May was a significant month in the world of social media marketing, so, here’s a roundup of everything that happened – from our social media marketer, Ronnie.

Instagram

Instagram social selling Instagram social sellingInstagram social selling 

Over the past year, users have been able to shop through Instagram from brands, but have been directed to their website. Now, users on the Instagram platform will be able to purchase from influencers and brands directly on the platform itself. This is an important update for influencers and creators.

The big F8 announcement for Instagram is ‘Shop from Creators‘, a new option which will facilitate direct buying from specific users and their posts.

Facebook has said:

“You’ll be able to shop inspiring looks from the creators you love without leaving Instagram. Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or Direct, you can simply tap to see exactly what your favourite creators are wearing and buy it on the spot. Anyone in our global community will be able to shop from creators. We’ll begin testing this with a small group of creators next week, with plans to expand access over time.”

Is this Instagram’s first mistake?

instagram tv introduces landscape

IGTV (Instagram TV) has conceded to support landscape video, as Instagram attempts to incentivise creators to cross-post from YouTube and make the feature easier to use.

The change comes following creator feedback and reports that users could already find landscape video on IGTV, but were unable to turn their devices.

Though it may increase its offering, it sacrifices its USP, bringing its long-form vertical experiment to a close.

New AR features

Instagram is currently testing new user AR (augmented reality) features in its ‘explore tab.

The new tab allows users to browse effects created by other users. Effects are categorised by genre, and when you try an AR effect, you’ll then be able to scroll through the other effects within the same category.

The test follows Zuckerberg’s announcement at F8 last month that Spark AR Studio for Instagram has become publicly available, and Instagram Stories’ new Create Mode and dial control makes discovering new AR effects a natural progression.

Instagram shuts down direct messaging app

instagram shuts down direct messaging app

Instagram is shutting Direct, its standalone messaging app, ahead of Facebook’s renewed focus on private messaging.

Direct messaging is still available via the Instagram app, but the move does hold clues that Facebook’s messaging app merger could be coming soon.

During this year’s F8 conference, Facebook pointed to a number of new features that would bring its three messaging apps closer together, including encryption for Messenger.

Further proof of private messaging importance is Facebook’s move to add a product catalogue to WhatsApp for businesses, marking a new era of social commerce.

Instagram stories

Instagram stories donation button

Starting this week, Instagram users in the U.S. will be able to raise money for non-profits they care about directly within Stories. A new Donation sticker joins Instagram’s library of interactive sticker options. This option is currently only available in the U.S, but Instagram is working to bring it to more countries.

instagram stories order button

In the world of stories, Facebook is also testing an ‘order’ button.

This is great news for brands and influencers.

YouTube and shoppable ads

Shoppable ads are coming to YouTube.

Brands will be able to run shoppable ads on the platform and creators will benefit from affiliate fees.

Shopping recommendations will appear alongside related YouTube videos.

Snapchat partners with Shopify

Snap Partners with Shopify to build seamless integration for merchants

In Snap Inc’s latest efforts to broaden its business opportunities, they have announced a new partnership with Shopify.

On this partnership, CNBC has said:

“It opens Snap’s door, for example, for a small business that may not have the budget for an agency or the marketing know-how to do more sophisticated campaigns. This integration will allow those kinds of companies to build and manage Snapchat Story ad campaigns directly through an app in Shopify’s self-serve buying platform.”

Snapchat and commercial music

snapchat commercial music

Snapchat is reportedly in talks with the world’s major record labels, including Sony and Universal.

Sources say the app is nearing blanket licensing deals that would let users include commercial music in their content—the same as Instagram Stories and TikTok.

The former is currently working on a Lyrics feature, following the success of Music Stickers.

Whatsapp

In the coming months, WhatsApp users will be able to see a Business Catalogue when chatting with a brand. With Business Catalogues, businesses can showcase their goods where people can easily find them.

WhatsApp also plans to expand in-app payments globally and introduce ads to the platform in the coming months.

This news reinforces the idea that messaging platforms, such as Whatsapp and Messenger, should be considered as underdogs and up-and-coming marketing platforms that shouldn’t be overlooked by any forward-thinking agencies.

Facebook

In May, Facebook released two new algorithm updates, both to enforce their ongoing efforts to improve the user’s experience, to ultimately keep them on the network for as long as possible.

One update focuses on increasing the prevalence of posts from your close friends, and the other focuses on reducing the amount of click-bait style content you see in your feed.

Facebook explains it here:

“We’ve begun surveying people on Facebook to ask them to list the friends they are closest to. We look at the patterns that emerge from these results, some of which include being tagged in the same photos, continuously reacting and commenting on the same posts and checking-in at the same places. We then use these patterns to inform our algorithm.”

