News in digital / September

It’s been a busy month for digital marketing. Our news roundup gives you all the essential stories in one quick digest, so you can catch up.

New iPhones announced

Lovers of the iPhone rejoice – earlier this month Apple CEO Tim Cook announced not one, not two, but three new iPhones will be released within the next few months. Following on from the iPhone 7, we have the somewhat predictably named iPhone 8 and 8 plus, but there’s another – the £1,000 iPhone X, here to give your wallet a battering.
Some of the new features to expect include wireless charging, face recognition, waterproofing, a glass back (to help the clumsy among us to smash their phones even quicker), edge-to-edge screens and the removal of the home button.
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Facebook launches Crisis Centre

In the wake of a seemingly never-ending stream of international crises, Facebook launched its new Crisis Centre feature. Building on the ability to mark yourself safe after major incidents such as terrorist attacks, the Crisis Centre brings together safety checks, community help, fundraising and related content together into one dedicated area.

Pinterest reaches 200 million users

This month Pinterest announced that it now has 200 million users from around the world using its platform every month. First launched in 2010, Pinterest now has more users than countries like Russia, Japan or Pakistan have people – and over 100 billion pins to browse.
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Google Data Studio Updates

Many of our clients will be aware of Google Data Studio, the platform we now use to provide many of our reports. Until this month, it’s only been able to pull data across from other Google tools, such as Adwords Manager and Google Analytics, but that has now changed.
On 6th September, Google announced that it was opening up to third-party connectors, allowing users to display data from any platform into an easy report. We’ll be working on rolling these updates out across more of our clients over the next few months, helping us to spend less time on our reports and more time making sure your campaigns get the best possible results. (23)

Facebook updates targeting criteria

Facebook has had to make big changes to its targeting algorithm this month, as it emerged that users were able to target categories such as “NaziParty” and “Jew Hater” with their advertisements.
The data for fields such as occupation and employer is self-reported, meaning that the algorithm relies on users to write the truth in these fields for it to target effectively. While the majority of the data may well be accurate, the algorithm did not account for people who didn’t play by the rules, meaning they inadvertently allowed advertisers to target hate groups.
In response to the startling discovery by ProPublica, Facebook has pulled some of its targeting criteria until it finds a solution to the issue.

New tools for YouTube advertising

Learning from user statistics and metrics across its advertising suite, Google have launched a number of new tools to help make YouTube advertising more effective for brands. They’ve expanded Custom Affinity Audiences, drawing on vast amounts of data from its broad digital empire to allow you to target video ads based on search behaviour, app usage and places visited. This can help you to reach new, highly relevant audiences with campaigns, perfect for raising brand awareness and driving that initial interest.
The launch of Director Mix makes it easier to adapt video creative for different audiences. You can switch out copy, voiceovers and other elements to create multiple ad variations that more effectively target your audience, without needing to spend huge amounts of your budget on new creative each time, making video advertising more accessible to smaller businesses.
If you want to use your video creative to tell a story over time, there’s now a Video Ad Sequencing tool that allows you to string different ad creative together to form specific journeys for your audience.
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Video Ad Sequencing will allow you to turn your video ads into stories that unfold over time

Google replaces Bing on Apple Devices

Google has replaced Bing as Siri’s default search engine in order to provide Apple users with a consistent experience across platforms and devices. This marks the end of Siri’s four year relationship with Bing, as Siri reverts to the original search partner it ditched in 2013.
It’s believed that Apple were already receiving $3 billion from Google in order to keep the search giant as their default search engine on iPhones and iPads. In turn, searches from these devices make up around 50% of Google’s mobile advertising revenue (according to CNBC).
With the exception of image search, which is still powered by Bing, all searches across iOS, Siri and macOS will be conducted with Google.

'Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,'

Statement from Apple

Instagram hits 2 million advertisers

Earlier this month Instagram announced that it had over 2 million businesses buying ads on the platform, twice as many as 6 months ago, and four times as many as the same period a year ago.
The driving force between this impressive increase is likely to be due to Facebook’s ownership of Instagram, leading many of Facebook’s 5 million advertisers to simultaneously advertise on the mobile-led image sharing platform.
Instagram advertising is typically more brand-led than Facebook, but direct response campaigns are being increasingly effective. Video campaigns are also on the rise, perhaps due to the 80% increase in time spent watching video in the app compared to last year.
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Twitter ups character limit

Twitter is known for its short, sharp updates that come in at 140 characters or less, but that’s about to change. The social media giant announced the move, unsurprisingly, in a tweet, and immediately started to feel the inevitable backlash. While the move may have come as a shock to many, this technically isn’t the first character limit increase – if you count the time they stopped images contributing towards the final count.
The new, 280-character tweeting ability is currently only available to a small test group, but expect it to roll out across all accounts soon. Is anyone else just waiting to see what Trump does with twice the space?

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One last thing…

For one of the best twitter exchanges I’ve ever seen, check out this epic twitter battle between the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. Social media marketing perfection!

Written by Hollie Hines

Content & Social Media Specialist

Follow Hollie on Twitter