This week, we dive into some of the top news stories for small businesses. Facebook announced new ways creators can make money off their content on Instagram, Commonwealth Bank revealed new zero-interest credit cards for small business owners and much more! Keep reading for your weekly news refresh, every Friday.
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash.
Top Tech, Digital and Business News from 27 – 30 April 2021
Tuesday, 27 April 2021
iOS 14.5 Update Available Now
Apple’s iOS 14.5 update has started rolling out on both iPhones and iPads, bringing some much-needed and also controversial features.
Users with an Apple Watch can set their iPhone to automatically unlock without a passcode or using face recognition, as long as their Apple smartwatch is on their wrist.
New emojis are also being released to focus on inclusivity.
Another feature is App Tracking Transparency, which allows users to decide which apps can track their activity across other websites and apps for advertising purposes. This has been controversial in the business world, with the update impacting ad results for ill-prepared businesses advertising through apps like Facebook. Businesses wanting to know more can message us for support.
Google New Policies to Combat Bad Apps & Developers
Google is introducing new policies to help protect users against bad apps and developers, as well as misleading, harmful or false information. The features will prioritise providing a safe experience for Google Play users.
- COVID-19 app Requirements: COVID-19 apps must be supported by government or healthcare organisations.
- Election support: Google Play has rolled out new teams to support government agencies and address election threats and abuse.
- News policy: Developers making News Apps must meet strict minimum requirements to label their app as a “News” app on Google Play.
Facebook Improves News Feed Ranking
Facebook is sharing their plans on how they’re going to improve users’ news feeds. In the coming months, Facebook users will be asked to provide feedback in different ways, like surveys. The surveys will ask users if a certain post on their news feed was worth their time, and their answer will rank that type of content higher or lower on their feed.
Four ways Facebook is collecting feedback:
- Is this post interesting?
- Is this post inspirational?
- Do you want to hide this post?
- Do you want to see less of these posts?
It’s unknown if Facebook will provide this information to business accounts at this time.
Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Facebook Announces New Ways Instagram Creators Can Make Money
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday new features for Instagram creators to make money on the platform:
- Marketplace: A new marketplace connecting brands with creators who resonate with the brand’s desired audience, which also aims to help brands discover emerging creators.
- Affiliate marketplace: An affiliate marketplace will allow creators to get a percentage of sales for products they recommended in their content.
- Creator shops: Creators can sell goods to other users directly through their profiles.
Currently, there’s no exact date for these features to roll out, but we’ll update you when we hear more.
TikTok Launches Radio Station in Australia with ARN’s iHeartRadio
TikTok and Australian Radio Network’s iHeartRadio have teamed up to launch their new pop-up radio station called TikTok Trending.
It’s exclusive to Australia and will give advertisers the ability to run integrated campaigns through both TikTok and iHeartRadio platforms, tapping into both new and traditional channels.
The new station will be available 24/7 for the next three months via iHeartRadio, the iHeartRadio app, smart devices and DAB+ digital radio in select markets.
Seven Strikes Deal with Weatherzone for Better Audience Insights
Seven Network has partnered with Weatherzone to bring more location data insights to its 7RediQ offering for advertisers. Advertisers will be able to better target relevant audiences by capturing location data of people using 7plus and the Weatherzone app.
Currently, about 6 million people use 7plus, which can now be better segmented by location through this partnership. This means advertisers can better understand audience behaviours, especially as travel restrictions ease and certain demographics begin to travel again.
Thursday, 29 April 2021
Spotify Announces Podcast Subscriptions as Podcast Listeners Increase
Spotify is launching podcast subscriptions to help creators monetise more content. Currently the tool is available in the music app’s podcast platform Anchor, giving creators the ability to make certain episodes accessible by paid subscribers only.
This comes as a study by Infinite Dial found 37% of Australians over 12 years of age are listening to podcasts each month, a 25% increase compared to the year before.
The Spotify feature is being tested with 12 creators in the U.S. who can choose to charge subscriptions at $2.99, $4.99 or $7.99 per month. Spotify plans to make the new monetisation feature free for creators for the next two years, but plans to introduce a 5% fee starting in 2023.
Australia’s Competition Regulator Addresses Apple & Google’s App Dominance
The ACCC’s Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report was published yesterday, focusing on app marketplace competition and suggests new measures to make the playing field more just.
By addressing the dominance of Apple and Google and their ability to promote their apps over other competitors, the ACCC is addressing their market power by proposing new requirements to better regulate the tech giants while giving emerging app developers a better chance to be successful.
Google’s Three New Search Result Features for Travellers
Google has announced three new features for those ready to travel by helping them plan their next trip. The three new features include:
- COVID-19 Advisory: When searching for travel information, Google will let the searcher know of current COVID-19 travel restrictions for the location they’re searching for.
- Explore Update: Users can use Explore for destination ideas by heading to Google.com/travel and selecting the Explore tab. With more filters available, users can specify their interest to find more relevant results.
- Planning road trips: When planning your drive on Google Maps on desktop, recommendations for places to stop will be displayed along the map. If you select a place to stop, like a hotel or rest stop, users can send the directions to their phone via email, Google Maps app or text.
Friday, 30 April 2021
Commbank Announces New Zero-Interest Credit Cards for Small Businesses
Commonwealth Bank is set to launch zero-interest credit cards for small businesses to support emerging entrepreneurs and compete with zero-interest competitors, like buy now, pay later giant Zip Co.
With younger demographics used to zero-interest options like AfterPay, there are less people using traditional credit cards, which can come with high interest rates and more potential to incur debt.
The new cards are set to give small businesses better access to essential funds, with credit amounts up to $3,000, which are then repaid in installments.
Victorian Grant Program Reopens After 12,000 Businesses Were Denied the COVID-19 Relief Package
The Victorian COVID-19 grants scheme released in March 2020 is reopening to the 12,000 businesses it denied, after Ombudsman Deborah Glass found many applications were denied due to small errors and complex application systems.
With businesses in need of financial support, being rejected for honest mistakes, being understaffed and complex systems, the Victorian Government will be reopening the grants to the businesses it originally denied.
Businesses Need to Deal with Negative Reviews Correctly in 2021
Australian Digital Marketing Service Localsearch has revealed 9% of the 29,000 reviewed submitted on localsearch.com.au in the last 12 months were not a 5-star review. Data from 1 January 2021 to 15 April 2021 also showed the main reason customers left a 1 to 3 star review was due to poor customer service or communication.
However, businesses can make a positive out of a negative by handling negative reviews in a helpful way:
- Thank the customer for their feedback.
- Address it if you want to resolve the issue and either contact the reviewer directly (if known) or prompt them to contact you.
- If you believe the review breaches the ACCC’s guidelines, you can request it to be removed through the individual platform.
Negative reviews are a great way to show your business’s positive attitude and professionalism as you deal with a not-always-easy situation, which can leave a positive impact on potential customers.
For more information, visit business.localsearch.com.au/blog.