TikTok’s New Tool Lets Brands Create Video Ads In Browser

This week in social media news, TikTok debuts a tool that lets brands creative native video ads on desktop, Reddit creates an ad resource hub, TikTok and IPG Mediabrands announce a creator accelerator program and Facebook launches new dynamic ads for streaming.

TikTok’s New Video Editor Feature Lets Brands Create Native Ads In Browser

TikTok has launched a new video editing tool that lets brands create ads with TikTok-style elements for free and directly from their browser.

Why it matters: The unfiltered nature of TikTok videos is part of what makes the app so appealing to younger generations. To excite their target audience on TikTok, brands must produce content using creative elements native to the app, such as viral songs, text styles and green screen effects. In addition to this latest video ad tool, TikTok is helping brands succeed by giving them access to a library of top ads on the app.

The details: TheTikTok Video Editor’ is an “online smart editor” that provides advertisers with a suite of TikTok-style editing features. The tool is located in the ‘Create a Video’ menu on your TikTok Ads Manager dashboard and on the Ad Creation menu when setting up a campaign. It enables brands to produce ad videos easily in their browser by editing each frame’s text, color, font, music, transitions and more.

Reddit Releases ‘Ads Formula’ Resource Hub For Marketers

Reddit created a resource center for marketers called ‘Ads Formula’ that includes updates on its latest ad offerings, industry insights and creative best practices. 

Why it matters: Reddit continues to see growth, reporting 430 million active monthly users globally in Q1– a 30 percent increase year-over-year (YoY). As it adds more users, it’s looking to help brands enhance their campaigns.  

The details: According to Social Media Today, Reddit’s new ad education center will offer an events calendar, engagement stats during and around events, as well as on-demand courses in the coming months. 

TikTok And IPG Mediabrands Announce Bespoke ‘Creator Collective’

TikTok and IPG Mediabrands have announced a three-year partnership that will match brands with popular TikTok creators and provide them with strategic counsel and co-creation opportunities for upcoming campaigns.

Why it matters: As per TikTok:

“The two companies will form a bespoke Creator Collective, bringing together a select group of forward-thinking and diverse creators who will provide hands-on guidance to IPG Mediabrands’ clients ensuring that their content is culturally connected, inclusive and resonates with the TikTok community.”

The details: The first program of the Creator Collective series will be a quarterly session calledCreator Camps,” where creators give IPG Mediabrands clients strategic guidance on their upcoming campaigns.

As TikTok notes, the Creator Collective is just one of the core pillars of the partnership.

The platform says it will provide IPG Mediabrands’ agencies and clients with access to TikTok insight and training, first-to-market opportunities, resources and best practices, and research and media trial opportunities.

Facebook Debuts ‘Dynamic Ads For Streaming’

Facebook’s latest ad solution, ‘Dynamic Ads for Streaming,’ lets viewers swipe through a brand’s ad to see personalized titles based on interests they’ve shown on Facebook and Instagram. 

Why it matters: The new release will help video streaming platforms increase sign-ups and make it easier for audiences to find films and TV titles they like, which is key for attracting new customers. Facebook cites research from Kantar showing that 64 percent of streaming trialists will try a new service because they knew of several things they wanted to watch, not because they have one specific title in mind. 

The details: With this new ad solution, advertisers no longer have to manually create new campaigns for each separate title. They can simply upload their content catalog to Facebook. Then the dynamic ads will use that catalog as a prompt to target users who have shown interest in one or many of those titles–by Liking a related Page, following one of the actors involved or being a member or fan of a related group. Users can follow the ad’s call to action in order to start a trial or subscribe.

TikTok Remains The Most Downloaded Non-Gaming App Worldwide In Q1

This week in social media news, new App Annie research shows TikTok remains the most downloaded non-gaming app globally in Q1, LinkedIn pilots a new feature to make the hiring process more equitable, Discord debuts new audio-focused “Stage” channels, Twitter adds 11 new content categories to its Amplify pre-roll ad offering and more.

TikTok Remains The Top Downloaded Non-Gaming App In Q1

According to App Annie’s latest research, TikTok was the most downloaded app in Q1 worldwide. In addition to ranking the top apps globally by downloads, consumer spend (YouTube) and monthly active users (Facebook), App Annie found that consumers spent $32 billion on in-app purchases across iOS and Google Play globally in Q1—the biggest quarter since they started measuring it and a whopping 40 percent increase on Q1 2020.

Why it matters: Despite its nascency and having faced a potential ban in the US, TikTok continues to dominate the non-gaming app charts and surpass other social media platforms. In February, TikTok announced a global partnership with WPP as well as an expanded partnership with Universal Music Group. And for the first time, the app took part in SXSW 2021, a virtual event this year where it hosted conversations on how brands are using the app to grow and how music is consumed on the app.

TikTok has also proved to be particularly useful for engaging audiences at a time when in-person events are still on pause. Fashion designers joined the app’s live Fashion Month initiatives and several musical artists have starred in virtual concerts since the pandemic.

The details: App Annie’s data show that smartphone users spent $9 billion more on apps and games in Q1 2021 than they did at the height of the pandemic in Q1 2020.

iOS and Google Play shared that Q1 2021 growth equally, with consumer spend growing 40 percent YoY to $21 billion on iOS and growing 40 percent YoY to $11 billion on Google Play.

Combined, downloads on both iOS and Google Play increased by nearly 10 percent to 31 billion in the quarter.

On iOS, the biggest gains were observed in the games, finance and social networking categories; for Google Play, it was the weather and dating categories, respectively.

Among non-gaming app downloads in Q1, TikTok took first place, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp. By consumer spend, YouTube led the way, followed by TikTok, Tinder, Disney+ and Tencent Video. For MAU, the top players include Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Amazon.

According to App Annie’s estimates, the fastest-growing app by downloads and MAUs in Q1 was Signal Private Messenger, while the fastest-growing app by downloads alone was MX Takatak, most popular in India for short user-generated video content.

Total consumer spend on gaming reached $22 billion in Q1 2021, with the quarter’s most downloaded game being Join Clash 3D, followed by Among Us! And DOP 2: Delete One Part.

Lastly, the biggest breakout game by MAUs was Project Makeover. 

App Annie expects mobile gaming will reach $120 billion in consumer spend this year.

LinkedIn Makes Hiring Process More Equitable For Candidates With ‘Skills Path’

In an effort to help remove barriers for candidates that might not have the necessary degree or network, LinkedIn is piloting a new skills-based hiring process with select companies called Skills Path. More than a dozen companies have tested Skills Path, including Wayfair, TaskRabbit and Microsoft.

Why it matters: While testing Skills Path for its customer service teams, LinkedIn removed traditional requirements like a degree or 1-2 years prior experience in job descriptions. Instead, they evaluated candidates based on their proven skills required for the job by implementing a validated skill test in the application process. This resulted in a broadened talent pool, which enabled LinkedIn to hire from companies it typically doesn’t hire from, and also improved their hiring efficiency.

The details: According to LinkedIn, Skills Path is meant to help recruiters evaluate job candidates in a more equitable way, namely based on their proven skills. The way it works is hiring managers first identify the core skills for a job, then candidates get a more fair shot at the position by closing skills gaps with LinkedIn Learning Courses and multiple choice skill assessments. If they pass these tests, they can then schedule a conversation with the recruiter.

Interested companies can apply to be considered to access Skills Path here.

Discord Debuts New Audio-Focused “Stage” Channels

Discord wants to make it easier for users to host audio-only events, which is why it has launched a new type of channel for community servers called Stage Channels. This gives users the ability to host voice AMAs (ask me anything), interviews, book clubs and karaoke.

Why it matters: Discord says the new channel aims to address the challenges that would come with managing audio events within voice channels— juggling what permissions users have, what roles a user might have that override said permissions and more.

The details: Like Clubhouse, the Stage channels make it clear who’s speaking and whose turn. Stage moderators can add, remove or mute an existing speaker, while audience members can “raise” their hand during an event for a chance to speak.

