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Keep Updated About Digital Marketing Changes

Members of the Digital Marketing School get a monthly update of all the latest digital marketing news.

The world of digital marketing is constantly changing. To help you keep up with these changes members receive an email explaining everything that has changed on Google, Facebook, Instagram etc. and how it would impact their marketing.


Below you will see examples from previous months.


July 2021


Instagram has increased the length of Reels to 60 seconds

Instagram has announced that it is increasing the length of Reels from 30 seconds to 60 seconds which is great news if you make Reels for marketing. Getting your video down to 30 seconds can often be tricky so it will be much easier to make Reels going forward.

This is rolling out Globally and is already on some of my accounts but not on others. To check if you have it, simply go to create a Reel, tap on length twice and it should change from 15 seconds, to 30 and then to 60. You can read more about this at Techcrunch



You could soon be able to add links to your Instagram Stories  - even if you don’t have 10,00 followers

Instagram is testing a new Sticker which would allow users to add a link to a website from a story. Currently, only accounts that are verified or have more than 10,000 followers can add a Swipe Up link. When asked about it the Head of Product at Instagram said that they are currently testing how the link sticker would be used but that their goal is to roll out the ability to add links through the sticker so we can expect to see this in the coming months. You can read more about this at The Verge



You could soon be able to send out “Joint Posts and Reels” with another Instagram account

Instagram is testing “Collaboration” posts and Reels where 2 accounts can agree to have the same post go out to both of their followers. The post goes out with the details of both accounts at the top and goes into the feeds of both accounts’ followers. This would be a brilliant way for non competing business accounts to team up and have a post or reel go into the feeds of both sets of followers. It would increase awareness, followers and reach. You can read more about this at Social Media Today


Very soon you can save drafts of your Instagram Stories – currently rolling our Globally

Instagram has confirmed that it is rolling out the ability to save drafts of your Stories. If you are creating a Story and you exit during the process you will be given the option to save it as a draft so can finish it later. Your draft story will be saved for 7 days. This would be handy if you wanted to create Stories, save them as a draft and then post them at a later time. Of course, you can currently schedule stories within the Business Suite app but it doesn’t yet have the full functionality that the Instagram app has.


Instagram is testing a TikTok like feed for Explore

What makes TikTok so popular is that the feed isn’t just videos from accounts you follow – it is videos that the algorithm thinks you would find interesting, regardless of whether you follow the account. It is this feed that presents very interesting and addictive content that makes TikTok so popular. When you tap on the Search icon in Instagram it takes you to Explore where you are shown posts from accounts that you don’t follow but that Instagram thinks you will find interesting. In this test, Instagram is showing users the content within Explore in the same way that Tiktok does – full screen and you can swipe up to browse through it. This is just one of the many ways Instagram is trying to evolve to incorporate what makes TikTok so popular. You can read more about this at Social Media Today



Instagram can now automatically translate text in stories

Instagram has introduced a new feature that will translate any foreign text you see in Stories, and that feature is now rolling out to all users. When the app detects you’re viewing a Story in another language, it will display a “See Translation” prompt toward the top left of the interface. All you have to do is tap the banner to see the text in your native language.




After less just 8  months Twitter is scrapping Fleets – it’s version of Stories.

In a very surprising move, Twitter announced that from early August, Fleets would be removed from Twitter. Fleets were introduced as their version of Stories but never really had all the creative elements that Instagram stories has. It looks like they never became popular and Twitter is now going to allocate the area at the top of the app to Spaces, it’s new “audio  rooms”. You can read more about this at RTE



Facebook  has launched a new Campaign ideas generator website to help with your marketing campaigns

You can checkout their new website . At the bottom of the page they ask you what type of business you have “Ecommerce website”  and what you would like campaign suggestions for eg. Select “ Christmas”, “Black Friday”, “Summer sale” etc. They will then give you lots of suggestions for what you can do on Facebook and Instagram.



TikTok is the first non-Facebook mobile app to surpass 3 billion downloads.

Have you started using Tiktok yet? In July it was reported that TikTok has been downloaded more than three billion times around the world (This includes the Chinese version which is called “Douyin” ) and that's a milestone that only Facebook and its family  of apps have reached .  Facebook, however, still has more monthly active users around the globe — TikTok's reported 732 million MAUs compared to Facebook's 2.85 billion .  You can read more about this at Social Media Today





June 2021


Instagram has given a detailed explanation of how it’s Algorithms work

Instagram has explained how it ranks content in the main newsfeed, Reels feed, Stories and explore. Having a good understanding of how these work – and they differ for posts, Stories, Reels and Explore -  is important as it helps increase your reach and  this article by Social Media Today provides an excellent breakdown.



