Nike, Adidas Saw Biggest Boost From Influencers In 2019

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

Nike and Adidas are leaders of influencer marketing as both brands received over 300,000 mentions from US influencers in 2019. This is according to a new report from Traackr, “2020 State of Influence: Fashion,” which examines top-performing influencer strategies in the fashion vertical including luxury, contemporary, fast fashion and activewear categories. 

Traackr ranked brands by their overall Brand Vitality Score (VIT), a measurement of reach, engagement and brand affinity. A balanced distribution of VIT indicates a brand leverages a mix of influencers with different follower size.

In this report, Traackr defines six types of influencers: VIP influencers who have over 5 million followers, top influencers who have over 1 million followers, macro-influencers who have over 500,000 followers, mid-influencers who have over 50,000 followers, micro-influencers who have over 10,000 followers and nano-influencers who have over 1,000 followers.

Nike and Adidas top the VIT ranking in the US, UK and France. Nike received 221,739 mentions in the US, 44,497 in the UK and 13,069 in France while Adidas received 100,227 mentions in the US, 28,356 mentions in the UK and about 8,000 in France. In the US, Louis Vuitton earned the third spot. In the UK, ASOS landed the top spot. In France, Zara came in second, followed by H&M, ASOS and Adidas.

Nike’s use of influencers across tiers attributed to its high ranking in 2019. Though Nike and Adidas outpaced other brands in terms of influencer mentions, Under Armour in the US and UK outperformed both brands in terms of influencer loyalty, or repeat posts and content performance, posts on an individual mention basis. Coming in third and fourth on the loyalty list are Puma and Reebok, respectively.

ASOS’s success in the UK is due to its activation of top-tier influencers, from which the brand has amassed 10 percent more VIT than the average for the UK and fast fashion.

The data shows that micro and mid-tier influencers in the US dominate while micro-influencers lead the way in the UK and France. Nano-influencers in the US and UK saw the highest engagement across categories. 

Influencers in the US and UK post more about fast fashion and activewear while those in France mention fast fashion and luxury more. VIP influencers in the US contribute over 50 percent of contemporary and luxury brands’ total VIT and 35 percent of activewear brands’ VIT value. In addition to mega-influencers (up to 5 million followers), mid-tier and macro-influencers drive the most VIT value for activewear brands. In the US and the UK, most of the VIT for fast fashion brands comes from mid-tier, macro- and top-tier influencers. In the UK and France, across all tiers there’s an equal distribution of VIT in the luxury category. 

These findings suggest that activewear, fast fashion and luxury brands saw the most success in 2019, while contemporary brands—those with clothing priced below luxury but above fast fashion—are struggling due to lack of a balanced activation of paid and earned influencer content across tiers. 

Still, contemporary brands like & Other Stories and The Kooples have been chugging along thanks to their repeated use of mid-influencers.

Another interesting thing to note is that influencer mentions of sustainable fashion increased by 55 percent from 2018-2019 and mentions of secondhand fashion increased 137 percent. Engagement among these topics also grew—engagement rates on sustainable fashion and secondhand fashion posts increased 150 percent and 106 percent, respectively.

Findings are based on 2,032,000 posts from 111,110 influencers across 123 fashion brands in the US, UK and France between January-November 2019.

Social Media Consumption Grows Amid Coronavirus

Coupled with coronavirus induced self-quarantines, nationwide closures of bars, restaurants and public venues have inevitably led to an uptick in social media consumption, particularly on Instagram and TikTok. Tracking user behavior, examined 260 of its own campaigns including over 7.5 million Instagram posts and saw a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on #ad posts over the last two weeks. Q1 Instagram campaign impressions also increased 22 percent over Q4.

The company also analyzed data from 2,152 TikTok influencers and saw engagement jump by over 27 percent on average from February to March.

eMarketer predicts the pandemic is also likely to boost digital media consumption across the board including over-the-top video and online gaming, with the biggest growth in usage and time spent going to subscription based video on demand (SVOD). 

Pew Research Center found that over half (55 percent) of US adults got news from social media often or sometimes in 2019, up from 47 percent in 2018. As anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic grows, many will turn to social media not only to consume news updates, but also to connect with friends and family.

With the US in its first week of widespread school closures and the White House calling for millions of people to home-school their children wherever possible, social media apps favored by Gen Z and millennial such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram will continue to see increased user behavior. As a result of the suspended NBA season, many professional players are also filling their time by creating TikTok content.

In response to deep fake videos and misinformation about coronavirus, YouTube said it would demonetize creators’ videos that mentioned coronavirus as part of its “sensitive events” policy. However, the platform made a U-turn when YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted recently that, “To better support the sharing of information we’re enabling ads for content on the virus for a limited number of channels, expanding to more soon.” 

Perhaps the platform had a change of heart because many employees are already working under telecommuting policies and people across generations are practicing social distancing—a winning combination for more screen time and social media scrolling, which could benefit YouTube’s views.YouTube said in a blog post that it’s taking new measures to remove videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. It says automated systems will help with some of the content removal process normally done by human reviewers.

Brands Spend Nearly Half Their Budgets On Micro-Influencer Campaigns

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

Nearly 65 percent of marketers now measure the return on investment (ROI) from influencer campaigns, with conversions and sales as their top measures, according to a survey conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub and CreatorIQ. 

The “Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2020” found that more than 380 new influencer marketing-focused agencies and platforms were established last year, with a total of 1,120 open in 2019, compared to just 190 in 2015. With an increase of at least 50 percent each year since 2016, when the industry was worth $1.7 billion, the industry will reach $9.7 billion in 2020. Searches for “influencer marketing” on Google also continue to grow, rising to 70,000 in 2019, up 9,000 from 2018.

Most (91 percent) of respondents said they believe influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing and 79 percent are dedicating a budget to influencer marketing in 2020. Among those respondents, 65 percent intend to increase their budget over the next 12 months. Thirty-nine percent of respondents plan to spend 10-20 percent of their budget on influencer marketing while 23 percent will allocate 20-30 percent of their total budget on influencer campaigns. Nine percent intend on spending over 40 percent of their budget on influencers.

How much brands are willing to spend on influencers varies as 43 percent said they spend less than $10,000 annually while 29 percent spend between $10,000-$50,000. Eleven percent spend $50,000-$100,000, 10 percent spend $100,000-$500,000 and five percent spend more than $500,000.

The most common measure of influencer marketing success is now conversions and sales, as noted by 39 percent of respondents. Thirty-four percent focus on engagement or clicks followed by 27 percent who focus on views, reach and impressions. 

The average earned media value (EMV) per dollar spent on influencer marketing increased in 2019 and more brands (77 percent) now favor the measure. Businesses that have a grasp on influencer marketing gained up to $18 in EMV for every dollar spent on influencers while average firms saw an EMV of $5.78 per dollar they spent on influencer marketing. 

The research shows there’s a clear move from mega-influencers to micro- and nano-influencers as these small but mighty players have higher engagement rates than influencers with big followings—particularly on Instagram, where nano-influencers have seven times the engagement rate than mega-influencers. 

Additionally, although Twitter has overall lower levels of engagement, Twitter nano-influencers have 1.4 percent engagement compared to mega-influencers, who only have a 0.3 percent engagement rate. The same pattern is evident on TikTok—users with small audiences have 9.38 percent engagement while ones with large audiences see just 5.3 percent engagement.

The proof is also in the budget brands are dedicating to micro-influencers—respondents spent 47 percent of their influencer budget on micro-influencers, compared to 23 percent for celebrity influencers.

