How do brands utilize tools, buy ads, create content, employ influencers and increase sales with the help of social media? All this and more in our daily social media round-up.

Report: Facebook In Decline, Instagram Exploding

This week, Social Media Examiner released a Social Media Marketing report. The researchers questioned over 4,800 marketers and focused on how they utilize social media channels to grow and promote their businesses. 

Why it matters: Most social media reports should be taken with a grain of salt, but there are some interesting points in this report.

The details: Some of the findings:

  • Messenger bots are not so hot: As low as 14 percent of marketers are using bots and only 32 percent of marketers plan on increasing their bot activities this year.
  • Instagram is in favor: Sixty-nine percent of marketers also said they plan on increasing their Instagram organic activities in 2019 and named Instagram the number-one platform they want to learn more about.
  • YouTube stands its ground: Seventy-one percent of the respondents said they plan on increasing their use of YouTube video and 75 percent want to learn more about marketing on the platform.
  • But Facebook still dominates: Although marketers plan to reduce their use of Facebook this year, 94 percent of the participating marketers still incorporate it in their social media strategy. Sixty-one percent of them claimed Facebook as their most important social platform.

Instagram Introduces @shop 

Instagram announced on Thursday that its new account, @shop is now open. 

Why it matters: The account aims to support small businesses and creators behind them and will feature emerging brands like Feel jeans, products like Glossier Play Colorslide and founders of Mented Cosmetics KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson.

The details: The new page for devoted shoppers is live and growing by the hour. It will serve the Instagram community by introducing the users to the newest trends, providing inspiration and making shopping experiences easy, as every product featured is shoppable.

Facebook’s Co-Founder Thinks The Platform Should Be Broken Up

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government,” Facebook’s co-founder, Chris Hughes, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times.

Why it matters: Hughes’ argument is simple: the nearly uncontrollable power of the social media company is a threat to democracy.

“[Zuckerberg] has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice. It’s on our government to ensure that we never lose the magic of the invisible hand,” Hughes writes.

The details: Although Hughes is far from being first to call out Zuckerberg, his opinion as a co-founder of Facebook has weight and authority. And his solution to the problem is as follows, “Facebook should be separated into multiple companies. The F.T.C., in conjunction with the Justice Department, should enforce antitrust laws by undoing the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions and banning future acquisitions for several years.”

How Bleachers Report Takes Advantage Of Instagram Stories For App Downloads 

According to Digiday, Bleacher Report‘s mobile app allows people to share content from the app directly to Instagram Stories.

Why it matters: Knowing that the readers share the content from the app directly to Instagram, Bleacher Report makes it more convenient for them, hoping to boost the app download rate.

The details: Now, when Instagram users see a Story featuring content from Bleacher Report’s app, they can tap the post and install Bleacher Report’s app or open the app if it’s been installed before. And when they share a post from Bleacher Report’s app to Stories, a thumbnail of the post will appear with its title, main image and the information about how long ago it was published and how many comments and likes it has received, Digiday reported.

The publisher’s senior vice president of product, Chris Nguyen, told Digiday it was too early to share any stats regarding the number of app installs and app opens driven by the Instagram Stories feature.

Facebook Updates Ad Policies For Financial Services And Products 

This week, Facebook made an announcement about updating ad policies related to blockchain, cryptocurrency and financial products and services, a measure taken to prevent misleading advertising in financial products and services. 

Why it matters: The company will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, it will no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency. Also, starting June 5, Facebook will update Prohibited Financial Products and Services policy to no longer allow ads promoting contracts for difference (CFDs) and complex financial products that are often associated with predatory behavior.

The details: “As with all ads on Facebook, we require the ad’s text, targeting, positioning, images and content on the landing page comply with this updated policy as well as with all of our Advertising Policies and Community Standards. For example, an ad that directs to a landing page that features a restricted product, like a cryptocurrency exchange, will still require prior approval. Or, if the landing page includes a prohibited Instagram’s, like an initial coin offering (ICO), we will reject it,” the blog post said.

Only Half Of Brand Marketers Utilizing Twitter

Sprout Social released their newest report outlining brand marketers use of social media.

