The Fresh Egg blog
Latest digital marketing news
In this fortnight’s news, we cover Google’s decision to clamp down on pop-up ads for apps that cover content on mobile devices, Instagram now supporting portrait and landscape photos, Facebook tackling video piracy, and Google pausing Flash ads by default.
Read on to find out more.
In Google’s latest move to improve its mobile search results, the search engine has announced that it considers mobile web pages that show app install interstitials that hide a lot of content as non-mobile friendly.
What’s an interstitial? An interstitial is an ad that appears while you’re waiting for the webpage you’ve actually chosen to visit to download. As The Verge points out, some of these can be extremely annoying, particularly if they cover the whole screen and you can’t find a way to close it.
In the words of Google:
“Starting today, we’ll be updating the Mobile-Friendly Test to indicate that sites should avoid showing app install interstitials that hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page. The Mobile Usability report in Search Console will show webmasters the number of pages across their sites that have this issue.
“After 1 November, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This does not affect other types of interstitials. As an alternative to app install interstitials, browsers should find user-friendly ways to promote an app.”
An example of a large app interstitial that hides a significant amount of content, providing a bad search experience. Source: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/mobile-friendly-web-pages-using-app.html
An example of a less intrusive banner interstitial, which is preferred by Google. Source: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/mobile-friendly-web-pages-using-app.html
Google’s decision to go after sites using these big annoying ads is, according to Google, an attempt to make mobile browsing that much more user-friendly. Any site that uses them will not be given the ‘Mobile Friendly’ badge, and be therefore pushed down the search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, not everyone accepts this explanation. Over at Marketing Land, Danny Sullivan points out that people who find the big ads annoying might also have problems with the way Google pushes apps in its own SERPs. Read his blog post to find out more.
Ever keen to give its users what they want, Instagram has announced that it’s ‘thinking outside the square’ and now supports landscape and portrait formats.
According to TechCrunch, "one in five photos or videos on Instagram shows up with annoying whitespace around them, because people use other apps to letterbox their landscape or portrait imagery to fit in Instagram’s square cropping".
Instagram users can now choose the formatting of their images and videos directly within the app by tapping the format icon to portrait or landscape. Square images are still possible too though, of course.
As Marketing Land reports, plenty of brands have been quick off the mark to take advantage of the new options, including Star Wars, Adobe, and Instagram themselves:
Today, we're excited to announce that — in addition to square posts — you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram. Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to. When choosing a photo or video, you can now tap the format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape instead of square. The full-sized version will show up in feed in a beautiful, natural way. To not disrupt your profile grid, your post will appear there as a center-cropped square. We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram. All filters will now work on both photos and videos, and you can now adjust the intensity of filters on videos, too. To learn more about the changes in today’s update, check out blog.instagram.com. Instagram for iOS version 7.5 is available today in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 7.5 is available today on Google Play.
Instagram updates direct messaging
In other interesting Instagram news, the social network has released an update to its direct messaging functionality. Instagram Direct now includes threaded messages, the ability to send posts to a friend or group, and the ability to send hashtag and location pages.
In a post towards the end of August, Facebook announced that it’s stepping up its measures to tackle video piracy on the platform.
One of the loudest complaints Facebook has received is that publishers’ videos are being uploaded directly to Facebook without their permission – known as ‘freebooting’.
The social platform is working with Audible Magic to help better identify and prevent unauthorised videos being published on Facebook, and is also making it easier to report and remove infringing content.
It’s been no secret that video publishers have had issues with Facebook’s handling of video, and some, including Lucas Matney of TechCrunch, are saying that these changes are coming too late.
Find out more about Facebook’s plans, and some of the controversy surrounding its handling of video piracy, at Marketing Land.
One billion Facebook users in a single day
On 27 August, Mark Zuckerberg gleefully announced another little bit of Facebook news: one billion people used Facebook in a single day for the first time ever. Take a look at the video below that Facebook created to celebrate the milestone.
In another step farther away from Flash, and closer towards HTML5, Google announced that from 1 September, it will automatically pause Flash-based ads by default in its Chrome browser.
Google had previously announced in June that it would automatically pause plug-in content as a way to speed up page load time and cut down battery drain.
Amazon is following suit too, also announcing that it will no longer support Flash ads on its platforms starting 1 September.
Read this post from Marketing Land to find out more, and learn what to do if you’re still using Flash ads as an AdWords user.
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