What a summer right? Lots of sunshine in Ireland and no doubt holidays abroad. A well-earned rest for everyone after the last couple of years. Guess who didn’t take any time off though – yep you guessed it, the creators of our digital landscape! These guys must be some hardworking bunch making it almost impossible to keep up with, but don’t worry we have done a deep dive to find out what you all may have been missing between the cocktails or pints while basking in the sun.
Roll out of clickable links to photo posts
We love a good link, don’t we? Any digital marketer makes the most of being able to include links in their posts to direct users to designated landing pages, to make their posts more actionable and of course more trackable! This is precisely why links are so precious (queue Gollum ‘My precioussss’!). As of now, the only way of adding a link to your organic post on LinkedIn is to put the desired URL in your post copy. However, with this new feature that LinkedIn is rolling out, users can add clickable links to photo posts. The link sticker doesn’t seem to offer much variety when it comes to design, but you’re free to customise the link text or add in emoji to avoid a generic look in your posts. This option is currently only available on the mobile version so you can’t use it on desktop, but users interacting through different devices can still see and click on the link. This new feature is still rolling out and will be available to users in phases so fingers crossed it soon becomes available to all of us!
Another handy feature coming from LinkedIn is carousel format posts. Creators are now able to add multiple videos and images in a carousel format allowing users to swipe through various videos and images at their own pace. You can choose to watch carousels within your feeds or tap on mobile to view full screen. Watch this space! This feature is also in the testing phase and available to a limited number of creators around the globe, but hopefully it won’t be long before we’re all able to test it ourselves.
WhatsApp is finally rolling out updates we have all been waiting for! Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced recently that three new privacy features are being rolled out later this month, allowing WhatsApp users to be more discreet while using the messaging app. First off, you’ll be able to leave group messages without notifying everyone (finally!), but you will also be able to choose who can see when you’re online and prevent screenshots on View Once messages. Have a look below for more:
Leave groups silently
We have all become too accessible to the world in recent years and it is about time this feature got released! Up until this release, when users exited a WhatsApp group, the whole group was notified, causing a stir no doubt! Why did they leave? Direct messages asking them why they left? Or worse when someone was removed from the group – Why were they removed etc? The draaaammmmmaaa! Anyway, thankfully with this new feature, when someone leaves/is removed, it is only the admin that is notified! Finally! When you think about it, leaving a group shouldn’t be an issue – boundaries people, boundaries! So, thanks Mr. Zuckerberg, we look forward to seeing this roll-out this month.
Choose who can see when you’re online
Similarly, for the moments you want to keep your online presence private, you will be able to control who can see you online. You are free to choose which of your contacts won’t be able to see when you’re online. That’s right, sometimes you simply want to check your messages really quickly and get back to whatever you are doing without needing to inform the whole world when you’re checking your phones. We appreciate this one too!
A third feature will help those who send View Once messages. These are messages that disappear once the intended recipient has seen them. The feature update will prevent other users from taking screenshots of View Once messages, securing the privacy of the sender. You won’t have to enable any settings to use this: just mark the image or video as “View Once”, and WhatsApp should prevent the recipient from taking a screenshot – and displaying a message telling them they can’t save it.
Meta Brings Automation to Small Business Advertising
Meta is rolling out new tools to help small business advertisers take advantage of advances in AI and automation, with smaller brands now able to access Advantage+ creative and Advantage audience to create ads via their Facebook Page.
Meta Advantage+ For Small Business Ads
Small businesses can now use Advantage+ creative and Advantage audience to create ads through their Facebook page.
When using Advantage+ creative, ads will automatically adjust for each person who views them. Meta will show individual users the version of the ad they’re most likely to respond to.
Advantage audience allows businesses to target ads to relevant people more effectively. Meta will create personalized audiences for serving ads using details on the business’s Facebook page.
Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns
Meta Advantage+ can now help advertisers running shopping campaigns learn what’s working faster.
Using AI and automation technologies, Meta Advantage+ can generate up to 150 creative combinations at once.
Meta states in a blog post:
“In a study of 15 A/B tests, we found that Advantage+ shopping campaigns resulted in a 12% reduction in purchase conversion cost compared to advertisers’ standard ads (BAUs). With these savings, businesses can reinvest in their marketing strategies and acquire customers and sell more effectively.”
These are some interesting updates, and it may well be worth exploring Meta’s evolving Advantage product suite, in order to gauge how they might help to enhance your campaigns in its apps.
There’s a new way to buy products on Instagram – In your DM’s!
When you’re chatting with your favourite brand or a small business on Instagram, you’ll now be able to make purchases without leaving the chat. For example, if you’re interested in a new pair of shoes, all you have to do is send a message to the business about the ones you love. From there, you can chat about the product features and then place your order right in the chat. In that same chat thread, you’ll also be able to track your order and ask the business any follow-up questions. Finally, you’ll be able to use Meta Pay to complete purchases, making checkout even easier.
