This week in social media news, Twitter announces new video and audio programming at year’s Digital Content NewFronts, Meta shares the ways brands are driving relevance by harnessing the codes of culture, Facebook axes its podcast service, Pinterest launches the Pinterest TV Studio livestreaming app and more.

Twitter Announces Premium Content Partnerships At 2022 Digital Content NewFronts

Twitter has inked several multi-year deals with publishers and media companies including Condé Nast and E! News to expand its coverage of live events via Spaces and livestreams, the platform confirmed at this year’s Digital Content NewFronts. It also said it plans to launch a pilot program later this year that lets advertisers promote and run pre-roll on live event pages featuring real-time highlights.

Why it matters: Twitter’s audio and video programming updates will offer brands new opportunities to reach engaged audiences on the platform. They also bring fresh content to Twitter’s advertisers via Twitter Amplify, which gives brands a chance to put their ads right next to video content from Twitter’s content partners.

The details: The video and audio programming Twitter announced on the stage included:

  • A global, multi-year content commitment with Condé Nast that will be open to sponsorships across video, Spaces, Moments and live events. The content will cover domestic and international tentpoles such as live streams of Vogue’s Red Carpet at the Met Gala, Vanity Fair Oscar Party Red Carpet and the Pitchfork Music Festival and will include content from Wired, Bon Appetit and The New Yorker.
  • An expanded partnership with Essence with the addition of event highlights and clips from series like The Receipts and Essence Uncovered
  • E! News’ launch of its made-for-Twitter live-stream show called “While You Were Streaming,” which will cover the biggest shows on TV.
  • A partnership with Revolt to bring content across music, lifestyle, urban entertainment, sports and social justice to the Twitter timeline. Content will include Drink Champs, Revolt Summit, The Crew League, Assets Over Liabilities and more.
  • A multi-year extension of Twitter’s partnership with the WNBA. For the first time, WNBA’s Twitter account will regularly host Spaces during the season, WNBA tentpole events and the offseason. 
  • In collaboration with NBCUniversal, Twitter will be the first social partner to test an integration with NBCU’s first cross-platform video-certified measurement partner, iSpot.
  • Twitter is also doubling down on real-time highlights covering the biggest global events through a new pilot program coming later this year. The program will allow advertisers to promote and run pre-roll on live event pages that feature real-time highlights. 

Meta Shares Six ‘Culture Codes’ To Help Brands Build Natively For The Platform And Context

As social media matures, more brands are utilizing native advertising, a phenomenon that’s in part being driven by a shift away from perfection to a culture that celebrates the unpolished. To help brands communicate as peers and establish relatability and trust, Meta shared six best practices, or culture codes, they can use to drive relevance.

Why it matters: A study Meta conducted on Instagram Stories back in 2019 found ads that were shot on mobile with a more “lo-fi, language-of-the-platform” vibe were 78 percent more recallable and had an 84 percent greater probability of being viewed as compared to more polished studio ads. Additionally, a meta-analysis found that a lower video production score (VPS) was correlated with higher creative impact in verticals like technology and retail.

A recent report from YPulse echoes a similar sentiment. It found that 84 percent of young consumers agreed with the statement that “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and 79 percent of them agreed they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

The details: According to Meta, here’s how brands are harnessing today’s prevailing culture codes:

  1. They increase credibility and relatability by including real people—employees or customers—who tell real stories.
  2. They communicate with empathy to increase relatability by using the language of the platform to signal their place in feed and, therefore, in culture.
  3. They benefit from credibility and relevance by proxy by harnessing the power of creators given 63 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust what a creator says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself.
  4. They lift the veil on artifice by taking viewers behind the scenes to be part of the process, for example in a “how I made this” video.
  5. They use lo-fi editing techniques that feel handmade and human.
  6. They make themselves accessible and relatable by using humor to dissolve boundaries between their brand and their audience.

Pinterest Launches Pinterest TV Studio Livestreaming App

Pinterest recently launched a new Pinterest TV Studio app for iOS and Android to make it easier for creators to livestream on the platform, reports TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new dedicated livestreaming app is an example of how the company is responding to major social players’ own versions of TikTok. It’s re-evaluating its position in the border social media arena with Pinterest TV Studio and Idea Pins, a video-first combination of TikTok-style short-form video content and tappable Stories.

The details: Though not broadly available to all creators just yet, Pinterest’s new app will ask select creators who want to go live on Pinterest to enter a code or scan a barcode that will provide them access to the app’s tools. It also offers the option of adding multiple devices for different camera angles.

The app is available in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Germany—which points to the possibility of a global expansion of Pinterest TV. 

Twitter Expands Test Of Its TikTok-Like Format On Explore Page

According to social media expert Matt Navarra and Social Media Today, Twitter is continuing to test a revamped, more personalized TikTok-inspired display format in the Explore tab that makes the platform look exactly like TikTok. 

