Twitter Is Developing A Subscription Service

This week in social media news, Twitter is developing a subscription service, Instagram could potentially overtake Twitter as a news source, a Twitter study reveals a mix of ad formats improves brand metrics, YouTube makes videos longer than eight minutes eligible for monetization, civil rights groups criticize Facebook for taking its hate speech efforts lightly and more.

Twitter Is Developing A Subscription Service

According to a job listing, Twitter is recruiting an engineer for its newly formed internal team “Gryphon,” which is “building a subscription platform,” as reported by The Verge.

Why it matters: A subscription service would be a first for Twitter and potentially offer users exclusive content for a monthly fee diversifying its revenue stream.

The details: As per the job posting, Gryphon is “a team of web engineers who are closely collaborating with the Payments team and the team.” The group’s goal, the job listing adds, is to create a subscription platform that can be reused by other teams in the future.

Instagram To Outpace Twitter As A News Source

New data from Reuters Digital News Report found that Instagram is increasingly becoming a destination for news and could potentially overtake Twitter, eMarketer reports.

Why it matters: If Instagram users begin to interact with more controversial or politically charged news content, advertisers will have to be cautious about brand safety.

The details: The research shows that 11 percent of respondents across 12 countries said they use Instagram for news, compared to the 12 percent who use Twitter for news. Twelve percent of adults in the US specifically said they used Instagram for COVID-related news in April.

Twitter Study Shows Multiple Ad Formats Boost Key Metrics

A new study conducted by Twitter, Magna and IPG Media Lab among 4,000 Twitter users found that diverse ad formats increase consumers’ research intent sixfold and purchase intent twofold.

Why it matters: The findings come on the heels of Twitter’s earnings report, in which the company reported $682 million in Q1 ad sales and said it would not provide guidance for Q2 due to COVID-19.

The details: The results show that Twitter’s “first view” ad format that appears at the head of the content feed on its mobile app is 27 percent more cost-efficient at influencing purchase intent than other ads that appear first. In addition, Twitter’s pre-roll ads lead to an eight percent lift in product awareness and research intent, while its promoted video ads improve viewer perceptions of brand quality nine percent and cultural associations 18 percent.

YouTube Expands Eligibility For Mid-Roll Ads To Shorter Videos

YouTube has announced that starting in late July, videos longer than eight minutes will be eligible for ads shown in the middle of the video. Up until now, only videos that were 10 minutes or longer were eligible for monetization.

Why it matters: The update comes as YouTube’s advertising rates declined by about 50 percent since early February, as reported by OneZero.

The details: YouTube is turning on mid-roll ads for all eligible eight-minute or longer videos, including those videos where a creator may have opted out of mid-roll ads. Creators will ultimately have the final say as YouTube is giving them the option to turn mid-roll ads off if they choose.

After Meeting, Civil Rights Groups Criticize Facebook For Taking Hate Speech Efforts Lightly

According to the Los Angeles Times, after meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, civil rights organizations say Facebook hasn’t taken seriously demands to update its policy around hate speech and misinformation as the advertising boycott against Facebook swells.

Why it matters: Hundreds of brands including REI, Verizon and Coca-Cola announced they will stop advertising on Facebook and/or Instagram during the month of July as part of #StopHateforProfit, a boycott led by civil rights groups.

The details: On Tuesday, civil rights groups engaged in a virtual one-hour forum with top Facebook executives to understand how the platform plans to update its policies around misinformation and hate speech. In a statement after the meeting, co-chief executive officer of Free Press, Jessica González said that the executives didn’t “commit to a timeline,” but instead “delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the organizers of the advertising boycott, told reporters, “Today we saw little and heard just about nothing. The company is functionally flawed.”

Instagram Rolls Out Pinned Comments Feature To All Users

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that enables users to pin up to three comments to the top of their feed post, according to Instagram VP of product, Vishal Shah.

Why it matters: The feature comes after Instagram announced in May it was testing various features meant to give users more control over their Instagram interactions. The pinned comment feature in particular could be Facebook’s way of compensating for its shortcomings in curbing hate speech on Facebook.

The details: As per Shah’s tweet:

Google Introduces New Tools To Help Improve Ad Campaign Performance

Google is adding new tools to manage campaigns on the go, discover keyword and targeting recommendations based on evolving search trends and provide more transparency on how its automated Smart Bidding process works.

Why it matters: The new features will help advertisers identify major shifts in consumer behavior during the pandemic.

The details: First, Google is highlighting the value of its Recommendations page to pivot quickly. Though not new, the feature includes more than 16 million keyword recommendations based on market trends. Google says it will roll out recommendations to Google Ads Editor as well as Google Ads API to help advertisers act on recommendations at scale.

Next, Google is implementing Performance Planner, a tool that estimates clicks, conversions and conversion values based on varying spend levels, into Display and App campaigns. The tool was previously only available for Search and Shopping campaigns.

Lastly, advertisers will soon be able to create, monitor and manage portfolio bid strategies across accounts in a single portfolio, as well as understand how their strategies are working via new bid-strategy reports.

In the coming months, Google also plans to provide explanations on how Smart Bidding campaigns work including causes of clicks, impressions and conversions to change.

TikTok Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform

TikTok is launching self-serve ad tools designed to support small and mid-size businesses worldwide.

Why it matters: TikTok’s move to ramp up advertising follows a tumultuous few weeks for the app as it was recently banned in India, its largest market and where it has invested more than $1 billion to build a user base. As a result, it could lose as much as $6 billion. Now, TikTok is leaving Hong Kong after China imposed a controversial national security law there.

The details: With TikTok’s self-serve ad platform, businesses can adjust their spending at any time, choose who to target and use a suite of creative tools to customize campaigns.

TikTok is also rolling out business accounts, which will include a website link and a contact button.

