TikTok Is The Top Grossing Non-Game App Worldwide For April

This week in social media news, TikTok is the top grossing non-game app worldwide for April and announces an educational initiative called #LearnOnTikTok, Facebook rolls Instagram introduces new creator monetization tools including Live badges and IGTV ads; Facebook launches two new apps, Collab and CatchUp; WhatsApp tests QR codes; and Twitter adds fact check notifications to two misleading tweets about the mail-in ballot process from President Trump.

TikTok Sees 10-Fold Spike In User Spending To $78 Million In April

TikTok was the top-grossing non-game app worldwide in April, with more than $78 million in user spending, a 10-fold growth from April 2019, according to Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: TikTok’s strong in-app spending comes after it surpassed 2 billion downloads at the end of April and the hiring of Kevin Mayer as its new CEO.

The details: Sensor Tower found that 86.6 percent of TikTok’s revenue was from China, followed by 8.2 percent from the US. YouTube was the second highest earning non-game app worldwide, with about $76 million in gross revenue, a 57 percent year over year growth from April 2019. A little over half (56.4 percent) of YouTube’s revenue was from the US, followed by nearly 11 percent from Japan. The next top grossing apps were Tinder, followed by Disney+ and Tencent Video.

Facebook Rolls Out New Augmented Reality Tools For Creators

Facebook has introduced new augmented reality tools to its Spark AR Studio including Instagram effects that respond, move and play in sync with music plus a TikTok-like green screen feature called Gallery Picker.

Why it matters: At a time when Stories engagement is surging right now, Facebook’s new AR capabilities for Instagram could attract new users.

The details: In addition to new Instagram effects that respond to music, the Spark AR Studio is enabling creators to build AR effects which make content captured via the Instagram camera, or within their camera roll, more immersive.

As per Facebook, its new Gallery Picker tool, “lets creators publish AR effects to Instagram that people can then personalize with their own images, enabling green screen-style effects. With this new capability, people can transport themselves into any environment and place they want.”

Additionally, Facebook rolled out new templates for 2D and 3D stickers to help creators build AR effects more easily.

TikTok Launches #LearnOnTikTok With Over 800 Partners

TikTok announced that it’s partnering with over 800 public figures, media publishers, educational institutions and professional experts to launch a program called #LearnOnTikTok.

Why it matters: Last month, TikTok announced a $50 million Creative Learning Fund, which supports creators with the production of educational content, provides resources for students and introduces emerging teachers on TikTok.

The details: #LearnOnTikTok experts like Bill Nye, José Andrés, Lilly Singh, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Tyra Banks. Organizations like the Aquarium of the Pacific and media publishers like WWD and SELF have also created educational content that offers instructional tips and takeaways. 

TikTok says it’s also building a creator learning portal that will, “provide insights, tools, and best practices on how to create quality content on TikTok.”

President Trump To Sign Order That Mandates Review Of Law Protecting Social Media Platforms

President Trump is set to sign an executive order that mandates a review of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media platforms from lawsuits over what users share.

Why it matters: The move follows Trump’s run-in with Twitter last week, when for the first time, the platform added a fact-check marker to two of the president’s tweets about the mail-in ballot process.

The details: Trump’s request would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine whether social media companies like Twitter and Facebook should lose the Section 230 protections they enjoy under the Communications Decency Act, and whether any social media company uses deceptive content moderation policies.

Instagram Introduces New Tools To Help Influencers Make Money

Instagram has rolled out two new tools to help creators monetize their content including badges on Instagram Live and ads on IGTV.

Why it matters: Instagram is likely looking to help influencers whose livelihoods, due to canceled brand deals, have been affected by COVID. From February to March, Instagram reports a 70 percent increase in views on Live, indicating influencers and brands alike have ramped up efforts there.

The details: The first new tool includes badges that followers can purchase during a live video; the badge will appear next to the user’s name through the live video. The purchaser will then be placed on a creator’s list of badge holders, with access to a “special heart.” A select group of creators can test badges next month.

The second part of Instagram’s announcement includes sharing ad revenue with influencers by way of IGTV ads. Built for mobile and up to 15 seconds long, the ads will appear when users click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed. Instagram has plans to test various versions of IGTV ads including skippable ones. Instagram says it will test the ads with a small group of influencers and advertisers in the US.

Facebook Expands Post Creation Tools To Creator Studio Mobile App

Facebook is adding more capabilities to its mobile Creator Studio app, allowing creators to manage content on the go.

Why it matters: Facebook could be bracing for increased mobile usage as some parts of the US slowly reopen amid the pandemic.

The details: Up until now, creators could track content insights, edit video titles and descriptions, respond to messages and manage multiple pages from the same app and session. Now, users of the Creator Studio mobile app have access to more features for video posts, like uploading a thumbnail from their mobile phone and filling in video metadata fields plus the ability to publish and schedule Facebook posts within the app.

Facebook Rolls Out New Video Features For Work Groups And Workplace

Facebook is introducing new video features to its Workplace platform and Work Groups, a type of Facebook Group that helps users connect with their coworkers. In addition, it’s releasing Oculus for Business to “meet early demand for VR-powered training and collaboration.”

Why it matters: Facebook’s Workplace has 5 million paid users and Work Groups has over 20 million monthly active users just after six months, Facebook reports.

The details: With Workplace Rooms, workers can meet with unlimited time and invite up to 50 people even if others aren’t in their company or don’t have a Workplace account. The rooms can be locked or kept open, and hosts can remove participants. For security, a new link is generated each time someone creates a room.

In addition to new ways to hold virtual meetings, Facebook has introduced Live Producer, a new way to go live on Workplace via desktop with features such as automatic captions in various languages, which Workplace will translate.

Additionally, Facebook is bringing Portal’s artificial intelligence-powered Smart Camera and Smart Sound to Workplace Live to enhance broadcasting. Starting next month, Workplace users can also use Portal TV for Workplace calls and videos.

To make it easier for companies to improve business results via virtual reality, Facebook is widely releasing Oculus for Business, which is built on Workplace.

Facebook Launches Collaborative Music Video App Called “Collab”

Facebook’s internal New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has created a new app called Collab which enables people to either record music videos or swipe to discover videos that they can mix and match to build a “collab.”

Why it matters: Facebook says it’s been working on Collab for months but launched early in light of the pandemic, as its motto suggests: “Make music together, while we’re apart.” 

The details: Unlike TikTok and Triller, Collab is intended for creating original music videos. Collabs are capped at 15 seconds and can be published for others to watch in the app’s feed or to use in future collabs. Collabs can also be published to other social media platforms like Facebook Stories and Instagram. Facebook has released Collab as an invite-only beta.

Facebook Launches A New App Called CatchUp

Facebook’s NPE team launched a new app called CatchUp, which shows users who are available to connect via one-on-one or group audio chat.

Why it matters: CatchUp marks the sixth app from Facebook’s experiential NPE team. The only difference between CatchUp and Messenger is that CatchUp shows when users are available for audio chat, a functionality that could be useful in areas where connectivity is limited.

The details: Facebook is testing CatchUp in the US on iOS and Android.

WhatsApp Tests QR Codes 

WhatsApp announced that it’s testing QR codes to streamline new connections between users.

Why it matters: WhatsApp has seen a spike in usage during COVID, perhaps giving Facebook an incentive to introduce QR codes, something it launched for Facebook pages in 2018.

The details: Users can either share their QR code or scan others’ QR codes. Sharing your QR code means sharing your WhatsApp contact info, and if you accidentally share your QR code with the wrong person, you can revoke it immediately.

Twitter Adds Fact Check Notifications To President Trump’s Tweets

For the first time, Twitter added fact-check notifications beneath two tweets from President Trump regarding the mail-in ballot process.

Why it matters: Twitter’s move against misinformation comes after Trump perpetuated conspiracy theories about the death of Joe Scarborough’s intern. In response, Twitter said it was working on expanding existing product features to address misinformation.

The details: The fact-check notifications under Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots state, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” next to an exclamation mark icon. Upon clicking the notification, users are directed to a Twitter Moment which outlines accurate information about mail-in ballots. In response, President Trump tweeted: “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Facebook Clarifies Guidelines Around Using Music In Videos, Livestreams

This week in social media news, Facebook clarifies guidelines surrounding the use of recorded music in videos and live streams on Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest rolls out a curated shopping tool, LinkedIn launches a new Glint integration to help managers lead more effectively during COVID, Facebook releases a report on COVID’s impact on small businesses and acquires GIPHY as part of Instagram, eMarketer predicts Instagram and Snapchat will outperform Facebook in terms of engagement growth and TikTok will present at the IAB NewFronts for the first time.

Facebook Updates Guidelines For Using Recorded Music In Videos

Facebook has clarified guidelines and product improvements around recorded music used in videos and live streams on Facebook and Instagram.

Why it matters: In respective company posts, Instagram and Facebook said that social distancing has “highlighted some confusion across the community — especially around the use of recorded music in Live on both Facebook and Instagram.”

The details: Facebook says there are no limits on things like music in Stories, or traditional musical performances and that the greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited; 
for that reason, it recommends shorter clips of music. It also notes, “There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video.”

To minimize stream interruptions caused by music, Facebook is improving in-product notifications that let a user know when a broadcast or uploaded video may include music that doesn’t adhere to its licensing agreements. If a video is muted or blocked, Facebook will share what actions the user can take to stop the interruption.

YouTube Announces New Ad Option To Reach Traditional Television Viewers 

YouTube will replace its upfront offering Google Preferred, which launched in 2014, with YouTube Select, which will include the ability to buy inventory on traditional television.

Why it matters: With less people out and more stuck at home watching television, traditional television is becoming a lucrative investment for YouTube.

