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Welcome to another whirlwind review of all the latest digital marketing news. The social media world is particularly hectic at the moment, with about half a dozen new features introduced across your favourite platforms every month. But don’t worry – we’ll keep you up to speed with everything you need, either through our weekly ‘3 in 3’ videos or our monthly roundup. Here’s what’s been going on…

Episode 24, with Nichola, Jess, and Darren – watch here

TikTok Search Ads have launched.

TikTok’s new Search Ad functionality will give marketers the ability to place ads in TikTok user’s search results. Now a keyword search on TikTok will result in a mixture of sponsored and unsponsored content results.

From a marketing perspective, there’s still a lot to find out about how this is going to work. There’s currently no keyword targeting options available, though TikTok promises that this function will be included soon.

Spotify is testing a scrolling feed for podcasts.

To help users navigate the ever-expanding universe of podcasts available on their platform, Spotify have introduced a handy scrolling feed, with a whole host of features including a dedicated podcast navigation button, 15-second audition clips, and full transcriptions/translations available on some podcasts.

Nichola’s in favour, pointing out that it’s getting harder to find the good podcasts using the overloaded Spotify search algorithms. Jess agrees, adding that the new feature might provide more exposure for smaller, newer podcasts trying to compete.

Darren points out the similarities with current TikTok functionality, but sees the benefits of getting on board with successful tactics.

Can YouTube Shorts be monetised?

Turns out they can’t – even though Shorts viewing counts toward your overall channel watch time, those minutes aren’t worth a bean on the YouTube Partners Programme (YPP).

The team are unimpressed with this. Nichola’s wondering if creators will still be keen to make Shorts, if it’s not incentivised.

Darren foresees the Shorts being mainly used as a way to steer viewers back towards the monetised content, which is going to result in a lot of boring YouTube shorts.

Episode 25, with Colleen, Jess, and Kaitlyn – watch here

Facebook mistargeted up to a third of its interest-based ads, according to a new study.

The University of North Carolina found recently that Facebook’s interest-targeted ads are landing off-target more often than you might expect.

The fascinating study (well worth a read if Facebook’s algorithmic shenanigans are of interest to you) used 146 participants from all over the world to infer that at least 33.22% of the content shown to users based on perceived interest was actually found to be ‘inaccurate or irrelevant’ to the user’s preferences.

The consequences of this for marketers (and presumably, villainous election-swingers) are pretty obvious. Colleen is unsurprised – she says it’s fairly clear Facebook are winging it, for the most part. She recommends anyone marketing on Facebook concentrate on more reliable data and strategy, such as live user behaviour and retargeting.

Kaitlyn has doubts about the quality of the study’s data – for a platform with more than 2.8 billion users, 146 is a pretty small sample.

TikTok has added an audio-first listening option for livestreams.

This is nifty – TikTok’s new Background Player allows users to quickly switch the TikTok app to audio-only, so they don’t have to look at their device (or can dash off a quick text while they listen).

Jess is interested to see how TikTok, as one of the most innovative social media platforms, aren’t averse to borrowing good ideas from competitors such as Clubhouse, with its emphasis on audio first.

Does Google treat unlinked mentions like links?

John Mueller’s finally put this myth out of its misery – there is absolutely no reason to expect any off-page SEO benefits from unlinked references in your content.

Episode 26, with Lucy, Jess, and Darren – watch here

Google’s latest feature – multisearch.

You can now combine text and image searches to provide extra parameters to your search, or to skew the results using a particular context.

Lucy gives a great example of how you could use this function to look for a dress you might have seen worn at the Oscars, combining text parameters to find a different colour, or a more affordable similar item.

Instagram’s customisable link menu for profiles.

Instagram are now providing more options to include links in your Insta bio, removing the need for third-party apps such as Linktree. The Insta feature provides space for up to seven customisable links.

Darren sees this as a natural development – it makes sense for Instagram to take ownership of this function.

SEO best practice for Alt Text.

Google have recommended that alt text descriptions should be specific and detailed, and also try to provide the context – how does this image relate to the overall topic of the page?

Even though Alt Text provides SEO opportunities, it’s important to remember its primary function is for accessibility – read our recent blog, all about  Alt Text, to find out more and see how Alt Text looks when it’s done right.

Told you there was a lot going on! Here at Trio, we eat this stuff for breakfast, every single day. If you want a social media agency to stay on top of all this bewilderment on your behalf, we’re right here for you.