Snapchat Adds New Barcode Scanning Option For Food And Wine Labels

This week in social media news, Snapchat adds new a barcode feature that lets users snap food and wine labels, Instagram announces new tools that will ensure influencers disclose when they’ve been incentivized to promote a product, Google expands its visual search features, Facebook debuts new Messenger API to support businesses on Instagram, Snapchat launches a new ‘Sounds’ music feature and more.


Snapchat Adds Barcode Scanning Feature For Food And Wine Labels

After announcing some new additions for its Snap Camera at its annual partner summit in June, Snapchat has launched a new function that lets users scan food and wine labels, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The new scanning option is part of Snapchat’s larger efforts to bolster its visual recognition capacity and follows the app’s addition of a dog breed scanner during the summer. Though Snapchatters long been able to identify products via Amazon and songs via Shazam using the tool.

The details: When scanning a barcode for certain food items, Snapchat will display a new set of nutritional information for that item. Upon scanning wine bottles, Snapchat will provide data such as ratings, prices and places to buy the wine via an integration with third party apps like Yuka and Vivino.


Instagram Vows To Crack Down On Influencers Who Don’t Disclose Paid Partnerships

After a recent investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found many Instagram influencers were failing to clearly label if they’ve been paid for a post, Instagram has announced that it will launch new tools globally that will require influencers to disclose endorsement before they can publish their post.

Why it matters: The move marks a momentous step toward eradicating the ambiguity around influencer posts, which if not clearly labeled as #ad, have the potential to mislead consumers. According to a Harvard Business Review study, in late 2018, 88 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe that influencers, in general, recommend brands because they are paid to do so.

The details: As part of Instagram’s initiative, ahead of posting users will be prompted to confirm whether they’ve been paid to promote a product. In addition, Instagram’s “paid partnership” tool will be extended to all users globally.

Covering all its bases, Instagram has also said it will deploy technology and algorithms to assess when influencers haven’t disclosed if their post is an #ad.

Additionally, Instagram will create a tool that enables advertisers to understand how their products are being promoted with the option of removing unauthorized or inadequately labeled posts.

The new changes will take effect by June 2021.


Google Expands Visual Search Features To Enhance Shopping And Remote Learning Experiences

Google has expanded its search-based features to include new ways to use Google Lens and augmented reality (AR) for remote learning and shopping, per a company blog post.

Why it matters: Google’s new tools aim to streamline consumers’ experiences during the pandemic, a time when most are adjusting to remote learning and avoiding in-store shopping.

The details: First up, Google Lens can now recognize 15 billion things, up from 1 billion two years ago. Lens can translate more than 100 languages, plus it can pronounce words and sentences out loud. Lens can assist parents with their children’s remote learning via step-by-step guides and videos on foundational concepts to solve math, chemistry, biology and physics problems.

Next, users soon will be able to use Lens to discover new apparel while browsing on their phone. When you tap and hold an image on the Google app or Chrome on Android, Lens will pinpoint the exact or similar items, and suggest ways to style it.

Lastly, Google is testing a feature in the US that will let car shoppers search for a car on Google and see an AR model right in front of them.


Facebook Debuts New Messenger API To Support Businesses On Instagram

Facebook has announced new MessengerAPI features that enable businesses to integrate their Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows.

Why it matters: Up until now, businesses could only respond to customer DMs through Facebook’s unified business box and the Instagram app, making it harder for bigger brands to manage a large number of messages. Facebook says that over the last year, total daily conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram grew over 40 percent.

The details: This new update means businesses can manage messages initiated by customers throughout their Instagram presence, including their profile, shops and stories.

The update will also bring Facebook Shops messaging features to the Messenger API.

Messenger API support for Instagram is in beta with brands like Adidas, Glossier and Nars currently testing it. Businesses who are interested in using the API post-beta can sign up for the waitlist.


Facebook Publishes New Insights On Groups Usage During Pandemic

Facebook has released the results of a 15-country study it conducted with YouGov in August among 15,000 people who are currently members of online and in-person communities to understand how the role of groups has changed since the pandemic. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said the most important group they’re part of now operates online.

Why it matters: The study follows the launch of Facebook’s new features aimed at making it easier for users to chat in groups, hold Q&A sessions and share a photo about a particular topic.

The details: According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents said they have given some form of support to others during the pandemic through their preferred group.

In addition, 98 percent of people who are part of an online group said they feel a sense of belonging to that group while 33 percent said they feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with their group than with their friends and family.

Community leaders enhanced the group experience as 58 percent of respondents said that one of the top qualities that makes a community successful is having effective leaders.


Snapchat Launches New ‘Sounds’ Music Feature

Snapchat has launched a new feature for iOS Snapchatters globally called ‘Sounds’ that lets users add music clips from a catalog of music from emerging and established artists to their videos.

Why it matters: Snapchat is following in the footsteps of TikTok, where music capabilities have boosted the popularity of viral dance challenges and TikTok creators’ videos in general.

The details: Snapchat says it has multi-year agreements with major and independent publishers and labels such as Warner Music Group, Merlin, NMPA, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt, Warner Chappell Music and BMG Music Publishing.

When a Snapchatter receives a Snap with sounds, they can swipe up to view the album art, song title and artist’s name. A “Play This Song” link then lets users listen to the full song on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.

Snapchat’s ‘Sounds’ kicked off with an exclusive debut of Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco’s new song, “Lonely.”

In the coming months, Snapchat will roll out a feature worldwide that lets users create their own sounds and add them to Snaps.


TikTok Announces Partnership With HackerOne To Enhance User Data Privacy

Timed to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, TikTok has announced a partnership with HackerOne and a series of TikTok videos showing users how to create strong passwords.

Why it matters: In recent months, TikTok has ramped up efforts to protect user data and increase transparency around its practices as a way to quell the federal government’s concerns over the app’s ties to China.

The details: TikTok is expanding its existing vulnerability disclosure policy to a global public bug bounty program through its partnership with HackerOne, whose clients include the US Department of Defense and General Motors. As per the blog post, the partnership will help TikTok uncover potential threats to its security.

TikTok’s #BeCyberSmart video series will feature TikTok employees instructing users on how to make complex passwords, use a password manager to better protect their accounts and more cyber security tips.


Zoom Debuts Paid Events Online Platform ‘OnZoom’

Zoom has launched an events platform and marketplace called OnZoom that enables paid users to create, host and monetize one-time events, drop-ins and event series for up to 1,000 attendees.

Why it matters: The debut of Zoom’s digital events platform comes just a day after the company announced it’s rolling out one of four of its end-to-end encryption meeting options. The platform’s security measures came under scrutiny during the pandemic as users complained of uninvited guests gate-crashing Zoom meetings and bombarding attendees.

The details: With OnZoom, paid Zoom users will be able to schedule and host online events, list and sell tickets, share and promote public events via email and social media and reach new audiences.

The marketplace will feature a directory of public events where users can purchase tickets online, pay for events via PayPal and major credit cards and donate to nonprofit organizations through events with active fundraisers. In addition, users can favorite, share and rate OnZoom events.


TikTok Increases Brand Safety Measures Via Partnership With OpenSlate

TikTok has announced a partnership with the brand safety platform OpenSlate to give advertisers confidence about the placement of their ads.

Why it matters: On its way to the top of the app charts, TikTok has faced various allegations, from compromising user data to encouraging questionable content, giving advertisers concerns around brand safety.

The details: Through the TikTok Brand Safety Solution tool, verified by OpenSlate, TikTok will apply a “high level of safety” to verify and filter content and categories that appear next to branded ads and content. The partnership will enable brands to know and track where their ads are running

TikTok Deal Would Affect Marketer’s Ad Plans For 2021

This week in social media news, a new study shows marketers believe Oracle and Walmart’s acquisition of TikTok would affect their advertising plans, Snapchat publishes a study examining how the pandemic is changing Gen Z’s school experiences, Facebook introduces new branding and features for Messenger, YouTube tests product tags with creators, Facebook launches the #BuyBlack Friday program to support small businesses and Instagram introduces three new audio features for Reels.


Marketers Say TikTok Deal With Oracle, Walmart Would Affect Their 2021 Advertising Plans

According to a survey from Vancery, 73 percent of marketing executives said a deal for Oracle and Walmart to purchase TikTok would affect their 2021 advertising plans.

Why it matters: The findings come as the federal government last week appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from inflicting a ban on TikTok, further escalating the issue between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and the White House, reports The New York Times.

The details: Among the marketers who said Oracle and Walmart’s acquisition of TikTok would impact their plans, the most common effects would be changes in ad products (94 percent), new consumer behaviors from increased usage of TikTok (75 percent) and new products (38 percent).

