Links of the Week #5: Google Video Ads, News Media, Selfie Sticks, & Phone Calls


Google is testing promoted video ads on the Search Results Page

If you needed any more proof that video content is becoming increasingly important to promoting your brand online today then here you go. It seems that Google is beginning to test video ads directly in Search Results Pages, finally adding something new to the traditional ‘three lines of text and a link’ ads that we’re all used to. This opens up a whole new outlet for promoting your video content to a mass audience which, until now, has pretty much only been possible through YouTube and Facebook. This also calls for a different approach to video creation, catering to intent-based searches, such as for specific product information etc. Not to mention the potential of search hijacking your competitors — imagine Samsung sticking up video ads for the Galaxy S6 next to searches for the iPhone 6!

Either way, I think Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) design has long been in need of a revamp, and making it more visual and interactive will provide for a more pleasing experience for users.

Vice and CNN are in a battle royale for the future of the news

The news industry is in a state of flux at the moment. Even ignoring the decline of print and the growth in ad-blockers, with so many different news outlets available online today, users are spoilt for choice and the race for eyeballs is fierce. With the lines between digital and TV media publishers continuing to blur, Fast Company looks at how the gap between traditional news channels (like CNN) and digitally native outlets (such as Vice) has shrunk over the last couple of years. One interesting note to point out is the fact that Vice has an in-house agency called Virtue that produces “fresh content for brands—published on its site and anywhere else on the web—that still feels like stuff its viewers want to watch”.

The Decline of the Phone Call

Not so long ago, mobile phones used to be used primarily for one thing. Making phone calls. Not so anymore. This article discusses the different reasons that have sidelined the humble phonecall, mainly the fact that today’s mobile-savvy youth have grown up using SMS and Instant Messaging apps, but also less obvious reasons like the fact that making calls on a mobile has always been an unreliable experience when compared to how we used to make calls with the traditional landline (i.e. mobile calls have to deal with poor signal, background noise etc.) But this raises the concern that, as more and more people avoid telephone calls, are we risking the degradation of our verbal communication skills? Either way, you

still can’t beat a quick phone when you need grab someone’s attention or get a response to something and don’t want to risk the likelihood of an email or text being ignored.

What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves

It might not come as surprise, but according to research outlined in this New York Times profile, people who take a lot of selfies “tend to have narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits”. Selfie Sticks are one of the most annoying physical embodiments of our digital world. Even so, it’s interesting to hear of the different ways in which people’s behaviour re: online sharing has developed over recent years, and the role that selfies in particular have in many people’s sense of self in the digital world.

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