Digital Digest: 19th January 2017


Abbey Torrance and Emma Saddleton round up the best social and mobile news from the last two weeks in this, the Digital Digest.

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Facebook Testing Mid Roll Video Ads

The video products on Facebook have really challenged both clients and creative and media agencies. How can you honestly gain – and hold - a user’s attention and interest in three seconds?

Still, Facebook Video has become the bread and butter of the feed so it’s great to see rumour of another option – mid roll video ads – being added. This will not only give advertisers more options but will also help video producers succeed.

According to an article on by Peter Kafka, which was published on 9th January, “The ‘mid-roll’ ad unit, which inserts an advertiser’s clip in the middle of a video instead of up front or at the end, will enter testing soon according to a recent report. This new ad formats will play ‘after at least 20 seconds of viewing by a Facebook user, in videos that run 90 seconds or more.”

The news of this option does come with further questions. Namely, how will this affect what Facebook count as a video ‘view’? Currently, when a Facebook user watches video content for a minimum of three seconds, this is counted as a view by Facebook. But will this new mid-roll unit, will they count perhaps ten or twenty seconds as a view? We’re keeping our eyes peeled and awaiting official word from Facebook.


Instagram Stories Introduces Skippable Ads and Hits 150m Users

According to a recent article on daily users for Instagram Stories is now 150m. If true, this would put them neck-and-neck with the number of Snapchat users.

Instagram used their blog to share more about the release of ad options and insights available. This was published one week ago, “In addition to viewing insights, you’ll soon be able to run immersive, full screen ads in stories. Ads in stories will let you use targeting, reach and measurement capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach—which is unmatched in a stories experience today. With roughly 70% of watched stories being sound-on, this immersive, full screen nature creates an intimacy with people like never before.”

This product is currently being tested with select brands so you may see it being used on Instagram.


WhatsApp Is Readying Its Commercial Offering

Having announced initial plans to incorporate business messaging into its platform in August 2016, message templates have started to surface suggesting that the platform is making strides in this area.

Templates have been uncovered in the latest code update by WABetaInfo. One allegedly includes functionality allowing a message to be translated into the user’s main language.

The rollout will need to be smooth and unobtrusive to the user. The official WhatsApp blog article from back in August when the terms and conditions were updated helped allay any potential users’ concern over the coming changes by stressing WhatsApp’s commitment to empowering communication without spam, “People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn't changing. But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it's hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so.”


Online Sales Increase In 2016, Driven By Handheld Devices

According to recent sales reports from IMRG and Salmon, smartphone sales grew 47% YoY, as the overall spend grew to £133bn across 2016. Mobile sales increased from 39% of overall mobile device sales in 2015 to 54% in 2016, as tablet fell to 46%.

In a more interesting shift, the peak of spend moved forward in the year towards Black Friday as 28% more orders were being taken then. In short, more people were ordering their key purchases on or around Black Friday period as opposed to waiting until Christmas or just after Christmas.

The best deals may not come around once a year anymore and consumers are now picking up on this.  This is an interesting change for e-commerce and some brands who may need to plan beyond the traditional Christmas rush.


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