In addition, 86 percent of marketers are concerned the deal would make Oracle a leader in advertising data and 41 percent believe the deal gives Walmart a chance to outperform Amazon in ecommerce.


Snapchat Publishes Report On Pandemic’s Impact On Gen Z Education

As students head back to school, Snapchat has released the findings of a study examining the immediate and long-term effects of the pandemic on education, from the perspective of Gen Z Snapchatters aged 13-24 around the globe.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s revenue growth slowed in the wake of the pandemic earlier this year, but the app has seen an increase in usage since lockdowns, with daily active users (DAUs) growing 17 percent year-over-year in Q2. Still, analysts predict Snap’s Q3 earnings will decline.

The details: According to the report, 84 percent of US Snapchatters’ schooling has changed this year due to the pandemic, moving at least partially to remote learning. A quarter of users report postponing their school plans this year; the figure is higher in Brazil (37 percent) and Japan (38 percent).

The survey also found that students believe the value of school goes beyond classroom learning. For example, Snapchatters in Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia ranked making friends as their top priority while users in India and Norway said social experiences.

The new normal for students has also become a source of stress because of the pandemic.

Lastly, over half (59 percent) of US Snapchatters say it’s important to get good grades and just 25 percent of the same group believe you need a degree to be successful.


Facebook Updates Messenger Logo And Adds New Features

On the heels of introducing cross-communication between Instagram and Messenger, Facebook has announced new Messenger branding and features including a new Messenger logo and new chat themes.

Why it matters: As per Facebook: “10 million people customize their conversations every day so we know that personalization is important when it comes to how you connect. Together with new delight features like selfie stickers and vanish mode that are coming soon, making your chats fun and personalized has never been easier.”

The details: Messenger’s new logo, which features a color gradient tone, “reflects a shift to the future of messaging,” according to Facebook.  

The app is also adding new chat themes, like love and tie-dye, and custom reactions.


YouTube Tests Product Tags With Limited Number Of Creator Channels

YouTube is testing a feature that would enable creators to tag and track products featured in their video, as well as integration with Shopify for selling items through YouTube, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The expanded shopping tools are part of YouTube’s larger shift toward ecommerce, which it ramped up as the pandemic crushed advertising. In early August, to help its creators diversify their revenue, YouTube rolled out subscriptions, from which it takes a 30 percent cut.

The details: According to Bloomberg, YouTube creators will have control over the products displayed in their videos. Then data will be linked to analytics and shopping tools from Google.


Facebook Launches #BuyBlack Friday Program To Support Small Businesses

Facebook has announced an initiative called #BuyBlack Friday to support small black-owned businesses through free resources, app features and live virtual events. #BuyBlack is part of Facebook’s three-month-long Season of Support, an initiative providing free resources, education and training to help small businesses survive the holiday season.

Why it matters: Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by COVID-19, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses, according to Facebook. Since March, more than 3.5 million people on Facebook in the US have joined new groups created to support black-owned businesses.

The details: Starting October 30, Facebook will introduce features in the app that encourage people to create posts supporting black-owned businesses. Facebook will offer interested businesses a toolkit so they can promote #BuyBlack through their own channels.

Facebook is also launching a range of events and resources within its Lift Black Voices Hub and on the Facebook app’s Facebook Page, including the #BuyBlack Friday Show, which will air live every Friday from October 30 to November 27 and feature black businesses, musical artists and entertainers.

Later this month, Facebook will release its #BuyBlack Gift Guide, which will showcase products from US black-owned businesses across a range of categories.


Instagram Rolls Out New Audio Features For Reels

Instagram is introducing three new Reels features to encourage users to engage in musical trends in the app.

Why it matters: Expanding the audio features on Reels is Facebook’s way of aligning itself with the music usage trends displayed by TikTok users.

The details: The first new Reels feature enables users to save sounds within the app that they can use in their own Reels clips. Users can now also DM each other collections of Reels that use specific audio. Lastly, Reels users can browse sounds and music, plus Reels clips that feature that audio.

Twitch Captures Majority Of Mixer Streamers After Its Shutdown

This week in social media news, Twitch captures a majority of Mixer streamers after its shutdown, Instagram updates the Threads app, TikTok users say ads on the app blend in with the content, Snapchat adds a new ad product it tested in April called First Commercial, Triller launches programmatic ads and more.


Twitch Represents 91.1 Percent Of Market Share For Hours Streamed

According to Streamlabs & Stream Hatchet’s Q3 Live Streaming Industry Report, audiences watched over 7.46 billion hours of content across all live streaming platforms. YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming saw growth in hours watched while Twitch made gains in hours streamed.

Why it matters: Facebook Gaming passed 1 billion hours watched for the first time and Twitch captured a majority of Mixer’s streamers following its shutdown.

The details: Though audiences watched 7.46 billion hours of live streaming content in Q3, the number is slightly down from Q2—7.71 billion hours. Still, the live streaming industry grew by 91.8 percent year-over-year, compared to 3.89 billion hours watched in Q3 2019.

At 91.1 percent, Twitch’s market share for hours streamed increased 14.5 percent from last quarter, likely the result of Mixer’s shutdown, which captured 14.2 percent of all content live-streamed in Q2.

YouTube Gaming saw the most growth for hours watched with a gain of 156 million hours from Q2 to Q3. Though it decreased by 1.2 percent since Q2, YouTube Gaming now represents 5.5 percent of the market share.

Viewers watched 1.04 billion hours of content on Facebook Gaming, a 7.2 percent increase from 970 million hours in Q2. YoY, this gives Facebook Gaming a 297 percent increase from 269 million hours watched. Facebook Gaming now represents 14 percent of the market share for hours watched, a 1.4 percent increase from last quarter.

The report also shows League of Legends continues to lead as the most popular global esports title while Just Chatting was the second most-watched category across all live stream platforms.


Instagram Offers Full Inbox Experience With Update To Threads App

Instagram has updated its Threads app to enable users to message any Instagram user, after previously only allowing users to message people they had added to their “Close Friends” list.

Why it matters: The Threads update comes after Facebook introduced cross-app communication between Instagram and Messenger. “Cross-app communication is an opt-in update for people using Instagram, and will not be enabled for Threads,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The details: In a nutshell, the update means Instagram has merged the Threads app with the concept of its standalone mobile messaging app, Direct, for which Instagram ended support in 2019.

First spotted by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong, the update makes it so users can allow messages from anyone, not just close friends. Thread app users will also have the option to turn on notifications for close friends only.

During its launch week last year, the Threads app, which via quick photo-sharing features serves a similar function as Snapchat, was downloaded 220,000 times—fewer than 0.1 percent of Instagram’s billion-plus users.


In TikTok’s Nielsen Study, Users Say Ads Blend In With The Content

In a new US study that TikTok commissioned Nielsen to conduct, respondents said that advertising on TikTok feels more genuine and trustworthy than ads on other channels, and that they find new products from ads on the app.

Why it matters: The findings reinforce what brands stand to gain by marketing on TikTok, which is the ability to reach young consumers, an increasingly conscious group who prefers authentic interactions with brands.

TikTok’s insights also echo the results of a recent Piper Sandler report, which found TikTok surpassed Instagram as US teens’ second-favorite social media app.

The details: When it comes to making users feel comfortable in their own skin and serving users authentic ads, TikTok checks all the boxes. Sixty percent of users said they felt a sense of community while on TikTok. Respondents also reported feeling energized, motivated and entertained while using the app.

Users also associated the advertising on TikTok with being more unique and trustworthy compared to other channels. In addition, 52 percent said they find new products from ads on TikTok.


Snapchat Rolls Out ‘First Commercial’ Ad Product To US And UK Advertisers

After testing a new ad offering called ‘First Commercial’ in April, Snapchat is launching the “high-impact” product to US and UK advertisers. First Commercial enables advertisers to ensure their ad is the first one users see on a given day when they watch Snap’s original shows in Discover.

Why it matters: In Q2, Snapchatters’ watch time of Discover content increased over 45 percent year-over-year, according to the company. In addition, Snapchat says its original shows have reached over 75 percent of the US Gen Z population this year. Snap has plans to expand its Show offerings later this year and in 2021.

The details: As per Snapchat, First Commercial runs within brand-safe, mobile programming. Available in Ads Manager, the new offering enables advertisers to run ‘Extended Play Commercials’ up to three minutes in length, transact via self service and turn on conversion tracking.



Triller Launches Programmatic Ads With Consumable

TikTok’s rival, Triller, has teamed up with Consumable to add programmatic advertising between short-form videos on the app, the company announced in a press release.

