If an account shares the video with a friend, this will increase the distribution. Comments and reactions are also ranking signals that factor into video distribution.

However, you should avoid using engagement bait, which is a negative ranking signal.

Negative Ranking Signals

Meta has said that the following list contains negative ranking signals, which can harm how your video is distributed on Facebook:

  • Engagement bait- Using captions such as “like this if you agree” can harm your videos.
  • Watchbait- This is when you withhold information until the end of a video.
  • Clickbait- This is when viewers are lured to click on a link for information which isn’t shared in a video in an intentional manner.

These ranking signals can also harm your eligibility for monetisation on a video.

Instagram Cutting Back On Shopping Features

An image of a woman holding a credit card reading her details.

Instagram is currently planning to scale back the shopping features on its social media platform, the focus will be shifted to e-commerce efforts that drive advertising instead.

This was revealed in an internal memo to Instagram staff from earlier this week. The memo explained that the shopping page would be retired due to “shifts in the company priorities”.

Whilst the feature won’t go away entirely, it will be made simpler and less personalised, and it will be called “tab lite”

Instagram’s garnered criticism from users, celebrities, and news outlets due to recently tested design changes which eventually had to be rolled back because of comparisons to TikTok, some people referred to the platform as “TikTok Lite” or “Diet TikTok” because the focus had shifted to Reels when the original focus of the platform was photo-sharing.

Some disgruntled users have gone so far as to make a Change.org petition to “Make Instagram Instagram Again”.

Advertisers and brands who rely on Instagram shopping will have to find another way of promoting the products they sell, it’s better to do this now than later because there’s no telling when these changes will come into effect.

Yahoo Acquire The Factual, An Algorithm-Driven News Company

An image of a stack of newspapers.

Yahoo has announced that they’ve made a deal to purchase a company known as The Factual, which is an algorithm-driven news rating company, the idea is that they score the credibility of news sources and outlets.

Yahoo’s reasoning for this deal is that they will implement the score to provide users with insight to the accuracy and reliability of where they’re getting their news from.

Yahoo commented on the acquisition in a press release:

“The acquisition continues Yahoo’s commitment to bringing trusted news and information to its nearly 900 million consumers worldwide and builds on the company’s future vision of news,”

The financial terms of the acquisition have not been released to the public.

But what does this acquisition mean for Yahoo?

This purchase arguably shows Yahoo’s dedication to fighting intentional or unintentional disinformation.

The Factual is a microbusiness, as they only have eight employees (who’ll be joining Yahoo once the deal goes through) but obviously, Yahoo sees a great value in the business.

Mis and Disinformation are becoming more common on social media or news outlets, which is causing concern as people believe we’re already in an age where information overload is common.

Yahoo is celebrating the scoring system by saying it’s a “first of its kind analysis of news stories,”, as it goes further than the fact-checking algorithms and initiatives offered by Google and Meta.

“The combination of Yahoo’s journalism and our publishing partners’ content with The Factual’s news rating algorithm will bring a new level of transparency to Yahoo users, enabling them to make informed decisions on their news sources,”

– Matt Sanchez, President and GM of Yahoo Home

The Factual currently scores over 10,000 articles a day.

How the scoring system works

The scoring system uses AI to score news from 0-100. Four factors are considered by the AI:

  • Site quality
  • Author Expertise
  • Article tone
  • Source quality

The scores are then combined to form a weighted average, which is shown to the reader of the article. The lower the score, the lower the credibility, and vice versa.

Twitter Roll Out Tweet Circles, Instagram Best Practices For Recommended Content, and LinkedIn Now Offer Professional Certifications For Meta.

September 2, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Twitter Roll Out Tweet Circles, Instagram Best Practices For Recommended Content, and LinkedIn Now Offer Professional Certifications For Meta.”

Good afternoon and thank you for reading this week’s Digital Roundup.

In this week’s edition, we look at how Twitter has removed the need for a private and professional account, how to have your content recommended on Instagram, the best practices for a meta description, and how you can enrich your skills with courses from Meta, Oracle, and IBM.

Twitter Circle Allows You To Send Exclusive Tweets

A black and white board that says #Twitter with a bird below it.

Social Media Platform Twitter is currently rolling out a new feature that shares similarities with Instagram’s ‘close friends’ feature, allowing users to share tweets that only selected users will see.

Twitter initially tested this feature in May with great success, so now Twitter Circle will be available to desktop and mobile users.

Whilst Twitter Circle was being tested, users felt comfortable enough to tweet at a higher frequency and in return saw increased engagement.

The feature removes the need for a personal and professional account, as you’ll be able to customise the audience for each tweet you send into the Twittersphere.

Here’s a guide on how to personalise your Circle.

Creating a Twitter Circle

Creating a Twitter Circle is pretty easy, you can do it from the tweet composer or the main menu.

To create a circle from the composer:

  • Choose ‘choose audience’ within the composer
  • Select ‘edit’ next to the Twitter Circle option
  • Choose your desired audience
  • Click the ‘X’ to carry on composing

Or from the main menu:

  • Tap ‘Twitter Circle’
  • Choose your desired audience by tapping ‘add/remove’
  • Next time you post, only your Circle will see it.

You can have a maximum of 150 people in your Circle, and users cannot retweet a circle tweet.

The Best Practices for Instagram Recommended Content

An image of a woman holding a phone with the Instagram login screen.

Instagram has published a new best practice blog post for creators, it gives tips on how to increase their eligibility for recommendations.

Recommendations are photos or videos you see on the main feed, explore feed, or the reels tab that is from accounts that you don’t follow.

