January Digital Marketing News

Sophie Wilkinson

Senior Content Manager

BERT is rolled out in over 70 languages

In a nutshell

Google has rolled out BERT - the natural language processing algorithm it launched in October – in over 70 languages.

Designed to better understand the intent behind searches, BERT allows users to write in a natural way that suits them, without the need to adapt their queries multiple times to find what they’re looking for.

Previously, BERT was only applied to featured snippets in non-English languages.

What does this mean?

Google reported that 10% off all searches were impacted by the English language rollout of BERT and may now affect a similar proportion of search queries globally, driving a higher quality of search traffic.

While you’re not able to directly optimise for BERT, understanding user intent and creating and structuring your content to meet this will help Google recognise these connections. 

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Google adds more news content to ‘top stories’ search results

In a nutshell

Google will now organise results on timely topics by story, making it easier for people to dive into what’s most useful for them. Looking beyond the most-recent coverage, the changes also carve out room for high-quality content and more diverse sources.

This new story-understanding technology will “map the people, places and things involved in a news story, drawing connections between them”, Duncan Osborn, Google Search Product Manager explained on the Google blog.

What does this mean?

For readers – more choice, context and perspective. And for publishers – a greater chance of content ranking in sought-after spots, where using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)-enabled pages and relevant Schema markup to signpost different types of content.

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Facebook launches Brand Collabs Manager on Instagram

In a nutshell

In a test to better support collaboration between brands and influencers, Facebook is extending its Brand Collabs tool to a select group of Instagram content creators.

What does this mean?

The tool aims to matchmake brands with well-suited influencers for on-the-mark content collaborations, based on past partners and audience make up.

Once campaigns are live, the platform provides performance data and the option to promote an influencer’s content as an ad.

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Google expands visibility of YouTube Shopping campaigns

In a nutshell

Shopping ads will now show in YouTube’s home feed and search results on mobile, allowing users to scroll through a carousel of suggested products.

The new shopping campaigns inventory is available to advertisers opted into YouTube on Google’s Display Network.

What does this mean?

With Google reporting a four-fold increase in watch time for ‘holiday shopping’ videos over the past two years, these new advertising options make it easier for ecommerce brands to deliver to a seemingly growing commercial intent.

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Facebook aims to simplify payments with Facebook Pay

In a nutshell

Facebook Pay has been launched on Facebook and Messenger in the US and will eventually be available on Instagram and WhatsApp, in a bid to make the payment experience “more convenient and consistent”.

People already use payments across Facebook apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other.

Facebook Pay can be controlled via the settings in each app and will support PayPal as well as most debit and credit cards. As payment details will be saved, it will also make it easier for consumers to make in-app purchases.

What does this mean?

Facebook’s vice president of marketplace and commerce, Deborah Liu, said: “Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps. We’ll continue to develop Facebook Pay and look for ways to make it even more valuable for people.”

As well as this more streamlined payment journey spelling good news for ecommerce brands selling directly through the platforms, Facebook has also claimed that data collected from transactions could be used to tighten future ad targeting.

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Instagram tests hiding likes globally

In a nutshell

Instagram has expanded tests that hide like counts worldwide, following trials in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand in 2019. While users will still be able see their own likes, their followers won’t.

The move is part of an ongoing effort to make the platform a less pressurised place, particularly for young people.

What does this mean?

The tests have sent shockwaves through the influencer community, with concerns over the impact on perception just as applicable for brands who trade well on peer proof. 

Responding to concerns, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN: "We understand that the number of likes is an important metric for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners."

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