This week in social media news, Pinterest announces new tools for marketers, WhatsApp launches voice and video calling support for desktop, Google won’t replace third-party cookies with alternate identifiers, the TikTok app is coming to Samsung TVs in the US, Twitter says it’s testing new commerce features, Tiktok convenes a European safety advisory council and more.

Pinterest Announces New Advertising Features

During its first global ‘Pinterest Presents’ summit for marketers, Pinterest announced a few new tools, including a new video ad option and updates to its interactive trends tool.

Why it matters: The enhanced ad options come as the platform now sees nearly a billion video views everyday, and has 459 million monthly active users. Globally, both its men and Gen Z groups grew 40 percent year over year in 2020. In addition, Pinterest users say they’re 2.6 times more likely to buy something after viewing a brand’s video content on the platform.

The details: First, Pinterest’s ’Pinterest Premiere’ will enable marketers to align video ad targeting with either a specific demographic or a specific category.

Next, Pinterest updated its interactive trends tool with better insights into engagement behaviors. To improve the shopping experience, it’s working to create better catalog management tools, as well as better automated bidding and budgeting solutions. 

Lastly, Pinterest is expanding and reformatting its ‘Conversion Insights’ to allow managed advertisers to dig deeper into downstream conversions and better analyze Pinterest’s cross-channel impact. 

WhatsApp Rolls Out Voice And Video Calling Support For Desktop App

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp has added support for one-on-one voice and video calling to its desktop app, and will expand the feature to include group voice and video calls “in the future.” 

Why it matters: As per TechCrunch, WhatsApp said it processed more than 1.4 billion calls on New Year’s Eve.

The details: WhatsApp notes that video calls work “seamlessly” for the portrait and landscape orientation, and that the desktop client is “set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows,” according to TechCrunch

The update follows a number of new features WhatsApp launched recently, including opt-in biometric fingerprint, face or iris verification, ephemeral messages, videos, photos, as well as a new payment service in its largest market, India.

Google Won’t Replace Third-Party Cookies With Alternate Identifiers

Google announced that it will not replace third-party cookies with an equivalent level of tracking as the personalization they have provided for marketers has “led to an erosion of trust.” 

Why it matters: As per Google, 72 percent of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81 percent say that the potential risks they face because of data collection exceed the benefits, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The details: Google explicitly notes that once it phases out third-party cookies for good, it won’t “build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

Instead, its web products will be fueled by privacy-preserving APIs that block individual tracking while still providing results for advertisers and publishers.

Google’s latest tests on Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) found a way to remove third-party cookies from the advertising equation and instead conceal users within large crowds of consumers with similar interests.

With its next release this month, Chrome plans to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials and expects to start testing FLoC-based cohorts with marketers in Google Ads in Q2. In April, Chrome will offer the first iteration of new user controls and will expand on those controls in future releases.

TikTok To Release App For Samsung 2021 Smart TVs In US

Samsung has partnered with TikTok to bring the short-form video app to Samsung’s 2021 smart TVs in the US later this year.

Why it matters: The move may open up opportunities for in-app advertisers to reach a new cohort of consumers, particularly those who are more inclined to use TikTok on their TVs than on their mobile devices, with digital targeting capabilities.

It’s possible to view TikTok videos in other ways, for instance by using Apple Airplay, but the dedicated app will omit an extra step for users.

The details: Most Samsung smart TVs in the US will come equipped with a TikTok app in 2021. The Samsung-TikTok partnership was inked last year when the app launched on Samsung’s UK smart TVs. Two of Samsung’s models—the Sero and The Frame— can take full advantage of the social network app’s vertical layout. Both are designed to rotate out of the traditional horizontal orientation and into “portrait mode.” 

Twitter In Early Stages Of Developing New Commerce Features

According to Social Media Today, Twitter during its Analyst Day presentation said it’s in the early stages of testing new commerce options, including a Twitter card type that adds a ‘Shop’ call-to-action button and links to a transaction page.

Why it matters: With new features come new opportunities for Twitter to tap into the rising popularity of online shopping. These functions will help users discover and seamlessly buy products from brands they follow and engage with, and give brands another way to connect with Twitter users.

The details: Because the social platform is in the early stages of development, it’s uncertain what the final feature will look like or include. As per Social Media Today, the new tools will likely feature a Shop button on tweets and on-platform stores, among others. 

The rollout of said features has been delayed given Twitter’s focus on rebuilding its Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) system, which had significant issues identified in 2019.

TikTok Forms A European Safety Advisory Council 

TikTok convened a Safety Advisory Council in Europe with academics and civic leaders who will advise on the social platform’s content moderation policies and practices.

Why it matters: Having come under fire previously for data privacy concerns, TikTok is taking user safety seriously in key markets as it continues to grow in popularity. 

The details: Among the nine inaugural members of TikTok’s new safety council for Europe are: Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of nonprofit the Diana Award and founder of peer-to-peer support program Anti-Bullying Ambassadors; Ethel Quayle, professor of forensic clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh and director of COPINE; Ian Power, CEO of the Irish not-for-profit Community Creations; and Justine Atlan, lawyer and CEO of e-Enfance, the French NGO for young people’s safety online.

Disney Introduces Video Header Bidding Solution And First-Party Data Library

Disney has introduced an in-house video header bidding solution called Disney Real-Time Ad Exchange, or DRAX, that aims to give marketers increased control of and scale their campaigns. In addition, it has created a first-party data library called Disney Select to help advertisers improve customer segmentation.

Why it matters: Disney Advertising Sales anticipates a surge of over 80 percent in automated revenue, and expects programmatic sales to represent up to 50 percent of the company’s addressable and linear revenue by 2024. 

The details: DRAX will allow biddable deals to compete next to direct-sold and programmatic-guaranteed sales, provide always-on inventory access and give marketers more time to surface bids and respond accordingly.

With Disney Select, marketers can target audiences from Disney’s robust library of first-party data based on buyer behavior, household characteristics and psychographics.