Instagram determine whether or not to recommend a piece of content based on signals, which look at factors such as how many times a post has been shared, saved, commented on, or liked.

The signals also look at a user’s prior interactions with a content creator, as well as other content they’ve engaged with.

If your content manages to surface as recommended, then it can give content momentum and it will receive more engagement and you’ll gain more reach.

Creators and businesses alike should aim to get their content picked up by Instagram’s recommendation, as it will help to get more followers or business.

In order to help achieve this goal, Instagram has shared a best practice document that users can follow.

The Best Practices

Eligibility

First of all, if you want to be eligible for appearing on the recommendations, your account needs to be public, if it’s private, it’s ineligible.

If you’ve got a public account, great! You do need to ensure though, that you’re following Instagram’s recommendation guidelines.

Instagram has specific guidelines your content needs to follow in order for it to appear as a recommendation.

Recommendation guidelines are different from community guidelines, which are rules about the type of content that’s allowed on the platform. You need to ensure that you’re following both.

The types of content that go against the recommendation guidelines are:

  • Content that depicts fighting
  • Content that promotes the use of regulated content i.e. cigarettes
  • Content that’s sexually explicit or suggestive

Best Practices

And now the juicy bit, the best practices for having your content recommended are:

  • Post original content– You’ll need to ensure that your content is both creative and original, try not to aggregate others’ content.
  • Create Reels- You should aim to make Reels a part of your content strategy as Instagram is doubling down on the visibility of them.
  • Optimise for search- Use descriptive captions, alt text, and hashtags for accessibility, as it will help your content get recommended.

Following these best practices isn’t a guarantee that your content will get recommended, but it will definitely help your chances.

LinkedIn Now Offering Professional Certifications

An image of a person behind a pile of books.

LinkedIn has partnered with Meta, Oracle, and IBM in order to expand its vast library of professional certifications.

The courses and content that LinkedIn offer allows people to enhance their skill set with materials that are provided by credited providers.

When a user completes a course, they can also add it to their LinkedIn profile, which will help build connections. 44% of LinkedIn users have added certifications to their profiles over the last two years.

And now subscribers will be able to take courses from Meta, Oracle, and IBM at no additional cost.

You can have a one-month subscription for free, and after that, it’s £29.99 a month.

However, taking a certification exam does cost extra, but subscribers can get a reduced price.

Here’s some information about the courses that you can take.

Meta Courses

The professional certificates offered by Meta are:

  • Meta Certified Digital Marketing Associate
  • Meta Certified Community Manager
  • Meta Certified Media Buying Professional

Oracle Courses

The courses from Oracle focus on cloud infrastructure and are:

  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Cert Prep: Architect Associate
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Cert Prep: Foundations
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Cert Prep: Architect Professional
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Cert Prep: Cloud Operations Associate
  • Oracle Autonomous Database Cert Prep: Cloud Specialist

IBM Courses

The IBM courses also focus on cloud computing and are:

  • IBM Certified Cloud Advocate
  • IBM Certified Cloud Technical Advocate
  • IBM Certified Cloud Professional Architect
  • IBM Certified Cloud Professional Site Reliability Engineer

How To Improve Your Meta Descriptions

Google has shared a help document about bad and good practices for your meta descriptions, here are the bad practices:

  • Don’t just use a list of keywords that you want to hit such as “Sewing supplies, yarn, coloured pencils, sewing machines, threads, bobbins, needles”
  • Using the same meta description for every article.
  • Not summarising the page.
  • Making the description too short.

Meanwhile, here are some good practices:

  • Make your description specific and detailed
  • Using a snippet from an article in the meta description
  • Summarising the whole page
  • For shops, explain what you sell and opening hours or location.

Read Google’s post on controlling your snippets

If you want to learn more about improving your meta descriptions, you can also watch this video from Kinsta:

Tips for Writing Better Meta Descriptions by Kinsta
An image of a camera lens.

Instagram Test ‘Candid Challenges’, Twitter Adds Filters To Replies And New Google Updates For Search Console And Ads.

August 26, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Instagram Test ‘Candid Challenges’, Twitter Adds Filters To Replies And New Google Updates For Search Console And Ads.”

It’s back to the regular digital marketing news in this week’s roundup after last week’s special content plan focussed article!

This week, is Instagram too fake to take on BeReal? Twitter help improve the mindset of social media managers with a new reply filter, and Google being Google, continue to improve its tools for users whilst sunsetting other features.

Instagram Tests BeReal Competitor Candid Challenges

Instagram has begun to test a new photo-centric feature called Candid Challenges, which overlaps with the features of the growing app BeReal.

Allesandro Paluzzi, an app researcher, discovered Candid Challenges, which will encourage users to share a different selfie every day at a random time.

Candid Challenges uses a user’s front and back camera to simultaneously take a photo on both.

Being Real About BeReal

BeReal is also built around candid photos simultaneously using the front and back camera.

The premise is for users to create an original or genuine snapshot of what they’re doing and where they are, hence the name ‘BeReal’.

BeReal was first launched in 2019 and hit the top spot in Apple’s App Store in July 2019, it has been downloaded over 28 million times.

The app currently has around 21.6 million monthly active users, and around 2.93 million use the app daily, which is an impressive feat.

Given the app’s popularity, it’s no wonder other social media platforms want to jump on the trend.

It’s currently unknown how far along Candid Challenges is into development as it’s currently only an internal prototype, which means that only internal employees can access the feature.

