Digital Dash: Redesigned Instagram ads & more

1. Instagram advertisers go undercover with redesigned call to action bar
While Instagram is increasingly improving its advertising capabilities, it’s still treading carefully, trying hard not upset its highly loyal core user base with an onslaught of intrusive ads.

In an effort to keep both users and advertisers on side, the app has just redesigned its call to action bar on ad units, which will now automatically change colour to match the post’s palette.

IG_redesigned adsThis isn’t the first time the call to action section has adopted a new look; initially it was a button, then a bar, then a bar that turned from white to blue after a few seconds.

Now, the bar will dynamically adjust its hue to match the dominant colour in the image or video – the theory being that this is what attracted the viewer in the first place.

For users, the updated bar means beautiful imagery won’t be disrupted by unnatural looking ad elements. And for advertisers, the knock-on effect of this could be more ads in the main feed as the units will blend in more.


2. Facebook tests two new custom audiences, hardly anyone has them
Facebook’s list of custom audiences is growing faster than the Kardashian family right now, and this week saw rumours of two new additions: dwell time and link sharing.

Facebook_new custom audiences

Dwell time refers to users who viewed your display adverts for a certain period of time, across both Facebook and Instagram. We’re not totally sure if this would then also include users who took an action, or whether you would need to exclude that group.

Either way, this could be an interesting and very valuable category of users to catch at an early stage (i.e. when they are interested yet not enough to take an action, but haven’t forgotten about you yet) and move them down the conversion funnel.

It’s kind of like targeting non-action-taking website visitors via the Facebook Pixel.

The only slight hiccup with dwell time is that you can’t guarantee that a user is actively looking at an ad just because it’s being displayed on their screen. They could just as easily have looked up from their phone to chat to a friend, for example.

The second potential new custom audience is link sharing, an audience made up – as you might guess – of people who’ve shared your linked content on Facebook.

But hold your horses before making plans for these rumoured new arrivals – they are yet to be confirmed. In fact, reports suggest that Facebook won’t be rolling them out anytime soon.


3. Twitter’s new Video Website Cards are as close as it’s come to Facebook’s Canvas
There’s a new ad unit in Twitter town and it’s interesting mainly because – in a world where social networks seem to be gradually morphing into each another – this is something not offered anywhere else in quite the same way.

Video Website Cards allow advertisers to connect a video ad to a website. These initially appear to be regular Promoted Videos, but when clicked on mobile, the video continues to roll as the website loads, moving to a new spot at the top of the screen with the website positioned beneath.

Twitter_Video Ad Cards

If you scroll up to explore the website the video will disappear, reappearing only when you scroll back to the top.

Note: when the video is clicked on desktop, the website will open as normal.

The format shares similarities with Facebook or Instagram canvas ads in some respects. And what it lacks in sophistication as an immersive experience, it makes up for in setup simplicity – only a video, headline and destination URL are required.

It may also be beneficial that you’re able to catch and keep people’s interest through the video, then enable them to take immediate action through the website itself rather than having to make an additional click through.

The new ad unit can be run on the video views, website clicks or awareness objectives.


4. Pages get access to Facebook Stories
After pulling out all the stops to inspire users to publish Stories (with very little success), Facebook finally gave in recently and began letting you share Instagram Stories on the platform too.

And now it’s going one step further to make Stories a success by letting Pages get in on the action (previously, they’d been mysteriously blocked from using the feature).

This will be of major interest to brands without a presence on Instagram, who will now have the opportunity to use the filters and effects offered by Stories as a new way to engage followers.

Those on Instagram and already Stories pros will also likely jump at the chance to bring their additional content to Facebook fans.


5. Facebook moves into new territory, LinkedIn should panic
With native video, video ads, geofilters and more all added recently, LinkedIn has been increasingly embracing entertainment features to keep up with the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.

But while it’s been busy doing that, Facebook’s been quietly encroaching on LinkedIn’s territory by exploring B2B and recruitment related updates.

As well as testing a B2B business discovery feature and announcing multi-company groups in Workplace (you’re not safe either, Basecamp), Facebook has also partnered with job listing aggregator ZipRecruiter, and this week, has been testing out a new resume-like option.

Facebook_resume option

A refresh of the pre-existing work histories listing, the update takes the form of a virtual CV, which may well get its own callout section on profile pages. Yep, just like LinkedIn.

This would pair up perfectly with another new feature tested in the past couple of months whereby Facebook was automatically listing all employees under one company page. Yep, also just like LinkedIn.

With the richest data pool and most advanced advertising platform in digital, any movement by Facebook into a new territory should be taken seriously.

Also, the more information it’s able to get from users, the more tempting it’s going to be to advertisers.

And although the recruitment side of things is probably more of an immediate threat to LinkedIn than the B2B, I wouldn’t put it past Facebook to eventually gain a chokehold on both.