As part of its global “Back-to-Business” program, TikTok committed $100 million in advertising credits to help small and medium-sized brands promote themselves. Both existing brands and new ones are eligible to apply for a one-time free ad credit of up to $300 that must be used by the end of the year. TikTok says it will match any additional spending beyond the $300 credit up to $2,000.

YouTube Clarifies How Its Algorithm Factors In Click-Through Rate

In a new video posted to the Creator Insider channel from the group’s technical team, YouTube product managers Patricia and Rachel explain what role click-through rate (CTR) and average viewer duration (AVD) play in video distribution and performance to clarify how videos get discovered.

Why it matters: The video comes after YouTube introduced its new forthcoming analytics insights display, which will show creators their average CTR and AVD to help them understand how their videos are performing.

The details: The managers explain that sometimes a video with the highest views has the lowest CTR because YouTube shows high distribution videos to a broader audience, one that is less familiar with your work, resulting in lower CTR. To account for this discrepancy when measuring performance, the managers suggest analyzing all available metrics and to keep an eye out for A/B thumbnail testing, which it hopes to have in the long term.

On whether YouTube’s algorithm compares AVD for videos that vary in length, the managers explain: 

“In discovery, we actually look at both relative and absolute watch time, those are both meaningful signals and how your videos are going to be recommended. You would still need to do some cross-referencing, even if we swapped out ‘average view duration’ for ‘average percentage viewed’, because it’s easier for short videos to hit a really high amount of average percentage watched. We can only focus creators on so many metrics, and we chose average view duration because how much time somebody spends with you in your content is a really strong indicator of interest. That being said, we want videos of all lengths to succeed on YouTube, and get discovered.”

Because CTR and AVD don’t always paint the whole picture, the managers say to keep in mind the large competition for audience, that some topics are more popular and that some topics will perform better during certain times of the year.

Twitter Tests A Collaborative Feature For Fleets

Twitter is testing functionality for Fleets, its version of Instagram stories, that would merge two users into a single stream, as spotted by Amrith Shanbhag and confirmed by Twitter.

Why it matters: Instagram has a co-streaming feature for live stories that produces a similar effect, but Twitter seems to be the first company testing a collaborative feature for stories.

The details: As shown in Shanbhag’s post, Twitter’s collaborative feature for Fleets would merge two contributors to create a dual bubble, similar to how it’s displayed on Instagram’s stories bar when two users go live together. Tapping the dual bubble would display the two users’ collaborative Fleet.

As per Twitter:

“We are testing something new for some people using Fleets in Brazil so they can Fleet with another account and everyone can see their conversation for 24 hours. We are trying this to understand how people might use this new way of having conversations in Fleets, as part of our bigger efforts to better serve the public conversation and encourage people to share fleeting thoughts.”

Twitter is currently rolling out Fleets to users in India, South Korea, Italy and Brazil.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Follower Analytics For Pages

This week in social media news, LinkedIn rolls out a new follower analytics tool for pages and an audio name pronunciation feature, Twitch exceeds 5 billion hours watched in Q2, Instagram tests full-screen stories, Unilever, Verizon and Coca-Cola join the Facebook boycott, LinkedIn adds new features to help members give and get support and Instagram tests a voice feature for its Threads app and more.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Follow Analytics For Company Pages And Audio Pronunciation Tool

LinkedIn is adding a new follower analytics tool for company pages, a new audio feature for name pronunciation on user profiles and a process for limiting company page invites, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s new follower analytics will provide additional insight about users who are visiting your page, which would help inform the content of your posts.

The new process for limiting company page invites could be LinkedIn’s way of preventing managers from spamming their connections.

The details: Under the Analytics tab, page managers can see a full list of every person that’s followed their page and the month they started following them.

Linked also introduced a new system to limit the amount of times a company page manager can send invitations to their connections to follow their company page. Now, pages are granted 100 credits per month, with each sent invite costing one credit, which is returned when the invite is accepted.

Lastly, LinkedIn is giving users the option of adding an audio recording of up to 10 seconds of their name using an in-app audio recorder to ensure correct pronunciation.

Twitch Exceeds 5 Billion Hours Watched In Q2

Hours watched on Twitch ballooned 62.7 percent to surpass 5 billion hours, an 83.1 percent increase year-over-year, according to a new report from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet. In addition, Twitch broke records for hours streamed and average concurrent viewership (CCV).

Why it matters: The milestone comes after Twitch exceeded 3 billion hours watched for the first time in Q1.

The details: Twitch also broke its record for the number of hours streamed, which increased 58.7 percent from Q1, an increase of 80.1 percent year-over-year. Also reaching an all-time high is Twitch’s average CCV, which grew by 63.4 percent since Q1. Twitch’s unique channels also saw an increase of 63.9 percent since Q1, a 78.6 percent increase year-over-year. Leading the live streaming industry, Twitch now represents 67.6 percent of the market share, up 2.6 percent from Q1.

YouTube Gaming Live saw a 39.6 percent increase in hours watched and a 19.1 percent increase in hours streamed compared to Q1. At a 15.5 percent increase from Q1, its CCV is at an all-time high. The platform now represents 20 percent of the market share, down two percent from last quarter.

Facebook Gaming is also gaining momentum, as hours watched grew by 48.5 percent, hours streamed by 22.6 percent and CCV by 48.6 percent, a 320.7 percent increase year-over-year.

Mixer reached 106 million hours watched in Q2, up 30.6 percent compared to Q1. Its hours streamed increased by 28.5 percent, or 36.3 million hours, albeit lower than its peak in Q1 2019. Its CCV grew by 34 percent.

LinkedIn Report Shows How The Pandemic Has Impacted Marketers

Sixty-seven percent of marketers said they’re increasing investment in webinars and 56 percent are putting more time into organic social as a result of the pandemic, according to a LinkedIn survey conducted with Vision Critical that surveyed 450 marketers in the first week of May.

