This week, Twitter discloses another comprehensive archive of state-backed information operations, Snapchat publishes a report on Gen Z’s engagement with brands and Facebook announces the expansion of three interactive ad formats. 

Earlier this week, Instagram added restrictions on diet and cosmetic surgery ads, YouTube brought Masthead to the TV screen and Facebook launched second-generation Portal devices with access to WhatsApp.

Twitter Publishes New Data To Archive Of Information Operations

This week, Twitter disclosed the removal of another 10,112 accounts that were spreading political misinformation. 

Why it matters: With the initiative, Twitter aims to limit the spread of misinformation and bring more transparency to political conversations on the platform. 

“We see [the removal] as a necessary and vital step to regularize our transparency work in [the state-affiliated information operations] area, and to encourage more third-party investigation of these behaviors online,” the company said in a blog post dedicated to the news about disclosure. 

The details: The accounts suspended originated from the following six countries: United Arab Emirates and Egypt (273 accounts removed), Saudi Arabia (six accounts removed), Spain (265 accounts removed), Ecuador (1,019 accounts removed), China (PRC)/Hong Kong (more than 200,000 fake accounts removed).

Snapchat Publishes Study On Gen Z’s Approach To New Brands

Snapchat’s new report, conducted in partnership with CASSANDRA, finds that 28 percent of Gen Z’ers first heard about a new brand from friends and family.

Why it matters: The study dives into how the largest global generation interacts with brands, so marketers can find ways to better respond and approach conversations on social media with young consumers more effectively. 

The details: According to the survey:

  • 28 percent of participating Gen Z’ers first heard about a new brand from friends and family, which was especially true for retail, entertainment, fashion and technology brands
  • Nearly three in four (73 percent) participants said they would be interested in a new brand if their friends were talking about it
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) said they would be interested if a brand that’d create a unique experience for them and their friends to attend 
  • 35 percent of respondents said they go on a company’s website when familiarizing themselves with a new brand
  • Gen Z are more likely to share positive, rather than negative, brand experiences, as 46 percent said they’ve shared a positive experience at a store, and 40 percent said they recently shared a good customer service experience with their friends or family.

Facebook Announces Three New Interactive Ad Formats

Right on time before Advertising Week New York 19 opens next week, Facebook is announcing the expansion of three interactive Facebook ad formats.

Why it matters: The expanded initiative will provide more ways for marketers to engage with audiences on the platform. 

Eric Eckstein, senior director, digital marketing, at E! Entertainment said in a statement, “E! continually seeks deeper ways to connect with viewers. The launch of Facebook poll ads was an exciting opportunity for us to use media in a fun and interactive way ahead of the season 4 premiere of Total Bellas. Giving fans an opportunity to engage with the show helped us create meaningful interactions that drove success throughout the season.” 

The details: According to the social media giant, poll ads (which are already available for Instagram Stories) are being moved to the main feed of the Facebook mobile app. Also, the AR ads that have been in testing for some time are moving into open beta this fall. And finally, beyond gaming companies, Facebook is making playable ads available to all advertisers.

Instagram To Add Restrictions On Diet And Cosmetic Surgery Ads

Instagram will implement new restrictions on posts about diet products and cosmetic surgery, The Evening Standard reported

Why it matters: For certain companies, this means limited access to advertising on the platform. 

“The policy means that posts promoting products such as diet teas with a caption like ‘this helped me to lose 10 pounds really fast’ with a discount code to purchase will be removed,” The Evening Standard writes

The details: The posts will no longer be allowed under Instagram’s community guidelines and users will have an option to report those that violate new guidelines. In addition, Instagram will be restricting posts for users under 18 years old that promote certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures and include incentivizing language. Instagram will also be removing posts to all users that make a “miraculous claim” about certain diet or weight loss products and linked to a commercial offer, such as a discount code. 

RBC: Snapchat Isn’t So Appealing To Advertisers 

According to The Wall Street Journal, a recent RBC advertising survey discovered that despite the fact that advertisers are heavily investing ad dollars in social media marketing, Snapchat’s appeal to them might be limited. 

Why it matters: RBC’s survey demonstrated that Snapchat ad spending remained the lowest among all platforms surveyed, even though future spending intentions on Snapchat have improved (September versus April). 

The details: The researchers found that 95 percent of participating advertisers said they are spending on social platforms with 54 percent of those allocating more than 20 percent of their ad dollars to the category, which makes this number a record high across the past 14 semiannual surveys RBC conducted. However, 76 percent of all survey participants indicated they didn’t advertise on the Snapchat platform.

Study: One Third Of Users Buy Directly From An Instagram Ad

Per a study from VidMob, about 60 percent of Instagram users have followed a new brand after seeing an appealing ad and made a purchase. 

Why it matters: VidMob’s survey findings suggest that Instagram shoppable ads are generating a solid rate of direct sales for advertisers and that it is a suitable platform for product discovery (especially true for fashion and beauty products). 

