Facebook is launching a massive overhaul of business and influencer Pages, including new features and tools to better connect with your customers and drive conversions. 

For influencers or individual entrepreneurs, the biggest change will likely be how Facebook displays your audience size. Instead of showing the total number of likes your page has, you will see your follower count.

While some might be frustrated to seemingly have their audience shrink suddenly, most agree that a Page’s follower count is a more important and informative metric. This is because your follower count tallies everyone who is actually receiving your posts or updates. Likes, on the other hand, include people who may have opted-out at some point in the past and don’t see anything your share. 

As for Business Pages, there are a number of new things you might be interested in. 

New Facebook Page Features and Tools

In the announcement, Facebook highlights five new features being introduced to Pages:

  • Dedicated News Feed
  • Easy navigation
  • Updated task-based admin controls
  • Actionable insights 
  • Safety and integrity features

Dedicated News Feeds

In the past, News Feeds were exclusively available to individual users, making it difficult to keep your public and private interests separate. Now, you have an entire feed specifically for your Page, so you can easily discover the latest news and trends from your community and business peers.

Additionally, Pages are being tweaked to showcase connections with other major influencers. If any public figures comment on your content, their interactions will get bumped to the top of your comment section. 

Easy Navigation

Another step towards making it easier to swap between your personal profile and Pages on the go is a redesigned navigation menu. 

By tapping the three-line icon on the bottom left of the main navigation menu, you can quickly select between your personal profile and content or features specifically related to your Page. 

Updated Task-Based Admin Controls

Facebook is making it easier to achieve your goals with specific admin control based on tasks. 

Now, you can assign a user a task and grant them specific levels of access to manage that task. 

For example, an individual can be granted access to tools specifically for Insights, Ads, Content, or Community Activity & Messages.

Actionable Insights

Facebook says it is bringing pages more actionable insights and more relevant notifications, though it provides no details about how this is being achieved. 

What we do know, from a new help page update, is that “Updated insights will help you understand your audience and how your content performs.”

Safety and Integrity Features

Lastly, Facebook is continuing its efforts to create a positive environment to connect with your fans and customers with new tools to identify spammy, hateful, or violent content. The platform says it is also working to crack down on impersonation, which has been a widespread issue recently across Facebook. 

For more information about the overhaul to Pages, read the full announcement here or explore the new help page.

I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that 2020 changed everything for businesses around the world – no matter what industry you are in. The spread of COVID-19 accelerated the migration of small and local businesses to the internet, making having an online presence no longer an option but a necessity. 

In turn, these changes have had a massive impact on digital marketing, driving a wave of new competition and seismic shifts in how we connect with customers every day. 

For better or worse, many of these changes are bound to stick around well into 2021, influencing the ways we shop, advertise, and connect with customers for the foreseeable future. 

With this in mind, predicting next year’s search trends is a little easier than it has been in the past, with some clear indicators of what businesses need to do to stay relevant and efficient in a post-COVID world. 

The 5 Online Marketing Trends You Need To Know In 2021

The Effects of COVID Will Linger

The most obvious trend brands will need to be prepared for in 2021 will continue to be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While vaccinations are finally rolling out and we can be optimistic to relatively soon be returning to something resembling normality, it is also clear that many shopping habits and consumer behaviors are permanently changed. 

For example, virtual events and trade shows are all but guaranteed to stick around. Now only do they provide an easier and more affordable way to bring together top members of your industry from around the country, they do it without massively interrupting your day-to-day operations. 

Likewise, many customers will continue to prefer using online ordering and curbside pickup from local businesses out of convenience well after social distancing is a thing of the past. 

Social Media Purchasing Goes Mainstream

For years, social media has been a major tool for consumers to find and learn about new products they otherwise would have never known about. Recently, though, they have been expanding to allow shoppers to not just find products, but to buy them right then and there. 

The ease of going from discovering something cool to making a purchase without ever having to leave your current app is fueling a rush to provide the best social shopping experience and this trend is only going to get bigger in 2021. 

We Are Past Peak Facebook

Facebook has been the undeniable king of social media for more than a decade now, but the platform has been facing increasing challenges that are getting hard to deny. 

In sheer numbers, the social network still far outranks any other platform out there, but a growing number of its users are aging, with younger demographics turning to hipper alternatives like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. 

Add in the continuous issues with the spread of fake news, concerns about echo chambers, a relatively recent data breach scandal, and recent calls for the breakup of Facebook’s extended network of services (including Instagram and WhatsApp) – it quickly becomes clear Facebook is past its prime and is no longer the single platform you should be focusing on. 

