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Monthly Digital News Roundup – August

It’s September already, and the third quarter of 2020 nearly comes to an end. This year has been a wipeout for many brands and small businesses, but it has also witnessed many sectors evolve and grow into stronger industries for the better.

Eat Out To Help Out

An industry that was, and somewhat still is desperately on its knees, is the hospitality sector due to the national lockdown. However, August has been the month that has saved nearly 2 million jobs and brought the people of Britain back into restaurants, pubs and cafes, as a result of the glorious ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ voucher scheme introduced by Rishi Sunak. According to recently published data, this discount code has been used over 64 million times in the last 3 weeks! This incredible figure is proof that people of this country have terribly missed dining out. This is further supported by OpenTable which stated that restaurant bookings were up by 61% from Monday-Wednesday compared to last year. 

With specialist expertise and experience in hospitality marketing, we helped our clients create strategies to optimise this opportunity by extending this scheme, or something similar, through to the month of September too. We could not be happier to see them bloom after experiencing difficult and turbulent times, and it seems like many other restaurants and chains have followed suit thereafter, such as Pizza Hut, Duck & Rice, Prezzo and so on.

The Acquisition Race of game changing TikTok

As discussed last month, TikTok was on the verge of getting banned in the US, UK, and other global markets amid the geopolitical debates that were ongoing. It is, however, now going down a slightly different route after President Donald Trump has allowed TikTok some further time to finalise a deal with a US based company to take over, before his executive order (prohibiting American companies from doing business with TikTok or WeChat) comes into place. The current American frontrunners are Bill Gates Microsoft, Oracle and more recently joining the acquisition race, is Walmart. It will be very interesting to see who the winning team is, and how they utilise TikTok’s current market share and audience reach/data to also build on their primary brand focus.

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Facebook Adds Facebook Shop Tab and  Expands  Instagram’s shop feature

It is without doubt that brands are still taking a huge hit by the Covid-19 virus. With a quarter of UK companies shutting down, it is about time that large companies like Facebook use their platform to raise awareness of other brands. 

It’s been a while since Facebook has updated their shop feature. However, in the past month they released a new update for its eCommerce tool. This will aid businesses with more ways to connect with their customers and reach a wider audience. Their new “shop” option within the main menu tab, is a display of businesses that are currently selling products on the platform. Facebook has also added a new message option to its shop displays in order to connect potential customers with the sellers directly. We are sure that we will see a push in new ad listings to promote the new shopping feature as well as promoting it through user feeds this coming month. Regardless, this is a considerable step for Facebook’s eCommerce plan. With these new features in place, it will provide struggling brands that have been affected by Covid-19 an opportunity to increase their brand awareness and expand their social media presence to further platforms.

As well as this, Instagram’s shopping tag is now a seamless experience for everyone. Previously, it was not possible to facilitate in-stream purchases for all users. Brands are now able to sell directly on Instagram and pay with Facebook pay. Along with products being accessible through post tagging, you can purchase them through Instagram live streams. With a huge increase in video platforms like Tik-Tok, Zoom and many others during Covid-19, Instagram lives have become more engaging than ever before. These new features are allowing brands to connect with the billion-plus users of Instagram and grow their audience further. As a digital marketing agency working with brands to amplify their online presence, we believe this feature is something that may take users’ customer journey to the next level.

Instagram Replaces NameTags with QR codes

With the social distancing measures still in place, let’s talk about all things NameTags and QR codes. QR codes aren’t widely popular in the digital community at the moment, however, it does allow people to connect quickly with minimal contact.

In 2018 Instagram launched their ‘Nametag Codes’ which were essentially visual QR codes. These simply didn’t catch on with users and Instagram is now updating them to QR codes. QR codes can be scanned via camera tools on IOS or Android whereas NameTag codes can only be scanned via the Instagram camera. When a user scans the QR code, it will take them straight to the person’s Instagram profile. Again with the Covid-19 pandemic, this has allowed users to limit physical contact and continue to practice social distancing. Whilst we understand that the quick access for users may be practical, it will be interesting to see if this feature will receive traction and really benefit overall user experience on the platform.

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Pinterest Provides Tips For Travel Brands Due To Early Signs Of Travel Recovery

As we discussed at the beginning of August, Pinterest provided tips and tricks to travel brands after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the travel industry hard. The travel and tourism industry, last year, made up 9% of the UK’S GDP last year generating nearly 11% of the entire workforce – it has a huge impact on our economy.  As the world slowly releases from lockdown, it will be interesting to see what the demand in travel agencies will be like. The low cost airline, EasyJet, has said it has been operating more flights than previously planned due to demand exceeding expectations. With experience and expertise in the travel and hospitality industry, it is exciting to see the upward trajectory of a slow recovery. With over 416 million people using Pinterest, it is great to see such a huge platform providing tips on how businesses can maximise their appeal to consumers.

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