Keeping up to date with digital marketing trends can be tough when you’re running your own business. That’s why I’m rounding up the latest trends every month – so you don’t have to. 

Obviously this April is rather different from the norm, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Certainly, many of the features from the major social media channels are a response to the needs of SMEs which are being detrimentally affected by the lockdown – such as Instagram making it easier to order food or donate, video help for YouTubers and Google Shopping as an organic listing. Read on to find out more…

Google Shopping for free coming soon…

For e-commerce businesses, a new feature from Google is coming to help you. This month, Google Shopping is being rolled out to organic listings in the USA and expanding globally by the end of the year. 

The company stated that the Shopping feed would comprise mainly unpaid listings. The change was already in the pipeline and will be welcome for businesses forced to close their bricks-and-mortar stores during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Paid ads will still appear at the top and bottom of the results page. This major shift comes with competition from Amazon and better data (previously with free listings, it was difficult for Google to check that product information was correct). As with paid Shopping, the free listings will be rolled out through the Merchant Centre and product feed.

When the changes come to the UK, it will be important to set up your product feed in the Merchant Centre, if you haven’t already, and to optimise it with organic search in mind.

Instagram DMs come to desktop for everyone

Instagram opens the way for all users to manage their DMs from desktops. This feature was already available for a small percentage of users but now is available for you too.

If you use Instagram for your business to engage and offer customer service support, this will be a big help, as you can reply to comments and manage engagement more effectively online.

New Instagram features to help small businesses

To help SMEs, Instagram has introduced new stickers for Stories and profile buttons for buying gift cards, ordering food and making donations. Gift cards and for food orders and delivery are already active in the USA and Canada and will be offered globally in the next few weeks with the fundraising feature will be available soon.

You can use Food Orders and Gift Cards to sell your products and services direct from Instagram Stories. Then your users can share these stickers and your content on their feed to spread the word.

It’s easy to set up these new features in Stories and the buttons in your profile. Find out more.

YouTube offers video support for SMEs

YouTube is offering video marketing support for small businesses. This is good news as video is one of the most important ways to reach and engage your audiences. Live video filming is out at the moment and many smes may lack the confidence or resources to create their own marketing videos.

The new feature helps smes to make video content using a layout based on their goals. You can animate text, photos and logos, customise colours and fonts to create 6 or 15s videos for ads or to share via email, social or websites. You could use your videos to share updates to your services, such as restaurants changing to takeouts, or helpful tips for your audience in lockdown. 

Watch the video below to find out how it could help your business.

Pinterest adds new routes to shop

To help SMEs reach the increasing number of consumers shopping online, Pinterest is making it easier for people to shop on its social network. For e-commerce businesses, especially in homewares, fashion, health and wellness sectors, Pinterest can be a smart social option. According to Pinterest, searches for “helping small businesses” are up three times compared to a couple of weeks ago. (Adweek)

For pinners in the UK, it will be easier to shop on the social channel. There will be a “more to shop” section, when users focus on a pin, so that you can dive right in and buy after being inspired by the visual feasts you’ve pinned. According to the channel:

“(We) have increased the number of shoppable Product Pins by 2.5x since last year, while driving a total increase in traffic to retailers by 2.3x. The number of Pinners engaging with shopping on Pinterest has increased 44% year over year.”

When users are searching for “home-related styles”, style guides will appear for rustic, contemporary and mid-century to inspire people. Ensure that you use your key terms in your pins and boards.

More products are shoppable in Pins now too; users can click “shop similar” to see related in-stock products for looks and rooms.

Facebook Experiments to improve your campaigns

Facebook has rolled out Experiments to help marketers optimise their campaigns by combining the results of multiple tests. Marketers can A/B test variables such as audiences, creatives and other variables, such as automation vs manual campaigns. Brands can measure conversion rates between those who have seen the ads and a holdout group who haven’t, as well as surveying these groups to gain insight. 

Digital marketing is so powerful because of our ability to test, optimise and test again, so this could be a useful new tool. Find out more here.

Facebook adds a care emoji 

With the anxiety surrounding coronavirus, Facebook has introduced a new care emoji to allow social users to give a bit of extra support right now. Messenger also has a pulsating heart. 

Over to your business

That rounds up some of the most powerful updates to social media and digital marketing this month.

If you’re looking for support with your digital marketing or social media or just need a spot of advice, get in touch for a chat.