The details: Unlike Google Preferred, YouTube Select will be available worldwide and introduce “emerging lineups” which enable advertisers to show ads on emerging channels or niche ones. Advertisers will also be able to choose from customized packages for YouTube kids and YouTube Originals.

Facebook Launches Shops On Facebook And Instagram Business Profiles

The platform announced that its new Shops feature allows businesses to set up an online store for free, accessible to customers on a business’ Facebook page, Instagram profile and in stories and ads.

Why it matters: The social commerce feature comes after Facebook published a report outlining the ways COVID-19 has negatively impacted small businesses.

The details: Businesses control what products to feature and can customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and brand colors. Through a business’ shop, customers can browse items, save products and place an order either on the business’ website or within the app, if the business has enabled “checkout” in the US. 

Via Shops, customers can also message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram direct message to ask about deliveries and get support. Facebook also plans to enable shopping right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram direct messages.

This summer, customers will also be able to discover and buy products from the Instagram Explore page through Instagram Shops. Facebook plans to add a new shop tab in the Instagram navigator bar later this year. It’s also testing a feature that would enable sellers, brands and influencers to tag products from their Facebook Shop before going live, with shoppable products appearing at the foot of the live video.

Facebook says it’s also working on a way to sync loyalty programs between local businesses and users’ Facebook accounts.

LinkedIn Launches New Glint Integration For Managers

LinkedIn’s Learning for Glint is a new integration that embeds over 100 expert-curated LinkedIn Learning videos directly into Glint, which LinkedIn acquired in November 2018, to help managers learn specific skills, support their teams and lead more effectively in the time of coronavirus.

Why it matters: Recent data from LinkedIn Learning reveals that since the pandemic started, managers have increased the time they spend watching online courses by 105 percent.

The details: LinkedIn Learning for Glint provides managers with bite-sized videos tailored to their individual survey results at the time they’re most receptive to learning more. Glint customers can access the new integration for free regardless of whether they have a LinkedIn Learning enterprise license.

Pinterest Rolls Out Curated Shopping Feature

Pinterest has launched a new feature called shopping spotlights that serves users recommendations of influencers and publishers based on current Pinterest trends.

Why it matters: In early April, Pinterest announced new ways to shop directly from pins, on boards and from the search bar after searches for “help small businesses” on the app tripled and searches for “care package ideas” doubled.

The details: Pinterest has partnered with former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, fashion influencer Blair Eadie and interior designer Sarah Sherman Samuel to launch the new shopping spotlights feature. Pinterest’s publishing partners include Refinery29, Domino, Who What Wear, InStyle, Nylon and Harper’s Bazaar.

Pinners will notice the shopping spotlights on the search tab with articles featuring product pins that directly link to a brand’s product pages, where Pinners can check out.

The shopping spotlights feature is available on Android and desktop now, and is coming to iOS soon.

Facebook Expands Mid-Roll Video Ads Test

Facebook is expanding its experiment with mid-roll ads in videos to all types of video content. In the new test, mid-roll ads will be non-skippable for the first five seconds, as reported by Adweek.

Why it matters: Last month, Search Engine Land reported that Facebook was testing three mid-roll ad formats in selected live-streams as a way to help streamers monetize their Facebook content.

The details: According to Adweek, Facebook’s new test includes ads of up to 15 seconds in length that users can skip after having played for five seconds.

Facebook Is Working On Artificial Intelligence-Powered Shopping Tools

Facebook is ramping up its artificial-intelligence efforts to create a shopping tool that recognizes various items in pictures.

Why it matters: Facebook’s new tool will identify clothing, which is generally challenging for AI given bodies have many shapes.

The details: Facebook says its research scientist Tamara Berg is prototyping an “intelligent digital closet” which lets people take photos of their outfits and instantly digitize each item. The closet would provide outfit suggestions based on planned activities or weather as well as recommended products to shop.

Meanwhile, research scientist Sean Bell is working on a new tool called GrokNet, which automatically suggests clothing attributes such as colors and materials, simplifying the process of posting a listing.

Facebook is also testing GrokNet with automatic product tagging suggestions on Facebook pages to make it easier for users to pinpoint exact items featured in content in their feed.

Lastly, Facebook is working on a 3D-like photo capability on Marketplace for iOS sellers called Rotating View, which lets people turn a regular 2D video into a 3D-like view using the camera on their phone.

Facebook Report Details COVID’s Impact On Small Businesses

In collaboration with Small Business Roundtable, Facebook released the first report of an ongoing series called “The State of Small Business Report,” which is based on a survey of 86,000 owners, managers and workers in US companies with fewer than 500 employees. The findings reveal that nearly a third of small businesses have shut down.

Why it matters: The report paints a dismal picture of the current scale of the crisis, which is particularly affecting female owners, who Facebook says lead the majority of these small businesses. 160 million businesses use Facebook’s apps every month.

The details: The series, which Facebook says were planned before the pandemic struck, suggests that the smallest businesses have been hit the hardest; more than half of those businesses run by the self-employed or for personal income are no longer operating. 

The two primary concerns of small business owners are cash flow and lack of demand. Supply challenges are also a concern; 40 percent of owner-managers reported facing supply challenges, including 67 percent of small businesses, 65 percent of personal businesses and 50 percent of hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Just 45 percent of owners and managers of closed business said they’d rehire the same workers when their businesses reopened and 19 percent said they were keeping their workers and still paying part of their wages.

Facebook says that despite these challenges, 57 percent of small business owners and managers are optimistic about their future as 51 percent have increased online interactions with their clients and 36 percent report that they’re now conducting all of their sales online. 

Fifty-nine percent of female-led businesses said at least half of their sales are digital compared to 54 percent of male-led businesses.

Facebook Acquires GIPHY For $400 Million

GIPHY is joining the Facebook company as part of the Instagram team following a deal reported to be worth nearly $400 million.  

Why it matters: Facebook reports that 50 percent of GIPHY’s traffic comes from Facebook apps, half of that from Instagram alone.

The details: For Instagram and Facebook story users, the acquisition means an expanded pool of GIFs to choose from. In addition, people will still be able to upload GIFs to GIPHY and developers and API partners will have the same access to GIPHY’s APIs.

Instagram, Snapchat Will See Higher Growth Than Facebook This Year

Instagram and Snapchat will outpace Facebook in engagement growth in 2020, according to a forecast from eMarketer shared with Mobile Marketer.

Why it matters: eMarketer predicts that US adult users of social media will spend an average of one hour and 22 minutes a day on the apps this year, seven minutes more than they did in 2019. As the pandemic continues affecting marketing budgets, knowing where customers are right now is crucial to pivoting.

The details: Instagram will grow the fastest with a nearly 14 percent surge from 2019 to an average of 30 minutes a day; this is significantly higher than eMarketer’s November estimate, which predicted Instagram’s 2020 usage would grow by 24 seconds a day.

Snapchat will see a 12 percent increase to an average of 29.5 minutes a day—a dramatic lift compared to eMarketer’s previous forecast of a gain of 30 seconds a day.

Facebook will see a 4.3 percent increase to about 34 minutes daily.

TikTok Will Pitch At IAB NewFronts For The First Time

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will live-stream its yearly NewFronts this year, where, for the first time, TikTok will present.

Why it matters: TikTok’s appearance follows its recent milestone of 2 billion downloads. 

The details: The NewFronts will be streamed between June 22-26, with programming set to cover streaming video, lifestyle, news, audio, eSports and gaming. TikTok will present on June 25, the same day Xandr, TiVo, Samsung Ads and YouTube are scheduled to appear.

LinkedIn Adds New Tools To Its Sales Navigator Platform

This week in social media news, LinkedIn launches new Sales Navigator features and says it will factor in dwell time in its content distribution algorithm, Houseparty announces a three-day, celebrity-studded virtual event, YouTube expands its new audience insights to all users, Snapchat updates its analytics layout for creators and Google rolls out tools to let consumers make donations and send gift cards to businesses.

LinkedIn Launches New Tools To Help Brands With Virtual Selling

As part of its regular quarterly tools roll-out, LinkedIn has launched new features on its Sales Navigator platform to help companies with their virtual selling strategies.

Why it matters: The updates will help add extra context to potential leads and clients, allowing marketers to better navigate on-platform efforts and maintain connections with interested users.

The details: LinkedIn’s new Smart Links enhancements lets brands stay connected with buyers by showing them insights on what content they engaged with. The feature also lets Sales Navigator admins see how often reps are sending content and which reps are getting the most views.

To support collaboration across sales teams, LinkedIn is also rolling out an integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 that enables businesses to create contacts in their CRM directly from a Sales Navigator Lead Page or Lead List. 

The second update includes the consolidation of Notes and Comments into Notes shared in Sales Navigator Lists, Lead Pages and Account Pages, with the option of making notes on relevant Account and Leads either public or private.

Lastly, LinkedIn’s new Alerts panel allows brands to like, comment and share anytime a saved lead posts or shares on LinkedIn without leaving the Sales Navigator.

Houseparty Introduces New Co-Watching Feature Via Three-Day Virtual Festival

Houseparty is hosting an in-app, three-day virtual festival called In the House from May 15 to May 17, featuring celebrity-led jam sessions, workouts and cooking tutorials.

Why it matters: Houseparty is the latest app to introduce co-watching, a sign that there could be new opportunities within the app. Houseparty was downloaded 2 million times in the last week of March and has earned a top-ten spot in app stores of 17 different countries over the last two months.

The details: Viewers can tune in to see popular actors, restaurateurs, social media influencers and musicians perform and share tips via Houseparty on mobile or desktop.

YouTube Expands New Audience Activity Insights To All Users

Now all users can access YouTube’s new listing of when their YouTube audience is online and they can also opt-in to its new video chapters feature, according to YouTube Creator Insider Tom Leung.

Why it matters: The new updates will help users publish content accordingly and allow viewers to find the content they care most about within videos.