When evaluating influencers, 41 percent of respondents rated engagement or clicks as being the most important criterion and 53 percent see great value in working with influencers who have a real influence on their audience.

Now more than 90 percent of all influencer campaigns include Instagram and 84 percent of creators have upped the amount of content they produced in 2019. As influencer marketing efforts get bigger and better, marketers must give influencers clear guidelines on how to disclose endorsements. The survey analyzed 4,200 posts on fashion micro-influencer accounts for a month and found that only 14 percent of posts were fully FTC- and CMA-compliant, compared to 11 percent last year. With more content also comes more influencer fraud as 68 percent of respondents said they’ve experienced influencer fraud, up from 63 percent last year.

Instagram is included in the majority of influencer campaigns, followed by Twitter at 45 percent, Facebook at 40 percent, YouTube at 20 percent and Pinterest at 10 percent. 

The findings are based on answers from 4,000 marketing agencies, brands and other industry professionals, 70 percent of which were business-to-consumer (B2C) brands and the remaining business-to-business (B2B). Nearly half of respondents are based in the US, 16 percent in Europe, 12 percent in Asia, five percent in Africa and 15 percent representing the rest of the world. Fashion and beauty represented the most popular vertical (24 percent), followed by travel and lifestyle (13 percent) and health and fitness (12 percent).

TikTok Hires Chief Information Officer From ADP

This week in social media news, TikTok hires a chief information officer to keep watch on data and rolls out new native analytics tools, Facebook pulls out of SXSW and more.

TikTok Taps Roland Cloutier As Chief Information Officer

Roland Cloutier joins TikTok to serve as chief information officer, a role which puts him in charge of the company’s efforts to protect user data.

Why it matters: As the lead cybersecurity executive, Cloutier will be in a position to address concerns over how data is used and stored, particularly after accusations surfaced purporting that the company was secretly gathering user data.

The details: The Wall Street Journal reports that Roland Cloutier has joined TikTok as CIO and is tasked with leading the company’s security efforts. He previously served as chief security officer for ADP.

Facebook Expands Authorization Requirements For Political Ads

If you plan on running political ads on Facebook, you’ll need to provide some identification. See the latest press release from Facebook here.

Why it matters: Facebook is approaching 2020 with caution after widespread abuse of the platform during the 2016 US election.

The details: If you’re planning to run ads about elections or politics in countries like Chile, Japan, Mexico or Indonesia, you’ll need to confirm your identity with an ID issued from the country you want to run ads in, as well as providing disclosure regarding who is responsible for the advertisement.

Twitter Safety Updates Rules Against Hateful Conduct

Twitter updated its hateful conduct rules to require tweets disparaging of age, disease, disability or religion to be deleted.

Why it matters: Twitter cites Dr. Susan Benesch as well as Nick Haslam and Michelle Stratemeyer in their work on the link between dehumanizing language and its offline harm.

The details
: “If reported, Tweets that break this rule pertaining to age, disease and/or disability, sent before today will need to be deleted, but will not directly result in any account suspensions because they were Tweeted before the rule was in place.”

Facebook Has Removed 6.6 Billion Fake Profiles In The Last Year

In response to the need for more aggressive monitoring of fake profiles, Facebook revamped its plan with an advanced machine learning system called Deep Entity Classification (DEC).

Why it matters: With over 2.5 billion active users worldwide, many advertisers are concerned about Facebook’s reach numbers given the abundance of fake Facebook accounts.

The details: In 2018, Facebook’s face account percentage neared four percent of its monthly active user (MAU) count, equating to 88 million fake profiles. That same year it removed 583 million fake accounts in one quarter. This year, Facebook has removed 6.6 billion fake profiles thanks to DEC, a detection tool that spots fake accounts based on a broader range of attributes and behaviors. DEC looks at the behavioral patterns of profiles including properties of the profiles, groups or pages that a user has made contact with. Still, Facebook’s fake profile percentage is five percent, which equates to 125 million fake accounts.

YouTube Demonetizes Videos That Mention Coronavirus 

YouTube has previously demonetized videos about sensitive subjects to protect advertisers. Now the coronavirus outbreak is being labeled as such, upsetting some influencers.

Why it matters: In 2019, YouTube made $15 billion in ad revenue alone. In keeping advertisers happy with less mention of the coronavirus, however, YouTube is ruffling influencers’ feathers, who, if they speak about coronavirus, won’t be able to make money from YouTube’s built-in ad service. 

The details: Tom Leung, product officer at YouTube said in a recent video, “As such, all videos focused on this topic will be demonetized until further notice.” Yet YouTube told The Verge that channels dedicated to covering sensitive subjects should be safe from demonetization. 

WeChat Has Been Censoring Coronavirus Content Since January 2020

A report from research group Citizen Lab found that WeChat started censoring key words about the virus outbreak before officials began acknowledging its severity.

Why it matters: China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat has over one billion monthly active users, making it one source for doctors to obtain professional knowledge from peers. Blocking references to the virus could risk the ability of the public to share information essential to their health.

The details: WeChat expanded the scope of censorship in February, blocking content that included rumors about the epidemic, criticism of the government and neutral references to the Chinese government’s efforts on managing the outbreak. Citizen Lab found that WeChat censored 132 keyboard combinations between January 1-31 and 384 keywords between February 1-15.

Facebook’s Fact-Checking Label System Has One Major Flaw

A new analysis from MIT shows Facebook’s fact-checking labels, which it launched in 2016, are helpful in detecting fake news, but have one major flaw: any story that Facebook doesn’t mark as fact-checked automatically looks more credible to users.

Why it matters: MIT’s findings show that Facebook’s fact-check labels reduce users’ tendency to share fake news by 13 percent but increase the credibility of untagged fake news by six percent.

The details: MIT says, “In Study, we find that while warnings do lead to a modest reduction in perceived accuracy of false headlines relative to a control condition (particularly for politically concordant headlines), we also observed the hypothesized implied truth effect: the presence of warnings caused untagged headlines to be seen as more accurate than in the control. In Study, we find the same effects in the context of decisions about which headlines to consider sharing on social media.”

Twitter Is Testing Tweets That Expire Called ‘Fleets’ In Brazil

Twitter said in a blog post that users have expressed interest in fleeting tweets to remove some of the pressure that comes with posting public tweets that are permanent.

Why it matters: Testing Snapchat-like tweets in Brazil follows Twitter’s efforts to give users more control over conversation. In November 2019, it made the option to hide tweet replies available to everyone around the world. 

The details: Twitter group product manager Mo Aladham said, “Twitter is for having conversations about what you care about. But, some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to tweet because tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts (retweets and likes).”  Ephemeral tweets would show up the same way that Instagram stories do at the top of users’ feeds. From there, users can type a tweet, which with this feature won’t have a like or retweet option. The tweet will disappear after 24 hours.

Byte Dedicates $250,000 To The First Pool Of Its Creator Program

Byte said in a blog post that come spring it’ll launch its Partner Program, a revenue-generating initiative for its creators.

Why it matters: The fall of Byte’s predecessor Vine was in large part due to the app’s lack of revenue generating options for influencers. Now Byte is taking steps to ensure influencers have an incentive to keep creating quality content.  

The details: Byte said it will establish a Partner Pool every 120 days that pays creators every 30 days over four months. Byte dedicated $250,000 to the first pool of 100 creators, which will hit the ground running on April 15. Creators must be based in the US as Byte works on expanding international efforts. Byte says it will reach out to influencers, but that anyone who regularly makes great Bytes and is a positive member of the community is eligible.

