Social Media trends in February 2021
The big news in February has undoubtedly been the news ban in Australia and how this will affect journalism on the whole without it being supported on big social media sites as well as Google. We’ll also explore how some social media sites are tightening up security and also some lighter news that happened in February.
As Facebook and Google account for about 80% of online advertising, the idea that news organizations will be absent from them is just not realistic. And the move to charge Facebook for any shares of news stories certainly would balance the power of the marketplace. Facebook is working on this not happening and has restored Australian News Pages for now after certain amendments have been made to the government code. We will follow this story closely in the future.
Child exploitation, intentional or otherwise is rampant on Facebook. So naturally, they have taken more measures of better detecting any child exploitation material. You can find the new and updated child safety policies on their website. The punishments will include the removal of profiles, pages, groups, and even Instagram accounts even on more innocent posts that contain captions or hashtags that could be interpreted as exploitation. This may seem like a good move but it remains to be seen how many false positives we will get, hopefully not too many.
Big news! 🗣 We’re awarding 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital skills certifications through…
In an effort to give broader support to Black-owned creators and business owners Facebook has launched a new platform called “FACEBOOK Elevate”. This new platform will elevate the work of Black creators as well as train them on how to promote their business in the best way possible.
Catching up with new trends, Instagram is launching multi-participant live streams. This is a feature that they had in the works since last December, and you could have experienced it early if you were in India. This is big news as you can now use Instagram to host job interviews, have a more personal connection with your fans by inviting them onto streams, etc.
Cyberbullying is a big deal especially over DMs, a place that is usually less policed than public posts. So it’s a big deal that Instagram will finally take steps to address this. After an abusive account that has been sending DMs has been identified Instagram will automatically disable them from sending new messages for a period of time. If the user continues to send violating messages their account will be permanently disabled. Also, Instagram will give the option to switch DMs off from people you don’t follow on your personal account.
If you are reposting any videos from TikTok on your reels account be aware it will not go viral. In order to boost original content, Instagram has limited any videos that have the TikTok watermark, and if it’s low resolution. They aren’t outright banned, and your friends will be able to see them, just not a wider audience.
Spaces UI has seen a range of improvements. You can now see every speaker that is in a room with more prominent markers for speakers and hosts. Spaces is Twitter’s response to the more and more popular Clubhouse app. With Twitter having a much wider audience we are sure it will take the lead soon enough if it continues to improve upon it the way it’s going. This of course is raising some monopoly concerns as big social media platforms can just copy the “best parts” of emerging ones and drown out any competition.
Android folks, our beta is growing! starting today you will be able to join and talk in any Space. SOON you’ll be able to create your own but we’re still working out some things. keep your 👀 out for live Spaces above your home tl
— Spaces (@TwitterSpaces) March 2, 2021
Last May Twitter launched warning prompts on tweets that can potentially be harmful and is now about to relaunch them again. You will be able to review replies that have potentially harmful or offensive language. This new system has similarities with Instagram’s automated alerts on potentially offensive comments it introduced in 2019. When implemented these prompts have helped reduce misinterpretation and online friction in discourse. On a less serious note, the #KpopTwitter has now reached over 6.7 billion tweets in 2020. Kpop fans have been in the spotlight in 2020 mostly by online trolling of the US far-right and Donald John Trump’s rally.
To help brands grow their organic reach LinkedIn is adding some cool new tools that will foster a more intimate connection with colleagues. First, you will see a “My Company” tab which will include “Recommend” and “Content Suggestion” listings, making it easier to share any relevant posts with your employees. Second, you will see the Products tab where you can share all your products with your customers and get their direct reviews. And third Stories, something that will round up and tell your company’s story in a much more accessible way.
With iOS finally introducing home screen widgets back in September no one was more excited about it than companies that can now be prominent and relevant on your iOS device. That’s why Pinterest has launched “interests” a widget that will highlight any new pin that is in your chosen topic of focus. This is one of those win-win situations with Pinterest engaging more of its users and the users spending less time idly scrolling.
UFC and TikTok are partnering up on some exclusive content UFC will provide for the platform. The official UFC TikTok account does have over 6.5 million followers so this move doesn’t seem all that strange. How this will affect the ongoing investigations that underage children as young as 10 are using the app without much restriction from TikTok remains to be seen.
If you have kids then you know how YouTube plays a big part in their growing up. My 10-year- old nephew has dreams of becoming a YouTuber as a lot of his idols. With that of course comes great responsibility on the parent’s side so that the right influencers reach their kids. So Youtube enabling parents to monitor their child’s activity via a connected experience is huge. Parents will now get 3 levels of supervising what their children are watching, they are “Explore”, “Explore More”, and “Most of YouTube”. With their $170 million dollar fine for collecting data and behavioral patterns in children, it makes sense that YouTube is taking this matter seriously.
Must-Know Social Media News Stories of January 2021
So let’s see what news our favorite social media sites have in store for us in January. We will start with those that MavSocial is supporting on their platform first. There are a few very exciting social media updates like video features, AR makeup, news tabs, and new ways to control who can see our content.
January has shown the vital part Facebook has in keeping us informed, for better or for worse of course. So naturally, Facebook has started rolling out its “News Tab”, a program that started in October of 2019 and is now going full steam in the United Kingdom. Now users will be able to see the headlines that capture the eye of the day 100% curated and personalized to the individual.
Following the IDFA changes that Apple will soon roll out on all of their devices, Facebook added new logging on mode so that developers can continue collecting some data. How this will impact the data-hungry company, in the long run, is yet to be seen. More in the ad department, marketers can finally see which one of their ads was suspended or which of their posts violated any of their terms and conditions. This is a good step forward for transparency so people can see how they can keep their pages healthy.
Speaking of transparency we have an updated “Access Your Information” tool at our disposal. This way we will be able to see more clearly how some ads target us. We will also see a new post composer window so we can add recent photos more easily in the near future as it is currently in testing stages.
While some social media platforms are adding more and more features, Instagram decided to remove some. There are serious calls in limiting the number of stories people see in their feeds so Instagram tested the removal of the “Share to Stories” button. I admit that this actually makes sense because it can be annoying when the person you are following is sharing the story of a person that you follow as well. Let’s put aside situations when something is significant and everybody needs to share it.
In late January we also saw the implementation of the new Professional Dashboard now equipped with new tools that will help creators access all the information they have in one more centralized place. This will be beneficial with anyone making their living using Instagram and creatives alike.
Testing is underway to give users the ability to display the total amount of likes on their posts once again. Since we haven’t seen any actual data on the impact of the 2019 decision to hide the total like numbers this may signal that the widely unpopular move hasn’t impacted the wellbeing of users in a way Instagram likes.
If you’re an ad researcher then you may have noticed already the disappearance of Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center. Even if you aren’t you can still appreciate how this move is detrimental to Twitter’s transparency policy as you can no longer see all the ads a profile is running. This is no doubt because of the media focus on social networks loosening following the 2020 US Presidential election back in November.
After five years of minimal changes, we finally see an upgrade to the company brand. Twitter has officially embraced their imperfections and their new look reflects that. The new-look resembles a scrapbook with a lot of layers and textures and expressions. Sounds kinda perfect especially for a social network that thrives on difference of opinion.
Despite having shut down their ads transparency center Twitter has created Birdwatch. Users will now be able to add little notes to tweets that appear to be misleading in some way. This will not be visible anywhere except on Birdwatch’s own site and is currently being tested out in the US. Misinformation is obviously a huge problem on all social media sites and it is refreshing to see something positive being done about the matter.
With a steady and active user base, LinkedIn rolled out new tools to better control your posts. Finally, you’ll be able to restrict people to comment and even to see your posts. This option existed for a while now but now it’s on the right and reply controls. The algorithm LinkedIn uses can be mysterious and sometimes even outright random so having a bit of control is a much-needed improvement.
The good news for any beginners to the platform is that “LinkedIn Marketing Labs” has launched and will help users and marketers have much more effective campaigns.
With stories having such a huge impact in the social media sphere no wonder Pinterest has joined in on the game with its “Story Pins following streams”. Although stories on other platforms usually have an expiration date of 24 hours, things work a little differently on Pinterest. You can actually save and interact with Story Pins and they stay relevant for a longer period of time. As people use Pinterest in a different sort of way than other platforms this actually makes a lot of sense.
Pinterest also added the all-new “Try-On” AR tool, with things like eyeshadows. This way they have greatly expanded their shopping tags on pins.
With the creation of the “Creator Portal”, TikTok is trying to help their users make a much more impactful presence in the app. They included a ton of tips, tricks, guides that will help you draw a wider audience with your clips.
On that note, you can also post questions to your favorite creator, as TikTok adds that option now. This is really the best way to engage your curious gen-Z audience outside the live-stream.
You will soon be able to tag any products that are displayed in your video clip. This was in the works since last October and is now being tested with selected a few creators exclusively in the US across all platforms. With Youtube seeing astronomical growth in 2020 and the subsequent rise of e-commerce this seemed almost as an inevitability and the next logical step for the platform.
With the launch of “Shorts”, we see youtube shifting its attention to short-form videos, and has started testing out “Clips”. This feature will let its users share a specific small segment from their videos and live streams.
Social Media News Updates of December 2020
First of all, we would like to wish you a successful New Year. Secondly, we would like to share with you important news of the most significant social media updates that were released during December.
We know that the end of the year can be quite chaotic if you are running a business, or if you are working in digital marketing and we would like to make sure that you didn’t miss any update from December which might help you thrive in 2021.
Let’s see what happened in the social media world in the last month of 2020.
Full Shopping Experience in Instagram Reels
From 10th December 2020, Instagram content creators will be able to tag products when they create Reels. Viewers will be able to save those reels or tap through those tags to learn more about products, see prices, and eventually buy products. This is certainly good news for business owners who have an Instagram Checkout option.
Instagram Checkout, source Instagram.com
Their users don’t need to leave Instagram to finish purchasing products. That can save a lot of money for business owners, and shorten the decision time for purchase. Early adopters of shopping in Instagram Reels and Instagram Checkout will benefit from huge conversion rates, and it will definitely improve user experience.
Important Twitter Updates that are not related to Donald Trump
Even though Twitter was trending on its own platform during January and the permanent suspension of Donald Trump, I must say that we will write about that in our next update to this article. For now, here’s what happened on Twitter in December 2020.
In December, Twitter announced that they are planning to bring back a public verification program and that they asked for public feedback. The good news for all content creators and people who are popular in certain regions is that they will reconsider the needed amounts of followers based on the region, and not globally. So if you are a huge star in a small country, you can still get verified tags near your Twitter handle.
The year 2020 was challenging for social media platforms such as Twitter because they tried to regulate misinformation which may lead to growing public health problems. Since the vaccination has begun around Christmas time, Twitter announced that they will expand the policy around COVID-19 vaccines.
They will expand their policy and they may require to remove tweets that are spreading false information, theories that are debunked, or narratives which is suggesting that COVID-19 is not real, or that it is not dangerous. In order to do that they will monitor content (mix of human and tech review) and label some of those tweets as disputed claims and they will add links toward authoritative information about COVID-19.
Youtube against toxic comments
Youtube announced during December that they will be having a new feature that will make publishers of comments reconsider toxic and offensive comments before they post them. They are also announcing a filter that will enable creators of the content to avoid reading hurtful comments. They believe that this will finally stop virality of controversial content that leads to online feuds, which is the problem the Youtube community is speaking about for a few years now. So, from December, users of Youtube will have the time to reconsider their hateful comments and pave the way to a healthier online community.
Music and graphic updates from the Facebook product team.
The New Product Experimentation team at Facebook was quite busy with the music-making Collab app and new graphic app named E.gg.
The music-making app named Collab is perfect for creating music videos and mixing two or more videos together. Any video can be placed on a public feed, and users can create collaboration around existing videos. This will enable creating an interesting music community, and hopefully some great collaborations. It is important to know that this app is not integrated with Facebook at the moment and that you can share your musical collabs on Instagram Stories.
According to Jason Toff from Facebook, a graphic app named E.gg is a bit weird and offbeat and it is created with the purpose of encouraging people to nurture their raw creativity. We believe that gen Z will enjoy this app, so take a look at it and try to figure out how to implement it in your social media strategy before everybody else does it.
We Chat Updates for December 2020
In the last month of 2020, we saw some exciting updates on the WeChat platform. Location sharing is now available for all users, and it can help your customers to find you in just a few clicks. The location of your business can be added inside your Articles. You just need to select “Location” in WeChat Official Accounts Article backend and write your address in Chinese. It will automatically add your location in your article.
Another cool update is Similar Image Search which will help users of WeChat to find your product easier if you have a lot of competitors that are creating products that look similar.
Last but not least, an important update for We Chat is the possibility to hide group chats. This is created in order to help users to manage their group chats easily. Basically, you will be able to mark chats as unread if you want to leave them for later, to hide them if they are spammy or annoying or to delete the whole group chat without leaving the group.
Google My Business Updates
One of the platforms that have a great impact on our decisions is definitely Google Maps. Google decided to launch a “Community feed” here and socialize people who are visiting local businesses. This feed will consist of updated reviews and posts from businesses that you are following, but it will also have some news from local news sources and Google News.
This is a piece of good news for SEO agencies who are managing local businesses, and it will certainly give some local shops and restaurants better reach.
Another great update is messages on Google Maps, which are quite important at the current moment when we are not sure if the local businesses are updating their working hours. So you can from now on, send a message to a business listed on Google maps before putting on your mask and preparing for the outside world.
Social Media News Updates of November 2020
Social media platforms were quite busy this November. Let’s explore together what are the main social media updates for November, and how can we use them to improve our social media presence.
Instagram Guides are Available To All Users
This month, Instagram added guides to all users, starting November 17th. This will allow users to create article format stories made of different Instagram posts, captions, products or videos. This can be a great way to show a new line of products or to introduce your audience to different ways they can use your product or service.
It is also an interesting opportunity for public figures and marketers to improve their marketing activities and give quality tips and content to the community. Besides tips, it can be used to show reviews, or menu for a restaurant by using previously created Instagram posts.
You can find the option for creating guides on your Instagram profile when you click on the top right button + and you will see the option “Guides” beneath IGTV Video option. Then you can choose one of these options:
- Products – With this option you can recommend your products and write more about them
- Posts – You can create a guide by selecting posts that you already have published on your feed
- Place – Write about the place you have visited. Make sure that you have checked in to that place previously, so it can appear on the list. This type of guide is very specific and displays a predefined link to a map with the place that you are recommending.
This is not the only way to create guides, you can also find users who have already created guides, and find a link for creating your own guide there. It is also good to know that you can share your guide via Instagram stories and reach more audiences with it.
All in all, guides are something new on Instagram and social media platforms, so our advice is to explore its potential and be first to include this in your social media marketing strategy. It will help you to reuse older content and inspire your audience.
Instagram replaced Post Button with Reels and Like Button With Shop
We started with good news, and now we have “the bad news” from Instagram. At least that is how people are feeling around the update that moved their favorite buttons: post and likes.
From now on, users will have to go on their profile page and click on the + button in order to create a new post, new story, story highlight, IGTV, or a guide. Our muscle memory will definitely have to adapt to this order of buttons and wait for Instagram to finish the testing of home screen buttons. Some social media experts made jokes about this change and told that this was the only way that people will notice reels as a new feature.
