Snapchat, Chrome and InstagramThe latest social media and digital improvements have revolved around personalisation, and this week’s offerings are no different.

Snapchat and Instagram continue to promote customisation on their respective platforms, while Amazon have launched a plugin that make audio blogs a possibility. We go over the finer points of these and other changes to explain how users can benefit.


Snapchat Studio Allows for Event-Specific Face Lenses

Instagram Stories increased their customisation potential by launching GIF Stickers last month, and Snapchat have followed suit with Face Lenses this week.

Users can choose from 150 templates at present to create a Lens for birthdays, weddings or similar. Choose from bunny ears, birthday hats, flower crowns and much more before adding custom text and selecting an available location.

Snapchat Lenses are here

The new feature isn’t free, with prices dependent on duration and location size. Snapchat anticipate that the feature will be popular, given the limited options for customisation on the platform at present. Face Lenses are currently available for desktop and iOS, with Android compatibility just around the corner.

New Amazon Plugin Lets Users Create Audio Blogs

Amazon launched a Polly WordPress plugin last week that allows users to create audio blogs. This plugin could potentially change the way users consume content, with audio versions of posts available within the website itself or in podcast form.

Polly is Amazon’s text-to-speech platform, which utilises machine learning to broadcast audio that matches real-life speech. The platform uses a speech engine that supports 30 different languages and 47 unique male and female voices, in addition to whispering, dynamic range compression and voice effects.

The plugin is currently available to those running a WordPress site – although it is free to access, you will be charged based on the total characters you request to be broadcast in audio form.

Google Chrome Impose Deadline for HTTPS Upgrades

Web publishers who are behind the times should take note – Google Chrome has set a deadline of July 2018 for HTTPS upgrades. After this date, publishers still using HTTP sites will be punished; users of these sites will see prominent warnings in the address bar that say the site is ‘not secure’.

The appearance of these explicit warnings can have negative repercussions for websites, increasing bounce rates and causing poor advertising performance and E-commerce sales.

Chrome is the browser of choice for more than half of total Internet users worldwide, and 39.2% of Australian users. This deadline has been imposed to encourage publishers to switch to HTTPS as soon as possible – most web providers offer free or cheap HTTPS certification.

Publishers using outdated technology have approximately four months to make the changes before being penalised.

Carousel Ads Coming to Instagram Stories

The advertising potential on Instagram Stories has been improved, with carousel ads soon to be featured on the platform.

The change means that three pieces of media can be strung together in a cyclical, carousel format. Users can swipe either way or cycle through the content, in the same way they would when viewing Stories posted by a contact.

It remains to be seen how successful the change will be, but there is no doubt it opens new avenues for savvy advertisers. Marketers can mix content over the three panels, or demonstrate three different aspects of a product using each of the panels. Carousel ads are only available to selected major advertisers at present, but we can expect a major roll-out of the technology before long.

Effective Online Strategies from Studio Culture

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