Digital Dash (Dec 16): 5 quick-fire stories from this week

Digital Dash (Dec 16): 5 quick-fire stories from this week

w/c 12th December 2016

1. Search high and low – you’ll struggle to find a campaign as clever as this one from Ikea
Ikea campaigns are annoying. Great, but annoying.

You see one, then spend half a day thinking less of yourself for not coming up with it first. And the latest, Retail Therapy, is no exception.

The brand recently renamed some of its products to match common Google search queries relating to relationship issues.

So someone searching for “My daughter is out all night” is presented with a disco ball at the top of the results page.

Clicking leads through to a landing page filled with other items linked to the query. As well as being a fun new method of engaging with people and catching them by surprise, this campaign is also a cunning way to rank highly for long-tail search phrases that virtually no other retailer will be targeting.


2. Facebook brings CRM integration to Lead Ads
With an easy to use auto-fill setup, Lead Ads are the quickest way for users to subscribe to a brand on Facebook.

For this reason, they were already a really good feature. But they just got A LOT better. Instead of simply collecting emails, clever old Facebook now lets the data sync automatically to a CRM system. No more CSV files. No more manual uploading.

This isn’t just music to marketer’s ears, it’s a freaking symphony.


3. Snap(chat) launches Group Chats
You may not have heard much about it, but it happened. It definitely happened.

The newly renamed Snap has finally added group messaging. The long-awaited feature sticks closely to the platform’s ephemeral roots, with messages being deleted by default after 24 hours. Up to 16 people can participate in the chats so it’s bad news if you’re the least popular in a 17-strong squad.

The update makes it easier to have one-on-one conversations with friends too; names of contacts present in the group will appear at the bottom of the screen, and users can navigate to a private chat with a simple tap, then back to the group again with one swipe.

With the group feature added, Snap must have the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger shitting their pants. Users who used to go to these guys for groups can now do it all from the comfort of their Snap app.


4. Facebook’s confessions continue, even more metrics misreported
If inaccurate video, organic reach, organic reach again and page engagement metrics weren’t enough, Facebook has fessed up to even more reporting problems/changes.

The most recent admissions relate to:
– Streaming reactions: were allocating multiple reactions (after the first) from one person to “reactions from shares on posts” rather than “reactions on posts” on the post breakdown. This has now been corrected, which could result in a 500% increase in “reactions on posts” and a 25% decrease in “reactions from shares on posts”.
– Estimated reach: will now be calculated differently causing a 10% increase or decrease in metrics.

May we suggest a New Year’s resolution of error avoidance, Facebook?


5. Instagram Story links achieve impressive swipe-through rates
Pre November, Instagram made it pretty tricky for people to include links in their content. Choices were limited to either constantly updating the bio link, typing out a URL in captions or adding a short-code link in graphics.

People also got around the issue by using third-party tools to link to shoppable sites that mirrored the account page. Still not ideal.

But last month, Instagram changed the game and began allowing verified profiles to insert links into their Stories. As it turns out, this was just what users had been waiting for, and the result is a 15-25% swipe-through rate.

Many brands, publishers and others have got creative with their visuals to encourage even more people to click.

The link only loads when people swipe up, and this is only indicated officially by a “see more” button and an arrow. To make sure followers aren’t in any doubt about what to do, many have been adding “SWIPE UP” text to their Stories.

While we’re still not at a Facebook level of ecommerce (or general website) support, the effectiveness of the new feature is definitely a step – or should we say swipe – forward for brands.


w/c 5th December 2016

1. Meet progressive web apps: a coding development to keep firmly in your sites

Imagine the best of websites plus the best of apps, minus the worst of each – and you’ve got progressive web apps (PWAs).

A Google-coined term, PWAs are essentially websites that act like apps, but – and this is the clincher – don’t require you to faff about downloading anything in order to use them.

How and where did PWAs come from, we hear you cry. The short answer is that advances in JavaScript and web browsers, which now support more HTML5, have made them possible.

PWAs use an app shell (the min. HTML, CSS and JavaScript needed to power the interface), which caches on a phone on the first visit. This means that on future visits, the loading speed is super fast.

There’s a lot more in-depth technical detail behind PWAs and we won’t go into that just yet, especially as it’s all still very early days for the new platform.

But this development is definitely one to watch.


2. Facebook previews new features for 2017
On the back of this year’s Hackathon, Mark Z has taken to Facebook Live to reveal some exciting new Facebook features, one of which could be dropping in the next few months.

First on the update agenda was Oculus Touch, the new controller for the platform’s Oculus Rift VR headset. Zuckerberg demoed the device, demonstrating its ability to physically become hot or cold depending on how the player is interacting with the game. Cool.

Next up came a new Messenger feature, designed to help people quickly communicate their location to friends, for example during an emergency. A user’s whereabouts would be automatically shared with friends upon request, if the setting was activated.

GIFs in comments was the next announcement, which may well be the first to hit in early 2017. This will arrive along with an integrated GIF search engine.

The final feature discussed was AI-assisted shared albums. The tool would collate photo uploads from an event across multiple users, compiling them into one album.

This could be great for weddings, for example. Unless that is, you had a few champagnes too many and were kind of hoping for minimal Facebook evidence of the dance moves that followed – not a giant compilation for all to see.


3. Instagram revamps comments, and announces other updates
Gone are the days when followers were only publicly judging Instagram photo uploads – from this week onwards, they’ll be rating comments too.

The latest update allows users to like each other’s comments, a move which is designed to help people “show support and encourage positivity,” according to CEO Kevin Systrom.

Which I guess is all very well until you publish a (hilarious) comment that gets a big fat 0 for likes. That’s probably not going to feel too positive. Just saying.

In addition to this new feature, Instagram also announced that all users will have the ability to turn off commenting on specific posts, and will be able to prevent a follower from seeing their posts without actually blocking them.

And no, they won’t get a notification!


4. Check it out (or actually, don’t): Amazon unveils no-lines, no-cashiers grocery store
If your typical supermarket visit involves an unsuccessful game of queue roulette and an uninspiring exchange with the cashier (she’s already told 250 people what time she finishes, okay?), then read on with glee.

Amazon Go is a tech-driven stroke of genius that could totally transform how we shop.

At first glance, it appears to be a food store like any other. Except for one thing: there’s not a single checkout in sight.

Which, before you get too excited, doesn’t mean everything’s free.

Visitors touch in via their Amazon Go app as they enter, and from then on shop as usual. When they’re done, they simply walk out.

There’s some seriously futuristic tech behind the app that recognizes which items have been chosen, and then automatically debits the total from a linked card as people leave the store.

Amazon has coined it the “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience. And if you live in Seattle near the only existing store, and want to give it a try – this is what to expect:


5. Pinterest introduces ‘tried and true’ rating system
We’ve all been there. You see an incredible looking dish on Pinterest, eagerly jot down the recipe, try to recreate it at home… and it goes wrong. In a major way.

It doesn’t look like the picture. Doesn’t taste like the description. And either the person who posted it is a liar or you’re generally failing at life.

Well, Pinterest is here to help!

‘Tried and true ideas’ is a new feature that lets users click a green smile icon to give an idea Pin their stamp of approval; a way to let fellow Pinners know that they’ve given something a go and not lived to regret it.

Open to all types of Pins (not just food), tried and true could prove a really useful way to let other users know how good an idea is when put into practice.