Why it matters: In response to the government’s potential ban on TikTok, many of the app’s users migrated to Triller. As TikTok’s future remains up in the air, Triller is actively seeking ways to compete with the app. In September, Triller said it had more than 100 million monthly active users (MAUs), but six ex-employees told Business Insider that Triller only has 2 million MAUs on iOS and 484,000 MAUs on Android.

The details: As per the press release, Consumable pairs “engaging bite-size content with digital display and video ads,” to create ads that entertain hard-to-engage consumers.


Slack Is Testing Two New Features—Stories And Push-To-Talk Audio

Slack is getting ready to launch stories that enable team members to provide a “more human way” of giving updates on projects, as well as push-to-talk audio calls to reduce the frequency of text conversations, reports The Verge.

Why it matters: Slack’s forthcoming features come as the company reported a Q2 net loss of $68.6 million and revenue of $209.1 million.

The details: Slack’s chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield told The Verge that the Instagram-like stories feature will enable users to pre-record messages and thereby eliminate the need to hold certain meetings.

Slack is also planning to launch instant audio, a feature that’s permanently associated with a channel and enables people to have spontaneous calls with co-workers.

Both features are in the prototype phase. Butterfield says they’ll arrive sometime this year.


Pinterest Announces ‘Pinterest Creators Festival’

On October 15, Pinterest is hosting a virtual event, “Pinterest Creators Festival,” featuring creators, entrepreneurs, editors and internal Pinterest experts who will share tips on how to create engaging pins and grow your Pinterest audience. In addition, the platform has launched a new campaign, “Make the World Make,” featuring 10 creators whose content challenges societal norms and provides inspiration.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s digital festival will likely serve as a means to educate users on the platform’s new offerings, including permanent Story Pins for creators and a new shopping tool for advertisers that involves ads alongside visual search results.

The details: Among the 21 speakers who will present at the online event, which is free to attend, are former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, Pinterest global head of creator marketing Colleen Stauffer and founder of Momofuku David Chang.

To register, users must enter their email and Pinterest URL, as well as answer questions about their reason for attending and whether they currently create content for Pinterest.


Facebook To Test Shopping On Instagram Reels

Facebook announced it will start testing shopping within its newly launched Instagram Reels later this year. It’s also making shopping via IGTV videos available globally.  

Why it matters: The global expansion of shopping on IGTV will enable more creators to monetize their audience and help promote brand partners’ products.

The details: Now Instagram users can browse products and buy them across IGTV, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, either within the app or on the seller’s website. 

Instagram says it has plans to make shoppable IGTV videos discoverable on Instagram Shop.

Facebook would normally take a cut from purchases made within the Instagram app but the company said it’s holding off on doing so until the end of the year.


TikTok Users Can Vote For Three Categories In 2020 Billboard Music Awards

TikTok has partnered with the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, which is set to air live on NBC on October 14, to enable fans to vote for three fan-voted categories, Billboard Chart Achievement Awards, Top Social Artist and Top Collaboration.

Why it matters: TikTok has disrupted the music industry, helping new and established artists alike promote songs and enhance their fanbase. For example, in April 2019, when Lil Nas X uploaded his year-old song “Old Town Road” onto TikTok, the tune went viral, spawned a dance challenge and eventually made its way to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

The details: From now until October 13, TikTok users can cast their vote for their favorite song or artist in the fan-voted categories via a banner atop TikTok’s Discover page.


Facebook Launches New Engagement Features For Groups

At the digital Facebook Communities Summit, the company announced new engagement features, tools for admins and a new group format in time for the decennial anniversary of Facebook Groups.

Why it matters: According to Facebook, in the past month 70 million admins and moderators worldwide were involved with groups, which is used by more than 1.8 billion people each month.

The details: First up, Facebook has introduced a new set of tools for group admins, which includes an automated post moderation tool called Admin Assist, a new way to organize topics via hashtags, the ability to monetize public groups, the option to take an online community management certification course and insights on reach and engagement of each post in your group.


New group features aimed at helping admins engage with their members include real-time chats, conversation-starting prompts, text-based Q&A sessions and the ability to set a custom profile photo for different groups you’re part of.

Facebook says it’s also testing new ways for people to discover conversations in public groups on and off Facebook. For example, related discussions will appear in the news feed when someone posts a link or reshares a post on Facebook and conversations from public groups will be visible outside the Facebook app, like on web search results. Upon visiting the groups tab, users can see posts from public groups related to their interests.

Prospective members can now join a conversation before joining a public group.

Lastly, Facebook is introducing a new group type where all members post with only photos, videos or text, a response to the increase in groups hyper-focused around one specific topic and format.

Twitch Debuts ‘Soundtrack By Twitch,’ A Rights-Cleared Music Tool

This week in social media news, Twitch debuts a rights-cleared music tool for creators, Pinterest builds on its efforts to promote a less stereotypical Halloween, LinkedIn says its global program helped 10 million people gain new skills, Twitter removes 130 Iran-linked accounts, Facebook launches new functionality that enables Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps without having to download a new app and more.


Twitch Debuts Rights-Cleared Music Tool, Soundtrack By Twitch

Twitch is rolling out an early version of a new tool called Soundtrack by Twitch, which lets creators add licensed music within their streams, the company said in a blog announcement. The rights-cleared music catalog aims to address creator complaints about their archives being muted.

Why it matters: Up until now, the only music Twitch creators could legally play was music they owned or music that was licensed to them. Otherwise Twitch’s audio recognition system would flag the audio.

The details: Among Soundtrack by Twitch’s 32 label and distribution partners are SoundCloud, Insomniac, Westwood Recordings, Empire, Sound Stripe and United Masters, to name a few.

Twitch says its music staff, select streamers and industry partners curate Soundtrack playlists and stations.

The new music catalog is compatible with OBS Studio v26.0 or later on PC, Twitch Studio, and soon, Streamlabs OBS.


Pinterest Takes Steps To Inspire A ‘Less Stereotypical’ Halloween

Pinterest is looking to build on a policy it implemented in 2016 that bans advertising of culturally inappropriate costumes by limiting recommendations of such costumes and publishing a Halloween guide that provides inspiration on costumes that are culturally appropriate.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s efforts to inspire a less stereotypical Halloween is part of its larger plan to be “a platform for positivity.” Following its ban on ads featuring culturally insensitive costumes in 2016, Pinterest launched a health misinformation policy blocking anti-vaccination content in 2017; stopped running political ads in 2018; debuted a compassionate search for people seeking mental health support in 2019; and launched authoritative search results for COVID-19 this year.

The details: Building on its policy that lets users report culturally insensitive content directly from pins, Pinterest will provide expert-curated information on pins for certain searches like “Day of the Dead costumes.” It will limit recommendations for costumers that appropriate cultures. In addition, Pinterest is publishing the Pinterest Halloween guide, which will share tips on how to have a “thoughtful and respectful” Halloween.


LinkedIn Reports Its Program Helped 10 Million Learn New Skills In 2020

LinkedIn’s global initiative that launched in June to help unemployed users acquire new digital skills has reached over 10 million learners worldwide, LinkedIn chief executive officer Ryan Roslansky said in an update.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, LinkedIn has ramped up its efforts to help those who got laid off find a new job. Using data from its LinkedIn Economic Graph, the company was able to analyze in-demand skills, emerging jobs and global hiring patterns. As a result, it identified the most in-demand 10 jobs today and made LinkedIn Learning Paths aligned with those jobs available to everyone for free.

The details: LinkedIn says interest in developing skills for software developer, customer service and data analysts roles have been in the highest demand. Other top learning paths included developing skills on resilience, confronting bias and recovering from a layoff.

Building on its ongoing work to help people find jobs, LinkedIn also launched a free five-week skills training program running in several states called gener8tor Upskilling, which helps unemployed and under-employed people acquire skills and credentials to get them back to work.


Twitter Removed 130 Iran-Linked Accounts That Tried Disrupting The Conversation During The Presidential Debate

Based on intel provided by the FBI, Twitter removed 130 accounts linked to Iran that attempted to disrupt the public conversation during the first presidential debate, the company tweeted from the @TwitterSafety account.

Why it matters: Twitter shared screenshots of the tweets from the now removed accounts. One post reads, “proud boys stand down!” Proud Boys are a far-right extremist group that President Trump briefly addressed at one point during the debate.

The details: The posts “had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation.” As standard, Twitter will publish the accounts and their content in full once it completes its investigation.


Facebook Announces Integration Of Messenger Into Instagram

Facebook is launching new functionality that will enable Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps. It’s also adding 10 features from Messenger to the Instagram inbox experience.

