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Direct Marketing News and Updates

by | Nov 14, 2016

Social media has been known to change daily and, within the past few weeks, some interesting new features were introduced that will affect the way marketers advertise and review analytics moving forward. Google has also been making news with updates to their ranking algorithm and their long-awaited updates to the Gmail app. November always seems to fly by, so if you’ve been too busy watching the election, don’t worry, here are the updates Carousel30 thinks you can’t afford to miss:

Social Media

Snaplytics, a startup based out of Denmark, is answering the marketer’s call for more analytics on Snapchat. The company works within your account to pull data such as number of followers and how they added you; as well as the open, screenshot and retention rates of your snaps and stories. Additionally, Snaplytics allows you to compare your results with all other companies that use the service which helps companies size themselves up against their competition. In regards to advertising on Snapchat, companies that provide content to the Discover section of Snapchat could be getting a pay cut. Up until now, content producers would provide content to the section and any revenue from the ad placed within the content would be split between the company and Snapchat. Now, Snapchat is adopting a system that pays content partners a fixed amount upfront, allowing Snapchat to keep all ad revenue.

In other social media advertising news, Twitter announced a new type of ad format at their #WhatsNext event. The ad is very similar to Snapchat’s Snap to Unlock feature and will allow users to gain access to exclusive content by tweeting a photo of a company’s physical ads or storefront. Experts see this as a way for companies to give their physical ads relevance again by connecting them to social media. Instagram also began rolling out another feature that connects the physical and social worlds. Instagram began testing shoppable tags on posts by 20 U.S. retailers including Kate Spade and Warby Parker. The tags will appear directly on the photos when users tap a “tap to view products” button. Upon clicking the button, users will be provided with in-app details about the product and an option to buy the item online in a separate browser.


While most social media platforms are racing to add video to their experience, Twitter dropped it. Twitter announced they are getting rid of Vine, the six-second looping video clip application the company bought four years ago. Vine was seen as a fast-rising star of online video before Periscope, Snapchat stories and other live streaming applications came on to the scene. But, Vine co-founders didn’t let the death of their first successful application get them down. Just days after users said “so long” to Vine, the co-founders announced a new application called Hype. Hype allows users to live stream video and add other media, like songs and video from their phone, to the livestream. Users can also interact with content through polls and questions, a feature that hasn’t been seen before in live streaming.

Despite the outcry from fans after the announcement of Vine’s shut down, other video platforms made news too. Periscope is following in the footsteps of Snapchat by adding ‘video masks’ to their platform. The feature that Periscope rolled out allows users to wear masks that looked like puppets of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The feature was less interactive than Snapchat’s feature, with only the mouths moving in response to user’s action and won’t be updated any time soon, according to Periscope CEO.


In the days leading up to the election, Google got involved in politics by changing their homepage to an election day reminder doodle. The search engine typically changes its homepage for various holidays and events but, this time, the doodle was more interactive by offering a feature that showed users the location of their local polling center.

In mobile search news, Google is adopting a mobile-first indexing system within the next few months. When deciding how to rank listings, Google will soon be looking for its ranking signals on mobile websites, followed by desktop websites in the case that a mobile website is not available. Google has said that mobile search queries now trump desktop searches and Google is acting on that fact with its mobile-first system. For marketers, and really anyone with a website, the accessibility of content on mobile is now mandatory in order to stay searchable.

When Google announced its ‘Possum’ algorithm update two months ago, marketers saw the opportunity for local search results. SEO professionals have found that similar keywords are yielding more varied results than before, a searcher’s location is more important than before, and Google is filtering based on address and affiliation. Additionally, in a recent study of how these updates affected local search rankings, researchers found that 64 percent of keywords had ranking changes following the update.

While Google has been changing its search algorithm and aspects of its physical products often in the past year, one thing that has remained the same is Gmail. Google finally changed that with updates to the Gmail app that make the app faster and look more like a classic app rather than just a mobile version of the website. In addition to aesthetic changes to the application, Google also added a new feature: an Undo Send button. The button, which has been available on the desktop site since 2015, now appears at the bottom of the screen after an email is sent and allows users to take back an email for up to 30 seconds after sending.

About the Author

Greg Kihlström

Greg is an award-winning digital strategist, creative director, author and speaker. He is currently SVP Digital at Yes& (a Capitol Communicator Sponsor) as of Fall 2017 when Carousel30, the agency he founded, was acquired.He has worked with brands such as AARP, AOL, Booz Allen Hamilton, Choice Hotels, GEICO, Howard University, Marriott, MTV, The Nature Conservancy, Porsche, Toyota, United Nations and others. His work has won awards from the ADDYs, Webbys and others, been featured in books by HarperCollins and Rockport Press, publications such as Advertising Age, Communication Arts, Web Designer and Website magazine.He currently serve as VP of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) District 2, and as a Board Member of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Industry Mentoring Board (MIMB). He is Past President of AAF DC, and served on the National Board of AAF, Board of Trustees of the Trust for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Board of AIGA DC, and the Trust for the National Mall's National Advisory Board.


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