Following the massive success of online shopping through Facebook and Instagram, Facebook announced it is bringing Shops to WhatsApp along with a slew of other new e-commerce features.

According to the announcement, nearly 75% of people said they use Facebook-owned social networks to discover brands or products online. 

Even more, some industries have seen wild gains with over 85% of people surveyed saying they had purchased a fashion, beauty, furniture, or electronic product they first found through a Facebook platform. 

Now, the company’s goal is to streamline the process while bringing in new features and expanding shopping capabilities to the often forgotten WhatsApp.

To achieve this goal, the latest updates include:

  • Bringing Shops To More Places
  • Introducing Customer Reviews on Instagram
  • Creating Personalized Shop Ads
  • Opening AR Features To More Brands

Let’s look at each of these a bit more in-depth.

Bringing Shops To More Places

Facebook Shops on WhatsApp and Marketplace

When setting up a Shop, brands have been presented with two options for where their products can appear: Facebook and Instagram. Now, those options are finally getting expanded. 

First, brands in the U.S. will have the option to also showcase their products in Marketplace.

With over one billion people using Marketplace every month, it only makes sense that Facebook would be making it easier to get their products included.

Additionally, businesses in several countries around the world are also getting the ability to put their shop on WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned message and phone call app. 

With this, users will be able to browse your entire product catalogue, share products with friends, and ask you questions they might have about your products without leaving the app. 

Best of all, you only have to set up your store once to have it up and running on all three apps. 

Introducing Customer Reviews on Instagram

In the coming months, users will begin getting the ability to rate and review products they’ve purchased in Shops on Instagram. 

Instagram Product Reviews

Similar to most modern online product reviews, users will be able to leave a simple star rating, write a longer in-depth text review, and share pictures of the real-life products with others. 

Brands will also be able to leave responses to address any concerns or manage customer-service opportunities. 

As the announcement says:

“We always want shoppers to feel confident in the purchases they make, so we’re giving people more information before they buy…

“These changes will help people make more informed decisions on what to buy, and will let businesses know if they are meeting customer expectations.”

Creating Personalized Shop Ads

Facebook is introducing a new type of personalized ads for shops which will showcase curated collections to those most likely to purchase. 

Personalized Ads For Product Collections

By comparing past shopping behavior, the platform is attempting to connect users with the products most likely to excite them. 

Facebook says:

“Personalized ads are often the beginning of the shopping journey and businesses want to offer shopping experiences that are seamless and personalized. That’s why we’re introducing Shops ads solutions that provide unique ads experiences based on people’s shopping preferences.”

Opening AR Features To More Brands

Augmented Reality (AR) has been predicted to be a major force in product advertising since the earliest days of the internet, and it is finally making good on that promise. 

Smartphone cameras and increasing processing ability are making it possible for users to virtually “try on” products without having to deal with dirty dressing rooms or pushy attendants. 

The last hurdle is making these tools widely available to brands that don’t have millions to spend on developing AR systems. 

That is exactly what Facebook is hoping to do by developing new APIs that will make it easier for brands to integrate AR into their product catalogues. 

The APIs will begin rolling out to beauty product brands in the near future, with support for other industries coming shortly after. 

Along with these features, the social network says it is testing a new ad format which would use AR technology to allow users to “try on” products from your ads. Though it is only in testing currently, Facebook says it expects to roll out the ads to more brands by the end of the year.

By partnering up with a range of online marketplaces, Instagram is making it easier for brands and creators to establish shops that are directly accessible in the social network, as well as introducing new features for affiliate links and other ways to monetize your social media content.

Facebook and Instagram Emphasize Monetization Tools for Creators

The wave of new and upcoming monetization features and tools come as part of a broader initiative to attract creators and influencers to Facebook and Instagram by offering a broad array of ways to monetize your online presence.

As the announcement says:

“We want Instagram and Facebook to serve as a home base for creators to tell their story, grow and make a living.

“…Today’s updates are a big part of a broader effort to support creators as they build their careers. …we are committed to building the right mix of tools to help them accomplish their goals.”

As such, the new tools and features are designed primarily with social creators in mind. Still, many brands may see opportunities to diversify and monetize their online presence by also taking advantage of the latest Instagram and Facebook features.

Opening a Shop on Instagram Gets Easier

One of the more interesting new features for many smaller businesses and entrepreneurs will be the announcement that the social network is making it easier to launch a shop directly within your Instagram profile. 

By working with an array of merchandising companies, you can now quickly and easily set up and link stores, rather than manually establishing a version of your shop through Instagram.