Why it matters: The findings put into perspective how marketers’ playbooks are changing as they still try to navigate the uncharted territory that is coronavirus.

The details: The top three challenges marketers are facing during the pandemic include being forced to shift marketing priorities (76 percent), budget cuts (74 percent) and advertising investments and planning (69 percent). Marketers say their top reasons for decreasing spend are budget cuts (72 percent), it’s the wrong time to advertise (30 percent) and leadership doesn’t want to invest in ads right now (24 percent).

Sixty-seven percent say their campaign strategies were somewhat impacted while 18 percent say they were majorly impacted. Forty percent of marketers moved events to virtual while 38 percent paused or canceled them altogether.

The area which marketers have decreased spending the most is events/experiential (80 percent), followed by out-of-home (39 percent) and television (33 percent).

Forty-three percent of marketers say they’ve shifted their target audience to those whose needs changed because of COVID-19, whereas 39 percent have not shifted audience targeting.

Nearly half (47 percent) say their content has become more emotional in nature and 31 percent, more rational in nature. Marketers have added focus to social content, thought leadership and direct customer outreach.

Instagram Tests Full-Screen Stories Experience

Instagram is testing a feature that will allow users to see more stories at the same time, on the home screen and in a new experience that expands stories to full screen, the platform confirmed to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: As of last year, 500 million people, or about half of Instagram’s users, were interacting with stories on a daily basis.

The details: As explained by TechCrunch, in the test, Instagram users will see two rows of stories, instead of one, at the top of their feed. Beneath this expanded stories area, users will be able to click a button “See All Stories,” which will cause a new screen to appear where users can see and scroll through all stories in a full-screen format.

Unilever, Verizon, Coca-Cola Stop Facebook Advertising As Part Of #StopHateforProfit Boycott

Coca-Cola, Unilever and Verizon mark the latest batch of brands to announce they’re stopping all advertising on Facebook in solidarity with a civil rights groups-led boycott meant to curb hate speech and fake news on Facebook called #StopHateforProfit.

Why it matters: According to president and CEO of Analytics Partners, Nancy Smith, that the current spending freezes are occurring near the end of Q2 could imply brands are gearing up to spend on other avenues, such as revamping store concepts suited for warding off coronavirus. Still, at a time when consumers want brands to lead social change, the boycott could represent a win-win for marketers, who, if they had a desire to boycott Facebook previously, either didn’t have the catalyst or other brands on board, says Jesisca Liu, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

The details: In 2019, Unilever spent $42.2 million on Facebook advertising and Verizon, $22.9 million. After Unilever’s announcement, Facebook shares dropped eight percent, erasing nearly $50 billion from its market valuation. Shortly after, Facebook announced it would undergo an external audit with the Media Rating Council to examine its policies around hate speech.

LinkedIn Adds New Features To Help Users Find Jobs 

LinkedIn is rolling out new features to help users more easily find jobs for themselves and others on the platform as well as new post reactions.

Why it matters: The updates are likely in response to the 60 percent surge in content creation year-over-year that LinkedIn observed during lockdowns, a time when users flocked to the platform to share updates about layoffs and offer their services for free to members in need.

The details: LinkedIn already has a feature that lets users privately signal recruiters they’re open to work. Now it’s taking the feature a step further with “Open-To Work,” a feature that adds a photo frame with a green label that reads #OpenToWork to users’ profile pictures.

LinkedIn’s second update, meant to help members lend a hand to their connections, includes an “Offer to Help” option that appears when you start a new post. From there, users can select all the ways they wish to help others, including general help, career coaching, referrals and resume reviews. Users can decide who sees this post.

Lastly, LinkedIn added six new emoji reactions for users to show support for articles and posts.

Instagram Tests Voice Note Feature On Its Thread App

Instagram is testing a feature called Voice Note that would turn the audio of a video into live captions that would appear as the recording plays, as spotted by app developer Alessandro Paluzzi.

Why it matters: The news comes as Twitter recently started rolling out audio tweets for iOS, letting users record up to 140 seconds of audio.

The details: Instagram launched the Threads app in October 2019 as a more intimate version of its app for those who want to share location, status and multimedia with close friends.

Social Media Stocks Continue Falling In The Premarket

Social media stocks continue declining in the premarket following the loss of revenue from advertisers and a call on brands from a coalition of civil rights groups to halt advertising on Facebook.

Why it matters: A reduction in ad investment due to the pandemic has been exacerbated by a boycott that’s gone viral, called #StopHateforProfit. So far, 160 companies announced they would pull ad spend from Facebook in July over the platform’s refusal to remove President Trump’s insensitive messages about Black Lives Matter protests. In an attempt to ease brands’ concerns, Facebook announced new policies to label hate speech and remove certain ads.

The details: Facebook stock is down 3.1 percent, with shares plummeting 8.3 percent on Friday after Unilever pledged its solidarity with #StopHateforProfit.

Twitter and Pinterest, though unaffected by the boycott, are also down 2.4 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Instagram Enables Advertisers To Create Ads Without Facebook Page Connection

Advertisers in the US and Turkey who are promoting their Instagram posts for the first time can now create Instagram ads without having a presence on Facebook, as reported by Adweek.

Why it matters: As AdWeek notes, some believe the update is Facebook’s way of protecting ad revenue on Instagram from plummeting in the aftermath of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which has resulted in over 100 brands pulling their Facebook ad spend, including Starbucks, REI and Unilever.  

The details: Most brands have already connected their Instagram profile to Facebook Ad Manager, therefore the update won’t allow them to disconnect their Instagram profile from their Facebook page. For new advertisers in the US and Turkey, advertising separately from Facebook means they’ll have to track performance directly on Instagram.

Pinterest Launches Independent Review Of Workplace Culture

Pinterest’s board of directors convened a new special committee of directors, led by WilmerHale, to conduct an independent internal review of the company’s workplace culture to identify opportunities to improve inclusivity and equity.

