Latest Digital Marketing Updates February 2024

Hey folks, your favourite influencer, Sorav Jain, is here to give you insights on what's trending in the digital marketing world. I've been analysing top reports to compile this list of the hottest upcoming trends.

new-thing-digital-february

Hey folks, your favourite influencer, Sorav Jain, is here to give you insights on what’s trending in the digital marketing world. I’ve been analysing top reports to compile this list of the hottest upcoming trends.
I’m witnessing the future where Google releases Gemini 1.5 with a 1M context window, Instagram tests live-stream games to enhance engagement, and Meta tests cross-posting between Facebook & Threads.
So, if you want your business to thrive next year, it’s time to get ahead of these trends. Consider this your guide to future-proofing your digital strategy.

1. Instagram Tests New Option To Preview Feed Post Placement Before Publishing

instagram-test-new-feed-option

A new tool that Instagram is testing with a small number of users lets them see a preview of how their feed postings will look on their profile grid before they publish. With the help of this feature, posts can now be composed with a “Show preview” button that, when pressed, shows a preview of the post’s placement in the user’s profile layout, including any pinned posts. With this straightforward but helpful update, users can keep their Instagram profile visually consistent and make well-informed judgments on post-placement and overall content strategy.

This update is a valuable tool for Instagram users who want to carefully manage their feed and ensure that every post fits in with their previous content, even though it’s not a revolutionary shift. It empowers users to optimize their posting schedule and content choices to maximize their profile’s overall impact and engagement.

2. Threads Rise To 130m Users, Seeing Steady Growth

thread-rise-130M-users

CEO Mark Zuckerberg of Meta disclosed during the company’s Q4 2023 earnings call that Threads, a social media network sometimes referred to as Meta’s Twitter clone, is expanding significantly. With 130 million active users each month, Threads has steadily grown since its debut. Just four months after Threads’ launch, Zuckerberg had mentioned during the Q3 earnings call that the platform was getting close to 100 million active users. It was projected that when the app became available to users in the European Union in December, the number of active users from that region alone would increase by almost 26 million.

3. Meta Develops Its Fediverse Connection Options For Threads

fediverse-connection-option

Meta has committed to making Threads interoperable with the Fediverse, a network of interconnected servers that decentralize social interactions, reducing reliance on a few significant companies controlling user data and content. The most popular platform within the Fediverse is Mastodon, with various smaller apps and tools using the same framework. The core principle behind the Fediverse is to democratize social networking, allowing users to have control over their data and quickly switch to servers that better align with their preferences. Additionally, through Fediverse connection powered by ActivityPub, users can simultaneously share updates across various platforms and servers, potentially broadening their reach across different.

4. Threads See Increased Download Momentum In December Amid The EU Launch

december-amid-eu-launch

While Meta’s Threads app still has ground to cover compared to other platforms in its category, recent data from Appfigures, which monitors download trends, suggests that Threads continues to attract new users at a healthy rate. While it’s important to note that “downloads” and “active users” are distinct metrics, the ongoing interest in Threads is a positive sign, indicating that more people are willing to try the app. Notably, Threads was launched to European users on December 14th, and based on comparisons with Instagram adoption figures, it was anticipated that the EU launch would result in approximately 25 million more downloads. While a significant event might influence these numbers, they still highlight Threads’ ongoing growth and its potential to compete in social media.

5. Youtube Now Has 100m Premium And Music Subscribers

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With over 100 million subscribers to YouTube Premium and Music, the platform has reached a significant milestone eight years after its launch. Even while this achievement is remarkable, it’s essential to consider the larger picture. It indicates that only 5 percent of the platform’s 2 billion active users have chosen to pay for these services. Furthermore, it can be challenging to determine how much a user is prepared to pay for particular features or content because YouTube Premium and Music are bundled together.

6. Youtube Adds Playlist Analytics, New Insights To Assist In Content Planning

To help with content management and analytics, YouTube has updated YouTube Studio with several new capabilities. Now that creators can compare the performance of their playlists side by side, they can gain essential insights into viewer behaviour and the effect that content grouping has on engagement. It is made possible by the availability of playlist analytics under the “Content” tab.

Furthermore, YouTube added Content Gap insights, first released on mobile devices last year, to the desktop “Research” tab. This function aids in the identification of new topics that correspond with search intent by helping producers uncover channel-related questions that are underserved on the platform.