Facebook pixel effectiveness

Facebook is releasing a ‘clear history’ tool in the coming months. Once released, this new feature will allow users to see, manage, and disconnect their off-Facebook activity from their user profile.

While Clear History offers users greater transparency and control over the use of their personal data, it could also effectively stifle advertisers’ ability to target on the platform through the Facebook pixel.

Facebook issued a statement on its Facebook Business blog that outlines what this update will mean for marketers and what businesses ought to keep in mind when it rolls out.

Facebook’s own cryptocurrency

Facebook has announced that it will launch its own cryptocurrency ‘global coin’ in 2020.

Facebook is planning to set up a digital payments system in a dozen countries by the first quarter of next year.

The company is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs.

Its previous attempt in crypto, Facebook Credits, was called off after just two years. Now the biggest test will be whether people will trust it enough to swap their cash for the digital coin.

Facebook’s facelift

facebook new design

Facebook unveiled a redesign that’s simpler, faster, more immersive, and puts the focus on Stories, Groups, and Events. Facebook users should begin seeing the new look in the mobile apps towards the end of the month. It will expand to the desktop site over the next few months.

The new look puts Stories at the forefront and features a prominent Groups tab with a personalised activity feed with updates from across all of your groups. The new Groups tab will have an improved Discovery tool with better recommendations for other groups in which users might be interested. Specialised types of groups such as health support, job, and buy and sell will also get new tools.

Later this summer, Facebook will roll out a new Events tab “so you can see what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.”

Twitter

Twitter now allows users to use gifs, videos and photos in retweets.

The feature was rolled out after extensive testing through Twttr, the company’s beta programme. Twitter has proved a valuable asset for Twitter in 2019 and we can expect to see more new features, currently in testing, released this Summer.

YouTube

 

YouTube introduced a major change to the way real-time subscriber counts are displayed for creators with more than 1,000 subscribers. For example, instead of seeing a YouTuber’s exact subscriber count of 10,500,000, people will see an estimated flat count of 10 million subscribers. This update is expected to roll out in August 2019.

Channels with fewer than 1,000 subscribers will still be shown the exact, non-abbreviated subscriber counts. All creators will still have access to accurate counts in Creator Studio.

YouTube Ads

YouTube is testing a new tool that uses machine learning to automatically generate a 6-second version of longer ads. It will create a bumper by scanning the longer ad for “key elements” like a voiceover or a tight focus on people, logos, or products. The result ends with the final call to action in the last 2-3 seconds of the video.

YouTube will soon roll out discovery ads, new image-only ads that will appear within a variety of placements. Previously, advertising on YouTube meant your brand had to have a video or app to use. With this new option, brands can simply upload the best images from their social campaigns and the photos will be optimized for maximum performance across Gmail, Discover, and the YouTube home feed.

LinkedIn

linkedin

As LinkedIn works to improve its ad tools, and better utilise its unique professional dataset, the professional social network has this week announced that it’s acquiring data analytics company Drawbridge in order to utilise Drawbridge’s advanced personalisation AI, and further refine LinkedIn’s targeting capacity.

Drawbridge, which already works with IBM, Adobe and Salesforce, among others, will integrate its technology into LinkedIn’s systems over the coming months, which will eventually lead to a broader set of targeting and data options being made available to LinkedIn marketers.

As explained by LinkedIn:

“We believe Drawbridge’s team and technology will allow us to accelerate the capabilities of our Marketing Solutions platform, helping our customers better reach and understand their professional audiences and measure the ROI of their campaigns across mobile and desktop.”

With political interference on social media becoming an increasingly significant issue, the platforms themselves are working on new tools and options to help users better understand why they’re being targeted with certain ads, who they’re being targeted by and what other campaigns a company may be running.

And while Facebook has been the main focus of this shift, research in the wake of the 2016 US Presidential Election has shown that politically motivated groups have utilised various platforms in their influence efforts, including Pinterest and LinkedIn.

That’s why, this week, LinkedIn has followed the lead of Facebook and announced the addition of a new ad transparency tab for LinkedIn company pages, which will provide oversight into all the ads a company has run on the platform over the preceding six month period.

Conclusion

May was a significant month in the world of social media marketing, in particular for creators and brands due to the latest changes and innovations on the platform.

If you’re struggling to engage your audience on social media, and want to find out how you can get the best from your social media marketing, contact our social media team at [email protected] or call us on 0161 327 2635. Alternatively, you can send us a message through our contact page.

Ronnie Cane

With a personality full of creativity and strategic thinking, Ronnie ensures that Embryo and all our clients stay ahead of the trend in the online world. When he’s not adding his creative touch to our SEO department, you might find him drawing, writing or in the gym.