Instagram Hiding Post Likes – Digital News Roundup – 26.04.19
It may have only been a 4 day week, but don’t panic – you still get a full dose of digital news to enjoy. Read the stories below to find out about potential new Instagram features, changes to image SERPs, ad spend trends, Huawei’s involvement in UK 5G development, and the launch of Vine 2.0.
Instagram could hide Like numbers to ‘reduce sense of competition’
In a move supposedly designed to “reduce the sense of competition amongst users”, Instagram is considering hiding like counts on its posts, according to a tech expert renowned for uncovering unreleased features.
Jane Manchun Wong spotted the test in Instagram’s Android app code, alongside a pop-up message saying: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
If the move goes ahead, it looks like profile owners would be able to see how many likes their posts get, but other users wouldn’t be able to see that information. Some have theorised that hiding likes could make the platform feel more organic, and encourage people to share what they like – rather than focusing on what content will get the most likes.
Instagram has confirmed that the design “is being worked on internally but is not visible to the public yet”, so it remains to be seen whether this will get a global launch. Take a look at more on the story at Search Engine Journal.
Google to show more images in web search results
Experts tracking Google search results have found an increase in the amount of time that Google shows image results within the core web SERPs, leading to thoughts that image SEO could become more and more important.
SEOClarity conducted research which found that “images in the Top 10 leapt from an approximately 24% occurrence to a 34% occurrence”, with the increase beginning around April 13th. This means that the image result box, which shows for any queries where Google thinks you may like to see images, is now appearing for up to ⅓ of all queries, according to reports.
This SEOClarity chart shows the spike in image results appearing, and indicates that SEOs may want to focus on image search optimisation over the coming months, thanks to its potential for driving more and more traffic to a site. Read more on the news at Search Engine Land.
Study shows UK digital ad spend hit £13.4bn, and continues to grow
UK advertisers spent 15% more on digital ads in 2018 than 2017, despite concerns around things like “ad fraud, transparency, brand safety and continued Brexit uncertainty”.
The IAB and PwC’s annual digital spend study found that UK advertisers spent £13.4bn on digital ads last year, showing continued confidence in the sector – despite previous concerns. 2018 was also the first year ever that ad spend on smartphones overtook desktop, accounting for 51% of all media budgets – with advertisers spending £6.9bn on smartphone ads alone.
Jeremy Hine, chief exec of London’s MullenLowe Group, said that this shift to smartphone ads is representative of changes in real customer behaviour. “This is promising and shows a move towards advertisers truly listening to what consumers are doing, and where they’re consuming media, making for a better ad ecosystem for all,” he explained.
The IAB research was released at the same time as a report from Barclay’s, which forecast that “UK digital ad spend would hit £15bn in 2019” – so it will be interesting to see if their predictions are correct. Read the full report at The Drum.
Google looks to be taking steps to monetise Google Assistant & Google Home
While Google is more concerned with gaining market share than making ad revenue from Google Assistant and Google Home right now, the search giant is now beginning to include paid-search ads within Assistant results on Android smartphones.
Following tests in February, Google has now officially introduced ads in “situations where there are web search results” – although there will be fewer ads in Assistant results than general search for the time being.
This ad inclusion indicates that Google is clearly planning on generating ad revenue from its Assistant and Home enabled devices, so marketers would be wise to expect more ad-options for this kind of tech over the coming months. See more on some hypothetical options at Search Engine Land.
New Vine 2.0 app, Byte, sends out beta invitations
Vine 2.0 could be hitting the app market soon – following news that Vine creator Dom Hofmann has sent out the first 100 invites to a closed beta version of a new app called Byte this week.
The app, described as a “looping video app”, is expected to work in a similar way to Vine, which was shut down a couple of years ago by Twitter. However, it managed to maintain a loyal fanbase, with many Vine-lovers still getting their fix by watching compilations on YouTube.
Byte will, however, come up against competition from TikTok, which was downloaded more times than Instagram last year, quickly becoming the “app of choice” among Gen Z users. Perhaps this creates an opportunity for Byte to appeal to an older audience base, in which case both can co-exist happily – although maybe that sounds too good to be true.
Hoffman has announced that there will be several beta tests conducted before Byte is released to the public, so we may not see it in action for a while yet – although I’m sure we’ll hear about it if the TikTok Army start to revolt. Check out more on the launch at Search Engine Journal.
Huawei to help build Britain’s 5G network amid security concerns
This week it was announced that Chinese telecommunications brand Huawei will help build “non-core” parts of the UK’s 5G infrastructure network, amid concerns around the brand’s ties to the Chinese government.
Concerns around the potential for cyberattacks and “other forms of espionage” had lead to high powered government and security officials advising against the use of Chinese telecoms providers. However, experts behind the decision have said these threats can be “managed and minimised due in part to Huawei’s involvement centering on ‘non-core’ network infrastructure”.
Huawei has denied any involvement with its country’s government, although this has done little to prevent countries like the US putting a ban on its products, due to supposed threats to national security. A poll conducted by The Verge found that “security, legal and policy experts” were less critical of the company and its involvement with the Chinese government, citing concerns around a “lack of evidence”. Check out more on the concerns people have in this story from The Verge.
Aren’t 4 day weeks lovely? If you’re counting down til beer ‘o’ clock then check out some of our recent blogs, or we’ll be right back next week with another update.
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