August Digital Marketing News

Breannah Anderson

New Business & Marketing Executive

Pinterest introduces inclusive beauty search feature

In a nutshell:

Pinterest has launched an inclusive beauty feature which allows users to refine their search for hair inspiration via six different types: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight, and shaved/bald. This will enable pinners when searching terms such as ‘short hair’ and ‘wedding hairstyles’ to quickly find pins that fit their desired style, preference or appearance. The inclusive beauty search feature is the latest instalment of the platform’s endeavours to make itself a more representative space.

What does this mean?

Senior Strategy & Insight Director, Maria Bain says, "Pinterest has always been a channel iCrossing champions for organic and paid activations for our clients, due to its positive environment and distinct lack of trolls found across some of the other popular social media platforms. We've always loved promoting the fact that Pinterest is a positive place where audiences are inspired, not bullied, aligning brilliantly with our own values of collaboration and celebration. But Pinterest's conscious action towards a more inclusive and diverse platform is putting words into action and bringing much needed fairness to a historically white orientated and developed AI. We're excited to see how this new Inclusive product further breaks down the legacy white biased AI systems and becomes a more inclusively useful and inspirational platform. Pinterest just won even more brownie points with us!"

What advancements in search AI mean for users

In a nutshell:

In recent years, many industries have made major investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2016, Google announced its desire to become a 'machine learning first' company, intending to use AI to find “new ways of looking at existing problems". While we await these radical new efficiencies, the following are the latest machine learning advancements in search engine algorithms that we interact with daily:

  • Image search to understand photos

  • Ad quality and targeting improvements

  • Synonym identification

  • Query clarification

  • Pattern detection

  • Identification of new signals

  • Custom signals based on specific query

  • Natural language processing

What does this mean?

Krish Gandhi, Director of Data Strategy and Analytics commented, "Google's desire to become an ML-first company comes as no surprise. Their core B2C offering - Google Search – already hosts a wide range of ML capabilities, from image searching through to natural language processing ("NLP"). But what do these advancements in Google Search's AI/ML mean for businesses? Simply put, businesses will be able to engage with consumers in newer formats – with more confidence and efficiencies than we see today.

With search methods changing over time, businesses will need to be cognisant of the content on their sites as more of it will form part of how Google will rank/categorise your content dependent on search method. Technologies utilising AI (presumably developed by Google) will also steal a share of space within the SERP; we already see FMCG and "luxury" businesses invest heavily in on-site capabilities for visual search and augmented reality to try on products/bring them into the user's home. It would not surprise me if Google Shopping was aiming for a larger share of this action, enticing the end-to-end purchase to take place on their platform.”

Welcome updates to Google's automated bidding

In a nutshell

Google has unveiled three updates to its automated bidding via its Display & Video 360 buy-side solution.

  • New Bidding Insight reports will enable users to track the average CPM bid based on the probability that an impression will lead to a conversion or a click. These reports will also offer data on how many impressions were won based on the chances of achieving the selected outcome.

  • Pay per viewable impressions, as measured by active view, for display and video campaigns. A feature that had been limited strategy-wise to cost per acquisition for maximising conversions.

  • Users can now set custom multipliers without writing code by selecting Floodlight activities and assigning values to them.

What does this mean?

Joe Webster, Planning Director states, "The new updates in DV360 are a welcome addition, giving advertisers greater control of their budgets and additional tools to optimise performance. Bid multipliers for floodlight activities in particular have been a long time coming and I question why this hasn’t been available previously. The bidding insights tool feels like another valuable addition, potentially saving time for analysis and optimisation. It will be essential that we incorporate these reports within our standard practices."

Instagram to launch shop tab ads globally

In a nutshell

After testing Instagram shop tab ads earlier this month, Instagram will be making them available globally to countries where the shopping tab is available. The new ad format will include the option for single images or carousels and appear as a tile similar to other items within the tab, however they will be marked "sponsored".

What does this mean?

Like Instagram's other advertising products, ads in the Instagram shop will launch with an auction-based model only. Algorithms will determine the number of ads consumers will see based on how they use the app and how many people are engaging with the shopping tab. The platform will monitor user sentiment regarding the balance of ads and content to ensure there is balance between the two.

The addition of ads to the shopping tab is a predictable step in Instagram’s gradual push towards making their platform more shoppable and encouraging user behaviour that aligns with the current e-commerce shift. The feature also offers further opportunities for brands to make the most of the platform’s 1.4 billion monthly active users.

Is it time we rethink 'the line'?

In a nutshell

As consumer decision-making and shopping journeys have become more complex, it is important that companies think about how they integrate online and offline. Google reminds marketers how crucial it is to do so by revealing the impact of making brands discoverable across digital channels, connecting online and offline experiences, and the future-proofing businesses.

