Read Time: Approx. 7 Minutes 52 Seconds 
Author: Cerie Waudby & Liv Rutter 
Welcome to the June edition, where we share the updates in the world of digital. 

What’s new to LinkedIn? 

What is it?: Firstly, there is The Wire Programme where instream video ads get played alongside publisher videos. Instream videos are videos that play within another video, so this is similar to YouTube ads. LinkedIn have also confirmed that advertisers on the platform will no longer be able to target users based on data drawn from the participation of users in LinkedIn Groups. This is due to pressure from the European regulators who have noted they could potentially breach the Digital Service Act (DSA). They will also expand AI capabilities in Accelerate by creating globally available campaigns for lead generation and website visit objectives as accelerate expands to support additional campaign objectives. Other updates to Accelerate include Microsoft Designer integration for creative customization, enhanced targeting with exclusion list and an AI marketing assistant for campaign guidance. 
 
Why is it important?: Campaigns that are created with accelerate have found to have been 15% more effective than your regular campaigns. Advertisers are also seeing a 52% decrease in cost per action. The change in audience targeting comes after a group of the Civil Society Group filed a complaint with the European Commission in February who claimed that LinkedIn targeted ads practices could enable discrimination based on sensitive user data such as race, politics, or sexual orientation. This could limit the precision and potential reach for certain ad campaigns. 
 
What action should you take?: To ensure optimal performance and adapt to LinkedIn's new updates, it's crucial to review current campaign data. Check if there has been any drop in performance coinciding with the recent updates. This will help identify if the changes have impacted your results. Additionally, take the time to explore and experiment with the new Accelerate features. Integrate Microsoft Designer for creative customisation, use enhanced targeting with exclusion lists, and leverage the AI marketing assistant for campaign guidance. By thoroughly testing these new tools, you can discover the best ways to optimise your campaigns and improve overall performance. This proactive approach will enable you to fully capitalize on LinkedIn's latest innovations, ensuring your marketing efforts remain efficient and effective. 
 

Reddit Updates Conversion Ads 

What is it?: Reddit are looking to make their conversion ads more appealing and engaging. They are testing new ad placements that will seamlessly be placed between comments. These are known as Stream Ad Placements. They provide more ways to reach Reddit users where they are most active. This update includes larger imagery which will improve the visibility of your placements right in the discussion element of posts. Carousel displays have also been improved with and updated call to action button. 
 
Why is it important?: Reddit's revised comment stream ad placement is crucial for marketers looking to maximize engagement and reach within the platform’s highly active user base. With 47% of Reddit screen views occurring in the comments, it is an ideal section of the app to get a placement for maximum reach. By updating its Conversation Ads to include larger media and improving carousel displays with updated call to action buttons, Reddit enhances the visibility and appeal of advertisements right in the heart of discussions. The new ad placements seamlessly integrated between individual comments, despite potential concerns of intrusiveness, offer a prime opportunity to capture user attention where they are most engaged. Additionally, Reddit’s research indicates that combining Feed and Conversation Ad placements significantly boosts action intent, making this an effective strategy for driving conversions. With 82 million daily active users, Reddit’s evolving ad options present a growing and valuable channel for reaching and engaging with target audiences in meaningful ways. 
 
What action should you take?: Take a look at Reddit and see if you can find the new ad format in one of your threads. You should first review and optimise your current ad strategies to include Conversation Ads, taking advantage of the larger media formats and improved carousel displays with updated CTA buttons. Given that 47% of screen views occur in the comments, it is essential to create compelling, visually engaging content that blends seamlessly into discussion threads. Additionally, if you have a business account, you should experiment with the new ad placements integrated between individual comments, despite their intrusive nature. 
 

Instagram trials un-skippable video ads 

What is it?: Instagram is testing a new and controversial ad format: un-skippable video ads in the main feed. This format forces users to watch a video ad before they can continue scrolling, similar to some YouTube ads. While this move could significantly increase ad exposure for brands, it risks alienating users who may find the forced viewing intrusive. With half of users' feeds now filled with AI-recommended content from profiles they do not follow, Instagram sees an opportunity to blend in more ads without being overly disruptive. However, this approach might push users towards ad blockers, as seen with YouTube. Instagram's shift towards a Reels-heavy, algorithm-driven feed is likely setting the stage for these aggressive ad strategies, despite mixed reactions from users and industry observers. 
 
Why is it important?: Instagram's introduction of un-skippable video ads in the main feed marks a notable shift in social media advertising strategies. This new format promises to enhance ad visibility and effectiveness, providing brands with a captive audience and potentially higher engagement rates. However, it also highlights the delicate balance between monetization and user experience; forced viewing may lead to user frustration and a rise in ad blocker usage, negatively impacting user retention and satisfaction. For marketers, advertisers, and social media managers, understanding these dynamics is essential as they navigate the evolving landscape of digital advertising and consumer behaviour. 
 
