Digital Industry Updates

As of September 2023, Embryo has kept a log of key industry updates within the digital marketing landscape, covering Google and social media changes to algorithms and platforms that affect SEO, PPC, as well as social platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

24 July 2024

Apple introduce new AI-generated ‘Genmojis’

We’ve all been there: you’re looking for the perfect emoji for the conversation but it doesn’t exist. It’s a problem we’ve all encountered and Apple’s latest feature is solving this problem by introducing ‘Genmojis’.

This new feature allows IPhone users to create new emojis by simply describing the emoji they’re looking for. Apple’s AI system does the rest. If you’ve ever searched and searched for an emoji that doesn’t exist, then this is for you. Granted, it’s a fairly low-key problem, but definitely increases accessibility.

We’re not sure at this point whether this will be only available on messaging platforms, or will be something marketers can include in their social posts, but it’s definitely an update lots are excited for.

The update for these new Genmojis rolls out after iOS 18 launches later this year. As this feature will only be available for IPhone users, using Genmojis on social posts may not show up for Android users. Nevertheless, we’re excited to see how this feature pans out and the types of Genmojis users are creating.

Learn more about Genmojis
23 July 2024

Google drops plans to kill third-party cookies

Google announced its plan to kill third-party cookies from its Chrome browser four years ago. After multiple delays, most of which were caused by regulatory concerns over Google’s replacement, the privacy sandbox, Google has announced it won’t be killing third-party cookies after all.

Instead, Google has said it will offer users a choice on whether they want to accept third-party cookies, and then apply that choice at a browser level and apply it to all websites the user visits. Whether this will keep regulators happy is yet to be seen.

If we consider that 96% of users on iOS deny app tracking when given the choice, it could be said that Google might as well be killing third-party cookies just like Firefox, Safari and Brave browsers already have done.

More info on Google's plans to scrap third-party cookie depreciation
17 July 2024

Google launches ‘first-party mode’ in beta

Google has this week launched its ‘first-party mode’ for tracking tags in beta. First-party mode is designed to remove the reliance on loading resources from Google itself for any Google tags, including Google Tag Manager.

First-party mode means deploying the tags from your own infrastructure hosted on your website domain. In the current widely used setup, Google tags are requested from a Google domain. Now the tags will be requested from your domain, processed on the domain, and then the data forwarded to Google.

It’s designed to help recover lost data because of ad-blockers and other browser restrictions. You’ll need an understanding of your current infrastructure and preferably a CDN like Cloudflare to roll out first-party mode. It’s worth noting of course that you’ll still require consent from your users to track their activity.

Learn more about first-party mode
1 July 2024

Google shuts down Universal Analytics for good

Starting 1st July, Google will be shutting down Universal Analytics for good. Whilst the old UA properties haven’t been processing data for nearly a year, the properties were accessible to those who wanted to look at data in previous years. From today Google will be deleting Univeral Analytics properties and the data will no longer be available either through the web platform or through the API.

Learn more about Universal Analytics properties shutting down
28 June 2024

Pinterest introduces a new way to share boards

With over 518 million monthly active users, Pinterest is the go-to place for inspiration. The platform is now making it easier for users to share their inspiration with others.

Whatever their aesthetic, the new board-sharing feature allows users to easily share their Pinterest boards to other social platforms. This new feature streamlines the process of sharing Pinned content and gives users the ability to share a link to explore their entire Pinterest board.

The Director of Consumer Product Marketing at Pinterest, Rachel Hardy, said the following…

“Gen Z makes up over 40% of our global monthly users on Pinterest and are our most engaged generation, with a significant increase in the number of boards created by Gen Z Pinners compared to last year. We are enhancing the board features based on user feedback and, this year, board sharing is one of our critical investments as users value the ability to share their creative processes on different platforms and find inspiration from others.”

For users like Gen Z, Pinterest isn’t just a platform, it’s a space where they can express themselves without external pressures.

For the launch of board sharing, Pinterest has partnered with Avril Lavine and Tierra Whack to showcase their never-before-seen private boards. This new feature is an opportunity for users to foster genuine engagement among communities and provide a window into the inspiration behind creative projects.

How to share your Pinterest boards (sourced from Pinterest Newsroom):

  1. Go to your public board you want to share
  2. Tap the share icon in the top right
  3. A video will auto-generate
  4. Click on the “Add to Story” button or “Download” the video to share anywhere
  5. Optional: Tap the “Edit” icon to edit Pins or select a different template.
  6. Copy board link.
  7. Click on the “Share Story” button. Instagram will automatically open.
  8. On Instagram, tap on the “Stickers” icon
  9. Choose “Link,” paste the board’s URL, and click “Done.”
  10. Share to your Stories!
28 June 2024

Google launches Tag Diagnostics in GA4 & Tag Manager

Google has added a new tool to GA4 and Google Tag Manager called Tag Diagnostics. It’s designed to help you diagnose potential issues with tracking related to the Google Tags or Tag Manager containers you have on your website.

