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
Pinterest Introduces Search Ads: Pinterest rolled out search ads with “a full suite of features, including Keyword and Shopping Campaigns that are shown in search results… [and] powerful new targeting and reporting options.” Pinterest is currently working with digital marketing company Kenshoo to test the new search ads features with a handful of partners including Barilla, eBay, Garnier, Target, and more. Pinterest plans to add more businesses “over the coming months” and suggests that interested companies should contact Kenshoo or their Pinterest account manager to learn more.
Huzza Announces Shutdown: Huzza has been acquired by Kickstarter and announced that it will shut down its service at the end of February 2017. In the following week, Huzza will release a data export tool that will allow broadcasters to export all of their recordings, chat messages, Q&As, selfies, and subscriber details. The company will also refund all subscriptions for the month of February and cancel all other subscriptions thereafter. The existing Huzza functionality will be available until March 1, 2017. After this date, all data and embeds will no longer be accessible to users.
Snapchat Rolls Out QR Snapcode for Websites: As part of a recent iOS update, Snapchat added the ability to convert web links into snapcodes that can be used to open web pages within the platform’s in-app browser. Publishers and brands can create their unique QR snapcode by selecting a URL and an image from the target domain. The completed snapcode can be saved and shared or embedded wherever possible. In addition, Snapchat will provide in-app analytics such as tracking and open rates for snapcodes that have been scanned 100 times or more. Marketing Land reports that this feature is currently only available to iPhone users.
Our Take on Top News This Week
In this week’s show from Friday, February 3, 2017, Michael Stelzner and guests discuss the top news in social media. Topics include Huzza shutting down its service (2:20), Facebook community updates and changes to the news feed (13:43), and Pinterest search ads (28:40). Subscribe to future shows here.
More News to Note
Facebook Shares Q4 and Full-year 2016 Earnings and Community Updates: Facebook shared its Q4 and full-year 2016 revenues and provided an update on its “progress in building a global community.” Facebook announced that its community now boasts almost 1.9 billion people, including 1.2 billion people active every day. More than 65 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with their customers. Facebook also added that over 150 million people now use Instagram Stories every day.
On the earnings call with investors, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg emphasized the company’s commitment “to keep putting video first across [its] family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways.” The company will continue developing new “ways to grow the ecosystem of video content on Facebook” and beyond. The Next Web reports that Facebook is in the process of building an app for set-top boxes to deliver a variety of video content to your TV through devices like Apple TV.
Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Show More Authentic and Timely Stories: Facebook rolled out two new updates to the algorithm that prioritize “more authentic and timely” content in the news feed. Facebook added new universal signals that will identify and determine whether a page post would be considered “genuine” rather than “misleading, sensational or spammy” and rank it higher in the news feed. Facebook is also giving a boost to topics or posts that are either getting “a lot of engagement from many people” or “might be temporarily more important to you” in the moment. Facebook notes that most pages won’t see “significant changes to their distribution in News Feed” and suggests that admins should “continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences” as they normally would.
Facebook Extends Lead Ads to Instagram: A recent post on the Facebook Advertiser Help Center site states that marketers can now run lead ads across both Facebook and Instagram placements. The site recommends that advertisers use automatic placements and verify that the creative complies with Instagram’s design requirements for lead ads. However, Facebook notes a few differences in the functionality of lead ads on Facebook versus Instagram. For instance, Instagram only supports certain pre-filled fields for lead ads and users will need to open the ad and “click through a series of pages” to complete them. Lead ads are also only available on the Instagram app, but not on Instagram’s desktop site.
Snapchat Launches New Ad Tech Platform: Snapchat is launching an updated ad platform along with “a new lineup of ad tech partners” including Kenshoo, Kinetic Social, AdParlor, and others, and a new creative API for companies like Percolate, Celtra, Spredfast, and VidMob to help brands manage their video content. Snapchat also is launching a formal “audience match” program, which allows its partners to use advertisers’ data such as customer email lists to target users on the platform. Advertising Age notes that in the past, “Snapchat’s match was only available directly through the company,” whereas now advertisers can buy their own ads through Snapchat’s self-serve ad tool.
