Snapchat Shares Insights On Their Users’ Sports Watching Behavior

This week in social media news, Snapchat shares new data on how its users engage with sports events on the platform.

Snapchat Provides Insight Into Users’ Sports Watching Behaviors

With the future of live sports events up in the air, Snapchat has shared research on how its users’ interactions with sports content have changed.

Why it matters: Snapchat says that on average, 17 percent of Snapchatters globally say they’ve started watching or following different sports/teams given the pandemic-induced cancellations and postponements of matches.

The details: On overage, more than 70 percent of Snapchat users use the app while watching sports, reports Snap. While on their phone during the game, these users are most likely to spend time on social/communication and photo apps, call or text friends/family and play games.

Sixty-one percent of sports fans on Snapchat watch friends’ stories on Snapchat while watching sports, and 38 percent watch highlights and other sports content within Discover while watching sports. In addition, 48 percent of users send direct snaps/chats to friends and family while watching sports.

Snapchatters are also watching games on multiple screens, especially in the US, the Netherlands and France.

App Annie: Time Spent On Mobile Surpasses Time Spent Watching Live Television

This week in social media news, App Annie releases its State of Mobile 2021 report, TikTok announces an incubator program for its black creatives, Facebook shares new research on shifts in consumer shopping behavior worldwide, LinkedIn launches a new swipe-up link feature to Stories, Facebook Workplace updates its employee safety and live video features and more.

App Annie: Consumers Spent $143 Billion On Mobile Apps In 2020

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report, US consumers spent $143 billion on mobile apps in 2020—a 20 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase—and eight percent more time on mobile than watching live television each day.

Why it matters: The surge in mobile adoption provides a massive opportunity for marketers to reach consumers as they continue to crave shared experiences during lockdowns. In 2020 alone, advertisers spent $240 billion on mobile ads, a figure set to top $290 billion this year.

The details: App Annie notes that in the US, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X/Baby Boomers spent 16 percent, 18 percent and 30 percent more time YoY, respectively, in their most-used apps.

In terms of top apps from the year, TikTok reigned supreme with time spent on the app growing 70 percent in the US and 80 percent in the UK. This year, App Annie anticipates TikTok will hit 1.2 billion active users.

In addition, time spent in streaming apps surged by 40 percent in 2020, with Youtube seeing up to six times higher time spent per user than Netflix.

Global downloads of Pinterest and Instagram grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively, leading the way for social commerce and live shopping to become a $2 trillion market globally by 2024.

As far as games, casual games dominated downloads, with core gamers generating 66 percent of spend and 55 percent of time spent on mobile games.

TikTok Launches Black Creatives Incubator Program

Today, TikTok announced its new ‘TikTok for Black Creatives,’ a new three-month incubator program that aims to nurture and develop 100 black creators and music artists through grants.

Why it matters: Ever since black creators on TikTok accused the app of censoring Black Lives Matter content in June, TikTok has pledged to promote its black users. It has since committed to donating $3 million to nonprofits that help black communities and an additional $1 million toward eradicating racial injustice.

The details: TikTok is giving black creators the chance to apply for the program, which will award a select number with funds toward educational resources, production equipment and other creative content development tools. The grant for the initiative was created in partnership with MACRO, a multimedia platform that champions diversity.

Facebook Publishes New Research On Consumer Shopping Behavior 

As part of its new ‘Perspectives’ series, Facebook has published a new report on the major shifts in consumer shopping behavior across the world in 2021, during which growth in essential categories is expected to skyrocket while nonessential categories contract.

Why it matters: During COVID-19, consumers have realized that their shopping habits mean more to them than ever before for a variety of reasons including safety, security and convenience.

The details: Facebook found that safety and reliability are the new standards for in-store shopping, with 71 percent of respondents noting it’s very important that a retailer create a safe shopping environment, and 68 percent saying it’s critical for retailers to always have products they’re invested in buying in stock.

Convenience, customization and delivery capabilities are also influencing consumers’ shopping habits, with more than two-thirds saying all are very important.

Consumers also still care about what companies care about, with 56 percent saying it’s very important that brands they buy from support the same values they believe in.

LinkedIn Adds Swipe-Up Link Feature To Stories

LinkedIn just launched a new feature that lets members with at least 5,00 connections or followers and Company Pages add a swipe-up link to their Stories.

Why it matters: The move is in line with that of a key feature on Instagram and Snapchat that lets brands with 10,000 or more followers add swipe-up links to promote products and editorial content.

The details: As per social media expert Matt Navarra, LinkedIn’s new swipe-up feature lets you preview and edit your link before posting, and will display a ‘See more’ prompt to viewers. Users will also be able to see how the Stories performed in their insights.

Facebook Workplace Updates Safety Check And Live Video Features

Facebook Workplace is updating its Safety Check and Live Video features to help businesses bridge the distance between colleagues amid hybrid work environments induced by COVID-19.

Why it matters: Facebook Workplace usage has surged as the pandemic forced companies to shift to remote work. In May, the company said that its Workplace platform alone has 5 million paid users, up from 3 million in October 2019.

The details: As per a tweet from Facebook technology communications manager, EMEA, Alexandru Voica, Facebook Workplace is rolling out a new iteration of Safety Check called Safety Center. The goal here is to provide increased functionality and a new user experience to help businesses check on employee safety and manage communications during incidents, as well as issue travel advisories to employees during the pandemic.

Facebook Workplace has also updated its Live Video feature to let employees go live with multiple presenters.

Voica says the updates “preview Workplace’s broader 2021 product strategy, which aims to expand Workplace’s reach in connecting communities.”

Youtube Debuts New Dedicated Pages For Hashtag Searches

YouTube rolled out a new feature that gives anyone who searches for a specific hashtag on YouTube access to a dedicated page that only contains videos with the hashtag.

Why it matters: Up until now, when users searched for a hashtag or clicked on a hashtag, YouTube displayed a combination of content using the hashtag in the video, in addition to other related videos.

The details: Available on mobile and desktop, YouTube’s new hashtag page sorts hashtag-specific videos to keep the best videos at the top. Users can also navigate these dedicated hashtag pages by clicking any automatically linked hashtag they see on YouTube.

Facebook Shares Games Marketing Insights For 2021

After surpassing 1 billion hours for the first time in Q3 2020, Facebook Gaming has published the findings of a survey it conducted in July 2020 across four key markets—the US, UK, South Korea and Germany—that highlights the importance of connecting with new gamers in the new year.

Why it matters: According to the report, 70 percent of people reported spending more time on mobile devices. That behavior seems to have stuck, as those who started playing after the crisis are still playing today. Respondents said that the main reason for the increase was they had more free time (41 percent).  

The details: Facebook found that since March, there are 28 million new gamers in the US, 8.6 million in the UK, 9.4 million in South Korea and 6.5 million in Germany.

In the US and UK, new gamers were more likely to play video games on a PC or gaming console. New gamers also skewed significantly toward core game genres.

Regarding ads, new players are open to alternative monetization models like in-app purchases, whereas existing players prefer ad-supported models. Both cohorts prefer to see gameplay and character/story elements represented in ads.

TikTok Streamed A Virtual Ratatouille-Inspired Musical And Benefit

TikTok streamed an encore presentation of a creator-inspired virtual musical and benefit based on Ratatouille after the premiere virtual benefit it streamed on January 1 garnered $1 million for the Actors Fund.

Why it matters: In August, TikTok theater creatives’ content inspired the creation of a new account entitled @ratatouillemusical. The account made a video calling for community submissions to help bring the fictional musical to life. To date, the #RatatouilleMusical tag has 227 million views.

