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Instagram Accidentally Released Horizontal Scrolling Interface Update

  • What was meant to be a small-scale test for Instagram accidentally reached thousands of users, and it did not receive a positive response. Users viewed the horizontal feed as a step backward, and that reduced the overall user experience.
  • Within a few minutes of going live, the horizontal feed reverted to the vertical scroll. Despite this change being very short term, Instagram received harsh feedback on social media, with people advising users to leave Instagram and turn to Twitter instead.
  • Why does this matter? This mishap is a reminder to be very mindful with all updates. From an SEO perspective, be particularly cognizant when making major changes to your site (e.g. site migration, interface changes). Consider the user’s experience, the time of year, and understand that people are averse to change. All major changes should be well thought out and deliberately planned, and ramifications should be considered.

Google’s Featured Snippets Can Now Take You Directly To Your Answer

  • For mobile search results on Google that return both an AMP page and a featured snippet, Google can now link to the spot of the answer and highlight the relevant text to your query.
  • While this change enhances the user experience and provides instant gratification to users, it may have a negative impact on SEO metrics. This new feature allows users to skip your header and ads, and can ultimately impact conversion rates.
  • Make sure to monitor your metrics and pay attention to how this new functionality is impacting user engagement. Depending on the impact this update has on your website, think about potentially restructuring your pages.

The Penetration of Smart Speakers Internationally

  • Smart speakers faced initial resistance due to concerns about privacy and data collection. However, despite these concerns, smart speakers are increasingly popular across the globe.
  • eMarketer’s study analyzed trends in the smart speakers market. A few noteworthy facts:
    • “We forecast that 8% of US smart speaker users will listen to music on the device this year, ahead of those using it for inquiries (73.0%).”
    • “China will be home to 85.5 million smart speaker users in 2019, surpassing the 74.2 million in the US. However, penetration will be higher in the US (26.0% of internet users) than in China (10.0%).”
    • “The number of smart speaker users in China has more than doubled each year since 2016 and will reach 85.5 million users in 2019, a 150.0% increase over 2018. Low pricing, improving voice recognition and better integration with smart home products will drive double-digit growth through 2020”
    • In France and Germany, early adoption is being driven by a large audience of tech-savvy consumers looking to control smart home functions in their household, with penetration reaching 14.0% of internet users in France and 17.2% in Germany.
  • All in all, the data shows that smart speakers are widely expanding and gaining mainstream acceptance.

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