Twitter Allows Users To Filter Unwanted Replies

Users of Twitter will soon be able to filter out unwanted, harmful, or offensive replies with an automatic reply filter.

Jane Manchun Wong, an app researcher, discovered the feature and shared a screenshot on Twitter about the tool.

Twitter declares that the automatic reply filter will enact the following:

“Replies to your tweets that contain potentially harmful or offensive language will be filtered and appear here. Others can still see these replies.

Keep in mind we use technology to help us identify such replies, so while we’re always improving, we may not get it right all the time.”

The tool is located under the privacy and safety settings on your account and can be toggled on or off.

It’s important to note that the filter cannot be customised in any way shape or form, it’s either on or it’s not.

Twitter admit in the filter description that its tool isn’t 100% accurate, so it may filter out replies that aren’t harmful.

Filtering Isn’t Censoring

One important takeaway from this feature is that filtered replies aren’t censored, The replies will be visible to other users on Twitter, but they’re just filtered out of the responses that will appear in the notification stream.

It’s unlikely anyone else will really know when unwanted replies get filtered from a thread by the original owner.

The intent behind this new filter is to reduce the negative strain on mental health that social media or community managers can get by looking at negative replies to tweets all day.

You can always turn replies off completely, but that sort of defeats the purpose of social media.

It’s currently unknown when this feature will be available to users.

New Google Updates For Search Console and Ads

Google has released updates for two of the most useful tools for marketers and advertisers, Google Search Console and Google Ads.

More In-Depth Data For Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) will now start reporting on the Core Web Vital (CWV) score of specific URLs and aggregate scores for URL groups. So now there will be even more granular data for marketers and businesses to use.

The updated CWV section on Search Console will let users see which URLs are holding the website back from “good” scores.

Now you’ll be able to know where to focus if your scores aren’t as good as they could be.

So What’s New?

Previously, GSC’s Core Web Vitals report only showed aggregate scores based on URL groups.

URL groups will still get these scores, but now you can go a level deeper and get specific URL scores.

By clicking on a URL in the report, you will see the more specific URL data on the right-hand side. Here’s an example screenshot:

A screenshot from Google Search Console showing CLS scores for URLs.
Credit: Google

This will aid users who are investigating which CLS scores belonging to specific URLs need improving.

Google Ads Launches New Tool For Performance Max Campaigns

Google Ads is now rolling out a tool to help advertisers upgrade their eligible smart shopping campaigns to performance max campaigns.

Earlier this year, Google announced that they will be ‘sunsetting’ smart shopping and local campaigns, due to the fact that a performance max campaign offers the same features.

Google will be automatically upgrading campaigns at the end of September to performance max ones if they’re not already, but now you’ll be able to upgrade your campaigns earlier than that using the self-upgrade tool.

Here’s all you need to know about it.

The Performance Max Self-Upgrade Tool

The self-upgrade tool can be found for smart shopping or local campaigns under the ‘recommendations’ page, or by finding and clicking the notification about it.

Upgrading is very simple, all it takes is a click, you’ll just need to click “Apply all” to the recommendations. Here’s a screenshot of what the page will look like:

A screenshot from Google Ads showing the upgrade screen.
Credit: Google

Historical campaign performance from previous local campaigns or smart shopping campaigns will convert over to the new performance max campaign, and so will all your campaign settings.

Google has aimed to make the upgrading process as easy as possible.

The tool is currently being rolled out now and through the beginning of September, if you choose not to upgrade, Google will do it for you. However, they’ll notify you before the campaign is upgraded.

An image of a calendar with the days of the week listed, with tickboxes at the side.

How To Create An Effective Content Calendar

August 19, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “How To Create An Effective Content Calendar”

Marketers, content creators, and communication professionals often wonder “How can I keep creating interesting, engaging, and relevant content that will appeal to my target audience”

Content creation for new and relevant content is a daunting task, even if you’re working with a good team of writers and social media experts. A Content Calendar may be the solution to this problem.

Whilst businesses can be motivated to create and share content, time is scarce and human resources can be limited, especially if content creation is handled in-house as opposed to being outsourced.

Most of the time, it’s not a question of available resources that’s the root of these content problems, but inefficient use of them due to poor planning.

A content calendar is an effective tool to make the most of the resources available by coordinating content creation and dividing the workload into an easily-manageable calendar. You’ll spend less time wondering what to write and focus almost entirely on the creation of the content itself.

Top Ten Tips For Making An Effective Content Calendar

Clarify your goals

When creating your content calendar by planning out what you want to include, you should always ask yourself “What’s the main goal of this content?”. If you know the answer to this question, then you can use it to determine the aim of the content, the channel, and the format.

For instance, is it a brand awareness campaign about a new product launch, are you wanting to drive traffic to a link, or just increase your online presence with new subscribers?

The goals you set will have a significant impact on where, and how often content is published. So your team should have clarity of the goals prior to and during the content planning sessions.

Making the goals known should always be the first step when incorporating a content calendar into a team’s workload, content without a purpose or goal will only be a detriment.

Creating or using a good template

There are plenty of tools that offer calendar features on the web such as Outlook Online or Google Calendars, but if the software is unfamiliar to the company, then it can be a waste of time. A content calendar can be in a simple spreadsheet.

Ensure the calendar can be shared with your team if the content creation is a collaborative effort. For instance, Google Sheets would allow you to make a shareable spreadsheet where anyone invited could edit the sheet on their own computer to add comments and ideas, and these changes would show up in real-time.