The details: The January 1st premiere of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical was a virtual benefit performance for The Actors Fund featuring 10 songs sourced from TikTok and musical stars. Throughout, viewers were able to donate to the Actors Fund via an in-app donation sticker. TikTok offered an encore presentation of the musical on January 10.

Parler App Gets Axed By Amazon, Apple and Google

Amazon, App and Google have all removed Parler following complaints that the platform was being used to plan and coordinate the storming of the US capitol by President Trump supporters.

Why it matters: According to BuzzFeed News, Apple removed Parler from its app store after it received numerous accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington DC, adding that “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”

The details: On Sunday night, Amazon removed Parler from its cloud hosting service, a move that shut down Parler’s website and app until it can find a new hosting provider. Amazon Web Services said that in recent weeks it reported 98 examples of posts promoting violence on Parler that it didn’t effectively identify and remove.

Snapchat Relaunches Its Advertising Partner Program

This week in social media news, Snapchat relaunches its advertising partner program, Facebook will launch its smart glasses soon, Instagram shares best practices around creating Reels content, Facebook rolls out new updates for Pages, Instagram tests a new design for Stories desktop, Google tests a short-form video carousel on queries and more.

Snapchat Relaunches Its Global Partner Solutions Program

Snapchat has revamped its advertising partner program, which will feature two kinds of partnerships—strategic partners and certified partners.

Why it matters: Snap’s initial program launched in 2016 and was divided into two partners: ad partners and creative partners. The update comes as many brands look to tap into the network’s Gen Z user base and plethora of augmented reality (AR) tools.

The details: As per Snap, strategic partners develop “specialized technology using the Snapchat Marketing API” to help marketers streamline their ad buying process and provide Snapchat-specific tips on reaching goals.

Certified partners “provide brands with advertising expertise” to help enhance execution, optimization and analysis of ad campaigns.

Facebook To Soon Debut Its Smart Glasses Sans Augmented Reality

According to Bloomberg, Facebook’s smart glasses will arrive “sooner than later” this year, but won’t include augmented reality (AR) technology that enables people to overlay digital objects onto their real-world view.

Why it matters: Facebook announced plans for its AR glasses in 2017, and has since been increasing investment in hardware development. The network’s virtual reality (VR), AR and hardware teams account for more than 6,000 employees, reports Bloomberg.

The details: Hardware chief Andrew Bosworth says that although the glasses don’t include AR, “they are certainly connected glasses.” Developed in partnership with Ray-Ban and Luxottica Group SpA, the smart glasses will hook up to a device and “enhance presence.”

Instagram Shares Do’s Of Creating Strong Reels Content

On its @creators page, Instagram has shared some best practices around creating engaging Reels, it’s TikTok-like feature that launched in August of last year.

Why it matters: Instagram has been ramping up efforts to increase Reels usage. In November, the platform added a dedicated Reels tab and has recently told creators that the sweet spot is posting four to seven Reels per week.

The details: To create standout Reels content, Instagram suggests sharing original and authentic content that has a storyline. It says to use the Reels music library and audio tools and stay relevant with cultural moments. Additionally, it recommends including a surprising or humorous factor, having a fun surprise or twist and following its community guidelines.

As for Reels don’ts, Instagram says to not add music that isn’t in the Instagram music library and not use dated references.

Facebook Debuts Redesigned Pages Experience

Facebook has redesigned Pages to make it easier for public figures and creators to build community and reach their business goals. The updates include a simpler layout, dedicated News Feed, the elimination of page likes, new management features and more.

Why it matters: This marks the first time Facebook is bringing its News Feed to Pages, a move that will enable Pages to find and join conversations, follow trends and engage with fans.

The details: First on Facebook’s list of new Pages updates is an easier way to switch between a personal profile and public Page. The network has also added a new text-based Q&A format, removed likes to focus on followers and added the ability to assign different levels of access to admins.

In addition, Facebook says it has “improved our ability to detect activity that isn’t allowed on our platform including hate speech, violent, sexual or spammy content and impersonation.”

Instagram Tests New Carousel Look For Stories On Desktop

Instagram is testing a new design for the desktop version of Stories that would make them appear in a carousel rather than a single tile that fills the entire page, according to Engadget.

Why it matters: The move comes as many people prepare for another COVID-19 lockdown, a time when Instagram Stories usage tends to skyrocket. According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Stories every day.

The details: A spokesperson confirmed the Stories layout in testing to Engadget. The navigation of desktop Stories would remain the same, but the carousel view would make it easier to keep track of where you are in your queue.

Google Feature In Testing Compiles Short-Form Videos From Instagram, TikTok

Google is testing a new feature that aggregates short-form videos from Instagram and TikTok in their own dedicated carousel on the Google app for searches on mobile devices.

Why it matters: According to TechCrunch, the new feature is an expansion of Google’s initial “Short Videos” carousel test within Google Discover in early 2020, which gathered videos from Google social platforms like Tangi, Trell and YouTube.

The details: Upon clicking Google’s latest video carousel in testing, users are directed to the web version of the social platform rather than the native mobile app—regardless of whether it’s downloaded on their phone—as a way to keep users on Google for longer.

TikTok Under Scrutiny For Its Underage User Data Tracking

A 12-year-old girl and TikTok user from London is bringing a damages claim against six firms responsible for TikTok for “loss of control of personal data.”

Why it matters: For now, TikTok has dodged a ban in the US, but the app still remains under scrutiny for its handling of user data here and abroad. Though TikTok has taken steps to limit younger users’ experience, users self-report their birth date upon registration. The consequences of this new legal proceeding could prove costly to TikTok given more than a third of the app’s daily users in the US are under 14 years old.

The details: As per Sky News UK, the firms have “misused the claimant’s private information and processed the claimant’s personal data” in breach of EU and UK data protection laws, according to a High Court ruling.

Facebook’s Small Advertisers Say The Network’s Automated Ad Systems Are Hurting Their Business

According to Bloomberg, small advertisers using Facebook are losing business over the network’s inflexible ad system’s account blocking tools and poor customer service.

Why it matters: Facebook has become an increasingly important tool for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. The network says that more than 160 million brands use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp every month to reach customers.

The details: One digital marketer told Bloomberg that after his Facebook account abruptly stopped working, a $3,000-per-day ad campaign he had set up for a client before his account was locked continued to run—despite the fact that he could no longer manage it. After trying to confirm his identity using Facebook’s automated systems, he received an error message.

Another ad buyer reported a similar experience, noting that it took Facebook 26 hours to unlock his account, during which he spent around $200 in ads without his usual level of management.

Facebook’s lack of robust customer service systems for small advertisers is contributing to the issue. Despite having 10 million advertisers, the company only has an automated chat feature, which is only available to those who have an active Facebook account, which excludes outside specialists who were hired to set up ads for brands.

TikTok Debuts New Small Business Resource Center

This week in social media news, TikTok launches a new small business resource center, Telegram is looking for ways to monetize the app, Google Shopping rolls out augmented reality beauty try-on ads, TikTok and Walmart a host shoppable livestream event for the holidays, Twitter shares how public feedback shaped its new verification policy launching in 2021 and more.

TikTok Launches New Small Business Resource Center

TikTok has created a new Small Business Resource Center where marketers can access case studies, global insights and expert-led webinars on how to grow their audience.

Why it matters: Even during a pandemic, the number of new small businesses has surged. Applications for the employer identification numbers that entrepreneurs need to launch a business exceeded 3.2 million this year, compared with 2.7 million at the same time in 2019, according to the US Census Bureau. In addition, the hashtag #smallbusiness on TikTok has nearly 14 billion views.

