The TwoSix team is back and ready to share what’s On Our Radar for June so that you can stay ahead of the always-evolving digital marketing landscape. This month the TwoSix team discusses Instagram Ad Breaks and Carousel Updates, the impact of Generative AI on SEO, a Pinterest study on total attention, and much more! Keep reading to find out what we’re keeping On Our Radar for June 2024.

Short, engaging vertical videos perform better in the algorithm and capture viewer attention more effectively.  Instagram Reels, which can range from 15 seconds up to 15 minutes long, are best kept under 90 seconds for best performance and to align with current trends.

As vertical video content dominates social media, leveraging these format tips with high-quality visuals and concise messaging is a great recipe for success in your feed. Additionally, Instagram Stories and carousels allow you to create and upload Stories up to 60 seconds long and carousels with up to 10 photos or videos directly on the application.

Always remember to “tell a good story” with all of your image and video assets to be successful!

Click below to read more about tips to optimize your Reels.

The day has come that YouTube has opened up its underutilized feature called Community Posts. For years, this simple format was only available to Channels that reached a particular threshold in subscribers. Not anymore! Posts will be available to all YouTube Channels soon. You can find them in your Community tab or within the upload button on your Channel.

This is a big win for DMOs that will enable them to have a more regular approach to their YouTube strategy (if one exists). Posts are a versatile format where you can ask your audience questions through image and text polls, share photos and collections, create quizzes, reshare old videos, and much more. It doesn’t get much easier than this!

We recommend that you shoot for at least 2 posts per week to start to get some consistency going. Don’t stress it. You can use content that you are already sharing on other social channels. No harm in that. Just don’t overthink it!

If you’ve been turning a blind eye towards your YouTube efforts, Posts are a great way to jumpstart things without the need to carve out time and budget for video production. If not now, when?

Are you wondering what latest AI thing that has marketers worried? Well, do I have the scoop for you. On May 25th, 2024, Google introduced what it’s calling Search Generative Experience (or SGE, another fun acronym to remember). How it works is that when a user searches for something on Google, it uses generative AI to create an answer for you, essentially by summarizing an article.

(Credit: Google)

As you can imagine, this has lots of websites concerned. Now there’s even less of a need for users to click through to websites, which just sets off a cascade of problems. For DMOs, seeing that Google used a travel itinerary question as its very first example (see above) is alarming. The tech giant is taking this step because many users are skipping Google altogether, just taking such a question to ChatGPT. Scared of losing market share, the company decided to try out integrating generative AI in its answers.

I have some bad news, I have some funny news, and I have some good news.

First, the bad news that is generative AI is here to stay. In one form or another, we should expect this SGE to stick around. It makes too much sense for it not to. And, unfortunately, traditional organic search results get pushed WAY down for this AI-content — a SEO expert estimated the top link drops up to 1,500 pixels down the results page (like going from ranking 1st to ranking 10th). It’s time to start managing your leadership’s expectations for SEO performance.

(Credit: x user)

Second, the funny news. This SGE is kind of awful right not. My favorite was the Wile E. Coyote “you can stay in the air as long as you keep running and don’t look down” fail but the recommendation “you should eat at least one small rock per day” is a close second. Amazing. What happened is that SGE was using satirical articles or social media posts as its source. Unsurprisingly, Google rolled back its initiative, going from 25% of results without SGE to 65% without it. Plus, SGE results are taking up less space.

(Credit: Google)

Source: Google

Third, the good news. About 57% of Google’s 2023 revenue was from Google Search Ads ($175.03 billion), so they’re not very likely to get rid of search any time soon. We’ve also just gotten a great look into how to optimize for generative AI. Answers to conversational questions, with summaries, are going to be huge. Authoritative content with high-quality citations will likely be the ones that get chosen as the source for SGE. More than ever, that means ranking in the first 4 search results will be crucial.

Overall, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. However, trustworthy content, with credible sources, written by human experts, is almost certainly going to be preferred and excel. And, at the end of the day, while traffic is important for DMOs, knowing that potential visitors are getting reliable information about their destination is even more important.

Instagram is always coming up with cool new features, and their latest test of overlay options and image formatting tools for carousel posts is perfect for marketers. These updates are all about making your posts more engaging and visually appealing.

With the new overlay feature, you can add text directly onto your images in a carousel post. This is super handy for tourism marketing because you can highlight different aspects of a destination on each slide. Imagine creating a virtual tour where each image has a bit of text explaining what makes that spot special.