What does this mean?

Consumer expectation of brands presence when searching for products online has risen. 1 in 3 consumers will select their second choice over their first because it appeared more in search results. It is more imperative than ever that companies connect their online and offline experiences as having a combined digital and physical presence can drive a +32% increase in sales revenue. 67% of consumers feel positivity towards brands that connect them both online and offline. Connecting these experiences supports the building of relationships with customers and increases performance through establishing continuous connections. Marketers are encouraged to craft long-term growth plans that look beyond the pandemic as the online shopping industry is predicted to rise over 35% in 2021, as firms continue to diversify and establish online operations.

Katie Spooner, Senior Paid Social & Display Analyst says, "With new marketing solutions emerging every week it’s imperative to ensure that marketers understand the right spaces to find consumers, and where those spaces fit within the customer journey. It’s more important than ever to use a holistic and integrated approach to reach individuals at the most opportune time."

Users ask for context, YouTube gives that, and then some...

In a nutshell

YouTube has replaced thumbnail images with video chapters (where applicable), allowing viewers to see a more detailed picture of what videos include and the ability to select the content that fits with what they are seeking. The time-stamped video chapters allow users to jump to what interests them within the video.

The platform has also been updating its search results to show videos in other languages with automatically translated titles, captions, and descriptions if related content is unavailable in a user’s local language.

Finally, YouTube is working on a feature that offers complimentary search results with website links and elements from Google search. Feedback provided from testing on mobile devices in India and Indonesia will determine whether this feature will be available internationally.

What does this mean?

YouTube has provided much-needed efficiency to user search. It has broadened the scope for those who can access content, which is major, as this could mean content reach is no longer limited to those speaking the same language. Furthermore, YouTube seeks to further integrate Google’s capabilities with its own. All these changes, if successful, will make the life of users somewhat easier.

Childrens online data regulation comes into force Thursday

In a nutshell

UK regulation set to target social media companies, video streaming and gaming platforms in the protection of children 's online data comes into force next week Thursday (2 Sept). The UK's Age Appropriate Design Code seeks to limit companies' ability to track the location of children, provide them with behavioural nudges and personalise content/advertising towards the user group.

What does this mean?

This new regaultion has been the driving force behind social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok announcing changes in their policy in relation to children's privacy, to avoid penalties of magnitudes similar to that of breaking GDPR regulation.

This arguably 'pioneering' code, shows how the digital world can be programmed to address societal concerns felt, however brings to the forefront an ongoing debate regarding the indiscriminate targeting of all online business within regulation. While all companies have had a year to comply, many businesses still do not know what obligations they have under the code. In response, the ICO have said they will focus their regulatory efforts on high-risk online platforms and sites.

What do you think?

The Fabb-ulous Steph, and her digital hero

In a nutshell

Our brilliant Steph explains what Emma Welland did to earn the status of Digital Hero in her eyes to those at New Digital Age. She also talks about current challenges in digital that require a hero and her greatest personal achievement in digital thus far.

What does this mean?

Being a clear leader, having a fantastic work ethic, and striking a balance between doing what’s right for one’s clients, team and the overall agency are characteristics that Steph remarked as making Emma a digital hero.

When speaking about her own heroic personal achievements in digital thus far, Steph referenced her continuous work in simplifying data in ways that enable individuals and clients to truly understand its benefits and endless possibilities. She also mentioned her work with Fidelity, where she built a relationship with the client, from pitching a small data project all the way to making Fidelity one of the largest full-service clients we serve.

It goes without saying, but of course, Steph is a Digital Hero to us here at iX!

iCrossing acquires Mediablaze

In a nutshell

iCrossing has acquired the London-based digital experience and content marketing agency, MediaBlaze, following a 2016 minority stake investment. Together the media agencies will provide clients with full-service marketing solutions, expertise in media and customer insights, customer experience, digital transformation, performance media, and creative-driven marketing campaigns (say that in one breath!)

The acquisition further positions iCrossing as a global leader within the digital marketing industry and improves its ability to create creative, data-driven, performance-tested digital experiences that support clients in transforming and accelerating their business digitally.

What this means?

Paul Button, CEO of MediaBlaze and iCrossing said, “The joining of our businesses will combine Mediablaze’s digital experience capability with iCrossing UK’s powerful media and customer insights, creating a best-in-class agency solution that will help clients transform and accelerate their digital business,”

Jamie Clifford, Managing Director, iCrossing UK responded, “This is an investment in our team and represents a commitment to grow our organisation and position us for continued success as our clients’ needs continue to evolve.”

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