The details: One of the case studies TikTok highlights involves personalized jewelry brand Slate & Tell, which utilized in-feed ads that reached 4 million people with 1,000 single session add-to-carts—enabling the brand to see twice the return on ad spend.

Also on the digital hub, marketers can access free resources on how to create TikTok-ready ads, view popular ads from around the world and learn how to run successful TikTok campaigns via webinars.

Telegram Explores Ways To Monetize The App

As it approaches 500 million users, instant messaging app Telegram is looking for ways to monetize its service, TechCrunch reports.

Why it matters: According to TechCrunch, Telegram garnered 400 million monthly active users at the end of April, up from 300 million.

The details: Telegram founder Pavel Durov said he’s looking to launch Telegram’s own ad platform for public one-to-many channels, a move that would give the channel owners free traffic in proportion to their size. Another avenue he’s exploring is premium stickers with additional expressive features.

Google Debuts Augmented Reality Beauty Try-On Ads

Google is debuting a new AR ad within Google Shopping listings that lets people virtually try on a range of makeup products from brands including L’Oreal, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal and Charlotte Tilbury.

Why it matters: YouTube launched a beauty try-on ad format in June, which lets viewers virtually try on beauty products seen in creators’ makeup tutorials using their phone camera.

Now that non-essential stores are limited to 25 percent of the maximum occupancy allowed, shoppers seeking an in-store experience will be more inclined to make online makeup purchases through Google listings’ new AR try-on ads.

The details: Google’s new AR beauty ads, developed with ModiFace and Perfect Corp, will also let users virtually try on makeup products within the Google app. Additionally, users can access product recommendations from beauty, apparel and home experts via Google Shopping or the Discover feed in the Google app.

TikTok, Walmart Partner On New Shoppable Livestream Experience

According to TechCrunch, TikTok and Walmart hosted a shoppable livestream experience on TikTok where viewers could buy apparel from Walmart.

Why it matters: The partnership comes just months after Walmart expressed interest in investing in TikTok when the Trump administration mandated the app to sell its US operations to an American company.

The details: As reported by TechCrunch, TikTok users were able to purchase Walmart fashion items—featured in video content from 10 TikTok creators—within the TikTok app during a “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular” event on Walmart’s TikTok profile on December 18.

Those who tuned in could purchase items in two ways—via clickable pins that appeared during the video and directed them to a mobile checkout, or via clickable pins they could browse at the end of the event.

Twitter Announces Updates To New Verification Policy Launching In 2021

After asking the public for feedback on how to improve its verification policy, Twitter is sharing how the 22,000 responses it received shaped its new policy, which is set to launch on January 20, 2021.

Why it matters: Twitter’s verification program has been on pause for the past three years due to users complaints that the process was “arbitrary and confusing.”

The details: In response to the feedback it received, Twitter updated its definition of a “complete” profile to no longer require a profile photo or header image, updated its references to Wikipedia and clarified the titles of the “News” category to include “News and Journalists” and the “Sports” category to include “Sports and esports.”

Twitter also updated its follower count requirement to be on a per-region basis to make it “less susceptible to spam and more equitable across geographies.” It says it’s also exploring dedicated categories for verification, such as academics, scientists and religious leaders.

In 2021, Twitter will relaunch public applications for verification through a new self-serve process that will be available in the account settings page on the Twitter app and desktop version. The platform says it will use automated and human review processes to review submissions.

Snapchat Teams With Google On Augmented Reality-Powered ‘Year In Search’ Trends Experience

Google launched a new Snapchat Lens that takes users on an AR-powered immersive journey through its “Year in Search” trends overview, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: As per Snapchat, this marks the first time that Google’s trends recap has been brought to life in AR.

The details: The Google Lens on Snapchat displays a series of images highlighting events from 2020 that users can tap on to view more information. According to Social Media Today, Google says it will also run the “Year in Search” video as ads on Snapchat.

Reddit Partners With Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat For Ad Views Third-Party Verification

This week in social media news, Reddit announces third-party certification for ad views with Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat, Instagram adds new audio features to Reels, Facebook rolls out holiday-themed augmented reality effects on Messenger Desktop, Facebook Gaming debuts new monetization features for livestream chats, TikTok updates its community guidelines, YouTube publishes a 2020 digital trends recap and more.

Reddit Announces Integration With Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat

Reddit is partnering with Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat to provide third-party certification on Reddit ad views, marking the platform’s first viewability measurement collaboration.

Why it matters: The announcement comes after Reddit, which has 52 million daily active users, debuted stricter brand safety controls this year, including a Limited Inventory tier.

The details: As Reddit notes, the latest integration with Moat aims to produce more in-depth campaign performance metrics to help advertisers maximize awareness and reach. Advertisers who already have a relationship with Moat can access their Reddit data through their own Moat dashboard. Reddit will provide a Moat report to those who don’t have an existing relationship.

The server-to-server integration, which is currently in the Alpha phase and open to a limited number of partners, has already delivered promising results. Reddit says that across campaigns, its native in-feed ads outperformed Moat’s in-view rate benchmark by up to 17 percent.

The integration will be more broadly available in early 2021.

Instagram Introduces New Audio Tools To Reels

Instagram is testing a variety of new features for Reels and Stories, including TikTok-like audio and camera options, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The addition of new audio features, Audio Mix and Voice-over, brings Reels one step closer to competing against TikTok, where music-powered videos were popularized.

The details: Audio Mix and Voice-over, two features spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, enable users to add either a music clip or voice clip to their Reels. Navarra also found that Instagram has added a ‘Reels’ watermark to the top left of clips—another feature copied from TikTok.

Additionally, Social Media Today reports that Lindsey Gamble has discovered a new ‘Edit Clips’ option in Reels, which gives users greater control over editing clips.

As for Instagram Stories, Amrit Kumar has spotted a new ‘Camera Booth’ feature that lets users snap several photos in sequence.

Facebook Adds New Augmented Reality Effects, Filters To Messenger Desktop

After launching the Messenger Desktop app in April, Facebook is rolling out new holiday-themed AR effects, filters and immersive 360-degree backgrounds for people to use during group video calls on Messenger and Messenger Rooms. 

Why it matters: The updated backgrounds arrived just in time for virtual company holiday parties on Messenger Rooms. Facebook launched the Zoom competitor during lockdowns when video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled.

The details: Users can choose from a variety of AR effects including a winter village, festive lights, a grumpy yeti, a Christmas elf, gold new year and snow day. New holiday stickers for Messenger Desktop include a Hanukkah with dreidel stickers, Christmas stickers and “Bye 2020” New Year’s Eve stickers.

Facebook Gaming Debuts Two New Livestream Chat Monetization Features 

As Facebook Gaming steadily grows, the company announced that it’s testing two new monetization features in gaming livestream chats and a discounted Stars activation that lets fans buy Stars at a reduced price.

Why it matters: Over the past year, Facebook says gaming creators have received more than 5 billion Stars, the equivalent of $50 million. In addition, it has more than 2,000 creators making more than $1,000 per month from Stars, fan subscriptions and ads.

The details: The first new monetization feature Facebook Gaming is rolling out for livestream chats will include larger Stars, which will receive a more highlighted comment lit up in a bright pink and purple gradient.

The second is a new Stars ticker that automatically pins large Stars comments to the bottom of the chat window for a period of time. 

The two new features are currently being tested and will roll out to more users soon.

In addition, Facebook Gaming’s holiday Stars activation, running from December 15 to January 1, will enable fans to purchase Stars at a reduced price, receive a unique badge for sending one and send a limited time “Hand Raise” virtual gift.