To enable a Stage channel, users must enable “Community” on their server, which can be found in the server settings > community. The new feature is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android and the browser.

Twitter Gives Advertisers More Control Over Amplify Pre-Roll Placement

With Twitter’s Amplify pre-roll offering, advertisers can run ads in-feed next to video content from Twitter’s 200-plus content partners, including Buzzfeed, Hearst, Fox Sports and NBCUniversal. Now, the platform says it’s expanding offerings for advertisers in the US, UK, Brazil and MENA with a new feature called “Curated Categories,” which gives brands more choice over the types of premium video content they run ads against.

Why it matters: Twitter found that ads paired with premium video delivered in-feed produced 2.2 times brand favorability and 1.7 times purchase intent compared to the same ads in a non-feed environment.

The details: Throughout the pandemic, Twitter says advertisers have expressed a desire to reach audiences on their timeline via feel-good content. As a result, Twitter has been testing new categories. Now, in addition to the 15 industry and Interactive Advertising Bureau standard video content categories Twitter offers for pre-roll, it’s adding six new Curated Categories to the US–they include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, gaming personalities and esports. Twitter is also adding five categories globally, including women’s lifestyle, men’s lifestyle, light-hearted content, footie fans and Ramadan.

Additionally, Twitter announced updates to the way people see pre-roll ads in their timeline and what advertisers see while setting up their campaigns. Now, advertisers’ brand logo, as well as additional labeling such as the message, “Video will play after ad,” will be prominently displayed throughout the duration of the ad. Twitter found that these subtle updates led to an increase in ad recall by 10 percent and brand favorability by seven percent compared to its previous pre-roll design.

Twitter also is introducing a new campaign set-up experience that makes pairing selection easier for advertisers using the Pre-roll Views objective. With this upgrade, advertisers will be able to see Twitter’s full library of publisher content category offerings while selecting targeting. 

LinkedIn Is Testing Audio Rooms

With the rise in podcast listening and audio-only social experiences offered by Twitter, Clubhouse and Facebook, LinkedIn is developing its own live audio room feature, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: LinkedIn confirmed to Social Media Today that in response to seeing nearly 50 percent growth in conversations on the platform, it’s “doing some early tests to create a unique audio experience connected to your professional identity.”

The details: LinkedIn shared this mock-up with TechCrunch of what the audio feature will look like. It shows a user interface similar to that of Clubhouse’s UI, with a feature box at the top that lists speakers’ photos, names, and titles. Below that box is a section showing the number of people listening and their profile image icons. 

Google Announces New Eco-Friendly, Curbside Shopping Updates To Maps

In a company blog, Google announced that it’s on track to release over 100 artificial intelligence-powered updates to Google Maps this year. Among them is an Indoor Live View feature that helps people navigate tricky indoor places like airports and malls, as well as new options to see which routes use the lowest fuel consumption and detailed information for business profiles like curbside options and order minimums.

Why it matters: Google’s updates address a major pandemic-induced shift in consumer behavior, which is the surge in curbside pick-up. Google says it will add information about delivery providers, pickup and delivery windows, fees and order minimums to business profiles, starting with mobile search for Instacart and Albertsons Cos. stores in the US.

The details: First up, Google says new advancements to its AR-enabled Live View option will help the company understand the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building. This will show users the nearest elevator, restrooms, ATMs and more in airplanes, malls and transit stations. The Indoor Live View feature is live on iOS and Android in some malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

Next, in the coming months, Google Maps will display more information about the weather and air quality with data from partners such as The Weather Company, AirNow.gov and the Central Pollution Board.

With insights from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Google Maps will also soon default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same arrival time as the fastest route. These routes will launch in the US on Android and iOS later this year. Similarly, Google will soon introduce low emission zone alerts to help drivers in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and the UK understand when they’ll be going through areas that restrict polluting vehicles.

Google is working on another update that will enhance the way people shop for groceries, namely a notification that tells the customer when it’s time to leave and lets them share their arrival time with the store. Google is kicking off the feature with a pilot with Fred Meyer in select stores in Portland, Oregon.

Instagram Expands IGTV Ad Access To Creators In The UK And Australia

Last year, Instagram began testing IGTV ads with a revenue share model for select US creators. Now, over the coming weeks, it will give some creators in the UK and Australia access to IGTV ads.

Why it matters: As per Instagram, the update is part of its larger commitment to giving creators the tools they need to grow their following and income. Instagram also recently rolled out Automatic Placements so advertisers worldwide can have their ads delivered next to IGTV videos.

The details: The IGTV ads, which are optimized for mobile and up to 15 seconds long, will first appear when users click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed.

Instagram plans to continue expanding IGTV ads throughout 2021 so that creators in other countries have access to them.

YouTube Tests Automated Product Detection In Videos

According to a company blog, YouTube is experimenting with a new feature that shows a list of products detected in some videos, in addition to related products.

Why it matters: The product detection feature marks YouTube’s latest attempt to make the platform more shoppable. In June last year, YouTube launched shoppable video ads that enable users to click a “shop now” button that then directs them to the product on the brand’s site.

The details: As per the blog, YouTube’s product detection feature is visible to US users. The product list will appear in between the recommended videos to viewers browsing below the video player, with the goal of providing more information about the products.

Facebook Research Highlights Branding’s Impact On Performance

Facebook’s latest research suggests that the key to driving conversions while simultaneously building brand awareness is optimizing campaigns for mobile and conveying branding clearly.

Why it matters: The study found that failure to convey brand identity benefits the most prominent brand in the category more often than not, highlighting the importance of establishing brand identity in creative—especially for brands that are new and young to the market and brands that have established competitors.

The details: With many brands struggling to bridge the gap between brand growth and direct response outcomes, Facebook recently partnered with agencies in North America and Europe on a meta-analysis of 35 brand lift studies with 34 advertisers across 10 verticals.

Due to a lack of distinctive branding, 57 percent of brands saw brand awareness uplifts for their competitors as well as for themselves. To drive both brand and performance outcomes, Facebook suggests utilizing mobile-optimized creative that is 15 seconds or less and leads with strong branding in the first three seconds.

How Snapchatters Plan To Observe March And April Holidays

This week in social media news, Snapchat’s latest survey reveals how its users plan to observe holidays in March and April, Instagram says a ‘drafts’ feature for Stories is coming soon and that it may expand the Stories poll feature to groups. Facebook tests a green screen tool for Facebook Stories, plus it’s developing new audio-only features for Rooms.

Snapchat Survey Reveals Users’ March And April Holiday Buying Behavior

Snapchat’s latest survey found that half of Snapchatters plan to observe an upcoming holiday or festival, like Easter, Ramadan, Passover and Holi, and many are prepared to spend more money while doing so.

Why it matters: Sixty percent of Snapchatters say the pandemic has forced many of them to get creative with their celebrations this year, but their desire to uphold these traditions remains strong. Brands should find ways to enable the cohort to remain connected with friends and family through photo and video sharing, perhaps through Snap’s Lens feature, which an average of 31.5 million Snapchatters used daily during Easter weekend last year.

The details: According to Snapchat’s findings, more than half of Snapchatters are brainstorming ways to make the holidays in March and April feel special. A top purchase for these users will be specialty foods and drinks, along with new outfits and gifts for friends and family.

In addition, 57 percent of respondents said they’ll be spending the holidays with their family while another quarter of Snapchatters plan to spend them with friends.

Instagram To Launch Drafts Feature For Stories

Instagram announced that a ‘Drafts’ feature coming soon to Stories will enable users to save their content as a draft, then post it at a later time.

Why it matters: Currently, Instagram users can save a feed post as a draft and post it at a later date. The ability to create Stories drafts will prove especially useful for brands who wish to plan out their creative and messaging within Stories ahead of time.

The details: Stories drafts have been a highly requested feature from users, with Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri tweeting, “You asked and we’re delivering…story drafts coming soon.”