“For creators who already have their own product lines, they can now link their shop to their personal profile in addition to their business profile.

“Creators will also be able to set up a new shop and drive excitement with exclusive product launches from the Instagram app by linking their account with one of our four merchandise partners: Bravado/UMG, Fanjoy, Represent, and Spring.”

Currently, the tool is limited to creators and brands in the US and may take through the end of the year to fully roll out.

Native Affiliate Links

The announcement also mentions another tidbit which may be attractive to brands with their own partnerships or to entrepreneurs is the testing of a “native affiliate tool” which lets you earn revenue from promoting other brands of products.

The tool streamlines the process of sharing affiliate links entirely within the Instagram app and ensures sponsored content is appropriately tagged for audiences.

“When people come across an affiliate post from a creator featuring a tagged product, they will see “Eligible for commission” at the top of the post, so it’s clear that their purchases help support that creator.”

Though currently limited to a small group of well-known brands and creators, the feature is expected to be more widely available somewhat soon.

“Affiliate will test with a small group of US-based creators and businesses including Benefit, Kopari, MAC, Pat McGrath Labs and Sephora, and will expand to more partners in the future.”


Social networks like Instagram and Facebook have been gradually expanding to include storefronts and marketplaces for some time. With these new features, it is clear they hope to ensure this benefits everyone involved, including the brands and creators helping to promote those products through partnerships.

Since its launch, brands of all sizes have been using Snapchat as a major tool for connecting with younger audiences. Despite this, the platform has been slow to meet brands halfway. 

The social sharing platform has provided very few widely available tools to facilitate branded content, and – until very recently – didn’t even provide specific profiles for brands.

That changed in the past couple of weeks, as Snapchat has finally launched Public Profiles for Businesses. 

What Are Snapchat Public Profiles for Businesses?

Snapchat Public Profiles For Business - City Boutique

Similar to the separate profiles available for creators, Snapchat’s Public Profiles for Businesses provide a place to collect all your content, provide branded media like lenses, connect with your brand directly, and even house an online store full of your products (note: this feature does require directly working with Snapchat to implement in its current form). 

To help craft all this content with your team, Public Profiles are linked to mobile and web management tools via the Business Manager, where you can collaborate, review analytics, and manage your store in one place. 

Best of all, these features are all linked to analytics and insights for your brand to help refine your message and content as you go. 

Snapchat Public Profiles For Business - Universal Pictures

While Public Profiles for Businesses provide a lot of tools for brands, the announcement highlighted these four key features:

  • Public Stories: Share what’s happening in your world, from behind the scenes to daily activities, to drive deeper connections with the Snapchat community. 
  • AR Lenses: Publish Lenses to your Profile to ensure your most immersive AR experiences can be discovered by all Snapchatters and engaged with time and time again. Once linked to the Profile, these Lenses will also be discoverable through both Snapchat Search and Lens Explorer. 
  • Highlights: Permanently showcase your best Public Snaps, Stories, photos, and videos. This is the best way for Snapchatters who aren’t familiar with your brand to get to know more about your business, products, and services. 
  • Native Store: Link your US-based Shopify store on your Profile so Snapchatters can browse, try on, and buy through the “Shop” feature, turning Snapchat into a new point of sale. 

Setting up a Public Profile for your business also makes you eligible to be found through an array of new placements, including in Search, @ mentions, Discover, Lens Explorer, and through Snapchat Ads.

Snapchat Public Profiles For Business - Dior

How To Set Up Your Snapchat Public Business Profile

Setting up a Public Profile for your business is a simple, three-step process:

1) Log-In or Create a Snapchat Business Account

If you have already run ads on Snapchat, you simply need to log in to your Business Manager Account. If not, create an account by using your account sign-in info on the Snapchat Ads Manager. Once signed in, select ‘Public Profiles’.

2) Create Your Profile

On this page, connect your existing username (or establish a new one specifically for your business) and provide any additional business information to help others understand what you do. Click “Update Profile’ when you’re finished to make your account public. 

3) Add Content!

The last step is to start filling up your profile with great content that will excite users and drive engagement, such as sharing Lenses, posting new Stories, and creating Highlights for people to engage with.


Snapchat has been steadily expanding its audience to more than just Gen Z-ers. Now that the platform is also providing more robust tools for brands, there has never been a better time to dip your toes in to see if Snapchat is the best social network for your brand.

LinkedIn is expanding its advertising options for brands and entrepreneurs on the platform with new Event Ads and the ability to “Boost” organic posts from your brand’s page.