The Tag Diagnostic tool categorises the overall health of your tags as:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Needs Attention
  • Poor

and some of the issues it can highlight with tags include:

  • Additional domains not included in tag configuration
  • Config tags not firing before event tags
  • The conversion linker tag is missing from the container
  • Pages with missing tags
  • Consent mode issues (missing or misconfigured consent) for traffic/events coming from EEA & UK visitors
Learn more about the tag diagnostics tool
27 June 2024

Meta introduces AI chatbots

Meta has introduced 3 updates to chatbots/messaging tools:

  1. Meta has introduced chatbots on Messenger that can chat with customers and provide support. It is built with a large language model (LLama 3). The change aims to save businesses money on service costs.

Meta says ‘We’re training AI on the most popular questions businesses receive on Messenger, built with Meta Llama 3, to understand and respond to customer messages about products in engaging and natural ways.’

A case study on the business ‘White Coat Manila’ showed this feature saved at least 20% of customer support costs.

Customers will still have the option to speak to a human and businesses can manually enter the conversation at any time.

2. Paid marketing messages are now on Messenger as well as WhatsApp for select advertisers. Advertisers with access to the feature can send paid marketing messages to opted-in customers.

3. Introduction of Threads API. According to Meta the supported features include:

  • The ability to authenticate, publish posts, and fetch their own content via the API.
  • Management capabilities so businesses and creators can retrieve and engage with replies to their posts, set reply controls and hide or unhide specific replies.
  • Media and account-level insights, such as the number of views, likes and replies

Meta says their continuous investments and updates to AI features have helped increase average ROAS for advertisers by 12% since 2022.

26 June 2024

Google Ads Rolls Out a Useful AI Update for Brand Keyword Matching

Keyword Match Types and the logic that goes into matching them to Search Terms has been evolving and changing for years. The saying goes “Exact Match is no longer Exact”, with Google continuously trending toward less precise targeting, instead leaning on machine learning to widen the scope of keyword targeting to include longtail and new search terms that can’t be predicted.

The latest announcement from Google includes 4 key changes that will have PPC advertisers changing the way they work with their brand and the unique search terms in that sphere.

  1. Mispelled search terms are becoming easier to manage! If you’ve ever struggled to add negatives of all the potential mispells of a brand term, this AI-driven update means advertisers need only add the core brand term. AI will ensure that mispells are included.
  2. Brand Exclusions across ALL keywords and DSA campaigns are rolling out, expanding the Performance Max feature to core campaign types.
  3. Additional suggestions for Brand keywords and search terms, which turns a Broad Match keyword into a wider brand “sphere” targeting-signal, allowing for “Brand Generic” keywords to filter through more often.
  4. Previously un-trackable “Other” search terms will now start showing, giving advertisers more direct control over targeting and exclusions – this last one allows PPCers to “rein in” the expanded targeting that the expansion caters to.

All of this trends towards more consolidation in Google Ads campaign structure, encouraging less fragmentation between Brand and Non-Brand campaigns, joining them up to act as a “Messy Middle Search Campaign”.


25 June 2024

Facebook introduces Broadcast Channels on Facebook and Messenger

Broadcast channels are a way for accounts to share updates or messages with their followers. This is usually popular for big accounts like brands and influencers and allows updates to be conveyed in an intimate chat format.

This has already been rolled out across Instagram and allows users to connect with their most loyal followers in an authentic space. Followers can react to messages but are unable to reply, making these channels the perfect place for regular updates.

Recently, Facebook announced they were making Broadcast Channels available for eligible Facebook Pages. The eligibility would depend on the follower count of these Pages, needing at least 10,000 followers. Facebook has announced that they are looking to make this feature available for professional mode creators who also have more than 10,000 followers.

As this update is already live on Instagram, it’s no real surprise that Facebook is beginning to roll out this feature for Messenger. It will enable users to automatically share updates from their Instagram channel to their Facebook channel, saving them time and effort.

24 June 2024

Instagram adds live streams for close friends

An update that came as no surprise, is Instagram introducing the option to live stream to close friends on the app. Instagram is doubling down on more intimate group chats with broadcast channels and now live streams for close friends.

This new update allows users to stream to their close friends list. Users will be able to invite up to 3 others on their close friends list to co-host or join their streams. Essentially, this new feature gives users a video option to stream to smaller groups, further adding to user connection on the app. This update went live in June and was rolled out globally.