Facebook Tests Green Screen Creative Tool For Facebook Stories

According to Social Media Today, Facebook is testing a ‘Green Screen’ creative function for Facebook Stories, which will let people overlay their video over a still image or another video.

Why it matters: The Green Screen option is already available in Instagram Stories, but Facebook may be looking to implement its own as a means to compete against TikTok, where the effect is widely used. Doing so will provide Facebook marketers the opportunity to make their organic and paid Stories content more interactive.

The details: As per this screenshot from social media expert Matt Navarra, the Green Screen feature on Facebook Stories would be placed between the text feature and boomerang feature. Users can add a photo or video from their camera roll as the background of their Stories. Then they’ll be able to use a recording of themselves or a still image as the overlay.

Facebook Rooms Tests Audio-Only Broadcast And Private Room Features

Facebook is testing new audio-only features for Rooms, its multi-user video chat option, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Facebook is gearing up to compete against similar audio experiences from invite-only Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces, which Twitter plans to open to all users by April.

The details: As seen in this screenshot shared by developer Alessandro Paluzzi, Facebook will give users the option to choose from two additional functionalities in Rooms—one, a live audio-only room and two, a private audio room with friends.

Instagram Looks To Expand Stories Poll Feature To Groups

Instagram may be expanding its Stories poll option, which gives individual users the ability to ask a question with two answers and see results in real-time, to groups, according to Digital Information World.

Why it matters: With the impending demise of third-party cookies, a poll option for groups could help businesses looking to gather more information about their audience on Instagram.

The details: Developer Alessandro Paluzzi first discovered the Instagram poll option for groups, which appears in the Stories’ sticker section under a gradient pink icon.

TikTok’s New Policy Prohibits Users From Blocking Personalized Ads

This week in social media news, TikTok’s new policy will make some forms of personalized ads mandatory and adds an automated message response to business profiles, Twitter launches a tournament for the best tweeting brands, Clubhouse launches an accelerator program for creators and more.

TikTok To Serve Ads Based On Users’ In-App Actions

According to Vox, beginning April 15, TikTok will update its ads policy so that users can’t opt out of receiving personalized ads based on their behavior on the app.

Why it matters: Currently, TikTok users can opt-out of seeing personalized ads, which are based on the videos they watch and search on the app, but it appears the personalization may become mandatory.

The details: As seen in this screenshot shared by Vox, TikTok’s ad change prompt reads:

“To help TikTok stay free, we partner with advertisers to show you ads. Based on your settings, you currently see general ads that aren’t based on what you do on or off TikTok. Starting April 15, your settings will change and the ads you’ll see may start to be based on what you do on TikTok.

TikTok users will still get to control whether they receive ads based on data that TikTok gets from its advertising partners.

Twitter Kicks Off Best Tweeting Brand Tournament

Twitter Marketing has launched a tournament called “Best Of Tweets Brand Bracket” that lets users vote for the best brand on Twitter. The virtual vote-off will see 16 brands, selected by Twitter, go head-to-head, including Pizza Hut and Wendy’s, Spotify and Xbox, Airbnb and Doritos and more.  

Why it matters: The tournament, which is akin to Twitter’s super bowl-inspired “Brand Bowl Promotion,” provides brands a unique way to promote themselves on the app while giving other smaller brands an idea of the quality of tweets they need to achieve to grow their Twitter audience.

The details: Twitter is asking users to vote for their favorite brands across four different categories: food, people’s choice, sports and entertainment. 

So far Wendy’s beat Pizza Hut, Skittles took Oreo and Amazon Alexa beat Uber Eats. Skittles vs. Oreos saw north of 28,000 votes, with Skittles taking the lead. Nearly 5,000 users chimed in for Pizza Hut vs. Wendy’s, with Wendy’s coming out on top. Twitter will announce the final “Brand Bracket” winners on April 2.

LinkedIn Launches New Template For Campaign Planning

LinkedIn has published a new 38-page campaign planning template that includes materials to help marketers easily build around core marketing objectives, engage at all stages of the buyer’s journey and maximize return on LinkedIn campaigns.

Why it matters: As noted during Microsoft’s Q2 update in February, LinkedIn has seen a surge in engagement, with sessions growing 30 percent in the last three months of 2020 and total revenue increasing 23 percent in the period.

The details: LinkedIn’s new planning guide includes templates for optimizing single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, conversation ads, message ads and more. Marketers can add their own variables into the templates, plus access ad specs and best practices for each type of ad along the way.

Clubhouse Launches ‘Creator First’ Program

Clubhouse has announced a new accelerator program called “Clubhouse Creators First” that aims to initially help 20 creators with content creation and promotion through a stipend and brand sponsors.

Why it matters: Though Clubhouse doesn’t report user numbers, App Annie data found that during the first two weeks of February, Clubhouse jumped from over 3.5 million global downloads to 8.1 million, likely the result of big guest appearances from Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Though its creator program opens the door for more influencer marketing opportunities, brand safety might be a consideration given the app’s poor moderation policy, which some critics say allows harassment to run rampant.

The details: As per Clubhouse, the goal of its program is to equip emerging creators with the resources they need to jumpstart their shows with filming equipment, as well as help with creative development and recruiting guests and talent. 

Clubhouse also promises to provide creators with a monthly stipend and match them with brands to monetize their content. Creators have from now until March 31 to apply for “Creator First.”

YouTube Debuts Short-Form Video Experience ‘Shorts’ Beta In US

After announcing its short-form video format, Shorts, last September, and launching a beta in India, YouTube is expanding its Shorts beta to the US over the next several weeks.

Why it matters: YouTube is tapping into the rising popularity of short video content. Since launching an initial Shorts beta in India, the number of Indian channels using YouTube’s creation tools has more than tripled since the beginning of December alone. Additionally, the YouTube Shorts player has amassed over 6.5 billion daily views worldwide.

The details: With its US roll out of Shorts beta, YouTube is looking to build on the features that were part of its Indian Shorts beta–a TikTok-style feature that lets creators string multiple video clips together and the ability to remix other Shorts into your own creation.

YouTube says it will launch the ability to use audio from videos across YouTube, with the option to opt out of having your video remixed. It’s also enhancing the music selection for Shorts creators, noting that the US beta will include music catalogs from over 250 labels and publishers like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing, Warner Music Group and more.

TikTok Adds Automated Message Feature For Business Profiles

TikTok has launched a new feature for business accounts that lets brands create automated message responses, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The auto-reply function, which will simplify how brands respond to customer queries, is part of TikTok’s larger efforts to help brands scale their business on the app.

The details: As seen in this screenshot from social media expert Matt Navarra, businesses can create a welcome greeting for when customers message their business or a custom message based on keywords.

TikTok Debuts A Library Of Top-Performing Auction Ads

TikTok has created a library of top auction ads on the platform that marketers can browse by various filters including type of industry, region and time period.  

Why it matters: TikTok is looking to attract more brands to the platform and its new library of ads will give marketers insight into the kind videos that are resonating best with app’s younger users.

The details: Using TikTok’s new ad library, Marketers can search through top auction ads according to region and industries including telecommunications, traditional finance, travel, education and training, clothing and accessories and more. They can also search through the best auction ads from the past seven days or 30 days, as well as sort by click-through rate, impression or 6s video view rate.

Facebook Introduces More Monetization Tools For Creators

Facebook has announced that it’s giving creators three new ways to monetize their content on the platform, including earning money from videos as short as one minute long, expanding access to its in-stream ads and simplifying how they earn via fan ‘Stars.’ It also says it’s testing a feature that enables creators to monetize their Facebook Stories with ads that appear as stickers.

Why it matters: Facebook is looking to tap into the surge of new creators who’ve started to use the platform to earn a living or diversify their revenue stream. Facebook says that from 2019 to 2020, the number of content creators earning the equivalent of $10,000 per month grew 88 percent. During that same period, the amount of content creators earning $1,000 per month grew 94 percent.