Additionally, YouTube has added a feature highlighting the best community videos to encourage platform interaction. Additionally, it is releasing scheduled videos exclusive to members, allowing creators to plan and generate excitement around their video launches more effectively. These updates aim to enhance the YouTube content management experience for creators.

7. Google Rolls Out Image Creation Within The Bard Chatbot, With Updated Visual Generation Models

google-rolls-out-image-creation

Google is enhancing its Bard chatbot with more powerful AI models to improve its responses. Additionally, it is introducing image generation capabilities within Bard itself, powered by Imagen. Google has been cautious in developing generative AI and has criticized others for rushing into the field, citing the need for a slow deployment to prevent misuse and regulatory issues.

However, Google is now taking steps to advance its generative AI tools. Bard is receiving upgrades in system thinking and image creation. Google Maps is getting new conversational queries powered by AI to enhance place discovery. Imagen 2, the next stage of its visual creation system, is being integrated into its image-generation tools. These developments signal Google’s commitment to furthering the capabilities of its AI offerings.

8. Google Search Tests Shopping Menu For Home, Orders, Settings & More

google-search-test-shopping-menu

It’s no secret that Google Search has become increasingly e-commerce and shopping-focused. Google is experimenting with a separate menu in the search results for shopping-related aspects. Links to the following sub-areas are displayed when you click on this menu, which has been added to the shopping search results:

  • Shopping home
  • Orders
  • Shopping settings
  • Shopping help

9. Google Business Profiles: Add Products With A Barcode Scanner

google-business-profiles

With a barcode scanner—which Google will even mail to you for free—you can now add products to your business profiles and merchant centres portion of Google Business Profiles. This makes it possible for you to highlight in-store merchandise on Google Search & Maps more effectively. Google can automatically add things that are found in stores. It could assist in drawing in local clients to your physical business. It is easy to use and free of cost.

10. Threads Plans To Deprioritize Political Discussion Through A New Recommendations Approach

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Today, Instagram and Threads are making changes to limit political content recommendations. Both apps will now avoid suggesting political posts and profiles unless users choose to see them. This opt-in feature aims to create a more positive experience by reducing divisive political debates. This approach has already been successful on Instagram and Facebook. Meta, the company behind these apps, started this effort in 2021 following the Capitol Riots. They’re responding to concerns about social media fueling division by actively reducing political and news content in user feeds.

11. Meta Shares Insights Into How The Threads Feed Algorithms Work

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As Threads gains more users, brands explore the app for engagement opportunities. However, many businesses need help to perform challenges. The app’s algorithm, which determines what users see, considers factors like likes, replies, and follows. Additionally, it shows how many posts users have seen, how long they’ve been inactive, and how often they click on a profile. These factors influence which posts are displayed to each user. So, the more active you are and the more you engage with profiles, the more likely you are to see their posts.

12. Threads Is Testing A New Option To Save Post

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In response to a customer request, Threads has added a new feature that lets users save posts inside the app. With this update, Threads now more closely resembles the other social networking sites owned by Meta. Users of the testing pool can now use the three-dot menu to reach the “Save” option for any post. Preserved posts will be neatly kept in the user’s profile menu, like on Instagram.

Threads’s development mirrors the features of other well-known programmes, notably X, as part of Meta’s plan to take on X and draw in users who might turn off recent changes on that platform. Despite Threads boasting 130 million monthly active users, it still has ground to cover. Meanwhile, X has seen increased interest due to recent events such as Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and a controversial video featuring Drake, which has garnered more attention on X compared to other platforms.

13. YouTube Expands Youth Safety Measures For Safer Internet Day

youth-safety-measures

For Safer Internet Day, YouTube is strengthening security protocols to safeguard younger users. Updates include expanded content controls for potentially harmful topics, enhanced in-stream “Take a Break” reminders, and a new report on digital wellbeing created in partnership with experts in adolescent health.

The tools for reminding teens and younger children to “Take a Break” and to set their alarm for bedtime are now accessible worldwide. Now, for both Short and long-form videos, these notifications will appear as full-screen prompts with a “Take a Break” trigger that occurs every 60 minutes by default. Teenage and monitored accounts are, by default, prevented from using autoplay.

To further protect its most vulnerable viewers, YouTube is now expanding the reach of its content filters to new geographical areas.

