Changes You Need to Know
By Kellie Harrington and Ashleigh Mavros
As social platforms rapidly evolve, it’s important for us to stay up-to-date with the latest changes and how they can impact brands. In our first Social Media Roundup, we are taking a look at the new (and constantly changing) updates that have been implemented across some of the major social media platforms. A lot has happened to say the least – this is Part One of the first roundup post.
- Users gain more control over their News Feed: Facebook launched a new tool that provides users even more control on what appears in their News Feeds. The expanded News Feed Preferences allows users to select friends and Pages to see first in their Feed. It helps users find new Pages to connect with based on the types of Pages they have liked in the past. This comes at the same time as an updated algorithm, which provides users a better balance between content from friends and brand Pages. This reinforces that customization and personalization is key for brands in terms of speaking to the target audience, and emphasizes the importance for quality content over the quantity of posts.
- Buy Button: Something that we are seeing become available on several social platforms is a “Buy Button.” Rather than clicking away to a merchant’s site, the buy button lets users complete the entire purchase within Facebook, which could boost conversion rates and draw retailers and brands with ecommerce presence to the social network.
- Taking into account actions and time spent: Facebook is adjusting the way it looks at users’ actions and time spent on videos and stories. Previously, if a user did not “Like” or “Comment” on a video or story, Facebook assumed the user preferred to not receive as many updates from that brand. Now, actions and time spent are being expanded to consider if the user turns on the sound of the video, or expands the frame, or how long they spend on a story. Facebook is continually looking for ways to serve users the best and most relevant content for them via the ever-changing algorithm.
- Advertising for Everyone: After more than a year of patiently watching a select few brands test Instagram ads, the visual powerhouse announced that advertising will be opening to all businesses. One option includes carousel ads, which allow users to swipe left to see additional images within the campaign and click on a CTA at the end. As part of the Facebook family, Instagram announced that audience targeting similar to Facebook will be available – think age, interests and a better feedback mechanism. And in case you missed it, you can read more about advertising on Instagram in this blog post.
- Search & Explore: To better connect the wide and diverse Instagram community the platform introduced Search and Explore features. The Explore function makes discovering relevant real-time content simple through curating trending tags, places and popular accounts. To find specific information, users can now use the Search feature for places in addition to people and tags.
- Hashtags: Hashtag abusers were targeted with one of Instagram’s latest updates. Instead of photos being ordered in Search and Explore by when the last hashtag was added, they’ll now be archived by the timestamp of the photo. This means goodbye to all the Instagram spammers who would add trending hashtags to their posts just to bump them back up searches. And a fun update – you can now hashtag emojis!
- Discover: In January, Snapchat positioned itself as more than just a platform to send selfies between friends by introducing Discover. The feature acts as a feed of custom content from a handpicked set of publishers like CNN, Cosmopolitan, ESPN and Vice.
- Advertising: With the introduction of the Discover feature came the rise of advertising on Snapchat. Brands now have the opportunity to place native video or image ads in the Recent Updates feed or in between articles and videos within Discover. The price tag is pretty high for something that disappears within 24 hours – two cents per view for a :10 ad.
Social networks are becoming increasingly competitive as more brands jump on board, and more paid options are being rolled out because of this. While there are many updates in the social space, one thing remains – brands should always ask the question “How does this network fit into my overall marketing strategy?”
Stay tuned for Part Two of the first Social Media Roundup with Pinterest, Twitter, Meerkat and Periscope.
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