Some users can now post images and videos from the website

Instagram has rolled out a test to some users where they have the ability to post images and videos from the website. If you have a + button in the top of the web page you can now post from there. It has much the same functionality as the mobile app but you can’t post Reels or Stories. This is likely to roll out to everyone in the coming months. Don’t forget anyone with a business / creator account can currently post from their PC using Facebook Creator Studio. You can read more at Gadgets 360



Instagram is testing “recommended posts” in your newsfeed from accounts you don’t follow – sometimes above posts from accounts you do follow

Some users are seeing this test and it is part of Instagram’s push to make the newsfeed more interesting. What makes the TikTok feed so popular is that it shows you very popular posts that are getting a lot of engagement and this could be Instagram moving in that direction. If rolled out, from a marketing point of view it could mean more non followers see your posts (if they are interesting) but it could also mean less followers see your posts (if they are less interesting) . You can read more about this at The Verge



Instagram is testing “Exclusive Stories” restricted to paying fans

Instagram is currently testing an option where users can post a story to smaller, exclusive groups, as opposed to sharing with public or 'Close Friends' lists. If this rolls out in the coming months it would allow businesses to share content exclusively with paying customers. You can read more about this at Techcrunch



Facebook is testing the option of having a Reels panel in the Facebook app

Some users are seeing a test that Facebook is running in the Facebook app where users are given the option of viewing Reels within the app. It is a prominent option at the top near the stories panel and if rolled out it would give your Reels even more exposure. This is part of Facebook’s strategy of making Reels as attractive as possible for content creators in order to combat the rise of TikTok. You can read more about this at Social Media Today.



Facebook is testing the ability to add reaction animations to posts that you share in the newsfeed.

Some users are seeing the ability to choose from a range of animations that they can add to a post that they share on Facebook. For example. You could add an OMG emoji and confetti falling on the post which then makes it very eye catching when it is viewed by others in their news feed. You can read more about this and an example at Digital Information World



Facebook is testing the option to leave public comments on Stories

Some users have seen the ability to leave a public comment on stories in addition to the current option of leaving a private message. If rolled out this means that your followers would be able to post comments on your stories and these might then trigger more comments as people see what others are saying. It would also have implications for how you design your stories as the comments might obscure the design. You can read more about this here



Facebook launched Live audio rooms and the ability to find and listen to podcasts within the Facebook app.

Facebook has launched Audio Rooms with a select number of celebrities and influencers and also groups in the US. This has been in development for many months but will now start rolling out in the app in the Unites States and presumably to other countries in the coming months. What it means is that users will see at the top of the Facebook app if someone you follow or a group you’re in has created an audio room – essentially a live broadcast with audio only. It has also launched the ability for users to discover and listen to podcasts within the app. If you create podcasts, over the coming months you will be able to share and get your podcasts discovered on Facebook. Users will also be able to share up to 60 second snippets of a podcast, You can read more about these 2 launches on Techcrunch



Twitter is developing options for you to control who mentions you in a tweet and the ability to unmention yourself

In order to give more users control over the conversations they are mentioned in and the ability to extricate themselves from some conversations, Twitter is testing the ability for users to control who can mention their account in a tweet and also the ability to unmention themselves. You can read more at Engadget



Twitter users on ios can now share tweets directly to their Instagram Stories

If you have an apple device and you use Twitter you can now share your tweets (or any tweets) to your Instagram Story. Simply tap the share button and you will see the option to share to Instagram. Once the tweet is in a story frame you can then add an image, video text, gifs etc. However, the tweet will not be clickable in Instagram Stories i.e People will not be able to click through to your tweet on Twitter. You can read more about this at The Verge


YouTube will now enable creators to place add-on features while their video is processing, which could be a big time saver.

While your video is uploading you will be able to add captions and end frames to your video rather than having to wait until the video uploads. This is very handy and will save a lot of time You can read more at Social Media Today



May 2021


Instagram has added a lot more analytics data for your Reels

Wondering how many unique accounts your Reels have reached? Or how many people saved your Reels. This information hasn’t been available but in the past week Instagram has introduced a lot more data about your Reels under the Insights option on your Reel (Just like there are Insights for each post). For each Reel Instagram will now provide data on Total Plays, Accounts Reached, Likes, Comments, Saves, and Shares.

Also, in the Insights Tab on your profile it will give Insight data at your account level – just like it does for posts and Stories. However, it looks like this is just for Reels that you post going forward – it doesn’t have data for Reels I posted prior to this new feature. You can read more about this at Techcrunch



Instagram is testing an “Audio” tab in search results so you can find posts and reels that use a certain song.

Some users are seeing an Audio tab next to Accounts and Tags in search results which means that Instagram is testing this. It allows users to find posts and Reels that use a certain song and then allows the user to use that song in a post or a Reel. It’s part of their strategy to make Reels even more discoverable and you can read more about this at Social Media Today.



