Welcome 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 Rolls Out New Custom Ad Targeting Option: Facebook quietly rolled out the ability for brands to create custom audiences that target users who have viewed their canvas ads on Facebook. Canvas was introduced earlier this year and was designed to be “a full-screen ad experience built for bringing brands and products to life on mobile.” With the release of canvas ads, marketers can now build fully customized multimedia stories using a combination of text, links, images, video, call-to-action buttons, and product feeds to bring brand stories to life. Canvas custom audiences targeting broadens advertisers' ability to funnel more customers to toward a conversion.
Snapchat Rolls Out Three New Ad Targeting Options: “Snapchat is rolling out new ad targeting options… [that will] let brands aim their ads at the mobile app's daily audience of 150 million, based on those people's email addresses and the unique advertising identifiers attached to their phones, as well as to people who share characteristics with that defined audience.” These new ad targeting options include snap audience match, lookalikes, and Snapchat lifestyle categories and “will be available for anywhere its vertical video Snap Ads can run, such as in between people's Stories, within Live Stories or within Discover channels.” However, advertisers will not be able to use them to target their sponsored lens or geofilters at this time. The customer matching and lookalike targeting options are available to brands now, but the ability to target audiences based on their content interests “won't be broadly available until later this Fall.”
Facebook Adds Link Ads, Enhanced Mobile Websites, Payments, and More to Messenger: Facebook has been “actively building capabilities for brands and businesses to be discovered on Messenger” and added several new features “that deliver value for people, businesses and developers.” Facebook is rolling out Messenger as a destination for news feed ads and is providing a simpler payment process within Messenger. Facebook is also making it easier for businesses to sell products and services directly to customers and is giving users a way to “seamlessly enjoy and interact with a business' mobile website” within Messenger. More information on these updates and other upcoming features for Messenger can be found on the Facebook for Developers and Facebook Newsroom blogs.
Instagram Enhances Call-to-Action Buttons and Video Links on Ads: Instagram introduced four new “action-driving enhancements” that focus on “driving better visibility and interaction for [its] community while driving better performance for [their] advertisers.” The first three improvements involve updates to the call-to-action button on Instagram ads. The call-to-action button will now be “highlighted when people show interest on or around an ad – like resting on the ad for four seconds or tapping on the profile name.” Advertisers now have the option to extend the call-to-action button into the comments section and include prices, URLs, and app store ratings with it. Instagram also announced that links in video ads can now redirect to the destination URL, where people can “explore, browse and take action on a landing page while continuing to watch the video.” The Instagram Business blog confirms that these “new solutions are rolling out over the next month” and Instagram will continue optimizing the way its ads work for both its community and advertisers.
Instagram Adds Custom Keyword Moderation for Comments: Instagram introduced a new keyword moderation tool that allows users to filter any words they consider “offensive or inappropriate” from their comments. Any comments with these words will be hidden from the user's Instagram posts. This new feature is part of the company's ongoing initiative “to maintain what has kept Instagram positive and safe, especially in the comments on your photos and videos,” and “to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment.”
Twitter Adds New Customer Support Details for Businesses: Twitter introduced “new features to help users find and get help from businesses that provide support on Twitter.” Businesses can now “tell users they provide help on Twitter, indicate when they're most active, and ensure people know they have the option to send them a Direct Message” on their account profiles. In addition, “businesses can display hours of availability on their profile to help set people's expectations for when they are likely to reply… and display a more prominent button to start a Direct Message so people know the business offers support privately.” All of these features can be activated from the new Customer Support Settings page on the Twitter Dashboard site. However, they require a business to first enable the setting to receive Direct Messages from anyone.
Pinterest Adds Promote Button to Pins: Pinterest announced that “now U.S. businesses can launch campaigns in just a few quick steps” with the new Promote button on pins. According to the Pinterest for Business blog, “using the new Promote button you'll see when you create a Pin or view it on your profile, you can set up a Promoted Pin in as little as 9 seconds.” In addition, Pinterest also created a new quick reference to help marketers “create great Pins quickly and easily.”