The details: The new audience insights chart is available in YouTube Studio analytics and shows when your audience is most active on the platform.

Users can opt-in to YouTube’s new video chapter feature by making sure the first timestamp listed in their video description starts at 0:00 and that their video has at least three timestamps or chapters, with each chapter being 10 seconds or longer.

Snapchat Updates In-App Analytics Layout For Creator Accounts

As spotted by Conviva’s Mike Metzler, Snapchat has rolled out two new updates for creator accounts—an updated in-app analytics layout and a new “Quoting” option that lets creators respond to replies in their public stories.

Why it matters: Available only to select users for now, the advanced analytics will help creators understand what content their viewers are engaging most with.

The details: The new analytics layout shows creators detailed insights on each frame, showing details like views, screenshots, swipe-ups and interactions (tap forwards, tap backwards and swipe-aways).

Regarding its new “Quoting” feature, Snapchat says:

“Quoting is a fan engagement tool that makes it easier to share a subscribers’ reply to your public story. Ask subscribers to send you questions and answer away. You can even mix things up and ask them questions. Fans will be notified when you quote them which can really make their day.”

Facebook’s New Safety Controls Gives Brands More Control Over Ad Placements

Facebook has launched a new set of brand safety controls to enable advertisers more control over where their ads appear across Facebook.

Why it matters: In 2017, the issue of brand placement arose when major brands pulled their YouTube spend over concerns that their ads were appearing next to hate speech and extremist content, causing the platform to lose millions in revenue.

The details: After being in testing with selected partners over the last few months, the new controls include the expansion of whitelists for both Audience Network and in-stream ads. Now, Facebook advertisers can designate which third-party publisher apps to run ads on, allow third-party providers to review and customize suitable videos for in-stream campaigns and opt-out of the test of in-stream ads in live streams from vetted partners.

LinkedIn To Incorporate Dwell Time Into Content Distribution Algorithm

To improve feed ranking, LinkedIn tested dwell time, a metric that measures the time spent on content after clicking on an update in the feed.

Why it matters: Up until now, “viral actions” such as clicking on, liking and commenting on feed updates informed LinkedIn’s content distribution algorithm. Unlike viral actions, LinkedIn says, dwell time is always measurable and can be a more reliable indicator of engagement. The result is higher quality content shown in the feed and a better feed experience for members.

The details: LinkedIn found that there’s a natural threshold at which dwell time would reveal that the user will never click on or engage with certain feed updates. The finding was nearly universal across all forms of LinkedIn updates, leading LinkedIn to add this new machine learning model to improve feed ranking.

Google Lets Businesses Add Donation And Gift Card Links To Their Profiles

Google is rolling out a new tool that would allow businesses to add a donation link, gift card link or both to their profiles.

Why it matters: Google joins the likes of Facebook and Instagram who also recently added gift card and donation tools that enable people to support their businesses as the pandemic keeps their doors closed.

The details: In addition to being able to add a donation link or gift card link to their business profile, owners can share a personal message in their post to let customers know how they’ll use the funds. Google has partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations, and Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro for the gift cards. Though Google isn’t charging businesses or consumers fees for using the tool, there may be partnering processing fees. Support links will be available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The links will be visible to consumers later this month.

LinkedIn Adds New Virtual Events Tools And Custom Announcement Banner

LinkedIn has launched several new products to help organizations engage their community during the crisis including an updated live events tool, a video publishing and archiving tool and temporary features like call-to-action buttons to volunteers and customer announcement banners.

Why it matters: LinkedIn says its Live platform is seeing 23X more comments per post and 6X reactions per post than native video.

The details: LinkedIn has strengthened integration between its two existing features, LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live, to enable members to share events via their page, allowing brands to target specific audiences and design a more personalized experience. Using LinkedIn’s new video tab, brands can then archive the live event, which all members of the brand’s community can access. In addition, a new custom announcement banner allows brands to post timely updates to the top of their page while the new volunteer CTA button allows non-profits and school pages to ask members to volunteer.

Instagram and Facebook Announce New Features To Help Support Small Businesses

Facebook has launched a new section called Businesses Nearby, which will show users the latest posts from businesses within a certain radius, their delivery options and current hours, with the ability to book or send the business a message. Additionally, it’s rolling out a #SupportSmallBusiness sticker on Facebook and Instagram.

Why it matters: New features to help increase virtual foot traffic amid the pandemic come after Facebook announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses in March.  

The details: Instagram will feature posts using the #SupportSmallBusiness sticker in a shared Instagram story highlighting similar posts from all accounts people follow. On Facebook, users will be able to tag a post as being “in support of” a certain small business. Facebook has also added a dedicated Business Inbox in the Messenger app, allowing brands to answer questions sent to their Facebook page.

Instagram Tests New Ways To Navigate Through Stories

Instagram is testing an option that would let users toggle through other users’ Stories, according to reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong.

Why it matters: Facebook has repeatedly said that Stories are on track to surpass the news feed as the primary surface for engaging on social media. Giving users more ways to find the content they like on Instagram Stories could lead to a spike in usage, especially during COVID.

The details: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram is “looking into ways to making it easier to find the Stories you care about most” via a poll on his Twitter asking followers to choose from the following options: “Keep tapping through,” “Hunt and peck” and “Not into Stories.”

YouTube Launches Tools To Help Advertisers Reach Users Watching On Home TV Screens

YouTube is accelerating the launch of its Brand Lift measurement tool for television as YouTube watch time on television grows during COVID, vice president, global video and YouTube solutions Debbie Weinstein says in a Google Blog. Additionally, YouTube is introducing skippable ads for content that’s cast onto the television screen.

Why it matters: Increases in watch time and an influx of daily visitors on YouTube allows brands that can continue advertising in coronavirus to reach more viewers and more easily measure results across YouTube streaming platforms. 

The details: On the brand lift measurement tool, YouTube says: “For viewers, this means surveys are now optimized for the big screen and interactivity with a TV remote, so people can easily respond or skip the survey.”

The skippable ad format is also a significant addition given casting watch time grew by over 75 percent year over year.

Google Launches Rising Retail Trends Tool

To help businesses understand changing consumer interests during the pandemic, Google has launched a rising retail categories list on Think with Google, a tool that shows popular product-related categories in Google Search with data updated daily.

Why it matters: This marks the first time Google has provided this type of insight on product categories people are searching for. It will allow brands to tailor content creation, promotional efforts and new products and services based on consumers’ changing behaviors during COVID. 

The details: The rising retail categories tool will show fast-growing categories of products, the locations where they’re growing and the queries associated with them.

TikTok Brings On New Digital Marketing Partner Bidalgo

TikTok has added Bidalgo to its roster of digital marketing partners for ads via direct API integration, according to a Bidalgo blog post.

Why it matters: Bidalgo’s multi-channel user acquisition platform will make TikTok ads more dynamic, scalable and effective for media buyers.

The details: Bidalgo’s data-driven approach helps advertisers measure the performance of creative assets with advanced insights, take bulk actions on bids, budgets and status based on actionable insights and scale across channels with artificial intelligence-driven recommendations.

84% Of Consumers Will Buy From A Brand They Follow On Social Media

Eighty-nine percent of consumers say they will buy from a brand they follow on social media and 84 percent will choose that brand over a competitor, according to the 2020 Sprout Social Index: Above and Beyond, based on surveys fielded to social marketers and consumers between February 28 and March 4.

Though Social Index conducted its research before the pandemic, its main finding still holds true: social media drives bottom-line growth. Retailers and restaurants remain shuttered as a result of the virus, leaving consumers no choice but to shop brands online and through their social media channels.


Social media directly impacts consumer purchase behavior as 75 percent of respondents say they will increase their spending on a brand they follow on social media, a figure that has seen 12 percent year over year growth.

Fifty percent of consumers have increased their social media usage in the last six months alone. With this in mind, marketers should carefully consider the type of content they deliver, as 45 percent of consumers say they will unfollow brands that publish irrelevant content on social media.

As for when users are most likely to be on social media: half (50 percent) say during a major personal milestone, followed by 45 percent during a sporting event, 42 percent during a natural disaster and 42 percent during the holiday.

Over half (54 percent) of consumers welcome brand posts during sporting events whereas only 14 percent are interested in the same during a natural disaster.

When asked what makes a brand’s social presence superior, consumers rank engagement with their audience (61 percent) as the top factor, followed by transparency (45 percent) and strong customer service (44 percent).

Consumers also value swift communication from brands as 40 percent of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media. A larger amount of consumers (79 percent) expect a response in the first 24 hours.

Younger consumers gravitate toward social platforms focused on photos and videos, like YouTube and Instagram. When asked which platforms they plan to use more of, 73 percent of GenZ respondents said Instagram followed, by 65 percent who chose YouTube. Among millennials, 68 percent say they plan to use Facebook more in the coming year.

When asked how they find new social media accounts to like and follow, 45 percent say by suggestions in their feed or discovery tools and 40 percent say recommendations from family/friends.

Social Marketers

While social media is a valuable growth engine for brands, Sprout Social’s data indicates marketers will struggle to measure the return on investment (ROI) as respondents ranked ROI and supporting overall business goals among their top three challenges. 

Over half (56 percent) of respondents say they use social data to better understand their target audience, 23 percent say they use the data to measure ROI and 16 percent use it for competitive insights. The takeaway here: social data has not reached its full potential.

Additionally, for social marketers, brand awareness is the primary goal for social media (69 percent), followed by increasing web traffic  (52 percent) and growing their audience (46 percent).

Looking ahead, consumers want marketers to use more stories (43 percent) and live video (40 percent). Marketers’ responses align with these preferences as 56 percent say they plan on trying live video and 48 percent say they plan on trying stories.

Lucid distributed the Sprout Social survey to 1,003 social marketers and 1,028 consumers.

