Digital Dash: Instagram’s algorithm backtrack & more

Not long until Easter so let’s get cracking with this week’s top social and digital news.

No more puns, promise.

 
1. Instagram backtracks (a bit) with latest updates, wants users to love its feed again
2. Google search is done with desktop, goes mobile-first for indexing
3. Report: why online retailers need to nail post-purchase contact
4. Snapchat launches 4 new location-based tools, 3 for marketers and 1 for users
5. LinkedIn opens up native video sharing and advertising to company pages

 
1. Instagram backtracks (a bit) with latest updates, wants users to love its feed again

Rarely do I find myself using the words Instagram and unpopular in the same sentence.

But while it might seem like everything the platform touches turns to gold, there’s one thing that most Instagram users have been unhappy with for a while now: the feed.

Until a year or so ago, everything was organised in reverse-chronological order with newest posts appearing at the top, as they were published. People liked this.

But then an algorithm was introduced, mixing up the order of posts and prioritising people/content that Instagram believed you cared about the most – i.e. things you’d interacted with. People didn’t like this.

But at last things are changing. While the feed isn’t returning to a completely reverse-chronological system, Instagram has announced that newer posts will be more likely to appear first in feed from now on.

Another thing Instagram is fixing is the way the feed refreshes, which until now has randomly jumped back to the top when there are new posts to show.

A ‘New Posts’ button will now give you complete control over when you want the feed to refresh. If you don’t click it, you’ll stay right where you are on the feed until you’re ready to cast an eye over some new content.

 

2. Google search is done with desktop, goes mobile-first for indexing

After a year and a half of testing, Google has announced that it will now only use the mobile version of a website’s content for indexing.

This significant update is a reflection of the decline in desktop usage for Google Search. By shifting to a mobile-first model, the company aims to improve the experience for its core user base.

Google said that site owners will be notified when they are being migrated to mobile-first indexing, and should expect to see ‘significantly increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot’.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.33.27

It also highlighted that mobile versions of websites will show in Search results and Google cached pages.

Going forward, snippets in Google search results will be generated from content on the mobile version of a site too.

Ranking won’t be affected directly by how a site is indexed, although mobile-optimisation has long been an important ranking factor, and will become even more so from July 2018 as slow-loading mobile content gets deprioritised.

Interestingly, Google also stated that it will prefer the mobile version of a webpage over its own fast-loading AMP pages. I imagine that this is just because AMP pages have to strip some content back to increase the loading speed.

 

3. Report: why online retailers need to nail post-purchase contact

A study of 2,957 UK consumers by Narvar has revealed some interesting insights into what makes people more likely to buy more than once (or never buy again) from a particular retailer.

It was really interesting to see the a third of all those surveyed said that they wouldn’t go back to a retailer that didn’t provide useful follow-up communications after a purchase.

Navar report_1:3

Clear order status and delivery updates ranked as the kind of post-buy information consumers value most. Specifically, 30% said they are more likely to buy again from a retailer that says ‘thank you’ or offers recommendations.

It also emerged that communications about bad news is just as important (if not more so) than the standard ‘your order is on its way’ type: over two thirds said they’d avoid going back to a company that wasn’t upfront about things like late deliveries.

Navar report_65%

This is really something to take note of for retailers. It’s proof that customers need and want regular communication – the worst thing you could do is take their money then go silent on them. Be especially attentive to Millenials – they are the most likely to be annoyed by feeling abandoned. Aww.

As far as preferred communications channels go, email came out tops, with live chat a close runner up among 18-24 year-olds.

Narvar report_33%

4. Snapchat launches 4 new location-based tools, 3 for marketers and 1 for users

The more advanced Snapchat’s advertising gets, the bigger a part the platform will play in paid media strategies across the board.

And this week a few new tools have been announced, which, while not groundbreaking, could come in really handy.

Here’s a rundown:

1. Radius targeting: will allow you to add or exclude a radius around a specific geographical location for targeting (just like Facebook).

Snap_radius targeting

Photo cred: Ad Week

Snapchat has also recently added a search bar in Ads Manager, which makes it easier than ever to pinpoint a location.

2. Location categories: you can now search for Snapchatters based on the type of location they’re in, e.g. beaches or cinemas. This can then be narrowed down by various factors, including state or city.

Snap_location categories

Photo cred: Ad Week

3. Foot traffic insights: in-store data is seriously valuable yet often hard to come by for retailers. Snapchat has now launched a beta version of its new Foot Traffic Insights tool to track Snapchat users at physical locations and provide information about them such as age, gender, interests and whether or not they are repeat visitors.

The tool, which will soon be available to all advertisers, is free and not dependant on ad spend.

Snap_foot traffic

Photo cred: Ad Week

4. Snap Map ‘tour guide’: a new feature on Snap Map will let you know what’s going on around you, including nearby attractions and your friends’ movements.

Snap_map tour guide

What’s even better is that Snapchat says these four are the ‘first of many location-centric features to come this year’. The company is making no secret of the fact that it’s aiming to carve out a niche and differentiate itself from the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

 

5. LinkedIn opens up native video sharing and advertising to company pages

Last year, Linked in began allowing users to share organic, native or uploaded videos on the platform.

The reaction has been great, so now the ability is also being granted to company pages.

During the beta program, LinkedIn found that video hosted on company pages was five times more likely to start a conversation than other types of content.

Companies will also now be able to advertise using native video thanks to the rollout of Video for Sponsored Content.

As highlighted by Marketing Land, advertisers making use of the new option will be able to use any of the targeting already available to promote the content, including job title, industry, and skills – plus Matched Audiences for account based marketing (ABM) campaigns.

Success of video ads can be measured in terms of website visits, leads generated and many other parameters, provided the LinkedIn tracking pixel is embedded.