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Hello! Welcome to this week’s edition of The Connected Church News, where we bring you the Top 5 Digital and Social Media News each week for Leaders of Nonprofits, Churches, Ministries and Faith-driven Entrepreneurs.

We know you are busy. And we know that most of you don’t have the time to search the big world wide web for the current news that is relevant to you.

That is why each week we bring you the Top 5 Digital and Social Media News that you need to know for this week and present it to you in a short video format.

This week we look at news items related to YouTube, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Google.

📰 Top 5 Digital & Social Media News

🗞️ News #1 – Facebook releases new Sponsored Post option for group admins

News 1, The Connected Church news by Natchi Lazarus, Week 2, August 2020

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Our first big news of this week is about Facebook, specifically Facebook Groups. Last week, Facebook released an option for Facebook Group admins where they can publish posts in partnership with or on behalf of advertisers. This is ‘Branded content tag’ that comes into Groups now. To have this option inside your Facebook Group, you need to be… first, it has to be a public group. Second, it has to meet Facebook’s monetization eligibility standards. And it has to be in a country that is eligible for the partner program, apart from the Group being connected to a Facebook Page. So if you meet all these criteria, then do check out this new option from Facebook.

🗞️ News #2 – YouTube stops email notifications about channel uploads, live streams & premieres.

News 2, The Connected Church news by Natchi Lazarus, Week 2, August 2020

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Our next news is from YouTube. A couple of important announcements from YouTube last week. One is about the e-mail notifications that you got about a channel uploading a new video or when they go Live. You’ve probably seen those emails that say, “This channel is going live now” or “They have uploaded a new video”. Now, those emails are going to stop. Because YouTube says they did an experiment. And they noticed that only 0.1 percent of people actually open these emails. So, they think it doesn’t make much of a sense.

They are stopping it from August 13th, 2020. They also say that they did not observe any impact on the watch time when they experimented with turning off these emails. This is from the creator’s perspective. So if you as a nonprofit or a ministry have been dependent on this email notification that goes to your members and followers about your YouTube uploads and live streams, then you might want to be aware of the fact that these emails are not going to go out starting August 13th. That is the first news. The second is: YouTube has come out with a data, statistics report on how people’s ‘topic search’ has changed during this COVID season. It’s a new data that YouTube has released. And I will link to that in the show notes. You might want to have a look at it. It looks very interesting how people are changing their search behavior in YouTube.

🗞️ News #3 – Instagram officially releases Reels, even as TikTok’s future plans remain uncertain

News 3, The Connected Church news by Natchi Lazarus, Week 2, August 2020

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Our next news is about Instagram. Last week, Instagram officially rolled out Instagram Reels, the TikTok competitor feature within Instagram, around the world. They earlier tested it in a few markets, but now it is officially rolled out. The blog post contains various details of how you can go about creating Reels and the various features, etc. One of the things I wanted to highlight to you is the ‘sharing’ option.

If you are a public account on Instagram, which is what I think most ministries and nonprofits will be, you can share your results publicly on the Explore section, in a regular way. But the interesting thing is if you also have a private account, for example, let’s say you have a separate (private) account for your small groups or some other online community that you have, that is closed, then Instagram Reels follows your privacy settings on Instagram. Which means you can actually create Reels especially for youth group and young generation ministry. So this opens up new opportunities in which you can connect with younger people who are already on this kind of platform. They love TikTok videos. They keep creating these instant, funny, music-based videos. So think about this is an option for youth ministry.

🗞️ News #4 – Google announces a few expanded, new Audio Advertising options.

News 4, The Connected Church news by Natchi Lazarus, Week 2, August 2020

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Our next news is from Google. Last week, Google announced a series of audio advertising options on its platform. Now you can advertise using audio format on platforms like TuneIn and Spotify. Google says, “In 2020, U.S. adults are projected to listen to digital audio more than radio for the first time”. So not just U.S., I think all around the world, the consumption of podcasts and other audio forms of content is starting to grow. And this audio form of advertising can help you reach that audience.

Do check out this article. It talks about how Google is giving you different options, like if somebody is listening to the streaming music on their phone or their computer, Google can actually show a video ad in between, even though it is basically streaming music because they are using that screen. If you want it to be an audio-only ad, that option is also available. Do check out these options to promote your nonprofit or ministry.

🗞️ News #5 – Messenger chat plugin will now work on websites without a login

News 5, The Connected Church news by Natchi Lazarus, Week 2, August 2020

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Our final news of this week is a significant one when it comes to having a private chat option on your website. The Messenger team in Facebook have updated their chat plugin. Now, they say that “People who visit your website and see the messenger icon on your website can chat with you without logging in”. Now, this is significant, because people usually don’t go for this Facebook chat option because it keeps asking them for their Facebook login, which reduces ease of use. But now Facebook has removed that.

This means this has different applications from a ministry setting. You can minister to people using the chat icon without asking them to log in. They can log in as a guest and they will be able to chat with you. Do check out this option.

That’s all we have for you this week. Thank you for spending your time with us.

Have a wonderful week!

Do leave your comments, questions, feedback, and reviews. You can also email me: podcast@natchilazarus.com

We will bring you a fresh set of the latest Social Media news for you next week.

Until then, Stay Connected, Stay Blessed.

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