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

Quick bites of social media goodness.
Laura Daddiego
October 9, 2018 - 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. 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 was 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.

 

Addicted to social media? Check out more of the latest trends, tips, and news here:

 

1. Facebook lets you create video content from images and text.

In order to help businesses with less capacity, Facebook is introducing a feature that allows advertisers to convert images into video. These video creation tools will also help you quickly create templated videos using your existing Page content and optimize them for mobile devices. The options are titled ‘Video Creation Kit’, ‘Video Cropping’, and ‘Simple Video Creation Tool’.

2. IGTV’s momentum slows down.

How do you convince video content creators to transition to a new, long-form platform? Branding full-screen vertical video for mobile only was a bold move from Instagram, but two months after launch, IGTV adoption is not quite there yet. Creators who partnered with IGTV at launch are seeing their channels get 6-7x fewer views than their feed videos and weekly installs of the app have decreased by 94%. 

3. How much time do you spend on YouTube?

YouTube now shows you the amount of time you’ve viewed videos in a given day or week on your profile. From new features like optional break reminders to a condensed notification list to automatically silenced notifications between 10 PM and 8 AM, this is only the latest part of YouTube’s mission to give users a better understanding of their tech usage.

4. Digital video ad spend is set to hit $102.8 billion.

If you haven’t thought about allocating more of your budget to producing video content, you should check out the latest Forrester report. According to this forecast, advertisers will spend around $102.8 billion dollars a year on video ads by 2023. That number is up from $90.7 billion this year.

5. Say goodbye to over 5,000 targeting options in Ads Manager.

To minimize the risk of abuse, Facebook is dropping some advanced targeting options and introducing a new advertiser certification process. Back in 2016, before Cambridge Analytica,  Facebook came under the radar after an investigation that showed that some targeting options were used to avoid advertising to people based on their race or religion.

 

Don’t miss out on the latest news. Here’s what else happened in the last couple weeks:

 

1. Facebook Business Pages get updated.

Since the significant drop in organic reach that started in 2016, many businesses have been struggling with their social presence. The new redesign will emphasize page utilities like “make an appointment” or “call”, connect users with new job opportunities, and share information on nearby businesses and events with the Local bookmark. 

2. LinkedIn now connects 575 million people.

While Twitter has removed millions of accounts in bot purges lately, LinkedIn has recently reached a significant milestone: 575 million users worldwide (both active and inactive). The social network has also shared the usage breakdown by country. The biggest markets? North America, China, and India.

3. WhatsApp introduces a new Business API.

Facebook is constantly looking for new ways to monetize its products, and the new WhatsApp Business API is no exception. It will put brands in touch with consumers that have requested information directly through the messaging app and businesses will be able to customize notifications to be sent with “non-promotional” content. But don’t panic, users will still have full control over notifications and messages.

4.YouTube is paying top creators to try new features.

With the intense competition around video content and some creators leaving the platform, YouTube is not giving up without a fight. According to Bloomberg, the video platform is currently paying content creators to test and promote new features like paid memberships, merchandising and chat. 

5. Pinterest extends the wide-format video to all advertisers.

Wide-format promoted videos are finally available for all advertisers using the Pinterest Ads Manager. Launched back in May as a beta test, the new format is four times larger than a standard video and is available in both 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios. 

 

Just got back from the summer holidays? We’re here to help you to catch up with the latest social news. This is what you missed:

 

1. Facebook and Instagram show how much time you’re spending on them.

Facebook and Instagram have added a new feature that shows users exactly how many minutes they’ve spent on each network in a given day. Plus, they’ve even added a tool for the social media addicts among us that will gently remind you to log off after you hit a self-imposed daily limit.

2. Twitter is going to display related hashtags for trending topics.

Twitter recently announced that when users browse their trending topics section, they will also see hashtags related to those topics. This could help marketers find relevant trends and extra hashtags to jump on when planning their tweets. 

