New data reveals how many TikTok users have reported buying something after seeing it on the platform, Instagram and Microsoft are moving towards more inclusive products for people with disabilities and more grants for small businesses were announced this week. Continue reading for all the latest top tech, digital and business news from this week.
Photo by Leon on Unsplash.
Top Tech, Digital and Business News from 4 – 7 May 2021
Tuesday, 4 May 2021
The Queensland Government is rolling out three new $25 million grant programs over two years. Announced on 1 May 2021, the three grants are supporting Queensland Small Business Month and will aid thousands of struggling businesses. The three grants include:
- Business Basics grants: up to $5,000 for emerging businesses.
- Business Boost grants: up to $15,000 for SMEs to improve their productivity.
- Business Growth Fund grants: up to $50,000 for businesses to purchase special equipment and technology to accelerate their growth.
For more information, head to: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/92000.
Facebook & Instagram iOS 14.5 Notifications Educate Users of Personalised Ads
The roll out of the iOS 14.5 update means app developers are now required to give users the option to opt-in or opt-out of using their data.
Social media giant Facebook has been vocal about the impacts this would have on both small businesses and users, now adding the benefits of opting in to the app using their data on their opt-out message. These include:
- Receiving personalised ads for what they’re interested in.
- Helping keep the apps free for users.
- Supporting businesses by receiving the most relevant ads.
Federal Government Launches $130 Million Support Package for Australian Travel Agents
The Australian Federal Government has launched its second round of support for travel agents, providing $130 million to the sector.
Australian travel agents can receive payments from $7,500 up to $100,000 through the Consumer Travel Support Program, helping the businesses provide customers with refunds and follow up additional travel credits.
Wednesday, 5 May 2021
Are you going to have to start paying to use Twitter? This news may say so…
Twitter has acquired subscription-based service Scroll, which removes advertisements from news sites. It’s said the micro-posting social platform is planning on a future subscription-based service, allowing users to pay to not see ads, while supporting journalists.
Yesterday, Twitter also released their live audio feature, Spaces, to accounts with more than 600 followers, allowing them to host audio conversations with their followers.
While the platform is looking to work on a subscription basis, they’re also working on more monetisation features.
YouTube announced today their new plans for making shopping a smooth experience on their platform. The feature, called Brand Extensions, will let users learn more about a product they see in an advertisement by clicking a call to action button on the ad.
However, instead of pausing the video they’re trying to watch, the call-to-actions, like ‘send to phone’, will send them a link to the website or product page so they can view the product later, when they want to.
Advertisers will also be able to better place their ads in front of the correct audience, based on the video content. For example, a makeup tutorial video may feature a brand extension showing a set of makeup brushes.
Instagram has released a new text feature for Stories, which will automatically transcribe speech recognised in videos. The feature is in the form of a sticker, which can be placed, coloured and resized on the video to show viewers text of what’s being said.
Currently, the feature is only available in English and English-speaking countries, but the platform plans to roll it out in more languages and countries in the future. Having captions for videos makes them more engaging and more inclusive, which we’ve already seen on platforms like TikTok.
Thursday, 6 May 2021
Microsoft has announced a new five-year plan, which aims to make their software more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. They aim to focus on developing features for the workforce, workplace culture and accessible technologies.
The company will use artificial intelligence in Microsoft Word to find and change heading styles for readers with visual impairments, among other features they plan on rolling out to assist people with disabilities.
Australian Government Announces $225 Million in Excise Tax Relief for Small Distillers & Brewers
Australian small brewers and distillers will benefit from $225 million in excise tax relief, which the government announced on Monday, 3 May 2021. The plan aims to help support more jobs and investments, benefiting the businesses by allowing them to receive a full remission of any excise they pay, with a maximum amount of $350,000 annually (normally the annual cap is $100,000).
The $225 million initiative is part of the 2021–22 budget and will bring relief to the estimated 15,000 Aussies employed in this sector, along with the 600 brewers and 400 distillers operating in Australia.
Neighborhoods; Facebook’s Latest Community Feature
Facebook is set to launch Neighborhoods, a new feature on its app bringing suburbs together with neighbourhood-level news. This will allow users to create a secondary profile and customise it with its own bio and interests, which you can use to join your neighbourhood, or other nearby neighbourhoods.
Advertisers can also benefit from Neighborhoods, which will bring users targeted ads relevant to their behaviours.
Currently, this feature is only available in Canada and will be tested in the U.S. soon. When it becomes available in Australia, we’ll be sure to let you know!
Friday, 7 May 2021
New data from an Adweek-Morning Consult Survey has reportedly found 49% of TikTok users have purchased something after seeing it reviewed, promoted or advertised on the app.
Similar data shows 41% of users on Facebook have done the same through the Facebook app.
The data goes further into generational behaviour, showing 7 out 10 Gen Zers have a TikTok account, while 60% of millennials have had a purchasing decision influenced by Facebook
It goes to show the increasing value of platforms businesses often tend to avoid.
If You Have an App on the Google Play Store, You’ll Soon Have to Provide More Data Information to the Platform
Google has announced they will soon require Google Play store app developers to provide more privacy and security information about their apps.
Developers will need to explain what specific data is being collected and how it’s being used in a new ‘safety section’.
The new safety section isn’t expected until the first quarter of 2022, with developers not required to make changes until the second half of next year.
The Northern Territory Government has announced they are pumping an additional $2.8 million into extending the Home and Business Solar and Battery Scheme.
Under the scheme, homeowners and businesses can receive a $6,000 grant to:
- Buy and install a solar photovoltaic (PC) system with an eligible battery or inverter, or
- Buy and install an eligible battery and inverter to complement an existing solar PV system.
Businesses can utilise the grant to access affordable cleaner energy.
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