My Five #477

Debunking search conspiracy theories, Instagram updates, changes to Google reviews, and the most popular apps of 2022 all in this week’s My Five.

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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 Will.

1. Updated Google reviews

This week Google began the rollout of the most recent versions of their product review update that comes with the snappy title, ‘March 2022 product reviews update’. The first update was launched in April 2021, the second in December 2021, and this third update just earlier this week. 

These updates aim to help promote review content that is “above and beyond much of the templated information you see on the web”. The aim of the update is to reward high quality reviews as opposed to punishing the low quality ones, in turn helping the searcher purchasing decisions. As explained by Google’s Alan Kent:

“This will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful”.

Within the product review update, Google has listed the following criteria that a review should meet:

  • Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions
  • Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it’s used
  • Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience
  • Cover comparable products, or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

So, why is this important? If your site offers product reviews you will want to keep an eye on your rankings for a while to see where you have been impacted. Moving forward into the longer term, review sites will need to put further emphasis on their content to make sure it is unique and stands out from the other reviews.

2. Is a chronological Instagram feed finally a reality?

For quite a while now Instagram users have been demanding the option to switch their timeline from the current algorithm-based feed to a chronological timeline. That dream is now a reality as earlier this week Instagram announced two new ways users have control their feed. The new features are to be known as ‘Favorites (Favourites to us Brits) and Following’. 

The current Instagram feed is a mixture of images and videos from accounts you follow, suggested posts, and other recommendations based on your interests. The addition of Favorites and Following allows users to catch up on the most recent posts from the accounts you follow, without the posts Instagram ‘thinks’ you might like. 

By clicking in the top left hand corner of your home page you can choose to see posts from either the accounts you follow or the accounts you have favourited. Both of these lists are sorted chronologically so you can keep up to date with the latest posts from the accounts you care most about. 

Personally, I think this is a great addition. Instagram’s algorithm is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not perfect. For example, I’m a Man City fan and by looking at who I follow that is obvious, but Instagram constantly put other teams (I won’t dare mention the name but they play in red) pages in my feed as suggestions simply because it’s related to football. Now, this isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean you might miss posts that you are more interested in. Therefore, having this choice is only a positive in my opinion. 

3. Google Conspiracy theories

It’s time to don those tin foil hats as this week Search Engine Land took a look at the biggest conspiracy theories about search, Google, and Big Tech. 

Some of the myths the team at Search Engine Land bust include: 

  • Are advertisers and your phone recording and listening to you all the time?
  • Is Google’s search algorithm racist or sexist?
  • How ‘incognito’ is Google’s Incognito mode?

The article does a great job at pulling out the fact and fiction surrounding all of these conspiracy theories so I would highly recommend giving it a read to help you sort the fact from the fiction.

4. Instagram product tags

Product tags have been available on Instagram for a number of years since their launch in 2016. However, this feature has been limited to businesses and creators, and not available to the general public. This week Instagram rolled out product tagging to all users across the US meaning any can tag the products that feature in their posts. 

Not only does this give users an opportunity to highlight the brands and products they love, but for the brands themselves, it’s a great opportunity for customers to discover their products. Instagram states that 1.6 million people are already tagging at least one product a week on the platform, and now more accounts can tag products this number will likely skyrocket. 

For brands using Instagram, there’s no time better to set up Instagram Shopping and start testing product tags. It’s likely this rollout will become worldwide in the not too distant future, however, there is no set date, it’s currently only available in the US.

5. What are the most downloaded apps of 2022, so far?

This week released their Q1 2022 Apps Index which looks at all things mobile app related to provide an overview of the industry. I was quite honest to see that Instagram was the most downloaded app worldwide in the first quarter of 2022. I assumed Facebook or TikTok would take the crown, although I’m sure Meta (Facebook) won’t be complaining for too long with Facebook and WhatsApp in positions three and four. 

The full report gives a really detailed breakdown of all findings so be sure to get your hands on a copy to find out more. 

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