This week in social media news, Instagram expands the ability to add product tags in feed posts to all US users, Snapchat adds 13 million more daily actives in Q1 2022, Twitter is testing a feature allowing users to set status updates, YouTube expands the visibility of Shorts videos on mobile and desktop and more.

Instagram Expands Product Tagging In Feed To All US Users

Instagram recently announced that it’s expanding the ability to add product tags in feed posts to everyone to make it easier to share products on the app.

Why it matters: While creators and brands have been showcasing their favorite products on the platform for a while now, everyday users haven’t been able to. The feature will allow for brand awareness and social media marketing efforts to reach new heights—especially considering how often Instagram users favor product and brand recommendations from friends and family compared to celebrities and mega influencers.

The details: Instagram users in the US can create a post and tag a product or brand by clicking ‘Tag people’ and then clicking ‘Products’. Users who then view the published post will see detailed information about the product on the product detail page. The viewer can then purchase the product directly via Instagram or through the brand’s product detail page.

The feature only works for public accounts and Instagram says it’s also working on ways for users to tag products in Stories.

Twitter Tests Feature Letting Users Set Status Updates

Twitter has been spotted working on a feature that allows users to set a status on profiles and tweets.

Why it matters: Though nothing has been confirmed, a Twitter status function could allow people to inform others that they’re currently busy, out of the office, at a specific conference and more. While some Twitters users use their display name to indicate specific things, the status feature could be a way to indicate this in a more straightforward way.

The details: Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong and one other reverse engineer recently spotted Twitter working on a “set a status” feature that the social media giant has codenamed “vibe.” 

Through the new feature, users will have the option of setting a profile-level status or a status for a specific tweet. Twitter declined to comment on the new test, and it still isn’t clear whether the platform will be moving the idea beyond the testing phase.

YouTube Expands Shorts To More Surfaces On Mobile And Desktop

YouTube is expanding the visibility of Shorts videos by adding them to more places on mobile and desktop, including a dedicated carousel in the trending section.

Why it matters: The new expansion will magnify Shorts’ reach as they become more easily discoverable throughout the YouTube website and app. Apart from improving discoverability, one of the goals of the update is to improve the overall experience of the trending page and to create a more consistent experience for Shorts across surfaces including desktop, tablet and mobile web.

The details: YouTube Shorts launched in 2020 before a series of updates throughout the following year. Since then, updates have slowed. 

As a part of the new update, YouTube’s trending page will now have a ‘Shorts shelf’, a carousel dedicated to short-form videos. These short videos will be filtered out of the list of trending videos according to a user’s location and will appear at the top of the page in their own carousel. This will be rolled out in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, France, Indonesia and MENA (Middle East & North Africa).

Additionally, YouTube Shorts will be able to be viewed more easily on desktop and mobile browsers with the addition of a new tab and homepage carousel.

Meta Quest Gaming Showcase Presents Announces New Games And Updates

Meta recently hosted its second annual Meta Quest Gaming Showcase where it shared news and updates for a dozen games, including NFL Pro Era, Resident Evil 4, Ghostbusters VR and more.

Why it matters: The event showcased how far virtual reality (VR) has come in gaming on the Meta Quest platform and where it’s headed in the future. In 2021, 11.2 million units of augmented reality (AR) and VR headsets shipped globally. The dramatic growth was largely thanks to Meta’s strong Quest 2 volumes, which accounted for 78 percent of the combined AR/VR worldwide market. 

The details: First up, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Ghostbusters VR, published by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality (SPVR) and developed by nDreams (Phantom: Covert Ops). The game lets you strap on your very own proton pack and step into the Ghostbusters universe.

StatusPRO revealed NFL PRO ERA uses NFL game data to create the most authentic on-the-field NFL VR experience to date while Beat Games announced their next release, the upcoming Electronic Mixtape, featuring tracks from artists Deadmau5, Marshmello and more.

And lastly, Resident Evil 4: The Mercenaries is out now as a free update for those who own Resident Evil 4 on Meta Quest 2. Meta said The Mercenaries has been entirely rebuilt for VR by Armature Studio, in partnership with Oculus Studios and Capcom. 