Why it matters: The updates are part of the company’s vision for a “privacy-focused” social networking experience, as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg outlined in March last year. Zuckerberg says that private messaging, ephemeral stories and small groups “are by far the fastest-growing areas of online communication.”

The details: As per Facebook, the primary change is that Messenger users can reach Instagram users without needing to download a new app, and vice versa.

Messages and calls you receive using Instagram will remain in your Instagram app, plus you can control where you receive messages and calls—in your chats, in your message requests or not at all.

Facebook is also introducing Messenger-inspired features to the Instagram inbox, such as custom emoji reactions, selfie stickers, animated messaging effects and chat colors.

In addition, users can now use ‘Vanish Mode’ to make seen messages disappear when they close the chat; decide who can message them directly and who can’t message them at all; report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram; use the Watch Together feature to watch videos with friends on IGTV during a call; and share content with up to five friends or groups.

Lastly, as part of the new update, users can control whether message requests go to their Chats list, their Message Requests folder, or whether they receive them at all.

Facebook is rolling out the new features in a few countries and will expand globally soon.


Pinterest Launches Ads Adjacent To Visual Search Results

Timed to the holiday shopping season, Pinterest is adding more places for retailers in the US and UK, two of its top markets, to promote pins and showcase ads, including on Pinterest Lens, the shop tab in search and shopping on Pins—three of its most highly trafficked and visible places to shop, according to the company.

Why it matters: In 2019, searches related to holiday surged as early as June and July on Pinterest. This year, Pinterest says holiday searches on Pinterest in April 2020 increased 77 percent higher than April 2019, a trend that included a threefold increase in searches for “Christmas gift ideas.”

The details: In addition to being able to run ads adjacent to Pinterest’s visual search results, Pinterest Verified Merchants and Shopify retailers in the US can see new conversion insights, such as data on performance of paid and organic content on their site visits and checkouts, top converting Pins and activity funnel.

Pinterest is also expanding its personalized shopping feature, which launched in the US last year, to UK pinners. This will allow users to shop through Pinterest’s Lens camera visual search.


Federal Judge’s Preliminary Injunction Lets TikTok Dodge US Ban On New Downloads

On Sunday, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against an executive order President Trump issued to ban TikTok from US app stores, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: TikTok’s reprieve comes after the government’s month-plus-long efforts to ban the app over its ties to China and reportedly unsafe management of American users’ data. The preliminary injunction, however, doesn’t cover a broader set of restrictions set to take effect on November 12, the judge, Carl Nichols of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, said in his order.

The details: As per The Times: “Lawyers for the app told Judge Nichols in a hearing on Sunday morning that forcing online stores to remove the app weeks before an election — and at a time of increased isolation because of the pandemic — would impinge on the rights of potential new users to share their views.”

TikTok recently announced an agreement with Oracle and Walmart that would involve the two companies investing 20 percent in a new company, TikTok Global. As part of the deal, Oracle would transfer all American TikTok data to its Generation 2 Cloud data centers. But TikTok must first gain approval from Beijing officials, who in August added data-processing technologies, such as TikTok’s algorithm, to its list of restricted exports.


Snapchat Pitches High-Frequency “Platform Burst” Media Buy

Snapchat is pitching advertisers a media buy called “Platform Burst” that would ensure their campaigns reach at least 40 percent of their target audience 15 times over three or five days, Digiday reports.

Why it matters: A burst of ads over a short but concentrated period of time could help offset the fact that Snapchat ads are easily skippable and less likely to be viewed.

The details: Agency executives who are considering Snapchat’s high-reach ad campaigns say the platform has pitched early iterations of Platform Burst campaigns at around $127,000, according to Digiday.

Snapchat has tested the campaign format in the Middle East and across verticals such as tech, telco and entertainment.


TikTok Sponsors NASCAR Driver, TikTok Creator Ryan Vargas

As part of its Latinx Heritage Month programming, TikTok has announced it’s the official sponsor of 20-year-old NASCAR driver and TikTok creator, Ryan Vargas, who’s set to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Why it matters: The cancelation of live sports has presented social media platforms an opportunity to reach fans via interactive experiences. TikTok’s sponsorship of Vargas will include “several co-marketing opportunities” between TikTok and NASCAR, and is the short-form video app’s way of showing up to “support a young creator from an underrepresented community.”

The details: Vargas will race in a custom TikTok suit, Dia De Los Muertos helmet—a tribute to his Hispanic heritage—and a car fully wrapped in TikTok branding, according to the company blog post.

Reddit Introduces Tiered Ad Inventory With Stricter Brand Safety Controls

This week in social media news, Reddit debuts stronger brand safety controls with tiered ad inventory, ByteDance seeks approval of its partnership with Oracle and Walmart from commerce authorities in Beijing, LinkedIn launches Stories and its first redesign in five years, Twitch sees strong growth during the pandemic, Pinterest launches Story Pins that live forever and more.


Reddit Debuts Stricter Brand Safety Controls With Tiered Ad Inventory

Reddit is rolling out three tiers of inventory for its ad offering together with Oracle Data Cloud’s contextual intelligence, which will provide an added layer of third-party filtering.

Why it matters: Up until now, Reddit offered the same set of inventory to all advertisers with universal brand safety controls.


The details: With Reddit’s new feature, advertisers can choose from three tiers of ad inventory based on their individual campaign goals, brand safety requirements and targeting goals. 

The “limited inventory” tier provides the strictest brand safety measures with more controlled reach, “standard inventory” provides balanced reach and protection to fit the needs of “most advertisers” and “expanded inventory” gives advertisers access to Reddit’s maximum inventory pool and 20 percent more communities for targeting while placing them next to the broadest range of content.

Regardless of the tier, Reddit says ads can only appear in communities on its “hand-curated allow list” and that advertisers will have the choice to enable or disable comments, as well as exclude certain keywords and communities.

Over 30 brands across consumer packaged goods, finance, health, gaming and wellness have tested Reddit’s new inventory types. The feature is available for all Reddit advertisers today.


ByteDance Seeks Approval From Beijing On Deal With Oracle, Walmart

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has submitted its plan to form its US-based company with Oracle and Walmart to commerce authorities in Beijing under recently expanded export regulations, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: China’s involvement comes after the country adding data-processing technologies, such as TikTok’s algorithm, to its list of restricted exports in August, putting the fate of TikTok’s proposed new US company, TikTok Global, in the hands of China’s ministries in charge of commerce and science and technology.

The details: Under the tentative agreement to keep TikTok in the US, Oracle and Walmart would have a 20 percent cumulative stake in TikTok Global, with Oracle moving all American data to its Generation 2 Cloud data centers.

China’s state media, however, slammed the deal as “dirty and unfair.”

Gao Feng, a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said ByteDance’s application for technology export is being revised by Beijing’s commerce bureau.


LinkedIn Unveils Redesign, Stories Plus New Video Integrations

LinkedIn has announced its first major redesign in five years, which includes a new streamlined search experience, the addition of Stories, video integrations with Zoom and Microsoft Teams and more.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s community, where three people are hired every second, comprises over 700 million professionals worldwide, chief executive officer Ryan Roslansky said in a company blog post.


The details: LinkedIn’s new design features a new warm color palette and elements that meet accessibility standards and allow for text scaling, bigger touch targets and contrast for readability.

Users can now share moments of their everyday professional lives with LinkedIn Stories, available now in the US and Canada, and globally in the coming weeks.

LinkedIn is also introducing a new feature that lets users initiate a video call directly within messages using Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans by Verizon or Zoom. Other new messaging features include the ability to edit or delete sent messages and react to messages with emojis.

Lastly, search on LinkedIn will show more organized results with jobs, people, courses, groups, events and content in one search result. Plus, LinkedIn has added keyword filters for people—previously only available on the web—to the LinkedIn mobile app, as well as filters for company by location, industry and company size.


Twitch Sees 1.47 Billion Hours Watched In August

According to StreamElements and Arsenal.gg’s monthly report, State of the Stream August 2020, Twitch experienced its first month-over-month increase since April with 1.47 billion hours watched in August, while Facebook Gaming reached a new milestone with 346 million hours watched in August.

Why it matters: 
Twitch will likely continue to have a leg up on Facebook Gaming, as Amazon just announced its new cloud gaming service called Luna, which costs $5.99 a month and will heavily integrate with Twitch.

The details: Twitch and Facebook Gaming both saw strong year-over-year growth. Twitch is up 57 percent, from 932 million hours in August 2019 to 1.5 billion hours this year. During the same time frame, Facebook Gaming increased 179 percent, from 124 million hours watched to 346 million.  

First on the most-watched category list for August is Just Chatting, which has been on top for four consecutive months, followed by League of Legends, Fall Guys, Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V. Social party games have also enjoyed newfound success, with Fall Guys receiving 106 million hours watched and Among us experiencing a 650 percent surge month-over-month in hours watched.

