This week in social media news, Instagram rolls out its TikTok-like function, Reels, to new markets, TikTok announces the formation of its Creator Diversity Collective, CPMs surge by 100 percent in May, Snapchat announces the upcoming premiere of its first shoppable show, Instagram expands ecommerce eligibility to creators and very small businesses, Facebook rolls out a Limited Data Use feature to help brands comply with CCPA and Microsoft says it’s transitioning Mixer to Facebook Gaming.

Instagram Expands Its Reels Feature To More Regions

Instagram is launching its TikTok-like function, Reels, which it first introduced in November 2019 in Brazil, to new markets, as reported by TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Instagram’s gradual expansion of Reels and its broader sharing options could help prevent it from losing users to TikTok.

The details: With Reels, users can make 15-second looping video clips, set them to music and splice them together from various clips. Instagram displays popular Reels in the Explore page, which other users can then remix, similar to TikTok.

Now, Instagram is expanding Reels to France and Germany, as well as introducing new features including the ability to share Reels to both the main feed and stories. For public profiles, Instagram has also added a dedicated section on profiles for Reels.

TikTok Announces Formation Of Creator Diversity Collective

TikTok announced the formation of a Creator Diversity Collective, made up of seven creators who will meet regularly with TikTok employees to share the perspectives of the creator community in order to curb racism and discrimination on the platform.

Why it matters: TikTok’s new diversity group is part of the app’s larger efforts to create an inclusive experience for users and support the black community. In addition to providing clarity around its removal processes of racist content, TikTok will also donate $2 million to organizations that support diversity, $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity, $850,000 in micro-grants to organizations working to undo systemic racism through public policy and $150,000 to black museums across the country.

The details: Following Black Lives Matter protests, TikTok says it invited black creators to a town hall with TikTok’s CEO, head of culture and diversity and additional members of its leadership team to share their concerns and experiences with racism.

The inaugural members of TikTok’s diversity collective will first meet in July. More creators from different backgrounds will join the collective in the coming weeks.

TikTok also announced the addition of Mutale Nkonde to its Content Advisory Council, which it launched in March.

Facebook Rolls Out New Live Producer Tools To More Users

Facebook is rolling out new tools for its Live Producer streaming platform, including graphic overlays, featured comments and a featured link, to more creators, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The updates will add a level of professionalism to livestreams and help drive more direct traffic from them as viewership of Facebook livestreams has surged 50 percent since January.

The details: Among Facebook’s updates for Live Producer are different kinds of graphic overlays, plus the ability to run polls and display viewer results in real-time, highlight viewer comments at the top of the stream and add a news ticker that scrolls along the foot of the broadcast. A feature link option will also enable users to highlight a website link accompanied by a description.

CPMs Increase 100 Percent In May As Stay-At-Home Restrictions Are Lifted

According to research from Customer Acquisition, CPMs rose from $5 to $10, a 100 percent increase, over the course of May, when officials began easing stay-at-home orders.

Why it matters: The rebound comes after CPMs decreased 250 percent as a result of mandatory lockdowns that began in mid-March.

The details: For one unnamed client with $12 million, Customer Acquisition says CPM surged 284 percent, from $6.11 in the beginning of the pandemic to $17.41 in May.

Snapchat To Stream Its First Shoppable Show Selling Streetwear

During Snapchat’s virtual presentation for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts, the company announced that this year, it will start streaming its first shoppable show, “The Drop,” featuring streetwear collaborations with designers and celebrities. The company shared additional details on its original programming lineup, as well as updated data about its audience and their behavior.

Why it matters: As consumer behavioral shifts to online shopping accelerate, Snapchat will have to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook, which recently launched a feature enabling businesses to create virtual storefronts.

The details: In addition to a streetwear show, Snapchatters can also expect a makeup competition show called “Fake Up,” featuring augmented reality lenses that let users try on the looks that makeup artists create in the show. The second season of Snapchat’s original series about custom cars, “Driven,” which drew in 15 million viewers, will premiere at the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

Snapchat says it now has more US daily active users (DAUs) ages 25 and up than all of Twitter’s monetizable DAU base for all age groups. Snapchat also fueled on average an additional 23 percent reach to television campaigns among advertisers’ target demographics.

