This week in social media news, Facebook gives politicians their very own video tool and YouTube TV debuts AR during the World Series.
Also, Facebook adds music features to Stories and profiles while building a Musically competitor, Twitter suggests conversation starters and encourages digital literacy while YouTube Music lets you search by emoji. Other social media updates include the launch of Facebook Messenger 4, Facebook turns technology against child predators, Instagram continues its musical pursuits and YouTube makes Premieres available to all users. YouTube puts its money where the learning videos are and casts YouTube Kids to smart displays, another Oculus co-founder exits Facebook, Snapchat boasts its holiday trends and Facebook battles Brazilian marketers. Instagram gains favor with teens, YouTube adds shortcuts to video embeds that will help gain subscribers and Facebook shops for cybersecurity.
Facebook Introduces ‘Candidate Info’ Video Tool
Politicians can state their case to Facebook users with a new tool called Candidate Info.
Why it matters: Candidates now have a way to directly “audition” with Facebook users by introducing themselves in their own words. Facebook says that over 25 million people in the US now follow at least one of their elected officials on the platform and over 4 million people in the US commented on, reacted to, or shared a post by one of their elected officials in the last month.
Details: Facebook users already connect with candidates and elected officials, but Candidate Info videos will serve as a more personal introduction. Granted, politicians will most likely read a prepared statement, but there’s something more impactful about watching a person deliver a message through words and body language instead of a typed page.
YouTube TV Simulates Experience Through AR Ads
Virtual billboards were placed over a live broadcast of the World Series on Tuesday, simulating a YouTube TV viewing experience.
Why it matters: YouTube found a creative way to simulate watching TV on its platform by adding a virtual billboard and YouTube’s iconic controls over a live TV broadcast. YouTube announced that it would renew its partnership with MLB earlier this year, at which time Angela Courtin, global head of YouTube TV and Original marketing said: “From live programming morphing into a YouTube TV spot to prominent in-stadium placements, our innovative partnership allowed us to build awareness for YouTube TV and have a voice during one of the biggest live sporting events of the year.”
Details: Baseball fans got a taste of YouTube TV during the World Series this week when virtual ads appeared over a live broadcast. The ads showed a large video player behind the Green Monster Seats at Fenway Park as if it were a physical installation. After touting a few baseball-themed calls to action, YouTube video controls appeared over the broadcast to simulate watching the game over the internet.
Facebook Adds Music To Stories; Develops Video Music App
Facebook is expanding Instagram music features to its flagship app and building one of its own in a move to regain favor with teens.
Why it matters: MySpace had an ingenious way of integrating music. Each profile was unique, embedded with full music playlists, blog posts and videos. While it still technically exists, the glory days of MySpace are ancient history. Facebook profiles all look the same, but new changes could help users feel more unique on the platform.
Details: Facebook is rolling out new music features that include song stickers for Facebook Stories, lyrics for Lip Sync Live and coming soon, the ability to add music samples to a profile. When someone clicks on the music, they can view the artist and track information, as well as add it to their own profiles.
A new music video app is also in development, TechCrunch reports. Called Lasso, the app is designed as a direct competitor to Musically, through which teenagers film themselves singing or dancing to popular songs.
YouTube Music Lets You Search With Emojis
The dedicated YouTube Music app has added a fun new way to search for songs—with an emoji.
Why it matters: Typing an emoji may not be all that much faster for searches, but it can be a unique way for artists or brands to promote on the YouTube Music app.
Details: Users feeling creative can add emoji to their search in the YouTube Music app, such as a firework emoji to bring up Katy Perry’s song of the same name. The emoji search feature only works on the dedicated YouTube Music app at this time.
Twitter Tests Conversation Starters
If a Twitter user has a hard time coming up with something to say, they might be able to choose from a series of open-ended questions.
Why it matters: As with anywhere on the internet, Twitter is subject to trolls, cyberbullying and posts that make you question the future of mankind. The brand has been working on ways to make Twitter more positive, with CEO Jack Dorsey going so far as to rethink the core of how his site works.
Details: During the Fast Company Innovation Festival, Twitter explained how it has experimented with conversation starters. If implemented, users could choose from open-ended questions like, “Who inspires you and why.”
“We want the best conversation for you coming to you as quickly as possible,” said Mike Kruzeniski, senior director of product design. “Can you tell us what you’re interested in? And [can] we quickly get you to that conversation?
Twitter, UNESCO Launch Global Media and Information Literacy Week
Twitter is fighting misinformation not just through policy enforcement but education with a new initiative running through October 30.
