This week in #TheLab has seen one of our marketing apprentices, Phoebe, wading through mud at Leeds Festival, which has certainly caused some jealousy among the rest of us. We’re a bunch of happy campers with Phoebe in her tent and Richard enjoying his time off in his caravan. For the ones in the office, we’re just silently happy about having a bed to sleep in in the middle of a storm… On Monday, Jess and Hannah went to the launch of the Lincolnshire Reporter, which has shown to be a great way to interact with many more local businesses and keep up to date on local news. In this week’s Lab Weekly we have updates from Google, new features on Amazon and a Facebook and WhatsApp collaboration?

Google Penalises Intrusive Interstitials

Google has stated that intrusive interstitials, advertisements or promotions that show up whilst a page is loading, could now be penalised in certain cases starting on January 10th 2017. This is particularly a problem on mobile devices as the screen is smaller so pop-ups can cover more of the content; Google has said that if interstitials affect how users view the content, this is when they are deemed intrusive and become a problem. These types of ads can include pop-ups that hide the main content when a user first comes from search results or when scrolling through the page. Standalone interstitials that require users to close before viewing the page, and where the content has been pushed beneath the fold due to an interstitial at the top. The implementation of these on pages can cause them to rank lower in Google SERPs, as Google are viewing user experience as a high-ranking factor. There are exceptions to this new ranking factor, however, with interstitials being allowed if they are for legal reasons for example age verification and cookies, or login pages. Banners for app instalments, for example, will not be penalised so long as the amount of screen space they take up is not excessive and they can be easily closed.

With over 85% of pages now being mobile friendly in the mobile results, Google’s focus on user experience is coming into place. With this, Google is no longer showing the ‘mobile friendly’ label in SERPs.

New Twitter Button

Twitter and Facebook have been rivals for years, both attempting to get one up on the other and to be the one-stop site for users. Twitter has announced a new button which allows users to direct message a business from the site, businesses will have the ability to add a button to their site which users can click and will allow that user to direct message them with ease. This offers users and businesses an extra way to communicate with one another, and as all businesses should know communicating with customers or potential customers is key. This new feature offers the user the ability to contact a business directly from the company’s site without having to launch twitter and log in and then finding the company, simply click the button on the site and write your message and hit send.

Facebook Buys WhatsApp’s Users’ Data

Facebook has bought WhatsApp’s user data for $22 billion and is using it to match people’s WhatsApp’s account to their Facebook with their mobile number. From here it is thought that Facebook can use this data such as contact lists to show users specific ads and content. WhatsApp will be sharing user’s account information but not their messages, their approach to privacy is still the same and with the little amount of information WhatsApp knows about you,  especially when compared to Facebook, you shouldn’t be worried about any personal data getting out. There does not seem to be a way to fully opt out of this service but as there is little-required information you have to give when signing up to WhatsApp, Facebook is the platform that knows the most about you. Facebook is trying to accumulate as much data about a person as they can to target them with both ads and content across multiple platforms. They have already been seen to do this with Instagram over the past few years.

WhatsApp may also be having plans for businesses to be able to message users although it is not known if businesses will pay for this and therefore be advertisements. In their new privacy policy update, which came about due to the sale with Facebook, there was a section called “Commercial Messaging” which states that businesses can send

“order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing”.  

Amazon vehicles

AmazonAmazon has decided to test the waters with the launch of Amazon vehicles which could be the new stop for car shoppers. Unfortunately, you cannot buy cars on Amazon as of the time this is being written but it may be possible in the near future? At this time Amazon vehicle is a great place for anyone who is thinking of buying a car, as it allows them  to do some quick research on a car, car parts and accessories. A press release earlier this year shows a screenshot of Amazon vehicles which shows the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the screenshot shows some of the information that Amazon will provide which includes, a few images, details on the car and customer reviews. This step into providing users with important details about cars is potentially the big step they needed for them to head towards selling cars on their site.