Instagram Expands Ecommerce Eligibility To More Businesses, Creators

Instagram is now letting more businesses, including creators, who have at least one eligible product, to sell on the app. It’s also providing transparency on its on-boarding, rejection and integrity check processes.

Why it matters: The move comes shortly after Instagram rolled out Shops, or virtual storefronts for businesses, and after users spotted Instagram testing shopping tags in post captions. The expansion will likely benefit creators and very small businesses who are looking to sell merchandise or jumpstart new ventures.

The details: Instagram expanding access to shopping on the platform will enable any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product to use shopping tags to drive customers to their website. The new policy requires these businesses to tag products on Instagram from only one website they own.

Instagram is also providing clearer guidance to businesses into the types of businesses that perform best on Instagram and reasoning for why a business isn’t approved.

Facebook Rolls Out Limited Data Use Feature To Promote CCPA Compliance

Facebook is introducing a new feature called Limited Data Use, which will restrict Facebook’s use of the California data they send to it. The feature was designed to help businesses meet California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) regulations.

Why it matters: Facebook’s new feature will simplify the process of creating separate parameters for users in different regions and ensure compliance with the CCPA.

The details: As per Facebook, “When a business applies this feature, it will direct Facebook to process information about people in California as the business’s Service Provider. That means we will limit how this information is processed as specified in our State-Specific Terms. When Limited Data Use is enabled, businesses may notice an impact to campaign performance and effectiveness, and retargeting and measurement capabilities will be limited.”

Facebook says an initial transition period will automatically limit how it uses California data. After July 31, when the transition period ends, businesses will need to implement the feature to continue data use restrictions, or if the CCPA doesn’t apply to them, they can override the automatic application.

Microsoft To Shut Down Mixer And Transition To Facebook Gaming

Microsoft is shutting down its streaming platform Mixer on July 22 and giving partnered Mixer streams a new home on Facebook Gaming, both companies announced.

Why it matters: Mixer’s transition is part of a larger effort from Xbox and Facebook Gaming to create new games, which currently over 700 million people play in a gaming group on Facebook.

The details: To help Mixer’s community make the transition, Facebook Gaming is granting Mixer partners “partner status” to honor and match all existing partner agreements as closely as possible.

Facebook will grant streamers who were part of Mixer’s open monetization program eligibility for the Facebook Gaming Level Up Program, which will enable them to continue monetizing streams.

Mixer is also doubling payment for all partners’ earnings in the month of June.

Mixer viewers can connect their Mixer account to Facebook Gaming, which will then display the Facebook Pages that correspond to the Mixer channels they currently follow.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Forecast App

Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team launched an invite-only beta for a new app called Forecast where members can ask questions and make predictions about the future; first starting with people in the health, research and academic communities to make predictions about COVID’s impact.

Why it matters: The launch comes as brands are boycotting Facebook for its inaction on removing hate speech and preventing misinformation.

The details: The NPE team says conversations will be publicly available on the Forecast website. For now, the app is only available to members in the US and Canada, and on the iOS app. Those who wish to sign up can join the waitlist.

Snapchat Adds New Capabilities To Its Dynamic Ads

Snapchat is adding new capabilities to its Dynamic Ads, the beta launch of which was announced in the US in October 2019, to help brands navigate COVID.

Why it matters: The pandemic has forced brands to pivot digital, including Adidas, who beta tested Snap’s Dynamic Ads recently in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France, leading to a 52 percent growth in return on ad spend (ROAS).

The details: Snapchat is expanding Dynamic Ads to 12 countries including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Norway and Saudi Arabia, among others. Dynamic Ads will now also support websites and mobile apps.

Other features like diagnostic tools that lets brands quickly troubleshoot issues and pre-designed creative templates for product images are part of the update.

Lastly, a “location-aware” feature lets advertisers include geographical coordinates in their catalogs to create a localized experience.

Google Ad Revenue To Drop For The First Time

Google’s U.S. digital ad revenues will decline— 5.3 percent to $39.58 billion by the end of 2020—for the first time since eMarketer began estimating the company’s ad revenues, according to the researcher.

Why it matters: The decline brings Google’s share of the U.S. digital ad market to 29.4 percent, down from 31.6 percent in 2019; compared with eMarketer’s pre-pandemic prediction that its U.S. ad revenues would grow 12.9 percent.