Facebook Rolls Out New Search Technology for Images: Facebook is applying new image understanding to improve the automatic alt text (AAT) for photos, which is a technology used to describe the contents of photos for people who are visually impaired. According to the Facebook Code site, the image captions previously only described objects in the photo. With the updated search technology, Facebook added a new set of 12 actions and “image descriptions will now include things like ‘people walking,’ ‘people dancing,’ ‘people riding horses,’ ‘people playing instruments,’ and more.” Facebook can now leverage this new image understanding technology “to sort through the vast amount of information and surface the most relevant photos quickly and easily.”
Facebook Fully Shuts Down Parse Mobile App Developer Platform: Facebook is fully retiring the Parse mobile app development platform after a year of winding down the service. In a statement on the Parse blog, the company states it’s “committed to maintaining the backend service during the sunset period, and [is] providing several tools to help migrate applications to other services.” These include a database migration tool and an open source Parse Server, which the company hopes will “make this transition as straightforward as possible” for developers.
Upcoming Social Media News Worth Following
Snapchat Experiments With New Lenses for Landscapes: TechCrunch reports that “Snap, Inc. is working on an updated version of its in-app Snapchat lenses that would be able to recognize landscapes as well as faces… and intelligently overlay augmented reality animations and objects overtop of scenes captured through your camera.” Unlike Snapchat’s existing smart lenses, this new feature would “actually create virtual objects that appear to interact and intersect with the real world.” These new lenses are currently in “advanced testing with the internal version of Snapchat,” but a wider public release date hasn’t yet been announced.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) February 1, 2017
Facebook Shares Upcoming Updates to the Measurement Partnership Program: Facebook announced a number of updates to its Measurement Partnership Program including expanded partnerships with Nielsen and comScore and the addition of a new viewability verification partner, DoubleVerify. Facebook also provided details on the status of current integration and announced the launch of a new marketing mix modeling portal designed “to help marketers see how their Facebook ads perform, in comparison with other platforms, like TV or print.”
Facebook Develops Animated Selfie Masks for Brands: Advertising Age reports that Facebook is “in talks to let several Hollywood studios promote big-budget movies using new animated masks on the social network.” The article notes that Facebook Live already allows users to add special effects over their faces, but the company hasn’t allowed brands to sponsor masks or effects until now. A source from Facebook confirms that “the first branded mask would be an unpaid experiment” and is expected to roll out in March.
LinkedIn Notification Settings on the Desktop Coming Soon: LinkedIn published a quick guide on how to navigate the new Notification tab rolling out with the desktop redesign and announced that user settings for this new feature are “coming soon.” To be consistent with the mobile app, LinkedIn added conversation starters and enabled calendar sync within the Notifications tab on the desktop. With the upcoming notifications settings, users will also be able to control individual notifications.
Facebook Experiments With New “Discover People” Section on Mobile: “Facebook is rolling out a new section on mobile called ‘Discover People,’ which encourages users to introduce themselves by updating their profile.” Users can then scroll through a list of upcoming events to see who else might be going or a list of people in their same city and workplace. TechCrunch reports that this new feature is “designed to facilitate connections between people who aren’t already Facebook friends,” but it could easily be used for business networking or online dating. Those with access to the new Discover People feature will find it within the Navigation tab with Friends, Events, Groups, and such. However, this feature appears to be a “limited test or the beginning of a phased rollout.”
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) February 2, 2017
Facebook Tests Slideshow Photo Sharing Tool on Android: Facebook is testing its photo sharing tool Slideshow with “a small percentage” of Android users. Slideshow was initially developed for the Moment app and rolled out to Facebook’s main iOS app last June. TechCrunch reports that “at launch, Facebook’s version would prompt users who were posting their status to create a Slideshow if they had snapped more than five photos or videos in the last 24 hours. A ‘Try It’ button also appeared next to friends’ slideshows you were viewing.”
