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The Month That Was August 2022

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Although August is typically the month of sunshine and the school holidays, we’re here to talk about social media, SEO and some seriously exciting design updates that have gone down as of late.

But we’ve got a lot to get through, so let’s not dilly dally and instead let’s head on a (not so far) journey down memory lane for a recap of the month that was August 2022…

August updates from the Metaverse (and beyond)

Social media (as you’ll all be aware) changes day by day. And August was all about ‘authentic’ social media platforms. Yep, you guessed it, we’re talking about BeReal.

  • ‘Authentic’ apps like BeReal, Locket and Yubo have shot to fame
  • All videos on Instagram will now be posted as Reels
  • Facebook changed their layout to be (even) more like TikTok

⚠️Time to BeReal ⚠️

Prioritising intimacy over infamy, BeReal users receive a daily notification that prompts them to share a photo during a randomly-selected two-minute window every day. No posing, no tidying up your background and none of the squeaky-clean stuff you’d see on Instagram; it’s just real, in-the-moment snapshots of daily life. And it’s from both angles too, with a dual camera that snaps a photo of yourself and what’s in front of you.

Screenshot of the BeReal app on an iPhone, against a solid blue background

With Gen Z’s social taste shifting towards more personalised experiences on their platforms of choice, new players like BeReal are shaking up the social scene, like Locket Widget, Yubo and Poparazzi. Snapchat is already following suit by launching a dual camera feature, and so has Instagram!

BeReal had a speedy climb to the top of the app charts, going from 921,000 users in July 2021 to 21.6 million in July 2022. Although, whether apps like BeReal survive is a question for another day, as the gimmicky novelty of the daily push notification could quickly become irritating, rather than exciting.

Enough of BeReal, what about Instagram Reels?

Instagram recently announced that every video will now be posted as a Reel. Paired with this change, they’ve also added extra tools to their Reels feature, such as users now having the ability to collaborate with their friend’s videos, use handy video templates and of course, enjoy the dual camera setting.

Overall, it’s clear that Instagram is trying to scratch the itch that TikTok provides by championing vertical video (which you can read more about here), alongside adding the fun dual camera feature that BeReal provides. And of course, when Instagram changes, so does Facebook.

Expect your Facebook feed to look a lot more like TikTok, with a fully vertical feed full of Reels and Stories, complete with tabs for displaying content from your family and friends or discovering new creators. And as for LinkedIn, they’re not quite on the vertical game just yet, but they are trialling multi-media carousel posts, something we’re already used to seeing on Instagram.

And to wrap up our updates in social media, Google is testing a new ‘Popular on Twitter’ Tweet display panel related to the user’s search in the SERP – a bit of social and SEO for you there.

Speaking of SEO…

Search landscape for August 2022

With a whole heap of changes to Search in August, there’s almost too much to cover. Too much, in fact, that we’ll do an in-depth review of it all later this month – keep your eyes peeled!

However, here’s a whistle-stop tour of the search landscape for August 2022:

  • July’s ‘Product Review’ update has finished
  • July’s CrUX dataset was published to BigQuery
  • GSC has simplified reporting
  • The GSC indexation bug has been resolved
  • ‘Helpful Content’ algorithm update has begun

July’s ‘Product Review’ update completed its rollout

Classed as a ‘periodical refresh’, July’s ‘Product Review’ update was rolled out in a hurry. Taking only six days rather than the predicted 2-3 weeks (taking even Google by surprise!), this is the 4th review-related update we’ve seen since April 2021.

With the update rewarding product reviews that are the most useful to the searcher, it’s time to ensure your product reviews are in check.

We’ve got an entire blog all about why these updates are happening here, and Google has also provided a helping hand with an updated document on how you can satisfy this update.

July’s CrUX dataset published to BigQuery

The July 2022 dataset is now available, enabling us to understand the importance and how best to prioritise Core Website Vitals. Overall, July’s data has a lower overall pass mark than that of February (40.6% vs 58%), which signals that sites prioritise LCP, FID and CLS less than they did at the back end of 2021. But that doesn’t mean those metrics are no longer important.

We talked about the importance of core web vitals in this article way back when, but our main hot take is that CWV still needs to be a part of your strategy, but not before EAT principles. So, consider your competitors and be better than them in LCP, FID and CLS to ensure the best user experience, alongside being authoritative and trustworthy to meet the standards of EAT.

Simplified Google Search Console Reports

Google has simplified their Search Console Reports in a bid to help you prioritise the issues that are affecting your visibility. Issues are now broken down simply into ‘Valid’ or ‘Invalid’, where Valid means that there is nothing critical, whereas Invalid requires your urgent attention.

Plenty of issues came with this update, where pages were being marked as indexed when they were, in fact, not indexed. Currently, it’s important to look at your indexed and not indexed reports, and work through validating any issues to ensure maximum coverage.

The ‘Helpful Content’ algorithm update rolled out

Aiming to promote sites whose content is helpful and written for searcher intent rather than to rank well in search, this update is big and will hit many sites, hard. Although it’s still early days and there’s not much data just yet, Google have given us some insight:

  • Content in areas like educational materials, entertainment, shopping and tech may be targeted, as these have historically always been written for search engines, not people.
  • It’s sitewide, so your entire website will be penalised even if only one page is flagged.
  • Sites that use artificial intelligence to create content will be heavily impacted.

So, did you get all that? Don’t worry if not, our SEO team are available if you need some help getting started.

Getting creative in August 2022

From AI to Asda, there’s always plenty going on in the wonderful world of design. Let’s take a look at just a few of the things that have been going on recently.

  • The rise of AI art
  • Superunion launched software that allows anyone and everyone to create numerous everyday graphics in their brand’s guidelines
  • The uproar of Asda’s bright yellow budget packaging change

The rise of AI art

With the entire world going digital, it’s no surprise that the world of art is turning digital too. And no, we’re not talking about Microsoft Paint, this is about art created by artificial intelligence softwares.

Sites like Jasper and DALL-E are rising in popularity, allowing users to simply describe what they want the art to be, and the software will do the rest. Simple! For example, Jardim Sonoro, a 3-day music festival in Portugal, used an AI software to develop all of their promotional posters, and the results are seriously impressive.

On a similar note, Superunion has shared a software that offers their clients total creative freedom to create everyday graphics easily. Each software is tailored to create assets within a brand’s guidelines, and it’s simple for non-designers to use too. Big companies like Vodafone and Evri are already using it to create an assortment of social and presentation assets.

With it being accessible to anyone, the possibilities are endless, and now we don’t even need humans to make it. Look out for the world’s first AI gallery coming soon…

Asda’s budget backlash

You must have heard about this one! Previously, Asda had two value ranges (Smartprice and Farm Stores), which have now been merged into one brand – Just Essentials.

However, the new bright yellow packaging of the Just Essentials range has sparked a frenzy of backlash online, with numerous shoppers saying that it draws negative attention to those on a budget.

 

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On the other hand, Asda stands by the fact that the packaging is honest and straightforward, tying the two previous brands together to make budget shopping easier, all while bringing an element of positivity to supermarket shopping with the sunny yellow shade.

Phew! And that’s a wrap (kind of)…

Well, there you have it! That’s a quick(ish) rundown of some of the key things that have gone down in August 2022, it’s been a busy month all-round!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed (understandably so) and unsure of how to tackle your social, visual or SEO strategy, or anything else for that matter, just give us a bell and we’d be happy to help:

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