After all, this is a good design trick to introduce a new feature, and we are sure that the audience will accept the reels, but not so sure about the idea that Instagram will beat TikTok in this endless social media contest.
If you would like to try reels, our suggestion is to follow best practices from TikTok and use them to sell your product by showing them unwrapping videos, and cool behind the scenes moments.
Facebook Removes Limit for AD images and Adds the Discount Feature
In order to create a better experience for advertisers and other users, until a few weeks ago, Facebook had a strict rule for images used as ads. They didn’t allow more than 20% of text inside of the image, and that was often frustrating for content creators. It was not rare that some of the best commercials were not allowed in the last part of the process of creating ads.
But, since the end of October, Facebook is killing its “20% text in image rule for ads”. This will allow content creators to post more ad images, and their job will become easier. Basically, this will be quite helpful for small businesses that are using design tools like Canva in order to create their ads. Still, Facebook experts are advising that those ads with less text in the image will be better received.
BIG news for Facebook advertisers:
Facebook is killing its ‘<20% text in image’ rule for ads
Source: Facebook pic.twitter.com/nP18BSLP7L
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 22, 2020
Another good news for retailers who have a Facebook Shop is the option for discounts. From November, you will be able to put individual products on sale and to create a promo code that your customers can apply. If you would like to announce those discounts, create a banner for your shop and tell everyone.
TikTok is dancing to a Shopify beat
Shopify merchants will get the opportunity to be where their audience spends most of their time – on TikTok platform. This collaboration started during November, and throughout the end of this year, Shopify and TikTok will work together on further improvement and empowerment of their users.
This season will be quite busy for online sellers, and it seems like they have recognized that the best place to get in touch with the new audience is TikTok, since this platform has the most engaged audience. This collaboration will allow Shopify merchants to create, run, and optimize their campaigns on TikTok. This app is available on Shopify App Store, and when it is installed merchants will be able to decide which will be the amount spent on ads, and they will have the possibility to pick campaign objectives.
It is good to know that in order to kick off this partnership, merchants are offered with a $300 ad credit to get started with their first TikTok campaigns.
Twitter Launched Fleet and They are Similar to Stories
This November Twitter showed us its version of ephemeral content and named it fleet. This social network finally enabled its users to share fleets, which were supposed to be visible for just 24 hours. However, a bug allowed all users to see and download expired fleets from other users in the first weeks of this launch.
When asked about it Twitter spokesman said that they will fix this problem shortly and that they are aware that some fleets media URLs may be visible after 24 hours. He assured the public that this will be easily fixed.
Since this option is quite similar to those that we use on Instagram, you can use it for the same purposes – to show your brand values, behind-the-scenes moments, and to get in touch with your Twitter audience.
Must-Know Social Media News Updates of October 2020
October was quite an interesting month for social media platforms. Let’s explore what happened, and how it can affect our businesses and personal life.
Instagram Direct and Facebook Messenger Are Becoming One
As usual, when Facebook is implementing something new, they are trying it out just in particular parts of the world. According to CNN, they are now testing cross messaging between Instagram and Facebook, but there is still no public timeline on when Facebook will be integrating with WhatsApp. Before cross messaging happens, there is an interesting update on Instagram chat. If you agree (like we did) you will get cool updates: vanishing messages, selfie stickers, custom emojis, chat colors, and the introduction to watch together feature.
This new feature allows you to watch videos with friends during a video call. It seems like they really worked on the idea of getting together even when we are miles apart, and that is really heartwarming.
All in all, our advice is to accept this update because it will allow you customized chats like the ones on Facebook Messenger and it really is an update for blank Instagram DM-s.
Facebook announces a season of support for small businesses
In 2018 Facebook launched the website Elevate with the aim to accelerate the business success and impact of entities of colour. This year, as a result of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Facebook decided to put more effort into this project. They also created a $25 million fund to assist Black creators and the addition of new tools and resources for learning.
This program was open to USA based creators aged 18+, and with more than 10K followers either on Instagram or Facebook or combined on Instagram and Facebook.
Even though the Elevate platform and support of black creators are meaningful change, we still have to bear in mind that policies around hate speech still aren’t changed. However, we would like to point out that this slight change might be beneficial this year because Black-owned businesses have been closing at twice the rate of other small businesses during the pandemic.
LinkedIn Adds New Tools: Career Path Insights and Skill Assessments
The last week of October was exciting at LinkedIn headquarters. This professional social network announced new tools that can assist you on your journey to find the right job. A new tool named LinkedIn Career Explorer will be able to show you possible career paths based on the skills you have. They believe this will be helpful for those who want to uncover possible options and transition from those that are well known. This explorer tool will highlight the skills on which you can work to help you with transition and it will also highlight the connections who already work in that field in case you want to contact them and ask for advice.
They pointed out that there are over 36 000 unique skills that they are measuring across 6000 unique job titles on the platform.
Tip: This tool can be quite helpful if you are a marketer, and you want to target professionals from a certain niche. The tool will be able to show you similar roles that you would also like to target.
At the moment, LinkedIn Career Explorer is available in beta, and you can test it here.
Pinterest Now Has 26 Million More Users
Who would have thought that Pinterest will be the leading platform on the stock market this year? They now have 26 million new users, and their stocks are nearly 125% this year, which means that they are outpacing Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Apparently, while we were locked down, we were seeking ways to distract ourselves and improve our lives with inspiration and tips from this platform. To be precise, people are flocking to Pinterest this year to explore how to solve some interior related issues (how to arrange shelves, how to bake banana bread, etc.) and not just for overall inspiration. This is a good insight for content creators to focus more on distinctive topics and explore trends on the Pinterest blog if they are lacking content inspiration.
Another reason for the rise of Pinterest could be the fact that Facebook advertisers were pausing ad spend in July because they were protesting lack of action on hate speech topics from Zuckerberg’s platform This caused a switch to Pinterest, but it is early to predict will they stay on this platform because it is uncertain will they decide to stay when Facebook finally addresses these issues.
Twitter is Moderating-Testing “Quote Tweet” Option
Twitter used to offer two options, simple old retweet, and a newer version in which you could add your two cents and retweet. From now on, users of this microblogging website will no longer have two separate options, and there have been some strong reactions on that platform.
Hey everyone, we made a temporary change to the Retweet function.
When you hit the Retweet button, you can either add a comment to Quote Tweet or leave it blank and hit the Retweet button. pic.twitter.com/SkkoqAqXsV
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 21, 2020
Basically, now you can hit the Retweet button, and either add a comment or leave it blank. If you leave it blank, it will look like a good old retweet. It is that simple, but it seems like people who are using Twitter are just not in the mood for simple changes.
Tik Tok Is Working On Restricting Election Misinformation
In the light of US presidential elections, TikTok announced its measurements against misinformation or manipulation by political groups. Every social media platform is currently very careful not to become the focus of the investigation into the spread of false messaging during the 2020 USA presidential election, and TikTok particularly. The idea of the TikTok management is to add answers and information around polling location, state voter registration etc.
Source: Tik Tok
At the same time, they announced that they will be working with fact-checkers in order to reduce the possibility of discovering content that claims the results of victory before results are officially confirmed by The Associated Press.
This is a significant effort, but many experts claim that this won’t mean much because TikTok users are younger, and they still don’t have the right to vote. In my honest opinion, I don’t think that it is early to educate younger citizens and ensure a better future for all.
Must-Know Social Media News Updates of September 2020
Social Media News of September 2020 brings us stories of Facebook’s new tools for Creators, changes to IGTV, and more. Read on.
Facebook Expands AR, Connects and Syncs
In September, Facebook launched its Business Suite, which enables users to manage and post to Instagram and Facebook all from the one place. The new feature means that you can receive and manage your messages and review your analytics for both platforms via a single interface.
In another move to streamline transactions between its platforms, Facebook is testing Accounts Center on Instagram, Messenger and Facebook. Now you can choose to use the feature to work through a Single Sign-On or switch it off and continue as before. For US users this means that you only have to enter your payment details once and you can transact on any of the three platforms. You can also sync across the apps so that any changes you make to your profile on one platform will transfer to the others, and you have the option of cross-posting stories.
Previously, in an effort to assist small businesses to recover financially from the effects of lockdown, Facebook had announced it would waive its fees for paid online events for 12 months. Apple, however, was continuing to take a 30% fee on in-app purchases. This month, according to a TechCrunch report, Apple has agreed to meet Facebook’s requests to temporarily waive the fee. This means that businesses will receive 100% of earnings from their paid online events, less taxes (until 31 December). The waivers don’t apply to gaming creators.
As Facebook turned its attention to Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, it celebrated by adding new tools for Facebook and Instagram. These additions include AR effects and stickers designed by Latinx creators. Facebook also pledged to offer Hispanic and Latinx small businesses resources and support for a full month.
Facebook Protective Measures
We’ve come to expect a monthly range of safety and privacy moves from Facebook. This month was no different.
- In-stream tools – Facebook has been working together with industry to expand brand safety controls for advertising. This work has resulted in in-stream tools for shared videos. These tools include video ad exclusions that allow in-stream advertisers to decide where their in-stream ads can and can’t appear.
- Rights Manager – Facebook has also introduced Rights Manager to its Creator Studio aimed at helping creators to protect their intellectual property when they share their content on social media platforms.
- Message Limits – In the interest of privacy and to curb spam, Facebook this month announced that it would limit the forwarding of messages to five people or groups at a time. This move is aimed at limiting the spread of misinformation.
- Instant captions on IGTV – Instagram is adding instant captions to uploads on IGTV, better-enabling people with hearing impairment to gain access to content. The auto-generated caption feature also expands access to users watching content on mute. IGTV will launch the feature in 16 different languages. This follows the announcement that Facebook Live and Workplace Live have enabled automatic closed captions with six supported languages.
- Changes to Reels – Not long after launching Reels, Instagram is already making changes to the design, to better compete with TikTok, according to a TechCrunch report. Reels was launched as a 15 second video feature. This month the video length was increased to 30 seconds and additional editing tools have been added.
- Desktop Messaging – This month Instagram launched Instagram Desktop Messaging. As Instagram expands beyond mobile experience into one that includes desktop users.
- Holiday guides – Check out Instagram’s new holiday guides for setting up an Instagram Shop and making the best of your Instagram Shop window.
LinkedIn – Helping to Grow Your Business
Recently announced upgrades saw the first cosmetic redesign of LinkedIn in five years. This also ushered in a number of improvements and additional features. Over the last few months LinkedIn Stories have been tested in several countries, and now it has been rolled out in the United States and Canada.
In September, LinkedIn also announced new audience targeting features. Dynamic Remarketing and In-market Audiences for search campaigns, as well as Profile targeting for both search and audience campaigns. Not all remarketing options are available in every country but LinkedIn has launched retargeting guides to help businesses with these new features.
Aiming to make it easier for businesses to market their product, this month, LinkedIn is expanding its Marketing Partner Program with new speciality categories, so users can find the right third party marketing support whether it’s for lead generation, page management or campaigns.
Pinterest Prepares for the Holidays
It’s been a long year, but the holidays are approaching and businesses hoping to make the best of the festive season will want to start working on their holiday catalogs and campaigns. Pinterest has made it easier by putting together a Holiday Marketing Hub complete with all the resources that you need to make a success of your holiday marketing.
Pinterest has also added some new advertising features offering users the chance to make the best of the growing trend for online shopping over the festive shopping season. The new features will allow sellers to place ads in the search shop tab, via Lens and shopping on Pins (a feature soon to be launched). Updated conversion analyses offer helpful insights for optimizing your online presence.
This month Pinterest introduced Story Pins, allowing users to create stories that include images, videos, and text.
YouTube Dynamic Lineups
YouTube reports that the time spent watching YouTube on television screens has grown by a whopping 80% over the last year. YouTube plans on making it easier for businesses to make good use of the advertising opportunities that this offers. Dynamic lineups are pre-built segments of videos that evoke similar brand sentiments. This machine learning feature allows brands to align themselves with complementary content and allows for more refined targeting.
YouTube launched Shorts in India this month. This feature allows users to make 15-second videos just like TikTok and Instagram Reels. Shorts is currently a beta trial that will expand over the next few months.
TikTok and Oracle a Likely Deal
It seems that the Oracle purchase of TikTok may not include the platform’s integral algorithm. It is reported that the TikTok owners aren’t willing to part with the source code that powers recommendations.
Must-Know Social Media News Updates of July 2020
Shocking Twitter hacks, Whatsapp QR codes, and Snapchat profile view for brands have been causing waves this month. Find out what else has been rocking the boat in July 2020’s must-know social media news stories.
Facebook Grows Features and Users
Facebook’s recent introduction of Messenger Rooms received a major boost this month with the ability to stream Rooms’ discussions via Facebook Live. Messenger Rooms allow users to host discussions of up to 50 people. With the additional Facebook Live feature, hosts can broadcast discussions to broader audiences, expanding their reach and potential engagement. Messenger Rooms live events can be promoted and streamed via Facebook pages and groups.
From August, Facebook users can find and share their favorite music videos across Groups, Newsfeed, and Messenger. Facebook plans to launch some exclusive music premieres on the platform. Music has its own destination via Facebook Watch allowing users to find the playlist that best suits their tastes.
Facebook has recently introduced new accessibility features to improve user experience. As part of the recent Facebook redesign, fonts and headings have been enhanced and legibility and keyboard navigations have been improved.
The social media platform is also testing a new Facebook Pages design that offers a cleaner layout but sees the removal of the ‘Like’ page button and page likes count. The follow button and follower count remains in the design, which Facebook says is a better reflection of actual page engagement.
According to Facebook’s Q2 earnings review the platform now boasts more than 2.7 billion monthly active users, having added an extra one million in the last quarter. Despite a recent advertising boycott by some of the world’s biggest brands, Facebook also managed a healthy 11% increase in revenue.
If you’re thinking of making an early start on your holiday advertising campaign, you may find Facebook’s 2020 Christmas insights a worthwhile read. One of the key insights includes the finding that Gen X and Boomers are dominating global mobile and eCommerce growth.
WhatsApp Introduces QR Codes
With 50 million businesses using WhatsApp Business, Facebook is continuing to introduce new features including the addition of QR codes to enable users to connect seamlessly with their favorite brands. To get in touch with a business, users just scan the QR code on a storefront and start chatting. Prior to this, users wanting to connect with a brand via WhatsApp had to manually add each business’s number to their contacts. Fans can also share products and catalogs by copying the brand’s link to WhatsApp.
Earlier in the month, WhatsApp announced additional features including more animated stickers. Now, during group videos, you can maximize the onscreen size of any participant, a handy feature when eight participants share a call.
Instagram Launches Fundraisers and Instagram Shop
Instagram has launched a fundraising feature to allow businesses to create their own personal fundraisers. If your business meets the Instagram requirements, the platform will approve the effort and allow you to start raising funds. The fundraisers are eligible for 30 days and you also have the option of renewing them for a further 30 days.
Furthering its expansion into eCommerce, Instagram has launched its redesigned Instagram Shop. Located in Explore the shop will include collections and curations from Instagram creators and brands. Shoppers can pay for their goods using Facebook Pay.
Techcrunch reports that the Instagram Reels function will become available in the US in August. Reels is aimed squarely at the TikTok audience. Reels allows users to make 15-second videos set to video music, it also offers users similar editing tools to those found on TikTok.
