This week in social media news—Pinterest and Twitter release Q4 earnings, Instagram tests IGTV monetization and eMarketer finds that half of companies use LinkedIn for marketing.
Pinterest Reports Better-Than-Expected Q4 Earnings
Why it matters: Pinterest has been aggressively developing products for their advertising business such as the mobile “Try On” feature, powered by Pinterest’s Lens visual search technology. This, and the platform’s universal brand appeal, has positioned Pinterest as the third-largest social media platform among U.S. consumers.
Details: Pinterest sees a strong 2020 ahead. Brands including YSL Beauté, Lancôme, Urban Decay from L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Estee Lauder and Sephora are already leveraging Pinterest’s latest “Try On” feature.
Instagram Tests IGTV Monetization
Instagram is beginning to test monetization of IGTV videos by allowing creators to run ads, as discovered by Jane Manchun Wong and reported by Adweek.
Why it matters: Monetization of IGTV content with ads would be big news for publishers creating for that product.
Details: While details from Instagram are still scant, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has stated that “IGTV is still in its early days, but it’s growing, so we’re exploring more ways to make it sustainable for creators.”
Twitter Generates $1.01 Billion Revenue In Q4
Thanks to a 12 percent increase year-over-year in ad revenue sales, this is the first time Twitter’s revenue surpassed the billion-dollar mark.
Why it matters: Though the report shows a drop in net income and earnings per share (EPS), the figure reflects a comeback for Twitter after Q3 when it missed on revenues and earnings as a result of costly ad-related glitches.
The details: Analysts predicted revenues of $997 million with EPS of $0.29. Twitter exceeded analysts’ prediction with its $1.01 billion in revenue, but its net income of $119 million and diluted EPS of $0.15 were both lower than those in the same period last year—$255 million net income and a diluted EPS of $0.33. Twitter’s operating income for Q4 was $153 million. Its monetizable daily active users (DAU) increased by 21 percent in Q4 to reach 152 million due to algorithm updates, which presented users with more relevant content.
Half Of Companies With 100+ Employees Use LinkedIn For Marketing
EMarketer found that 50.3 percent of companies will use LinkedIn for marketing by 2021 and in 2020, 49.6 percent of companies with over 100 employees will use the platform.
Why it matters: LinkedIn as a marketing tool mirrors the user growth the platform has seen as it recently reached 675 million members, a new milestone.
The details: eMarketer’s forecast excludes companies that use LinkedIn strictly for recruiting. The researcher sees more business-to-consumer brands using LinkedIn in years past but there’s a limit on how many can use it for marketing or advertising. That’s despite the platform’s efforts to give advertisers innovative offerings like Campaign Manager, which launched in September 2019.
Snapchat App Hoop Downloaded 2.5 Million Times Within A Week
From Snapchat’s developer platform Snap Kit, Hoop is the Tinder-like app that lets people swipe to discover other users and make new friends on Snapchat.
Why it matters: Snap Kit-backed apps like Hoop give users new reasons to sign up for Snapchat and continue using it, ensuring user growth.
The details: Snap Kit launched in June 2018 and lets other apps like Hoop piggyback on Snapchat’s login for sign up, its big selling point being privacy. Now, Hoop has reached the number two spot on the overall iOS chart and first on the social apps chart on January 24. Hoop’s monetization strategy includes a 10-limit chat request for users. When they run out of in-app “diamonds,” they must earn more by inviting new friends to Hoop, adding new friends on Snapchat and logging in each day.
Reports Show Millennials, Gen Z Still Use Facebook
Recent reports show Facebook still holds sway with younger generations.
Why it matters: In 2018, Pew Research found that Facebook was lagging behind YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, making it the fourth most popular social network among US teen users. While recent reports show that Gen Z and millennial still use Facebook, it’s Instagram that may be keeping it afloat as Instagram generated more than a quarter of Facebook’s revenue in 2019.
The details: A report from 5W Public Relations in New York surveyed 1,000 US adults aged 18 and over, and found that 77 percent are active on Facebook. Another report, from Ofcom in the UK, surveyed over 2,300 British parents and children ages 5-15 years about their online activity. Sixty-nine percent of those aged 12-15 said they use Facebook while 68 percent use Snapchat and 66 percent have an Instagram account.
Instagram Reportedly Brought In $20 Billion In Revenue In 2019
According to Bloomberg, Instagram generated $20 billion in revenue in 2019, more than a quarter of Facebook’s total revenue for the year.
Why it matters: Instagram’s revenue indicates that it’s generating more money than YouTube as Google’s year-end report revealed it brought in $15 billion in revenue in 2019.
The details: Facebook generated a total of $70.7 billion in revenue in 2019, a majority of which came from advertising. Instagram was estimated to have a $100 billion valuation in 2018, and the figure will likely rise given its reported revenue for 2019.
Facebook To Close Mobile Web Arm Of Its Audience Network
Digiday reports the company confirmed it will shut down the mobile web arm starting April 11.
Why it matters: The move to close Audience Network’s mobile web arm follows Facebook’s 2016 retrenchment of LiveRail, the video ad exchange and ad server it bought in 2014 for a reported $400 million. Also in 2016, Facebook discontinued the in-house desktop ad exchange it built. The trend continued when it closed the Audience Network’s connected television service in 2019.
