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!
Google has released its October 2023 Broad Core Update, expected to take two weeks to complete
Google has announced that its October 2023 core update is now rolling out, and is likely to take up to 2 weeks to complete. This is the third core algorithm update this year, and could affect user's analytics and rankings over the next couple of weeks. Google has offered a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update, though has not shared any specific actions for users during this update.
YouTube brings back 30-second unskippable ads to appeal to viewers in ‘leanback viewing mode’
YouTube has brought back 30-second unskippable ads to the UK, having reintroduced them to the U.S. in May. According to YouTube, this move follows advertiser demand and research, and will appeal to viewers in a ‘leanback viewing mode’ - in line with the increase of users consuming content via their TVs. The longer ad format will replace the two consecutive 15-seconds ads served to users watching through connected TVs. YouTube commented, “Running longer-form creative on the big screen aligns with your objectives and allows for richer storytelling”.
Threads to add trending topics feed, voice posts, GIFs and polls in-stream to app to rival X
A new ‘Trending Topics’ element has been spotted on Threads, showing a list of the top conversations occurring in the app at any given time. Unlike X, the list does not appear to be categorised (by News, Sports, or Entertainment etc.) or personalised based on users’ activity. In addition, the app also appears to be adding more post creation elements - including voice posts, GIFs and polls in-stream. These new features should help the relatively new platform become more engaging for its users.
Microsoft Audience Ads expands to 58 new markets & rolls out several product updates such as Video & CTV ads
Microsoft has announced several product updates for Audience Ads that aim to help advertisers create more engaging campaigns for their audiences. Microsoft has released Predictive Targeting for Audience Ads, allowing advertisers to leverage the platform’s AI to identify relevant high-value audiences. They also launched Video and CTV Ads to help reach large-scale and high-value audiences across online video and CTV placements. Microsoft also launched two new automated bid strategies to help maximise conversions and target CPA.
Google has rolled out the ability to edit social profiles within Google Business Profiles
Google appears to have rolled out a new feature on its Business Profiles that allows users to add and remove links to their social profiles. This highly anticipated rollout works across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, X and YouTube accounts. The links have to be reviewed by Google, which can take up to 10 minutes. While it hasn't been confirmed by Google, this appears to have been globally rolled out, following limited availability several weeks ago.
Reddit has expanded its learning hub with new features, courses & certifications to help advertisers reach their audiences
Reddit has updated its on-demand learning hub to help advertisers understand how to use the platform to target their audiences. As part of this, the platform has rolled out a new ‘Boost 2.0 Certification Program’ as a second module in its Fundamentals training course, all about how to drive maximum campaign success. The new module includes up to three hours of educational content, with information on its measurement tools, auction fundamentals, optimising performance, hacking your creative and finding your people.
Check out Reddit’s free Ad Formula Training hub here.
Meta proposes $14 per month charge for ad-free Facebook, and $17 for both Instagram & Facebook
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Meta is wanting to charge $14 per month for users to avoid seeing ads on Facebook, and $17 per month to not have ads on both Instagram and Facebook. This comes as the company is under pressure to find an alternative revenue source following the new Digital Services Act that requires large platforms to give users the ability to opt out of personalisation. According to its most recent performance update, Meta currently generates $17.88 per quarter from each EU user based on ad exposure on just Facebook alone, meaning this charge would help alleviate a lot of this pressure.
Instagram announces new features to appeal to younger users, including birthday shout-outs and Close Friends groups
At its ‘Instagram University’ event in New York, Instagram announced several new features, designed to lean into younger audience trends - such as birthday shout-outs, selfie videos for Notes and new group options for Close Friends. In addition, the platform has also been spotted testing a new ‘Crews’ feature for private Story sharing and live games that can be played during live streams. According to Instagram, these features are designed to appeal to users aged between 16 and 25, in a bid to keep them on the app (rather than TikTok).
GA4 rolls out two new features to help improve data security and reporting accuracy
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has added new capabilities that enable marketers to redact client-side text and exclude Google data signals from reports and explorations. The first of these, data redaction, is designed to help minimise the risk of unintentionally transmitting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) - helping advertisers mitigate legal repercussions, safeguard reputation and preserve customer trust. While excluding signals from reports and explorations allows advertisers to exclude certain demographic and interest data from reports and thus help improve the accuracy of reporting.
Snapchat’s AI chatbot under scrutiny by UK data protection watchdog over risk to children's privacy
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a preliminary enforcement notice on Snap, over what it described as a “potential failure to properly assess the privacy risks posed by its generative AI chatbot ‘My AI’”. While this does not mean Snap is in breach of any laws, the regulator is concerned that Snap may not have taken steps to ensure the product complies with data protection rules. The chatbot has had several safeguarding features added to it since its initial launch back in February, though there have been numerous reports of inappropriate replies in its early days.
Spotify spotted developing AI-powered playlists feature, following success of it’s AI DJ
References found in the coding of Spotify’s app suggest that the platform is currently developing a new AI-powered playlists tool. Reverse engineer, Alessandro Paluzzi, has since shared screenshots of this new feature, which indicate that the AI playlist is an alternative to user’s building playlists themselves, or creating a blended playlist with a friend. The AI playlist works off suggested prompts, and is currently only available in English.
Google Ads has removed individual and ad group keyword forecasting due to low usage
Google Ads Liaison, Ginny Marvin, has confirmed that the platform is no longer maintaining individual and ad group keyword forecasting in its Keyword Planner due to low uptake by advertisers. Marvin added that campaign-level forecasts and historical keyword-level data are still available. This small change is likely to mean advertisers that used these tools will lose access to related insights, including important metrics like spend.
LinkedIn is rolling out a new, automated B2B campaign creation experience powered by AI
LinkedIn is embracing AI once again with its new Accelerate tool, which will help marketers automate the entire campaign creation process. The platform explains, “Accelerate will recommend an end-to-end campaign and automatic optimisations to reach the right B2B audience with engaging creatives, which you can adjust and fine-tune before your launch your campaign”.
Google is set to enforce harsher rules in 2024 to help keep spam from user’s inboxes
Google has announced it will be enforcing new requirements for bulk senders to help make Gmail inboxes less spammy. Starting in 2024, the platform will require bulk senders to authenticate their emails, allow for easy unsubscription and stay under a reported spam threshold. These changes will impact senders who send more than 5’000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day. According to Google, the platform already uses AI technology to stop 99.9% of spam, phishing and malware from reaching users’ inboxes.
X is introducing a three-tier approach to its premium subscriptions, including an ad-free tier
X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, has confirmed that it is planning to test three tiers of its X Premium subscription offering as a way of bringing in additional revenue. According to Yaccarino, the current $7.99 subscription would be split into a Basic, a Standard and a Plus plan, all at various price points. Code found within the app suggests that the ‘Premium Basic’ tier would still have all the ads, ‘Premium Standard’ would have half the ads and ‘Premium Plus’ would have no ads. It is unclear, however, if all paying users will still receive a blue verification mark.