11/22/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/22/2022 16:56
We get it! You're busy scheduling content and engaging with your followers, so it can be difficult to make time to sit down and read about the latest Facebook algorithm update or how brands are leveraging TikTok. But, hey, it's also important to carve out time to learn about new ways to improve your social media strategy. So, put down your phone (we know: it's a big ask!) and indulge in reading about recent social media updates.
Top Social Media and PR News Stories This Week
If you work in social media marketing, these are the stories you need to read this week!
Business Search Introduced on WhatsApp
WhatsApp continues to expand tools for marketers, including a new way to search for businesses. Users will be able to search by category or business name. Results will include a map so you can see nearby businesses as well. Once users access a business' page they can make purchases or send messages.
More Audience Insights Available on TikTok
There is now more demographic information for marketers to dive into for better targeting in their TikTok ads. These insights are available globally and include: interest hashtags, interactions, and custom audiences. From TikTok: "Audience Insights can help you discover new audiences beyond those that you traditionally target. If any surprising or unexpected interest categories appear, you can try targeting these interest categories to see how they perform."
Google Promotes "Black-owned Friday" With New Shoppable Video
Google is encouraging people to shop at black-owned businesses this season (and all year long), with a new video in partnership with Ludacris. There is also an interactive "choose-your-own-adventure" version available, allowing viewers to select different options and guide Ludacris through the video. The interactive video features a "shop this scene" button which opens a screen with shoppable links for the products featured.
Meta Implements New Tools to Protect Minors
Meta has introduced some new tools to help protect minors from predators online. Stricter privacy controls will be put in place, limiting who can see your teens' friend lists, the pages they follow, or photos they're tagged in. The new measures also prevent non-connections from commenting on minors' (16 and under) posts.
Update from November 15th
LinkedIn Integrates With GitHub
LinkedIn is looking at new ways to provide educational resources, through a new integration with coding software company, GitHub. This partnership aims to help aspiring engineers gain the tools and skills they need to be successful and find jobs, with the opportunity to practice in "real-world" environments.
Holiday Shopping Takes Front & Center at YouTube
It's that time of year again…the holidays are here, and social media platforms are sharpening their knives, or rather, their shopping experiences, in anticipation of a busy season. YouTube has announced a brand new series of shopping livestreams, hosted by your favorite creators. You can ask questions in real-time and, of course, make purchases!
Pinterest Launches Holiday Shopping Showcase
Pinterest also got a jump on their holiday shopping features this week, announcing a holiday shopping showcase in the US and Canada. 60+ brands across several different verticals will be participating in Pinterest TV spots, starting on November 14th.
TikTok Explores In-app Shopping Features
TikTok is also looking into ways it can expand shopping capabilities for its users. The app is adding a TikTok Shops integration to encourage more purchase behavior while scrolling. TikTok has been lagging behind when it comes to social commerce in the US, UK, and other regions, particularly considering how successful Douyin has been in this arena. But with a busy shopping season ahead, and the expanding demographics of TikTok users, that could change.
Update from November 8th
Snapchat Integrates With Strava
Snapchat has partnered with fitness tracking app, Strava, for a new AR lens to help users track and share their fitness goals and progress. Through the Strava Activity Lens, people can stay motivated to exercise, and even compete with others from around the world.
WhatsApp Expands Communities Capabilities
Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced their Communities group chats feature enhancements and now they're following through with more ways for admins to organize Community chats by topic. Other new features include: polls, video calls with up to 32 people, and 1K+ members to a group.
TikTok Launches New Programming for Native American Heritage Month
For Native American Heritage Month, TikTok has launched various programs to promote Native American creators, celebrating art, music, culture. Providing ways for its users to learn more about Native American heritage through livestreams and events will serve to raise awareness, and is a great way to amplify these creators' voices. You can find this content through the hashtag #NativeTikTok.
New YouTube Shorts Viewing Experiences
YouTube has added an upgraded viewing experience for Shorts on connected TVs, after extensive user testing. Now when selecting a Short on a smart TV, users can more easily use their remote to flip through the Shorts feed, filter by topic, like comments, and more. It's the next stage of evolution for the CTV experience, in which YouTube is leading the way.
Update from November 1st
Snapchat Partners With Amazon
Snapchat continues to lead the way in the "virtual try-on" space. Their new Amazon partnership allows its users to use a Snap lens to see how different pairs of eyewear look, before committing to a purchase via the Amazon marketplace. From Snapchat: "Amazon and Snap partnered to establish 3D asset standards, enabling Amazon's extensive library of assets to be easily integrated with Snap's AR Try-On Technology."
New Twitter owner, Elon Musk has wasted no time announcing some sweeping changes to the app. The one making the most noise this week includes a bid to charge a monthly fee of $8 for access to Twitter Blue. Musk's promises to subscribers include: uploading longer videos, reduced ads, and priority in search and replies.
Primetime Channels Introduced on YouTube
Do we really need another place to watch our favorite shows? According to YouTube, yes we do. Starting November 1st, users can subscribe to different streaming services and watch via YouTube. It effectively helps consolidate all your favorite platforms in one place, making it easier to search for content without having to jump apps. Sports streaming services will be coming down the line, while current offerings include: STARZ, Showtime, Paramount+, AMC and more.
Meta Launches Innovative DM Program in Partnership With Plug and Play
Meta is seeking to improve business communication and networking via direct messaging. They've partnered with top accelerator program Plug and Play to facilitate growth in this arena, leveraging Plug and Plays company connection platform. According to Plug and Play, 14 startups have been selected to participate in the pilot "Future of Messaging" project.
Update from October 25th
Halloween Lenses on Snapchat
Spooky season is in full swing over on Snapchat! The app has introduced several new bitmojis and lenses for Halloween, including a few exclusives available to Snapchat+ users. There are even lenses specifically designed for pets, a new "Rune Room" through which you can add mysterious lettering to different surfaces. Don't wait! Some of these fun and creepy features are only available until November 1.
Updated YouTube Design
If you're averse to appearance change on your favorite platforms (remember when Facebook changed to Timeline?!) then avert your eyes. Some updates are coming to the look and feel of YouTube. Namely this means a new "ambient mode" which "introduces a subtle effect so the app background color adapts to match the video." YouTube is also introducing a pinch-to-zoom function, which could be an interesting new consideration for content creators in their videos.
Pinterest Partners With the Louvre
Pinterest continues to work on their video features and functionality, kicking off with a new partnership with the Louvre Museum in France. Through a new original video series The Louvre will take people inside and off the beaten path, with the goal of encouraging more creators to use Pinterest for livestreaming.
TikTok Helps Marketers With New Courses
Marketers who want to get ahead simply can't ignore TikTok. The app has definitely shown itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sheer volume usership and engagement. And to help brands achieve success, they've launched a masterclass series, "TikTok Academy" right in time for the holidays. Currently two courses are available: one for Small Businesses, and a TikTok 101 course.
Update from October 18th
TikTok Partners With Linktree
The latest in social platform creator perks is a new partnership between Linktree and TikTok. While users have been able to connect a Linktree to their TikTok accounts for some time, this official partnership will provide influencers with even more referral traffic opportunities. It will be incorporated into the "Profile Kit" available to creators within TikTok.
Despite the waning popularity of the "social audio" trend, Twitter is still seeking ways to incorporate it. The latest update is the option to start an audio chat in a Community Space. This could be an interesting new way to facilitate topical conversations within a smaller group, but remains to be seen if people actually want audio features enough to try them.
New Creator Badges For Instagram Reels
Instagram is trying anything at this point. Their newest update designed to get more people creating Reels is an "achievement badge". The badges take advantage of a tried and true gamification tactic. They entice users with public clout, celebrating various achievements such as "Trendsetter" and "Creative Streak".
Twitter is offering new ways to further control your experience using the app. The latest is another way to restrict your @ mentions. This update follows a similar recent one that allows users to remove themselves from being mentioned anymore in a Tweet thread. Now you can set up further restrictions by allowing only your followers to mention you.
Update from October 11th
Photo Mode Introduced on TikTok
Is TikTok trying to keep up with Instagram now? Well, doubtful. But the app has introduced "Photo Mode" which will allow users to upload photos in a carousel format. It will be interesting to see how, or if, users will use Photo Mode since video has been such a core part of the apps culture. On Instagram meanwhile, the reaction to this move will also be fascinating given that they seem to have ignored their users' commentary around Instagram becoming TikTok. Many miss Instagrams photo-first origins, and are vocal about it with "Instagram only wants Reels" and "Oh, a picture as a Reel" currently trending as audios.
Twitter has given their analytics dashboard page a facelift, making it easier to gather insights about your Twitter performance. This could be a welcome change for many social media managers who use Twitter's native analytics, which previously had a bit of a messy interface making it difficult to understand at a glance how you're pacing against your goals. As of now, no new insights or metrics have been made available, but that could be coming soon as Twitter strives to provide business accounts with more features.
Pinterest Partners With Headspace
Just in time for Mental Health Day on October 10th, Pinterest announced a new partnership with mental health app, Headspace. Through this partnership, eligible creators from around the world will receive a 6-month subscription to the app. From Pinterest: "We're trying to build a better space for Creators at Pinterest, and as an industry, we believe there's an opportunity to prioritize inspiring content by prioritizing inspiring Creators." It's definitely a unique offering Pinterest has made a name for itself in recent years for various forward-thinking mental wellness initiatives, and it would be great to see other social media platforms do so as well.
