This week in social media news, Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet’s Q4 live streaming industry report finds viewers watched 12 billion more hours of content in 2020 than 2019, Twitter debuts a corporate brand refresh, Pinterest creates a row for Story Pins atop its home screen, LinkedIn lets users control who can see and comment on their individual posts and Instagram head Adam Mosseri says he’s not happy with Reels yet and is looking for ways to consolidate its video formats, and more.

Viewers Watch 12 Billion More Hours Of Content In 2020 Than 2019

According to Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet’s Q4 live streaming industry report, live streaming viewership doubled year-over-year, fueled by surges across YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Twitch.

Why it matters: In 2019, viewers watched 15.63 hours across Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Mixer combined. That figure rose to 27.89 billion hours watched in 2020—a 78.44 percent increase—suggesting that the industry is sustaining the momentum it gained earlier in the year amid lockdowns.

The details: In Q4, viewership across all platforms reached 8.26 billion hours YoY, nearly double the 4.16 billion hours watched in Q4 2019. Quarter-over-quarter, hours watched grew 14.2 percent from 7.23 billion hours in Q3 2020.

Streamers broadcasted 916 million hours of content across all platforms in 2020, a 45.4 percent increase from 629 million hours streamed in 2019.

Twitch continues to lead the pack in streaming. In Q4, it set yet another record for most hours watched in a quarter with 5.44 billion hours, a 14.76 percent increase from 4.64 billion hours in Q3. In 2020 overall, Twitch viewers watched 18.41 billion hours of content—a 67.36 percent increase from 11 billion hours in 2019. Twitch now accounts for 65.8 percent of the market share for hours watched, a 2.2 percent increase from Q3. Twitch streamers broadcasted 761 million hours of content in 2020, up 76.2 percent from 2019.

Representing 23.3 percent of the market share for hours watched, YouTube Gaming viewers watched a total of 6.19 billion hours of content—a 96.5 percent increase from 3.15 billion hours watched in 2019. In Q4 alone, viewers watched 1.92 billion hours on YouTube Gaming, compared to the 1.68 billion hours watched in Q3. YouTube Gaming streamers broadcasted 54.9 million hours of content in 2020, indicating no material gain compared with the 55.4 million hours broadcasted in 2019.

On Facebook Gaming, hours watched in 2020 was nearly three times as much as the number in 2019—3.1 billion hours vs. 1.09 billion hours. Here, streamers broadcasted 33.5 million hours of content—a whopping 186 percent increase compared to the 11.7 minion hours broadcast in 2019.

Twitch’s ‘Just Chatting’ category was the most popular live stream category at 682 million hours watched, followed by the 2020 League of Legends World Championship at 485 million hours watched.

Pinterest Adds Row Of Story Pins To Top Of Its Home Screen

Pinterest has created a distinct row for Story Pins at the top of its home screen, similar to the interface of Instagram and Facebook.

Why it matters: Pinterest introduced Story Pins in beta in September. The publishing option, which isn’t ephemeral, gives creators a way to share more engaging stories with videos, voiceover and image and text overlay. The Story Pins can be saved to boards for later, and are distributed across home feed, search results and Pinterest’s ‘Today’ tab.

The details: According to The Verge, Pinterest’s updated interface will appear today on iOS and Android. Pinterest will suggest Story Pins from creators you aren’t following, a move that will encourage creators to create more stories, and increase engagement.

Twitter Debuts Corporate Brand Refresh

Twitter’s chief marketing officer Leslie Berland took to Twitter to announce the company’s new look, which includes a new typeface and slightly updated bird logo.

Why it matters: The new design won’t affect Twitter’s app or website, and its logo will remain the same except for some added design flare, reports AdAge. It will, however, appear in videos and posters, presentations, GIFs and banners, according to Berland.

The details: Berland tweeted: “We felt the brand expression we launched 5 years ago didn’t fully reflect the complexity, fluidity and power of the conversations today. So the team embarked on a unique challenge: to build a creative system for an iconic brand that’s complex and imperfect, by design.”