Cooking shows on Twitch have also gained traction, with hours watched of Food & Drink increasing 96 percent quarter-over-quarter and 132 percent YoY.


Pinterest Launches Story Pins To Help Creators Grow Their Audience  

Pinterest is rolling out a suite of publishing and measurement tools made for creators including permanent Story Pins in beta, updated creator profiles, the ability to direct message creators and reaction buttons.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new creator-first tools are part of the platform’s larger ecommerce and influencer marketing efforts that aim to cater to its 400 million monthly active users, 60 percent of which are women. Over the past few months, it has launched a host of shopping tools including a partnership with Shopify, a Shop tab and shopping spotlights with influencers and publishers.

The details: Pinterest’s Story Pins, which can be published directly to Pinterest via the Pinterest camera, will enable creators to post videos with voiceover, image and text overlay. Pinners can like, comment on and save Story Pins to boards for later, plus watch them anytime because they don’t disappear after 24 hours. Pinterest says Story Pins are powered by the “visual discovery engine that matches new ideas to people with relevant interest and tastes.”

Next up, Pinterest is updating creator profiles, which will show a creator’s published content front and center. In addition, Pinners can now message creators via the Contact or Message card, as well as react to their content using new buttons such as “Great idea,” “Love,” “Wow” and “Thanks.”

Pinterest is also adding new analytics tools and an engagement tab, where creators can like or respond to photos on Pins in one place.

Lastly, creators can better understand how their content is performing with Pinterest’s new Pin Stats, which show key metrics like impressions and engagement on the app’s redesigned Analytics dashboard.

Pinterest has given select creators in the US access to Story Pins and will roll the feature out to international creators over the coming months. All other features are live for Pinners with business accounts today.


US Tentatively Approves Oracle, Walmart Deal For TikTok

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has received tentative approval for an agreement with the US government that involves Oracle and Walmart acquiring 20 percent of TikTok’s newly formed company TikTok Global, according to a press release.

Why it matters: The landmark deal came just a day after the US Department of Commerce issued an order that would ban new downloads and software updates to TikTok, making TikTok downloads surge to 202,000 on September 20, according to App Annie data.

The details: As TikTok’s “trusted cloud and technology provider,” Oracle will be responsible for fully securing TikTok users’ data, interim head of TikTok Vanessa Pappas said in a company blog post. If the deal is approved, that means all American data will be moved to Oracle’s Generation 2 Cloud data centers. Pappas added that TikTok will expand the US as TikTok Global’s headquarters, which will create 25,000 jobs in the US.

In a separate press release, Walmart announced that it has tentatively agreed to purchase 7.5 percent of TikTok Global, as well as provide TikTok with its ecommerce, fulfillment, payments and other omnichannel services. In addition, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon would serve as one of five board members of TikTok Global.

The press releases state that TikTok Global will file an initial public offering in the US in less than a year.


Users Call Out Twitter’s Photo Preview For Favoring White Faces Over Black Faces

Twitter chief design officer Dantley Davis says the company is investigating why its algorithm responsible for generating photo previews shows white people’s faces more often than black faces, The Verge reports.

Why it matters: According to The Verge, Twitter’s informal testing of its neural network began after a Twitter user noticed Twitter was favoring his white face over his black colleague’s face during a video meeting. Another user found that Twitter’s preview algorithm favors non-black cartoon characters as well.

The details: As per a blog post from 2018, when Twitter started using the neural network to automatically crop photo previews, Twitter said its facial recognition system had limitations, including mistakenly detecting faces when there were none or focusing the view on the most prominent face it could find.


Instagram To Open Up Messaging To Third Parties

Instagram is creating an API for its messaging service that will help brands manage their DMs with customers, according to Business Insider.

Why it matters: Brands on Instagram currently have three options for managing their conversations with users, including the Instagram app, Instagram desktop and the Facebook-enabled Creator Studio.

The details: The API expansion would enable big brands to access messages from users through third-party services similar to features that already exist in WhatsApp and Messenger.


TikTok Reportedly Discusses CEO Role With Instagram Co-Founder

According to The New York Times, TikTok is searching for a permanent chief executive to replace Kevin Mayer, who resigned in late August, and has been in talks with co-founder and former Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Why it matters: TikTok recently hired Cheryl Gresham, former global head of integrated media at YouTube, as head of media and partnerships. TikTok’s hiring of Gresham and discussion with Systrom indicate it has plans to continue growing in the US despite the hurdles it must overcome to avoid a ban.

The details: TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned after three months, citing the evolving political pressures of the role. Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok in North America, has taken over in the interim.


Facebook Publishes Guide On How To Maximize Video Content

Facebook has published a 14-page guide to give video creators adapting to new business challenges practical tips on how to increase content production and maximize video content

Why it matters: Facebook says that since Facebook Live launched, users have created over 8.5 billion broadcasts and Live viewers increased in the US by 50 percent during February and March.

The details: Among the tips in Facebook’s video content guide are going live, reposting evergreen and topical content, bulk uploading back catalog using Creator Studio, organizing content using new playlist and series tools, creating a relevant challenge for fans to participate in and highlighting top stories around specific themes.

TikTok Clarifies How Creator Fund Payments Are Calculated

This week in social media news, TikTok addresses how it calculates Creator Fund payments, YouTube introduces new ad tools, Twitch is testing mid-roll ads that streamers can’t control, Facebook adds an organic post test option in the Creator Studio app, Instagram will launch automated closed captioning for IGTV uploads, ByteDance chooses Oracle to take over its TikTok US user data and more.


TikTok Explains How It Calculates Creator Fund Payments

After launching a $1 billion Creator Fund in August to compensate creators for their videos, TikTok is sharing details about how funds are calculated and the forthcoming Creator Fund wallet in an effort to address theories about how the fund operates.

Why it matters: TikTok’s transparency about payments comes after several inaugural recipients of TikTok’s Creator Fund have criticized the app, saying they’re earning just a few dollars a day for their videos that have hundreds of thousands of views.

The details: TikTok will soon launch the Creator Fund wallet, enabling creators to transfer funds from the Creator Fund to their linked payment method. Though they’ll have to wait until the end of the month to withdraw their funds.

TikTok says several factors affect how it calculates funds, including video views, video engagement, authenticity of a view, region in which the video is viewed, total participants in a program and adherence to the app’s community guidelines and terms of service.

TikTok says that being part of the Creator Fund doesn’t directly impact the ‘For You’ feed recommendation system, which doesn’t know whether or not a creator is part of the fund.


YouTube Introduces New Ad Tools After Watch Time Amid Pandemic Soars

YouTube has introduced new ad tools like advanced data insights and new category targeting to help marketers drive reach during the pandemic.

Why it matters: The platform says watch time on YouTube and YouTube TV on television screens surged 80 percent year-over-year during the pandemic.

The details: First, YouTube is adding dynamic lineups, which use YouTube’s machine learning systems to segment videos based on their content, providing marketers with better access to customers with unique interests and needs.

Next, YouTube is expanding its evaluation of Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings to advertisers in the UK and Italy after discovering how the ratings have helped brands maximize their campaigns. For example, Pepsi’s “Gift it Forward” holiday YouTube campaign drove a 24 percent increase in target reach beyond television.

Lastly, YouTube is enabling reach capabilities in Display & Video 360 campaigns, including YouTube, auction and programmatic deals.


Twitch Tests Mid-Roll Ads 

Twitch is experimenting with mid-roll ads that streamers can’t control. The ads will run across affiliate and partner channels, with creators earning their share of revenues.

Why it matters: Though it provides an opportunity to boost ad revenues, Twitch’s “experiment” will likely be met with backlash as mid-roll ads have historically been controlled by streamers.

The details: As per Twitch, “Creators will be paid for every one of these ads that run, just like they’re paid for pre-rolls and ad breaks that they run. And, we’ve enabled Picture-by-Picture in all channel categories, so viewers can enjoy an uninterrupted ad-viewing experience.” Picture-by-picture is the default ad experience for all Twitch ad breaks. When a streamer runs an ad break, the stream gets muted and shows up above the chat.


Facebook Rolls Out Organic Post Test Option In Creator Studio App

Facebook has added an organic video post testing tool to the Creator Studio app to help some users A/B test aspects of their video content, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: Primarily focused on video posts, this new functionality will help creators maximize the reach of their top-performing videos.

The details: The ‘Create Post Tests’ option lets you create up to four variations of a video post, which are tested with a portion of your audience. Facebook then distributes the winning post beyond its initial test audience based on the parameters you set.


