YouTube is changing how it previews videos on its home tab by making all videos silently autoplay by default.

The new “Autoplay on Home,” as it is being called, is expected to roll out to all mobile users on iOS and Android devices within the coming weeks.

If you are a subscriber to YouTube Premium, you may already be familiar with the feature. YouTube has given its premium subscribers access to the feature for the past six months.

As the company explains in the announcement, the change was made based on user feedback. Many have been clamoring for a way to better preview videos before clicking, especially as many thumbnail images may be misleading.

“Previewing videos helps you make more informed decisions about whether you want to watch a video, leading to longer engagement with videos you choose to watch!”

While the videos will have the audio turned off by default, captions will be shown when they are available. If you have created any of the more than 2 billion videos on YouTube without captions, this will add even more motivation to create transcripts for your videos.

Thumbnail images will still be shown for a short time when users are scrolling through their feed, meaning thumbnails will still be a powerful way to grab attention or entice users to watch videos. However, the autoplay feature will prevent uploaders from sharing videos with misleading or false preview thumbnails.

If you are worried about your data usage or simply don’t like autoplay videos, Google is giving you a few options. Within the settings menu, you can turn off autoplaying videos or set autoplay to only activate when you are connected to WiFi.

While most companies won’t tell you the exact science behind their search engines, Facebook has decided to take a different route.

As part of their recent push to be more transparent about how the site uses content from users across its platform, Facebook has released a short video explaining how its search results work.

How Facebook Search Works

Posted by Facebook on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How Facebook Search Works

According to the video, Facebook relies almost entirely on users’ activity on the platform to evaluate its search engines. Users’ activity outside of Facebook has no influence on the search results.

Specifically, Facebook ranks results based on recent activity on Facebook and the activity of the overall community related to that search.

The types of activity that can influence search results include:

  • What your friends share with you
  • Pages you follow
  • Groups you’ve joined
  • Events you’ve liked or followed
  • Things you’ve interacted with in your News Feed
  • Information you’ve listed on your profile
  • Places where you’ve been tagged
  • Previous searches you’ve done

Facebook’s search results also consider the overall activity it is seeing across Facebook, including how popular the search topic is and the medium of the content. For example, videos hosted on Facebook’s platform may be prioritized over links to blog posts that are hosted off-site.

Pinterest Promoted Carousel Ads

Pinterest has launched a new ad format that gives advertisers the ability to promote up to 5 different products with a single ad.

The new “Promoted Carousel” ads combine 5 normal ad posts into a single ad unit, which will let viewers swipe through products or different ad experiences.

The format is built with unique slides, where each can have its own image, title, description, and landing page.

The most obvious benefit of these ads would be to highlight several different products at the same time, but advertisers could also craft these ads around highlighting different aspects of a single product.

Pins in these Promoted Carousel ads appear like any other pin, but users can swipe through each image and enlarge a specific card for a full-screen experience.

In the announcement, Pinterest says the new ads can help brands effectively raise awareness of their products and improve ad performance with better traffic results and conversions.

“This format can present a product’s numerous features, drive additional purchases by showing multiple items in a Pin or increase awareness with a multi-image brand story.”

Those given early access to Promoted Pins affirm this, saying they have seen improvements in:

  • Brand awareness
  • Ad awareness and association
  • Ad performance
  • Engagement Rates

Promoted Carousel ads began rolling out late last week and are now available for all businesses utilizing Pinterest’s self-serve ad platform.

When Twitter announced it was doubling the length limit for tweets from 140 to 280 characters, there was a lot of speculation about how it would affect the platform. Now, a year later, we finally have hard data about the effects of the new character limit, and some of the findings are surprising.

Tweets Are Not Getting Longer

Despite the extra space to say your piece, the majority of Twitter users haven’t actually taken advantage of the extra length. In fact, the average length of English language tweets has actually decreased by one character to 33 characters per tweet.

Additionally, Twitter says only 12% of English tweets are longer than the previous 140 character limit, and just 1% hit the newer 280 character limit.

Twitter Users Are Becoming More Polite

Twitter may have a reputation for rude and hateful users, but the increased tweet length may actually be subtly making the platform a nicer place to be. Twitter’s statistics indicate that users have begun using more polite phrases since the change.

Specifically, the company’s data shows that 54% more tweets include the word “please” and 22% more tweets use “thank you” since the change.

Fewer abbreviations

Another interesting shift is that the increased character limit has led to users fully writing out words instead of using abbreviations. Usage of “gr8” has dropped 36%, while “great” is up 32%. Similarly, usage of “b4” is down 13% while “before” has risen 70%.

