This week in social media news, Pinterest adds 26 million more monthly active users in Q3, TikTok and Postmates team up to offer four creator-inspired treats in Los Angeles, Instagram extends the time limit for Live videos to four hours, TikTok announces a global partnership with Shopify, Pinterest rolls out a new suite of tools for merchants, Facebook publishes new research on optimal ad frequency and more.

Pinterest Adds 26 Million More Users In Q3

Pinterest’s Q3 performance report shows it added 26 million more monthly active users (MAUs) in Q3, making its total MAU 442 million. In addition, Pinterest’s revenue grew 58 percent year-over-year.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s growth amid the pandemic is a testament to its efforts to boost the online shopping experience for users, most recently through a new suite of merchant tools that lets brands reach more holiday shoppers.

The details: Pinterest says that particular strength in Q3 came from Pinners under the age of 25, a trend it has seen for several quarters. Pinners in COVID-19, who come to the platform for a specific purpose rather than general inspiration, had higher retention and higher engagement than a cohort of new users during the same period last year, according to the report.

Pinterest also notes that revenue from both conversion optimization and shopping ads continued to grow much faster than its overall revenue.

TikTok Teams With Postmates To Deliver Creator-Led Treats In Los Angeles

TikTok and Postmates have teamed up to bring to life some viral TikTok food trends for delivery in Los Angeles now through November 22. As part of the activation, foodies can order four different treats through exclusive L.A.-based merchants.

Why it matters: According to TikTok, foodie communities have grown “exponentially” on the platform in the past year, which has inspired creators to share their ideas on TikTok videos that have garnered views in the billions.

The details: Through delivery via Postmates, TikTok is offering four treats inspired by creators including pancake cereal through B Sweet, cloud bread available from Dialog Cafe, a bento box available through Sweetfin and whipped coffee from Coffee N’ Clothes.

Instagram Extends Live Time Limit And Will Soon Add Live Archive

Instagram is expanding the time limit for Instagram Live videos from one to four hours for all users worldwide starting today, the company announced. In addition, the app will introduce an option to archive livestreams and a new “Live Now” section in the IGTV app to boost the discoverability of users’ Live videos.

Why it matters: The updates are meant to help users like chefs, artists, fitness instructors and other users who were forced to pivot to Instagram Live events during the pandemic. In March, there was a 70 percent surge in Instagram Live usage.

The details: Instagram users can now go live for up to four hours. Soon, users will be able to archive their Live videos for 30 days before they’re deleted. Lastly, Instagram will add a “Live Now” section in the IGTV app and on the explore page so users can discover more Live videos.

TikTok Boosts Social Commerce With Shopify Partnership

TikTok has announced a global partnership with Shopify to help its 1 million-plus merchants create and run campaigns geared toward TikTok users.

Why it matters: In a recent TikTok study, 88 percent of users said that they discover new content that they enjoy while using the app. And about half of TikTok users said they find new products through advertisements posted by a product or brand.

The details: Through a new TikTok channel for Shopify, Shopify merchants can access core functions of TikTok’s Business Ads Manager without leaving the Shopify dashboard. Through this dashboard, merchants can install or connect their TikTok Pixel with one click, target audiences, track performance and use TikTok’s creative tools. 

Plus, TikTok is offering a $300 ad credit for eligible merchants to jumpstart their first TikTok campaign. The new channel is now available in the US and will roll out to international markets in early 2021.

TikTok has also partnered with Shopify on #ShopBlack, a co-branded in-app campaign that will spotlight black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The activation will include a custom branded effect, music and content from top creators. From November 10-15, users can explore products from over 40 Shopify merchants through the hashtag #ShopBlack.

Pinterest Announces New Suite Of Merchant Tools

Pinterest wants to help retailers reach more customers this holiday season and revive the experience of offline shopping for Pinners, so it’s introducing a new suite of tools including a new storefront profile, automatic bidding, conversion insights, an improved product tagging test and more.

Why it matters: Pinterest says that searches for queries like “christmas gift ideas” spiked as early as April. In addition, the number of Pinners engaging with shopping surfaces on Pinterest has grown over 85 percent in the past six months.

The details: First up, merchants can transform their shop tab into a storefront with featured in-stock products organized by category. When Pinners search for shopping-related ideas, they’ll see recommended brands based on the product category.

Next, Pinterest says it’s testing an improved product tagging tool that enables merchants to tag their own scene images with exact products.

Pinterest has also made the process of uploading merchants’ catalogs and activating shopping ads faster. This includes the merging of catalogs and collections, which will let brands select a main asset and a corresponding product group to create a multi-image ad unit. According to Pinterest, advertisers who used collections saw a six to 18 percent increase in average total basket size.

Advertisers can now utilize automatic bidding for catalog sales in their Pinterest ad campaigns.

Also part of the new update is a more granular look at conversion performance, which Pinterest summarizes in a funnel via its visualizations tool.

Facebook Publishes New Research On Optimal Ad Frequency

To help advertisers understand the optimal ad frequency, Facebook did an analysis of 2,439 campaigns that ran between November 2019 and March 2020 around the world.

Why it matters: The research shows that more impressions are associated with better action intent and ad recall rates.

The details: As per Facebook:

“It also revealed that there tends to be a plateau, with the positive results no longer increasing as significantly after a handful of impressions. Although the research does not take into account campaign duration, it does suggest that, after a point, brands receive less and less benefit from reaching the same person.”

Facebook says that to achieve optimal frequency and enhance campaign effectiveness, advertisers should embrace creative testing and optimization. To do so, determine when the plateau is reached and use high-quality creative.

Snapchat Adds Barcode Scanning Feature For Food And Wine Labels

After announcing some new additions for its Snap Camera at its annual partner summit in June, Snapchat has launched a new function that lets users scan food and wine labels, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The new scanning option is part of Snapchat’s larger efforts to bolster its visual recognition capacity and follows the app’s addition of a dog breed scanner during the summer. Though Snapchatters long been able to identify products via Amazon and songs via Shazam using the tool.

The details: When scanning a barcode for certain food items, Snapchat will display a new set of nutritional information for that item. Upon scanning wine bottles, Snapchat will provide data such as ratings, prices and places to buy the wine via an integration with third party apps like Yuka and Vivino.

Instagram Vows To Crack Down On Influencers Who Don’t Disclose Paid Partnerships

After a recent investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found many Instagram influencers were failing to clearly label if they’ve been paid for a post, Instagram has announced that it will launch new tools globally that will require influencers to disclose endorsement before they can publish their post.

Why it matters: The move marks a momentous step toward eradicating the ambiguity around influencer posts, which if not clearly labeled as #ad, have the potential to mislead consumers. According to a Harvard Business Review study, in late 2018, 88 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe that influencers, in general, recommend brands because they are paid to do so.

The details: As part of Instagram’s initiative, ahead of posting users will be prompted to confirm whether they’ve been paid to promote a product. In addition, Instagram’s “paid partnership” tool will be extended to all users globally.

Covering all its bases, Instagram has also said it will deploy technology and algorithms to assess when influencers haven’t disclosed if their post is an #ad.

Additionally, Instagram will create a tool that enables advertisers to understand how their products are being promoted with the option of removing unauthorized or inadequately labeled posts.

The new changes will take effect by June 2021.

Google Expands Visual Search Features To Enhance Shopping And Remote Learning Experiences

Google has expanded its search-based features to include new ways to use Google Lens and augmented reality (AR) for remote learning and shopping, per a company blog post.

Why it matters: Google’s new tools aim to streamline consumers’ experiences during the pandemic, a time when most are adjusting to remote learning and avoiding in-store shopping.

The details: First up, Google Lens can now recognize 15 billion things, up from 1 billion two years ago. Lens can translate more than 100 languages, plus it can pronounce words and sentences out loud. Lens can assist parents with their children’s remote learning via step-by-step guides and videos on foundational concepts to solve math, chemistry, biology and physics problems.

Next, users soon will be able to use Lens to discover new apparel while browsing on their phone. When you tap and hold an image on the Google app or Chrome on Android, Lens will pinpoint the exact or similar items, and suggest ways to style it.

Lastly, Google is testing a feature in the US that will let car shoppers search for a car on Google and see an AR model right in front of them.

Facebook Debuts New Messenger API To Support Businesses On Instagram

Facebook has announced new MessengerAPI features that enable businesses to integrate their Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows.

Why it matters: Up until now, businesses could only respond to customer DMs through Facebook’s unified business box and the Instagram app, making it harder for bigger brands to manage a large number of messages. Facebook says that over the last year, total daily conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram grew over 40 percent.

The details: This new update means businesses can manage messages initiated by customers throughout their Instagram presence, including their profile, shops and stories.

The update will also bring Facebook Shops messaging features to the Messenger API.

Messenger API support for Instagram is in beta with brands like Adidas, Glossier and Nars currently testing it. Businesses who are interested in using the API post-beta can sign up for the waitlist.

Facebook Publishes New Insights On Groups Usage During Pandemic

Facebook has released the results of a 15-country study it conducted with YouGov in August among 15,000 people who are currently members of online and in-person communities to understand how the role of groups has changed since the pandemic. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said the most important group they’re part of now operates online.

Why it matters: The study follows the launch of Facebook’s new features aimed at making it easier for users to chat in groups, hold Q&A sessions and share a photo about a particular topic.

The details: According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents said they have given some form of support to others during the pandemic through their preferred group.

In addition, 98 percent of people who are part of an online group said they feel a sense of belonging to that group while 33 percent said they feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with their group than with their friends and family.

Community leaders enhanced the group experience as 58 percent of respondents said that one of the top qualities that makes a community successful is having effective leaders.

Snapchat Launches New ‘Sounds’ Music Feature

Snapchat has launched a new feature for iOS Snapchatters globally called ‘Sounds’ that lets users add music clips from a catalog of music from emerging and established artists to their videos.

Why it matters: Snapchat is following in the footsteps of TikTok, where music capabilities have boosted the popularity of viral dance challenges and TikTok creators’ videos in general.

The details: Snapchat says it has multi-year agreements with major and independent publishers and labels such as Warner Music Group, Merlin, NMPA, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt, Warner Chappell Music and BMG Music Publishing.

When a Snapchatter receives a Snap with sounds, they can swipe up to view the album art, song title and artist’s name. A “Play This Song” link then lets users listen to the full song on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.

Snapchat’s ‘Sounds’ kicked off with an exclusive debut of Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco’s new song, “Lonely.”

In the coming months, Snapchat will roll out a feature worldwide that lets users create their own sounds and add them to Snaps.

TikTok Announces Partnership With HackerOne To Enhance User Data Privacy

Timed to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, TikTok has announced a partnership with HackerOne and a series of TikTok videos showing users how to create strong passwords.

Why it matters: In recent months, TikTok has ramped up efforts to protect user data and increase transparency around its practices as a way to quell the federal government’s concerns over the app’s ties to China.

The details: TikTok is expanding its existing vulnerability disclosure policy to a global public bug bounty program through its partnership with HackerOne, whose clients include the US Department of Defense and General Motors. As per the blog post, the partnership will help TikTok uncover potential threats to its security.

TikTok’s #BeCyberSmart video series will feature TikTok employees instructing users on how to make complex passwords, use a password manager to better protect their accounts and more cyber security tips.

Zoom Debuts Paid Events Online Platform ‘OnZoom’

Zoom has launched an events platform and marketplace called OnZoom that enables paid users to create, host and monetize one-time events, drop-ins and event series for up to 1,000 attendees.

Why it matters: The debut of Zoom’s digital events platform comes just a day after the company announced it’s rolling out one of four of its end-to-end encryption meeting options. The platform’s security measures came under scrutiny during the pandemic as users complained of uninvited guests gate-crashing Zoom meetings and bombarding attendees.

The details: With OnZoom, paid Zoom users will be able to schedule and host online events, list and sell tickets, share and promote public events via email and social media and reach new audiences.

The marketplace will feature a directory of public events where users can purchase tickets online, pay for events via PayPal and major credit cards and donate to nonprofit organizations through events with active fundraisers. In addition, users can favorite, share and rate OnZoom events.

TikTok Increases Brand Safety Measures Via Partnership With OpenSlate

TikTok has announced a partnership with the brand safety platform OpenSlate to give advertisers confidence about the placement of their ads.

Why it matters: On its way to the top of the app charts, TikTok has faced various allegations, from compromising user data to encouraging questionable content, giving advertisers concerns around brand safety.

The details: Through the TikTok Brand Safety Solution tool, verified by OpenSlate, TikTok will apply a “high level of safety” to verify and filter content and categories that appear next to branded ads and content. The partnership will enable brands to know and track where their ads are running