TikTok Updates Its Community Guidelines To Support Users’ Mental Health

TikTok has updated its Community Guidelines to reflect the mental health needs of its users, as well as to provide clarification on the types of content that are unwelcome on the app. In addition, it’s launching opt-in viewing screens atop videos that some may find graphic or disturbing.

Why it matters: TikTok has always been explicit about the importance of its users’ mental health, providing guidance and public health information from experts on topics ranging from the pandemic to bullying. In October for World Mental Health Day, it debuted a network of self-care ambassadors, popular TikTok creators who published advice-driven content around mental health and well-being.

The details: TikTok’s new guidelines incorporate feedback and language used by mental health experts with the goal of preventing content that displays or makes mention of self-injury behaviors and eating disorders.

The platform also strengthened its policies on bullying and harassments, making more explicit what types of content are prohibited, including doxxing and cyberstalking. In addition, it has bolstered its policy against sexual harassment.

TikTok has added a harmful activities section to its minor safety policy to reiterate videos that promote dangerous dares and games.

Lastly, TikTok says its guidelines around dangerous individuals and organizations now describe in greater detail what’s considered a threat or incitement to violence.

YouTube Publishes 2020 Digital Culture And Trends Report

In a video recap, YouTube’s head of culture and trends Kevin Allocca has shared the biggest 2020 digital trends. Based on its global team’s ongoing data analysis and a new survey it conducted with Ipsos, the findings reinforce that gaming, livestreaming and DIY content had a strong year.

Why it matters: Lockdown-induced behavior gave YouTube a huge boost this year. In Q3, its ad revenue grew to $5 billion, from $3.8 billion in Q3 2019, and it reported a total of 30 million music/premium paid subscribers and 3 million YouTube TV subscribers.

The details: According to the full findings, YouTube’s total daily livestreams grew 45 percent in the first half of 2020. Over half (58 percent) of livestream viewers report that watching livestreams helps them feel connected to something bigger than themselves, specifically noting how fun the live comment feed is. In addition, 56 percent of people agree that watching livestreams can be just as good as being at an event in person.  

People flocked to YouTube for DIY content even more this year. In fact, 82 percent said they used YouTube during 2020 to learn to do something themselves. And videos with variations of “beginner” in the title garnered over 9 billion views globally this year.

Creators took advantage of lockdowns to start their own channel or grow their current audience. New channels trying to build an audience on YouTube were up 95 percent. YouTube and Ipsos’ survey shows that 58 percent of people are open to watching digital content made by creators of any age, and 47 percent are open to watching content from fictional or virtual characters or creators.

Gaming in general also saw explosive growth this year, with 73 percent of people reporting they watched gaming on online video platforms this year.

LinkedIn Launches New Product Pages

LinkedIn has announced a new “Products” tab, which will allow company pages to showcase product endorsements and testimonials by users. 

Why it matters: LinkedIn says its goal with Product Pages is “to build the world’s premier marketplace.” Currently, LinkedIn has more than 10,000 Product Pages across the business-to-business (B2B) software category.

The details: The new Product Pages lets marketers and social media managers highlight products, gather ratings from current users and generate leads with a custom call-to-action button via videos or product screenshots, descriptions and more. The feature also lets you specify the job roles that best fit your product’s purpose.

In its FAQ, LinkedIn says the Product Pages are reserved for tangible product offerings to the market.

Twitter Doubles Down On Third-Party Brand Safety Measurement Solutions

In an effort to elevate its third-party brand safety solutions, Twitter has announced a partnership with DoubleVerify (DV) and Integral Ad Science (IAS) to provide independent reporting on the context of Twitter ads.

Why it matters: Early research from Twitter’s data science teams show that on the platform, adjacency between ads and divisive content hasn’t yet been found to affect brand favorability.

The details: In addition to announcing its partnership with DV and IAS, Twitter has shared more details around its commitment to undergo accreditation across the Media Ratings Council’s four pillars, including viewability, audience measurement, sophisticated invalid traffic filtration and brand safety. Twitter says it has already begun the proposal process for brand safety accreditation.

Twitter Announces Tweet Integration With Snapchat Stories

Twitter announced that iOS users can now share tweets directly to their Snapchat Stories, and will soon test the integration for Instagram Stories.

Why it matters: Given people share tweets everywhere across social media, the integration will help drive more users from Snapchat and Instagram to Twitter at a time when Twitter’s growth has slowed due to the pandemic. In Q3, it reported a net gain of only 1 million daily active users—its slowest growth in at least three years.

The details: To share a tweet in Snapchat, users can tap the “share” icon on a tweet then select the Snapchat icon at the bottom of the share menu. This will create a sticker of the tweet, which, once shared, will link back to the tweet on Twitter where you can view the whole conversation.

Twitter says that soon it will test sharing a tweet as a sticker on Instagram Stories for iOS.

LinkedIn Tests Ads In LinkedIn Stories

After rolling out LinkedIn Stories globally in September, LinkedIn is testing ads within Stories in a closed beta.

Why it matters: LinkedIn says that to date, more than 600 advertisers have run campaigns on the platform with “positive performance in clicks, views and cost metrics.”

The details: Marketers will be able to run full-screen video and single-image ads in vertical and square formats using LinkedIn’s range of targeting tools. The ads will be served to users in between members’ Stories and LinkedIn Page Stories atop the mobile app.

Snapchat Shares Insight Into Users’ Holiday Shopping Trends

Snapchat recently shared findings that highlight what holiday shopping for its global Gen Z user base will look like this year.

Why it matters: The pandemic has already caused Snapchatters to shift their buying habits as one-third of them globally report that they’re making more purchases on their phones than they previously had.

The details: For 52 percent of Snapchat users, buying gifts is a big part of the holidays. Nearly half of US and UK Snapchatters also buy presents for their friends during the holidays. Just a little over half of users in the UK and US say that their friends rely on their recommendations when deciding what to buy and use. Additionally, Snapchatters’ favorite large retailers to buy from include Nike, Amazon, Adidas and Zara.

Pinterest Publishes Its 2021 Predictions Report

Pinterest has published its “Pinterest Predicts” report, which features over 150 trends the platform anticipates will rise in 2021.

Why it matters: Pinterest says that 80 percent of its 2020 trend projections came true, including the rise of global influencers, outdoor-inspired searches, thrifted home decor, at-home music rooms and 2000s fashion.

The details: According to Pinterest, next year the major trends in travel will include car date nights, RV accessories and luxury vacations. Wellbeing trends will include protection crystals, manifestation techniques and bath tea recipes, while food and beverage trends will include tomatillo enchilada sauce, breakfast charcuterie boards and bread art. Home trends will include neon rooms, minimalist bathroom design and copper cookware, fashion trends will include oversized outfits, quilted clothes and jean painting ideas and lastly, beauty trends will include face yoga exercises, indie nails and knotless box braids.

Instagram Adds Shopping To Reels

This week in social media news, Instagram launches shopping in Reels, App Annie says TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2020, Facebook tests a content calendar tool in Creator Studio, Instagram launches a shoppable Christmas catalog curated by UK influencers, YouTube Gaming hits 100 billion hours of watch time, Reddit sees a 52 percent increase in posts year-over-year and more.

Instagram Launches Shopping In Reels

After announcing the feature in October, Instagram has launched shopping in Reels, its TikTok-like feature, enabling brands and creators to tag products in short videos posted to the section, which got its own tab on Instagram last month.

Why it matters: Shopping has become a focal point of the Instagram user experience. In October, the app expanded shopping on IGTV globally, letting users check out in the app or on a seller’s website. With the addition of shopping in Reels, users will now be able to shop from every major touchpoint ON Instagram.

