Increasing usage of FB’s Messenger leads to the launch of the very first standalone Messenger Desktop app, an infographic on content and engagement trends during the COVID-19 mayhem, Google releases a new COVID-19 announcement tool, the ‘Big Tech’ introduce new ad policies and UK startups call for emergency support in order to survive the coronavirus crisis.

“The digital marketing world has changed in recent months. In order to survive, marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.” – EmailOut

In this article, we’ll cover the following recent digital marketing news:

  1. Facebook launches Messenger Desktop app
  2. LinkedIn content and engagement trends during the COVID-19 crisis
  3. New announcement tool in Google Search Console
  4. Tech companies are rolling out new ad policies
  5. UK startups cry out for help to survive the pandemic

Let’s dive in.

Social Media News

New Facebook Messenger Desktop App

At the beginning of April, Facebook launched the very first standalone Messenger app for desktop which is available for both Windows and macOS.

According to the company’s announcement, there was more than a 100% increase in the usage of desktop browser for audio and video calls via Messenger. Could it be because in the last couple of months people have stayed home?

No matter the reason, Facebook reacted pretty quick to the increased demand by launching the dedicated Messenger desktop app. People who choose to use the desktop app instead of the Messenger on facebook.com via a web browser will be able to take advantage of numerous benefits.

Perhaps, one of the most valuable benefits would be the unlimited and free group video calls. Nonetheless, here is a list of key highlights of the Messenger desktop app – 

a) group video calls – users will be able to stay in touch with friends and family on a much larger screen compared to smartphone;

b) easy to connect – if you’re connected with someone on Facebook then you’re also connected in Messenger. No need for phone numbers, emails or signing up for a new service;

c) multitasking – users will have easy access to chats and they can pop in and out of the app whilst doing other things on their computer. You can’t do that on a smartphone;

d) notifications – they’re available on desktop but the user is in control of the notification preferences – mute or snooze, for example;

e) chat syncing – users can sync chats across mobile and desktop without losing any of the Messenger history; and

f) all the features users love but on a bigger screen – all the same Messenger features you are used to will be included in the desktop app as well as the dark mode and GIFs.

LinkedIn’s Overview Of Content And Engagement Trends During COVID-19 Crisis

Like many social media platforms amid the COVID-19 pandemonium, LinkedIn has seen a big increase55% – in engagement between connections as well as a boost in the volume of content posts and messages.

To give its users some context, the career-oriented platform has published an overview of just how significant discussions about COVID-19 have been as well as the topics of professional interest derived from that. 

As much as most of the trends are what one would expect in these crisis times – ‘remote working’, ‘online learning’, etc., it’s quite interesting when you review the numbers for yourself.

Here’s a brief overview of what LinkedIn’s infographic will tell you – 

a) top trending topics have shifted significantly in relation to today’s environment;
b) 32% of members publish COVID-related posts;
c) 36% of pages publish posts related to the coronavirus; and
d) 7% of companies in the IT sector mention coronavirus during company updates.

You can review the full infographic here.

Search Engine and SEO News

COVID-19 Announcement Tool In Google Search Console (GSC)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more businesses need to publish urgent announcements. This may include health and government organisations announcing shelter-in-place directives or quarantine guidelines; schools and learning centres announcing transitions from offline to online; travel bans; or, disease spread stats.

With that in mind, to help organisations out, Google has released a new tool in the GSC. It’s still considered to be in beta meaning it’s not fully developed and can be subject to changes. The new announcement tools will help authority websites to submit important announcements on their website without needing to use structured data. Keep in mind that because the tool is still in beta, you may not see results in Google Search right away.

The tool has the following requirements and rules – 

a) announcements must expire within 1 month of posting, so it’s only for short-lived announcements;
b) if an expiration date is not required, the announcement will default to expire 7 days from the time it  was posted;
c) it’s focused on health and government organisations as well as schools; and
d) it doesn’t support news articles.

Although you or your clients may not be “authority sites”, it’s always great to keep up-to-date. However, beware and don’t abuse the tool as Google may decide to take manual actions and mark your announcement ineligible to display as rich results. If such a drastic measure is taken, you’ll have to resubmit your website for consideration to fix it.

PPC and Ads News

Tech Giants Are Rolling Out New Ad Policies During The Pandemic

Usually, when tech companies introduce new policies it happens after long periods of careful internal discussions as big reversals aren’t usually the norm. Cue COVID-19.

Once the threat started hitting countries, tech giants decided to roll out new ad policies – 

a) in early February, Google banned most nongovernment COVID-19 advertising. However, according to recent news, it seems the company will be lifting the ban;

b) shortly after Google’s ban, YouTube followed suit demonetising videos about the coronavirus in order for advertisers to avoid having their ads placed on unpleasant COVID-19-related content. The company reversed the policy shortly after rolling it out – as did Google;

c) in February, Facebook announced it was banning coronavirus-related ads that promoted false cures and other virus-related disinformation;

d) in March, Twitter announced new ad policies tailored to COVID-19 which – as Google And YouTube – it reversed a few weeks later; and

e) Google Ads was the last to address this matter. The company has updated its Inappropriate Content policy to disallow content that “…potentially capitalises on or lacks reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, public health emergency, or other tragic events.” Google also announced it would disburse $340 million in ad credits to SMBs. 

The big tech companies seem to have underestimated the scope of the pandemic and what would happen. They rolled out ad policies then reversed them back and carried on like everything was back to normal. We don’t know about you, but with so many changes, our heads have been spinning – a lot.

Digital Marketing News

The U.K. government is looking for a way to support its startup industry by exploring a range of different options. They are considering a possible co-investment model involving state-owned funds (via the British Business Bank); and, private venture capital (VC) funds. 

One of the options considered by the ministers is convertible loans which could either be repaid in a later stage or they can be transformed into equity stakes owned by the state. However, this would require a matched co-investment with VCs which ensures only existing venture-backed startups will be eligible.

According to the Financial Times (subscription required), ministers are considering the above option on a case-to-case basis and only after companies have sought out fresh capital from private investors. Another option that’s been considered is additional grant funding via InnovateUK which is a government body providing support to innovative businesses – and an expansion of R&D tax credits.

Furthermore, under recently-appointed Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, the government has launched a £330 billion ($409 billion) loan scheme and other relief measures to help firms avoid collapsing. Additionally, France recently introduced a 4 billion euro ($4.4 billion) liquidity package to support its start-ups’ cash flows. 

Some worry the U.K. could be at risk of falling behind. Many startups are stating they can’t access this funding because they are not yet profitable.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any suggestions or ideas on what digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

In the meantime, you can take a look at our email marketing blog for useful advice, tips, tricks and best practice. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as PPC & Ads news.

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