The end of another week means the start of another digital news roundup. This time round we’re talking about the death of AdWords, how Google Maps is changing, Facebook’s new subscription tool and keyword snooze feature, and an exciting Folkestone takeover happening today!


Facebook tests new subscription tool to support Instant Article publishers


Facebook has had a somewhat rocky relationship with publishers – particularly following its News Feed update a little while ago. This week’s release is set to perhaps appease the relationship, however, due to new features which will mean publishers can “better acquire Facebook audiences on Instant Articles”.


The idea is to encourage publishers to share content directly through Facebook, rather than their own websites, working off the idea that the social platform’s users would prefer to stay in one place. The publishers can then make money through ads or driving subscriptions, with the option to decide how many stories users can get access to.


According to Facebook, users who tested the new feature were 17% more likely on average to subscribe to participating publications, while the platform is also testing a promo button that will help promote subscription offers through a publisher’s Facebook pages.


Now available in the US and Europe, it will be interesting to see if this does anything to patch up the relationship between Facebook and publishers – or whether we’ll see further clashes in the future. Take a look at The Drum for more details.


Google kills AdWords to launch new adtech platform


Google has announced a rebrand of its adtech software this week with the launch of the new Google Marketing Platform. Combining its DoubleClick products and Google Analytics 360 Suite, the platform will also feature the launch of a new Google Ads offering designed to simplify the ad process for both buyers and sellers.


As part of this move, Google will be ditching its AdWords brand and renaming it Google Ads, using “insights from its owned and operated media offerings – such as Google Play, YouTube, and third-party websites – to improve keyword targeting on Google Search.”


Sridhar Ramaswamy, vice president of ads and commerce at Google, said the goal was to simplify its monetisation offering, as well as extending the appeal to different types of advertisers. “For small businesses specifically, we’re introducing a new campaign type in Google Ads that makes it easier than ever to get started with online advertising. It brings the machine learning technology of Google Ads to small businesses and helps them get results without any heavy lifting,” he explains.


I asked one of our GIANTs, Den, for his thoughts on the update: “As a perfectionist with a passion for great UX/UI, I love the new ‘material design’ that Google is rolling out, so rebranding these platforms to bring them in line with it only makes me happy. But honestly, I’m worried that the names are a little confusing – “Google Ads”, “Google Ad Manager”, and “Google Marketing Platform”. Either way, “Google Ads” is a much better name for AdWords IMHO, because it isn’t *just* about AdWords anymore.”


Read the full story over on The Drum.


Instagram’s market valuation surpasses $100bn


Instagram appears to be on a winning streak at the moment, and the latest news doesn’t seem to show that this streak is ending any time soon. According to recent stats, the platform has now been valued in excess of $100bn, following its announcement that it now has 1 billion global users. It’s expected the app will hit 2bn users within the next two years.


Revenue is also set to soar, with experts praising a younger demographic for bolstering figures. If they’re correct, Instagram ad revenue would exceed $10 billion within the next year – accounting for 16% of Facebook’s entire revenue stream.


This may come as little surprise to those who know a little about the Facebook-owned platform, particular as the image-focused site is attracting members at a much faster rate than its big brother. This is most evident in the USA, where interest in Facebook has stagnated.


Following the launch of IGTV, which we discussed last week, it’s starting to feel like no one can use the words ‘stagnate’ and ‘Instagram’ in the same sentence. Head to The Drum for more on the story.


Google Maps revamps Explore section to make it easier to eat out


This week saw the launch of the long awaited Google Maps update. The new features are designed to “make it easier to find recommendations for restaurants and other places to visit” thanks to a redesigned Explore tab.


Available on both iOS and Android, the move means that the existing Explore tab has been redesigned to provide more information to users. This includes things like restaurants, places to grab a coffee, or events that are near where you are. There is also a new For You tab, which works like a news feed for local eateries and bars.


Following the launch, you may see some differences between iOS and Android versions – with recommended events and activities not currently showing on iOS. At this time, only certain countries, like the US, UK and Australia, will get the For You section.


This isn’t going to be the only change we see on Maps in the coming months though, with updates like augmented reality directions and social features that allow you to interact with friends coming soon. It’s starting to look more and more like Google is transitioning its Maps platform for being about finding information and recommendations, rather than just getting from A to B. Read more on The Verge.


Facebook trials new keyword snooze option


On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it would be testing a new snooze feature on its news feeds, which would allow users to temporarily hide posts from their timeline if they contain keywords that they’ve selected.


Although the option to snooze all content coming from a specific individual for 30 days has been available since the end of 2017, this new update means that you can be more specific about the types of things that you don’t want to see. For example, if you’re mega into Love Island (for some unknown reason…) and you don’t want to see all of the spoilers from that episode that you missed, you can mute ‘Love Island’ as a keyword for a month.


The only thing you can’t do, by the looks of things, is manually input keywords – instead, you have to find a post you want to block, and then select “snooze keywords in this post” from the drop down menu. Although the platform has said they’re considering launching other ways to snooze keywords in the future, so this may be subject to change.


So, is it a game changer? For now, the feature will only appear for a small number of users – if you’re one of the lucky ones, it will appear in the options within the upper right hand drop down on an individual post. The Verge has the full story.


Local news


GIANT takeover at the Folkestone Harbour Arm

We love our hometown, which is why you can usually find a group of GIANTs hitting up Folkestone’s highlights on a regular basis. One of our favourites is the Harbour Arm – so we thought why not take our company catch up on tour?


On the last Friday of each month, all of the GIANTs gather in the ballpit for an update on what’s been happening as a business, and to talk about some of the exciting stuff that’s coming up. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, this month we thought we could take it one step further, and host our company catch up on a GIANT screen that’s as close to Calais as it is to London, down on our old friend the Harbour Arm.


We love to reward our staff for all of their hard work, and this provides the perfect opportunity to do so out in the sunshine. We’re also on a build-up to our 10th anniversary as a business,  and are celebrating in style over the next few months to reward ten years of damned hard work.


Alongside our monthly catch up tonight, we’ll also be setting up FIFA on the big screen and taking it in turns to play the games of the World Cup – there’s no escaping the football at GIANT Towers.


And just like that, another sunny week is over. If you’re still in the mood for reading then check out some of our latest blogs. If not, see you next week. Same place, same time. You know the drill.