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social media researchWelcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news.

To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

What’s New This Week

Facebook Releases Facebook Stories in Ireland: Facebook rolled out Facebook Stories in Ireland for the iOS and Android apps, “with plans to bring it to more countries in the coming months.” Similar to the Stories features found on Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook Stories allow users to “share ephemeral photos and videos in a slideshow that disappears 24 hours later.” Stories can be found at the top of the news feed and appear to feature stickers, effects, and more. TechCrunch reports that “Facebook built a similar feature to Stories called Quick Updates and tested it in July, but by August said it wouldn’t launch it.”

Livestream.com Supports Simultaneous Live Broadcasts on YouTube, Periscope, and More: Livestream announced that its premium and enterprise customers will now be able to “reach millions of viewers on RTMP-enabled streaming destinations such as YouTube Live, Periscope and Twitch.” Livestream previously announced that Facebook Live can be enabled as well. According to the Livestream blog, simulcasting gives broadcasters “all of the Livestream features and benefits – including white labeling, analytics, and support – with the reach and scale of additional platforms” and a “key point of distribution” for all of their live content.

Livestream's premium and enterprise customers will now be able to reach millions of viewers on RTMP-enabled streaming destinations such as YouTube Live, Periscope and Twitch.

Livestream’s premium and enterprise customers will now be able to reach millions of viewers on RTMP-enabled streaming destinations such as YouTube Live, Periscope, and Twitch.

Snapchat Delivers Ads Based on TV-like Rating System: Snapchat partnered with Nielsen’s mobile Digital Ad Ratings (mDAR) unit to give brands the ability “to buy guaranteed Snapchat audiences by age group and gender” for their mobile video ads. Adweek reports that this continued partnership is “the same kind of system – from ordering to measuring the results – that marketers are accustomed to with Nielsen’s TV offerings” and basically “expands the Snap-Nielsen relationship which had been limited to ads measurement” until this point.

Facebook Adjusts News Feed Rankings Based on Video Completion Rates: Facebook announced that longer videos watched through completion will be given a higher priority in the news feed ranking. “Percent completion” is one of the many signals the network uses to determine which videos to surface in the news feed and it will now be weighted more heavily for ranking longer videos. The company recognizes that longer videos require “a bigger commitment” to watch to the end and should not be penalized when compared to shorter videos. Facebook expects that “most Pages will not see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.” However, longer videos “may see a slight increase… [while] some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution.” Facebook announced that this change will roll out “gradually over the coming weeks.”

Our Take on Top News This Week

In this week’s show from Friday, January 27, 2017, Michael Stelzner and guests discuss the top news in social media. Topics include Facebook Stories (3:24), Facebook Messenger Ads (15:10), and improvements to YouTube ad targeting across screens and on mobile (23:57). Subscribe to future shows here.

More News to Note

Facebook Tests Messenger Ads in Australia and Thailand: Facebook is running a “very small test” in Australia and Thailand that allows businesses to place ads on the home screen of the Messenger app. The new ads will be seen below the user’s Recent Conversations and Favorites, but will not appear in conversations unless the user engages with the ads. Users will also have the option “to hide/report specific ads using the drop-down menu in their Messenger.” TechCrunch reports that “these fairly prominent card-style ads [will] include image thumbnails accompanied by text and a link… [and] take up a lot of screen space.” Facebook states that a test group will start to see the new ads “in the coming weeks.”

Facebook is testing ads in the Messenger app.

Facebook is testing ads in the Messenger app.

Instagram Redesigns Web Embeds Feature: Instagram rolled out “a cleaner, more streamlined” look to its web embeds that’s designed to be more in line with the current overall look and feel of Instagram. Embedded Instagram posts will now “fit in more seamlessly with the stories they’re part of” and include a timestamp that clearly indicates when an image or video was posted. A spokesperson from Instagram stated that “nothing changes in the way you find or use Instagram embeds, they’ll just look a little nicer.” The refreshed embed is rolling out to publishers worldwide “over the coming weeks.”

