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 Page Experience update for desktop is imminent
A new year, a new Google update. Just like the time and tide, Google waits for no man, although thankfully this update shouldn’t have a drastic impact on your search positions.
We’ve known that Google’s Page Experience update for desktop was on its way since November, and it’s expected to go live next month, and finish rolling out in March. Other than mobile friendliness, this update will include all the current signals used by the mobile version which is already live, with Google confirming that “the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, and their associated thresholds will apply for desktop ranking.”
Many will have already been working on the various elements of user experience that affect these metrics, but it’s probably worth having a dig around your Google Search Console account to check all is in order and what improvements you could be making.
2. TikTok’s Top Earners List 2021
TikTok’s popularity hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down yet (as Will covered recently in his 2022 social trends prediction article), and neither have the fortunes amassed by its biggest earners. Its highest paid influencers raked in $55.5 million last year, up 200% on 2020.
Forbes has published a list of the top earning TikTok-ers, with the D’amelio sisters, Charli and Dixie (I hadn’t heard of them either), taking first and second place, at $17.5m and $10m respectively, with almost 200 million followers between them.
It’s a strong indication of the platform’s power, and while I’m not a huge fan of companies jumping on social media bandwagons for the sake of it, for brands in a B2C space with a young audience, it does feel quite difficult to ignore.
3. SSE PR fail
SSE, a division of OVO Energy, is under heat (pun fully intended), after advising customers to cuddle pets and do “a few star jumps” to keep warm. Yikes.
The astronomical rise in energy bills is well documented, and while the advice may have been well intentioned, suggesting that households (who may be genuinely struggling to meet rising costs and keep their families warm and fed), do things like eat porridge and borrow warmth from their cats and dogs is a bit insensitive. And patronising.
To their credit, OVO has issued a full apology, claiming to be “embarrassed” and stating that their content was “poorly judged and unhelpful.”
You might have seen OVO & SSE in the news today. We recently sent an email to customers with energy saving tips that linked to a blog post. This blog should never have been written or sent to customers – it was embarrassingly unhelpful and poorly judged. We are sincerely sorry.
— OVO Energy (@OVOEnergy) January 11, 2022
4. DuckDuckGo passes 100 billion searches
In an announcement on Twitter, the privacy focused search engine announced this week it has surpassed 100 billion searches.
About a year ago, it hit the milestone of 100 million searches a day, and has continued to grow at a steady pace, likely thanks in part to pressure over consumer privacy. It is gradually closing the gap, and while we wouldn’t recommend optimising for it any time soon, it is a useful indication of people’s shifting priorities and concerns.
Thanks to you, we’ve hit 100 billion all time private searches! https://t.co/qlSaz4j9ZH
That’s 100B times:
• Your search history wasn’t a data point
• What you searched (like cat memes) was your business & only yours
• You recognized your right to privacy & chose it!? pic.twitter.com/HyvMOBK26E
— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) January 13, 2022
5. Microsoft Word introduces new politically correct filter
In more news that feels very ‘2022’, Microsoft is rolling out a new feature that checks for potentially offensive text. Microsoft Word will scan documents for terms that could be deemed not inclusive enough, and therefore offend someone based on their gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
‘Blacklist’, ‘whitelist’, ‘mankind’ and ‘postman’ are all examples of terms flagged by the new feature, which places a purple line beneath any text deemed ‘problematic’ and offers the user more politically correct alternatives, for example ‘postal worker’ rather than postman.
It is included on new versions of Word accessed via Office 365 since 2019, and there is an option to turn the feature off. There’s an argument that perhaps those needing to use it most are those who are most likely to reach straight for this button.
It could be a useful prompt for those times we type without thinking. It could also end up like the episode of Friends where Joey uses a thesaurus so much he signs his letter from ‘Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani.’