Meta Introduces First Physical Retail Space, Meta Store

Meta will open a 1,500-square-foot retail store on May 9 on its campus in Burlingame, California to offer visitors a hands-on experience with its hardware products.

Why it matters: Meta’s goal with the Meta Store is to help people discover what’s possible with offerings like the Quest 2, Portal and smart glasses Ray-Ban Stories. Meta’s hope is that once people experience the technology by interacting with it physically, they’ll gain a better understanding of and appreciation for it—which, in theory, will contribute to wider adoption and more sales.

The details: Meta’s first physical retail space will offer interactive demos of Quest 2, Portal and Ray-Ban Stories. The store’s interactive Quest 2 display wall and demo area will allow visitors to explore the hardware, accessories and breadth of content currently available on the platform including Beat Saber, GOLF+, Real VR Fishing and Supernatural.

Visitors will also be able to learn about Ray-Ban’s first-generation smart glasses, which can be tried on in an array of styles, colors and lens variations.

The store will also feature a demo area dedicated to Portal where visitors can place video calls to a retail associate who will share its capabilities and features.

Meta is also making it easier to shop with a new Shop tab on its website.

Instagram Launches Live Test Of Pinned Posts On User Profiles

Instagram recently launched a live test of a new option that allows select users to pin images in feed.

Why it matters: The new test feature could give creators and brands greater control over highlighting their best-performing content or promote a post that includes an announcement, special offer or product display. 

The details: Some Instagram users are now able to dock a total of three chosen posts to the top of their post grid on their profile display by selecting a ‘Pin to Your Profile’ option on posts. Instagram has been working on this option for quite a while and released an earlier variation in January with an update in February.

The platform is also still in the testing stage of an ‘Edit Grid’ option that allows users to rearrange their profile gallery, regardless of the date the post went up—further boosting creative control, especially for Instagram marketers.

Instagram has not yet discussed a timeline for a full rollout of these new options.

Facebook Adds Music Clips In Comments To Add Context To Replies

The Facebook app is now allowing users the option to insert music clips into their post replies.

Why it matters: The new Myspace-like feature allows for yet another way to promote artists and songs in the chat section of the Facebook app, in addition to jazzing up remarks.

The details: The process, which is appearing only for some users currently, is powered by the same system as the music sticker in Stories, which gives users the option to search for tracks by tapping on the music note icon. Users can then select a segment of the song to offer as a sample.

Instagram Allows Copying Formats From Other Reels With Templates Test

Instagram is currently testing Templates, a feature that lets Reels creators use the same format as other videos.

Why it matters: As Instagram—along with Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat—attempts to compete with TikTok with its own version of short-form video features, the new Reels test aims to make Reels easier to create. Presumably, Instagram is hoping that the feature incentivizes users to stop uploading TikTok videos into Reels, which users have been opting for.

The details: The feature, which is currently in beta testing with a limited number of users, is similar to TikTok’s Templates, which gives users the option to incorporate their own photos into a preset format.

Snapchat Adds 13 Million Users in Q1 2022, Sees Increase In Revenue

In its Q1 2022 earnings update, Snapchat said it added 13 million more daily actives for a total of 332 million and saw a 38 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase in revenue to reach $1.06 billion.

Why it matters: The positive news comes as Snap builds upon its Lens Studio and other creation initiatives—which help keep it on top of the latest trends and make it a contender with the other big AR players.

Over 250 million Snapchatters are now engaging with its AR elements daily and 250,000 creators have built more than 2.5 million Lenses. According to the company, users played with Lenses more than twice as much in Q1 2022 when compared to Q1 2021. And, despite having fewer resources than Apple and Meta, Snap has consistently shown that it’s better than the biggest players at staying in touch with key trends and building AR features that appeal to its user base—as showcased by the fact that most of the viral AR trends over time have stemmed from Snapchat.

The details: The majority of Snapchat’s user growth in Q1 2022 derives from its ‘Rest of the World’ category, especially in India where its massive population continues to increase mobile adoption. Its revenue growth, on the other hand, mostly derives from North American users. 

Snapchat says its Discover and publisher content has continued to see strong adoption, with total daily time spent by Snapchatters aged 25 and older engaging with such increasing by more than 25 percent YOY.