A blank google sheets document
Google Sheets

A content calendar should always include the following:

  • The channel where the content will be posted
  • The topic and type of content
  • When the content will be published
  • Who’s in charge of the content
  • Has the content been published

There are also plenty of free online templates to use that can be modified to your likings such as Hootsuite’s Social Media Content Calendar Template or Hootsuite’s Free Content Calendar.

Choosing correct channels

You’ll need to find out which channels your target audiences are using, and which ones your prospective audiences are using too. Knowing these channels will allow you to understand what kind of content your team should be creating. Should you be making Reels for Instagram? An FAQ video for YouTube? or be capitalising on the latest trend for TikTok?

Whilst publishing content on different platforms and using various formats can be beneficial, due to the fact your audito broadened, ensure that there are sufficient resources in order to focus on the platforms you wish to be visible on. Most importantly, pick vital channels and focus on high-quality content creation, rather than just posting on every platform.

A social media post is fairly easy to create, but ensure that your content calendar uses a variety of content, and isn’t just social media posts.

You should look at including press releases, articles, and blogs in the marketing plan and content calendar, as they are beneficial to target audiences as well as beneficial for your website as they’ll help with SEO. Social media can also be utilised to promote and share in-depth content like these examples.

Begin with the calendar year

Whilst it sounds obvious, you should use the calendar year as a basis for when you plan. Take holidays such as Easter. Halloween, and Christmas into account, or plan to promote a Black Friday sale on the black Friday weekend. This step will help determine the types of seasonal content you want your team to create, and will also give an idea of the upcoming workload. You can also incorporate webinars, events, training, and events into the calendar.

Use your own content

Now you have your important dates, you look at incorporating content ideas. Here are some examples of content you can use:

  • Theme posts
  • Serial posts
  • Blogs and articles
  • Information about new products or services
  • Company achievements i.e. new staff hires, promotions, etc…
  • Seasonal greetings
  • Company news
  • Photos from events i.e. visiting a school
  • Stakeholder stories or interviews

Remember evergreen content

Evergreen content can be defined as content that’s not tied to a certain date or time, such as content with contemporary themes. Evergreen content is useful to not only your organisation but to audiences too. Contemporary themes will always be relevant as well as searched for online, so evergreen content is reliable in getting you clicks, even after a “buzz” from the initial publishing date is over.

You can also introduce these contemporary articles to new ones through internal links.

Timeless content will save you time when schedules are delayed because it can be created and published at any time, you should ideally keep evergreen content in your back pocket, ready to use if the need arises in the instance that the team needs to focus on other projects.

Reuse prior content

When thinking about what content to use, it doesn’t always need to be “new”. A majority of businesses will have useful content that’s just not been utilised yet, for instance, CRM system data or customer survey results.

One smart idea is to take an old blog post and upcycle it by turning it into a short video. Prospective customers may seek information on differing platforms, so it’s always a good idea to visit the same ideas of old content, but in a new format. This technique will allow your beneficial content to reach new audiences.

Also, make sure your website and content are kept up to date and accurate, so that if anyone’s reading an old article, it still looks professional.

Think about content frequency

You’ll have to think about because can realistically be created and published, due to the fact that creating content can be time-consuming, so think about what works for you. It’s vital that you understand your team’s boundaries so the content calendar can be at its most efficient.

If the calendar is too full and there’s too much pressure on publishing content, then the actual content will suffer. However, this doesn’t mean there should be too little content, there should be enough content to create website traffic and provide benefits to users.

It sounds obvious, but the content calendar you create will allow you to see when you’ll be really busy, and plan ahead, which will assist individuals, as well as the team. A content calendar will allow the team to ready themselves for the most active months by ensuring that content has been created well before the publishing date.

There should also be an element of flexibility with the content calendar, it shouldn’t just be set in stone. Content may need to be moved around, or new ideas could be added.

Keep the calendar updated

I can’t tell you how long in advance you should plan your content for, because planning ahead relies on numerous factors, which can include how volatile your industry is we well as company-dependent factors.

Bear in mind that the further ahead you plan your content, the more the flow of content will feel natural and uninterrupted. A straightforward guideline or use to use is:

Plan your valuable and primary content for the whole year, aftewards plan weekly and daily content in more detail for the following month. 

You should also take reviews of the content calendar and plan in team meetings, just to discuss ideas, thoughts, and feelings to stay on track.

Analyse content engagement

Lastly, the most important tip is to assess your content!

The greatest aspect of digital marketing compared to the marketing of yore is that almost everything can be measured.

Spend some time examining your own content and data, so that you can see what worked and what didn’t work. See which social media posts have generated conversation, which blog posts were shared, or how visible a new press release was.

If you know what your audiences engage with, it will allow you to evolve your content to create even more interesting and engaging content for the future.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, if you have any more questions then please feel free to get in touch with Intelligency to see how we can assist with your content further.

An image of a lighbulb in front of a blackboard.

Meta Help Small Businesses Again With New Tools For Paid Social, Google Experience An Outage, and Bing Add A New Quality Of Life Feature For Shoppers.

August 12, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Meta Help Small Businesses Again With New Tools For Paid Social, Google Experience An Outage, and Bing Add A New Quality Of Life Feature For Shoppers.”

Well, it’s a new sunny week, so that means it’s time for a new sunny roundup! This week covers how Meta is once again helping small businesses grow on their platform, a shocking Google outage, Bing’s new shopping feature, duplicated content guidance on Google, and fatal errors from Yoast SEO.

-Eliot

Meta Help Small Businesses With Ad Automation

An image of mulicoloured cogs.

Meta plans to roll out new tools to further help small business advertising on its platforms, which will use new advancements in AI and automation.