Why it matters: According to the report, very few consumers follow companies on Twitter, choosing to keep an eye on their favorite brands on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The details: The report shows how marketers utilize social media channels in their strategy versus how consumers discover and follow brands. Facebook is leading the pack with 89 percent of marketers and 66 percent of consumers using it in their strategy. Followed by Instagram with 65 percent of marketers and 41 percent of consumers using the platform. Twitter, however, is split, as only 50 percent of marketers use it for brand promotion and as low as 22 percent of consumers use it for brand discovery.

Adidas Online Sales Grow Thanks To Instagram 

According to Digiday, Instagram has been driving online sales for Adidas, which was one of the first among the brands to try Instagram’s new checkout feature.

Why it matters: Along with the other 19 participating brands, Adidas is paying a fee to Instagram to sell their products directly in the app, which seems to be worth every penny for the sportswear brand, as in Q1 2019, the company’s online sales jumped 40 percent YoY.

The details: Adidas’ CEO, Kasper Rorsted told Digiday, “There was no doubt that Instagram had a positive impact for our online business in the first quarter. Product launches and Instagram’s checkout tool were the two most important things for our online sales business in the first quarter.”

Facebook To Develop New WhatsApp Payments Tool In London 

The Financial Times reported that Facebook chose London as a place to build its new WhatsApp mobile payment feature.

Why it matters: The initiative means that Facebook’s daughter company, WhatsApp, will grow. About one hundred people will be hired to work on a new WhatsApp payments tool, which means a 25 percent team expansion for WhatsApp.

The details: It was expected. Mark Zuckerberg mentioned at F8 that WhatsApp mobile payments will launch in several countries in 2019 after an initial trial in India.

Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp confirmed the news in a statement shared with Forbes saying, “We’re eager to work with some of the best technical and operational experts in both London and Dublin to take WhatsApp into its second decade. WhatsApp is a truly global service and these teams will help us provide WhatsApp payments and other great features for our users everywhere.”

Facebook Will Update Video Ranking 

This week, Facebook announced that it will be introducing a series of ranking updates for content creators and media companies in the next few months. 

Why it matters: The intent is to help video creators and publishers to find the right audiences on the platform and build meaningful relationships with them. 

The details: The updates will affect video distribution across News Feed, Facebook Watch and “More Videos” recommendations and include: 

  • Loyalty and intent: The company will add more weight in ranking to videos that people seek out and return to week after week.
  • Video and viewing duration: Facebook will add more weight in ranking to videos that keep people engaged, especially on videos that are at least three minutes long (because it is important to ensure that videos capture viewers’ attention for at least a minute).
  • Originality: Facebook will more strongly limit distribution and monetization for unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources with limited or immaterial added value and video content from Pages that is involved in sharing schemes.

Buckle Up: Auto Brands’ Social Media Use Report

A recent report from Brand Total explores digital and social advertising strategies of major auto brands in the U.S. and explains how they utilize social media marketing to promote their latest products and reach target audiences on multiple platforms.

Why it matters: From the report, marketers can learn about audience targeting strategies for auto brands such as Tesla, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Volvo and many others, as well as their top performing ads and trends in media-mix allocation and platforms of choice for advertising.

The details: One of the most interesting findings concerns Tesla, which avoids paid digital campaigns entirely and instead, focuses exclusively on organic growth on Instagram and other social media. This strategy results in 2 million organic engagements (putting Tesla right behind Porsche, which has 2.2 million organic engagements).

According to the report, Facebook and YouTube are leading the pack of most popular social media platforms for auto brands’ advertisement. Volkswagen and Nissan spent 100 percent of their campaigns spend solely on Facebook, ignoring other social platforms.

Instagram is “breathing down YouTube’s neck” with Volvo spending 39 percent and Mercedez spending 38 percent of their digital ad budgets on the platform. Twitter, however, doesn’t perform so well for auto, as brands like Mercedez, Infiniti, Porsche, Ford and others choose to spend less than 1 percent of their social media budget dollars on the platform. 

Instagram Reduces The Reach Of False Posts  

Poynter reported on Monday that starting this week, Instagram posts will be fact-checked. 

Why it matters: Instagram will be sending the posts in question to the same dashboard that Facebook’s uses to fact-check potentially false posts. Through this process, fact-checkers will be able to select, check and prevent the spread of deceptive information and create a more credible environment on the platform. 