Why it matters: Twitter is the latest platform that’s given in to the key social platform trend in the last couple of years—pointing to TikTok’s dominion in the short-form video space. Twitter’s ongoing test will allow it to receive a direct response feedback on each post as every action taken by the user is indicative of their interest in that specific tweet. This kind of insight could help Twitter improve its recommendations and keep users engaged.

The details: Having begun testing in December, Twitter’s updated layout is being offered to more users and features two new elements. On the main ‘Trending’ page, users can select ‘Personalized’ or ‘Top Trends’ to view the most popular content on the platform at that time. The second is a more immersive, full-screen, vertical-scrolling, TikTok-like display of tweets.

Meta Introduces New Ads And Messaging Tools For Small Businesses

As part of National Small Business Week, Meta has announced new tools for businesses to manage conversations and ads, generate leads and share more about their business.

Why it matters: Today, 71 percent of people want to be able to communicate with a business in the same way that they do with friends and family. Meta is making it easier and faster to reach new customers with new features that’ll save businesses time and increase productivity while streamlining the process of engaging and nurturing new customer relationships.

The details: To help businesses start and manage conversations on WhatsApp, Meta will make it possible to create ads directly from the WhatsApp Business app – expediting the process of finding and conversing with new customers.

Meta is also adding two new features to Meta Business Suite. The first lets brands centralize communications and the second allows for several individuals and devices to manage messages in Inbox from the same WhatsApp number.

To allow businesses to send promotional message campaigns via Messenger to customers who opt-in, Meta is testing a new tool that will drive sales and customer loyalty in Meta Business Suite.

And to improve end-to-end management of lead generation on the platform, Meta is launching a number of updates, including:

  • A small test with select businesses that will allow them to put a “Get Quote” button on their Instagram profile and use “Get Quote” stickers in Stories. 
  • Lead filtering with Instant Forms.
  • A test of a more flexible and personalizable Instant Form that allows businesses to add visuals and content in the form.
  • The ability for businesses to offer exclusive, relevant content for people who complete the Lead Ads Instant Form.
  • Businesses can now download lead info directly into their own CRM to follow up with potential customers quickly.

LinkedIn Shares The Five Key Ingredients That Make Up A Unified Brand

LinkedIn has shared five key approaches to help brands unify their messaging across audiences to increase brand fame, reach, trust and marketing impact.

Why it matters: LinkedIn data shows that exposing consumer brand audiences to corporate and talent brand messaging increased the click-through rate (CTR) of consumer campaigns by 14 percent and reduced cost-per-click (CPC) by 18 percent. 

It also found that exposing talent brand audiences to corporate and consumer brand messaging increased the CTR of talent campaigns by 138 percent and reduced CPC by 32 percent. 

And lastly, exposing corporate brand audiences to talent and consumer brand messaging increased the CTR of corporate campaigns by 32 percent and reduced CPC by 22 percent.

The details: LinkedIn recommends that brands seeking to increase their marketing impact and keep brand DNA consistent across all messaging take five key actions, including:

  1. Make creative bold and unexpected in everything from your logo to your art to your messaging. Weave your brand DNA through your logo, color scheme, slogan and customer and employee stories.
  2. Make all branding distinct and immediately recognizable. After you’ve developed your creative hook, apply it to all of your messaging, including on your website, on social media and in advertising. 
  3. Harness the power of emotion by showing your audience why you’re doing what you’re doing and help them feel it. Connect all of your messaging back to the story you want to tell. 
  4. Execute always-on campaigns and ensure your audience is seeing your messaging as often as possible. 
  5. Balance your organic and paid strategies. While organic content primes your audience for more personalized paid content, paid campaigns compel them to backtrack and check out your organic content. When paid and organic content both present one unified message, the effectiveness of each increases.

Meta Adds Insights And New Incentives For Reels Creators

Meta has announced a number of updates to Instagram Reels including adjusting how its creator payouts are calculated and adding more visibility into how creators Reels are performing. It also launched a new Challenges incentive on Facebook that helps creators in the Reels Play bonus program unlock new ways to earn from their content.

Why it matters: The update comes on the heels of creators claiming that Instagram has cut Reels payouts without notice. Its new insights feature will presumably help creators keep the platform accountable for content monetization as well as prove to interested brands their reach before inking a paid deal. 

The details: In order to reward creators who craft and promote original content, Meta has recently rolled out ranking changes that prioritize the distribution of original content in places like the Reels tab and Feed on Instagram and on Feed and Watch on Facebook. The company has also made changes to its incentives program that gives creators avenues for reaching new followers and uncovering new opportunities.

Meta has adjusted how payouts are calculated with the aim of rewarding creators who make high-quality original content. And on Facebook, it introduced a new incentive that helps creators in the Reels Play bonus program called Challenges to unlock new ways to earn up to $4,000 per month.

