5 June 2023
5 Trends Shaping Social in 2023
Would you believe it – it’s June, it’s almost summer and we’re almost halfway through 2023! But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s rewind and recap on the month that was May.
A good month on all fronts, we’ve seen graphic design updates, exciting innovations in the world of SEO and a whole load of updates in PPC. Ready to see what went down? Let’s take a look…
It’s been an exciting month in May for graphic design, with new AI updates and rebrands galore. Let’s take a look at the latest:
This could be the biggest – and most exciting – update in the world of design to come out of May. Released earlier in May, AI Generative Fill within Photoshop is transforming the editing game for graphic designers across the globe.
Using Adobe’s Firefly generative AI tool (which if you can cast your minds back a month, we mentioned in our April roundup), the new Generative Fill tool allows users to extend, retouch, transform and create images within Photoshop. All you need to do is input a text prompt, or even let the AI do its thing automatically. And it’s not just quick and simple, it’s a lot of fun, too.
Ever wanted to see what your friend would look like with a different haircut? Or how about seamlessly adding in an impressive landmark, fancy car or something else into the background of your picture? Got an image with someone wearing the wrong clothes? Not a problem! Generative AI can work wonders.
Whatever it is you’re looking to change, generative AI can probably help. Simply tell the AI what you want it to do and let it get to work. This is the future of design, and we can’t wait to play around and unlock its full potential.
We’re always on the lookout for new, exciting rebrands, and May did not disappoint!
The well-known and well-loved not-for-profit consumer organisation – Which? – has been given a brand spanking new visual identity, courtesy of ODA.
So, why the need for a refresh, you ask? Well, it turns out that people just didn’t get what Which? was all about.
Internal research revealed that most people had a very one-dimensional view of the company, seeing it as nothing more than a review site for fridges and hoovers (yawn). There’s a lot more to Which? than that, so the tricky challenge for ODA was to create a brand identity that was broad enough to truly encompass the breadth of the company’s offering.
And that’s where the new wordmark comes into play. Previously, the old Which? wordmark was a bit of a grammatical nightmare, where the brand name’s extra question mark was just hanging out in the middle of a sentence. For instance, take the sentence, “Which? hoover is the best?” – it just doesn’t make any sense.
So, ODA reimagined the logo as a “positive actionable” graphic asset, rather than the static red logo we’re used to. But here’s where it gets good – it expands and contracts as needed, creating space for the question. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, it can even be filled with an image whereby the audience can fill in the gap.
Here’s the logo in action:
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Though that’s the main change, ODA also introduced more colours to the Which? branding, rather than just the simple signature red. This gives the brand that modern edge, appealing to a larger audience and simply making the brand look more attractive in the digital world. Overall, the whole premise is pretty impressive.
Hold onto your TV remotes, because Channel 4 has also undergone a major rebranding! Teaming up with Pentagram, 4creative reformed the Channel 4 identity to bring to life a rebrand that hails back to the good ol’ days of the streaming platform.
Bringing the focus back up to the classic Lambie-Nairn logo, this throwback is a major shift from the broken block logo that was established by DBLG, Jonathan Glazer and Neville Brody eight years prior. Now, using a redrawn version of the original logo, the repositioning began in a bid to ensure the brand can live successfully and seamlessly across all platforms – in a world where streaming and social media is paramount.
The main, and most noticeable, changes are the new bold green masterbrand colour, as well as an expansion of Neville Brody’s original font family – which now includes variable condensed and extended styles. This rebrand is all about staying fresh and relevant.
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But wait, there’s more! A set of “4mojis” has been added to the brand’s typeface to bring a unified language that can be used on both print and digital means – whether it be a digital icon on the streaming player or physical signage in the offices.
All in all, the main goal was to translate the rebellious, creative nature of 4, all while ensuring the brand stays clear and cohesive across channels – a tricky task for 4creative and Pentagram. However, we think they nailed it.
We’ve seen a whole wealth of exciting innovations and announcements in May for the world of Search, mostly from the bigwigs over at Google. Let’s take a look:
Ready to play a part in Google’s latest updates? Let us introduce you to Search Labs – Google’s new way to open up their latest products, ideas and experiments to its users.
Every year, Google conducts an abundance of tests and research projects to ensure the search engine is always one step ahead in providing the best user experience. And now, they’re inviting you to join them on this exciting journey.
At the moment, there’s a few limited-time experiments in play. We’ve got Code Tips, which harnesses the power of large language models to provide pointers for writing code, all the way to Add Sheets, which was designed to make research and trip-planning a whole lot easier by inserting search results directly into a spreadsheet. Clearly, Search Labs is home to innovation.
The latest experiment, Search Generative Experience (SGE), is an exciting one – bringing the power of generative AI directly into Google Search. With SGE, you can experience AI-generated content that is tailored to your specific needs. More on that in our next point…
Anyway, the aim of Search Labs is to allow Google to share their experiments and welcome feedback. User input is important, helping Google better understand how they can make adjustments and improvements that make Search better, easier to use and more accessible for everyone.
Although this feature is currently only available in the US, it’s a really exciting way for Google to improve, expand and evolve. We’re already looking forward to what’s next from Google HQ!
We briefly mentioned Search Generative Experience (SGE) above, one of the various experiments Google is rolling out as a part of the Search Labs launch. SGE is a huge breakthrough in generative AI, and users can now test out these capabilities in Search Labs.
The aim of SGE is to take more of the work out of searching, so users can understand a topic even faster, uncover new insights quickly and essentially, get things done more efficiently and effectively.
