This week in social media news, LinkedIn rolls out a new follower analytics tool for pages and an audio name pronunciation feature, Twitch exceeds 5 billion hours watched in Q2, Instagram tests full-screen stories, Unilever, Verizon and Coca-Cola join the Facebook boycott, LinkedIn adds new features to help members give and get support and Instagram tests a voice feature for its Threads app and more.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Follow Analytics For Company Pages And Audio Pronunciation Tool

LinkedIn is adding a new follower analytics tool for company pages, a new audio feature for name pronunciation on user profiles and a process for limiting company page invites, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: LinkedIn’s new follower analytics will provide additional insight about users who are visiting your page, which would help inform the content of your posts.

The new process for limiting company page invites could be LinkedIn’s way of preventing managers from spamming their connections.

The details: Under the Analytics tab, page managers can see a full list of every person that’s followed their page and the month they started following them.

Linked also introduced a new system to limit the amount of times a company page manager can send invitations to their connections to follow their company page. Now, pages are granted 100 credits per month, with each sent invite costing one credit, which is returned when the invite is accepted.

Lastly, LinkedIn is giving users the option of adding an audio recording of up to 10 seconds of their name using an in-app audio recorder to ensure correct pronunciation.

Twitch Exceeds 5 Billion Hours Watched In Q2

Hours watched on Twitch ballooned 62.7 percent to surpass 5 billion hours, an 83.1 percent increase year-over-year, according to a new report from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet. In addition, Twitch broke records for hours streamed and average concurrent viewership (CCV).

Why it matters: The milestone comes after Twitch exceeded 3 billion hours watched for the first time in Q1.

The details: Twitch also broke its record for the number of hours streamed, which increased 58.7 percent from Q1, an increase of 80.1 percent year-over-year. Also reaching an all-time high is Twitch’s average CCV, which grew by 63.4 percent since Q1. Twitch’s unique channels also saw an increase of 63.9 percent since Q1, a 78.6 percent increase year-over-year. Leading the live streaming industry, Twitch now represents 67.6 percent of the market share, up 2.6 percent from Q1.

YouTube Gaming Live saw a 39.6 percent increase in hours watched and a 19.1 percent increase in hours streamed compared to Q1. At a 15.5 percent increase from Q1, its CCV is at an all-time high. The platform now represents 20 percent of the market share, down two percent from last quarter.

Facebook Gaming is also gaining momentum, as hours watched grew by 48.5 percent, hours streamed by 22.6 percent and CCV by 48.6 percent, a 320.7 percent increase year-over-year.

Mixer reached 106 million hours watched in Q2, up 30.6 percent compared to Q1. Its hours streamed increased by 28.5 percent, or 36.3 million hours, albeit lower than its peak in Q1 2019. Its CCV grew by 34 percent.

LinkedIn Report Shows How The Pandemic Has Impacted Marketers

Sixty-seven percent of marketers said they’re increasing investment in webinars and 56 percent are putting more time into organic social as a result of the pandemic, according to a LinkedIn survey conducted with Vision Critical that surveyed 450 marketers in the first week of May.

Why it matters: The findings put into perspective how marketers’ playbooks are changing as they still try to navigate the uncharted territory that is coronavirus.

The details: The top three challenges marketers are facing during the pandemic include being forced to shift marketing priorities (76 percent), budget cuts (74 percent) and advertising investments and planning (69 percent). Marketers say their top reasons for decreasing spend are budget cuts (72 percent), it’s the wrong time to advertise (30 percent) and leadership doesn’t want to invest in ads right now (24 percent).

Sixty-seven percent say their campaign strategies were somewhat impacted while 18 percent say they were majorly impacted. Forty percent of marketers moved events to virtual while 38 percent paused or canceled them altogether.

The area which marketers have decreased spending the most is events/experiential (80 percent), followed by out-of-home (39 percent) and television (33 percent).

Forty-three percent of marketers say they’ve shifted their target audience to those whose needs changed because of COVID-19, whereas 39 percent have not shifted audience targeting.

Nearly half (47 percent) say their content has become more emotional in nature and 31 percent, more rational in nature. Marketers have added focus to social content, thought leadership and direct customer outreach.

Instagram Tests Full-Screen Stories Experience

Instagram is testing a feature that will allow users to see more stories at the same time, on the home screen and in a new experience that expands stories to full screen, the platform confirmed to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: As of last year, 500 million people, or about half of Instagram’s users, were interacting with stories on a daily basis.

The details: As explained by TechCrunch, in the test, Instagram users will see two rows of stories, instead of one, at the top of their feed. Beneath this expanded stories area, users will be able to click a button “See All Stories,” which will cause a new screen to appear where users can see and scroll through all stories in a full-screen format.

Unilever, Verizon, Coca-Cola Stop Facebook Advertising As Part Of #StopHateforProfit Boycott

Coca-Cola, Unilever and Verizon mark the latest batch of brands to announce they’re stopping all advertising on Facebook in solidarity with a civil rights groups-led boycott meant to curb hate speech and fake news on Facebook called #StopHateforProfit.

Why it matters: According to president and CEO of Analytics Partners, Nancy Smith, that the current spending freezes are occurring near the end of Q2 could imply brands are gearing up to spend on other avenues, such as revamping store concepts suited for warding off coronavirus. Still, at a time when consumers want brands to lead social change, the boycott could represent a win-win for marketers, who, if they had a desire to boycott Facebook previously, either didn’t have the catalyst or other brands on board, says Jesisca Liu, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

The details: In 2019, Unilever spent $42.2 million on Facebook advertising and Verizon, $22.9 million. After Unilever’s announcement, Facebook shares dropped eight percent, erasing nearly $50 billion from its market valuation. Shortly after, Facebook announced it would undergo an external audit with the Media Rating Council to examine its policies around hate speech.

