Every month in social media news, our favorite platforms are still implementing new features to enhance users’ experience online, especially to help brands highlight their best products and push users down the marketing funnel.
And now, with the world crisis we’re currently facing, social networks are focusing more than ever on their users’ needs, and how to improve social interactions in a social distancing context.
In our ‘What’s trending in social media news’ series, our social media marketing experts reveal the major updates that you should know about each month, in order to stay on top of your followers’ feeds.
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Changes and updates to cope with the COVID-19 situation
In the next few weeks, users may experience delays in ad reviews, so Facebook recommends to submit them for approval long before they’re actually needed, in order to keep time for any adjustments. Facebook is banning ads around magic cures, sanitizer or masks to prevent exploitation of the fear around the virus. The company is also working on reducing misinformation with a feature that allows WhatsApp or Messenger users to quickly research ads shared in one of these apps.
Roll out of the new Facebook interface
Facebook has just unveiled its redesign for a cleaner, faster and more contemporary interface, carried throughout the desktop and mobile apps. In this update, the dark mode is made available for desktop users. The Facebook news feed is changing a lot, with an emphasis made on social interactions to place friends and family at the core of the experience.
New “Mood” released for Stories Frames
Facebook users can now quickly create GIF-centric images for their Stories, thanks to the new “Mood” mode.
Generate 3D visuals from your pics
Facebook mobile app users can now turn ordinary 2D pictures into 3D images with a new feature that uses machine learning. The rendered 3D image can be viewed from different perspectives by tilting, rotating or scrolling the image. Before this feature was rolled out, it was only made possible with a smartphone equipped with a dual camera.
Instagram is ramping up efforts fighting COVID-19 misinformation and has just launched a series of features to help cope with it and develop healthy behavior during the pandemic.
Promotion of reliable content on COVID-19
For a few weeks now, Instagram has been offering a dedicated COVID-19 section in its search results, for countries affected by the pandemic. Instagram is also connecting users with World Health Organization (WHO) resources and other reliable sources of information through in-app search results and is implementing a more aggressive moderation of coronavirus-related content from the Explore tab.
Co-Watching : watch photos with your friends during a video call
This feature allows you to make a video call from Instagram Direct (Instagram’s messaging service) and click on the dedicated icon at the bottom right of your screen. You can now browse and watch together recorded, liked or recommended photos or videos.
“Stay Home” Story and Sticker to encourage social distancing
Users can now add the “Stay Home” Sticker to their Stories to promote that they’re staying home and practicing social distancing to stay safe. Using this Sticker, these Stories are curated into the “Stay Home” group Story that gathers together Stories from other users that have also applied the Stay Home sticker.
Roll out of the donation sticker
Late March, Instagram added a COVID-19 section to their Donation sticker so users can find related nonprofits more easily and invite their contacts to support a cause. The sticker will soon be available in additional countries.
Use Snapchat filters in calls
Snapchat funny filters are now available for remote meeting tools – that we all rely on these days, more than ever! – thanks to a dedicated app called Snap Camera. With this app, available on MacOs and PC, users can try thousands of Snapchat filters in Zoom, Hangout or Skype video calls, as well as streaming platforms like Youtube or Twitch.
LinkedIn Stories are coming!
In the coming months, LinkedIn will bring a professional version of the stories format allowing brands to share content during 24 hours. This type of content is a great opportunity to showcase thought leadership in a snackable format, like video, and point to a company’s website or blog and engage quickly with the audience. Displayed in a full-screen mode, they will likely also include a messaging feature,
It’s official: Twitter is testing its Stories format
We announced it last month, and it is now live for Brazil users: Twitter’s stories format is being trialed and is called “Fleets”, a mix between fleeting and tweets. Fleets are made up of text, images, videos or GIFs. Just like Facebook, Youtube or Instagram stories, Fleets will disappear after 24 hours and users can’t retweet or comment on them publicly. They will be a great opportunity to engage quickly with brands audience on the platform.
