5 Social Media News Stories You Need to Read This Week.

Quick bites of social media goodness.
Laura Daddiego
Laura Daddiego
February 13, 2019 - 22 min. read

Social media is constantly getting updated—so you should be, too. Here are 5 of the top social media news stories from this week that you don’t want to miss.

1. Celebrating 610 million members with LinkedIn Live.

610 million members are now interacting, networking and looking for new opportunities on LinkedIn. With engagement rates at record levels (60% growth YoY) and 61 million senior-level influencers as members, LinkedIn is truly speaking to a valuable niche audience: professionals.

Although LinkedIn is a late bloomer among social networks, it’s no less innovative than its competition. Recently, it launched LinkedIn Live. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s the new live streaming option that LinkedIn is now beta testing in the US. Picture this: conferences, product announcements or Q&As led by mentors and influencers. Creators will have the chance to collaborate with professional third-party developers of live streaming services to create a professional-looking final product. 

 

2. Facebook Groups get even stronger with new tools.

Facebook has been battling the decline of engagement on its platform by prioritizing Groups. Each month, 1.4 billion Facebook users engage within groups and 200 million Facebook users are members of active groups. This last Communities Summit (an official event for Facebook Group admins) unveiled a range of new product tools, from fresh post formatting options to brand collaboration features to a new mentorship program and subscriptions to keep track of your favorite topics. Groups have been a success for Facebook lately, so they’re likely to be a major focus area for the company over the next few years. 

 

3. IGTV is coming to your Instagram feed.

It’s hard to accept that your latest product isn’t taking off as expected, but Facebook isn’t backing down yet. After releasing the option to share IGTV content to Stories back in September, “The Social Network” has just announced that Instagram users will be able to see IGTV previews into their regular feeds whenever a profile they follow updates its IGTV channel. Intrusive? Yes, but with almost 72% of brands reporting that they have no intention of creating IGTV content in 2019, this could actually drive them to reconsider (especially considering how little competition there is to stand out on IGTV).

4. Linkedin Groups are finding their way.

A few months ago we announced a makeover for Linkedin Groups, which were once the pride of the Linkedin space. After a few minor but essential adjustments, it seems like Groups are picking up again. They will now be re-integrated into the main app, so no more jumping between Groups and the main platform. Plus, Linkedin has also pushed out a few new features: notifications for new posts, notifications for posts made by users in your network, highlights for important conversations, post review & approval and Group cover image personalization. And don’t worry about those e-mail notification blasts—they’re not coming back (for now). 

5. Twitter users are still in decline.

The end of the year usually comes hand in hand with a performance report. After all the changes it has been going through, from dealing with spam to banning bots, Twitter is still trying to prove that there’s a chance for growth although its monthly active users are declining. After working hard to improve its content quality and promote positive interactions, Twitter has reported that it will no longer measure its “Active Users”, but instead will adopt a new metric called “Monetizable Active Users” or mDAU. What’s that? It’s the actual number of users eligible to be served ads. In Q1 of 2019, Twitter will keep up its battle to clean up the platform, which means that its revenue still won’t be seeing much growth over the next few months. But stay tuned!

 

 

Social media is moving fast—don’t fall behind. Keep reading all the latest updates: 

 

1. What does Facebook’s messaging platform integration mean?

WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram have a combined 3.8 billion active users every month—insane, right? In the next few months, Facebook is planning to integrate the backend for messaging on all three platforms and unify their development teams. However, they’ll all keep operating as standalone platforms. From cross-posting Stories to facilitating cross-channel advertising to easier rollouts of new features, this shift aims to create a single communication ecosystem for Facebook’s products.

2. YouTube updates its recommendation algorithm.

YouTube is joining the battle against fake news with a new algorithm for recommending videos to its users. So, what’s in the new algorithm? No more conspiracy theories or scams, a severe reduction in the amount of false or misleading content and banning videos that encourage violent or dangerous behavior. Right now, we don’t know what the full impact of the update will be—but we do know that the content screening process will involve both machine learning and real people.