LinkedIn Adds New Features To Help Users Find Jobs 

LinkedIn is rolling out new features to help users more easily find jobs for themselves and others on the platform as well as new post reactions.

Why it matters: The updates are likely in response to the 60 percent surge in content creation year-over-year that LinkedIn observed during lockdowns, a time when users flocked to the platform to share updates about layoffs and offer their services for free to members in need.

The details: LinkedIn already has a feature that lets users privately signal recruiters they’re open to work. Now it’s taking the feature a step further with “Open-To Work,” a feature that adds a photo frame with a green label that reads #OpenToWork to users’ profile pictures.

LinkedIn’s second update, meant to help members lend a hand to their connections, includes an “Offer to Help” option that appears when you start a new post. From there, users can select all the ways they wish to help others, including general help, career coaching, referrals and resume reviews. Users can decide who sees this post.

Lastly, LinkedIn added six new emoji reactions for users to show support for articles and posts.

Instagram Tests Voice Note Feature On Its Thread App

Instagram is testing a feature called Voice Note that would turn the audio of a video into live captions that would appear as the recording plays, as spotted by app developer Alessandro Paluzzi.

Why it matters: The news comes as Twitter recently started rolling out audio tweets for iOS, letting users record up to 140 seconds of audio.

The details: Instagram launched the Threads app in October 2019 as a more intimate version of its app for those who want to share location, status and multimedia with close friends.

Social Media Stocks Continue Falling In The Premarket

Social media stocks continue declining in the premarket following the loss of revenue from advertisers and a call on brands from a coalition of civil rights groups to halt advertising on Facebook.

Why it matters: A reduction in ad investment due to the pandemic has been exacerbated by a boycott that’s gone viral, called #StopHateforProfit. So far, 160 companies announced they would pull ad spend from Facebook in July over the platform’s refusal to remove President Trump’s insensitive messages about Black Lives Matter protests. In an attempt to ease brands’ concerns, Facebook announced new policies to label hate speech and remove certain ads.

The details: Facebook stock is down 3.1 percent, with shares plummeting 8.3 percent on Friday after Unilever pledged its solidarity with #StopHateforProfit.

Twitter and Pinterest, though unaffected by the boycott, are also down 2.4 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Instagram Enables Advertisers To Create Ads Without Facebook Page Connection

Advertisers in the US and Turkey who are promoting their Instagram posts for the first time can now create Instagram ads without having a presence on Facebook, as reported by Adweek.

Why it matters: As AdWeek notes, some believe the update is Facebook’s way of protecting ad revenue on Instagram from plummeting in the aftermath of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which has resulted in over 100 brands pulling their Facebook ad spend, including Starbucks, REI and Unilever.  

The details: Most brands have already connected their Instagram profile to Facebook Ad Manager, therefore the update won’t allow them to disconnect their Instagram profile from their Facebook page. For new advertisers in the US and Turkey, advertising separately from Facebook means they’ll have to track performance directly on Instagram.

Pinterest Launches Independent Review Of Workplace Culture

Pinterest’s board of directors convened a new special committee of directors, led by WilmerHale, to conduct an independent internal review of the company’s workplace culture to identify opportunities to improve inclusivity and equity.

Why it matters: The announcement follows a letter Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann sent to Pinterest employees, which details the company’s progress toward addressing racism. Silbermann says Pinterest has strengthened its diverse slate requirement for recruiting, set clear goals to increase the representation of content they display on Pinterest and revamped its unconscious bias and leading inclusive teams training.  

The details: As per Pinterest:

“The WilmerHale review will include an in-depth assessment of Pinterest’s policies and practices concerning discrimination, harassment, and other workplace issues. WilmerHale will also review and assess the way Pinterest evaluates, promotes, and compensates employees and how the company responds to and investigates complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”

Danielle Conley, co-chair of WilmerHale’s anti-discrimination practice and a former associate deputy attorney general at the US department of justice, will lead the team.

LinkedIn Content Creation Is Up 60 Percent Year-Over-Year

LinkedIn is seeing a surge in content creation, consumption and engagement, the company’s director of brand and consumer marketing, Srividya Gopani, told Social Samosa in an interview.

Why it matters: Gopani’s insight follows a report LinkedIn published that highlights which topics are trending amid the pandemic. The findings show there have been the highest spikes in engagement on articles mentioning business continuity (up 144 percent), cloud services (up 78 percent), video streaming (up 71 percent), cybersecurity (up 66 percent), remote working (up 52 percent), virtual reality (up 50 percent) and software (up 46 percent).

The details: Lockdowns have inspired users to focus on their professional lives and help others find jobs and internships, resulting in a 55 percent year-over-year increase in conversations among users globally compared to March 2019, Gopani notes. Additionally, content creation on the platform is up 60 percent year-over-year.

Google Expands Business Messages To Support All Businesses

Google is enabling all brands to integrate its business messages directly with their customer service platforms, providing a quick way for customers to reach them via Google listings.

Why it matters: First launched in 2017, Google’s business messaging has until now been limited to certain businesses and regions.

The details: In addition to expanding direct messaging, Google is adding smart replies and customizable welcome messages to allow customers to get answers directly from a business.  

Google’s messaging solutions are available in English for now, with more language coming shortly.