This week in social media news, Instagram announces a new creator discovery feature and dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, Pinterest debuts its first-ever in-product monetization program and an original content series for creators, Snapchat shares tips for optimizing mobile ads on the platform and TikTok reflects on its community’s positive response to longer videos.

Instagram’s New Branded Content Features Help Creators Get Discovered By More Brands

Instagram is testing a handful of new branded content partnership features that aim to help creators and brands connect and partner on the app, including a partner discovery feature for brands, a dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, branded content Reels ads and more.

Why it matters: Instagram continues to amp up its creator monetization tools in an effort to help creators “make a living doing what they love while helping brands drive business outcomes by tapping into new trends and audiences,” it said. 

The debut of its new branded partnership features comes as TikTok just launched its inaugural “Discover List,” highlighting 50 TikTok stars across five categories. In July, TikTok also rolled out the ability for all users to publish videos up to three minutes in length, giving creators the ability to break up videos into two- and three-part series.

The details: First up, Instagram creators can now add participating brands that they’re interested in working with to their preferred brands list using Instagram’s ‘Partner Discovery’ feature. This gives the creator priority when brands are searching for creators to work with.

Instagram has also debuted a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for messages regarding brand partnerships. With the influx of message requests creators receive on a daily basis, this feature will help creators easily identify and sort through opportunities as these messages skip the requests folder and get priority placement.

For brands, this new update means they can use data and unique filters to find and select the right creators for their campaign, then organize shortlists to manage multiple campaigns at once.

Instagram is testing the branded content features with a small group of US creators and brands including e.l.f. Cosmetics, Eva NYC, Dr. Dennis Gross, Hawthorne and Keys Soulcare.

In addition, Instagram is letting brands create branded content Reels ads. With this, creators can enable trusted brand partners to create branded content ads from any of the creator’s tagged feed posts, Stories and Reels featuring the brand.

For the first time, Instagram will let creators boost branded content posted in feed, Stories and Reels right from the app to help expand their content’s reach. Instagram says this feature will roll out globally in the coming months.

Lastly, Instagram is giving creators who are part of its affiliate US test the ability to add a digital storefront to their Instagram profile where they can spotlight all the products they recommend in one place. This digital storefront will appear via the “View Shop” button on their profile which will earn them a commission for the purchases they drive.

Pinterest Debuts Inaugural In-Product Monetization Program And Original Content Series For Creators

At its second annual Pinterest Creators Festival, Pinterest creators helped the app debut a suite of new creator and Pinner products and experiences, including a new “Watch” feed viewing experience, a new product tagging tool via Amazon, an original content series called Creator Originals and a $20 million Creator Rewards program—its first-ever in-product monetization program for creators.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new “Watch” tab enables a feed viewing experience akin to TikTok where the full screen is populated by one video at a time. As per Pinterest:

“Providing both a “watch” and a “browse” option puts the power in users’ hands to choose how they’d like to get inspired. The new experience will be available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android starting today.”

Pinterest’s other new products are aimed at bolstering its creator community. Its new Creator Originals content series will feature over 100 creators across 10 countries who “represent the best of Pinterest.” 

At the same time, a new monetization option will allow creators to make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. Pinterest research shows shoppers who visit Pinterest weekly outspend non-Pinners by 2x every month and have an 85 percent larger basket.

The details: Pinterest is investing $20 million in its new “Creator Rewards” program and other initiatives to support creators. The program is currently available in the US through the app’s all-new global Creator Hub, where creators can manage their Pinterest presence with tools, tips and insights. In addition, Pinterest is providing micro-grants for projects that creators are passionate about or want to bring to life—for example funding a new beauty look or starting a community garden.

On the shoppable Pins front, Pinterest is expanding its product tagging tool to include the Amazon Associates Program so that US creators can add affiliate links from Amazon and earn commission on qualifying purchases.