The details: Facebook and Amazon will see increases in their net US ad revenues despite downward revisions for both. Facebook’s net U.S. digital ad revenues will increase 4.9 percent to $31.43 billion while Amazon’s will surge 23.5 percent to $12.75 billion.

Emarketer estimates the total US digital ad market will grow 1.7 percent to $134.66 billion.

YouTube Tests Shoppable Video Ads

YouTube is experimenting with shoppable video ads that include browsable product imagery and “Video action” campaigns to help brands establish a stronger ecommerce presence.

Why it matters: Despite retail stores and restaurants reopening in most parts of the US, the trend of shopping for both essential and non-essential items online is expected to continue. YouTube’s shoppable video ads aim to help brands capitalize on this trend.

The details: YouTube’s shoppable product ads would allow brands to sync their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads and choose which best-sellers to feature.

In response to marketers cutting budgets due to COVID, YouTube is also launching “Video action” campaigns, which will help drive more conversions across YouTube by bringing video ads that drive action to YouTube’s home feed, watch pages and Google video partners. As part of each campaign, YouTube will also include any future inventory that becomes available, like the “What to Watch Next” feed.

Additionally, Google says it added YouTube to its Google Ads attribution reports to inform campaign budget allocation.

Snapchat Apologizes For Offensive Juneteenth Filter

Users slammed Snapchat for a tone-deaf Juneteenth filter which, in addition to featuring the Pan-African flag in the background, showed the “chains of slavery” being broken when a user smiles. The filter, which has since been removed, prompted Snapchat’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Oona King, to issue an apology.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s controversial Juneteenth filter comes after the platform announced it would no longer promote the President’s content in the Discover feed after deciding his tweets in response to Black Lives Matter protests incite racial violence.

The details: As reported by The Verge, King said in a letter to Snapchat employees: “This mistake has taught us a valuable lesson, and I am sincerely sorry that it came at the expense of what we meant to be a respectful commemoration of this important day.”

King also noted that black employees were fully involved in creating and approving the filter but admitted that Snap officials overlooked how it might offend people on a holiday intended to celebrate the end of slavery.

LinkedIn Publishes Virtual Events Playbook

As businesses pivot digital amid the pandemic, LinkedIn has published a virtual events guide on the different uses for LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events and how to leverage each to conduct successful virtual events.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s virtual events guide can help brands connect with audiences until in-person events resume.

The details: LinkedIn says that LinkedIn Live is a good option when you want to achieve top-of-funnel goals such as reach and brand awareness; to get the most out of live broadcast, it recommends sticking to content topics that appeal to your existing audience.

LinkedIn Events, on the other hand, is the better option for when your goal is to build community and reach a targeted audience you want to engage more deeply.

Given not all Pages have access to LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn says the best way to get your Page approved is to make an effort to regularly engage audiences, respond to comments and have over 1,000 followers.

The guide also includes the type of events that work best on LinkedIn—community and brand building events, conferences, targeted-audience events and talent branding.

LinkedIn also hinted at forthcoming updates such as the ability to capture registrations directly on the platform and retarget event attendees.

Spotify Adds Self-Service Video Ads To Its Ad Studio

Spotify is adding self-service video ads to its Ad Studio, citing research that shows running both video ads and audio ads produces higher brand results than running just video ads.

Why it matters: Spotify makes the case for running video ads on the platform: “On other platforms, video ads are often viewed while muted, but on Spotify, listeners are engaging with their sound on, offering a valuable opportunity for your message to be seen and heard.”

The details: Brands can choose to run horizontal or vertical video ads, and will have access to real-time reporting within Ad Studio. Spotify videos ads are available in the US, UK and Canada.

Civil Rights Groups Urge Brands To Pull Spending From Facebook 

The Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color of Change, Common Sense Media and Sleeping Giants have launched a campaign called #StopHateforProfit, urging brands to stop advertising on Facebook in July in response to its refusal to remove hate speech from the platform.

Why it matters: The movement follows Facebook’s inaction on President Trump’s post about Black Lives Matter protests, which in part reads, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.” Twitter, on the other hand, placed a “public interest notice” on that same message from Trump for violating its policies regarding the glorification of violence.

The details: Organizers of #StopHateforProfit are calling on brands to stop advertising on Facebook’s services in July. So far, Patagonia, REI and North Face have joined the campaign.