This week in social media news, Instagram is testing a new option that would allow businesses to add a quick link to their profiles, Pinterest launches a new verified merchants program to help more retailers get discovered and more.
Instagram Tests New Business Profile Link For Gift Cards
Why it matters: The timing of these tests suggests that Instagram is looking for ways to alleviate the strain businesses are currently suffering from due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The details: Testing has begun to allow businesses the ability to add links to gift cards from Stories stickers profiles. As Social Media Today reports, “there’s an added ‘Links’ option here beneath ‘Profile Display.’ That would be in addition to your main website link, which is included in the bio section above these ‘Public Business Information’ settings.”
Pinterest Launches New Verified Merchants Program
In a company blog post, Pinterest announced a new Verified Merchants Program that will help retailers get discovered and give qualified profiles a special blue checkmark.
Why it matters: With people forced to stay home online shopping will only continue to grow, giving retailers more opportunities to reach consumers via social commerce.
The details: Pinterest kicked off its program with retailers like Quay Australia, Ruggable, Filson, Coyuchi and Lotuff Leather. Brands that qualify for the program become eligible for increased distribution within high-intent shopping experiences and metrics such as Pinterest’s impact on site visits, checkouts and sales. Pinterest also updated its Catalogs via new metrics, near real-time feed ingestion, user experience upgrades and feed ingestion scheduling. Advertisers in global markets can also now retarget via Pinterest’s new optimization levers. Brands can sign up for the new program at pinterest.com/verified.
Facebook Sees Weakening In Ads Business Despite Increased Traffic
In a company blog, Facebook shared details on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting its services and how it’s keeping its apps stable during the crisis.
Why it matters: Many platforms have acknowledged a surge in user activity amid coronavirus but also lost revenue, which could impact ad-supported platforms and the digital advertising sector as a whole.
The details: Facebook says in many of the countries coronavirus has affected most, total messaging has grown more than 50 percent over the last month and voice and video calling have more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp. In Italy, Facebook saw up to 70 percent more time spent across its apps since the virus outbreak, Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week, messaging increased over 50 percent and time in group calling increased by over 1,000 percent during the last month.
To alleviate network congestion, Facebook is temporarily reducing bit rates for Facebook and Instagram videos in certain regions.
Instagram’s New Co-Watching Feature Lets Users View Posts Over Video Chat
The new co-watching feature is one of many updates Instagram announced this week including a donation sticker and the removal of coronavirus accounts from recommendations unless posted by credible health sources.
Why it matters: Social distancing has caused a surge in social media use and a new co-watching feature allows Instagram to keep the experience fresh and fun, and users connected during quarantine.
The details: Per Instagram, “. . .we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat. You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat.”
Instagram has also banned misleading ads for products that refer to coronavirus in ways “intended to create urgency, guarantee cures or prevent people from contracting it.” It also removed the ability to search for coronavirus-related augmented reality effects.
Additional updates from Instagram include new educational stickers to help users share accurate information about the virus in stories. Instagram has also included a notice at the top of feeds for countries affected by the pandemic.
Twitter Reports An Increase In Users Concurrent With Q1 Revenue Decline
While user activity is up on Twitter, the platform warns that “while the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on current visibility, [we] expect Q1 revenue to be down slightly on a year-over-year basis.”
Why it matters: Disruptions are rippling through the industry with a profound impact on revenue, despite rising social media usage.
The details: “Twitter is predicting broader revenue impacts – yet, at the same time, Twitter usage is rising.”
Twitter had this to say in their press release around this decline:
“While the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on current visibility, the company expects Q1 revenue to be down slightly on a year-over-year basis. Twitter also expects to incur a GAAP operating loss, as reduced expenses resulting from COVID-19 disruption are unlikely to fully offset the revenue impact of the pandemic in Q1.”
Pinterest Unveils “Today” Tab With Popular Search Trends For Android And IOS
Pinterest introduced their “Today” tab, which the platform launched as “a source of daily inspiration with curated topics and trending Pins,” including relevant and timely information about coronavirus.
Why it matters: Pinterest is literally putting its efforts to increase the availability of expert information, especially around the current health crisis, front and center.
The details: The Today tab will surface trending searches and provide recommendations, starting with those curated by the Pinterest team, around popular topics. Over the next few weeks, the tab will feature COVID-19 precautions. Users can access the tab at the top of the home feed on Pinterest’s iOS and Android app.
TikTok Donates $10 Million To World Health Organization
TikTok announced it’s giving $10 million to WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund, which carries out important work against coronavirus.
Why it matters: This marks another step in TikTok’s drive to help alleviate the effects of coronavirus on communities and schools. Last week, TikTok announced it’s donating $3 million through a partnership with After-School All-Stars to help provide food for families who have lost access to free or reduced-cost school meals.
The details: Per TikTok, the donation will assist WHO in “sending essential supplies to front line health care workers, ensuring communities have access to the latest science-based information, and accelerating efforts to discover life-saving treatments or vaccines.” TikTok has also hosted livestreams with WHO experts and created an informational page on TikTok to highlight preventative tips and dispel myths around coronavirus.
WhatsApp Launches Free Chatbot To Inform Users About Coronavirus
WhatsApp has launched the World Health Organization Health Alert, a free chatbot designed to answer questions from the worldwide public about coronavirus 24 hours a day.
Why it matters: Social media platforms are going to great lengths to combat misinformation around coronavirus. Not only will WhatsApp’s chatbot help prevent the spread of inaccurate information but WhatsApp says it will serve “government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports.”
The details: WhatsApp users can click “WHO Health Alert” then text the word “Hi” in a WhatsApp message. The feature responds to a series of prompts and is updated daily with the latest virus information.
Facebook, Instagram To Reduce Video Quality In Europe
According to Engadget, Facebook and Instagram are lowering video quality in Europe to alleviate any potential network congestion as a result of coronavirus.
Why it matters: With social distancing and work-from-home policies in place, social media use has grown significantly in the last few weeks.
The details: Facebook and Instagram said they would temporarily reduce bit rates for videos. The social media platforms have followed in the steps of Disney+, which last week announced it would reduce its overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25 percent in all EU markets where Disney+ will launch on March 24.
Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 27. 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.