Pinterest Launches App On Shopify To Help Increase Traffic To Retailers

This week in social media news, Pinterest launches an app on Shopify to help increase traffic to retailers, Tinder says it will soon launch a video feature, Facebook is testing an app called Discover to increase internet access for people worldwide and YouTube announces plans to live stream a virtual graduation ceremony with the Obamas.

Pinterest Launches Shopify App To Increase Traffic To Retailers

Pinterest announced today it’s launching the Pinterest app on Shopify, which gives merchants a fast way to upload catalogs to Pinterest and convert their products into shoppable Product Pins.

Why it matters: Earlier this week Pinterest reported increased usage during the pandemic, making it an opportune moment for retailers to get their products in front of Pinners. In addition, Pinterest says the number of users who have engaged with shoppable Product Pins has increased 44 percent year over year.

The details: The app links an individual store to Pinterest and offers merchants a variety of shopping features including tag installation, catalog ingestion, automatic daily updating of products and ads buying interface. The app will make it so Pinners can discover, save and buy directly from a retailer’s website as upon installation, the app lets the business add a tag on their website. A shop tab will also appear on the profiles of businesses that sign-up.

Shopify merchants in the US and Canada can install the tag starting today. In the coming weeks, Pinterest will roll out the app in countries where Pinterest ads are available including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Facebook Tests Discover App To Increase Internet Accessibility

Facebook said it’s testing a mobile web and Android app in Peru called Discover, which provides people with limited low-bandwidth internet browsing using a daily balance of free data from participating mobile operators.

Why it matters: Backed by Facebook Connectivity, Discover builds on Facebook’s efforts with Free Basics, which enables people to access basic services without data charges, available in 55 countries. Facebook’s goal with Discover, it notes, is to increase access to health information during the crisis for users around the world.

The details: The way Discovery works is Facebook routes web traffic through the app’s proxy and temporarily decrypts it to remove high-bandwidth content that’s not supported. Discover doesn’t store people’s browsing history, according to Facebook. A Facebook account isn’t required to use Discover, which can be downloaded on 0.discoverapp.com or the Google Play Store. Facebook plans to roll out additional Discover trials in Thailand, the Philippines and Iraq in the coming weeks.

Tinder Will Add Video Dating In Q2

As part of its Q1 2020 earning report, Match said Tinder will introduce a video dating feature in Q2 after testing the waters with video in its Plenty of Fish app.

Why it matters: Tinder competitor Bumble has offered video for a year, and soon Facebook will launch virtual dating via Messenger for Facebook Dating users. Yet Match has been reluctant to add video to its apps, saying that video features had been tried over the years but never saw much adoption. As people are stuck at home, Match admits “users are being forced to use it.”

The details: The report shows Tinder only added 100,000 new subscribers by the end of Q1, reaching 6 million subscribers total. Though Tinder’s average revenue per user (ARPU) grew just two percent, its direct revenue grew by 31 percent year over year.

Pinterest Reports 32 Million More Users In Q1

Pinterest’s Q1 2020 report shows that the platform’s increased usage during lockdown has led to an added 32 million users since Q4, bringing its total monthly active users (MAU) to 367 million.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s MAU saw a 9.55 percent quarter-on-quarter growth rate, outpacing the same figure at Twitter (9.21 percent), Snapchat (5 percent), Facebook (4.20 percent) and LinkedIn (2.22 percent).

The details: Pinterest reports a 35 percent year over year increase in revenue, at $272 million. Like LinkedIn and Twitter, however, Pinterest says it saw a sharp drop in March due to changes in advertiser behavior. Pinterest notes that video, conversion optimization and shopping ad products drove its ad revenue growth for the quarter. Searches for how to educate and entertain kids, how to clean during quarantine, what food to put in the pantry and how to make masks, have increased significantly, says Pinterest.

YouTube Will Host Virtual Graduation Ceremony Featuring The Obamas

YouTube announced it’s hosting a virtual commencement live stream, “Dear Class of 2020,” premiering on its YouTube Originals channel on June 6.

Why it matters: The news comes after Facebook announced its plan to broadcast a virtual graduation, with a commencement address from Oprah Winfrey. By the looks of YouTube’s celebrity lineup, it looks as though the video platform is trying to one-up Facebook.

The details: YouTube’s virtual graduation event will feature commencement speakers President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, BTS, Lady Gaga, Secretary Robert M. Gates, Sundar Pichai, Condoleezza Rice and Malala Yousafzai. Kerry Washington, Alicia Keys and Zendaya are among the celebrities that will make special appearances.

YouTube’s New Option Would Let Publishers Sell Subscriptions Through Their Channels

YouTube is working on a tool for news publishers that lets them sell subscriptions to their owned and operated digital properties through their YouTube channels, as reported by Digiday.

Why it matters: While publishers receive a share of revenue from ads sold against their YouTube videos, news publishers have a more difficult time attracting ad spend given advertisers don’t want their ads appearing next to controversial topics. Publishers see this new subscription sales tool as having some potential and expect YouTube will share their subscriber names and emails with them.

The details: According to Digiday, the subscription sales tool would resemble YouTube’s channel memberships tool which it introduced in 2018. Using the new tool, people would pay for a subscription to access content that’s otherwise behind a paywall on a given publisher’s site or app. YouTube says it will begin testing the tool by the end of 2020.

Twitter Tests A Prompt That Gives Users Option To Revise Harmful Replies

Twitter is running a “limited experiment” on iOS that lets users self-edit their tweets before publishing.

Why it matters: The feature in testing is the latest effort from Twitter to curb harassment on the platform. In 2019, Instagram launched a similar test that would nudge users with a warning before posting potentially offensive comments; in December, Instagram said the results had been promising.

The details: Twitter’s anti-harassment feature would show a prompt that gives users the option to edit a reply before publishing it if it includes harmful language.

Twitter Reaches 166 Million Daily Active Users In Q1

Twitter’s Q1 earnings report revealed its revenue grew three percent year over year to $808 million and its monetizable daily active users (mDAU) saw 24 percent year-over-year growth.

Why it matters: As the pandemic became global, Twitter saw a dramatic increase in mDAU in March, but a 27 percent decline year-over-year in total ad revenue.

The details: Twitter’s mDAU grew from 152 million in Q4 2019 to 166 million in Q1 2020. Its average international mDAU reached 133 million compared to 121 million in the previous quarter. Twitter says its usage stabilized in late March. Twitter generated $682 million in ad revenue, with its total ad engagements increasing 25 percent. For the time being, Twitter’s goal is to help marketers reach their target audiences by improving the effectiveness of its ad offerings.

LinkedIn Launches New Job Interview Features Early

LinkedIn is testing a new video introduction feature and introducing an artificial intelligence-backed instant feedback tool that analyzes interviewees’ speech content and patterns.

Why it matters: LinkedIn acknowledges that the impact of novel coronavirus has made job searching now especially stressful. Its two new tools can help candidates stand out at a time when in-person interviews aren’t viable.

The details: With LinkedIn’s video introduction tool, hiring managers can request an introduction as part of the interview process; users can respond by either video or a written copy. In addition, LinkedIn’s AI feedback feature, part of its interview preparation tools, people can practice their answers to common interview questions and receive feedback on pacing, how many times they use filler words and sensitive phrases to avoid.

TikTok Is Testing New Call-To-Action Ads For Influencer Videos

TikTok is experimenting with a new ad format that links advertisers to its popular influencers to let those influencers include a call-to-action (CTA) button in their videos, according to Digiday.

Why it matters: The new ads build on TikTok’s efforts to grow its ad offerings and Creator Marketplace, which it launched in late 2019 to connect advertisers with publishers and creators. Additionally, the influencer CTA ads would capture some of the revenue advertisers pay for sponsored influencer posts.

The details: TikTok has rolled out the creator CTA ads to a small group of advertisers and agencies. Though the terms for revenue-sharing haven’t been set, TikTok has been discussing a 20/80 split in TikTok’s favor.

Editor’s Note: Check back daily. We’ll be updating this article through May 8, 2020.

TikTok Surpasses 2 Billion Downloads After Strong Quarter

This week in social media news, TikTok surpasses 2 billion downloads, Instagram launches a new live donations feature, WhatsApp increases its group video chat participant limit from four to eight, Facebook announces a virtual ceremony for the graduating classes of 2020 and TikTok rolls out an interactive donation sticker.

TikTok Surpasses 2 Billion Downloads

Sensor Tower reports that TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin, have exceeded 2 billion downloads on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Why it matters: The milestone makes TikTok the first app after WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger to top 2 billion downloads since Sensor Tower’s data analysis started in January 2014.

The details: In January 2020 TikTok surpassed 1.5 billion downloads. Now, Sensor Tower data shows in the quarter ending on March 31 TikTok was downloaded 315 million times, the highest amount of downloads for any app in a quarter. Comparatively, WhatsApp saw 250 million downloads in Q1 2020. To date users have spent nearly $456.7 million on TikTok, 72.3 percent of which has come from China; US TikTok users have spent about $86.5 million to date. In India TikTok has been downloaded 611 million times, accounting for 30.3 percent of the app’s downloads.

Facebook Reports 3 Billion Total Users Across Its Platforms

Facebook’s latest earnings report reveals double-digit increases in users and revenue, namely 2.6 billion monthly active users (MAUs) to date.

Why it matters: Despite the increased engagement, Facebook expects it will lose some of this added momentum once pandemic restrictions are relaxed, and warn of slowing ad growth as a result of COVID-19.

The details: Facebook reported revenue of $17.74 billion in Q1. In the last three weeks of Q1, it says it experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising and a decline in the pricing of its ads. Facebook also added 105 million users in Q1, a 10 percent increase year over year.