3. Facebook improves its video ad metrics.

Facebook is responding to feedback from advertisers and changing up a few key video metrics. First, it will no longer count rewatched sections of video ads toward 3-second or 10-second video views. Second, it is adding a metric called “video plays” that only counts instances where the ad actually plays and isn’t just displayed in a user’s feed. Third, they’re ditching 30-second video views and video percentage watched due to lack of use.

4. Snapchat adds voice-activated Lenses.

Snapchat just announced a fun new feature: if you say one of several English words like “Hi”, “Wow”, or “Love”, an AR animation will trigger over your face. Neat stuff!

5. Instagram tests an option to limit your Stories audience by location.

Instagram is working on a feature that will allow users to select specific countries to show their Stories to. This has a lot of potential for brands that want to show location-specific Stories to the right audience (and boost engagement rates in the process).

 

Hungry for more tasty social media news? Check out our previous social news update:

 

1. Instagram teaches you how to master IGTV.

Instagram just released a 50-page guide to provide users with tips on making full use of IGTV’s potential. The guide is split into four categories: an introduction, apps & tools, upload tips and a suggestion to “be there first”. There’s a lot to take in—suggestions for lenses and accessories included.

2. Facebook and Twitter get transparent with ads.

Facebook is taking big steps to ensure transparency with a new Ads Center. Pages will now have an “Info and Ads” button which will give details about who created them when and list all the ads they’ve served on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Twitter is also boosting its transparency with a similar feature, the Ads Transparency Center, which will show all the ad campaigns an account has launched in the last week.

3. LinkedIn introduces automatic translations and QR codes.

With technology powered by Microsoft, LinkedIn will now automatically translate content in different languages from users’ default settings. As for QR codes, Linkedin hopes that they will soon replace business cards, helping people exchange contact information quickly and efficiently.

4. IG Stories are getting soundtracks.

Instagram is celebrating hitting 400 million daily active users with a shiny new feature: you can now add licensed music to your Stories with “music stickers”. You will also be able to select short snippets of your favorite songs and pick songs to play in the background when filming your Stories videos.

5. YouTube announces new ways to monetize videos.

Video has exploded on both Facebook and Instagram, but with more than 1.9 billion monthly active users, YouTube will not give up easily. They’ve just released a new range of tools to help creators monetize their content, including paid channel memberships that give viewers access to unique features and merchandise “shelves” where viewers can buy creators’ products.

 

Summer is here and social media news is heating up! Check out our previous top stories:

 

1. Shoppable Stories are here!

According to Instagram, 33% of users said they were more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Stories. No wonder Instagram is introducing brand new Shopping Tags to the joy of online businesses everywhere.

By clicking on the shopping bag icon in a Story, users can access additional product details, images, and a purchase link. Currently, this feature is available only to a limited number of brands.

2. LinkedIn rides the Carousel.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content just keeps evolving. Last week, the network launched carousel ads to help advertisers deliver a dynamic, interactive brand story to users. With sets of swipeable images and videos, these ads will function similarly to carousel ads on Instagram and Facebook—but for the B2B crowd.

3. Twitter introduces more live events to the timeline.

Twitter has always been the “right here, right now” social network, and now it’s redoubling its efforts on live events and breaking news. The latest changes are going to be visible at the top of the timeline and will help users to find useful and relevant live content without changing Twitter’s timeline algorithm. 

4. Instagram launches IGTV.

With a “special event” for a few selected reporters and partners, Instagram celebrated hitting 1 billion users by presenting what could be the next hit video platform. A dedicated hub for more long-form videos, this will put Instagram in the game with YouTube, Snapchat Direct, and Facebook Watch.

IGTV will work both within Instagram and as a standalone app for iOS and Android. Videos will be organized by topic, range from mid-level video quality to 4k, and have a mobile-friendly vertical layout. Be on the lookout for a monetization system in the future.

