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 Kerry.
1. Google Shopping now free globally
Yes you heard right, Google is giving back rather than taking your money for a change. After eight years, Google is bringing free listings to its shopping results. Of course, the decision may have less to do with generosity and goodwill, and more to do with competing against Amazon in product search, but we’ll take it.
The change rolled out in the US back in April, with Google announcing on Wednesday that it will be expanding Google Shopping listings for free globally by mid-October. It’s a decision that’s said to be sparked by the struggles bricks and mortar retailers have faced during the pandemic, and will help to provide “free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs”. As with the existing ads, these free listings will be controlled by product data feeds uploaded to Google Merchant Centre.
Paid listings will continue to appear in ad slots, working in the same way as Shopping ads do today.
2. Facebook Messenger and Instagram have now officially merged
Messenger has just replaced Instagram Direct, and users are now able to send chats, photos and videos between Facebook and Instagram for the very first time. It comes almost 18 months after plans were first announced to integrate the two platforms.
The update is not available to everyone yet, but those who have been selected will also have new features to enjoy (playing fast and loose with the word ‘enjoy’ here), such as custom chat colours, selfie stickers and vanishing messages. Perhaps more importantly, there will also be new ways to block unwanted messages too.
Not a fan of change? Users do have the ability to reject the update if they choose.
As of yet, there’s still no further plans for the integration of WhatsApp with Facebook Messenger and Instagram – another key part of the 2019 announcement. This also involved plans to turn on end-to-end encryption for all conversations across the three platforms.
3. Influencer spend increases
A new report from influencer marketing agency, Takumi, has revealed that almost three quarters of brands (73%), have allocated more budget to influencer marketing this year, despite the pandemic, particularly within the retail, legal, and manufacturing sectors.
It’s a welcome piece of positive news that suggests confidence is up. Despite the fact that marketing budgets are often the first to be cut during difficult times, the survey of 3,500 consumers, marketers and influencers showed that marketers are surprisingly upbeat despite the economic impact.
Sentiment among consumers was also positive, with 38% happy to see influencers incorporated within traditional advertising.
4. 29 tonnes of carrots land outside Goldsmiths University campus
Students at London art school Goldsmiths had a surprise on Tuesday, when no less than 29 tonnes of unsolicited carrots turned up outside their accommodation.
After a lorry was seen offloading the vegetables, many were quick to assume it was a publicity stunt, and various brands were quick to jump in with the banter.
Apparently quite a few students have been studying in dark rooms, so it’s to help with night vision
— Specsavers (@Specsavers) September 30, 2020
Goldsmiths University eventually took to Twitter to confirm that the veg dump was nothing to panic about, and part of a Master of Fine Art exhibition; an installation called “Grounding” by MFA student Rafael Perez Evans. That didn’t stop swarms of students climbing the carrot mountains to take photos and bring home snacks however.
5. And just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse…..
This video of a panicked mother duck losing her ducklings down a drain united social media in horror and heartbreak.
By the time mum turns around, only one baby duckling is left, and it turns out he didn’t want to be in this world alone without his brothers and sisters.
You’ll be pleased to know that all ducklings were safely rescued and reunited with their mother. Phew.