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Meta Verified – a desperate act? Bing AI advances; My four-day working rant; Search Console updates; Olive oil coffee; Best ads of the week & more

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery. Each week we cover the latest developments and everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing.

This week we cover:

  • Meta verified unveiled – a desperate act?
  • AI Bing advances
  • Search Console updates
  • Four-day working week a farce?
  • New Google Product Reviews Update
  • Social media skills in demand
  • Bizarre! Starbucks adds olive oil to coffee in Italy

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered this week and look ahead at key content dates coming up next week.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update…

Meta verified unveiled – a desperate act?

Creators on Facebook and Instagram can now subscribe to ‘Meta Verified’ and gain access to a blue tick. The announcement was made by Mark Zuckerberg this week who said the service would be initially launched in Australia and New Zealand first before being rolled out worldwide.

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Creators who sign up for the monthly Meta Verified subscription will receive the following benefits:

  • A verified badge, authenticated with a government ID.
  • More protection from impersonation.
  • Assistance from a real person for common account issues
  • Increased visibility and reach in search, comments and recommendations.
  • “Exclusive features to express yourself in unique ways” – which appears to be some exclusive stickers for use on Stories/Reels along with 100 free stars ($1) a month.

Meta Verified is not available for businesses and will cost individual creators between $11.99 and $14.99 USD a month. Zuckerberg said the new service is focused on “increasing authenticity and security across our services.”

But this simply means Meta is taking a leaf out of Elon Musk’s book to boost revenue numbers after declining revenue reports. Critics are calling the move desperate, a cash grab and the end of free social media.

Meta also stated “there will be no changes to accounts on Instagram and Facebook that are already verified”.

For advertisers who haven’t already been gifted with a free verification tick, the subscription could make sense to boost engagement and visibility. But I’m not seeing anything too exciting. With the tick now available to anyone willing to pay, it simply doesn’t signify what it used to.


AI Bing advances

Last week I picked up on the fact Microsoft and Google both released their AI search engine products with disappointing glitches. Somehow Bing got away with it, while Google got egg on its face and lost shareholder confidence.

This week several updates have surfaced that are worth knowing about:

  • Ads are planned for Bing’s AI chatbot feature – but no word on when
  • First learnings published – Searchers are happy despite some glitches. Issues are found with timely information like live scores. Microsoft are considering a “toggle that gives you more control on the precision vs creativity of the answer to tailor to your query.” Finally, the chatbot struggles to handle long chat sessions so Microsoft has limited the amount chat turns per day.
  • Bing AI is released on mobile and Skype – Bing mobile is what you would expect, with the addition of voice input. The integration into Skype is a little more exciting. Check out the image below for how Bing can easily be added to a family group chat.
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Microsoft have been open about Bing’s challenges and have embraced the feedback stating “We know we must build this in the open with the community; this can’t be done solely in the lab.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman echoed this sentiment saying “We think showing these tools to the world early, while still somewhat broken, is critical if we are going to have sufficient input and repeated efforts to get it right. the level of individual empowerment coming is wonderful, but not without serious challenges.”

Why should we care about these developments?

As a marketer, it’s crucial to keep track of where your target audience is looking for information that you can provide. SEOs need to keep on top of how links are displayed in search and identifying ways to best win this traffic. Although it may seem premature, staying abreast of the industry is not only informative and practical but also interesting to observe.

Search Console updates

Google have released two new handy updates to Google Search Console this week:

  1. Bulk data export  – a new feature that allows you to export data from Search Console to Google BigQuery on an ongoing basis.
  2. Users and permissions – Search Console’s user and permissions management now offers several new functionalities such as distinguishing between verified and delegated owners, easier removal of verified owners, the ability to change delegated owner’s permissions levels, and ownership event history. Additionally, users can now see verification tokens for all current and previous users and tokens leftover by previous owners.

Four-day working week a farce?

A six-month “world-changing” trial, testing the costs and benefits of a four-day week on full pay, has resulted in 56 out of 61 companies extending the policy, with 18 making the move permanent.

The trial was organised by campaign group 4 Day Week Global, think-tank Autonomy and researchers at Boston College and the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Trial organisers are pushing for the new four-day week to be the new way of working. The results of the trial trended on LinkedIn News and in a post Dr Dale Wheelan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global cited a number of statistics in favour of the move.

People might hate my perspective on this. But I’m just not convinced.

I see this whole study as “Employees unite to gain 25% pay rise in self-selecting trials”

Is it really surprising to see a study, which if proved successful would allow EVERYONE to work 20% less with the same levels of pay, have a “successful” outcome. Oh the bias…

A big win for these employees. This is the equivalent to everyone suddenly getting a 25% per hour pay rise. Well played. I’m not surprised the study showed everyone feeling better.