Instagram rolled out a cleaner, more streamlined look to its web embed feature.

Instagram rolled out a cleaner, more streamlined look to its web embeds.

Instagram Rolls Out Live Stories Globally: Instagram announced that “live video on Instagram Stories – a new way to connect with your friends and followers right now – will be rolling out to [its] entire global community over the next week.” Instagram introduced Live Stories to the U.S. in November along with disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct. The Instagram blog states that “live video on Instagram Stories is available for everyone as part of Instagram version 10.0 and above.”

Instagram announced that Live Stories will be rolling out to its entire global community this week.

Instagram announced that Live Stories will be rolling out to its entire global community this week.

Twitter Expands Explore Tab: Twitter announced that the Explore tab will now feature “trends, Moments, search and the best of live video.” This update is part of the company’s “continued efforts to make it easier to see what’s happening… [and help users] easily find news, what’s trending and what’s popular right now” on Twitter. The latest version of the Explore tab will begin rolling out on Twitter for iOS this week and will be available on Android “in the coming weeks.”

Snapchat Rolls Out Universal Search and Redesigned Layout to iOS: Earlier this month, Snapchat rolled out a universal search bar at the top of every screen of the app and a refreshed interface to “some people on Android.” This week, Snapchat announced that the iOS app will now have these new features as well. TechCrunch reports that “Snapchat’s new version is available in the current iOS update, out now on the App Store.”

Twitter Introduces Vine Archive: Twitter rolled out a Vine Archive from 2013 through 2016 on the Vine site. With this update, users can search “a time capsule of all posts made to vine.co” by year, by genre under Highlights, by Editor’s Picks, or by Playlists. According to Vine’s FAQ page, the Vine Archive “will not support any of the community features from Vine such as followers, revines, likes, or comments.” However, the Vines can be viewed on vine.co or elsewhere that URL is embedded and shared with their unique URL.

Twitter quietly rolled out a Vine Archive from 2013 through 2016 on the Vine site.

Twitter rolled out a Vine Archive from 2013 through 2016 on the Vine site.

Snapchat Updates Publishing Guidelines and Will Set Age Restrictions for Discover Section: Snapchat updated its guidelines for publishers in its Discover section, “advising them to avoid posting photos or images with no news or editorial value, as well as reports on or links to outside websites that potentially share fake news, saying that all content must be fact-checked.” Adweek also reports that Snapchat “plans to release a tool next month for publishers that will allow them to set up an age gate for content or prevent minors from seeing content.”

Tumblr Rolls Out Stickers and Filters to Apps: Tumblr added “over 100 extremely relevant stickers for your photos and GIFs… [and] a few filters” to its iOS and Android apps this week. A new smiley face icon on the bottom of the screen enables users to add stickers combined with text to customize their images. Tumblr will continue to roll out more stickers and possibly new filters in the future.

Tumblr rolled out over 100 stickers for your photos and GIFs and a few filters to its iOS and Android apps this week.

Tumblr rolled out over 100 stickers for your photos and GIFs and a few filters to its iOS and Android apps this week.

Facebook Issues Touch-enabled Security Key for Safer Logins: Facebook users can now register a physical security key to protect their Facebook account. Security keys can be purchased through third-party companies and will “support the open Universal 2nd Factor standard hosted by the FIDO Alliance.” Once login approvals have been enabled, the small hardware device goes into a computer’s USB drive and requires a tap to access your Facebook account. Facebook notes that security keys “currently only work with certain web browsers and mobile devices.”

Facebook users can now register a physical security key to protect their Facebook account.

Facebook users can now register a physical security key to protect their Facebook account.

Facebook Updates Privacy Basics Site: Facebook updated the Privacy Basics site “to make it easier for people to find tools for controlling their information on Facebook.” The new layout features improved functionality and presents privacy and security topics in a way that’s easy to find. Facebook’s new Privacy Basics offers 32 interactive guides available in 44 languages with step-by-step tips for things like “securing your account, understanding who can see posts and knowing what your profile looks like to others.”