Using this new feature, small business owners will be able to:
- Chat with customers in real time to answer questions and confirm purchase details.
- Create a payment request with item description and price.
- Request and collect payment.
And when businesses are ready to set up their digital storefront, as we know already, they can use Shops on Instagram and Facebook.
New Reels features
Instagram head Adam Mosseri recently announced the launch of new Reels-focused features for both Instagram and Facebook.
“Add Yours” sticker
Instagram and Facebook users will now be able to use the “Add Yours” sticker, previously only available for Stories, in their Reels.
The sticker allows Reels viewers to add their own video response to a prompt or theme given in the sticker.
“The Add Yours sticker has been on Stories for a while now, and it’s been doing quite well,” says Mosseri. “We want consuming video to be fun and entertaining, but we also want to inspire people to tell their own stories.”
Each time someone creates a Reel in response to the Add Yours prompt, their content is added to a Reels page dedicated to that prompt.
The original creator is credited at the top of that page, which makes sense as part of Meta’s continued focus on creator reach and exposure.
Cross-posting Reels from Instagram to Facebook
Users can now cross-post Reels from Instagram to Facebook.
When you create a Reel on Instagram, a “Share your reels to Facebook to grow your audience” option will appear. You can choose to share all Reels automatically or turn the feature on or off for individual videos.
This is a fairly straightforward update, says Mosseri. “You can now post a Reel on Instagram and have it go to both apps to increase the number of people that you reach.”
Improved Facebook Reels insights
Facebook Reels users now have access to more detailed analytics, including reach, average watch time, and total view time. The new insights, now available in Creator Studio, are designed to help creators identify how their Reels perform on Facebook.
Google announces 4 new features for Discovery ad users
According to Google, 78% of feed users check Google feeds for the latest updates – which means that personalised ads that appear in Discovery have the potential to perform very well.
There are several mobile layouts such as product carousels, lead forms and portrait layouts that brands can use on Discover, while new formats such as video ads are being tested.
Google Discovery ad users may see a few new features starting in August. The new features are:
- Better ad experiences
- Improved creative support
- New insights
- Enhanced campaign management
Better ad experiences
Google says that they’re working on making ad experiences more browsable in the Gmail Social and Promotions tabs by including richer details, like product images and prices. They’ll also use machine learning to match the asset to the right audience at the right time.
Improved creative support
The onboarding flow for creating Discovery ads has been rebuilt. During the ad creation, advertisers will see prompts to add additional aspect ratios, unique headlines, and adding text overlays across images. Users will also receive live feedback on ad strength with ratings from “Poor” to “Excellent,” as well as an optimization score with actionable guidance.
New audience insights
Discovery advertisers can now use the insights page to see which audience segments may deliver the biggest impact. Advertisers can also use asset reporting to view performance across the Discovery ads. Users can compare the performance between assets and decide which ones to turn off, switch, or edit. Advertisers can also use optimized targeting to assess information about keywords and landing pages to find audiences that can meet your campaign goals.
Enhanced campaign management
There is a new audience builder advertisers can use to create and reuse audiences across campaigns. Users can also use the Google Ads Editor as well as API to manage campaigns at scale.
Get certified in GA4
Yes, you got that right! Google has finally released a certification exam covering the latest version of Google Analytics – GA4.
As of August 16th, you can take the GA4 exam in Google’s Skillshop. This is where you will find training modules and other certifications offered by Google. To find the GA4 certification exam, follow these steps:
- Head to Google Skillshop. If you have already created a profile, you should be good to go after logging in. If you’re new to Google Skillshop, you’ll need to go through the steps to set up your profile.
- Select ‘Browse’ and then ‘Google Analytics’.
- Select ‘Google Analytics 4’.
- Scroll down and select ‘Google Analytics Certification’.
Obviously, getting certified in GA4 would only makes sense if you’re not new to Google Analytics. If you’re just starting off, then our recommendation would be to get familiar with Universal Analytics first, and then switch to GA4. Google’s Skillshop houses plenty learning resources to help you better understand and analyse visitors on your website.
Hopkins Communications’ digital team prefers to stay ahead of the game, so we already got our certificates! Go Team!
We are aware all the updates and changes in the digital world might be overwhelming at times, especially for SMEs. There is a lot going on, and it is hard to tell what comes next. Is the short-video format here to stay? Am I better off engaging with my audience on TikTok? Should I be investing more in Reels, or should I do both? How does my business rank in Google search? Should I invest in SEO or paid search? There are many questions you should be asking yourself today in order to stay ahead of the game, and answers to these questions are more complicated than they might appear. So, don’t be a stranger, reach out to our digital marketing team and have a chat with the experts. We might not be able to read the crystal ball, but we might be able to advise what you should be doing today in order to get your business ready for whatever comes next!
Do you need help with your digital strategy or have a specific topic you want us to cover?
If there’s anything you want us to cover in our future Sparks Roundups, or if you need help planning and implementing your digital marketing campaigns, just pop firstname.lastname@example.org an email, and we will be happy to get back to you.