When a small business creates an ad through its Facebook page, it can take advantage of Meta’s Advantage+, which are Meta’s innovative advertising technologies.

Advantage+, Meta’s cutting-edge AI and automation tool, was originally exclusive to full-fledged campaigns, but now it can be used with single ads.

With this new update, Meta is also enhancing Advantage+ with additional capabilities for shopping campaigns, app campaigns, and more.

Here’s a quick overview of all the updates for advertisers and digital marketers:

Advantage+ For Small Business Ads

Small Businesses are eligible to use Advantage+ creative and Advantage audience when they’re creating ads through their Facebook page.

Advtange+ creative will allow advertisers to use AI to adjust creative in ads to show the version of the ad with which a user is most likely to engage.

Advantage+ audiences allow a business to target its audiences more effectively by creating personalised audiences for serving ads using the details on the business’s Facebook page.

These tools are now available for small businesses to start using.

Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

Advantage+ can also help advertisers who are running shop campaigns to learn what’s working and what isn’t a lot faster.

Using cutting-edge AI and automation technologies, Advantage+ can generate up to 150 creative combinations at once.

The intent behind this feature is to help advertisers what is converting and what isn’t so that the advertising budget is being used efficiently.

Meta stated in a blog post:

“In a study of 15 A/B tests, we discovered that Advantage+ shopping campaigns drove 12% lower cost per purchase conversion compared to advertisers’ Business as usual ads. With these savings, businesses can reinvest in their marketing strategies and drive customer acquisition and sales more efficiently.”

This feature is expected to be available on the 15th of August for small businesses.

New Updates To App Campaigns

Advantage+ app campaigns will also be receiving the following updates:

  • More creative flexibility with asset pairing
  • Improved stability
  • 7-day click attribution
  • Split testing capabilities
  • Granular reporting insights with the region and ad-level data.

It will be interesting to see if these changes will help Meta’s ad revenue grow again, as in the company’s last quarterly report they showed declines for the first time. We’ll be able to see if these changes have helped in the next quarterly report.

Google Goes Down For Ten Minutes

On the 9th of this week, Twitter was flooded with reports that Google had a widespread outage, a rarity for the company. `

Google users around the world were met with the following 500 error message when trying to search:

A 500 error message on Google.

Down Detector reported that the outage lasted for just over ten minutes.

Here are some of the tweets reporting the error:

But Eliot, What Caused The Outage?

At this moment in time, the source of the outage still hasn’t been released by Google, and they’ve refused to comment for American news outlets such as CNBC.

However, earlier that day there was an explosion in a Google data centre located in Iowa that injured three technicians.

Some news outlets are reporting that this explosion caused the outage, but Google hasn’t confirmed it.

What Is A 500 Error?

A 500 Error is a server-side error, which means that the problem is at the server host’s end, and not the user’s. A 500 error is typically a blanket term for the following issues:

  • A permission error
  • A PHP timeout
  • Incorrect code in a .htaccess file
  • Syntax errors in code or scripts
  • An exceeded PHP memory limit.
HTTP Status Code 500: What Is a 500 “Internal Server” Error Response Code?

Bing Adds Voucher Codes To Shopping Searches

Bing is adding new annotations to shopping SERPS (search engine result pages), which includes live discount codes for shopping websites.

This is a welcome change, as there will no longer be FOMO when it comes to money-saving opportunities in a cost-of-living crisis. Bing will actively tell you if there’s a promotion or discount available for the items you’re searching for.

Microsoft stated in a blog post:

Ever wondered if you were overlooking coupons or special promotions when you shop online? Or perhaps you didn’t even consider that a discount might be available, and you missed out! Bing now provides you with this information within shopping searches – annotations neatly nested within your search results, without the need to install a browser extension or plugin (third-party cookies must be enabled.)

Here’s a screenshot from Bing showing what the new feature will look like:

Microsoft Bing Adds Coupon Codes To Shopping Searches
Credit: Bing (blogs.bing.com/search/)

All you’ll need to do is click on the annotation, click “copy & go” then shop as normal, the discount code will then apply automatically at the checkout.

This feature will be available in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Germany, and France.

Google Release New Duplicate Content Guidance

Google have announced that duplicated content for posts that are published by Google Business Profiles will now be classed as spam.

This new guidance can be found in an updated version of the content policies for Google Business Profiles.

Amongst the list of content that users shouldn’t post on their Business Profiles, there’s a new line:

“Duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos”

This new line was discovered by Twitter user Colan Nielsen, who posted the following:

Whilst this might sound obvious to some marketers, it’s still important to be aware of because it may change content strategies so that Google’s content policy isn’t violated.

Duplicate Content

Google is wanting to send a clear message with this update, that duplicated content will no longer be tolerated.

Posting the same photos, videos, or even text blocks will no longer be allowed.

Being unaware of this can get you into trouble, even if your intention isn’t to spam.

For example, let’s say you’re in charge of the Google Business Profile for the restaurant you own, and you post the same type of graphics weekly to advertise your special menu, whilst this is honest, it would still be classed as spam.

Google also want to limit the use of logos, you cannot put your logo on every photo as it will be classed as spam.

The best way to avoid content policy violations is to make sure every post is unique.

Yoast SEO 19.5 Update Causing Fatal Errors

A laptop showing WordPress next to a mug of coffee, a notebook, and an iPhone.

Publishers who have updated to Yoast’s 19.5 version have experienced more than they bargained for, there have been reports of fatal errors on their respective websites.

The fatal errors were confined to specific situations and were not across the board.