Facebook Redesigns Plans For New Digital Currency Libra

In an attempt to address regulatory concerns, Facebook is revamping its cryptocurrency project Libra to accommodate coins issued by central banks and backed by other currencies, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: If Libra is recast as a payment network that operates with multiple coins rather than as a single, global cryptocurrency, some consumers may not see the appeal and stick with existing systems run by PayPal, for example. 

The details: When Facebook first announced Libra, its goal was to create a digital currency that made sending money as easy as sending a text. Now Facebook is changing its tune to appease lawmakers and officials, some who said Libra could potentially undermine sovereignty of its own currencies.

YouTube, Facebook Stories See Strong Growth

According to Animoto’s Social Video Trends: Marketer Insights for 2020 report, Facebook stories and YouTube are where brands need to be in 2020.

Why it matters: Consumers are increasingly using social and digital videos to discover and research new products, making it a top channel for brands to invest in. Pew Research shows that 73 percent of adults in the US use YouTube.

The details: Animoto surveyed 1,000 US adult consumers that own smartphones, use social media and have watched social media videos as well as 500 US marketers that have created at least one video in the past year. The findings show that 73 percent of marketers uploaded two or more marketing videos to YouTube in the last month. Fifty-nine percent of marketers surveyed have run video ads on YouTube in the last 12 months. Facebook stories was rated one of the top three platforms to watch videos from brands and 72 percent of marketers post branded content to Facebook stories once a week or more.

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace Now Has Analytics Tools

TikTok is rolling out new analytics tools to Creator Marketplace, the burgeoning platform’s native influencer marketing solution.

Why it matters: By baking analytics tools into its platform, TikTok is able to control the data they share instead of leaving this up to a third-party analytics tool; since this data comes from the platform itself, it should also be more accurate.

The details: The new campaign analytics will include data on views, engagements, engagement rate and audience breakdown including top markets, gender, age range and device.

Facebook Pulls Out Of SXSW Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Facebook won’t be attending SXSW this year, instead erring to the side of caution due to growing concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.

Why it matters: Your schedule is likely a lot lighter this year due to widespread concerns over Coronavirus. Facebook is just the latest company to drop out of planned marketing activities around SXSW, while Mobile World Congress and GDC have been canceled altogether.

The details: Facebook has pulled out of SXSW amid concerns over Coronavirus, as well as nixing its F8 event. SXSW organizers are proceeding with the event as planned at this time.

Twitch To Surpass 40 Million US Users By 2021

eMarketer reports that, according to the first-ever forecast for the platform, Twitch is set to surpass 40 million US by the end of 2021.

Why it matters: Twitch is an impossible platform to ignore, reaching 15.5 percent of US digital video views this year. It’s also primed for growth around non-gaming content which drove significant traffic last year.

The details: Twitch will grow by 14.3 percent this year and is already the “largest platform for streaming game content, well ahead of YouTube, Mixer and Facebook Gaming,” according to eMarketer forecaster Peter Vahle.

Poshmark Finds 58% Of Consumers Would Buy Items On Social Media

Poshmark’s 2020 Social Commerce Report found that 58 percent of consumers are comfortable buying items through a social media platform instead of directly from a company’s website and 75 percent are okay buying something directly from a person online.

Why it matters: The findings mirror the growth of the resale market, which ThredUp estimates will reach $51 billion in five years. The findings also highlight the growth of peer-to-peer transactions, which Etsy is helping lead the way— its revenue increased 46.8 percent in Q4 2019, up from 41.3 percent in Q3 and 30.2 percent in Q2.  

The details: The report found that of all the sellers on Poshmark in 2019, 48 percent used a portion of their earnings to also make a purchase on the platform in the same year. Nearly 40 percent of the items in Poshmark users’ closets are secondhand. Generation-specific findings include: resale is trending among Gen Z and Gen X, millennials’ wardrobes straddle traditional mall brands and emerging brands and Boomers look to value chains more than any other generation. About 20 percent of Poshmark users are Gen Z and 35 percent of all US Poshmark sellers live in the South.

The findings are based on online surveys conducted by Zogby Analytics of 8,573 respondents, a majority of Poshmark users and some non-users, aged 18-75, in the US and Canada. 

New AI-Powered Facebook Feature Turns Any 2D Images Into 3D 

Facebook is upgrading its 3D Photos features, which launched in 2018, with a new option to transform static images into 3D photos, it announced in a blog post. It’s also working on enabling high-quality depth estimation for videos captured on mobile devices.

Why it matters: Up until now, Facebook’s 3D image option has been limited to higher-end devices. Now the new feature will apply to any image, captured on any device, be it Android, iOS, or a “decades-old images recently uploaded to a phone or laptop.”

The details: Facebook says it trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) on millions of pairs of public 3D images and their accompanying depth maps and used Facebook artificial intelligence-powered mobile-optimization techniques to create the feature. It’s available on iPhone 7 or higher or a recent midrange or better Android device. 

Facebook Rolls Out New Faster, Smaller Messenger App

Over the next few weeks, Facebook is rolling out a newer, faster version of messenger on iOS, which became its own app in 2011.

Why it matters: A more responsive messenger iOS app that doesn’t take up as much battery or storage will improve user experience for those using an older device and in areas with lower connectivity. Facebook writes in a blog post that the new messenger also, “lays the foundation to fulfill our vision for private messaging and interoperability across apps, allowing us to scale our messaging experience in the future.”

The details: The new messenger app will be one-quarter the size and load twice as fast. Facebook says it reduced messenger’s core code by 84 percent, rebuilding its features to fit the new lighter infrastructure. During the rebuild, some messenger features will be temporarily unavailable, but Facebook plans to bring them back soon.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 6. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at

Marketers Are Doubling Down On Micro-Influencers

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

As influencer marketing matures, brands are recognizing what works and what doesn’t work. One important finding that has surfaced along the way is that nano- and micro-influencers have a greater influence than mega-influencers and celebrities. This had led to brands teaming up with figures who have smaller audiences, but bigger pull with their followers. 

Linqia’s “State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Influencer Marketing Grows Up” report found that 77 percent of marketers want to work with micro-influencers (those with 5,000-100,000 followers) versus 64 percent who want to work with macro-influencers, those with 100,000-500,000 followers. The desire to work with mega-influencers and celebrities, 30 percent and 22 percent, respectively, even fell short of marketers’ desire to work with nano-influencers, those with less than 5,000 followers, at 26 percent. Marketers rated micro-influencers 6.3 out of seven based on the amount of budget they plan to spend on micro-influencers, versus 5.8 for mega-influencers. 

Linqia found that engagement is the most important key performance indicator for marketers, as 71 percent measure the success of a campaign on this metric. Brand awareness and impressions came in second and third at 62 percent and 60 percent, respectively. If engagement is the top influencer marketing metric for brands, then micro-influencers are key to driving this metric. 

Micro-influencers have better engagement rates than mega-influencers across all channels, even on Twitter, according to Influencer Marketing Hub and CreatorIQ’s third annual Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report: 2020. This is particularly evident on Instagram, where nano-influencers have seven times the engagement rate than mega-influencers (7.2 percent versus 1.1 percent).

Another reason brands are betting big on micro-influencers? Because internet users lack confidence in mega-influencers. A GlobalWebIndex study proved this when 56 percent of US and UK respondents said they believe influencers with up to 50,000 followers are the most credible. 

Lyft uses micro-influencers to create a steady drumbeat of buzz around its brand campaigns and key cultural moments. To launch LyftUp—an initiative that provides access to affordable, reliable transportation for everyone, no matter their age, income, or zip code—Lyft focused on bike access, working with LeBron James and his company Uninterrupted to give one-year bikeshare memberships through the YMCA to youth all over the country. The campaign kicked off with LeBron sharing his story of how “it all started with a bike.”

