While the world crescendos into chaos as Election Day nears, Snapchat has been living the dream.
Since the release of Instagram Stories years back, Snapchat had been struggling to regain the market and engagement they once owned. With ad spending down due to the pandemic cutting many businesses’ marketing budgets, one would think that the social platform would have fallen further.
Instead, the opposite happened.
With more people online than ever before, Snapchat reaped 52% YoY revenue growth and has grown to reach over 250 million daily active users. Among this growing audience, the platform reaches 75% of all 13- to 34-year-olds in the US, making it one of the best platforms for targeting younger audiences.
In other social news, Twitch is facing backlash from the streamer community for deleting loads of copyrighted material per The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Where the act gives individuals the option to appeal, though, Twitch failed to give affected streamers the chance.
For those of you with businesses that use social, TikTok and Snapchat included, here are the October updates you need to know to make the most of each platform.
#BuyBlack Friday: This month, Facebook announced a plan to support black-owned businesses affected by COVID-19. Throughout November, the platform will be hosting online events celebrating black culture, posting #BuyBlack gift guides and providing businesses with guides on how to utilize these features for themselves.
Group Admins Celebrate: A new Facebook feature gives group admins the ability to automate post moderation. They can set up filters based on keywords, number of posts per user, the length of time a user has been in the group, links added and more. This will free up a huge chunk of admin time and streamline posting.
Chat Within Groups: Also new to groups this month are interactive post features like Q&A hosting and chat within groups. The latter gives group members the option to have smaller conversations with each other the way they would in messenger but without leaving the group page. The goal is to improve group discussions and connectedness.
Updating Brand Collabs: In last month’s roundup, we discussed the new option for brands to promote within Facebook Groups. This month, the Brand Collabs Manager tool updated to include a groups promotion section where businesses can search through potential group candidates – essentially a dating app for groups and brands.
Group Hashtags Evolve: Facebook has long integrated the use of hashtags into its platform, but this month they announced a new feature that allows group members to use themed Group hashtags in their posts to organize group topics. These hashtags make posts pinnable to the top of a group’s feed. This will be useful for more relevant, important or urgent posts. Pinned posts can also save time by answering frequently asked questions.
Kings of Surveillance: A project long in the works, Facebook’s oversight board is finally ready to take on cases. The board, made up of 40 independent international members, will decide on whether Facebook’s moderation choices are valid, creating an opportunity to protect safe, free speech while removing some responsibility from the platform itself.
Make More Money: Among a host of new Instagram features is the ability to add product tags to your Instagram ads, where before you could only add them to posts. Product tags include information like product name, price and description, making the buying process more efficient for customers, thus increasing the likelihood of conversion.
Uncovering Hidden Ads: Despite legal obligations, influencers continue to share promotional posts without being forthright about the content’s nature. All it takes is adding #ad or #sponsored in the caption, but many won’t include the note or hide it so a viewer has to extend the text to see it. To promote transparency, Instagram is working on a new algorithm and prompt that will encourage influencers to be honest and spot those who aren’t.
Age Matters: In an attempt to make the platform safer for younger users, Instagram has added features that help age-sensitive brands to better filter their viewership. While brands could already set their profile to only be accessible to certain age groups, they can now set post-specific limitations for posts that may be inappropriate. This gives brands more posting freedoms without blocking entire segments of potential followers.
Livestreams Lengthen: As businesses accept the changes that COVID-19 has wrought, more are starting to host events online. To make Instagram more conducive to the new way of life, the platform has extended the maximum length of livestreams from one hour to four. You can also now archive your livestreams for up to 30 days without having to post them to IGTV.
All Eyes: Snapchat’s recent growth has lead to increased viewership for its Discover content, making it a great place for advertisers. To capitalize on this, Snapchat is now offering advertisers a first commercial advertising option in the US and UK. Purchasing first commercial guarantees that your ad is the first one shown to users watching a piece of content, thus securing higher impressions and engagement.
The New Google: Snapchat has continued to upgrade its image recognition capabilities and now allows users to scan product images and barcodes to learn more about the product. Information collected from a range of 3rd party sources includes reviews, nutritional information and even available discounts.
Think Twice: Twitter is stepping up to the plate to discourage the spread of misinformation and encourage healthy, intelligent conversation with a “read before you retweet” prompt. It will ask users to read articles (not just headlines) before sharing, and early studies show that it has a successful impact on user behavior.
Home Sweet Home: With the iOS 14 update encouraging users to customize their homescreens, Pinterest took advantage of the opportunity to release a new widget this month. The widget lets users sync any Pinterest board with their homescreen to change their background image. They can customize their own boards and themes and even set preferences for how often photos switch out.
Embracing E-commerce: In an attempt to better monetize the app, WhatsApp announced that it will be releasing new business features, some of which require a fee to use, that will encourage shopping in-app. These will include e-commerce functions that allow users to browse and buy items in chat, increasing conversion opportunities for businesses.
More on WFH: In further response to the work from home movement, LinkedIn has partnered with several video platforms, including Zoom, to make it easy for users to initiate video calls within the platform’s chat function. The feature is easy to set up and means less navigating between platforms for busy professionals.
The Newest Couple: While the potential ban on TikTok remains unresolved, the platform continues to expand. Its newest move involves a partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify. The partnership allows businesses to create and track TikTok ads within Shopify as well as direct traffic from TikTok videos to their Shopify website.
We will continue to update this list as new social media features arrive. Keep an eye out for our monthly roundups, and check out recent months in case you missed something.