[Ep68/2Aug21] - YouTube Launches Shorts Fund & Other Digital Marketing Updates from the Week of Aug 2, 2021


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1. Instagram Adds New Way for Businesses to Discover Inspiration - Instagram is looking to help brands improve their posting approach by highlighting top examples of both organic and promoted posts from other businesses in the app, which may help to spark creative thinking and consideration. The new element has been added to Instagram's Professional Dashboard, which it launched back in January, and is accessible within the app to those who have Business and Creator accounts.

Now, when you tap through to the Professional Dashboard (at the top of your profile), you'll be able to find a new 'See How Other Businesses Connect with People' guide within the 'Stay Informed' section, which is in the lower part of the display. Tap on that tile and you'll be able to access a range of examples of good brand posts and ads, as chosen by Instagram's creative team.

Once you tap into any example, you'll also be able to scroll down to see more, while Instagram has also included 'Create Post' and 'Create Ad' CTAs in between the displayed posts to streamline your own creation process.

Instagram says that the feature is part of its ongoing commitment to build a suite of solutions "to help businesses of all sizes unlock their potential".

2. Instagram Shares How its Reels Algorithm Works - This week, Instagram has shared a new overview of the key factors that it considers in ranking Reels, which ultimately points to how you can maximize Reels reach, by aligning with these elements.

In order to Determine, which Reels to show you, Instagram considers how likely you are to

  • Watch a Reel all the way through
  • Like it
  • Say it was entertaining or funny
  • Go to the audio page to make your own Reel

So the more Reels you watch - ideally all the way through - the more signals of interest Instagram then has in order to determine what you want to see, with the additional, direct factors of Likes and comments also playing a big part.

Next, Instagram shares the four most important signals that can boost Reels reach. The most important Signals, roughly in order of importance are:

  • Your activity - They look at things like which Reels you’ve liked and commented on, and engaged with recently.
  • Your history of Interacting with the person who posted
  • Information about the Reel such as Audio track, Video understanding based on pixels and whole frames, as well as popularity.
  • Information about the person who posted and how others interacted with them.

And finally, Instagram also shares this interesting overview of what it will limit in Reels distribution.

  • Low-resolution or watermarked Reels
  • Reels that focuses on political issues
  • Reels that are made by political figures, parties, or government officials or on their behalf.

3. Facebook Updates Its Settings Page - Facebook is launching a redesigned settings page in the app, in order to make it easier to find the various tools and options available to customize and improve your individual on-platform experience. The updated format provides more room between each element, with less text on the main screen to clutter your view, better guiding you towards each option. It also groups several elements together, reducing the amount of main options displayed - the new 'Payments' menu, for example, will incorporate all payment tools, as opposed to having each individually listed at present.

Facebook's redesigned settings layout is being rolled out to all users from today, across Android, iOS, mobile web and FB Lite.

4. Shopify Launches Entrepreneurial Space in New York City - According to Shopify’s press release, tens of thousands of entrepreneurs in New York City have opened businesses on Shopify in 2020. And to support this vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the city, they’re excited to open Shopify New York. Now, existing and budding entrepreneurs will have a space to call their own, with the ability to attend workshops and events, get one-to-one support, book podcast and photography studio space, and sell in their pop-up shop.

Shopify New York is a one-stop destination for entrepreneurs, featuring:

  • Support 1:1s: They’re bringing their world-class support experts in person to offer free, 30-minute 1:1 sessions daily for founders and their employees to get all of their questions answered.
  • Podcast Studio: They have created a professional-grade audio- and video-recording studio for merchants to access in order to grow their business.
  • Photo Studio: They know that photos can make or break a brand’s success, so we designed a easy-to-use photography studio that comes with professional equipment ideal for taking beautiful product shots, along with a handbook to show merchants how to bring their photos to life.
  • Cha Ching Café: Named after the famous sound effect that plays when merchants get a sale on their Shopify store, the coffee shop is operated by merchant Birch Coffee, visitors will be able to purchase coffee, tea, and to-go snacks.
  • Pop-up Shop: Our pop-up shop features several local merchant products (from Greenery Unlimited and Nguyen Coffee Supply) for visitors to purchase.

5. Twitter Adds New Co-Hosting Option for Audio Spaces - Twitter has launched its new co-hosting option for Spaces, providing another option for managing your audio chats. Spaces hosts will now be able to easily add co-hosts from the 'Guests' tab at the bottom of the Spaces screen. Within that tab, you'll see a new 'Invite co-hosts' option highlighted in blue, which, when tapped, will enable you to search through those attending your Space and add that user as a partner host.

You'll be able to add a maximum of two co-hosts to each Space, which will give them the capacity to invite speakers, manage requests within the Space and pin Tweets. Co-hosts will also be able to remove guests - so really, it's a perfect supplementary admin tool, and if you're going to host a massive Space, with a heap of attendees, then having two additional hands to moderate and direct the discussion could be a major help in the process.

