This week in social media news, Snapchat relaunches its advertising partner program, Facebook will launch its smart glasses soon, Instagram shares best practices around creating Reels content, Facebook rolls out new updates for Pages, Instagram tests a new design for Stories desktop, Google tests a short-form video carousel on queries and more.

Snapchat Relaunches Its Global Partner Solutions Program

Snapchat has revamped its advertising partner program, which will feature two kinds of partnerships—strategic partners and certified partners.

Why it matters: Snap’s initial program launched in 2016 and was divided into two partners: ad partners and creative partners. The update comes as many brands look to tap into the network’s Gen Z user base and plethora of augmented reality (AR) tools.

The details: As per Snap, strategic partners develop “specialized technology using the Snapchat Marketing API” to help marketers streamline their ad buying process and provide Snapchat-specific tips on reaching goals.

Certified partners “provide brands with advertising expertise” to help enhance execution, optimization and analysis of ad campaigns.

Facebook To Soon Debut Its Smart Glasses Sans Augmented Reality

According to Bloomberg, Facebook’s smart glasses will arrive “sooner than later” this year, but won’t include augmented reality (AR) technology that enables people to overlay digital objects onto their real-world view.

Why it matters: Facebook announced plans for its AR glasses in 2017, and has since been increasing investment in hardware development. The network’s virtual reality (VR), AR and hardware teams account for more than 6,000 employees, reports Bloomberg.

The details: Hardware chief Andrew Bosworth says that although the glasses don’t include AR, “they are certainly connected glasses.” Developed in partnership with Ray-Ban and Luxottica Group SpA, the smart glasses will hook up to a device and “enhance presence.”

Instagram Shares Do’s Of Creating Strong Reels Content

On its @creators page, Instagram has shared some best practices around creating engaging Reels, it’s TikTok-like feature that launched in August of last year.

Why it matters: Instagram has been ramping up efforts to increase Reels usage. In November, the platform added a dedicated Reels tab and has recently told creators that the sweet spot is posting four to seven Reels per week.

The details: To create standout Reels content, Instagram suggests sharing original and authentic content that has a storyline. It says to use the Reels music library and audio tools and stay relevant with cultural moments. Additionally, it recommends including a surprising or humorous factor, having a fun surprise or twist and following its community guidelines.

As for Reels don’ts, Instagram says to not add music that isn’t in the Instagram music library and not use dated references.

Facebook Debuts Redesigned Pages Experience

Facebook has redesigned Pages to make it easier for public figures and creators to build community and reach their business goals. The updates include a simpler layout, dedicated News Feed, the elimination of page likes, new management features and more.

Why it matters: This marks the first time Facebook is bringing its News Feed to Pages, a move that will enable Pages to find and join conversations, follow trends and engage with fans.

The details: First on Facebook’s list of new Pages updates is an easier way to switch between a personal profile and public Page. The network has also added a new text-based Q&A format, removed likes to focus on followers and added the ability to assign different levels of access to admins.

In addition, Facebook says it has “improved our ability to detect activity that isn’t allowed on our platform including hate speech, violent, sexual or spammy content and impersonation.”

Instagram Tests New Carousel Look For Stories On Desktop

Instagram is testing a new design for the desktop version of Stories that would make them appear in a carousel rather than a single tile that fills the entire page, according to Engadget.

Why it matters: The move comes as many people prepare for another COVID-19 lockdown, a time when Instagram Stories usage tends to skyrocket. According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Stories every day.

The details: A spokesperson confirmed the Stories layout in testing to Engadget. The navigation of desktop Stories would remain the same, but the carousel view would make it easier to keep track of where you are in your queue.

Google Feature In Testing Compiles Short-Form Videos From Instagram, TikTok

Google is testing a new feature that aggregates short-form videos from Instagram and TikTok in their own dedicated carousel on the Google app for searches on mobile devices.

Why it matters: According to TechCrunch, the new feature is an expansion of Google’s initial “Short Videos” carousel test within Google Discover in early 2020, which gathered videos from Google social platforms like Tangi, Trell and YouTube.

The details: Upon clicking Google’s latest video carousel in testing, users are directed to the web version of the social platform rather than the native mobile app—regardless of whether it’s downloaded on their phone—as a way to keep users on Google for longer.

TikTok Under Scrutiny For Its Underage User Data Tracking

A 12-year-old girl and TikTok user from London is bringing a damages claim against six firms responsible for TikTok for “loss of control of personal data.”

Why it matters: For now, TikTok has dodged a ban in the US, but the app still remains under scrutiny for its handling of user data here and abroad. Though TikTok has taken steps to limit younger users’ experience, users self-report their birth date upon registration. The consequences of this new legal proceeding could prove costly to TikTok given more than a third of the app’s daily users in the US are under 14 years old.

The details: As per Sky News UK, the firms have “misused the claimant’s private information and processed the claimant’s personal data” in breach of EU and UK data protection laws, according to a High Court ruling.

Facebook’s Small Advertisers Say The Network’s Automated Ad Systems Are Hurting Their Business

According to Bloomberg, small advertisers using Facebook are losing business over the network’s inflexible ad system’s account blocking tools and poor customer service.

Why it matters: Facebook has become an increasingly important tool for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. The network says that more than 160 million brands use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp every month to reach customers.

The details: One digital marketer told Bloomberg that after his Facebook account abruptly stopped working, a $3,000-per-day ad campaign he had set up for a client before his account was locked continued to run—despite the fact that he could no longer manage it. After trying to confirm his identity using Facebook’s automated systems, he received an error message.

Another ad buyer reported a similar experience, noting that it took Facebook 26 hours to unlock his account, during which he spent around $200 in ads without his usual level of management.

Facebook’s lack of robust customer service systems for small advertisers is contributing to the issue. Despite having 10 million advertisers, the company only has an automated chat feature, which is only available to those who have an active Facebook account, which excludes outside specialists who were hired to set up ads for brands.