This week: Facebook adds another tool for Stories, Instagram tests scannable name tags, and wait until you hear about the explosive growth of native ads.
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Instagram Tests Scannable Name Tags
It looks like Instagram is “borrowing” yet another feature from Snapchat. This time, it’s scannable name tags.
If you’re unfamiliar with a scannable name tag, it’s a digital image that resembles a QR code. Users can scan it to follow someone.
Snapchat has been using them for awhile. They’re called Snapcodes on that platform.
Instagram will let users create an image that other users can scan with the Stories camera. Brands can use the name tag outside of the Instagram platform (on posters and merchandise, for example) to make it easy for people to follow them.
It looks like Instagram will let users get a little more creative with their name tags than Snapchat. For example, people can create an image with a purple background, use an emoji, or even make a scannable selfie.
Report: Native Ads Will Dominate Display in 2018
According to eMarketer, native ads will make up almost 60% of display ad spend this year.
Mobile, Amazon, and social media are fueling the growth in native advertising.
The report also says that “non-social native will grow more than 80 percent this year to $8.71 billion.”
Additionally, eMarketer says that native ads are poised to grow faster than the total U.S. display market to about $33 billion this year.
Finally, the report says that about 77% of all mobile display ad spend will go to native ads.
Google Launches Reach Planner, a New Tool for Video Marketing
This past week, Google put Reach Planner in beta. It’s a planning tool for video ad campaigns.
Its purpose is to help marketers forecast their reach on YouTube and video partners on the Google Display Network.
The tool segments data based on device, audience, and video format. It currently supports more than 50 countries.
Reach Planner also informs users about which product mixes will work best based on a marketing goal, budget constraints, or the types of assets that marketers have available.
If you’d like to join the beta testing team, contact your Google sales rep.
That March 7th Update Was About Relevance, Not Quality
On March 7 of this year, Google released an algorithm update. As is usually the case when updates go into production, SEO professionals speculated about what changed.
Fortunately, John Mueller came along this week to put that speculation to an end. He said the update was about relevance, not quality.
Here’s how Mueller responded to a question from a marketer who claimed that his site suffered in rank as a result of the update:
“A lot of the updates that we make are more around relevance. Where we’re trying to figure out the relevance of certain queries, and not so much a matter of quality overall. So that might be something where we don’t think your site is exactly relevant for those specific queries. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad site, it’s just not relevant for those specific queries. So that’s something that just happens to a lot of sites over times.”
Mueller also told the marketer to poll his users and gather feedback about the relevance of the content on his site.
Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling in Mobile Search Results
Here’s one you might not have seen coming: Google is moving to infinite scrolling in the mobile search results. At least for now.
As you might recall, Google used to paginate its search results on mobile platforms just like it does on desktop platforms. Now, it uses a “More Results” button.
When you tap that button, you’ll see additional search results within the same page.
As of now, though, Google says that the infinite scroller is just a test. It’s also not happening on desktop platforms.
Google Will Soon Shut Down Its URL Shortening Service
If you’ve relied on the Google URL shortener to produce abbreviated versions of your hyperlinks, you’re going to be disappointed with this news: Google is shutting down that service.
Fortunately, you have about a year to find a new tool. That’s not going to be too difficult, though, because there are plenty of them out there.
Bit.ly is a great option.
Google will formally shutter it URL shortener on March 30, 2019. As of today, only existing users will be able to create links on the platform.
Facebook Adds New Hand-Drawing Tool for Stories
Even though hardly anybody seems interested in Facebook Stories, the company continues to support the concept.
Just this past week, Facebook added a tool that enables users to create hand-drawn objects directly on Story videos and images.
In fact, users can even create three-dimensional pics.
Story artists can also draw images that are spatially aware. That is, they’ll stay fixed so that they appear as part of the scene.
It’s a neat tool. Maybe someday there will be a bigger market for it.
BuzzSumo Now Shows Reddit Insights
Great news if you’re a BuzzSumo user: the service will now show Reddit insights.
In addition to giving you social stats from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, BuzzSumo will also show you how your subject is trending on Reddit.
That’s important because Reddit has rightfully earned its reputation as “the front page of the Internet.” There’s a subreddit (or Reddit forum) for almost every subject conceivable.
In fact, there are more than a few subreddits for some subjects you probably can’t conceive of. But that’s a subject for another article.
Use the Reddit data to gain further insight into the types of content that will resonate with your target market. Chances are great that if it’s popular with a Reddit crowd on a subreddit related to your niche, it will go over well with your website visitors.