Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from Microsoft, Google, Meta & many more!
Twitter is limiting the number of tweets users can read following extended outage
In a very unusual move for a social media platform (though if Elon Musk has taught us anything since owning Twitter, it is to expect the unexpected), Twitter has announced that it is limiting the number of tweets that users can view a day. The new quotas, revised by Musk three times due to complaints, mean that verified account holders will be able to view 10’000 posts daily, unverified users will be able view a significantly lower 1000 posts and newly registered, unverified users will only be able to view a mere 500 posts per day. According to Musk, these restraints are essential due to “extreme levels of data scraping” from “several hundred organisations” and “system manipulation”. In addition, the platform is also restricting content from those that do not have Twitter accounts which could result in the platform ranking lower in search engine algorithms.
Microsoft launches new AI-powered shopping tools, including buying guides, review summaries and price matches
Microsoft is rolling out new AI-powered shopping tools to Bing and Edge, including new buying guides, AI-generated review summaries and a price match tool. Firstly, Microsoft is using its GPT-powered AI capabilities to generate buying guides for certain search queries such as “school supplies”. These guides aggregate products into different categories, list their specs to make for easy comparison and include links to buy (with Microsoft achieving an affiliate fee for directed sales). Secondly, a new feature on Bing Chat allows users to request summaries of the reviews of any given product, generating a quick overview of a product's benefits and limitations. Finally, Microsoft has partnered with top retailers to create a price match tool that can be used to request price matches even after prices drop.
Google rolls out brand restriction settings to all advertisers, giving more control over where ads appear
Following successful pilots, Google is rolling out brand exclusions in Performance Max and broad match brand restrictions in Search to all advertisers. This expansion helps advertisers control the context in which their ads appear, avoid serving ads to certain queries and increase the reach of their campaigns. Google explains, “In the past, it may have been difficult to use broad match in campaigns with specific brand needs. Broad match gives you the most relevant reach and conversions within your performance goals”.
Meta’s new Twitter-alternative app, Threads, appeared briefly on Google Play Store before being taken down
The Twitter-esque app, that Meta has been working on for some time, has been spotted briefly in the Google Play Store in certain regions before being taken down. The app listing described the app, called Threads, as a place “where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow”. The listing was discovered by developer Alessandro Paluzzi, who shared screenshots of the app’s user interface - showing a login screen allowing users to keep their Instagram usernames, find their followers and share and respond to conversations. The sudden removal implies the listing was a leak, or a glitch - but either way, it has given us a sneak peak of what’s to come.
LinkedIn is updating its algorithm to show users more personalised and relevant content
LinkedIn has announced that it is changing its feed to ensure it shows more personalised and relevant content to its users. As part of these changes, LinkedIn has said it will show less ‘low-quality content’ such as posts that explicitly ask for engagement like comments and reactions, as well as showing fewer polls and less irrelevant updates like job updates from people you don’t know. In addition, LinkedIn is giving users a way to directly tell the platform the type of content they do not want to see, by placing an ‘I don’t want to see this’ option under all posts. Content from certain authors or about certain topics can also be restricted, as well as choosing to not see any political content on the platform.
TikTok has begun offering retailers free listings, free shipping and zero commission sales for an initial period, to boost ecommerce efforts
According to Bloomberg, TikTok has begun pitching itself as a cost-free marketplace in a series of seminars and meetings with Chinese manufacturers and exporters - trying to lure in retailers with promises of free listings, free shipping, zero commissions and even warehousing. This push stems from TikTok’s effort to recast its image and grow its e-commerce platform to rival Chinese-owned retail giants Temu and Shein, despite limited success so far in the U.S. or the UK. Bytedance’s sales manager also stated that the company will go as far as helping merchants handle everything from marketing to logistics and invoicing.
Meta announces new tools for WhatsApp Business, including easier ad creation and a personalised message service
In the week that WhatsApp Business has crossed the mark for 200 million monthly active users, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has announced several new tools to aid ad creation and help businesses connect with their customers. Firstly, WhatsApp Business users are now able to create ‘click-to-WhatsApp’ ads without needing a Facebook account - allowing sellers to create, purchase and publish ads for Facebook and Instagram directly from within the app. The platform is also working on a paid feature that will allow merchants to automate the process of sending personalised messages to their customers.