What this means for you

The biggest takeaway is that the new character limit hasn’t drastically altered Twitter. Short thoughts are still the norm, while longer tweets are still regularly broken up into “tweetstorms” to help segment them for easier reading or dramatic flair.

What has changed is the actual content of the discussions. Writing has become more natural and user engagement is rising. These are all positive results for the social platform who has struggled in recent years to retain its identity and bring more depth to the conversations on its platform.

Yesterday Twitter revealed that it has lost approximately 9 million monthly users in its latest quarterly report.

In most cases, such a drop would be considered a huge red flag. However, the company was not only anticipating the decrease in users but sees it as a sign that the platform is improving.

Since its earliest days, Twitter has been notorious for spam and bot accounts. The huge number of inactive, fake, or malicious accounts has been so bad that Twitter users have even created nicknames for these types of accounts. The most popular sobriquet is simply calling these accounts “eggs” for the original default profile picture on Twitter.

Notably, the company removed the egg profile picture in an attempt to shake off the nickname, though the term still lingers to describe accounts that are inactive, suspicious, or spammy.

Earlier this year, Twitter launched a new initiative aimed at removing these types of bad accounts and preventing the creation of new accounts for spammy or suspicious accounts.

Based on the news that Twitter’s active monthly account number has fallen from 335 million to 326 million in the third quarter of this year, it appears the company is making significant headway in reducing the number of low-quality accounts.

As part of the initiative, Twitter says it expects to continue seeing decreases in monthly active users through the next quarter. CEO Jack Dorsey describes the move as a positive act to improve the long-term health of Twitter.

Dorsey’s perspective may not be far off, as the company has seen consistent gains in daily users and revenue. The company reported a 9% increase in daily active users year over year. Revenue is also high enough for the company to turn a profit the past quarter, marking the first full-year period the company has seen profitability.

Twitter still has significant hurdles to overcome to prevent stagnation or loss of inertia. While these types of steps are likely to increase users’ overall satisfaction with the platform, there are still widespread issues of abuse, spam, and manipulation of the like and retweet functions on the site. If Twitter really hopes to continue to grow in sustainable ways, it will eventually have to confront these complicated issues and make some hard decisions about the direction it wants to grow.

Facebook is cracking down on brands using its advertising platform to mislead or trick users with “malicious advertisements”.

As the social network announced this week, it is reducing how often it shows ads it believes are “clickbait” or mislead users, if not outright rejecting them.

As Facebook’s self-serve ad platform has grown, it has encountered growing issues with misleading or sensational ads – including political news spreading fake news. Now, it is working to remedy the problem and ensure users can trust ads shared across the largest social network existing today.

Specifically, Facebook has announced it will be cracking down on these types of troublesome ads:

Ads that withhold information:

Facebook Bad Ads - Withholding

Clickbait has become a popular way to get clicks, but it is universally hated because the actual content on the page often doesn’t live up to what the sensational headlines promise. This has grown into deliberately sharing vague ads that often start with “You’ll never believe…” or “You’ll never guess…” Now, any ads using this strategy will be demoted or disallowed.

Engagement bait:

Facebook Bad Ads - Engagement Bait

Another popular tactic to get the ever-important likes and shares on Facebook is to specifically use ads to drive these kinds of engagement without delivering any actual content with value. Facebook has already taken steps to prevent this type of advertisement, but it has continued to run rampant across the platform. However, the company says these ads will now be disallowed or receive reduced visibility.

Sensationalized language:

Facebook Bad Ads - Sensationalized Language

Over-the-top headlines may make people more likely to click, but it leaves a bad taste in their mouth when the content is not nearly as “MIND-BLOWING” as the ad suggests.

Pages that use these strategies regularly:

To reinforce its stance on clickbait or misleading advertising, Facebook is also taking aim directly at the pages which rely on these ads. As the company explains, “multiple ads flagged with low-quality attributes may impact the performance of all ads” from any offending advertiser.

All of these types of ads have become increasingly popular because they drive engagement and traffic, but these types of engagement are arguably worthless because they don’t come from real engagement or appreciation of the ad content.

Pinterest Ads

For the first time since its release in 2016, Pinterest is making major changes to its self-serve Ads Manager, including dynamic pricing and stock information.

All the changes coming to Ads Manager

Perhaps this biggest change is a new step-by-step campaign set-up tool that will walk advertisers through picking a business goal, customizing their audience, and selecting or creating Pins to promote.