The details: Facebook is focused on short-form video monetization, which is why it’s now letting creators earn money on videos as short as 60 seconds long with an ad running at 30 seconds. Additionally, creators can earn on videos that are three minutes or longer, with an ad shown 45 seconds in. Previously, only videos three minutes or longer were eligible for monetization with in-stream ads.

Facebook notes that it’s experimenting with in-stream ad formats that boost engagement through rewards or product interaction.

Next, Facebook has updated its video monetization eligibility criteria so that pages that have 600,000 total minutes viewed in the last 60 days and those that have five or more active video uploads or previously live videos can monetize their content with in-stream ads. Previously, Facebook only considered on-demand videos that were at least three minutes long. Creators still must publish from a page, not a profile, have at least 10,000 followers, be 18 years old and be located in a supported country.

Additionally, Facebook is now letting creators monetize their live videos with in-stream ads, a program that was previously invite-only. To qualify for the program, creators must have 60,000 live minutes viewed in the last 60 days and meet the video-on-demand program requirements.

Lastly, Facebook is encouraging creators to utilize Stars as a way to monetize livestreams, noting that over the past six months, fans sent video and gaming creators an average of 1 billion Stars per month—the equivalent of $10 million per month.

YouTube’s Fastest Growing Experience Is On Television

As part of YouTube’s “Innovation series,” chief product officer Neal Mohan has shared some insight on the trends driving digital video, including the rise of streaming YouTube on TV, as well as the platform’s plan to beta test a new integrated shopping experience that enables viewers to tap into influencers’ knowledge to make purchases directly on the platform.

Why it matters: Mohan notes that last December, over 120 million people in the US streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens, and that 41 percent of all ad-supported streaming view time in the US occurs on YouTube. The rise of connected television (CTV) gives advertisers a greater opportunity to reach people who have switched to streaming platforms, with new solutions to measure impact already underway. For example, for the first time ever this upfront season, US advertisers will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns with Nielsen.

The details: Mohan’s first spotlights the rise of streaming platforms and CTV, noting that in December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the US watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen.

Pointing to the surge in online shopping, Mohan says that YouTube creators are at the forefront of delivering authentic brand and product recommendations, which ultimately increase purchase intent. YouTube’s study conducted in partnership with Talkshoppe in 2020 found that 70 percent of YouTube viewers bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.

Plus, the growth of short-form content is here to stay. To keep up with this trend, Mohan says YouTube is developing its own short-form mobile experience called “Shorts,” the US beta for which it’ll expand in the next few weeks. YouTube first started beta testing Shorts in India last year. Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled.

Twitter Survey Users On Business Account Profile Features

In the next phase of developing its forthcoming business accounts, Twitter is asking users to rank the value of potential tools for its business profiles, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Twitter hasn’t set a launch date for business profiles, but the platform did drop hints confirming that something is in the works during its Analyst Day overview last month. New business profile features will prove vital for brands looking to increase reach and answer customer queries.

The details: As per a screenshot from social media pro Matt Navarra, shared by Social Media Today, Twitter’s business profiles could include elements such as verification by default, a business category, a new panel for business details and a new business profile badge to signify the brand’s officiality.

As part of a survey, Twitter is asking a group of users what kinds of features they’d find most valuable for business profiles, including a product showcase panel, content showcase, link to direct contact option, app store links, image gallery, a showcase of pinned tweets and customer reviews.

Twitch Explores “Brand Safety Scores” For Streamers

This week in social media news, Twitch is testing brand safety scores for streamers, Twitter says it has earned brand safety accreditation from TAG and is working on a way to natively record conversations, Instagram is testing a closed captions functionality for Stories, Snapchat announces a resource hub and webinar to help advertisers navigate Apple’s privacy updates and more.

A Peek At Twitch’s Brand Safety Scores

According to PC Gamer, cybersecurity researcher Daylam Tayari has spotted code within Twitch’s internal application program interface (API) that suggests the platform is testing “brand safety scores” that rates streamers’ friendliness based on factors like chat behavior, ban history, manual ratings from Twitch staff, age and more.

Why it matters: Many Twitch streamers have been at the center of controversy for various reasons including misbehavior, using racial slurs and bullying. The brand safety score would give advertisers reassurance that their ads are being served to the correct audiences as well as enable streamers to facilitate brand deals.

The details: A Twitch spokesperson confirmed to PC Gamer that “nothing has launched yet,” but that it’s exploring ways to improve the Twitch experience for viewers and creators, “including efforts to better match the appropriate ads to the right communities.”

Twitter Receives Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) Brand Safety Seal

Twitter recently announced that it has received global brand safety accreditation from TAG, and that it’s rolling out ‘conversation settings’ to advertisers to enable them to choose who can reply to their promoted tweets.

Why it matters: The TAG accreditation will cover Twitter’s global operations, assuring advertisers and agencies that TAG safety standards will be applied to Twitter’s digital ad agreements, monetized content takedown practices, the use of inclusion/exclusion lists and the documentation of certain policies used to reduce the risk of ad misplacement.

The details: In the same announcement, Twitter says it’s expanding its conversation settings feature, which it rolled out to users in August 2020, to advertisers. This update extends the feature to brands’ promoted-only tweets and organic tweets, as well as to those who use the platform’s most popular ad formats.

Instagram Tests Closed Captions Feature For Instagram Stories

Instagram is testing an automated captions sticker that can be applied to Instagram Stories, as spotted by Matt Navarra and reported by Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The new functionality would eliminate the issue of a user watching content with the sound off, and thereby enable brands and creators to boost their engagement.

The details: As per Social Media Today, the feature would generate closed captions for users’ stories clips in four text style options. Once applied, the captions sticker would display a prompt that says ‘Transcribing audio…”

Twitter Plans To Create A Feature That Natively Records Conversations

During an interview on The Verge’s Decoder podcast, Twitter’s head of consumer product Kayvon Beykpour said the company is working on a feature that natively records conversations.

Why it matters: For moderation purposes, Twitter currently records conversations and keeps them for 30 days. The hosts can download that data as well as the transcription, whereas competitor Clubhouse only retains conversation recordings when a room is live.

The details: According to The Verge, Beykpour said:

“I think it should be a choice. If you think that the conversation was worth playing back, you ought to be able to do that. I personally am a little bit more bullish on two things. One, obviously the host should be able to save it and do whatever they want. Maybe you host a Space, you save it, then want to go edit it. You should be able to do that.”

He added that, “letting the audience pick sound bites and share them as clips could be really, really powerful.”

Snapchat Announces Guides, Webinar To Help Advertisers Navigate iOS 14 Updates

Snapchat has created a resource hub that outlines how its ad solutions will take Apple’s forthcoming privacy updates into account to help marketers navigate the changes.

Why it matters: Snapchat says its goal is to enable personalized ad experiences, maintain user trust and help brands succeed with “actionable preparation guides.”

The details: To address the largest iOS update, AppTrackingTransparency (ATT)—which requires apps to use Apple’s modal for users to opt-in to tracking across apps and websites owned by other companies—Snapchat says it will show the tracking modal to users and continue to collect identifier for advertisers (IFDA) for opt-in events on iOS 14.

The platform’s comprehensive guides provide recommendations for advertisers running Snapchat campaigns with app install, deep link attachments or website attachments. Snapchat will flesh out these best practices during a webinar on March 11, “How to Prepare for Apple iOS 14 Changes: Web & App Advertising on Snapchat.”

Snapchat And Gannett Form Partnership To Reach Small Advertisers

Snapchat and Gannett have inked a deal that will involve Gannett promoting Snap ads to local businesses in the US and Canada through Gannett’s network of more than 100,000 small business clients, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The partnership comes as Snapchat reported a 62 percent year-over-year increase in revenue and doubling of advertisers in Q4.  

The details: According to Social Media Today, under the deal, Gannett’s sales force will have the ability to sell Snapchat advertising to SMBs, a move that Snapchat hopes will expand its reach among local businesses.