The campaign continued with a series of social media posts from micro-influencers who told their raw stories of how bikes changed their life for the better. 

‘We tap into micro-influencers to tell our story in their own words. A best practice is to let them truly use their own voice. Putting too much creative direction, copy and rules on what you want the influencer to do is going to limit their creative genius. Remember, you chose to work with them because of their voice and aesthetic,” Lyft director of influencer marketing Bette Ann Schlossberg tells us.

When Lyft evaluates the success of campaigns, it looks at the typical metrics—impressions, earned media value (EMV) and engagement rate—but it finds that the most important metric is sentiment. 

“Seeing the community respond to the #LyftUp posts, and even seeing its drivers respond to these posts is often times the most valuable return on investment (ROI),” says Schlossberg. 

Although more marketers are interested in working with nano-influencers than celebrities and although micro-influencers cost less to work with, there are downsides to these partnerships. When asked to rate the top concerns in influencer marketing from a scale of one to six, Linqia’s respondents rated the amount of time it takes to manage influencer marketing programs a 4.2, making it a top-three concern. Given that more brands are working with micro-influencers these days, this could mean it takes more time to manage micro-influencer campaigns, allowing more room for mistakes and oversight.

They might have better engagement, but micro-influencer campaigns also have less reach, and that means less exposure. That’s why it’s important to tier your strategy, working with celebrities, macro-influencers and micro-influencers, says Schlossberg.

TikTok To Reach 52.5 Million Users In US By 2021

This week in social media news, eMarketer reports TikTok will reach 52.2 US followers by 2021 and LinkedIn has announced it’s working on a stories feature for all users and college students, respectively.

TikTok To Surpass 50 Million Users In US By 2021

eMarketer reports that TikTok will reach 52.2 million users by 2021.

Why it matters: TikTok’s user penetration is the lowest among social networks but it’s one of the few whose penetration is actually growing. Though its growth has been explosive, big players like Instagram are coming for TikTok: Instagram introduced a Boomerang looping-effect that mimics a similar feature on TikTok. However, experts warn that growth cold slow given competition from other platforms and the questions it faces on censorship and data privacy. 

The details: This year TikTok’s US audience will grow 21.9 percent to 45.4 million people and that figure will reach 52.2 million by 2021. This follows TikTok’s 97.5 percent growth in 2019, when it went from 18.8 million users in 2018 to 37.2 million users in 2019. This year 21.6 percent of US social network users will use TikTok at least once.

LinkedIn Testing Instagram-Like Stories Feature

The company said in a blog post that it’s internally testing LinkedIn Stories, to be released in the coming months, as well as “Student Voices,” stories for university students to share their campus experiences.

Why it matters: Launching stories is part of LinkedIn’s continuous attempt to appeal to GenZ and millennials. Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong recently found 10 new Instagram- and Facebook-like features LinkedIn is prototyping like GIF comments, location sharing and reaction buttons.

The details: The student-focused stories feature lets users post videos to their “Campus Playlist.” The videos disappear from the playlist after a week, but stay permanently visible in the “Recent Activity” section of their profile. Given that stories were originally meant for users to post impromptu moments that disappear after 24 hours, many students may resist adopting the tool in fear that recruiters will use the material to inform hiring decisions.

Facebook Launches Creator Studio Mobile App 

The Creator Studio app is an extension of Facebook’s insights dashboard, which launched globally in August 2018 and helps publishers and influencers manage their content and track performance.

Why it matters: The app lets users analyze page and post-level insights and distribution metrics to inform their strategies. It also allows them to toggle between multiple pages, which could be helpful for creators who have a large following and brands that manage multiple creator pages.

The details: Now brands and creators have access to the Creator Studio on their mobile phones, allowing them to track engagement insights, edit video titles and descriptions, message followers and manage multiple pages on Facebook. The Creator Studio app is available on iOS and Android.

TikTok Holds First Summit For Black Creators

TikTok’s #MakeBlackHistory Summit brought celebrity speakers and 100 black creators together in Los Angeles for a two-day community building experience that included an intimate concert and kickoff dinner.

Why it matters: Following its explosive growth among the influencer and brand world, TikTok is now looking to call on the power of celebrity and experiential events.

The details: TikTok’s celebration of Black History Month included keynote speaker Tyra Banks and an interview between Tracee Elliss Ross and TikTok creator Drea Okeke, @dreaknowsbest. Ross, who shared details about how she branded herself, filmed her first TikTok while at the summit. Viral TikTok artist Doja Cat also performed. 

Facebook Acquires Virtual Reality Games Developer Sanzaru Games

Facebook has acquired veteran game developer Sanzaru Games, an independently operated studio known for creating virtual reality (VR) game experience.

Why it matters: Facebook has been buying up big players in VR —the Sanzaru Games acquisition comes after Facebook acquired VR game developer Beat Games in November 2019. 

The details: Sanzaru Games was the first developer to partner with Oculus in 2016, and since then has developed four games for Oculus including one of its most popular games, Asgard’s Wrath. Now the developer will continue to help Facebook create more VR game content out of its current offices in the US and Canada with support from Facebook and the Oculus Studios team. 

Twitter Rolls Out Hide Replies To Developers

Twitter is making Hide Replies available to its community of developers today, according to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: “With Hide Replies now available as a new API endpoint, developers can create tools that automatically hide disruptive tweets based on factors important to their customers.”

The details: Twitter unveiled the Hide Replies feature to users last November in a bid to reduce the impact of disruptive, toxic conversations on the platform. The unveiling was slightly controversial, as some believed it could lead to the silencing of criticism on the platform. 

For developers, participation in Twitter Developer Labs is free, but you’ll be required to sign up using an approved developer account.

Vimeo Launches ‘Vimeo Create’ To Help Marketers Create Video Content

Vimeo released a new video-editing platform for creating templatized video content, according to an official blog post from the video platform yesterday.

Why it matters: Vimeo’s new platform lets marketers efficiently collaborate on creative video content while leveraging creation tools to help reduce production time on those resources.

The details: Vimeo Create, released earlier this year in closed beta form, is now open to anyone who wants access to the open beta. The tool features brand customization options, “smart technology” for AI editing and integrated video marketing tools. 

Vimeo’s press release touts the platform as a way to “radically simplify the process of video creation and unlock powerful capabilities to make and distribute high-impact social videos in minutes.”

The Hill Finds Twitter Slow To Provide Verification Status For Primary Candidates

According to The Hill, about 90 primary candidates in five states holding congressional and gubernatorial primaries on Super Tuesday have not received the verified “blue check,” in their profile.

Why it matters: Back in December, Twitter declared it would help level the playing field between little-known challengers and established incumbents by providing verification status (the blue checkmark in profiles) to all candidates who qualify for primaries in 2020. The verification process ultimately helps lesser-known candidates gain more visibility and credibility. 

The details: As of today, The Hill found that in the 130 House, Senate and gubernatorial primaries scheduled for March 3 (Super Tuesday), 89 candidates who have a Twitter account and appear on ballots remain unverified. “The process we implemented is rigorous in order to ensure that we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.

Twitter Is Testing Labels To Identify Misinformation 

According to NBC News, a leaked demo shows that Twitter is testing brightly colored labels underneath politicians’ and public figures’ posts that contain lies or misinformation.  

