We’re rounding up the latest social media platform news for marketers. Updated daily.

Instagram Tests Shopping Tags In Post Captions

As spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, Instagram is testing shopping tags in captions among a select group of users, enabling them to add product tags in their captions, which, when tapped, direct you to a shoppable product page.

Why it matters: The test follows Instagram’s announcement of Shops, which would allow brands to set up a digital, customizable storefront via Instagram. Adding shopping tags in post captions would give businesses an added way to reach more consumers.

The details: The feature is reportedly in beta testing with a small group of US accounts that already have access to the Checkout function.  

Twitter Launches Voice Tweets On iOS

Twitter is adding a new wavelengths icon in the tweet composer that would allow users to record up to 140 seconds of audio, or voice tweets, that then appear on people’s timelines alongside other tweets.

Why it matters: As per Twitter, “There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.”

The details: Voice tweets can capture up to 140 seconds of audio. After you reach the time limit, a new voice tweet starts automatically to create a thread. After tapping “done,” you’re taken back to the composer screen to publish the tweet. Twitter says you can continue listening to voice tweets while simultaneously scrolling the feed and doing other things on your phone.

For now, voice tweets are available on iOS to a limited group of people on Twitter, but will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.

Facebook Tests Option That Would Make Saved Collections Public And Followable

Facebook is looking to expand Collections—the saved content option it introduced in December 2019 that enables users to share saved posts, videos and more with each other—with a new option that would allow users to share the Collections publicly and have friends follow them. The update was first spotted by a Twitter user.

Why it matters: The new update could help Facebook gain an advantage over Pinterest, which is currently the go-to platform for curated collections of web content. Facebook told TechCrunch that its goal with publicly shareable collections is to build community and togetherness.

The details: The update means the addition of a sharing button below the collection’s title, which would enable you to share it with a larger group of users. Those who you share the collection with can then add to and comment on the items within it.

Facebook says people have used the feature to share health and wellness information and recipes.

Pinterest Sees Surge In Online Grocery Shopping Activity

The number of online purchases that Pinterest drove to grocery retailers surged nearly 70 percent over February due to lockdowns. Not only do Pinners shop for groceries online more frequently compared to non-Pinners, but they also end up spending more when grocery shopping online.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s study reveals that 65 percent of Pinners are new to online grocery shopping, indicating the need for brands to shift how and where they communicate with those stuck at home.

The details: According to Pinterest, Pinners are 27 percent to 67 percent more likely to grocery shop online when compared to non-Pinners. Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 Pinners shop for groceries online at least once every two weeks, 14 percent higher compared to non-Pinners. Pinners also spend 27 percent more than non-Pinners on online groceries and 14 percent more on personal shopping and delivery.

Instagram To Review Platform’s Inadequacies In Supporting Black Community

Following Black Lives Matter protests, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced Instagram will dive into any disparities some underrepresented groups on the platform experience including racial harassment, account verification criteria, content distribution and algorithmic bias.

Why it matters:
 Over the years, Instagram has received complaints about the app filtering users without transparency, or shadowbanning, and limiting their reach as a result. 

The details: As per Mosseri: “The irony that we’re a platform that stands for elevating Black voices, but at the same time Black people are often harassed, afraid of being ‘shadowbanned’, and disagree with many content takedowns, is not lost on me.”

Instagram’s plan is to explore how Instagram’s products and policies protect black people from harassment; make its verification criteria inclusive; be transparent about how they decide whose posts get distributed; and ensure its technologies are devoid of racial bias.

YouTube Rebrands FameBit To BrandConnect

In a company post, YouTube said it’s evolving its influencer marketplace FameBit to BrandConnect after the average deal size across YouTube’s full-service product grew more than 260 percent over the past two years.

Why it matters: The move comes after FameBit shut down its self-service website, which allowed influencers to independently work with brand partners and comprised four percent of its total payouts to influencers. Shifting to the full-service side of things will allow influencers to earn more money.

The details: For influencers, the shift means enhanced matchmaking with brands; for brands, it means the ability to measure impact and return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing via Google insights.

YouTube has plans to extend its shopping shelf feature, which lets viewers buy products mentioned in influencers’ videos, to buying or renting movies and shows.

YouTube creators with 25,000 subscribers or more can sign up for BrandConnect in YouTube Studio.

Facebook Explains How Its Ad System Works

As part of its “Good Questions, Real Answers” series, Facebook provided a new overview of how its machine learning decides which ads to show people and common misunderstandings about Facebook ads.

Why it matters:
 Facebook’s overview comes as more businesses seek to reach consumers online during the pandemic.