Let’s use a scenario as an example – imagine you’re planning a day out with the family and you’re unsure which location will be best. Typically, you’d Google various locations, piece the information together and compare them all yourself. Instead, using SGE, you can input both locations together in the search engine and ask Google which is better for your circumstances, and AI will get straight to work with a snapshot of key information to consider, further links to continue exploring and even follow-up questions you might want to consider.
Similarly, generative AI is there to help with purchasing decisions, too. Expect a snapshot of all the noteworthy factors you’d want to consider before making a purchase – such as up-to-date reviews, ratings, prices and product images. Built on Google’s Shopping Graph – an extensive, comprehensive dataset of products, sellers, brands, reviews and more – AI is set to make the shopping experience easy, simple and reliable.
This is just two of the many ways generative AI is transforming search, as part of the launch of Google Search Labs. US-users can sign up today to start testing these new updates, but for now, we’ll sit here and wait patiently across the pond…
Google I/O 2023 – an annual event for developers and consumers interested in the latest Google innovations – featured various announcements, giving its audience a sneak peek at what’s to come. Here’s a quick overview:
SEO is being split into three new areas: AI Snapshot, non-AI results and Perspectives.
The ‘AI Snapshot’ is Google’s way of providing detailed, thorough answers to longtail queries – something Google didn’t previously have the knack for. Searchers will get a direct answer to their query and a link to three relevant web pages. So, expect to see a competition for ranking in the AI Snapshot link carousel!
Perspectives, on the other hand, is another exciting feature that will help source answers from various websites, including Reddit, Stack Overflow, YouTube, personal blogs and more. When it rolls out, you’ll see a new section at the top of your search, which you can tap into and enjoy a feed of videos, Reddit comments, blog posts and more. That way, searchers can gain answers from an actual human perspective and skip through a load of SEO-optimised content that doesn’t actually answer anything.
Expect to see image and thumbnail optimisation, brand combination searches, links/mentions and reviews grow in importance. Let’s take a look at image thumbnail optimisation as an example. Naturally, as humans, we’re drawn to images, so thumbnail optimisation is crucial to stand out – using AI Snapshots, Perspectives and more to do so.
Clearly, SEOs need to get a handle on utilising AI to unleash its potential and keep up the pace. A new set of skills is in order, and they need to be picked up – stat. Learning how to optimise for AI results, knowing when to target non-AI results and when to leave those optimisations on the bench, as well as how these changes will affect SEO signals relating to user experience and performance will become imperative. (Psst! If this all sounds a little daunting and you’d like some help, we offer expert SEO services to ensure you stay ahead of the curve!)
And that’s only a minor snippet. To learn more about the latest going on at Google HQ – click here.
Updates, updates and you guessed it, more updates. May was a busy month (like every other month) for PPC, so we won’t keep you waiting:
At a recent conference – Google Marketing Live 2023 – Google announced various advancements for Google Ads, Performance Max and more, thanks to generative AI opening up new possibilities.
First up, in Google Ads, the AI will scour over your landing pages and ads, refining, reducing and suggesting ideas to elevate your content – generating new keywords, headlines, images and other assets for your campaigns. That way, you can create a more conversational, audience-friendly approach to your ads, and optimise your campaigns as a result.
Now onto Performance Max, where Google debuted how generative AI will help businesses thrive and grow. By incorporating generative AI into Performance Max, the technology will get to know your website and brand, populating your campaigns with text, assets and unique images that it thinks are relevant. As a result, streamlining the creation of custom assets.
And then rewinding back to the hot topic of this month’s roundup – Search Generative Experience – for a second, Google showed us a new way for advertisements to be experienced using SGE. Testing is rolling out to see how Search and Shopping ads can be integrated with AI, and demonstrations from the event highlighted how adverts could be situated above and below the AI-powered snapshots.
To learn more about these AI-advancements, take a look at the full article here.
The time has come to say goodbye to Merchant Center, and hello to a new and improved version – Merchant Center Next.
Updated with the intentions of being easier and simpler, Merchant Center Next was revealed at the Google Marketing Live 2023 event. Users can expect the look and feel of Merchant Center to be different overall, but there’s also a few new features to look forward to as well.
Notably, products can now be automatically populated from a merchant’s website, easing up the previously manual process of setting up a product feed with imagery, pricing, descriptions and more.
While some Merchant Center users are already seeing Merchant Center Next on their screens, the plan is for the complete rollout to be made available in 2024.
Soon enough, Google Ads users will see two very exciting campaign types coming to the platform that will help with two important needs: video views and demand generation. Again, we learnt about this one at the Google Marketing Live 2023 event (clearly, it was a very busy day!).
So, here’s what we know about these new campaign types:
Video views: Simply put, this is here to help advertisers maximise views, with advertisers already reporting on average 40% more views than in-steam skippable CPV campaigns, according to reports from Google. Combining various formats, including in-feed ads and Short ads, this campaign type is set for global launch next month.
Demand generation: Next up, new demand generation campaigns work by harnessing the power of AI to drive consumer action, working across YouTube Shorts, YouTube in-stream, YouTube in-feed, Discover and Gmail placements.
Anyway, both campaign types offer specific video-first options to help maximise budgets – great news all-round for advertisers!
And that’s it! Spring is coming to an end and summer is almost upon us – the perfect time to freshen up your marketing!
From SEO to PPC, all the way to graphic design and social media, we’ve got a lot of skills under our belts to help you get prepared for a summer of results.
5 June 2023
5 Trends Shaping Social in 2023
Still the same great data driven services, but now with a different name