Friday recap: 11 updates across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo
There have been quite a number of updates and content marketing related stories this week. To get through them all I’ll give you a short and sweet update on each one, with links to original stories for further information.
Here’s a quick rundown of what went on – Pinterest visual search technology is now more widely available, lead ads come to Instagram, Google makes changes to AdWords and is accused of spreading fake news, Facebook introduces city guides and Vimeo rolls out 360 video.
1. Pinterest Visual Discovery across the web
Recently we told you about Pinterest’s latest products which use visual technology to match images taken with your phone to images within its network. Now, Pinterest is expanding upon that function, so that you can perform visual searches right across the web.
A chrome extension called ‘the Pinterest Button’ is available for download that will help you save things from the web to your Pinterest boards. Once the extension is installed, you can just hover over images on the web and click the magnifying tool to be shown all the similar items and products within Pinterest.
It’s not just whole images that can be searched – you can also zoom in to select specific items within photos. A range of topics will be displayed along the top of the image too, so you can refine your search terms.
Pinterest sure are stepping up their game!
2. Lead ads on Instagram
Facebook has announced this week that lead ads are now available on Instagram.
These ads have already been available to businesses on Facebook for some time, and are now being offered to advertisers on the image sharing platform, Instagram. Lead ads are designed to capture information from your audience, similar to gated content on your website.
They offer users a path to certain actions like requesting a quote or finding out more information, through filling out a form with criteria that are predetermined by the advertiser. This information is then passed on to the advertiser to build their lead database.
Facebook said that “Lead ads provide a streamlined way to request email addresses or contact information from the people who click on your ad. You can use them to collect sign-ups for newsletters, price quotes, follow-up calls and information about your products or services.”
You can also sync up your CRM to the lead ads to store the data that has been gathered from them.
3. New ‘click-to-call’ features on AdWords
Google AdWords is rolling out three key changes to click-to-call ads – more streamlined ad set-up, an update to the look and experience of ads, and more granular reporting.
To make ads faster to set up, Google is introducing account-level call extensions so that you only need to set up one ad across your entire account, rather than for individual campaigns and groups. Automated call extensions will also be introduced in the future, to automatically pull phone numbers from key landing pages into your ad.
Business names will be added to click to call ads to improve brand awareness and engagement, as well as caller satisfaction ratings.
New data will be added to the reporting section including ‘phone impressions’ and ‘phone calls’ to better analyse ad performance. Google said this is so you can “consider using call-only ads on keywords with the highest phone-through rates, or decreasing wait times when you have customers on the phone to improve call conversion rates.”
4. Fake news… By Google?
Google could be in a bit of hot water after facing accusations that it has been spreading false news stories and conspiracy theories.
An article by The Guardian discussed the matter this week, saying that the claims have come from Featured Snippets in search, which pull short answers from popular websites to common queries. Because of Google’s ranking system, certain fake news sites are slipping through to the top results because of their popularity and high traffic, which means that the snippets from these pages are being used to answer queries.
The Google Home device is what brought this to light most recently, as it reads these search results out loud to its users.
“Over the weekend, asking Google, or the Google Home, “is Obama planning a coup” would pull in a quick answer from a site called Secrets of the Fed which stated: “According to details exposed in Western Centre for Journalism’s exclusive video, not only could Obama be in bed with the communist Chinese, but Obama may in fact be planning a communist coup d’état at the end of his term in 2016!” the Guardian article stated.
Google has since removed the snippet in question, and stated that “Unfortunately, there are instances when we feature a site with inappropriate or misleading content. When we are alerted to a Featured Snippet that violates our policies, we work quickly to remove them, which we have done in this instance.”
In a world where everyone is becoming a publisher, and news can spread more quickly than ever before, fake news is a real concern. But luckily for you, we recently wrote a piece on how to combat fake news sources.
5. Facebook City Guides
Reported by Techcrunch this week, Facebook is rolling out a new ‘City Guides’ feature on its app.
