This week was rich in social media news and events, including the Hughes-Zuckerberg argument over breaking up Facebook. Twitter started reopening accounts after a year-long lockout, Instagram announced plans to kill Direct app and updated “Explore” and Pinterest announced more investment in tech to rehabilitate after disappointing Q1 results.

Pinterest Is Investing In Tech To Make Up For Disappointing Q1 Earnings 

On Thursday, Pinterest made its Q1 earnings public and made an announcement about the company investing in a visual search feature. 

Why it matters: According to Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s co-founder and CEO, who shared the news during the company’s Q1 2019 earnings call, the new feature will allow users to “zoom in on a portion of an image and actually search within that image for items that are similar.”

The details: Pinterest lost $41.4 million, or $0.33 per share, in the first three months of this year, down from a loss of $52.7 million, or $0.42 per share in 2018. To rebound, the company is continuing to focus on relevance-improving technology.

“A lot of our most cutting-edge technology really goes to the problem of relevance. We have billions and billions of pins; we have users that have a limited amount of time. How do we make sure we’re showing the right pin to the right person at the right time? In just this quarter, from work that was started last year, we improved our machine learning systems and really meaningfully improved relevance in all the ways that we measure it. So, relevance is obviously a really important area that we look at,” Silbermann said during the call with investors.

The complete transcript of the call can be found here.

Study: Social Media Vs. Mobile Gaming

Mobile Marketer reported the results of the study by mobile ad firm, Tapjoy, which revealed that 69 percent of U.S. consumers would rather give up social media apps than lose their favorite mobile games.

Why it matters: In-game advertising seems to be more compelling to U.S. consumers than ads in other media, as 41 percent of the respondents said they are likely to pay attention to ads in mobile games, compared to only 17 percent on the internet, 15 percent in magazines and 15 percent on billboards. 

The details:Here are some other important takeaways: 

  • 77 percent of respondents said they have been playing mobile games for more than two years
  • 72 percent said they like interacting with ads in exchange for in-app currency or premium content
  • The portion of consumers who identify themselves as “gamers” doubled from 27 percent three years ago to 60 percent

Instagram Updated “Explore” Tab

This week, Instagram rolled out updates to its “Explore” feature, developed to expose trends, point the users to IGTV and provide more shopping options.

Why it matters: According to Instagram, “IGTV” and “Shop” shortcuts are now pinned to the front of the bar, making it easier to find products and videos from brands and creators.

The details: The new “Explore” navigation bar features shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping followed by topic channels tailored to users interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. Additionally, by tapping on ‘IGTV,’ the users will have access to the updated home for IGTV, where they will be able to see recommended videos from their favorite creators. And by tapping on “Shop,” they will access filters in the navigation bar, which allows the users to browse specific types of products such as  Beauty, Clothing, Home Decor and others.

Instagram Will Terminate Direct App 

Instagram is said to be shutting down its Direct app and confirmed as much to TechCrunch this week

Why it matters: Direct was introduced in 2017 as a test in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Israel, but never gained much affection from the users.

The details: Instagram spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch, “We’re rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app. We’re focused on continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place for fun conversations with your friends.”

Snapchat’s New Ad Frequency Report

Snapchat published a new report focusing on the importance of frequency in driving ad breakthrough.

Why it matters: The data presented aims to help advertisers better distinguish between reach and frequency to plan better their ad buying.

The details: According to the report, the frequency of exposure is related to the lift in ad breakthrough, with the most pronounced increases at a frequency of around two per week. For longer campaigns (5-12 weeks), a frequency of one per week drove 75 percent of the estimated total campaign impact in ad breakthrough. For shorter campaigns (1-4 weeks), a frequency of two ads per week was most optimal.

‘Advergames’ Could Be Effective Strategy For Social

As a part of PopSocket’s campaign “Swappable PopGrips” the company introduced a new game on Facebook. It was highly successful according to a report from Forbes.

Why it matters: “Advergames” allow marketers to achieve high engagement while reaching younger audiences. Most importantly, the gamer’s full attention is on the ad.

The details: PopSocket’s gamified ad was developed by Undertone and with Facebook Playable Ads allowed the users to engage with the creative in an innovative and exciting way. Jon Mottel, Undertone’s Director of Social Strategy, told Forbes that together with PopSockets the company concentrated on two key target audiences: 25 -49 tech-savvy males (“Regional roadies”) and Millennial moms. The campaign resulted in “overall estimated ad recall lift from the campaign 56 percent above Undertone’s benchmark, an average of 5.3 interactions per unique user with the playable ad,  and an average of 4:29 engaged in the ad experience, 8 times higher than average.”

Twitter Is Unlocking Some Accounts After A Year

Twitter started giving people their accounts back after they’ve been locked for a year.

