Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from Microsoft, Google, Meta & many more!
Australia joins long list of countries banning TikTok on all government devices due to security concerns
Following New Zealand’s lead, Australia has announced it is banning TikTok on all government devices. Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfuss, said that the decision was taken ‘after receiving advice from the intelligence and security agencies’ and will be implemented as soon as practicable. Australia has also made changes to its Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), noting that TikTok’s data collection practices pose a threat. In response, TikTok has said that it is disappointed by the decision, claiming that they repeatedly offered to engage with the government constructively about the policy.
Twitter is finally implementing its 50% ad reduction for subscribers of Twitter Blue
Twitter is finally following through on its long-promised incentive to reduce the amount of ads shown to Twitter Blue subscribers by 50% - well, more or less… In a statement released by Twitter, the company clarified that subscribers will see “approximately” 50% fewer ads in their For You and Following timelines, while ads will not be reduced in profiles, replies, or promoted accounts, trends or events. Many did express initial concerns that the promise was not economically viable for Twitter, given the amount of their revenue that is dependent on ads.
Instagram has been spotted testing a collaborative feed of content from accounts that a user and their friend follows
In a screenshot shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram appears to be testing a new ‘discover content together’ option. This option would allow users to view a feed of posts based on public accounts that both a user and their friend follows, as well as posts that they have both interacted with. This new element could reveal shared interests between friends, help show more engaging content to users and even spark new interactive opportunities.
YouTube is rolling out timed reactions within live-streams, showing user engagement through key moments
After experimenting with the feature over the past few months, YouTube has announced that they are rolling out timed reactions within live-streams to all eligible creators. Timed reactions let users add a range of emoji markers to specific frames in a video, which other users, and the creator can see. According to YouTube, not only does this provide useful insight to creators on what parts of their videos are most engaging for their audience, it also provides a sense of community amongst watchers.
Snapchat has outlined new safety measures for its AI chatbot ‘My AI’ to help protect younger users
After reviewing early user interactions with their new AI chatbot, My AI, Snapchat has introduced several new safety measures. Firstly, the platform says that they are closely monitoring inappropriate or potentially harmful interactions, and that users who misuse the technology will face restricted access. Snap is also implementing a new age signal, meaning that the chatbot will consistently take a user's age into account when responding to queries. Furthermore, the platform is also adding data on ‘My AI interaction history’ into its Family Centre tracking so that parents can see how much their child is engaging with the chatbot.
Google Search announces new travel features, including ‘price guarantee’ tool for flights
Google has announced three new Search features for travel, making it easier for users to plan and book holidays. Firstly, Google is piloting a new ‘price guarantee’ in the U.S., that promises to pay users the difference if their price of the flight drops after their purchase. Secondly, Google is introducing a swipeable story format to browse hotels on mobile, letting users tap through photos as well as pull up details or summaries for additional information. Finally, Google is also making it easier to discover things to do while away, with direct pricing and links for attraction as well as suggestions for related experiences.
WhatsApp has been spotted testing a new ‘Channels’ broadcast chat functionality, similar to that of instagrams
Having launched Instagram Channels back in February, it appears Meta is also working on a similar broadcast functionality for WhatsApp. Channels give creators or admins a space to share one-way updates with a large group of people. Members are able to read and react to messages, as well as vote in polls, but not send their own messages into the chat. With more people engaging via private chats rather than public feeds, it appears Meta is looking into new options to feed into this behaviour and maximise community engagement.
Pinterest is expanding its Creator Fund for underrepresented groups to 5 more countries
Pinterest has announced that it is expanding its Creator Inclusion Fund to five more countries, including Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. As the name suggests, the Creator Inclusion Fund focuses on supporting creators from underrepresented groups by offering both financial and educational resources. According to TechCrunch, Pinterest has reportedly invested over $2.3 million in cash grants and ad credits through the program.
Meta is working on generative AI tools that will be able to create different ads for different audiences
Whilst Meta has remained relatively quiet in the AI race up until now, the platform has now revealed that it has a team working on generative AI tools to aid ad creation. Meta’s CTO, Andrew Bosworth, shared that these new tools will help create ads with different images for reaching different audiences - even hinting that we could start seeing these tools by the end of the year. Meta also ventured into ad automation with its Advantage+ Suite back in February, which uses AI to automatically apply visual enhancements to ads.
Facebook has added video display elements to Marketplace listings, allowing users to post or request videos of products
Facebook has announced it is adding video display to Marketplace listings to help users buy and sell with confidence. Sellers will now be able to record or upload a video to their product listings, and customers will be able to request videos from sellers. As Facebook explains, “While photos can help you know what an item looks like, what size it may be and any issues or defects it might have, video can you 360-degree views of an item, greater proof that that the item a seller has listed is what they say it is, and that they actually have the item on hand”. By making the buying process smoother for customers, Meta is likely trying to make Marketplace a more significant destination for shoppers.
Google has been spotted testing the use of AI to help generate ad headlines and descriptions for ad creation
Google Ads liaison, Ginny Marvin, has confirmed that the company is testing the ability to create using AI, unrelated to the Bard. The test aims to help advertisers produce engaging, targeted ads quickly by generating headlines and descriptions based on information about the business. While the test is still in its early Beta stage, it is still too early to tell when or if it will be rolled out.
Meta has shared a new page of tips for businesses wanting to make the most out of its Direct Messaging tools
Instagram has added a new page full of helpful tips, links and case studies designed to help businesses reach customers through their DMs. The overview shares the ways that DMs can be a good place to connect with customers, build trust and loyalty, and drive sales. Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, previously shared that business messaging was one of the key areas that the company was keen to focus its efforts on - given the behavioural shift of users interacting more via DMs than posts or stories.
Google is set to sunset 4 attribution models in Ads and Analytics: First-click, Linear, Time Decay & Position Based
Beginning in September, Google will be sunsetting four of its attribution models in Google Ads and Google Analytics. These include first-click, linear, time decay and position-based models. According to a Google spokesperson, this is due to “increasingly low adoption rates, with fewer than 3% of conversions in Google Ads using these models”. Instead, Google explains that switching to the data-driven attribution model (set as default) typically results in a 6% increase in conversions for advertisers.
Microsoft announces global expansion of professional service ads, broad match modifier changes and more
Microsoft has announced several updates in its monthly Microsoft Advertising newsletter. Firstly professional service ads are now available globally, helping professionals better connect with consumers. In addition, Microsoft is rolling out changes to broad match modifiers which will see all broad match modifier keywords for search ads now serving as broad match keywords, instead of phrase match. Microsoft has also added bulk operations to its Asset Library as well as changes to Target bid value. Read the full announcement here.
Google Analytics now supports creating or modifying events using regular expressions
Google has shared that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) enables users to modify and create events using a regular expression (regex) for web data streams. The company has also issued a list of best practices to follow to avoid using malformed regex that may impact a site's performance - these include using other operators where possible, to test the regex against expected inputs and to be case sensitive where necessary.