Welcome back to another installment of The Weekly Download; we’re rounding up top digital marketing news and sharing some of our favourite internet finds to help put a smile on your face after another long week.
On the hot sheet: big businesses like Google and Facebook give back during the coronavirus crisis, Transgender Day of Visibility, Apple’s iOS COVID-19 tools, Friday Fun, and more.
Google Unveils Grant Program for Small Businesses
Google announced a significant response effort for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The help comes in the form of an $800 million program that includes direct financial assistance and grants.
We’re committing $800M+ in new #COVID19 response efforts, incl $340M in @GoogleAds credits for SMBs worldwide, $250M in ad grants for @WHO & 100+ govt orgs globally, a $200M investment fund for NGOs & banks to help small businesses access capital, and more https://t.co/oVj6MMs9Bl
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 27, 2020
Part of the program includes $340 million in Google Ads credits, to be used at any time throughout 2020. The goal is to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with customers, says the company.
The best part? There’s no application process or sign-up required — credits will automatically be added to active Google Ads accounts.
People Around the World Celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility
International Transgender Day of Visibility looked a little different this year given restrictions in place to flatten the curve, but there was no shortage of celebration and support shown on March 31 across the globe.
This special day is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.
Here’s how you can be an even better ally to the transgender community:
Apple Launches Tools for COVID-19
Thanks to new initiatives by Apple, iOS users can now ask Siri for help if they think they might have the coronavirus. In addition to the helpful feature, Apple announced the launch of its new COVID-19 website and app.
According to the company, “The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. In turn, they will receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.”
The site and mobile app were developed in partnership with the CDC, Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA. All user data provided in the screening tool is private and secure, and neither the website nor the app require a signup or login.
Facebook Pledges $100 Million to Support the News Industry
Facebook is also stepping up to offer their support during the coronavirus crisis — this time, in support of the news industry.
The company announced a $25 million grant for local news funding through its Facebook Journalism Project, as well as $75 million in additional marketing spending.
“At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus. Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe,” the company said in a blog post.
The first round of grants included 50 local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada.
And according to a discovery by Jane Manchun Wong, the social network is also working on a coronavirus-themed reaction button.
Facebook is working on a COVID-19 themed reaction pic.twitter.com/B2MBIgjMlu
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 30, 2020
The current design is similar to the “stay home” sticker you might have already seen on Instagram.
Celebrities Offer Their Support During COVID-19 Crisis
And it’s not just companies that are contributing to coronavirus relief — celebs like Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, Dolly Parton, and many more have promised funds and other critical support to help those who have been affected by COVID-19.
You can check out the ever-growing list of supporters here.
Museum Asks People to Recreate Paintings at Home
People are finding all sorts of ways to be creative and pass the time at home, and brands are no exception. Last week, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged followers to recreate its works of art using household items and share the results.
The results are as great as you’d imagine.
— Getty (@GettyMuseum) March 25, 2020
— Getty (@GettyMuseum) March 26, 2020
John Krasinski’s Good News Show is Just What The World Needed
John Krasinski’s new internet show “Some Good News” is sharing exactly that — good news for this “incredibly trying time.”
The 15-minute YouTube show includes lots of good news and even features a famous face. Hint: if you’re a fan of The Office, you won’t want to miss this one!
Check out the video in full:
Hilarious Duo Gets Creative on Instagram
You have to watch this one with no introduction to really enjoy it — you’re welcome!
Someone collect their ma and da they’ve ruined Instagram in one 40 second video x pic.twitter.com/Oye5gZ0L8R
— Moira.. (@isitreallymoira) March 30, 2020