New Ad Capabilities for Reddit
Reddit is enhancing their ads experience for marketers with a number of new targeting options (1,000 new targetable communities), better analytics, live chat, and a streamlined ad editing process. They've also introduced a new "audience manager" tool which means that marketers have more control over how they create, save, and retarget their audience segments.
YouTube Introduces Creator Handles
YouTube joins other top social media platforms with an "@" handle for creators, facilitating cleaner linking and tagging of your favorite channels. This will also help YouTubers when sharing their channels on other sites and blogs, or with brand partners. However it's not only influencers that will benefit from this update. All channels, regardless of subscriber count or number of videos, will have a unique @ identifier which also acts as a URL to your channel.
Update from October 4th
Twitter is testing a public display of the "view count" metric on Tweets. This is an interesting idea, in that it will provide users with an idea of how many people actually viewed a Tweet, despite perhaps not commenting or liking, or engaging in any other meaningful way. Normally this would be the kind of invisible metric, like an impression, important to social media managers, but not available at a glance to all users.
Snapchat Partners With LaLiga
Snapchat continues to diversify when it comes to widening their demographic scope, and helping their new partner do the same. The app has partnered with major European football league LaLiga, which is trying to attract younger viewers through the interactive features Snap can provide. As part of this new collaboration, Snapchat will showcase "weekly game highlights, historic archives, top goals, saves of the year, behind the scenes content, as well as Lenses, stickers, Bitmojis" and more.
Creator Media Kit Coming to Instagram
In a continued push to attract creators to the platform, Instagram is testing a media kit option that influencers can use to streamline their brand partnerships, and find new opportunities. Officially called your "Creator Profile" this feature facilitates in-app profile sharing and promotion, a powerful way to cut out the middleman while simultaneously encouraging users to continue creating Instagram content, rather than transitioning over to TikTok for example.
Meta Introduces Additional Call Ad Features
Call ads can be extremely effective, and now Meta has introduced some new features to help your sales teams move the needle even more. The most notable being an option for customers to request a call-back, which is a great way for businesses to gauge interest and prioritize their follow ups. Additionally, Meta is providing a slew of new optimization and campaign performance measurement options.
Voiceover Feature Added to YouTube Shorts
In the "that wasn't already an option?!" news of the day, YouTube Shorts has added voiceover functionality. This feature is a staple of both Instagram Reels and TikTok, so it is only natural that YouTube would want to provide their short-form creators with this option as well.
Update from September 27th
Meta Introduces Collaborative Ads
Meta has launched a new type of ad that helps support local delivery businesses. Collaborative Ads allow restaurants or specific packaged goods brands to promote their products, and then send consumers directly to a local delivery service. This unique update leans into the shifting wants and needs of online shoppers, and it will be interesting to see how brands adapt their brand awareness goals, given that the "buy now" CTA does not lead to their own site.
Increased Character Count for TikTok Video Descriptions
TikTok has announced that they will be increasing the character count for video descriptions to a whopping 2,200 characters. Currently TikTok only allows for a limiting 300 characters to be used (increased from the original 150), which means it's a deprioritized area for creators and brands in terms of discovery. But now that could change in a big way with more room to include keywords and hashtags.
60 Second Stories Will Upload as Single Video on Instagram
Instagram tested this feature earlier this year and now it has been launched to all users. Stories that are 60 seconds or less will no longer be split up into 15 second chunks. This could create an interesting challenge for brands and content creators that relied on those shorter intervals to keep their followers engaged. It will be interesting to see how the new 60 second parameter will be adopted.
"Creator Music" Collection Added to YouTube
As part of their broader bid to help creators make money through their platform, YouTube is introducing a new kind of music library to make it easier for creators to access a wider range of music. Using music in YouTube videos has always been a struggle, with copyright restrictions and licensing making it difficult to use popular music and stay monetized. Through this new collection, creators can legally use music, some for a small licensing fee, and remain monetized on their channel.
Update from September 20th
YouTube Moves to Monetize Shorts
YouTube is making waves this week with a move that many are eying closely for its potentially game-changing approach to monetizing short-form content - and that could be a major blow to TikTok. As revealed in a story from the New York Times, it appears that YouTube plans to incorporate ads into Shorts, allowing creators to monetize their short-form content. This move also opens monetization opportunities to a wider group of YouTubers, including those with fewer than 1,000 subscribers and less than 4,000 hours of watch time (the current thresholds needed to qualify for monetization on normal YouTube videos).
LinkedIn Adds a "Focused Inbox"
LinkedIn is introducing a new type of inbox to help users organize their incoming messages. This inbox separates messages into a "Focused Inbox" for your most relevant messages and an "Other" inbox, which essentially acts as a spam folder. It's unclear how LinkedIn is prioritizing or recognizing relevant messages to filter, however the inbox is designed to adapt to your preferences. This also presents sales teams with an interesting challenge, as sponsored InMail and other types of outreach have the potential to shift directly to the Other inbox.
New Features in Snapchat and Expanded 'Snapchat for Web' Usage
Snapchat is continuing to add new and interesting features for its users. Most recently they've introduced lock screen widgets for easy ongoing conversations, chat shortcuts to help you sort messages and be reminded when you need to reply, and question stickers similar to Instagram Stories. They've also expanded usage of their web-based platform to all users, rather than exclusively those with Snapchat+, so now all users can take advantage of video and voice calling through desktop.
Meta has added a community chat feature in Facebook Messenger, currently still in testing and available to a limited number of users. With Community Chats, users can form a Facebook Group and facilitate chat and audio conversations right within the Messenger app. This feature creates an interesting new channel for Group admins and members to reach people and drive topic discussions.
Update from September 13th
Instagram Testing Repost Feature
Instagram is testing a repost feature, which could be a game-changer for how people use the app, and interact with other users. Some users have begun to see the option to reshare posts directly to their feeds, similar to posting a retweet or sharing a post to your Stories. Currently reposting is available on Instagram, through third-party apps only - so making this an in-app feature could go a long way to shaping the evolving Instagram culture.
Twitter Sharing Via WhatsApp and LinkedIn
Twitter users in India will now see WhatsApp as the default option to share Tweets. The app has also released the option to share Tweets directly to Snapchat and LinkedIn, which will allow Twitter to better understand the metrics behind its users sharing habits.
YouTube Introduces Ad-Free Videos for Educational Content
More and more, people are using YouTube as an educational tool, both in traditional classroom settings as well as individually. Given the popularity of educational content, the video platform is introducing a few key features to make the user experience even better. These include an embedded YouTube player without ads or external links, which will be useful for teachers, paid courses from your favorite creators, and quizzes to help retain what you've learned.
Snapchat Offers Election Resources
As the US midterm elections rapidly approach, Snapchat is working to provide its users with election resources. They've launched a "Voting 101" hub which will allow new voters to easily register in-app, and learn about the voting process with tips and video tutorials. They can also access reliable and credible information about the broader election.
Update from September 6th
Instagram Testing Customization Features
Frustrated Instagram users are getting some good news. Meta is testing two content control features for suggested posts. One is a Not Interested option on the Explore page that lets users hide posts and prevent others like them from showing up in the future. Similarly, the other is the option to hide suggested posts that include certain words, phrases, hashtags, and emojis in their captions.
Available to selected users since May, Twitter Circle is now available to everyone! The feature lets users limit the visibility of some Tweets to a selected group of accounts. Every Twitter user gets one Circle that they can add up to 150 people to, whether the accounts follow each other or not. Like Instagram Close Friends, it's one more tool marketers and brands can use to offer exclusive, hype-building content for social audiences.
Twitter's April Fools Day announcement has come true: The platform is testing the edit feature that users have been begging for for years. Edit Tweet allows users to make changes to Tweets for up to 30 minutes after they are published. Edited Tweets are marked by a blue pencil icon that, when clicked, shows viewers all of the previous versions of the Tweet. Currently limited to the Twitter team, this potentially game-changing feature will soon be available to Twitter Blue subscribers.
Reddit Acquires AI Tech Firm for Ad Business
Reddit is steadily expanding its advertising platform with its recent acquisition of Spiketrap, an audience contextualization company. Home to thousands of active, niche communities - many with unique jargon and insider references - Reddit aims to use Spiketrap's contextual analysis AI to improve ad targeting and performance.
Update from August 30th
NFT Display Expands on Meta
Meta is offering new ways to display NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. Now users can connect their digital wallets and share their NFTs across both networks. Given the declining popularity of NFTs, this is an interesting thing for Meta to be focusing on, but it remains to be seen if NFTs will see an uptick in interest going forward.
Snapchat Introduces Dual Camera Option
The ability to shoot dual camera videos is now available on Snapchat! Like new rising social media platform BeReal, this functionality allows users to take Snaps using the front and self facing camera at the same time. Multiple formats are also available, from horizontal to vertical to different types of cutout frames.
Twitter is doing everything it can to distract from the on-going legal battle with Elon Musk, including introducing some new features for professional accounts. Currently still in testing mode, some paid Twitter accounts are now seeing variable CTA labels for their bio, and more ways to manage product display and shopping.
In another blow to organic SEOs, Google may soon start showing top Tweets as organic search results. When coupled with video results and featured snippets, this move would essentially push all other organic results well below the fold. It also presents some interesting implications for social copywriting, which now may need to consider SEO more than before.
