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 Expands Ability to Broadcast Live from Desktops and Laptops to All Users: Facebook announced that everyone around the world can now “broadcast live video to Facebook from their desktop or laptop computers.”
Facebook also added a new Live feature that “makes it easy to use streaming software or external hardware when going live from a computer.” All Facebook users can now “seamlessly share their screens, insert graphics, switch cameras, or use professional equipment in Facebook Live videos” and broadcast directly from their personal profiles and well as to Facebook Groups, Events or Pages.
For example, it's now “easier than ever” for gamers to stream their PC gameplay to their Facebook audience. Artists and presenters can switch between on-screen graphics and a camera for sharing tutorials and how-to Live videos from their computers.
Facebook Rolls Out New Product-Focused Ad Format and Ad Metrics: Facebook now offers “better ways to visually inspire mobile shoppers” with its newest product-focused ad format, collection. With collection ads, brands can feature a primary video or image above relevant product images that, once clicked, lead to “an immersive, fast-loading shopping experience… that can showcase up to 50 products at a time” within Facebook. Collection ads are rolling out to Facebook marketers worldwide.
Facebook also announced an upcoming change to the way outbound click metrics are measured for full-screen ad experiences across Facebook and Instagram, such as collection and Canvas. These performance insights are currently being tested and are expected to offer all marketers a “clearer picture of people's paths through the entire ads experience” once they are rolled out more broadly.
Instagram Adds Option to Save Live Video: Instagram rolls out ability to save live video broadcast to a phone once it ends. Although the live videos will continue to disappear from the Instagram app once the recording stops, this new feature “gives you the flexibility to hold onto your video and re-watch it later, especially if something exciting happens during your broadcast that you want to remember or share.” However, Instagram notes that comments, likes, the number of viewers, and live interactions will not be saved with the downloaded videos.
The ability to save your Instagram Live videos to a phone is only available with n the latest versions of the Instagram app on both iOS and Android.
Twitter Introduces New API for Live Video: Twitter introduced Periscope Producer API, a tool that “opens up new ways to share live video, such as starting broadcasts directly from external hardware, software, cameras and web services – without the need to connect them via the app.” The API will also allow third-party applications to authenticate Periscope accounts, configure streams, start and stop broadcasts, and publish broadcasts to Twitter.
Twitter is currently beta testing Periscope Producer API with a handful of strategic partners. However, other users can sign up for the waitlist to access the API once it rolls out more broadly.
Introducing the Periscope Producer API – a new way to go LIVE! 🎥 https://t.co/37izQyfAVZ
— TwitterDev (@TwitterDev) March 21, 2017
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LinkedIn Debuts Trending Storylines on the LinkedIn Feed: LinkedIn rolled out Trending Storylines, which are “daily curated interest-based feeds about the most important developing stories in your industry.” According to the LinkedIn Offical Blog, this new feature is personalized to each LinkedIn member and is expected to help them “discover and discuss news, ideas and diverse perspectives from the largest group of professionals, publishers and editorial voices ever assembled.” Trending Storylines can be found beneath the Trending tab on mobile or at the top right of the LinkedIn homepage on the desktop.
Trending Storylines are currently only available in the U.S. but will expand to more countries “soon.”
Our Take on Top News This Week
More News to Note
Messenger Rolls Out Reactions and Mentions Globally: Facebook Messenger introduced “two new features that improve group conversations to make them more fun and useful.” These include Message Reactions, which lets users “react to an individual message with a specific emotion, quickly showing acknowledgment or expressing how you feel in a lightweight way. Messager also rolled out the ability to “directly notify someone when they've been mentioned in a conversation” with an @ tag or just by typing the first few letter of their name.
Reactions and Mentions in Messenger are rolling out to all users globally “in the coming days.” They will also be available for Work Chat in Workplace, Facebook's global communications platform for organizations.
Facebook Introduces Split Testing for Ad Optimization: Facebook introduced Split Testing for ads, which allows businesses to “simply and accurately” test different components of their Facebook ad buy across all devices and browsers and receive “easy-to-understand” feedback and results. While Facebook offers a number of ways to test ads on its network, the benefit of split testing is that it eliminates audience overlap and surfaces “the version of your ad that is performing best by randomizing the audience based on people, not cookies.”
Facebook Split Testing is available to all advertisers globally in Ads Manager and the API.
Google Introduces New Reporting and Research Features for Video Ads: Google Adwords announced “new research and reporting features to help advertisers ensure their video ads don't just reach their audience, but also capture their attention – at scale.” These features include Unique Reach in AdWords, which allows marketers “to see the number of unique users and average impressions-per-user across devices, screens, and platforms,” and the ability to track long viewers watch your content with watch time reporting.
YouTube Automatic Captioning System Now Describes Sounds: YouTube's automatic captioning feature can now label ambient sounds in videos such as applause, music, or laughter. The technology is currently restricted to exactly these three sounds because “they are among the most frequent sounds that are manually captioned” and the simplest to differentiate and decipher, according to YouTube. The company plans to “expand [its] algorithms to understand a wider vocabulary of sounds” in the future.
