This week in social media news, Twitch captures a majority of Mixer streamers after its shutdown, Instagram updates the Threads app, TikTok users say ads on the app blend in with the content, Snapchat adds a new ad product it tested in April called First Commercial, Triller launches programmatic ads and more.

Twitch Represents 91.1 Percent Of Market Share For Hours Streamed

According to Streamlabs & Stream Hatchet’s Q3 Live Streaming Industry Report, audiences watched over 7.46 billion hours of content across all live streaming platforms. YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming saw growth in hours watched while Twitch made gains in hours streamed.

Why it matters: Facebook Gaming passed 1 billion hours watched for the first time and Twitch captured a majority of Mixer’s streamers following its shutdown.

The details: Though audiences watched 7.46 billion hours of live streaming content in Q3, the number is slightly down from Q2—7.71 billion hours. Still, the live streaming industry grew by 91.8 percent year-over-year, compared to 3.89 billion hours watched in Q3 2019.

At 91.1 percent, Twitch’s market share for hours streamed increased 14.5 percent from last quarter, likely the result of Mixer’s shutdown, which captured 14.2 percent of all content live-streamed in Q2.

YouTube Gaming saw the most growth for hours watched with a gain of 156 million hours from Q2 to Q3. Though it decreased by 1.2 percent since Q2, YouTube Gaming now represents 5.5 percent of the market share.

Viewers watched 1.04 billion hours of content on Facebook Gaming, a 7.2 percent increase from 970 million hours in Q2. YoY, this gives Facebook Gaming a 297 percent increase from 269 million hours watched. Facebook Gaming now represents 14 percent of the market share for hours watched, a 1.4 percent increase from last quarter.

The report also shows League of Legends continues to lead as the most popular global esports title while Just Chatting was the second most-watched category across all live stream platforms.

Instagram Offers Full Inbox Experience With Update To Threads App

Instagram has updated its Threads app to enable users to message any Instagram user, after previously only allowing users to message people they had added to their “Close Friends” list.

Why it matters: The Threads update comes after Facebook introduced cross-app communication between Instagram and Messenger. “Cross-app communication is an opt-in update for people using Instagram, and will not be enabled for Threads,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The details: In a nutshell, the update means Instagram has merged the Threads app with the concept of its standalone mobile messaging app, Direct, for which Instagram ended support in 2019.

First spotted by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong, the update makes it so users can allow messages from anyone, not just close friends. Thread app users will also have the option to turn on notifications for close friends only.

During its launch week last year, the Threads app, which via quick photo-sharing features serves a similar function as Snapchat, was downloaded 220,000 times—fewer than 0.1 percent of Instagram’s billion-plus users.

In TikTok’s Nielsen Study, Users Say Ads Blend In With The Content

In a new US study that TikTok commissioned Nielsen to conduct, respondents said that advertising on TikTok feels more genuine and trustworthy than ads on other channels, and that they find new products from ads on the app.

Why it matters: The findings reinforce what brands stand to gain by marketing on TikTok, which is the ability to reach young consumers, an increasingly conscious group who prefers authentic interactions with brands.

TikTok’s insights also echo the results of a recent Piper Sandler report, which found TikTok surpassed Instagram as US teens’ second-favorite social media app.

The details: When it comes to making users feel comfortable in their own skin and serving users authentic ads, TikTok checks all the boxes. Sixty percent of users said they felt a sense of community while on TikTok. Respondents also reported feeling energized, motivated and entertained while using the app.

Users also associated the advertising on TikTok with being more unique and trustworthy compared to other channels. In addition, 52 percent said they find new products from ads on TikTok.

Snapchat Rolls Out ‘First Commercial’ Ad Product To US And UK Advertisers

After testing a new ad offering called ‘First Commercial’ in April, Snapchat is launching the “high-impact” product to US and UK advertisers. First Commercial enables advertisers to ensure their ad is the first one users see on a given day when they watch Snap’s original shows in Discover.

Why it matters: In Q2, Snapchatters’ watch time of Discover content increased over 45 percent year-over-year, according to the company. In addition, Snapchat says its original shows have reached over 75 percent of the US Gen Z population this year. Snap has plans to expand its Show offerings later this year and in 2021.

The details: As per Snapchat, First Commercial runs within brand-safe, mobile programming. Available in Ads Manager, the new offering enables advertisers to run ‘Extended Play Commercials’ up to three minutes in length, transact via self service and turn on conversion tracking.

Triller Launches Programmatic Ads With Consumable

TikTok’s rival, Triller, has teamed up with Consumable to add programmatic advertising between short-form videos on the app, the company announced in a press release.

