Google announces new shoppable ads on Google Images
Google is set to launch a new type of ad delivery in the form of shoppable images that will appear in the Google Image Search results. This format will allow brands to advertise various items for sale within one image that will be displayed amongst targeted Google Image results. Like with all ad formats, users will be able to distinguish the ad from organic results by the “sponsored” tag on the bottom left of the frame. By tapping on the bottom right tag icon, users will be able to see more details about the buyable items in the image. This new feature could be really useful for businesses like home interior retailers, artists and clothes stores particularly because more and more consumers are using image search to find visually similar items to ones they have previously seen.
Twitter adds new insights to Media Studio for the best times to post video content
It looks like Twitter could be launching its own analytics features after introducing “Timing is everything”, the first of a new set of Publisher Insight tools for the Media Studio. The “Timing is everything” tool will provide insight into what times of the day that users are most likely to engage with video content, based on historical data collected from previous tweet activity. The purpose of this is to help publishers on Twitter maximise the performance of their video content, including boosting engagement metrics and conversion rates. At the minute, the tool only displays data based on views of any type of video published to Twitter, rather than data specific to any one account and its followers.
Facebook releases an update on its global connectivity
Facebook connects just over half of the worlds 4.2 billion Internet users however its wider global connectivity plans seem to be slowing down according to a report that it released this week, called the “Inclusive Internet Index report”. According to the report, Internet connection in low-income nations increased by less than 1% in the past year, possibly related to surges in the cost of mobile broadband and data plans. To boost connectivity in more parts of the world, Facebook is working on a number of projects, including Express Wi-Fi programmes in South Africa, Ghana and the Philippines, a 750km open access fibre deployment in Nigeria and a rural mobile infrastructure in Peru. Read the full report here.
Facebook is Cracking Down on the Sale of Fake Accounts, Likes and Followers
Facebook has filed a lawsuit against “four companies and three people” in China that have been promoting and selling fake accounts, likes and followers on both Facebook and Instagram. Following the case of now out-of-action company, Devumi, it has been ruled that the sale of fake followers and likes on social media is illegal. As influencer marketing becomes increasingly prevalent, fake news spreads faster than ever and data breaches are commonplace, there is mounting pressure on social media platforms to crack down on inauthentic engagement metrics and false audiences. This case will be an important example of the shift in the legal treatment of engagement and audiences online. You can read Facebook’s announcement about the lawsuit here.
Facebook adds secret Dark Mode to Messenger
Facebook has added a secret “dark mode” function to Messenger, but in order to activate it, users need to know a special emoji trick. Thanks to Twitter, we now know what that trick is and can share it with you. If you want to turn your chat background from white to black and activate a shower of moon emojis down your screen then here’s what to do. Simply go into any chat and navigate to settings by clicking on the name of the user it’s with at the top of the screen. Once in the settings, change the chat emoji to the crescent moon emoji, return to the chat and then send that moon emoji in a message. This should bring up a prompt within the chat, telling you that you’ve found dark mode. It’s not active for all users at the minute but try it and see!
Google is simplifying its Ad Auction with a Single Bid Process
Google has announced its plans to introduced a new bidding process, aimed at becoming a simplified version of the current auction process. As explained in the official announcement, “the programmatic ecosystem has evolved into a much more complex marketplace where a single ad can pass through a mix of over ten different auctions” so the new process is geared towards streamlining the auction and helping businesses optimise their ad performance by understanding how their ad spend affects their results with more accuracy. Google did say however that the unified auction system would only apply to certain ad formats; the display and video inventory sold by Ad Manager.
Facebook publishes “A Guide to Testing and Learning with Incrementality Measurement”
Facebook has published a new guide to maximising digital marketing efforts through testing and learning. Some of the questions that the guide aims to answer include, what size of study should you use, what kind of variables do you need to account for, what is effective and what is not, how long should a test last for and so forth. For social media marketers, in particular, this guide could be a really useful resource for understanding how best to approach audience tests and the associated errors with such investigations, so it is worth having a read. You can download the full guide here.
Instagram exploring new ways for brands to build influencer campaigns
Instagram is currently testing out a new ad format that will allow brands and influencers to maximise the reach of sponsored posts by publishing to a greater audience number. As pointed out in the report from AdAge, the influence of so-called “influencers” only reaches the finite number of followers they have on their Instagram account. “Branded Content Ads” is a new way to scale the power of influencers by promoting sponsored content to wider audiences, as brands would do normally with any other kind of ad.
Facebook outlines new privacy tools for Facebook’s collection of apps.
Mark Zuckerberg has described his plans to roll out more privacy-focused functions across the Facebook family apps including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger in his latest blog post. These tools will include end-to-end encryption across all apps; ephemeral options for more features such as messages; cross-platform communication and a proposed review of how Facebook stores user data and where it builds its data centres. Zuckerberg addresses the trade-off he has to make, between the safety of Facebook users, and the access he has to those users personal data. To become the all-under-one-roof kind of online ecosystem that Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be, trust and consideration for the user is the foundation that needs to be laid and it seems like these updates could help Facebook get closer to that end goal.