This week in social media news, Instagram updates three shopping features, Facebook expands its career offerings and cancels its connected TV ads, Twitter considers an edit function and Snapchat gets creative with Bitmoji.
Also, Snapchat celebrates friendship and Instagram tries its hand at pop-up shops. Pinterest handles friend activity more like Instagram, Facebook woos teenagers with an imitation of TikTok and thanks to a lower price tier, more brands can take advantage of AR ads on Snapchat.
Facebook Releases Lasso App To Compete With TikTok
Facebook quietly launched a new app this week called Lasso.
Why it matters: Apparently determined to have a finger in every social media pie on the planet, Facebook isn’t about to ignore a popular app like TikTok. The lip-syncing video creation app may also help Facebook win back favor with teenagers.
Details: On Lasso, users can record themselves dancing and lip-syncing to music and create short clips similar to Vine. The app’s launch makes sense, considering Facebook’s ongoing commitment to engagement through video.
Snapchat Lures Smaller Businesses With $50 AR Tier
Once $500,000, Snapchat Lenses proved too expensive for most brands. As Digiday reports, lowering the price has opened the platform to a much wider range of marketers and their agencies.
Why it matters: Snapchat introduced a new $50 tier that includes a 10-second AR ad sandwiched between Discover content. Ever since the more affordable tier was introduced, more brands have been able to afford the lucrative product.
Details: While not all AR campaigns have proved successful, a number of creative agencies told Digiday that the lowered price point creates new opportunities.
“500K stills gets you a national slot on the carousel, but not everyone has that money,” Frank Shi, co-founder of agency Paper Triangles. “The difference is huge. It allows us to sell marketing plans and ideas to our clients who before might have ignored Snap because of price.”
Facebook Patent Would Serve Ads By Analyzing Family Photos
A new patent filing by Facebook would allow the site to gather more in-depth information about a user’s entire family by analyzing photos and targeting subjects as a group.
Why it matters: The patent description is fairly vague, but the idea is that Facebook could better deduce the size of your household, marital/parental status, etc. to better serve ads. Facebook can already deduce a lot based on what a user uploads, such as relationships people list on their profiles, shared life events, etc. The company frequently files patents, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the technology would be put to use.
Details: As reported by The Verge, Facebook filed a patent last May that describes an algorithm for discerning families based on photos. In one example, a man posts multiple pictures or appears in multiple posts with the same two females. Based on one of his own captions, “My angel,” the algorithm deduces that the younger female is his daughter and the older one is his wife.
Instagram Adds New Ways To Shop And Save Wishlists
Just in time for the holidays, Instagram has introduced three new ways for users to browse and purchase items from brands on the platform.
Why it matters: According to the National Retail Foundation, US consumers are poised spend record highs this holiday season, to the merry tune of up to $721 billion. Instagram has done a steady rollout of ecommerce features, but these new ones are timed just right for impulsive spending.
Details: Three new features have rolled out to Instagram: Shopping collections, shopping on business profiles and shopping in feed videos. Shopping collections work much like a wish list, in that users can save a product tag to their collection for later. Instagram is also testing a redesign of the Shop tab on business profiles that displays all items for sale in one location. Brand videos are another way to spend this holiday. Users can tap the shopping icon on a video to reveal featured products and learn more about them.
Facebook To Shut Down Connected TV Ad Network
Facebook will stop selling ads inside OTT apps by January of 2019, Digiday reports.
Why it matters: Smart/connected TVs will account for 70 percent of the television segment in 2018, according to IHS Markit. As there are no shortage of connected TVs, Facebook shutting down the program after just two years indicates a lack of interest from marketers or other, underlying problems.
Details: Publishers using Audience Network began to notice that Facebook had stopped filling their OTT apps’ inventory in the last month. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that connected TV ads will be discontinued.
“We worked with a small set of publishers to test monetizing their connected-TV apps with ads from Audience Network and ultimately decided not to move forward with the concept,” a Facebook spokesperson told Digiday.
