Tech Treats: 04.04.16

Welcome to Tech Treats, our weekly feature where we provide our clients with the latest news on all things digital marketing. From current trends and innovations, to fresh tips on getting the most out of your marketing spend, we’ll ensure you’re always kept in the loop!

What will Instagram’s new algorithm mean for your marketing?

In case you missed it, Instagram will be the latest social media platform to switch to an algorithm-style timeline.

The algorithm will be similar in style to that used by Twitter and Facebook, and will show users content that is most relevant to their interests. However, although tests are currently being trialled by a small number of users, Instagram has been unclear about when all users will be using the new feed.

The TJM take: The algorithm update for Instagram is part of a current trend to show better, more relevant content. We previously reported on a similar change with the Twitter timeline, and now Instagram seems to be following suit.

The benefits are that it makes sense for people and companies to produce better content.  The downside is it makes finding a ‘niche’ bit of content (as everyone always likes to find stuff that’s rare!) harder. Social media relies on advertising, which means it is better to provide a good experience for a lot of people, rather than a great experience for a few.

Unlimitedly, the first adopters and techies that like to sit on the ‘bleeding edge’ of development (ouch!) are likely to be onto the latest new thing now anyway.

Facebook buys Snapchat competitor

Facebook has announced it will be buying Masquerade, the start-up behind the popular MSQRD app.

Facebook plans to keep MSQRD as a free standalone app, but it’s been predicted that its features may soon also be available across the Facebook platform.

The young app is now one of the most popular on the App Store, and allows users to take static images and record videos. This is not unlike Snapchat, which Facebook attempted to buy in 2013.

Both MSQRD and Snapchat also allow users to apply filters, such as face swap.

The TJM take: We feel that Facebook purchasing Masquerade is as much about increasing the amount of time younger audiences spend on Facebook, as it is a direct play against Snapchat.

Facebook is fortunate to be able to buy innovation without having to be the first mover on each trend. They have seen that audiences react to overlaying on video and images, and they responded.

Video ads will soon be available in Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook is due to change its ad policies for Instant Articles. The update, which will be rolled out from 12th April, will allow advertisers to use video ads, as well as place one additional ad unit at the bottom of Instant Articles.

This is estimated to increase ad impressions by 20%, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

The TJM take: Instant articles are a great tool to use, but part of what makes them great is that they are instant (a.k.a. you don’t have to watch an entire video!). We feel Facebook had better roll this out smoothly or much of the benefit will be lost. On current form, we wouldn’t bet against them.

As a side note, Instant Articles and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project aim to achieve the same ends- a smoother mobile experience. But while making the web more user-friendly for browsers is no doubt a good thing, there’s the danger of creating a 2-tier web where smaller companies will struggle to compete. The requirements to compete in so many areas, platforms and formats mean that the democratisation that internet 2.0 allowed is starting to be undone.

A month on from Google’s search results update: what has the impact been?

When Google announced they would be removing ads from the right-hand side of search results, there was a collective panic over the effect this could have on the likes of SEO and CPCs.

So, what impact have we actually seen?

By reading studies across the net, we’ve found that most industries have not experienced much of an increase in terms of cost. The majority of companies seem to have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach, and have not wanted to move the market.

As of 10th March, Wordstream reported that CPCs had remained stable. Impact on SEO had also been minimal.

In some of the more competitive industries, with insurance being a particular example, we saw a few actors attempt to use this change to grab some market share, but this had largely settled down by the middle of March.

TJM take: This change was never going to move the market much immediately. The increases will be seen over a 12 month period as new entrants and projects means that businesses bid higher to ensure market objectives are achieved. This impact will be buried in many other influencing factors, but competition is only going one way.

As ever, the advice is to make sure you have multiple channels and platforms available for sale acquisition. For more information, see our blog here!

Are there any topics you’d like covered in future Tech Treats updates? Send us a message on social media or drop us an email.

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