My Five #477

Five things worth sharing from the last week, presented by a different member of the Browser Media team each Friday.

My Five this week is from Will.

1. Updated Google Reviews

This week, Google began rolling out the most recent versions of its Product Ratings Update, which bears the catchy title “March 2022 Product Ratings Update.” The first update was launched in April 2021, the second in December 2021 and this third update a little earlier this week.

These updates are intended to help promote review content “beyond most of the model information you see on the web.” The goal of the update is to reward high-quality reviews rather than punish low-quality ones, which in turn helps the searcher’s buying decisions. As Google’s Alan Kent explains:

“This will make it easier for us to get great buying advice in front of users and reward creators who strive to be helpful.”

In the product reviews update, Google listed the following criteria that a review must meet:

  • Include helpful, in-depth details, like the pros or cons of a certain item, details about a product’s performance, or how the product differs from previous versions
  • Be from people who have actually used the products and show what the product physically looks like or how it is used
  • Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides – such as visuals, audio, or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience
  • Cover comparable products or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

So why is this important? If your site offers product reviews, you’ll want to keep an eye on your rankings for a while to see where you’ve been impacted. Longer term, review sites will need to put more emphasis on their content to ensure it is unique and stands out from other reviews.

2. Is a chronological Instagram feed finally a reality?

For quite some time now, Instagram users have been demanding the ability to change their timeline from the current algorithm-based feed to a chronological timeline. This dream is now a reality like earlier this week instagram announced two new ways for users to control their stream. The new features are to be known as “Favorites (favorites for us Brits) and following”.

The current Instagram feed is a mix of images and videos from accounts you follow, suggested posts, and other recommendations based on your interests. Adding favorites and follows allows users to keep up to date with the most recent posts from the accounts you follow, without the posts that Instagram “thinks” you might like.

By clicking in the upper left corner of your home page, you can choose to see posts from accounts you follow or accounts you have favourited. Both of these lists are sorted chronologically so you can keep up to date with the latest posts from the accounts that matter most to you.

Personally, I think it’s a great addition. Instagram’s algorithm is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not perfect. For example, I’m a Man City fan and looking at who I am it’s obvious, but Instagram constantly puts other teams (I dare not mention the name but they play in red) pages in my feed like suggestions just because it’s football related. Now, it’s not the end of the world, but it does mean that you might miss posts that interest you more. Therefore, having this choice is only positive in my opinion.

3. Google conspiracy theories

Time to put on those tinfoil hats like this week Search engine countries took a look at the biggest conspiracy theories about search, Google and Big Tech.

Some of the myths the Search Engine Land team has busted include:

  • Are advertisers and your phone recording and listening to you all the time?
  • Is Google’s search algorithm racist or sexist?
  • How “incognito” is Google’s Incognito mode?

The article does a great job of pulling out the facts and fiction surrounding all of these conspiracy theories, so I highly recommend reading it to help you sort fact from fiction.

4. Instagram Product Tags

Product tags have been available on Instagram for a number of years since their launch in 2016. However, this feature is limited to businesses and creators, and not available to the general public. This week, Instagram rolled out product tagging for all users in the United States, which means anyone can tag products in their posts.

Not only does this give users an opportunity to highlight the brands and products they love, but for the brands themselves, it’s a great opportunity for customers to experience their products. Instagram says 1.6 million people already tag at least one product a week on the platform, and now more accounts can tag products, that number is likely to skyrocket.

For brands using Instagram, there’s no better time to set up Instagram Shopping and start testing product tags. It’s likely that this rollout will go global in the not-too-distant future, however, there’s no set date, it’s currently only available in the US.

5. What are the most downloaded apps of 2022, so far?

This week, published its Q1 2022 Application Index which examines all things mobile apps to provide insight into the industry. I was completely honest to see that Instagram was the most downloaded app in the world in the first quarter of 2022. I assumed that Facebook or TikTok would take the crown, although I’m sure Meta (Facebook) won’t won’t complain too long with Facebook and WhatsApp in positions three and four.

the full report gives a very detailed breakdown of all the findings, so be sure to get your hands on a copy to learn more.

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