December is upon us, and with it comes Christmas adverts, a crazy full diary and probably a few extra pounds around everyone’s waist.

Let’s not forget all about November just yet though, as a lot happened in the world of PR and social media, so grab yourself a mince pie and catch up here.

Instagram goes to war on bots

Instagram has announced that it has developed tools that allows it to identify accounts that are using third-party services and apps to artificially boost their following and popularity.

Since its inception, Instagram has been an invaluable tool for online influencers to amass large follower bases and grow their online presence. As one might expect, influencers have been able to monetise their social media followings, and figures can often be scaled up to match the number of followers and potential reach an influencer has. This means that underhand methods have increased, allowing accounts to seem more popular than they are.

An online investigation by the marketing agency MediaKitz last year showed just how easy it is to become a fake influencer. Some popular apps that were the backbone of users boosting their followings have recently been shut down. However, there are many services which offer monthly subscriptions fees, in return for a steady supply of followers which are still in operation.

It will be interesting to monitor this situation and see if there are any notable casualties following the changes.

Instagram introduce new features

It would appear November was a busy month for Instagram, as it announced a new type of advert for stories, called ‘promote’.

Promote allows Instagram business pages to show their fleeting stories to more users, without doing any more work. Admins can choose to auto-target users which Instagram deems similar to its followers, or they can choose to target people based on location.

On top of this, businesses can combine Instagram’s collective knowledge and targeting parameters to insert their stories into a queue of more users as an ad, which can directly link to the business’ Instagram profile or site.

This feature allows smaller businesses easier access to the possibility of advertising on the app. Before, making a tailored ad to fit on a full screen video was a daunting task, however now an existing story can easily become an ad.

Instagram also announced its launch of Instagram analytics, an expansion on the previous system which would simply count different types of engagement and its content, such as new followers, web clicks, post impressions and story exits.

Businesses can now track lifetime value and retention rates for people who do or don’t interact with their content and create audience segments to see if people who commented on a particular post generate more value for them. They can also analyse how their Instagram audience overlaps with people who visit their site, download their app or like their Facebook Page.

The John Lewis Christmas advert(s) have landed!

It’s that time of year again, the UK retail market are pulling out all the stops as Christmas approaches. John Lewis, among many others revealed its annual Christmas advert to the elation of many.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it features a heart-warming look back at Elton John receiving his first piano, have a look here:

Whilst the advert with its mega budget and superstar cast was talked about across the world, the real star of the show this year was not John Lewis, it was in fact, John Lewis.

Confused? Let us clear that up:

We’re not talking about John Lewis the retail store, we are, in fact, talking about John Lewis a Virginia-based lecturer who just happens to own the Twitter handle @JohnLewis.

Last year alone John received over 50,000 tweets, with people confusing him for the retail store. This doesn’t turn him away however, he seems to enjoy the confusion, and his wit in the replies has earned him over 40,000 followers.

This year, Twitter UK decided to feature him exclusively in their Christmas film, with the message #NotARetailStore.

Lidl also had a rather brilliant, rather cheeky response to the John Lewis advert;

Which is your favourite Christmas advert this year?


Instagram introduces 4 new features for shoppers and over-shoppers and it looks as if tweets may soon be editable.

We’ve only got one more roundup of the year to do now for 2018, where has that gone! Check back in a month or so to see what happened in December.

And follow us on social media for more news and updates from the whole team.

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