The details: According to the study:

  • Four out of 10 people who see a product they like on Instagram do additional research on it within the app 
  • 60 percent of respondents said they research products in other apps or websites
  • Gen Z’ers showed the highest tendency to buy via an ad
  • Women ages 35 to 45 showed the lowest tendency to buy via an ad
  • Men were found to be 10 percent more likely to buy through the social app compared to women 
  • 81 percent of women and 75 percent of men said they had purchased from an unfamiliar brand. 

Nielsen Social Content Ratings Adds Instagram To Talent Promotion Measurement 

Nielsen Social Content Ratings announced that it will now measure the talent’s promotion of TV programs on Instagram, in addition to already measuring the metric on Facebook and Twitter.

Why it matters: The update will allow Nielsen Social Content Ratings to measure talent’s social TV promotion on a larger scale, and thus, help, marketers and creators make more effective and informed decisions about their marketing efforts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

The details: According to Nielsen Social Content Ratings data, more than 6,000 talent accounts published over 164,000 pieces of social content during the 2018 TV season, driving more than 170 million engagements for TV programs. 

Also, according to Nielsen, talent now drives nearly 60 percent of social engagements for TV shows.

Study: There Is A Decrease In Social Media Use Among Millennials And Gen Zers 

The Social Habit study, a yearly report from Edison Research and Triton Digital, discovered that millennials and Gen Z are using social media less, MarketingProfs reports.

Why it matters: The data suggests that it is important for marketers to look for new strategies to earn the attention of millennials and Gen Z on social media platforms and secure their loyalty. 

The details: Per the researchers:

  • Facebook usage dropped from 79 percent in 2017 to 62 percent in 2019
  • Twitter usage dropped from 36 percent to 29 percent
  • Pinterest usage dropped from 36 percent to 31 percent
  • LinkedIn usage is down from 23 percent to 21 percent
  • The only social network with stable usage is Snapchat, which neither grew nor declined from 2017 to 2019
  • The sole network that’s registered usage growth among Americans 12-34 over the last two years is—you guessed it—Instagram. Usage is up just 2 points, from 64 percent in 2017 to 66 percent in 2019.

Google Brings YouTube Masthead To The TV Screen

Google announced that the company is bringing the YouTube Masthead to TV screens.

Why it matters: This means that marketers can now reach their target audiences right when they open the YouTube app on their TV—as they discover new content and engage with it.

“The Masthead will autoplay for viewers after a few seconds on all compatible devices. This, coupled with the home feed placement, means brand creatives will be front and center of the YouTube app experience on TV screens,” the company said in a blog post announcing the initiative. 

The details: YouTube Masthead on TV screens can be purchased on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, with an ability to customize the audiences marketers want to reach with their ads. It can be purchased as part of a cross-screen or single-screen Masthead buy.

Similar to CPM-based Mastheads on the desktop and mobile home feed, Masthead will be available as a reserved placement to help brands drive the visibility they need around important dates and specific events.  

Facebook Releases Second-Generation Portal Devices 

Facebook announced three new Portal gadgets, including two smaller versions of its flagship video chat device. The new devices are cheaper, smaller and support WhatsApp.

Why it matters: Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, the head of augmented and virtual reality technology at Facebook said that “Facebook will use [general] Portal behavior, such as how often [people] use its calling features or its streaming video apps, for ad targeting,” which means marketers will have access to this information and will be able to use it in their marketing efforts. 

The details: Also, for the new Portal devices, Facebook added a new way to connect through WhatsApp, beyond Messenger calling. “All WhatsApp calls on Portal are end-to-end encrypted,” Facebook stressed in a blog post. 

The new Portal screens will begin shipping October 15th, and Portal TV will come out on November 5th. Facebook is also bringing Portal to more countries; the products will be available for purchase in Australia and New Zealand, the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

Twitch Acquires An Internet Games Database Company 

Twitch is reportedly acquiring IGDB, the Internet Games Database, dedicated to collecting and combining information about games. 

Why it matters: With the acquisition, Twitch is aiming to improve its search abilities and better point the platform’s users to the right content. 

The details: A Twitch spokesperson told TechCrunch: “Millions of people come to Twitch every day to find and connect with their favorite streamers and communities, and we want to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. IGDB has developed a comprehensive gaming database, and we’re excited to bring them on to help us more quickly improve and scale search and discovery on Twitch.”

Per TechCrunch, IGDB was founded in 2015 by Christian Frithiof and is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company sources its content through community contributions and automation. 

Facebook Shares Updates On Combating Hate And Extremism On The Platform 

Facebook published a blog post, dedicated to a series of updates and shifts that improve how the company fights terrorists, violent extremist groups and hate organizations on Facebook and Instagram. 

Why it matters: The initiative comes as a response to the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, and its goal is to help avoid such incidents in the future and create healthier and safer environment on the platform for users and businesses. 

The details: The updates include an improved detection and enforcement system, updated policies related to hate and extremism, resources to exit hate groups (such as Life After Hate), an expansion of safety and counterterrorism experts and finally, Facebook’s re-commitment to transparency. 

Study: Marketers Overspend On Facebook News Feed, Underspend On Instagram

According to a new study conducted by social media marketing platform Socialbakers, over 60 percent of ad spending on Facebook’s apps is dedicated to its News Feed. 

