As September comes to a close and we enter the fourth quarter, we’ve already seen the beginning of the big tech announcements that typically occur this time of year. Although not every announcement was as highly-publicized as the new iPhone X, September saw a variety of significant industry updates.

Facebook announced it will merge its Ads Manager and Power Editor dashboards into a single interface, and Twitter is doubling its iconic 140-character Tweet limit to 280 characters. Meanwhile, Google celebrated its 19th anniversary and was named the new default search browser for Apple’s Siri, a position previously held by Microsoft’s Bing since 2014.

Keep reading to catch up on everything you may have missed in digital marketing and public relations in the past month.

Social Media

Facebook Bans Pages Sharing Fake News from Buying Ads

In a continued effort to stop the spread of fake news, Facebook announced its crackdown on blocking pages flagged as sharing “fake news” from buying ads. The platform’s existing measures to stop the spread of “fake news” have proven unsuccessful, and the new effort aims to better restrict pages linking to websites with “fake news” – even if their ads aren’t necessarily linking to “fake” articles. It’s unclear how Facebook will decide which pages are restricted from buying ads at this time, but the social network did say that the penalty will not apply retroactively to posts that are already published.

Twitter Increases Character Limit to 280

After more than 11 years of sticking to its iconic 140-character sharing limit, Twitter is increasing the number of characters allowed in its Tweets. Now twice as long, Tweets will soon be able to include as many as 280 characters. According to the social platform, this change is designed to accommodate users throughout the world, as different languages may require more characters to express the same thought.

Facebook Merges Ads Manager and Power Editor into a Single Tool

Facebook announced that it will launch an advertising interface that merges its existing Ads Manager and Power Editor dashboards. The new interface will bring all advertising capabilities to one dashboard, including Power Editor’s automatic drafts feature. Furthermore, the interface will include a variety of new, helpful tools, such as advanced reporting functionality.

Instagram Announces New Ad Options for Stories, Including Canvas Ads

Instagram is adding more creative options for ad placement in its Stories function. The social network is introducing Canvas ads, a style first introduced on Facebook, which offers an immersive ad experience for users that’s similar to a mini-website. Additionally, advertisers will now be able to use organic content created in Stories for their ads. As a result, brands can use face filters, boomerangs, and drawing tools to enhance the images of their Stories, which can then be used to create more natural-looking ads.

Facebook to Report Where Ads Appear, Ban Certain Content from Carrying Ads

As Facebook continues to offer new ad placements options, concerns are growing over ads appearing next to controversial content. In response, the platform announced it will start issuing reports on ad placement, which will include information on publishers’ sites, mobile apps, and videos where ads appeared. Additionally, Facebook will issue more stringent restrictions on which content can carry ads. For instance, content that depicts debated social issues, violence, adult content, drugs or alcohol use, and inappropriate language will be banned from being able to include ads.

Pinterest Opens Up 5,000 Keyword Searches for Ad Targeting

Similar to Google, Pinterest allows advertisers to serve their ads based on keywords that users type into the social network’s search bar. Up until recently, advertisers were limited to general topics and interests, but a new enhancement to the keyword options offers a significant number of other targeted advertising choices. While topics like “wedding” and “dancing” were previously the only high-level keyword targeting options, the update includes super-focused keyword choices like “wedding on a budget” and “ballroom dancing.” Brands (including Nordstrom) who have tested the new enhancements, have reported a 50 percent increase in click-through rates, with a decrease of 20 percent in cost-per-click.

Digital Marketing

Google Celebrates Its 19th Anniversary

In typical Google fashion, the search engine celebrated its 19th anniversary on September 27th with a new Google Doodle. The 19th anniversary doodle allowed users to spin a wheel and open one of 19 surprises Google launched over the years, including its Pac-Man recreation from 2010, and an all-new version of Snake, a game popularized by the Nokia 3310.

Apple Replaces Bing with Google Search as Default Siri Search Engine

For years, Microsoft’s Bing served as the default search engine for the iPhone’s Siri function, but now it is being replaced by Google. While Apple hasn’t released a concrete answer for the change, comparative tests conducted earlier this year revealed that Siri was the least smart digital assistant, while Google Assistant was the best. As Google Assistant is Google Search performed through voice, Siri may now be able to improve AI by tapping into Google Search.

General Industry News

Hands-On with Apple’s iPhone X

Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone was announced at the company’s September 12th launch event, and includes a plethora of innovative new features. One of the most-anticipated improvements is the sweeping gesture support, which allows users to simply gesture a motion and forgo touching the screen to unlock the phone or show the Control Center. Additionally, the new design features an all-glass back and wireless charging option. The new iPhone X will be available for order on October 27th and ships November 3rd.

What did you think of our roundup? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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