Our Take on Top News This Week
In this week’s show from Friday, September 16, 2016, Michael Stelzner and guests discuss the top news in social media. Topics include longer tweets and other updates coming to Twitter, the launch of the YouTube Community and changes to the YouTube ad format, updates to Facebook Live, new live-streaming alerts on Twitter, and the redesigned Periscope app for iOS. Subscribe to future shows here.
More News to Note
Twitter Adjusts 140-Character Limit Count: Earlier this year, Twitter announced plans to stop counting @names in replies, media attachments, or polls in its 140-character count for tweets. This week, The Verge confirmed that “media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce [Twitter's 140-character] count.” This change is reported to take effect beginning on September 19.
— The Verge (@verge) September 12, 2016
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YouTube Launches Beta Version of YouTube Community: YouTube rolled out “a beta version of a new product to help strengthen the bond between you and your viewers, called YouTube Community.” The new social feature adds a Community tab to each users' YouTube channels, which gives creators “a new, simple way to engage with [their] viewers and express [themselves] beyond video.” With YouTube Community, creators will be able to share “text, live videos, images, animated GIFs and more” with their fans and subscribers will be able to view content “in the Subscriptions feed on their phones” and “opt into getting a notification anytime you post.” YouTube is launching the Community beta with a select group of creators, but plans to roll out “new features and functions as well as including more creators in the months ahead.”
Facebook and BlueJeans Primetime Bring Interactive Video Events on Facebook Live: BlueJeans Primetime launched BlueJeans for Facebook Live, “the first platform for large-scale, interactive video events that can broadcast over Facebook Live.” This new partnership empowers companies and organizations to go from merely promoting an event on Facebook to allowing the network's 1.3 billion daily active users view it over Facebook Live and giving it the potential “to go completely and utterly viral.” BlueJeans for Facebook Live allows multiple participants to engage in live conversations with viewers and the gives the ability to broadcast any BlueJeans live event to Facebook Live. Brands can try BlueJeans for Facebook Live now with a free 30-day trial.
Vimeo Launches Vimeo Business: Earlier this year, Vimeo did a soft launch of its new “business-focused subscription plan” called Vimeo Business and has now officially unveiled it to the public. This new membership tier is tailored for companies that are looking for “a full suite of complementary products” such as lead generation and bundled analytics tools, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to add their own logo to 4K Ultra HD. The package also offers “a team collaboration tool that allows members to add more users to the account… to help manage uploaded videos” and up to “5TB of storage space for their creations.”
LinkedIn Releases Insider's Guide to Effective LinkedIn Campaigns: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions published a new ebook, Spotlight on Best Practices: An Insider's Guide to Effective LinkedIn Campaigns. This resource provides “a behind the scenes tour” of LinkedIn's advertising campaign process and offers a guide on how to “use each tool in the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions toolbox.” It also includes practical examples from the LinkedIn Marketing team's own experiences and best practices for marketing on LinkedIn.
Facebook Launches Blueprint Certification: Facebook created the Blueprint program “to help advertisers get the most out of [its] powerful marketing platforms” through Blueprint eLearning modules and from hands-on training with Blueprint Live. Facebook just announced “a third pillar” to Blueprint called Blueprint Certification. Blueprint Certification is “Facebook's global credentialing program for digital advertising professionals” and offers marketers a way to demonstrate “their expertise across the Facebook family of products and services, including advertising on Instagram and Messenger.” According to the Facebook Business blog, “Blueprint Certification is not only the most rigorous and reliable measure of Facebook advertising competency, it's the only one officially recognized by Facebook.”
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Twitter Adds Notification When Someone You Follow Shares Live Video: Twitter enabled a new Notification button that alerts you when someone you follow starts a live streaming video on Twitter or Periscope. Once users receive an alert, they can then “immediately join the broadcast with just a tap.” TechCrunch reports that this feature “works both for alerting users to new streams from Periscope, as well as for content from Twitter’s live streaming partners, such as the NFL.” The Notification button is available now on both iOS and Android.