Yoast 19.5

Version 19.5 for Yoast contained changes which help to improve user experience, as well as fixing a vadiation issue in structured data, and minor bug fixes.

One standout improvement that was packed with 19.5 is the Front-End SEO inspector, which provides publishers with an overview of posts as well as SEO settings such as meta tags and structured data.

But, with these positive changes came negative experiences in the form of fatal errors.

Fatal errors occur when two plugins conflict with one another.

The Fatal Error

Eli Schwartz, a search marketing expert was one of the first to tweet about the fatal error:

These sorts of errors aren’t exactly uncommon, but other users confirmed they were having the same issue:

Yoast eventually responded on WordPress.org to the numerous reports about the issue:

We’re sorry that you’re experiencing a fatal error. Thanks for reporting. We’re investigating and it seems to be a problem with the latest update of Yoast SEO while the newest Premium wasn’t released yet. This shouldn’t have happened. We’re looking at getting this resolved as soon as we can by releasing a patch for free and also by releasing Yoast SEO Premium asap. Either should fix the fatal error.

Yoast Identify The Problem

Yoast’s founder Joost de Valk offered feedback to SEO news outlet Search Engine Journal:

“A patch was created quickly by the team indeed and for most sites that resolved it entirely.

For some sites, the auto update mechanism failed to run properly and therefore those sites didn’t automatically fix themselves. We’ve been discussing this internally a lot, as we weren’t happy that this happened at all, and we weren’t happy with how we handled it.

We’re all honestly really bummed by it and feel sorry for the sites we’ve broken.”

Yoast put out a patch fairly quickly with 19.5.1 and put in the following update note:

  • Fixes a bug where a fatal error would be thrown on the front-end when Yoast SEO 19.5 was used with an older version of Yoast SEO Premium.

The issue has now been resolved for publishers who are using Yoast as long as they’ve updated the plugin to the latest version.

A photo of a test tube.

Facebook To Retire Live Shopping, New YouTube Updates For Creators, and Twitter Continues To Test Its Edit Button.

August 4, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Facebook To Retire Live Shopping, New YouTube Updates For Creators, and Twitter Continues To Test Its Edit Button.”

Good afternoon and welcome to an early roundup of this week’s latest digital activity! Facebook has made their stance on the future of short-form videos very clear, YouTube has carried on with its weekly creator updates, and Twitter is testing new tweet features. Let’s take a gander at the goings on this week.

-Eliot

Facebook To No Longer Allow Live Shopping Events

A woman using her phone beside a marketplace.

Facebook has announced via blog post that from the 1st of October 2022, sellers will no longer be able to host live shopping events.

The blog states that due to users pivoting towards short-form video, Reels will become the focus and not live events such as live shopping.

Facebook first launched live shopping in August 2020 with the aim of making shopping easier for consumers as well as empowering retailers to grow their business and reach online. Live shopping allowed businesses to create interactive ways to sell their products and engage with audiences.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Facebook Live is dead completely (as it’s still available), but e-commerce merchants will no longer be able to create either product playlists or tag their products. Retailers will now have to use other avenues to sell their products on Facebook such as display ads.

Live shopping will remain a feature on Instagram for the time being.

Short-form Video Focus

Due to their main competitor being TikTok, Meta has been shifting its attention completely to Reels, which allows users to seamlessly share videos across Meta’s major social platforms.

When Reels were first released, Instagram users did not greet them with open arms, but now they’re increasing in popularity among users. The Integrity Institute, a social internet think-tank, reported that 11 out of the top 20 posts on Facebook were Reels in 2021.

This has allowed retailers to publish videos to tag their products, give audiences CTAS, and engage with their target audience.

“If you want to reach and engage people through video, try experimenting with Reels and Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram, you can also tag products in Reels on Instagram to enable deeper discovery and consideration.” was the advice given by Meta in the blog post.

New YouTube Update For Creators

YouTube logo soaked in rain.

YouTube’s new updates for creators this week include new subscriber metrics and a greater copyrighted music library.

Let’s take a look at the new updates.

An Expanded Library

YouTube is expanding its library of copyrighted music for creators with new partnerships with record labels and producers, giving creators more choices for music for their videos.

This is important because using copyrighted music without the consent of the rights holders means that a video won’t earn revenue.

As of now, this feature is limited to a small set of creators in order to test it, but more detail will be shared in the upcoming months.

New Subscriber Metrics

Creators are now able to see a new metric when it comes to their subscriber count: subscribers from posts.

This metric can be seen in the subscription source report within YouTube Analytics.

Twitter Increase The Capabilities Of The Edit Button And Allow Multimedia Tweets

Last week, Twitter announced that they were testing a feature which would allow users to not only add an image to a tweet but a video and a gif all in one too.

Multimedia tweets can only be posted and viewed in the app, as of now they cannot be viewed or created on a desktop. Additionally, only a small group of users has access to this feature, it’s unknown when everyone will be able to create these types of tweets.

Here’s what a multimedia tweet would look like:

Twitter made a statement to TechCrunch and said the following:

We’re testing a new feature with select accounts for a limited time that will allow people to mix up to four media assets into a single tweet, regardless of format. We’re seeing people have more visual conversations on Twitter and are using images, GIFS and videos to make these conversations more exciting. With this test we’re hoping to learn how people combine these different media formats to express themselves more creatively on Twitter beyond 280 characters.

The Edit Button

Twitter is also continuing to test its edit button on a limited number of accounts.