Why it matters: Global Media and Information Literacy Week will offer resources, partnerships and initiatives both inside the app/website and in the community at large. Elections happening around the world mean that misinformation is going to be a big problem. Twitter hopes to teach users to be more savvy when determining whether something is real or not before sharing.
Details: A hashtag called #ThinkBeforeSharing will remind Twitter users to examine stories or statements for their legitimacy. A guide called “Teaching and Learning With Twitter” will offer guidance on how to use the site as a learning tool. Twitter is distributing 10 Ads for Good grants in UNESCO’s media and literacy network, to help raise awareness of their work. The site is also partnering with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support Media Literacy Week in the United States using the hashtag #MediaLitWk. US Media Literacy week will be held from November 5 until 9.
Facebook Rolls Out Messenger 4
The latest version of Facebook Messenger is rolling out to mobile devices, designed to be simplified and offer more personalization.
Why it matters: Citing a recent Messenger study, Facebook says that 71 percent of people consider simplicity to be the top priority for them in a messaging app. Taking that to heart, Facebook has made Messenger 4 easier to navigate with three tabs instead of the previous nine. The Discover Tab takes a, shall we say nod to Snapchat, where users can connect with brands, follow news and make purchases. When Facebook simplifies something for its users, that means it’s also (or primarily) designed to be a better sales funnel for advertisers.
Details: Messenger 4 features a slimmer interface and personalization options like adding color gradients to a chat bubble. A “handful” of new features will be announced soon, Facebook said.
Instagram Adds Soundcloud Integration
Soundcloud users can now add a link to their favorite tunes inside an Instagram Story.
Why it matters: Integrating with other apps allows Facebook’s Instagram to build solid business relationships, especially with the music industry. Back in June, Instagram added the ability to place background music into a post and in August, Snapchat made a deal with Pandora—increasing competition in the space. Adding Soundcloud links rather than background music allows Instagram to benefit from the association without having to pay artist royalties.
Details: Now when Instagram users create Stories, they have the option to add a sticker linking to the desired song on Soundcloud. While the songs don’t automatically play in the background, the integration allows users to share tunes with copyright infringement.
YouTube Premieres Roll Out To Everyone
YouTube Premieres—an event that channels can host to create fanfare around a new video—is now available to all users.
Why it matters: Previously available only to the top creators, YouTube is giving other channels the chance to build hype through Premieres. The company tends to favor its top earners instead of smaller channels, so the move may or may not garner YouTube favor with growing creators.
Details: YouTube announced that its Premieres feature is available to everyone beginning this week. Creators can notify followers of an upcoming video, then host a live viewing party at the desired time. Users can participate in live chat during the event, allowing creators to connect with their communities as the video is first viewed rather than after the fact.
Facebook Fights Child Exploitation With New Tech
Photo-matching, AI and machine learning are among Facebook’s recent efforts to battle child exploitation on its platforms.
Why it matters: Facebook allows users as young as 13 to join and we’ve all seen parents that create pages for their young children or share countless images of their offspring in the news feed. Predators will use any means necessary to share materials, resources and groom or lure children into dangerous situations. Facebook is using its considerable resources and partnerships to stay ahead of these criminals and bring them to justice.
Details: In a blog post, Facebook shared its recent strides in fighting child exploitation.
“In addition to photo-matching technology, we’re using artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively detect child nudity and previously unknown child exploitative content when it’s uploaded,” wrote Antigone Davis, Facebook head of safety. “We’re using this and other technology to more quickly identify this content and report it to NCMEC, and also to find accounts that engage in potentially inappropriate interactions with children on Facebook so that we can remove them and prevent additional harm.”
YouTube Invests $20M In Educational Content
YouTube is now funding creators that make educational content, partnering with brands and institutions to create their own content and has expanded support for “Edu Tubers” in more countries.
Why it matters: YouTube is recognizing its strengths and nurturing them, as evidenced by the company’s recent partnership with EventBrite to sell concert tickets. People turn to the website and app to learn everything from how to change a tire to absorbing the lore behind a video game. YouTube recognizes this fact as an area of strength to build upon, and thus, will continue to invest funds and resources to help it grow.
Details: YouTube has announced new initiatives to encourage learning on its platform. This summer, the company launched YouTube Learning and in a blog post to creators, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that they will invest $20 million into the program. YouTube says it has already completed the first round of investments that include channels TED-Ed or Hank, John Green’s Crash Course.
Oculus Co-Founder Brendan Iribe Exits Facebook
Another Oculus Rift co-founder has left Facebook. Brendan Iribe announced his departure on Monday.