As the company said in this week’s announcement:

“We’re announcing new features to make your marketing life a little easier — helping you seamlessly reach more of your target audience and grow your brand community all while measuring impact each step of the way.”

LinkedIn Event Ads

Now that social distancing is coming to an end, many are eager to finally put on a big event for their brand. 

To help make your next in-person (or digital) event a smash hit, LinkedIn is introducing a new ad format which can appear in users’ feeds. Event ads include all the important details potential attendees may want to know, including the date, time, how to register, and if any mutual connections are also planning to attend. 

Along with this new ad format, the company is rolling out an Event Analytics tool that offers info on attendee/visitor engagement with your Event posts, your total number of attendees, unique event visits, the top jobs of attendees, and the peak number of viewers on livestreams. 

“Boost” Your LinkedIn Posts

Have you ever had a post that went over so well you wish you could re-run it to an even wider audience? 

Now you can, with the ability to “Boost” your post as an ad. Directly from your LinkedIn page, you can quickly turn an existing organic post into an ad for your brand which will run to a larger audience.

Simply click the Boost button underneath the post you want to promote, and select the objective for the post from this list:

  • Website visits
  • Post awareness
  • Event awareness
  • Post engagement
  • Video views

From there, you’ll be asked to choose how LinkedIn targets your ad based on either your profile, specific interests, or a LinkedIn audience template, along with some other basic targeting information. 

Lastly, you’ll be able to set your budget for the ad and how long you run, before you publish your Boosted post. 

Currently, the feature does have some significant limitations. Only events or posts with a single image can be boosted for now, and posts can only be boosted once. Other post formats, such as polls, documents, job listings, or Pulse articles are not eligible for boosting. 

The Takeaway

Though basic, these new features make it easy for small brands to test the waters with promoting their events and contents across the business-focused platform. Additionally, LinkedIn suggests this approach could help save money on advertising events, as 40% of beta customers saw their cost per registration decrease when testing the new ad format.

Microsoft Advertising announced this week that it will soon start including broad match ad targeting for campaigns using phrase matching. 

The change will occur “mid-May” and is aimed to “simplify keywords and improve your relevancy when reaching customers,” according to the announcement. 

Notably, this means the ad service is keeping in line with Google Ads, who made a similar change in February. 

“So… What Does This Mean For My Ads?”

Essentially, this update means that your ads which are being matched with queries for phrases matching your targeted keyword will also be shown for searches related to the meaning of your keyword. 

For example, Microsoft Advertising says the new system would match a search for “winter vacation in Miami” to the targeted keyword “Miami vacation.”
The company also says it will respect the word order of your keyword “when it’s important – for example, it won’t match ‘milk chocolate’ to the keyword ‘chocolate milk.”

Broad Match Modified Keywords To No Longer Be Offered

With this adjustment, Microsoft Advertising says it will be removing the option to create new broad match modified keywords beginning in August of this year. Existing broad match modified keywords will be treated the same as phrase match keywords. 

With this in mind, there is no need to change over your existing campaigns or keywords.

Planning For This Change

While there is no action for you to take immediately, there are a few things to keep in mind as the update rolls out. 

With the more broad matching included in phrase match campaigns, it will be important to monitor what searches are connecting with your keywords. This more broad approach could lead to potentially irrelevant queries showing your ads. 

On the upside, this change means it should be easier for advertisers to manage their campaigns, especially if they are advertising on both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.

Microsoft announced the upcoming release of a wide range of features, technologies, and advertising tools for brands at this week’s Microsoft Advertising Elevate conference. 

Among the tools are new ad units, a new take on private search, and a complete small business hub with built-in social tools. 

New Private Search Features Through Bing API

One of the biggest reveals of the conference is a completely revamped take on private search for Bing through Microsoft, Duck Duck Go, and Azure.

The tools allow publishers across the web to provide more privacy-focused experiences including a completely private search process.

Private Search works by using a proxy between a private search tool, app, or site and Microsoft’s private search API. 

By sending the search request through the private proxy, which removes all individual identifying information, to Bing’s Private Search API, Bing can then return relevant results without technically even seeing the actual search term. 

Price Comparison Beta

Microsoft is launching a new feature for its Edge browser which will deliver available discount codes in a built-in panel. Though the feature is not ready for a final roll-out, the company announced a beta for all eligible individuals using the browser’s shopping features. 

In addition to this, users will be able to save products to Collections, enabling them to later compare prices of similar products elsewhere online. 