Why it matters: Banning is the most extreme measure from Twitter. It’s interesting they are changing their minds on some of the banned Twitter accounts.

The details: A year ago, Twitter blocked a number of accounts it suspected had underaged owners, however, many accounts of the users claiming to be old enough to be using the platform (13 and older) were also locked. Twitter explained in a tweet that the process was more complicated than the company anticipated and took longer than expected. The company announced today in another tweet that it will start to reach out to the eligible users.

According to TechCrunch, however, the accounts are not immediately unlocked after the required steps were taken, but Twitter promises to notify them when the process is finalized.

WhatsApp Admits To A Major Cybersecurity Breach

Earlier this week, the Financial Times broke the story of a major cybersecurity breach (presumably from Israel’s NSO Group) that installed targeted spyware on iPhones and Androids through voice calls.

Why it matters: WhatsApp has become a standard communications platform for government and security officials in many countries around the world and therefore, this cyber attack poses a grievous threat internationally.

The details: “The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems. We have briefed a number of human rights organizations to share the information we can, and to work with them to notify civil society,” WhatsApp told the Financial Times

Facebook Prepares Advertisers for ‘Clear History’

On Tuesday, Facebook shared a blog post, explaining what businesses should know about the upcoming “clear history” tool.

Why it matters: Facebook’s power up until now has relied on tracking users when they are away from Facebook and serving them ads based on browsing behavior. The new tool will allow users to see and clear their off-Facebook activity.

The details: The tool was first announced in 2018 and will be rolled out in the coming months. According to the blog post, the new tool promises to provide more transparency and control for businesses by informing people about how their information is being used.

The feature will impact targeting, but measurement will not be affected. “We never share anyone’s personal information, such as names or phone numbers, in our measurement and reporting tools. And we don’t anticipate changes to measurement once this feature is live,” the blog post reads.

YouTube Tests 6-Second Ad Generator

YouTube is in the process of developing “Bumper Machine” a new feature that will allow for the creation of shorter versions of the videos.

Why it matters: Automatically pulling out a six-second version from a longer ad frees the advertisers from actually creating new clips.

The details: Bumper Machine is currently being alpha tested. Once developed, it will allow advertisers to create a Bumper by scanning a longer ad for some “key elements,” such as a voice-over, logos or products.

Debbie Weinstein, Google’s vice president of YouTube and video global solutions told TechCrunch, “We learned over time that creatives love constraints. They’ve historically been constrained to 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds, and constrained by whatever dimensions of a particular media format.”

Instagram Is Fighting Following And Like Bot Farms

Spotted by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is looking to go after accounts that use third-party tools to gain followers.

Why it matters: Following and ‘like’ bot farms disrupt authenticity on the platform.

The details: From Wong’s screenshot we can see that the social media platform is planning to send the following messages to the users who resort to the help of third-party tools to grow their user base:

  • “You may have shared your username and password with an app offering likes or followers. Using these apps goes against our %s, and continuing to do so may result in your account being further impacted.”
  • “Change your password to stop these apps accessing your account.”
  • “Using Apps to Gain Followers Isn’t Allowed”

It is still unclear when the messages will be implemented.

Zuckerberg’s Response To Hughes

In response to co-founder Chris Hughes’ opinion piece for The New York Times, Facebook CMO Mark Zuckerberg told Fraceinfo that breaking up Facebook “isn’t going to help.”

Why it matters: While Hughes’ main argument was that Facebook has too much power and violates democracy, Zuckerberg’s counter-argument is that breaking up the company won’t solve its privacy, safety, misinformation and free speech issues, and will actually slow down the initiative of protecting the social networks.

The details: Before his meeting with the president of France,  Emmanuel Macron, Zuckerberg told Franceinfo, “When I read what he wrote, my main reaction was that what he’s proposing that we do isn’t going to do anything to help solve those issues. So I think that if what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to be able to invest billions of dollars per year like we are in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference.”

Survey Shows Social Media Makes Millennials Overspend

Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth survey questioned 1,000 US respondents to get a better understadning about how social media impacts spending habits.

Why it matters: The survey revealed that half of the millennials spend money they don’t have under the influence of social media. But what is interesting is that they blame social media platforms for their overspending and not people.

The details: According to the survey, 49 percent of millennials (ages 23 to 38) say social media influenced them to spend money on experiences (compared to 44 percent Gen Z).

Terri Kallsen, executive vice president and head of Schwab Investor Services, said, “The burden to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ has been part of our culture for decades, but it appears that social media and the fear of missing out (FOMO) have increased the pressure to spend. Spending is not the enemy, but when we allow social pressure or other forces to lure us into spending beyond our means, it can impact long-term financial stability and become a larger problem.”

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