Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
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YouTube accused of allowing companies to track kids data through its ads
According to a report by Adalytics, an ad quality and transparency platform, ads served by Google on YouTube Kids content have allowed companies to unknowingly track children online. This has led to concerns that YouTube is in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - that requires online services to obtain parental consent before collecting personal data from users under the age of 13. The report suggests that children who may have clicked on these ads, will have been tagged with tracking software from Google, Meta, and Microsoft among others.
Meta confirms EU users will soon be able to switch off AI personalisation on Facebook & Instagram feeds
In line with the Digital Services Act (DSA) approaching deadline, Meta has confirmed that EU users will soon be able to opt into seeing non-personalised content feeds within both Instagram and Facebook. This follows similar announcements from TikTok and Snapchat, as social media platforms prepare for the DSAs new act which cites that larger platforms must offer users a choice of a non-algorithmic feed, in which content sorting is not based on tracking. This means that user content, including posts, Reels, Stories and Search will be ranked in chronological order again.
Reddit doubles its interest targeting categories for ads, helping brands reach more relevant audiences
Reddit has announced an expansion of its interest groups and subgroups - increasing the number of interests available for advertisers to target from 66 to 152. The platform has made interests more granular, with additional topics and subjects to help brands serve ads to more relevant audiences. Reddit advises, “For additional reach, consider enabling expansion, increasing bids, or pairing with additional relevant interest groups or communities”. While the platform has not announced a specific timeframe, the expansion is expected to roll out to advertisers over the coming weeks.
TikTok unveils new ad spot within its search results page to help brands reach interested audiences
TikTok has announced a new ad placement for advertisers within its search results page, known as the ‘Search Ads Toggle’, which allows advertisers to target users who are actively seeking to learn more about a product or a brand. According to internal tests, the platform suggests that 70% of ad groups that enabled this new toggle saw a lower cost per action due to the efficient conversions generated from the ad placement. As part of this new ad spot, brands can also ensure brand safety with the use of negative keywords, preventing ads appearing in queries that do not align with their values.
Meta has begun rolling out Threads on the web - giving users more flexibility on how they interact with the platform
Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced that the company’s newest app Threads is rolling out on the web by sharing a photo of Zuckerberg himself sitting at a desk building the site. Meta is likely hoping that this expansion will help with Threads low retention rate since its launch - though the web version does not yet have all of the capabilities of the mobile-specific app, such as editing one’s profile.
LinkedIn has tweaked its algorithm to better personalise user feeds - showing more content from people and pages users interact with most
LinkedIn has revealed that it has recently updated its algorithm to factor in more engagement signals such as how people interact with hashtags and who/what they engage with within the app. According to an analysis from LinkedIn expert Richard Van der Blom, LinkedIn is showing more content from a smaller group of people (those users engage with the most), putting more focus on hashtag engagement, reducing notifications for certain actions and increasing the reach of posts over time (rather than mainly gaining traction just within the first day).
YouTube facing agency backlash for decision to use its own co-viewing data for CTV advertising
YouTube is reportedly facing backlash from advertising agencies after informing clients that it has decided to move away from third-party co-viewing measurements, and instead trade based on its own, first-party data. This announcement has raised concerns regarding the transparency and accountability of the measurements - giving YouTube more power over ad rates and the use of its data, which may risk making the platform appear less trustworthy to advertisers.
X (formerly Twitter) rolls out job listings beta for Verified Organisations known as X Hiring
As part of his plans to make it the ‘everything app’, Elon Musk has announced that Job Listings are coming to X with a new tool called X Hiring - allowing Verified Organisations to share multiple listings to a new tab on their profiles. While the feature obviously isn’t as good as our weekly Future Friday posts that share the top digital and media vacancies in the North East, it may make X’s pricey verification tier for businesses more appealing for growing brands. Musk commented that he doesn’t want the feature to become ‘super cringe like LinkedIn’.