3. Twitter makes it easier to find the “OT” (Original Tweeter).

For all you insatiable tweeters, this update will make it easier for you to navigate long Twitter threads. Twitter has reported that it’s testing a tag which would make it clearer which user started the thread you’re reading. The tag currently reads “Original Tweeter” and appears beneath the user’s handle—though this is subject to change. The feature will make threads more readable and provide much-needed context in long conversations on the platform.

4. LinkedIn is working on Lookalike Audiences. 

Fact: according to Digiday, 42% of marketers are planning to increase their spending on LinkedIn ads in 2019. For B2B companies in particular, LinkedIn looks appealing right now with its quality audiences (and juicy leads) in a saturated digital ad market. On top of that, the network is developing Lookalike Audiences to help marketers target users who are very similar to their existing customers. If that’s not enough, LinkedIn also announced last week that it’s introducing Interest Targeting. With the addition of these new advertising options, LinkedIn looks poised to raise its public image and boost its ad revenue in 2019.

5. Instagram is letting you link to entire Stories.

Could Instagram Stories get any more awesome? Yep! You’ll soon be able to share direct links to Instagram Stories, making it easier to spread them inside and outside the platform. A similar feature was launched by Snapchat a few months back, and it looks like IG is now following suit. This is part of Facebook’s big-picture plan to encourage brands to adopt Stories, along with a “Promote Story” function that’s now being gradually rolled out globally.

 

When working with social media you can’t afford to slow down. Keep reading for more hot stories: 

 

1. What if you could swipe between YouTube videos?

Social media is changing fast and the swipeable Stories format is definitely contagious. YouTube has just released a new option that enables users to jump between videos on mobile by swiping to the side. Not only can they swipe forward to the next video or back to the previous one, but they can also get a short preview by partially dragging the side of the screen. The feature is currently available only on iOS for the latest iPhone models.

2. CTA stickers are now available for Facebook Stories.

Let’s admit it, Facebook Stories are not as popular as Instagram’s. However, “The Social Network” has been pushing hard to make it easier for marketers to use Stories as an integrated part of their social media strategies. “Shop Now”, “Book Now”, “Call Now” and “Get Directions” are the CTA options, that until now you could only find on Business Pages. Now they’ll be also available as Stories stickers for Pages to support businesses in optimizing Stories’ usage via direct response tools. Plus, Facebook recently reported that both Facebook and Messenger Stories now have 300 million active users. And, to spice things up, Facebook is now testing links in Facebook Stories too. Stay tuned!

3. Vine 2: Are you ready for it?

Vine left behind a lot of broken hearts when Twitter shut it down back in 2016. Vine’s successor, Byte, is expected to launch this spring, and it’ll allow you to create looping short-form videos once again. At the moment, there isn’t much information on the new app besides its vague release date, but online audiences already seem excited—Byte’s brand-new Twitter account has already reached nearly 78,000 followers. Byte will be all about real people, bringing back that amateurish and funny Vine atmosphere that made it so popular.

4. Regramming is even more real now. 

To all you Instagrammers out there: sharing content across multiple IG accounts is getting easier. iOS users will soon be able to publish feed posts simultaneously to different accounts by toggling them on the composer screen. This goes against Instagram’s original goal to keep content “original & personal” a bit, but we can rely on its feed algorithm to demote generic and dull content.

5. LinkedIn provides a personalized Help Center experience.

It’s true what they say—context matters. That’s why LinkedIn is bringing its Help Center directly to members, personalizing the experience and making it easier to find the answers they’re looking for based on the area of the platform they’re using and how they’re using it. The platform recently added a drop-down widget that enables the In-Product Help feature, letting users find the help they need on their current page without disrupting their session. For now, the rollout only applies to accounts using LinkedIn in English.

 

Want to look back at all the juicy news from 2018? Scroll down to catch up with all the latest updates:

 

1. Will you be using voice messages on Instagram?

Voice messages are quickly becoming the preferred method of communication on messaging platforms like WhatsApp. They’re quick, don’t require typing, and let’s face it: people like to talk, a lot. Just in time for Christmas, Facebook has rolled out voice messages on Instagram. The new DM feature lets users send voice messages up to 1 minute long by holding down the microphone button. Over the past few months, Instagram has been adopting several Facebook features—we’ll see if it starts to feel like an overload.

