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What’s New in Social Media: September 2016

Mackenzie Davidson

It's difficult to stay up to speed when the social media landscape is constantly shifting and shaping - we get it! That's why we provide our partners with a This Week in Social Media (TWISM) e-newsletter. We highlight the biggest changes in social media weekly and share these updates and insights with our partners and internal teams. We’ve compiled the best of the best TWISMs (so you don't have to!) and share with you in What's New in Social Media: September 2016 Edition. 

  1. Instagram takes on Snapchat with its very own Stories offering: The Facebook-owned platform's latest feature is designed to make it easier for users to capture and share their "daily moments." Instagram stories is not unlike Snapchat Stories in the sense that it allows users to share a chronological slideshow of videos and pictures with their friends on the platform. On both apps, these streams disappear after 24 hours. 
  2. Snapchat is Allowing More Brands to Run Ads Between Friends' Stories: Snapchat is expanding its initial pilot to include more advertisers. Ads will appear between photos and videos that users share with their followers, with a cap of three ads per day. In Adweek's tests, each Snapchat user views the same number of daily ads, regardless of how much content they consume. 
  3. Promoted Video: Video Ads Come to Pinterest: Video ads are finally coming to Pinterest. The platform's new Promoted Video ads will also contain featured pins to encourage users to take action after watching the videos. The feature comes as a response to a 60% increase in the number of videos being posted to the social network in the past year. 
  4. Facebook Introduces New Analytics Tools for Publishers to Track Video Habits: Facebook is providing a new analytics tool called Heatmap, which tracks the parts of a 360 video that have been watched the most, providing a "heat map" visualization. These 360 videos must have more than 50,000 views to access this analytics tool. Facebook is also providing new analytics tools for live videos and an audience demographics dashboard for any posted videos. 
  5. Brands are already using Instagram's 'contact' button for customer service: Instagram has rolled out a "contact" button for businesses, letting customers reach out with their queries directly on the platform. Customers with a question can tap the button, after which they are prompted to call, text or email the brand. This has the potential to make life easier for brands, as it helps streamline communication and increase response rates. Instead of brands sifting through comments and manually replying to customers, the button makes it a smoother process for customers to get in touch. 
  6. Twitter Adds Message Button for Website: Twitter has rolled out a button that can be placed on websites that allows consumers to message a company directly from their site. In order to receive messages, brands will need to change their account settings to be able to receive direct messages from anyone, whether or not they follow you.
  7. How Facebook Live Will Impact the Near Future of Video Advertising: As Facebook increases adoption of the Facebook Live platform, the landscape of video advertising is expected to change dramatically. Data has shown that video buyers are considering Facebook as the most important video advertising platform. 65 percent of marketers said social platforms are their most important partners for digital video campaigns. Facebook is ranked highest for platform consideration for live streaming video advertising among both marketers and agencies. Auto-play, short-form video and increase in programmatic ad spend are driving the trend toward Facebook as the video leader. 
  8. Instagram Introduces Zoom: Instagram announced that its platform now offers a zoom functionality. Now, users can use two fingers to "pinch" the screen and zoom on any photo or video. The feature is only available on iOS for now, but an Android update is in the works.
  9. Facebook Displaying Vertical Videos in Mobile News Feed: Facebook has begun displaying vertical videos in News Feed. Tests have shown that users watched vertical videos for longer time periods and with audio when they were presented vertically in News Feed. Prior to this change, vertical videos were cropped into squares. The videos will still appear in a 2:3 aspect ratio and will not take up the entire screen unless users click on those videos, and then click to expand them. 

What do you think about all these changes? Tweet me your thoughts or questions at @mdavidsonl or learn more from our entire social media team here.  

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