Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Google takes another step towards automated AdWords management
This week, Google announced the launch of a new string to its AdWords bow – more automated management: the paying advertiser creates three headlines and a couple of descriptions and Google then tests combinations which it deems are most likely to be successful.
As an incentive to try this new initiative, Google is offering advertisers two 90-character descriptions instead of one 80-character description and three headlines. At this stage, it’s fairly unclear what this will actually look like in practice.
Will it work? One the one hand, it might, as Google must be fairly confident that it can meet its users’ (both advertisers’ and searchers’) needs. It is unlikely to unveil any new technology that would do itself out of revenue, so the creators must be reasonably confident that the tech will do the job, and, if anything, increase click through rates. The idea is that the various combinations will be triggered by more keywords and therefore the advertiser will compete in more auctions.
Why won’t it work? Agencies spend a lot of time promoting the fact that a manual approach is superior to automation, as a human has more ability to interpret keywords and phrases than a computer – especially for more semantic searches. However, if this tech works, it could enable people to run more efficient AdWords accounts in less time.
It’s probably inevitable that Google will keep encouraging us to try out machine learning and quite likely that us humans will still be creating the initial ads but letting Google figure out the best combos.
The new responsive ads are now in Beta and have not been rolled out to everyone yet but watch this space.
2. Android’s P update
In contradiction to the story above, it’s unusual for a brand to actively help its users interact with it less often, but that’s exactly what Google is planning to do later in the year via its Android update.
The next Android update will include tools that help us detach ourselves from our tech (which is neatly being called ‘Digital Well Being’) and is aimed at helping us have ‘a better relationship with our phone’.
One of the most prominent updates will be a dashboard where the user will be able to easily monitor how much time they spend on their phone and on individual apps. It will also allow phone owners to set themselves limits, similar to parental controls, after which the app can no longer be accessed. Additional features will include ‘Wind Down’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’ which mean notifications are not available even on the lock screen after your pre-set bed time.
Google is currently testing all of these features to see how users react to them and whether they will be quite so stringent in their application at full launch.
3. Ads on Whatsapp
It was only a matter of time before the hugely popular chat app, Whatsapp, let advertisers loose on its platform.
This will be unwelcome news for the 1.5billion users worldwide and comes after an announcement that Facebook Inc director, Jan Koum, is leaving the business following disagreements about exactly this issue.
Speaking to CNBC this week, the vice president of messaging products, David Marcus, said: “As far as advertising is concerned, we’re definitely getting WhatsApp more open.”
Consumers may rightly be thinking that all good things must come to an end, but with Forrester predicting huge increases in social advertising spend in the next three years, advertisers are likely to be rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of another opportunity to reach highly-engaged, highly-targeted audiences.
4. The Vitamin Shoppe launches 800 (yes, that’s not a typo), 800 Instagram accounts!
In a move contrary to the advice most agencies would offer to a client, The Vitamin Shoppe, is launching 800 Instagram accounts in order to allow its staff, (the company’s so-called ‘secret weapons’) to promote their individual stores more locally and have more of a presence online.
The Vitamin Shoppe will allow store managers to take complete control of the content they post but unlike the company’s main account, the 800 local accounts will not be verified. Apparently, the head office will help supply images and content from time to time to support this local effort and create some sort of unity.
In a country as big as the US, localisation is perhaps more important than here in the UK where different states and regions are much more polarised.
Lisa Chudnofsky, head of content and customer engagement at The Vitamin Shoppe said: “We felt like there was a real hole in our Instagram strategy,” and we have a feeling they are going to have an even bigger chasm in how they measure and draw any useful conclusions from this activity.
However, it was the PR they’ve had on the back of this announcement that was the real point of the exercise – it’s been a stroke of genius.
5. Prince George’s Insta account
Well, not quite; but a very amusing next best thing. With the royal nuptials just around the corner, Gary Janettis, (executive director of Will & Grace, amongst other outrageously successful sitcoms) might be an amusing person to follow to counteract the saccharine media coverage on the big day.
He regularly posts on Instagram about the royal family in the voice of a very scathing Prince George, and evidently, he’s not a big fan of his new Auntie Meghan!