Yet again, another month has passed, which means there are many more news articles, app updates and silicon valley gossip to talk about. So, here we are, with June’s social media roundup, covering everything that has happened in the world of social media for the month of June. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
In June, Twitter made a lot of updates. The platform is always trying out new things, new tweaks and updates which will ideally get people tweeting more, engaging more and staying on the platform more.
Twitter is testing a new option which will allow users to directly share tweets and links via DM to the users who they most regularly communicate with. This option will be in the ‘share’ option of tweets.
The other test is a mini-profile card alert for new follows, which makes it easier to get more context about the user and follow them back – without clicking through to their profile.
Twitter is also updating the documentation of its rules, to ensure that its regulations are easy to understand.
As explained by Twitter:
“Our rules exist to help keep everyone using Twitter safe, and ensure that they can participate freely in the public conversation. Over time, we’ve added new rules and updated existing ones, but these changes eventually made our rules confusing and difficult to understand. So today, we’re refreshing our rules with simple, clear language, and reorganizing them into high-level categories: safety, privacy and authenticity. We’ve also added detail around other policies, including election integrity, platform manipulation and spam.”
Twitter also announced a very small, but also very interesting update, with the removal of the ability to tag your precise location in your tweets.
Snapchat, in a surprising move, has announced its new gaming platform called Snap Games. Snapchat announced the first big game for the platform, with a new group shooter, from FarmVille creator Zynga.
The game, called ‘Tiny Royale’, pits you and a handful of friends against others, in a similar style to other group battle royale games, like Fortnite.
As reported by TechCrunch:
“Players can choose custom characters and form squads with friends, or battle alone for quick two-minute rounds to gather loot and shoot their way to victory. Up to 30 players can battle at a time, in teams of up to four. The gameplay is much the same as the other battle royale games with maps shrinking in size until only one player, or team, remains.”
Snapchat is also working on a new ‘Join Group Chat’ sticker, similar to that of which is on Instagram stories.
Every time Snapchat or Instagram launch an update, I can’t help but think of the infamous spiderman meme:
On a positive note for the platform, Snap saw a large increase in downloads due to their May update which released gender swap and baby lens filters, which went viral and helped a lot of people to fall in love with the platform once again. I am a harsh critic of social media platforms, but I think it’s fair to say that this update allowed a cloud of relevance to float over Snapchat, and it hasn’t dispersed just yet.
As per OneZero:
“Snapchat was downloaded across the platforms an estimated 41.5 million times worldwide in May, more than twice the number of downloads from the previous month (16.8 million) and in May of last year (17.6 million), according to third-party data.”
TikTok has reportedly been pitching to advertisers on a new interest-based ad targeting option for their platform, which would allow brands to reach specific audiences to maximise their ROI on the app.
Digiday reports that TikTok is testing both interest-based targeting and pixel tracking, which is very similar to Facebook. Digiday says:
“These options would be in addition to targeting by age, gender, location, operating system and network on the device. Sales leaders at the short-form video app have been telling agencies it plans to release a beta version of its self-serve ad platform more widely in July, sources said.”
TikTok is also planning to release audience targeting similar to Snapchat’s ‘Lifestyle Categories‘, which separate users into different groups.
Brands are, unsurprisingly, eager to get stuck in with TikTok, and if the prospect of TikTok advertising isn’t in your minds as a marketer, it should be.
Pinterest, like all other social media apps, has its large majority of users active on mobile devices, not desktop. However, it’s still important to optimise the social network for desktop, which is exactly what Pinterest has done in their recent update.
In the recent update, Pinterest has launched an integrated Windows 10 app, which adds Pinterest to your ‘Start’ menu options and facilitates more seamless browsing on PCs.