Twitter accounts have been hacked again – one hundred and thirty of them. Targeted accounts included those of a number of prominent people such as Barack Obama and Elon Musk. Access to hacked accounts was gained through direct messaging. The hackers used the accounts to promote cryptocurrency. According to the Wall Street Journal, three arrests have been made in relation to the hacks.
According to their quarter 2 results, Twitter’s monetized daily users have increased by 34% year on year, taking it to 186 million users. Though advertising revenue has declined, the increase in users is expected to translate to higher profits in the future.
TikTok Launches New Brand Opportunities
Mobile Marketing reports that TikTok has launched Gamified Branded Effects. This feature allows businesses to add their brand messages to gamified effects that users can choose from when creating their own content. Businesses who want to better engage users by gamifying their content can choose from 20 or so gamified formats.
Businesses can now use TikTok’s recently launched self-serve advertising platform to expand their audiences. The new feature includes a Back-to-Business ad credit system, worth a total of $100 million, to help small businesses grow.
TikTok announced the launch of its Creator Fund this month. It has made available $200 million to creators wishing to grow their careers from creating innovative content. Creators in the United States can apply for these funds from the beginning of August.
The New York Times reports that TikTok will be banned from all devices issued by the US government because of security concerns regarding access to personal information. President Trump is also considering banning the use of TikTok across the US.
LinkedIn Helping to Ease Recruitment
LinkedIn has made it easier to match recruiters with job applicants by introducing a Qualified Applicant feature. The model uses artificial intelligence to match applicants with the jobs that best suit their skill sets and the employers they are most likely to hear back from.
Microsoft’s quarterly financial statements reveal that LinkedIn has increased revenue by 10% for the quarter ended 30 June 2020. In addition, LinkedIn sessions have increased by 27%, building on previous growth.
Business owners trying to get their brands back on the road to recovery following Covid-19 may find the new LinkedIn recovery guide useful. It features trends, tools, and market research that can be used to drive growth and ROI.
Snapchat Launches Brand Profiles
Snapchat has announced the launch of Brand Profiles which allows businesses to consolidate their branded aspects all in the one place on the platform. Businesses can use the profile as a space to showcase their branded assets such as AR lenses, highlights and story posts. Brands will have access to mobile and web management tools including analytics, content management and collaboration features. Users will be able to subscribe to branded profiles. These profiles will initially be available to a limited number of big brands, but it will soon roll out to smaller businesses.
It’s been a good three months for Snapchat, which increased its following by a whopping 9 million daily average users (DAUs). It now has 238 million DAUs according to its recently published Q2 results. The increase in users is also accompanied by a 17% increase in revenue.
If you’re interested in making best use of video, you may find some thought provoking figures in the recently published Snapchat video trends report. Insights include a finding that Snapchat is outperforming all other social video platforms when it comes to how users feel connected to others.
Pinterest Users Surge to Over 400 Million
Pinterest has launched its Chefs at home initiative, showcasing recipes from industry. Chefs at Home features more than 30 well-known chefs, sharing their recipes, tips, and tricks.
Pinterest continues to grow with more than 400 million current users. Women still remain the platform’s largest audience, representing 60% of users. Interestingly, growth is being driven by Gen Z and Millennials.
Covid-19 has changed life as we know it, along with our interests and the way that we do things. Pinterest’s recently published search trends insights confirms this with many people searching for content relating to wellbeing and self-care. There has been a significant increase in searches for topics like meditation, gratitude, and positivity.
Must-Know Social Media News Updates of June 2020
Snapchat announces the expansion of its Augmented Reality features, YouTube takes aim at TikTok, and more from Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok this month. Here are all the biggest news stories and updates in Social Media in June 2020.
Snapchat Rings in the Changes
Snapchat held a virtual Partner Summit in June in place of its annual F8 summit due to Covid-19. Several announcements were made about new and updated features including an expansion of its AR offering.
One of the announced changes is the addition of Local Lenses. Snapchatters can use this feature to share AR-enhanced pictures of their neighborhood. Users can invite their friends to step in and experience the scene and even decorate buildings with paint colors.
Social Media Today reports that following the summit Snapchat launched its first ‘Shoppable AR’ campaign. It partnered with Gucci to feature sneakers in two different Lenses. Snapchatters can try on the shoes in augmented reality then buy directly from the Lens via a ‘Shop Now’ button.
For those interested in learning more about advertising on Snapchat but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the online ad manager course Snapchat just launched.
New Eligibility Requirements for Instagram
Responding to the growth in e-commerce following the Covid-19 pandemic, Instagram has announced new eligibility requirements for businesses wanting to sell products via the platform. Businesses will be required to tag products from one website that they own and sell from. The updated requirements are designed to provide greater transparency for shoppers as well as a trusted shopping experience. The updates will take effect across the globe on 9 July.
Good news for advertisers wishing to advertise exclusively on Instagram without having a presence on Facebook. Instagram has announced changes that allow brands to set up their advertising campaign on the platform without having to connect through Facebook. Currently, this feature is only available in the US and Turkey.
TikTok for Business
Techcrunch reports that TikTok has just launched a TikTok for Business platform for all of its brand marketing solutions. Marketers will be able to find all their favorite advertising tools in one place – like Top View ads, Brand Takeovers, In-Feed Videos, Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects – as well as features like the recently announced Brand Scan AR effect for advertising.
If you haven’t yet used TikTok advertising features and would like to know how to use them the platform, you’ll be able to access a new e-learning center that TikTok is launching.
YouTube Introduces Video Action Campaigns
YouTube has added new analytics to Creator Studio. The analytics will include the number of views and subscribers, as well as revenue and watch time on a single graph. This information should help businesses to gauge seasonality and make it easier to monitor the most effective campaigns. At the same time, YouTube launched Live Alerts for Merch. This new feature will alert businesses of sales made through Teespring by sending a message via the comments thread.
The platform has also announced the winners of the 2020 YouTube works Awards, showcasing the very best advertising campaigns of the year. With more than 100 million Americans now watching YouTube on their big screens, it may be worth taking a look at the creative works for inspiration for your brand.
TechCrunch reports that YouTube is ready to test a 15-second video function that will allow users to create and upload multi-segment videos. The feature is squarely aimed at TikTok in an effort to gain some of its massive user base.
Facebook Reaches out to Creators
Facebook has announced that it is expanding its Creators’ program to assist creators in earning income. Monetization options have increased to include recurring payments to creators from fan subscriptions. At the same time, Facebook has expanded its ad options to allow monetization of short-form videos of 60 to 180 seconds. Mid-roll ads have also been introduced for Live Video, with the ad being shown while the live stream continues in a smaller window.
After several months of testing, Facebook has announced that it will share its latest updates to Fan Subscriptions and Live Ads with Level Up Creators and gaming partners. The new subscription features will be available to Level Up Creators with at least 250 returning weekly viewers.
Some of the world’s biggest brands including Unilever and Coca Cola have taken aim at Facebook for not doing enough to combat hate and incitement to violence. They have paused their advertising campaigns on the platform, participating in a #StopHateForProfit campaign.
Facebook’s Collections feature has been upgraded to make it easier for users to share content with groups of people. Collections allow users to save and organize the content they find on Facebook. Users currently have the choice to share their collections with all their friends, contributors, or the public. To share collections to a group of people users were required to specify and select each individual they’d like to share the collection with. The new feature that Facebook is testing in the US enables users to more easily share curated collections with groups of users and make the content followable.
Twitter’s Audio Snippets
Twitter has rolled out a 140-second audio Tweets feature. Users can record their audio and tweet it, even running several audio Tweets one after the other to create a full thread of Tweets.
Google has just launched Keen, a web and Android app, and Pinterest lookalike. Like Pinterest it allows users to curate boards of their own and share their interests with friends and family. Keen also uses Google Search and machine learning to recommend helpful content to users.
Must-Know Social Media News of May 2020
Making headlines this month, President Trump signed an executive order that is aimed at stripping away the legal protections social media companies have in place to mitigate their liability from user-created content. The order comes in the wake of Twitter modifying one of the president’s recent tweets with a fact-checking disclaimer.
Here are all the biggest social media news stories and updates from May 2020.
Facebook makes it easier to do business from home
The team at Facebook has been hard at work again this month, making it easier to do more from home, adding new features, and helping small businesses to embrace online sales.
Facebook’s new remote working tools include the rollout of Messenger Rooms worldwide after its initial launch last month. Messenger Rooms support video meetings of up to 50 participants and there are no time limits. Industry experts believe this free tool that is embedded within a ‘social’ platform is an attempt from Facebook to try and claw back some of the online conversations occurring on Zoom and TikTok.
Online selling and shopping just got more exciting
Offering a helping hand to small businesses, this month Facebook launched Facebook Shops so businesses can create online stores within the social media platform, free of charge. Through your Facebook page or Instagram account you can create an online store and a catalog that features products and images of them, and accept sales. Through Facebook Shops businesses can also offer live shopping and loyalty programs. Customers can contact the business directly via WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct. This all-in-one platform allows customers to track their orders and ask questions about any products.
In another bid to help small businesses to survive and thrive during Covid-19 Facebook has added 15 new courses free of charge to their Facebook Blueprint business education program. The courses cover a range of topics designed to help businesses with their online and social media marketing.
Facebook is also testing new 3D-like shopping technology that transforms 2D phone video of products into an interactive 360-degree view so shoppers can get a better idea of what they’re interested in buying. The technology is powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Called GrokNet, the AI operates on Marketplace already to help users with their online shopping choices.
New Creative and Interactive features
Facebook has improved its Creator Studio app that it launched in February. The new improvements to the app allow users to publish and schedule posts within the same place in the app that you check insights and respond to your messages and comments. This change gives users more control and enhanced ability to create content on the go.
Polls for Messenger has returned with a new look and feel. Facebook recently removed Messenger polls, but due to popular demand, it’s back, making it easier to connect with groups of people who are important to your brand.
The Facebook New Product Experimentation team recently announced that it would introduce a new iOS app called Collab. The app, which is in testing mode with invited users, allows music lovers to create and collaborate on music by mixing three music videos and then adding their own unique visual touch to it.
Facebook has also introduced a Live Event Experience product called Venue bringing together expert commentators and passionate fans in an interactive second-screen experience. Venue’s first sports partner is NASCAR, which will be one of the first sports to return to live-action. Fans who are unable to attend NASCAR races due to the pandemic can experience the high octane action together via Venue.
Enhanced AR for Instagram
Facebook has announced enhanced Spark AR capabilities for Instagram. The new AR options enable Instagram users to create their own AR effects that respond to music. They can set their photos and videos in their albums to interact with music they have chosen. Gallery Picker makes it possible to personalize images with Green Screen or other background effects.
Instagram is also testing several new revenue streams for video creators including badges that can be purchased during Instagram Live videos and IGTV ads.
Twitter in the news
Twitter is testing a new function that will allow you to hide replies and to choose who can join your conversation or answer your tweets. As you can see from the image below you have three options, putting you in charge of your conversations.
From this month you can also save drafts of your Tweets to your laptop where previously you could only save to your phone. For now, you can only retrieve your Tweets from the type of device you saved it to.
Twitter has also made it easier to add descriptions to pictures uploaded on Twitter. All you need to do is press the +Alt button that appears on the picture and add the description.
Pinterest introduces Shopping Spotlights
This month Pinterest has introduced Shopping Spotlights. This fully shoppable catalog is curated and based on recommendations from fashion and home design influencers and publishers.
If you’re keen on making great videos and you’re not quite sure how, Pinterest has released a free how-to guide on animation techniques for crafting breakthrough videos.
LinkedIn is bringing new virtual sales features to its Sales Navigator platform. The new Smart Links enhancements make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. By adding a smart link to your post, you will have the option of checking who accessed the content, how much time they spend reviewing the content, and what they found interesting. Users will be able to package-up and share content all within the Sales Navigator workflow.
LinkedIn is also seeking to boost virtual engagement with a new Polls feature and “LinkedIn Virtual Events”, which enables users to create and broadcast video events within the LinkedIn platform.
Snapchat will host its annual partner summit remotely on 11 June. The virtual summit is widely anticipated for the new product announcements that take place, so it may be worth penciling into your calendar. And if you’re looking for ideas to boost sales, Snapchat’s back to school user wish lists might provide insights for brands that operate in this space.
Must-Know Social Media Updates of April 2020
Here are all the biggest social media news stories and updates from April 2020.
Facebook Expands Video Capabilities
As most of the world hunkers down and comes to grips with the reality of working, studying, and virtually socializing from home, social media has become ever more important in our daily lives.
Not surprisingly the demand for video has increased. According to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, more than 700 million people make use of video calls on Facebook apps every day, and 800 million watch live videos daily.
Facebook has responded with an assortment of new video tools including the roll-out of Messenger Rooms. The announcement was appropriately made via video Live Stream.
Messenger Rooms will soon become available on all Facebook apps with non-Facebook users able to join via a URL. This new feature allows users to arrange a ‘room’ for a video call from within Messenger or Facebook and invite anyone to join. Rooms will be able to host up to 50 people without any time limit. Users will receive notifications of available rooms in their newsfeed and can tap into any room without a need to book. At this stage, rooms are only available on personal accounts and not business pages. Facebook has also announced that Live Guests, which was discontinued in December, is returning.
WhatsApp doubles the number of participants in group calls
Over at WhatsApp, they are doubling the number of participants on group video and voice calls from four to eight. The expansion was officially launched in the last week of April.
In other Facebook news
- As part of its transparency campaign, Facebook is adding location markers to all posts shared by pages with an extensive reach. This will help users to make up their minds about the authenticity of the information offered, particularly leading up to the US elections.
- With millions of children around the world socially distancing and learning from home, Messenger Kids is rolling out to 70 additional countries this month so children can stay connected to family and friends.
- Good news for those advertisers that were not keen on Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization mandate. Marketing Land reports that Facebook has decided to give advertisers the choice of having budgets managed at either the campaign or ad set level.
Facebook keeps growing
As may be expected Facebook has fared well in the world of Covid-19. The quarter one results, published as the month came to a close, show an increase of 105 million Daily Active Users. Now 2.6 billion users are active on Facebook every month. The trend was not, however, reflected in advertising revenue figures which dropped back to Q3 2019 levels.
Not for Profit Donations through Instagram
With so many people around the world currently needing support, Instagram has made it possible for users to host live fundraisers for non-profit organizations, with all of the money raised going directly to the chosen nonprofit.
You can start the Live Donations feature from your feed, tap Live, select Fundraiser, and choose a nonprofit to support. Once you have started the fundraiser you can watch the funds accumulate in real-time. There is also an “I Donated” sticker that donors can add to their shared Stories.
Instagram is also offering insights on how to engage your Instagram followers through Stories during Covid-19.
Twitter Reports on Gaming Trends
Conversations around video games are growing as more and more people seek entertainment in the comfort of their homes. According to a new Twitter report, there were 1.2 billion Tweets about gaming in 2019, and in the latter part of March, the conversation increased by 71%. Many sporting stars unable to play their favorite games are now hosting virtual social gaming events. With so much interest, it may be worth considering how social gaming could fit into your marketing strategy.
Pinterest Helping Small Businesses
The number of shoppers using Pinterest is up 44% year on year, and given the stats in the infographic above, many brands will start factoring Pinterest firmly into their marketing strategies. In line with the growing shopping trends on the platform, Pinterest now offers several new ways to shop including boards and pins showing in-stock products and ‘show similar products’ feature and search having price and brand filters. It has also added some additional small businesses to its featured and curated collections. Other small businesses wishing to be considered in Pinterest’s collection are being encouraged to share their story with them.