Update from August 23rd
YouTube Expands CTV Advertising Options
YouTube is expanding its ad options to accommodate for the increased CTV (Connected TV) usage. More and more people are watching YouTube on their TVs, which means that advertisers have a new platform to run more traditional TV-like ads at a lower cost. YouTube will now provide additional audience insights, and video campaign "guarantees" to marketers based on Nielsen data.
New Shoppable Ads Coming to TikTok
A new ad feature is coming to TikTok. TikTok's new shoppable ads come in three forms: video shopping, catalog listings, and live shopping. Each one will enable brands to better meet their consumers where they are in the buyer journey, helping to increase conversions and brand awareness. Currently, only approved brand partners will be able to access this feature.
In continued effort to make the user experience more enjoyable and less toxic, Twitter appears to be developing a filtering feature for Tweet replies. While users can already choose who can reply to their Tweets, this adds a new layer of protection against potentially harmful or unhelpful comments. Users can opt out of seeing Tweets with offensive language (which doesn't mean others will also not see these replies - it's readers choice, rather than posters choice.
Better Purchasing Experience Coming to Pinterest
Pinterest is inching closer to a "one-click" purchase flow for consumers who buy products with Shopify merchants. Through their new "hosted checkout", when a user seeks to complete a purchase, they can make any necessary selections (size, color, etc) as step 1 in-app, and enter shipping and payment in step 2. This easier process is currently only available to US users and limited merchants quality - they must be part of Pinterest's verified merchant program.
TikTok Tests "Nearby" Filter
This could be a very interesting new feature for brands to use. TikTok is reportedly testing a new timeline filter that allows users to see posts from people who are nearby. This feature could be huge for location based marketing, such as restaurant openings, pop-ups, or other events. The test is not widely available yet, so we'll have to wait and see if it gets rolled out to a wider audience later this year.
Update from August 16th
In anticipation of the upcoming US midterm elections, Twitter is setting up safeguards to help prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation. These safeguards include the already-existing "misleading" tags that went into effect November of 2021, that prompt users to seek additional information, "Prebunks" which aim to pre-empt common disinformation with factual debunking. Their new feature is an Election Hub on the Explore page. The hub will include curated updates from Twitter's team and labels for various candidate profiles to make their positions clear.
LinkedIn Introduces New Posting Templates
In an interesting move, LinkedIn is now offering a template feature to encourage a variety of posting styles. Part of this update is to encourage the usage of LinkedIn's new link sticker, but it also seems to fall under the category of "update for update's sake". LinkedIn has always faced the unique challenge of balancing its roots as a professional networking site with the competitor landscape of other social media sites. This update has potential to make your LinkedIn feed feel particularly Facebook-like, which could end up hurting LinkedIn in the long run.
New Family Center Available for Snapchat
As reported earlier this year, Snapchat has been developing a Family Center, which is now active and available to all users! The center offers many resources for parents, who can now keep an eye on who their children are interacting with and the friends they add. Importantly, details of their teens' conversations will be kept private - parents will only see account names. Parents will need to sign up for a Snapchat account before being able to access the Family Center feature.
More Features Added to Snapchat+
Also happening over at Snapchat are some new additions to their paid version, Snapchat+, which launched in June of this year. The paid version which includes benefits such as advanced analytics and pinned users, now has a few additional features. Priority Story Replies will boost your replies to Snap Stars, Post View Emojis will show up like a sign-off after your Snaps are viewed, exclusive Bitmoji backgrounds, and custom app icons.
Update from August 9th
Advertising Success Platform for Meta Now Available
Meta is making it easier for companies to manage their advertising with a new advertising success center. Through this portal, advertisers can easily access tons of relevant resources and in-depth help articles for maximizing the success of their campaigns. This update comes just in time for the holiday season, giving marketers enough time to make sure they match up with competitors.
LinkedIn Introduces a New Link Sticker
LinkedIn is introducing a new link sticker, similar to what's available through Instagram Stories. This update could be huge for increasing engagement on posts and driving traffic. These new link opportunities could also be extremely helpful for influencers on the platform, as an additional promotional option.
Twitter is introducing new business profile features to help encourage companies to invest more time (and money) on the platform. They've expanded their "Location Spotlight" feature to more countries, and now allow businesses to add a Google map. Twitter is also introducing a workshop series to help businesses make the most of all the features Twitter has to offer.
Snapchat Continues to Elevate In-Stream Shopping
Snapchat continues to stay on the cutting edge of AR with a new feature designed to make social shopping even more interactive. They are introducing shoppable AR stickers that users can use to essentially try on or add to your existing content before purchasing. Other users can also click on the products for more information. The update is not widely released yet, but could be a game-changer for the e-commerce industry. We'll be watching this one closely!
Update from August 2nd
In a sure to be unpopular move (price increases always are), Twitter announced this week that it will be raising the price of its subscription service "Twitter Blue". Currently this change goes into effect for new subscribers, but starting in October of this year it will also apply to those already subscribed. The price increase does not accompany any additional features.
Pinterest Analytics Now Available on Mobile
Now busy marketers on the go will be able to access Pinterest analytics in real-time from their mobile device. Although this update does not extend to filters like age and gender, nor will you be able to see monthly audience reports from mobile, it does give a more holistic view of how your pins are performing, allowing the option to course correct in a few clicks, while on a mobile device.
Create Shorts From YouTube Videos
This could be huge. YouTube is now making it easier to create a Short directly from a longer YouTube video. Creators can simply select a portion of their video (up to 60 seconds) and create a Short from your selection; all current Shorts editing capability remains if you choose to use this feature. Additionally, Shorts created from videos will link back to the full video, potentially driving even more traffic to your channel.
Following in Facebook's footsteps…from several years ago…Twitter has introduced a live test of "Status markers" that can now be attached to a Tweet. Currently there are 17 options available, many of which could be useful, such as "Thread" and "Spoiler Alert". Although, given that users have already found their own ways to indicate these types of posts, it remains to be seen how quickly users will adopt this new feature. (So far the response has been less than favorable).
Snapchat Introduces a New Music Creator Fund
Musicians are often discovered on social media, and now Snapchat is making it even easier with a creator fund designed specifically for musicians. This special grant program, "Sounds Fund", is designed to "recognize emerging, independent artists for the critical role they play in driving video creations, inspiring internet trends and defining cultural moments." Musicians will now get paid based on how many plays their tracks have.
Update from July 26th
YouTube Integrates with Shopify
Big news for brands and creators on YouTube! The video platform has announced a new integration with Shopify that will help eligible creators provide a more seamless shopping experience to their viewers. Currently this option is only available to channels with 1,000+ subscribers.
Additional Captioning and Translation Options Coming to TikTok
In effort to help creators reach wider audiences with their videos, and improve accessibility, TikTok is introducing more captioning tools and improved translation options. Users will now be able to turn auto-captions on and off, and several new languages have been added for translations. Additionally, stickers will now be translatable as well, helping users around the world gain better context from their favorite creators' videos.
New Business Search Coming to Instagram
A new map search feature is coming to Instagram. Now when users click on, or search for, a tagged location, they can view it on a map, learn more about the business, and see other nearby locations that may interest them - which they can also save to a list for convenient access later. The discoverability potential here is huge for businesses, and a great incentive for them to invest more time in Instagram as a marketing channel.
Meta Introduces Music Rev-share Program
This is a very interesting update that we'll be keeping a close eye on. Meta has announced a music rev-share program that will help creators access to many more music options. Owners of licensed music will take a portion of ad revenue received by the creator. All music uploads will still need to satisfy monetization policies. Currently this program is being released in the US, with a global rollout planned for later this year.
Update from July 19th
Reddit Integrates With GIPHY
GIF responses are becoming very natural in everyday conversation, and Reddit is now making it easier to communicate this way in subreddits through a new integration with GIPHY. Currently this is an opt-in feature only and moderators have the ability to add it if appropriate. GIFs have been available in Reddit already, but to a smaller audience of paying users and via chat. This newest update will lend itself to a more fully integrated GIF language on the Reddit platform, which has been known to drive many memes and trends.
TikTok Partners With NCSolutions
More tools for businesses are now available on TikTok, through a new partnership with NCSolutions. Their machine learning tools give companies in-depth sales performance insights, and so when coupled with TikTok, brands will be able to assess how their campaigns are performing on a much more granular level. As demographics on TikTok evolve, this partnership could prove very fruitful for companies seeking to understand their audience analytics from a sales-specific perspective.
Meta Adds a Paid Subscription Option
Meta is adding a new way for users to help support their favorite content creators, through a subscription model. The set-up is similar to Patreon; in return for signing up, subscribers gain access to exclusive content and perks like "subscriber chats" allowing up to 30 people to join a private chat with a creator. Creators will also have the option to record subscriber-only Reels that will live in a new subscriber tab on Instagram. This update opens a lot of interesting doors when it comes to influencer campaigns and community building potential - we'll be keeping a close eye on how it evolves!
As Twitter continues to battle it out with Elon Musk, that hasn't stopped the platform from continuing to roll out new features and updates. The latest is something Twitter has already teased and tested a bit this year: customizable and curated timelines. This feature would allow third parties to create a timeline around specific topics to encourage more relevant engagement. Users can follow timelines they find interesting, for easy access. From a user standpoint this would be extremely useful for decreasing mindless scrolling (thought this could have the unintended consequence of less time in-app) which Twitter may not actually want.