Facebook is stepping on Pinterest’s toes
With more than 320 million users, Pinterest is the third largest social network in the United States. To protect its rear, Facebook is launching a cooking, DIY and artwork sharing app called “Hobbi”, currently available in a few countries like Colombia, Belgium, Spain and Ukraine. According to a statement made by Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, Pinterest does not yet feel threatened by the new Hobbi app, as it offers a noticeably smaller amount of features than Pinterest.
A new user interface on mobile?
Facebook is testing a new newsfeed interface for its mobile app, with three tabs that would allow users to filter posts on their timeline by preferences. The goal is to make the newsfeed more dynamic and appealing, and to empower Facebook users by allowing them to filter by “relevant”, “recent” or “seen” posts.
TikTok will compete with Byte
Vine creator Dom Hofmann is back… with a vengeance. After announcing his new project over a year ago, 6-second video sharing application Byte (just like its predecessor, Vine) is now available for download. TikTok might feel especially concerned that the new app’s name sounds pretty similar to ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok. Stay tuned!
LinkedIn has implemented a new “Featured” section
Users will now see a “Featured” section beneath their “About” section on their profile page. This section will allow users to showcase samples of work – which may include videos, images, documents, website links, or any LinkedIn posts that they have previously published. This is a great way to enhance a profile page and to direct people towards value-added content. Take this opportunity to showcase a your brand – with a corporate video, for instance!
The “Stories” format is coming to Twitter
Twitter remains one of the only social networks that has yet to jump onto the “Stories mania” train… but not for long. The social network announced in February that it has recently acquired Chroma Labs, whose Chroma Stories app (created by John Barnett of Instagram’s Boomerang fame) will soon be integrated into the platform. The Chroma Labs employees will now join Twitter teams to help further develop visual storytelling capabilities through the vertical video format for the social network.
Better control over user data
Facebook is starting to allow its 1 billion+ users to better manage the data that is collected by the social network, and shared with third party sites. With this tool, announced almost 2 years ago, users will be able to review all data collected and shared with partners outside the social network in order to better target ads. One of Facebook’s main priorities for the next decade is to reinforce privacy and control for its users.
Facebook will not integrate ads in Whatsapp
Back in May 2019, Facebook’s Whatsapp announced it would soon integrate advertising in status updates. Facebook has since backed off from this plan to sell ads for placements on the chat platform, allowing Whatsapp to remain ad-free.
Categories for Instagram subscribers
Instagram has made it easier for users to search for the accounts they are following by adding categories. This new feature will automatically sort all accounts in each user’s “Following” section by engagement, topic, or date.
3 new effects on Instagram’s Boomerang
Boomerang is Instagram’s app that takes a series of photos and stitches them together to generate a high-quality mini video. Instagram recently added 3 new special effects – SlowMo, Echo and Duo – to the Boomerang app. These new features also come with the ability to edit the duration of the captured short-form video.
Tik Tok updated its Terms of Service
Popular video creation app TikTok, highly focused on Gen Z, released its new Terms of Service early January. It includes details on forbidden content from harmful or dangerous organizations, and takes a stand against blackmailing and kidnapping.
Twitter automatically converts iOS Live Photos into animated GIFs
Twitter now supports Live Photos, which will be converted into animated GIFs once live on the platform. This is another step the company is taking to make the platform more user-friendly, as Live Photos could previously only be seen as such on iOS devices.
Facebook just launched Facebook Pay for its apps
On November 12th, the social network announced that it has launched Facebook Pay, a payment experience available on all its platforms and apps: first on the core Facebook and Messenger apps, and then on Instagram and WhatsApp. The goal is to make payments between its users easier and even more secure throughout the apps. That’s a great opportunity to promote your latest products on the platform and make user experience even easier.
Facebook is losing users in France and Germany
According to a recent study by eMarketer, Facebook is losing users in some European countries like France and Germany. In 2022, less than half of French internet users will be using Facebook. The company has anticipated this trend and is coping thanks to Instagram, which is expected to have more young users (less than 25 years old) than Facebook. However, Facebook still remains the most popular social media platform in Germany.
Facebook outlines how businesses can grow online
In late October, Facebook launched a resource hub for brands, Build to Break, to help them learn about the key factors driving online business growth, and share insightful examples of innovative brands and how they leverage these trends. According to the report included in their hub, The State of Disruption 2019, 39% of surveyed people have used videos to discover new brands. Even though this piece of content is strongly “Facebook-centric”, it is a great asset to add to your library to deep dive into the modern social marketing video and advertising tactics.