The details: Audience Network was launched in 2014 and Facebook expanded it to include mobile websites in 2016. On its decision to shut down the mobile web arm, the company said it’s focusing its resources in other formats across mobile apps, a growing demand from its partners.
Byte Gets 1.3 Million Downloads In Its First Week
Data from Sensor Tower found that Vine’s successor Byte hits the ground running with 1.3 million app downloads.
Why it matters: Strong performance in its first week may not be enough to carry Byte to the finish line against Instagram and Snapchat. Byte’s founder Dom Hoffman said the app is working on providing influencers with monetization opportunities but the efforts could be backfiring. Byte users have recently complained that comment streams are inundated with users who are aggressively trying to boost their follower counts.
The details: Byte received 1.3 million downloads in its first week, exceeding Vine’s downloads in the same time period after launch.
Snapchat Revenue Increases 44 % Year Over Year
Missing analyst’s expectations slightly, Snapchat increased its revenue by 44 percent year-over-year to $561 million in Q4 2019.
Why it matters: 2018 reports predicted that Snapchat could slip back as growth rates slowed and infrastructure costs continued to rise, but the data show that it’s still growing—it added 8 million more daily active users (DAU) in Q4, reaching 218 million DAU in 2019. Still, the platform’s efforts in emerging markets haven’t produced major returns in ad spend.
The details: Snapchat’s users grew 17 percent year-over-year as it added 2 million more DAU in North America and Europe, and 3 million additional users in its “Rest of the World” category.
Google Reports YouTube Ad Revenue Of $15 Billion
Per a year-end report, YouTube’s revenue grew by 36 percent to $15.1 billion in 2019 from a year prior.
Why it matters: YouTube’s revenues are higher than eMarketer’s prediction, which was 20 percent growth in ad sales to about 11.4 billion by the end of 2019. While Google’s total ad revenue for Q4 increased 17 percent, its growth is less than Facebook’s 25 percent gain to 20.7 billion and Amazon’s 41 percent increase to $4.8 billion.
The details: YouTube’s ad revenue growth surpassed the 15 percent gain of Google’s search ad revenue to a record $98.1 billion for 2019. In Q4, Google’s total ad revenue rose 17 percent to $37.9 billion from a year earlier, matching the 17 percent growth of the prior quarter.
Facebook Ad Spending Grows 15 % Year Over Year In Q4
According to Merkle’s Q4 Digital Marketing Report, spending growth for Facebook ads, excluding Instagram, increased for the third consecutive quarter.
Why it matters: Facebook spend may be up but the platform’s impressions growth has slowed. In Q4 2019, its ad impressions fell five percent year over year, down from a 20 percent increase the prior quarter. Mobile devices and tablets accounted for 95 percent of Facebook ad clicks in Q4, which could produce an even greater rise in mobile-first ad content in 2020.
The details: Though Facebook ad spend was up, Instagram ad spend decreased from 44 percent in Q3 2019 to 38 percent year over year in Q4. Merkle found that Instagram ad impressions grew 29 percent year over year in Q4 and average CPM increased by seven percent. Ads on Instagram stories generated 25 percent of Instagram ad clicks in Q4 and accounted for 21 percent of total spending. Across all platforms, data shows that display ad spend grew eight percent year-over-year in Q4. Additionally, social media platforms generated 4.3 percent of all organic search visits in 2019, up 3.2 percent in Q4 2018.
Study Finds US Voters Distrust Social Media As Political News Source
Data from Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways Project is based on responses from 12,043 US adults—consisting of both Republicans and Democrats—a majority of which don’t trust the political news delivered by Facebook and Twitter.
Why it matters: In 2018, Pew’s study found that 68 percent of Americans get some form of news content via social media. Despite more Americans getting news information from social platforms, Democrats and Republicans alike distrust these sources by large margins.
The details: The platforms with the highest percentage of distrust among all adults are Facebook (59 percent), Twitter (48 percent), Instagram (42 percent) and YouTube (36 percent).
LinkedIn Reaches 675 Million Total Members
Microsoft reported record levels of engagement on LinkedIn in its FY20 Q2 report, which the company published this week.
Why it matters: Though the report shows an increase in total members, not active users, the growing engagement levels and memberships reflect the success of LinkedIn’s “Marketing Solutions,” which LinkedIn says is its fastest growing business for connecting with members.
The details: In November 2019, LinkedIn reported reaching 660 million members. This week, Microsoft reported it now has 675 million total members, which means in three months LinkedIn gained 15 million more members.
Twitter Officially Launches Conversation Threads On iOS
After beta testing conversation threads for the last six months, Twitter rolled out the feature on iOS.
Why it matters: The new threaded conversational feature could lead to an improvement in tweet engagement among users’ communities especially considering the feature only displays threads for replies from people you follow.
The details: The company tweeted the announcement, noting that when people you follow are in a conversation, you’ll see their replies in a new way in the home timeline. According to Twitter, the new layout will make it easier to see who’s replying to who so that users can join in on relevant conversations. Twitter says the new feature will be available on Android soon.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 7. 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 email@example.com.