The updated Facebook Privacy Basics site makes it easier to find tips and tools for controlling your information on Facebook.

The updated Facebook Privacy Basics site makes it easier to find tips and tools for controlling your information on Facebook.

Upcoming Social Media News Worth Following

Facebook Announces Updates to Trending Topics in U.S.: Facebook announced three upcoming updates to Trending Topics. These improvements include a publisher headline below each topic name that will offer “more context on what is trending on Facebook” and lead to “a personalized results page that includes additional sources and posts about the topic.” Facebook is also rolling out “an improved system to determine what is trending” and will show which topics are trending by region instead of by interest. These updates will be available to everyone in the U.S. “in the coming weeks.”

Facebook announced three upcoming updates to Trending Topics in the U.S.

Facebook announced three upcoming updates to Trending Topics in the U.S.

Twitter Offers Sponsorship Packages for Live-streaming Entertainment Coverage: Twitter announced plans to partner with Dick Clark Productions to live stream red carpet programming in 2017. Twitter will host exclusive live streams from the Academy of Country Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Annual Streamy Awards this year. According to the press release from Twitter, “the live streams will include advertising packages with TV style commercial ad spots. Sales packages will also include the opportunities for advertisers and sponsors to promote original clips produced by Dick Clark Productions.”

Disqus Announces Ad-free Version for Professionals and Businesses: Disqus announced new versions of its commenting platform that will “give publishers more control over their audiences and more customization options.” The initial launch will offer “exclusive professional-grade features” and include the ability to integrate Disqus with site-specific account systems. Users will also be able to limit commenters to subscribers, have access to robust moderation tools and audience analytics, and more. While Disqus assures publishers and site owners that a “fully featured basic service will always remain free to use,” it plans to roll out the new, subscription-based versions of the service in March 2017 and is “continually working with top publishers to better understand their needs and build new features to meet those needs.”

Disqus Previews New Content Engagements Insights: Disqus offers publishers “an early look at the next generation of engagement analytics on Disqus” featuring a redesigned analytics dashboard with audience metrics such as total reads and traffic to individual categories, comments, and more. It also includes insights on which content on your site generated the highest total engagement. This new analytics platform is currently available as an early preview and will be offered as part of a wider rollout of the Disqus Pro plan in March 2017.

Some Interesting Studies to Note:

State of Social Media 2016: Buffer’s State of Social Media 2016 report analyzed data from over 1,200 marketers and found that social media is seen as the best tool to boost brand awareness. The report also explores how marketers from businesses of all sizes approach social media marketing. Facebook continues to be the leader when it comes to promoting businesses (93%) and ads (91%) and video is the most popular approach. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed would like to create more video content, but cite various restraints like time and resources as the reason they don’t. The report also found that 30% of marketers plan to focus more on Facebook video in 2017 and 28% are interested in exploring YouTube.

OpenMarket SMS Chatbots Report: OpenMarket’s new consumer survey reveals SMS chatbots are viewed as a “massive missed customer engagement opportunity” for businesses and marketers. For this report, 1,500 mobile users in the U.S. and UK were surveyed on their current experiences with and preferences in engaging with businesses through chatbots and text messaging. The findings reveal that nearly half (49%) of consumers want to engage more conversationally with businesses through SMS, particularly when it comes to dealing with the financial services (49%), retail (27%), and travel and hospitality (24%) industries.

2017 State of Customer Marketing: Influitive and Koyne Marketing collected data from CEOs and marketing executives at more than 200 B2B organizations on how they currently manage planning, resourcing, and measurement of existing customer marketing efforts. This report provides insights and best practices for using customer marketing strategies to expand revenues, improve customer satisfaction, and build a brand.

What do you think of the introduction of Facebook Stories? Have you checked out Livestream.com’s new simultaneous live broadcasting for YouTube, Facebook Live, and more? Please share your comments below.

Facebook Stories Start to Roll Out and other social media news for Jan. 28, 2017.

Facebook Stories Start to Roll Out and other social media news for Jan. 28, 2017.

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