In another step to help small businesses survive Covid-19 lockdowns, Pinterest has announced that it has joined the #StandForSmall Coalition alongside other major brands and corporations. The Coalition has a central resources hub offering online tools and advice to help businesses survive this crisis.
It has also announced an increase in the number and range of partners that users can access to help in the creation of advertisements, advertising campaigns, eCommerce, and data analysis.
TikTok Matching Donor Generosity
In TikTok news, you can now upload your TikTok videos and examine your analytics from your desktop via a new login feature.
TikTok is also launching donation stickers so users can raise money via a feature that is similar to Instagram’s Donation Live. TikTok will match donor generosity to an amount of up to $10 million up to 27 May.
Snapchat’s New Advertising Options
Snapchat’s Q1 results, published at the start of the month, show a 20% rise in Daily Active Users year on year, to reach a figure of 229 million.
With people seeking new ways to stay amused at home, Snapchat has seen a 37% increase in the use of its AR Lens from February to March this year.
As reported in Mobile Marketer, Snapchat is currently testing a new ad format called First Commercial. It is a non-skippable ad that will show before the user’s first video show of the day. So, now businesses can buy a premium ad position on Snapchat.
Snapchat has also expanded its Snap Select ad feature increasing the options from two to five. You can also now easily change your horizontal ads to vertical using Snapchat’s Vertical Video Conversion Tool.
YouTube has announced that they are expanding the reach of their Video Builder to make it easier for businesses that lack the resources to make videos from scratch. The Video Builder offers an array of tools to assist in the production of 6-second and 15-second videos. This is a great opportunity for smaller businesses and brands to feed the ever-growing demand for video content.
Must-Know Social Media Updates of March 2020
Our top social media news updates from March 2020.
Facebook Responds to the Coronavirus
As people around the world look for ways to stay connected while in lockdown, social media has become more important than ever. Facebook reports that total messaging is up by 50% on Messenger and WhatsApp. While most of Facebook’s employees are now working from home, the Vice Presidents of Analytics and Engineering has made assurances that they will do everything in their power to keep the lines of communication going even as usage spikes.
Similarly, Facebook video usage during the COVID-19 crisis is growing according to a Bloomberg report. The social media platform is allowing people without Facebook accounts to use its live streaming service. Facebook is also redirecting the attention of the staff in finding ways to help small and medium enterprises to survive the economic crisis. Facebook is providing online resources to help advertisers and enterprises during this time as well as offering cash grants and ad credits to affected small businesses.
Reported in Social Media Today, Facebook has put on hold any approvals of Augmented Reality (AR) effects, until further notice. Spark users should have received notification from Facebook, who also posted the news on a Spark Instagram Story. Facebook has also warned advertisers that the advertising approval process may take a little longer due to the impacts of Coronavirus.
Facebook Advertising News
Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to advertising. Facebook knows this so they’ve made it easier for brands to do just that with the development of Experiments in Ads Manager. Experiments brings together different types of tests, previously known as Test and Learn and Split Testing, and allows marketers to A/B test campaigns, monitor and measure success all in one place.
Other Facebook Updates
Facebook recently took another big step in its pursuit of a world in virtual reality. Display manufacturer, Plessey, has agreed to license its technology to Facebook, and dedicate its production to Facebook for the next few years. The microLED displays being produced play a vital role in the development and manufacture of AR/VR devices.
Also this month, Facebook announced that it had updated its data access tools to better comply with privacy and GDPR regulations. Access tools allow users to easily view the Facebook data services and how they have been used. These have been expanded to include data used to improve your experiences and data about inferences used to recommend content for a user’s newsfeed.
Pinterest Verified Merchant – Rewarding Customer Service
Pinterest verified merchant – a reward for quality customer service
This month Pinterest launched its Verified Merchant Program, along with catalog updates, new conversion reporting options, and dynamic targeting. The Verified Merchant Program is open for brands that demonstrate top quality customer service, with approved merchants able to display a blue checkmark. Verified Merchants will receive access to increased distribution opportunities and key metrics such as conversion reporting.
Pinterest has some tips for those brands worried about the best way to stay in touch with customers during the Coronavirus crisis. They’ve also just introduced a Today tab in response to the surge of visitors to the site. The Today tab will show visitors the highest trending pin content. Pinterest will personalize the recommendations according to the pins that the users have shown interest in, with a focus on content promoting emotional well-being.
A glimpse at the Pinterest Today tab
Instagram Advertising and Links
Instagram is working on launching a links feature within the business profile settings that will allow businesses to add a link for buying a gift card or making a donation. The feature, presumably designed in response to COVID-19 to help businesses generate more revenue, may also allow stickers to be created that when tapped go through to the nominated link, according to a report in Social Media Today.
Bloomberg reports that Instagram has started rolling out IGTV advertising. This month it approached its best creators to join them in video ad tests. Those who join up will receive a 55% share of the advertising revenue generated from ads placed with their content. Previously creators received no revenue from their creations so many shunned the long-form IGTV format. YouTube will most likely watch this development closely as it it competes with its video advertising options.
Instagram is also flagging possible changes to help those in lockdown. According to a report in Social Media Today they are looking at allowing more than one guest in Instagram Live Video Stream.
LinkedIn launches Conversation Ads
The LinkedIn conversation ad
This month LinkedIn launched Conversation Ads which are in line with a shift towards more personal and one-on-one conversations. Conversation Ads are full-funnel messaging ads that build on the LinkedIn Message Ads. With this feature you can create your campaign from start to finish, adding Calls to Action in multiple formats like invitations to webinars and information downloads.
LinkedIn is also offering tips on how to keep in touch with your LinkedIn audience during lock-down.
YouTube reduces video quality
As people retreat into their homes and turn to online entertainment and engagement YouTube has announced that it will reduce the quality of videos across the globe. Users can still choose to watch in high definition, but the default screening will be standard definition.
This month YouTube officially replaced its trending videos with Explore, the new repository for popular content and trending videos. The Explore function contains its own menu of destinations.
Easy AR ads in Snapchat
Snapchat has just introduced a free Lens Web Builder through which brands can easily create augmented reality advertising campaigns in Snapchat Ads Manager. The Web Builder contains a library of hundreds of 3D images that you can use in your campaign. It also has templates to help you create awesome-looking content.
Another Video Sharing App Enters the US Market
Singaporean short-form video-sharing app Likee is moving to try and make the US one its biggest markets, taking on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. Launched in 2017, Likee already has 115 million monthly active users making it the sixth most downloaded non-gaming app in the world according to Advertising and Media Insider.
Twitter Taking Measures Keep Up with Demand
Twitter reports that it is taking measures to keep up with the growth in demand experienced during the Coronavirus crisis. They have seen a 30% increase in usage in its messaging service this month alone. During this time Twitter is increasing the use of machine learning and automation to deal with potentially abusive and manipulative content. It has also outlined guidelines for inappropriate COVID-19 tweets that it considers false and misleading, which will be removed.
Must-Know Social Media Updates of February 2020
All the latest social media news stories, now updated for February 2020.
Twitter acquires Chroma Labs
Twitter has acquired Chroma Labs. Launched in 2018, Chroma is a photo and short video design app that lets users make visually attractive stories using a range of collage templates, filters, and frames. Up until now, the app has been used predominantly for Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. With the wide appeal of the ‘Stories’ format across a range of demographics and with advertisers it’s not altogether surprising Twitter has gone down this path. Stay tuned for more on Twitter’s plans for the future of the app.
In other Twitter news, you can now add new tweets to older tweet threads using a newly introduced feature for mobile users. The continued thread option eliminates the need to hunt down an old Tweet when you want to expand on a previous conversation. This could be a useful upgrade for businesses wanting to offer updates on older issues and makes it easier to collate and present multiple thoughts on one topic in the same place.
It seems 2019 was a good year for Twitter. Fourth-quarter results show ad revenue increased by 12% year-over-year to $885 million. Daily average users for the platform rose to 152 million from 126 million a year ago.
Snapchat launches Bitmoji TV
After much hype, Snapchat has finally launched Bitmoji TV globally. The launched version doesn’t have ads, but they’re expected to follow. Bitmoji TV presents cartoons in which the Snapchat avatar becomes the star of the show, taking part in regular adventures.
Snapchat’s Swipe Up to Call is coming to the United States. This feature will allow users to call brands directly from their ads by swiping the screen. The feature has been in test mode in the Middle East since December last year.
Snapchat is currently testing a new design that will make the app easier to navigate. The layout which has always featured three sections will now have five – Snap Map, Chat, main camera, Community and the new Discover. They’re also adding a navigation bar so you can easily get from one section to the next.
Snapchat’s quarter four results showed revenue growth of 44% to $561 million. Daily Average Users increased by 17% from the same time last year.
YouTube way ahead in the video viewing stakes
We’ve all known that YouTube is way ahead in the video popularity stakes. But by how much? A report on App Annie has found that YouTube users completely dominate in the video viewing stakes, with 70% of all the time spent on the top 5 video apps being dedicated to YouTube.
YouTube has just added a function called Viewer Applause for desktop users in several countries. It allows users to incentivize their favorite creators. Followers press “applaud” to donate. By buying the animated clapping that appears over the video they reward their favorite creators.
Facebook launches Hobbi
This month Facebook launched Creator Studio for mobiles. The Creator Studio app is designed to work with Creator Studio desktop, so creators and publishers can easily manage pages, check analytics and answer messages all from their phone.
Facebook Messenger is moving away from its former chat bot-focused strategy with the removal of the Discover tab. Chatbots, games, and businesses are being hidden from view in the redesigned app. The changes mirror the ephemeral social media format you find on Snapchat with the People tab defaulting to friends’ Stories.
Another Facebook product has just been introduced by the New Product Experimentation team according to a TechCrunch report. It’s called Hobbi and it’s similar to Pinterest. The app is designed for users to showcase their interests through Pinterest-like collections. It is mainly aimed at hobbyists so they can track the progress of their projects via themed photo collections.
Facebook has introduced a one-time notification API so that businesses can use messenger to send follow up alerts to customers. Users will be able to request alerts on specific topics such as when a product may be back in stock. Below is a graphic description of the process.
Shopify has announced that it will join Facebook’s Libra Association, which oversees the platform’s cryptocurrency. Shopify says it plans to work with other associate members to create a payment network that makes funds easier for merchants and consumers to access everywhere.
Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp this month reached 2 billion users, up from 1.5 billion in 2018. It is only the second social media platform to reach this milestone.
Instagram tests new video trimming tools
Instagram is testing new video trimming tools that will make it easier to edit and upload your videos from within the app. Social Media Today reports that the trimming tool offers similar functionality to editing tools in other video apps. This will be of particular benefit to creators who have resorted to third-party editing tools to neaten up their Instagram Stories.
Instagram has confirmed to TechCrunch that it plans to allow IGTV video-makers to join its Partner Program. This will enable the video-makers to show ads during their longer format videos and generate revenue.
Instagram has launched an appeal process for disabled accounts, that can be managed directly through the app. The appeal option will appear automatically on disabled accounts. To appeal users log in and state the reason why they believe that Instagram has got it wrong. The disabled account will be re-reviewed and may potentially be restored.
Pinterest Lite goes global
After testing Pinterest Lite in several South American countries, Pinterest has announced that it is now going global. It is similar to the Pinterest app but it takes up less space on your device. This means that users with slower internet access can still use Pinterest easily.
Pinterest has started a Merchant Verification Program which when complete will allow verified merchants to distribute their goods via Pinterest shopping experiences. Merchants can register their interest and will be contacted when applications open.
Quoting recent research, Pinterest expects women to control 75% of the discretionary spending worldwide from 2028. Check out their latest published trends on women’s buying habits.
In its recent results, Pinterest announced a 46% year-over-year growth with revenue reaching a whopping $400 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. The number of active users grew by 26% to 335 million.
Building on a 25% increase in engagement over the last year LinkedIn has announced that it is testing its own version of Stories. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops Stories within a professional context.
Soon LinkedIn will no longer offer users a connection to Sales Navigator for Gmail, or Repportive as it was formerly called, according to a TechCrunch report. Many professionals may have found this feature helpful as it provided social media information on the person whose Gmail address you typed in. According to LinkedIn, the service was underutilized.
Connect TikTok to your website
TikTok is adding a field to its user profile pages that will allow for the addition of a URL according to a report in Social Media Today. This will mean that brands can add a direct link on their profile to their websites.
Also added this month, Sticker pinning for videos. The sticker will move in time to the video just as it does on Snapchat and Instagram.
Are there any social media news updates that surprised you this month? Join the discussion on our Facebook page!
Must-Know Social Media Updates of January 2020
Social Media’s biggest news stories, all in one place. Now updated with all the juiciest social media news updates of January 2020.
Twitter allows you to choose
Twitter this month announced changes allowing users to define who can reply to each of their Tweets. Still under testing, the settings include:
- Global – anyone can reply
- Group – the people that you follow or that you mention in the tweet can respond
- Panel – only the people that you mention can reply
- Statement – no reply.
Although there are concerns that some may abuse the function, it will give users more control over their conversations.
Reported in Social Media Today, Twitter started to remove its Audience Insights feature at the end of January. This will disappoint marketers who rely on the data including demographics, mobile footprints and the behavior of their targeted audience. Twitter has provided no information yet on plans for a replacement analytics function.
After months of testing, at last, the Promoted Trend Spotlight is available for use. The new feature allows brands to place advertisements at the top of the Explore tab. The ads may take the form of images, GIFs or six-second videos. Each ad will appear twice per person per day before it moves to the regular Promoted Trend placement.
The 2019 Q4 results show that the number of monthly active users has now reached 2.5 billion, an increase of 8% year-on-year. Revenue increased by a massive 27% in the same period.
Facebook backflips on WhatsApp advertising
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has reversed its decision to offer advertising on WhatsApp. This is an interesting development because management’s original determination to place ads on WhatsApp prompted the resignation of its creators.
New desktop layout arrives
After months of testing, Facebook is finally rolling out its new desktop layout to some users. A lot less cluttered, the idea is to make the desktop more like the mobile layout so that users experience a seamless transition between digital devices.
Instant Article Upgrades for Publishers
This month, Facebook upgraded the Instant Article feature with a number of added functions for publishers. The intention is to help publishers to better promote their content on social media through the incorporation of navigation buttons for sharing and linking to content from the same publisher. The call-to-action and ad placement options have also been improved.
Page Admin Functions
Facebook is currently rolling out a new function, a tab that will allow Page Admins to view a record of all activities undertaken on a page by anyone who holds an ‘admin’ role. You’ll find the option in the Page Settings.
Facebook VR Headsets
The future is in VR and Facebook is ready to take on the challenge, dropping the permanent price of its most popular standalone virtual reality headset, Oculus. According to UploadVR they’ve dropped a whopping $50 from the price making the technology more affordable to its audience.
Facebook compliance and control issues
Social Media Today reports that Facebook is giving users even further control over what ads they see. The new controls grant users the right to disallow ads from all brands sent from the same business account. Previously businesses with more than one brand on a Facebook account could continue to send ads even if you had disallowed ads from another of its brands.
They’ve also announced a new Privacy Check-Up Tool where you can check which information Facebook has access to, how and where it is used, and how to limit access. Specifically, Off-Facebook Activity shows a summary of the apps and websites that provide your information to Facebook and gives you options to control this information.