TikTok Announces A Free Summit For Small And Medium Businesses

TikTok will host a free event for SMBs, ‘Ready, Set, Grow,’ where it will share resources and best practices on how they can utilize TikTok to expand their business.

Why it matters: The event is part of TikTok’s larger effort to reach small businesses in the same way that its major competitors do, including Facebook and Google.

The details: ‘Ready, Set, Grow,’ scheduled for March 24 at 11 a.m. EST, will include a number of creators who discuss how they leverage TikTok as a business tool through SMB success stories and tips on setting up a business on TikTok with Shopify integration and creating original content.

Pinterest Announces New Advertising Tools At Its Global Summit

This week in social media news, Pinterest announces new tools for marketers, WhatsApp launches voice and video calling support for desktop, Google won’t replace third-party cookies with alternate identifiers, the TikTok app is coming to Samsung TVs in the US, Twitter says it’s testing new commerce features, Tiktok convenes a European safety advisory council and more.

Pinterest Announces New Advertising Features

During its first global ‘Pinterest Presents’ summit for marketers, Pinterest announced a few new tools, including a new video ad option and updates to its interactive trends tool.

Why it matters: The enhanced ad options come as the platform now sees nearly a billion video views everyday, and has 459 million monthly active users. Globally, both its men and Gen Z groups grew 40 percent year over year in 2020. In addition, Pinterest users say they’re 2.6 times more likely to buy something after viewing a brand’s video content on the platform.

The details: First, Pinterest’s ’Pinterest Premiere’ will enable marketers to align video ad targeting with either a specific demographic or a specific category.

Next, Pinterest updated its interactive trends tool with better insights into engagement behaviors. To improve the shopping experience, it’s working to create better catalog management tools, as well as better automated bidding and budgeting solutions. 

Lastly, Pinterest is expanding and reformatting its ‘Conversion Insights’ to allow managed advertisers to dig deeper into downstream conversions and better analyze Pinterest’s cross-channel impact. 

WhatsApp Rolls Out Voice And Video Calling Support For Desktop App

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp has added support for one-on-one voice and video calling to its desktop app, and will expand the feature to include group voice and video calls “in the future.” 

Why it matters: As per TechCrunch, WhatsApp said it processed more than 1.4 billion calls on New Year’s Eve.

The details: WhatsApp notes that video calls work “seamlessly” for the portrait and landscape orientation, and that the desktop client is “set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows,” according to TechCrunch

The update follows a number of new features WhatsApp launched recently, including opt-in biometric fingerprint, face or iris verification, ephemeral messages, videos, photos, as well as a new payment service in its largest market, India.

Google Won’t Replace Third-Party Cookies With Alternate Identifiers

Google announced that it will not replace third-party cookies with an equivalent level of tracking as the personalization they have provided for marketers has “led to an erosion of trust.” 

Why it matters: As per Google, 72 percent of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81 percent say that the potential risks they face because of data collection exceed the benefits, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The details: Google explicitly notes that once it phases out third-party cookies for good, it won’t “build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

Instead, its web products will be fueled by privacy-preserving APIs that block individual tracking while still providing results for advertisers and publishers.

Google’s latest tests on Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) found a way to remove third-party cookies from the advertising equation and instead conceal users within large crowds of consumers with similar interests.

With its next release this month, Chrome plans to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials and expects to start testing FLoC-based cohorts with marketers in Google Ads in Q2. In April, Chrome will offer the first iteration of new user controls and will expand on those controls in future releases.

TikTok To Release App For Samsung 2021 Smart TVs In US

Samsung has partnered with TikTok to bring the short-form video app to Samsung’s 2021 smart TVs in the US later this year.

Why it matters: The move may open up opportunities for in-app advertisers to reach a new cohort of consumers, particularly those who are more inclined to use TikTok on their TVs than on their mobile devices, with digital targeting capabilities.

It’s possible to view TikTok videos in other ways, for instance by using Apple Airplay, but the dedicated app will omit an extra step for users.

The details: Most Samsung smart TVs in the US will come equipped with a TikTok app in 2021. The Samsung-TikTok partnership was inked last year when the app launched on Samsung’s UK smart TVs. Two of Samsung’s models—the Sero and The Frame— can take full advantage of the social network app’s vertical layout. Both are designed to rotate out of the traditional horizontal orientation and into “portrait mode.” 

Twitter In Early Stages Of Developing New Commerce Features

According to Social Media Today, Twitter during its Analyst Day presentation said it’s in the early stages of testing new commerce options, including a Twitter card type that adds a ‘Shop’ call-to-action button and links to a transaction page.

Why it matters: With new features come new opportunities for Twitter to tap into the rising popularity of online shopping. These functions will help users discover and seamlessly buy products from brands they follow and engage with, and give brands another way to connect with Twitter users.

The details: Because the social platform is in the early stages of development, it’s uncertain what the final feature will look like or include. As per Social Media Today, the new tools will likely feature a Shop button on tweets and on-platform stores, among others. 

The rollout of said features has been delayed given Twitter’s focus on rebuilding its Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) system, which had significant issues identified in 2019.

TikTok Forms A European Safety Advisory Council 

TikTok convened a Safety Advisory Council in Europe with academics and civic leaders who will advise on the social platform’s content moderation policies and practices.

Why it matters: Having come under fire previously for data privacy concerns, TikTok is taking user safety seriously in key markets as it continues to grow in popularity. 

The details: Among the nine inaugural members of TikTok’s new safety council for Europe are: Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of nonprofit the Diana Award and founder of peer-to-peer support program Anti-Bullying Ambassadors; Ethel Quayle, professor of forensic clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh and director of COPINE; Ian Power, CEO of the Irish not-for-profit Community Creations; and Justine Atlan, lawyer and CEO of e-Enfance, the French NGO for young people’s safety online.

Disney Introduces Video Header Bidding Solution And First-Party Data Library

Disney has introduced an in-house video header bidding solution called Disney Real-Time Ad Exchange, or DRAX, that aims to give marketers increased control of and scale their campaigns. In addition, it has created a first-party data library called Disney Select to help advertisers improve customer segmentation.

Why it matters: Disney Advertising Sales anticipates a surge of over 80 percent in automated revenue, and expects programmatic sales to represent up to 50 percent of the company’s addressable and linear revenue by 2024. 

The details: DRAX will allow biddable deals to compete next to direct-sold and programmatic-guaranteed sales, provide always-on inventory access and give marketers more time to surface bids and respond accordingly.

With Disney Select, marketers can target audiences from Disney’s robust library of first-party data based on buyer behavior, household characteristics and psychographics.

Instagram Rolls Out New ‘Live Rooms’ Feature

This week in social media news, Instagram debuts a new ‘Live Rooms’ feature and Pinterest rolls out a new ‘Pinterest Shop’ collection and fund to support small, female-owned businesses for International Women’s Day.

Instagram Rolls Out Live Rooms Feature For Live

Instagram has launched a new Live feature called Live Rooms, giving users the ability to go live on the platform with up to three people at a time.

Why it matters: The pandemic led to a surge in Instagram Live usage as an alternative to FaceTime. This new feature will allow creators to explore more creative avenues, such as hosting talk shows, jam sessions and tutorials. It will also give business-savvy users the ability to increase reach, grow ventures and earn more money when followers purchase badges, shop items or donate to fundraisers.

The details: To start a Live Room, users can add a title then tap the Rooms icon to add guests—either from a list of people requesting to be added or by searching for them. To prevent intruders, Instagram has made it so that users with revoked access or those that have been blocked by any of the active participants in the Live Room can’t join the session.

Pinterest Empowers Women Through New Pinterest Shop Collection, Fund

Pinterest is celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 with a new Pinterest Shop collection comprising over 25 female-founded small businesses and products made by women. It also launched a fund to help female business owners succeed.

Why it matters: Research shows that women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout from COVID. In December 2020, they accounted for 100 percent of US jobs lost.

