This week in social media news, Instagram launches shopping in Reels, App Annie says TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2020, Facebook tests a content calendar tool in Creator Studio, Instagram launches a shoppable Christmas catalog curated by UK influencers, YouTube Gaming hits 100 billion hours of watch time, Reddit sees a 52 percent increase in posts year-over-year and more.

Instagram Launches Shopping In Reels

After announcing the feature in October, Instagram has launched shopping in Reels, its TikTok-like feature, enabling brands and creators to tag products in short videos posted to the section, which got its own tab on Instagram last month.

Why it matters: Shopping has become a focal point of the Instagram user experience. In October, the app expanded shopping on IGTV globally, letting users check out in the app or on a seller’s website. With the addition of shopping in Reels, users will now be able to shop from every major touchpoint ON Instagram.

The move also follows TikTok’s announcement of a global partnership with Shopify, which allows Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok campaigns within the Shopify dashboard. TikTok says other in-app shopping features will follow.

The details: With the debut of shopping in Reels also comes a “Branded Content” tag, which will enable Instagram creators to be transparent about sponsorship from brands.

App Annie: TikTok Was The Most Downloaded App In 2020

According to App Annie’s 2020 mobile recap, TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide and the second highest in terms of consumer spend.

Why it matters: Businesses have been able to run targeted ad campaigns on TikTok for a while now, including brand takeovers, branded hashtag challenges and auction-based in-feed video ads, to name a few. But this year, TikTok has ramped up its social commerce efforts through a global partnership with Shopify, which will enable millions of merchants to reach the app’s Gen Z users, a cohort with a spending power of over $140 billion.

The details: Per App Annie, second to TikTok for the most downloaded apps worldwide is Facebook, followed by WhatsApp, Zoom, Instagram, Messenger, Google Meet, Snapchat, Telegram and Likee.

In terms of apps that saw the most consumer spend this year, Tinder came in first, followed by TikTok, YouTube, Disney+, Tencent Video and Netflix.

Facebook also claimed first place for most monthly active users this year, followed by WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and Amazon.

App Annie expects global mobile app and game downloads to hit 130 billion across iOS and Google Play this year, with spend reaching $112 billion—a 25 percent increase year-over-year.

Facebook Tests Content Calendar Tool In Creator Studio Dashboard

Facebook is testing a new content calendar feature in its Creator Studio dashboard that provides creators an overview of past and scheduled posts, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Currently, creators can schedule their Instagram feed and IGTV posts up to six months ahead using Facebook’s Creator Studio tool. This new calendar feature would allow creators to more easily plan their strategy.

The details: As seen in this screenshot posted by Matt Navarra, the new content calendar option shows separate icons for a creator’s activity, including single image updates, IGTV posts and Stories updates.

Instagram Launches Shoppable Christmas Catalog With UK Influencers

Instagram has launched a 12-page shoppable Christmas catalog highlighting a range of products selected by nine UK influencers to spotlight small businesses.  

Why it matters: The influencer-led guide comes just weeks after Instagram debuted a new format for sharing curated shoppable content—Instagram Guides. 

The details: Instagram tapped influencers from different backgrounds, like an LGBT activist and a fashion stylist, to highlight products from their favorite small businesses. Users can shop the products at the bottom right of each catalog page via the “Shop Now” button, which directs users to the brand’s Instagram.

YouTube Gaming Hits 100 Billion Hours Of Watch Time

Like other major gaming platforms, YouTube Gaming has seen explosive growth this year, with 100 billion watch time hours and over 40 million active gaming channels.

Why it matters: The pandemic has accelerated YouTube Gaming’s standing, as it saw 14 percent growth between March and April, and was up 65 percent year-over-year when lockdowns started, according to StreamElements and During that same period, Facebook Gaming saw 72 percent growth between March and April and a 238 percent surge in growth over last year.

The details: After hosting charity tournaments around the world and digital in-game concerts, YouTube Gaming’s pandemic efforts have paid off. The platform reports that it saw over 100 billion hours of gaming content watched globally and has more than 40 million active gaming channels.

Its gaming community is also growing. YouTube reports that more than 80,000 of its gaming creators hit 100,000 subscribers, over 1,000 creators hit 5 million subscribers and over 350 creators reached 10 million subscribers.

Reddit Reveals Key Stats For 2020

In its annual year in review, Reddit shares insights into overall usage for 2020, including number of daily active users, most discussed topics and most upvoted posts.

Why it matters: The company reached 52 million daily active users—a 44 percent increase YoY.

The details: Reddit has seen a significant increase in engagement this year, with 303.4 million posts (up 52 percent YoY), 2 billion comments (up 18.6 percent YoY) and 49.2 billion upvotes (up 54 percent YoY).

Users mentioned COVID more than 50.2 million times while the coronavirus community was the third most popular. Reddit’s unemployment community saw a whopping 48,286 percent YoY growth while its Black Lives Matter community saw a 9,972 percent increase in activity YoY.

Other most discussed activities and topics on Reddit this year include playing video games together, George Floyd, police brutality, work search and career workshops and social distancing, fossil fuels, peanut butter bread and mail-in voting.

Snapchat Announces $3.5 Million Augmented Reality Creator Fund

During the first day of its virtual Lens Fest, Snapchat announced a $3.5 million AR creator fund for 2021, reports CNET.

Why it matters: According to Snapchat, its creator-made AR lenses have been viewed more than a trillion times.

The details: Snap’s $3.5 million fund will provide AR creators with another monetization avenue and enable them to partner with brands for AR-driven ad experiences.

Sophia Dominguez, Snapchat’s head of camera platform partnerships, told CNET:

“I think 2021 is going to be one of those years in which we evolve augmented reality out of this pure communication or social media use case, into things that can actually make our lives better in a much broader way.”

Instagram Tests Timer Listings On Stories

Instagram is testing a new listing under Stories bubbles that shows how much time each Story has left before it disappears, as reported by Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Adding to the addictive nature of the app, the feature could encourage users to engage more often with Stories as they feel pressure to watch them before they erase.

The details: As seen in this screenshot posted by Kyle Harris, Instagram is looking to include a timer at the bottom of each Stories icon, such as “18h left.”

Twitch Updates Its Hateful Conduct And Harassment Policy

Twitch has introduced a new policy around hateful conduct and harassment to take a more consistent and exploit stance against hate after it determined that many users continue to experience harassment and abuse online.

Why it matters: According to Twitch:

“We know that many people on Twitch–particularly women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color–unfortunately continue to experience a disproportionate amount of harassment and abuse online, including on our service. Not only is this blatantly unacceptable, it also undermines the community we’re building on Twitch and threatens the long term viability of streaming as a career for everyone who wishes to pursue it.”

The details: Hateful conduct and harassment have always been prohibited on Twitch, but the platform says this new policy offers more detailed explanations of behaviors, which fall into three categories: harassment, hateful conduct and sexual harassment.

Twitch says it will take action to remove harassment from its service and encourages users to use its report feature to help Twitch identify these issues.

Twitch has added caste, color and immigration status to its list of identity characteristics that its hateful conduct policy protects. In addition, it has specifically prohibited language such as black, brown, yellow and red face unless it’s being used in an explicit educational context.

Sexual harassment is now its own category in Twitch’s policy as the platform has adopted a “much lower tolerance for objectifying or harassing behavior.”

Twitch will walk users through these changes during three live sessions scheduled for December 12, December 16 and January 6.

Snapchat To Host Free Virtual Lens Fest Open To Public

Snapchat is hosting a digital event open to the public called Lens Fest where it will spotlight its Lens Creators community and innovations in augmented reality (AR).

Why it matters: Snapchat continues to develop new AR-enabled functions that are heavily used by both users and developers. According to the platform, over 180 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day, up 37 percent from the previous year. In June, Snap launched the first global sponsored AR try-on lens with Gucci, which let users virtually try on four pairs of sneakers via two different Lenses. More recently, its new anime filter was used more than 3 billion times during its first week of launch.

The details: Snap says Lens Fest will occur in an “immersive, interactive environment” where attendees can access three core sessions daily, demonstrations in Lens Studio, a library of tutorials, a gallery of Lens Creators and more.  

Facebook: Small Business Closure Rates Have Improved But Sales And Demand Still Suffer

Facebook’s sixth “Global State of Small Business Report,” found that closure rates for small companies reached 15 percent in October, down from 26 percent in May. Despite the improvement, small businesses are facing decreased sales and demand.

Why it matters: Impacts on small and medium-size businesses can have greater consequences for the macroeconomy, as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that on average, small and medium businesses account for 75 percent of employment in sectors directly affected by lockdowns across OECD member countries.

The details: One in four small business owners report that they’ve increased or greatly increased their proportion of digital sales during the pandemic. Still, 55 percent of those that remain open reported lower sales in October compared to the same month in 2019.

Since the start of the pandemic, 31 percent of female business leaders surveyed have spent more time on domestic tasks compared to 26 percent of male business leaders.

Given many expect lack of demand and reduced cash flow will persist, more than half of business leaders surveyed in October expressed concerns about being able to financially support their families, up six percentage points since May.

For each wave of Facebook’s small business survey, a random sample of Facebook page administrators are invited to participate in the repeated cross-section, which included nearly 25,000 businesses per wave over six waves, the equivalent of more than 150,000 businesses in total.

Twitter Rolls Out Frequency Caps Globally For Ads

Twitter has introduced frequency caps for ads on Twitter globally, enabling advertisers to set a limit on the number of times each user is shown their ad within a given time period.

Why it matters: As per Twitter:

“From our research, we found that up to 80% of the overall potential impact on Ad Recall and Brand Awareness occurs within the first 2 exposures per week of a campaign.”

Moving down the funnel, Twitter observed a need for a slightly higher frequency to drive lift. Though increased weekly frequency adds further value, the impact of each added weekly exposure declines relative to the first immersions, according to Twitter.

The details: Starting today, Twitter’s ad frequency caps will be available within ad group details for its reach, engagement, video views and pre-roll views objectives.

The frequency caps will allow advertisers to redistribute impressions to new users, control how many times someone sees their ad and offer more control over media delivery.