Why it matters: The announcement follows a letter Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann sent to Pinterest employees, which details the company’s progress toward addressing racism. Silbermann says Pinterest has strengthened its diverse slate requirement for recruiting, set clear goals to increase the representation of content they display on Pinterest and revamped its unconscious bias and leading inclusive teams training.  

The details: As per Pinterest:

“The WilmerHale review will include an in-depth assessment of Pinterest’s policies and practices concerning discrimination, harassment, and other workplace issues. WilmerHale will also review and assess the way Pinterest evaluates, promotes, and compensates employees and how the company responds to and investigates complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”

Danielle Conley, co-chair of WilmerHale’s anti-discrimination practice and a former associate deputy attorney general at the US department of justice, will lead the team.

LinkedIn Content Creation Is Up 60 Percent Year-Over-Year

LinkedIn is seeing a surge in content creation, consumption and engagement, the company’s director of brand and consumer marketing, Srividya Gopani, told Social Samosa in an interview.

Why it matters: Gopani’s insight follows a report LinkedIn published that highlights which topics are trending amid the pandemic. The findings show there have been the highest spikes in engagement on articles mentioning business continuity (up 144 percent), cloud services (up 78 percent), video streaming (up 71 percent), cybersecurity (up 66 percent), remote working (up 52 percent), virtual reality (up 50 percent) and software (up 46 percent).

The details: Lockdowns have inspired users to focus on their professional lives and help others find jobs and internships, resulting in a 55 percent year-over-year increase in conversations among users globally compared to March 2019, Gopani notes. Additionally, content creation on the platform is up 60 percent year-over-year.

Google Expands Business Messages To Support All Businesses

Google is enabling all brands to integrate its business messages directly with their customer service platforms, providing a quick way for customers to reach them via Google listings.

Why it matters: First launched in 2017, Google’s business messaging has until now been limited to certain businesses and regions.

The details: In addition to expanding direct messaging, Google is adding smart replies and customizable welcome messages to allow customers to get answers directly from a business.  

Google’s messaging solutions are available in English for now, with more language coming shortly.

Instagram Rolls Out TikTok-Like Feature To France And Germany

This week in social media news, Instagram rolls out its TikTok-like function, Reels, to new markets, TikTok announces the formation of its Creator Diversity Collective, CPMs surge by 100 percent in May, Snapchat announces the upcoming premiere of its first shoppable show, Instagram expands ecommerce eligibility to creators and very small businesses, Facebook rolls out a Limited Data Use feature to help brands comply with CCPA and Microsoft says it’s transitioning Mixer to Facebook Gaming.

Instagram Expands Its Reels Feature To More Regions

Instagram is launching its TikTok-like function, Reels, which it first introduced in November 2019 in Brazil, to new markets, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Instagram’s gradual expansion of Reels and its broader sharing options could help prevent it from losing users to TikTok.

The details: With Reels, users can make 15-second looping video clips, set them to music and splice them together from various clips. Instagram displays popular Reels in the Explore page, which other users can then remix, similar to TikTok.

Now, Instagram is expanding Reels to France and Germany, as well as introducing new features including the ability to share Reels to both the main feed and stories. For public profiles, Instagram has also added a dedicated section on profiles for Reels.

TikTok Announces Formation Of Creator Diversity Collective

TikTok announced the formation of a Creator Diversity Collective, made up of seven creators who will meet regularly with TikTok employees to share the perspectives of the creator community in order to curb racism and discrimination on the platform.

Why it matters: TikTok’s new diversity group is part of the app’s larger efforts to create an inclusive experience for users and support the black community. In addition to providing clarity around its removal processes of racist content, TikTok will also donate $2 million to organizations that support diversity, $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity, $850,000 in micro-grants to organizations working to undo systemic racism through public policy and $150,000 to black museums across the country.

The details: Following Black Lives Matter protests, TikTok says it invited black creators to a town hall with TikTok’s CEO, head of culture and diversity and additional members of its leadership team to share their concerns and experiences with racism.

The inaugural members of TikTok’s diversity collective will first meet in July. More creators from different backgrounds will join the collective in the coming weeks.

TikTok also announced the addition of Mutale Nkonde to its Content Advisory Council, which it launched in March.

Facebook Rolls Out New Live Producer Tools To More Users

Facebook is rolling out new tools for its Live Producer streaming platform, including graphic overlays, featured comments and a featured link, to more creators, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The updates will add a level of professionalism to livestreams and help drive more direct traffic from them as viewership of Facebook livestreams has surged 50 percent since January.

The details: Among Facebook’s updates for Live Producer are different kinds of graphic overlays, plus the ability to run polls and display viewer results in real-time, highlight viewer comments at the top of the stream and add a news ticker that scrolls along the foot of the broadcast. A feature link option will also enable users to highlight a website link accompanied by a description.

CPMs Increase 100 Percent In May As Stay-At-Home Restrictions Are Lifted

According to research from Customer Acquisition, CPMs rose from $5 to $10, a 100 percent increase, over the course of May, when officials began easing stay-at-home orders.

Why it matters: The rebound comes after CPMs decreased 250 percent as a result of mandatory lockdowns that began in mid-March.

The details: For one unnamed client with $12 million, Customer Acquisition says CPM surged 284 percent, from $6.11 in the beginning of the pandemic to $17.41 in May.

Snapchat To Stream Its First Shoppable Show Selling Streetwear

During Snapchat’s virtual presentation for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts, the company announced that this year, it will start streaming its first shoppable show, “The Drop,” featuring streetwear collaborations with designers and celebrities. The company shared additional details on its original programming lineup, as well as updated data about its audience and their behavior.

Why it matters: As consumer behavioral shifts to online shopping accelerate, Snapchat will have to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook, which recently launched a feature enabling businesses to create virtual storefronts.

