This week in social media news, Snapchat partners with influencers for new shows, Facebook Messenger Kids launches outside the US and Twitter acquires Smyte. In other news, Snap Maps get animated, Facebook tests paid subscriptions, Pinterest offers a subscription box, Instagram launches long-form video, Facebook adds trivia to its videos and Snapchat greenlights a docuseries. In addition, Facebook tests autoplay video ads in Messenger, Pinterest adds marketing partners, YouTube Premium and Music expand across the world and Unilever takes a stand against “cheating” influencers.
Influencers Partner For New Snapchat Shows
Snapchat has long been criticized for ignoring its most popular and influential creators and has taken steps recently to make amends. During Vidcon on Thursday, Snapchat announced that Snaphat Shows—shortform shows produced by publishing partners—will now extend to online creators.
The first of such shows will feature makeup artist Patrick Starrr, creator and star of an E!-branded makeover Show, “Face Forward.” The partnership kicked off with a Snapchat filter that gave user Bitmojis a makeover.
— PATRICKSTARRR (@patrickstarrr) June 22, 2018
Twitter Announces Plans To Acquire Smyte
Amid privacy, spam and abuse concerns that impact every social network, Twitter has agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in safety, spam, and security issues. On its website, Smyte announced that it is closing it business as a result of the deal.
“Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively. Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months.”
Snapchat Introduces Animated Map Effects
Snapchat users viewing themselves or friends on the Snap Map will now see animated effects to reflect the weather, holidays or someone’s birthday. The effects tie into local weather forecasts and add visuals like sunshine, snow or rain. On someone’s birthday, the map will show confetti. Around holidays, the map may change appearance or show fireworks for the Fourth of July.
While the new feature is limited to just a few visuals at launch, it opens possibilities for Snapchat’s advertisers to “take over” Snap Chat effects in the future. The map could be transformed to match a franchise, for example, with items to collect or characters to interact with.
Faceboook Messenger Kids Expands Outside US
Messenger Kids launched in Canada and Peru on Friday, along with Spanish and French versions where the app is available. Alongside the announcement, Facebook revealed three new features: the Messenger Kids Pledge, Kindness Stickers and Appreciation Mission.
The Messenger Kids Pledge encourages conversation between parents and their kids about using the app and encourages responsible use. Kindness Stickers can be shared between users with messages like “Well Done” and “Great Helper.” Appreciation Mission will be an interactive guide within the app designed to “encourage kids to discover and express appreciation for their friends and family.”
Facebook Tests Subscriptions For Group Membership
Being the administrator for any online group is hard work, so Facebook has begun testing a way to compensate them for their time. Subscription Groups allow an admin to charge anywhere between $4.99 and $29.99 per month for access to an exclusive Facebook group and its features. Members are able to able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android and admins are provided with tools to help manage content.
At this time, the program is available only to a few groups like Organize My Home, Grown and Flown Parents: College Admissions and Affordability and Meal Planning Central Premium. Once Facebook receives feedback from admins about the program and sees how members react to a paid service, they will determine whether to roll out Subscription Groups to the public.
Pinterest 100 Box Will Highlight Current Trends
Pinterest has partnered with FabFitFun to create the first-ever Pinterest 100 Box, a quarterly subscription filled with products based on the social network’s annual top 100 trends list.
Products in the first box will include a Pier 1 Imports Sage Vase, Tarte lifted sweat-proof mascara, Kopari Coconut Multitasking Kit, R+Co ACID WASH ACV Cleansing Rinse, The Jetset Diaries Passport Case + Luggage Tag Duo, Talking Tables Dipstick Charades, K POP Foods Crispy Seaweed Snacks, and then a product of choice from two options.
The move will separate Pinterest from other social media sites as one that directly interacts with and influences users outside of the internet, allowing users to explore trends online then try them in real life.
Instagram Launches IGTV For Long-Form Video
On Wednesday, Instagram introduced a standalone surface for viewing long-form video called IGTV. When users open the app, videos based on who they follow on Instagram will begin to play automatically. The videos are played in vertical, full-screen format and can be swiped through, just as one would while browsing Stories.
“We believe this is the future of video. People continue to spend more time with entertainment on their mobile devices, and we’re making it easier for them to get closer to the creators and original content they love,” said Instagram.
— Instagram (@instagram) June 20, 2018
Facebook Woos Teens With Trivia
Teenagers are spending less time on Facebook and to fix this, the site will do what it does best—copy another app. Facebook has introduced trivia similar to HQ. Gamification for Live will also allow its partners to add interactive features like polls, quiz questions and challenges to its Facebook videos. Polling will come to both Live and on-demand video which includes a few question formats, like “either/or” or “two truths and a lie.”
Snapchat Ventures Into Soft-Scripted Shows
Endless Summer, a coming-of-age series, is currently in production and slated to debut on the app in September. The show will be soft-scripted, meaning that it stars real-life people as themselves in scripted situations. Endless Summer follows the life of 19-year-old Summer Mckeen, a beauty and fashion vlogger popular on YouTube with her own jewelry line. As reported by Variety, the show will follow Summer as she experiences living on her own for the first time in Laguna Beach next door to her boyfriend Dylan Jordan.
Facebook Tests Video Ads In Messenger
Facebook Messenger has rolled out autoplay video ads this week to see how users react.
“Top priority for us is user experience,” Stefanos Loukakos, Facebook’s head of Messenger told Recode on Tuesday. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”
It may be the world’s second-largest seller of advertising, but with that accolade comes the problem of real estate—in order to remain competitive, Facebook is searching for new places to show advertisements to its users. For now, its new Watch video section creates new space to host ad revenue, as are recent shopping tags added to Instagram Stories.
Pinterest Reveals Creative Marketing Partners
Pinterest is courting marketers by offering services through what it calls Creative Pinterest Marketing Partners (PMP). Brands that want to create interactive Pins on the site can now work with Popular Pays, QuickFrame, Shutterstock Custom, Social Native, Vidmob, Vidsy and The Online Studio using the Pinterest API.
“Since Pinterest is visual and personal, creating good Pins requires a special touch,” the company said in a blog post. “With our new PMPs, marketers get access to teams already trained by the Pinterest Creative Strategy team on our best practices. These teams have created thousands upon thousands of Pins to date and are now ready to help businesses make more.”
YouTube Music And Premium Make Their Global Debuts
Starting Monday, YouTube Music is available to everyone in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
In addition, YouTube Premium rolled out to 17 countries worldwide. The subscription service will automatically become available to current YouTube Red and Google Play Music members (including family plans) in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.
Unilever Vows Not To Work With Influencers Who Buy Followers
Marketing powerhouse Unilever continues to stress the importance of online transparency. In an emailed statement, Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed told CNBC that “The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.”
Weed said that Unilever will never buy followers or work with social media influencers who do so, while also prioritizing social media channels that work to increase transparency.
“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, June 22. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.