2. Facebook is adding search as an ad placement once again.

With revenue growth slowing, Facebook is currently testing mobile-only search ads, both in Facebook search results and Marketplace, to increase their ad capacity. This feature is nothing new, tough—Facebook tested it back in 2012 only to shut the project down in 2013. What is new then? These new search ads will be an extension of the already-existing News Feed ads to the “Search” placement in Ads Manager. Plus, they’ll display a “Sponsored” tag and advertisers won’t be allowed to pick specific keywords to compete against each other. Facebook has reported that it will evaluate placement’s benefits for businesses and people before rolling it out globally.

3. Chronological or algorithmic timeline?  Twitter lets you choose.

The new “Sparkle” feed button has been rolled out to all iOS users of Twitter. Now, it will be easier to toggle between the chronological and algorithmic timeline. The button has been placed where the “compose tweet” button used to be, and by tapping on it you’ll be able to switch your timeline to either show the “Latest tweets” or top tweets, aka “Home”. Back in the day, you had the same option via the settings menu, but what’s different now is that you’ll need to manually toggle this button every time you open the app.

4. New Year, new CTA: YouTube is rolling out a new button for video ads.

January 2019 is coming with some exciting news for YouTube: get ready to say goodbye to those clunky ol’ CTA buttons! The new update is designed to make ads more integrated and more interactive across all video ad formats. This new, clearer CTA format also fits perfectly with YouTube’s recent major change to remove video annotations. Yup, all those annoying, pop-up CTAs which appear during playbacks will finally be deactivated too. Advertisers, you can now sleep tight.

5. New Instagram music stickers.

It’s tough to keep up with all the shiny new Instagram features, right?  After launching a new countdown sticker and question stickers that can be used in Live videos, IG is truly bent on squeezing the most out its music licensing agreement with a new music sticker update. Users can now respond to questions with music by sharing songs with friends via the question sticker with a music icon. In addition, you’ll be able to create your own music videos with a new range of video effects within the camera that will respond to the beat of a song. 

Catching up with all the latest social media news doesn’t have to be exhausting…keep scrolling for more juicy stories:

 

1. Facebook Groups get Keyword Alerts and Stories.

Groups are a goldmine of valuable content and meaningful connections—and Facebook is tweaking them yet again with two new updates. Let’s start with Group Stories, which are now available globally. These take the same format as other Facebook Stories, but Group admins will be able to control which Stories are shared and delete them at will. Next, there are Keyword Alerts. This feature will notify admins when keywords they select are mentioned in Group discussions, letting them stay on top of key discussions and step in as necessary.

2. LinkedIn changes its privacy settings.

From the end of November 2018 on, LinkedIn will no longer include user emails in its Archive data export. Until now, LinkedIn would allow any user you’re connected with to download your email address in the export file. You can check your personal settings around this on LinkedIn under Settings & Privacy within the “Who Can See My Email Address” option—the default option here is now to not allow your email to be exported. This could prove a controversial move on a professional network like LinkedIn where so many businesses have invested in contact acquisition efforts.

3. Facebook Live incorporates the e-commerce experience.

The e-commerce fever affecting social media lately is definitely hard to miss. Facebook has been particularly active in adding more social selling tools to both FB and IG. This latest update, Live Video Mode for Sellers, is an extension of the Shop section for Facebook Pages. It will let you showcase products via live stream and allow users to buy them by taking screenshots. Hopefully the next step includes a  dedicated CTA button!

4. YouTube will autoplay videos on the Home tab. 

That’s right, the YouTube app for both Android and iOS will now automatically start playing videos on the Home screen. Don’t panic, though—you’ll be able to switch the feature off. Plus, this will be a good thing for brands and content creators on YouTube as it will boost view counts, make videos more digestible on mobile, and help monetize content. Keep in mind that Google’s algorithms will determine if your content is attractive enough to make it to people’s Home feeds—so polish up your YouTube SEO skills.

5. Big changes are coming to Messenger.

Subscription messaging (just one of 17 types of messaging at this point) lets Facebook Pages send content regularly to users through Messenger. By January 1st, 2019, Facebook Pages will need to have been approved for subscription messaging permissions. You can check here to learn how to apply for Facebook subscription messaging and to review the relevant guidelines/policies. Today, Messenger is the social channel with the highest engagement rates, so you can provide tons of value by sending out regular content updates to your audience. 

