It's been a wild couple of weeks for the big names at the top of the digital marketing world. The biggest story being the Cambridge Analytica scandal that is making daily headlines around the world. While we won't be tackling the scale of it in this week's news, the implications of it are being felt and digested by individuals and businesses alike. Facebook and its subsidiaries (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger) are rolling out numerous updates in response to the recent events. Most updates are relevant to the way third party apps access data. However, some are relevant to the core platform and will effect how local businesses interact with their followers.
This week's news covers some of these updates, but it's not all bad.
The API: An immediate response from Instagram has been the acceleration of the deprecation timeline for parts of its API (the way app ask Instagram for data). This means that some of the Instagram apps you might use today to manage your business profiles will see interruptions in service or be missing data. Developers of these tools will be working around the clock to restore service, but it will certainly be a headache for some.
Fullscreen Ads: No longer will separate creative be required to target ads to Instagram stories. The rapidly growing sub format in Instagram is a great place to engage your audience and provide fun, short form content in a vertical format. The new ad formatting will allow you to use the same creative planned for regular Instagram and scale it with pixel perfect precision (no stretching or cropping) to the vertical ratio. Your caption will appear as an overlay and the call to action will be featured as the "swipe up" feature native to Instagram stories.
#Hashtags and Profiles in Bio: The Instagram bio has long been a restricted area with only room for a short piece of text and one lone link. Last week, it was announced that if you use a hashtag (#) or tag a profile (@) they will be turned into links.
Might sound reasonably trivial, but this is great news for brands and businesses that use various hashtags in their posts or want to affiliate with other accounts. If you have a brand hashtag that your getting momentum on, especially after the recent follow by hashtag feature was released, get it in your profile so your follows are using it and you show up in the feed for it.
The fact that Google is prioritizing mobile first has been widely known for a while. The rise of smartphone internet use is not something to be ignored. Well this summer Google will be switching to a whole new index of websites that are optimized for mobile, rather than using one giant index of all websites, there will be 2 separate ones depending on your device. This index will be automatically used if you are on a smaller screen and your organic results on mobile and desktop could differ drastically.
Well they recently announced that the index build is well underway and should be on-time for its July completion. If you are not sure where you stand with your Website and SEO, make sure you give us a call, no obligation, just sound advice.
Facebook Custom Audiences Certification
As the social media behemoth takes stock of recent events, they are doing everything they can to roll out protections and safeguards for their user base, and so they should. One of these moves, reported by TechCrunch last week, reflects the rules set in place to protect email lists from getting abused by spammers. A tool is being prepared that will require any email lists uploaded to the Facebook Custom Audience tool to have an extra step of authentication and ownership. Essentially a safe guard that consent from the user has been given to contact them and that the data has been collected in a legitimate way. How this works with audience lookalikes is another matter, but at least amassing illicit user data and throwing it into Facebook for ad targeting will have some accountability passed to the perpetrators.