As we say goodbye to summer, we can’t help but be a little excited about all the new changes coming to public relations and digital marketing this fall.
The world of social media continues to move toward better user experience, focusing on video and cracking down on “fake news” and “clickbait.” Meanwhile, the #Hashtag turned 10-years-old and truly puts other industry news into perspective. Podcasts are on the rise and are increasingly posing a threat to TV as a branding platform, while voice-shopping is now a reality – thanks to the recent Walmart-Google partnership.
So grab your iced coffee and sunglasses and make sure to savor the final days of summer while reading this month’s news outside!
With 94% of users accessing the platform via mobile, Facebook continues to work on its News Feed algorithm to improve user experience. Following in Google’s footsteps, Facebook announced that it will start penalizing non-mobile optimized websites. Now, when Facebook sees that a link is loading quickly, it might appear higher in a user’s News Feed.
Facebook is giving brands better control over how they can leverage their work with influencers on the platform. Previously, when an influencer posted about a brand, it could only pay to “boost” that post once its page had shared the influencer’s original post. Now, brands will be able to instantly “boost” posts published in partnership with select influencers, right from their own page dashboard.
Facebook is putting restrictions on the types of posts brands can pay to “boost” from their page. In mid-September, pages will no longer be able to boost certain organic Facebook posts, such as a sports event, a video/image uploaded through Facebook’s camera, attendance for an event, and 15 other types of posts.
Facebook is launching a new platform for shows called Watch, which will be available on its app, desktop website, and TV apps. Watch will include live and recorded videos, as well as original contracted shows exclusive to Facebook. The platform will also encourage conversations around videos and include curated categories titled “What Friends Are Watching” and “What’s Making People Laugh.”
Advertisers will have more peace of mind with this recent update from Facebook: The network announced it will no longer count or charge for accidental clicks on ads. According to Facebook, there will be a two-second threshold for when a user bounces back from clicking on a link, and the network won’t include those clicks in the metrics advertisers see.
Instagram is testing out a new feature for its Instagram Stories feature, where live broadcasters can invite viewers to join them. Only a select group of Instagram users will be able to try the feature during its initial testing period, but it’s expected to roll out worldwide within the next few months.
After months of letting big-name brands test video ads on its mobile app, Pinterest announced that it will now give marketers worldwide the option to promote videos. Previously, only major brands, such as General Mills, Kate Spade New York, and Universal Pictures were given access. Now, video ads will be available in the self-serve Pinterest ad platform, as well as through Pinterest’s API and account managers for top-spending advertisers.
In an effort to make its platform a bit more social, YouTube has added options for users to privately message other users; ,send and receive videos; and reply with different videos. Similar to Instagram’s sharing features, YouTubers will be able to have private conversations surrounding a particular video and send videos directly to friends’ YouTube inboxes.
LinkedIn users accessing the professional network from the app can now record and share original videos to the platform. Videos will play automatically in connections’ home feeds and help boost views and engagement. LinkedIn is still rolling out the native video capability to users, and plans to have it available to everyone by the end of Q3 2017.
Google is introducing a new feature where users will have more information at their fingertips when browsing Google Business Listings. When visiting a Business Listing via Google Maps or Android Mobile Search, consumers will be able to browse through previously asked questions or ask questions to be answered by the owner or other users, directly on the listing.
Mobile users have spotted Google testing the removal of URLs from search results. The test has been spotted from select Android mobile devices and appears to be an attempt to make the interface cleaner, with only page titles and descriptions showing.
On August 23rd, the #Hashtag turned 10-years-old. In 2007, the hashtag was created by Twitter employee Chris Messina to help organize tweets and build conversation topics on the platform. Since its inception, hashtags such as #NowPlaying and #FollowFriday have been shared more than 1 billion and more than half a billion times, respectively.
Television has long been seen as one of the most valuable platforms for public relations and, in particular, branding; however, PR professionals are moving to podcasting as the medium of choice. With podcasts typically lasting 15 to 60 minutes and covering a variety of subjects, brands have the opportunity to guest star and connect with the right audiences for extended periods of time.
General Industry News
Starting in late September, Walmart will be working with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items for voice shopping with Google Assistant.
The partnership sets a new precedent in voice shopping, with Walmart now offering the largest number of items for purchase on the platform to date. Designed to help consumers easily order everyday essentials, the partnership combines the power of Walmart’s inventory with the ease of Google’s voice-powered tool.
Following Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, the eCommerce giant announced it will immediately start offering lower prices on many foods at the grocery store once the sale is complete. In addition, Amazon Prime members will enjoy additional discounts at Whole Foods.
Uber has finally voted for a new CEO to replace founder Travis Kalanick, who stepped down as CEO of the transportation company nearly a year ago. The newly-appointed Dara Khosrowshahi currently holds the position of CEO at Expedia and has reportedly expressed interest in the position at Uber; however, neither Khosrowshahi nor Expedia has confirmed the appointment yet. Should Khosrowshahi accept the position, it looks like Uber may finally start recovering from a year of management upheaval.