Video Content Is The Standard

For the past few years, my year-end lists have consistently included one thing – video content has been increasingly important for brands looking to maintain effective marketing and outreach. 

Well, call 2020 the tipping point, because video content is no longer “on the rise”. It is the standard and it is here to stay. 

While blog content remains important for technical SEO and connecting audiences with some specific types of information, the data makes it very clear that consumers prefer the quick, digestible, and entertaining nature of videos over long, often repetitive blog posts. 

At this point, rather than clicking to your blog page shoppers are more likely to check out your YouTube and Instagram page when trying to find out the details of what you offer and why they should choose you over the competition. 

Mobile SEO Is Now an Oxymoron

Since Google introduced its “Mobile-First Search Index” the writing has been on the wall. Having a mobile-friendly website was no longer an option or convenience. Mobile-optimized websites were quickly becoming the first thing anyone – including search engines – were likely to see when checking out your brand. 

With the recent announcement that Google would be dropping all desktop-only websites from its primary index starting in March 2021, the final nail is being pounded into the coffin. To be included on search results from the biggest search engine in the world, your website must be compatible with all the current mobile-friendly standards. 

With all this in mind, the age of considering separate SEO tactics and strategies for mobile users is long gone. There is just “SEO” and you must plan for mobile users if you want to have a chance of succeeding. 


We are all hoping that 2021 is a little less chaotic and a bit smoother than the past year has been. Still, even if we have the most tranquil year in history, there are bound to be a number of surprising new twists and factors in how Google ranks websites and content for users. If you want to remain competitive in an increasingly digital world, it is important that you stay up to date with all the latest from Google and be prepared to respond. 

Twitter announced this week that it is adding Snapchat implementation to make it easier to share tweets across the platforms.

Now, rather than having to take a screenshot of a tweet to share it on Snapchat, you can now directly add tweets to Snapchat stories. 

Twitter has historically not made it easy to share your tweets to other social networks, making screenshotting the simplest solution. With this move, though, the company seems to be starting to open the door to future cooperation with more platforms. For example, Twitter says it will soon be adding similar integration with Instagram. 

How Twitter’s Integration With Snapchat Works

Starting today, Snapchat users can share tweets from the Twitter app to their Snapchat Stories on iOS, with Android users receiving the feature in the near future. 

However, this does not mean you can simply cross-post to both platforms at the same time. 

Instead, you can only select a public tweet you or other users have already publicly posted and share it as part of a Snapchat story. 

Most importantly, this makes it easier for users to then interact with tweets they see on Snapchat. 

When tapped, the tweet opens in the Twitter app, where you can like, reshare, or reply using your Twitter account. 

How To Share a Tweet To Snapchat Stories

To add a tweet to your Snapchat Story on iOS, follow these steps:

  • Tap the share icon on any public tweet in the Twitter app.
  • Tap the Snapchat icon in the horizontal scroll of icons at the bottom of the screen. 
  • This will immediately take you to the camera screen in the Snapchat app, where the tweet will appear as an immovable sticker. 
  • Complete your snap as you normally would.
  • Pinch or swipe to move and resize the tweet sticker. 
  • Add any Snapchat Creative Tools you want, including captions, stickers, Filters, and more. Tap the Send icon in the bottom right to share the tweet in your Snapchat story or send it directly to other Snapchat users or groups.

Since its introduction in 2018, YouTube Premieres has let channels hype up their upcoming videos with countdowns and reminders for subscribers. Now, the platform is revamping the tool with ‘Premieres 2.0’.

With four new features and expanded options available, YouTube says this is the biggest update to the tool since its creation.

How YouTube Premieres Works

The overall goal of YouTube Premieres is to turn the launch of your videos into a collective experience. Not only can you schedule your video ahead of time and share it to hype up your audience, Premieres also allows you to increase the interactivity with live chats or Q&A’s during your videos.

The only catch is that your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers to take advantage of some more advanced Premieres features, though YouTube says it hopes to make the entire toolset widely available in the future.

New YouTube Premieres Features

Live Redirect

The new Live Redirect feature allows you to connect pre-recorded videos with live streaming events.

With this, you can hold pre-premiere chats or streams to build up excitement or bring a more personal feel to the event. 

Then, when it is time for your video to go live, users will automatically be directed to the new video.

An important caveat here is that Live Redirects can only be set up for videos and streams taking place on the same channel. So, video creators won’t be able to hold interviews or chats on a secondary channel and then automatically direct users to the new video on your channel.

Live Redirects will roll out to users later this month.

Trailers

Rather than having to upload an entirely separate video on your channel to build excitement for your upcoming premiere, YouTube will now let you share previews between 15 seconds and 3 minutes long.