We’re dropping knowledge…keep scrolling for more hot social media news from the past few weeks:

 
 
1. Instagram is taking the battle of likes to the next level.

If you have been using third-party apps to boost your Instagram fame, you won’t able to fake it anymore. Instagram will soon axe inauthentic activity on the platform in favor of “genuine” experiences and interactions. Machine learning tools will identify accounts that use these services and remove inauthentic likes, follows and comments. Such accounts will be notified before their fake love is removed. More updates will follow in the coming weeks—so stay tuned! 

2. Yup, Stories and reactions are coming to LinkedIn. 

Linkedin is currently testing Facebook-like features such as event filters and stickers with its own twists. LinkedIn is also working on adding reactions (“Like”, “Clap”, “Insightful”, “Hmm”, “Support”) and a GIF button in the comments option to push engagement. That’s not all: the biggest discovery this week was LinkedIn Stories, tagged as ‘Student Voices’ that have been rolled out for LinkedIn’s higher education tools. However, these Stories are not ephemeral and, for now, LinkedIn has no intentions to monetize them. 

3. Will you include these new shopping tools in your social media strategy?

Given the interest in social shopping, Instagram is releasing three new tools to make online shopping smoother and more seamless. Let’s start with Shopping Collection, a section on your profile where you can access a personal wishlist, which is handy if you want to purchase new products. With Shop on Business Profile, users will have access to a complete list of products that feature the shop tag. This will make it easier to look for a particular brand’s products. And last but not least, the new Shopping Tags on Video will make it possible to include a list of featured products in videos. How are you going to use these new tools?

4. What’s the deal with the latest Facebook News Feed algorithm update?

2018 has been a year packed with headlines around privacy and misinformation on social media—and Facebook is out to combat them. As people will disproportionately engage with more sensationalist content, amplifying it, Facebook has made a basic tweak in the algorithm that will penalize content that borders on engagement bait so it gets less distribution. Basically, this will punish a post’s reach if it breaks the rules.

5. The next generation of LinkedIn Company Pages.

This revamp is all about making it easier to engage, connect and participate in relevant conversations.  And, yes, you are going to love it. The first big update is that you will be able to access your Company Page from mobile with page posting and management functionalities. You will also now be able to share files such as PowerPoint presentations and PDFs with your community and add hashtags to your Page so you can keep track of relevant topics. The new “Content Listing” suggestion feature will help you find the content your target audience finds relevant based on hashtags. If you are looking for ways to find new colleagues and engage existing ones, this brand-spanking-new suite of Linkedin tools (Career Pages included) will do the trick. 

 

Can’t stop scrolling? Don’t worry, we have put together all the hot social media news from the past weeks:

 

1. Have you heard about Promote for Instagram Stories?

Facebook is fighting its slowing revenue growth with a new ad format, aiming to bring more cash in. “Promote” works similarly to Facebook’s Boost, allowing business Pages to promote Stories right away after publishing. Promote will allow you to target users based on location, lookalike audiences, and the rest of Instagram’s targeting parameters. The feature was originally spotted by Matt Navarra and doesn’t have a complete rollout timeline yet.

2. What you need to know about the new Facebook Pixel data sharing. 

What if you could connect your online and offline marketing efforts? The new Pixel advanced options and offline event sets track signals across both online and offline channels for businesses looking to work with third-party providers. This way, you can get a better understanding of how people are interacting with your business and optimize your ads accordingly. In order to begin sharing pixel or offline event information, you’ll first need to define your relationship with the business you want to share the data with.

3. Facebook Analytics for Instagram is real.

Being able to see how users interact with your content is not always enough. Digital marketers crave conversions. This is a brand-new addition to the Facebook Analytics suite to help you get more realistic results. In the dashboard, you can discover retention rates, compare the lifetime value of users, create and analyze segments and understand how your different audiences overlap.

