This week in social media news, Twitter’s latest product offerings aim to attract advertisers and creators, Snapchat announces new public profiles for brands and the latest version of its AR-powered Spectacles, Facebook shares an overview of its ad policy, Pinterest details the evolution of its search system and more.
Twitter Launches Variety Of New Features For Advertisers And Consumers
In recent months, Twitter has debuted several new product updates to keep up with the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and LinkedIn. Among them include new preroll and sponsorship opportunities for Amplify, its video ad product, updates to its app installation and website click programs and consumer-facing features like ‘Tip Jar’ and ‘Spaces.’
Why it matters: As per Digiday, Twitter’s investments — which caused its research and development costs to increase 28 percent last year — are paying off as Q1 revenues surpassed $1 billion, a 29 percent increase year-over-year. Equally important, the changes are contributing to its brand refresh as well as attracting interest from publishers and advertisers alike.
The details: On the advertising side, Twitter just recently caught up to speed with competitors when it launched fleets and carousel ads last November.
Like other major platforms, it’s also expanding opportunities for creators to monetize their content. For example, giving users the chance to sell exclusive access to content through ‘Super Follows,’ allowing users to build complementary businesses with their audience through ‘Revue’ and offering the ability to accept direct donations through ‘Tip Jar.’
In addition, Digiday notes that according to Parse.ly, Twitter accounts for a single-digit percentage of referral traffic to publishers. This has inspired attention from publishers like USA Today, a beta tester of Twitter’s ‘Spaces.’ The publisher, reports Digiday, is using ‘Spaces’ as a way to put its reporters in front of users. Recently, USA Today hosted a ‘Spaces’ event with the reporters who covered the Derek Chauvin trial. Next, it’s eyeing how to use Twitter’s ‘Tip Jar’ feature to grow digital subscribers.
Snapchat Announces New Brand Profiles And AR-Powered Spectacles
Why it matters: As Snap chief executive Evan Spiegel noted during the summit, Snapchat’s latest features come as the platform now boasts 500 million monthly active users. Its new business profiles will give brands the ability to create an organic presence and share shoppable products, while the new AR glasses will enable creators and developers rapid testing and iteration of Lenses in real-time.
The details: First up, Snap’s new public profiles for businesses means brands will have a place for their content in one discoverable place, which users can subscribe to. Key features of a public Snap brand profile include: the ability to publish stories, AR Lenses and a highlight reel of public snaps plus the option to have a native store via Shopify.
As for its new lightweight Spectacles, Snap says they’re not for sale but that they’re going to change the way creators and publishers make Lenses as they’re fully integrated with its desktop app, Lens Studio.
According to Snap:
”Powered by our new Snap Spatial Engine that leverages six degrees of freedom and hand, marker, and surface tracking, Spectacles realistically overlay creators’ imaginations on the world in a new way.”
Spectacles feature two RGB cameras, four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers and a touchpad to create a multi-sensorial experience. So far, a group of seven creators worldwide have been able to try Snap’s new AR-enabled glasses.
Facebook Shares Overview Of Its Ad Review Process
In a new company blog post, Facebook vice president of business integrity, Jeff King, shared details around what constitutes an ad, how its ad review system works and how Facebook is evolving its ad systems.
Why it matters: Last summer, brands cut their Facebook ad spending amid criticisms over its content moderation policies. Nevertheless, in Q1 2021, Facebook brought in $24.5 billion in ad revenue, a 46 percent increase YoY.
The details: First, Facebook is clarifying which policies apply to ads. As King notes, Facebook requires brands follow both its ad policies and its community standards. In addition, ads that run on Instagram must also follow the community guidelines, while Marketplace listings are subject to its commerce policies.
As for how its ad review system works, Facebook relies mostly on automated technology to apply its policies, but in some cases says it manually reviews ads. The ad review shouldn’t take longer than 24 hours, but anyone who’s ever run ads on the platform knows that isn’t alway the case.
To process re-review requests for ads that were rejected, Facebook relies heavily on human reviewers but is, “continuously assessing ways to increase automation.”
Facebook says that ads about social issues, elections or politics have “an increased level of authenticity and transparency.” This means people can see demographic data about who saw an ad and where it ran for up to seven years after the ad stopped running via Facebook’s ad library.
Pinterest Now Sees More Than 5 Billion Searches Every Month
Pinterest’s senior vice president of products, Naveen Gavini, recently took to the Pinterest Engineering blog to explain how the platform’s search system has evolved to become more visual and yield more accurate results.
Why it matters: According to Gavini, there are now more than 5 billion searches on Pinterest every month. That growth comes as the platform continues to enhance its creator and ecommerce tools.
For example, last summer it launched the ability to shop within Lens and the ability to try on lipstick via a new feature called AR Try on. More recently, Pinterest launched ‘Idea Pins,’ which evolved out of its tests with Story Pins that launched in beta last fall.
The details: Pinterest’s first search engine was called Guided Search, which would start with a generic search like ‘BBQ’ and lead to more actionable things like ‘vegan DIY BBQ,’ according to Gavini.
It was in 2015 when Pinterest started its work in object recognition within Pins. Later, it applied the technology to camera search to find recommendations for items on and offline.
Eventually, Pinterest combined text and visual search, training its systems to emulate the ways its users are categorizing images.
Pinterest says that it’s using machine learning for numerous updates including improvements to Related Pins, which have become the most common ways people refine their search.
Snapchat Reflects On Social, Environmental Efforts In 2021 ‘CitizenSnap’ Report
Snapchat has published its latest ‘CitizenSnap’ report, a 102-page update on the progress it’s made on social, environmental and governance (ESG) matters. Highlights include a three-part approach to reducing its carbon footprint and the expansion of its living wage program to international offices.
Why it matters: Snap’s ESG priorities are divided into four categories including society, planet, people and governance. As per Snap:
“Our ESG work reports into a Vice President-level company executive, and it receives regular visibility and oversight from senior leaders across the company, including the CEO. We are also incorporating ESG updates into semi-annual Board committee meetings and annually into full Board meetings.”
The details: Starting with society, Snapchat says it doubled down on its commitment to ethical product design and user privacy. It also helped users navigate the pandemic, reaching more than 197 million people with in-app tools aimed at educating people on COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Helping its community’s emotional wellbeing, Snapchat also launched a feature called ‘Here For You’ to provide mental health tips. This work extended to its diversity efforts too, as Snap says at least 53 percent of Snap Originals featured leads or hosts who are BIPOC or LGBTQ+.
In regard to sustainability, Snap launched a three-part climate strategy, the first element of which includes Snap purchasing enough offsets to become carbon neutral going back to its founding in 2011. Part two involves mitigating climate change; Snap says it adopted science-based emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. And for the third element, Snap says it’s committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity for its facilities globally.
Among Snap’s key culture initiatives include the roll-out of new diversity, equity and inclusion accountability mechanisms which apply to its employee performance measurement process.
Snap also expanded the availability of therapy sessions, added child and family care resources and extended parental leave to 16 weeks globally for birthing and non-birthing parents.
Lastly, some of the work Snap did around governance includes increasing representation of women on its board to 50 percent; expanding its certification program for key non-financial metrics such as daily active users; and revamping its code of conduct to focus more broadly on ethical decision making principles.
Read Snap’s full report here.