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What's New in Social Media - January 2017

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: January 2017 Edition.

  • Facebook can now give you a "guided tour" of 360-degree videos: The social network introduced a new "guide" feature that allows users to highlight specific portions of the video before posting it. The feature launched alongside a bigger update to Facebook's publisher tools, which included a set of new features that allow page owners to see more detailed stats around how their readers are interacting with their video content. Facebook is also providing a new analytics tool called Heatmap for 360-degree videos that have more than 50,000 views. Heatmap tracks which parts of a 360 video have been watched the most and provides a visualization that shows the "hottest" parts of a clip.
  • Periscope Introduces Support for Live 360 Video: Periscope will now allow users to watch live 360-degree broadcasts on both Periscope and Twitter. The videos will be marked with a "Live 360" badge, and users can change their point of view by moving their device or tapping and swiping around the screen. Right now, the feature is being tested with a small group of partners and will roll out to additional users in the future.
  • Facebook to Test Mid-Roll Video Ads: Facebook will begin testing "mid-roll" ads in videos on its platform, a move aimed to help media companies and the social network generate revenue from their growing video audience, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has been testing the ads that run in the middle of videos for its live-streaming product, Facebook Live, but the new effort would extend that program to regular videos. 
  • Snapchat is quietly making updates that Facebook advertisers like: Snapchat's ad business is growing up, and it's beginning to look a lot like Facebook's. Snapchat is testing two features this month in Snap Ads - the video ads that are inserted between Stories or on Discover - that make is easier for advertisers to meet their targets when it comes to direct sales, app downloads and user sign-ups. Through deep-linking, advertisers can take Snapchat users out of the app and directly into other apps if the user has it downloaded on their device.
  • Bringing Business Insights and Ads to Stories: In the coming weeks, Instagram Business Tools will now include insights on stories. For businesses converted to a business profile, you’ll be able to see the reach, impressions, replies and exits for each individual story within Business Tools. Also, you’ll soon be able to run immersive, full screen ads in stories. Ads in stories will let you use targeting, reach and measurement capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach. 
  • Facebook Advertisers Now Have More Ways to Create Retargeted Ads: Facebook is expanding its dynamic ads format to let advertisers target more Facebook users based on their web activity. Previously, advertisers have only been able to single out people who specifically looked at a product on their website or mobile app. Now, advertisers will be able to get more granular. For example, someone who was searching for red dresses across multiple retailers and likes Facebook posts and pages about dresses could be served an ad for a red dress. Theoretically, the new ad format will be more akin to an acquisition tool than solely a retargeting tactic, allowing brands to hone in on people who may be interested in a product but have not yet looked at it online.
  • It's Facebook's Turn to Test a Stories Feature: The social platform began testing an imitation of Stories with select users in Ireland. Users can add photos and videos to their Facebook Stories, which are visible for 24 hours and they do not appear in News Feed or timelines. With selfie filters and geofilters, the new feature is virtually identical to Instagram Stories.
  • Snapchat is Now Pitching Brands on Sequential Video Ads: Snapchat is encouraging brands to run longer video by buying bigger packages of ads. According to sources, Snap has started pitching brands on a new type of ad package called sequenced messaging, a type of sequential advertising, in recent weeks. The new ad pricing bundles video ads together so brands can run back-to-back video ads with different creative within Discover - the app's hub of daily content from publishers including Cosmopolitan, CNN and The Daily Mail - to tell one story. 
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