14. YouTube Announces New Programming For Black History Month

new-programming-black-history-month

YouTube has unveiled a fresh lineup of Black History Month programming dedicated to honouring and featuring influential Black creators and their contributions to the platform.
Central to YouTube’s Black History Month initiative is its community spotlight series, designed to shine a light on a diverse array of platform stars. Additionally, YouTube will prominently feature these selected creators at Sofi Stadium throughout February. The platform will also showcase Black creators across its more comprehensive social media platforms and curate special playlists on YouTube TV.

Black creators have significantly shaped YouTube’s cultural landscape, and it’s commendable to see the platform recognizing and celebrating their invaluable contributions during this event.

15. YouTube Tests Alternate Colour Feeds For Premium Users

colour-feeds-premium-users

According to 9 to 5 Google, YouTube is currently experimenting with a novel method to organise videos, focusing on the dominant colour of the thumbnail image. In this test, some users are invited to “Create a feed of videos based on colour,” which generates a fresh, alternative feed of clips based on the chosen colour. Participants in the trial can opt for red, green, or blue, with their selection prominently displayed at the top of the feed. Though presented slightly differently, Reddit users were the first to notice the colour feed option last year, so the experiment is familiar.

16. Meta Outlines New Approaches To Generative AI Transparency

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As generative AI use increases, Meta aims to establish new guidelines for AI disclosure in its apps. This involves placing more responsibility on users to declare their use of AI in content creation. Meta also hopes to develop technical systems to detect AI usage, although this may only sometimes be feasible due to the limitations of digital watermarking options. Ideally, Meta seeks to collaborate with other providers to set industry standards for AI detection and transparency. These measures allow platforms to label AI-generated content, giving users better awareness of synthetic content.

17. Google Tests Blue-Shaded Search Bar Headers

blue-shaded-search-bar-headers

Google Search is experimenting with different shades of blue for its search header. This includes a sticky version that remains fixed as you scroll the search results. Below are several screenshots shared by users on X over the past few days.

18. Bard Is Now Gemini, Rolling Out A Mobile App And Gemini Advanced With Ultra 1

mobile-app-gemini

Since its launch last year, Bard has been used worldwide for various collaborations with AI, from job interview preparation to brainstorming business ideas. Recently, it was even used for creating captivating images.
The goal of Bard has always been to provide direct access to AI models, with Gemini being the most advanced among them. Therefore, Bard will now be known simply as Gemini.
Users can already interact with Gemini using our Pro 1.0 model, which is available in over 40 languages and across more than 230 countries and territories. Additionally, we’re introducing two new features – Gemini Advanced and a mobile app – to facilitate easy collaboration with Google’s top AI technology.

19. Meta Begins Testing Fact-Check Markers On Threads

testing-fact-check

 Meta is expanding its fact-checking efforts to Threads, introducing alerts similar to those on Facebook and Instagram. TechCrunch reports that Meta plans to add more fact-check markers to Threads, which is currently in a limited phase. These alerts are part of Meta’s broader strategy to combat misinformation, especially with upcoming global polls and the rise of AI-generated deep fakes. While Meta aims to enhance fact-checking on Threads, debates continue over the role of fact-checking in social media, with some critics, like X owner Elon Musk, arguing it could be used to control narratives.

20. Threads Rolls Out Trending Topics Test To US Users

trending-topic-test

The Threads team is now testing a new feature called “Today’s Topics” for a subset of American users to point users towards topics within the app that are generally engaging. The CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that the feature is currently being developed. With artificial intelligence, this feature will highlight popular subjects based on user interaction while ensuring they follow community guidelines. The intention is to promote essential dialogues and boost user involvement. This project is a part of Meta’s endeavour to develop a more lively and encouraging social network, setting Threads apart from Twitter and X and improving live event conversations, encompassing sports and TV series.

21. Google Shares Valentine’s Day Search Trends

valentine's-day-search-trends

Google has released new Valentine’s Day data summaries based on search activity. These summaries highlight this year’s trends and the activities people hope to conduct on Valentine’s Day.

Google has released a revised map featuring original Valentine’s Day date night ideas broken down by state. Additionally, Google has some comments on the season’s most in-demand flowers that will wow your partner. In addition, Google altered its Google Doodle background image for the occasion, linking it to activating a Valentine’s Day chemistry quiz upon tapping.

