Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from Google, Netflix, Instagram, Spotify & many more!
New 'Payments in Chat' feature allows users to make purchases & track orders via direct messages
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Instagram’s parent company Meta, announced the launch of a new Instagram feature ‘Payments in Chats’, allowing users to buy products and track orders from small businesses via direct messages. Meta claims that one billion people message a business across its family of apps every week, whether to browse products or ask for support - this new feature will now allow these users to make the purchases they want to make, without even having to leave the chat let alone the app. Using the newly renamed Meta Pay, the new feature allows instant payments, transferring funds through PayPal.
Snapchat has launched a desktop mode for members of its premium service Snapchat+
Snapchat has released a desktop mode for members of Snapchat+, its premium service that launched in June. Users paying for these additional features will now be able to use their webcam and mics to participate in video chats on their computers, rather than having to hold up their phone. However currently content created can only be shared via messages and not on users' main stories, and the desktop mode does not include use of lenses yet either. Before this, Snapchat was one of the only social platforms refraining from creating a desktop mode, with Instagram, Twitter & TikTok all already being computer compatible.
Netflix to test 'Add a Home' feature to crack down on password sharing
Netflix has announced plans to test a new ‘Add a home’ feature to charge an additional fee for users who use the same account in several different households. This forms part of Netflix’s plan to crack down on password sharing, claiming that it was undermining Netflix’ ability to invest in and improve the service. This new feature will begin testing in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras next month, costing $2.99 in some areas to add a new household to the account - with different account tiers being able to add different numbers of households. With an estimated 100 million households globally sharing their user accounts, Netflix hopes that this new feature will not eradicate account sharing, but simply help to monetize it.
Chat platform, Slack, hikes up its prices and makes changes to its free plan
Messaging platform Slack has announced it is increasing its subscription prices, as well as changing the way the free plan works. The ‘Pro’ plan is increasing from £5.25 to £5.75 when paying monthly, or from £6.30 to £7.00 when paying annually. Changes to the free plan include changing the current 10’000 message limit and 5GB of storage, to instead giving full access to the last 90 days of message history and file storage. Slack claimed this simplified the limits of the free subscription, meaning businesses will no longer have to guess when their team would hit the limit. There are also expanded features including clips, and message and file retention settings. All these changes will take place from September 1st and will not affect the Business+ or Enterprise Grid subscriptions.
Youtube launches new shopping features amid partnership with Shopify
Youtube has announced the launch of several new shopping features, as it works to transform the platform into more of a shopping destination. Most notably, its partnership with Shopify will enable both creators and merchants to feature their products on their channels, linking their Shopify store to their Youtube channel. Creators eligible for this feature will be able to review real-time inventory syncing on the new ‘Shopping’ tab within Youtube Studio. US creators can also now enable onsite checkout, allowing viewers to complete their purchases without having to leave the app, as well as the ability to sell products directly from a livestream.
Google are testing new AR prototype glasses with in-lens display, microphone and cameras
Google is set to commence testing on a new prototype of AR glasses that includes an in-lens display, microphones and cameras. The glasses were first introduced in a conference back in May, but are now reaching the testing stage with a series of trusted Google testers checking the navigation, translation, transcription and visual search features of the glasses. The glasses use image data that have the ability to translate foreign languages in real time, allowing users to translate a menu in front of you as well as local search applications that can show users directions to locations such as a nearby cafe. The new AR glasses were described by one Google employee as “subtitles for the world”.
Instagram has unveiled an updated maps experience making it easier for users to discover popular places
Instagram have unveiled an updated maps experience, designed to make it easier for users to discover popular locations. The update was announced by Mark Zuckerberg, showing screenshots of the new map interfaces on his Instagram story. The update enables users to find locations based on the hashtags they search for on Instagram, and can filter out locations from a list of categories including cafes, restaurants, beauticians, theatres and more. Users can also search for places in the explore tab, and save locations that they might want to check out later. These map updates have been tested last year in certain countries but are now being rolled out for all users.