Challenges make it so that each creator can participate in a series of monthly, sequential, cumulative challenges. Completing one challenge unlocks the next. Creators’ progress on Challenges will reset back to one at the start of each 30-day bonus period.

Meta has also responded to creators’ requests to know more about how their Reels perform. So, it rolled out insights for Reels Play creators on Facebook that will allow creators to see how many Plays their Reels received within the given earning period.

Lastly, Meta has expanded creator monetization on Reels to help them build more sustainable businesses. Specifically, Meta is testing overlay ads in Reels on Facebook with a wider set of creators. Additionally, Instagram creators will soon be able to crosspost their Reels to Facebook, which will open up the potential to grow audiences on both platforms. Meta will also explore the ability of eligible creators to earn a share of revenue on crossposted Reels via overlay ads. Creators can also earn bonuses from Instagram Reels Play and Facebook Reels Play.

Snapchat Announces Four New Snap Originals, Renews Two

Snapchat has announced four new Snap Originals after the success of its first 150 Snap Originals.

Why it matters: According to Snap, over 80 percent of US Gen Z’ers watched a Snap Original last year. Snapchat’s success is rooted in the selection of its stars. Megan Thee Stallion, for example, got back to her Texas roots in Off Thee Leash with Megan Thee Stallion and viewers got to travel to Louisiana to visit Addison Rae in Addison Rae Goes Home. Both series reached over 16 million viewers.

The details: Apart from renewing two of its hit Snap Originals, Dixie and Charli D’Amelio’s Charli vs. Dixie and Propagate Content’s Big Breakfast and Kids at Play’s The Me and You Show, Snap’s four new original shows include:

  • Daring Simone Biles by Propagate Content’s Big Breakfast and Kids at Play, where Olympic medalist Simone Biles tries things she’s never done before, including beekeeping and DJ-ing.
  • Reclaim(ed) by Eagle Vision, which is Snap’s first Canadian Snap Original. The docuseries explores today’s indigenous culture with hosts Marika Sila and Kairyn Potts, as they reclaim cultural traditions and issues from a Gen Z point of view. 
  • Run For Office by Ovrture follows Gen Z and millennial political candidates as they seek elected office in the 2022 Primary and General Elections. 
  • La’Ron in a Million by Leopard USA has NAACP Image Award winner La’Ron Hines finding a way to balance his life back at home with his Los Angeles dreams and rapid rise to fame.

Instagram Tests TikTok-Style Full-Screen Home Feed

With the intention of bringing video front and center, Instagram is in the testing phase of a new feature that offers a similar, instantly immersive experience as that of TikTok’s.

Why it matters: Reels, Instagram’s TikTok competitor, now comprises more than one-fifth of the time people spend on Instagram. On Facebook, videos comprise one-half of the time users spend on the platform. Instagram’s new full-screen home feed is yet another change that attempts to recapture some of the users it lost—and continues to lose—to TikTok.

The details: In the initial test of the full-screen home feed, users can still use the bottom navigation bar to access the discovery tab, Reels, shopping and their own page. Also, the icons to switch accounts, create a post, check notifications and browse messages are still on the top bar.

YouTube’s New Live Redirect Feature Helps Fans Spontaneously Discover New Creators

Google has introduced Live Redirect on YouTube, a feature that allows creators to send their audience to the Premiere or live stream of their choice as soon as their live stream ends.

Why it matters: The update will help creators boost each other’s discoverability and potentially open opportunities for brands and creators to expand their reach when promoting a collaboration via livestream.

The details: With the new feature, creators with over 1,000 subscribers and no active Community Guideline strikes can build excitement for an upcoming Premiere and help fans discover new creators. 

Google has also added built-in features so that creators have control over who can redirect to their YouTube channel. To redirect an audience to another channel’s live stream, that channel needs to give permission from YouTube Studio, either by default because their channel is subscribed, or because they’ve approved a specific channel for Live Redirects.

Facebook Axes Podcast Service And Other Audio Products

On Friday, June 3, 2022, Facebook will be shutting down its podcast service barely one year after its launch, according to TechCrunch. It’ll also be discontinuing its short-form audio Soundbites feature and its Audio hub in the coming weeks. 

Why it matters: Emarketer forecasts that US podcast ad spending will surpass $2 billion next year and $3 billion by 2026. Still, a spokesperson from Meta told TechCrunch that after a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences, the company has decided to integrate Live Audio Rooms into Facebook Live and discontinue other audio products. 

The details: In its efforts to focus on the most meaningful experiences, namely, short-form video, Facebook will be discontinuing its podcast service, Soundbites feature and Audio hub in the coming weeks. As of Thursday, May 5, users are not able to link or publish any new podcasts.

Facebook’s venture into audio began in April 2021 when Clubhouse was valued at $4 billion and when Spotify and Apple were dominating the podcasting market.