This week in social media news, Reddit announces third-party certification for ad views with Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat, Instagram adds new audio features to Reels, Facebook rolls out holiday-themed augmented reality effects on Messenger Desktop, Facebook Gaming debuts new monetization features for livestream chats, TikTok updates its community guidelines, YouTube publishes a 2020 digital trends recap and more.

Reddit Announces Integration With Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat

Reddit is partnering with Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat to provide third-party certification on Reddit ad views, marking the platform’s first viewability measurement collaboration.

Why it matters: The announcement comes after Reddit, which has 52 million daily active users, debuted stricter brand safety controls this year, including a Limited Inventory tier.

The details: As Reddit notes, the latest integration with Moat aims to produce more in-depth campaign performance metrics to help advertisers maximize awareness and reach. Advertisers who already have a relationship with Moat can access their Reddit data through their own Moat dashboard. Reddit will provide a Moat report to those who don’t have an existing relationship.

The server-to-server integration, which is currently in the Alpha phase and open to a limited number of partners, has already delivered promising results. Reddit says that across campaigns, its native in-feed ads outperformed Moat’s in-view rate benchmark by up to 17 percent.

The integration will be more broadly available in early 2021.

Instagram Introduces New Audio Tools To Reels

Instagram is testing a variety of new features for Reels and Stories, including TikTok-like audio and camera options, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The addition of new audio features, Audio Mix and Voice-over, brings Reels one step closer to competing against TikTok, where music-powered videos were popularized.

The details: Audio Mix and Voice-over, two features spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, enable users to add either a music clip or voice clip to their Reels. Navarra also found that Instagram has added a ‘Reels’ watermark to the top left of clips—another feature copied from TikTok.

Additionally, Social Media Today reports that Lindsey Gamble has discovered a new ‘Edit Clips’ option in Reels, which gives users greater control over editing clips.

As for Instagram Stories, Amrit Kumar has spotted a new ‘Camera Booth’ feature that lets users snap several photos in sequence.

Facebook Adds New Augmented Reality Effects, Filters To Messenger Desktop

After launching the Messenger Desktop app in April, Facebook is rolling out new holiday-themed AR effects, filters and immersive 360-degree backgrounds for people to use during group video calls on Messenger and Messenger Rooms. 

Why it matters: The updated backgrounds arrived just in time for virtual company holiday parties on Messenger Rooms. Facebook launched the Zoom competitor during lockdowns when video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled.

The details: Users can choose from a variety of AR effects including a winter village, festive lights, a grumpy yeti, a Christmas elf, gold new year and snow day. New holiday stickers for Messenger Desktop include a Hanukkah with dreidel stickers, Christmas stickers and “Bye 2020” New Year’s Eve stickers.

Facebook Gaming Debuts Two New Livestream Chat Monetization Features 

As Facebook Gaming steadily grows, the company announced that it’s testing two new monetization features in gaming livestream chats and a discounted Stars activation that lets fans buy Stars at a reduced price.

Why it matters: Over the past year, Facebook says gaming creators have received more than 5 billion Stars, the equivalent of $50 million. In addition, it has more than 2,000 creators making more than $1,000 per month from Stars, fan subscriptions and ads.

The details: The first new monetization feature Facebook Gaming is rolling out for livestream chats will include larger Stars, which will receive a more highlighted comment lit up in a bright pink and purple gradient.

The second is a new Stars ticker that automatically pins large Stars comments to the bottom of the chat window for a period of time. 

The two new features are currently being tested and will roll out to more users soon.

In addition, Facebook Gaming’s holiday Stars activation, running from December 15 to January 1, will enable fans to purchase Stars at a reduced price, receive a unique badge for sending one and send a limited time “Hand Raise” virtual gift.

TikTok Updates Its Community Guidelines To Support Users’ Mental Health

TikTok has updated its Community Guidelines to reflect the mental health needs of its users, as well as to provide clarification on the types of content that are unwelcome on the app. In addition, it’s launching opt-in viewing screens atop videos that some may find graphic or disturbing.

Why it matters: TikTok has always been explicit about the importance of its users’ mental health, providing guidance and public health information from experts on topics ranging from the pandemic to bullying. In October for World Mental Health Day, it debuted a network of self-care ambassadors, popular TikTok creators who published advice-driven content around mental health and well-being.

The details: TikTok’s new guidelines incorporate feedback and language used by mental health experts with the goal of preventing content that displays or makes mention of self-injury behaviors and eating disorders.

The platform also strengthened its policies on bullying and harassments, making more explicit what types of content are prohibited, including doxxing and cyberstalking. In addition, it has bolstered its policy against sexual harassment.

TikTok has added a harmful activities section to its minor safety policy to reiterate videos that promote dangerous dares and games.

Lastly, TikTok says its guidelines around dangerous individuals and organizations now describe in greater detail what’s considered a threat or incitement to violence.

YouTube Publishes 2020 Digital Culture And Trends Report

In a video recap, YouTube’s head of culture and trends Kevin Allocca has shared the biggest 2020 digital trends. Based on its global team’s ongoing data analysis and a new survey it conducted with Ipsos, the findings reinforce that gaming, livestreaming and DIY content had a strong year.