Though it’s more for fun than anything else, this should let you see the kind of person you’d like to be paired with.

22. YouTube Adds New Music Remix Options For Shorts

new-music-remix-option

While designed for enjoyment, this innovative feature offers a unique approach to understanding personal compatibility through musical tastes. It allows users to engage more deeply with their preferred music and artists, aligning with the current trend of incorporating music into short video clips for sharing. This engagement method enriches the user experience and fosters a deeper connection with music, serving as a creative avenue to express preferences and discover like-minded individuals based on shared musical interests.

Amidst this backdrop, TikTok’s recent predicament with Universal Music has led to a significant disruption. The dispute resulted in TikTok losing access to many popular tracks. This development has not only impacted the platform’s content creators by muting audio in their previously uploaded videos but has also underscored music’s critical role in content creation and audience engagement on social media platforms. This situation has left a void in the creator community, where music is often a cornerstone of creativity and engagement.

By potentially offering access to a wide range of music, YouTube aims to attract creators 

looking for a stable and expansive music library for their content. This move could position YouTube as a more reliable platform for creators who rely heavily on music for their videos, offering them a new home where they can continue to create, share, and engage with their audience without the fear of losing access to essential musical content. This strategic pivot highlights YouTube’s adaptability and commitment to supporting the creator community by leveraging music as a fundamental element of user engagement and content diversity.

23. Youtube Updates Mobile Uploads, Gift Memberships & Tagging

gift-membership-tagging

YouTube’s mobile Studio app has been updated to enable producers to upload videos straight from their device’s camera roll. With this update, setting video monetization during upload makes the process simpler. Video uploads were previously restricted to the YouTube main app, which lacked full publishing features. Because it provides improved management capabilities for uploads while on the fly, the update benefits those who create Shorts. Furthermore, YouTube is testing a new Community Posts feed within the app to improve text update interaction with subscribers.

24. Google SGE Now Works In Mobile Safari

google-SGE-mobile-safari

The Search Generative Experience, or SGE, was first limited to using Chrome or the Google Search App on Gmail accounts that were part of the search laboratory trial. However, it functions just as well when I attempt to access SGE using the built-in Apple iPhone browser, Safari. According to the experiments, the Google SGE instructions no longer state that you must use Chrome or the Google Search app to access SGE.

25. Google SGE Tests Removing Side Carousels

removing-side-carousels

Google is testing removing the side carousel from the Search Generative Experience (SGE) interface. The card answers are often displayed on the right side of the desktop SGE results in the side carousel. Google is exploring the option to hide such cards from the side panel.

26. Google Ads Places Keyword Lists With Clickable Stars

clickable-stars

Nate Louis saw that clickable stars were positioned adjacent to the keyword list in his Google Ads advertiser panel. He can highlight them by clicking on them and de-highlighting them by unclicking on them. He has never seen these before and is unsure of the purpose of clicking on them other than making them stand out on the list.

27. Google Releases Gemini 1.5 With 1m Context Window

google-release-gemini

Google has introduced Gemini 1.5, a significant update to their AI language model, aiming to compete with OpenAI’s GPT-4. This new version boasts several key improvements:

  • A context window of 1,000,000 tokens, surpassing GPT -4’s 128K, allowing for broader understanding and analysis.
  • Enhanced speed through a Mixture of Expert architecture, improving task efficiency by dividing prompts into smaller, expert-handled components.
  • Improved precision in finding specific information across large datasets, including text, video, and audio.
  • Advanced coding capabilities, with the large context window aiding in comprehensive codebase analysis for better pattern recognition and understanding.

The standout feature is the model’s ability to handle up to 1 million tokens, significantly more than other large language models.

28. Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games To Enhance Engagement

 Instagram is experimenting with new features to enhance live streams, including games like “This or That” and “Trivia” for broadcasters to play with viewers. These additions aim to increase interaction and engagement during live sessions. Meta focuses on expanding live-streaming for Instagram creators, including the “Stars” donation program and easier access to live-streaming via desktop with third-party tools. This move is part of a broader effort to compete with the popularity of live-streaming in China and the growing interest in live content on platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Instagram is working on more ways for creators to engage audiences.