The details: In addition to a streetwear show, Snapchatters can also expect a makeup competition show called “Fake Up,” featuring augmented reality lenses that let users try on the looks that makeup artists create in the show. The second season of Snapchat’s original series about custom cars, “Driven,” which drew in 15 million viewers, will premiere at the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

Snapchat says it now has more US daily active users (DAUs) ages 25 and up than all of Twitter’s monetizable DAU base for all age groups. Snapchat also fueled on average an additional 23 percent reach to television campaigns among advertisers’ target demographics.

Instagram Expands Ecommerce Eligibility To More Businesses, Creators

Instagram is now letting more businesses, including creators, who have at least one eligible product, to sell on the app. It’s also providing transparency on its on-boarding, rejection and integrity check processes.

Why it matters: The move comes shortly after Instagram rolled out Shops, or virtual storefronts for businesses, and after users spotted Instagram testing shopping tags in post captions. The expansion will likely benefit creators and very small businesses who are looking to sell merchandise or jumpstart new ventures.

The details: Instagram expanding access to shopping on the platform will enable any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product to use shopping tags to drive customers to their website. The new policy requires these businesses to tag products on Instagram from only one website they own.

Instagram is also providing clearer guidance to businesses into the types of businesses that perform best on Instagram and reasoning for why a business isn’t approved.

Facebook Rolls Out Limited Data Use Feature To Promote CCPA Compliance

Facebook is introducing a new feature called Limited Data Use, which will restrict Facebook’s use of the California data they send to it. The feature was designed to help businesses meet California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) regulations.

Why it matters: Facebook’s new feature will simplify the process of creating separate parameters for users in different regions and ensure compliance with the CCPA.

The details: As per Facebook, “When a business applies this feature, it will direct Facebook to process information about people in California as the business’s Service Provider. That means we will limit how this information is processed as specified in our State-Specific Terms. When Limited Data Use is enabled, businesses may notice an impact to campaign performance and effectiveness, and retargeting and measurement capabilities will be limited.”

Facebook says an initial transition period will automatically limit how it uses California data. After July 31, when the transition period ends, businesses will need to implement the feature to continue data use restrictions, or if the CCPA doesn’t apply to them, they can override the automatic application.

Microsoft To Shut Down Mixer And Transition To Facebook Gaming

Microsoft is shutting down its streaming platform Mixer on July 22 and giving partnered Mixer streams a new home on Facebook Gaming, both companies announced.

Why it matters: Mixer’s transition is part of a larger effort from Xbox and Facebook Gaming to create new games, which currently over 700 million people play in a gaming group on Facebook.

The details: To help Mixer’s community make the transition, Facebook Gaming is granting Mixer partners “partner status” to honor and match all existing partner agreements as closely as possible.

Facebook will grant streamers who were part of Mixer’s open monetization program eligibility for the Facebook Gaming Level Up Program, which will enable them to continue monetizing streams.

Mixer is also doubling payment for all partners’ earnings in the month of June.

Mixer viewers can connect their Mixer account to Facebook Gaming, which will then display the Facebook Pages that correspond to the Mixer channels they currently follow.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Forecast App

Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team launched an invite-only beta for a new app called Forecast where members can ask questions and make predictions about the future; first starting with people in the health, research and academic communities to make predictions about COVID’s impact.

Why it matters: The launch comes as brands are boycotting Facebook for its inaction on removing hate speech and preventing misinformation.

The details: The NPE team says conversations will be publicly available on the Forecast website. For now, the app is only available to members in the US and Canada, and on the iOS app. Those who wish to sign up can join the waitlist.

Snapchat Adds New Capabilities To Its Dynamic Ads

Snapchat is adding new capabilities to its Dynamic Ads, the beta launch of which was announced in the US in October 2019, to help brands navigate COVID.

Why it matters: The pandemic has forced brands to pivot digital, including Adidas, who beta tested Snap’s Dynamic Ads recently in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France, leading to a 52 percent growth in return on ad spend (ROAS).

The details: Snapchat is expanding Dynamic Ads to 12 countries including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Norway and Saudi Arabia, among others. Dynamic Ads will now also support websites and mobile apps.

Other features like diagnostic tools that lets brands quickly troubleshoot issues and pre-designed creative templates for product images are part of the update.

Lastly, a “location-aware” feature lets advertisers include geographical coordinates in their catalogs to create a localized experience.

Google Ad Revenue To Drop For The First Time

Google’s U.S. digital ad revenues will decline— 5.3 percent to $39.58 billion by the end of 2020—for the first time since eMarketer began estimating the company’s ad revenues, according to the researcher.

Why it matters: The decline brings Google’s share of the U.S. digital ad market to 29.4 percent, down from 31.6 percent in 2019; compared with eMarketer’s pre-pandemic prediction that its U.S. ad revenues would grow 12.9 percent.

The details: Facebook and Amazon will see increases in their net US ad revenues despite downward revisions for both. Facebook’s net U.S. digital ad revenues will increase 4.9 percent to $31.43 billion while Amazon’s will surge 23.5 percent to $12.75 billion.

Emarketer estimates the total US digital ad market will grow 1.7 percent to $134.66 billion.

YouTube Tests Shoppable Video Ads

YouTube is experimenting with shoppable video ads that include browsable product imagery and “Video action” campaigns to help brands establish a stronger ecommerce presence.

Why it matters: Despite retail stores and restaurants reopening in most parts of the US, the trend of shopping for both essential and non-essential items online is expected to continue. YouTube’s shoppable video ads aim to help brands capitalize on this trend.

The details: YouTube’s shoppable product ads would allow brands to sync their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads and choose which best-sellers to feature.

In response to marketers cutting budgets due to COVID, YouTube is also launching “Video action” campaigns, which will help drive more conversions across YouTube by bringing video ads that drive action to YouTube’s home feed, watch pages and Google video partners. As part of each campaign, YouTube will also include any future inventory that becomes available, like the “What to Watch Next” feed.

