A monthly round-up of digital marketing, SEO, and social media updates, summarized for you.
Hello there, you. Welcome to the second edition of Rally the Trends! Thanks for visiting this highlight reel of the digital marketing world. We are so glad you’re here.
Time to Check Your Vitals: Google Search has a new report in its Console. Core Web Vitals, which measure the key elements for good user experience, were introduced in May as a quality metric. This will replace the Speed report feature. Speed is only one part of an enjoyable user experience. According to Google, the three important categories to monitor for good UX are loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
Ad to Cart: The popular online shopping service Instacart launched a new self-service ad platform that will promote products in its app’s search results. Over the last few months, this platform has been tested by Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and PepsiCo. Delivery through Instacart is available from about 350 retailers nationwide. Grocery delivery has gone up significantly due to the pandemic, seeing a 26% increase in March alone. Instacart’s new in-app advertising will allow brands to reach consumers exactly when they are ready to purchase groceries. This feature will help Instacart stay competitive with the digital advertising of brands like Kroger, Target, and Walmart.
Regularly Scheduled Programming, Please: A recent survey by Smartly.io, the social ad platform, showed that consumers worldwide want advertising messaging that helps people return to normal. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many wanted information on how to stay safe in lockdown. Now consumers want brands to show how their products and services can be used post-pandemic. Brands that stayed active on social media in the early days of the outbreak had less competition and gained some market advantage. Online shopping has seen a significant increase because of the pandemic, particularly buying through social ads. Fashion, entertainment and wellbeing were among the top categories purchased. Social media advertising will continue to change at a rapid pace as businesses reopen their doors.
Facebook has launched 15 new Blueprint courses to help businesses who have ramped up digital efforts due to COVID-19. Like the platform’s previous Blueprint courses, these will also be offered
for free. The goal of these resources is to help businesses that are perhaps stepping into the digital space for the first time. Lessons are simple and informative and include stories to help give context. Some of the new offerings include:
- How to Select the Right Social Channels for Your Business
- Tell Your Business Story
- How to Set Marketing Goals
Parts of the courses may be review, but there is valuable information to help kickstart or reshape your digital strategy.
At the end of May, Instagram announced additional tools for creators on Live and IGTV. During Live videos, viewers will have the opportunity to purchase badges as a way to show support and unlock special features. Badges will begin testing this month and will expand throughout the U.S. and other countries in the months to follow. Instagram also announced ads for IGTV. This is done to further support creators by giving them a chance to benefit from ad revenue. IGTV ads and their features will be tested throughout 2020, starting in the U.S.
Seeing Double: Instagram has been testing a new format with two rows of Stories, as well as an option for easy switching between Stories. The app might be moving toward a Stories-focused platform to align with increased usage of the feature. There has been a noticeable increase in Stories use during the pandemic, particularly among younger users. This has caused Instagram to home in on making that feature a prominent part of the app. There is no official word on where or to what extent the new feature is being tested. These new developments could move Instagram toward a platform that resembles Snapchat. The possibility of Instagram becoming more focused on Stories could certainly affect how the app is used for business and marketing efforts.
Facts Checks Are for the Birds: At the end of May, Twitter tagged two of President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voter fraud with fact-checking notices. Shortly after, the President signed an executive order with the purpose of limiting the protections social media companies have with regard to what is posted on their platforms. Online platforms have strong liability protection from what is posted by their users and creators under the Communications Decency Act. The President repeated his belief that conservative voices are repressed by social media companies. He was joined by several Senators from his party who agree that large social media platforms should be federally regulated. The order is already facing its first lawsuit from Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which is a nonprofit centered around protecting civil liberties online. Legal action does not come as a surprise with this executive order, with several sources saying it would not hold up in court. Last week, the Justice Department took action to follow up on the executive order and decrease the online protections of tech giants.
The Rally Rundown: The action by President Trump was seemingly taken to protect freedom and decrease the censoring power of platforms such as Twitter, Google and Facebook. The changes proposed in the executive order would give federal regulators more standing to claim media companies are limiting free speech when a post is censored or deleted.
Audible Chirping: On June 17th, Twitter announced the staged rollout of voice tweeting on iOS. Each recording can be up to 140 seconds. If a message is longer, the user can continue recording and a thread will be created, just like with text tweets. This new feature facilitates faster, more human interactions and the opportunity to bring tones of conversation sometimes lost in text.
Thriving Or Surviving?: Last month we talked about the benefits of working from home and how so many companies (ours included) have made that transition. Working remotely, however, is going to be around for longer than we thought. Some companies (like Twitter) are giving employees the option to work from home forever. With this in mind, it’s important to implement sustainable habits to avoid burnout. Many words have been written about this topic already, but it bears repeating. Set up a space specifically for work (i.e. don’t work from your bed), leave work in that space when you’re done, and make sure you are taking time to recharge from the toll of living in a pandemic and undergoing major changes in the rhythms of work and life.
Atlanta streets have been full of people protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Specifically, the Black community has been leading our nation in mourning the tragic losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, along with far too many others. We stand alongside our brothers and sisters as we grieve, grow, learn and have hard conversations about racism. The systemic injustice of racial inequality in our country has come to light in a new way for many through these events. We all have work to do. For some that is protesting. For some that is using their influence on social media to share resources and stories. For others that means signing petitions and contacting government officials. Something that all of us can do is support Black-owned businesses in our communities. The AJC has a running list of restaurants, coffee shops and bars, broken down by areas of the city. We’ll cheer to that.
Thanks for being here. Stay strong. Keep building better relationships. 👋🏽👋🏾👋🏿