The details: With women turning to Pinterest to navigate recent changes, search trends point to the need for support now more than ever. Pinterest says that searches for “support small business” increased 4.5 times, AND searches for “women supporting women” increased by twofold. 

In addition, Pinterest has committed to matching donations from employees to nonprofits empowering women, like the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Global Fund for Women.

Snapchat Says It Now Reaches 70 Percent Of 13 To 24-Year-Olds

This week in social media news, Snapchat now reaches 70 percent of 13 to 24-year-olds, Twitter aims to double its total revenue by 2023, Pinterest gives users access to virtual fashion week content, a new Facebook study shows the growing importance of online groups, Twitter’s latest research shows the top trends driving conversations on the platform and more.

Snapchat Now Reaches 70 Percent Of 13-24 Year Olds

On its first investor day, Snapchat revealed to shareholders that 70 percent of its reach is 13-24 years old and 80 percent is above 18 years old.

Why it matters: New forthcoming ad offerings in high traffic areas like Snapchat’s Snap Map and Spotlight video platform will give brands a lucrative opportunity to reach the highly engaged ‘Snapchat Generation,’ which opens the app an average of 30 times a day.

The details: Snapchat’s chief business officer, Jeremi Gorman, told investors that Snap Map, its opt-in function that lets users share their location with friends on a map, currently has over 35 million businesses.

The company expects new ad products to contribute to a 50 percent increase in revenue year-over-year for the next few years.

Marketers should take advantage of the platform’s augmented reality lenses, as users said they’re 2.4 times more likely to convert when they use AR filters to try on products.

Twitter Aims To Double Total Revenue By 2023

Twitter plans to double its total annual revenue from $3.7 billion this year to $7.5 billion in 2023, the company announced on its Twitter Investor Relations account.

Why it matters: In Q4, Twitter reported reaching 192 million monetizable daily active (mDAUs) users–a bit shy of the 193.5 million it projected. It’s continuously adding new features including stories-like Fleets last year, and exploring new ones such as a subscription plan.

The details: Twitter anticipates reaching a minimum of 315 million mDAUs by Q4 2023, which would equate to a 20 percent increase from its 152 million mDAUs in Q4 2019.

Pinterest, Launchmetrics Debut Shoppable Fashion Week Initiatives

Pinterest has partnered with Launchmetrics to give Pinners exclusive access to images and videos from fall/winter 2021 virtual fashion shows and presenting designers.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s ‘Pinterest Predicts’ report found that searches for fashion-related terms like reworked clothes, soft outfits, cotton jumpsuits for women and custom hoodies surged in 2020.

The details: Starting February 14, Pinners can check the ‘Today Tab’ to discover New York Fashion Week content, including behind-the-scenes images from designers like Anna Sui and Alice+Olivia, as well as collection reviews and street style ideas. They can shop the looks directly from pins when clicking “shop similar.”

Snapchat Study Finds Increased Video Consumption Is Here To Stay

Snapchat and Omnicom Media Group conducted a two-part research study between July and October 2020 among 1,000 Gen Z and Millennials, which found that Snapchat videos drive longer and more frequent instances of higher immersion and that increased video consumption is here to stay.

Why it matters: The findings revealed that Snapchat video ads were eight percent more immersive than ads on other apps tested, and 36 percent more immersive than the overall ad industry benchmark. Respondents indicated a strong preference for watching videos on mobile that are five minutes or less.

The details: In part one of the study, 61 percent of respondents said they’re watching more videos on social media apps, 56 percent are watching more videos on streaming apps on a television and 52 percent are watching more videos on streaming apps on their phone. Over half say this increased viewing behavior will continue.

Part two of the study, which leveraged neuroscience measures to understand the emotional response to viewing social media videos, found that Snapchat videos were less likely to cause stress for younger generations than those on other social media platforms.

Videos on all three platforms tested drive attention and emotional response, but Snapchat Friend Stories had the strongest immersive index, perhaps due to the greater likelihood that stories there are viewed by real and close friends.

Facebook Study Highlights The Growing Impact Of Virtual Communities

The most important group that people worldwide belong to is a primarily online one, according to a new study conducted by Facebook and the Governance Lab. The companies interviewed leaders of 50 Facebook groups and 26 global academic and industry experts, and worked with YouGov to survey 15,000 internet users in 15 countries.

Why it matters: Despite the lack of physical proximity, online groups give their members a strong sense of community, and empower marginalized groups by cutting across traditional boundaries of race, class and other divisions.

The details: Every month, Facebook Groups are used by 1.8 billion people, more than half of which are members of five or more active groups. In the past month, there were 70 million people acting as admins and moderators of these groups.

According to the YouGov study, in 11 out of 15 countries studied, the largest proportion of respondents said that the most important group to which they belong to is virtual.

From the 50 interviews, Facebook and Governance Lab found that the flexibility and unmodified operations of online groups have created a new class of leaders. Additionally, the most successful Facebook Groups host deliberative and often contentious conversations about topics their members value, and therefore demand strong moderation.

Twitter Releases Report On Top Trends Shaping The Platform

Twitter’s latest report, ‘The Conversation: Twitter Trends’ gives brands a glimpse into the biggest trends driving conversations on the platform based on an analysis of billions of tweets from the last two years.

Why it matters: Twitter closed out 2020 with 192 million monetizable daily active users worldwide, up from 187 million in Q3.

The details: The trends driving Twitter conversations are personal and mental wellbeing, creator culture, spirituality and escapism, sustainability, technology and self-expression.

The pandemic inspired honest conversations about mental health and self-care, with mentions of mental health increasing by 74 percent and conversations around sleep as a form of self care growing by 43 percent.

Pandemic-induced unemployment coupled with the rise of the gig economy led to a 32 percent increase in conversation around entrepreneurialism and a 121 percent surge in mentions of “side hustle.”

In their search for meaning and comfort, users explored topics like astrology, embracing solitude, healing and paying it forward, leading to a 48 percent rise in conversation around spiritual energy and a 109 percent rise in conversations about tarot and psychics.

Users also considered their consumption habits, leading to a 53 percent increase in conversations around clean corporations and 29 percent increase in conversations around irresponsible packaging.

A demand for ease increased conversation around online shopping by 173 percent, and conversation around social/emotional dependence on tech by 96 percent.

A growing sense of awareness around social activism inspired a 33 percent rise in conversation about ethics and morals.

TikTok Introduces First Group Of Black Creators For New Incubator Program

After first announcing its three-month Black Creatives incubator program in January, TikTok has introduced the first 100 creators and emerging music artists selected for the initiative, which aims to nurture black creators on the platform via motivational town halls, community-building forums and educational events.

Why it matters: TikTok says it received more than 5,000 video applications in less than 24 hours after announcing the program, which it’s conducting in partnership with MACRO, a media company that represents voices of people of color.

The details: The program kicks off today with “a full day of educational programming” where the inaugural class will hear from Gabrielle Union on the importance of setting their goals and knowing their worth. Over the next three months, the creators will join the TikTok team at virtual events led by successful black business leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities.

LinkedIn Debuts New Tools For Company Pages

LinkedIn has rolled out new tools to help companies strengthen the connection between their employees, customers, partners and brand supporters, including updates to the “My Company” tab, an analytics feature to measure the impact of employee advocacy programs, free Lead Gens for product pages and more.

Why it matters: The new community-building features are in response to user feedback regarding how difficult it has been to stay connected with colleagues and customers in this new virtual environment. LinkedIn also cites research from a Glint Employee report, which found that feeling disconnected was the highest risk factor to burnout for 41 percent of employees.

The details: First up, LinkedIn’s updates to the “My Company Tab” will enable page admins to curate organic content through a new “Recommend” tool and suggest trending articles for employees to reshare via a new “Content Suggestions” tool. Plus, a new analytics feature will help companies measure the reach of their employee advocacy program.