Facebook Takes On LinkedIn With Education Portal, Mentorships
Facebook introduced “Learn with Facebook,” a portal for career-based education courses similar to (although much smaller) than LinkedIn.
Why it matters: Facebook says that a million jobs have been secured through its platform and that not to be fooled by the humble beginnings of its learning modules. It previously committed to training 1 million people and small businesses in the U. in digital skills by 2020. The site has “more ambitious” plans for Learn with Facebook, but for the entire platform as well. As evidenced by its VR, dating and video efforts, Facebook is diversifying with the hope of longevity.
Details: Learn with Facebook debuted with 13 modules designed to teach career-based skills such as social media marketing. In addition, the company has expanded Mentorship and Jobs features. Would-be mentors can now make their own matches and employers can now post jobs on Groups where they are members.
Twitter Hints At Edit Button
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that they are considering an edit button for tweets, but it would have to be done right.
Why it matters: Twitter users have long asked for a way to edit tweets, if not only to correct grammatical errors. While Dorsey conceded this function would be nice, he has been “rethinking” the entire way Twitter works and so it’s probably a low priority.
Details: During a talk at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, Dorsey told the audience: “We have been considering [an edit button] for a while,” but added that it needed to be done “in the right way.”
Snapchat Announces Bitmoji Stories, Merchandise
Bitmoji, the custom characters users display on Snapchat and connected apps can now be used to create Stories in the style of an animated webcomic. In addition, these characters can be printed on merchandise such as t-shirts, bags and even shower curtains.
Why it matters: According to Apple, Bitmoji was the top-downloaded app of 2017. Snapchat may not be profitable yet, but it certainly has one thing going for it—users love those Bitmoji. Offering them on merchandise and in custom Stories will leverage the characters’ popularity, encouraging users to share their custom avatars in even more places, including IRL.
Details: Snapchat is rolling out a new feature this week called Bitmoji Stories. Available on the Discover Page, these animated pictures insert a user’s cartoon likeness and customizes the scene based their activity in Snapchat. Bitmoji is already available to use in a number of apps outside of Snapchat, but now users can have their characters printed onto merchandise in the Snapchat store. The selection is similar to what you’d find on a site like Zazzle or Cafepress, ranging from apparel to phone cases and home decor.
Snapchat Rolls Out ‘Friendship Profiles’
Friendship Profiles will allow users to access a collection of saved messages, images, etc. in one place.
Why it matters: Snapchat was born out of the idea that messages disappear, but users can save elements of those chat sessions like links, images and video. Being able to access them as they relate to a certain Snapchat friend allows the platform to associate itself with lasting relationships instead of fleeting conversations.
Details: Snapchat users will be able to tap on a user’s Bitmoji to see a Friendship Profile. Here they’ll find all the elements they’ve saved over time. The feature will “slowly” roll out to global users in the coming weeks.
Instagram Hosts London Pop-Up Shops
Last month, Instagram invited six small businesses to participate in a pop-up shop in London.
Why it matters: Facebook and Instagram are experimenting with the idea of taking small businesses into the physical world. Even direct-to-consumer brands are opening stores to be where the consumers are, so it makes sense to test the waters for its more popular online partners.
Details: Instagram invited Rixo London, Never Fully Dressed, Haekels, Scamp and Dude, Carrie Elizabeth Jewelry and Oh Squirrel to London, where the small businesses were treated to a pop-up shop experience and a panel to discuss finding success on the platform.
Pinterest Friend Feed Updated To Mimic Instagram
The latest update to Pinterest’s mobile app includes a redesigned friend feed that trades a grid of images for a single column of posts.
Why it matters: When it comes to following friend activity on social media, copying Instagram isn’t the worst idea. The main app functions the same, but the redesign allows users to get a bigger, closer look at what their friends are doing on Pinterest.
Details: Pinterest’s friend activity feed has been streamlined down to one scrolling column. The update mimics Instagram’s format but otherwise works the same. Users can still tap on a red “Save” button below an image to save it to a board or tap on the image directly to be linked out to a piece of content.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, November 16. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.