Facebook brings its Slideshow movie-maker to Android https://t.co/pxyLaiZL2R
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) January 27, 2017
Instagram Tests Multiple Image and Video Posts: The Verge reports that Instagram appears to be testing the ability to showcase multiple photos and videos in a single post among regular users. While this capability is currently only available to advertisers as carousel ads, the latest beta release for Instagram for Android suggests that “this same feature is making its way to the app’s 600 million users.” Instagram hasn’t confirmed if or when this feature will be rolled out more widely.
— The Verge (@verge) February 1, 2017
Facebook Explores Delegated Recovery With GitHub: Facebook has begun testing a new account recovery feature for other websites called Delegated Recovery. With this new online security function, Facebook allows users to use their profiles to set up encrypted recovery tokens for other websites. If users lose access to their account on the site, the stored token on their Facebook account will provide their identity and unlock access. Facebook is releasing this feature “in a limited fashion with GitHub” and will “get feedback from the security community” prior to expanding it to other services.
Twitter Tests Video Views Counter: Mashable reports that “some people are now seeing video view counts in their feed next to the usual timer” on Twitter videos. Twitter confirms that it’s testing the video views counter as a way to “provide helpful context on the popularity of a video and… to help surface the best content” on the platform. This test suggests that Twitter “may be looking at ways to rank and display popular content” and “experimenting with how it presents video as part of a significant push into the format.”
Twitter showing view counts for videos now pic.twitter.com/GuPOM08N59
— Dorsey Shaw (@dorseyshaw) February 1, 2017
Some Interesting Studies to Note:
Instagram Stories Is Stealing Snapchat Users: A new benchmark study from Delmondo and TechCrunch reveals that Snapchat Stories has experienced a striking decline in view counts since Instagram Stories launched in August. “Most reported declines in Snapchat Stories view counts ranging from 15 to 40 percent, and a reduction in how often they or those they monitor post to Snapchat Stories.” This report provides insights and data on how the social media content industry sees the impact of Instagram Stories on Snapchat.
Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing: Traackr partnered with the Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis to survey “the globe’s most innovative brand strategists” at companies such as 3M, Amazon, American Express, Diageo, Microsoft, and others on the future of influencer marketing. While investments in influencer marketing remain relatively small, more than one-quarter of those surveyed foresee it becoming a primary area of digital marketing investment over the next three years. This study provides insights on how influencer marketing is evolving and offers recommendations on how to approach it with desired business outcomes, internal customer experience efforts, and the customer journey in mind.
Finding Credibility Clues on Twitter: Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology parsed 66 million tweets linked to nearly 1,400 real-world events in 2014 and 2015 and built “a language model that identifies words and phrases that lead to strong or weak perceived levels of credibility on Twitter.” The report provides a number of interesting correlations between the number of retweets or the length of a message and its perceived credibility. Although the system isn’t perfect, the researchers hope to use this data to develop an app that weighs the “trustworthiness” of an event as it unfolds on social media.
GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report: A recent report from GreenBook indicates that mobile surveys (75%), online communities (59%), and social media analytics (52%) have the highest adoption rate among the 1,600 market research suppliers and clients surveyed. The data for this report was collected in Q3 and Q4 of 2016, and in addition to examining trends in the adoption of emerging market research methods, it also focused on technology, skills and training resources, and financial forecasting.
2017 Video in Business Benchmark Report: A recent study from Vidyard analyzed nearly 250,000 videos posted by 500 B2B companies to its platform over 2016 to determine how businesses are consuming video. The findings reveal that 86% of business-related video views take place on desktop browsers and only 14% occur on mobile devices. Not entirely surprising, some 84% of B2B video views occur during the workweek. The report also shares that a majority (56%) of videos published by B2B companies are less than two minutes long. However, a significant portion of the audience exits in the first 10% of all B2B videos, no matter what length they are.
What do you think of Pinterest search ads? Are you affected by Huzza’s upcoming shutdown? Will you try the new QR snapcodes? Please share your comments below.