Pinterest is testing a new system that would scan a users emails to understand their interests and improve ad targeting
Pinterest is experimenting with a new process that would allow the company to scan a user's email inbox to identify their interests and customise their experience on the app. The process uses information found in a person's emails to serve custom content, and auto-generated boards based on their interests - for example showing a user who subscribes to a gardening email, boards filled with gardening tips and inspiration. Pinterest has registered a patent for this new process, though it may raise privacy concerns for many users.
YouTube is reportedly experimenting with online games, that would give users the ability to play games online and via the YouTube app
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is testing an online games offering called Playables that will feature arcade style games for users to play both online and on the YouTube app. This comes nearly six months after Google, YouTube’s parent company, officially shut down its cloud gaming service Stadia. Many believe Playables will use the underlying technology that powered Stadia within its own games. Whilst YouTube has not yet confirmed this rumour, the company did say that they are always experimenting with new features and that gaming has been a long focus at YouTube.
TikTok’s new in-app feature invites U.S. creators to create ads for brands for chance to receive performance-based rewards
In an effort to push authentic ad creation, TikTok has announced its new in-app feature known as ‘Creative Challenge’ that allows creators to submit video ads to brand challenges and receive rewards based on video performance. TikTok explains, “Creators can browse through the list of challenges, read the challenge’s brief which displays the reward pool and details rules and requirements, and submit their ad”. Whilst this sounds like a lot of unpaid labour for creators whose ads aren’t chosen, the platform claims that Creative Challenge gives creators full freedom over their ads and unlocks more opportunities to collaborate with brands in a way that is authentic to them.
Google has rolled out AMP support in Google Analytics 4 for all publishers
Google has announced that AMP is now supported in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), meaning that publishers using AMP are able to measure their website performance. Google commented, “AMP has helped publishers of all sizes achieve greater user experiences for their readers and this integration is critical for publishers who choose to use AMP to help continue to track their metrics within GA4”. This additional support means that publishers using AMP will be able to continue measuring their performance in the same way as Universal Analytics (UA) following its retirement.
TikTok has added a content-filtering tool to its Family Pairing, allowing parents to filter out videos with certain words or hashtags
TikTok has brought content-filtering to its Family Pairing offering to give parents more personalised control over the content that their teens see. Content filtering allows parents to filter out videos with words or hashtags that may be uniquely jarring to teens - adding an additional layer of personalisation to the platform's existing privacy controls. TikTok also confirmed that teens are able to see the keywords that their guardian has blocked by default, so that they can be a part of these decisions.
Google spotted rolling out dedicated perspectives tab at the top of search results pages
Google has been spotted testing the new dedicated perspectives filter that was announced at its developer conference Google I/O. Google’s Perspectives feature allows users to explore diverse viewpoints about a query, appearing as a carousel at the top of search results pages. The dedicated perspectives feature builds upon this, adding a tab for perspectives among the button links at the top of the page that provides cards for discussions, social posts and links to the Perspectives filter.
Meta rolls out new parental control tools for Instagram, Facebook and Messenger
Meta has announced that it is rolling out a range of new parental control tools across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger, to help make the platforms safer for younger users. Firstly, Meta is updating its Family Centre to allow guardians to view their teens’ privacy and safety settings, changes to their Messenger contact list as well as the amount of time they are spending in the app. Guardians will also receive notifications whenever a teen reports someone - however the child has to explicitly allow this notification. In addition, Instagram is testing ‘take a break’ nudges to make younger users aware of their screen time, as well as notifying teens watching Reels late at night to close the app.
Basis Technologies rolls out integration of TikTok ad-delivery data to provide automated reporting to marketers
U.S. based digital advertising platform, Basis, is now offering integration of TikTok ad-delivery data to help marketers understand and optimise performance data. Basis integrates data across Google Search, Microsoft Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and now TikTok to help marketers automate the process of cross-channel campaign planning, performance tracking and pacing. Amy Rumpler, senior vice president of search and social services at Basis, explains that this additional support will make it easier for marketers to discover and address mistakes and to help ensure a campaigns budget provides a good ROI.