Why it matters: In response to the government’s potential ban on TikTok, many of the app’s users migrated to Triller. As TikTok’s future remains up in the air, Triller is actively seeking ways to compete with the app. In September, Triller said it had more than 100 million monthly active users (MAUs), but six ex-employees told Business Insider that Triller only has 2 million MAUs on iOS and 484,000 MAUs on Android.

The details: As per the press release, Consumable pairs “engaging bite-size content with digital display and video ads,” to create ads that entertain hard-to-engage consumers.

Slack Is Testing Two New Features—Stories And Push-To-Talk Audio

Slack is getting ready to launch stories that enable team members to provide a “more human way” of giving updates on projects, as well as push-to-talk audio calls to reduce the frequency of text conversations, reports The Verge.

Why it matters: Slack’s forthcoming features come as the company reported a Q2 net loss of $68.6 million and revenue of $209.1 million.

The details: Slack’s chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield told The Verge that the Instagram-like stories feature will enable users to pre-record messages and thereby eliminate the need to hold certain meetings.

Slack is also planning to launch instant audio, a feature that’s permanently associated with a channel and enables people to have spontaneous calls with co-workers.

Both features are in the prototype phase. Butterfield says they’ll arrive sometime this year.

Pinterest Announces ‘Pinterest Creators Festival’

On October 15, Pinterest is hosting a virtual event, “Pinterest Creators Festival,” featuring creators, entrepreneurs, editors and internal Pinterest experts who will share tips on how to create engaging pins and grow your Pinterest audience. In addition, the platform has launched a new campaign, “Make the World Make,” featuring 10 creators whose content challenges societal norms and provides inspiration.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s digital festival will likely serve as a means to educate users on the platform’s new offerings, including permanent Story Pins for creators and a new shopping tool for advertisers that involves ads alongside visual search results.

The details: Among the 21 speakers who will present at the online event, which is free to attend, are former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, Pinterest global head of creator marketing Colleen Stauffer and founder of Momofuku David Chang.

To register, users must enter their email and Pinterest URL, as well as answer questions about their reason for attending and whether they currently create content for Pinterest.

Facebook To Test Shopping On Instagram Reels

Facebook announced it will start testing shopping within its newly launched Instagram Reels later this year. It’s also making shopping via IGTV videos available globally.  

Why it matters: The global expansion of shopping on IGTV will enable more creators to monetize their audience and help promote brand partners’ products.

The details: Now Instagram users can browse products and buy them across IGTV, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, either within the app or on the seller’s website. 

Instagram says it has plans to make shoppable IGTV videos discoverable on Instagram Shop.

Facebook would normally take a cut from purchases made within the Instagram app but the company said it’s holding off on doing so until the end of the year.

TikTok Users Can Vote For Three Categories In 2020 Billboard Music Awards

TikTok has partnered with the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, which is set to air live on NBC on October 14, to enable fans to vote for three fan-voted categories, Billboard Chart Achievement Awards, Top Social Artist and Top Collaboration.

Why it matters: TikTok has disrupted the music industry, helping new and established artists alike promote songs and enhance their fanbase. For example, in April 2019, when Lil Nas X uploaded his year-old song “Old Town Road” onto TikTok, the tune went viral, spawned a dance challenge and eventually made its way to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

The details: From now until October 13, TikTok users can cast their vote for their favorite song or artist in the fan-voted categories via a banner atop TikTok’s Discover page.

Facebook Launches New Engagement Features For Groups

At the digital Facebook Communities Summit, the company announced new engagement features, tools for admins and a new group format in time for the decennial anniversary of Facebook Groups.

Why it matters: According to Facebook, in the past month 70 million admins and moderators worldwide were involved with groups, which is used by more than 1.8 billion people each month.

The details: First up, Facebook has introduced a new set of tools for group admins, which includes an automated post moderation tool called Admin Assist, a new way to organize topics via hashtags, the ability to monetize public groups, the option to take an online community management certification course and insights on reach and engagement of each post in your group.

New group features aimed at helping admins engage with their members include real-time chats, conversation-starting prompts, text-based Q&A sessions and the ability to set a custom profile photo for different groups you’re part of.

Facebook says it’s also testing new ways for people to discover conversations in public groups on and off Facebook. For example, related discussions will appear in the news feed when someone posts a link or reshares a post on Facebook and conversations from public groups will be visible outside the Facebook app, like on web search results. Upon visiting the groups tab, users can see posts from public groups related to their interests.

Prospective members can now join a conversation before joining a public group.

Lastly, Facebook is introducing a new group type where all members post with only photos, videos or text, a response to the increase in groups hyper-focused around one specific topic and format.