Pinterest has also integrated Idea Pins with AR Try on, its augmented reality beauty try-on feature. This new capability will enable creators to tag their Idea Pins with a new ‘Try on’ sticker to add lip products.

Creators can also now make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. According to Pinterest:

“The ‘shop similar’ feature uses Pinterest’s visual search technology to recommend Product Pins that are visually similar to the content within the Pin, giving Pinners the ability to shop what they see. With this new feature, Pinterest is enabling visual search on video content for the first time.”

Pinterest is also rolling out a few new tools to help enhance creator community engagement and users’ watching experience. The app’s new “Takes” feature offers a new way for users to respond to a creator’s idea with their own Idea Pin. Pinners’ responses will link back to the creators’ original Idea Pins, and creators can also highlight top takes from Pinners. This feature is available on iOS and Android for Pinners and creators globally.

In redesigning its home feed, Pinterest has also launched the option to “browse” or “watch” content on the app. Its new “watch” tab is a fullscreen feed of Idea Pins users can scroll through while its “browse” tab shows multiple Idea Pins at a time. Starting today, this new feature is available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android.

Snapchat Offers Best Practices For Optimizing Mobile Ads On The Platform

This year, 67 percent of all ecommerce sales will come from mobile. To help brands capitalize on mobile shopping, Snapchat has shared seven tips for running mobile ads on the platform.

Why it matters: As Snapchat notes:

“Snapchat Ads enable your business to connect with Snapchatters in a way that’s conversational and feels organic to the platform. So when our 293 million daily active users3 who spend an average of 30 minutes every day on Snapchat4 come across your ad, it’s in a way that feels non-intrusive and natural to the way they experience the platform.”

The details: Snapchat’s first best practice for running mobile ads on the platform is optimizing site speed and mobile responsiveness, namely reducing the number of plugins, optimizing site images and transferring your site to a more reliable host.

Next, it advises measuring, optimizing and building audiences for your mobile Snapchat ad campaigns with Snap Pixel. This is a piece of JavaScript code placed on your site that allows you to track the actions Snapchatters take across devices.

Snap also suggests choosing the correct ad format to achieve your business goal: select Story Ads to build brand awareness, Collection Ads to showcase your latest products, or Single Image or Video Ad to boost app installs.

In terms of creative best practices, brands should display their products front and center and include a clear call to action that drives people to the desired landing page. Goal-Base Bidding on the platform is another way to optimize ads toward a specific action that a Snap user is most likely to take, whether it’s swiping up or completing a purchase.

After running mobile ads on Snap for a few weeks, increase engagement by broadening your targeting by Snapchatters’ demographics, geographic locations and interests. Lastly, brands should make data-driven decisions by leveraging tools including Snap Pixel, Split Testing and Audience Insights.

TikTok Shares Takeaways From Expanding Video Length Limit To Three Minutes

In July, TikTok expanded its video length limit from 60 seconds to three minutes. Today, TikTok videos longer than one minute receive up to over 5 billion views globally. To understand what drives the popularity of longer videos, including vlogs and day-in-the-life videos, the app is sharing some insight into the phenomenon from social psychology expert Dr. Shira Gabriel, associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo.

Why it matters: According to Dr. Gabriel:

“Entertainment is very personal – what one person finds interesting and inspiring may be very different to their friends or family. Yet vlogs seem universally popular. When we watch vlogs featuring celebrities and personalities, we feel connected to them as we’re getting a peek into their day-to-day lives. By mimicking real-life interactions, video is a powerful tool to help form bonds and relationships. It makes us feel like we belong.”

The details: According to TikTok, creators worldwide embraced creative freedom using longer videos, with videos spanning over two minutes on average. Longer videos are most popular in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan while TikTok users in the US, UK and Brazil engage with longer videos the most.

Based on the positive feedback it’s receiving from creators, TikTok says it will continue to enhance longer videos. To kick that initiative off, TikTok has launched “Discover My World,” where it features popular global creators and celebrities who share longer vlogs.