Instagram has rolled out the ability to hide like counts on your posts and in your newsfeed. Facebook is also implementing this.

Having tested hiding like counts for the past few years Instagram has rolled out a solution that allows people to choose whether they want like counts hidden or not and you now have two options.

  1. If you do not want to see the number of likes on posts that appear in your newsfeed you can switch this off. In the Instagram App go to settings, then tap on Privacy and the tap on Posts. You can now hide likes and view counts.
  2. If you do not want other people to see the number of likes on YOUR posts, you can switch off the like count when you are sending out a post. When creating a post, in the final screen where you type your caption and tag people, at the bottom there is “Advanced Options”. Tap on that you will see the option to “Hide like and view counts on this post”
  3. If you want to hide the number of likes on a previous post, go to your profile grid, tap on a post tap the three dots on the top right and select “Hide like count”

Facebook is also starting to roll this out and when it is available in Ireland you can login to Facebook on Desktop, go to settings and then Newsfeed Settings. It isn’t available on my account yet. You can read more about this at Techcrunch 




Instagram introduced a new captions sticker for videos in Stories which will automatically transcribe what is being said into captions.

In early May, Instagram launched the new caption sticker for Stories which automatically transcribes what is being said in your video into captions (subtitles).  Instagram has been rolling this out and it is now available to most accounts in Ireland but currently only works for English language videos

To try this caption tool simply …

1. Go to create a story and select a video from your phone
2. Tap on the sticker icon and then select the “Captions” sticker
3. The first 15 seconds of your video will now be scanned using Audio recognition software and within a few seconds your captions will appear on the screen. 
4. You can then tap on 3 text icons at the bottom of the screen to choose different layouts of text (large, typewriter style or standard text) You can also tap on the colour wheel at the top and select a colour for the text.)
5. To edit the spelling of a word or to insert a missing word simply tap on the text and you can edit it.
6. To change the position of the text simply drag it up or down the screen.

I will be demonstrating this during our Live Zoom course in June which covers How to use Instagram Stories for marketing.  You can read more about this on The Verge 


Instagram is introducing ads in between Reels in four more countries.

Instagram has introduced Ads in the Reels feed in India, Brazil, Germany and Australia and in May it expanded this to Canada, France, the UK and the US.  It means that ads will appear in-between Reels and would be another placement option when running and using the Ads tool.  It’s very likely that this will be rolled out in Ireland in the coming months.  You can read more about this at Digital Information World 


Facebook Now Enables You to Embed Facebook Videos at a Chosen Time in the Playback

If you want to embed a Facebook video on your website – perhaps in a blog post or on a product page you simply need to go to your video on Facebook, click on the options icon and select embed. However, Facebook has now added the ability to specify the time point in the video that you would like to have the video play from eg. 15 seconds instead of the start. This is already available on YouTube video embeds but is very handy for Facebook videos. You can read more about this at Social Media Today



Twitter seems to be close to launching it’s new Subscription product called Twitter Blue

Would you pay $2.99 a month for a premium version of Twitter?  It looks like this will be launching soon and users who sign up for it will get a number of benefits including the ability to:-

  • Undo Tweets (recall them within 10 seconds if you spot a typo)
  • Categorise your saved Tweets into folders
  • Read multi-thread Tweets more easily
  • Set a colour scheme for your profile

It will be interesting to see if this works because if it does it is something Facebook and Instagram might explore. Some gaming companies like Fortnite offer the game for free but then charge for add ons and it could be that this is the future of social media. You can read more at Social Media Today



Twitter rolls out larger image display in the newsfeed (iOS and Android)

Previously if you attached a single image to your tweet and it was square or portrait sized the image got cropped when appearing in the newsfeed but when someone clicked on it they could see the full image. However, Twitter has changed this and has rolled out a new image display, which will show full-sized images within user timelines. This means that if you are posting similar content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter you won’t have to redesign your image. Also, it means that you can use larger images for impact in the newsfeed. You can read more about this at Techcrunch 

Google Page Experience Update is launching in mid-June on Mobile First

Google has confirmed that the Page Experience update (With Core Web Vitals) that we covered in the May Live Zoom course will begin a gradual launch in mid-June with a full roll-out expected by August. They also confirmed that they will be applying this separately to mobile pages and desktop pages so if you meet the requirements on mobile search but not on desktop search your rankings will get a boost for mobile searchers. You can read more about this at Search Engine Journal


YouTube is Expanding Access to its New 'Clips' Option, Another Way to Share YouTube Content

YouTube is expanding access to its new video 'Clips' features, which enables users to share small snippets from eligible videos. When it rolls out to your account there will be a Clip option below your video player. You can then select a portion of your video as a clip (up to 60 seconds) and you can then share that clip on email or social media as a taster for your longer video.  You can read more about this as at Social Media Today




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