Instagram Merges All Video into Reels Format
In a bid to simplify their approach to video, Instagram has announced that, going forward, all videos uploaded to the platform will be Reels. It's not an all-together surprising move, though bound to cause some frustration among independent users, brands, and influencers who have depended on having a variety of video formats. Not to mention the fact that this impacts horizontally shot videos. Instagram is trying to level the playing field to make Reels more straightforward to shoot, with additional templates, camera options, and easier remixing features. Farewell Instagram Video…we'll be watching closely to see how this update plays out.
Update from July 12th
A potentially big update could be coming soon to Twitter! The platform is currently in the early stages of testing a new styleofcollaborative Tweets, it's calling "CoTweets." This feature would allow two users to essentially co-author a single Tweet. Unlike when you simply @ someone in your Tweet, CoTweets require the approval of both participants, and make it easier for viewers to see more about the collaborators. Up to now Twitter has somewhat lagged behind when it comes to providing influencers with more ways to showcase brand collaborations, so this could be a great way for them to increase engagement and visibility.
New API Provides More Product Display Options in Pinterest
Pinterest is introducing a slew of new ways that retailers and influencers can promote shoppable products through API. Moving beyond single item product pins, or a carousel, now businesses can tag several products within one Pin. It's similar to an AR shopping experience (which Pinterest also has), allowing you to envision multiple items in one setting. The update also introduces video pins for catalogs, and a Shop tab on retailer profiles.
More Analytics for YouTube Shorts Now Available
YouTube continues to hone in on ways that creators can make YouTube shorts work for them. The latest update includes a more comprehensive analytics suite, which will serve to provide potential brand partners with more information as to the content creators reach and influence. YouTube is also now providing deeper audience analytics so creators can understand on a more granular level how their content resonates, and help them reach new viewers.
No More Facebook Login Required for Meta VR
Meta recently announced that people now have the option to log into an Oculus headset using either an Oculus account (until January 2023), Facebook, or a Meta Horizon account. On the surface this might seem like just a thinly veiled way to get more people signed up for Meta, but it also serves to further distinguish Meta from Facebook as two very separate entities. Eventually it appears that Oculus will require a Meta account but for now, if you've logged in previously with Facebook, you should be good.
Instagram Creator Marketplace in Testing
Instagram is working on a new Creator Marketplace to facilitate an easier, more intuitive, way for brands and collaborators to find people to work with. This would be a separate stand-alone site where people can search for influencers, as well as manage full campaigns from start to finish. Currently the site is in the early stages of testing and available by invite only.
Update from July 5th
You may soon be able to showcase your Snapchat Bitmoji as your Twitter profile pic. The functionality would also then connect your Twitter profile to your Snapchat profile. The integration is a new venture for the platforms, which haven't worked together previously, so it will be interesting to see how this functionality grows.
Branded Likes Now Available on Twitter
Twitter is rolling out a new feature for brands, allowing them to customize the "like" button for a 24 hour period. The gamification aspect could have a huge impact on engagement metrics. For those brands that can afford it, that is. The functionality is connected to a "Timeline Takeover" ad - an option that allows brands to pay for increased visibility on users' timelines. It's a great perk, but a costly one.
YouTube is venturing into the world of ephemeral content with an experiment in disappearing comments for creators, within the Community tab. This feature would enable creators to post updates that disappear within 24 or 72 hours. It's an interesting addition that could lead to new kinds of engagement tactics for YouTube creators, such as merch discounts or giveaways.
More Engagement Features Coming to Facebook Groups
Facebook continues to tweak their Groups experience with more updates to facilitate conversation and improve user experience. Going forward users will now see a new sidebar on their Facebook home screen, from which they can access their groups. Convenient tabs under each group name will lead members straight to different areas of the group. There are also a number of new community management updates coming, including audio channels, and sub-topics where you can chat in real time with other members.
Update from June 28th
AR Features Are Coming to Instagram Stories
As it often seems to do, Instagram is trying to keep up with its competitors by introducing similar features found on apps like TikTok. This time, it's Snapchat's turn, which has made great leaps into the AR world in recent years. Jumping on the bandwagon, Instagram will start to introduce AR features into Stories, which really haven't seen a major update in a while. The planned updates also jump on another bandwagon: NFTs. With AR stickers, Instagram users can now overlay a 2D, virtual NFT into their current physical environment. This functionality will apply to other AR stickers as well, but we'd expect to see Instagram pushing the NFT angle pretty hard. One to watch!
Audio Rooms Pushed to the Forefront on Reddit
As we've predicted, social audio has been a major marketing trend this year. But while audio features have been coming out, they've seen a slower uptake on the part of the users. Platforms are making various tweaks to try and highlight these features more, including Reddit which will start showcasing when an "Audio Room" is in progress, based on your interest selection. The nav bar looks very similar to Twitter's top nav when Spaces are in progress. They are also adding more hosting options for more users, hoping to encourage an upswing in Reddit Talks.
Twitter has announced a new integration with Shopify, to make shopping from Twitter more streamlined for users, as well as merchants. Shopify retailers can now Tweet product listings that open a shoppable link when clicked. From Twitter: "This partnership with Shopify is an important step in helping merchants unlock opportunities to reach shoppers on Twitter at those precise moments of discovery, inspiration, and consideration."
Twitter is giving users a much-anticipated way to write Tweets longer than 280 characters with "Twitter Notes" - a max of 2500 words to be exact. When expanded a Twitter note will open something that looks like a blog post, with a header image, header text, and unique URL. Remains to be seen how this new feature will impact the Twittersphere culture, but it's an exciting update to keep an eye on. Plus, Twitter notes can be edited. So perhaps, in lieu of our still-elusive Tweet edit button, people will begin using Notes as Tweets instead.
More Creator Monetization Options Available Through Meta
Creator monetization initiatives have really shot to the forefront this year, and Meta is keeping up, with several new options coming soon. On Reels, cross-posting and monetization on both Instagram and Facebook will be available soon. A new Creator Marketplace is making its way onto Instagram, to help facilitate more fruitful brand partnerships on the platform. Lastly, the "Facebook Stars" donation program will be expanded to Instagram Reels. These features are still in early testing, but with plans for wider rollouts very soon.
Update from June 21st
"Funny" Reaction Released on LinkedIn
A first batch of users on LinkedIn will now see a laughing emoji as an option for reacting to posts. LinkedIn teased this update earlier this year, and it looks like they're moving forward with rolling it out. The laughing emoji will join LinkedIn's other 6 reactions, which arguably are more suited to the professional networking platform - this could be why LinkedIn hasn't released the more lighthearted laugh reaction until now. It may encourage a wider range of non-professional posts or cause some posts to appear less thought-provoking than intended, due to a larger majority thinking the post is "funny" as opposed to "interesting."
Reddit Acquires ML Software Company, Spell
Reddit recently announced their acquisition of machine learning platform Spell. This new addition will help Reddit "improve speed and relevancy" with integrated ML across the site. And so users may soon start to see more relevant results and suggestions based on past searches and browsing behaviors.
New Ad Functions in Pinterest
Brands on Pinterest now have the option to create ads from Idea Pins, which are similar to a TikTok video or Reel. The ads will include a Sponsored tag, and act like a boosted post to relevant audiences using interest targeting. They'll be full screen, with prominent site links where users can get more info or purchase products. Pinterest is also making it easier for creators to work with brands, and if they have an Idea Pin collaboration, targeting will amplify the ad to both audiences.
Snapchat is Working on a Subscription Model
Snapchat+ is coming. The app is currently working on a subscription model that would offer users additional benefits, including exclusive icons, a profile badge, and pinning a "#1 friend" (remind anyone of the Myspace Top 8?). The subscription would likely also include early access to new features Snapchat is working on.
Instagram Introduces More Safeguards for Younger Users
In response to growing concern around usage rates and how Instagram usage affects young people, particular teenage girls, Instagram has implemented new safeguards. Designed to minimize exposure to potentially harmful posts these measures include "nudges" which will push users toward different types of content than what they had been consuming. Like TikTok, Instagram has also introduced reminders to take a break from scrolling, and enhanced parental controls.
Update from June 14th
TikTok Encourages Breaks in Screen-Time
Taking a page out of the Netflix book, TikTok has introduced a new way for users to be mindful about their screen-time. In TikTok settings, you can now set notifications to be reminded at 10, 15, or 20 minute intervals. These scheduled breaks are a great way to encourage less screen time and enforce healthier habits for improved mental wellbeing. The update also comes with a dashboard view that tells users how much time they are actually spending scrolling through videos.
LinkedIn Unveils Business Center to Enhance B2B Efforts
More tools are coming to LinkedIn for B2B companies using the networking platform for sales and marketing. The new Business Manager platform within LinkedIn offers a dashboard from which you can access support and manage your business pages, ad accounts, admins and more. The platform is essentially a lighter, free version of Sales Navigator, which offers more complex tools for businesses.
You Can Now Boost LinkedIn Events Through Ads
While it's surprising that this option didn't already exist, a new update from LinkedIn will allow you to boost your LinkedIn events to a wider audience. This is a small but significant change that could lead to greater event sign ups, increasing brand awareness and encouraging more people to follow you. The boost function for events is found on the event page and once you've set the boost parameters, LinkedIn will generate an ad for you.