The details: In a phone interview for Poynter, Stephanie Otway, a spokeswoman for Instagram, said, “Our approach to misinformation is the same as Facebook’s—when we find misinfo, rather than remove it, we’ll reduce its distribution. We can use image recognition technology to find the same piece of content on Instagram and take automatic action.”

Facebook has 52 fact-checking partners in more than 30 countries, who rate links, images and videos. If a post is ranked as false, its reach in the News Feed will be decreased and a warning will be displayed when users are trying to share it. Instagram also has a goal to remove deceptive posts from the Explore tab and its hashtag result pages.

Facebook Announces New Products For Small Businesses

Facebook is spending National Small Business Week in DC and rolling out new products in the process, aiming to help the 90 million small businesses on the platform.

Why it matters: Small businesses have a huge impact on the local economy and with Facebook’s new free and paid solutions more people will be able to start and grow their ventures.

The details:The new solutions for small businesses include: 

  • Automated Ads: which uses the existing images from a business page and lets the owners “set it and forget it” to make it even more simple for them to advertise.
  • Appointment Bookings: is a time-management tool with the help of which service-based businesses on Facebook and Instagram can accept and manage appointments, customer information and send appointment reminders.
  • Video creative tools: will help small businesses build effective video for mobile.

Twitter Now Allows Retweets With Media

The platform tweeted this week that the users will be able to retweet with gifs, images and videos.

Why it matters: Another way for Wendy’s to continue gaming the system on Twitter.

The details: Twitter rolled out the feature with the tweet below. All users should be able to use it immediately.

Google Planning Shoppable Ads On YouTube

We may soon be able to see product prices and recommendations beneath YouTube videos, and make direct purchases within the platform, The Information reported.

Why it matters: With the new shoppable feature, participating brands and retailers will have another way to deliver ads on YouTube.

The details: According to an unnamed source, Google reported plans to support direct-to-consumer commerce on YouTube. The company is currently testing a feature that will take the viewers from the video recommendation to Google Express marketplace (to be rebranded as Google Shopping soon) and adding retailers to the Google Express marketplace.

Nike and cosmetics chain, Ulta Beauty, are among the first retailers to give the YouTube product recommendations a try in hope to gain more customers through video content on YouTube. 

Mercedes-Benz Is The First Car Brand To Use Instagram AR Filters In A Campaign

According to Mobile Marketer, Mercedes-Benz released an augmented reality filter on Instagram to support its campaign targeted toward Millennials, created for the new CLA Coupe.

Why it matters: Mercedes-Benz’s AR filter was created in tandem with a short film the company released on its YouTube channel. Instagram and YouTube are key social media platforms for marketers to hunt down younger, tech-savvy Millennials.

The details: @mercedesbenz Instagram account followers can select AR filters to “upgrade” their pictures with filters, inspired by the neon lights of Tokyo.

Instagram Stories Helped Vogue To Sell Out Its September Issue

Instagram recently shared a case study, highlighting Vogue’s September Issue success from using Instagram Stories.

Why it matters: Vogue was able to increase magazine sales and advertising revenue through Instagram campaigns, which resulted in adding more than 22 million followers.

The details: Here is what Vogue did exactly: 

  • Used video: Video proved to be more effective than still photos for Vogue, and many of the campaign videos were taken by the team members with their phones for an authentic, unfiltered feel. 
  • Tested new ideas with Instagram Stories: Vogue took full advantage of Stories to test new languages, different types of callouts or to A/B test new types of content.
  • Used their Feed and Stories differently: The magazine used Stories to showcase its more casual and less glamorous side to better connect with the followers. 
  • Offered content that only their brand could create: Vogue’s Beyoncé Instagram campaign is the kind of exclusive content that very few brands other than Vogue could offer.
  • Kept Insta Stories format in mind during photo shoots: This would be the right vertical images.

Abby Sjoberg, Vogue’s director of audience development analytics, said in the interview, “We convinced stakeholders that Instagram is a platform they should be investing in by showing [them] results. When we were able to show the amount of impressions we get through swipe-ups or the amount of click-throughs that we can bring to an advertiser, the numbers speak for themselves.” 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 19. 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