Some exciting updates have been announced this week in both the social media and search engine spaces.
Both Facebook and Twitter have made some major changes to their respective algorithms which should have a positive impact for brands trying to connect with their audiences.
Meanwhile, Google has updated its image search to allow mobile users to filter down their queries, and Pinterest has updated its Lens feature to produce multiple search suggestions.
As well as releasing its Q1 earnings report, Snap Inc has also introduced a new feature which allows users to opt out of time constraints for their snaps.
Facebook to squash bad sites through algorithm update
In a bid to reduce the number of posts linking to low quality sites, Facebook is updating its algorithm so that posts from these sites will be pushed down lower in the Feed.
The update is in response to complaints from users about posts that link back to sites full of spammy ads and little or poor quality content. “People expect their experience after clicking on a post to be straightforward”, Facebook said.
After reviewing a large number of sites already linking to Facebook, the algorithm has been updated to identify characteristics associated with bad sites. If the algorithm determines that a post meets these characteristics, it will show up much lower in the Feed.
As well as the update to Related Articles announced in late April, this change is another step by Facebook to fight fake news and improve the user experience, including the quality of content they are provided with.
For genuine businesses using Facebook to connect with relevant audiences, the algorithm update is great news. If your content is of good quality and your site does not contain more ads than it does content, your posts will likely show up higher in the Feed.
“Publishers that do not have the type of low-quality landing page experience referenced may see a small increase in traffic, while publishers who do should see a decline in traffic.” Facebook said.
For more information visit the post on the Facebook Business site.
Twitter updating algorithm to increase relevance
This week, Twitter posted on its official blog to explain the work that has been underway for the past year to increase the relevancy of tweets shown to users.
Twitter has always displayed tweets in the timeline in reverse chronological order, with the addition of a feature introduced last year to show tweets from favourite people at the top of the timeline. The ongoing work on the algorithms means that each tweet is allocated a score by a relevance model which determines where it will appear in the timeline. The model determines how interesting and relevant each tweet is for each individual user.
This is based off things like a user’s past interactions with the author of the tweet, media included in the tweet and whether it contains similar topics to tweets that you liked or retweeted previously.
These updates are great news for brands as it is bound to increase the chances of their tweets being shown to audiences that are interested in their product or service. This is especially helpful if you have an engaged audience, as they will be much more likely to see your tweets with the relevance model than just relying on the reverse chronological order.
For an in-depth look at how the algorithms at the future of deep learning at Twitter, read the full blog post.
Filters in Google Image Search
Spotted by Search Engine Land earlier this week, Google has quietly rolled out some great new filters for the Image Search.
While there hasn’t been an official announcement, the update is already appearing for mobile users. The filters allow users to narrow down image search queries according to type, colour and even copyright options.
You can scroll to the side to see all the options. If you select one of the colours it will display all images within that hue.
While this may not have a direct impact on SEO it is still a great tool, and is worth keeping an eye on to see what other opportunities it may bring for Image Search.
Pinterest Lens gets more specific
Pinterest’s latest innovation, Lens, is becoming more advanced to meet the needs of a growing number of users.
The beta version of Lens was announced in February this year, to allow users to perform functions such as searching for items within an image, seeing related pins to that item and even taking photos of things in real life to search for them in Pinterest.
Now, rather than just identifying individual items within an image, the Lens can now pull suggestions for multiple items that you can search for.
Lens has also been updated to read QR codes, and now has app shortcuts for iPhone as well as Android users.
Let’s hope this beta phase wraps up soon and the function makes its way over this side of the world!
High earnings but low user numbers – Snap Inc Q1
Snap Inc has just released its much anticipated first quarter report for 2017 with mixed results.
While revenue has increased 286% from 2016, from $38.8 million to over $149 million, the growth in user numbers was much less dramatic.
Compared to 122 million daily active users in Q1 last year, Snap Inc now has 166 million users, but that’s only an increase of 36% year over year growth. In previous reports the company showed much higher percentage increases in user numbers, and many investors had predicted it would show that same growth this year. This is mainly due to the release of some major products like Spectacles, and the announcement of its IPO in March.
Visit Snap Inc’s news section for the full report.
Earnings report aside, the team at Snap Inc have still been busy making changes to the Snapchat app to improve the user experience and meet demands.
Users can now select an ‘infinity’ option when sending their snaps, instead of choosing between 1 and 10 seconds viewing time, before the snap disappears.
“We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy a Snap – even after replaying it – and we wanted to give you the option of allowing the recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’d like” Snap Inc said.
This doesn’t mean that users can go in and out of the snap whenever they like, it will still ‘disappear’ as soon as they exit from the viewing screen.
In conjunction with this update, Snap Inc is also introducing a ‘Loop’ tool so that users have the option of looping their videos. This means that recipients of the snap could watch the video on repeat until they choose to exit out, or go tap through to the next snap.
The new features are available with the latest app update.