New Meta Micro-Site Helps LGBT Businesses
In partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Meta has launched a new micro-site for Pride (and beyond), dedicated to providing resources for LGBT+ businesses. The site offers a range of services and tools, including certification training and funding options. Video features providing tips and suggestions are also available from established LGBT+ influencers and business owners.
Update from June 7th
Sensitive Content Controls Expanded in Instagram
Instagram users will now be able to further manage what they see in the app with a new update that heavily expands sensitive content controls. Now you can tell Instagram which types of content you'd like to see more or less of, from several areas: Search, Reels, followed accounts, Hashtag Pages and In-Feed Recommendations. From a parental control perspective, this update will help to greatly reduce the changes that children will encounter inappropriate content as well.
Twitter continues to improve Communities, likely in hopes that more users will start tapping into this Twitter feature more. Their newest update will allow users to control how they view the timeline - you can choose from a chronological view or "For You" which showcases the most relevant Tweets based on your past engagements.
Shoppable Shorts Coming to YouTube
YouTube's latest foray into making Shorts a key part of the platform also taps into a huge social trend this year: social commerce. Starting on June 16, their 2nd annual Beauty Festival will feature celebrities, brand partnerships, and exclusive product unveilings. The difference this year is that viewers will have the ability to shop the products in real time, directly within YouTube.
Pinned Posts Now Available on Instagram
Instagram was testing pinned posts back in April, and now this feature has been released globally. Users can now pin up to 3 specific posts to the top of their main profile, allowing for additional creative control over what visitors first see. Influencers and brands could use this space to showcase a top performing post, a longer bio, or answers to commonly asked questions.
Update from May 31st
You can now add a pinned Tweet to the top of a Community timeline. It functions in the same way as a normal pinned Tweet and will be a useful addition to Twitter Communities. It could be used as a prompt to spark discussion or a way to display important news and announcements. While Twitter Communities has been slow to take off, they're still in the relatively early stages, and this update could go a long way in bringing them out of the shadows.
Shared Stories Introduced to Snapchat
Iterating on their Custom Stories feature, Snapchat's new Shared Stories allows users to create a Story, tagging friends and family who can then contribute to the Story. It's a great way to facilitate community and connectedness within Snapchat groups - note that Shared Stories do not have a chat enabled meaning they are private to whoever's invited in the group. Like all Snaps, Shared Stories will disappear after 24 hours.
TikTok Adds WooCommerce Integration
TikTok recently announced a partnership with WooCommerce, which will be a huge asset for retailers large and small. The integration allows for more seamless posting of products from a WooCommerce dashboard. The integration follows a strong trend in eCommerce, that is encouraging in-app shopping and purchasing.
Instagram Adds an Amber Alert Feature
Instagram has incorporated an Amber Alert feature with the hope of spreading awareness and increasing the chances of finding missing children. The alerts will show up based on if you are located within a designated search area. If you are, Instagram will display images and other important information in a post on your home feed. You can then share these details to your network.
Improved Mobile Connection for YouTube and TV
YouTube is making it easier to actively participate when watching YouTube videos on your TV. You can now sync your YouTube app on your phone and TV, meaning you'll be able to like the video, subscribe, leave comments, participate in live streams, and find related videos while watching.
Update from March 24th
As we predicted earlier this year, creator monetization is proving to be a huge trend in 2022. This week it's Twitter's turn. The app recently rebranded their "Twitter Media" page as "Twitter Create" with a renewed focus on helping creators earn using Twitter's monetization tools. The micro-site includes several resources, such as blog articles and case studies to help creators improve their presence and promote their work.
A small but noticeable change is coming to YouTube's desktop view. The platform plans to move video comments to the right side of the video, with only a top comment displayed underneath the video. Similar to the mobile view, when clicked, this comment will open all comments in the right sidebar. This will be helpful for those who enjoy scrolling the comments while watching videos, but such layout updates are rarely received favorably at first so it will be interesting to see the response from users.
eBay Listings Come to Snapchat
Snapchat has added a new e-commerce feature in partnership with eBay. Now users can share shoppable links to items they're selling, and show their friends what they're bidding on. From Snapchat: "More than 142M buyers shop on eBay globally to find everything from the latest sneaker drops to rare, vintage handbags, and now, Snapchatters have a seamless way to share what they've been eyeing…right where conversations with real friends are already happening."
Snapchat to Introduce a Family Center
Also happening over at Snapchat is a new Family Center. Screenshots shared by TechCrunch reveal more information about what parents can expect from the addition. Namely, they'll be able to see who their children follow and who they're engaging with. Given that Snapchat's main draw and functionality comes from the fact that messages are private and disappearing, it's likely this new feature won't be popular among younger users, but will help give parents peace of mind.
Realistic Digital Avatars Coming to Meta
It was only a matter of time before Meta worked to improve the appearance of their digital avatars. The current avatars are cartoony, and not as customizable as Meta wants - plus they're only designed down to the torso. A new video shared by Mark Zuckerberg reveals plans for more realistic avatars in the future. Here's hoping they don't venture too far into "uncanny valley" territory!
Update from May 17th
YouTube Shorts Expands Their Green Screen Option
While YouTube already had an option to choose a green screen effect, this feature has been expanded so you can now select from other eligible YouTube videos to replace the green screen. Creators can choose to use just the audio from the video, the imagery, or both together. To access, users first need to save videos their watching as a green screen, which they can then select later when making a Short.
TikTok Partners With Foursquare
Advertisers will want to take note of this TikTok news! The app recently announced a new partnership with Foursquare, integrating with Foursquare Attribution - a product to help measure "the effectiveness of advertising campaigns at driving people into stores". Marketers will then be able to better strategize how to encourage foot traffic from their ads on TikTok.
Twitter is working on ways to bring Spaces more to the forefront with an option to start a Space as a response to a Tweet. Tweet responses up to now have been limited to likes, quote Tweets and comments, so this could be a major leap forward when it comes to engagement on Twitter if it takes off.
Also happening over at Twitter is a new policy to stop duplicate and spam Tweets. This has been a primary issue on the platform for many years, and it's good to see Twitter now trying to address it. Their updated guidelines will crack down on what's known as "copypasta" by limiting their visibility. Users can also report Tweets that they suspect are copypasta spam.
Real-Time Captions Added for LinkedIn Lives
Several new updates are in the works over at LinkedIn, including the addition of real-time captioning on LinkedIn Live broadcasts. The new feature is a great step forward for accessibility and will make it easier to participate for hearing impaired individuals. LinkedIn is also adding custom URLs from your profile. Currently this option is only available for profiles using Creator-Mode, but will likely be expanded to all profiles in the near future.
Update from May 10th
LinkedIn Algorithm Will Start De-valuing Polls
If you've been relying on Polls for your LinkedIn to up those engagement numbers, you may want to start diversifying. Due to user feedback, LinkedIn has announced that its algorithm will begin de-valuing polls and other "engagement-hacking" posts that encourage users to respond with an emoji reaction.
Instagram Ventures into NFTs
The latest social platform to jump on the NFT bandwagon, Instagram is exploring various options for users to display NFTs on their profile. Users will be able to connect to their preferred wallet accounts (such as Rainbow or MetaMask) and images of verified NFTs in an Instagram grid will appear with a small tick mark.
WhatsApp Continues to Improve Group Chats
WhatsApp has been steadily improving their community features, particularly when it comes to group chat functionality. Their recent update now allows up to 512 people to join or be added to a group chat. Also increasing in size is the maximum file size users will be able to share, which is now 2GB.
TikTok Introduces "Pulse" Program For Creator Monetization
More and more platforms are adding features to entice and empower creators such as creator funds and additional monetization opportunities. This week TikTok joined the trend announcing their new "Pulse" program. Using Pulse, brands can choose from 12 TikTok categories (such as beauty or fashion) to facilitate more strategic ad placement. The program then has a rev-share component for creators, meaning that they don't need to have a specific relationship with the brand in order to gain monetary benefits from the ads that are shown next to their content.
Update from May 3rd
YouTube Tests Ads in Shorts
YouTube is testing ad placements for their Shorts feature. Shorts have seen a big jump in viewership, which is now up to 30 billion daily views, according to Google. Given this rise in popularity YouTube is testing running advertising between clips. It's also working on ways to help creators monetize through Shorts.
You could soon be able to add multiple media types to a single Tweet. Currently Twitter only allows still images or GIFs or videos to be posted at one time, they cannot be attached to the same Tweet. Twitter is currently testing the option to mix and match which could open some interesting doors for content promotion!
Audio Hub is Leaving Facebook
Less than a year after it was announced, Facebook is rolling back their audio hub. Introduced in June, 2021, the new audio features on Facebook, promised to help podcasters find new audiences and make it easier to tune in to podcasts from within the Facebook platform. Due to lackluster growth, and likely their new laser focus on the Metaverse, these audio features will be phased out by June, 2022.
90 Second Instagram Reels in Testing
We should have seen this one coming. After TikTok's announcement that 10 minute videos would soon be available, it was only a matter of time before Instagram ventured into longer Reels. The update is still in testing, and has not yet been rolled out to all users, though it likely will be soon.
Update from April 26th
Undoubtedly the biggest news out of social media land this week is Elon Musk buying Twitter for $44 billion dollars. The news has been met with very mixed reactions, as people struggle to predict what the purchase means for the future of Twitter. If Musk's Tweets are any indication, the long elusive edit button, banning bots, and authenticating all users will be among the first promises to be fulfilled. More changes will certainly come, but what shape they'll take is still very much unknown.
