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!
Instagram code reveals a ‘Meta Verified’ feed filter that prioritises subscriber content - though Meta denies active test
Reverse Engineer, Alessandro Paluzzi, has spotted coding in Instagram’s latest release on both iOS and Android, that shows a new feed filter labelled ‘Meta Verified’ that prioritises content by paying subscribers. Instagram, however, has denied this new finding, declaring that it is not a feature they are testing. This does not necessarily mean that it is not under consideration or in an early stage of development. Twitter Blue, or X Premium as it is now called, has its own Verified tab in user’s notifications - suggesting that Meta may be trying to implement something similar.
Disney+ to launch cheaper, ad-supported plan in UK following success in U.S.
Disney has announced that its ad-supported plan will arrive in the UK and Europe this November following its successful launch last year in the U.S. The new tier, known as ‘Standard with Ads’ will cost users £4.99 per month, making it a more cost-efficient option to the current £7.99 pricing. For users that do not want to watch adverts, there will be two new tiers - ‘Disney+ Standard’ for £7.99, and ‘Disney+ Premium’ for £10.99 that comes with 4K UHD, HDR content, four concurrent streams and Dolby Atmos support.
YouTube removing links in Shorts and banners to curb spam, while expanding channel links for creators
YouTube has announced changes to its links policy to help reduce spam and scam attempts on the platform - including making links in Shorts comments and Shorts descriptions unclickable. The platform also announced that it is retiring banner links, whilst also introducing a more prominent link display for channels which will enable creators to add up to 14 external links to their channel header.
TikTok is rolling out major ad changes to ensure it meets EU regulations, such as significantly reducing targeted ad capabilities
TikTok has announced several changes to its ad products in order to meet new EU regulations in the Digital Services Act. The platform plans to significantly reduce targeted advertising capabilities, as well as give users the ability to report advertising that they consider to be “illegal”. Additionally, content that is found to break TikTok’s Community Guidelines will be removed from the platform globally - and teenagers in Europe between the ages of 13-17 will no longer see personalised adverts based on their activity on or off the site. Finally the company has vowed to share more details on its content moderation decisions with creators, and give EU users the option to turn off personalisation.
Google tests scan-to-call QR codes and additional images on Sponsored Ads
Google has been spotted testing a new expandable QR code extension on Sponsored Ads that allows users to instantly call a number provided by a business or brand. The new feature, first spotted by SEO analyst Khushal Bherwani, has been found on a new expandable call box found at the bottom of Sponsored Ads. In addition, Google also appears to be testing the use of additional images within these ads - now displaying three images as opposed to just one.
X (formerly Twitter) unveils new brand safety features to give marketers more control over ad placement
Following its recent controversies, X is rolling out two new features designed to improve brand safety and lure advertisers back to the platform. Firstly, a new Sensitivity Settings tool acts as an automated solution that helps brands find the right balance between reach and suitability, by enabling them to select their preferred ad placement environment. Secondly, a new Enhanced blocklist feature which is designed to help protect advertisers from appearing next to unsafe keywords in the home timeline feeds.
Google adds new ‘mutate’ function to Google Ads scripts, bridging gap between Google Ads and the Ads API
Google Ads scripts can now use Google Ads API ‘mutate function’ in a move some are calling ‘a new era of API access’. The new mutate function is helping users to redefine campaign management and tap into the full potential of the Ads API, by directly integrating its myriad of capabilities. Advertisers are now able to directly manipulate and control the majority of components within their Ads accounts, meaning they are able to achieve a level of sophistication previously reserved for those with access to the Ads API.
Following in Netflix’s footsteps, Disney is planning to crack down on password sharing by end of this year
At the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, announced that the company is aware of the “significant” password sharing that goes on on its streaming service, and is “actively exploring” methods to control it. Iger revealed that the company will announce its new account-sharing terms by the end of this year, with the rollout of these planned for some time in 2024 in the hope of driving monetisation.
Google Analytics 4 Reports adds support for match types: ‘begins with’, ‘exactly matches’ and ‘regrex’
Google has added support for match types in Google Analytics 4 Reports, giving advertisers more control over their reporting. The new filters, including ‘begins with’, ‘exactly matches’ and ‘regrex’, will help show more concise, easy-to-understand and customisable data to save users time identifying trends and reducing decision-making complexities. Google explains, “You can use a report filter to look at specific regions, app version and ad units”, adding that “you can add multiple filters to further refine your analysis”.
YouTube rolling out new analytics report showing new and returning viewers by format type
In their latest Creator Insider video, YouTube announced that it has launched a new analytics report to show creators their new and returning viewers by format type - helping creators understand whether they’re attracting new viewers as well as building a loyal audience. The new analytics report shows this data for videos, Shorts and Lives to provide a full overview for creators.
Google rolls out significant updates to its Performance Max Best Practice Guide, sharing new strategies for optimising campaigns
Google has updated its Performance Max Best Practice Guide with the latest recommendations for optimising campaigns and improvising conversion rates. The new guide for example explains how switching from Standard Shopping campaigns to PMax can increase conversions, as well as how to use the platform's Performance Planner to review and amend campaign spend. In addition, the document shares information on its new reporting features such as asset group metrics, performance change insights, creative strength tests and product-level data.
Read Google’s full Retailer Best Practice Guide here.
Threads adds several new features to draw users back in, including ‘send on Instagram’ option
Following its rapid loss of user retention, Meta has rolled out several new features designed to hook users back into the app. Firstly, threads has added a new “Send on Instagram” option that allows users to directly share Threads to Instagram DM’s - encouraging users to reopen the app. Threads has also added support for custom alt-text, meaning users can add descriptions to photos, and edit auto-generated alt-text tags before posting. And finally, the platform has added a new “Mention” button on profiles, making it even easier for users to mention a certain account within their posts.
TikTok now requires users to label AI-generated content that shows realistic scenes or risk removal
TikTok is attempting to govern the grey area that is AI-generated content with a new Community Guideline that requires users to disclose AI-generated content that shows ‘realistic scenes’. The platform threatens that those who do not clearly label AI content as such within the upload flow will risk having it removed by moderators. Similarly, both Instagram and YouTube have also been developing its own AI content labels as a way of protecting the platforms from becoming saturated with misleading clickbait.
Google unveils several new AI tools designed to help retailers optimise their holiday campaigns
Google has rolled out several new AI advertising tools to help provide retailers with greater insights into shoppers and products over the holiday season. Firstly, Google is expanding ad formats and adding new optimisation tools to help reach omnichannel shoppers - claiming that 61% of holiday shoppers use five or more channels whilst shopping over two days. The company is also enhancing the promotions, shipping details and visuals on product listings to help them stand out, and launching new tools to help retailers improve product images and even create 3D visual assets.
Check out Google’s holiday checklist here, to find out how to optimise your Christmas campaigns.
Instagram testing new comment and share counts on posts in-stream, providing more context on the engagement of a post
Instagram has been spotted testing a new format for post metrics that publicly shows the amount of times a post has been commented on, and shared, as well as liked. This may be designed to give users more context on how others have engaged with a certain post, and act as a gentle reminder to comment or share the post among friends. While this does sound like it may make posting seem overly competitive, Instagram has not yet confirmed whether this feature will go past the testing stage.