Instagram is not showing like counts in the US
The social platform finally started testing a controversial new feature that users, influencers, and marketers alike had been buzzing about for months – the hiding of ‘like’ counts. This test phase started late November in the United States, after rolling out in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland. Users will still be able to see how many likes they’re getting on posts, even if their followers can’t. By making “likes” private, Instagram aims at making the platform a safer and healthier place on the Internet that places more focus on community building – especially as it’s become a go-to destination for Gen Z.
Instagram is rolling out Checkout
Instagram Checkout, a feature that’s been tested since 2018, allows users to make purchases directly on Instagram without leaving the app. The “Checkout on Instagram” button will appear on a product page after a user taps to view a specific product from a brand’s post. At the moment, this feature is only available in Beta to roughly 78 brand and business accounts in the US.
Twitter is (finally!) testing posts scheduling
It’s very likely that your audience is online when you’re not, but it doesn’t mean you have to be “on” all day long. Twitter is currently testing post scheduling on the web app, to allow its users to schedule tweets up to a year in advance. This is a great way for you to organize post cadence consistently for your audience, especially when it comes to product promotion.
The 2 billion user platform that now offers a suite of products to help people connect (namely the Facebook app, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram) has unveiled a new brand identity. The goal of this new social video trend of rebranding is to further distinguish the company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding. The new Facebook corporate logo features a minimalist, all-capital-letter rendering of the Facebook name, all with a new font and alternating colors that represent its other brands.
New FB5 interface
Facebook has started deploying its new interface, named “FB5”. This new UI goal is to improve user experience with a quicker loading and a clear design with bigger fonts, and automatic saving of the scrolling feature. On this new version, the dark mode can be activated in one click, to save batteries and avoid causing harm to the user’s eyes. The new interface was presented at the end of April, and users have started sharing screenshots of it late October. This new user interface is a great way to keep exploring video on your feed and try new formats if you haven’t done it already!
In late October, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook News, a dedicated place for news on Facebook, available in the US only for the moment. User will get more control over the stories they see and will have the ability to discover a wider range of their news interests across four categories of publishers: general, topical, diverse and local news.
The stories included in Facebook News will be chosen by a team of journalists and at the moment only a few publications will be shown in Facebook News, including The Wall Street Journal or The Washington post. As it expands, this launch will be a great opportunity for publishers to highlight their stories in videos and gain new followers on the platform.
Instagram launches Reels in Brazil to compete with TikTok
Clearly getting inspiration from TikTok, Instagram is looking to develop and implement new short-form video creation features to its current platform (instead of building a brand new app). The platform recently launched Reels in Brazil, which will allow its users to create 15 second-remix videos and share them directly in their Stories.
After its launch in 2018, IGTV has quickly gained a large creator base with regular users that look forward to watching new vertical videos each day. With a new social media news trend of optimizing platforms for video, Instagram’s long-form video platform is now making access to IGTV videos even easier to brands and influencers. IGTV creators can organize the videos they share on the platform directly on series page and batch them under a single name. Users can get notified when new episodes of their favorite series are released so that they never miss out on new content.
By creating different IGTV series, you’ll let your viewers know exactly what they can expect to watch on your account, and they’ll be much more likely to hit the “follow” button. That is a great way to explore Instagram’s IGTV, get inspired and understand what type of video content performs best on the platform to connect with your audience and attract new followers.
Twitter is a great tool to stay up-to-date on the latest news. To help optimize access to the news and time spent on the platform, Twitter has launched Slownews, allowing users to create a selection of the most relevant news for them to display on their timeline by scanning their Twitter home feed. The service is now available on both mobile and desktop. Users can set up recap alerts to be sent to them everyday with links to the original news story, so that they receive only the content they do not want to miss.
What’s on the horizon for video in 2020?
24+ trailblazers from leading brands like AP, Hootsuite and BET gave us their insights into the video technologies, challenges and trends that will be top of mind this year.