Why it matters: Facebook has expanded its social media and technology empire through acquisitions like WhatsApp and Instagram, so when the founders leave, it signals a shift in company culture. WhatsApp founder described himself as a “sellout” when he left Facebook last year and in September, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left reportedly over disagreements with the company’s new direction.
Details: Just a month after Instagram’s co-founders left Facebook, Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe has exited the company as well. As Facebook continues to fight for public trust, a mass exodus of company founders may not help matters.
Snapchat Urges Ad Spend To Reach Holiday Shoppers
Boasting high engagement, Snapchat offered guidance to brands wanting to reach holiday shoppers on the platform this year.
Why it matters: Halloween isn’t even here yet, but Snapchat says the time is now to reach its users for holiday spending. Citing a 2017 research study by Murphy, Snapchat claims that 66 percent of Snapchatters began their holiday shopping on or before Black Friday, with 18 percent of those users starting in September or before.
Details: Snapchat insists that its users are heavier shoppers than the average non-user, especially on mobile devices. The company suggests that to reach this audience, brands need to drive action, take advantage of creative insights and optimize campaigns.
YouTube Kids Now Streams On Smart Displays, Google Home And TV
Just in time for Google Home Hub, YouTube Kids is now available for casting on additional devices.
Why it matters: YouTube has timed the streaming capability with the launch of Digital Wellbeing on Google Home and Smart Displays, which allows family members to restrict child streaming to YouTube Kids only, as well as designated downtime.
Details: Google Assistant users can now choose to stream YouTube Kids to a Smart Display, Google Home or cast-enabled TV using voice controls. The service is already available on Android TV and LG, Samsung, and Sony Smart TVs.
Facebook Removes Spam From Brazilian Marketers
Facebook removed 68 Pages and 43 accounts associated with a Brazilian marketing group, Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), for violating misrepresentation and spam policies.
Why it matters: Facebook is taking special care to keep its users updated on any and all enforcement, especially as the US elections draw near and the social network continues to draw criticism.
Details: Brazilian marketing group RFA created a number of Pages and fake accounts, then used them to post massive amounts of clickbait that directs users to ad farms. The content repeatedly offered fraudulent products and services, as well as sensational political content.
Snapchat Favorite Among Teens, But They Use Instagram More
Piper Jaffray’s 36th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey found that over the past two years, more teenagers are using Instagram and consider it their favorite social network. While Snapchat is still (barely) the top favorite, Facebook and Twitter have lost considerable favor with the demographic.
Why it matters: Snapchat’s appeal to teenagers is the network’s major selling point to advertisers and investors. As competition heats up with Instagram, the company will need to not only maintain but grow that favor if it hopes to become profitable.
Details: A survey of 8,600 US teenagers, with an average age of 16, found that Snapchat is still a favorite, with sentiment growing since the Spring of 2016. Unfortunately for Snapchat, that favor is also growing with Instagram. As of Fall 2018, 46 percent of respondents named Snapchat their favorite social platform, compared to Instagram at 32 percent. When asked about usage frequency, however, Instagram was used at least once per month by 85 percent compared to Snapchat at 84 percent. While rivals Snapchat and Instagram may be neck and neck, other platforms are falling behind. Facebook usage has dropped 24 percent since Spring of 2016 and 10 percent fewer consider it to be their favorite platform.
YouTube Redesigns Video Embeds With Handy Shortcuts
Embedded videos from YouTube now come with shortcuts built in that include the ability to subscribe.
Why it matters: Previously, viewers would have to click through an embedded video to its home on YouTube in order to subscribe to a channel. Eliminating even one step of a process can go a long way to achieve results. Adding the subscription button to an embed saves viewers time and therefore allows creators to amass more followers.
Details: With the new design, hovering over a channel icon in the top left corner of an embedded video will unfold a card with full channel name, a total number of subscribers and an option to subscribe and/or turn on upload notifications. Other options include the choice to watch later, share the video or view additional information about the upload.
Facebook Reportedly Shopping For Cybersecurity Firm
Inside sources claim that Facebook has approached multiple cybersecurity firms with offers to purchase and the deal could close by the end of 2018.
Why it matters: If you advertise on Facebook, you might be wondering what the heck is going on over there between the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a breach of 30 million accounts. Having a cybersecurity firm included in Facebook’s parent company would grant access to valuable tools and resources to stop the data breach bleeding, as it were, and put minds at ease.
Details: Two anonymous sources told The Information that Facebook is in the market to purchase a cybersecurity firm, although it wasn’t clear what type of security Facebook was looking for in particular.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 26. 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.