The move also follows TikTok’s announcement of a global partnership with Shopify, which allows Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok campaigns within the Shopify dashboard. TikTok says other in-app shopping features will follow.

The details: With the debut of shopping in Reels also comes a “Branded Content” tag, which will enable Instagram creators to be transparent about sponsorship from brands.

App Annie: TikTok Was The Most Downloaded App In 2020

According to App Annie’s 2020 mobile recap, TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide and the second highest in terms of consumer spend.

Why it matters: Businesses have been able to run targeted ad campaigns on TikTok for a while now, including brand takeovers, branded hashtag challenges and auction-based in-feed video ads, to name a few. But this year, TikTok has ramped up its social commerce efforts through a global partnership with Shopify, which will enable millions of merchants to reach the app’s Gen Z users, a cohort with a spending power of over $140 billion.

The details: Per App Annie, second to TikTok for the most downloaded apps worldwide is Facebook, followed by WhatsApp, Zoom, Instagram, Messenger, Google Meet, Snapchat, Telegram and Likee.

In terms of apps that saw the most consumer spend this year, Tinder came in first, followed by TikTok, YouTube, Disney+, Tencent Video and Netflix.

Facebook also claimed first place for most monthly active users this year, followed by WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and Amazon.

App Annie expects global mobile app and game downloads to hit 130 billion across iOS and Google Play this year, with spend reaching $112 billion—a 25 percent increase year-over-year.

Facebook Tests Content Calendar Tool In Creator Studio Dashboard

Facebook is testing a new content calendar feature in its Creator Studio dashboard that provides creators an overview of past and scheduled posts, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Currently, creators can schedule their Instagram feed and IGTV posts up to six months ahead using Facebook’s Creator Studio tool. This new calendar feature would allow creators to more easily plan their strategy.

The details: As seen in this screenshot posted by Matt Navarra, the new content calendar option shows separate icons for a creator’s activity, including single image updates, IGTV posts and Stories updates.

Instagram Launches Shoppable Christmas Catalog With UK Influencers

Instagram has launched a 12-page shoppable Christmas catalog highlighting a range of products selected by nine UK influencers to spotlight small businesses.  

Why it matters: The influencer-led guide comes just weeks after Instagram debuted a new format for sharing curated shoppable content—Instagram Guides. 

The details: Instagram tapped influencers from different backgrounds, like an LGBT activist and a fashion stylist, to highlight products from their favorite small businesses. Users can shop the products at the bottom right of each catalog page via the “Shop Now” button, which directs users to the brand’s Instagram.

YouTube Gaming Hits 100 Billion Hours Of Watch Time

Like other major gaming platforms, YouTube Gaming has seen explosive growth this year, with 100 billion watch time hours and over 40 million active gaming channels.

Why it matters: The pandemic has accelerated YouTube Gaming’s standing, as it saw 14 percent growth between March and April, and was up 65 percent year-over-year when lockdowns started, according to StreamElements and During that same period, Facebook Gaming saw 72 percent growth between March and April and a 238 percent surge in growth over last year.

The details: After hosting charity tournaments around the world and digital in-game concerts, YouTube Gaming’s pandemic efforts have paid off. The platform reports that it saw over 100 billion hours of gaming content watched globally and has more than 40 million active gaming channels.

Its gaming community is also growing. YouTube reports that more than 80,000 of its gaming creators hit 100,000 subscribers, over 1,000 creators hit 5 million subscribers and over 350 creators reached 10 million subscribers.

Reddit Reveals Key Stats For 2020

In its annual year in review, Reddit shares insights into overall usage for 2020, including number of daily active users, most discussed topics and most upvoted posts.

Why it matters: The company reached 52 million daily active users—a 44 percent increase YoY.

The details: Reddit has seen a significant increase in engagement this year, with 303.4 million posts (up 52 percent YoY), 2 billion comments (up 18.6 percent YoY) and 49.2 billion upvotes (up 54 percent YoY).

Users mentioned COVID more than 50.2 million times while the coronavirus community was the third most popular. Reddit’s unemployment community saw a whopping 48,286 percent YoY growth while its Black Lives Matter community saw a 9,972 percent increase in activity YoY.

Other most discussed activities and topics on Reddit this year include playing video games together, George Floyd, police brutality, work search and career workshops and social distancing, fossil fuels, peanut butter bread and mail-in voting.

Snapchat Announces $3.5 Million Augmented Reality Creator Fund

During the first day of its virtual Lens Fest, Snapchat announced a $3.5 million AR creator fund for 2021, reports CNET.

Why it matters: According to Snapchat, its creator-made AR lenses have been viewed more than a trillion times.

The details: Snap’s $3.5 million fund will provide AR creators with another monetization avenue and enable them to partner with brands for AR-driven ad experiences.

Sophia Dominguez, Snapchat’s head of camera platform partnerships, told CNET:

“I think 2021 is going to be one of those years in which we evolve augmented reality out of this pure communication or social media use case, into things that can actually make our lives better in a much broader way.”

Instagram Tests Timer Listings On Stories

Instagram is testing a new listing under Stories bubbles that shows how much time each Story has left before it disappears, as reported by Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Adding to the addictive nature of the app, the feature could encourage users to engage more often with Stories as they feel pressure to watch them before they erase.

The details: As seen in this screenshot posted by Kyle Harris, Instagram is looking to include a timer at the bottom of each Stories icon, such as “18h left.”

Twitch Updates Its Hateful Conduct And Harassment Policy

Twitch has introduced a new policy around hateful conduct and harassment to take a more consistent and exploit stance against hate after it determined that many users continue to experience harassment and abuse online.

Why it matters: According to Twitch:

“We know that many people on Twitch–particularly women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color–unfortunately continue to experience a disproportionate amount of harassment and abuse online, including on our service. Not only is this blatantly unacceptable, it also undermines the community we’re building on Twitch and threatens the long term viability of streaming as a career for everyone who wishes to pursue it.”

The details: Hateful conduct and harassment have always been prohibited on Twitch, but the platform says this new policy offers more detailed explanations of behaviors, which fall into three categories: harassment, hateful conduct and sexual harassment.

Twitch says it will take action to remove harassment from its service and encourages users to use its report feature to help Twitch identify these issues.

Twitch has added caste, color and immigration status to its list of identity characteristics that its hateful conduct policy protects. In addition, it has specifically prohibited language such as black, brown, yellow and red face unless it’s being used in an explicit educational context.

Sexual harassment is now its own category in Twitch’s policy as the platform has adopted a “much lower tolerance for objectifying or harassing behavior.”

Twitch will walk users through these changes during three live sessions scheduled for December 12, December 16 and January 6.

Snapchat To Host Free Virtual Lens Fest Open To Public

Snapchat is hosting a digital event open to the public called Lens Fest where it will spotlight its Lens Creators community and innovations in augmented reality (AR).

Why it matters: Snapchat continues to develop new AR-enabled functions that are heavily used by both users and developers. According to the platform, over 180 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day, up 37 percent from the previous year. In June, Snap launched the first global sponsored AR try-on lens with Gucci, which let users virtually try on four pairs of sneakers via two different Lenses. More recently, its new anime filter was used more than 3 billion times during its first week of launch.

The details: Snap says Lens Fest will occur in an “immersive, interactive environment” where attendees can access three core sessions daily, demonstrations in Lens Studio, a library of tutorials, a gallery of Lens Creators and more.  

Facebook: Small Business Closure Rates Have Improved But Sales And Demand Still Suffer

Facebook’s sixth “Global State of Small Business Report,” found that closure rates for small companies reached 15 percent in October, down from 26 percent in May. Despite the improvement, small businesses are facing decreased sales and demand.