Additionally, Google says it added YouTube to its Google Ads attribution reports to inform campaign budget allocation.

Snapchat Apologizes For Offensive Juneteenth Filter

Users slammed Snapchat for a tone-deaf Juneteenth filter which, in addition to featuring the Pan-African flag in the background, showed the “chains of slavery” being broken when a user smiles. The filter, which has since been removed, prompted Snapchat’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Oona King, to issue an apology.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s controversial Juneteenth filter comes after the platform announced it would no longer promote the President’s content in the Discover feed after deciding his tweets in response to Black Lives Matter protests incite racial violence.

The details: As reported by The Verge, King said in a letter to Snapchat employees: “This mistake has taught us a valuable lesson, and I am sincerely sorry that it came at the expense of what we meant to be a respectful commemoration of this important day.”

King also noted that black employees were fully involved in creating and approving the filter but admitted that Snap officials overlooked how it might offend people on a holiday intended to celebrate the end of slavery.

LinkedIn Publishes Virtual Events Playbook

As businesses pivot digital amid the pandemic, LinkedIn has published a virtual events guide on the different uses for LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events and how to leverage each to conduct successful virtual events.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s virtual events guide can help brands connect with audiences until in-person events resume.

The details: LinkedIn says that LinkedIn Live is a good option when you want to achieve top-of-funnel goals such as reach and brand awareness; to get the most out of live broadcast, it recommends sticking to content topics that appeal to your existing audience.

LinkedIn Events, on the other hand, is the better option for when your goal is to build community and reach a targeted audience you want to engage more deeply.

Given not all Pages have access to LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn says the best way to get your Page approved is to make an effort to regularly engage audiences, respond to comments and have over 1,000 followers.

The guide also includes the type of events that work best on LinkedIn—community and brand building events, conferences, targeted-audience events and talent branding.

LinkedIn also hinted at forthcoming updates such as the ability to capture registrations directly on the platform and retarget event attendees.

Spotify Adds Self-Service Video Ads To Its Ad Studio

Spotify is adding self-service video ads to its Ad Studio, citing research that shows running both video ads and audio ads produces higher brand results than running just video ads.

Why it matters: Spotify makes the case for running video ads on the platform: “On other platforms, video ads are often viewed while muted, but on Spotify, listeners are engaging with their sound on, offering a valuable opportunity for your message to be seen and heard.”

The details: Brands can choose to run horizontal or vertical video ads, and will have access to real-time reporting within Ad Studio. Spotify videos ads are available in the US, UK and Canada.

Civil Rights Groups Urge Brands To Pull Spending From Facebook 

The Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color of Change, Common Sense Media and Sleeping Giants have launched a campaign called #StopHateforProfit, urging brands to stop advertising on Facebook in July in response to its refusal to remove hate speech from the platform.

Why it matters: The movement follows Facebook’s inaction on President Trump’s post about Black Lives Matter protests, which in part reads, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.” Twitter, on the other hand, placed a “public interest notice” on that same message from Trump for violating its policies regarding the glorification of violence.

The details: Organizers of #StopHateforProfit are calling on brands to stop advertising on Facebook’s services in July. So far, Patagonia, REI and North Face have joined the campaign.

Instagram Is Testing Shopping Tags In Post Captions

We’re rounding up the latest social media platform news for marketers. Updated daily.

Instagram Tests Shopping Tags In Post Captions

As spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, Instagram is testing shopping tags in captions among a select group of users, enabling them to add product tags in their captions, which, when tapped, direct you to a shoppable product page.

Why it matters: The test follows Instagram’s announcement of Shops, which would allow brands to set up a digital, customizable storefront via Instagram. Adding shopping tags in post captions would give businesses an added way to reach more consumers.

The details: The feature is reportedly in beta testing with a small group of US accounts that already have access to the Checkout function.  

Twitter Launches Voice Tweets On iOS

Twitter is adding a new wavelengths icon in the tweet composer that would allow users to record up to 140 seconds of audio, or voice tweets, that then appear on people’s timelines alongside other tweets.

Why it matters: As per Twitter, “There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.”

The details: Voice tweets can capture up to 140 seconds of audio. After you reach the time limit, a new voice tweet starts automatically to create a thread. After tapping “done,” you’re taken back to the composer screen to publish the tweet. Twitter says you can continue listening to voice tweets while simultaneously scrolling the feed and doing other things on your phone.

For now, voice tweets are available on iOS to a limited group of people on Twitter, but will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.

Facebook Tests Option That Would Make Saved Collections Public And Followable

Facebook is looking to expand Collections—the saved content option it introduced in December 2019 that enables users to share saved posts, videos and more with each other—with a new option that would allow users to share the Collections publicly and have friends follow them. The update was first spotted by a Twitter user.

Why it matters: The new update could help Facebook gain an advantage over Pinterest, which is currently the go-to platform for curated collections of web content. Facebook told TechCrunch that its goal with publicly shareable collections is to build community and togetherness.

The details: The update means the addition of a sharing button below the collection’s title, which would enable you to share it with a larger group of users. Those who you share the collection with can then add to and comment on the items within it.

Facebook says people have used the feature to share health and wellness information and recipes.

Pinterest Sees Surge In Online Grocery Shopping Activity

The number of online purchases that Pinterest drove to grocery retailers surged nearly 70 percent over February due to lockdowns. Not only do Pinners shop for groceries online more frequently compared to non-Pinners, but they also end up spending more when grocery shopping online.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s study reveals that 65 percent of Pinners are new to online grocery shopping, indicating the need for brands to shift how and where they communicate with those stuck at home.

The details: According to Pinterest, Pinners are 27 percent to 67 percent more likely to grocery shop online when compared to non-Pinners. Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 Pinners shop for groceries online at least once every two weeks, 14 percent higher compared to non-Pinners. Pinners also spend 27 percent more than non-Pinners on online groceries and 14 percent more on personal shopping and delivery.