Instagram Adds Auto Closed Captions For IGTV Videos

Instagram has debuted new automatic closed captions for IGTV uploads, powered by advances in Facebook’s artificial intelligence-enabled automated speech recognition (ASR).

Why it matters: The addition is part of Facebook’s larger efforts to expand its accessibility options as there are 466 million people who have disabling hearing loss, with the number projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.

The details: Facebook, which has given users the option of auto-captions on video uploads since 2017, says auto closed captioning on IGTV videos will be available in 16 languages at launch.


ByteDance Proposal For TikTok US Includes Oracle As “Trusted Technology Provider”

After searching for the right US company to save its TikTok US operations, ByteDance has chosen Oracle as part of a deal structured as a partnership rather than an outright sale, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The deal comes a little over a month after President Trump first ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok US, which led to Microsoft confirming it was in talks with ByteDance about a potential deal. China threw ByteDance for a loop when it updated its export control regulations, which gave it a say over the transfer of TikTok’s algorithm to a foreign buyer.

The details: As per Reuters, ByteDance submitted a proposal to the US Treasury Department over the weekend showing that Oracle would serve as TikTok’s “trusted technology provider” and assume management of TikTok’s US user data. As part of the proposal, ByteDance has also committed to creating a US headquarters with 20,000 new jobs. The news caused Oracle shares to surge 6.3 percent.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the administration would review ByteDance’s proposal this week.


Facebook Debuts ‘Watch Together’ Experience For Messenger

Facebook has launched a free co-watching feature called ‘Watch Together’ that lets users watch Facebook Watch videos in real-time with up to eight people over Messenger video calls and up to 50 people in Messenger Rooms.

Why it matters: Facebook says there are more than 150 million video calls on Messenger and over 200 million videos sent via Messenger everyday.

The details: To use Watch Together, users must start a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room then swipe up to choose Watch Together from the menu. Facebook will show suggested videos, or users can choose from a category, including ‘TV & Movies,’ ‘Watched,’ or ‘Uploaded.’

Facebook is rolling out Watch Together globally this week on iOS and Android.


Amazon Starts Selling Programmatic Advertising On Twitch

Amazon has rolled out new capabilities for Twitch and Amazon advertisers globally that lets marketers target Twitch audiences through Twitch video and display ads.

Why it matters: Programmatic advertising on Twitch eliminates the need for marketers to manually buy ads on Twitch, which was the case before Amazon announced the change.

The details: As per Amazon, “Advertising on Twitch will now have the added benefit of Amazon Advertising’s unique audience insights and measurement for their campaigns.”

Instagram Tests Three New Designs To Accommodate Reels And Shopping

This week in social media news, Instagram is testing three new designs to accommodate tabs for Reels and shopping, Twitch launches a suite of competitive tools for organizers called Versus, Snapchat’s new study reveals Gen Z has higher ad recall than older age groups, Facebook explains how it’ll enforce ad limits for pages in 2021 and more.


Instagram Tests Three New Designs To Make Room For Reels And Shopping

Instagram is globally testing the insertion of two new tabs on the platform—one for its newly launched TikTok clone, Reels, and one for shopping. Three new designs are in works to accommodate the new tabs, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri confirmed to The Verge.

Why it matters: Mosseri says Instagram’s goal with the addition of two new tabs is to help individual creators “earn their livelihoods on the app, whether by becoming video stars or e-commerce moguls.”

The details: To avoid making the app feel crammed, adding two new tabs will require Instagram to move at least one existing tab—which could prove tricky and fruitless given many have already criticized the app for feeling crowded. For example, writer and investor Eugene Wei described Instagram’s current design as “a jumble of formats.”


Twitch Launches Invite-Only Suite Of Organizer Tools Called Versus

Twitch has debuted an invite-only suite of competitive tools called Versus that enables competitive organizers to “build cutting-edge competitions in just a few steps.”

Why it matters: Versus marks Twitch’s latest attempt to boost its esports presence. In April, it launched an esports directory to keep viewers updated on the most recent tournaments.

The details: In closed beta for now, Versus lets organizers customize their competition with rules, banners and a profile image, plus set up participant registration, all within Twitch. Game developers, Twitch Rivals competitors and collegiate esports leagues will have access to Versus starting today. And for those not invited by Twitch, there’s a waitlist.


Instagram Creates Equity Team, To Hire Director For Diversity And Inclusion

Instagram has convened a dedicated product group that’s tasked with better understanding and addressing bias in its product development and users’ experiences, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced in a blog post. In addition, the company is hiring a director for diversity and inclusion.

Why it matters: The news follows Instagram’s commitment in June to review the ways it could be underserving certain groups of people, which has led the platform to develop and update a variety company-wide policies to support communities around the world. This work includes Instagram’s removal of 23 different banned organizations and the platform’s two-month review process of its verification practices to ensure a fairer process.

The details: Mosseri says the new Instagram Equity team will work to create “fair and equitable products,” by working with Facebook’s Responsible AI team to ensure algorithm fairness.

Instagram’s director for diversity and inclusion will help it find, keep and grow more diverse talent, the post says.


Snapchat: Gen Z Shows Higher Ad Recall Than Millennials And Gen Xers

According to the results of a study Snapchat commissioned Kantar to conduct, Gen Z are more likely to recall advertising than older age groups, even when they spend less time viewing skippable content.

Why it matters: Gen Z’s shorter attention span presents a challenge to marketers who are trying to reach the consumer group that has, according to Snapchat, estimated annual spending power of $1.2 trillion.

The details: The findings show that 59 percent of Gen Z recalled a brand’s skippable video ad, compared with 57 percent of millennials and 47 percent of Gen X. The study also found that 55 percent of Gen Z who watched a skippable ad for less than two seconds correctly recalled it, compared with 46 percent for millennials and 26 percent for Gen X and baby boomers.

Gen Z also has a higher rate of brand preference, as 65 percent of them say brands help them to express themselves, compared with 40 percent for Gen X and baby boomers.


Facebook Outlines New Ad Limits For Pages

Facebook is introducing four limit tiers of advertiser categories that outline how many ads each page can run concurrently to improve ad performance. The platform says it will start enforcing these ad limits from February 2021 through summer 2021.

Why it matters: As per Facebook, “When an advertiser runs too many ads at once, each ad delivers less often. This means that fewer ads exit the learning phase, and more budget is spent before the delivery system can optimize performance.”

The details: Facebook’s four tiers to help guide ad volume include 250 ads for small to medium-sized pages; 1,000 ads for medium to large-sized pages; 5,000 ads for larger pages; and 20,000 ads for the largest pages, or those with advertising budgets greater than $10 million in their highest spending month in the last year.


Facebook Watch Has Over 1.25 Billion Visitors Each Month

Two years after Facebook launched Facebook Watch, the network says 1.25 billion people visit Facebook Watch every month, head of video products Paresh Rajwat wrote in a blog post.

Why it matters: The news comes a month after Facebook challenged YouTube’s offerings when it launched official music videos in the US on Facebook Watch. The music destination, where Katy Perry exclusively debuted her music video for “Smile,” lets fans discover music videos through filters like artist, genre and mood. 

The details: Facebook Watch’s success coincides with a string of new content partnerships it formed with television and media companies in France, Germany, Italy,  the Middle East, North Africa, Spain and the UK.

In the gaming category on Facebook Watch alone, over 200 million people watch live videos each month, with watch time on Facebook Gaming increasing 75 percent from Q1 to Q2 this year.

In addition to music videos, gaming and television programming, live sports has contributed to the rapid growth of Facebook Watch, especially during the pandemic. Just this past weekend, the UEFA Champions League broadcasts in Latin America drew in over 13.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched soccer match in history on Facebook, according to Rajwat.

Facebook also recently launched paid online events to help struggling small businesses and creators. Facebook says it won’t collect any fees from paid online events for at least the next year. 

Lastly, Facebook expanded the availability of fan subscriptions and Stars so fans can donate to their favorite creators.


TikTok Announces New Marketing Partners And Stitch Feature

As ByteDance figures out a way to sell TikTok’s US operations, TikTok announced the launch of its new Marketing Partner Program and 20 partners who specialize in areas like campaign management, creative development, branded effects and measurement. In a separate announcement, TikTok said it’s launching a new editing feature called Stitch, which will enable users to clip and integrate scenes from others users’ videos into their own.

Why it matters: TikTok’s Marketing Partner Program is the latest addition to the company’s advertising platform, TikTok for Business, which it launched in June.  

The details: TikTok’s new marketing initiative comprises partners like Bidalgo, QuickFrame, Bare Tree Media, IgniteXR, Kantar and more. The app says its goal is to  “build new opportunities for marketers to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community.”