Jane Manchun Wong, a front-end engineer who made the Forbes 30 under 30, discovered that when a tweet is edited, the original one doesn’t go away, but users will get a notification saying “a new version of the tweet is available” just below it, and then the new tweet is shown above.

Twitter first began testing an edit function back in April to premium Twitter users (Twitter Blue subscribers) and 73% of users who responded to a Twitter poll Tesla CEO Elon Musk put up said that they’d like an edit button.

Coincidentally, Twitter stated a day later that they were testing an edit feature, but it wasn’t related to the poll that Musk posted.

Twitter users have been asking to edit their tweets since the day the platform reached a massive audience, but there’s no indication that free users will have access to an edit button, perhaps it’s something that Twitter will lock behind their Blue paywall.

Google Test More Local Service Ads Per SERP

Google is currently testing displaying more local service ads per set of search results, choosing to show three ads instead of the usual two.

Ginny Marvin, who is a Google Ads Liaison, confirmed that the test aims to increase consumer confidence in local service ads.

Here’s the tweet below:

Google’s experiment is somewhat the opposite of the intent because it’s drawing attention to a controversial Google issue: the local service ad spam.

Local Service Ad Spam

Whilst increasing the local service ads that are displayed from two to three has the potential to be a positive change, it does make the local service ad spam significantly more prevalent.

There are issues which are highlighted in the replies to Marvin’s tweet, such as:

  • Ads for fake businesses
  • Fake reviews for business profiles
  • Ads for deactivated business profiles

Considering that each one of these ad packs has the “Google Screened” promise, there’s a QA gap somewhere at Google.

Although Marvin has stated that Google takes these reports incredibly seriously.

“We are committed to ensuring the LSA unit provides a trusted experience for users & service providers. We have taken your reports seriously and are continuing to work on this.”

Hopefully, Google can put a stop to the spammy local service ads before everyone loses faith in the service, as they are legitimately helpful for small and local businesses.

TikTok’s Low Payout Turns Content Creators Away, Google Release July 2022 Product Review Update, Instagram Rolling Back Its New Home Feed, and Cookies To Remain Active On Chrome Until 2024.

July 29, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “TikTok’s Low Payout Turns Content Creators Away, Google Release July 2022 Product Review Update, Instagram Rolling Back Its New Home Feed, and Cookies To Remain Active On Chrome Until 2024.”

Good Afternoon and welcome to the latest edition of the Intelligency weekly Digital Roundup, where I’m reporting on what you need to keep track of in the vast world of digital marketing. This week stories can be seen regarding TikTok’s problematic Creator Fund, Google improving reviews across the net, Adam Mosseri rolling back Instagram changes and more!

-Eliot

TikTok’s Low Creator Funds Are Making Creators Quit The Platform For Good

Roll of American Dollars.

Content Creators are becoming disappointed with how much they’re being paid by the platform’s Creator Fund, which is significantly lower than competitors such as YouTube, and are leaving the platform for good due to mental health blows and burnout.

A History Of Low Payouts

There have been several creators in the past who have criticised the low payout they get despite the social media giant pledging $1 billion to their creator fund over a three-year period. Content creators like Hank Green have made claims that they’re only paid around $0.02-3 per one thousand views on their content, this is substantially lower than YouTube which will pay $1 per one thousand views to creators.

Here are some more examples of TikTok’s low payout:

  • Kevin Yatshuro, a creator who went viral on TikTok, posted a video in 2021 which received over 3 million views but only received $12.50.
  • Another creator, Alicia Trautwein, had a video which received 1.8 million views, but only got a pitiful $10.
  • Jimmy Donaldson, a top creator will 32 million followers, was only paid $25.10 in January this year.

The YouTube model

Multiple creators have suggested that TikTok needs to create a standardised payout program like YouTube’s rather than a payment scheme based on a variety of factors.

Interestingly, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki published a blog post last year stating that YouTube had paid over $30 billion to creators from 2018 to 2021:

“We can’t compare overall revenues for the two apps — TikTok is owned by a private company — but we do know that YouTube has roughly twice as many users as TikTok, not 30 times as many.”

-Susan Wojcicki

The alternative for TikTok creators is to seek a sponsorship deal, one creator, Vi Luong, receives around $32,000 a month due to their sponsorship with large brands. Another creator who also publishes Instagram reels as well as TikTok’s earned around $535,000 last year due to the fact that they acquire 15 sponsorships a month.

TikTok’s Payment Model

TikTok has claimed that its payment model is based on multiple factors such as video views, engagement, where it has been seen, as well as how many people are in the Creator Fund.

TikTok needs to start paying its prominent creators more if they want to keep their competitive edge, as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook still struggle with short-form videos.

Google Roll Out July 2022 Product Review Update

Google has confirmed that they have begun rolling out the July update for the product review algorithm, this is the fourth update in total for product reviews, which have been targeting low-quality reviews.

The update is expected to fully roll out in around three weeks’ time.

The update was announced via Twitter on the Google Search Central account, which linked the official page for search ranking updates:

As always, Google released the update without warning like many of their updates, however, this update has the potential to improve your website’s ranking, especially if the last product review update hurt them.

Here’s all you need to know about the July 2022 Product Review Update.

What’s New?

Person Holding White and Brown Newspaper titled "Book Review"

The new update is an improvement for the product review algorithm which was introduced in March 2021, the algorithm rewards reviewers who share in-depth reviews that are beneficial to a user, rather than thin content which only summarises information from a manufacturer’s website.

There has been no new guidance released with this update, but reviewers should continue to follow Google’s criteria for what constitutes high-quality content.

