April 30, 2019

The Figaro Digital Monthly Digest: April 2019

Easter isn’t just about stuffing yourself silly with chocolate and feeling bad about yourself post-binge. Well, it is about that, but marketers and brands need to keep busy as Easter spending is the second-biggest opportunity of the year. The combination of time off work, full bellies, and a treat your self mentality, sees a massive rise in traffic and spending.

As always, the unpredictable world of digital marketing reacted to this opportunity in interesting and surprising ways:

The Latest Social News

Twitter Acqui-Hires Quote-Sharing App Highly

Over the past few months, Twitter has made concerted efforts to make its platform more conversational. After a slew of incremental changes on the platform, the social media giant has now acqui-hired quote-sharing app Highly.

Highly has software with the capability of providing an informational and succinct snapshot of an article by highlighting quotes. Essentially, users can highlight sections of an article and share the quotes to social media directly, thus making discussions around content more focused and specific.

So far, Highly has been optimised around news. Responding to the acquisition, a Twitter spokesperson immediately linked the app to an attempt to increase the platform’s depth for conversation:

“We are excited to welcome the Highly team to Twitter. Their expertise will accelerate our product and design thinking around making Twitter more conversational.”

As part of Highly’s integration, the platform and its staff will cease work with iOS and Slack and become a new branch of the Twitter business.

Facebook Defies Expectations With Stories

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Facebook introduced its stories component, but it has seen greater success than anticipated. When stories were first introduced, users and agencies alike saw it as a desperate ploy to borrow from Snapchat and Instagram, but this month it passed 500 million daily users.

Mark Zuckerberg himself revealed the stat for himself on a call with investors, while also revealing that three million advertisers have utilised the service. While most people are pretty ambivalent to stories, a lot of users and brands are seeing its potential.

Instagram Is Experimenting With Hiding Likes And Influencers Feel Threatened

Trouble in paradise? Instagram has rocked the boat with its influencer user base by revealing it is experimenting with removing numbered likes and followers. The news was confirmed by Jane Manchun Wong, a notorious social media reverse-engineer:

As the image above shows, posts will no longer number the amount of likes a post has and will instead simply list them as “others”. This change will make it increasingly difficult for brands and agencies to sift out those with fake followers, as well as making it harder to find reputable influencers to use. A pop-up message, as seen in the bottom right of image, appears to explain Instagram’s thought process:

“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”

Taking a leaf out of Twitter’s book, it appears Instagram is serious about liking posts based on content alone as opposed to status, fame or follower count. If this change goes ahead, it will make it difficult for influencers to prove engagement easily. Users can still see their own likes, but Instagram’s attempts to reduce “like competition” may end up limiting its influencers’ ambitions.

The Latest Google News

DuckDuckGo, The Only Search Engine To Rival Google In Organic Search Growth

While DuckDuckGo is still a minnow in comparison to Google, it is the only major search engine to rival the giant in organic search growth in Q1 2019. Google saw an overall increase of 6 per cent on mobile with a 2 per cent decrease overall. DuckDuckGo, by comparison, saw a 54 per cent increase overall with a staggering 78 per cent increase on mobile. Bing and Yahoo saw decreases across the board, but Google will be concerned by DuckDuckGo’s major USP: privacy.

Google Makes Finding Work-From-Home Jobs Easier

Google has continued innovations in its job-searching functionality by making it easier to find work-from-home jobs. By using Schema.org information, Google has improved how it can determine job locations and requirements, so it can identify unique needs.

It’s an exciting opportunity for job-searching websites and marketers as it appears Google is opting for a more collaborative approach in the industry. Businesses which use Google’s Cloud Talent Solution, for example, will be able to advertise work-from-home positions easily.

The Latest In Brands

ASOS Profits Take 87 Per Cent Hit Following Microsite Experimentation

Clothing giant ASOS has recorded an 87 per cent decrease in profits after what can only be described as an SEO disaster. Despite a 13-14 per cent increase in revenue, this almost 90 per cent loss in profits was down to two failings: ASOS’s return policy and its decision to create 200 microsites.

By integrating customer navigation changes to the site and creating these microsites, ASOS saw a big dip in SEO authority and traffic. Even for giant brands like ASOS, SEO is still paramount.

Lush UK Signs Off Of Social Media For Good

The UK branch of beauty brand Lush is taking a big risk and is signing off of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for good. In a statement of surprising transparency, the retailer states it was “tired of fighting with algorithms” and that “social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly”. Instead of social media, Lush will be prioritising its monthly newsletter as a means for engagement, as well as entrusting its phone, email and live chat functionalities:


In lieu of a social media profile, Lush will be using a hashtag so its influencers and customers can still effectively market the brand on social. By using the #LushCommunity hashtag, Lush has managed to maintain social influence without having an active profile.

While the response was initially positive from its community, experts have their reservations about ditching social. Speaking to ITV News, Tony Oakley, Head of Digital at Medialab, said that the “move could allow Lush to […] [play] into competitors’ hands”.

Our Favourite Campaign Of The Month

Carlsberg Changes the Promoted Tweets Game

Carlsberg’s marketing campaign for its new lager recipe eschewed the brand’s previous reliance on hyperbole for brutal honesty. The well-known tagline, “Probably The Best Beer In The World”, was promptly changed to say that it was “Probably Not” the best lager available.

What kicked off this honesty-driven campaign, though, was the brands ingenious use of promoted tweets. Instead of following the usual logic of promoting positive tweets, Carlsberg promoted tweets that were negative about the product, including one that said the beer “[tasted] like stale breadsticks”:

Carlsberg has made its name on its over-the-top slant to marketing, so this change to honesty, even if it’s carefully manufactured, is refreshing. Liam Newton, Vice-President of Marketing for Carlsberg, spoke to Marketing Week and revealed the thinking behind the campaign:

“What we wanted to do was try to be quite disruptive […] to be honest, bold, direct and witty in our tone of voice. You have to be disruptive to stand out in a world of wallpaper advertising and where people are cynical about brand relaunches”.

“The spirit of what we’re saying and the challenge around the brew is going, ‘OK [we hear the criticism], we’ve moved on, this is what our new brew is about.”

While the video and images that followed were also captivating, this entire campaign was laid on the foundation of inventive use of Twitter. Without that, interest would not have piqued the way it did.

Get the Latest News

Please take a look at more of our articles for the latest news updates, guides, and opinion pieces, or discover our digital marketing events for more in-depth learning.