Why it matters: Since the 2020 election season began, Twitter has taken steps to combat deep fakes and misinformation. Last month, it rolled out a policy to remove tweets that include deceptive or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.

The details: A spokesperson told NBC News that the leaked demo is one possible iteration of its new anti-misinformation policy. Twitter is also experimenting with a community-based points system. As shown in the leaked demo, users are asked whether a tweet is “likely” or “unlikely” to be “harmfully misleading.” Then they’re asked on a sliding scale of 1-100 how many community members would answer the same.

Facebook Releases New Data On Facebook Messaging Trends For Travel Businesses

Facebook’s research finds that consumers are increasingly turning to messaging to communicate with travel businesses.

Why it matters: Facebook messaging for business is key for brands looking to ramp up their customer service experiences as consumers demand faster, real-time interaction with businesses. The proof is in the data: Over 40 million firms globally are active on Facebook Messenger and Click-to-Messenger ads are one of the platform’s fastest-growing formats.

The details: In its report, Facebook emphasizes messaging as a tool that enables personalized communication at scale, noting that 64 percent of people would prefer to message rather than call a business. With the help of a bot messenger to help personify its brand, Canadian airline WestJet saw a 24 percent lift in positive sentiment among travelers. Additionally, Airline KLM recently used WhatsApp to deliver real-time booking confirmation, flight status updates and gate assignment to travelers. Despite the benefits of messaging for businesses, Facebook says a Spectrm study of 242 leading brands found that 45 percent didn’t respond within five days when messaged via their Facebook pages. 

Instagram Tests Feature That Would Allow Android Users To Remove Followers Directly From Their Profile

Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong spotted the feature in the backend of the Instagram app on an Android device.

Why it matters: The feature is already available to iOS users and adding it to Android users indicates that having the ability to remove followers gives users a better, safer experience on Instagram.

The details: Android users who want to remove a follower must find the user’s account from their own follower list whereas an iOS user can simply go to the person’s account who they want to remove and do so via the drop-down menu. That feature will potentially soon be available to Android users.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 28. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at

How Brands Are Working With Top TikTok Influencers

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

TikTok was downloaded over 104.7 million times since January 2019 and has amassed more than 1.65 billion downloads to date, according to Sensor Tower. What’s more, the app grossed nearly $177 million globally in 2019 and it recently announced the opening of a permanent Los Angeles office, reflecting its commitment to scale its US presence. In short: TikTok is taking over.

Although TikTok only recently launched an advertising process and hyperlinking capabilities for brands, many brands are seeking out top TikTok creators to promote their products and services. TikTok currently offers ad formats such as promoted hashtag challenges, in-feed native videos, influencer packages, brand takeovers and top-view videos.

According to Forbes, for a one-day buy of $50,000, a brand takeover ad is guaranteed five million impressions a day via a three to five-second long video that encourages users to click-through to an external or internal destination.

TikTok is slowly making it easier for brands to find influencers that align with their ethos. Last year, TikTok launched the Creator Marketplace, a program that brands can use to browse over 1,000 of the app’s top creators through filters like follow count, location, topics and insights on the audience reach. Yet the program, which is still in beta tasting, lacks automation and only offers marketers the reach and average view count of an influencer’s videos, metrics that aren’t as insightful as engagement.

Brands getting in on the TikTok action have their eyes set on the app’s undisputed king, Zach King, the 30-year-old creator who, in 2016, started posting six-second video “magic vines” to Vine that make it look as though he’s performing magic. King’s efforts have landed him 34.7 million followers and 326 million likes on TikTok.

Universal Pictures, BMW, Chipotle and the Cash App have all called on Zach to create one of his popular digitally edited videos. To create buzz around its Dolittle movie, Universal Pictures enlisted King to make a video that shows him creating a sidewalk chalk image of a polar bear that comes to life, scaring off passersby. The hashtags #ad and #TalkToAnimals accompanied the video, which generated 2.9 million likes and 7,600 comments.

For BMW, King’s mission was to highlight the car maker’s new x7 ZeroG Lounger models. In the video, King and his friend visit the BMW dealership. Intrigued by a roped off x7 ZeroG, King’s friend tries gaining access to the inside. King waves his hand and his friend magically appears in the car’s driver seat only until a security guard notices their shenanigans. The video received 1.8 million likes and 1,300 comments. 

Digital shopping app Flip Fit, which sends users clothing based on their brand preferences and interactions with friends and followers, launched a major influencer marketing campaign in October 2019 that included TikTok. Flip Fit’s user experience is similar to TikTok so it only made sense for the social retail platform to flex its muscles there. Part of Flip Fit’s TikTok lineup included Marina Leigh, who has 1 million followers and 18 million likes. In partnership with Flip Fit, Leigh created a video showing how to use the app on her phone then trying on different clothes that she received through Flip Fit’s service, highlighting via text the free delivery and free returns/shipping features. The video received 2,178 likes.

TooFaced, the beauty brand known for its robust influencer marketing approach on social, has also joined the TikTok influencer landscape. Recently the brand partnered with Kristen Hancher, the beauty and lifestyle influencer with 23.4 million followers who transforms her appearance by wearing a different colored wig and matching makeup look each week. Wearing purple hair, Hancher captured a selfie video and upon shaking the camera, showed how her lashes looked after applying the TooFaced Better Than Sex Mascara. The video received 63,000 likes and nearly 300 comments.

A quick Google search will yield a list of the top TikTok influencers, but how can brands working within a budget find micro-influencers on the platform? Enter: Fanbytes. The first dedicated TikTok platform uses machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming to assist brands in discovering over 500,000 influencers with the accuracy of different search goals. Fanbytes has been used by brands like Pretty Little Thing, Warner and Universal Studios.

For brands to understand whether their influencer ad spend on TikTok is successful, however, TikTok must provide more in-depth stats like Instagram and YouTube do currently. Brands that want in on TikTok should also keep in mind that TikTok influencers prioritize authenticity over quality, making TikTok not a one-size-fits-all social media marketing approach.

Twitch To Reach 47 Million Views By 2023

This week in social media news, eMarketer released Twitch viewership forecasts, TikTok is reportedly testing direct website links in profile bios and launched parental controls for parents of TikTok users while Twitter rolled out a new option to add tweets to previous tweets.

Twitch To Boost Monthly Users To 37.5 Million This Year

Twitch’s audience is growing at a rate that positions it to rival the viewership of traditional media channels. 

Why it matters: “Twitch … is now too big for the internet giants to ignore,” according to eMarketer forecasting analyst Peter Vahle. Ostensibly, Twitch’s growth forecast is a signal-flare to mobile marketers to invest more ad dollars in the platform.

The details: Mobile Marketer reports that Twitch’s viewership will see a boost of 14 percent, reaching about 16 percent of the U.S. audience for digital video. The platform is set to reach 47 million viewers by 2023.

TikTok Looks To Add Direct Website Links To Profile Bios

The new update could help brands drive traffic to their website directly within the app.

Why it matters: TikTok has been working on ways to boost marketing appeal and direct website links are just another step in the right direction as currently it’s testing shopping links in videos. 

The details: The feature, spotted by TikTok user Sam Schmir, would include a custom link highlighted in pink text at the bottom of TikTok bios, allowing brands to increase awareness.

Twitter Rolls Out New Option To Add Tweets To Previous Tweets

Twitter announced the feature on its page via an animated video tutorial showing how to connect old tweets with new ones.

Why it matters: The feature will help brands add more context to old tweets or provide updates on announcements and sweepstakes winners. However, Twitter users weren’t that impressed with the added option as a majority responded to Twitter asking when they can expect an edit button to revise tweets. 