The trailers for your upcoming videos will play for those who open a premiere watch page before the video goes live, giving more incentive to open a video early.

With the current system, you will still have to upload a public video on your channel to act as the trailer, but this new feature makes the Premiere page more effective and engaging. 

Without a trailer, your Premieres will simply show your video’s static thumbnail until the content becomes available.

Trailers for Premieres will be available to users this week.

More Countdown Themes

Although YouTube has provided an automatic countdown for immediately before your videos premiere, there has only been a single theme available. This made all premieres overly similar and many expressed frustration that the theme didn’t accurately reflect their content.

Now, you can select from a collection of 10 countdown themes with a variety of styles and moods.

These themes are aimed to cover everything from serious or educational videos to lighthearted or funny clips.

The new countdown themes will become available early next year.

 Schedule Your Premieres From Mobile

In the past, the only way to schedule a Premiere for your YouTube video was through the desktop platform. Now, for the first time, you will soon be able to schedule and manage your Premieres directly through the mobile app. 

For creators who manage their channels largely through the mobile app, this streamlines the process and makes holding a Premiere more convenient.

For more information, you can check out the video from YouTube below:

After shuttering the public verification process more than three years ago, Twitter is relaunching the system – with some changes. 

Recently, the company stated it plans to reopen the public verification application process in early 2021 after collecting feedback about the process. 

As Twitter says in the announcement:

“We plan to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021. But first, we need to update our verification policy with your help.

This policy will lay the foundation for future improvements by defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification and why some accounts might lose verification to ensure the process is more equitable.”

While many of the changes are yet to be cemented until the platform has gathered more feedback, Twitter has given some insight into how it will be approaching verification.

Who Can Be Verified?

According to the announcement, you must meet two criteria to be verified.

“To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.”

The first half of this means that six different types of public figures, organizations, or companies are eligible for the public verification process.

These are:

  • Government
  • Companies, Brands and Non-Profit Organizations
  • News
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals

As for being active, Twitter defines this based on 4 factors:

  • Completion: Accounts must have a full profile name and bio, as well as profile and banner images.
  • Present: You must have logged onto Twitter at least once in the past 6 months. 
  • Secure: The account must have a confirmed email address or phone number.
  • Following Twitter’s Rules: Accounts that have been locked for 12-hours or 7-days due to user conduct within the past 6 months are not eligible for verification. The only exception is if you have successfully appealed the account suspension.

Prohibited Types of Accounts

Some types of accounts will also be ineligible for the public verification process, even if they meet the “notable and active” requirements. These include:

  • Parody, newsfeed, commentary, or fan accounts.
  • Accounts for pets or fictional characters unless directly affiliated with a verified brand or entertainment production. This means that a verified account for Scooby-Doo would be allowed if the account is operated by Hannah-Barbera or one of the channels it airs on, but not one operated by you or me. 
  • Accounts which have engaged in severe violations of Twitter’s guidelines on platform manipulation or spam, such as buying or selling followers or retweets.
  • Accounts representing individuals or groups linked to harmful or hateful activity. 

Of course, Twitter reserves the right to revoke an account’s verification at any time. This could occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Letting the account become incomplete or inactive.
  • The individual is no longer in the public position which made them eligible for verification.
  • Violations of Twitter’s rules and guidelines.

Subject To Change

Currently, nothing is set in stone regarding the public verification process when it comes in 2021. Even the posted policies could be tweaked or changed before the final version is implemented. 

To help decide on any changes, Twitter is holding an open feedback period from November 24, 2020 to December 8, 2020. If you would like to provide your opinion, you can by completing this survey.

Twitter is rolling out a new form of carousel ads which let you showcase between 2-6 images or videos in a single ad. 

According to the social network, the ads are particularly suited to helping businesses reach their advertising goal with a more immersive and interactive format which includes:

  • An edge-to-edge design
  • Third party measurement reporting
  • Accessibility support
  • New reporting features (such as swipes within the Carousel and breakdowns to measure individual Carousel card performance)

The ads have an edge on most other Twitter advertising formats because they allow you to approach an ad from a variety of different directions. You could highlight a variety of features and benefits of a single product, highlight a small collection of products, or tell a story about your brand. 

Why You Should Try Carousel Ads

Carousel ads have already proven to be a powerful tool on a number of other platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. 

According to a Nielsen study cited by Twitter, using 3 or more assets in an ad format increases awareness by up to 20% and purchase intent by 7%.

Based on Twitter’s early testing of the ad format, that will continue to be true here. The company says carousel ads saw an average 15% increase in click-through rates compared to traditional single asset ad formats. 