Best of all, brands who have already uploaded their product data to Merchant Center will automatically have their products integrated into these new tools. 

“The price comparison feature in Edge is a great example of where Microsoft is trying to provide a great experience for users (find the best deal!) and gain additional exposure for the products in advertisers’ feeds. Consumer research shows that most folks comparison shop at some level and price comparison surfaces this information automatically. It’s a win/win.” – John Lee, Microsoft Evangelist

Video Extensions for Ads

The company announced it is launching a new beta which will allow advertisers to include videos and animations in their ads. These videos appear as a small thumbnail along with other ad extensions, and expand when a user clicks the thumbnail or ad.

Advertisers are then charged if a user clicks on either trigger, though they will only be charged once if an individual clicks on both the video extension and ad unit in the same session. 

Currently, the placement is only available on desktop, though Microsoft says mobile integration is coming soon. 

New Specialty Ad Formats

Property Promotion Ads

Microsoft Ads announced a new ad format specifically for promoting places to stay, including hotels or Bed and Breakfasts. 

The ads currently appear on desktop when users search for hotels or properties with specific amenities in a town or area. 

Once clicked, the ads display information about available dates and prices, with a button to proceed directly to a booking page. 

Advertisers are only charged if users click through to the booking page. 

To be eligible for the new ad format, advertisers must have set up Hotel Price Ads, have at least five images, and have enabled the star rating. 

Tour & Activities Ads

Along with ads for places to stay when traveling, Microsoft is launching ads for local experiences and activities to enjoy. 

Tour and Activities Ads are triggered by searches with travel intent or travel experience-based intent and highlight specific things to do in a location. 

The ads can appear in both Bing Maps and directly in search results.

The new ad format could be a great choice for brands driven by tourism, including theme parks, museums, outdoor attractions, and local food or dining. 

Notably, the ad format is also arriving right as many are finally getting out and exploring again as the Coronavirus pandemic winds down. This could be a valuable tool for standing out among the countless other brands that will be vying for travelers’ attention in the near future. 


As most of these tools and features are currently limited to beta programs, you will have to take some special steps to be eligible to try them out for yourself right now. To sign up for any of the betas, brands or their marketing agencies will need to reach out directly to Microsoft Ads support. 

After a prolonged period of testing, Google Ads has officially launched the new Insights page to all advertisers. 

As the company announced, starting April 14th, 2021, “the Insights page is available to all advertisers globally.”

The Insights tool allows for advertisers to easily track and explore emerging trends in your industry to create more effective ads. 

The latest announcement gives an example of how a brand could use the tool:

“Let’s say you’re a pet store looking to reach more customers. With the Insights page, you can see rising demand for ‘dog subscription boxes’ and ‘dog toys’. You can then act on these trends by creating campaigns to reach new pet owners, or even explore selling dog care packages.”

“The Insights page surfaces trends tailored to your business, so you can see if you’re keeping up with demand for trending products or services,” continued the statement.

How Google Ads Insights Works

The new tool pulls data from your account’s performance history and campaign settings, before combining them with search trends across Google to automatically show you relevant trends and insights. 

Currently, the Insights tool only provides one type of data, showing search trends to help you better understand the most recent patterns in search behavior and identify relevant trends in your market. 

However, Google Ads says it will be rolling out more types of insights in the future. 

For more information about the new page, Google Ads has published a help document to get you started tracking the latest trends in your industry. 

For years, two names have ruled the online ad game – Google and Facebook. Currently, that is still true, though a new analysis suggests Amazon is steadily expanding its ad business to be a sizable challenger to the Big Two.

Research firm eMarketer’s latest annual digital ad report shows that Amazon’s share of digital ad revenue broke two digits in 2020, earning 10.3% of U.S. online ad revenue. That’s a significant jump from 7.8% in 2019.

In actual dollars, the online retail giant’s ad revenue reached $15.73 billion, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.

Should Facebook and Google Be Worried?

Amazon still has some ways to go before it’s ad platform is the size of Google or Facebook’s – both of which receive more than 20% of U.S. digital ad spend.

Still, eMarketer predicts the company will continue to increase its share of online ad revenue over the next few years until it is on par with the other two giants.

For Facebook, this might not be a big concern since much of Amazon’s advertising is driven by Amazon Prime video advertising and product ads. In their current form, both platform’s ads largely serve different purposes.

Google, on the other hand, might be getting a little nervous. Over the past few years, the search engine has been investing heavily into its online shopping services, as well as expanding YouTube’s advertising platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Though this might have significant implications for the future of online advertising, nothing has really changed for the majority of brands who might use these platforms for their ads. 

