Our weekly social media news roundup helps marketers to stay on top of every social platform’s latest updates, insights, campaigns and more.

Facebook Explains Yet Another Security Issue

Facebook admitted the company had another major security issue, this time, with inadequate internal password storage.

Why it matters: Facebook’s reckless storage of sensitive information could have made millions of accounts easily accessible to hackers.

The details: The company explained: “As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems. This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable. We have fixed these issues and as a precaution we will be notifying everyone whose passwords we have found were stored in this way. To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users. Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook predominantly used by people in regions with lower connectivity.”

Former Walmart CTO, Jeremy King, Joins Pinterest

Pinterest announced the hiring of former Walmart CTO, Jeremy King, as its new head of engineering.

Why it matters: Pinterest brings King on board in an effort to advance their eCommerce mainly because King was responsible for reanimating Walmart’s eCommerce platform to make it compatible with Amazon.

The details: King previously worked at Walmart Labs, LiveOps and eBay. He has experience working in ecommerce development and scaling consumer products. King will report to CEO Ben Silbermann and lead the team at Pinterest responsible for powering the visual discovery engine for home, food, style and beauty. Silbermann said about the new hire, “Not only is Jeremy a respected engineering leader, but from the moment we met him, we knew his values around putting the customer first were aligned with our own focus on Pinners. As we build products to inspire people to create a life they love, Jeremy’s technical experience and leadership are a perfect combination to build a visual discovery engine for all.”

Twitter Shares April Events Calendar For Marketers

On Thursday, Twitter published an April Calendar for marketers.

Why it matters: Twitter’s monthly event calendars are a great source for strategic marketing planning. (Twitter’s 2019 event calendar can be found and downloaded here).

The details: The calendar includes some universal events, such as April Fool’s Day, as well as happenings in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Some other events that can be added to the list:

  • Equal Pay Day (April 2nd)
  • National Deep Dish Pizza Day (April 5th)
  • National Beer Day (April 6th)
  • National Siblings Day (April 10th)
  • National Pet Day (April 11th)
  • National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12th)

Pinterest and Airbnb Release An Official Spring/Summer Travel Guide

Pinterest and Airbnb collaboratively created a travel guide for spring and summer that includes travel hacks and trends for various types of vacations.

Why it matters: The companies to release the guide at the perfect time, as people are planning spring break and summer vacations. Pinterest and Airbnb also shared insights and data on how consumers use their platforms.

The details: Some of the insights include:

  • Nature travel is a top trend for 2019, with Pinterest searches for “nature travel” up 88 percent
  • Airbnb reports a 539 percent year-over-year increase on nature-related bookings, 367 percent on meditation and 655 percent on hiking.
  • Pinterest has also seen a 693 percent increase in searches for adventure travel, like swimming holes, abandoned amusement parks, cave diving and surprise destinations.

Facebook’s Removing Ad Targeting Options In Certain Categories To Avoid Discrimination 

Facebook announced that it will limit discriminatory ad targeting on the platform.

Why it matters: “Housing, employment and credit ads are crucial to helping people buy new homes, start great careers, and gain access to credit. They should never be used to exclude or harm people,” said Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

The details: The changes relate to housing, employment and credit ads and, and according to Sandberg:

  • Anyone who wants to run housing, employment or credit ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code.
  • Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.
  • We’re building a tool so you can search for and view all current housing ads in the US targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you.

Warner Bros. And Snapchat Partner To Promote ‘Shazam!’

Adweek reported on Thursday that Snapchat’s first-ever voice activated AR lens will be a Shazam! branded one.

Why it matters: This collaboration is a great example of a brand using the platform’s AR marker tech tool to amuse the customer and promote the product in an innovative way.

The details: The process is simple: once people on Snapchat open the lens and say, “Ok, Shazam!” the lens will activate and transform the users into superheroes. The lens will be available in over 20 countries, including the U.K., France and Mexico. In addition, billboards in New York’s Times Square and Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles will feature the Snapcode that unlocks the lens. The Snapcode will also appear on murals and posters.

UK Ad Buyers Remain Unconvinced About Snapchat 

Digiday reported on Wednesday, that UK ad buyers have doubts about Snapchat’s ability to bring a better return on spend for advertisers, compared to Facebook and Instagram.

Why it matters: Snapchat launched in the UK two years ago but hasn’t seen much growth since. The company user base has only grown from 11.2 million to 14.8 million, according to eMarketer. And while the majority of the platform users are young—31 percent of them were aged between 18 and 24 years old in 2018—Snapchat’s isn’t big enough for many advertisers.

The details: Although the updates to Snapchat’s self-serve tools and pixels made it easier to target and measure audiences on Snapchat, they also became more comparable to the app’s competitors, such as Facebook and Instagram. In addition, one of Snapchat’s biggest remaining issues is viewability because ads are still easily skippable which leads to low viewability rates.

