This week in social media news, Instagrams rolls out Shop in the US, Facebook publishes a report on the pandemic’s impact on small businesses around the world, Snapchat launches brand profiles, YouTube adds a new audience segmentation feature and the Byte app sees a spike in downloads amid a threat of TikTok’s ban in the US.

Instagram Rolls Out Shop In The US

Instagram has launched Instagram Shop, a new destination in the Explore tab where US users can buy products from brands and influencers, after first announcing it in May.

Why it matters: Instagram Shop comes just a day after Snapchat announced Brand Profiles, a permanent home for brands that lets users shop directly in the app and discover brands’ augmented reality (AR) lenses and best snaps.

The details: Instagram Shop will highlight brands, collections curated for Instagram’s social shopping channel @Shop and personalized product recommendations. The double checkout arrows signify which products you can buy directly in the app. Later this year, Instagram will add a Shop tab in the navigation bar to enable one-tap access.

Also coming later this year, Instagram purchases will be powered with Facebook Pay, which was announced last year and lets users shop and make donations across Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Pay will add Purchase Protection to certain products bought on Instagram.

Instagram Shop will be available globally in the coming weeks.

Facebook Publishes Small Business COVID Report

Facebook’s 49-page “Global State of Small Business Report” surveyed 30,000 small business owners across over 50 countries to understand how the pandemic has affected them.

Why it matters: Over 160 million brands use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp every month to engage with customers. To help small businesses manage the pandemic, Facebook recently launched Facebook Shops to simplify online selling.

The details: Facebook found that 26 percent of businesses worldwide had to entirely shut down their business from January to May. In some countries, 50 percent had to close. Tourism and event-related businesses were hit the hardest as 54 percent of tourism agencies and 47 percent of hospitality and event small businesses reported near total closures.

Yet small business owners remain hopeful, with 74 percent that were closed at the time of the survey saying they expect to reopen once stay-at-home orders begin to lift.

Many have pivoted digital, with more than one-half of businesses making at least 25 percent of their sales online in 15 of the countries surveyed.

Snapchat Launches Brand Profiles, Permanent Homes For Businesses

Snapchat is launching a closed beta of Brand Profiles, a home for business profiles on the app featuring four components including branded augmented reality (AR) lenses, a virtual store and story highlights.

Why it matters: In 2019, Snapchat launched “Public Profiles,” a home for influencers’ and shows’ permanent content. Its efforts to boost brand monetization follow Instagram’s announcement of virtual storefronts for businesses.

The details: As per Snapchat:

“With 229 million Snapchatters using the app daily1, this real estate for our partners is especially important in a world where our millennial and Gen Z audiences can be hard to reach and build deep, authentic relationships with on many platforms.”

On their permanent profiles, brands can save and showcase lenses, enable a shopping experience which allows for checkout within the app and highlight their best snaps and photos.

Snapchat says brands will also have access to mobile and web management tools to help collaborate with team members, manage content and check audience demographics and interests.

In the coming months, users can follow the profiles of major brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Target and Louis Vuitton. Snapchat says it will open the platform to more businesses later this year.

YouTube Adds New Audience Retention Tool

YouTube has plans to introduce an informational panel that would show creators other videos their viewers have watched and an updated audience retention chart, according to the YouTube Creator Insider channel.

Why it matters: The feature is among the many updates YouTube has implemented recently to help creators earn more money including enabling mid-roll ads for videos that are eight minutes or longer.

The details: YouTube says it’s planning for a 20 percent launch of the new informational panel by July 15. 

Its new audience retention chart would show creators their retention performance across their channel.

Byte App Downloads Jump Amid Threat Of TikTok’s US Ban

According to Sensor Tower, Byte, the second coming of the Vine app, is seeing a spike in downloads in the US following India’s ban of TikTok.

Why it matters: After India banned TikTok, President Trump said the administration was looking to ban TikTok over privacy concerns and the app’s ties to China. Ever since Vine’s transition to Byte, Byte has been gearing up to directly challenge TikTok.

The details: Sensor Tower’s data shows that Byte reached the top spot on the app store charts last week, with single-day global downloads surging from 126,000 on Wednesday to 622,000 on Thursday.

Snapchat Tests TikTok-Like Swipe Navigation

Snapchat is in the early stages of testing a TikTok-style navigation function that would enable users to browse Snapchat’s discover content via a vertical swiping motion, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: With President Trump hinting at the removal of TikTok in the US, Snapchat could be looking to attract TikTok’s US audience.

The details: First spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, the vertical swipe feature Snapchat is looking to develop was first popularized by TikTok. A Snapchat spokesperson told TechCrunch that a very small percentage of its users can view the test.

Instagram Adds New IGTV Preview Tools

Instagram has added an option that enables users to edit the preview image and thumbnail for their IGTV videos, as spotted by social media strategist Sumeet Rajpal.

Why it matters: Though small, the update is part of a sequence of new IGTV tools Instagram has launched since it announced IGTV monetization. In April, a new update made it so that users could share the first 15 seconds of their IGTV video in stories, accompanied by an improvement to the display options within the discover tab.

The details: As Rajpal’s screenshot shows, you can control how previews of IGTV videos are displayed, as well as the thumbnail of the IGTV video you want to appear in the discover feed.

YouTube Rolls Out Creator-Focused RPM Metric

YouTube is launching a new “creator-focused metric” called RPM, or Revenue Per Mille, to help creators better track their revenue rate.

Why it matters: The RPM metric is in addition to YouTube’s existing CPM, or Cost Per Mille, metric which displays advertiser spending on ads within YouTube videos. RPM will provide creators with a more holistic view of how their content is performing.

The details: The new RPM metric shows how much a creator earned per 1,000 views. YouTube says RPM is based on multiple revenue sources including ads, channel memberships, YouTube Premium revenue, Super Chat and Super Stickers.

Of course, RPM doesn’t tell a creator’s whole revenue story as it excludes revenue made from selling merchandise, revenue made through brand deals and sponsorships and any other revenue earned indirectly through YouTube.