To summarise the guidance, Google and therefore users want to see that a reviewer has first-hand experience with whatever they’re reviewing. This can be made clear to your audience by including quantitative measurements, benefits, drawbacks, and comparisons with other products.

Rewriting the same content that already exists and that is easily found will no longer help a website’s ranking, it will only be a detriment, you need to offer unique value.

Please note: this update only affects sites which review products, if you don’t review products, your website will not be impacted.

Instagram To Roll Back New Home Feed Changes After Criticism From Influencers

Instagram’s new home feed changes have been surrounded by controversy since the update went live for most accounts, with celebrities such as Kylie and Kim Kardashian posting memes which asked the company to “Make Instagram Instagram again”.

Now, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, posted a reel explaining that the changes will be rolled back over the next two weeks, and there will be fewer algorithm-suggested posts.

Mosseri was interviewed by the tech newsletter Platformer and had this to say about the changes:

“I’m glad we took a risk – if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough, but we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.”

-Adam Mosseri

Various users of the platform made complaints that their regular feeds had been drowned out by unwanted algorithm recommendations, the changes received enough backlash for Mosseri to post the reel on Tuesday, just a day before his interview, and before the Kardashian posts.

“more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time” is what Mosseri stated on the reel, but by Thursday this week, Mosseri changed his tune and conceded that the platform had gone too far.

“For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great,” Mosseri stated in his interview. “So there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.”

Mosseri explained that Instagram would reduce the amount of algorithm-suggested posts due to complaints from users about how content is being pushed from accounts they don’t follow or aren’t interested in. “

“When you discover something in your field that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar – it should just be great,” “You should be delighted to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feed that are recommendations.”

-Adam Mosseri

Google’s Cookie Ditching Plan Delayed Until 2024

3 cookies piled on one another.

Google is now delaying the plan to deprecate third-party cookies for their Chrome browser by another year, the phasing out will now start in 2024.

This is actually the second extension that third-party cookies have received for Chrome, as Google initially planned to discontinue them this year.

Then Google extended the deadline by a year and stated they would be phased out by 2023, but now the deadline has been extended to 2024.

The delay is due to the Google wanting to further test its Privacy Sandbox initiative, which has been described as a less intrusive solution for targeted advertising delivery.

The delay was announced by Anthony Chavez, who is the VP of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, in a blog post:

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome…

This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.”

-Anthony Chavez

Google began testing the Privacy Sandbox over the last several months, but devs, publishers, and marketers have agreed that it needs a longer testing window- hence the delay.

The big change in the plan is that rather than abruptly switch to the privacy sandbox and kill cookies, cookies will be phased out slowly and the privacy sandbox will be gradually introduced.

Developers can test with a trial version of the Privacy Sandbox API, and in August the trial will expand to millions of users and businesses globally.

Google plan to roll out the test to more and more users throughout the rest of this year and into 2023.

Chavez continued in the post:

“By Q3 2023, we expect the Privacy Sandbox APIs to be launched and generally available in Chrome. As developers adopt these APIs, we now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024. As always, you can find up-to-date timelines and milestones on the Privacy Sandbox website.”

-Anthony Chavez

This will allow marketers and businesses will have more time before they have to adjust their ad strategies to target chrome users. At the moment, it is still unknown how the phasing out of third-party cookies will impact advertisers or how effective the targeting for Privacy Sandbox will be.

Twitter’s Transparency Report Exposes The Dark Side Of Social Media

A rain stained window.

Twitter released their transparency report from July to December 2021, and it showed a darker side to the platform.

Not only were fewer accounts suspended or banned for violating the Twitter TOS, but the report also showed that there was an increase in governments requesting information and how often Twitter complied; perhaps the darkest element is an increase in governments targeting journalists with legal demands.

The transparency report also revealed that violations such as child exploitation were on the rise.

Accounts Actioned

The data from the report showed that there was a decrease in action taken on accounts, whether that’s suspending them or removing violating content. This total figure of actioned accounts was 12% lower compared to the previous reporting period.

Violating content was removed 14% less compared to the previous report period.

The amounts that were suspended increased by 2%.

The Reasons Why Accounts Got Suspended

The reason why over 600,000 accounts were suspended may come as a shock, but the platform saw a massive rise in child sexual exploitation.

The other primary cause which led to 169,369 suspensions was “impersonations”.

Twitter Safety

The Twitter Safety data showed that almost every category experienced a decrease in actioned accounts. Only the categories of child sexual exploitation, promotion for self-harm, and illegal or specific regulated goods saw an increase in actioned accounts.

Press Freedom

There was a worrisome trend in the transparency report which showed that governments across the world were trying to limit press freedoms.

Part of the pressure stems from legal demands, with both trends reaching an incredibly high figure.

The data showed:

  • “Record number of legal demands on accounts (45,572 requests on 198,931 accounts)
  • An increase of 103% in legal demands from governments targeting verified journalists and news outlets since the last reporting period
  • The United States accounted for 20% of all global requests
    Tweet impressions that violated Twitter rules accounted for less than 0.1% of total impressions on all Tweets
  • We objected to 29 US civil requests for account information that sought to unmask the identities of anonymous speakers”

The report stated:

“For the latest reporting period, 349 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets located all around the world were subject to 326 legal demands, a 103% increase since the previous reporting period and a record high since we started tracking this important metric, which is all the more important at a time when freedom of the press is strained globally.”

The US say that they guarantee freedom of the press under the first amendment, yet the US accounts for the largest information requests made compared to other governments.

Read the full Transparency Report from Twitter.