2020 has been a big year so far for eCommerce and paid advertising updates from pretty much all big platforms. It’s almost too easy to shop online now.
June was by no means slower when it came to updates from industry leaders in digital marketing. We’ve seen many new and long-awaited features introduced this month, and we can’t wait to tell you a bit more. Go ahead and find out what’s new in the digital marketing world below:
(prefer to listen?)
Microsoft’s free search and social campaign management platform for SMBs
Microsoft’s Digital Marketing Center is a platform designed to help SMBs manage digital campaigns across Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Whilst the pilot is only available in the US at the moment, it powers both organic social media, paid search ads and social campaigns from one interface.
The aim is to simplify campaigns (similar to Google Smart campaigns) and uses Microsoft AI to power ad keyword and audience targeting and bidding. As an advertiser you can opt to build your own ads, use automated ad copy or modify auto-suggestions, features that are missing in Google’s Smart campaigns.
SMBs can also utilise Digital Marketing Center to manage organic social management and create, schedule and publish posts for up to 10 profiles, plus reply, like and direct message users.
Bing brings visual search to product ads
This month has seen Bing add visual search features to its sponsored Shopping results. Whilst only currently available for clothing and shoes, home decor is part of the plan moving forward. Users can upload an image or click on a product result to shop for visually similar items.
This is likely to increase product “discoverability” but will also make comparing similar products easier for users, creating competition for retailers.
LinkedIn Adds Stories Feature
LinkedIn has recently rolled out LinkedIn Stories in countries such as Brazil and the Netherlands. The B2B social media giant is now rolling out this feature to more countries.
The stories look very similar to the same feature you will find on Instagram and Facebook. The benefit of stories is that they appear first before anything on a feed. Scrolling through a non-chronological timeline has become frustrating for some users, which is why we’re seeing more engagement on stories. LinkedIn will allow you to add frames and stickers to your stories, to create more eye-catching imagery.
You do have the option to view LinkedIn Stories anonymously if that better suits.
When you first access a LinkedIn Story, you’re prompted to check your privacy settings for Stories viewing.
That aligns with LinkedIn’s regular capacity for users to see who’s viewed their profile – if you don’t want people to see that you’ve checked out their LinkedIn story, you can switch this off via your Story settings.
LinkedIn provides three alternatives on this front – when you view a Story, the Story creator will see either:
- Your name and headline
- Private profile characteristics (title and most recent education institution or company, if applicable)
- Private mode (anonymous)
The Stories creation stream is fairly straight-forward – take a photo/video, add stickers and text, then publish.
LinkedIn Stories has already received a lot of criticism, with many people suggesting that it doesn’t fit with the professional communications focus of the platform. But the introduction of Stories does make sense. Broader engagement data shows that Stories is increasingly how the next generation of social media users are communicating, in preference to the traditional News Feed, and as such, leaning into the evolving trend seems like a logical way to go to maximise engagement and interaction.
As with anything, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it, but we predict that many users will warm to the option, and it could provide a range of new opportunities to connect with your target audiences and share a different perspective in the app.
Shopping when all you wanted to do was to watch funny cat videos – YouTube’s New Update
We’re all familiar with Youtube advertising. Even if you’re not running ads on YouTube, I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen the in-video ads on YouTube and maybe even got a little bit annoyed by them for not letting us watch our favourite funny cat videos right away.
Now advertisers will be able to showcase their products in their ads. When you click on the banner below the video during the ad, you will be able to see the related product listings and quickly head to the website to make a purchase.
To set these up you’ll need to connect your Google Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account, so it’s definitely not harder or more different than running Google Shopping ads.
For a digital marketing agency, it’s definitely good news – more options for us to promote products for our clients and get the customers one step ahead on their journey to making a purchase, although I’m not sure how my bank account feels about online shopping getting easier every day. Do you think it’ll be useful for you to see the listings below the video?
Voice tweets are coming to your timeline soon
Twitter’s new update will get the personal touches on tweets to a completely new level. The platform now allows users to tweet voice recordings.
You know when you have a long story to tell but you just can’t seem to shorten it down to 280 characters? Or you’re just not feeling like typing the whole thing? Well, now you can just talk to your followers and tell your story. It’s no different than typing a tweet, just open the composer window and click on the wavelengths icon to start recording your tweet. There is a time limit of 140 seconds, but you can just keep talking and a new recording will start to create a thread. We’re curious to see how creative users are going to get with this new feature.
Bonus: You can keep listening to the tweet while you’re doing other stuff on your phone.
Google has gone all out to help businesses get back up and running
Google have rolled up their sleeves to help businesses get back to work after lockdown. After they gave out free ad credits to SMEs earlier in June, they’re now promoting businesses on Google Maps for free.
Promoted pins on Google Maps will be available in the next few weeks and until September advertisers running smart campaigns with Google My Business listings will not be charged for clicks or sales that came from promoted pins.
They have also made the sign-up process easier and faster, letting people sign up and set up ads through the Google Ads mobile app. If you are a small business, now would be a great time to try some Google Advertising!
Been a busy month again, we’re always excited to play around with new features online. Let us know what you think of these updates and any others you have spotted too!