The details: To connect new tweets to old ones, users can compose a tweet, pull down to view older tweets then select the tweet they want to add to.

TikTok Announces “Family Safe Mode” To Help Parents Keep Teens Safe

The feature links a parent’s TikTok account to their teen’s and once enabled, parents will have access to screen time management and other aspects.

Why it matters: The feature, which will be available in the UK first and roll out to additional markets in the coming weeks, builds on the screen time management feature TikTok introduced in April 2019. Now with more control over how their teen uses TikTok, more parents might be inclined to let their kids join the platform.

The details: “Family Safety Mode” gives parents and guardians access to how long their teen can spend on TikTok each day, control over who sends their teen direct messages and the ability to restrict the appearance of inappropriate content. These features were previously available to all TikTok users, but now the app is giving parents the option to manage them.

Instagram Total Audience Surpasses Total Audience Size On Facebook

Socialbakers’ Social Media Trends Report for Q4 2019 found that for the first time, when it comes to the top 50 biggest brand profiles, Instagram has a larger audience than Facebook. The report also found that there was a relative decline in social engagement during the holiday season.

Why it matters: The data found that while the top 50 brands published more posts on Facebook, the engagement there didn’t reach the numbers that Instagram produced. A drop in engagement during the holidays suggests that brands should be more strategic about what content their audience wants to see and create quality content in smaller volumes to increase engagement. 

The details: In addition to Instagram’s total audience surpassing Facebook’s total audience size, the total interactions on Instagram were nearly 20 times larger than those of Facebook.

Holiday engagement was low for even the most successful industries, such as fashion on Instagram, which decreased by 19.4 percent. Similarly, the top industry on Facebook, ecommerce, decreased by 9.6 percent compared to Q3 2019. The services category, however, saw a 66.7 percent increase in engagement.

Additional insights from the report include: vertical videos perform better than horizontal videos across the board, women account for the majority of followers of brand pages on Instagram and Facebook and Facebook Feed remains the ad spend leader, accounting for 58.3 percent of total ad spend. 

In terms of influencer marketing, Walmart was the top Instagram brand profile in the world associated with influencers, with 854 mentions from 619 influencers in Q4 2019.

Snapchat Launches Swipe Up To Call Or Text Ad Format

Snapchat rolled out a new ad format called “Swipe Up to Call or Text,” which it says was built to help brands deliver leads, conversions and sales.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s goal is to give businesses more control over the user experience and streamline consumers’ decision and purchase journey, citing the example of prospective home buyers being able to immediately call their sales representative and consumers booking restaurant reservations and ordering food.

The details: The new feature lets users swipe up on an ad to directly call or text a business from their mobile phone as well as swipe up to different actions like visiting a website or downloading an app. To use the new feature, brands can create a campaign with “Instant Create” in ads manager on Snapchat and choose “call & texts” as their advertising goal.

Facebook CEO Calls For Regulation Of Big Tech

In an op-ed that originally ran in The Financial Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg championed a more democratic tech regulation process as part of Facebook’s efforts to push for new legislation and its support of existing US proposals to prevent election interference, like the Honest Ads Act and the Deter Act.

Why it matters: Zuckerberg’s call for more regulation of big tech companies arises amid this week’s kickoff of EU leaders’ debate about new rules governing data and artificial intelligence (AI). Since 2017, the European Commission has fined Google $8.9 billion in antitrust penalties and in December 2019, the Commission launched investigations into how Facebook and Google compile and use data for ad purposes.

The details: Zuckerberg wrote that big tech needs more oversight and accountability and more clear rules on portability while he pondered the role of regulators: “But who decides what counts as political advertising in a democracy? If a non-profit runs an ad about immigration during an election, is it political? Who should decide—private companies or governments?”

Facebook’s New White Paper Addresses Content Regulation Questions

Facebook released “Charting A Way Forward: Online Content Regulation” today.

Why it matters: From the words of Mark Zuckerberg himself: “It’s impossible to remove all harmful content from the Internet, but when people use dozens of different sharing services—all with their own policies and processes—we need a more standardized approach.” Poor design of regulatory mechanisms could mean less innovation and expression online, a trap to avoid when instituting new policies regarding content.

The details: Facebook’s white paper addresses the following topics: how to protect free expression while reducing harmful speech and the relationship between regulatory bodies, regulations and internet platforms. Additionally, the guidelines outline the stakeholders for such decisions.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 21. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at

Facebook Launches Pinterest-Like App Hobbi; Instagram Updates Ad Rules

Facebook launched a new Pinterest-like app named Hobbi this week, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s campaign taps into memelords which motivated Instagram to change its advertising rules and more.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Hobbi App

Social Media Today reports that the latest app from the NPE, or the New Product Experimentation team at Facebook will allow users to collect images of hobbies and interests while sorting them into boards.

Why it matters: If Facebook puts resources behind launching Hobbi and expanding it, it could be a challenger to Pinterest. TechCrunch notes, however, that the current iteration is fairly niche and lacks a social sharing component.

The details: Facebook’s latest apps from its product incubator capitalize on rising trends with a “relatively unique angle,” as reported by Social Media Today.

Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Paid Meme Creators For Internet Relevance So Instagram Is Adjusting Its Political Ad Rules

Bloomberg’s meme campaign, conducted with Fyre-festival marketing alums FuckJerry, led to some ambiguity about whether the 2020 candidate was really sponsoring memes.

Why it matters: Firstly, the importance of this news comes down to a distinction between what Instagram sees as branded content and advertising. 

From TechCrunch’s reporting: The difference is due to the fact that with branded content, “Facebook doesn’t receive any payment and it can’t be targeted. If marketers or political campaigns pay to boost the reach of sponsored content, it’s then subject to Instagram’s ad policies and goes in its Ad Library for seven years.”

Contextually, this change also matters since it comes two days after the FTC voted to review influencer marketing guidelines.

The details: According to TechCrunch, Instagram is “now asking all sponsorships, including the Bloomberg memes retroactively, to be disclosed with a label using [the Branded Content] tool. That would add a ‘Paid Partnership with Bloomberg 2020’ warning to posts and Stories that the campaign paid meme pages and other influencers to post. This rule change is starting in the US today.”

FTC To Determine Whether To Penalize Undisclosed Paid Influencer Posts

The Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to approve a Federal Register notice that seeks public comment on whether to revise its Endorsement Guides for advertising. 

Why it matters: The current Endorsement Guides require that social media marketing posts created between an endorser and a seller must be clearly labeled as “ad,” “sponsored content” or “paid partnership.” Weak enforcement, however, has led to gray areas around which influencer posts are organic or sponsored. Making businesses liable for civil penalties and for damages could help reduce incentivized and fake reviews.

The details: Commissioner Rohit Chopra’s statement says, “But when companies launder advertising by paying someone for a seemingly authentic endorsement or review, this is illegal payola. If these companies are also pressuring influencers to post in ways that disguise that their review or endorsement is paid advertising, those advertisers especially need to be held accountable.” Chopra suggests the FTC focus its efforts on larger platforms like Instagram and YouTube and on advertisers that earn huge profits from undisclosed influencer marketing.

YouTube Tests Donation Feature That Applies To Creators’ Videos, Not Just Live Streams

In an attempt to expand monetization opportunities for creators, YouTube is testing a feature called “viewer applause,” which lets users buy a clapping animation that appears over the creator’s video they’re choosing to support.  

Why it matters: Twitch streamers earn a lot of their revenue from donations, and it seems YouTube is borrowing what works for the gaming platform to benefit its own creators.