29. Threads Tests Post Drafts & Integrated Camera In-Stream

threads-tests-post-drafts

 The Threads team is testing a highly requested feature: post drafts, allowing selected users to save their unposted content. This test includes a “Save Draft” option for in-progress posts, with the limitation of keeping only one draft at a time. Additionally, Threads has introduced an integrated camera feature for in-app photo taking (limited to one photo per post) and a new way for users to appeal moderation decisions. Despite these updates, Threads is still behind X (formerly Twitter) in user engagement, particularly among sports communities and live commentary fans. Threads is experimenting with Trending Topics to attract more users but remains focused on promoting positivity over news and politics, aiming to create a more positive social media environment.

30. Meta Tests Cross-Posting Between Facebook & Threads

cross-posting-facebook-threads

Meta is testing a feature allowing Facebook users to cross-post their updates to Threads, focusing on text and link posts, not videos. This feature, currently under trial on iOS and unavailable in the EU, includes a toggle for users to enable cross-posting to Threads. The initiative aims to simplify sharing content across platforms. Still, it raises questions about whether users are interested in distributing the same content on Facebook and Threads and if Threads’ audience wants to see such shared posts. This test is part of Meta’s strategy to encourage content sharing across its platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, to maximize content visibility. However, the effectiveness of further integrating Threads with other Meta apps in supporting Threads’ growth remains to be determined.

31. YouTube Launches A New Channel Page Layout For TV

new-channel-page-layout-youtube

According to Nielsen, YouTube has achieved a significant milestone in connected TV watching, emerging as the top streaming platform in watch time in 2023. This indicates a change in how younger generations watch content, with YouTube moving from being a secondary source of amusement to being their first option. The number of YouTube Shorts views on linked TVs has also significantly increased on the platform, growing by over 100% in the last year. YouTube is rolling out a new channel page layout for TV to capitalize on this trend and improve producers’ reach.

32. Youtube Updates Video Earnings Display In Studio, Tests New Desktop UI

tests-new-desktop-ui

YouTube is enhancing its revenue tracking features in the YouTube Studio app by introducing new listings that display creators’ top-earning videos, categorized into Shorts, VODs (Video On Demand), and Live Uploads. This update simplifies how creators identify their most profitable videos, potentially influencing their content creation strategy to maximize revenue opportunities. This straightforward modification promises to assist in making more data-driven decisions regarding content planning. Additionally, YouTube is experimenting with variable layouts in the app’s web version to improve user experience further.

33. Whatsapp Adds New Text Formatting Options To Improve Communications

After months of testing with a small group of users, WhatsApp has formally released more text formatting choices for Android and iOS users. These improvements include text formatting options like bold, italics, block quotes, and numbered lists. These improve WhatsApp conversations by enabling users to add context and clarity to their messages. With this upgrade, the constraints of using text to convey tone and nuance will be addressed, hopefully lowering the likelihood of misinterpretation—especially when subtle indications like sarcasm are involved. With WhatsApp’s rapid growth in Western markets and more conversations moving from social platforms to private messaging, these capabilities improve personal communication. They may also have advantages for commercial outreach.

34. Google Search Tests New Search Bar Design

new-search-bar-design

Google Search is experimenting with a refreshed design for its mobile search bar, incorporating a light blue background and curved buttons for various search options like images, videos, news, shopping, and maps. This new look was observed by users, including on mobile Safari on iOS, and has been noted online by individuals such as Thomas Eccel and Adriaan Dekker, who shared their findings on X and LinkedIn. The change is part of a test, as it was spotted on different occasions, indicating Google’s ongoing efforts to enhance user experience on mobile devices.

35. Google Local Pack Tests Restaurant Price Ranges

restaurant-price-ranges

Google is experimenting with a new feature in its local pack listings for restaurants, moving beyond the traditional one, two, or three-dollar signs to indicate price levels. Instead, it’s testing the display of actual price ranges, such as “$10 to $20” or “$20 to $30,” presumably indicating the cost per person. This update was highlighted by Khushal Bherwani, who shared a screenshot on X, showcasing how some restaurants are now showing these specific price ranges, offering users a clearer understanding of the expected dining costs.

36. The Google App Adds A Toggle Between Search & Gemini

toggle-between-search-gemini

A button at the top of the well-known Google programme, Google Search, allows users to swiftly switch between Gemini (previously Google Bard) and Google Search. It appears at the top with the vast G logo of Google Search by default, but you can see the Gemini logo and press it to switch to Gemini.

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