Why it matters: Impacts on small and medium-size businesses can have greater consequences for the macroeconomy, as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that on average, small and medium businesses account for 75 percent of employment in sectors directly affected by lockdowns across OECD member countries.

The details: One in four small business owners report that they’ve increased or greatly increased their proportion of digital sales during the pandemic. Still, 55 percent of those that remain open reported lower sales in October compared to the same month in 2019.

Since the start of the pandemic, 31 percent of female business leaders surveyed have spent more time on domestic tasks compared to 26 percent of male business leaders.

Given many expect lack of demand and reduced cash flow will persist, more than half of business leaders surveyed in October expressed concerns about being able to financially support their families, up six percentage points since May.

For each wave of Facebook’s small business survey, a random sample of Facebook page administrators are invited to participate in the repeated cross-section, which included nearly 25,000 businesses per wave over six waves, the equivalent of more than 150,000 businesses in total.

Twitter Rolls Out Frequency Caps Globally For Ads

Twitter has introduced frequency caps for ads on Twitter globally, enabling advertisers to set a limit on the number of times each user is shown their ad within a given time period.

Why it matters: As per Twitter:

“From our research, we found that up to 80% of the overall potential impact on Ad Recall and Brand Awareness occurs within the first 2 exposures per week of a campaign.”

Moving down the funnel, Twitter observed a need for a slightly higher frequency to drive lift. Though increased weekly frequency adds further value, the impact of each added weekly exposure declines relative to the first immersions, according to Twitter.

The details: Starting today, Twitter’s ad frequency caps will be available within ad group details for its reach, engagement, video views and pre-roll views objectives.

The frequency caps will allow advertisers to redistribute impressions to new users, control how many times someone sees their ad and offer more control over media delivery.

TikTok Is Testing Three-Minute Videos

This week in social media news, TikTok tests three minute-long videos, LinkedIn launches a new market data tool called Sales Insights, Salesforce acquires Slack for $27.7 billion, Facebook buys customer relationship management startup Kustomer for $1 billion. Snapchat is shelling out $1 million to creators per day to encourage them to share their best video Snaps to its new vertically scrollable feed Spotlight and more.

TikTok Looks To Expand Video Length Limit To Three Minutes

TikTok is testing a new feature that would let users upload videos of up to three minutes in length, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: TikTok previously only allowed videos of up to 15 seconds long then extended that to 60 seconds. The short-form nature of the videos is one of the main reasons TikTok exploded over the past year. Though the new three minute limit will enable brands and creators to include more information in their content, longer videos could detract from the succinct experience users have grown accustomed to.

The details: As seen in this screenshot from Navarra, TikTok has given some creators early access to uploading videos of up to three minutes long, a feature they can test on mobile and desktop.

LinkedIn Launches New Data Tool Called Sales Insights

LinkedIn has added a new product to its Sales Solutions portfolio called Sales Insights that lets businesses access real-time market data generated by its global network of 722 million members.

Why it matters: According to LinkedIn, the number of sales operations roles more than doubled in the last two years, increasing 2.7 times fast as the sales function overall.

The details:  As per LinkedIn:

“LinkedIn Sales Insights gives you clear visibility into the size and fast-growing nature of specific departments, functions, and accounts so that you can accurately plan your sales strategy in order to point your sales teams to the right accounts and drive more revenue.”

Salesforce Acquires Slack For $27.7 Billion

Salesforce has acquired Slack for $27.7 billion, the company announced. As part of the deal, Slack will become an operating unit of Salesforce, which will continue to be led by chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield.

Why it matters: Salesforce recently surpassed $20 billion in annual revenue while Slack saw net losses of $147.6 million during the two quarters ending July 31.

The details: According to the press release, Slack will be deeply integrated into every Salesforce Cloud. Together, the companies will create “the most extensive open ecosystem of apps and workflows for business and empower millions of developers to build the next generation of apps, with clicks not code.”

The deal gives Salesforce an edge over Microsoft, whose Teams platform has acted as Slack’s competitor.

Facebook Invests $1 Billion To Monetize Its Messaging Services

In an effort to encourage more businesses to use its messaging apps, Facebook has acquired a customer relationship management software startup called Kustomer for a little over $1 billion, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The move is part of Facebook’s larger push to enhance its social commerce capabilities as more than 175 million people contact businesses using WhatsApp. 

The details: Kustomer’s offerings enable brands to aggregate and respond to customer inquiries that come through via Messenger. According to WSJ, in October Kustomer started integrating with Instagram.

 Kustomer was founded in 2015, and a year ago was valued at $710 million, as reported by WSJ.

Reddit Averages 52 Million Daily Active Users In October

Reddit averaged 52 million daily active users (DAUs) in October, a 44 percent increase from the same month last year, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: This marks the first time Reddit has disclosed a metric that more accurately reflects its user growth. Comparatively, in September Facebook averaged 1.82 billion DAUs, and in Q3 Twitter reported 187 monetizable daily users.

The details: After Reddit’s direct ad revenue growth dropped from 40 percent to 27 percent in Q1, the platform has rebounded, growing by 83 percent year-over-year in Q3, Reddit’s chief operating officer Jen Wong told WSJ.

In 2019, Reddit’s ad revenue reached more than $100 million. This year, it’s on track to grow by more than 70 percent, reports WSJ. Wong told WSJ that the expansion of Reddit’s ad business to new global markets will bolster its future revenue growth.

The company is looking to employ nearly 300 people worldwide by the end of this year, and grow head count by 75 percent over 2021.

TikTok Gets An Extension To Finalize Sale Of App To Oracle, Walmart

According to Reuters, the Trump administration has granted TikTok’s parent company ByteDance a new seven-day extension to complete the sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s August order mandated that ByteDance finalize the sale by November 12, but a day after the deadline the US granted ByteDance a 15-day extension.

The details: ByteDance now has until December 4 to divest TikTok.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has granted ByteDance a one-week extension…to allow time to review a revised submission that the Committee recently received,” a spokesperson for the Treasury Department told CNN.

Snapchat Is Paying Creators $1 Million A Day For Videos Posted To Spotlight

Snapchat is shelling out $1 million a day to creators to inspire them to post short, entertaining video Snaps to its new vertically scrollable TikTok-like feed, Spotlight

Why it matters: The incentive for posting to the Spotlight is akin to TikTok’s creator fund, which will grow to over $1 billion in the US in the next three years.

The details: As per Snapchat, users 16 or older can “earn a share of more than $1 million” by submitting their best video Snaps to Spotlight. The videos must follow the platform’s content guidelines and terms.

Currently, Spotlight is available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France. Snapchat says it’ll expand to more countries soon.

Twitter To Relaunch Verification Program Early Next Year With Help From User Feedback

This week in social media news, Twitter is asking users to share their feedback on a new verification policy it plans to relaunch in early 2021, Snapchat debuts a vertically scrollable feed called Spotlight and Twitter slows the launch of its new Stories-like feature Fleets over back-end issues.

Twitter Looks To Revive Account Verification Process With User Feedback

Twitter is calling on users to share feedback on an updated verification policy it’s testing, which it’s looking to relaunch early next year.

Why it matters: Three years ago, Twitter paused its public verification program due to user complaints that the process was “arbitrary and confusing.” A year later, it set the verification process aside to prioritize content moderation ahead of the election. Up until now, Twitter has been mum about who can become verified and when and why an account might be unverified.

The details: In early 2021, Twitter will launch an updated version of its verification process and a new public application process. Per the proposed policy, a blue verified badge indicates that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive a blue badge, an account must be notable and active, according to Twitter.

