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
Instagram Rolls Out Live Video to All U.S. Users: Following an announcement a few weeks ago, Instagram is rolling out Live video in Stories “to everyone in the US over the next few days.” With this new video feature in Stories, users can instantly go live by swiping into the Stories camera mode and tapping the Live button. The Next Web reports that the live videos will disappear once the recording is done. Also, a “Top Live” section in the Explore tab will direct users to “some of the best ongoing footage” on Instagram.
— The Next Web 📱💻🌍 (@TheNextWeb) December 12, 2016
Snapchat Introduces Groups Feature and Two New Creative Tools: The Snapchat Groups feature offers “a new way to communicate with up to 16 friends on Snapchat.” A group can be “created while sending a Snap or when you're making a new Chat” and makes it simple to toggle between one-on-one and group conversations on Snapchat. Just like with chats, messages sent to a group will be deleted by default within 24 hours and can only be opened and played once by each recipient.
Snapchat also rolled out two new creative tools this week called Scissors and Paintbrush. Scissors can be used “to cut out part of a Snap on the Preview Screen to turn it into a sticker.” The new Paintbrush tool can be applied to snaps in memories and turns these images into “an artistic masterpiece!”
Twitter Adds Ability to Broadcast Live Video From iOS and Android Apps: Starting this week, Twitter users “can create and Tweet live video from the Twitter app, powered by Periscope” with the tap of a button. To go live, users can simply compose a tweet and tap a new “LIVE” icon. A pre-broadcast screen opens and waits until you're ready to “Go Live” and start broadcasting. Twitter announced that this update is “rolling out to everyone on Twitter for iOS and Android over the coming days.”
— Twitter Video (@video) December 15, 2016
Facebook Introduces Live 360: Facebook announced “a new way to go live on Facebook” with Live 360. As the name suggests, this new format combines the ability to share “an immediate, authentic window into what's happening in the world right now” with Live video that “immerses viewers fully into the scene, letting them explore on their own and experience a new environment” in 360 degrees.
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Facebook launched Live 360 video this week with a National Geographic report from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. The broadcast showcases how “people around the world will be able to discover and explore this video [format] on Facebook” and can be found on the National Geographic Facebook Page. Facebook announced that “Live 360 video will be available to more Pages via the Live API in the coming months” and will be rolled out “more broadly for all Pages and Profiles in 2017.”
Instagram Boasts 600 Million Monthly Active Users: Instagram announced that its community “has grown to more than 600 million Instagrammers,” with the last 100 million having joined in just the past six months. The platform notes that “a lot has changed this year, but the Instagram community and the diversity of expression it provides [have] remained consistent.” The site says it will continue “working to make Instagram safer than ever for connection and self-expression.”
Our Take on Top News This Week
In this week's show from Friday, December 16, 2016, Michael Stelzner and guests discuss the top news in social media. Topics include live video formats on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (4:08), and Snapchat's new Groups feature and new content partner (25:19). Subscribe to future shows here.
More News to Note
Instagram Rolls Out Saved Posts: Instagram's new Saved Posts feature allows users to bookmark images or videos that they would “like to revisit later.” A new bookmark icon now appears underneath every post in the Instagram feed. With a tap, the post will be saved to a new private tab on your profile that's “only visible to you.” The new Saved Posts feature is available to all users as part of Instagram version 10.2 for both iOS and Android.
Facebook Messenger Releases New Native Camera: Facebook announced the global launch of a “brand new, faster and easier-to-use camera with art and special effects” in Messenger. Users will be able to “capture and share moments as they happen” instantly and add stickers, art, and special effects such as new 3D mask, artistic filters, and frames to their images. The built-in camera is rolling out to all users globally “over the coming days.”
Snapchat Adds Mitú Channel to Snapchat Discover: Snapchat expanded its Discover channel offerings with a new partnership with Mitú, a Hispanic-American lifestyle network that averages 400 million viewers per month and “aims to bring a Latino voice to the media.” Variety reports that Mitú will create exclusive videos, articles, photos, and animations focused on humor, food, family, and relationships and target multicultural youth on Snapchat. The Mitú channel is available now on Snapchat Discover.
Facebook Rolls Out Lightweight Version of Moment App for the Web: TechCrunch reports that Facebook is “making Moments a more prominent part of its desktop web experience” with a newly released “lightweight version” of the photo-sharing app. Users can now view shared photos but “not much else” on this stripped-down and basic web version of Facebook Moments. To add images to an album, leave likes and comments, or create slideshows, the mobile app for iOS or Android is required.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 12, 2016
Facebook Releases Stand-alone Events App on Android: Facebook's stand-alone Events from Facebook app, which was introduced earlier this year on iOS, has been released on Android. The Events app offers users a go-to place to discover nearby happenings and manage upcoming Facebook events. It also aggregates wall posts and alerts that tend to clutter the main app's notifications. TechCrunch reports that “no other social app has a vibrant events community” that Facebook has and event platforms tend to “lack full-fledged social features.” Facebook's ability to “demonstrate that it's the go-to place to discover what's going on locally… could attract more ad dollars from event promoters.”