LinkedIn has also added Lead Gen Forms—which help companies boost high-quality leads through pre-filled forms populated with a LinkedIn member’s profile data—to product pages, for free.

Additionally, a new feature for LinkedIn Stories will give pages and page admins a way to add a destination URL to their Story right from the Story frame to maximize engagement and conversion.

In the coming months, LinkedIn Elevate customers will gain access to employee verification for free on all pages with more than 10 employees.

YouTube Adds New 24 Hour Comparison Tool In Analytics

YouTube has added a new feature to creators’ channel analytics that reveals how their video performed in the first 24 hours after publishing.

Why it matters: Though a video’s performance in the first 24 hours isn’t indicative of its future performance, YouTube says it added the feature because the first 24 hours is typically when creators want to compare their video performance.  

The details: Creators can find the new feature under channel analytics in advanced mode, then click “compare to” to see the “first 24 hours video performance.” There, a scatter plot compares several videos across the same time period, and lets you choose what metrics to compare against.

Snapchat Research Shows Length Isn’t A Predictor Of Ad Efficiency

According to the findings of a joint study by Snapchat, Magna and the IPG Media Lab, six-second Snapchat ads convinced more consumers to consider buying the products featured in commercials compared to 15-second ads.

Why it matters: Snapchat notes that 15-second ads are valuable for increasing awareness, but specifically for ads that market new products. Overall, Snapchat was shown to be more effective at improving awareness and purchase intent than the online video platforms tested.

The details: Leveraging a digital lab-based experimental design, Magna surveyed over 7,700 participants from a panel representative on both PC and mobile devices, with their media habits assigned to either Snapchat, a video aggregator or a full-episode player.

Magna controlled the ads served to participants, who were asked to complete an online survey measuring awareness, brand perception and purchase intent.

They found that regardless of length, full-screen vertical ads on Snapchat drove more than twice the lift in awareness than other platforms tested.

Six-second ads on the platform were also more persuasive than 15-second ads for both younger and older generations, with participants considering the shorter ads “immersive and innovative.” Younger participants were less likely to feel that 15-second ads were “innovative” or “offer new info.”

Snapchat gauged the incrementality it could offer by developing creative custom for the platform rather than cutting down from longer-length assets. It found that cut-downs and customized creative performed similarly, and upon reviewing persuasion across all ads tested, the delta was consistent for the two separate creative executions.

Snapchat’s Generation Global Report Reveals Users’ $4.4 Trillion Spending Power

This week in social media news, Snapchat publishes new research on its users’ spending power, TikTok and UFC strike a multi-year partnership, LinkedIn offers free job posts and ads to speed up the vaccine roll-out, Twitter launches a full live test of its audio DM feature, Facebook launches a new site dedicated to helping app marketers respond to Apple’s new IDFA changes and more.

Snapchat’s Generation Global Report Highlight Gen Z’s $4.4 Trillion Spending Power

Snapchat’s latest research reveals global insights on its user demographics, values, spending habits, usage of augmented reality and views on brands, highlighting the ways marketers can engage the Gen Z audience, which Snap says holds $4.4 trillion in global spending power.

Why it matters: The top reason Snapchatters say they use the platform is to connect with friends and family, with 70 percent reporting that they’re spending more time with their families due to the pandemic.

The details: According to Snap’s findings, its users are willing to outspend non-Snapchatters on common purchases across every retail and service category—52 percent more on a new cell phone, 50 percent more on a specialty drink, 50 percent more on shampoo and 25 percent more on a music service.

Brands that create compelling narratives and interactive experiences can build strong connections with the cohort, as half of them enjoy learning the backstory of products they buy. Additionally, Snap users are three times more likely than non-Snapchatters to say they’re using augmented reality (AR) to try on products more than they did one year ago.

Fifty-three percent of users believe they have the power to make social changes and contribute to activist movements using social platforms, and half say they’re less likely to buy from a brand that chooses to promote the opposite side of social issues that matter to them.

Three out of four view themselves as inclusive—in the US alone, Snap users are over twice as likely to be black, and almost three times more likely to be Hispanic or Latinx than older generations.

Snapchatters are authentic and value the ability to form their own opinions, with 70 percent of Snap users saying they want their online image to represent the “real me.”

TikTok And UFC Strike Multi-Year Partnership

TikTok and UFC announced a multi-year partnership to deliver exclusive weekly livestreams featuring pre-and post-fight access, behind-the-scenes footage and engagement with UFC athletes.

Why it matters: UFC has 6.3 million TikTok followers, making it the third most-followed sports league since joining the platform in October 2019.

The details: The partnership will kick off on February 20 with a livestream from Blaydes vs. Lewis at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Throughout the year, users will have access to hundreds of pieces of content via UFC’s TikTok channels, including UFC, UFC Russia, UFC Brasil and UFC Europe.

LinkedIn Offers Healthcare Companies And Nonprofits Free Job Listings, Ads

In an ongoing effort to accelerate vaccine distribution, LinkedIn said it will let healthcare companies post jobs for free, and offer free ads to select nonprofits that are recruiting volunteers to distribute the vaccine.

Why it matters: LinkedIn first announced its support to help full critical healthcare roles get in April when it enabled sectors such as hospitals and nonprofits to post new critical jobs for free for three months. In addition, it pledged to bring similar healthcare roles front and center on the LinkedIn homepage and jobs homepage.

The details: Now through May 15, healthcare organizations, pharmacies and governments with hiring needs in direct support of the vaccine can post jobs for free on LinkedIn. Members will be notified of these jobs through push notifications, real-time alerts, in the LinkedIn feed and in job search.

Additionally, LinkedIn is offering free ads to select nonprofits and disaster response organizations that are recruiting at least one thousand volunteers to help distribute vaccines through June 30. Organizations that distribute critical information about the vaccine, such as the UN Verified Initiative, World Health Organization and The Ad Council, will also have access to free ads.

Twitter Debuts Test Of Voice Message Direct Message Feature

Twitter is rolling out a test of its voice clips within direct messages to users in Japan, India and Brazil, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The latest experiment is an extension of a feature that enables iOS users to record and tweet with audio, which Twitter rolled out last June. Enabling audio within DMs could work to enhance the experience for vision-impaired users, or simply mimic a voice-enabled texting experience to encourage users to spend more time on the app.

The details: As per Social Media Today, voice recordings in DMs are currently only available on iOS, and must be capped at 140 seconds long.

Facebook Launches New Site To Help App Advertisers Navigate IDFA Changes

Facebook has rolled out a new site where app marketers can access resources and information to help them monetize their app and respond to changes to Apple’s Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA), which are anticipated to arrive in early spring.

Why it matters: Apple’s IDFA updates will enable users to withhold their IDFA data, which will significantly hinder the way game and app companies target audiences. Apple will enforce the change for all third-party data sources and data-sharing agreements. However, Apple can still use data per their terms of service.

The details: Facebook’s new site includes gaming app monetization guides that will be updated frequently, a Blueprint Course on monetizing with Audience Network, case studies on how other app developers grew their app and tips on integrating bidding in your app business.

TikTok Kicks Off Its Second Virtual ‘Fashion Month’ 

After giving TikTok users access to runway shows and luxury fashion in September of last year, the platform is kicking off its second Fashion Month, which aims to celebrate inclusivity and diversity in fashion. Together with IMG, TikTok’s official editorial partner, TikTok will host a series of live streams featuring shows and moments with popular fashion creators.

Why it matters: With in-person fashion shows canceled due to the pandemic, designers and brands have a major opportunity to promote their collections through TikTok’s live streams and hashtags during fashion month, including #TikTokFashionMonth, #Upcycling, #OnTheRunway and #StyleHacks.

The details: TikTok has seven live streams slated for February and March, including a ‘Get Ready with Me’ makeover session with Tan France, a Balmain runway show and a finale party during which users can shop looks modeled by creators and athletes.

TikTok will feature premium editorial content across the IMG network throughout global fashion weeks from New York to London and Milan to Paris.

