Digital Dose: January 22-February 4

Your biweekly dose of trending news from the digital universe, courtesy of the Spectrum media team. Subscribe to receive Digital Dose directly to your inbox.

Study Identifies Visual Characteristics That Make People ‘Like’ Images on Instagram

NC State

Ever wonder what makes people 'like' an image on Instagram? Researchers at NC State University discovered it's a combination of six things:

  1. Distribution of color
  2. Distribution of luminance
  3. Number of edges
  4. Number of objects
  5. Regularity of objects
  6. Symmetry

They then took over 140,000 images and put them through a program that automatically generated scores for each of these six measures. The results? The best performing images had some diversity in light and color, but not extreme in either way. On the other hand, images that were either very complex or very simple also performed well. Read More

So what?
Creating eye-catching images on Instagram is crucial to any Instagram campaign. However, while this study may be helpful in better understanding what is most scientifically pleasing to the eye, it doesn't account for other less visual factors like relevance and accuracy, which are also key for engaging audiences.

Website's Use of Google Analytics Determine GDPR Violation

Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images

An Austrian court ruled the use of Google Analytics on a medical news site breached the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Due to a possible configuration error, the site did not activate the IP anonymization function, allowing Google Analytics to identify users and making this data personally identifiable information (PII) – a direct violation of the GDPR.

The primary concern lies not with Google Analytics itself, but the broader practice of outsourcing data from the EU to U.S. providers, even if employing pseudonymous tracking efforts. America’s Cloud Act requires all U.S. companies to provide access to data to U.S. intelligence services regardless of where the data is stored while the GDPR expressly prevents EU citizens from being surveilled by any third-party country or international organizations. If EU users are able to be identified in data sent to the U.S., the U.S. would be able to surveil EU citizens per these conflicting laws. Read More

So what?
While we have yet to see how legislation will evolve around pseudonymous tracking, Austria's decision against Google is expected to be the first of many in 2022 as U.S. surveillance and European privacy legislation continue to be at odds. Privacy compliance will remain a key component of marketing intelligence and should be incorporated as a standard practice when constructing advertising campaigns. It is vital that companies have a plan to regularly audit and update their platform configurations relating to ID synchronization, data collection and sharing options across their entire mar-tech stack according to the latest guidance and regulations.

Twitter Announces Updates to Performance Advertising and Measurement


Twitter recently announced updates to its advertising offerings. The announcement article details the platform's improved advertising capabilities, provides a breakdown on performance ads during the past year, and acknowledges the company's continued efforts to build new products with a privacy focus.

The most notable updates to Twitter advertising include:

  • The introduction of Twitter Click ID, a first-party click ID parameter that provides a reliable method to measure people who visit a site after clicking on a Twitter ad
  • The addition of multi-destination functionality for Carousels driving to a website; with Multi-Destination Carousels, advertisers can now customize headlines and landing pages to help drive the right actions for their audiences.
  • The rebuild of their App Installs objective, which includes enhanced creative formats, improved prediction and supply, easier campaign setup and management, and improved measurement

Read More

So what?
These updates provide social advertisers with lots of opportunities to optimize their advertising efforts on Twitter. In particular, the new Twitter Click ID provides a reliable method to measure website traffic from Twitter ads, giving advertisers a long-term measurement solution in a cookie-less advertising world.

Google Testing "Favicons" In Text Ads

Search Engine Land

Despite having limitations on emoji use in text ads, Google has begun a small test of product-based emojis to help users quickly identify advertisers. This test was first widely noticed when a user shared a screenshot of an Uber Eats ad that featured a "Favicon" of a pizza image next to an Uber Eats ad. When asked, Ginny Marvin, a Google Ads Product Liaison, stated the test was being done as a "...part of a series of small experiments to help users more easily identify the brand or advertiser associated with the Search ads they may see for a given query.” Read More

So what?
Allowing advertisers to incorporate emojis into text ads could be beneficial in helping brands stand out amongst a sea of text. However, while emojis are a key way of communicating (and are already used in other ad formats), they are often seen as somewhat lighthearted. With that said, it remains to be seen how relevant this might be for certain health and pharmaceutical advertisers, especially when it comes to serious issues.

Digital Dose Trivia

What was the most used emoji in the world in 2021?

Parag Agrawal is the CTO of Twitter.

*No Googling/cheating! Send the social team your best guesses!

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