However, it does serve as a reminder that there are more than just the Big Two online ad platforms. Many of the others out there may be a better fit, provide less competition, and allow you to reach your potential customers at a more ideal time. This is why it is important to know what each has to offer and invest your ad budget into the platform (or platforms) which make the most sense for you.

It can be easy to forget that online marketing can have a much wider effect than just “online”. These days, it is also one of the most powerful tools businesses have to drive in-person and other types of offline sales.

The key is knowing how to optimize specifically for local searches to help those nearby find you and your products or services at the most effective times.

To help smaller businesses do this, Google recently published a small guide with 4 tips and ideas for driving offline sales using your online ads and marketing.

Creating In-Person Sales With Online Marketing

Establish Your Digital Storefront

The first step to using your brand to drive local sales is establishing your Google My Business profile. This allows you to appear in the prime search results placements for relevant localized searches. 

As Google says:

“Stand out when people search for your business, products or services. Getting your business on Google is the essential first step towards driving and measuring visits to your stores.”

2) Measure Your Offline Impact

These days, the search engine’s analytics tools can measure a lot more than online traffic and conversions. Using metrics like Store Visits and Local Actions, you can see exactly how effective your online ads and marketing are in the real world.

“Getting the full picture of how your ads drive impact across channels is important to refine campaigns, make budgeting decisions, and inform your overall business strategy.”

3) Optimize For Online AND Offline

Use ads and optimization to highlight what you have online and what you have to offer at your brick and mortar locations. Not only can you use Google Shopping to showcase your products in search results, you can specifically promote your in-store inventory using Local Inventory ads.

The guide suggests:

“Make the most of your marketing investment and grow revenue for your stores, whether customers ultimately purchase online or in-store.”

4) Showcase Your Locations

Use local campaigns to highlight your local stores and send online searchers straight to your door. 

“Machine learning makes it easier and more efficient to promote your physical business locations at scale across Google properties. It can help you reach customers throughout their purchase journey and optimize for those who are most likely to visit your business.”

For more about how you can use Google and online marketing to drive both online and offline sales read the full Google Ads Help guide here.

If you are an online retailer, you are no doubt familiar with Google’s wide array of special features built for online shopping. You are also probably aware of how confusing it can be to get included in these unique search results.

To help clarify this process and make it easier to get your products highlighted in Google’s search results, the search engine recently revealed some technical tips and tricks for e-commerce sites. 

Why It Takes Extra Work To Get In Google Shopping Results

The first question most business owners or site managers might have when they start trying to get their products included in Google Shopping results is “why do I have to do all this extra work?”

Google’s whole thing is analyzing sites and automatically delivering that information in its search results, right? Why can’t they just pull your product info when your pages get indexed?

The simple answer is that Google knows online retail changes very quickly and shoppers get very frustrated with out of date or inaccurate information. If this became a frequent problem, users would likely stop paying attention to Google’s product-related search results. 

While the search engine regularly re-indexes updated webpages, it can’t guarantee pages will be indexed fast enough to ensure information is up-to-date for searchers. 

Additionally, there are some features which online retailers tend to provide to help shoppers which can make things a little confusing for search engines to understand. 

For example, Google says it still struggles with accurately telling the difference between these types of information:

  • Original Price vs. Discounted Price
  • Related Products vs. The Main Product Being Sold
  • Taxes or Shipping Costs vs. The Actual Product Price

This is why the search engine asks online retailers to help provide this information for Google Shopping results.

Now, let’s get into the advice from Google Developer Advocate Alan Kent and how you can get your products into Google product showcases.

Two Ways To Give Google Your Product Data

In the latest Lightning Talks video, Kent discusses two different ways site managers can get their product information to Google. 

The first method is by using structured data. This is essentially using special coding embedded into pages to provide Google with additional information typically not provided through regular site code or markup. 

This is generally seen as the advanced approach because it requires significant knowledge of coding and the latest structured data techniques. 

The other method covered by Kent is by directly providing product data through Google Merchant Center, which can be done with:

  • A feed of all product data manually submitted to the search engine.
  • An API developed to update products individually as changes are made on your site. 

For more information, check out the guide provided by Google.

Conclusion

While providing product data to search engines is essential for appearing in these specific product-centric search results, the company emphasizes that these practices don’t replace traditional SEO.

“Remember that SEO still matters for organic search. Make your product details, such as images and descriptions, appealing to your customers.”

If you want to watch the full explanation from Kent, it is available below: