This week in social media news, a new study shows marketers believe Oracle and Walmart’s acquisition of TikTok would affect their advertising plans, Snapchat publishes a study examining how the pandemic is changing Gen Z’s school experiences, Facebook introduces new branding and features for Messenger, YouTube tests product tags with creators, Facebook launches the #BuyBlack Friday program to support small businesses and Instagram introduces three new audio features for Reels.

Marketers Say TikTok Deal With Oracle, Walmart Would Affect Their 2021 Advertising Plans

According to a survey from Vancery, 73 percent of marketing executives said a deal for Oracle and Walmart to purchase TikTok would affect their 2021 advertising plans.

Why it matters: The findings come as the federal government last week appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from inflicting a ban on TikTok, further escalating the issue between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and the White House, reports The New York Times.

The details: Among the marketers who said Oracle and Walmart’s acquisition of TikTok would impact their plans, the most common effects would be changes in ad products (94 percent), new consumer behaviors from increased usage of TikTok (75 percent) and new products (38 percent).

In addition, 86 percent of marketers are concerned the deal would make Oracle a leader in advertising data and 41 percent believe the deal gives Walmart a chance to outperform Amazon in ecommerce.

Snapchat Publishes Report On Pandemic’s Impact On Gen Z Education

As students head back to school, Snapchat has released the findings of a study examining the immediate and long-term effects of the pandemic on education, from the perspective of Gen Z Snapchatters aged 13-24 around the globe.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s revenue growth slowed in the wake of the pandemic earlier this year, but the app has seen an increase in usage since lockdowns, with daily active users (DAUs) growing 17 percent year-over-year in Q2. Still, analysts predict Snap’s Q3 earnings will decline.

The details: According to the report, 84 percent of US Snapchatters’ schooling has changed this year due to the pandemic, moving at least partially to remote learning. A quarter of users report postponing their school plans this year; the figure is higher in Brazil (37 percent) and Japan (38 percent).

The survey also found that students believe the value of school goes beyond classroom learning. For example, Snapchatters in Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia ranked making friends as their top priority while users in India and Norway said social experiences.

The new normal for students has also become a source of stress because of the pandemic.

Lastly, over half (59 percent) of US Snapchatters say it’s important to get good grades and just 25 percent of the same group believe you need a degree to be successful.

Facebook Updates Messenger Logo And Adds New Features

On the heels of introducing cross-communication between Instagram and Messenger, Facebook has announced new Messenger branding and features including a new Messenger logo and new chat themes.

Why it matters: As per Facebook: “10 million people customize their conversations every day so we know that personalization is important when it comes to how you connect. Together with new delight features like selfie stickers and vanish mode that are coming soon, making your chats fun and personalized has never been easier.”

The details: Messenger’s new logo, which features a color gradient tone, “reflects a shift to the future of messaging,” according to Facebook.  

The app is also adding new chat themes, like love and tie-dye, and custom reactions.

YouTube Tests Product Tags With Limited Number Of Creator Channels

YouTube is testing a feature that would enable creators to tag and track products featured in their video, as well as integration with Shopify for selling items through YouTube, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The expanded shopping tools are part of YouTube’s larger shift toward ecommerce, which it ramped up as the pandemic crushed advertising. In early August, to help its creators diversify their revenue, YouTube rolled out subscriptions, from which it takes a 30 percent cut.

The details: According to Bloomberg, YouTube creators will have control over the products displayed in their videos. Then data will be linked to analytics and shopping tools from Google.

Facebook Launches #BuyBlack Friday Program To Support Small Businesses

Facebook has announced an initiative called #BuyBlack Friday to support small black-owned businesses through free resources, app features and live virtual events. #BuyBlack is part of Facebook’s three-month-long Season of Support, an initiative providing free resources, education and training to help small businesses survive the holiday season.

Why it matters: Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by COVID-19, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses, according to Facebook. Since March, more than 3.5 million people on Facebook in the US have joined new groups created to support black-owned businesses.

The details: Starting October 30, Facebook will introduce features in the app that encourage people to create posts supporting black-owned businesses. Facebook will offer interested businesses a toolkit so they can promote #BuyBlack through their own channels.

Facebook is also launching a range of events and resources within its Lift Black Voices Hub and on the Facebook app’s Facebook Page, including the #BuyBlack Friday Show, which will air live every Friday from October 30 to November 27 and feature black businesses, musical artists and entertainers.

Later this month, Facebook will release its #BuyBlack Gift Guide, which will showcase products from US black-owned businesses across a range of categories.

Instagram Rolls Out New Audio Features For Reels

Instagram is introducing three new Reels features to encourage users to engage in musical trends in the app.

Why it matters: Expanding the audio features on Reels is Facebook’s way of aligning itself with the music usage trends displayed by TikTok users.

The details: The first new Reels feature enables users to save sounds within the app that they can use in their own Reels clips. Users can now also DM each other collections of Reels that use specific audio. Lastly, Reels users can browse sounds and music, plus Reels clips that feature that audio.