5. Facebook releases a report on the rise of business messaging.

In its latest report, “Why Messaging Businesses is the New Normal”, Facebook sheds some light on messaging app usage. It’s no secret that the world’s biggest social network has been pushing Messenger over the past few months.

The main reasons? Chatbots are becoming more powerful and generating tons of new opportunities for brands. Plus, the top four messaging apps have now more users than the top four social media platforms. With the rapid expansion of social networks, it looks like users are seeking more private channels to talk to their friends. 

 

Still not feeling caught up with social? Check out our previous installment:

 

1. It’s almost Pride o´clock on social media.

June is officially Pride Month and social networks are celebrating it with unique tools to encourage people to discover more photos and meaningful content from the LGBTQA community. From Facebook’s rainbow frames and AR-enabled tools within Messenger to Instagram’s colorful hashtags and stickers to emojis on Twitter that are triggered by Pride-related hashtags, pick your favorite additions to show support.

2. YouTube is now where the “cool kids” like to hang out.

According to a new Pew survey on technology usage by young Americans, teens have been spending more and more time hanging out on YouTube since 2015. 85% of U.S. teens between 13 and 17 use YouTube, compared to the 51% that use Facebook. Despite their heavy use of technology, the study shows that teens are uncertain of the impact of social—45% of teens believe social media has neither a positive nor a negative effect on people.

3.  Time is up for Facebook’s Trending section.

As of this week, Facebook is removing its Trending news topics section due to lack of engagement. In fact, Trending content accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average while the feature was live. Facebook reports that it is now seeking other ways to display news to users.

4. Instagram explains its new algorithm.

IG users were missing 70% of all posts and 50% of their friends’ posts before the app changed its algorithm this March. With the update, there are now three main factors that impact your feed: interest, recency, and relationships. The algorithm change is intended to stabilize users’ feeds, avoid spamming ads, and allow people to reach their intended audiences and engage with the right content. 

Wondering how this will impact SMMs? Check out The 2018 Instagram Algorithm Change: What it Means for Marketers.

5. Twitter is recruiting publishers to embrace programmatic technology. 

Although no official announcement has been made, Twitter is looking into expanding its advertising offerings with a programmatic pilot program. The pilot will involve a small segment of US publishers and will place ads in Twitter timelines embedded in publishers´sites. This move would help Twitter gain positive momentum after the past year and would incentivize advertisers to invest more heavily in the network. 

 

Keep scrolling for more can’t-miss social media news from the past month:

 

1. Facebook’s influencer search engine is born.

Facebook is currently testing a new tool called the Branded Content Matching search engine which will help marketers team up with influencers for sponsored content. Marketers will be able to search for compatible content creators using several parameters such as location, interests and education. Meanwhile, content creators will be able to opt in for the test, sharing their portfolios and metrics.

2. YouTube’s new music streaming service is out!

Beginning Tuesday, May 22nd, the new YouTube Music platform is up and running—ready to offer music streaming and original content from official songs, albums, playlists and artist radio stations to YouTube’s tremendous catalog of remixes and live performances. Google is splitting the former YouTube Red into two offers: a free version (YouTube Music) and a premium one (YouTube Premium).

3. “Usage Insights” are set to unveil the truth behind time spent on IG.

CEO Kevin Systrom has recently announced that Instagram is building a set of shiny, brand-new tools to help the IG community by adding more context on their time spent on the platform. These tools include a feature that tells users when they’ve read all the newest posts in their feed in order to improve their sense of well-being by reducing passive scrolling and non-productive usage of the network.

4. Ads are coming to Facebook Stories.

Since their launch last year, Facebook Stories have been accelerating in popularity, recently reaching 150 million daily users. It’s no wonder that Facebook has decided to monetize them. From now on, advertisers will be able to buy five- to 15-second-long video ads which can either be extensions of existing Instagram Stories ads or reformatted versions of their News Feed ads. 

5. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator adds integrations with five new marketing tools.

Starting last week, Sales Navigator’s redesign puts users “one click away” from qualified leads more effectively. The update lets users go to a company’s website directly from the app, opens office locations via Google Maps, and meets all current GDPR requirements. If that wasn’t enough, five new partners have also joined the platform: SAP Hybris, Pegasystems, Oracle Eloqua, Clari and Groove.

Not ready for a social media detox just yet? Here’s the rest of the juicy news from the past month:

 

1. F8, only for true Facebook believers.

Last week’s F8 conference was packed with juicy news. This year’s event was huge, with 50 sessions, interactive experiences, and presentations from product experts.

If you didn’t have time to catch up with them, this is the right time to reconcile with your Facebook-faith and have a look at all the products and innovations Facebook is creating to bring the world closer together.

2. Instagram to add an Add-In Payment feature.

With 200 million Instagrammers actively visiting at least one business profile every day, direct in-stream purchasing will be a bold move for Instagram.

The native payment feature will be available by just registering your debit or credit card in your profile settings. This opens up new possibilities for direct sales through the platform.

3. LinkedIn celebrates its 15th birthday, launches #whenIwas15 campaign

Since 2003, Linkedin had been growing fast and establishing itself as the world’s largest professional social network, now with over 562 million users in 200 countries.

On May 4th, Linkedin turned 15 years old, and to celebrate the network launched the campaign #whenIwas15, encouraging users to post about what career they wanted when they were 15.

They also shared in-depth data and infographics mapping how their users’ job titles and industries have evolved since LinkedIn launched.

4. An encrypted DMs option lies hidden in Twitter’s Android app.

A new “Secret Conversation” option has been quietly spotted around the APK, or Android application package, which would allow users to send encrypted DMs.

This could help Twitter channel the power of direct messages and build a better home for conversations on the platform once again.

5. Cross-post live videos on Facebook.

You will soon be able to seamlessly publish a single broadcast on multiple pages, with a new feature added to both the Publisher Tool and the Live API.

Video has been a big priority for Facebook lately, so if you often go live, this is a great opportunity to optimize your time and coordinate team efforts (and hush, a rewind function is also on its way).

 
Still starving for more news? Here are our top picks for April: 
 
 

1. Facebook introduces three new ways to monetize videos.

To help publishers and video creators, Facebook will be launching pre-roll video ads that appear when users are looking for videos, adding preview trailers for Facebook Watch series, and introducing a feature that will automatically find the ideal place for ad breaks in video content.

2. Twitter adapts to the upcoming GDPR.

Right before it’s set to announce its Q1 earnings, Twitter has started notifying users about changes in its privacy policy and terms of use. The changes will help users understand exactly what data is being collected on them. Twitter is also implementing a new “Settings and Privacy” section to give users more control over what information they display and share on the social network.

3. Reddit ties with Twitter for active users.

Reddit just hit over 330 million monthly active users, putting it on par with Twitter. Combine that with its average session time of over 15 minutes (compared to about 11 minutes for Facebook and 6 minutes for Twitter), and you’ve got a platform that’s making marketers everywhere raise their eyebrows.

The secret sauce in Reddit’s recipe for success? Human-based moderation that elevates popular content without relying on an automated feed.

4. Companies want to use AR to spruce up digital ads.

From cars to holiday experiences, a new era of smart ads will bring together the large reach of display media with the interactivity of augmented reality (AR). With many shoppers hoping to use the technology to see what online products might look like in the real world, the question is if brands will be able to go beyond bland animations and create new experiences with AR.

5. Taking an Insta-break? The new “Data Download” tool will ease the pain.

Instagram is launching a new tool that allows users bring their photos, videos, archived Stories, and profile information with them should they choose to leave the platform. With the GDPR deadline around the corner, this tool is part of Instagram’s strategy to align with the EU regulation’s data portability rule.