4. The time has come—WhatsApp is rolling out ads in Status.

This is Facebook’s very first step toward monetizing WhatsApp. Status is pretty much like Instagram stories, and soon, it will be possible for businesses to launch ads in the format.  With 1.5 billion users, WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps in the world and a channel ripe for revenue opportunities. Why? 60 billion messages are being sent in the app every day, and a huge portion of them are related to business transactions—especially in India and Brazil.

5. Switch between two different Twitter timelines.

What’s it going to be for you, ‘top tweets’ or the new reverse chronological order timeline? After teasing us with the news last month, Twitter is finally giving users the ability to choose. A star icon in the top-right corner of the app will let you toggle between the two options. We still don’t know if this change will affect engagement or whether your selection will reset every time you close the app.

 

But wait, there’s more! More hot social media news from the last couple weeks, that is:

 

1. Algorithm update: LinkedIn helps people get more engagement.

The total amount of engagement on LinkedIn has increased 50% year-over-year, but most of that engagement has been going to the top 1% of content creators on the network. To ensure normal users see their engagement increase as well, LinkedIn is promoting interactions between them by adding a new algorithm element which values “how much a user will appreciate getting feedback from a given viewer”.

2. Messenger gets a new design…and it’s good!

Facebook Messenger V4 is coming out, and it looks simpler and easier to use than ever. Its logo has been redesigned, the camera feature’s been moved to the top of the app, and chat bubbles can now have custom colors. Plus, the app has now cut down to just three navigation buttons (Chat, People and Discover) instead of nine. To help users adjust to the changes, Facebook is releasing the new Messenger in phases.

3. YouTube partners with Eventbrite.

Every month, over 1 billion users visit YouTube just to listen to music. YouTube’s new integration with Eventbrite (US only) will show users notifications about upcoming live shows on artists’ official channels. YT is also currently collaborating with Ticketmaster, and now it will be able to cover 70% of the US concert market. It’s interesting to see how YouTube is integrating more and more eCommerce functionality with their platform.

4. What is Facebook Attribution?

If you’re looking into exploring how your campaigns are impacting actions throughout the customer journey, say no more. The Facebook Attribution tool is definitely going to help you. Using a new data-driven model, Attribution is powered by Facebook Pixel and can report on campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger.

 

5. YouTube targets users watching content on their TVs.

Fact: 70% of Netflix views happen on a TV, and advertisers will spend $70 billion on TV ads this year in the US alone. With the battle for screen time on TVs heating up, marketers see an opportunity. That’s why YouTube has announced that “TV Screens” will be added as an ad targeting option going forward. Digital platforms can now provide a real alternative to traditional TV ads.

 

Don’t stop scrolling now! Here’s more juicy news from the past few weeks that you should check out:

 

1. Goodbye, Google+.

Due to its low popularity, lack of developer adoption and a recent data leak, Google announced on October 8th that it would be shutting down Google+. From event spam to a “real name policy”, what seemed like a promising product had to face too many challenges over the years to remain standing among the social media giants. Google also announced a series of reforms to its privacy policies designed to give users more control of their data.

2. Are you ready for the Facebook Portal?

Designed to make it easier to connect with people and stream music or videos, the Facebook Portal is a device with a wide-angle camera, mic, and touchscreen. The hardware is intended to make video chatting more natural by tracking your movements around the room while you talk. Don’t panic about privacy yet—Facebook affirms that physically turning off the device cuts its network connection and prevents hacking attempts.

3. Instagram introduces Nametags and School Communities.

Instagram has officially released Nametags, customizable identification ‘cards’ that connect to your IG account. By scanning the unique tags with their cameras, users can easily follow each other after meeting IRL. Instagram is also currently testing “School Communities” in the US that will help students connect with their classmates. The feature will let users list their university, class year, and student groups.

4. In-stream video ads on Twitter go worldwide.

A small but significant change for social media marketers: Twitter is once again expanding its ad options. As of October 1st, in-stream Twitter video ads can be viewed by users around the world. Previously, publishers could only monetize videos in their own regional markets. This move isn’t too surprising, since according to the latest Twitter performance report, video ads remain their fastest-growing ad format.