The details: Viewer applause is in beta testing for now, but Google notes it’s not a one-time function—users can spend $2 on a clap, $500 per day or $2,000 per week on super chats, super stickers and viewer applause combined. YouTube will take 30 percent of donations made through viewer applause, just as it does with super chat. The applause feature will apply to creators’ videos, not just live streams.

Snapchat Tests Another New User-Friendly Redesign

Snapchat’s major new redesign would separate the app from three to five sections and include a black navigation bar at the foot of the screen.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s previous major redesign wasn’t a hit and made many users ditch the app. Another more user-friendly design could be Snapchat’s way of appealing to a broader audience, which would be its ticket to maximizing revenue potential. 

The details: The redesign would give each of Snapchat’s sections more dedicated space and make it easier for new users to navigate the app. An unfriendly user design, some suggested, was one way for Snapchat to keep older users out of the app to maintain its hold with Gen Z. But in order to grow past 218 million daily active users (DAU), it’ll have to keep old and new users alike happy.

WhatsApp Reports 2 Billion Users

Up from 1.5 billion users two years ago, WhatsApp is now the second app from Facebook to reach the two-billion-users mark.

Why it matters: Though WhatsApp has yet to make a substantial contribution to Facebook’s bottom line. Still, its growth is impressive given it gained popularity without any marketing in developing countries like India.

The details: Despite, and perhaps because of, being ad-free and free for users, WhatsApp has become the most popular messaging app just after Facebook, which has 2.5 billion users.

YouTube Reveals Most-Viewed Super Bowl Ads

The Google-owned platform rounded up the top five overall and most-viewed big game ads on its AdBlitz channel.

Why it matters: Amazon’s Alexa-focused spot starring Ellen Degeneres was the only brand to exceed 60 million views. The popularity of the video reflects the rising usage of voice-controlled smart speaker shopping.

The details: Amazon’s “What did we do before Alexa” spot earned the top spot, followed by Jeep’s Groundhog Day spot featuring Bill Murray, Hyundai’s spot highlighting the Sonata’s newest features, Genesis’ GV80 ad featuring John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and T-Mobile’s ad showing Anthony Anderson test the network’s 5G capabilities.

Facebook Launches Fact-Checking Initiative With Reuters

Reuters aims to identify misinformation on social media together with Facebook’s third party fact-checking program.

Why it matters: Facebook has been slow to direct deep-fake content to fact-checkers. Though the platform has said it’s preventing the spread of misinformation by using downranking, the process doesn’t account for the views it receives before fact-checkers are able to moderate it. 

The details: According to the announcement, Reuters will “now assess the authenticity of user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content on social media.” The initiative will be in effect ahead of the US election and beyond, verifying for Facebook’s US audience in English and Spanish and publishing findings on a specially created blog. Reuters recently partnered with Facebook’s journalism project to create an online course that helps newsrooms worldwide identify and reject deep-fake content, available in four languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Snapchat Launches Mental Health Resources Feature “Here For You

In honor of Safer Internet Day, Snapchat is launching a new feature that will give proactive in-app support to users experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis. 

Why it matters: Given Gen Z accounts for most of Snapchat’s user base, a resource that informs users on anxiety, suicide and depression could be helpful in keeping the app a safe place.

The details: The feature, launching in the coming months, will include links to expert-led resources on mental health wellness for users experiencing mental and emotional crises and anyone curious about learning more about these issues. Snapchat said it will also launch creative tools and lenses that promote safety and privacy including new filters and its first-ever “Snappable” quiz.

Instagram Reportedly Developing Monetization Tools For IGTV

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong found that Instagram is testing a monetization program for IGTV influencers.

Why it matters: The lack of a monetization program is one of the main reasons creators have been reluctant to create IGTV content. Once in place, the program could inspire influencers on YouTube and Facebook to shift their content creation efforts to IGTV.

The details: With the program, Instagram says “You can earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. When you monetize on IGTV, you agree to follow the Partner Program Monetization Policies.” 

Instagram Rolls Out New Feature Showing Interaction Level With Who You Follow

According to a tweet from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, as of today, you can see which Instagram accounts show up in your feed the most and who you interact with the least.

Why it matters: Improving the user experience in this way could lead to a boost in ad views for Instagram, because fewer posts that don’t resonate with a user means they spend more time scrolling, which results in more ad impressions.

The details: Instagram added two new categories to the “Following” section of users’ profiles. There you can manage a list that shows who you least interacted with and a list that shows which accounts have shown up the most in your feed. A spokesperson told TechCrunch, “. . .we want to make it easier to manage the accounts you follow on Instagram so that they best represent your current connections and interests.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 14. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at

Pinterest’s Q4 Revenue Increased 46 Percent Since Last Year

This week in social media news—Pinterest and Twitter release Q4 earnings, Instagram tests IGTV monetization and eMarketer finds that half of companies use LinkedIn for marketing.

Pinterest Reports Better-Than-Expected Q4 Earnings

MediaPost reports that Pinterest released its Q4 earnings report which shows 26 percent YoY (year-over-year) user growth and over $400 million in revenue, up 46 percent YoY.

Why it matters: Pinterest has been aggressively developing products for their advertising business such as the mobile “Try On” feature, powered by Pinterest’s Lens visual search technology. This, and the platform’s universal brand appeal, has positioned Pinterest as the third-largest social media platform among U.S. consumers.

DetailsPinterest sees a strong 2020 ahead. Brands including YSL Beauté, Lancôme, Urban Decay from L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Estee Lauder and Sephora are already leveraging Pinterest’s latest “Try On” feature.

Instagram Tests IGTV Monetization

Instagram is beginning to test monetization of IGTV videos by allowing creators to run ads, as discovered by Jane Manchun Wong and reported by Adweek.

Why it matters: Monetization of IGTV content with ads would be big news for publishers creating for that product.

Details: While details from Instagram are still scant, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has stated that “IGTV is still in its early days, but it’s growing, so we’re exploring more ways to make it sustainable for creators.”

Twitter Generates $1.01 Billion Revenue In Q4  

Thanks to a 12 percent increase year-over-year in ad revenue sales, this is the first time Twitter’s revenue surpassed the billion-dollar mark.

Why it matters: Though the report shows a drop in net income and earnings per share (EPS), the figure reflects a comeback for Twitter after Q3 when it missed on revenues and earnings as a result of costly ad-related glitches.

The details: Analysts predicted revenues of $997 million with EPS of $0.29. Twitter exceeded analysts’ prediction with its $1.01 billion in revenue, but its net income of $119 million and diluted EPS of $0.15 were both lower than those in the same period last year—$255 million net income and a diluted EPS of $0.33. Twitter’s operating income for Q4 was $153 million. Its monetizable daily active users (DAU) increased by 21 percent in Q4 to reach 152 million due to algorithm updates, which presented users with more relevant content.

Half Of Companies With 100+ Employees Use LinkedIn For Marketing

EMarketer found that 50.3 percent of companies will use LinkedIn for marketing by 2021 and in 2020, 49.6 percent of companies with over 100 employees will use the platform.

Why it matters: LinkedIn as a marketing tool mirrors the user growth the platform has seen as it recently reached 675 million members, a new milestone. 

The details: eMarketer’s forecast excludes companies that use LinkedIn strictly for recruiting. The researcher sees more business-to-consumer brands using LinkedIn in years past but there’s a limit on how many can use it for marketing or advertising. That’s despite the platform’s efforts to give advertisers innovative offerings like Campaign Manager, which launched in September 2019. 