Why it matters: Lockdown-induced behavior gave YouTube a huge boost this year. In Q3, its ad revenue grew to $5 billion, from $3.8 billion in Q3 2019, and it reported a total of 30 million music/premium paid subscribers and 3 million YouTube TV subscribers.

The details: According to the full findings, YouTube’s total daily livestreams grew 45 percent in the first half of 2020. Over half (58 percent) of livestream viewers report that watching livestreams helps them feel connected to something bigger than themselves, specifically noting how fun the live comment feed is. In addition, 56 percent of people agree that watching livestreams can be just as good as being at an event in person.  

People flocked to YouTube for DIY content even more this year. In fact, 82 percent said they used YouTube during 2020 to learn to do something themselves. And videos with variations of “beginner” in the title garnered over 9 billion views globally this year.

Creators took advantage of lockdowns to start their own channel or grow their current audience. New channels trying to build an audience on YouTube were up 95 percent. YouTube and Ipsos’ survey shows that 58 percent of people are open to watching digital content made by creators of any age, and 47 percent are open to watching content from fictional or virtual characters or creators.

Gaming in general also saw explosive growth this year, with 73 percent of people reporting they watched gaming on online video platforms this year.

LinkedIn Launches New Product Pages

LinkedIn has announced a new “Products” tab, which will allow company pages to showcase product endorsements and testimonials by users. 

Why it matters: LinkedIn says its goal with Product Pages is “to build the world’s premier marketplace.” Currently, LinkedIn has more than 10,000 Product Pages across the business-to-business (B2B) software category.

The details: The new Product Pages lets marketers and social media managers highlight products, gather ratings from current users and generate leads with a custom call-to-action button via videos or product screenshots, descriptions and more. The feature also lets you specify the job roles that best fit your product’s purpose.

In its FAQ, LinkedIn says the Product Pages are reserved for tangible product offerings to the market.

Twitter Doubles Down On Third-Party Brand Safety Measurement Solutions

In an effort to elevate its third-party brand safety solutions, Twitter has announced a partnership with DoubleVerify (DV) and Integral Ad Science (IAS) to provide independent reporting on the context of Twitter ads.

Why it matters: Early research from Twitter’s data science teams show that on the platform, adjacency between ads and divisive content hasn’t yet been found to affect brand favorability.

The details: In addition to announcing its partnership with DV and IAS, Twitter has shared more details around its commitment to undergo accreditation across the Media Ratings Council’s four pillars, including viewability, audience measurement, sophisticated invalid traffic filtration and brand safety. Twitter says it has already begun the proposal process for brand safety accreditation.

Twitter Announces Tweet Integration With Snapchat Stories

Twitter announced that iOS users can now share tweets directly to their Snapchat Stories, and will soon test the integration for Instagram Stories.

Why it matters: Given people share tweets everywhere across social media, the integration will help drive more users from Snapchat and Instagram to Twitter at a time when Twitter’s growth has slowed due to the pandemic. In Q3, it reported a net gain of only 1 million daily active users—its slowest growth in at least three years.

The details: To share a tweet in Snapchat, users can tap the “share” icon on a tweet then select the Snapchat icon at the bottom of the share menu. This will create a sticker of the tweet, which, once shared, will link back to the tweet on Twitter where you can view the whole conversation.

Twitter says that soon it will test sharing a tweet as a sticker on Instagram Stories for iOS.

LinkedIn Tests Ads In LinkedIn Stories

After rolling out LinkedIn Stories globally in September, LinkedIn is testing ads within Stories in a closed beta.

Why it matters: LinkedIn says that to date, more than 600 advertisers have run campaigns on the platform with “positive performance in clicks, views and cost metrics.”

The details: Marketers will be able to run full-screen video and single-image ads in vertical and square formats using LinkedIn’s range of targeting tools. The ads will be served to users in between members’ Stories and LinkedIn Page Stories atop the mobile app.

Snapchat Shares Insight Into Users’ Holiday Shopping Trends

Snapchat recently shared findings that highlight what holiday shopping for its global Gen Z user base will look like this year.

Why it matters: The pandemic has already caused Snapchatters to shift their buying habits as one-third of them globally report that they’re making more purchases on their phones than they previously had.

The details: For 52 percent of Snapchat users, buying gifts is a big part of the holidays. Nearly half of US and UK Snapchatters also buy presents for their friends during the holidays. Just a little over half of users in the UK and US say that their friends rely on their recommendations when deciding what to buy and use. Additionally, Snapchatters’ favorite large retailers to buy from include Nike, Amazon, Adidas and Zara.

Pinterest Publishes Its 2021 Predictions Report

Pinterest has published its “Pinterest Predicts” report, which features over 150 trends the platform anticipates will rise in 2021.

Why it matters: Pinterest says that 80 percent of its 2020 trend projections came true, including the rise of global influencers, outdoor-inspired searches, thrifted home decor, at-home music rooms and 2000s fashion.

The details: According to Pinterest, next year the major trends in travel will include car date nights, RV accessories and luxury vacations. Wellbeing trends will include protection crystals, manifestation techniques and bath tea recipes, while food and beverage trends will include tomatillo enchilada sauce, breakfast charcuterie boards and bread art. Home trends will include neon rooms, minimalist bathroom design and copper cookware, fashion trends will include oversized outfits, quilted clothes and jean painting ideas and lastly, beauty trends will include face yoga exercises, indie nails and knotless box braids.