Why it matters: The study of more than 140,000 brand profiles on Facebook and Instagram suggests that media spending may be over-concentrated on Facebook’s News Feed. In fact, about 30 percent of media spending goes to non-performing content that earns a “C” or “D” for quality. This suggests that marketers would benefit from shifting some ad spend from Facebook to Instagram.

The details: According to the study data, Facebook’s News Feed receives more than half of media spending, while only 20 percent goes to the Instagram Feed and as little as about 10 percent is then divided among Instagram Stories, Facebook Suggested Video and Facebook Instream Video. 

It is also important to note that per the study, mobile is the most critical channel for brands, with ads seen on mobile devices 95 percent of the time, compared to only five percent on desktop. 

Pinterest Adds Shoppable Pins To Visual Search Results

Today, Pinterest announced the new improvements to its Lens product and the launch of shoppable Pins on visual search results. 

Why it matters: The improved Lens is intended to help users find what they’re looking for with more ease and with shoppable Pins, conveniently shop the product without leaving the app. 

The details:

  • New and improved Lens camera search: a new Lens design makes it easier and faster to take a photo or quickly upload a photo from a camera roll; 
  • Visual search update: when people use Lens within a fashion or home Pin to hone in on a specific product or object, they’ll see shoppable Product Pins (Pins with the current price and a direct link to checkout on the retailer’s site) along with visually similar ideas to try or buy. 
  • Pincodes: Pincodes—Pinterest visual search-enabled QR codes are used by brands around the world to connect offline and online retail experiences. 

Snapchat Rolls Out A Political Ads Library Ahead Of The 2020 Election

Snapchat launched “Political Ads Library” for 2020 candidates, CNN reports.

Why it matters: As social media are heavily utilized as political campaign tools, Snap follows in Facebook and Twitter’s steps and makes political ads available in a public database, which is important for fair and transparent elections. 

The details: The new library is available as a downloadable spreadsheet and makes all political and issue-based ads on Snapchat visible to public. 

“At Snap we strive to create a safe, transparent, and trusted platform for our users. Our Political and Advocacy Ads Library is one of the many efforts we’ve taken in doing that. This gives the public an opportunity to find out details about all political and advocacy advertising running on our platform,” the company said

Twitter Takes Action Against Account Abuse

The social media company shared a blog post, reporting on the progress on making Twitter free of abuse, spam and other distractions from the active public conversation.

Why it matters: Healthy, abuse-free conversations on the platform boosts user engagement and create a safer environment for brands. 

The details:

  • 38 percent of abusive content that’s enforced is surfaced proactively to Twitter teams for review instead of relying on reports from people on Twitter.
  • 16 percent fewer abuse reports after an interaction from an account the reporter doesn’t follow.
  • 100,000 accounts suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019––a 45 percent increase from the same time last year.
  • 60 percent faster response to appeals requests with Twitter’s new in-app appeal process.
  • 3 times more abusive accounts suspended within 24 hours after a report compared to the same time in 2018.
  • 2.5 times more private information removed with a new, easier reporting process.

Facebook Rolls Out Updates For Video Creators And Publishers

In a recent blog post, following the announcement at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, the social media giant shared important updates to “Live,” “Watch Party” and “Creator Studio” features.  

Why it matters: The initiative promises to benefit creators and publishers by allowing them to prepare for and simulcast live broadcasts, make better use of “Watch Party” events, utilize new metrics to track video performance, as well as a new option to schedule Instagram/IGTV posts for up to six months’ in advance.

The details: Per Facebook, the new updates include: 

  • “Live: Rehearsals, trimming, extended duration, simulcasting via the Live API, and global availability of Live on Facebook Lite.
  • Watch Party: Scheduling, replay, new metrics, branded content and global availability of Live Commentating. 
  • Creator Studio: A new visualization in Loyalty Insights, a new Distribution metric, 13 new languages for auto-captioning, and the ability to publish and schedule content for Instagram Feed and IGTV.”

Facebook Expands “Today In” Nationwide 

After starting the test for “Today In” back in 2018 in six cities in the US, Facebook announced the expansion of the initiative to more than 6,000 cities and towns nationwide. 

Why it matters: Facebook’s goal with “Today In” is to keep the platform’s users updated on happenings in their communities, allowing publishers to create more content, and thus, improve engagement on the platform. This goal is reasonable, as per the company, “there are now over 1.6 million people who have opted in to receive regular local updates from Today In within News Feed.”

The details: The feature can be accessed via in-feed prompts or Facebook apps listing; and the list of cities and towns where “Today In” is already available can be found here

Facebook has built a dedicated “Today In” dashboard, allowing publishers to see which of their articles are appearing on “Today In,” in reverse chronological order, with a list of the communities where each article is appearing. This was done in response to publisher demand for more transparency, visibility, and control over the way in which content is displayed in the feature.

Also, Facebook said in a blog post: “Over the course of testing this product, we have gained valuable feedback through regular conversations with news publishers. To improve the quality of the content we show on ‘Today In,’ we have started to limit access to the news section to publishers who are registered with our news Page index. We’ll complete that process by the end of the year.” 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 20. 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