Meta has launched Small Business Studios, a new virtual & in-person digital marketing hub
Meta has launched a new digital marketing resource hub, Small Business Studios, that is designed to help support smaller businesses across its platform. This educational resource includes an online hub for training, workshop and creative inspiration, as well as a US-tour of 5 major cities for in-person training, peer networking and one-on-one Meta marketing support. Having discovered that content creation and creative strategy are among the top ‘pain points’ for growing businesses, Meta Boost Small Business Studios was created to help build these skills - with training on building your brand, reels, and photography as well as one-to-one personal support.
Instagram adds ability for brands to boost reels to help reach new audiences & drive engagement
Instagram is now allowing brands to boost their reel content, the same way they can with other content on the platform. Instagram stated that Reels are their fastest-growing format and an important part of the platform, so the ability to boost reels to turn them into ads will help brands reach new audiences and drive more engagement. The reels however must be less than 60 seconds, vertical, full screen and not use copyrighted music, GIFs, stickers or filters in order to be boosted
Spotify is allowing fans to purchase artist merchandise through Blend playlists
As part of its expansion of its new Blend playlist, Spotify is allowing fans to purchase artist merchandise directly through the platform. The Blend tool allows two users to see where their music tastes overlap, and has been updated to include more artists as well as this new shopping feature. Users are now able to blend with artists, which will unveil their ‘taste match’ score and purchase merchandise through their Spotify Shopify accounts. Spotify claims this partnership with Spotify will help artists grow additional revenue streams.
Google launches new ad creation tools to make creating and collaborating on ads easier for teams
Google is launching 3 new ad creation tools to its Ad Manager to make it easier for teams to work together creating ads. The new tools include asset storage and optimisation, which will create an asset library making it easier for multiple team members to find, use and download the same files. Another feature within Google's Ads Creative Studio will help users customise video and display ads for Youtube, including a range of templates designed to help drive results. The final new tool, voice-over audio, which will use Google’s speech-to-text technology to create 7 voices in 10 different languages and will be accessible through the asset library.
LinkedIn have rolled out a cleaner Business Manager dashboard for public beta
LinkedIn has now rolled out a cleaner, more organised business manager dashboard to the public, making it easier for advertisers to manage multiple ad accounts, pages and matched audiences. Unlike LinkedIn’s invite-only beta, this public beta is open to all marketers who want to use Business Manager, allowing them to manage multiple accounts simultaneously - granting them access to add accounts and pages, create and edit campaigns, manage pages and create reports. The matched audience feature allows users to retarget website visitors, and upload lists of accounts or email to target within LinkedIn - which can be shared across all accounts.
Facebook is introducing a feeds tab to view posts from friends, pages and groups in chronological order
Mark Zuckerberg has announced two significant changes to the Facebook App, changing the way it displays content with the introduction of a Feeds Tab, aside from the original Home Tab. Posts from friends, pages and groups will now live in the Feeds tab, and be displayed in a chronological order. The Home tab will become more of a discovery engine, showing more recommended content (with a bigger emphasis on reels and stories) that will be fueled by engagement and context. These new changes will make the app feel like a hybrid between the classic Facebook, and TikTok.
Google are beginning to phase out Smart Shopping campaigns, by automatically upgrading them to Performance max
Google has begun phasing out its Smart Shopping Campaigns, rolling out updates to automatically convert them to Performance Max. These updates are estimated to finish in September for most advertisers, though a notification will be sent 2-3 weeks before that will provide the specific date that campaigns will be converted. According to Google, when campaigns are upgraded, the learnings from the previous Smart Shopping campaigns will carry over to the new Performance Max campaigns to maintain consistent performance. Though you can upgrade immediately if you choose, with the new ‘one-click upgrade’.
Instagram videos that are less than 15 minutes long will now automatically convert to reels content
In its push of Reels content, Instagram has now announced that all videos that are less than 15 minutes will become Reels (as long as your account is public). Users that try to upload a video under this time limit will receive a notification telling them that videos are now posted as reels. This will also allow other users to remix, edit and add their own spin on the videos and will be more likely to be recommended to other users. These changes only occur to video content posted after the update, that are less than 15 minutes and on public accounts.