LinkedIn Reaches 690 Million Members

Microsoft’s Q3 2020 performance report shows LinkedIn increased total members from 675 million in January to 690 million for the quarter that ended March 31.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a dramatic lift in engagement on LinkedIn, with the platform reporting 4 million hours of content watched on Linkedin Learning in March, a nearly 50 percent increase month over month. In addition, LinkedIn Live streams are up 158 percent since February.

The details: Microsoft says LinkedIn sessions are up 26 percent for the quarter while revenue is up 21 percent.

Google Makes Video Streaming Platform Google Meet Free To Everyone

In a product updates blog, Google announced that it’s making Google Meet, its video conferencing platform, free for everyone, with availability rolling out over the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Up until now, access to Google Meet was limited to paying G Suite customers. 

The details: Google says Meet’s peak daily usage has grown 30x. As of the week ending April 24,  Meet’s daily meeting participants exceed 100 million. Now, up to 100 people can use Google Meet at one time, for up to 60 minutes. Users can sign up to be notified when the free version of Meet is available.

Google emphasized the security of Meet, noting it provides a strong set of host controls and denies anonymous users to join meetings. Meet users, Google says, can also enroll their account in Google’s Advanced Protection Program to prevent phishing and account hijacking.

Snapchat Is Working On AR Campaigns With New Brands

Snapchat is using its Snap Camera webcam to create new integrated augmented reality (AR) campaigns with brands like Universal and L’Oréal.

Why it matters: Downloads of the Snap Camera app jumped 30x since the beginning of the pandemic, plus 75 percent of Snapchat’s daily active users now engage with AR content every day.

The details: Snapchat partnered with Universal to promote its “Trolls World Tour” movie via AR-enabled Trolls masks available on Snap Camera. Recently, L’Oréal released eight custom branded AR lenses on Snap Camera, available for one week in a dedicated “beauty” section on the platform’s opening page. With these lenses, users can virtually try on different looks on screen.

YouTube Tests “Products In This Video” Tool 

YouTube is testing a tool called “Products in this Video” that would detect and show which products are mentioned in the video with visual elements overlaid on the video and below it.

Why it matters: The tool would provide more specific product matches and enable a simpler way to shop products through links.

The details: As per YouTube, “For example, in a ‘top 10 smartphones in 2020’ video, some viewers will see an icon on the video, along with more information below, listing the phone models included in the video.”

Instagram Rolls Out Live Donations Feature

Instagram has announced a new donation feature for Instagram Live that lets people raise money in real-time for nonprofits.

Why it matters: Live Donations is the latest effort from Instagram to help support communities affected by COVID-19. In March, the platform said it was rolling out its stories’ donation sticker in more countries.

The details: With Live Donations, users can see how many people are supporting your fundraiser and the amount of money raised in real-time. The feature also provides a breakdown of your donors and individual contributions. Users can thank donors by tapping “Wave.” Live Donations can be accessed by tapping the camera in the top left of the feed or by swiping right in the feed. In addition, Instagram partnered with a Brazilian illustrator to create a custom “I Donated” sticker, accessible after you’ve donated to a nonprofit fundraiser on Instagram Live or stories.

WhatsApp Launches 8-Person Group Video Chat Feature

WhatsApp’s group video and voice calls now support eight participants, up from four, the company said in a blog post.

Why it matters: WhatsApp reports that over the last month, people on average spent over 15 billion minutes talking daily on WhatsApp calls.

The details: To utilize the new higher participant limit, users need to update to the latest version of WhatsApp.

Facebook To Broadcast Virtual 2020 Graduation With Oprah Winfrey

On May 15 at 11 a.m. PST, Facebook is broadcasting a live #Graduation2020 with a commencement address from Oprah Winfrey, and additional celebrity appearances and performances. The virtual ceremony will acknowledge US high schools and colleges by name, state by state, including photos and videos of graduating classes. The ceremony video will be shared on Facebook Watch, with highlights posted to Instagram’s eponymous account.

Why it matters: Facebook’s virtual activation will give both Facebook and Instagram grads a reason to celebrate graduation on social media despite schools being closed throughout summer.

The details: In addition to a commencement given by Oprah Winfrey, celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Awkwafina, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles will “share words of wisdom for the class of 2020,” and Miley Cyrus will perform her song, “The Climb.”

Facebook and Instagram are also adding a variety of creative tools to help grads celebrate the occasion, including a virtual graduation hub and custom filters on Facebook, as well as a grad countdown sticker, AR effects and grad-related songs added to the music stickers on Instagram.

TikTok Introduces Donation Stickers

TikTok’s new in-app feature Donation Stickers, enabled by fundraising platform Tiltify, lets users raise funds for their favorite charities within their videos and live streams. TikTok plans to match the user donations made through the feature until May 27.

Why it matters: TikTok is the latest social platform to beef up its donation feature amid coronavirus.

The details: TikTok’s interactive Donation Stickers can be embedded directly in user videos and in TikTok Live streams. Upon tapping a Donation Sticker, a pop-up window appears where users can submit a donation without leaving the app. The hashtag #doubleyourimpact will be automatically added to videos and live streams that use the donation feature.

Facebook Named Leading Platform For Consuming Coronavirus News

A survey from Flixed among over 1,000 people about their media consumption found that a majority of people are getting their news content from Facebook. 

Why it matters: As Facebook told The New York Times, the platform has seen an “unprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles,” with US traffic from Facebook to other sites experiencing a 50 percent increase.

The details: More than a third of respondents (35.8 percent) named Facebook as their primary social media platform for discovering coronavirus news, followed by Twitter (17 percent), YouTube (16.3 percent) and Reddit (12.4 percent). Those who identified Reddit as their primary coronavirus news source, however, were the most likely to say their mental health had worsened. 

Snapchat Announces A New Way For Brands To Advertise

Snapchat’s new offering, First Commercial, lets brands buy the first commercial any user sees before the first Snapchat show they watch that day, as reported by Adweek.

Why it matters: According to Snapchat’s vice president of global agency partnerships David Roter, First Commercial comes after Snapchat noticed “a good amount of marketplace demand for a premium takeover” over the past year.

The details: First Commercial will be available on shows like Snap Originals, Good Luck America, Nikita Unfiltered, Complex’s Hot Ones and NBC’s Stay Tuned. First Commercial will initially be offered through direct sales then programmatically. AT&T is one of the first brands to have tested the feature.

Facebook To Introduce Virtual Dating On Messenger

Facebook is working on a new video calling feature that will allow Facebook Dating users to video call over Messenger.

Why it matters: Facebook’s announcement comes after many rival dating apps have pivoted to video as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to provide a safe alternative to real-world dates.

The details: With the new video calling feature, online daters can invite a match to a virtual date and the recipient can either accept or decline the invitation. If they accept, the users will be connected in a video chat powered by Messenger.

TikTok Launches Gift-Giving Program Called Small Gestures

Together with its brand partners in beauty, music, gaming and more, TikTok is launching a new program called Small Gestures that lets users send gifts for free to friends and family amid the pandemic.

Why it matters: With the program, TikTok’s brand partners like Adobe, Pandora and DoorDash can remain top-of-mind for the platform’s Gen Z audience.

The details: TikTok is offering Small Gestures for free to all users to send gifts up to three separate times. Gifts include a three-month membership to Adobe Premiere Rush, a one-month free DashPass subscription from DoorDash and a 90-day trial subscription to Pandora. Other brand partners involved include Fitplan, Square Enix, REBBL, Talkspace, Skillshare, The Bouqs Co., Alo Moves and Fluent Forever. Users can browse the partner offerings by searching for “Small Gestures” on the Discover page and clicking the purple banner.

WhatsApp Sees 70 Percent Reduction In Virality Of Highly Forwarded Messages

After introducing a new restriction earlier this month, WhatsApp says the spread of “highly forwarded” messages sent on the app has decreased by 70 percent globally.

Why it matters: The new restriction will help mitigate user concerns in India where viral hoaxes about the coronavirus pandemic have been circulating on WhatsApp.

The details: On April 7, WhatsApp rolled out an update that restricts users from sending “frequently forwarded” messages more than once to a person or a group, down from five. In 2018, WhatsApp introduced a similar limit that restarted users from forwarding a message to over five people or groups at once, leading to a 25 percent drop in message forwards in two years.

Facebook Adds New Features To Workplace Platform

Facebook Workplace announced several new features to help businesses better navigate the impact of the pandemic based on feedback from users.

Why it matters: As stay-at-home orders remain in effect, professional work apps must tailor user experiences and features to teleworking.

The details: Facebook says the two main areas where they’ve learned organizations need support are communicating critical information with their entire business in real-time and having the information accessible to everyone, and ensuring employees feel supported and listened to during coronavirus. To help with the former, Facebook Workplace is launching Knowledge Library, “a single place to create, store and share static content like working from home advice or HR . . .” In addition, Facebook has created “Draft for,” a feature that lets users draft posts on behalf of executives who can review, approve and publish. To support employee wellbeing, Facebook Workplace has introduced “Safety Alerts” to enable companies to send standalone alerts that provide updates or context on an incident without requiring a response. A new Q&A-style post has also been created to enable quick feedback to employees.

Facebook Rolls Out Several New Video Chat And Live Features 

With real-time video usage at an all-time high, Facebook is rolling out a video chat tool called Messenger Rooms and several other features to help users stay connected on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.

Why it matters: According to Facebook, between WhatsApp and Messenger, over 700 million accounts participate in calls daily. In addition, video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled in many countries. 

The details: Users can start and share Messenger Rooms through Messenger or Facebook via the news feed, groups and events, with the ability to join from mobile or desktop. They can also invite anyone to join the Room, even if they don’t have a Facebook account, as well as lock a Room if they don’t want anyone else to enter.

Facebook also said it’s expanding WhatsApp group voice and video calls with up to eight people.