Pinned Posts on Instagram
A big change on Instagram could be around the corner. The platform is currently testing pinned posts, which could be a huge asset for marketers and influencers alike. The update will allow users to pin posts to the top of their Instagram grid, giving more creative control and the ability to showcase various aspects of a brand such as a top performing post, about-us, or commonly asked questions.
Music Clips Now an Option For Facebook Replies
Responses and social media comments on a post are a key measure of that all-important metric: engagement. So social platforms have consistently tried to find ways to make them enticing. Meta is continuing the trend by introducing music responses. Now you can add context and color to your replies with an accompanying music track. It remains to be seen if this feature will get utilized with the same regulation as gifs or emojis, but for now it's an interesting addition worth watching…or listening to as the case may be.
Templates Tested for Instagram Reels
If you're someone who's struggled with creating Reels, you're not alone. The functionality has always been a bit clunky, even with several improvements made in recent months. So Instagram's new test providing templates for Reels would be a welcome feature for many social media managers out there. Templates allow you to recreate popular Reels trends and styles - each clip is automatically set at a specific length, helping with those crisp and punchy transitions, and perfectly timed audio cues.
Tip: Check out further current Instagram trends.
Reddit Launches a Creator Fund
Major social platforms have introduced creator funds in the last year, and Reddit is the latest to follow suit. Their program has technically been live, in pilot mode, for six months, with 13 community-nominated projects already funded. Now it's been made official and Reddit is accepting submissions "for projects, events, contests, giving, almost anything you can think of to bring people together for inspiration and delight." Grants will be awarded for projects "based on their creativity, feasibility, and community impact."
Update from April 19th
Recent Hashtags in Instagram May be Going Away
In a move that may puzzle a lot of users, Instagram is in the early stages of testing removing the "Recent" tab for hashtag searches. This means that only the "Top" posts or "Reels" will be available to view when you search for a particular hashtag. This approach is clearly another move on Instagram's part to increase engagement on Reels, but it would definitely create issues for new and small businesses and influencers trying to use branded hashtags, contest hashtags, or industry hashtags for brand awareness.
Snapchat partners with LACMA for new AR Art Series
Continuing to find new ways to incorporate AR, Snapchat recently partnered with LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) for a unique new art series, bringing cultural nuance and diversity to the forefront. Participants can use the Snapchat camera at various locations around Los Angeles to get a deeper experience of a particular art piece and its history . Snapchat is working with a number of renowned artists to bring these pieces to life through AR.
Communities Feature Added to WhatsApp
WhatsApp continues to improve their group texting experience with a new feature: "WhatsApp Communities". Now entities such as schools and local clubs can message several groups at once, making it easier to send updates and organize events. WhatsApp has also introduced several enhancements to group texting including emoji reactions, file sharing, and group calling for up to 32 participants.
TikTok Introduces More Interactive Options for Ads
Now brands will have the ability to capture even more engagement through their TikTok ads through "Interactive add-ons". From TikTok: "Interactive Add-Ons capture the undivided attention of your audience in a full-screen, sound-on environment to boost brand engagement". These additional elements are available as either "Standard" or "Premium". Standard add-ons are great for bottom funnel goals such as clicks and conversions while Premium add-ons are suggested for top of funnel goals like brand awareness.
Update from April 12th
Twitter posted an unassuming announcement on April Fools day, that they would be introducing an edit button, to a predictable onslaught of annoyed responses. Despite very persistent requests over the years, Twitter has been extremely reluctant to implement this functionality. But it appears the April Fools joke was not actually a joke at all, and Twitter is in fact finally working on an edit button. Details are still vague, but at least Twitter is acknowledging what its users have been asking for, practically from day 1.
Instagram Removes In-stream Video Ads
Soon in-stream video ads on Instagram will be a thing of the past. As it has hinted for months, Instagram is putting more and more focus on Reels and encouraging users and marketers to use them. Video ad placement options will still be available, for example during Instagram video posts (remember, videos can be up to 60 minutes), and in Stories. But marketers should definitely be thinking about adapting their ad strategy to favor Reels sooner rather than later.
Pinterest Works to Remove Climate Change Misinformation
In advance of Earth Day, Pinterest has enacted a new policy to crackdown on Pins that may contain misinformation around climate change. This policy applies to both ads and regular Pins and addresses the following: climate change denial, inaccurate or false information about climate change solutions, misrepresentation of scientific data, misleading content surrounding natural disasters. Enforcement of the policy will be interesting to watch as Pinterest is the first social platform to implement these kinds of strict guidelines regarding climate change information.
Snapchat Launches Dynamic Stories
Snapchat recently launched "Dynamic Stories", which enables content partners to connect an RSS feed, facilitating more accurate and up-to-date reporting from news outlets and publications. From Snapchat: "...these Stories update in real-time, meaning Snapchatters can keep up with the latest news as it breaks." A few early partners already making use of the new feature include: Buzzfeed, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Vice.
Update from April 5th
Instagram Adds New Messaging Features
DM'ing on Instagram has become an important part of the fabric of how users interact on the platform. And Instagram has taken notice, recently announcing some exciting new features to make messaging easier and allow for different media types. Now users will be able to reply to incoming DMs while scrolling, rather than having to navigate to their messages screen first. Additionally, messages now supports sharing music, as well as themes and polls for group chats.
There are three new ad formats coming to Twitter : Interactive Text Ads, Product Explorer Ads, and Collection Ads. Interactive Text Ads will allow marketers to link to different landing pages through highlighted words (up to 3) within the ad. Product Explorer Ads showcase products in a 3D, interactive format. Lastly, Collection Ads feature a carousel of up to 5 products that users can browse, plus a hero image. These new options offer marketers lots of variety, though they also mean that regular users' Twitter feeds could soon look and feel very crowded with advertising.
YouTube Plans a Move into Podcasts
In a continuing bid to diversify and lean into the creator economy, YouTube appears to be making a move into the Podcast arena according to a leaked slide deck sent to PodcastNews.net. In addition to incorporating RSS feeds on the platform directly, creators will be able to monetize Podcasts, and access analytics to help them maximize listeners and engagement.
More Tools Available to Creators on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is continuing to make it easier for creators to get the most out of the professional networking platform. Creators now have access to more in depth analytics tools and improved options for adding video to a creator profile on LinkedIn - including video prompts to help visitors to their profile get to know more about them and the work they do.
Snapchat Introduces YouTube Linking
A small but significant update from Snapchat this week! You can now send people directly to a YouTube video from your Snaps with a link sticker, instead of needing the extra copy-paste step. From Snapchat: "This is the first time that YouTube links can be shared visually to Snapchat Stories and one-on-one Snaps, while still accessing the Camera and full suite of Snapchat Creative Tools for self expression."
Update from March 19th
Instagram Brings Back the Chronological Feed
After a six-year pause, Instagram has brought back chronological feeds! Along with letting users see newer posts first on the new Following tab, the platform also rolled out a viewing option called Favorites that lets them choose which accounts to see new posts from. These new options were highly-anticipated, but they're easy to miss on the platform. The main feed is still curated by Instagram's algorithm.
LinkedIn Pages Adds Newsletters For Businesses
LinkedIn Pages, the website's option for businesses and organizations, now lets users publish their own articles and recurring newsletters directly on the platform. Previously this option had only been available to those using "Creator Mode" on LinkedIn. Now companies can also take advantage of this feature to grow their communities through the newsletter subscription model.
Meta Combats 'Watchbait'
Meta recently announced that it is cracking down on misleading videos popularly known as 'watchbait.' These videos may entice viewers to watch by withholding information or describing the content in a sensationalized or misleading manner. Meta will tag videos like this as potential 'watchbait', so video marketers should take care to avoid clickbaity titles, thumbnails, and video descriptions.
Big news from Twitter this week! Professional Twitter accounts are now available to anyone who wants to create one. Previously Twitter's approval was required to switch to a Professional or Business account. With this change, a much wider group will be able to make the change, though certain qualifications still need to be met, including having a complete profile set up and no history of violating Twitter community guidelines.
TikTok Adds GIF Library
In the ever-expanding world of new features on our favorite platforms, TikTok has now added a GIF library users can access to enhance their TikTok videos. This library is in partnership with Giphy, one of the biggest GIF- search tools around, giving TikTok users a plethora of choice. From TikTok: the library will make it "easy for people to start or participate in their own trends, using clips from their favorite shows, GIFs, memes and more by seamlessly integrating them into their TikTok videos."
Update from March 21st
Pinterest Users Can Now Share Idea Pins Across Platforms
Pinterest is helping pinners get wider exposure and reach with its latest sharing feature. The platform now lets content creators share Idea Pins - the platform's answer to TikToks and Instagram Reels - on their other social media pages. The Idea Pin Sharing option lets users add Idea Pins directly to Facebook or Instagram Stories. And with Idea Pin Downloading, they can download and upload their videos to TikTok, Snapchat, and other platforms.
Meta Files Lawsuit Against Fake Reviews Provider
Customer review platforms have always had trouble spotting and getting rid of fake customer feedback. A new court battle may change how they keep tabs on their websites and deal with users who break their rules. Recently, Meta filed a lawsuit against the operator of a business that allegedly "provided fake reviews and feedback to businesses in order to artificially increase their Customer Feedback Score" on Facebook. This marks a new level of the company's enforcement of its terms and policies.