LinkedIn Gives Users Control Over Who Can See And Comment On Posts

LinkedIn has announced an update that lets users restrict who can see and comment on their individual posts.

Why it matters: Up until now, a user’s individual posts were visible to all their connections and followers unless they changed the visibility settings. With this new update, users can choose which audience sees their post. The options include: anyone, Twitter, LinkedIn connections only, group members and events.

The details: In addition to giving users visibility options for posts, LinkedIn has, for the first time, introduced a feature enabling users to restrict comments on public posts. When creating a post, they can choose who’s allowed to comment, including anyone, connections only, or no one.

Head Of Instagram Says He’s Not Happy With Reels Yet

During an interview with The Verge’s Decoder podcast, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said that although Instagram’s Reels is growing in terms of how much users are sharing and consuming they “have a long way to go” and “have to be honest that TikTok is ahead.”

Why it matters: Even despite the obstacles TikTok has faced in keeping its US operations afloat due to scrutiny from the government, it has fared better than Reels, which launched in August 2020. But the jury is still out—according to a study, nine in ten TikTok users who have used Reels said that it’s basically the same as TikTok, and 61 percent said they’ll be using Instagram more as a result.

The details: Mosseri told The Verge:

“I think we have to get better at building more powerful and creative tools that aren’t necessarily a meme or a sort of moment in a package but give people who are more creative than us and make content for a living the ability to make something that’s going to pop.”

Mosseri also said that most users don’t know the difference between in-feed Instagram videos and IGTV videos, adding: “That’s probably too nuanced a distinction to resonate with anybody, so we’re looking about how we can — not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram — simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets.”

Instagram Launches Professional Dashboard To Help Creators Drive Business Goals

Instagram has introduced a central hub called Professional Dashboard, where business and creator accounts can track the performance of their content as well as access professional tools and education information curated by Instagram.

Why it matters: Instagram says that since launching products that help businesses and creators succeed, including badges, Instagram Shop, checkout and branded content, it has consolidated the tools into one area which has been visited by 82 million accounts.  

The details: Using the new dashboard, creators can access three key features. First, they can track insights and trends based on their account performance. Next, they can find tools to help build their business and check monetization status and eligibility. Lastly, they can access educational resources including tips, tricks, guidance and inspiration.

Pinterest Debuts Augmented Reality Try-On Feature For Eyeshadows

Pinterest has launched another AR try-on feature, this time for eyeshadow products from brands including Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay and NYX Cosmetics. In addition, it will soon expand its product tagging beta to more advertisers, as well as enable creators to make shoppable story pins.

Why it matters: Pinterest first launched its AR-powered Try-on feature in January last year starting with lipsticks after it heard from Pinners who wanted a way to try on new looks for “happier purchases they won’t want to return while mobile shopping.’ Pinners are five times more likely to show purchase intent on try on-enabled Pins than standard pins, according to Pinterest.

The details: Users can try the eyeshadow experience from the iOS or Android app by clicking the Lens camera in search. Pinterest says Pinners can also filter product results by color, price range and brand, and save to a board for later.

In the coming months, Pinterest will open its product tagging feature in scene images to more retailers after finding that 70 percent of Pinners are more likely to show shopping intent on products tagged in scene images than on standalone product pins.

Pinterest will also launch product tagging to creators to tag in-stock products in their personal story pins.

Pinterest Test Stories Panel Atop User Feeds

Pinterest has been testing a panel of ‘Story Pins’ on top of user feeds with some users since early January, according to Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Unlike ephemeral Stories on other apps, Pinterest’s Story Pins live within a pin and don’t disappear after 24 hours. Their purpose is to add more content to regular pins.

The details: Pinterest confirmed to Social Media Today:

“We’re continuously testing new ways for creators to reach communities of people looking for ideas to try and for Pinners to discover and follow other people who share their passions and interests.”