Some questions I have:

  • I wonder whether the “productivity” will last once finalised? Doubt it…
  • Where do you draw the line? When will 3 days become more productive than 4 days and so on…
  • Does this fit all job roles? What about people in sales? Can they really achieve the same in 4 days?
  • What about customers who will still expect businesses to be fully functioning at least 5 days a week?

I personally work 6 days a week. Which is a 50% increase on the proposed 4-day working week. Not to mention I start at 7am. I understand my situation and motivations are very different to employees, but nobody can tell me that 50% more working time is less productive…

I sense the reality for these companies is that employees (who already expect to stay at home) just became 25% more expensive.

New Google Product Reviews Update

On 21 February Google released the February 2023 product reviews update, which will take about two weeks to rollout. This is the sixth release of the product reviews update and will introduce new languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.

According to Google, this update will exclusively impact product review content, and not other types of content. The company has stressed that the aim of this update is to furnish users with informative perspectives and unique investigations that are composed by specialists or enthusiasts with a profound knowledge of the topic.

If your website provides product review content, it’s recommended that you verify whether it was affected by the update by checking your rankings. Did your organic traffic from Google increase, decrease, or remain the same?

In the long run, it’s important to make sure that your product review content is distinct and stands out from the competition on the internet by incorporating more details and putting in more effort.


Bowel cancer screening: Your next poo could save your life | NHS

UN Crisis Relief Fund | Turkey and Syria Campaign

The campaign uses AI-generated images of UK landmarks to show the potential of an earthquake. The powerful images help highlight the importance of keeping what’s happening in Turkey and Syria at the top of the news agenda.

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Donate here:

Social media skills in demand

Data from LinkedIn has showed that social media is the most desired skill for businesses hiring marketers across all functions.

LinkedIn’s worldwide data reveals that management (ranking second) and communication (ranking fourth) are also essential for brands, underscoring the significance of people skills.

Here’s the top 10 most in-demand marketing skills:

  1. Social media
  2. Management
  3. Digital marketing
  4. Communication
  5. Strategy
  6. Marketing strategy
  7. Leadership
  8. Project management
  9. Advertising
  10. Customer service

Bizarre! Starbucks adds olive oil to coffee in Italy

To win over the Italian market, Starbucks has introduced a range of olive oil-infused drinks, hoping to make amends after facing a boycott when it first entered the country in 2018.

Is this normal for Italians? My first reaction was disgust, but I’m starting to feel intrigued.

With approximately 20 stores in Italy, the chain is touting the new line as a “revolutionary new coffee ritual,” and CEO Howard Schultz has praised the olive oil coffee as “unexpected, velvety, buttery.”

The product will first be launched in select markets, including the US in the spring, followed by the UK, Japan, and Middle East later in the year.

American brands face challenges in penetrating the Italian market, as evidenced by pizza chain Domino’s exit from the market in August 2022, after launching there in 2015.

Why is this important? Global marketers need to always be aware of culture and the macro-environment when launching a new product or when simply marketing an existing product.

Market research can help mitigate against any embarrassment. It will be interesting to see how the olive oil coffees perform. I’m sceptical. I imagine the boycotting of American brands runs deeper than the addition of olive oil.



  • 27 February 2023: National Strawberry Day, World NGO Day
  • 28 February 2023: Rare Disease Day


  • 01 March 2023: St David’s Day, Zero Discrimination Day
  • 02 March 2023: World Book Day
  • 03 March 2023: World Hearing Day, World Wildlife Day, National Employee Appreciation Day, National Day of Unplugging (sundown-to-sundown 3rd-4th)
  • 04 March 2023: National Grammar Day
  • 06 March 2023: National Oreo Cookie Day, British Pie Week (6th-12th) Begins
  • 07 March 2023: Holi
  • 08 March 2023: International Women’s Day, National Proofreading Day, National No Smoking Day
  • 09 March 2023: International School Meals Day, World Kidney Day
  • 10 March 2023: National Pack Your Lunch Day
  • 11 March 2023: World Plumbing Day, National Worship of Tools Day
  • 12 March 2023: 95th Academy Awards
  • 13 March 2023: National Napping Day
  • 14 March 2023: Pi Day
  • 15 March 2023: World Contact Day, World Consumer Rights Day
  • 17 March 2023: St. Patrick’s Day, Red Nose Day, World Sleep Day
  • 18 March 2023: Global Recycling Day, National Awkward Moments Day
  • 19 March 2023: Mother’s Day (UK), National Let’s Laugh Day
  • 20 March 2023: First Day of Spring, International Day of Happiness, World Storytelling Day, World Oral Health Day
  • 21 March 2023: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Poetry Day
  • 22 March 2023: Ramadan Begins, World Water Day
  • 23 March 2023: World Meteorological Day, National Puppy Day
  • 25 March 2023: International Waffle Day, Wear a Hat Day (UK), Earth Hour Day
  • 26 March 2023: Purple Day (Epilepsy Awareness Day), BST starts
  • 30 March 2023: National Doctor’s Day
  • 31 March 2023: World Backup Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

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