Regarding the new app’s new Stitch feature, TikTok says it’s similar to Duet in that it’ll let users reinterpret and build on another user’s content. Every video created with Stitch credits the original creator in the new video’s caption, which directly links to the original video. Users can decide in their settings whether or not others can “Stitch” their content, according to TikTok’s company post.


Instagram Launches Reels Trend Insights, Adds ‘Suggested Reels’ To Main Feed

A month after launching TikTok clone Reels, Instagram has added ‘Suggested Reels’ in the main feed of some users, as well as launched a monthly Reels Trend Report on the @creators Instagram account.

Why it matters: Despite receiving criticism for its similarities to TikTok, Instagram Reels is gaining traction. Obviously found that Reels was the second most popular short-form video platform in August after TikTok.

The details: As spotted by influencer marketing strategist Lindsey Gamble, Instagram’s ‘Suggested Reels’ display is TikTok’s version of the ‘For You’ page, once again reflecting Instagram’s desire to mimic the Byte Dance-owned company’s success.

The Reels Trend Report will “take a deeper look” at popular monthly trends. The first report, posted to the @creators account, explores the “infotainment” trend, which involves creators teaching a special skill in an entertaining 15-second tutorial.

Snapchat Sees 28.5 Million New Downloads In August

This week in social media news, Snapchat’s downloads increased 29 percent year-over-year in August, China’s new rules on technology exports could complicate the TikTok US deal, Twitter adds example tweets to add more context to trending tweets, LinkedIn offers tips for balancing brand building and lead generation in its latest playbook, Instagram lets checkout-enabled brands to sell on Live and more.


Snapchat Downloads Grow 29 Percent YoY In August

Snapchat saw nearly 28.5 million new downloads across iOS and Android in August, new data from Sensor Tower shows.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s strong performance amid the pandemic comes after it launched third-party micro apps “Minis” in July, and as TikTok’s fate in the US is up in the air after China enacted new rules on technology exports.


The details: Snapchat’s 28.5 million new installs in August mark the platform’s single largest month for first-time installs since May 2019, when it received 41.2 million new downloads. By the end of Q2, Snapchat’s daily active users increased to 238 million, a four percent increase from April.


China’s New Export Rules Could Push TikTok Deal Past Elections

After Chinese officials announced new restrictions on technology exports that could require Chinese approval for TikTok to sell its algorithm, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is considering new options that would please both the US and China, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: China’s involvement with TikTok selling its US business will complicate the deal and likely push it past the American deadline.

The details: Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Yiming’s new options to finalize the sell of TikTok US include: selling TikTok without the algorithm; negotiating an up to a year-long transition period with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States; seeking China’s approval to sell the algorithm to the chosen US company; or to have the new buyer to license TikTok’s algorithm from ByteDance.


Twitter Launches Example Tweets To Add More Context

Twitter is adding pinned tweets and descriptions on trends to help add context about why something is trending. The platform also explained how its algorithm determines if a tweet represents a trend.

Why it matters: In a company blog post, Twitter says last year, the question. “Why is this trending?” was asked over half a million times.


The details: As per Twitter, “Descriptions will provide straightforward, clearly sourced context around why something is trending.” These descriptions, developed by Twitter’s curation team, will be available on desktop, Android and iOS in the US, the UK, plus 15 other countries.

Twitter also clarified that a combination of algorithms and its curation team decide if a tweet is reflective of a trend.


LinkedIn Releases New Brand And Demand Playbook

LinkedIn’s new “Brand and Demand” guide offers tips on how to use its tools for balancing brand building with lead generation with advice from marketing experts and global brands.

Why it matters: As LinkedIn’s guide notes, a study from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising shows the optimal impact of brand and demand in both digital and traditional marketing is a 60/40 split. A separate survey LinkedIn conducted among advertisers using LinkedIn Marketing Solutions found that 50 percent want to run brand and demand campaigns together. 


The details: Retargeting by engagement, the newest addition to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences suite, enables advertisers to remarket to members based on the actions they’ve taken on LinkedIn including retargeting video viewers and retargeting lead gen form opens or submitters.

LinkedIn says soon it’ll launch company engagement insights so brands can target accounts both on LinkedIn and with their website.


TikTok Could Soon Announce Deal Selling Its US Business

After choosing a bidder for its US, New Zealand and Australian businesses, TikTok could announce a deal as soon as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the matter, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: The deal to sell TikTok’s US business comes as TikTok’s CEO Kevin Mayer resigned last week. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance said it would need a license from the Chinese government before it can sell to a US company, a snag that could push the deal’s date past the US government’s September 20 deadline.

The details: Top bidders for the TikTok deal include Microsoft, in partnership with Walmart and Oracle, according to CNBC.

People familiar with the matter told CNBC that Walmart, in a consortium with Alphabet and SoftBank, originally sought to be the majority owner in the deal, but the US government denied the request as it prefers a tech company to steer the deal.


Instagram Extends Checkout To All US Businesses, Debuts Shopping On Live

Instagram is expanding checkout within the app to all eligible US business and creators accounts with a Shop, is waiving selling fees for brands that use checkout through the end of the year and is enabling checkout-enabled businesses to sell products on Instagram Live.

Why it matters: Instagram first tested checkout, a feature that lets users shop within the app, with a small number of partners in 2019, but has expanded the function as COVID-19 ravages small and medium-size businesses. In addition, its new Instagram Live shopping feature comes after the platform saw a 70 percent increase in use of Live in mid-March when stay-at-home orders took effect.

The details: To open up an Instagram Shop with checkout capability, business owners can use Commerce Manager or go through Instagram platform partners like BigCommerce and Shopify. Instagram says it plans to support more partners soon.

Enabling the checkout feature will grant brands additional shopping tools such as the ability for creators to tag your products in their posts as well as real-time shopping on Instagram Live.

Instagram is also adding new features for Shops, the online storefronts it introduced in May, including new layouts for featuring products, a real-time preview of collections as you design them and insights in Commerce Manager.


Pinterest Launches Collection Featuring Black-Owned Beauty And Fashion Brands

Pinterest is launching a new Pinterest Shop collection featuring over 20 black-owned fashion and beauty brands with over 600 products, as part of National Black Business Month.

Why it matters: The new collection comes as Pinterest searches for “Black-owned business” is up 13 times, according to the platform.

The details: Pinterest’s collection of black-owned beauty and fashion brands follows previous collections the platform has created, such as one in November featuring small brands to shop for the holidays and one in April featuring small sustainable brands in celebration of Earth Day.

TikTok Is “Setting The Record Straight”

This week in social media news, TikTok released a statement “to address rumors” about the app.


TikTok Launches Information Hub To Counter Misinformation

TikTok released a statement “to address rumors” about the app while launching an information hub and Twitter account to share company news. The release also points to internal efforts toward building a culture of transparency and improving security.

Why it matters: TikTok needs to redefine public perception around its security concerns, especially now as it has the attention of marketers. The first step is officially clarifying “misperceptions” about the app.

ReelzChannel Sues Facebook Over Instagram Reels Trademark Infringement

This week in social media news, ReelzChannel is suing Facebook’s Instagram Reels for trademark infringement, TikTok rival Likee garners 150 million MAUs in Q2, LinkedIn adds new features to its Sales Navigator platform, Snapchat partners with TikTok creators to launch body movement-tracking lenses, The Weeknd’s virtual TikTok concert drew in over 2 million views and more.


Reelz Networks Is Suing Facebook’s Instagram Reels For Trademark Infringement

ReelzChannel is suing Facebook for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition over the launch of Instagram Reels, Billboard reports.

Why it matters: The suit comes as Instagram Reels faces criticism from users who say the feature lacks originality and includes tools that rival TikTok popularized first.

The details: Having launched over a decade ago, ReelzChannel claims Instagram Reels will confuse the consumers it reaches in over 50 million homes in the US.

As per the complaint:

“Unless stopped, Facebook’s and Instagram’s pervasive use of ‘Reels’ will completely swamp the distinctive brand identity that Plaintiffs have built up for their own, pre-existing REELZ® media services.

Plaintiffs’ REELZ® network is one of the last truly independent television networks remaining in today’s media landscape, dominated by corporate giants, and has gained a reputation as an independent voice, picking up and exhibiting content that more mainstream networks felt was ‘too hot to touch.”



Likee Garners 150 Million MAUs In Q2 As TikTok’s Fate Gets Decided

One of TikTok’s rivals, Likee, reported 150.3 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Q2, up from 80.7 million MAUs from the previous year, an earnings report from its Chinese owner Joyy shows.