Instagram Expands Two-Factor Authentication to All Users and Begins Blurring Sensitive Content: Instagram announced that “two-factor authentication is now available to everyone.” This “extra layer of security” requires users to enter a code every time they log into an Instagram account, but is an optional feature which can be turned on and off as needed.
Instagram also announced that it will begin blurring photos and videos which have been marked as “sensitive” by another community member and reviewed by the company. Instagram indicates that users may soon notice a screen over sensitive photos and videos as they scroll through the feed or visit a profile. They can simply tap the image to reveal the photo or video.
Facebook Showcases Seasonal Greeting on Mobile: Facebook rolled out “new animations to denote the changing seasons” at the top of the News Feed. This past week, mobile users may have seen “an animated message with birds or butterflies denoting the first day of spring, if they’re in the Northern Hemisphere, or an animation of falling leaves, if in the Southern Hemisphere” in the flagship Facebook app for both iOS and Android. TechCrunch reports that the purpose of these animations is to create an environment on Facebook where users are “moved to express their feelings and connect with things that matter” and prompted to share a post about it.
Facebook rolls out seasonal greetings at the top of the News Feed https://t.co/ghFdTbAiqz
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 21, 2017
Hootsuite Expands to Include Snapchat Analytics: Hootsuite has acquired a Snapchat analytics solution created by content creation company, Naritiv. With the addition of this new analytics product, “Hootsuite customers can harness Snapchat’s power as an emerging, brand-building video network.”
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) March 21, 2017
Linkedin Adds Enterprise Tier to LinkedIn Sales Navigator: LinkedIn added a new enterprise-focused tier to Sales Navigator, its subscription-based sales and CRM tool. The Enterprise Edition is “designed to be the best version of Sales Navigator for high-functioning sales organizations” and “ups the number of InMails to 50 per month, adds improved manageability features like Single Sign-On (SSO), and introduces an exciting new feature: TeamLink Extend.” LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise Edition is now available to all users.
Medium Debuts New Subscription-Based Program: Earlier this year, Medium announced plans to move away from an “ad-driven publishing model” and focus on delivering quality content. TechCrunch reports that the publishing platform has released its new paid subscription service. While Medium will remain “open and free” to anyone who would like to publish on the site, only paid members will be able to read the content on the site and access other exclusive features such as offline reading, early access to updates and more.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 22, 2017
Facebook Issues Call for Submissions for 2017 Facebook Awards: Facebook is now accepting submissions for the 2017 Facebook Awards, which honors “the best campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.” This year, the winning campaigns will be chosen based on “how it made people feel and how it helped businesses grow” as well as the reactions it provoked. According to the Facebook Business blog, “this year's submission period opens on March 21, 2017 and closes on April 28, 2017. Information on how to submit Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns for consideration can be found on the Facebook Awards site.
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Google Invites Verified Organizations and Celebrities to Post Within Main Search Results: Google opened the application process for verified organizations and celebrities in the U.S. and Brazil to be selected to post relevant content and information directly within Google's main search results. This opportunity is currently limited to specific “museums, sports teams, sports leagues, movies and… musicians.” Google will continue experimenting with Posts as it looks to make Search “even more useful and timely.”
Upcoming Social Media News Worth Following
Facebook Tests GIF Button for Comments: TechCrunch reports that “Facebook will begin testing a GIF button that lets users post GIFs from services like Giphy and Tenor as comments.” Facebook confirms that this is “just a test” for now and will share more once this capability can be fully supported.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 24, 2017
Facebook Tests Enhanced Local Search and Discovery Feature: Facebook is testing “an enhanced local search feature that… [allows users to] surface recommendations of nearby places – like “dinner nearby” or “bars nearby,” for example – by entering a query in Facebook’s search box on the web or mobile.” TechCrunch reports that this query returns “a list of relevant businesses, along with their ratings on Facebook, a map, as well as which friends of yours have visited or like the places in question.” Facebook has not confirmed any other details about this test nor has it shared when it will be rolled out to all users.
Facebook tests an enhanced local search and discovery feature offering business suggestions https://t.co/c5EbIX6GVU
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 23, 2017
Instagram Boasts Over One Million Monthly Advertisers and Previews Upcoming “Book Appointment” Button for Business Profiles: Instagram announced that it has reached over one million active advertisers and over 120 million visitors each month click on an ad. The platform also plans to “roll out the ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile later this year.” With this new feature, businesses will be able to customize the booking options to show pricing and payment as well as a dates, times, and types of services offered from a button prominently displayed on their Instagram profile page.
Google Introduces Location Sharing with Others: Google announced that users worldwide will “soon” be able to share a real-time location with anyone from the Google Maps app which is available on both iOS and Android.Others will then be able to see your location on mobile or desktop. The Next Web reports that users will have the option to set their location or progress while navigating “to be shared permanently with certain people or set a time limit.”