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Vimeo Releases New TV Apps: Vimeo brings “the best of Vimeo to your big(ger) screen” with the release of its brand-new Apple TV and Android TV apps. Vimeo also announced that a new app for the Samsung Smart TV will be “coming in the very near future” as well. Vimeo's new TV apps feature instant browsing and suggested videos that are “all hand-picked and updated daily” by a curation team. The TV apps also offer the ability to follow your favorite filmmakers, channels, and categories; access to your Vimeo on Demand purchases or rentals; and multi-screen viewing options.
Twitch Adds IRL Category for “Lifestreaming” and Develops Mobile App: Twitch, known as “the world's leading video platform and community for gamers,” added a new “lifestreaming” channel called IRL to its network. IRL, which stands for “in real life,” allows creators to broadcast their everyday happenings, build compelling content, foster community interaction, and engage with their audience beyond video games. The Next Web reports that Twitch is currently developing a mobile app that will “allow anyone to broadcast to the site while they're away from their computers.” The new app is expected to be released in 2017.
Facebook Launches Parents Portal: Facebook introduced the Facebook Parents Portal, a brand-new resource for parents on Facebook featuring step-by-step videos “in over 55 languages around the world” about staying safe online. The site offers “basic information and tips to help you get the most out of your experience and help your child navigate theirs” and connections to other online safety organizations around the world that offer additional resources specifically for parents. The Facebook Parents Portal is available to access now.
YouTube Adds New Creators for Change Ambassadors and Resources: This past September, YouTube launched the YouTube Creators for Change, “a global initiative dedicated to amplifying (and multiplying) the voices of YouTube creators who tackle division and hate with videos and stories of hope, connection, and understanding.” This week, YouTube added five new Creators for Change ambassadors from four different countries to the six existing ambassadors and will provide each with a $25,000 grant to use toward a social impact project of their choice. YouTube will also collaborate with Upworthy “to create a helpful series of best practices for creating effective social-change videos” and provide mentorship to other creators “who are already making their voices heard on social issues that matter to them.”
Upcoming Social Media News Worth Following
Facebook Announces Plan to Combat Hoaxes and Fake News: Facebook launched a series of experiments to address the issue of fake news and hoaxes on the site. The Facebook Newsroom site shares that the network is working “to make it easier to report a hoax” on Facebook and creating partnerships with outside fact-checking organizations to indicate when articles are “flagged as disputed” and share why. Facebook will also update its advertising practices to prevent publishers and spammers from profiting from fake news.
Twitter Tests New Share Button to Replace Retweet Icon on Mobile: TechCrunch reports that “Twitter has been testing a new version of its mobile app that drops the current Retweeting icon, along with the arrow for replying to a tweet, and respectively replaces them with a circular icon for ‘sharing' options and a speech bubble.” Twitter confirms that it's testing new icons “to evaluate how this impacts the way that people use Twitter” and see how it changes users' behavior on the site.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 16, 2016
Facebook Messenger Tests Suggested Responses: Facebook Messenger rolled out a new suggested response feature called M Suggestions to a “limited number of users” this week. VentureBeat reports that this new feature is powered by M, Facebook's AI-powered virtual assistant, and will make suggestions within Messenger based on the topics and detected intent of conversations. Facebook plans to expand this service to “more of the Messenger-using public” in early 2017.
Facebook Explores Possibility of Providing Exclusive Video Content: Recode reports that “Facebook is starting to talk to TV studios and other video producers about licensing shows, with the hope of boosting the social network's video efforts.” Facebook has made significant investments in video technology and live-streaming deals recently and is now interested in “funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook.”
Facebook Improves Video on the Android App and Tests Picture-in-picture Video Feature: Android Police reports that Facebook “seems to be making some significant improvements to the video features of the Android app.” The article notes that Facebook is rolling out the ability to upload videos in HD and is testing the ability to download videos for later viewing, floating picture-in-picture video feature which allows you to view Facebook videos while multitasking on Facebook or other apps, easier notification browsing, and more.
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Some Interesting Studies to Note:
The New Marketing Reality: The New Marketing Reality study from eConsultancy and IBM Watson Marketing examines the challenges with “breaking free” from traditional methods and practices to create a “truly omnichannel” customer experience. This new report focuses on three main areas: data, customer experience, and business outcomes. The findings suggest that marketers are largely still relying on outdated and siloed approaches and processes that hinder their ability to capitalize on a wealth of new technology and data at their fingertips.
Instant Articles Reviewed: In this new report, Socialbakers offers the latest information on how readers are interacting with Facebook Instant Articles and how media publishers are reaping the benefits. The study is based on an analysis of 26 of the largest media publishers on Facebook and provides insights on average views, engagement lifespan, and sharing. For example, the report finds that instant articles have a short engagement lifespan and receive nearly 80% of total views on the first day. Another finding suggests that 40% of readers drop off after the first 15 seconds of opening an instant article, with only 3% continuing to read for at least 3 minutes.
Target Influencer Report: In this new report, Apollo Target identifies the 300 most influential U.S. marketers who publish the “most shared content” on digital marketing. The rankings are based on 2016 Twitter shares and follower counts and broken down by categories such as writers, consultants, technology experts, and more.
What do you think of live broadcasting on Instagram? Have you checked out Snapchat Groups? Please share your comments below.
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