YouTube Launching New Livestreaming Features
YouTube is making its livestream experience more dynamic with some new features set to roll out across 2022. Along with a split-screen mobile viewing option currently rolling out, in the next few months, the company will introduce a livestream Q&A feature. YouTube is also currently testing Go Live Together, which lets livestreamers co-host shows with a shareable link.
TikTok Partners with the Cannes Film Festival
TikTok recently announced its official partnership with Festival de Cannes. Though the film festival made waves when it banned selfies in 2018, it's now courting the younger, digital-first audiences that flock to TikTok. Select creators from the app will be on the red carpet scoring exclusive interviews, as well as capturing behind-the-scenes content backstage. Plus, the winners of the partnership's #TikTokShortFilm competition will receive their awards at the festival.
Snapchat Adds Custom Landmarkers AR Feature
Snapchat is steadily expanding its popular augmented reality experiences, also known as Lenses. Its newest feature is Custom Landmarkers, which lets creators make their own AR experiences tied to locations and landmarks in their communities. As a whole, Lenses continues to hold a lot of promise for creators and marketers alike. Earlier this year, Snapchat reported that 74% of AR Snapchatters used the feature for shopping.
Update from March 17th
Instagram Lives are an excellent way to encourage engagement, but when there's a high volume of questions and comments to keep up with, it can be difficult to also manage negative or potentially harmful comments that show up. For this reason, Instagram has now introduced an option to add a moderator to Instagram Lives. Moderators will have the power to remove users from the Live, turn off commenting, and report comments.
In the latest move by a social platform to put the power in the hands of the creators, Instagram has launched a creator lab to help content creators maximize their Instagram success. The Creator Lab is separated into several different sections, providing tips and advice from well established Instagram influencers. Topics cover everything from understanding Instagram's algorithm to creating a content calendar.
A time-based feed without algorithm influence? Yes please, say many social media users these days. Twitter has answered the call with a new option to choose a feed based on "Latest Tweets." You can access this chronological feed through the stars icon in the top right corner on both mobile and desktop.
Meta, the parent company to Instagram and Oculus Quest, has introduced more parental controls for Instagram and VR users. Parents will now have a more detailed dashboard from which to manage what their children see, who they can interact with, as well as set up screen time limits. They will also be able to access additional resources to help them use these tools more effectively. In VR, linked accounts and app blocking abilities are now an option for concerned parents.
Update from March 10th
Remember when Facebook's old profile format got replaced with Timeline? It appears a similarly big change may be on the horizon for Facebook users in the near future. The new layout moves Facebook menu options to the left side of the screen and siphons the rest of the screen in the 3 sections. As others have noted, the layout seems a bit messy. Currently the change is only being seen by a small group, so we'll have to wait and see how this testing phase works out before we know more.
A great update from Instagram this week regarding tagging! Now creators will be able to tag other creators and influencers in their photos or videos - with extra information about their contribution to the image. This will make it easier for users to find, connect with, and follow talented artists and creators, as well as facilitate better crediting when it comes to collaborative works.
If you weren't aware of Twitter's new "Birdwatch" program, you soon may. The crowd-sourced fact checking system allows Twitter users to "add context to Tweets that are seemingly misleading". Twitter has been going through several rounds of testing and user feedback for the program and are now releasing it to a small, randomized, sub-group. In order for Tweet notes to be visible, enough "Birdwatchers" need to rate the notes as helpful, but you will likely start seeing them more and more in the coming months.
LinkedIn's "Career Break" feature, released earlier in 2021, has now been launched to all users. This useful option allows LinkedIn users to indicate a gap in their work history, with details explaining why and for how long they had a career break. Especially useful for Covid-times, LinkedIn says this has been one of their most requested features.
We have two big updates from Twitter this week. In addition to expanding their Birdwatch program, Twitter has also started testing their version of social shopping: "Twitter Shops". With this feature "merchants can handpick a collection of up to 50 products to showcase to shoppers on Twitter." Users will be able to browse products and prices, and if they wish to purchase they can do so through a link to the merchants website.
Update from March 1st
Taking Vine's downfall as a cautionary tale, TikTok has announced that 10 minute videos will soon be available. This move will give creators more space for ads and monetization and provide more flexibility when it comes to content creation. It's still an interesting move, given the strong push towards short form video from social platforms, including YouTube. We'll definitely be watching this one closely!
We have two exciting Instagram video updates this week, the first being that Instagram is adding auto captions to feed videos and Reels. This is huge news for the deaf and hard of hearing community and makes video uploading more seamless for creators. Additionally, because videos typically play on mute by default, this is a welcome update among the creator community.
Another big video announcement out of Instagram this week is the official shutting down of the IGTV app. Last year Instagram announced that IGTV would be going away, replaced simply by "Instagram Video", encapsulating feed videos, Lives, and Reels. This change means that in-stream video ads (also known as IGTV Ads) will also be going away, reducing monetization options for some creators. But Instagram is clearly putting Reels front and center, so we will probably be seeing more monetization abilities for Reels this year.
Pinterest has added Hebrew language support to the platform, citing that there are "more than *55 million Pins in Hebrew already on Pinterest," and they "want to make it even easier for Pinners to discover fresh ideas and get inspired for their life's projects in their preferred language." Users can access this additional language option for Pinterest through the settings on their iPhone or Android device.
LinkedIn has acquired Israel based data analytics platform Oribi in order to facilitate better marketing on the platform. From LinkedIn: "Through the integration of Oribi's technology into our marketing solutions platform, our customers will benefit from enhanced campaign attribution to optimize the ROI of their advertising strategies." This announcement also included the news that LinkedIn will be opening an office in Tel Aviv.
Update from February 22nd
LinkedIn is creating more ways for single-person businesses (such as freelancers, consultants, and contractors) to promote their work and services. Now these accounts can link their single-admin company page to their personal LinkedIn profile, under "services". This is a small but significant update that will make it easier to facilitate more seamless networking opportunities.
For the geriatric millennials out there who remember signing up for their first AOL messenger account or Hotmail email, this story will resonate. Snapchat will now allow users to change their username, and people who signed up in the app's infancy are understandably excited. Finally those regrettable middle-school aged usernames can glow-up right along with you.
In a small but useful update, you can now pin DM messages within Twitter. Users can pin up to 6 conversations for easier access. This will be especially nice for businesses who need to track important customer service questions, influencer outreach, and other time-sensitive messages.
Reddit is leaning into more visual-heavy posts, an interesting move for the platform which has been largely text-heavy. But now, Reddit is adding more visual editing tools in-app to encourage more image sharing. The editing options are similar to what you can find in Instagram Stories. Currently this update is only available on iOS devices, with Android to be rolled out soon.
The latest platform to push its short form video feature is Meta, which will roll out Facebook Reels to all users. This feature had previously only been available to some users, but has now expanded to 150 more countries. They've also added the option to save drafts, and new "clipping" functionality to enable a workaround for longer videos.
Update from February 15th
Thought LinkedIn's primary purpose as a professional networking social platform has remained unchanged, an uptick in more personal status updates and politically leaning posts was probably inevitable. In response to those wishing to maintain a more professional environment, LinkedIn is offering the option to "mute" posts containing political content. If only this were available in real life office situations…
Big news for Instagram content creators! Instagram has added a private "like" button for Stories, which will help creators gain more engagement data to determine how their Stories are perceived. Likes are hidden from viewers and while a cumulative number is not available, Story creators can see who's liked by a red heart next to the username, when they expand the Stories view sheet.
Twitter is making it easier for users to identify bot tweets through a public tag. This will be extremely helpful to users to be able to quickly see if they're interacting with a bot, as well as differentiate between "good" bots and "bad" bots. Important to note, however, that adding this label is voluntary and not required on the part of developers behind automated Tweets.
YouTube continues their foray into highlighting and encouraging short-form video content with a new dedicated upload section on users channels. If a creator has made YouTube Shorts, they will now appear here, for easier access and, YouTube likely hopes, higher engagement. It's also a way to encourage more creators to make Shorts as a supplementary video type on their channel.
In partnership with Ticketmaster, Snapchat has added a Map overlay feature (called Snap Map) that shows upcoming events and entertainment happening nearby to your location. Users can swipe through to find what interests them, share with friends, and purchase tickets all from within the app. Users will be able to cater their experience through setting alerts for certain types of events.
Update from February 8th
On Safer Internet Day this week, Instagram announced it would be testing an option to help users who've been locked out of their accounts. The feature will allow users to reach out to friends for identity verification, so that Instagram can safely re-open the account for that user. Instagram says it will be sharing more information soon, as the feature is very new.
Social platforms are continuing to experiment with audio features and Reddit is no exception. The site launched "Reddit Talk" in April 2021 and recently announced that they were expanding upon this offering and opening it up to more users. New features include recording capability, text and emoji responses, and a "live bar" to showcase live discussions happening when you log in.
Some of the biggest news to come out this week is Twitter testing the waters with long form posting options called "Articles". This feature is in the very beginning stages and has not been rolled out to a wide audience yet. It's currently unclear just how "Articles" will work or how they'll be posted to your Twitter page. In a world so used to threads and short copy, is there space for long-form content on Twitter? We are definitely anxious to find out!
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Messenger has added some new features to their app. These include improvements to voice messages like a preview feature and a longer duration available, a Venmo-esque addition allowing you to split bills, and virtual Valentines stickers and filters for Messenger Kids.