It could be especially handy for brands looking to run Spaces, with more capacity to manage the discussion, fend off spammers, and keep things civil in the chat. Even the basic ability to pin tweets could be big in this regard, enabling your co-host to add contextual elements into the discussion in order to better illustrate key points, without the speaker having to be distracted from the presentation task.

6. Microsoft Ads August Updates: New Bidding Strategy, Automated Extensions, & More - Microsoft announced a list of new product updates and releases for Advertisers. Here's what you need to know!

Target Impression Share - Mirroring that of Google Ads, Microsoft Ads will automatically set your bids based upon where you want your ads to appear and your Target Impression Share. Advertisers can choose that they’d like to show anywhere on the page, meaning that they don’t care which position they are in on the first page, “Top of page”, meaning they want to show in the first set of ads that appear on the first SERP, or “Absolute top of the page” meaning that they want to be the very first ad in the SERP. Target Impression Share is a good bid strategy for folks who prioritize visibility, though it may cost more.

New automated extensions- Starting in August, Microsoft is launching new automated extensions, which will be available to all advertisers.

  • Dynamic Location extensions will pull in location information from advertiser location extensions and Bing Maps
  • Dynamic Multimedia extensions will append multimedia assets, such as images and videos (begins flighting in early 2022)
  • Syndication Decorations are automated buttons or enhancements that partners use to entice clicks

All advertisers will have the ability to opt-in or out of any of these extensions.

Track product-specific conversions with product conversion goals
- Advertisers using Shopping Campaigns or other feed-based campaigns will now be able to create product conversion goals.

Changes to Unified Campaigns - Lastly, Microsoft Advertising announced a host of updates for unified campaigns based upon feedback from early adopters.

  • Instagram posting: Users can now post to their Instagram accounts from the social media section of unified campaigns.
  • Updates to access management and user invitation: unified campaigns users can now invite other Microsoft Advertising users to have access to and manage their accounts.
  • A new billing experience: unified campaigns users can now use the same billing pages as Expert mode users.
  • Updates to the campaign management experience: Microsoft notes that they’ve received user feedback and made several tweaks to improve the usability of unified campaigns, such as always visible overview information during campaign creation.
  • Last but not least, users of unified campaigns are now able manage multiple sub-accounts underneath a single parent account. Manager accounts are able to:
    • Create multiple unified campaigns accounts underneath the same manager account.
    • Create a mix of unified campaigns and expert mode accounts underneath the same manager account.
    • Link to and from manager accounts that contain a combination of unified campaigns and expert mode account.

7. Google Drops Safe Browsing as a Page Experience Ranking Signal - Google is removing the safe browsing signal from the Google page experience update, the company announced. Google said “we recognize that these issues aren’t always within the control of site owners, which is why we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and won’t feature in the Page Experience report.”

Google said it is removing this as a signal because these are issues that are not always in the control of site owners. Google said “sometimes sites fall victim to third-party hijacking.” Google will continue to flag these notifications in Search Console but outside of the page experience report. Google is also removing the Ad Experience widget, Google said “to avoid surfacing the same information on two parts of Search Console.” But Ad experience was never used in the Google page experience update.

8. Google Explains Importance of GMB for Local Search - Google’s John Mueller explained what a business needs to do to rank for local search queries, stressing the importance of Google My Business (GMB).

A “Local Search Query” is a search question that someone types into Google when they are looking for a service or a store that is in their geographic area. Examples of a local search business can be a plumber, a restaurant, a retail store or a lawyer. And informational search query is one where a searcher is trying to find information, like, for example, the cast of a movie, a product review or instructions on how to cook a Hungarian goulash.

SEO for Local and Informational Intent Essentially the Same. So what he’s trying to say is that SEO considerations like the title tag, meta description, heading use, content on the page and perhaps even the structured data is all the same between a web page that’s optimized for a local search query and page that’s optimized for an informational search query.

Mueller next underlined the importance for setting up a Google My Business profile.

“With Google My Business set up, you automatically have a location specified anyway.

So it’s a little bit easier there.

But having all of that combined makes it a lot easier for us to actually understand this is a local result, and the user is local and they’re looking for something local, therefore we should highlight this better in search.”

One thing to keep in mind is that a business must be local if it is included in Google My Business (GMB). GMB may not be a good fit for a company that has national and/or global clients. What can happen is that the site may disappear from the search engine results pages (SERPs) to searchers outside of the service areas indicated in the GMB profile.

9. YouTube Launches Shorts Fund - Up to $10k Per Month for Top Performing Shorts Video - On August 3, 2021 YouTube announced the launch of its new Shorts Fund. They will will pay up to $10k per month to individual creators based on Shorts performance.

As explained by YouTube:

"Each month, we'll reach out to thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the Shorts Fund - creators can make anywhere from $100 to $10,000 based on viewership and engagement on their Shorts. The Shorts Fund is the first step in our journey to build a monetization model for Shorts on YouTube and is not limited to just creators in YPP - any creator that meets our eligibility criteria can participate."

The funding will come from YouTube's broader $100 million Shorts Fund, which it announced back in May, and will provide a direct pathway to monetization for short-video creators, who aren't able to monetize their Shorts efforts with ads at this stage.

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