Lot’s of small steps in many areas seems to be the way with digital marketing these days. It is like that fine rain that soaks you right through. It doesn’t often pour and yet the constant stream of updates, changes, tweaks and announcements is constantly hitting the industry and often unsuspecting businesses. We give you a weekly roundup of everything that made us take note and although we are not screaming for an umbrella this week there are a couple of changes that are worth knowing about. For staying on pulse with digital marketing advancements save Lab Weekly into your bookmarks and check back each weekend. Here is this weeks weather report…

Bing Has Beaten Google to snapshot data on Android Aps

Yes ok it is only a feather like victory but regardless Bing launched an added app feature on android search ahead of the giants so let’s give them some air space just this once!

Bing now has it’s own version of Google ‘Now on Tap’ which is available for Android devices. Bing has announced that the ‘Bing snapshots’ will deliver contextually relevant search information for any app installed on your Android device.

If you would like this new feature you will need to update or install the Bing app. After that the capability will simply work in the background. You wont need to launch the Bing app to benefit from this new capability. Bing will ‘read the contents’ of any in-app screen and present additional relevant information once invoked.

Users in a travel app or Instagram or discussing a travel destination in a messaging app can invoke Bing snapshots by long-pressing the home button. A bing-branded overlay will appear that allows the user to collect more information on the topic in question. Some transactional buttons or links are shown – For example ‘book a tour’.

In the context of a discussion for example about restaurants, users would see reviews as an OpenTable button to make a reservation. Bing thinks this will be a broader way to search with contextual ‘answers’ being delivered in-line instead of users having to leave an app.

The API and developer capability will be available in the fall but the Bing snapshots is already available. It hasn’t been made clear yet how the Bing API integration will be presented or branded in apps but the appeal to developers will be the direct integration of enhanced capabilities, answers and actions through the Bing knowledge graph.

Book an appointment right from the search results with Google’s latest test

This month Google has started testing a new feature that lets you book an appointment with a local service provider from the search results. For example Intuit’s small business marketing platform Demandforce is among the partners involved in this test.

Now when you Google search for a participating service provider an option to ‘book an appointment’ will appear in the knowledge panel which is populated with the providers Google my business Information. Once you select the type of appointment you want to book the ‘continue booking’ option is activated. When you have clicked to ‘continue booking’ it brings you to the service providers landing page.

Google has been testing several other third-party powered features in knowledge panels and Google maps, including making restaurant reservations through open table. At the end of July Google also began testing a new ad product in the San Francisco market for local home services that enables users to request quotes directly from Google hosted listings pages.

Social Media

FLIPAGRAM

Have you heard of Flipagram yet? Well maybe it is time you did! For the first time since Google, billionaires Michael Moritz and John Doerr have joined the same startup’s board to release Flipagram, a free two year old app that means users can make music video-like clips with photos and videos.

The app announced on Thursday that it raised $70 million in a series B round that was led by Sequoia and joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Index Ventures. Flipagram has revealed that they have secure deals with several major music labels and publishers, the app has millions of song clips which users can use as sound tracks behind videos, some clips are also available to buy.

Flipagram is based in Los Angeles and has had 30 million monthly active users by the end of 2014. This app allows you to combine photos, videos, links, text and music into a short edited video clip that can last up to one minute.

Farhad Mohit told FORBES;

‘ Flipagram plans to use its new funding primarily to attract top talent and support the infrastructure required to run the app. We believe that storytelling is the path to deeper connections on social media. We might be onto the narrative object for the billions’.

More than 14 million Flipagrams were created per month in the first quarter of 2015. The typical user is female and under the age of 25.

Doerr told FORBES;

‘The partners really believe that Flipagram will be a major media creation and sharing company, on the order of Twitter or more’.

 

FACEBOOK

Facebook has it’s fingers in a lot of pies, but it’s now adding another pie to the equation. This week sees Facebook confirm the total revamp of their “notes” app into a long-form blogging platform. This means that hopefully the new notes system will be more widely used and easily accessible because over the past few years notes has just been left in the corner like an old boot. It became harder to find, no updates have been done for a long time and with blogging being one of the fastest growing ways to establish yourself as as company or individual, Facebook needs to keep up with the times!

Lab Weekly Social Media
For businesses this could be a particularly interesting tool, the only thing that could be a worry would be that notes is an added on application for pages. What could this mean for business pages? We personally think if they are changing the entire notes section that it will be rolled out to pages as well. Now all we have to do is wait for it to roll out across Facebook pages and profiles around the world and see what it looks like. The revamp will surely bring in a lot bigger audience and make it a lot easier to distribute, especially with the added advantages of the custom audience tool.

 

TWITTER

Twitter has expanded its Ad network by bringing video ads to outside apps. Twitter’s main challenge at the minute is to attract new users, not sales, but any growth is good news for the microblogging site whose difficulty adding users and lack of permanent CEO pushed the sites market cap as low as $17.4 billion this month.

Twitter have said they are bringing promoted videos and tweets to the network as well as other new formats – this should help Twitter’s progress. Twitter launched its mobile ad network last year under the name ‘publisher network’ this allowed marketers to extend ad campaigns on Twitter to thousands of third-party apps in categories like media, entertainment, games and utilities.

Twitter have now said they will allow all advertisers globally to run campaigns on its ad network as long as they have an account manager at Twitter. Advertisers who run campaigns across both Twitter and the ad network can double their reach to as many as 700 million users, about 300 million of them are on Twitter.

 

Ranadive said;

‘Its a big change because its the first time we’re able to take all of this demand for video and drastically increase the reach for our clients’.

Twitter can present promoted tweets in other ad formats such as video, native ads, banners and full-screen mobile ads. For example – A promoted video campaign on Twitter can be turned into in-app video ads. Interstitials can now be retweeted and favourited directly from ads in the network, ads can also feature more call-to-action buttons. The company have said they will continue to develop new ad formats and targeting tools. Twitter also plans to give advertisers the option to pay for website clicks and conversions in the future.