The feature will list all the cities that the user has been to, the cities that their friends have been to, as well as recommendations for places to visit and things to do. Tapping on each city will reveal the friends that have been to that particular city, as well as the specific places they visited like restaurants, attractions and other businesses. Techcrunch said that “This data is presumably being extracted from users’ check-ins and Facebook posts.”
Each city and place will contain information compiled from Facebook user activity and feedback, like the type of food found there, the most popular activities or people’s opinions of that place. Users can create lists and bookmark cities and places that take their fancy. Facebook is also incorporating its ‘Events’ feature into it by displaying a list of events that take place at that location or city.
These developments could definitely pose a threat for any other travel planning apps or sites, but is great news for businesses that are doing well on Facebook and have lots of activity/check-ins.
6. More personalisation for the LinkedIn feed
LinkedIn has announced new features to help users refine their feed to better fit their preferences. If your brand is publishing content on LinkedIn, this is definitely information for you to be aware of.
The new features allow users to customise their feed, hide posts and unfollow connections. Similar to Facebook’s News Feed options, if you tap the dots icon next to a post you can choose to hide it, report it or unfollow that person or company.
There is also an option to ‘improve my feed’, which allows users to browse industry leaders, publications and companies and select which ones they want to be updated on.
These changes could potentially make it harder for brands to get their content seen on LinkedIn, which has been a major issue on Facebook for some time. Perhaps LinkedIn is trying to encourage its business users to engage in more paid promotion to ensure their content reaches the desired audience?
7. International Women’s Day on Facebook
Facebook published a post this week to remind its users that International Women’s Day was on March 8, and to share some of the ways that Facebook shows its support.
Facebook said that 40% of business Pages on Facebook are women-owned, which is a 60% increase from 2015-2016. Last year, Facebook launched the #SheMeansBusiness program which was developed to celebrate and empower women in business. The program was to host a global Facebook live event for 24 hours to invite women around the world to discuss their knowledge and share ideas or inspiration.
To check out the conversations had or to view the topics that were shared, search the hashtag on Facebook.
8. Google shows Australia the love
To celebrate the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, Google partnered with Australian Marriage equality to undertake surveys and polls across the country about love.
The survey, called Love by Numbers, was designed to get Australian’s opinions on topics like love, marriage equality, and public affection.
Google states that it is a proud supporter of marriage equality and the LGBTQI community.
“We encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. In all of our 60 offices around the world, we are committed to cultivating a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive. We also want our employees to have the same inclusive experience outside of the office, and for LGBTQI communities to be safe and to be accepted wherever they are.”
The results from the survey can be found on the Australian Marriage Equality website.
9. 360 video, on Vimeo
Jumping on the bandwagon, Vimeo announced this week that it has rolled out 360 video for its users. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube already have the 360 video capabilities, and now you can do it on Vimeo too.
According to the post, Vimeo’s videos offer high-quality footage, customisable settings, tutorials and many integration options. To create the 360 video, tick the ‘this was recorded 360’ box when uploading your content and follow the prompts. The user experience is the same as any other, where mobile users tilt their screen around and desktop users can click and drag to see the full video.
10. Instagram Stories Geostickers
Custom stickers for certain locations have been introduced to Stories on Instagram (which is strikingly similar to existing features on Snapchat…).
Users have the option of choosing from a range of stickers specific to that area, whether it be recognisable icons, landmarks or labels.
Currently, the Geostickers are only available in Jakarta and New York City with the latest Instagram update.
11. Twitter Moments Analytics
In a brief announcement via a tweet, Twitter introduced analytics for Twitter moments. Users can now see data for engagements with Moments, by clicking on the arrow next to it.
Introducing Moments analytics for all Twitter users on web. Just click on the down arrow to see how your favorite Moments are performing! pic.twitter.com/9YlyeEjJ6o
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 7, 2017