The improved image formatting tools let you tweak each picture’s appearance, so your posts look polished and professional. This means you can show off beautiful landscapes, city scenes, and cultural moments in the best possible way. Plus, having a cohesive look makes your content more attractive and shareable.

These features make it easier for tourism marketers to create interactive content that catches people’s attention. Instagram’s new tools can help you connect with potential travelers and get them excited about visiting. It’s not clear yet if these new features will be added to ad manager right away, but it’s exciting to see such a big improvement to one of the most successful ad placements on the Meta ad network.

It seems like we really can’t get away from the AI headlines. LinkedIn has recently unveiled Accelerate which helps you set up a campaign and now they have integrated Microsoft Designer to generate creative. By uploading a photo and a logo it will create different designs with photos and AI generated text. AI integrations are becoming more and more available in platform’s ads managers but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s not equaling better ad performance. Most of the time the AI generated material more specifically text, doesn’t make sense with what we’re promoting, so if you’re using these tools be careful. So far, setting up a campaign manually is still the way to go as far as we’ve seen. Although, they may improve in the future. In terms of creative, Photoshop and Canva have both integrated AI that is helpful for the creator. So, if these AI tools are giving you issues or you’re feeling that you’re giving too much control to the robots try out those.

If we aren’t talking about AI, we’re talking about video and that brings us to LinkedIn’s new ad placement option. LinkedIn is launching a new video sponsorship program called The Wire which will let businesses run in-stream video ads aligned trusted publisher content which could add credibility to promotions if it’s aligned with a respected publisher like the Wall Street Journal and more. No word yet on fees for this feature but it could strengthen the brand in the eyes of the consumer.

Pinterest recently published a study explaining the difference between “passive” and “active” attention within your promotions. As per Pinterest:

“Active Attention strategies help you to break through, because they can’t be ignored. They provide that spark of awareness, teaching people something that they didn’t know. Meanwhile, Passive Attention tools are constant reminders. They reinforce something that’s already been learnt and keep your brand top of mind during the broader decision-making process.” 

Simply put, active strategies are attention-grabbing and passive strategies are reinforcing, together expanding brand awareness.

To measure how these two forms of attention function on Pinterest, they performed an Amplified Intelligence study using eye tracking and device usage to discover how people respond to different apps.

This study showed that Pinterest is very successful in driving total attention, in fact, 170% more effective than other social media platforms. They claim the reason for this is that people simply enjoy the content they see and feel good on Pinterest. The data proves this true, showing that people are taking their time on Pinterest with 1.5x slower scrolls past ads compared to other platforms.

Consider this when running Pinterest ads! Be sure to place your ads among relevant content and to drive that passive attention. Make your ads happy to go along with the content people like to see on Pinterest. Read through the rest of the study for more content tips and insights on how to drive total attention on Pinterest.

One of the main reasons social media marketing is so effective is that brands can hyper-target based on exact demographics and user behavior. (Personally, I’m a sucker for my Instagram ads. One second I’m scrolling, the next I’m shopping).

However, discovering advertising formats and channels that resonate that equally among both advertisers and consumers of content can often be a formidable task.

Meta announced last week that it would be testing forced ad-breaks on Instagram. These new ad breaks will display a countdown timer that stops users from being able to browse more content on the app until they view the ad.

Meta is not the first big tech firm to force people to watch adverts. YouTube, streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, and even TikTok have been known to show non-skippable ads for users within the platform. Unless of course, you pay extra for ad-less platform services.

While Meta promotes this as an opportunity to drive value for advertisers, it could equally be a push for Meta to earn more ad dollars.

Will we soon be paying an extra fee for Instagram without ads? And, are “non-skippable” ads even effective from an engagement perspective?

A study conducted by TikTok suggests that forcing viewers to watch adverts may actually lead to less engagement.

Specifically, the study shows that 73% of viewers agree that having the ability to skip videos makes them more engaged in the experience, and 56% of viewers are more likely to actively watch videos sponsored by a brand when they have the option to skip.

It is not clear at this time whether businesses, marketers, and ad creators will have control over how their ads are served on Meta platforms, should this new feature be rolled out. As you can imagine, the majority of user reactions have been negative.

In the words of Brian Matson when asked to share his perspective on forced ad breaks, “I like them. They enhance my viewing experience by creating anticipation.” Hopefully we can all remain as positive as Brian!

With the ever-changing digital marketing world, we are here to keep you informed of new digital trends and what we are keeping on our radar for June 2024. Have any questions? Contact us! We’re here to help. 

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