After seeing a surge in views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos in March, Facebook is reviving “Live With,” a feature that lets users add another person into the live video, and giving Pages the ability to charge for access to events with Facebook Live videos. To help raise money, users can add a donate button to Live videos. Those who have a spotty connection have the option to listen to the audio-only on Facebook Live videos. Lastly, gamers can livestream games from their phone to Facebook using the platform’s new dedicated gaming app, available on Google Play.

Pinterest Rolls Out Resources, Tools For Creators And Small Businesses

This week in social media news, Pinterest announces new creative specialty partners and rolls out resources to support small businesses, Snapchat reports a 44 percent year-over-year revenue growth in Q1 and Zoom announces a forthcoming feature that would allow hosts to report participants.

Pinterest Introduces New Tools For Creators, Small Businesses

Timed for quarantine, Pinterest announced Adobe Spark, Over, PicMonkey and Canvas as new creative specialty partners, launched the Pinterest Creators brand and rolled out a new community that provides online support for small- and medium-size business accounts.

Why it matters: Like most social platforms, Pinterest has seen a surge in usage during coronavirus, especially in regard to shopping activity, which it recently supported with the launch of a new shopping feature that lets Pinners shop from Pins, boards and from search. Coupled with this shopping feature and its new online hub for small businesses, Pinterest could be a more valuable platform for businesses looking to maintain activity.

The details: In addition to adding trusted creative specialty partners for creating and designing Pins from business accounts, Pinterest has developed a brand for its Pinterest creators. As per Pinterest: “Pinterest creators are expressive, inventive and one-of-a-kind, and new resources and ongoing communications identified through the new brand are aimed at supporting creators with the tools to help them grow on Pinterest.”

Pinterest plans to launch tools for business accounts that offer feedback and tips on growing their reach on the platform. It will also expand its free e-learning tool, Pinterest Academy, which is being supplemented by a video series called “Mavens,” in which creators share their experiences with Pinterest.

Facebook Pilots Location Feature For High-Reach Pages, Instagram Accounts

Leading up to the election, Facebook says it will now provide the location of high-reach Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts on every post they share to increase transparency.

Why it matters: The addition builds on Facebook’s transparency efforts. In 2018, it included the primary country location of the managers behind Pages, and an “About This Account” feature on Instagram that provides more context for people to evaluate the authenticity of an account. 

The details: Facebook is piloting the feature in the US, starting with Pages and Instagram accounts that are based outside the US but reach big audiences based primarily in the US.

Twitter Releases Data On Video And Ad Performance Amid Coronavirus

Twitter conducted a survey to measure consumer sentiment towards brands during coronavirus and to explore the state of ad and video performance on Twitter.

Why it matters: While many brands have reduced the amount of ads during the pandemic in fear of coming across as insensitive, it’s interesting to note that just 37 percent of US Twitter users believe it’s insensitive for brands to continue advertising as normal.

The details: Twitter reports that as of March 23, 2020, its quarter-to-date monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) grew by 23 percent year-over-year to 164 million. The platform has also noticed higher video consumption, with stable year-over-year growth in watch time in entertainment (85 percent), news (73 percent), creator content (34 percent) and sports (31 percent). Twitter says ad receptivity “remains strong,” with Media Rating Council video view rates having increased by 5.5 percentage points in March 2020 compared to last year.

In terms of advertising, 89 percent of respondents said it’s important for brands to provide reliable and accurate information, 86 percent said it’s important for brands to help support society’s vulnerable and 82 percent said it’s important for brands to support frontline staff and workers.

Facebook Rolls Out New “Animate” Feature For Stories

Facebook has added a new tool that lets users animate still images in four ways, on stories, according to social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The animate feature is another tool for stories Facebook is testing including a mood option and a feature that would allow stories to last up to three days.

The details: With the animate feature, users can add basic motion to still images via four modes—bounce, zoom in, zoom out and pan.

TikTok Enables Login, Video Uploads And Analytics On Desktop

TikTok just added a new web login option which will allow users to upload videos and view their analytics via desktop, as spotted by Pentos.

Why it matters: As social media usage is up and people are still stuck at home, TikTok has followed in the footsteps of Instagram which recently enabled DMs and Instagram live streams on desktop.

The details: The web login option appears on the top right screen of TikTok’s trending page. Once logged in, users can access basic account information and browse the feed.

Snapchat Q1 2020 Report Shows Increased Users And Revenue

Snapchat’s Q1 2020 earnings report shows stable increases in daily active users (DAU) and revenue amid coronavirus. 

Why it matters: While many advertisers have reduced budgets due to the pandemic, Snapchat experienced high revenue growth rates in the first two months of the quarter, reporting year-over-year ad growth in January and February at 58 percent. The figure dropped to 25 percent in March.

The details: Snapchat saw an increase of 11 million DAU to 229 million, a 20 percent jump in active users year-over-year. The majority of new users came from its “Rest of the World” category while 2 million came from users in North America. According to its average revenue per user, however, Snapchat sees 3.5 times more revenue per user in the US. The app’s overall revenue grew by 44 percent year-over-year to $462 million in Q1.

Instagram Tests Stickers For Promoting Business Profiles

Instagram is working on a “Share Professional” sticker which would allow users to introduce business profiles in a story, according to reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong.

Why it matters: The feature comes amid Instagram’s efforts to help promote small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic including the recent launch of a gift card, food order and fundraiser sticker for stories and profiles.

The details: Per Wong, the sticker would include a header that pulls in thumbnails of a brand’s most recent three posts on Instagram, and would link to the brand’s account. 

Zoom Hosts Can Soon Report Participants 

According to an update posted to its Help Center, Zoom will soon let hosts report meeting participants to avoid misuse of the platform.

Why it matters: The safety feature comes after Zoom has become the target for harassment by “Zoombombers” as usage has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The details: As per Zoom: “Account owners and admins can now enable a setting to allow the host to report participants to Zoom. This feature will generate a report which will be sent to the Zoom Trust and Safety team to evaluate any misuse of the platform and block a user if necessary. This setting is available at the account, group, and user level and can be locked at the group or account level. This setting requires the Zoom client version which will be released on April 26, 2020.”

Facebook Backtracks On Campaign Budget Optimization Mandate

Facebook is giving advertisers flexibility in their buying strategies by no longer requiring them to use its Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) feature, as reported by Search Engine Land.

Why it matters: In September 2019 Facebook planned to mandate CBO-only campaigns, which utilizes the platform’s algorithm to automatically optimize budget allocation on ads in a campaign. Some advertisers, however, weren’t having it, noting that they saw better results when they had control over budgets. 

The details: A Facebook spokesperson said, “While we still believe CBO provides performance and value gains, we will move to offering CBO as an option and not as a requirement.”

LinkedIn Tests Poll Option For Posts And Presentation Mode Hashtag

LinkedIn is working on its own poll option for posts that would allow users to ask followers questions as well as a “presentation mode” hashtag tool which would display the broader conversation associated with a specific hashtag, according to reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong. 

Why it matters: LinkedIn groups previously had access to polls until the platform removed the feature in 2014. Resurrecting the tool and making it available to all users could be helpful for group admins to gather relevant feedback from group members and for brands to gain audience insight.  

The “presentation mode” hashtag could be useful for encouraging event attendees to engage with an event-specific hashtag.

The details: Though LinkedIn hasn’t officially announced the poll option, Wong’s observations show it would be made available within users’ post composer options. Users would be able to add a question and up to four possible answers, and set the duration of the poll. 

For its hashtag search tool, upon selecting a hashtag, LinkedIn would display a full-screen feed of posts using that hashtag.

Pinterest Releases April Global Micro-Trends Amid Coronavirus

In a company post, Pinterest shared what’s trending around the world in quarantine life for the month of April including supporting small businesses and searching for family bonding games.

Why it matters: Understanding Pinners’ behavior could help brands and retailers craft their messaging and inform ad spend during the pandemic.

The details: According to Pinterest, users around the globe are increasingly searching for bread recipes, with searches for salty croissants up 1,532 percent in Argentina and searches for Japanese brioche up 1,081 percent in France. As Pinners are stuck at home, they’re looking for ways to apply their creativity and connect with family members: Searches for family games have increased by 5,000 percent in Argentina, 2,830 percent in Spain and 1,863 percent in the US. Pinners are also looking for ways to support small businesses and healthcare workers as searches for “support small businesses” are up 746 percent in the US and 3,124 percent in Australia.

Facebook Launches Dedicated Gaming App On Android

Facebook released its dedicated gaming app on Android two months prior to its scheduled June launch, with an iOS version coming in the near future.

Why it matters: According to the New York Times, Facebook’s gaming investment has led to over 700 million of the site’s 2.5 billion users actively playing games on the platform monthly. The early launch of its devoted gaming app was timed well as users are stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The details: The dedicated Facebook gaming app includes a Go Live streaming feature which lets users share gaming streams directly to their Facebook page, a game discovery feature that allows game discovery through friends’ activities and by category breakdown and a chat platform feature.

Facebook Expands Fundraisers To India 

Facebook has launched Fundraisers, a page where users can raise money for causes, friends and businesses, to India, where it’s also working with several additional Indian state governments to provide accurate coronavirus information, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: India is one of Facebook’s biggest markets by user base. Its expansion of Fundraisers there follows its efforts to fight coronavirus misinformation. Recently, it launched an information center in India that includes information from local government agencies and global health organizations, and an information hub on WhatsApp. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also launched helplines in India in partnership with the Indian government, with Facebook now maintaining partnerships with 11 state governments in India for its WhatsApp helpline and 9 state governments for Messenger.

