Lab Weekly: Possum Algorithm, Google Updates & Social

Phoebe Skinner

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This week in #The Lab has been a hectic one, with lots of meeting and consultations. On Wednesday evening, Jess attended How Important is Human Connection in Marketing Your Business which was ran by the Chamber of Commerce and Chartered Institute of Marketing which was found to be very insightful. All of us in the office enjoyed some new coffee pods for our coffee machine which saw a spike in productivity throughout the week. In this week’s lab weekly we discussed a lot of updates which have been brought in by Google including their new Possum algorithm.
Google Trips
Google has brought out its first travel app, an app that looks completely different to any other major app on the market. Since Google bought ITA, a travel software company, in 2010, they had said they were to bring a new tool to travelling searchers. Instead of being about booking and making reservations, the app is based on planning your trip and your days, Google have stated that the app is a “personalised tour guide in your pocket”. Flight details, hotel bookings, and meal reservations can all be automatically brought over from Gmail and then the app can suggest a multitude of activities to fill the rest of your days. These suggestions will be based on visits from other travelers and will consist of the most popular sights and attractions. Google Trips will be able to create a personalised itinerary each day based on the places you want to visit, all of these will be laid out on a map and you will be able to see distance and travel times. Saved data will be available offline so that you never have to worry about losing your plan.
Google Allo to be Released on iOS and Android
Google Allo is in the process of being released on iOS and Android, this new smart messaging app allows the user to make plans, search online for information and allows you to express yourself in new and exciting ways. One of the biggest and most watched features is Google Assistant, both Google Assistant and Google Allo work together and allow you to ask it questions and to perform tasks. You can use the new @Google command when messaging to bring Google Assistant to your current conversation where you can quickly ask any question.
Google Assistant allows the user to:

  • Bring the assistant to conversations and have it suggest plans
  • Whilst chatting to the assistant you can ask it for information or for daily updates on topics which peak your interest

Smart Reply
Like predictive text from other platforms, smart reply will offer you suggestions which you can select from and send or you can choose to  ignore them and type something in the text box yourself. After some time smart reply will learn from you and can suggest similar messages you send frequently and it can also suggest emojis for you to send where it sees fit.
SMS Messaging
You can use Google Allo to message people who don’t have the app, however, it will be sent as an SMS message.
Emojis and Stickers
Google has expert independent artists who created over 25 custom sticker packs to be used in Allo, not only can you send emojis and stickers through Allo you also have the option of enlarging text and emojis by simply dragging the send button up or down.
Incognito Chat
This allows the user to have discreet notifications and message expiration, not only that but Google Allo also has encrypted messages with an extra layer of security to ensure your conversations stay private.
Possum Update
The new Possum algorithm update began on September 1st 2016 and has affected local search results. The algorithm is not getting rid of Google My Business pages from search results like some business owners believe, they are simply filtering them. It is thought that the update was to show a broader range of results in local results and to prevent spam; it appears to be the biggest update since Pigeon 2014 to local search. Rather oddly, when it comes to ranking for areas, businesses that technically fall outside of the area that is being searched for, are ranking much higher than before the update. Businesses that have the same address with another business in the same category, could see themselves being filtered as well. Google appears to be smart enough as well to recognise if businesses are in the same building, even if they do not share the same address. With the new update, the location of where the search is being made is making more of an impact, rankings will drop if you are not in the city that you are searching for businesses in. There appears to be fluctuation still happening so Google may still be testing out some things, we will keep you updated on anything else we see affected by this Possum update.
This week Twitter announced that advertisers on mobile can now have their app install ads automatically converted to appear natively within the apps that are in the Twitter Audience Platform. According to Twitter the company claims reaches 800 million people across thousands of apps. To be able to syndicate an app install campaign as a native ad, an advertiser simply needs to check a box labeled “native” when setting the campaign up on the Twitter Audience Platform. In a testing period native app install ads received 56% higher click-to-install rates than app install ads that appeared as traditional banner ads and interstitials.
It is important to know that from now onwards mobile app engagement ads cannot be converted into native ads across Twitter’s ad network.

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