Why it matters: If an American company doesn’t swoop in to buy TikTok, Likee could, in addition to other TikTok rivals like Triller and Dubsmash, be the next popular short-form video app.

The details: Though Likee was among the few dozen Chinese-owned apps India banned, its shift to the US market paid off, for from early July to early August, the app saw 7.5 million installs—more than Dubsmash, Triller and Byte. 

In addition, Likee’s parent company Joyy reached 457 million mobile MAUs in June, 91 percent of which came from non-China markets. 


LinkedIn Adds New Features To Sales Navigator Platform

LinkedIn has added two new artificial intelligence-driven alerts, plus a lead management tool to its Sales Navigator platform.

Why it matters: The updates will help sales teams maintain leads, enhance the buyer experience and stay up to date on past correspondence.

The details: The first new alert, “Buyer Interest Alerts,” signals when employees or leadership on a saved account have engaged with your company’s site and provides insights to help you decide the optimal time to respond. LinkedIn’s second alert uses AI to help surface the most pressing alerts.

LinkedIn also added an “Outreach” listing to its Lead Lists where users can see an overview of their LinkedIn activity, including InMail messages, connection requests and more.



Snapchat Debuts Body Lenses Made For TikTok Dance Challenges

Snapchat is partnering with four mega TikTok creators to launch body lenses that track, and change in response to, people’s body movements, according to The Verge.

Why it matters: Snapchat is capitalizing on TikTok’s weak state, spurred by ongoing national scrutiny, and the viral nature of dance challenges on TikTok, which can amass millions of views.

The details: Snapchat is partnering with TikTok creators known for making viral dance videos, like Jalaiah Harmon and Dixie D’Amelio, on lenses that track 18 joints across the body. Starting today, anyone can make a body lens on Snap’s Lens Studio. 


The Weeknd’s Virtual TikTok Concert Drew In Over 2 Million Viewers

Created with Wave and presented by XO/Republic Records, The Weeknd’s live TikTok concert racked up over 2 million total unique viewers, and videos with the hashtag #TheWeekndEXP garnered more than 1.3 billion views.

Why it matters: The Weeknd’s concert served as the perfect distraction for TikTok users who are in a frenzy over its potential ban in the US. 

The concert is part of TikTok’s larger strategy to provide immersive experiences. In mid-April, the platform partnered with LiveXLive to launch “Music Lives,” a 48-hour music festival featuring over 35 artists. 

The details: On August 7, TikTok users could see The Weeknd in digital avatar form perform songs from his After Hours album, which topped the Billboard 200 for four consecutive weeks. Doja Cat made an appearance in the virtual concert, which raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through sales of The Weeknd’s new TikTok capsule collection of merchandise.


Twitter Launches Revamped API For The First Time Since 2012

Twitter is launching a new API called API v2 that will deliver new features faster and simplify how third-party developers build on the platform.

Why it matters: Twitter’s revamped API is the first new rebuild since 2012, when Twitter came under fire for restricting how third-party developers can create on its product.

The details: With API v2, third-party developers can access features like the ability to specify which fields get returned, conversation threading, poll results in tweets, spam filtering and more.

Twitter plans to debut distinct product tracks to provide different developer groups with the proper support for their needs. Product tracks will include Standard, Academic Research and Business.

All new API features Twitter’s initially launching will be available in its free Basic access level.


TikTok Announces The First Recipients Of Its $200 Million Creator Fund

TikTok has announced the 19 first creators who will receive compensation for their content from the app’s new $200 million creator fund, which it says will grow to $1 billion in the US over the next three years and more than double that globally.

Why it matters: TikTok launched its creator fund shortly after President Trump said he was looking to ban the app, prompting many major TikTok creators to either delete the app or migrate to rival app Triller. Meanwhile, Facebook is said to be trying to lure TikTok creators away from the app to use Instagram Reels, which it recently launched in over 50 countries.

The details: According to TikTok, the creator fund will “reach hundreds of thousands of creators.” To start, TikTok has compensated 19 creators an unspecified amount for their

content. Among the first recipients include Alex Stemplewski, who’s known for holding impromptu public photoshoots with strangers on @alex.stemp; Avani Gregg, a beauty and makeup enthusiast with nearly 24 million followers on her profile @avani; and Dr. Fayez, a healthcare professional who uses TikTok videos to debunk common healthcare misconceptions on @lifeofadoctor.


Pinterest Expands AR Lipstick Try-On, Adds More Skin Tone Ranges To Beauty Search Feature

Pinterest’s skin tone ranges technology has been updated so that it’s three times as likely to detect multiple skin tone ranges, the company announced. In addition, the platform is adding more skin tone ranges and new brands to its augmented reality-enabled lipstick try-on feature.

Why it matters: Pinterest says since its AR try-on feature launched in January, Pinners try on an average of six lipstick shades and are five times more likely to show purchase intent on try on-enabled pins than standard pins.

The details: Pinterest has expanded its skin tone ranges feature from the US to the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. As per Pinterest, “The number of beauty and fashion Pins where a skin tone can be identified has quadrupled.”

Pinterest’s try-on experience includes over 10,000 shoppable lipstick shades discoverable across 48 million beauty pins. Newly added brands include NARS, Cle de Peau and Thrive Causemetics.


New Vimeo Integration On Pinterest Helps Brands Create Video Ads

Brands on Pinterest now have access to Vimeo Create, a tool Vimeo launched in February featuring customizable templates designed for video newbies, to maximize pin discoverability.

Why it matters: The integration comes after Pinterest exceeded 400 million users who have contributed to a surge in engagement during lockdowns.

The details: Brands who use Vimeo Create can publish their video content directly to Pinterest. Vimeo Create offers new users access to all templates and feature levels free for 30 days when you sign up for either of two packages—Vimeo Pro, which is $24 a month thereafter, and Business, $55 a month after the trial expires.


Facebook Expands Brand Partnership Posts To Public Groups

Facebook is launching a new sponsored post tool for public groups that will enable admins to publish posts in partnership with or on behalf of brands, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The paid partnership option adds to existing monetization tools available to Facebook groups including a paid subscription option for some groups and ads in the groups feed. The new feature will provide brands a new way to reach focused audiences and see how posts in those groups perform.

The details: As per Facebook:

“We’re excited to launch a set of tools that will enable communities, specifically, for the first time, to meaningfully monetize their engaged group audience by partnering with brands to create ‘branded’ posts.”

When a group admin tags a post as branded content, a “Paid Partnership” label appears atop the post.


Triller Surpasses TikTok In The App Store

As TikTok’s future in the US gets decided, TikTok rival Triller has leaped to the number one spot on the “Top Free Apps” list of the app store, beating TikTok, which came in third.

Why it matters: After saying he’d allow an American company to purchase TikTok, President Trump issued an executive order that will ban TikTok from making financial transactions with US businesses in 45 days if the app’s parent company ByteDance doesn’t sell TikTok.

The details: According to Sensor Tower data, Triller jumped to the top spot in the app store across 85 countries. The app’s upward trajectory kicked off when TikTok got banned in India, after which Triller reached number one in India’s photos and videos list of the app store in early July.


Twitter And TikTok Said To Be In Talks About Potential Combination

According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter has had preliminary discussions with TikTok about a possible combination as the drama surrounding TikTok getting banned or bought continues.

Why it matters: Though Twitter is the latest possible suitor for TikTok, people familiar with the matter told WSJ that Microsoft, which said on August 2 it was pursuing a deal, is the “front-runner” for any possible deal.

The details: WSJ notes, “Because it is much smaller, Twitter has reasoned that it would be unlikely to face the same level of antitrust scrutiny as Microsoft or other potential bidders, said people familiar with the discussions.”


Social Media User Satisfaction Drops Over Data Privacy Practices

New data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed user satisfaction for social media slipped 2.8 percent this year to a score of 70 out of 100. 

Why it matters: At the root of the declines are consumer perceptions about social media platforms’ data privacy practices, for which the satisfaction score dropped to a record low of 69.

The details: Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube saw drops ranging from one percent to four perfect, while Snapchat and Tumblr increased by one to three percent. The survey, which ended on June 8, also reflects consumers’ desires for more reliable video performance, freshness of content relevancy and less advertising.


TikTok Gives Advertisers An Out In The Event App Gets Banned

One C-level executive at a top ad agency says TikTok is giving brands a ripcord to pull should the app get banned, according to Ad Age.

Why it matters: Since Trump announced a potential ban on TikTok, major creators have migrated to its competitor Triller, while some brands have paused campaigns amid uncertainty over its future.

The details: As per Ad Age, TikTok is also outlining that it’s not responsible for undelivered media so that brands can’t sue the app if it’s unable to fill advertising orders.