It has partnered with the coordinator of Paris Fashion Week, La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), to spotlight emerging designers and brands.

Additionally, Tiktok is working with the British Fashion Council to help support emerging designers via mentoring and masterclasses as part of their NEWGEN program.

Twitch Sees Over 2 Billion Hours Watched In January

In January, Twitch surpassed the 2 billion hours watched threshold, and Facebook Gaming exceeded 439 million hours watched, according to StreamElements and Rainmaker.gg’s ‘State of the Stream’ January 2021 report.

Why it matters: The huge boost means that Twitch and Facebook each increased over 117 percent in hours watched year-over-year.  

The details: StreamElements notes that for the first time in a long time, all of Twitch’s top 10 games experienced significant growth, particularly Rust—which saw a 1,226 percent boost in month-over-month hours watched. Still in first place for hours watched is Twitch’s ‘Just Chatting.’ Twitch’s Music category entered the top 20 with more than 24 million hours watched in January, compared to 4.6 million last year—a 428 percent YoY growth.  

TikTok Shares Insight On Top 2020 Categories In ‘What’s Next’ Report

This week in social media news, TikTok publishes its What’s Next 2020 trends report for 19 global markets, Pinterest announces its first marketing summit, Instagram says it won’t promote reposted TikToks, Pinterest reaches 459 million monthly actives, Instagram debuts a ‘Recently Deleted’ feature and more.

TikTok Publishes Its 2020 Trend Report For 19 Markets 

TikTok published its ‘What’s Next’ trend report for 19 global markets, including the US, UK, Korea, France and more. The reports are based on TikTok’s performance from January to November, and highlight the content categories that grew the most in 2020.

Why it matters: TikTok’s trends recap is part of the app’s larger effort to help brands reach its 1 billion user base and get the most return on their ad investments. It recently announced three forthcoming ecommerce integrations, including affiliate links for creators, the ability for brands to showcase product catalogs and live-streamed shopping within the app.

The details: The findings of the report are based on nearly a year’s worth of performance, as well as the biggest hashtags related to the top categories on the platform.

Among the most popular content categories on TikTok in 2020 globally were: diary/vlog, comedy, video games, movie and TV, pets, romance, cartoon and animation, cooking, sports and outfit.

The content categories that saw the highest growth last year were: news and events, music, photography, sports news, environment protection, livestock and poultry, education, interview and experiment, home and garden, and camping.

In the US, the home and garden topic grew 156 percent, camping increased 113 percent, video gaming grew 104 percent and cooking grew by 57 percent.

Pinterest Announces ‘Pinterest Presents’ Advertising Summit

Pinterest is set to host its first-ever summit for marketers, ‘Pinterest Presents,’ on March 3. Marketers from the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada and Australia can tune in on March 3 to hear from local speakers from their respective regions.

Why it matters: The pandemic accelerated Pinterest’s growth, as evidenced by its Q4 update which shows it added 17 million additional monthly actives and grew its revenue by 76 percent year-over-year.

The details: As per Pinterest: “Pinterest is going to share your audience’s plan for 2021. Make sure you’re part of them. We’ll share Pinterest’s plans, too, like a different vision for the future of the internet and online advertising from our co-founder & CEO Ben Silbermann . . .”

Speakers for Pinterest’s US summit will include five members from the platform’s leadership team, as well as Tilting the Lens founder and CEO Sinéad Burke and vice president, global brand engagement and design, American Express, Walter Frye.

Instagram Says It Won’t Promote Repurposed TikTok Videos

Many users have been reposting their TikTok on Instagram’s TikTok clone, Reels. In a new post featuring Reels best practices, Instagram is discouraging that behavior, noting that “these types of reels won’t be recommended as often to people who don’t yet follow you.”

Why it matters: Instagram confirmed to The Verge that it has updated its algorithm to downrank posts such as reposted TikTok videos, saying:

“We’re building on what we’ve learned from Explore to recommend fun and entertaining videos in places like the Reels tab, and personalize the experience. We are getting better at using ranking signals that help us predict whether people will find a reel entertaining and whether we should recommend it.”

The details: In its new list of Reels do’s and don’ts, Instagram suggests not posting a Reel that: is blurry due to low-resolution, is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks), is uploaded with a border around it, or has the majority of the image covered by text.

It says that these kinds of Reels will be shown the way they always have been to their followers, such as on their profile or in feed, but that they won’t be recommended as often to new followers.

Pinterest Debuts New iOS Widget, ‘Interests’

After a strong Q4, Pinterest has launched a new widget option for iOS called “Interests,” which enables users to receive their favorite Pinterest content daily based on their preferred cadence.

Why it matters: According to Pinterest, since launching the iOS widget in October, more than 2 million users worldwide have added the widget to their home screen.  

The details: The widget aims to make it easier for Pinners to regularly access the content they love most.

Pinterest Adds 17 More Million Users In Q4, Reaching 459 Million Actives

According to its latest performance report, Pinterest welcomed 17 million additional users in Q4, taking its total user base to 459 million monthly actives.

Why it matters: Pinterest was able to maintain its growth from Q3, during which time it reached 442 monthly actives. In 2020 overall, Pinterest added 124 million additional users.

The details: In the US, Pinterest’s monthly usage grew 11 percent year-over-year (YoY); globally, it grew 46 percent.

In Q4, Pinterest generated $706 million in revenue, a 76 percent increase YoY, primarily driven by an “earlier and sustained holiday season and product improvements that helped advertisers scale budgets and achieve more conversions.” 

Said improvements include Pinterest’s new Story Pins and product tagging features.

Instagram Debuts ‘Recently Deleted’ Feature

Instagram has announced a new feature called ‘Recently Deleted’ that lets users review and restore deleted content in the app.

Why it matters: Instagram says people have been asking for the feature, and that it will help users restore content that hackers might have deleted when they gain access to an account.

The details: To access the new feature, users can go to their Settings then to Account, where they’ll see the Recently Deleted folder. Instagram will first verify they’re the rightful account holder when permanently deleting or restoring content.

When users delete photos, videos, Reels, Stories and IGTV videos, the content is removed from their account immediately and moved to the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder.

Deleted Stories that aren’t in their archive will remain in the folder for up to 24 hours, but everything else will be automatically deleted 30 days later.

Facebook Is Testing A Feature That Would Promote Instagram Reels On Facebook Watch

Facebook is building on a feature it has been testing that would enable users to share their Instagram Reels to Facebook Watch, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: In December, Facebook started testing a new option that would let Reels creators share their clips to the Facebook News Feed and to Facebook Watch. Now, it seems a more official version of that test is underway with a select group of users on Instagram.

The details: As seen in this post from Varun Banur, Facebook is prompting users to share their Reels clips to Facebook, noting that their content will be shown as recommended content on Facebook to anyone based on what’s relevant to them. The prompt also notes that the user doesn’t need a Facebook account to access the feature.

Facebook Launches A Series Of Initiatives For Black History Month

As part of its ongoing commitment to uphold black voice and businesses, Facebook is launching a docuseries called “Written By” on its company page to promote conversations about black history and a miniseries showcasing emerging black musicians.

Why it matters: In June, Facebook committed $200 million to support black-owned businesses and organizations as part of its broader $1.1 billion investment in black and diverse suppliers in the US. 

Facebook says that over the years it has invested $25 million in support of black content partnerships.

It has also allocated $10 million over two years to fund the Black Gaming Creator Program, which helps black gamers apply for partnerships status and exclusive benefits such as mentorship and training on the platform.

The details: Facebook’s “Written By” docuseries will feature stories by director and cinematographer Bradford Young.

Facebook is also launching a new four-episode miniseries to highlight emerging and veteran black musical artists, viewable on Messenger’s Watch Together.

The network is also debuting We The Culture, a creative community started by a team of black Facebook employees. The page’s goal is to partner with black creators and spark community.

On Facebook and Instagram, the hashtag #ShareBlackStories and virtual workshops will celebrate black innovation.