This month Facebook set compliance deadlines for advertisers targeting US audiences looking for housing, employment or credit. If your brand falls into this area you will be required to choose ‘Special Category Ad’ when setting up your ad, and then use the limited targeted audience options available. These advertisers have until 31 March to comply.
Pinterest introduces AR for cosmetics
This month Pinterest introduced a new Augmented Reality feature, allowing users to try their chosen lipstick color before they buy. The feature is powered by Lens. To use it, you tap on the color that you like and the reverse camera on your phone will reflect your image wearing the color of your choice. When you find the shade that you like, Pinterest will offer shoppable pins from some of the world’s top cosmetic houses.
Pinterest is now the third most popular social media platform, having overtaken Snapchat for the position according to a report in eMarketer. Pinterest users represent a broad demographic cross-section, unlike the youthful Snapchat following.
LinkedIn Live for company pages
LinkedIn is expanding LinkedIn Live to be available for company pages. This means that businesses can now leverage video and live engagement on their pages. If you plan on using LinkedIn Live for your company pages, you’ll have to apply for access. The announcement also highlighted that LinkedIn is re-introducing the Invite to Follow feature. This will allow admins to invite first degree connections to follow their pages.
Q2 earnings for 2019, as published by Microsoft, shows that LinkedIn has earned an impressive 24% more year-on-year. Marketing solutions is the fastest growing sector boasting growth of 42%.
TikTok improves content curation
According to a report in the Financial Times TikTok is looking to improve the curation of its content, highlighting selected original videos. The curation is aimed at protecting brands, producing high-quality content, from finding their ads bookended by inappropriate or lesser quality content.
And TechCrunch reports that Tiktok has signed a deal with Merlin a music agency representing thousands of artists across the globe. This is just another step towards the global launch of Tiktok’s music streaming service which it hopes will become a global competitor to leading music streaming brands.
More upgrades to Instagram Stories
According to a report in Social Media Today Instagram is adding a map sticker to its Stories, so your followers can see just where in the world you find yourself. It won’t show your exact location and the function is optional, so you don’t have to share if you’d rather not. This feature could offer businesses an easy way to point followers to functions and special events.
Instagram has started testing direct messages for desktop users. This should be a welcome move for marketers who use Instagram on desktop rather than mobile devices to manage brand messages, customer queries and service complaints.
If you’re looking for new ways to pep up your Stories look no further than the additional options now available on Instagram’s Boomerang camera feature. The updates enable users to trim, tweak and better control their final clip.
Instagram has rolled out yet another handy, new function. It is an alert that will trigger when any Stories mention your brand or name. You can then quickly reshare it on your own Stories. Instagram will inform you of the mention via direct messaging and you have 24 hours to re-share as a story on your own account. The function is only available for public accounts.
Must-Know Social Media Updates of December 2019
Happy New Year from all of us at MavSocial. We’ve rounded up all our top social media news stories from December 2019.
Facebook Targets Shopping and Music Videos
Earlier this year Facebook quietly acquired the video startup Packagd. The acquisition went unannounced, but the Packagd senior management had already joined the Facebook team by September according to a Bloomberg report. Before the buyout Packagd had been working on video commerce for YouTube. The article says that Facebook now plans to introduce a live video shopping feature via its Marketplace, describing it as a reimagined home shopping network.
Facebook may also be taking on YouTube dominance in the world of music video. According to a recent article, Facebook is currently in discussions with major music producers and is negotiating licensing deals with three of the biggest. Facebook already allows users to add background music to their videos, but it does not currently have rights to stream official music videos for hit songs. Facebook plans to share full-length music videos on Watch. This could see Watch take some of YouTube’s music audience and create inroads into younger audiences.
Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger got into the holiday spirit by making it easier for users to share stories in holiday mode, by adding festive themes and overlays to their repertoire. At the same time, Messenger included an archive function to Stories so that you can now revisit your Stories when you’re feeling nostalgic.
Messenger helps to spread holiday cheer
Making life easier for administrators, Facebook has announced the full roll-out of automatic member approval options for groups. The tool allows administrators to set criteria for automatic approval, saving time and effort. This should be a welcome improvement for brands that manage large groups of people.
Do you want verification for your Facebook and/or Instagram brand accounts? Facebook this month provided new information on how to verify your accounts as well as protect against imposter accounts and enhance account security.
Instagram’s Collaborative Improvements
Instagram creators will be happy to know that Facebook will extend its Brand Collabs to include creators on Instagram. Previously only Facebook creators had access to this tool. Brand Collabs makes it easier for brands and influencers to connect and collaborate with one another and create branded content. This Marketplace tool will only initially be offered to a select group of Instagram creators.
Instagram has started the rollout of yet another Collaborative Group Stories option that will allow groups to collaborate on private Stories. The function is limited at this stage to a small group of users. In another change to Stories, Social Media Today reports that Instagram has also started testing a new layout option. With six options to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Instagram will shortly roll out a feature that will allow brands and creators to place age restrictions on users. It will use birth date information to serve age-appropriate content for its youngest followers and control who can send direct messages to them.
In a bid to reduce misinformation, fake images and false claims made in posts, Instagram is expanding its fact-checking system by including 45 third-party fact-checking organizations to assess the veracity of posted content. Any questionable content will be removed from the Explore and hashtag pages. Labels will be placed on any information identified as false.
LinkedIn Advice for Marketers
B2B marketing information recently published by LinkedIn suggests that advertising campaigns over the holidays may have more impact than you have imagined. Using statistics gathered during 2018, LinkedIn found that engagement in B2B ads increased during December by 18%. This may change future campaign plans for many brands.
As 2019 rolled to a close LinkedIn published a five-point checklist for media success. It’s based on interviews that LinkedIn conducted with top marketers in its “Live with Marketers” series of podcasts. While some of the information may be intuitive, it could offer some interesting insights for marketers in 2020.
According to a report in Social Media Today, LinkedIn has added several new features to Groups as a means to improve engagement. One of the new tools will allow administrators to view posts before publishing them. The range of filters for finding members has been increased. Administrators will also be allowed to block members from making comments or delete everything posted by specific members. LinkedIn has also added share options, admin recommendations and has refined notifications.
More Augmented Reality Innovations from Snapchat
Snapchat Scan recently partnered with Coca Cola and MacDonald’s according to Adweek. Now, users can unlock augmented reality lenses when they scan these brand logos with their phones. It’s not certain when Snapchat plans to roll out this new function to other brands but when it does, brands could use the function to offer specials, discounts or exclusive content to users that scan their logo.
This month Snapchat added a ‘Swipe up to call’ feature to its Ads Manager for Middle Eastern users. This, they say, is in response to the Middle Eastern preference for calling businesses rather than emailing or messaging.
Snapchat’s swipe up to chat function
Reported in the Mobile Marketer, Snapchat, this month, previewed its trailer reaction lens. This was done in partnership with Paramount Pictures to promote upcoming film, ‘Maverick’, the sequel to Top Gun. The augmented reality feature allows users to watch a trailer of the film in a split-screen format with the preview in the top half of the screen and the bottom half capturing the users reactions to the trailer. Users can also add digital overlays to their reaction video. Marketers should expect to see more of these types of ads in the future.
Snapchat has also announced the global release from February of Bitmoji TV. This feature will take your customizable Bitmoji avatar as well as your friends and star them in a full-motion cartoon adventure series.
Twitter investigates shared standards
Twitter has added two new options to its lists feature. Twitter cards with pictures will replace URLs when you share a list on Twitter. Users will also receive suggestions for accounts to add to their lists based on similar types of users to those already added. The changes aim to make it easier for users to find content and engage with subjects of interest.
CNBC reports that Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, hopes to start a decentralized social media standard. Twitter is funding a research team to investigate the possibility of all social media using shared standards making it easier to manage and enforce against non-compliant content such as hate speech and abuse.
Pinterest ended the year with the initial launch of Pinterest Trends to help brands understand the changing interests and actions of users. Trends will offer information on the most popular search phrases and user behaviors, which can inform campaign decisions. It is being rolled out at this stage for desktop users in the US.
Did we miss any crucial social media news updates? Join the conversation and let us know on our Facebook Page!
Must-Know Social Media Updates of November 2019
Your monthly social media news stories, now updated for November 2019.
Facebook brand safety and machine learning
In the fiercely competitive business environment, personalized offerings have the power to sell more and create greater brand awareness. To fulfill the demand for customized advertising, Facebook has launched a new feature, which gives brands the benefit of machine learning for the compilation of tailor-made personalized advertising. Using collected data and machine learning, Facebook can now help advertisers to carefully target the audience that is most likely to respond to a particular ad. The service combines Facebook data, insights from the advertiser and intent signals given from users, to predict the best people for specific message delivery. The tailored ad service can be applied to both organic and paid content.
Facebook has enhanced the offering of brand controls for its advertisers. These allow marketers to manage where their ads appear as well as some whitelisting tools.
This month Facebook introduced Facebook Pay on Facebook and Messenger in the US. Payment for purchases and other transactions is not new to Facebook, but Facebook Pay makes transfers and purchases much easier by retaining payment details for reuse in the future. Facebook Pay will roll out to Instagram and WhatsApp in the near future.
Publisher Tools have some new additions this month. The Brands Collab Manager has been expanded to include creators from 40 countries around the world. Although Facebook has placed entry limits on who qualifies for influencer status, the expansion program will continue.
The new additions will also include data analyzers so that creators get a better idea of which content is the most engaging and which requires adjustment.
Changes on Facebook’s Shortcut Bar Setting mean that users can now customize the navigation bar and specify what type of notifications they want to see flagged with a red dot. According to an article in TechCrunch, the option is already available on iOS and will shortly roll out to Android devices.
In a new effort to keep young people engaged, Facebook has just introduced a new meme creation product in Canada. It’s called Whale. It was created by Facebook’s new product experimental team NPE. According to a report in Social Media Today, Whale encourages users to create their own memes using stock photos. They can then share these creations on social media.
Instagram influencers’ virtual competition
Marketers using social media influencers to sell their products may want to consider setting up their own virtual influencers if a recent report is anything to go by. Hype Auditor research into Instagram influencers showed that virtual influencers are more effective than the real thing by a considerable margin.
According to the report, virtual influences achieved up to three times more engagement than real influencers. Add to this the fact that virtual influencers are cheaper, easier to manage and are constantly available, this tactic shouldn’t be dismissed too easily.
TechCrunch reports that Instagram has launched a video music feature in direct competition to TikTok. Launched in Brazil, Reels allows users to make 15-second music videos, which they can then publish as Stories. The best Stories could go viral on a Top Reels section in Explore.
Instagram is expanding the region where the total likes on posts are hidden to the US and the rest of the globe. While users can still like a post, the total number of likes will not appear on the post. The jury though seems to be still out on how this will affect total engagement.
WhatsApp adds product catalogs
In an exciting new development, small businesses now have the option of adding their product catalogs to their WhatsApp business app. This means that customers can now see the full catalog of products when they visit the business profile. Businesses using this feature can also add information, such as the description, product code, and price to the catalog. The feature is available on both iOS and Android.
Snapchat extends advertising play time
Adweek reports that Snapchat is extending the time limit of its midstream video ads to 3 minutes although users can still exit after six seconds. The extended view ads offer advertisers a way to grab the attention of the audience within six seconds and then offer more information to those who find the ad engaging.
Snapchat is investing in augmented reality (AR), tripling its commitment to AR stars. AdAge reports that Snapchat will pay $750,000 to its top AR influencers. This announcement was made at the annual Lens Fest, which hosted twice as many creators than it did in the previous year.
Finally, advertisers may find some interesting insights into the buying behavior of Snapchat users as published this month. Key insights include that more than 30% Snapchat users consult friends and family via Snapchat prior to making purchases.
LinkedIn re-introduces company invites
Social Media Today reports that LinkedIn has decided to allow company pages to invite users to connect to their business page. This feature was disabled a few years ago as it had been associated with spamming. The re-introduced feature comes with limitations to reduce spamming issues. The invitation is limited to administrators who may only send 50 invites at a time.
YouTube adds new advertising options
Google is adding two new advertising options to the YouTube offering according to a TechCrunch report. Shopping ads will be able to appear in both the home feed and search results. When a user searches for a particular product, they will receive a list of suggested products delivered according to their interests. Businesses also now have the option of adding more landing pages to their video ads.
Pinterest gives small businesses a boost
Pinterest is celebrating small businesses this holiday season with a hand-curated profile highlighting specific products. In an announcement made earlier this month, Pinterest selected 17 businesses who may sell their product through shoppable product pins. When users click on the product pins they’ll be taken directly to the checkout.
The newest Pinterest trends for 2019 may offer brands ideas for campaigns in the new year. Some of the highlighted 2019 trends include oxtail recipes, powder dipped nails, bus travel, and the magic of elderberries among other topics.
Soon Twitter scheduling may get easier. Twitter announced this month that it is testing an option that will allow users to schedule tweets from within the tweet composer.
Twitter has also rolled out its hide replies option worldwide, giving users more conversational control.
All eyes on TikTok
TikTok now boasts more than 1.5 billion downloads according to recent Insights published by Sensor Tower. The app is the third most downloaded non-gaming app in the world this year with WhatsApp and Messenger taking positions number one and two respectively. TikTok is currently testing a feature that will allow in-app purchasing, which could potentially give users the ability to turn their profile page into a one-stop online shop according to a report in Adweek. We’re sure that brands will be watching this space for future opportunities.
Missing any social media news updates? Join the conversation and let us know on our Facebook Page!
Must-Know Social Media Updates of October 2019
Your monthly social media news stories, updating you on everything “social media” that happened in October.
Facebook Upgrades Messenger and Responsive Ads
This month has seen significant changes to Facebook’s Messenger platform. The changes aim to allow businesses to interact more easily with their customers and personalize responses. The Private Replies function which previously allowed a plain text-only response has been adapted so that businesses can now use templates, images and quick messages in reply to posts or comments. In addition, changes at a user level will allow businesses to use dynamic menu options for different stages of the customer journey.
In an exciting new development, reported in Marketing Land, Facebook has just added multiple text optimization functionality for responsive ads. Advertisers can use the feature to make a single ad with various headlines and ad content. Machine learning algorithms will choose and deliver the version of the ad that it calculates will have the biggest impact on your target market.
After much hype, Facebook has finally launched its dedicated news tab. According to Marketing Land it will not include feed ads, but publishers whose articles do appear in Facebook’s curated news will have the usual opportunities to monetize their content via referral traffic and Instant Article ads.
Facebook has started ditching its grey verification badges (used by small businesses), although the blue ones (used by public figures and large brands) will remain. According to a news report, this will make it a little more difficult for small businesses to prove the authenticity of their pages. Facebook has advised businesses wishing to demonstrate authenticity, to ensure that their profiles are complete and up to date by the end of the month.
If you notice a sudden dip in your impressions metrics on your Facebook page it may not be cause for concern. Social Media Today reports that Facebook has changed the way that it calculates organic page impressions. The calculation is more accurate because it removes some duplication but it will lead to a perceived drop of visits and reach.
Instagram Takes You Shopping in Augmented Reality
Imagine trying on your purchases online. Now you can. Mashable reports that Instagram is adding Augmented Reality to its shopping feature. The big cosmetic and eyewear brands that have been testing the feature, allow users to try their products before they buy them. Users can also share their AR experience on Stories. It is thought the feature will be rolled out to more brands in the future.
