Digital Dash: Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook & more…
Oh, hey there. It’s been a few weeks hasn’t it – sorry about that! We were busy giving Digital Dash a bit of a makeover (including a fancy logo and all-new video segments) so that it’ll be even better for you going forward.
The good news is you didn’t miss much. Ha, just kidding. This is digital – where time moves 1000x faster than in the offline world – so loads has happened since we last saw you (or should that technically be ‘saw your cookie’? … No, maybe not).
Don’t worry though, there’s nothing too major to fill you in on apart from Facebook & co. continuing to do their best Snapchat impersonations.
So we’re picking up right where we left off, with a whole new batch of fresh-out-the-oven digital news bites for you to devour.
1. Pinterest dishes up another Lens update with new recipe-finding feature
The food references above were an unintentional but very handy segue into this week’s first story – Pinterest’s update of its awesome AI-powered Lens tool.
Lens uses machine learning and object recognition to identify something in an image, then link it to similar pins via a product tag.
Last week, we found out that Lens can now recognise multiple items within the same shot, and this week, the tool has become even tastier.
I’ll let our Social Media Manager Beth give you the lowdown:
As Beth said, you can now point your smartphone camera at a dish or set of ingredients, and Lens will automatically pick out each element of the meal and present you with a set of alternative recipes that use the same items.
The update is being hailed the ‘Shazam for food’, which if we’re honest is the tech breakthrough we’ve all been waiting for, right?
FYI, Google also announced a Lens feature last week. Our Digital Director Adam will run you through that one here
— SMSW Media (@SMSWmedia) May 25, 2017
2. Snapchat claps back, introduces new collaborative Custom Stories feature
You’ve got to admire Snapchat’s kahunas.
As the app’s features are ripped off left, right and centre, it’s holding its ground and making continued efforts to keep users, attract advertisers and set itself apart from the copycats.
As well as its long-running push into TV-style content (which is really starting to gain momentum now) the company has just announced a new Stories feature, Custom Stories, which lets you add friends as contributors, and pool footage to form a joint story.
If no one contributes, the story will disappear after 24 hours as per usual. If they do, it will remain watchable for an extra day.
You can also limit visibility and geofence the communal story.
This news has been public for around 1 day now and as of yet there’s no word from Instagram or Facebook. Warning: can’t promise this will still be true next week.
3. Instagram won’t be outdone, also has Stories news to announce
Although not yet cloning Custom Stories, Instagram did release its own set of updates this week (most of which are – you guessed it – already available on Snapchat).
You can now search for Stories by location via the Explore section, which means if you use the location sticker on a story, it may well end up in Instagram’s roundup. This could be very useful for brands running location-specific campaigns.
You will soon be able to search by hashtags too (using the new hashtag stickers feature).
Instagram has also been spotted testing new direct response ads in Stories, which look like:
Again, these will be of high interest to brands who will be able to secure higher conversions with a more impactful call to action. One to watch, for sure.
4. Banner ads (might) get good again, Blippar launches no-app-needed AR ad unit
Here at SMSW Media, we think banner ads suck. Okay fine, so sometimes they can work well (namely, retargeting) but in general they really don’t. And there are three main reasons why:
- Banner blindness: the ad format is part of the digital furniture – we’re so used to seeing them, and so fricking often, our brains have developed a handy way to block them out. They’re bright, bold, brash and literally begging for attention, and yet most of us decline to give them any without even realising we made that decision.
- Accidental attention: smartphones are great, but those small screens lead to A LOT of clicks that happen completely by mistake (damn you, fat fingers!).
- Click fraud: Those bots keep on clicking through and creating fake impressions and lots of money (for their website owners!)
But this week something kind of miraculous happened – a new ad unit was launched that actually got us excited about banner ads. It’s like the ‘00s all over again.
Claiming to be the ‘first AR digital ad unit’, Blippar’s latest offering throws up potential for a whole new realm of banner ad engagement.
The ad unit – which importantly doesn’t require an app – requests access to your camera, and the live imagery is then inserted into a ‘cut-out’ area behind a 360-degree video image or 3D model.
Want to know more? Over to you, Ads:
5. Facebook tests search bars in pages
Forbes #4 Top Social Media Power Influencer Mari Smith has reported that Facebook’s rolling out a new search bar tool within profile pages.
We don’t have the feature just yet, but it will enable you to search for specific terms e.g. ‘heels’ or ‘summer’ and be presented with a results feed featuring all published content relating to the keywords.
I can see this being enjoyed by fans of fashion/beauty pages who may be on the lookout for a particular style or trend. Rather than scrolling endlessly through the page posts, the search bar would allow them to just group all related content together in one feed, directly from the brand’s page.
Bonus bite: Pinterest’s Promoted Videos will soon autoplay (without sound) and appear in people’s feeds. This is a fairly big departure from the animated GIF versions that advertisers have been stuck with up to now.