Rally the Trends – February
A monthly round-up of digital marketing, SEO, and social media updates, summarized for you.
Oh, hi there. Welcome to the tenth edition of Rally the Trends! Thanks for visiting this highlight reel of digital marketing news and social media updates. We’re so glad you stopped by.
Iconic Info: Beginning on February 1st, Google Search began beta testing a new icon feature that provides a quicker way to find out more about your search results. Instead of doing an additional search (or several) to investigate sources, selecting the three dots in the top right corner of your search results will give you more information about the source (as seen below). When available, this window will display Wikipedia’s description of the website, as well as if the source is secure or not. Right now, this feature is only available in English and in the U.S.
What’s the Big IDFA? If you’re in the digital marketing space, you’ve probably heard about Apple’s IDFA, which stands for Identifier for Advertisers. While this has been a topic of discussion for some time, the end of IDFA as we know it is scheduled for spring 2021. IDFA will still be around, but it will look very different. This is because Apple is making a significant shift in their operations to focus on user-privacy. Now, instead of the option to Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) in Settings, each app in iOS 14 will generate a bluntly-worded opt-in feature for ad tracking. It’s worth mentioning that IDFA isn’t a new feature of the latest iOS; that or some version of it has been part of iPhones for close to 10 years. Additionally, opting out of the ad tracking will not decrease or do away with ads. You will just be served less relevant, less targeted ads. This change could be a seismic shift for digital advertising, and one of the loudest voices of the opposition is the ad targeting giant: Facebook. This brief podcast is a clear and concise summary of what these changes will look like for marketers and consumers.
Because of these upcoming changes, Facebook has launched a mini-site that is a dedicated IDFA resource for its advertisers. These app marketers have the potential to lose significant amounts of data when the new opt-in popup alerts become a reality.
The Rally Rundown: IDFA changes coming this spring are causing a big shift for app marketers across the board, and for Facebook in particular. iPhone users will now have the privacy-driven choice to opt in to ad tracking (which serves more relevant, customized ads) instead of partially opting out.
Copy That: No really, you should. Copywriting for social media accounts can feel overwhelming sometimes. Am I using the right tone? Is this too funny? Is this too technical? Should this be shorter? And the list continues. Ashley at Marketing Profs has shared some tips and tropes to help with social media copywriting. Use these tips as a jumping off point before you get bogged down in all the possible “what-ifs”.
Feeding Order: If you are a Facebook user, you probably know that the News Feed is organized using multiple algorithms as opposed to sequential order (newest post first and then reverse order from there). While this is frustrating to some because it can feel like you miss posts, it is done with the goal to prioritize the most relevant posts and information. The relevance of a post is determined by a number of ranking factors, in the style of a Google search. Facebook does not share all of the factors that are taken into account, but some of them include post characteristics, time, engagement, and contextual diversity. And here’s another interesting thing: ranking signals are not static; they can be weighted differently depending on the person and their posts, interactions, etc.
Facebook Lounge: No, that’s not real. But I hope we get a call about the name. In a surprise to exactly zero people, it was recently reported that Facebook is starting development on a copy & paste version of Clubhouse. The exclusive, by-invitation-only audio meeting app has realized incredible growth, amassing 1.5 million active users since December. Twitter has rolled out its take with Spaces, and now Facebook is trying to get in on the action. Facebook has rightfully earned the reputation as a copycat in the social media space. One of the biggest examples of that is Instagram Stories, which were copied from Snapchat. A more recent Ctrl+C, Ctrl V by the Social Network was Instagram Reels, which is obviously a duplicate of TikTok. Facebook seems to live by the motto “imitate or acquire”, and since the latter is not on the table right now, they’ve chosen the former.
FY(P)I: Instagram is unofficially testing vertical Stories. This would make the feel of Stories more like TikTok’s For You Page (FYP). Instagram imitating TikTok? That sounds familiar. TikTok’s seemingly endless feed is one of its greatest strengths and the reason the app is so addicting. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, have a clear end point because they are from the accounts or tags that you follow. If this feature is officially tested, it would be interesting to see if Instagram would add curated Stories from similar public accounts when a user has viewed the Stories of all the accounts they follow.
Coming and Going: Instagram made a few announcements this month, two of which we want to share here. The social platform has gone a step beyond its Archive feature and added a recently deleted folder (let the on-again, off-again couples rejoice). This new feature, which can be found under Settings > Account > Recently Deleted, allows you to restore deleted posts for up to 30 days. Deleted Stories will still be unavailable after 24 hours. In addition, Instagram is rolling out live-streams with up to 4 people. This function was tested in India in December and while it doesn’t have an official release date, we can expect to see it soon.
The Clock is Ticking…: For creators recycling content (like TikToks) onto Instagram Reels. Instagram shared new tips on their Creators account on how to make content that is more likely to be seen. With these new guidelines, survey data was shared that Reels that are blurry or have an obvious watermark are not as enjoyable to watch. Thus, that is the reason why Instagram’s algorithm will not be favoring TikToks or videos in that style from other platforms. It makes sense that Instagram wants to encourage creators to make new content on its own platform instead of simply copying videos from another.
Twitter+, Revisited: Twitter is considering moving some of its features to a subscription model. This is not the first time an idea like this has been on the table. The platform depends heavily on advertising and is looking to diversify it revenue sources. With a Twitter subscription, features like Tweetdeck, advanced analytics, premium content and even less ads would be the perks behind the paywall. Maybe even a pay-to-play edit button for Tweets? It will be interesting to see what direction Twitter chooses to go with these options.
Connected and Climbing: That’s what LinkedIn’s advertising business is doing. The professional networking platform continues to see record user engagement and increased revenue. These higher levels of activity, and the fact that LinkedIn has gained more appreciation as a resource with so many people working from home, make the platform an attractive choice for digital marketers. If you’re looking for some tips to jump on the LinkedIn game, for your personal or professional page, check these out.
February is Black History Month and we’ve been celebrating all month long, highlighting Black inventors, politicians, and institutions. As the birthplace of Dr. King, home of the AUC, hub for film and music creators, and so much more, Atlanta has a rich history and a shining future that would be unrecognizable without the genius and efforts of the Black community. While this month is great time to learn and reflect on Black history and culture, it’s much more than 28 (or 29) days. It’s a movement, a powerful heritage set in motion that will continue to grow and make society, and the A in particular, more amazing, nuanced, diverse, and unique.
Be safe. Take a deep breath. Happy Black History Month! Make time to do the things that bring you joy. Thanks for reading to the end. See you next month. 👋🏼👋🏾👋🏿
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