Instagram is testing new events stickers for Stories to promote event participation, according to a report in Social Media Today. Once launched, event managers will have the option of adding stickers with information such as time and place to their Stories. This new feature will allow brands to offer exclusive deals and virtual events to fans and followers.
This month Instagram launched Threads – a camera-first messaging app. Threads offers users a new way to stay connected, allowing users to communicate with just their close friends or a select group of people by controlling who sees what. According to a report in Social Media Today, there are more changes to Instagram messaging in the pipeline including bringing direct messaging to the Instagram web app. The change will make it easier for businesses to communicate directly with their customers.
If you were one of the few users of Instagram’s “Following” tab, you may have noticed that it disappeared this month. TechCrunch reports, the tab which provided detailed insights into user activity was little used and considered a bit creepy by some Instagram users. Instagram instead is promoting its Explore feature for users to find new accounts and hashtags to follow.
Snapchat launches in-game purchasing
For our next social media news update, Snapchat has partnered with Adidas to launch an in-gaming purchasing function on its gaming platform. According to an Engadget report, Baseball’s New Level marks the first time that anyone has been able to buy products from any brand inside a Snapchat game.
TechCrunch reports that Snapchat has launched Dynamic Ads. With this feature, advertisers can create ads using their uploaded product catalog, in real-time via mobile. Snapchat will use templates to create and deliver the ads to users based on what interests them. All the advertiser has to do is sync their catalog to Snap’s system and Snapchat creates the ad for them.
Snapchat’s quarter 3 report shows that its daily usage and revenue continues to grow. Daily usage has increased by 13% year over year, reaching 210 million daily users by the end of the quarter. Revenue has increased by an eye-watering 50% over the year.
Twitter’s results disappoint
Twitter published disappointing Q3 results this month, with Twitter management citing product problems and lower than expected advertising revenue as reasons for the underperformance in earnings. In a nutshell, total revenue was up 8% on the previous year, but since ad engagements have increased by 23% it should have been higher. The large part of the shortfall was a result of the cost per engagement dropping by 12%.
On 1 October Twitter rolled out its direct message search to all iOS users. DM search allows users to search message threads. It doesn’t search content but you can look for names and groups.
Techcrunch reported earlier this month that Twitter is also rolling out its spam and abuse filter for Direct Messages, following testing of this feature. The feature includes a new inbox view for DMs that come from people you don’t follow. These messages which may potentially contain offensive content appear without a preview, with users having the option of deleting the message without opening it.
LinkedIn grows in leaps and bounds
LinkedIn has just published its quarter 2 content insights report, providing marketers with an awareness of the type of content audiences find the most engaging. It also provided some insights into trends in content readership. For quarter 2 LinkedIn did a deep dive into content teachers and other educators were engaging in as well as what top content members engaged with on GDPR.
According to the Q2 Microsoft reports LinkedIn continues to grow in leaps and bounds. In just one year they have grown their users to 645 million from the 575 million users it had last year. One of every five LinkedIn marketers uses the LinkedIn Marketing Partner.
In other news
YouTube has added new comment search filters on YouTube studio. The aim is to allow creators to better find and engage with comments and conversations related to the videos they publish.
According to a recent report from Sensor Tower, Tiktok was the most downloaded app on Android and iOS phones during the month of September with almost 60 million downloads across the globe. It seems a case of continuing to watch this space when it comes to this particular social app.
If we’ve missed any big social media news updates, join the conversation and let us know on our Facebook Page!
Must-Know Social Media Updates of September 2019
What have you missed this month on social media?
Facebook gets creative
Hands-free virtual reality
Our first Social Media news story this month comes with an update from Facebook. Facebook used the Oculus Connect Conference to showcase its newest innovations in Virtual Reality (VR). One of the most exciting is Facebook Horizon, which will allow users to build their own worlds easily. Horizon will provide user-friendly tools that don’t require any coding skills. Facebook is inviting any users interested to sign up for the beta program scheduled for early 2020.
New video tools and features
Facebook chose the International Broadcasting Convention to announce the addition of new video tools and features. The changes include a much-requested Rehearsals for Facebook Live. Available only to Pages administrators, this feature allows video editors to test their production and use practice runs before going live to the broader public. Creators can also trim the beginning and end of the video using the new editing tools. The limit for live broadcasts has been doubled from four to eight hours.
Replay functionality has been added to Watch Party and it is also now possible to tag business partners where Watch Parties include branded content.
At the same time, improvements to Creator Studio which include graphic metrics will help businesses to understand which of their videos are generating the most views. If you’re looking to tap into the power of Creator Studio get going with the newly published guide for Creator Studio.
Make the most of Facebook Video with our Complete Facebook Video Marketing Guide!
Facebook’s hiding like count
Facebook began testing this month the hiding of total Like counts with Australian users. It follows Instagram’s lead which has been testing removing the total Like post counts over the last few months for users in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The move to remove Like counts has aimed to reduce social comparison, and the negative effects it can have on users’ wellbeing.
Testing TikTok-like Video Tool
Social Media Today reported that Facebook is testing a new TikTok-like tool called ‘Clips’ which would allow users to record and merge segments of videos into a single video Story and overlay music.
Facebook has been working hard to ensure that Creators get the coverage that they need to grow their brands. This month it announced that it would be releasing a number of features including Collaborative Stories. Collaborative Stories will allow a number of public figures to collaborate on a single story. Fan reply stickers will allow page owners to make their own calls to action. Public figures can also use their pages to sell tickets, merchandise and much more.
Why messaging matters
Following a recent survey in which 2 out of 3 people said that they used messaging platforms to contact their brands of choice, Facebook commissioned the Boston Consulting Group BCG to investigate trends in global messaging. BCG found that 45% of the users sought product and pricing information via c-commerce (conversational commerce), and 35% appreciated the fact that the information was quickly available. Businesses that respond quickly to messages, build strong online relationships with their customers who, in turn, will spend more on their product.
The Demise of Group Stories
Just months after rolling out the Group Stories feature Facebook has removed it. Group Stories allowed members of the group to collaborate in a single-story feature. It was only introduced in December 2017 and fully rolled out late last year. No new group stories will be able to posted and existing group stories will be deleted, though archived group stories will still be able to be viewed.
Instagram makes advertising easier
Facebook has been hard at work testing new Instagram advertising features that it plans to shortly roll out. The new feature will allow businesses to convert their shopping posts to ads on the Ads Manager. A tap on the ad will lead the user directly to the vendor’s mobile website so they can make a purchase.
Instagram isn’t even waiting until its Branded Content tags are rolled out to all users before adding this new feature to IGTV. According to an article in Social Media Today, the tags are well suited to brands using influencers to help sell their products and are available to selected Business and Creator accounts at this point.
Pinterest upgrades business features
Just ahead of the holiday season Pinterest has added new business features to the platform. It has just updated Shop the Look so that you can showcase your catalog of goods on the mobile phones of target markets in a smart new collections format. Users will be able to click through to the retailer’s site to purchase. Using this option brands can display up to 25 items in a single ad. The aim is to provide businesses with new ways to drive direct shopping.
Pinterest is also upgrading business profiles so that social media businesses can further customize their profiles. The business profile will include an option for a dedicated shop tab. In addition, updates to the messaging feature make communicating with customers quicker and easier.
New features on Group Boards
In another move to increase interaction between Pinners, Pinterest has introduced new group board features. A new emoji feature allows users to give quick reactions to pins. There is also a new sorting feature with which you can prioritize your Pins according to reactions or comments, as well as the ability to chat with members right on the board.
Pinterest Lens improvements
In a busy month, Pinterest has rolled out Lens improvements and added shoppable pins to their visual search results. The Lens improvement allows you to quickly take photos and upload them to your boards as Pins. You can also use the Lens with Pinterest’s visual search to take photos of items you want to know more about, and Pinterest will help you find them. You will even be able to zoom in on smaller items in Pins and Pinterest will give you recommendations. The Lens database has been expanded and can now identify more than 2.5 billion items.
Twitter makes changes to direct messaging
For this month’s Twitter news, Social Media Today reports that Twitter is currently working on a feature update that will allow you to better locate specific content in your direct messages.
Twitter has just introduced Twitter Next, a strategic marketing service, designed to help brands to leverage technology to enhance their brand messages. The service will use insights gleaned from Tweets to help big brands to optimize their Twitter campaigns.
Google ads this month announced that its TrueView for Action product will enable YouTube advertisers to place ads directly into a users’ home feed.
In addition, newly introduced Video Reach Campaigns allows marketers to upload all of their video advertising content (six-second ads to skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads) into a single campaign, then allow Google machine learning to determine the optimal combination of ads are served at the right time to the right audience.
In a move to help brands maximize the outcomes of their campaigns, LinkedIn has published a guide to help advertisers to make the best use of the recently released objectives-based advertising features.
Combine these new features with our B2B LinkedIn Marketing Strategy to optimize your LinkedIn Marketing in 2020.
Snapchat extends the time limit for video ads
As reported in Adage, Snapchat this month announced plans to update its content, adding to the range of ad options offered on the platform. Snapchat is extending the time limit for video ads to as much as three minutes. Previously the cap, set up in 2014, was 10 seconds.
Longer videos have always been permitted but users had to swipe to watch the longer version. All video ads, with the exception of six-second ads that are soon to include an option to “swipe up” and take action like other Snapchat ads, remain skippable. Snapchat will provide the means for brands to target viewers who tend to watch longer video content.
Must-Know Social Media Updates of August 2019
All things ‘Social Media’ that happened in August. Catch up with the latest:
Twitter keeps it short and sweet
In response to the growing popularity of video, Twitter has announced a short video bidding option for ads of 15 seconds or less. Advertisers using this service will only pay if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds and with at least 50% of the pixels on the screen. This enables advertisers to offer longer video content ads but also fully maximize optimal shorter-form video with the first six seconds being the most vital for engagement.
The authorization of third-party apps on Twitter has always been a little obscure and the language somewhat confusing. Now Twitter is changing the authorization so that only the apps with read/write and DM permissions can send direct messages on your behalf. The language is also clearer, so you can set the permissions with confidence. If you use these apps, you may soon receive requests to reauthorize them.
This month Twitter announced that it is testing a new feature that will allow users to make searches within direct messages. There are, however, some limitations. The search is only available for the most recent messages, and it can only search for names.
Twitter is also reported to be further testing a new carousel format for campaigns but possibly also regular business posts.
Snapchat introduces Spectacles 3
This month Snapchat introduced Spectacles 3 to the world. The new product will have better capture capacity and 3D depth of vision with a second lens creating additional depth. The additions will allow users to add AR overlays and other photo enhancements to their pictures.
Snapchat has also added a new major update to their lens collections. The update will allow users to easily make their own AR by using the templates supplied on Snapchat.
Just in time for holiday campaign planning, Snapchat has published its holiday insights guide. The guide contains statistics on usage and has some helpful tips and trends for marketers.
Facebook updates business tools
Facebook has announced a number of updates and additional tools to help businesses make better use of the platform. These include lead generation and appointment booking in messenger features.
First revealed at the annual F8 conference the lead generation tool has now been included in Facebook Ads Manager. It lets businesses qualify leads via automated responses within Messenger and integration with existing CRM tools.
The real-time appointment booking feature also announced at the conference will go live a little later this year. Using this feature businesses will be able to integrate their calendar booking software with Messenger.
In another effort to gain users’ trust and to increase transparency Facebook has announced the addition of an option to allow users to see which websites and apps are sending Facebook their information. The new feature will also give users the option to disconnect their activity to prevent businesses from using it in the future.
Facebook has recently tested a messenger video tool which will allow users to share their phone screen rather than using the camera. This means that you can share your screen with everyone who is privy to the messenger chat. This was reported in Social Media Today along with a caution that those who choose to use this function should be wary of inadvertently sharing confidential information.
Social Media Today reports that as of this month, Facebook’s 3D photos are now available on certain Android phones. The 3D photo option uses the dual-lens available on most modern smartphones to create a 3D effect.
Instagram gets creative
Now anyone can use the Instagram Spark AR (augmented reality) effects according to a Facebook Developer blog. The option also has a new Effect Gallery with unique artistic effects from various artists and creators. You’ll find the new tools in the Effects Tray on Instagram camera.
Facebook has just published a comprehensive guide for those wanting to get creative with their Instagram accounts. The guide gives users a step-by-step guide to Creator Studio with all of its insights and tools.
Instagram is re-launching a messenger service which they have named Threads which incorporates automatic sharing between users and their “close friends” on Instagram. The article reports that Threads regularly updates status, and provides real-time information about location and more. Users are also alerted when friends post Stories and can access them from Threads.
YouTube for kids
According to a TechCrunch report, YouTube has just launched YouTube Kids. This new video channel will ensure that only age-appropriate videos are presented to children, and parents can vet the content. The channel is similar to the YouTube Kids mobile app that allows parents to track watch history and flag inappropriate content.
YouTube will discontinue direct messaging in September. This follows reports that children had used the direct messaging feature to override parental bans.
LinkedIn is making marketing easier
LinkedIn has once again extended its marketing partner program to include a new category in its current offering. They’ve called it Audience Engagement. With this latest tool, businesses can obtain a better understanding of what content audiences find the most engaging. It is hoped that this category will help businesses to find new audiences, assist with recommendations on which content to use and act as a measure of how well your content compares to the content of others.
August also saw the launch of the LinkedIn Insights and Research page. It is part of the platform’s Success Hub for Marketers. The aim is to assist marketers with even more useful data on customer behavior. It also aims to supply industry and advertising insights. The new feature allows users to drill down further into the available data to understand trends in various business sectors.
LinkedIn has got the message that its users are tired of receiving masses of unsolicited emails and has announced that is taking action to reduce the number of fake accounts and spammers using the platform in this way.
Must-Know Social Media News Updates of July 2019
Update yourselves with all the biggest news stories and updates happening in Social Media in July 2019.
Facebook readies for the holiday season
Facebook is already preparing for the upcoming holiday season with the release of new data analysis tools. The tools are designed to make it easy for advertisers to analyze trends from the previous two Christmas holiday seasons. By applying the filters sellers can check on the buying behavior of various market sectors.
Facebook advertising changes
From 19 August Facebook will reduce the size of ads that appear on its mobile news-feed. The new ads will go from a 2:3 aspect to a 4:5. Additionally, the number of primary text lines that will appear on an ad on a mobile device will reduce from seven to three with users prompted to click to read more.
Search Engine Journal reports that Facebook has now broadened its Facebook search ads to include a lot more businesses. The ability for brands to place ads in Facebook search results was recently re-introduced to a limited number of businesses after it was discontinued about five years ago. The search results placement option now appears to have extended to many more brands
Facebook has announced that it is providing further information for users to see who is targeting them and where the information has come from. The latest changes will mean when users select “Why am I seeing this ad?” they will see more detailed information, such as their targeted interests or categories or the specific website they visited or page they liked. Advertisers will have to take additional care in selecting their target audience from legitimate sources. The social media platform is also changing the ranking algorithms to reduce the ranking of content that make exaggerated or misleading health claims.
Facebook Targets Video Creators
Reported in USA Today Facebook is looking to attract more online video creators of content by providing the ability for revenue generation through advertising and direct payments from Facebook users.