Don't miss a live moment! Turn on notifications to join in when someone you follow shares live video on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/dddk81GuCH
— Twitter (@twitter) September 12, 2016
Instagram Allows Users to Save Their Stories and Mute Others: The Verge reports that Instagram users “will now be able to save the photos and videos that they post to their [Instagram] Stories to the camera roll, automatically by default, and they can also mute the stories of people they follow.” This new extension comes with the rollout of version 9.3 of the Instagram app, along with the ability “to pick a color when you add text to stories” and “mute a particular account's Instagram story.” This update is available on both iOS and Android.
Tumblr Redesigns Explore Tab on Mobile: AdWeek announced that “Tumblr debuted its revamped Explore tab for U.S. mobile users” this week. The new Tumblr Explore tab features personalized recommendations based on “who you are currently following and the type of content that you and the people you follow engage with regularly,” Trending Topics “including the most popular tags and related content,” and the ability to follow Trending Topics so they “will become part of your regular content stream.” The new Explore tab is available for iOS and Android users.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Join First Draft Partner Network: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are among the first social networks to join the First Draft Partner Network, which is an organization that “is dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online, including eyewitness media and fake stories.” Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, along with Instagram and Periscope, will join founding member Google News Lab and other news and technology organizations “to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process, improve the experience of eyewitnesses and increase news literacy among social media users.”
IAB Releases Podcast Ad Metrics Guidelines: The IAB Tech Lab developed a standardized way to “measure the ads listeners hear, on and offline,” and provide advertisers “a closer parity to data extrapolated on other mediums.” The intent of these guidelines is to “improve standards and increase buyer confidence” and “illustrate the podcast industry's commitment to finding common ground and support continued growth.”
Pinterest Launches Pinterest UK Shop: Pinterest introduced Pinterest UK Shop, which is part of Pinterest's Featured Collections destination. Pinterest users in the UK can now “discover and purchase items from specially curated collections from [their] favorite UK shops and tastemakers.” Every pin on the page is shoppable. “You just need to click on the Pin and click through to the brand's website to make your purchase,” according to the Pinterest Blog.
LinkedIn Rolls Out LinkedIn Lite in India: From LinkedIn's branch office in Bangalore, the company announced its new LinkedIn Lite mobile site, “which promises to offer a better experience of its service for users in India, where connectivity can be slow or spotty.” The Next Web reports that the Lite site “will feature a stripped-down design so it loads up to four times faster on mobile devices. While the initial site load will consume about 150kB, subsequent pages will only take up about 70kB.” LinkedIn Lite will be available “over the next few weeks to users across India.”
Periscope Adds New Features for iOS: Periscope rolled out “new features for people using Periscope on iOS devices, with some fun, new ways to express yourself and discover broadcasts on Periscope – and elsewhere!” The global feed will now “highlight broadcasts that feature similar experiences, events or ideas.” Also available is “auto-playing, larger live video in the home and global feeds,” which offers “a more beautiful, easy way to watch what's live.” With the release of iOS 10, Periscope users on iOS can now send “signature Periscope hearts on iMessage with custom-designed stickers created for iOS 10” and have a “bigger, more beautiful watch and discovery experience” with the new Periscope iPad app.
Foursquare Unveils Redesigned App: Foursquare unveiled Foursquare 10, “a redesigned version of the app that puts search front and center.” TechCrunch reports that the “new homepage offers a much faster search, with five chiclets that represent the six most popular searches: breakfast, lunch, dinner, nightlife, coffee/tea and things to do.” In addition, the Reviews section now shows “which ones come from ‘verified' users and which aren't.” The platform is also “adding rich text notifications for folks who are sharing Foursquare places” and the ability “to share place previews, complete with photos, without having to unlock their phones.” This Foursquare update coincides with the release of iOS 10 and the celebration of the platform's 10 billionth check-in.
