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 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 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
Social Media Today reports that Twitter is currently working on a feature 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.
The Verge reports that 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.
The Verge reports that 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 Updates of July 2019
Update yourselves with all the biggest moves 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. The company has also supplied a guide with insights and data relating to the holiday season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Social Media News Updates 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 means 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 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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