We have lots to report on this week from the world of digital and social media. It seems that Facebook has been feeling a bit left out before their most recent update of adding stories to their Facebook messenger, you can read more about this fantastic feature below. In our #LabInsights section you can also find some top quick fixes for blogs, that anyone can do!

Digital News This Week

Facebook Messenger – NEW UPDATE!

So it seems that Facebook is back with more fun updates! As you know, Snapchat was the founder of “stories” and then Instagram decided they wanted them too. It now seems that Facebook are feeling a bit left out, so they have also added stories to their messenger app. There are many features of the new update, one of them being the blank canvas. You can start with a blank canvas and then add funky art to the picture before adding your face and taking the selfie. It’s important to remember though like Instagram and Snapchat your stories will delete after 24 hours.

You can easily select who sees your stories through the settings, and when you have designed your art masterpiece you can decide where you post it, to a specific person or on your story.

Amazon’s Affiliate System Changes

During last week, members of Amazon’s associate’s program received some urgent and most unexpected news. As of March 1st, the affiliate rates are going to be changing which is the start of one of the web’s longest-running ways to make a quick load of money. This change is going to affect a lot of small-scale bloggers are going to be hit hard by these rate changes, however, it is hard to predict what Amazon’s new rates will mean for those involved in the program, but it seems a lot of businesses are getting nervous about it.

It has been reported that the most immediate change that is being made is the end of Amazon’s “variable standard program fee” rates which provided sites with a higher cut when they drove more business to Amazon. From the 1st March, we will see a new category-by-category system that means products that are most favoured such as digital video games and luxury beauty will get higher rates whereas most other products will see a steep drop-off. If we find out any further information regarding this we will provide an update.

#LabInsights

3 Quick Blog Page Fixes Anyone can Make

A huge amount of sites have a blog page and this blog page requires a lot of attention and effort in order to keep relevant, updated and popular. Writing a simple post can take anywhere from one hour to several, below we are going to list a few quick easy fixes which can help improve the feel to your blog and a number of views it gets.

Tip 1 – Add images or videos, you could write an amazing piece of work that took you hours to write, however, if you only have text and no images/videos or anything to grab a user’s attention then you are missing out. A simple image or video could grab a user’s attention and cause them to read on, it is estimated that users only read 20 percent of any text on a given page.

Tip 2 – Add internal and external links, You need to be thinking of links as currency, it is best practice to have an internal and external link on your blog, offer the read a place that they can go for more information, your blog is there to offer help to a user.

Tip 3 – Finally, make sure you have a CALL-TO-ACTION. Too often do we see blogs without a call-to-action, what do you want them to do? Would you like them to read more blogs? Fill out a form? Or purchase a product or service? Whichever one you would like them to do you can promote it, simply add a button that says “Find out more” or “Purchase now” on your blog page and don’t miss out on potential conversions.

28% Growth of Mobile App Usage

The usage of mobile phone apps has increased over the past year by 28%, but the question is why and what apps are being used more?

Social media apps have been very popular for a while, and recently UK mobile users have rapidly increased their time spent on social media messaging apps at 46%, which has been put down to the fact that it is a more simple way to share content on social media. This has resulted in other apps that are news and game related to having decreased.

Stats show that the average mobile user spends 5 hours a day on their smartphones and approximately 2 of those hours are spent on social media or messaging apps. However saying that recent real-time events have driven mobile users to use other apps relating to the topic, for example, The Super Bowl. Many other sporting events that were held in the Summer raised 90% of the sports category usage for mobile apps.