Carousel ads for apps saw an even bigger boost, with an average 24% increase in installs.

Twitter Carousel Ads Best Practices

To help you get started, Twitter provided a set of recommendations and best practices for making the most out of carousel ads:

  • Use all of the available components: Including visuals, headlines, descriptions, and calls-to-action.
  • Tell a story: Craft a visual narrative with a beginning, middle, and end to keep viewers engaged.
  • Consider the audience: Show different product images to re-targeted customers than you would show to new, prospective customers.
  • Highlight the product and its benefits: The product should be visible and there should be clear, simple communication of benefit to the consumer.

Available Now To Everyone

The new ad format is available to all advertisers and marks a renewed effort by Twitter to create a more effective and enticing advertising platform:

“This investment in performance advertising also includes expanding the capabilities of our ad formats to enable advertisers with more options to show and tell their brand story, while providing a more intuitive, engaging experience for people on Twitter.”

Facebook announced a wave of new features this week for online advertisers and retailers heading into the holiday season. 

At the same time it revealed new product tags, new ways to target ads, and an experimental way to share online discounts, the social media giant also announced it was launching promotional tools and support for Black-owned businesses.

Let’s explore the array of new features for brands on Facebook and Instagram:

Product Tags For Instagram Ads

After more than a year of testing, Instagram is officially launching the ability to tag products in ads. Even better, the company has streamlined the process.Originally, advertisers had to make an organic post, tag your products, then promote that post. Now, you can create ads with product tags directly within the Ads Manager. 

When seen, product tags appear as white dots which can expand to reveal a range of details including the name of the product,and its price. 

Shopping Engagement Custom Audiences

Facebook announced a new type of audience targeting aimed at helping brands “reach people who’ve already shown interest in their product or brand by doing things like saving a product, viewing a shop, or initiating a purchase.”

Shopping Lookalike Audiences

Another new way to target audiences was announced, which allows you to reach shoppers with similar interests as your existing customers on Facebook and Instagram. 

Shopping Ad Discounts

Facebook is testing a new way to promote your sales and discounts directly in the Promotions tab within the Commerce Manager.

For example, you can highlight a discount on a specific set of products by grouping them together in product sets. 

At the moment, Facebook only allows you to run a few types of discounts – price reductions, minimum purchase requirement, and discounts using an offer code. 

#BuyBlack Friday

While the Covid pandemic has affected just about every business in America, black-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard. According to Facebook, more than 40% of black-owned businesses in America.

This is why Facebook is launching a new event every Friday through November 27. Every week, Facebook will be promoting #BuyBlackFriday across all its platforms, including publishing a gift guide and business directory of black-owned businesses. 

With many shoppers wary of facing crowded shopping malls and stores, most experts believe online shopping will shatter previous records this winter. Facebook is doing everything it can to make itself one of the premier choices for marketing, advertising, and ultimately selling your products.

Stories are perhaps the way to share content online these days, so it is only natural that Google has been hard at work preparing its own version of the short-form content. Many users have seen Google Stories in testing throughout its various incarnations, including “Amp Stories” in 2018.

This week, the company officially launched Google Web Stories within its Google app on both iOS and Android devices. 

Google Web Stories can be found in a new carousel shown at the top of the Discover tab, presenting several short video, photo, or audio posts from users and publishers around the world. 

When clicked, stories will expand to a full-screen view where users can click through to your website or swipe to the next story in the carousel. 

Brands and publishers will also be able to monetize, host, share, and add links to their Stories with integration for WordPress, MakeStories, and NewsroomAI. You can even manually code a Google Web Story entirely from scratch. 

6 Rules For Making Google Web Stories

Along with the official release of Google Web Stories, the company has published a set of rules for the format. According to the guidelines, also Stories including the following types of content are prohibited:

  1. Copyrighted Content – Overall, Google is taking a relatively loose stance with what types of content can appear in Stories, especially with regards to copyrighted content. Specifically, the company says it “may” remove content that infringes on an existing copyright or links to a webpage with similar issues. 
  2. Too Long – Google is designing its Stories specifically with short-form content in mind, as such, it may block longer content. To ensure your Story gets shown, keep text down to 180 words or less, and videos a maximum of 60 seconds long. 
  3. Low Quality – You don’t need to have expensive cameras and high-end lighting to create a Story, but you do need at least a smartphone with a decent camera. Videos or images with large amounts of pixelation or distortion are prohibited. 
  4. Lack of Narrative or Theme – Google Web Stories are expected to be just that – “Stories.” They should have a narrative or at least a general theme as users go from page to page. 
  5. Incomplete Stories – While you can link to your site at the end of a story, Google warns against making users click through your site to see the entire content. Your Web Stories must be a complete package on their own.
  6. Overly Commercial Content – Brands can publish Web Stories and even convert some display ads to the format. However, the content must still provide a story or message. Content that is entirely commercial (i.e., being a simple billboard-style ad) is not allowed within the format.