Reported in the Verge this month, Facebook has found another security breach in their systems. This one is on the Messenger Kids app. Parents received notifications that a technical problem with the system may have exposed their children to unapproved contacts. This won’t be good for Facebook’s already dented reputation.
Instagram is taking action against unsociable behavior. Now they will not only remove posts that violate their rules of use. They will also keep a record of those posts. Repeat offenders will be banned from the platform. The company has, at the same time, introduced an appeal process allowing users who feel that their posts have been unfairly removed to appeal.
Social Media Today reports that Instagram is testing a new notification tool that will let users know when they are mentioned in the Stories of others. The “Stories about you listing” will separate these notifications from general notifications and is expected to be welcomed by high-profile users who receive a lot of mentions.
Twitter gets creative
This month Twitter launched Twitter ArtHouse. The aim is to help with the creation and editing of videos as Twitter seeks to monetize creator content. Arthouse combines live broadcasting, video editing, and Creator Management in one area. It will connect content strategists, digital producers, marketers, and brands in a bid to make more creative content.
According to the New York Times, Twitter has signed an agreement with NBCUniversal which allows it to show highlights and live coverage of the 2020 Olympics. Twitter expects a considerable increase in engagement over this period.
TechCrunch reports that in yet another iteration of Tweet replies, Twitter has added icons to threads, which replace text such as ‘mentioned’ which takes up valuable space. This is in an attempt to make it easier to follow threads. A small microphone icon will appear next to a profile picture if they reply somewhere in a thread of their tweet. An @sign appears on tagged users and a tick marks people that you follow.
Twitter has replaced SnappyTV with LiveCut according to a report on Digiday. When Twitter initially bought SnappyTV in 2014, they said that they planned to replace it with another tool. Both tools are designed to allow users to edit clips from live television broadcasts. You must have access to Twitter Media Studio to use the tools. LiveCut also has scheduling options. While SnappyTV allowed users to distribute the material to other social media platforms, LiveCut does not. SnappyTV will cease to operate within the next few months.
LinkedIn helps freelancers and small businesses
LinkedIn this month reported that it is upgrading its Campaign Manager. The new format has added three new objectives – brand awareness, website conversions, and job applications. Each has its own pricing methodology, aligned to the objectives.
The company has also added another new business feature, which is intended to help freelancers and small businesses to find new customers. The latest addition allows small businesses to add the services that they offer directly onto their profiles. Users will be able to search for specific services as listed in profiles.
It appears that the many changes and additions implemented by LinkedIn over the last few are paying dividends. In its Q4 results, Microsoft has reported that LinkedIn revenue has grown by 25% and engagement by 22%. Membership of LinkedIn now tops 610 million users.
Snapchat is growing
In its Q2 earnings release, Snapchat has reported an increase in revenue of 48% year over year. The number of daily active users has increased to 203 million users up from 190 million users in the first quarter. OneZero reports that Snapchat’s popular gender swap and baby lenses resulted in as many as 41.5 million downloads during May. According to Snapchat the improvements that it has made for performance on Android phones are also partially responsible for the higher platform use.
Mashable reports that Snapchat is testing a dedicated tab for Snapshows. This tab will run alongside Discover and is intended to house Snap-owned video content. At the moment Snap’s content runs on the Discover section. Snapchat has been growing its stable of popular shows. The predicted changes will make it easier for fans to binge-watch Snapshows with a dashboard similar to popular live-streaming platforms.
In other Snapchat news, the social media platform is testing a new tool called Instant Create which aims to make it easier for brands and marketers to design ads in Snap’s popular, smartphone-friendly vertical format.
Pinterest launches Mobile Ad Tools
Pinterest has launched four new video related upgrades. The video uploading tool allows users to upload videos directly to Pinterest and seamlessly. The Pinterest business profiles have a video tab where marketers can showcase all of their video content. Pinterest has also added video analytics so that advertisers and marketers can keep abreast of the activity on their posts.
Also this month Pinterest added Mobile Ad Tools, allowing advertisers to create ads and manage them from smartphones or tablets. Using this tool, advertisers can select target markets, set the daily advertising budget, establish the duration of the campaign, pay and publish the campaign all from a mobile device.
Google is testing a new social media site called Shoelace. The objective of this local social media platform is to get people together for real and not just online. It gets like-minded people socializing by inviting them to local events such as markets and shows. Social event organizers are also invited to showcase their events on the platform.
YouTube helps creators
YouTube this month announced new and extended opportunities for creator monetization including Super Chat which lets fans buy messages that stand out during live streams and Premieres. A TechCrunch article reports that YouTube now offers membership tiers. Video creators now have the option of creating up to five tiers with different prices and specific perks for each level. Fans can also buy Super Stickers during live streams in support of the creator. The themed stickers are animated and come in many languages.
TikTok Testing Instagram-like Features
Short-form video app TikTok, which is fast growing in popularity, is reported to be testing a bunch of new Instagram-like features. A TechCrunch article says TikTok is working on a discover page, a grid-style layout similar to Instagram Explore, an Account Switcher plus more.
Are there any social media news stories that surprised you this month? Let us know on our Facebook Page!
Must-Know Social Media Updates of June 2019
The most important social media news updates from June 2019 that you may have missed:
Libra – the new cryptocurrency
The Internet has recently been abuzz with news and speculation about the new cryptocurrency announced this month by Facebook. It’s called Libra. The new service due to be launched in 2020 will allow users to transfer funds free of charge across borders as easily as they can send a message.
In launching this function, Facebook has formed a financial subsidiary called Calibra, which in turn, is backed by a number of International Investors such as PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard. According to an article in Wired, the digital wallet will be available on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. That’s a combined audience of 2.7 billion who will all potentially using the same platform to communicate, shop, view ads and play games, with an integrated monetary system.
Facebook Invests in India
TechCrunch reported this month that Facebook has invested in Indian start-up Meesho. Meesho is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers using platforms such as WhatsApp. This marks the first significant Facebook investment in India but it may not be the last. Facebook is reported to be seeking other Indian start-ups with a view to further investments.
Social Media Today has warned that Facebook will remove certain sections of its business pages on 1 August 2019. Administrators are urged to combine the information that appears in the sections destined for removal with sections that will remain. The sections flagged for removal include Mission, Company Overview, Biography, Affiliation, and Personal Interests.
This month LinkedIn announced a host of changes to its platform. These include photo tagging which has just been extended to all users.
A custom call to action (CTA) and analytics feature for LinkedIn Pages make up other additions to the features. Available CTAs include Contact us, Learn more, Register, Sign up and Visit website.
Reported in Social Media Today, Snapchat is testing a couple of new functions. The Multi Snap function allows users to create a number of 10-second videos all at once and string them all together to create longer videos. You can also save them and arrange them into a different sequence. Also, under test is a new set of Bitmojis which mirrors the Bitmoji extension functionality for iMessage, and other messaging tools. The new function would offer a range of Bitmoji stickers that can be used when replying to regular messages.
In a separate article, the same publication reported that Snapchat is developing a join group sticker that would allow people to join a private group discussion via Chat with the touch of a button. This follows a similar recent add-on to Instagram.
Instagram has launched a fun new feature – a music sticker along with the option to display the lyrics of the song that you are playing on video stories, according to a report in TechCrunch. Users can choose to show the singer or instead show themselves singing along.
Instagram will be adding ads to the Explore feed over the next few months. This means that people using the feature will see advertisements as part of their feed. Advertisers can leverage trending topics and have the option of using automatic placements with a simple opt-in via Explore.
Social Media Today reports that Instagram is developing a Stop Motion camera option for stories that could help you to get the perfect shots of your products and create engaging video content. According to the article you could record up to eight still frames from different angles to simulate movement.
Google extends advertising options
Google has added a whole new set of tools to Google My Business, giving advertisers and marketers new ways to attract traffic to their websites. The new tools include Welcome Offers, allowing businesses to reward customers for actions taken. There are also new image options for photos logos and displays. Custom URLs are on offer so brands can claim them for their Google business pages.
Google has announced that it is adding new AR and Live features to its YouTube advertising and promotions features. The new Swirl 3D display format offers advertisers advanced 3D capacity. This along with the new Immersive advertising experience also offered on YouTube will change the way that people buy. The new features allow potential buyers to get a better idea of the product before they buy. The virtual try-on currently under test with MAC will allow users to try on makeup of various shades before they order.
Changes to YouTube’s recommended videos are in the pipeline according to a recent Google announcement. The changes are designed to help you to choose the videos that most interest you through personalized settings. Users can remove content that they don’t want to see. You will also have access to information on how recommended feeds were chosen for you.
Pinterest has announced the expansion of its Global Marketing Partners program, making it easier to integrate third-party service providers such as WooCommerce and Square Online Store and enhance the overall shopping experience on the platform. Marketers will also be able to automate tasks like data collection and feed management.
Twitter lists are getting some attention with the social media platform making the function easier to access.
The lists function allows a user to create public or private lists of specific user accounts they wish to follow. These could be based on specific interest areas, celebrities or topics and enables users to create a curated feed that isn’t bogged down by hundreds of tweets from other followed accounts.
The function is popular with power Twitter users but can be hard to access via the app.
Under the change, which is currently being tested, Twitter has relocated lists so they are only a swipe away from the home screen.
TikTok tests targeting software
Digiday reports that TikTok is currently testing interest-based targeting as well as custom audiences and pixel tracking for ads. This may make it a more attractive platform for some advertisers. TikTok attracts a young audience and enjoys high engagement levels. It has more than half a billion users around the world.
Did we miss any crucial social media news updates? Join the conversation and let us know on our Facebook Page!
Social Media News Updates of May 2019
This month social media news has been dominated by upgrades and changes to Facebook and Instagram. This should come as no surprise since Facebook hosts its annual F8 conference at this time of the year, using it to showcase platform upgrades.
Instagram Building its Commercial Strength
Shop for Creator Upgrades
Facebook used the occasion of its F8 conference to announce several upgrades to Instagram’s Shop for Creators, with testing starting this month.
The envisaged changes will allow shoppers to purchase the creator’s outfits directly without leaving Instagram. Up until now, creators have needed to tag the brands they are showcasing, include details in the caption, then respond to requests and messages asking for more information about finding the products.
This new feature gives creators the ability to tag products in their post so followers can simply click and shop for the items.
A New Shopping Account
In another bid to expand its commercial reach, Instagram announced this month that it had added a dedicated shopping account to its stable of products called @Shop.
The account features curated product posts from online merchants with product tags that users can easily tap and shop. The content is based on real-time interests from within the Instagram community across a range of shopping categories such as fashion, beauty, home decor, and more.
This new account also opens new opportunities for smaller brands and creators to reach a larger audience.
Changes to Explore
Instagram continues to make changes that encourage users to buy from their advertisers, and the recent changes to Explore are no exception. This month, Instagram added a re-designed navigation bar to the Explore screen with shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping. Beneath this, users will find topics that are tailored to their interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. Stories are also now part of the Explore bar.
The Shop filter bar offers shortcuts to categories making it easier for users to spend.
In an about-turn, Instagram has added support for landscape videos on its IGTV video. The vertical format of IGTV was intended to differentiate it from other video platforms, but the format has not been as popular as expected for the long-form video product. This follows an earlier upgrade to the IGTV design to bring it more in line with other social video platforms on the market.
The ongoing improvements that Instagram offers users and advertisers appear to be paying off. According to an eMarketer report time spent by Instagram users in the US is rising. Facebook and Snapchat on the other hand, are losing on the same metric.
Facebook Gets a Facelift and Other Upgrades
A Makeover for Facebook
Users may have noticed that Facebook has a whole new makeover, having lost most of the blue background in its news feed and replaced it with white. According to a TechCrunch report, this is the biggest facelift in Facebook’s history.
At the same time, the company has added new group features and placed Stories at the top of users’ feeds. According to a report in Social Media Today, it is also working on a new layout for its Stories feature. This will make Story composition easier to use as there are more tappable buttons on the composer. The new additional sidebar will feature options like Studio Effects and Privacy buttons.
Facebook announced this month that it has made two changes to its algorithms. The first change will ensure that people see posts from friends with whom they most want to engage, and the second is aimed at bringing the most useful posts to the user’s feed.
In an earlier announcement, Facebook informed users that video ranking would be updated to ensure that original videos that people enjoyed would be highly ranked. The videos that would receive the heaviest ranking weight would be those that attract the most visitors. Original videos that attract large returning audiences would also receive a higher ranking. Under this, repurposed content would not be favored.
Making it Easier to Buy and Sell
Social Media Today reports that Facebook is set to launch a feature on Marketplace that will allow buyers to organize delivery anywhere in the US and to pay for the purchases directly on the platform.
Facebook has also launched an automated Ads feature aimed at small and medium businesses, according to a report from Marketing Land. The new feature automatically creates up to six versions of an advertisement and will help them with targeting suggestions.
In a bold new move, Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency all of its own according to a BBC News report. The article says that by the first quarter of 2020, the platform will have introduced a digital payment system. Facebook management hopes that this offering will make it easier for users to make quick and secure payments online and across borders.
Changes to Messenger
Upgrades to Facebook Messenger will make it easier for businesses to interact directly with their customers. The Ads Manager now contains new leads generation templates for use by advertisers. This will take users to the Messenger app so that they can interact directly with the business. This will allow customers to book appointments or ask questions.
A Catalogue Option on WhatsApp
Reported in Marketing Land, Facebook is adding a product catalog option to WhatsApp, allowing users to view products on the app. WhatsApp Business has been in operation since early 2018. It is aimed mainly at small businesses. It is likely to continue to make changes that will improve advertising revenue.
Shorter Video and Still Image Ads on YouTube
Google recently announced that it was adding still image ads to its YouTube advertising offering. These will then appear in the home feed of users. YouTube calls these Discovery ads. For businesses, this means that you can target your chosen segment of the 1.9 billion active YouTube users even if you don’t use video advertising.
YouTube has developed a shorter video ad format called Bumper Machine according to a TechCrunch report. This technology can automatically compile a six-second ad from longer ads saving advertisers time.
Live-stream With Guests on Twitter
Social Media Today reported on Twitter’s new live-streaming option that enables users to live stream video and add audio-only guests to their real-time conversation.
The ‘Live Guests’ option lets viewers request to take part in a live-stream conversation. If permitted by the streamer, the guest’s avatar appears on-screen and their audio broadcast to all viewers.
Those hosting a live video on Twitter can invite up to three people as guests.
LinkedIn Acquires Drawbridge
LinkedIn has entered into an agreement to acquire Drawbridge. Drawbridge specializes in data analytics and LinkedIn would use their artificial intelligence software to improve market targeting. This will help advertisers to more accurately hone in on the customers who are most likely to buy their goods and services.
Let us know if we’ve missed any social media news updates – Join the conversation on our Facebook Page!
Social Media News (April)
The past month has seen plenty of changes to the social media landscape, particularly in the area of advertising opportunities. Here we give you the lowdown on the top social media news stories you need to know.
Facebook Newsfeed Changes
The Verge reports that Facebook is currently testing a newly designed user interface that will combine the newsfeed with Stories so that both appear in a single interface and feed that you tap through similar to Instagram or Snapchat Stories. This comes on the back of recent reports that Facebook would be moving away from permanent public posts in favor of private, encrypted messaging.
There are also reports that Facebook is testing variations of its Reactions to give them a more animated feel.