To start, Twitter has identified six types of accounts that would be eligible for a blue badgem including: government, companies, brands and non-profits, news, entertainment, sports and activists, organizations and other influential individuals.

Grounds to revoke the badge include an inactive or incomplete profile, as well as changing your account name and being demoted from a position you initially were verified for.

Twitter says the policy draft is just a starting point and will expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year. Users can take this survey to share their feedback on the policy draft.

Snapchat Adds Vertically Scrollable Feed Called Spotlight

Snapchat has launched a dedicated section in its app called Spotlight where users can browse short, entertaining videos in a vertically scrollable feed similar to TikTok, reports TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Spotlight comes on the heels of Snapchat’s music feature, “Sounds,” which lets users select music from a curated catalog and add it to their videos—a feature popularized by TikTok.

The details: As per TechCrunch, Snapchat’s Spotlight section will feature the community’s creative content that Snap will rank according to an algorithm akin to the one that TikTok’s “For You” feed utilizes, which considers factors such as watch time and the number of shares, as well as whether a user quickly skipped past the video.

To be featured in Spotlight, videos must adhere to the new section’s guidelines, which among other things require videos to be vertical and up to 60 seconds in length. The videos should also make use of the app’s creative tools, including captions, sounds, Lenses and GIFs.

Twitter Slows Launch Of Fleets Over Back-End Problems

Just a week after launching its Stories-like feature, Fleets, Twitter says it’s delaying the roll out in order to fix some performance and stability problems.

Why it matters: According to Social Media Today, many users have reported a delayed experience with Fleets as they and brands have flocked to the new feature.

The details: As per Twitter’s Support team:

“We’re slowing down the rollout of Fleets to fix some performance and stability problems. If you don’t have the feature yet, you may not get it for a few more days. We love that so many people are using Fleets and want to ensure we’re providing the best experience for everyone.”

Snapchat Rolls Out New Ad Options For App Marketers

This week in social media news, Snapchat introduces new ways for app marketers to promote their app on the platform, Instagram adds branded content tags to Reels, YouTube will insert ads into content that isn’t part of its Partner Program, Instagram launches a new Community Feature for shops, YouTube launches audio ads, Twitter expands its Stories-like Fleets to all users, Twitch reaches record viewership in October and Instagram adds a keyword search functionality. 

Snapchat Introduces New Ad Options For App Marketers

Snapchat is rolling out new ad options via Creative Kit and Login Kit to enable marketers to cross-link their app features within the platform.

Why it matters: The cross-connection will create more opportunities for Snap to attract outside spending, and builds off of Snap Minis, which was introduced earlier this year to enable creators to make mini versions of their apps within Snapchat.

The details: Using Snapchat’s Creative Kit, app marketers can now link their app data with Dynamic Lenses to showcase app details through augmented reality (AR) promotions.

Those focused on user acquisition can now optimize their Lens campaigns towards installs as their primary key performance indicator by setting a desired cost-per-install bid.

In early December. Snapchat’s new ‘App Conversions’ objective will provide app marketers an improved deep link ad format to create more engagement, the ability to create custom audiences based on their in-app behaviors and new goal-based bidding options to optimize toward repeat actions.

Lastly, app campaigns will include minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding to allow app marketers to set a specific ROAS.

Instagram Adds New Branded Content Tag To Reels

Instagram has launched a branded content tag option on Reels to ensure influencers clearly disclose when content is branded. Plus, a new creation flow will enable advertisers to run branded content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first.

Why it matters: Until today, branded content ads could only be created by promoting existing posts from creators.

The details: In addition to Instagram’s new branded content tag on Reels and ad creation flow for brands, branded content ads in Stories can now include tappable elements, such as mentions, location and hashtags.

Until today, branded content posts from creators that included product tags weren’t able to be promoted. Instagram is changing that to let businesses promote these kinds of posts as users increasingly shop directly from their favorite creators.

Lastly, brands can set a minimum age for their branded content feed posts.

YouTube To Run Ads During Non-Monetized Videos

As part of an update to its Terms of Service, YouTube will insert ads into content that isn’t part of its YouTube Partner Program (YPP), the company announced.

Why it matters: As per YouTube:

”This means as a creator that’s not in YPP, you may see ads on some of your videos. Since you’re not currently in YPP, you won’t receive a share of the revenue from these ads, though you’ll still have the opportunity to apply for YPP as you normally would once you meet the eligibility requirements.”

The details: Other updates to YouTube’s terms include an explicit ban on the collection of facial recognition data from videos, and creator revenue payments from YouTube being treated as royalties from a tax perspective.

Instagram Launches Community Content Feature For Shops

Instagram has added a new feature called Community Content that lets brands request to feature user-generated content in product pages on their Instagram shop.

Why it matters: Instagram tells WWD that the feature is “another step in its path to becoming a legit shopping destination.”

The details: As part of the new feature, a brand will be notified when a user tags them in their photo or video. The brand will then have the option to ask the creator for permission to use the content in a particular product page. Creators will not be compensated for being featured.

YouTube Rolls Out Audio Ads

YouTube has announced its first audio ad format, currently in beta, to help brands get discovered alongside music content.

Why it matters: YouTube says music video streaming is at an all time high, noting that more than 50 percent of logged-in viewers who consume music content in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music content.

The details: YouTube’s new audio ads include audio as the focal point, accompanied by a visual component such as a still image or simple animation.

During its alpha testing, YouTube found that more than 75 percent of measured audio ad campaigns drove a significant lift in brand awareness. 

Early tester Shutterfly drove benchmark lifts of 14 percent lift in ad recall and two percent lift in favorability among its target audience when using YouTube’s audio ads to influence purchase consideration.

The new audio ads are available in beta via auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis with the regular audience targeting options, bidding strategies and Brand Lift measurement capabilities as YouTube video campaigns.

In addition to audio ads, YouTube is launching dedicated groups of music-focused channels across popular genres like Latin music, K-pop, hip hop and Top 100, to enable brands to reach music fans globally.

Twitter Expands Stories-Like Fleets To All Users

Twitter has rolled out its Stories-like Fleets function to all iOS and Android users as “a lower pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening.”

Why it matters: Twitter initially launched Fleets in Japan, and found through its tests there and in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea that people feel more comfortable joining the conversation through this ephemeral option because traditional tweeting feels, “so public, so permanent and like there’s so much pressure to rack up retweets and likes.”

The details: Like Instagram Stories, Twitter’s Fleets disappear from view after 24 hours. Tweeters can “Fleet” text, reactions to tweets, photos or videos and customize Fleets with different backgrounds and text options. To share a Fleet, users must tap the “Share” icon at the bottom of the tweet composer and tap “Share in Fleet.” Then they can add their message with text or emojis.

Twitter says it plans to add stickers and live broadcasting for Fleets soon.

Twitter will show users who viewed their Fleet in the “Seen By” text at the bottom of the Fleet. In addition, users will have the option of reporting Fleets that violate Twitter’s rules.

Twitch Viewership Reaches 1.6 Billion Hours Watched In October

According to StreamElements and, Twitch reached a new viewership record, increasing by 14 percent in October to 1.6 billion hours of live-streamed video watched.

Why it matters: Twitch, like Facebook Gaming and YouTube, has seen a surge in activity since the pandemic hit, with viewership up 99 percent since October 2019 when it reached 839 million hours watched.

The details: Contributing to Twitch’s growth was its “Just Chatting” section, which StreamElements CEO Doron Nir considers the platform’s most popular destination for the year, as reported by Forbes.

Other non-gamer sectors such as Science & Technology also thrived on Twitch, fueled by discussions around the pandemic.