Twitter will soon let users crop their own image previews following criticism over apparent bias in the site’s algorithmic cropping systems. 

Currently, Twitter crops any image to 600×335 pixels, regardless of its original dimensions. However, it is up to Twitter’s algorithm to select what gets cropped out and what gets shown in the image preview.

In the near future, this is going to change. Twitter will be giving control over what is shown in tweet previews:

“We are prioritizing work to decrease our reliance on ML-based image cropping by giving people more visibility and control over what their images will look like in a Tweet.

Going forward, we are committed to following the “what you see is what you get” principles of design, meaning quite simply: the photo you see in the Tweet composer is what it will look like in the Tweet.”

Twitter Image Cropping Racial Bias

While the feature has long been requested by users, it became a priority for Twitter in recent weeks as users noticed the site’s bias defaulted to showing white faces rather than black people or other individuals of color. 

This seemed to occur no matter how the original image was formatted, and users found examples using stock photos:

Cartoons:

Well known politicians:

And even images of animals:

While Twitter denies any purposeful bias built into its algorithm, the company admits its current system has the potential for problematic results:

“While our analyses to date haven’t shown racial or gender bias, we recognize that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for harm. We should’ve done a better job of anticipating this possibility when we were first designing and building this product.”

As such, the company is making changes to prevent these types of problems in the future:

“We’re aware of our responsibility, and want to work towards making it easier for everyone to understand how our systems work. While no system can be completely free of bias, we’ll continue to minimize bias through deliberate and thorough analysis, and share updates as we progress in this space.”

When Is It Coming?

The exact timeline for the changes is not known currently, as Twitter says it is still in the process of developing a solution. 

“There’s lots of work to do,” says the company.

Instagram is making it easier for small businesses to get the most out of Instagram Shops with a new mini-site full of resources, guides, and set-up tools. 

Instagram Shops is a free way for businesses to set up an online store and complete sales on one of the most popular social networks.

While Shops require third-party e-commerce parties to handle payment, they make it possible for people to complete the entire purchase without ever needing to leave the Instagram app – making the entire process seamless. 

Since Instagram Shops only launched in May, many businesses may not even know Instagram Shops exist or how to get in on the action for themselves. So, Instagram took the step of putting as many resources in one place as possible to help get started. 

‘The Season For Shops’

The new mini-site is called ‘The Season for Shops’ and caters to brands trying out Instagram Shops for the first time. 

The most important features include:

Setting Up Shop

First and foremost, this guide provides step-by-step instructions for setting up your storefront, including signing up for and connecting accounts across platforms.

Help Guides

Once you’ve got your shop set up, these guides will help you take the next step to make your products easy to browse and purchase. 

Tagging Products

Tagging products in your feed posts, stories, and streams allows people to immediately browse and buy your products as soon as they see them. This is key for making it convenient to go from scrolling through your feed to clicking buy.

To help you get started tagging your products effectively, The Season for Shops site has two guides available:

  • Start Tagging: A 19-page guide with detailed information on the variety of product tag types.
  • Tag With Purpose: A simple guide to the do’s and don’ts of tagging.

Collections

Another important way to make your products easy to browse is by grouping related products into Collections. 

This allows users to browse through your products like any category on your store website. It can also gather related themes like “beach outfits” or “rainy day apparel”.

Find out how to make the most of collections with an 8-page guide outlining all the details and tricks you can use. 

Shopping Ads

Want to take your shop to the next level? By investing a bit of money for shopping ads, you can share your products with a wider audience and increase the chance of finding new customers. 

This can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it, with simple “boosts” which amplify the number of people who see your store or targeted ads which specifically connect with those most likely to purchase. 

As such, Instagram released three guides explaining everything from the basics to more advanced shopping ad strategies:

  • Holiday Shopping Ads Strategy: A simple motivational guide with ideas for advertising in the upcoming holiday season.
  • Set Up Shopping Ads: A 9-page “get started” guide with information explaining what shopping ads are, how to set them up, and how to monitor your results.
  • Custom Shopping Audiences: This 7-page guide details how to target your ads to specific audiences of ideal buyers. 

To check out all the guides for yourself, explore the ‘Season for Shops’ mini-site here.