Instagram To Review Platform’s Inadequacies In Supporting Black Community

Following Black Lives Matter protests, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced Instagram will dive into any disparities some underrepresented groups on the platform experience including racial harassment, account verification criteria, content distribution and algorithmic bias.

Why it matters:
 Over the years, Instagram has received complaints about the app filtering users without transparency, or shadowbanning, and limiting their reach as a result. 

The details: As per Mosseri: “The irony that we’re a platform that stands for elevating Black voices, but at the same time Black people are often harassed, afraid of being ‘shadowbanned’, and disagree with many content takedowns, is not lost on me.”

Instagram’s plan is to explore how Instagram’s products and policies protect black people from harassment; make its verification criteria inclusive; be transparent about how they decide whose posts get distributed; and ensure its technologies are devoid of racial bias.

YouTube Rebrands FameBit To BrandConnect

In a company post, YouTube said it’s evolving its influencer marketplace FameBit to BrandConnect after the average deal size across YouTube’s full-service product grew more than 260 percent over the past two years.

Why it matters: The move comes after FameBit shut down its self-service website, which allowed influencers to independently work with brand partners and comprised four percent of its total payouts to influencers. Shifting to the full-service side of things will allow influencers to earn more money.

The details: For influencers, the shift means enhanced matchmaking with brands; for brands, it means the ability to measure impact and return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing via Google insights.

YouTube has plans to extend its shopping shelf feature, which lets viewers buy products mentioned in influencers’ videos, to buying or renting movies and shows.

YouTube creators with 25,000 subscribers or more can sign up for BrandConnect in YouTube Studio.

Facebook Explains How Its Ad System Works

As part of its “Good Questions, Real Answers” series, Facebook provided a new overview of how its machine learning decides which ads to show people and common misunderstandings about Facebook ads.

Why it matters:
 Facebook’s overview comes as more businesses seek to reach consumers online during the pandemic.

The details: Facebook says the two main factors that determine which ads to show people are audience targeting selected by advertisers and the results of its ad auction. Facebook decides which ads within the auction to show to people that have the highest total value score, an estimate of how likely that person will take the advertiser’s desired action, which is generated via machine learning. To do this, Facebook’s models take into account the person’s behavior on and off Facebook as well as the ad’s content, the time of day and interactions between people and ads.

Facebook says it doesn’t sell people’s data to advertisers or anyone else and that it doesn’t share personally identifying information unless given permission. It also assures that people’s text messages or phone microphones aren’t used to inform ads or change what content they see.

TikTok Explains Black Lives Matter View Count Display Issue

In the days following the murder of George Floyd by police, TikTok users were disheartened to discover that posts tagged with #GeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter were showing zero views in the Compose screen, where they prepare their video before uploading. Now, TikTok says the issue was due to inefficiencies in its data flushing system.

Why it matters: TikTok issued an apology to the black community when it first learned of the issue, noting that many assumed it was an intentional act to suppress black voices.

The details: TikTok says the hashtag count view piled up due to a data lagging issue which it says will be prevented moving forward via an updated design of the system.

Snapchat Announces Range Of New AR Features

At its virtual 2020 Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat said it plans to roll out a variety of new augmented reality features such as local lenses and visual and audio scan options, as well as micro-apps called Snap Minis, a Happening Now feature to keep users up to date with the latest news and millions of listings for businesses around the world with the ability to order food within the app.

Why it matters: Tapping into its users’ penchant for AR—over 170 million Snapchatters engage with AR daily nearly 30 times every day—will allow Snapchat to compete with Facebook.

The details: Snapchat’s new Local lenses will enable users to virtually paint and edit certain buildings and landmarks, with the same actions visible to other users in the app.

Snapchat has partnered with providers to expand its scan options with Lenses; Dog Scanner, for example, will recognize dog breeds, and Nutrition Scanner will rate the quality of ingredients in packaged foods.

A new Voice Scan option will also provide Lens results based on voice commands.

Snapchat is also giving developers the chance to reach Snap’s audience via Snap Minis, a micro-apps initiative from its SnapKit platform.

In addition to officially announcing a new function bar, Snapchat is rolling out a “Topics options for Stories, which serve the same function as hashtags but through stickers instead of words.

Launching in the US this week, a new “Happening Now” feature within Discover will deliver news stories from partners like NBC News, ESPN and The Washington Post, among others.

Snapchat is also highlighting popular stores and places with information about their location, hours of operation and reviews.

Snapchat has plans to add AR functionality to its original shows, allowing users to learn dance moves, for example, via custom motion tracking lenses that track a user’s every step.

Snapchat has partnered with Headspace to expand its mental wellbeing resource “Here For You” with new tools like meditations and resources.

Lastly, Snapchat introduced a new learning portal called Snap Focus featuring six courses to educate agencies and marketers about its suite of ad products.

Google Rolls Out New Tools In Response To Surge In Time Spent Watching CTV

Google is introducing a series of tools in Display & Video 360 to simplify how digital media buyers find and secure ad inventory as they quickly move to video streaming advertising.

Why it matters: Google says that as a result of lockdown, available connected television (CTV) inventory on Display & Video 360’s surged by 75 percent.

The details: Google has created a dedicated television section in Marketplace that enables marketers to find and negotiate deals via filter options based on geo or streaming device type. Through this new interface, which Google will roll out in the next few weeks, marketers can also send requests for proposals to publishers directly.

Google also announced two new ready-to-buy options. The first option, called auction packages, bundles inventory from top publishers into deals that don’t require negotiating. The second option involves the expansion of YouTube Select’s dedicated streaming television lineup to Display & Video 360 buyers in the US.

To accompany these updates, Google has also added a new workflow called the “OTT line item” for buying television ads across screens. The line item automatically picks inventory from CTV apps.

