Christmas and the New Year have come and gone, and there are a host of social media updates you may have missed among the stress and the fuss. Google and Facebook have been particularly busy, rolling out updates aimed at streamlining and enhancing user experience.
We take a deeper look into the digital and social media updates that matter heading into 2018.
You’ll Soon Be Able to Cross-Post Instagram Stories as a WhatsApp Status
Facebook is all about integrating their range of services, and the tech giant confirmed this month that testing is underway on an improvement to Instagram Stories. While users can already share Instagram Stories to Facebook, soon we will be able to upload Stories to WhatsApp as well, where the content will appear as a status.
Like Instagram Stories, WhatsApp statuses disappear after 24 hours – Instagram have also confirmed that the text and stickers we see on Stories will also appear on WhatsApp statuses.
It remains to be seen how seamless the integration will be – users will still have to confirm the post within WhatsApp before it appears, but it saves the effort of uploading social media updates all over again. WhatsApp’s privacy settings mean that users can still decide who sees the post, and specific contacts can be excluded as you wish.
Third-Party Reviews Now Appearing in Google My Business Listings
The Knowledge Graph cards visible for selected businesses in Google now include reviews from reputable third-party sources. When you click ‘View All Reviews’ for certain hotels and resorts, reviews from TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com and other sources will appear, including full text of the review or an extract and link if it doesn’t fit. This update is demonstrated below.
This change allows for a wider range of reviews to be immediately visible, cutting down on research time.
Repeat Viewership and User Intent Boost Facebook Rankings
Facebook announced last month that they are updating News Feed rankings to give greater precedence to videos that users are actually searching for. Videos that users have proactively searched for, either by using the Search function or visiting the page of origin, will be more visible in News Feeds.
Facebook is also seeking to reward repeat viewership, with videos that are being returned to week after week more likely to appear in News Feeds in future. The changes are intended to reward truly engaging content that sticks in the mind of the user.
Facebook Seek to Reduce the Appearance of ‘Engagement-Bait’ Videos
Facebook’s social media updates in December were not limited to promoting certain types of videos – the tech giant is also looking to reduce the influence of ‘engagement-bait’ posts.
Facebook will utilise a machine learning model that penalises spammy posts searching for reactions, likes or shares. These penalties will not apply to legitimate causes searching for engagement, such as missing persons reports or charitable causes.
These changes are part of a constant effort by Facebook to promote ‘meaningful and authentic’ conversations on the platform.
Google AdWords Will Target the Physical Addresses and Phone Numbers of Customers
Until last month, Adwords’ Customer Match targeting was only allowed to use email addresses in an effort to target specific customers. The platform will now have greater power to use addresses and phone numbers listed in a user’s Google Account – users will have to be logged in for a match to be established.
These changes mean that Customer Match audiences will receive advertisements across Google properties. Businesses that have access to a wealth of customer phone numbers and physical addresses but not email addresses may benefit from the changes.