YouTube shares insights into Shorts algorithm including how views are counted, use of hashtags & more
YouTube’s Creator Insider channel has published a new video interview with Shorts Product Lead Todd Sherman that explains the Shorts algorithm and addresses some of the most common questions about Shorts. Sherman encourages creators to “think audience, not algorithm” - meaning they should focus on creating content that they think will appeal to their viewers, rather than try to play the algorithm. Sherman also explains that Short's views are not measured by just appearing on a screen - but rather if the viewer showed they were deliberately watching it. The interview also revealed that the team have no plans to extend the length of Shorts past 60 seconds, or creating custom thumbnail options.
Twitch is testing a TikTok-like feed of short clips to help boost discovery of streamers
Twitch has begun testing a new Discovery Feed, that shows short clips from streams in a TikTok-like format, to help streamers connect with new viewers whilst offline. The company revealed that this new feature is a response to one of its most consistent pieces of feedback - that streamers feel that they cannot grow unless they are live - putting them at risk of burnout. This, alongside a new Stories feature, will help streamers attract new audiences while on and off the platform. Both of these features are expected to be fully rolled out this coming Autumn.
Google will automatically upgrade all vehicle ad campaigns to Performance Max starting September
Google has announced that in September, it will begin automatically upgrading vehicle ads made through Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max. This upgrade will allow advertisers to connect with customers across a wider range of touchpoints (such as YouTube, Gmail and Discover) which will likely expand customer reach and increase conversions. Advertisers will also benefit from the more valuable insights provided through Performance Max - helping learn more about their audiences and current search trends.
Meta reportedly offering up to $200’000 in ad credits to lure advertisers back following Apple’s privacy changes
According to reports, Meta is trying to win media buyers back to its platforms by offering ‘coupons’ ranging from $40’000 to $200’000 to help boost shopping campaigns. This comes as the company’s performance capabilities start to improve following a dip due to Apple’s iOS privacy changes - with advertisers spending around 20% more on their ad spend compared to last year. In addition, media buyers have revealed that Meta is offering new ad packages, such as ‘Moment Maker’ - a new iteration of its ‘Reach and Frequency’ campaigns as it tries to navigate business post privacy changes.
Reddit launches two new first-party measurement tools to help efficiently monitor campaign performance
Reddit has launched two first-party measurement tools, Reddit Brand Lift and Reddit Conversion Lift, to help provide advertisers with more detailed information on the performance of their campaigns. Firstly, Reddit Brand Lift gauges the added effect of Reddit Ads on brand perception by using a randomised controlled survey overseen by an in-house team at Reddit. Secondly, Reddit Conversion Lift analyses the next steps taken by users after viewing a campaign on Reddit - by using the Reddit Pixel, Conversions API and/or Mobile Measurement Partner integration.
Meta launches new search tool that tracks branded content campaigns, giving insights into competitor strategies
Meta has rolled out a new search tool, named ‘Search Branded Content’, that allows advertisers to track branded content campaigns from both Instagram and Facebook within Meta’s Ad Library. Advertisers can filter the database by platform, date range and username enabling them to gather deeper insights into competitor strategies - including their strategy, campaign frequency as well as the influencers that they collaborate with. This is likely part of Meta’s commitment to improve transparency surrounding branded content in accordance with the European Union’s fast-approaching Digital Services Act.
YouTube spotted testing smaller, more subtle CTA button with reduced capacity and curved border
YouTube has confirmed that it is trialling a smaller, more subtle ‘Skip Ads’ button across all platforms. The redesign features smaller text, reduced opacity, a curved border, and a lowercase ‘ads’. Some believe the new subtlety of the button could inflate the view rate, reach and spend of ad campaigns - with users less inclined to skip ads if the ability to do so is not as obvious. YouTube, however, clarified that their goal with the redesign is to “provide a more consistent user experience in line with the updated look and feel on YouTube”.