As the year winds down, our office is gearing up to tackle our clients’ exciting holiday campaigns, and we can’t wait to take advantage of some of the great new features that rolled out this month! In October, Google and Bing introduced new ways for advertisers to get the most bang for their buck in search advertising, while Facebook works to bridge the gap between online and offline sales.

So, don’t get left out in the cold! Continue reading to catch up on all the industry news you may have missed this month.

Social Media

Facebook Removes Ad Targeting Based on Employers, Schools, Field of Study, and Job Titles

To help ensure that ad targeting is not used for discriminatory purposes, Facebook removed the option to target users based on their employers, schools, fields of study, and job titles. The change comes after a ProPublica report found that certain self-reported data could be used to discriminate against users. The social network also announced it would be hiring 1,000 new employees dedicated to reviewing and removing malicious or fake ads on the platform.

Facebook Introduces New Custom Audiences for More Powerful Ad Targeting Options

Facebook is rolling out new Custom Audience options that will give advertisers more powerful targeting options. For instance, Facebook is introducing the option to target people who visited their brick-and-mortar locations or made a call to a retailer, as well as those who spent time viewing an ad or sharing content on Facebook. The new functionalities will help brands reach more people and have better control over who sees their ads.

New Grid Layout May Be Coming to Instagram

The iconic Instagram profile with a 3×3 photo grid may soon change, as users have spotted the social network testing 4×4 grids on select profiles. The 4×4 grid will show more photos, but poses an issue for users who have created photo mosaics with the traditional 3×3 grid. For brands looking to achieve a consistent grid, the change could mean disjointed photo mosaics.

Instagram Stories Offers New Polling Feature 

Instagram users now have the option to poll their followers using Stories. The new feature offers a customized, interactive poll where users can take a photo or video and overlay a question and interactive poll voting sticker. Both the question and choices are customizable, and followers can see the live results for the poll immediately after voting. The new feature offers a great opportunity for brands to get live feedback from their fans and a fun way to interact with customers.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Snapchat-Style Geofilters for Events, Conferences

Taking a cue from Snapchat, LinkedIn introduced a new feature that gives event and conference attendees the ability to add filters to videos they create within the app. Similar to Snapchat’s location-based filters, LinkedIn’s in-app video creation tool now offers event- and conference-specific filters that users can layer over their videos. The filter graphics are designed to look like conference badges, and will indicate if the person sharing the video is a speaker at the event in question.

Snapchat Tests An “Official Stories” Section for Verified Accounts

Verified Snapchat accounts may soon have their own dedicated section at the top of the app. The “Official Stories” section will place stories from verified accounts such as celebrities and influencers in a premium position. The possible new feature comes after reports that Snapchat is dedicating more resources to verifying user accounts, giving online influencers more incentive to use the platform.

Twitter Adds “Happening Now” Section to Top of Feed for Sports, Breaking News

Twitter introduced a new feature that includes highlights from sports games, breaking news and other popular topics at the top of users’ timelines. The “Happening Now” feature will include a carousel at the top of the screen that’s customized to users based on their interests, but will generally include information for easy briefing on current news and events.

Twitter to Add Ability to Save Tweets for Later

The much-anticipated option to save Tweets for later is reportedly in the works. According to the social network, this feature has been a “top request,” but Twitter has been soliciting user feedback before releasing the feature to the public. The new feature will be an easy way to bookmark Tweets and, for brands, this could mean increased engagement.

Facebook Launches Explore Feed to Boost Pages’ Posts

Following in Instagram’s footsteps, Facebook has launched a new Explore feed that will include a variety of posts from pages they aren’t following to help users find new pages to Like. The explore tab will include suggested posts based on user activity, as well as Trending News and City Guides. According to Facebook, the new Explore feed is a great opportunity for brands that have lost organic reach to get in front of a larger audience again.

Snapchat Partners with NBCUniversal to Create Original Scripted Shows

Snapchat is testing the waters of original programming, with a new NBCUniversal partnership. According to Snapchat, the app will work alongside NBCUniversal to develop and produce original content, such as scripted shows, that will be exclusive to the platform. It’s not the first social network to introduce original content, with Facebook introducing its new platform, Watch, for original shows in August.


Public Relations

2017 PRSA Tri-State Conference Offers Expert PR Pro Panels, Networking Opportunities

October marked the return of the PRSA Tri-State Conference and Communications Week. The conference touched on all things public relations, marketing and communications, and featured speakers such as Baked by Melissa founder Melissa Ben-Ishay and Feintuch Communications President Henry Feintuch. The annual conference brought together PR professionals from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and offered a variety of networking options for new and veteran PR professionals.


Digital Marketing

Bing Ads to Include Sale, Event Countdowns in Ads

Looking for a way to draw more attention to your event or sale? Bing Ads is introducing a new pay-per-click ad feature that shows a dynamic countdown right within the ad. The new feature is updated in real time, and is an eye-catching way for brands to help convey a sense of urgency website before an offer has expired.

AdWords Daily Budgets May Overspend by 2x, Google Announces

Google AdWords will now allow pay-per-click campaigns to spend up to twice their daily budget. Previously, AdWords campaigns could spend up to 20% more than their daily budget, but Google said that the change will help budget flexibility, which could provide better results as search traffic can have lulls or spikes. Google noted that advertisers won’t be charged for any overages above the expected monthly budget, as slower days will average out the monthly spend.


Other Industry News

Target to Offer Voice-Commerce through Google Assistant

In September, Google announced that Walmart would be offering voice-purchasing capabilities through the Google Assistant suite of smart home products. Following in Walmart’s footsteps, Target is the next retailers to team up with Google to offer voice-commerce capabilities. As part of the partnership, Target shoppers will have the option to get personalized recommendations or easy re-ordering options based on past purchases.


What did you think of our October roundup? Let us know in the comments!

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