Instagram Adds Keyword Search Functionality

Instagram is rolling out a new functionality that enables users to search for specific keywords in addition to being able to search profiles, hashtags and locations.

Why it matters: The new keyword search could serve as a search engine optimization (SEO) mechanism via brand captions to boost brand awareness and discoverability.

The details: When users search a specific term, Instagram will present all the posts that include those exact words, making it easier for users to identify content beyond what’s available in hashtags.

As per Instagram, keyword search will be limited to general interest topics and keywords that are part of its community guidelines. The results will be based on type of content, captions and the date of the post.

Reddit User Base Will Grow 25.3 Percent This Year To 37.7 Million

This year, Business Insider’s Insider Intelligence expects Reddit’s monthly user base to grow by 25.3 percent to reach 37.7 million users.

Why it matters: According to Business Insider, Reddit’s news-oriented nature coupled with the rise in entertainment consumption will contribute to a sharp boost in the platform’s usage this year.

The details: The 37.7 million users account for logged-in users as Reddit’s site and app allow for anonymous browsing, which Business Insider says it doesn’t measure.

As news about the pandemic and election cycle begins to subside, Business Insider anticipates Reddit’s growth will slow to 8.2 percent in 2021.

Facebook Adds New Monetization Opportunities For Its Creators

Facebook announced it will give creators the ability to collect ad earnings from matched Rights Manager content and will offer in-stream ads in more countries.

Why it matters: As brands continue upping their influencer spend despite the pandemic, Facebook is looking to give its creators more ways to achieve their financial goals.

The details: First up, Facebook has given creators who have a large or growing catalog of content the option to apply for expanded access to Rights Manager, which means they’ll have better control when, how and where they share content across Facebook and Instagram.

Within Rights Manager, Facebook has improved its Collect Ad Earnings tool, enabling creators to collect ad earnings from matching videos that include in-stream ads. It says it plans to launch new video insights to help rights holders optimize their protection activities.  

As per Facebook: “We’ve added a new filter view for spotting monetizable matches, better guidance for how to capture monetization opportunities, exportable revenue reports, and the ability to collect ad earnings while placing an ownership link on the matched video.”

Facebook has also added an in-stream ad toggle to the Creator Studio app to simplify management from mobile devices.

Lastly, Facebook has expanded in-stream ads to Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Turkey, adding to the 45 countries where the program is currently available.

Twitter Is Named Exclusive Voting Partner For One Game Awards Category

At this year’s Game Awards, the Most Anticipated Game category will be decided by fan votes on Twitter, reports Variety.

Why it matters: In the wake of the gaming industry’s explosion this year, Twitter sees an opportunity to sell advertising against the Game Awards, which will stream live from sets in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo on December 10 at 7 p.m. ET across 45 global video platforms including Twitter.

Twitter and the Game Awards have been partnering up since the show first debuted in 2014. According to Variety, the Game Awards generated 2 million tweets, and viewership of the show on Twitter surged 50 percent from the year prior.

The details: The Game Awards will announce nominees in the ‘Most Anticipated Game’ category on November 18 at 9 a.m. PT and open voting to users through Twitter DMs shortly after.

On the day of the show, Twitter will add an animated awards trophy to tweets that include the hashtag #TheGameAwards. 

Instagram Adds A New Reels Tab And Shop Tab To Home Screen

This week in social media news, Instagram adds a Reels tab and Shop tab to its home screen, Snapchat shares insight into users’ holiday shopping behavior, Twitter launches a new ad format called Carousels, App Annie predicts TikTok will exceed 1 billion users in 2021, WhatsApp adds a shopping button to the top of chats, TikTok lets users publicly display their nonprofit of choice in their profile and Facebook tests new visual effects for posts in the news feed.

Instagram Announces A New Reels Tab And Shop Tab 

Instagram has announced a new Reels tab and a Shop tab, which will live on the platform’s home screen.

Why it matters: The addition of the new tabs marks the first big update to Instagram’s home screen in a while and follows its launch of TikTok-like Reels a few months ago.

The details: Instagram says the pandemic has led to an explosion in short videos on Instagram and more users looking to buy from their favorite influencers.

The Reels tab is meant to be “a kind of a stage” where people can share their videos and find an audience. Through the Shop tab, users can discover personalized recommendations, editors’ picks curated by Instagram’s @shop channel, shoppable videos and new product collections.

Snapchat Publishes Insight Into User Holiday Shopping Trends

Snapchat has published a short guide on its users’ holiday shopping behavior as 80 percent of Snapchatters plan their holiday gift-buying via the platform, according to Snapchat.

Why it matters: This year, 76 percent of Snapchatters plan to buy their holiday gifts online, up from 47 percent last year.

The details: Despite pandemic concerns, Snapchat says that its users are planning to spend 147 percent more on presents this year than non-Snapchatters.

High on nearly half of users’ wishlists (42 percent) is a new smartphone. In addition, 20 percent of users are planning on buying from brands that are helping the community while 72 percent plan to give gift cards to someone this season.

Twitter Debuts Carousel Ad Format

Twitter has globally launched a new ad format called Carousels that lets users swipe right horizontally through two to six images or videos to open a website or app.

Why it matters: During its testing, Twitter found that app Carousel ads increased installs per impression an average of 24 percent compared to single-asset ad formats. Website Carousel ads promoted the average clickthrough rate (CTR) nearly 15 percent.

The details: Available via Twitter’s Ads Manager or through the API, Carousel ads feature edge-to-edge design and can link to either one website or app destination. Advertisers will have the option to run Carousels as organic or promoted only.

App Annie: TikTok Will Exceed 1 Billion Users In 2021

According to App Annie’s 2021 mobile trends report, TikTok is set to reach 1.2 billion average monthly active users (MAUs) next year.

Why it matters: As of Q3, App Annie’s data shows that TikTok was the second non-gaming app by consumer spend, a feat that points to the success of the platform’s positive feedback loop, which encourages creativity and spending via in-app transactions such as tipping streamers.

The details: As per App Annie, TikTok’s combination of short looping videos, creative editing tools and user-generated content represents a powerful opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large global base of engaged consumers.

WhatsApp Debuts Shopping Button In Business Chats

WhatsApp has announced a new shopping button at the top of chats that will direct its 2 billion active users worldwide to a product listing in-app where they can purchase the item.

Why it matters: Streamlining in-app shopping on WhatsApp would enable its parent company, Facebook, to monetize the app, which it failed at when it tried introducing ads. 

The details: The new shopping button comes after India approved the expansion of WhatsApp Pay in the nation, as well as a feature that enables users to transfer funds within the app.

TikTok Lets Users Show Non-Profit Fundraisers On Their Profile

TikTok has rolled out a new option that lets users publicly display a nonprofit organization on their profile via a direct link to donate, as spotted by Sam Schmir.

Why it matters: The feature is an extension of the donation stickers TikTok launched in April to help users raise awareness and money for charities via their videos.

The details: To use the new feature, social media expert Matt Navarra shows how users can choose a nonprofit to support from a list of approved organizations in their profile settings. The organization they select will appear on their profile with a note encouraging others to donate.

Clicking the listing in someone’s profile will direct a user to information about how much money that user has raised for the charity.

Facebook Tests New Visual Effect Features For News Feed Images

Facebook is testing new visual effect features that add motion to still images posted in the News Feed, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The new tool will make static content in the feed more engaging and potentially boost user activity, which is likely a priority for the platform given it reported a drop in daily active users in Q3 for US and Canada—from 198 million in Q2 to 196 million.

The details: As seen in this video posted by Navarra, Facebook’s new motion effects include an option to slide, flash or highlight your static image. Facebook renders a video slideshow using the effect for your picture to add to your post.