Friday recap: Google algorithm rumours, Pre-roll ads in Periscope, LinkedIn Trending Storylines and Facebook Stories
There’s an interesting variety of updates in this week’s Friday Recap. Unlike last week, which was rather heavy with Google updates, this week we have a number of developments emerging from the social media world.
Pre-roll ads have been introduced to Periscope, LinkedIn adds a new Feed based on user interests and Facebook rolls out its Camera feature that bears a striking resemblance to everything Snapchat is recognised for.
Rumours around a new Google algorithm seem to be confirmed, dynamic search ads in AdWords are improved and Facebook goes live on desktop and rolls out mentions and reactions in Messenger.
New Google Algorithm
Amidst much speculation, Google Webmasters Gary Illyes and John Mueller seem to have confirmed the existence of a new Google algorithm, unofficially named ‘Fred’.
Reported by Search Engine Roundtable earlier this week, Illyes responded to a tweet about the update saying “Obviously there was an update. Why would we deny that”. Shortly after the tweet, Mueller responded to a question in a Webmaster hangout, indicating that that the new algorithm could be targeting low quality sites.
Both Webmasters have been adamant, however, that anyone following the Google Webmaster guidelines should not be affected.
Stay tuned for more information as it unfolds.
Pre-roll ads for Periscope
After rolling out an API for Periscope producers last week, Twitter is offering Periscope users a chance to monetise their content with pre-roll advertisements.
Brands can now capitalise on video within Periscope, having their ads play for a specified time before publisher’s video content. In return, content creators get to make a nice monetary return.
Brands will have the same design control as within the Amplify program in Twitter and the user experience will also be same the same as Twitter, with some videos screening a short ad before the content starts. The pre-roll ads can be added to both live and replay content, including 360 video.
Currently, the pre-roll advertising option is only available to advertisers with custom Amplify packages, but Twitter plans to roll it out to a wider network over the next few months.
Trending storylines in LinkedIn
LinkedIn has announced the launch of ‘Trending Storylines’ this week, which will curate feeds for users to show the stories most relevant and interesting to them.
Recent changes to the Feed gave users more control over the type of content they want to see – whether they want to hide or block certain users and brands, or view recommended industry leaders and companies to follow. This latest update, however, will automatically curate feeds for users tailored to their industry and their interests.
The Trending Storylines feature will not replace the normal feed and instead will be an addition that users can access if they wish. The company has deployed a number of algorithms that will be responsible for curating the feed, in conjunction with their editorial team. LinkedIn said that “Trending Storylines include multiple perspectives, ranging from relevant influencers and news publishers to people in your network, so you can quickly access diverse opinions, find new voices to follow and join the conversation.”
LinkedIn is also expanding their recent addition of hashtags to this feature, so that each ‘conversation’ can be easily joined by adding the relevant hashtag to your posts.
Trending Storylines is available now in the US but will expand to other countries soon.
Facebook Camera with Stories
Well, it looks like Facebook has added yet another ‘Snapchat inspired’ feature to its app – Facebook Camera.
The in-app camera allows users to take photos or videos with a range of effects like overlays and interactive filters. You know, like another social media app you may be aware of.
Unlike regular Facebook posts, users can then post them to their ‘Story’, which appears in a bar across the top of the app and disappears after 24 hours, like Instagram Stories. Like Snapchat.
A ‘Direct’ option will be introduced as well, that lets users send photos and video direct to their friends on Facebook, where they can view it once then replay or reply. I’m not even going to say it this time…
Given that the similarities between Snapchat and Facebook are growing more extensive, Snapchat should be quite concerned about the possibility of losing its users. We all know that Facebook has the lion’s share of social media users anyway, but they will have less reasons to leave the platform and visit Snapchat if Facebook is offering all the same features.
Facebook is also flexing its networking muscles by partnering up with major brands to bring some unique features to the Camera, including collaborations with Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Power Rangers.
Snapchat’s latest major update about its partnership with Viceland to produce original Snapchat content is a big step for the platform, but it will be interesting to see if this is enough to maintain the attention of its users.
This could be great news for brands who now have even more ways to connect with their followers, and on the biggest social platform of them all. Alternatively, it also means that they now have even more content channels to manage and keep up to date with. Perhaps boosting and advertising in Stories will be available in the future if the introduction of Facebook Camera proves successful.
The Facebook Camera and all of its features are available this week for iOS and Android users.
Go live from your desktop
Facebook has made this option available for broadcasters that would benefit from a more stable set up, like regular vloggers. The company said that “desktop or laptop computers provide a stable camera setup that can be beneficial to many types of Facebook Live broadcasts – from Q&As to vlogs to tutorials to any broadcast from someone who isn’t on the move.”
Perhaps this was a strategic move by Facebook to compete against other live streaming services like YouTube and Periscope.
If you want to go live on Facebook from the desktop site, just click the ‘Live Video’ option at the top of your Feed to get started.
Reactions and Mentions for Messenger
Facebook is introducing two of its key functions to the Messenger platform – reactions and mentions.
Users can react to individual messages with the same icons available in Facebook – Haha, Love, Surprise, Sad, Angry and Yes or No. The reactions will be tallied up in the corner of the screen so users can see how many and what type of reactions their message has received. A small animation will display the reaction when it occurs, or a notification will be sent if the user is not in the Messenger app at the time.
Users can now also directly mention people within their message using the @ function, just like Facebook. Could be super handy for those busy group messages that are too hard to keep track of, and a great way to personalise messages from your brand. When someone is mentioned in a message they will receive a unique notification.
Both of these updates are also available for the chat in Workplace by Facebook. They will be available globally within the next few days.
Dynamic search ads improved
Google is introducing three new features to improve Dynamic Search Ads, including page feeds, expanded ads and quality enhancements.
Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) help brands reach users in search without the need to manage their keywords or the actual ads themselves. DSAs use content from your site to determine which relevant searches in Google it should appear in.
Page feeds will give advertisers a little more control over where the ads appear. Advertisers can now provide Google with a feed of what they want to promote and the landing pages they wish to target, which will be fed into the DSA. Labels will also be available so that certain products and pages can be categorised.
Expanded text ads have been available on AdWords for some time now but they will now be rolled out for DSAs as well. The latest update is an overall quality improvement, to make sure that the ads are only shown to the most relevant audiences.
All features are currently available for DSAs in AdWords.
Instagram reaches a milestone
Instagram announced this week that it has reached a milestone with business profiles with over 1 million monthly active advertisers.
The post went on to discuss the company’s other achievements and major features it has rolled out the last year, such as Instagram Stories and the success of video.
To read the full post visit the Instagram Business blog.