Digital News Roundup – 23 November
This week’s digital news roundup talks about how Google’s helping the High Street, Instagram’s new shopping features, updates to Find My Device, the Facebook scheme supporting journos, and why consumers want to be spoken to like humans (*spoiler alert* – it’s because they are humans!).
Google partnership to help boost High Street spending
We’ve been hearing that the British High Streets are dying for a while now, but it seems like Google may be attempting to prevent this. This week saw the search giant partner up with NearSt, a start-up designed to help people see what’s in stock at their local shops via the power of the internet.
Not only does it tell you if what you want is in stock, it also gives you the distance to the shop and the price of the item, by connecting to the retailer’s point of sale system – delivering data in real time. Nick Brackenbury, one of the founders of NearSt, said: “We all live our lives through our smartphones but they are blind to what is on the shelves of shops we are walking past. If that is made clear to people, then I am very optimistic about the future of the High Street.”
Although the launch initially focused on London, the Google partnership means that NearSt now intends to run the technology out across high streets around the UK over the next year – with a focus on supporting small and independent stores. Nick Carroll, senior retail analyst at Mintel, said that “partnerships like this are important to support local independent stores, which make the High Street unique and provide its backbone”. Find out more on the plans over at the BBC.
Google My Business Insights to speed up the display of data
This week saw Google take to its help forums to announce updates to Google My Business Insights, which could make users very happy. Insights, the analytics area for Google My Business users, will soon boast far more recent data than previously possible. Kara, a community manager from Google who made the announcement, said: “We’ve made improvements to ensure that your Insights data is more up-to-date….To give you a more accurate idea of how your listing is performing, you’ll now see Insights data up to yesterday in Google My Business.”
Insights, a section within the Google My Business console, shows users like business owners and managers how well their local listing is doing in Google Maps or search. Previously, the data shown would be around three days behind, but this update will mean that users can see data from as recently as yesterday – helping people to more accurately compare trends and respond to any variations.
In the digital world, getting access to data sooner rather than later is always a plus, so this looks to be a popular change from Google. Check out more at Search Engine Land.
Consumers prioritise human-like communication from brands, says report
The marketing world has long heard that consumers want ‘sincere, human-like communication’ from brands, and a report released this week seems to back that up. Braze and Forrester, who completed the study, found that consumers like brands that “speak like a regular person, value their time and business, and communicate in a tone they prefer” – with 57% of those involved saying that human communication would increase their brand loyalty.
The report showed that if people think a company is succeeding in being human, they’re more than twice as likely to love the brand – and almost twice as likely to recommend it. When it came to who does this best, retail, e-commerce and mobile delivery and transportation brands came out on top.
“The most human brands were perceived as being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and helpful and created and delivered communication that reflected an acute understanding of their customers’ needs and the ability to successfully meet them,” said Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, while Myles Kleeger, president and chief customer officer at Braze, said the news should be a “wake up call to a lot of other brands” that aren’t prioritising this personal touch.
Take a look at more of the stats at The Drum.
Google to show indoor maps through Find My Device app
Google is doing all that it can to help perpetual phone-losers in 2018, with new updates designed to display maps of the inside of buildings – to help you work out where you might have left your phone.
The new feature is the result of “years of recording the layouts of complex spaces like department stores, malls, and airports”, and using this data to construct detailed layout information for these key areas. The idea being that now, if you lose your phone in an airport, you may actually be able to see where specifically, rather than it just being somewhere in that massive space.
Currently Google isn’t specifying which buildings the new feature will apply to, so if you’re one of the early adopters it may mean a little bit of trial and error. Check out more details at The Verge, or download the app for yourself and have a go.
Instagram launches 3 new features designed to make shopping easier
Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, Instagram has announced three new shopping features designed to help brands get more exposure for the items that they’re sharing on their Instagram pages.
One of the new releases is an option to save things to a ‘shopping collection’ area; which allows users to save products they like the look of and browse them again at a later time, through a shortcut on their profile. Another feature involves users being able to shop the specific products shown in branded videos, via a button in the bottom left corner of the post.
Finally, Instagram business profiles will now have a specific ‘shop’ tab, which allows visitors to a business profile to see and shop all of that brand’s items in one place. The tab will include product images that can be clicked, taking users to the post that featured that product as well as any further information that’s available.
Although Instagram is dubbing these updates as user features, brands are set to benefit from the increased exposure – particularly just before the busiest shopping period of the year. Read more at Marketing Land.
Facebook launching scheme to support local journalism
Facebook is set to help reinvigorate the local journalism industry with the launch of a scheme to bring new life into this sector. The scheme is designed to train reporters to work within local communities across the United Kingdom, with the social giant giving £4.5m to local newspaper groups to pay for two years worth of training for the reporters involved.
Facebook has said that the idea is to “to encourage more reporting from towns which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters”, with Nick Wrenn, Facebook’s head of news partnerships in Europe, saying that Facebook wants communities to be informed, and they don’t think this can happen without strong local journalism.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists will administer the scheme, which is expected to hire around 80 people. However, some slightly more cynical reviewers have questioned what happens to these newfound community reporters at the end of their training period, when Facebook funding dries up? Read more on the differing views at the BBC.
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