WeChat Is Launching Games Platform 

A Chinese media platform and mobile payment app, WeChat, debuted its “Mini Games” program in the U.S. at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Why it matters: “Mini Games” will enable game developers to create and distribute games on WeChat’s platform, help the platform users to find new games and will expand possibilities for content creation.

The details: With over 1,082 million monthly active users, WeChat introduced new opportunities for game developers and advertisers by opening access to current API and localizing developer documentation to facilitate development and publishing.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The Mini Games platform has grown to more than 400 million monthly active users
  • The 7-day user retention rate of some the most popular Mini Games has already rocketed to 54%

It is also important to note that WeChat had recently introduced “Creativity Incentives,” which allows a developer to increase value using creativity. Any developer with creative gameplay, art, music or story can apply to join the program and will receive a “Creativity Certified” label, on top of 20% higher revenue share compared to other Mini Games. This incentive also offers creativity protection and protection against copyright infringement.

LinkedIn Introduces Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting

LinkedIn announced in a blog post the launch of the three new ways to help marketers easily target the right audiences.

Why it matters: The new features: lookalike audiences, audience templates and the addition of Microsoft Bing search data are designed to increase the scale of marketing efforts and improve ROI.

The details: According to LinkedIn, the new additions will help marketers to grow business by, “reaching high-converting audiences, getting results at scale and engaging new target accounts.” 

Also, audience templates should help with finding the right audiences. They give marketers a selection of more than 20 predefined audiences at the moment, which includes audience characteristics, such as member skills, job titles, groups and other.

Instagram Launches “Checkout with Instagram” In-App Shopping Feature

Instagram launched the “Checkout” feature in the US on Tuesday, with more than 20 top brands participating already, including Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and Warby Parker.

Why it matters: The brands will no longer have to direct customers to their website to shop their products. Also, it is possible that Instagram’s ad business will see the boost because Checkout may convince brands that the social network produces better ROI because it requires fewer steps before purchase.

The details: An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch “We will introduce a selling fee to help to fund programs and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses.” But, the company isn’t sharing the amount of the selling fee, “We are testing a selling fee with businesses during the closed beta. It will not change the price of the items for consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Checkout tags will be accessible on feed posts, as well as “Stories,” and “Explore” features. Now, when the user will tap the post to reveal product tags and open one, the “Checkout with Instagram” button will be visible, instead of the “View on Website” button.

New York Restaurants Use WeChat To Boost Business In Manhattan

WeChat, a Chinese media platform and mobile payment app is becoming more popular in the US, as some restaurants are successfully using the app to promote their business.

Why it matters: The app provides an opportunity to localize and market products to specific, niche customers. Eater’s editor, Serena Dai said, Having a loyal audience of Chinese foodies means restaurants can offer more authentic Chinese food from all regions of China, not just dishes that appeal to Western tastes.”

The details: Dai said many Chinese students are opening restaurants in New York.

“They are not only running the restaurants and cooking the food. They’re also the audience for it. So, they’re also the diners and the ones running the WeChat accounts and following the WeChat accounts. So, it’s this entire network of super-influential young Chinese people who really love food and are making a huge mark on the New York City dining scene.”

According to Dai, the influencers on WeChat get paid to review a certain restaurant, however, she said this doesn’t repel the followers.

“They really just want to hear from people who understand their palate and understand where they’re coming from.”

Analyst Says IG Stories Could Generate $2B In Revenue This Year

According to The Motley Fool, an analyst at Nomura, Mark Kelley, believes Instagram Stories will outsell Snap this year, by a longshot.

Why it matters: Marketers are opting to buy media on Instagram instead of Snapchat, the analyst claims the former will grow four times faster in 2019.

The details: The Nomura analyst believes Instagram Stories will generate $2 billion compared to Snapchat’s $1.5 billion.

“While the ad products that Snap and Facebook make for their respective Stories products are very similar, Facebook has several advantages over Snap for marketers. First of all, marketers are already familiar with Facebook’s ad buying platform. Over 7 million businesses advertise across Facebook’s family of platforms. There’s no need to learn a new system or dedicate a team to buying ads on a separate platform. That reduces marketers’ overall costs, allowing them to pay more for Instagram Stories ad placements compared to Snap Ads.”

TikTok Parent Company Joins Mobile Gaming Scramble

According to Abacus News, ByteDance, the maker of TikTok, is planning to enter the gaming space.

Why it matters: No word yet on how ByteDance would incorporate gaming into their platforms, if at all, but this is an interesting move as Snap and Facebook move the chess pieces for their own gaming verticals.

The details: The article states, “ByteDance…reportedly bought a gaming company called Mokun Technology…Mokun is known for mobile games Flick Up and Fighter of the Destiny. The purchase was revealed by public records on business registration, but ByteDance still hasn’t confirmed the news, telling Abacus that it doesn’t comment on market rumors.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 22. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.