The details: Facebook says the two main factors that determine which ads to show people are audience targeting selected by advertisers and the results of its ad auction. Facebook decides which ads within the auction to show to people that have the highest total value score, an estimate of how likely that person will take the advertiser’s desired action, which is generated via machine learning. To do this, Facebook’s models take into account the person’s behavior on and off Facebook as well as the ad’s content, the time of day and interactions between people and ads.

Facebook says it doesn’t sell people’s data to advertisers or anyone else and that it doesn’t share personally identifying information unless given permission. It also assures that people’s text messages or phone microphones aren’t used to inform ads or change what content they see.

TikTok Explains Black Lives Matter View Count Display Issue

In the days following the murder of George Floyd by police, TikTok users were disheartened to discover that posts tagged with #GeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter were showing zero views in the Compose screen, where they prepare their video before uploading. Now, TikTok says the issue was due to inefficiencies in its data flushing system.

Why it matters: TikTok issued an apology to the black community when it first learned of the issue, noting that many assumed it was an intentional act to suppress black voices.

The details: TikTok says the hashtag count view piled up due to a data lagging issue which it says will be prevented moving forward via an updated design of the system.

Snapchat Announces Range Of New AR Features

At its virtual 2020 Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat said it plans to roll out a variety of new augmented reality features such as local lenses and visual and audio scan options, as well as micro-apps called Snap Minis, a Happening Now feature to keep users up to date with the latest news and millions of listings for businesses around the world with the ability to order food within the app.

Why it matters: Tapping into its users’ penchant for AR—over 170 million Snapchatters engage with AR daily nearly 30 times every day—will allow Snapchat to compete with Facebook.

The details: Snapchat’s new Local lenses will enable users to virtually paint and edit certain buildings and landmarks, with the same actions visible to other users in the app.

Snapchat has partnered with providers to expand its scan options with Lenses; Dog Scanner, for example, will recognize dog breeds, and Nutrition Scanner will rate the quality of ingredients in packaged foods.

A new Voice Scan option will also provide Lens results based on voice commands.

Snapchat is also giving developers the chance to reach Snap’s audience via Snap Minis, a micro-apps initiative from its SnapKit platform.

In addition to officially announcing a new function bar, Snapchat is rolling out a “Topics options for Stories, which serve the same function as hashtags but through stickers instead of words.

Launching in the US this week, a new “Happening Now” feature within Discover will deliver news stories from partners like NBC News, ESPN and The Washington Post, among others.

Snapchat is also highlighting popular stores and places with information about their location, hours of operation and reviews.

Snapchat has plans to add AR functionality to its original shows, allowing users to learn dance moves, for example, via custom motion tracking lenses that track a user’s every step.

Snapchat has partnered with Headspace to expand its mental wellbeing resource “Here For You” with new tools like meditations and resources.

Lastly, Snapchat introduced a new learning portal called Snap Focus featuring six courses to educate agencies and marketers about its suite of ad products.

Google Rolls Out New Tools In Response To Surge In Time Spent Watching CTV

Google is introducing a series of tools in Display & Video 360 to simplify how digital media buyers find and secure ad inventory as they quickly move to video streaming advertising.

Why it matters: Google says that as a result of lockdown, available connected television (CTV) inventory on Display & Video 360’s surged by 75 percent.

The details: Google has created a dedicated television section in Marketplace that enables marketers to find and negotiate deals via filter options based on geo or streaming device type. Through this new interface, which Google will roll out in the next few weeks, marketers can also send requests for proposals to publishers directly.

Google also announced two new ready-to-buy options. The first option, called auction packages, bundles inventory from top publishers into deals that don’t require negotiating. The second option involves the expansion of YouTube Select’s dedicated streaming television lineup to Display & Video 360 buyers in the US.

To accompany these updates, Google has also added a new workflow called the “OTT line item” for buying television ads across screens. The line item automatically picks inventory from CTV apps.

Facebook Continues Developing AI Tools To Create Personalized Shopping Experiences

New Facebook research that has been published details its new developments on enhancing personalized shopping experiences, including an algorithm that identifies fashion trends from images taken from around the world and a 3D-enabled tool that recommends clothing based on body types.

Why it matters: Facebook’s efforts contribute to its long-term vision to build an “all-in-one AI lifestyle assistant that can accurately search and rank billions of products, while personalizing to individual tastes.”

The details: To pinpoint a fashion trend’s origin, Facebook is working on an AI model that calculates the degree of fashion influence between cities from geolocated, time-stamped images of people, which can then predict future popular styles in any location.

Facebook is also working on a system called Animatable Reconstruction of Clothes Humans (ARCH), which would allow people to see how they look wearing clothes in a range of poses, environments and lighting.

An automatic approach to recommending clothing to people based on their body shapes, called VIsual Body-aware Embedding (ViBE), is also in the works.