Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from X, Google, Meta & many more!
X caught repeatedly serving unlabelled ads in users’ Following feeds
X has been spotted running unlabelled ads in user’s Following feeds - it is unsure whether this is a glitch, or a deliberate attempt at deceiving consumers. According to screenshots shared by TechCrunch, the unlabelled ads appeared amongst labelled ads within users’ feeds, and were only identifiable as ads when clicking the post menu which brought up the ‘Not interested in this ad?’ or ‘Why this ad?’ options. While not disclosing ads as such is not illegal, it is widely condemned by regulatory bodies like the FTC and the ASA - and is not a great way of conveying a ‘brand safe’ site for advertisers.
Pinterest introduces new body type technology to increase body representation on platform
Pinterest has announced that it is introducing a new body type technology that can identify various body types in over 5 billion images on the platform with the aim of increasing representation on the platform. This patent-pending technology will be used to share more diverse search results with users, initially rolling out to searches for womens fashion and wedding content before being expanded more broadly.
Instagram confirms it is testing a feature that lets you share feed posts just with ‘Close Friends’ group
In a push to make user’s feeds feel more personal again, Instagram has confirmed that it is testing the ability for users to share feed posts with their group of Close Friends, like they can with Stories. This new feature could help pull people away from Stories and DMs, and encourage them to post on their main feed again - which many feel has become overly saturated with recommended posts of people they do not know. If this feature is released, it could reduce the need for ‘finsta’ accounts that many people use to share content with a smaller group of friends.
X updates terms to ban crawling and scraping - likely to deter AI models training on its data
X has updated its terms to prohibit the scraping and crawling of data without “prior written consent”. This is likely to prevent other AI models training off of X’s data - having just recently announced the company is developing its own AI model, known as xAI. Prior to this change, crawling was allowed in accordance with robots.txt (a file that gives instructions to what parts of a site can be crawled) though this has recently been altered to remove instructions for all crawler bots beside Google.
Google has now completed the rollout of its August 2023 Core Update, affecting search rankings across multiple sectors
Google has announced that it has now completed its August 2023 Core Update, taking a total of 16 days to fully roll out. During this time, many sites reported extreme volatility in their reporting. Google has stressed that the pages impacted by this core update are not necessarily flawed, but that the algorithm is being updated to focus on improving the system's overall content assessment. As always, Google is continuing to advise marketers to focus on quality content as a response to these fluctuations.
YouTube is testing longer, but less frequent ads on its connected TV app to help boost engagement
YouTube has revealed that it is running a pilot that extends the length of adverts on its connected TV app, whilst decreasing their frequency - to improve the user experience and to boost the engagement of ads. Whilst YouTube has not confirmed a specific length, longer ads are more likely to give brands a better chance of connecting with their intended audience by minimising the disruptions. In addition, YouTube is also testing a new ad countdown clock that will show users how many seconds remain before they can skip an ad or when it finishes.
TikTok announces partnership with TransUnion to facilitate multi-touch attribution within campaigns
TikTok’s latest partnership aims to help marketers understand a more complete view of their customer journeys within their campaigns - through multi-touch attribution. As TikTok explains, “TransUnion’s TruAudience Marketing Attribution solution assigns credit for a conversion to multiple touchpoints in a customer journey”, thus providing marketers with “the answers to crucial questions such as which marketing channels and tactics are most effective at driving conversions, and which specific touchpoints within a channel are most effective”.
Meta announces it is pulling the plug on Facebook news in the UK, Germany & France starting early December
Meta has announced that it is deprecating Facebook News - its dedicated tab for news content - in the UK, France and Germany as it seeks to refocus its time and resources on other areas of the platform such as short form video. The announcement reassured users that they will still be able to view news on the platform, and publishers will still have access to their Facebook accounts and pages to post news article links and content. According to Meta, news makes up less than 3% of what people around the world see in the Facebook feed, allowing the company to invest in more valuable tools moving forward.
Google Chrome continues rolling out Enhanced Ad Privacy tech that serves targeted ads using browser history
Snapchat adds several new safeguards to protect teen users, including strike system for inappropriate content
Snapchat has introduced new safety measures aimed at better protecting teen users on the app. Firstly, Snapchat will now display in-app warnings when a minor adds a friend on the app when they do not already share mutual friends or the person isn’t in their contacts. Snapchat is also implementing a new three-part strike system across public content on Stories and Spotlight, banning accounts that routinely post age-inappropriate content. The app is also releasing new content that helps explain risks like catfishing, financial sextortion and the taking of and sharing of explicit images, to help educate younger users on what to do if they encounter them.
Google will soon require political ads to disclose AI-generated images, videos and audio
In its attempt to control the surge of AI-generated content ahead of the U.S. presidential campaign, Google will reportedly require political ads to disclose the use of AI-generated images, video and audio from November. This new measure should help tackle the increase of fake news, and help restore people's trust in content that they see on the internet. Content using AI will have to be tagged with one of the following labels: ‘This image does not depict real events’, ‘This video content was synthetically generated’, 'This audio was computer generated’ and ‘This image does not depict real events’.
OpenAI launches ChatGPT plan for enterprise customers with new privacy and data analysis capabilities
OpenAI, the company behind the AI chatbot ChatGPT, have released a new version specifically for businesses, called ChatGPT Enterprise. Whilst ChatGPT Enterprise can perform many of the same features as the original version, such as writing emails, drafting essays and debugging computer code, it also has ‘enterprise-grade’ privacy and data analysis capabilities as well as enhanced performance and customisation options. Many compare this new version to Bing Chat Enterprise, recently launched by Microsoft.
YouTube is removing individual controls for ad formats, to simplify process for creators
YouTube has announced that it is simplifying how creators turn on ads in YouTube Studio, by removing individual ad controls for pre-roll, post-roll, skippable and non-skippable ads on newly uploaded videos. YouTube explains that the change follows reports that individual selections were confusing both newly monetising and existing creators, and so the platform will instead rely on automation to decide which ad types to serve on new videos. YouTube claims that most creators should not notice the change, as the majority have these ad formats already turned on by default.
Google announces series of updates to improve its language matching systems to help show users preferred language
As well as its August Core Update, Google has been rolling out several Search updates to help improve its language matching systems. This comes following complaints that Google was getting searchers preferred languages wrong, and therefore not seeing the content that they wanted. Google explains, “these should better match results to the language someone searches in, while still allowing for the flexibility multilingual searchers need to access results in multiple languages”.
The Google Play Store is introducing short form video content to encourage discovery of new apps
The Google Play Store has become the latest app to embrace short-form content, having introduced a new original video series called ‘The Play Report’ to help users discover new apps. These videos will be played on the home page to select U.S. users as well as on the platform's social media pages, and will feature experts, creators and even Google employees showcasing the different apps. Google has not yet revealed when, or if, this feature will be expanded to all users - but it certainly seems like an engaging way to aid discovery within the app.