In the wake of announcing that YouTube's original programming will officially be a thing of the past, the video sharing platform has announced a number of new features people should look out for in 2022. As the world continues to go the direction of short-form video, YouTube Shorts are getting a lot of special treatment: better ways to create branded content, chat features, and shopping are all on the docket. YouTube will also continue finding ways to help creators monetize and partner with brands, as well as improving their community features. New shopping capabilities through YouTube are also on the horizon.
Update from 2/1/22
Up to four options rather than two are now available in Instagram Stories polls! If you've ever not answered a poll because neither answer fit, or you wanted a "both" option, those days are over. Which is also good news for social media managers trying to capture those taps for engagement metrics. Posters can also now update the color of the poll question text, allowing for more brand alignment.
It's Black History Month! Companies and brands around the world are celebrating in various ways. The Metaverse launched the "Metaverse Culture Series" which will use VR and AR to help amplify black voices through collaborations with black creators, and provide educational resources on black culture and history. Importantly, the series will run for a full year, rather than just the month of February.
Another social platform dedicated to elevating black creators this month is Pinterest. Continuing their new livestream shopping endeavor "Pinterest TV", which launched just before the holidays, Pinterest will be "amplifying Black creator content through a Pinterest TV series focused around Nourishing Your Soul, working with inspiring creators across food, fashion, beauty and wellness."
A new toolbox hub from Twitter aims to help marketers quickly access all the features, apps, and resources they need to improve their Twitter marketing prowess. The Hub includes links to a number of 3rd party apps and sites, broken up into three sections: Expression tools, Safety tools, and Measurement tools. It remains to be seen how long the hub will be active or if it will change as Twitter promotes more of its internal tools, but for now it's a great way for marketers to keep up!
Update from January 25th
TikTok is planning a few new features, currently in experiment mode and not yet being tested live. These include a customizable avatar similar to Apple's "Memoji" in look and feel, audio-only live streaming which gives creators more options to build their audience, and a creator subscription model, akin to what Instagram is currently testing.
Twitter's newest upcoming feature is called "Flocks" and it will enable users to share Tweets with a select group, rather than publicly. It is similar to "close friends" in Instagram Stories which allows you to only show your Story to people on your close friends list. Twitter already offers control over who can see and post replies, so Flocks can add an extra level of protection as well as the ability to create conversation between a close knit group.
In a continuing effort to prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation, Instagram has announced that it will now demote posts that are detected by the algorithm to contain hate speech or bullying, or that may incite violence. Instagram already shows posts lower on feeds that are reported by independent fact checkers, so this is essentially a step toward automating the process and catching posts that aren't reported.
Meta business platform, Workplace, announced last year that it would be implementing a WhatsApp integration to help facilitate communication between remote teams. In particular the update aims to make it easier for frontline workers to stay connected, ensuring "that information and updates reach frontline workers where they are in real-time."
There's no question that the working world is rapidly changing and a new ad for LinkedIn illustrates how the professional networking site is adapting to accommodate these changes. The promotional video focuses on the changing nature of what it means to be a "professional" and what work-from-home means for work-life balance.
Update from January 18th
The power of manifestation is the subject of the latest ad campaign for Twitter. Billboards have started showing up in various cities, showcasing famous athletes and entertainers early Tweets with career aspirations and dreams. Today these dreams have been realized, and it's a nice reminder of the power of intention setting. Sometimes publicly sending your aspirations out into the universe (or on Twitter) can have powerful results!
TikTok Tests Integrated Stories
TikTok is in the early stages of testing a more integrated experience for its Stories feature. While currently Stories on TikTok live in their own separate space, this change would include them in the "For You" and "Following" sections of the app. Navigation to Stories creation would also now be available from your main feed as well. Users scrolling through will see how many cards each Story contains and can tap through to view from right within their main feed, which is the biggest difference from Instagram's Stories.
Pinterest Shares How the Male Demographic Uses Pins
While Pinterests primary demographic is women, a new report indicates that more men are using the platform today, and takes a look at what they're interested in. The study reveals that men are making big goals and spending decisions for 2022. According to Pinterest: "75% of men in our study are planning to spend more this year to bring their goals to fruition... the study showed a mix of big-picture intention setting (eat better, find work-life balance) and smaller shifts to have more fun (socialize more, spend more time with friends)."
Snapchat Adds More Protections for Minors
In a move similar to one made by Instagram in 2021, Snapchat announced plans to make its platform a safer place for minors. The platform will be adding more safeguards to its "Quick Add" suggestions feature to prevent users under 18 from being connected to and contacted by adults they don't know. Approximately 20% of Snapchats user base is under 18.
YouTube Adds a "Media Kit"
YouTube has introduced an exciting new addition called "Media Kit" to help creators share their audience and engagement metrics more efficiently and effectively with brands and advertisers. This will make it easier for creators to earn ad revenue and partner with more brands who are interested in getting in front of relevant influencer audiences.
Update from January 11th
While "sound off" is the default setting for most platforms when showing videos, TikTok is taking the opposite route. With 9 out of 10 TikTok users viewing sounds as essential, the platform seeks to expand their audio offerings and explore the continuing evolution of how sound is used to create content on TikTok. Audio is a key component to TikTok content, and with its popularity it will be interesting to see if other platforms will eventually switch from sound-off to sound-on by default.
Pinterest has made it easier to find specific profiles and creators with a new filter that shows up in search results. The feature showcases Pinners related to certain search terms, so users can identify new people to follow who match their interests.
In what promises to be an eventful year of changes and new features, Instagram is coming in hot out the gate, testing an option that will allow users to rearrange their grid post photos and videos. This would be a welcome addition for content creators on the platform, giving more control over the first posts people see when they visit your profile. Instagram has also teased the possibility of a "pinned post" to come later this year.
A new privacy center is now available on Facebook, describing in fuller detail how Meta gathers and uses data, with more control for users to decide what they want to share. There are five different sections where people can find more information about privacy: Security, Sharing, Collection, Use, and Ads. Currently the new center is only available to US users on desktop, with plans to roll it out to a wider base soon.
Given the popularity of video and reaction-posts on platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok, it was only a matter of time before Twitter tried to get in on the action. They are currently testing a new "live reactions" feature as an additional sharing option. The feature allows users to quote-Tweet with a full screen video response with the quoted Tweet visible.
Update from December 14th
Instagram is continuing its race to keep up with TikTok, adding a new feature that allows users to reply to photo or video comments with an Instagram Reel. This functionality is already available on TikTok, so it's clear that Instagram wants to make sure its users have access to the same types of features as its biggest rival. The further integration of short-form video as replies will boost engagement and encourage content creators to make more Reels (we'll likely start to see a subculture of "response Reels" before long!).
Audio features are set to be a continuing social media trend and WhatsApp is getting in on the action with a new feature enabling users to preview voice messages before sending. In an age where leaving a voicemail causes anxiety for an entire generation, this update is a welcome and useful option. You can play your message back and make sure it sounds the way you intended before sending. No more off-the-cuff rambling or robotic script reading!
In an intriguing update for YouTube creators, the video platform recently launched "Places Mentioned". This is a new feature where any places mentioned in your video will show up visually in the video description box, so viewers can easily get more information about locations highlighted in your content. The feature essentially lessens the manual work on creators to add links, making it a more seamless and easy process. It's unclear at this juncture if the feature is only available on mobile devices.
It's considered best practice these days to always include captions on videos. Not only are they helpful for deaf & hard of hearing viewers, they also helps clarify what's said if the audio is muffled, and additionally most videos play without sound by default so they are an easy ways for viewers to decide whether or not they'd like to engage further with the video by turning the sound on. Auto-captions will now be available for Twitter videos, automatically turned on for all videos uploaded on iOS and Android, while desktop users can switch them on and off manually. Currently Twitter video captions are available in 37 languages.
Update from December 7th
In a bid to join other top social platforms like Instagram and TikTok in a "video first" mentality, Pinterest recently announced that it would be acquiring video editing app, Vochi. According to Vochi CEO & Founder: "The Vochi app gives creators the ability to apply high quality effects based on computer vision on objects in a video instantly...These technologies are unique in the industry, and we're excited to bring them to an even larger audience as a part of the Pinterest team."
Although the old roundup style from YouTube is still on ice due to negative feedback in recent years, YouTube has still provided those who are curious with some top trends and YouTube creators from the past year. The selections are divided into 5 sections: Trending Videos, Music Videos, Top Creators, Breakout Creators, Shorts Creators, plus an additional section highlighting featured creators from a Livestream event Escape2021. From the results, it's clear that gaming, music, and vlogging remain popular, but the TikTok format is also becoming more popular in the YouTube Shorts community.
New features are now available to users on LinkedIn using Creator Mode, including Live Videos and Newsletters. Creator mode is an option for LinkedIn users who use the platform beyond core networking. Per LinkedIn: "LinkedIn creators are members who regularly share content with their professional community to demonstrate their expertise, ignite conversations about ideas and experiences, and build communities around common interests." These power users and thought leaders now have access to create LinkedIn Lives and authoring Newsletters that get seen by your followers through automated emails. These features are already available to business pages with 150+ followers.
Messenger has been making some significant updates and changes throughout the year to elevate it's experience for users. Their most recent addition includes AR features, new sound-mojis, including one from Taylor Swift and one celebrating popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Most notably however, is a Venmo-esque payment option that Messenger is testing called "Split Payments."