What action should you take?: In response to Instagram's testing of un-skippable video ads in the main feed, advertisers and marketers should carefully monitor user feedback and engagement metrics to assess the impact of this new format. It is essential to balance the potential benefits of increased ad exposure with the risk of alienating users. Brands should consider creating highly engaging, relevant, and concise video content that respects viewers' time and captures their interest quickly. Additionally, it would be prudent to explore alternative advertising strategies that maintain user experience while achieving marketing goals. Staying attuned to user sentiment and being adaptable in advertising approaches will be key to navigating this change effectively. 
 

Amazon introduces generative AI listing tools for European seller 

What is it?: Amazon has introduced generative AI tools designed to streamline e-commerce operations for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These advanced tools significantly reduce the time required to write and update product descriptions, cutting it down from eight hours to one hour per month and from seven hours to one hour per month, respectively. Additionally, over a third of respondents believe that AI-generated content can enhance a products discoverability, addressing a key challenge of attracting new customers. This strategic initiative by Amazon underscores its commitment to supporting sellers with innovative solutions that boost efficiency and meet their evolving needs. 
 
Why is it important?: Amazon's introduction of generative AI tools for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) underscores a pivotal advancement in e-commerce efficiency and competitiveness. By drastically reducing the time spent on writing and updating product descriptions, these tools not only streamlines operational processes, but also free up valuable resources that can be redirected towards strategic business initiatives. Moreover, the potential of AI-generated content to improve product discoverability aligns with the persistent challenge faced by businesses in attracting new customers. This initiative from Amazon signifies a commitment to empowering SMEs with cutting-edge technologies, enabling them to compete more effectively in the digital marketplace. Embracing AI in content creation not only enhances productivity but also positions businesses to adapt swiftly to market demands and customer expectations, fostering sustained growth and innovation in e-commerce practices. 
A survey conducted by Censuswide in May 2024, which included 2,511 small business owners selling online across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, highlighted the perceived advantages of AI among UK early adopters. A substantial majority agreed that AI could save time (79%), improve content (73%), enhance profitability (73%), elevate customer service (72%), and expand reach to international customers (71%) (Censuswide, 2024). 
 
What actions should you take?: In response to Amazon's rollout of generative AI tools for SMEs, businesses should proactively explore and adopt these technologies to optimize their e-commerce operations. First and foremost, they should assess their current content creation processes and identify areas where AI-powered tools can streamline workflows and reduce time spent on repetitive tasks like writing and updating product descriptions. Training teams on how to effectively use these tools and integrating them into existing platforms should be a priority to maximize their impact. Additionally, businesses should monitor and analyse the performance metrics of AI-generated content to ensure it aligns with their brand voice and resonates effectively with their target audience. Embracing AI in content creation not only enhances efficiency but also positions businesses to capitalise on opportunities for growth, innovation, and improved customer engagement in the competitive e-commerce landscape. 
 

Bonus Update 

Recent advancements in AI technology are transforming the landscape of digital tools and consumer engagement. Canva design platform, has introduced AI-powered features like AI-generated graphics and Magic Write, which allows users to create customised text content effortlessly. Instagram now offers exclusive Live broadcasts for Close Friends, providing a more intimate and private streaming experience. A study by IMRG reveals that AI personalisation significantly influences purchasing decisions in eCommerce, highlighting AI's growing importance in online shopping. Meanwhile, Meta has launched new AI tools to enhance business communications, including chatbots for Messenger and advanced business messaging capabilities. These innovations demonstrate AI's pivotal role. 
 

Bonus Update 

Amazon Prime day is the brands biggest day of the year and one of the most significant sales events in the retail calendar. However, this does not mean that your brand cannot capitalise on this opportunity. Hello Partner discovered that direct to customer channels have a 27% increase in sales over Prime Day. With heightened shopping demand more frugal shoppers come out to compare the best price in the market which means they will most likely go to the product’s original page to see if they can find it at a better price. Some brands because of this like to create sales or discount certain products so they can take advantage of the extra traffic coming to the site from Amazon. You could also use subliminal messaging about ‘Prime’ in your marketing campaigns, including emails or on site activity, to signal to users that deals are available beyond Amazon. 
 

Our final thoughts ... 

In another jam-packed Digital Revolution, June’s updates cover the breadth of digital marketing and eCommerce. Two updates in particular which caught our eye were Reddit’s conversation ads and Instagram’s non skippable videos. Both innovations have been called out for the potential challenges to customer experience. It’s the responsibility of media owners as well as marketers to ensure that the digital marketing industry is safe guarded, with user engagement and trackability not unnecessarily compromised. In a world where tracking is more challenging than ever, will these new innovations add to the challenge of the end user becoming further disengaged with the digital advertising landscape, or does it provide another welcome technique to create brand awareness and consideration? Only time will tell! 
 
For further information on any of the latest product updates or anything new that is on your mind, get in touch with our team of digital experts today. 
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