The details: Ajit Mohan, the head of Facebook in India, said: “At a time when the country is in the middle of an unprecedented effort to fight the outbreak of the virus, we are deeply aware of the economic impact of the disruption in normal life. Communities around the country need help. Facebook Fundraisers allows people to leverage the full scale and power of the platform, and their passion, to direct resources to initiatives that can protect and save lives.” People in India can use Fundraisers to create their own causes and discover over 70 charities to financially support.

Houseparty Saw 50 Million Sign-Ups This Past Month

This week in social media news, Houseparty reveals it received 50 million sign-ups amid coronavirus, YouTube says it’s testing a Video Chapters option, IGTV gets a makeover to benefit creators on the platform, YouTube officially lifts their ban on COVID-19 content and TikTok shares their relief efforts.

Houseparty Reveals It Saw 50 Million Sign-Ups Amid Coronavirus

The video chat app acquired by Fortnite maker Epic Games said that in the past month, its app saw 50 million sign-ups, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Releasing data about its dramatic growth could be Houseparty’s way of diverting attention from a data breach it was recently accused of by users who claimed the app was using user data to access other accounts like Spotify and Netflix.

The details: By Houseparty’s estimates, the app also saw boosted mobile downloads—17.2 new downloads across iOS and Android. Due to the pandemic, Houseparty has also seen wide-scale penetration in international markets like Spain and Italy.

Snapchat Launches Coronavirus Business Resource Center

Snapchat’s new COVID-19: Business Resource Center includes resources on the pandemic’s impact on the mobile economy, insights on Snapchat user behavior, and ways brands can respond with new updates added over time.

Why it matters: On April 1, Snapchat reported a 50 percent increase in video calls and 25 percent more time spent playing with Lenses. With usage up, marketing on Snapchat amid coronavirus could prove lucrative for brands.

The details: Snapchat released three industry-specific trends on the dining, shopping and entertainment behaviors of Snapchatters: 66 percent of users are likely to use a select food delivery app in the next month, 35 percent expect to do more shopping on website and/or apps in the next month and 64 percent say they’re watching more live television during lockdown. The data also shows that time spent watching Snapchat Shows is at an all-time high. 

Facebook Rolls Out New Features To Ad Library

According to Facebook Integrity Team lead Rob Leathern, Facebook has started rolling out new features to the Facebook Ad Library to make ads more transparent and searchable.

Why it matters: The update will not only provide transparency on political candidate spend but also help marketers determine effective ad approaches. 

The details: Facebook added “potential reach,” which represents an estimate of the size of the audience that’s eligible to see an ad. It also plans to group similar ads together to avoid unnecessary scrolling and enhance search filters.

Instagram Is Testing A New Challenge Sticker

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new Challenge sticker on Instagram that would allow users to nominate friends to different challenges.

Why it matters: Challenges are at the heart of content and engagement on TikTok so it was only a matter of time before Instagram attempted to create its own iteration.

The details: As per Wong’s findings, the Challenge sticker would be added to the sticker dropdown in Stories. When applied, users could tag friends to participate and also search challenges based on trending content. The feature is similar to TikTok’s Duet mode which lets users respond to clips of challenges. 

Twitter Releases Survey On What Consumers Want To See From Brands Amid COVID-19

Twitter conducted a survey in the US to understand how consumers feel about advertising during COVID-19. Just seven percent of respondents said brands should continue using their normal brand tone of voice.

Why it matters: The data can inform brand messaging during this stressful time and help brands avoid coming across as tone-deaf.

The details: Sixty-four percent of respondents said brands should continue advertising products as normal, 52 percent agreed that seeing/hearing ads gives them a sense of normality and 77 percent agreed they feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society right now. Additionally, 80 percent said brands should show how they’re supporting their employees. 

Facebook Is Testing Stories That Last Up To Three Days

Facebook is working on stories that would stay active for up to three days, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong found.

Why it matters: On its Q1 earnings call in April 2019, Facebook said that Facebook Stories has 500 million daily active users. An option to prolong the life of stories could increase usage among and appeal to the older Facebook audience.

The details: Facebook Stories, like Instagram Stories, expire after 24 hours. Stories that are active for up to three days could potentially sour user experience or increase engagement on limited-time promotions from brands.

YouTube Tests Video Chapters That Would Provide A Description About Each Segment 

According to YouTube Creator Insider host Tom Leung, YouTube is testing a Video Chapters option that would section playback timelines into variable chapter lengths and include descriptions about each segment.

Why it matters: The tool would give viewers the ability to skip through videos and more easily find the section they’re looking for. Given Google prioritizes YouTube videos in search results, the Video Chapters option could become an SEO consideration as it contains more specific data on what each video clip contains.

The details: As Leung says in his video, “It helps viewers with more context and information associated with a particular time in your video – it’s basically making time stamps a little bit more official. [Video chapters] utilize the time stamp data that you publish in your description, and are completely opt-in.” YouTube is testing the Video Chapters feature on Android and desktop.

YouTube Makes Video Builder Tool Accessible To More Businesses

In a company blog, YouTube said it’s “accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability” after working on it for the past few months. Its goal is to help businesses strapped for time and resources amid coronavirus to create videos through an advertising campaign, website or email. 

Why it matters: With creative studios closed, brands are seeking out ways to create promotions via nontraditional methods. YouTube’s Video Builder will help brands achieve just that, and in turn, strengthen their communication with consumers.

The details: Video Builder is free to use but businesses can only create videos of up to 15 seconds and they can’t download the videos—they can save the video to their YouTube channel or use it in an ad campaign.

Instagram Updates IGTV App With Redesign

The Verge announced that Instagram is redesigning its IGTV app with creators in mind.

Why it matters: While the company has declined to offer user numbers on the standalone IGTV app, it’s clear that moves are being made to make the app more appealing to potential users and speaks to content exploration challenges on the app.

The details: According to The Verge’s reporting, the IGTV app has been redesigned “to feature a creator up top, tailored to each user based on who they follow and whose content the app thinks might be interesting to them.” Additionally, the IGTV app is getting a Discover tab which will impact how users surface new content.

Facebook Is Testing A New Annual Data Use Check-Up Process

As part of its ongoing efforts to responsibly handle data, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has announced the early testing of “Data Use Checkup,” a new annual self-service tool that all apps using Facebook’s APIs will be subjected to for the purpose of ensuring API access and data use comply with the platform’s policy.

Why it matters: An enhanced version of Facebook’s current App Review system, Facebook’s Data Use Checkup will add an extra layer of protection to people’s privacy and potentially help prevent another scandal like Cambridge Analytica.

The details: As per Facebook, “Developers enrolled in testing should complete this request for each of their apps within 60 days, or risk losing their API access.” 

Instagram Live Becomes Viewable On Desktop 

According to Android Police, many users have noticed the ability to watch Instagram Live broadcasts on the web.

Why it matters: A desktop version of Instagram Live will give creators more ways to reach followers while they’re quarantined.

The details: Unlike Instagram Live streams on mobile, the desktop version positions comments to a scrolling window on the side for an unobstructed viewing experience. However, users can’t start live broadcasts using the desktop version.

Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 17. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

YouTube Lifts Monetization Ban On Coronavirus Content

This week in social media news, YouTube officially lifts their ban on COVID-19 content, TikTok shares their relief efforts, Pinterest releases new ways to shop and highlights small businesses in the process and Twitter begins to allow some brands to reference COVID-19 in ads.

YouTube Ends Monetization Ban On COVID-19 Content

According to an update from Search Engine Journal, YouTube’s recently published help document authorizes content that references or features COVID-19 for monetization, so long as it upholds “Advertiser-friendly and Community Guidelines.”

Why it matters: While the monetization ban had already been lifted or select channels, the change has now been rolled out throughout the platform.

The details: While YouTube is opening up monetization for ads featuring COVID-19 mentions, there are still conditions that could lead to ads still being ‘out of bounds’ for the platform. Namely, the ban still affects content deemed distressing, misinformative or featuring a prank/challenge related to the pandemic.

TikTok Pledges $250M For Critical Coronavirus Relief

A press release from TikTok outlines the nascent platform’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

Why it matters: As outlined in the press release, TikTok’s president echoed the fact that these are challenging times for everyone. “Alongside businesses, governments, NGOs, and ordinary people across the globe stepping up in this critical moment, we are committed to offering the very best that we can to help out humanity.”

The details: Alex Zhu, President of TikTok, outlined the pandemic relief efforts the platform is involved in, including donations to the TikTok Health Heroes Relief Fund, TikTok Community Relief Fund and the TikTok Creative Learning Fund. In addition, the platform is helping SMBs restart and rebuild with an allotment of $100M in ad credits.

Twitter Removes Users’ Ability To Control Mobile App Ad Data

Twitter is making updates to its data sharing policy to utilize information such as in-app ads and unique IDs of devices.

Why it matters: The update will improve Twitter’s usage tracking issues and problems with its Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) framework, which, according to The Verge, recently led to a huge miss in earnings.

The details: As Twitter notes: “Twitter shares certain non-public personal information with certain digital advertising platforms to help measure and optimize the effectiveness of our efforts to market Twitter on those platforms. […] These advertising platform partners act as data controllers for this information.” Twitter shares this information with Facebook and Google. What users will be able to control is whether to share non-pubic data to improve Twitter’s marketing activities. 

Facebook’s Ad Review System Fails To Spot Coronavirus Misinformation

Consumer Reports tested Facebook’s ad review system by setting up a made-up organization and creating ads containing misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook, failing to notice any violations, approved all the ads.

Why it matters: Though Consumer Reports pulled the ads before they were published, the test exposes holes in Facebook’s artificial intelligence-enabled ad review process to prevent misleading claims during coronavirus. 

The details: In March, as a result of the crisis, Facebook announced it was sending all global content reviewers home with the intention of relying on automated review systems.

Instagram Rolls Out Desktop Direct Message To Some Users

According to Business Insider, many users are starting to notice Instagram direct message on desktop after Instagram announced it was testing the feature in January. 