YouTube Will Stop Supporting Video Annotations on Mobile: YouTube announced that “effective starting May 2, you’ll no longer be able to add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them” on videos viewed on a desktop. Mobile users will no longer be able to see video annotations at all. According to YouTube, “the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent” as the adoption of mobile-friendly End Screens and Cards across all devices and the use of mobile devices have both increased.
Twitter Explores Paid Subscription Service for Power Users: Twitter is surveying users on their willingness to pay for premium features like analytics, timely news alerts, and tools for composing tweets in TweetDeck. The Verge reports that users are sharing screenshots of the survey and a mock-up of how the premium version of Twitter might appear on Twitter. Twitter states that it “regularly conduct[s] user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform [its] product investment decisions.” The company also confirms it is currently “exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
— The Verge (@verge) March 23, 2017
Google Developing Social Network for Collaborative Photo Editing: TechCrunch reports that “Google has been developing a new social app that lets small groups edit photos together and then organise them for future enjoyment: think Path meets Snapchat-style filters and edits meets Google’s imaging smarts.” Google confirms this product is simply “one of many” experiments it is currently running but did not share any further details.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 24, 2017
YouTube Reevaluates Restricted Mode: In light of community concerns about YouTube's Restricted Mode, the company stated that “this feature isn’t working the way it should.” According to YouTube's Creator Blog, “it will take time to fully audit [its] technology and roll out new changes.” However, YouTube emphasized its commitment to “being a platform where anyone can belong, have a voice and speak out when they believe something needs to be changed” and it is actively addressing how Restricted Mode works on the site.
Google Announces Plans to Expand Brands' Ability to Control Ad Placements: Amid controversy over ad placements that appeared on offensive third-party websites in Europe, Google has “begun a thorough review of [its] ads policies and brand controls” and will make changes that give brands more control over their ads across YouTube and the Google Display Network “in the coming weeks.” Advertisers are requesting “simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content.”
Foursquare Launches Location Analytics Platform for Brands and Retailers: Foursquare unveiled Foursquare Analytics, “a clean, simple dashboard that puts the power of [Foursquare's] proven location intelligence in the hands of brands.” With this new platform, brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurant chains can better “understand how their own company and an entire category are performing based on actual, measurable, real-world visits – and much more quickly than any option out there.”
Foursquare is currently beta testing this new tool with a handful of select brands. Other companies can contact Foursquare directly to learn more about it.
Reddit Tests User Profile with Select Redditors: Reddit is testing “a new profile experience that allows a handful of users, content creators, and brands to post directly to their profile, rather than to a community.” The testers have access to a new profile page design that will “better showcase [their] avatar, a short description, and their posts” and allow them to follow and engage with other logged-in redditors. Select users were chosen to test this new feature, but Reddit will slowly roll it out to more users “over the next few months.”
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Some Interesting Studies to Note:
Facebook Native Video Study: Quintly updated its previous December 2015 study about the usage of videos on Facebook using data collected from 167,000 Facebook profiles and over 6 million posts from July 1 to December 31, 2016. The findings show that native videos have over 1055% share rate and generated 186% higher rate of interaction than videos shared from third-party sources like YouTube. Of the Facebook pages and profiles examined, nearly 47% used videos and 85% included a native video.
The State of Performance Marketing 2017: AdRoll surveyed over 1,300 marketers from North America and Europe on their latest performance marketing strategies “across every stage of the marketing funnel.” The findings suggest that 57% of marketers are changing their attribution model this year and nearly 40% of those surveyed spend a majority of their budgets on measurement alone.
Friending in High Places: Business Leaders on Facebook and Instagram: This new study conducted by public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, examines top business leaders' adoption of Facebook and Instagram. Using data from 167 verified public Facebook pages and 224 public Instagram accounts for CEOs, company presidents, owners, founders and so forth, the findings show that Facebook is the fastest-growing platform among Fortune 500 and Global Fortune 500 executives and Instagram is not far behind. It also provides insights on which are the most followed profiles and biggest influencers and provides tips on how other business leaders can drive better engagement and interactions on social media. This report was initially prepared for the recent Ragan Facebook Leadership Communications Summit held at Facebook's headquarters.
2017 Global RepTrak: This annual report from the Reputation Institute examines how a “good” or “bad” corporate reputation can impact consumers' purchasing decisions and recommendations. The report also provides insights on how to create and sustain an excellent reputation. For example, the top four factors indexed are product-related with “perception of quality” being the biggest factor to consumers. The next biggest factor is corporate reputation pertaining to social responsibility, ethics, and fair business practices.
My Show on My Schedule: Facebook IQ studied how people’s media consumption behaviors are changing as a result of digital streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. This report also explores how people how people on Facebook engage with and talk about their favorite content and what “frequent TV watchers” want from content providers. With every major social media platform experimenting with some form of live streaming or original programming, these findings offer marketers important insights on what key demographics are interesting in watching, platform-specific messaging and how to leverage mobile and social media to drive content discovery.
What do you think of broadcasting to Facebook Live from your computer? Have you tried saving your Instagram Live videos to your phone? Please share your comments below.
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