Welcome to our weekly review of major happenings in the digital space. Here are a few significant updates that might interest you;

  • Google Tests Seller Ratings in Organic Search

Google is introducing the inclusion of seller ratings in organic search, a feature which was previously only available in paid search. What this means is that Google is trying to merge paid and organic search features in a test that shows businesses seller ratings in regular search snippets. As part of the test, star ratings are now shown in the search engine results page based on a website’s rating in Google Merchant Center.  Seller ratings in organic search are great additions because seller ratings are traditionally reserved for paid ads, and the pages were displaying star ratings without the assistance of review rating structured data markup. Ratings are capable of appearing in organic results if a particular markup is used and since these pages weren’t used as markup, it means seller ratings are being generated from the same sources as Google Ads. This feature is still in the testing stage and for more information, click here.

  • Google pushes back plan to block third-party cookies until 2023

Google has announced that they have pushed back on their timeline to blocking third-party cookies in Chrome. This delay will allow the web community to further discuss on the topic and allow regulators to understand and provide input for advertisers to adjust their service. With the new timeline, the rollout will begin in two stages: 

  • Stage 1 (Starting late-2022): Once testing is complete and APIs are launched in Chrome. In stage 1, publishers and the advertising industry will have time to migrate their services. This stage will last for nine months, and will monitor adoption and feedback carefully before moving to stage 2.
  • Stage 2 (Starting mid-2023): Chrome will phase out support for third-party cookies over a three month period finishing in late 2023.

Google plans to release a more detailed very soon but for more information about this update, click here

  • Instagram Launches Live Test of Image and Video Uploads From the Desktop Version of the App

Instagram is testing out the capability to publish feed posts from the desktop version of the app. The live test is with a group of users who can now access the full suite of upload and posting options. Some users are now seeing the desktop posting “+” icon in the top bar of www.instagram.com and when clicked, it enables users to upload images or videos directly from their PC hard drive. They can also access the regular, in-app options for editing feed posts, including image formatting tools and filters. This option doesn’t facilitate Stories or Reels uploads yet, but additional tests have shown that IGTV uploads are also in the works. The ability to upload from a desktop can be a boost for social media managers and content creators who are looking to streamline their workflow, and easily publish edited graphics and visuals made within other apps on their desktop. This update is not available to every Instagram user yet and for more information, click here

  • Twitter Adds 15 Second Views as a New Objective for Video Ad Campaigns

Twitter is introducing a new way to provide advertisers with more options to maximize their video ad campaigns with a new 15-second view bid unit. This will prioritize reach to users who are more likely to consume and interact with video content. Now, when users choose the new 15-second ad objective for their campaign, Twitter’s algorithm will serve their video ads to users that have the highest likelihood of spending more time with video content, based on their noted preferences and previous behavioral trends on the app. Advertisers will be charged on a CPM basis, with an option that ensures that the full messaging gets seen by relevant people which could help to maximize response.

In line with this, Twitter is also adding new reporting metrics in Twitter Ads Manager:

  • Cost per 15s video view: Total spend divided by the number of views that reach at least 15s
  • 15s video views: These ad views only count when your video is watched either 15 seconds or for 95% of the total duration
  • 15s video view rate: This rate is calculated by dividing 15s video views by impressions

The option is available to all Twitter advertisers from today and for more information, click here

  • Facebook Launches Beta Test of a Newsletter Platform “Bulletin”

Facebook has announced the launch of their new newsletter platform “Bulletin”. The newsletter site will be a place for writers and podcasters to publish content and build a subscriber base. With Bulletin, creators will own the rights to their content and subscribers list although the platform will still be dependent on Facebook’s infrastructure. Bulletin will be on a separate site, but its articles and podcasts will appear in users’ Facebook News Feed and within the Facebook News sections for distribution. 

Each author’s profile looks and feels more like a separate website for their blog, giving creators control over their title page, logo, color palette and any use of multimedia embeds and stylization in their articles. For more information about this update, click here

Thank you for reading. See you next Friday for more news and interesting reads in the digital space.