After a record-setting Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, we’ve officially entered peak holiday shopping season. In preparation for the eCommerce frenzy, digital marketing giants are introducing updates designed to make it easier for brands to reach more consumers during this prime shopping season. In November, Twitter rolled out a monthly subscription service to help small businesses automatically run ads on the network, while Amazon has introduced an AR shopping feature to its iOS app for easy online shopping.
Meanwhile, the PR industry saw a prime example of how to effectively manage a high-profile crisis, which any business can benefit from examining as we enter a period where brand reputation is key. Following accusations of sexual assault against actor Kevin Spacey, Netflix announced it would cancel the actor’s hit series “House of Cards” indefinitely.
So, take a break from online shopping and catch up on the industry news you may have missed in November. Continue reading to get the inside scoop!
Facebook is testing a “View Ads” tab on certain pages in Canada, and is expected to expand the feature to select pages in the United States by next summer. The move comes as Facebook continues to make an effort to increase transparency regarding the advertisements a brand is running on the social network. The new “View Ads” tab will allow users to view the ads a page is currently running on any of their social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s Audience Network.
Snapchat has finally introduced a tool to help marketers better measure the performance of their ads. The social network has been slow to introduce a native conversion-tracking tool, a feature that other top digital advertising platforms including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter already offer. The new tool, called the Snap Pixel, will help brands measure the number of website visits and sales that were a direct result of in-app advertisements, and will be rolling out to all advertisers in the coming weeks.
Facebook has launched a native polling feature called Facebook Polls, which allows both personal and company pages to query and poll their networks. The platform has historically offered brand pages the option to create plain-text, multiple-choice polls; however, the new Facebook Polls feature offers much more visually appealing options, with the ability to include a photo or animated GIF as poll options.
Over the summer, Twitter introduced a subscription program that allowed brands to pay $99 each month to have the platform automatically run ads on their behalf. The subscription program, which works by promoting accounts and tweets to help users reach a larger audience, is now open to all accounts in the US and United Kingdom. According to Twitter, the subscription program helps accounts with small followings reach 30,000 additional people and gain about 30 new followers per month. While this is the only subscription tier currently available, the network said that it plans to offer higher price and promotion tiers for accounts with larger followings in the future.
Facebook is retiring a feature that allowed third-party apps to invite users to “Like” them on the social network from within their app. As of February 6, 2018, the Facebook “Like” button embedded in third-party iOS and Android apps will no longer work. As a result, app users will no longer be able to “Like” the app owner’s Facebook page directly from within the app, or “Like” an article from within a publisher’s app to help boost its reach within Facebook’s news feed.
Until further notice, brands and public figures won’t be able to request verification badges on Twitter. The social network announced the move after verifying Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer. In a Tweet, the social network said that its verification process was “meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.” For now, all general verifications will be paused as the social network works to resolve the issue.
Facebook has launched a new app called Facebook Local, which is aimed at helping users find nearby events and places. A revived version of the year-old Facebook Events app, the new platform is positioned in competition with the likes of Yelp and Foursquare and offers ways for users to search for specific things to do and places to visit. An extension of its native app, Facebook Local can also factor in the places a person’s friends have liked on Facebook and the events they’ve RSVP’d to attend through the social network.
Following Q3 losses, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel announced the social network app will be making some big changes including the introduction of an algorithmic Stories feed. Historically, the Snapchat Stories feed featured a reverse-chronological order to show the most recent Stories first. With this new change, Snapchat will use data to power an algorithmically sorted Stories feed. While the social network hasn’t announced the criteria that will contribute to the algorithm, it did disclose that it will be working to show “the right Stories to the right audience” to “help grow engagement.”
As the holiday season approaches, Pinterest is offering the option for business accounts to create their own QR-esque codes unique to the social platform. Users will be able to scan the codes, called Pincodes, within the Pinterest app to open a business’s profile or specific Pinterest board. The Pincode design is represented by a circular array of dots surrounding a central image, and businesses can choose to use any pin they’ve published as the central image for codes directing to boards, and the profile picture will default as the center image for codes directing to profiles.
Following the sexual assault allegations that surfaced against Kevin Spacey in November, Netflix acted quickly to suspend production of the actor’s hit show “House of Cards” indefinitely. The streaming company swiftly assessed the situation and acted in the best interest of its customers by announcing the show cancellation amid the allegations. By acknowledging the situation and sticking to its company morals, Netflix offered a poignant response to the accusations against Spacey, and offered a lesson in PR crisis management that companies of all sizes can learn from.
Google is improving the mobile shopping experience just in time for the holidays. A new update to the search engine’s mobile shopping ads will include more product-related information, as well as buying guides for broad categories such as “sewing machine” and “coffee grinder” searches. When searching for a specific product, Google shopping ads will now include additional information such as related items, and the ability to compare reviews, prices and other specs side-by-side.
Google is introducing a new feature that will help small- and medium-sized businesses with verified Google listings create digital and print assets showcasing their reviews. The online resource creates customized posters, social media posts, window clings, stickers and more based on reviews from customers on Google. According to Google, business listings with positive reviews experience a 360 percent higher click-through-rate to their website, and the assets are a great way to bridge the gap between online and offline commerce.
Other Industry News
Just in time for holiday shopping and entertaining, Amazon is launching pop-up stores at select Whole Foods Market locations throughout the US. The pop-up stores will give Whole Foods shoppers the option to try out Amazon devices in-store, and learn about services like Prime and Prime Video. Select stores in Chicago, IL; Rochester Hills, MI; Davie, FL; Pasadena, CA; and Denver, CO will feature the staffed pop-ups.
Following in the footsteps of retail giants including Target, Wayfair, and Ikea, Amazon has introduced a new feature augmented reality (AR) feature that’s designed to help shoppers better visualize products in their own homes. The feature, called AR View, gives shoppers using an iPhone 6S or newer the option to arrange items for sale on Amazon within their space in real time. The app update comes just as Amazon announced the launch of its own furniture brand, making AR an appealing option for prospective buyers.
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