Previously, live broadcasts meant anyone could tune in and watch if an account was public and all followers could watch for private accounts. Now, users have the ability to decide who joins the stream–essentially it’s more similar to a Facetime call than a public live stream.

This update could be great for influencers who want to livestream to specific followers or for students to host study sessions with their friends.

Instagram has recently emphasised the importance of more private modes on the platform, introducing features such as grid posts being visible to only close friends and muting interactions from everyone but close friends. Updates like this give users the option to choose stricter safety settings as well as the ability to curate their own Instagram experience.

example of instagram live stream for friends

20 June 2024

June 2024 Spam Update

On 20th June 2024, after originally teasing that it would happen in May 2024, Google announced that they are rolling out the June 2024 Spam Update.

This is the “Core” element of the Spam update that had been previously announced in March 2024.

The update is focused on rewarding websites with good quality backlink profiles, and actively penalising websites that use spammy practices.


Find out more
19 June 2024

GA4 updates advertising section to include audience data

Google has launched an updated Advertising section within GA4 that adds additional data about the number of users that are eligible for remarketing and ad personalisation. You can find this data under Advertising > Tools > Advertising Segments. The advertising segments audience data is synonymous with audience segments found within the Google Ads Audience Manager.

Learn more about advertising segments
18 June 2024

Meta introduces ads for Instagram broadcast channels

Meta has introduced a new update that allows users to run ads to grow their Instagram Broadcast Channels.

If you’re unsure what Broadcast Channels are, they were released in September 2023 and are a way for creators and brands to share messages like announcements, content and any other information with others on Instagram. These channels are found in the direct messages tab on Instagram and are available to anyone. As Instagram put it…

“Anyone that joins your channel will be able to react and reply to messages you send or vote in polls you create in the channel, but they will not be able to send messages. Since your broadcast channels are public, they are discoverable by anyone on Instagram.”

To invite members to your broadcast channel, it’s simple. When you send the first message all of your followers will receive a notification inviting them to the channel. The other ways to invite people include:

  • Sharing an invite link to your channel
  • Adding the channel to your stories
  • Sharing a message from the channel to a story
  • Sharing a QR code for the channel

With that in mind, Meta recently launched an update that allows users to run ads to grow their Broadcast Channels. This option will allow marketers to increase awareness and membership while adding to their community.

Here’s how to set up an ad for Instagram Broadcast Channels:

  1. Create an ‘Engagement’ objective campaign. Ensure your Instagram account is linked to Meta; you should see a message that reads, ‘Invite people to your Broadcast Channel’.
  2. At the ad set level select ‘Broadcast Channel’ as the conversion location. Please note that any ads created in this ad set will invite users to join your channel.
  3. At the ad level, select your Broadcast Channel as the ad’s destination.
  4. Optimise the ad, as usual, filling out primary text and headlines, etc.
12 June 2024

Meta introduces new creative enhancements

It’s no shock to see that Meta is adding even more creative enhancements to its Advantage+ creative section. When using this feature, Meta automatically optimises your images and videos to versions that it believes your audience is more likely to interact with. Depending on the format or placements of your ad, different enhancements may be available.

Advantage+ creative is a feature Meta wants users to utilise, and more often than not rewards you for trying things out–even if some of the options (looking at you “Music”) are a bit hit-and-miss.

Meta’s latest addition to creative enhancements is “Adjust text length”. The description of this is as follows…

“We will only show the first line of your primary text when it might improve performance.”

To make an impression on social media, marketers only have seconds, which is why the first line of copy is always the most important. This feature could be useful in improving the overall performance of certain ads. Our tip? Be sure to provide enough information and context in the first line of your primary text when this feature is enabled to make the most of it.

12 June 2024

GA4 adds custom event data imports

GA4 now supports custom event data imports. This will allow users to combine event-scoped custom dimensions and standard fields to join and analyse imported events with your existing GA4 data. Once imported and combined, you can create custom reports to provide a more comprehensive view of both datasets.

Learn more about custom event data imports
11 June 2024

GA4 updates attribution models to improve accuracy of paid search campaign measurement

GA4 is rolling out some changes to its attribution models over the next couple of weeks. This update aims to improve how conversions are credited to paid search campaigns, ensuring greater accuracy when measuring the results of your ads.

Some conversions in the current attribution models are mistakenly attributed to organic search, particularly for single-page applications. This occurs when the ‘gclid’ parameter, doesn’t carry over between page views as a user moves throughout your website.

The update will ensure that campaign data is captured accurately during the first event on each new page. If a user leaves your website and returns through a different channel, the attribution will be adjusted to give credit to the correct channels.