Pinterest is also introducing ad placement options to select whether you want your ads to appear in feeds or search results at the ad group level.

Advertisers will also be given more control over when their ads are scheduled to run, as well as a “pause campaign” tool for reviewing Promoted Pins before they start running.

To help you better target your ads with a detailed audience, Pinterest is integrating the Audience Insights tool directly into the ad manager. This will keep you from having to switch back and forth between windows to create data-driven audiences for your ads.

At the same time, Pinterest is making some changes to its reporting dashboard to let advertisers make changes to multiple rows or campaigns at the same time.

Updates to Product Pins

As part of the revamp, Pinterest is greatly expanding the options available for Product Pins, including the addition of dynamic pricing and up-to-date stock information.

The company is also increasing the number of Product Pins that will include the shopping bag icon to directly link to a checkout page, making it easier to purchase items with just a few clicks.

The new Product Pins are replacing the Buyable Pin format and are already rolling out for both mobile and app versions of Pinterest.

New fashion and home discovery categories

Lastly, Pinterest is creating two new shopping recommendation categories for home décor and fashion retailers within the Style and Home sections. This will give these retailers more opportunities to reach new audiences and help ensure their ads are shown to the right audiences.

With the holiday season coming up, now is a good time to make yourself familiar with all the new advertising options on Pinterest. The social shopping platform is one of the biggest tools used by online shoppers to not only plan their holiday gift purchases but actively purchase new products as they browse.

Facebook is launching a new tool, called Creative Compass, aiming to help advertisers predict how well their ads will perform.

Creative Compass will assess your ads by examining key elements and scoring them on a scale from “low impact” to “high impact”.

Creative Compass Preview

Specifically, the tool will evaluate:

  • Noticeability
  • Brand association
  • Brand fit
  • Message comprehension
  • Believability
  • Information content
  • Emotional reward
  • Call to action

More than anything, Creative Compass is designed to help you understand how your ads will perform and how likely your target action is to take action after seeing one of your ads.

For now, the tool is being tested with just a small number of select partners, but Facebook says it aims to bring the tool to all marketing partners in 2019.

Facebook is launching a new feature for all Pages that allows you to publish pre-recorded “live” videos.

That may sound contradiction, but the new “Premieres” feature brings the best of Facebook’s live video and pre-recorded video features into one convenient package.

The biggest benefit of the premiering pre-recorded videos is that you can get the same boost to visibility received by “going live”, being placed in the top of feeds. Facebook will also deliver notifications alerting users to your video debut to those who have enabled them.

Additionally, “Premieres” will be included within the Facebook Watch tab, making it easier for them to be found by more users.

While these videos get all the benefits of live streaming, they are also eligible for a number of Facebook’s tools for pre-recorded videos such as monetization, interacting with your audience through chat, and branding.

How to use Facebook Premieres

Posted by Facebook Media on Friday, September 28, 2018

When created, a premiere will be turned into a post notifying users about your upcoming launch. Then, at the scheduled time, the video will be played “live” until it is completed. Finally, after the Premiere has ended, the post will turn into a typical on-demand video post.

Currently, Facebook Premieres are only able to be uploaded and schedule on desktop computers and must be scheduled at least 10 minutes in advance. The furthest ahead of time they can be scheduled is one week in advance.

It should be noted that Facebook does have some limits on what videos are eligible for the Premieres feature.

The company says content must be entirely original and not available anywhere on Facebook or elsewhere online before the Premiere, though it is not entirely clear how they will ensure this.

Videos must also be at least 30 seconds long and no larger than 10 GB in size.

Google is some small changes to Google My Business Posts that could affect visibility.

Google Posts Go to the Bottom

A number of people have observed that Google Posts have been moved within knowledge panels, getting shifted down reviews and other business information.

Barry Schwartz gave an example of just how significantly the change demotes Posts within the knowledge panel on Search Engine Roundtable. The first picture shows his Google My Business listing in 2017, with a Google Post directly below the address information:

In the second screenshot, the latest Post is all the way at the bottom, only placed ahead of other search suggestions:

New Post Length Limits

Additionally, it appears Google My Business is changing how it limits the length of Google Posts.

In the past, Google required a minimum of 100 words per post with a maximum of 300 words per post.

Now, the company is changing to limit posts to 1,500 characters, rather than limiting the length based on words. There appears to be no minimum length for Posts.

If anything, the change will make Posts shorter for most businesses, since 1,500 words roughly equate to 250 words. Given, this depends on the length of the specific words a person uses.