Basically, if you feel like your Instagram love story is coming to an end, this feature will let you leave without losing your valuable content. 

 

Still need your daily fix of social media news? More of the top stories of the month:

 

1. Congress doesn’t speak Facebook-ese.

A month after Facebook banned the British data firm Cambridge Analytica from their platform, Mark Zuckerberg has finally testified before Congress. Meanwhile, the web exploded with ironic memes and fun tweets, several lawmakers suggested data regulations, and Facebook’s stock price bounced back 4.5%.  

2. The success of visual marketing? Pure science.

It’s no wonder that visual social networks like Instagram are taking over. Did you know that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text? From color stimulation to real life photos, 90% of information transmitted to the human brain comes from visual stimulation. Sounds like visual marketing’s the way to go.

3. Get ready for Instagram Nametags.

It looks like Instagram has no intention of slowing down. Nametags are on their way and will soon let users and brands customize their own QR tags for their profiles – even using emoji patterns. The feature will help people promote their accounts visually and can be scanned with the Instagram Stories camera.

4. LinkedIn’s hashtag requirement gets mixed reactions.

LinkedIn is running a minor test on its platform that requires users to use hashtags to post updates from their personal accounts in order to find and join valuable conversations. Some users aren’t too pleased.

5. 70% of Twitter users are retail-focused.

In its latest report, Twitter highlights its true potential within shopping and retail. Not only are a large portion of its users interested in retail, but 85% of them have also interacted with brand or product content after being on Twitter.

 

Looking for more social media updates? Check out some of the previous news you might have missed: 

 

1. Twitter’s new API is already impacting brands.

Twitter recently released a new spam-fighting change, including penalizing users who simultaneously tweet the same content across multiple accounts. The new change is already chipping into automation processes and time-consuming marketing processes.

For a more in-depth analysis, take a look at our article on what the Twitter policy change means for marketers

2. Instagram is rolling out its shoppable tags in 8 countries.

Shopping has never been easier. Instagram users can now access virtual price tags that are overlaid onto posts, access product info and be redirected to the brand’s storefront to continue the purchase.

3. Facebook will stop showing audience reach estimates in campaigns.

To fix a security vulnerability, Facebook is disabling estimates of audience reach within Custom Audience targeting that could threaten users’ privacy. 

4. LinkedIn is adding new video filters and styles.

The platform is bringing in new video features to spice up on-platform content, especially for work-related events. These range from stylish text captions to a “Work High Five” sticker. 

5. Instagram is focused on keeping your feed fresh.

It’s only being tested with a small percentage of users at the moment, but the New Posts button will allow users to stay at their current position in the feed instead of suddenly bumping them up to the top of the feed while scrolling.

 

Marketers should always be on top of the latest social media updates—here’s some more juicy news you might have missed: 

 

1. Pinterest publishes a purchasing pattern infographic.

Pinterest released a new infographic this week showing how its users bought products after visiting the platform. Apparently 90% of Pinners pinning on Pinterest ponder purchases on the platform.

2. Facebook signs a major deal with Warner Music.

Facebook recently bought the rights to Warner Music’s massive library of songs for use in “social experiences”. Following the deal, many expect them to scale up their music services in the near future.

3. Snapchat tests out a tagging feature.

Snapchat is borrowing a play from Instagram’s book and allowing users to be tagged in Snaps, though the feature has yet to be formally released. This could be big for brands, who could have their Snapchat accounts tagged and featured in posts by influencers.

4. YouTube Studio officially launches.

Google released a new version of YouTube’s Creator Studio this week. YouTube Studio includes new metrics and improved analytics for content creators on the platform.

5. Google lets musicians respond directly to searches.

Google Posts now allows verified musicians post answers to common search queries about themselves. The new feature also lets museums, sports teams, and movies post content that shows up next to regular search results.

15 Trends to Watch.
These are the trends defining digital marketing in 2018.
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