The update could lead to an increase in conversions attributed to paid search campaigns, and therefore a decrease in organic conversions. It’s something to keep an eye on over the coming weeks. Google advises that this could potentially impact your spending on Google Ads campaigns. Before the update takes effect, review your budget caps and make any necessary adjustments.

10 June 2024

Meta: Dynamic ads are being replaced with Flexible ads

Dynamic Creative is no longer available and has been replaced by the ‘Flexible’ ad format.

Firstly, what did this feature entail? Dynamic Creative allowed you to submit multiple images or videos, primary text, headlines, descriptions, and call-to-action buttons for a single ad. Meta then had the power to mix and match these elements to generate better results.

Now Meta has announced they’re scrapping Dynamic Creative after 7 years and replacing the format with Flexible ads. When using the Flexible ad format, Meta will choose your ad format, based on where it appears and who sees it, to allow for improved performance.

This format was implemented as a creative option at the ad level in November last year. When this was introduced there was a “See What’s New” alert that read…

“Optimize your ad whenever it’s delivered with flexible formats. Use flexible formats to reduce creative fatigue and show your ad in the specific format we predict will perform best for each person.”

Similarly to Dynamic Creative, you can provide the following creative elements when using this format:

  • Up to 10 images and/or videos
  • Up to 5 variations of ‘Primary text’
  • Up to 5 variations of ‘Headlines’
  • Up to 5 variations of ‘Descriptions’

When this update was released last year, a lot of marketers wondered why was this necessary as it was pretty similar to Dynamic Creative. Now it looks like Meta was planning to phase Dynamic Creative out and replace it with the new Flexible format. As they could never be used together anyway, this update is one that we saw coming.

Presently, wherever you are using Dynamic Creative, Meta will enable this new feature so you won’t need to make any huge adjustments and your ad performance won’t be massively affected.

dynamic creative no longer available announcement

9 June 2024

Meta: schedule individual ads with a manual sales campaign

A big update for Meta: marketers can now schedule individual ads!

Before this update, ads could only be scheduled at the ad set level on manual sales campaigns, which proved quite annoying if you wanted an ad to appear during certain times or days without creating one manually.

This quality-of-life update can be helpful for those who have a time-sensitive offer or promotion but don’t fancy creating a whole new ad set. It sounds perfect for those who have seasonal-specific discounts that happen over certain days as the individual ad can be scheduled for its original price to be replaced by the discount once the promotion begins. The specific ad can be set live to reflect the sale when it goes live and can be scheduled to end when the promotion is over.

This feature had previously been available for Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns, but it’s being made available for manual sales campaigns, meaning more control over targeting.

Here’s how to schedule an individual ad at the ad level:

  1. Create a manual sales campaign and choose ‘Website’ as the conversion location.
  2. At the ad level, you may see a “Show More Options” under Multi-Advertiser Ads. If you don’t, the update hasn’t been rolled out to you yet. If you do, click it.
  3. This will reveal a scheduling option and will give you the option to set a specific start and end date for the ad.
6 June 2024

Meta: new tab suggestions for detailed targeting

Meta has introduced an update to its targeting options, allowing users to see and add detailed targeting suggestions based on “Relevance” or “Size”.

When you click on the suggestions button under detailed targeting two tabs now appear with recommendations based on the relevance of the size of different audiences. It’s currently available for both ‘original audience’ settings and ‘Advantage+ audience’ inputs.

Here’s an overview of what each tab suggests:

  • Relevance: Suggestions relevant to the targeting options already selected. This is better for targeting niche audiences and getting inspiration for potential audiences.
  • Size: Suggestions based on the audience size. Choosing audiences in this tab would be useful for broader campaigns.

Before this update, if you wanted to check for relevance or audience sizes it was a manual process. Now, this update makes life easier to see what Meta suggests and develop a more informed strategy.

meta - ad suggestions example

3 June 2024

Instagram introduces silent posting

A recent feature Instagram has implemented allows users to share content without “spamming feeds”.  Users will have the option to ‘Post quietly to profile’ which will let them publish content that will still be visible on their profile but it won’t be shared in the feed with their followers.

This feature could be particularly helpful for:

  • Building an aesthetically pleasing grid without bombarding the feed.
  • Sharing content without engagement worries.
  • When users wish to post multiple times in a short period of time e.g. wedding and holiday pictures.

While it may not be useful for everyone, especially creators and brands focused on reach and engagement, it may appeal to those who want to share content they enjoy without the pressure.

It’s great to see Instagram introducing new updates useful for the users instead of new features that only relate to bigger accounts.

While we endeavour to ensure that all information is correct, we occasionally make mistakes. If you do spot a mistake, please send us an email via our contact form.