From chatbots and voice tools to social news and video trends, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.
Facebook Messenger Expands Customer Chat Tool to Public Beta
A lot of businesses have taken advantage of the Facebook Messenger-powered customer service tool since its public beta launch last month. Customer Chat allows business to communicate with customers both on Facebook and on their own websites through custom bots. It basically brings the Facebook Messenger service to your website. This week, Facebook announced that they’re expanding the offering to more businesses. With access to 1.3 billion users, it’s easy to see why the bots are an attractive addition for brands.
As a business, this is your chance to slide into your customer’s DMs and unleash the power of chatbot technology. It’s a simple way to create an open line of communication. The service says it can be useful for raising awareness because it gets your business in front of more people. It can also help with generating leads, acquiring customers and enabling transactions. Of course, it also provides an easy-to-manage, real-time support system that feels personal for the customer. Learn how to get started and install the software on Facebook Messenger’s developer blog.
Google Confirms Longer Snippets
Notice anything different on your search engine results pages (SERPs) lately? Google has confirmed that meta descriptions are getting longer. The character limits have gone from 160-180 characters to 275, which means four, five, and even six lines of preview text. Longer snippets probably mean searchers will spend more time on Google, but they say it’s about being useful to searchers trying to decide what result serves their need best.
It’s difficult to predict whether these longer snippets will lead to higher or lower click-thru rate. Simple queries may receive fewer clicks if the information is clearly visible from the SERP, but longer descriptions also provide a greater opportunity to entice clicks. Either way, the change will impact people’s impression of your webpage. The change also makes the precious top 3 spots even more valuable. Since it would require more scrolling to get to results further down the page, longer snippets will likely lead to lower click-thru rates for those pages.
Though some experts suggest leaving your descriptions as they are, brands and businesses should evaluate the meta tags of their most important and high-traffic landing pages. Google doesn’t always display your manually assigned descriptions, but you may want to update them to optimize for the new, longer character limits. You’ll still need to balance providing information with encouraging site visits, but the increased space may call for different techniques or style.
Instagram introduces Stories Highlights for Brands
Instagram Stories, which is basically the platform’s attempt to eliminate Snapchat, provides daily disappearing content. Their newest feature Stories Highlights will increase the lifespan of these photos and videos. It displays selected stories in a horizontal carousel on an Instagrammer’s profile page below their bio and above their regular feed. There’s no limit on how many Highlights you display and they will remain on your profile until you remove them.
You may have seen some influencers getting in on this trend, but now brands can too. The ephemeral nature of Stories may have made it easy to ignore the Stories feature before. Now that you can get longer-term value from this content, many brands will probably invest in higher-quality Stories. Since even users that don’t follow your brand’s account can see your Highlights, this will also expand the viewership of Stories.
What else you should know this week:
- Voice has become a really powerful – and competitive – tool for the technology giants. In good news for the somewhat littler guy, Mozilla released its open-source speech recognition tool DeepSpeech and it has an impressively low per-word error rate of about 6.5%. The team used a public crowdsourcing program called Common Voice to gather samples from around the world. Mozilla predicts speech will play a big part in the way we interact with devices in the future and they believe the technology should be freely available. Their tool could make it easier to incorporate voice services to your product or service.
- Pantone launched their color of the year. According to the color experts, you’d be wise to incorporate ultra violet into your visual communications in 2018. Provocative, thoughtful, complex, and contemplative are among the qualities the company associates with this shade of purple. Apparently, it communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking, which is why it’s often associated with counterculture. It also has a spiritual quality, “suggesting the mysteries of the cosmos” and “the intrigue of what lies ahead.”
- In another yearly tradition, Youtube released its most-watched ads leaderboard this week. 2017’s top spot belonged to Samsung India Services. Depicting a heartwarming story about a home for blind children that needs their TV fixed to watch a roommate perform in a singing competition, “We’ll Take Care of You Wherever You Are” pulled the heartstrings of 150.3 million viewers and showcased the incredible dedication of Samsung’s repair team. Compared to last year, many of the top spots were longer and more political than typical ads. So long as it fits naturally with the brand, advertisers should consider creating content about diversity and inclusion.
Come back next week for updates and more adbuzz.