Swarm Adds Coin Perks for Check-ins: Foursquare's Swarm app “teamed up with a small number of companies” to launch a new feature that makes it possible to exchange coins for perks and is “rapidly expanding the functionality” to other places. Users earn coins for checking into venues, “with bonuses for checking in with friends, collecting a number of the same types of venues (say, parks, bars or beaches) and various other activity in the app.” However, users were unable to “start spending those coins” until now.
Upcoming Social Media News Worth Following
Google Tests TrueView for Action: Google released TrueView for Action on YouTube. This updated mobile-first solution is an easy add-on that “makes your video ad more actionable by displaying a tailored call-to-action during and after your video.” Calls to action can be adapted to specific use cases and “can help you move your customers along the path to purchase by encouraging actions like scheduling an appointment or requesting more information.” Google is currently testing this new format with advertisers throughout the rest of this year.
Facebook Developing Technology to Combat Fake News in Trending Topics: Facebook is “actively working on technology that will help prevent fake news stories from showing up in the Trending section.” The Trending Topics section on the site is now entirely driven by algorithms, which has allowed fake news stories that typically would have been caught by its human-powered editorial team to appear there. The company confirms that “similar systems [to combat hoaxes and fake news] have been rolled out to News Feed in recent months, and now that same technology is making its way to Trending.”
Facebook Messenger Tests Rooms Feature in iOS: TechCrunch reports that Facebook Messenger is testing “an unlaunched feature called Rooms that lets groups publicly chat about different subjects and events.” Found in Messenger's iOS app source code, the product description states that “each room has a link that can be shared so anyone on Messenger can join the conversation.”
Facebook Tests “People You Might Know” and Categories in Messenger: AdWeek reports that Facebook is testing a People You May Know feature and “categories to conversations between users and brands” within the Messenger app. When users are messaging a brand, a prompt appears and asks about the nature of their messages. Their response is then reflected in the conversation thread and communicated to the brand so they can be better equipped to serve users. Two examples of the conversation categories shown by AdWeek include Support and Getting in Touch. Facebook has not confirmed or shared any details about this test.
Facebook Tests Bringing Facebook Live to Desktop and Laptop Users: Facebook is slowly starting to roll out “the ability for people to broadcast live on Facebook from their desktop or laptop.” Facebook Live is currently available to all mobile users and there has been a large demand to extend this functionality to desktop and laptop users as well. Facebook confirms that “the feature is only available to a ‘small percentage' of users, with more set to get it ‘in the coming months'.”
Some Interesting Studies to Note:
Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report 2016: Twillo commissioned a new study on consumer preferences when using messaging services and technology to connect with businesses and brands. Based on a survey of 6,000 consumers across Europe, Asia, and North America, the report shows that 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to use text messages, in-app chat, push notifications, or messaging apps to communicate with businesses. However, a majority of businesses continue to use the phone and email as their primary way to reach their customers and currently don't have the infrastructure in place to utilize messaging services and technology instead. Sixty-six percent of consumers surveyed say they would like to reach brands through messaging apps, with Facebook Messenger (21%) topping the list, followed by WhatsApp (18%), LINE (6%), and Snapchat (2%).
Best Practices for Supercharging Campaigns With Branded Emojis: According to research compiled by Twitter Marketing, Twitter ads with branded emojis receive nearly 10% more attention than those without branded emojis. Furthermore, branded emojis paired with a promoted video increase the emotional connection and interest in the ad by 6 times. The other findings suggest that the median earned media generated by branded emojis is 5.3 million tweet impressions, which is a 420% increase when compared with Twitter's earned media baseline.
2016 Pinterest Media Consumption Study: Ahalogy released its third-annual study that measures how Pinterest affects consumer behavior and media habits. The report examines consumer demographics, habits, and behaviors and unique insights on why and how Pinterest is increasingly replacing traditional media as a content discovery platform.
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