Senior Content Manager
Google is introducing a way for coronavirus-related announcements to be highlighted in Google search. Site managers can add ‘special announcement’ structured data to their pages or submit an announcement in Search Console. For now, Google is using this to highlight announcements from health and government agency sites, but is “actively developing this feature, [hoping] to expand it to include more sites.”
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This update gives site owners the opportunity to clearly highlight impacted services and activities, keeping their audience in the loop during a time of unprecedented levels of fast-paced change.
“This is undoubtedly a good thing for users in this difficult time, making important information easier to spot,” says head of SEO Alex Douglas-Mann. “In SEO terms, it shows the power of structured data implementation on your website and gives some idea of the amount of information Google may be willing to display, increasing the screen space your organic listing can take up. Though I’d hope no website owners unscrupulously attempt to use it just to increase their visibility.
“It’s also a perfect example of Google treating the SERP as a one-stop shop for information, reducing the need for users to click through to websites. This is another way Google is viewing sites less as something for a user to interact with, and more as somewhere to pull key data from, managing the user’s interactions themselves.”
Beyond this special announcement markup, Google recommends that site-owners make other small site changes, like surfacing common FAQs and marking a business as paused where relevant.
In a similar vein, Facebook has rolled out a number of ways to communicate virus-related updates to customers through ‘temporary service changes’ settings.
Businesses that have made changes to the way they operate – for example gyms now offering online classes or restaurants doing deliveries – can now update their page to keep their audience abreast of these by going to: Page Settings > Page Info > Hours > Select “Temporary Service Changes”
As digital activity increases during the lockdown – Facebook reports “new records in usage almost every day” and in Italy, for example, has seen up to 70% more time spent across its apps – this update helps businesses keep their customers up to date and mitigates the risk of any new announcements getting lost in crowded feeds.
Over the past year, Pinterest has increased the number of shoppable Product Pins by 2.5x and has reported that the number of Pinners engaging with shopping on the platform has risen by 44% (year-over-year).
Responding to this demand, the platform has introduced a dedicated space: the Shop tab. Separating these from other pins, the Shop tab provides solely shoppable inspiration, allowing users to browse and buy in-stock items relevant to their search.
As a platform that’s used to inspire and inform purchase decisions, this is an exciting addition for retailers. In fact, Pinterest more than doubled traffic to retailers over the past year. To make the most of this powerful discovery platform, consider working product pins and ads into your social media strategy.
With a 25% year-over-year increase in engagement, there are more conversations taking place in the LinkedIn feed than ever before. And now the platform is testing LinkedIn Stories.
Pete Davies, senior director of product management at LinkedIn, highlighted the success of Stories on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook as an inspiration. Particularly how they offer a fun way to update your circle without adding to your permanent profile: “Sometimes we want a way to just make a connection, have a laugh with our colleagues and move on.”
Stories may bring a little light-heartedness and colloquialism to the typically more formal platform (particularly fitting of the current home working environment many find themselves in); encouraging people to share more of their working day.
As for brands, we’ve written about the benefits of ephemeral content before, with increased authenticity, engagement and storytelling opportunities among the key draws. So start thinking about your LinkedIn Stories strategy now – and how content and tone may differ from that of your other platforms – to get ahead of the curve.
As always, start by exploring what your audience want from content on the channel and how potential engagement KPIs ladder up to your content marketing goals.
After testing the feature in January, Instagram started to roll out desktop direct messaging to all users – previously a mobile-only function. Earlier this month, the social media platform insinuated that desktop DMs were now available to all users, worldwide.
Users will be able to start one-on-one and group chats, read and send messages and share photos. But the mobile app’s video chat feature isn’t yet available on the web.
Brand community managers, influencers and others who rely heavily on Instagram DMs for work are likely to feel the greatest benefit. The feature will make messaging organisation, reading and replying a whole lot easier to manage which could, in turn, increase one-on-one conversation and help build better, more personal, brand relationships.
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