Facebook Continues Developing AI Tools To Create Personalized Shopping Experiences

New Facebook research that has been published details its new developments on enhancing personalized shopping experiences, including an algorithm that identifies fashion trends from images taken from around the world and a 3D-enabled tool that recommends clothing based on body types.

Why it matters: Facebook’s efforts contribute to its long-term vision to build an “all-in-one AI lifestyle assistant that can accurately search and rank billions of products, while personalizing to individual tastes.”

The details: To pinpoint a fashion trend’s origin, Facebook is working on an AI model that calculates the degree of fashion influence between cities from geolocated, time-stamped images of people, which can then predict future popular styles in any location.

Facebook is also working on a system called Animatable Reconstruction of Clothes Humans (ARCH), which would allow people to see how they look wearing clothes in a range of poses, environments and lighting.

An automatic approach to recommending clothing to people based on their body shapes, called VIsual Body-aware Embedding (ViBE), is also in the works.

Pinterest Pledges $1.5 Million To Racial Justice Initiatives

This week in social media news, Pinterest pledges $1.5 million to support racial justice, TikTok apologizes to black creators for a glitch that made it seem like it was suppressing views of videos tagged with #BlackLivesMatter, LinkedIn’s latest learning report reveals CEOs value learning more since the pandemic, Snapchat decides to no longer promote President Trump’s account on its Discover tab and Reddit’s former CEO calls out the platform for fueling white supremacy.

Pinterest Pledges $1.5 Million Toward Racial Justice Initiatives

On Blackout Tuesday, Pinterest expressed a commitment to taking action against racism and injustice via donations, education and sensitivity toward ads after hosting an open conversation internally with its entire staff.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s stand on Black Lives Matter follows the company’s slight progress toward diversity, which its sixth annual diversity report revealed in January; it increased hiring rates for underrepresented minority employees across the company from 12 percent to 14 percent. The percentage of underrepresented minorities that make up Pinterest employees also grew from three percent in 2015 to nine percent in 2019 to 10 percent in 2020.

The details: Steps Pinterest is taking toward a more racially just workplace include: elevating resources for how parents can talk to their children about systemic racism in the US; delivering content on Pinterest that represents people from diverse backgrounds; not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results; increasing diversity of senior leaders; donating 25,000 shares of stock (worth about $500,000) to organizations committed to racial justice; investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests and donating $750,000 in paid media organizations to support racial justice.

TikTok Apologizes To Black Creators About Technical Glitch On #BlackLivesMatter Videos

After a technical glitch that made it appear as though TikTok was suppressing black creators’ videos around the murder by police of George Floyd, TikTok announced it will donate $3 million from its Community Relief Fund to non-profits that support the black community and $1 million toward fighting racial injustice, though it didn’t specify how the latter funds would be allocated.

Why it matters: TikTok’s message in support of improving black users’ experiences comes after black creators and allies changed their profile pictures in a stance against how they felt the black community was being marginalized on TikTok after “a technical glitch made it temporarily appear as if posts uploaded using #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd would receive 0 views.”

The details: TikTok says it’s committed to examining any of its policies that might diminish diversity on its platform by investing in technology and moderation strategies, establishing a creator diversity council, engaging experts to analyze how its products can better serve people of all background and developing a creator portal to expand opportunities for its broader creator community. 

On Blackout Tuesday, the platform silenced its playlists and campaigns on the Sounds page in observance of the initiative.

LinkedIn Report Reveals Time Spent Learning Has Significantly Grown In Pandemic

For its latest report, LinkedIn Learning surveyed 900 learning and development pros and 3,000 learners in May to understand their behavioral patterns in the pandemic and how organizations plan to approach learning strategies in the year ahead.

Why it matters: LinkedIn found that employees are spending 130 percent more time on learning and there’s been a 301 percent increase in professionals joining learning groups since the pandemic, suggesting learning’s strategic role in navigating the pandemic and change as people continue working from home.

The details: Highlights from the report include: 70 percent of respondents said their CEOs are active champions of learning, up from 27 percent in March; 68 percent of learning and development pros say that managers are actively promoting more learning resources to their team than before the pandemic; and 75 percent of learning and development pros expect an increase in social learning, where learners engage with colleagues and instructors around topics.

Snapchat Removes President Trump’s Account From Discover Tab

Snapchat is removing President Trump’s verified account from the Discover tab after concluding that his recent tweets around nationwide protests promoted violence, as reported by The Verge.

Why it matters: Trump’s Snapchat following more than tripled over the past year, to 1.5 million followers, in part due to regular promotion in Snapchat’s Discover tab, as part of a tactic to engage Snapchat’s young audience ahead of the 2020 election. But after Trump’s controversial tweets around the protests of the police killing of George Floyd, which were placed by Twitter behind warning screens for glorifying violence, Snapchat took action; unlike Facebook, which has decided to leave up Trump’s cross-posted tweets on Facebook.

The details: In a message to employees, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said:

“As for Snapchat, we simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform. Our Discover content platform is a curated platform, where we decide what we promote. We have spoken time and again about working hard to make a positive impact, and we will walk the talk with the content we promote on Snapchat. We may continue to allow divisive people to maintain an account on Snapchat, as long as the content that is published on Snapchat is consistent with our community guidelines, but we will not promote that account or content in any way.”

Reddit’s Former CEO Accuses Platform Of Monetizing White Supremacy  

Former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao took to Twitter to call out Reddit for nurturing “white supremacy and hate all day long” in response to a letter current Reddit CEO Steve Huffman posted about the platform’s intolerance for racism amidst Black Lives Matter protests.

Why it matters: During her time as Reddit interim CEO, from 2014-2015, Pao banned some of the platform’s most abusive subreddits. Since then she’s called out Reddit for the group-trolling associated with the subreddit “The_Donald.”

The details: Pao’s tweet reads: “I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don’t get to say BLM [Black Lives Matter] when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long.”

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 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.