Snapchat App Hoop Downloaded 2.5 Million Times Within A Week

From Snapchat’s developer platform Snap Kit, Hoop is the Tinder-like app that lets people swipe to discover other users and make new friends on Snapchat.

Why it matters: Snap Kit-backed apps like Hoop give users new reasons to sign up for Snapchat and continue using it, ensuring user growth. 

The details: Snap Kit launched in June 2018 and lets other apps like Hoop piggyback on Snapchat’s login for sign up, its big selling point being privacy. Now, Hoop has reached the number two spot on the overall iOS chart and first on the social apps chart on January 24. Hoop’s monetization strategy includes a 10-limit chat request for users. When they run out of in-app “diamonds,” they must earn more by inviting new friends to Hoop, adding new friends on Snapchat and logging in each day. 

Reports Show Millennials, Gen Z Still Use Facebook

Recent reports show Facebook still holds sway with younger generations. 

Why it matters: In 2018, Pew Research found that Facebook was lagging behind YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, making it the fourth most popular social network among US teen users. While recent reports show that Gen Z and millennial still use Facebook, it’s Instagram that may be keeping it afloat as Instagram generated more than a quarter of Facebook’s revenue in 2019.

The details: A report from 5W Public Relations in New York surveyed 1,000 US adults aged 18 and over, and found that 77 percent are active on Facebook. Another report, from Ofcom in the UK, surveyed over 2,300 British parents and children ages 5-15 years about their online activity. Sixty-nine percent of those aged 12-15 said they use Facebook while 68 percent use Snapchat and 66 percent have an Instagram account. 

Instagram Reportedly Brought In $20 Billion In Revenue In 2019

According to Bloomberg, Instagram generated $20 billion in revenue in 2019, more than a quarter of Facebook’s total revenue for the year.

Why it matters: Instagram’s revenue indicates that it’s generating more money than YouTube as Google’s year-end report revealed it brought in $15 billion in revenue in 2019.

The details: Facebook generated a total of $70.7 billion in revenue in 2019, a majority of which came from advertising. Instagram was estimated to have a $100 billion valuation in 2018, and the figure will likely rise given its reported revenue for 2019.

Facebook To Close Mobile Web Arm Of Its Audience Network

Digiday reports the company confirmed it will shut down the mobile web arm starting April 11.

Why it matters: The move to close Audience Network’s mobile web arm follows Facebook’s 2016 retrenchment of LiveRail, the video ad exchange and ad server it bought in 2014 for a reported $400 million. Also in 2016, Facebook discontinued the in-house desktop ad exchange it built. The trend continued when it closed the Audience Network’s connected television service in 2019.

The details: Audience Network was launched in 2014 and Facebook expanded it to include mobile websites in 2016. On its decision to shut down the mobile web arm, the company said it’s focusing its resources in other formats across mobile apps, a growing demand from its partners.

Byte Gets 1.3 Million Downloads In Its First Week

Data from Sensor Tower found that Vine’s successor Byte hits the ground running with 1.3 million app downloads.

Why it matters: Strong performance in its first week may not be enough to carry Byte to the finish line against Instagram and Snapchat. Byte’s founder Dom Hoffman said the app is working on providing influencers with monetization opportunities but the efforts could be backfiring. Byte users have recently complained that comment streams are inundated with users who are aggressively trying to boost their follower counts.

The details: Byte received 1.3 million downloads in its first week, exceeding Vine’s downloads in the same time period after launch.

Snapchat Revenue Increases 44 % Year Over Year

Missing analyst’s expectations slightly, Snapchat increased its revenue by 44 percent year-over-year to $561 million in Q4 2019.

Why it matters: 2018 reports predicted that Snapchat could slip back as growth rates slowed and infrastructure costs continued to rise, but the data show that it’s still growing—it added 8 million more daily active users (DAU) in Q4, reaching 218 million DAU in 2019. Still, the platform’s efforts in emerging markets haven’t produced major returns in ad spend.

The details:  Snapchat’s users grew 17 percent year-over-year as it added 2 million more DAU in North America and Europe, and 3 million additional users in its “Rest of the World” category.

Google Reports YouTube Ad Revenue Of $15 Billion

Per a year-end report, YouTube’s revenue grew by 36 percent to $15.1 billion in 2019 from a year prior.

Why it matters: YouTube’s revenues are higher than eMarketer’s prediction, which was 20 percent growth in ad sales to about 11.4 billion by the end of 2019. While Google’s total ad revenue for Q4 increased 17 percent, its growth is less than Facebook’s 25 percent gain to 20.7 billion and Amazon’s 41 percent increase to $4.8 billion.

The details: YouTube’s ad revenue growth surpassed the 15 percent gain of Google’s search ad revenue to a record $98.1 billion for 2019. In Q4, Google’s total ad revenue rose 17 percent to $37.9 billion from a year earlier, matching the 17 percent growth of the prior quarter.

Facebook Ad Spending Grows 15 % Year Over Year In Q4

According to Merkle’s Q4 Digital Marketing Report, spending growth for Facebook ads, excluding Instagram, increased for the third consecutive quarter. 

Why it matters: Facebook spend may be up but the platform’s impressions growth has slowed. In Q4 2019, its ad impressions fell five percent year over year, down from a 20 percent increase the prior quarter. Mobile devices and tablets accounted for 95 percent of Facebook ad clicks in Q4, which could produce an even greater rise in mobile-first ad content in 2020. 

The details: Though Facebook ad spend was up, Instagram ad spend decreased from 44 percent in Q3 2019 to 38 percent year over year in Q4. Merkle found that Instagram ad impressions grew 29 percent year over year in Q4 and average CPM increased by seven percent. Ads on Instagram stories generated 25 percent of Instagram ad clicks in Q4 and accounted for 21 percent of total spending. Across all platforms, data shows that display ad spend grew eight percent year-over-year in Q4. Additionally, social media platforms generated 4.3 percent of all organic search visits in 2019, up 3.2 percent in Q4 2018.

Study Finds US Voters Distrust Social Media As Political News Source 

Data from Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways Project is based on responses from 12,043 US adults—consisting of both Republicans and Democrats—a majority of which don’t trust the political news delivered by Facebook and Twitter.

Why it matters: In 2018, Pew’s study found that 68 percent of Americans get some form of news content via social media. Despite more Americans getting news information from social platforms, Democrats and Republicans alike distrust these sources by large margins.

The details: The platforms with the highest percentage of distrust among all adults are Facebook (59 percent), Twitter (48 percent), Instagram (42 percent) and YouTube (36 percent).

LinkedIn Reaches 675 Million Total Members 

Microsoft reported record levels of engagement on LinkedIn in its FY20 Q2 report, which the company published this week.

Why it matters: Though the report shows an increase in total members, not active users, the growing engagement levels and memberships reflect the success of LinkedIn’s “Marketing Solutions,” which LinkedIn says is its fastest growing business for connecting with members. 

The details: In November 2019, LinkedIn reported reaching 660 million members. This week, Microsoft reported it now has 675 million total members, which means in three months LinkedIn gained 15 million more members.

Twitter Officially Launches Conversation Threads On iOS

After beta testing conversation threads for the last six months, Twitter rolled out the feature on iOS.

Why it matters: The new threaded conversational feature could lead to an improvement in tweet engagement among users’ communities especially considering the feature only displays threads for replies from people you follow.

The details: The company tweeted the announcement, noting that when people you follow are in a conversation, you’ll see their replies in a new way in the home timeline. According to Twitter, the new layout will make it easier to see who’s replying to who so that users can join in on relevant conversations. Twitter says the new feature will be available on Android soon.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 7. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at