July Digital Marketing News

Birungi Kawooya

Marketing Manager

YouTube to pilot shopping from livestreams

In a nutshell

YouTube will start testing a feature that enables viewers to shop for products from livestreams. Initially, the feature will be limited to a few creators and brands - with a full roll out planned later this year.

What does this mean?

This pilot builds on the expansion of the integrated shopping experience YouTube began beta testing earlier this year and its announcement to host a small-business shopping event. YouTube wants to enable its users to make informed purchases by tapping into the “credibility and knowledge” of trusted creators on the platform. Strategy and insight director, Maria Bains says “shoppable media won’t slow down anytime soon, and brands need to invest in channels, tactics and media formats that are going to deliver in the age of ‘shoppable everything’.”

Instagram to test anti-harassment tool, Limits

In a nutshell

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri confirmed the testing of a new feature called “Limits,” designed to enable users to temporarily lock down their accounts when they’re being targeted by a flood of harassment. This follows the Euro 2020 final where Black players were targeted by racists.

Users will be able to find Limits in Instagram’s privacy controls and temporarily limit comments and messages from specific groups of followers. Mosseri said Instagram plans to try to reduce hate speech to “as close to zero as we possibly can.” Instagram is currently testing Limits in select countries before a global rollout.

What does this mean?

Head of strategy and planning, Tim Lawrence says, “it's clear tech giants are struggling to contain this issue let alone eradicate it; technology implemented isn't fool proof and platforms often rely on users to report hate speech. At the same time the tech giants are grappling with the need for users to share content freely and access platforms easily." You can read Tim’s full POV on tackling online abuse. Mosseri promised the Instagram would share more on how it plans to tackle racism on platform over the next few months.

UK Finance advertisers to need Google verification

In a nutshell

Financial services advertisers in the UK will need to be verified by Google from next month to continue advertising on the platform. As part of the verification process advertisers will need to demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for an exemption.

The new policy will come into effect on August 30, 2021, and enforcement will begin seven days later, on September 6, 2021.

What does this mean?

“Verification from advertising platforms for certain verticals is nothing new. Many advertising platforms require gambling companies to prove they have the relevant certification before they can run ads, says James Mortimer, paid social director.

Ronan Harris, vice president and managing director of Google UK & Ireland, described the decision to authenticate financial services firms as a step to “help prevent scammers exploiting our platforms” and safeguard users, publishers, and advertising. James Mortimer adds, “The fact that Google is introducing this policy for financial advertisers demonstrates just how big the problem of scam adverts in the personal finance space is. Hopefully this move will help reduce fraud and provide better protection for consumers.”

This is an opportunity for financial services brands to distinguish themselves from spam financial service advertisers and to prevent unnecessary suspension. We recently brought together our digital experts, across data and analytics, paid and earned media, to create our “Financial Services 2020 Digital Marketing Focuses” report and help finance marketers adapt to changing audience and business needs.

Google shares roadmap for Multi-task Unified Model

In a nutshell

Google’s AI Multi-task Unified Model technology (MUM) may fundamentally change the way users interact with its search engine, suggested Pandu Nayak, vice president of search at Google, as he shared the roadmap with Search Engine Land. MUM is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT and combines language understanding with multitasking and multimodal input capabilities.

There are over 3.5 billion Google searches a day and between 16 – 20% of all annual Google search results are new. MUM will help Google to tackle these new queries making sure they are relevant, accurate and more importantly culturally relevant.

What does this mean?

Google's short-term MUM aims focus on knowledge transfer between languages. Harry Sumner, senior SEO director says, “MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models.” This may mean that MUM’s applications can be more easily transferred to more languages which might help strengthen Google Search in those markets.

MUM is also multimodal, which means its capabilities include video, images as well as text inputs. Multimodel features are medium term goals with no specific launch dates have been confirmed.

Harry adds, “MUM will undergo the same process as we apply these models in search. Specifically, we’ll look for patterns that may indicate bias in machine learning to avoid introducing bias into our systems.

Whilst Google's MUM roadmap gives marketers lots to think about and our SEO team will monitor the roadmap to help brands plan for change, there is nothing concrete to start planning for just yet. If the technology is implemented and follows Google's predictions, we can predict users' search habits will adapt to take advantage of those powerful capabilities.

Google lifts the lid on search result

In a nutshell

Google has started trialling displaying a list of the reasons why it ranked a specific search result in its search results listings, this feature is an expansion to the ‘about this result’ box that launched in February 2021. Google is rolling this out in the US. for English results and will expand to more countries and languages in the future.

Information included in the list includes:

  • Search terms that appear in the result

  • Search terms related to your search

  • Other websites with your search terms link to this result

  • This result has images related to your search

  • This result is [Language]

  • This result is relevant for searches in [region]

What does this mean?

Marketers will now get some insight into the ranking decisions of Google. The search engine will also let searchers hover their mouse cursor over the underlined words in this box to get search tips on how to narrow their search results better. Whilst this is not detailed ranking weights and signals, this feature will tell you if the words match or match closely, if people link to the site, if there are geo-specific reasons and more.

We will monitor the development for a UK roll-out and help clients to implement a real step change in their SEO strategy.

How the Royals made the Land Rover the ultimate status symbol

When Prince George was pictured sitting on a Land Rover, in a John Lewis shirt to mark his eighth birthday, the role of the Royal Family and the brands that endorse via the Royal Warrant came into the spotlight. iCrossing digital strategist, Jill Alger was asked to share her thoughts on the role of the Royal Family as influencers by The Telegraph.

If you have ever noticed how the Royal Warrant logo appears on brand packaging or adverts content strategy director, Sam Colebrook and Jill explored what we could learn about influencer marketing from what could be considered the oldest forms of endorsement.

Queen Elizabeth II: The original influencer?
The role of social media in brand building

Ever to stopped to ask yourself why social media matters? Taking a strategic birds-eye approach senior digital marketing analyst helps us to reset and discusses why branding is key and the benefits of social media in building both personal brands and corporate brands. Rosie writes for Brands Journal and shares how brands can make a step change with authentic social media strategies.

Walk this way! iCrossing team raises over £2k for YMCA Downslink Group

Our latest YMCA Downslink Group (YMCA DLG) fundraising initiative saw six intrepid ramblers complete a 16-mile walking challenge from Horsham to Shoreham-by-Sea. The incredible Louise, Sophie, Mike, Sam, Pauline and Martin walked for over five hours, during a heat wave and raised over £2k!

Louise, Sophie, Mike, Sam, Pauline and Martin had an initial fundraising target of £500 – but aren’t done yet. There is still time to donate.

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