Controversially, Social Media Today also reported this month that divisive, controversial content is more likely to increase reach. It reports on an investigation into Fox News’ domination over news media rivals on the platform.
Facebook 3D Photo Options
According to Social Media Today, Facebook will shortly include new 3D photo options in the platform. The 3D photo function uses the dual camera feature available on many of the newer model smartphones to create a layered image. Users can see the 3D effects by turning the phone slightly to the side. The new options will allow users to share their 3D pictures on Facebook Stories. Users can also track who has viewed and shared the photos.
Facebook Reports an Increase in Users
Facebook’s Q1 results, published this month, celebrated a considerable increase in the number of users to 2.38 billion active users. This is an increase of 55 billion users over the quarter. 1.39 billion people log on to Facebook every day. It seems the privacy scandals of recent months have had little effect on the number of Facebook fans.
Facebook Stories remains one of the more popular features on the platform with 500 million people viewing Stories every day. Facebook has reached this milestone in just two years.
Enhancements for Advertisers
According to the Facebook Business site, the Ads Manager app is changing. The app navigation bar is easier to use and it has more features. These changes will allow users to more easily track the advertisements that they post.
Search filters have also been improved and the design of the pages enhanced. Facebook has made it possible for users to revert to the old design if they prefer the older version.
Digital Information World reports that Facebook has introduced a new feature that makes it possible for advertisers to post images that have a 1:1 aspect ratio in line with the square aspect that is used by Instagram. This feature is only available for Facebook link ads not for page posts. The aim of the change is to allow advertisers to use the same images on Instagram and Facebook. Facebook has found that 1:1 images have a much higher click-through rate than images with other aspect ratios.
Snapchat New Features and Ad Partners
This month has seen Snapchat rolling out its faster, upgraded Android app. All users will have access to the new version by the middle of the year. Other Snapchat upgrades include improvements in lenses and Stories.
It has also recently launched its Snapchat Ad Kit and Snapchat Audience Network. Snapchat has partnered with other apps such as Houseparty and Tinder to host the Stories that users have developed on their Snapchat camera and Story kit extending reach across other platforms.
Publishing its first-quarter results Snapchat revealed that the number of daily active users has increased by 4 million to 190 million active users. This is the first user increase in over a year.
The Snapchat team has been hard at work growing the product offering. Snapchat’s new features include a host of interactive lenses and advanced augmented reality features.
Social Media Today reports that the Snapchat Creator profiles are also set to take off. After years of treating all users as equals, the loss of several influencers to other social media platforms has led Snap to reassess their policy. The result is Creator Profiles. Influencers will have the option of having a different and enhanced layout when you tap on their profile name and/or image. Creator Profiles have a custom image and a description field, giving the creator more opportunity to share information about themselves.
Twitter Cracks Down on Spammers
During the month, Twitter reduced the number of accounts that users can follow from 1000 per day to 400. The company has done this to prevent spammers from following and unfollowing accounts in quick succession. According to an article on TechCrunch, this action became necessary due to growing automated and aggressive spamming.
Twitter is also launching a simpler process for users to report tweets they believe are attempting to mislead voters with this scenario added as an option in the ‘report tweet’ workflow.
Twitter Reports Promising Results
Twitter’s Q1 performance report has revealed an increase in active users on the platform. While lower than this time last year, the number of active Twitter users now exceeds 330 million, pipping Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to the post. The Monetizable Daily Active Users (MDAS) are up a whopping 11% from the previous year. The MDAS number is important for advertisers as it reflects the number of users who can be reached.
Twitter also reported an 18% increase in advertising revenue year over year. While advertising engagement had increased by 23%, the cost per engagement has dropped by 4%.
LinkedIn Reactions and Other Features
Reported in TechCrunch this month, LinkedIn has added a reaction function, not unlike that available to Facebook users. LinkedIn management hopes that the addition of this feature will help to stimulate engagement on the platform.
LinkedIn announced during the month that it would enable the upload onto personal and business pages of various documents such as PowerPoint and PDF. This will offer marketers yet another option to expand their reach and share their knowledge on the platform.
LinkedIn testing a function that caters to freelancers and small businesses. Social Media Today reports that the feature gives the user an option to ‘Add services you offer’ to better connect service providers and service seekers.
Pinterest Ads and Video
In early April Pinterest added two new ad functions. These include Conversion Optimisation and Conversion Options for Videos. Advertisers can use the Conversion Optimisation to track audience behavior. They can then use this information to optimize advertisements so that they are shown to people most likely to convert.
With this new function, you are no longer constrained to optimizing for clicks. You can choose to optimize for several different actions. You can also use the tracking information to help you to choose target markets for future ad campaigns.
Promoted Video will lead the visitor directly to the landing page that leads to the advertiser’s webpage.
As Pinterest prepared to go public it published user numbers now at 265 million – up from 250 million just six months ago. These figures are not as high as some of the other social media platforms but with 84% of Pinners using the platform to make purchasing decisions, marketers shouldn’t overlook Pinterest. In a busy month for the platform, Pinterest also started trading on the stock exchange.
Instagram Introduces Checkout
Instagram is taking the next step in online shopping by introducing a checkout. Users can now make purchases directly within the platform by clicking on the checkout. Until now sellers have had to redirect users to their websites to make purchases.
A TechCrunch article reports that retailers will pay a user fee for this service. The size of the fee is still not known. Right now, more than 20 top brands such as Adidas and Prada are testing the service with only US users able to use the checkout option at this time.
Something we’ve missed? Let us know about any social media news updates on our Facebook Page!
Social Media News Updates of March 2019
Your monthly social media news updates, now updated with the best of March 2019.
Facebook in the News
Preventing Discriminatory Advertising
During March Facebook announced that it had placed limitations on targeting criteria to prevent discriminatory advertising. More specifically, age, zip code and gender targeting have been removed from the targeting options of advertisers offering employment, housing or credit.
Facebook developers are also in the process of developing a tool that will allow users to find these ads even if they are not targeted.
The decision to limit targeting options is a result of an agreement reached by Facebook and a group of civil rights organizations to ensure advertising tools aren’t misused.
Easier to Engage on Facebook Posts
Social Media Today reports that Facebook is giving users an easier way to react to image or video posts. Users will be able to hold down on the image or video and will be given like or comment options. This means users don’t need to scroll down to the bottom of a post to access the engagement options. The same article also highlighted that some users are seeing the ‘upvote’ ‘downvote’ options on comments again. So it’s definitely a case of watch this space for marketers wanting to get the most out of engagement on Facebook.
In a bid for more transparency, Facebook has announced the introduction of a new Ad Library this month. In an expanded version of what was called Ad Archive in the US, the library keeps a record of advertisements on all the Facebook platforms for seven years along with information on who placed the ads and what was spent on them. It will also include information that will identify ads connected to politics and other issues of public interest.
It is hoped that these improvements will not only improve advertising transparency but will help to prevent misinformation and vote swaying as reported in TechCrunch. The Ad Library function will be available across the globe by the end of June.
Hate Speech Ban Extended
Following the live broadcast of the Christchurch shootings this month, Facebook has been in serious discussions about the use of the platform for the publication of hate speech. The ban on hate speech now includes those searching for or supporting white nationalists terms.
The company is considering restricting those allowed to use Facebook Live based on any previous community standard violations. It will also use AI to identify violent videos to quickly remove them from Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Disruption & Losses
Mid-month Facebook suffered the longest social media blackouts it has ever endured. Facebook and its sister companies Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger were all down for 14 hours. It is estimated that the company lost around $90 million as a result.
New Tools on LinkedIn
This month LinkedIn partnered with Adobe to offer LinkedIn account-based marketing capabilities to Adobe Experience Cloud customers.
Earlier in the month, LinkedIn launched three new targeting tools. With the help of Bing Search Engine “Lookalike audiences” and “Audience templates” will give advertisers better targeting opportunities.
Lookalike audiences will help advertisers target audiences based on the professional profiles of their current customers or site visitors. Audience templates will aid marketers who have less information about their target audience to search for relevant targets.
LinkedIn has also added a new option to its messaging stream. A meetings calendar will allow users to plan meetings with other users without leaving the platform. Pressing the availability option will take users into the calendar. Users do not have to load a new calendar into LinkedIn. They can use their existing calendars. This can make it easier for B2B marketers to connect with targeted individuals.
Pinterest is Expanding its Reach
Pinterest announced this month that they are expanding their advertising to include Germany, Austria, Spain, and Italy. In addition, test ads have been launched in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and Switzerland.
The platform has been expanding the ways that businesses can market their products, adding an option that allows users to find more of a brand’s products with a tap of a button. Users will also receive shopping recommendations based on their personal preferences. To use the option, the user clicks more ideas and is offered a personalized selection of products based on their previous selections.
Brands can place their full product catalog onto the platform and create dynamic pins. This feature is open to all businesses that want to advertise products on the platform using the Ads Manager.
Snapchat in the Movies
Snapchat has launched the first voice-activated augmented reality lens in collaboration with Warner Brothers for the new movie Shazam.
Snapchat’s recent testing of eight new languages provides a glimpse into their expansion plans. Five of the eight languages tested are spoken in India. India has the world’s largest Facebook following making it an attractive market for other social media platforms.
Twitter Tests New Twttr App & Camera Tool
Twitter released its prototype Twttr app for testing during March. The prototype has been created as a separate app to the regular Twitter app, to enable public experimentation of new ideas on how Twitter should look, feel and operate. The prototype mainly features changes to reply threads.
TechCrunch reports that Twitter is rolling out a new camera tool allowing users to capture images in a stories-like format. The tool features overlays and other visual upgrades offering more immersive and visual-first content options.
Photo TechCrunch March 11, 2019
Check the Facts on YouTube
First reported in Buzzfeed, YouTube has recently launched, but is yet to roll out a new video feature. Fact Check invites users to verify facts from questionable sources. In this way, YouTube hopes to control the spread of false news.
Facebook Launches Premium Video Ad Program
Advertisers will have the opportunity to promote their brand in conjunction with Facebook’s highest-quality video content as part of a premium video ad program announced this month.
Facebook Showcase program aims to target bigger advertisers wanting to enhance brand awareness alongside popular Watch shows and other video content from the most engaging, highest quality publishers and creators on the platform.
The announcement comes as Facebook grows its offering of Watch programs including Returning the Favor and Red Table Talk.
The Showcase program is currently available for campaigns aimed at US audiences with a number of options including ad placement in specific shows and the ability to reach people within targeted interest categories.
Updates to ‘Why Am I Seeing This’ Ad
In Facebook’s continued crackdown on non-consensual ad targeting, the social media platform this month offers more transparency in how advertisers have obtained a user’s information.
Techcrunch reported that starting 28 February, Facebook’s “Why am I seeing this?” button in posts will include more information about the source of contact info.
Previously, you could see basic information such as the brand that paid for the ad, biographical details the advertiser was targeting and if the brand uploaded the user’s info. The changes will show more detail such as when your info was uploaded. It can also show whether contact info was provided via the brand or one of their partners, as well as when access was shared between partners.
The update gives users greater ability to understand how a brand has obtained their information. It also aims to identify advertisers that are using contact information they may not have obtained in a legitimate manner.
The changes to “Why am I seeing this?” follows Facebook’s labeling of “paid for by” labels to political ads to counter election interference.
Image via Techcrunch
Facebook Campaign Budget Optimization Migration
Lastly (since Facebook seems to dominate the social media news cycle) Facebook announced this month that its Facebook campaign budget optimization feature will be applied to all existing and new campaigns from this September.
Campaign budget optimization will see advertisers set a central campaign budget to optimize across ad sets, instead of specifying spend at an Ad Set level.
The optimization feature distributes budget to the top-performing ad sets in real-time. It was introduced as an optional feature in November 2017, but from September 2019 it will be automatically applied to all existing and new campaigns.
Advertisers have been assured by the social media platform, that campaign budget optimization is available for any campaign objective and they can still control their spend at the Ad Set level, with minimum and maximum spend limits still being adhered to.
Instagram Live Titles
Marketers would have more opportunities to include promotional messaging and context for video content via a title option for Instagram Live.
Social Media Today reported that the title option for Instagram Live appeared on the pre-launch screen for some users.
The change, albeit small, is another opportunity for brand content to be discovered and when used in conjunction with Live question stickers, could potentially boost engagement.
There has been no announcement yet on the full roll-out of this feature.
Instagram IGTV Previews Appear in Main Feed
You may have noticed this month IGTV previews showing up in your main feed – expanding the reach of Instagram’s vertical-video content.
The change means that when someone you follow publishes a new video, it will appear in your feed as a preview which you can if you want to, watch in full in IGTV.
According to the Verge, it’s a push from Instagram to integrate IGTV, a standalone app launched last June, into the main Instagram platform to increase its popularity.
IGTV lets users upload videos up to 10 minutes long, putting it in the same space as YouTube and Twitch. Larger accounts can upload videos of up to one hour.
The Verge reports that adoption of IGTV by content creators has been hampered by the platform’s insistence on vertical video, as well as some user issues with the interface and search functionality.
It appears that Instagram may be testing a donation sticker for its Stories feature, after app researcher, Jane Manchun Wong spotted the feature.
Reports suggest the feature would be similar to what Facebook offers with its fundraising and donation tools, with users able to search a list of not-for-profits to link directly to their sticker.
It’s definitely a case of watch-this-space for marketers working with charities, fundraising events and non-profit organizations.
Pinterest Files for IPO
The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Pinterest Inc. had confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering (IPO). The article went on to say that the IPO is expected to value the company at US$12 billion or more.
If other social media platform IPOs are any indication, going public could have a significant impact on how the organization operates.
That being said, Pinterest continues to distance itself from the social network label, describing the platform as ‘a discovery engine’ and ‘a catalog of ideas’.
Shop the Look
Building on Pinterest’s focus on helping its users discover new ideas, the platform this month enhanced its Shop the Look feature.
Shop the Look was introduced in 2017, identifying matching products so users could buy them. The feature was largely managed in association with partner brands and via manual tagging.
This month’s update fully automates the process, with “Shop the Look” introduced for Home Decor on iOS.
Advanced image identification technology and other improvements mean Pinterest can select products without much human supervision. The latest change to Shop the Look will rely on organically matching the products, but brands will be able to link their products in pins Pinterest will be drawing on.
WhatsApp Turns 10
WhatsApp celebrated its 10th anniversary and continues to dominate message app usage.
With around 1.5 billion users, the Facebook-owned messaging app is the most used messaging platform in the world, ahead of Messenger and China’s WeChat.
Image via MobileMonkey.
Snapchat Usage Remains Steady
Here’s some positive social media news (if you’re Snapchat) 😁
Snapchat usage is holding steady according to the social media platform’s most recent earnings report.
Snap’s Q4 and full-year report card gives some reason for optimism with daily users, while not increasing, not decreasing either.
Snap Lenses was flagged as a key driver of future growth with “70% of users (playing) with or view(ing) a Lens every day, while users played with or viewed Lenses 700 million times on New Year’s Eve, up nearly 40% year-over-year”.
Will they or won’t they? This month there has been a great deal of talk about whether we will ever get to edit tweets.
The topic was given air time during an interview between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Joe Rogan.
Dorsey said the platform was looking at the ability to make edits in some circumstances and potentially within a certain timeframe such as a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending.
“The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it,” Dorsey said.
So while there is no definitive answer to whether editable tweets will be introduced, it hasn’t been ruled out either.
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