5. Is a voice assistant coming to Facebook Messenger?

Sending messages or setting up reminders with your voice could soon be a real thing on Facebook. A Messenger spokesperson recently confirmed to TechCrunch that they were internally testing a voice command feature. A new button would be placed atop message threads and activate a listening functionality for voice commands.

 

Want more fresh social media goodness? Keep scrolling down to see what’s been happening in the past few weeks:

 

1. The dawn of a new era? Instagram founders exit the company.

On September 24, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (now CEO and CTO, respectively) announced their resignation from the company. Why? It’s thought to be due to tensions with parent company Facebook over Instagram’s autonomy. Without stating an explicit reason for the decision, the two founders wrote in a personal statement that they are currently “planning on taking some time off to explore curiosity and creativity again.” We’re curious to see how this huge shift will impact both Facebook and Instagram.

2. Twitter switches back to a chronological timeline.

What if you could get rid of the algorithmic feed? Well, sort of. As of last week, Twitter announced that it’s possible for users to switch their Timeline settings to jump between two options: Best Tweets First or Latest Tweets. The purpose? To achieve a balanced feed, putting control in the hands of the users.

3. YouTube commits to vertical video ads.

To provide a more seamless mobile experience, advertisers can now buy vertical slots for their ads. Viewers will then be redirected to an external page by tapping on the video ad. Vertical videos can be run in ad campaigns across YouTube’s apps and through TrueView. With 70% of YouTube watch time happening on mobile and competition for mobile video ads rising, it was a natural move for YouTube to adapt to market demand. 

4. Instagram helps get out the vote in America.

Instagram plans to run ads that will promote voter registration and educate voters about the 2018 mid-term election by partnering with Turbovote. On Election Day, users will get “I voted” stickers to share their experience with the rest of the IG community. Since the last US election, parent company Facebook has also doubled its security staff to 20,000 and started requiring identity verification for all political advertisers.

5. Snapchat teams up with Amazon.

Ecommerce through Snapchat? Who would’ve thought? Snap users can now use their cameras to scan barcodes or take pictures of items they want to buy. The app will then open a small on-screen card that will show the product’s name, price, thumbnail image, average review score, and Prime availability. When tapped, that card will redirect them to Amazon to complete the purchase. Social ecommerce is heating up—and it looks like Instagram and Pinterest have found a competitor after all (note: the feature is only available in the US at the moment).


Keep up with the latest social media news. Here are more of the latest stories you should know about:

1. LinkedIn takes the “Groups” experience to the next level.

From the option to share rich embedded media to new notification settings to Group access via the mobile app, LinkedIn is finally introducing a revamp of Groups. In the past couple of years, the professional social network has been committed to bringing conversations to the forefront of the platform and this is just the beginning of the new tools that they’ll release in the next few months.

2. Instagram confirms that it’s testing video tagging (finally).

Although video has been available on the platform since 2013, Instagram is just now testing the option to tag accounts in videos with a select few users. The functionality isn’t too different from photo tagging—you tap the small icon on the bottom left of the video and it links to a list of “People In This Video” that includes everyone the original poster has tagged. This could open the door for features like shoppable videos in the future.

3. Twitter launches an audio-only broadcasting feature.

Having a bad hair day? You can now experiment with and share live audio-only content on Twitter—you just need to tap on the same interface where you would normally launch live video. The feature could be great to share news longer than 280 characters, and the stats are all there: number of live listeners, replays, time listened and other metrics. It’s currently available only through Periscope or the iOS version of the Twitter app.

4. Facebook pushes for brand safety with new placement controls for video ads.

Starting September 10, Facebook is giving advertisers more control over where their ads might appear on in-stream videos (including those in Instant Articles and Facebook Watch content). Specifically, Facebook is introducing a Publisher List to let advertisers block their ads from appearing on content from specific publishers. FB is also adding a Publisher Delivery Report, a list of the sites and apps where their ads have appeared.

5. 250 million people are now using Pinterest every month.

With over a quarter billion monthly active users and 175 billion pins out there, Pinterest can be proud of its 75% year-over-year growth in user activity. Interestingly, the company also announced that more than 50% of its existing users and 80% of its new users are located outside the US. The visual network has been on a sprint to improve its processes and features, moving slowly away from social media to focus more on eCommerce.