Why it matters: The ability to direct message on Instagram will be particularly useful for brands looking to stay connected with customers amid coronavirus.

The details: Many users have taken to Twitter to share the discovery of having access to Instagram direct message on desktop. Instagram confirmed to Business Insider the feature isn’t available to the entire global community but that it’s working on it.

Facebook Gaming Launches Tournaments Feature 

Facebook has released a tournaments feature that lets gamers create brackets, manage participants and organize tournaments.

Why it matters: Head engineer of Facebook gaming Mina Abouseif says Facebook noticed many users were using Facebook events, pages and groups to promote gaming tournaments but the “landscape was very fragmented.” After the pandemic made it apparent that tournament organizers were shifting online, Facebook decided to release the feature early.

The details: With the new feature anyone can organize or play a tournament while simultaneously watching the game. Facebook built fundraising tools into gaming videos to allow creators to support charitable causes. Tournament organizers are required to coordinate matches in a game and report the results of the match.

Facebook Releases New Messaging App For Couples Called Tuned

Called Tuned, Facebook’s new app for couples comes from its small team established last year, New Product Experimentation (NPE), which creates new social media products from scratch, as reported by The Information.

Why it matters: Tuned is the fifth app from the NPE team since it was formed in July 2019. Other apps from NPE include Hobbi, a Pinterest-like app for collecting images of creating hobbies; Whale, a meme making app; AUX, an app where users try to get their song on a group playlist; and Bump, a chat app for connecting nearby students with each other.

The details: On the app store, Tuned is described as such: “With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart. Creatively express your love, share your mood, exchange music, and build a digital scrapbook of your special moments.”

This week in social media news, Pinterest releases new ways to shop and highlights small businesses in the process, Twitter begins to allow some brands to reference COVID-19 in ads and Snapchat adds an AR donation tool for coronavirus relief.

Pinterest Adds “Shop” Functionality To Search To Highlight Small Businesses

Pinterest added functionality so Pinners can shop directly from Pins, on boards, from search and through new browsable recommendations, according to their latest press release.

Why it matters: Pinterest released insights noting that “7% of top searches [on the platform] are unbranded, meaning people come to Pinterest to shop for generic terms and not specific brands, leveling the playing field for businesses of all sizes to be discovered.”

The details: Pinners are now able to shop directly from a board, search and pins while also providing a blue check mark to denote trusted partners on the platform.

Snapchat Launches AR Donation Tool For COVID-19

Snapchat launched its first AR donation tool today to encourage support for COVID-19 relief.

Why it matters: Snap Inc.’s director of creative strategy, Jeff Miller, puts it like this: “Over three quarters of our Snapchatters engage with AR each day, so we built a global experience based on this behavior to draw the connection between loose bills and real change.”

The details: Snapchat is now allowing users to use the app’s AR camera technology to scan 23 international currency notes across 33 countries, which then triggers an AR visualization of ways their donations can support the World Health Organization.

Twitter Loosens Ban On Coronavirus Ads

Twitter is now allowing some brands to mention COVID-19 in their ads, a move that revises the platform’s stance on blocking all mentions of the virus within promoted tweets.

Why it matters: Brands that need to deliver crisis communications through Twitter can now breathe a little easier if their content meets Twitter’s qualifications.

The details: Twitter will allow ads mentioning COVID-19 if they are related to “adjustments to business practices and/or models in response to COVID-19,” as well as “support for customers and employees related to COVID-19.”

Pinterest Releases Monthly Trends Report

Brands have been requesting information on how people are using Pinterest during coronavirus so Pinterest adapted its monthly trend report to focus on “Pinners’ needs during this crisis.”

Why it matters: With rampant layoffs and business closures, brands are in need of ways to connect with their consumers. Pinterest’s trend report could help brands tailor content to what Pinners want to see and shop.

The details: Pinterest released its top searches across its global audiences with numbers calculated from search activity over the last few weeks. Searches for home bodyweight workouts are up 205 percent, self care at home saw a 332 percent increase, work from home with kids is up 1,657 percent, searches for yeastless bread recipes are up 4,400 percent and home haircuts saw an increase of 417 percent. 

Google, Facebook Share Location Data To Help Plan Coronavirus Containment

Google and Facebook have started sharing location-tracking data with various global authorities to help inform their coronavirus containment strategies. The US has been reluctant to follow in the footsteps of some Asian nations that have used smartphone location data to track those infected with coronavirus. 

Why it matters: Providing authorities with an even more in-depth level of data tracking may be helpful for planning social distancing orders but could also lead to new concerns about people’s privacy and rights.

The details: Data released by Facebook and Google include no personally identifying markers, however, it does track people’s movement. According to Reuters, Facebook has shared mobile location data with US cities and states as part of its nearly year-old Disease Prevention Map program. Google also released its Mobility Reports in 131 countries and regions, showing foot traffic trends at different locations over time.

ZmURL Tool Lets Users Customize Zoom Link Previews

According to TechCunch, a recently launched free tool called ZmURL lets users customize Zoom invite URLs with a headline, description and image that appears when shared across social media. The tool also lets users require attendees RSVP to Zoom meetings by entering their email address.

Why it matters: ZmURL can help protect users against “Zoombombing,” the act of malicious actors tracking down public Zoom calls and bombarding them with profanity and offensive screenshared imagery, a common occurrence since the pandemic began and as Zoom’s daily user count has surged from 10 million to 200 million.

The details: Software engineers Danqing Liu and Victor Pontis built a beta of ZmURL and tested it with some yoga instructors who found the tool useful in promoting events and collecting RSVPs. To use ZmURL, you create a generic meeting link on Zoom then input it into ZmURL, which generates a shorter URL. 

Twitch Reaches Record-Breaking 1.1 Billion Hours Watched in March

Last month Twitch amassed 1.1 billion hours watched, the largest number of views in the platform’s nine year history.

Why it matters: With social distancing orders in effect, many are stuck at home and are turning to live streaming platforms for entertainment or to experiment with broadcasting.

The details: Twitch grew from 982 million hours watched in February to 1.1 billion hours watched in March, equating to a 20 percent growth.

Short-Form Video Platform Quibi Launches 

Created by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, Quibi will offer movies, reality shows and news programs for mobile, with all installments coming in at 10 minutes or less.

Why it matters: Quibi’s launch during the coronavirus crisis means it must compete against streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which have seen an uptick in viewership recently as people remain in quarantine.

The details: Quibi’s offerings span three categories including movies that will be released in chapters, documentaries and unscripted reality shows and quick-hit news and sports reports. The app costs five dollars a month with ads and eight dollars without ads.

Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 10. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Report: 60 Percent Of Marketers Plan To Increase Influencer Marketing Budgets This Year

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s Note: Though Linqia conducted its research before the coronavirus pandemic, marketers can still glean valuable insights from the report.)

Influencer marketing is gaining more traction as nearly 60 percent of marketers plan to increase their budgets in 2020. The same percentage think influencer content performs as well as or better than their branded content. This is according to Linqia’s “The State of Influencer Marketing 2020” report which explores how this year will bring influencer campaigns more accuracy in measurement and sophistication in strategy.

Linqia’s findings indicate an increased frequency of influencer marketing campaigns with a higher percentage of campaigns always on. In 2019 about 20 percent of marketers ran six or more influencer marketing campaigns and nearly 20 percent of these campaigns were always on. Marketers who ran 11-15 campaigns accounted for nine percent in 2019, compared to three percent in 2018.

Marketers are also allocating more of their budgets to influencer marketing with 11-25 percent planning to spend over 40 percent of their digital marketing budgets on influencer marketing. Twenty percent of marketers say they’ll spend between a quarter to half of their budgets on influencer marketing campaigns.

The trend of leveraging micro-influencers (5,000-100,000 followers), those who have smaller but more engaged audiences, will continue in 2020. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they want to work with micro-influencers, 64 percent are interested in working with macro-influencers (100,000-500,000 followers) and 31percent want to work with mega-influencers (500,000-5 million followers). The percentage of marketers who want to work with nano-influencers (up to 5,000 followers)—25 percent— was higher than that of marketers who want to work with celebrities (over 5 million followers)—22 percent.

In terms of platforms, 97 percent of marketers and agency professionals plan to use Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns. Followed by Instagram stories (83 percent), Facebook (79 percent), YouTube (44 percent) and Twitter (35 percent). While TikTok has seen a spike in usage over the last year, marketers still favor Pinterest (29 percent) and blogs (24 percent) over TikTok. The same amount of marketers, 16 percent, said they plan to use TikTok and Snapchat, respectively.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents say vertical video will be important or very important in their influencer marketing efforts this year. Still, just 30 percent of marketers plan on incorporating Instagram stories into their Instagram campaigns, indicating either a lack of understanding of stories or that creating content for stories is more time consuming.

Part of influencer marketing’s appeal is that marketers can repurpose influencer content across other channels. This year 90 percent of marketers plan on re-using influencer content across social, website, emails, display ads and other areas. Among those, 90 percent said paid social would be the primary channel followed by 72 percent for the brand’s own organic social channel. Additionally, 41 percent plan to use influencer content on their website and 30 percent plan to use it in emails. 

Though only 20 percent said they’d use influencer content in programmatic, a former Linqia study shows this venue is growing as it found influencer content outperforms branded content by an average of 2.7 times on paid channels. 

On how they measure success of influencer marketing campaigns, respondents were mixed in their assessments: 71 percent chose engagement (compared to 89 percent last year), followed by brand awareness (62 percent), impressions (60 percent), conversions (55 percent) and clicks (54 percent).

When asked what their top concern is about using influencer marketing, most chose “determining return on investment (ROI) on my influencer marketing program” followed by changes to network algorithms that make organic influencer content less visible.

(AList is published by a.network. To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)