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!
Elon Musk considers charging all users a small fee for using X, as a way to combat bots
In an interview with the Israeli Prime Minister, Musk confirmed that he is considering creating a lower-priced version of its subscription tier, X Premium, which would become a requirement of using the app. Musk explains, “The single most important reason that we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots”. While charging users would increase the price of bots, and mean that each account would have to be tied to a payment method - many users may not be willing to pay for a service that they have accessed for free for over 16 years.
Amazon rolls out several new search tools including multimodal search, image search and AR visualisation
Amazon has introduced 5 new search and discovery tools on mobile, in a bid to rival search engines like Google and Pinterest. One of these new features includes the ability to search with a combination of images and texts - helping users to find a product when they don't quite know what they are looking for. Another feature, known as View in Your Room, has been extended to include tabletop items, home decor and small appliances - helping users visualise how these items would look in their homes. The app has also started showing trend data within search results and on product details, to help provide more information on the product. Finally, the app also has a new ‘Find on Amazon’ feature that allows users to share images to Amazon to help track down a product, and a new feature that makes it easier for shoppers to repurchase items they have already bought before.
Google has released its September 2023 helpful content update, expected to take two weeks to roll out
Google has announced that it has begun to roll out its new September 2023 Helpful content update with an improved classifier. Like the majority of its other updates, it is expected to take around two weeks to complete. The update targets content created to rank well, rather than to help humans with their queries and will impact both Google Search and Google Discover. Google has updated its helpful content page to offer new guidance for the update - such as explanations on hosting third-party content and what to do after a helpful content system update.
Pinterest unveils new Showcase Ads format that displays multiple pins in one unit
At its annual advertising summit, Pinterest Presents, Pinterest has unveiled a new ad format specifically geared towards audience engagement - called Showcase ads. This new format displays multiple Pins in one unit, helpful for showing off various products or styles. Each card within these showcase ads can also include up to three clickable features directly linking to a website - making it easier for users to leave the platform when they are ready to find out more about a product or make a purchase.
LinkedIn has added a new branded content library, publicly listing all its influencer campaigns
LinkedIn has rolled out a new search functionality for branded content partnerships, allowing users to explore all of the affiliate marketing campaigns that have used the platform’s new branded content tags. This update is in line with the platform's obligations under the new EU Digital Services Act (DSA) that requires all social platforms to provide a searchable database of branded content partnerships. Meta and TikTok have also rolled out their databases.
TikTok has quietly added Wikipedia snippets to the top of its search results page, putting itself in competition with Google
TikTok has been spotted serving Wikipedia snippets in some of its search results for people, places and events - providing additional context for its users and linking to the wikipedia page. This will likely have caught the attention of Google, who have previously stated that it sees TikTok as a key search competitor - particularly for younger audiences. This change might encourage more and more people to use TikTok as a search engine and source of news, as well as a source of entertainment.
Google launches new AI tool, Creative Guidance, to help improve YouTube ad optimisation
Google Ads has launched a new AI tool to help assist advertisers with actionable steps on enhancing video ad performance. The new tool, known as Creative Guidance, can evaluate content and offers best-practice feedback - for example detecting when an ad is missing key attributes such as a brand logo or high-quality voice-over. The tool can then suggest handy tools to help boost the performance of the campaign. Google has also confirmed that it plans to introduce more attributes to the new tool in the near future.
Amazon has rolled out enhanced AI capabilities to help Amazon sellers write product titles, descriptions and listing details
Amazon has launched new generative AI technology that will be able to streamline the process of creating product listings to help alleviate the workload of brands. These new capabilities make it easier for sellers to write engaging and effective product listings, and reduce the need to enter as many pieces of specific product data to the listings. Sellers will only need to provide a brief description of the product and Amazon’s AI model will be able to generate high quality content for the seller to review.
Meta disputes news report that claimed the company was exploring bringing ads to WhatsApp
Head of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart, has taken to Twitter to dismiss an article by the Financial Times which claimed the company was mulling over the idea of putting ads in WhatsApp as a way of boosting revenue. According to the report, there were conversations at Meta to explore showing ads in lists of conversations with contacts on the app’s main chat feed - however no decisions had been made. WhatsApp has since shared that it was neither testing nor working on showing ads, nor does it have any plans to do so in the future.
Meta has added new tools to help advertisers optimise their ad campaigns ahead of the holidays
As preparations for Christmas begin, Meta has unveiled several new advertising tools designed to help businesses find new customers and drive sales. Firstly, a new time-based scheduling option, which will allow advertisers to set higher budgets for a campaign within a specific time period to help maximise promotional opportunities. Meta is also expanding its Promotional Ads and its Reminder Ads to more businesses, and testing a new Shops Ads - designed to make it easier for people to purchase directly from an ad.
Google removes how-to rich results on desktop search as well as mobile search
Google has decided to fully remove its how-to rich results on desktop search, having deprecated the result type on mobile search results last month. Google announced, “Continuing our efforts to simplify Google’s search results, we’re extending the How-to change to desktop as well, which means this result type is deprecated”. Many worry that this change could lead to a drop in traffic to their websites from Google Search, and consequently a drop in click-through rates in Search Console.
Spotify announces launch of new ‘Songwriter Promo Cards’ to help promote the discovery of songwriters
Spotify has launched a new promotional tool for songwriters known as ‘Promo Cards’, to help fans, collaborators and industry partners discover more about the creators behind their favourite songs. These new promo cards feature customisable graphics that can be easily shared on social media - similar to the platform's popular Spotify Wrapped assets. In addition to the new promo cards, Spotify will also feature a new ‘Written By’ playlist on Songwriters pages, to aid discovery of their wider collection of songs.
X begins selling programmatic ads via Google as the platform struggles to boost its revenues
X has partnered with Google to offer programmatic ads via Google Ad Manager as the company looks to boost its ad revenue. Farrel Sklerov, head of ads policy communications at Google commented, “This is an opportunity for our advertisers to reach a broader audience, but as always they can choose what sites and apps their ads run on”. X also partnered with ad-tech platform InMoBi earlier this year - having only worked with advertisers directly prior to this.
Pinterest tests new Collage feature that allows users to cut out images and build collages of favourite products
Inspired by its popular app Shuffles, that went viral on TikTok, Pinterest is bringing its cutout technology to its main app, with a new Collages feature. Similar to Shuffles, the new feature will enable users to create collages of their favourite products and other visual content that they find inspiring. These boards are completely shoppable, with users able to tap on the items to be redirected to the retailer’s website. Brands can also get involved with the feature by updating their catalogues so that their products are ready to be added to users' collages. While this feature is still in the early stages of testing, Pinterest has revealed that it hopes to roll it out globally to users soon.
WhatsApp expands Channels feature globally, with updated features including an enhanced directory, editing, forwarding and reactions
Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, has revealed that the platform is expanding its Channels feature globally as well as adding a whole host of new features. The Channels feature, initially introduced in June, is a private way to get updates from the people and organisations that users follow. The updated tab will now have an enhanced directory - that sorts channels by new arrivals, popularity and most active, to help users discover channels based on their location. Additionally users will also be able to react to updates using emojis, and have the ability to edit channel updates up to 30 days after posting.