As explained by Pinterest:
“As we focus on developing ways to help Pinners find inspiration across all interests, locations and platforms, we knew we had to improve the experience for Windows. Accessing Pinterest from desktop requires using a browser, often times with numerous tabs opened, which can make for a burdensome experience. To create a more seamless experience, today we’re officially introducing the Windows app for Pinterest on Windows 10. With Pinterest readily accessible from the start menu & taskbar and deeper integration with Windows, Pinners can now browse with a more enhanced and engaging experience.”
Pinterest is also working on a new update which includes a ‘complete the look’ feature for users. This is an extension of its current ‘Shop the Look’ Pins feature. which lets the user identify specific items within any Pin image and connect users to purchase pages for each relevant product. The new feature ‘Complete the Look‘ will take into account the products you’ve searched for and provide related recommendations, based on trends and other algorithmic factors.
As explained by Pinterest:
“Complete the Look leverages rich scene context to recommend visually compatible results in Fashion and Home Decor Pins. Complete the Look takes context like an outfit, body type, season, indoors vs. outdoors, various pieces of furniture, and the overall aesthetics of a room, to power taste-based recommendations across visual search technology.”
Nowadays, it is difficult to hear the words ‘social media’ without it being accompanied by talk about the algorithm and secret workings behind the app. This makes sense, as the digital world has become increasingly focused on learning from user behaviour to keep them locked in and engaged on the platform. Algorithms are fantastic as far as the companies themselves are concerned, however…
The problem with algorithms is that they don’t use any form of ethical or empathetic judgment. Their job is to merely recommend more of what you like – so if you like racist, hate-filled, misogynistic videos, guess what will be recommended to you?
This is exactly the issue that YouTube has been faced with over the past 6-12 months, due to their increased understanding of the impact their platform can have, and has played, on the spread of hate crimes.
In February of this year, well-known YouTuber Matt Watson revealed how YouTube’s system had played as an enabler to activity like this, which forced YouTube to implement new measures, including deactivating comments on “tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behaviour”.
As per a New York Times report on this matter:
“Any individual video might be intended as nonsexual, perhaps uploaded by parents who wanted to share home movies among family. But YouTube’s algorithm, in part by learning from users who sought out revealing or suggestive images of children, was treating the videos as a destination for people on a different sort of journey. And the extraordinary view counts – sometimes in the millions – indicated that the system had found an audience for the videos, and was keeping that audience engaged.”
Due to this dilemma, YouTube finds itself focusing on big monthly updates to battle their own algorithms.
YouTube announced a new partnership with ticket purchasing company, AXS, to allow concert tickets to be bought through music videos on the platform.
Music videos have been one of the most popular forms of content on the platform since it launched and the majority of the most viewed clips on the platform are music videos, so this partnership makes a lot of sense.
YouTube first released an update like this in 2017, with a ticket purchasing arrangement with Ticketmaster. YouTube then added Eventbrite into the same process last year, giving YouTube 70% coverage of the US ticketing market.
And now, that’s been upped to 90%, with their recent partnership with AXS.
“Partnering with AXS, the second-largest ticket provider in North America and partner to iconic music venues like Red Rocks and Forest Hills marks a major expansion for YouTube in terms of artist reach and show availability. Already the biggest community of music lovers, ticketing partnerships are another way YouTube is growing into the most valuable platform for artists. In addition to sharing and promoting new music, artists can engage directly with fans and sell tickets for upcoming tour dates all in one place.”
LinkedIn has recently upped its efforts massively in terms of new features and updates. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had reactions, live-streaming and an iteration of stories (for higher education users only).
Towards the end of the month, the platform announced even more new updates, such as:
1 – Photo-tagging
LinkedIn’s photo-tagging option has been available to some users since April, but the platform has now officially launched this to all users.
As explained by LinkedIn:
“Think you recognize someone in the photo? Or just want to make sure your co-worker knows when you upload a photo with them in it? Now when you post a photo, you can tag people in it. The world seems smaller and your community a little tighter when you let people know who is who.”
2 – Video messaging
This update likely comes from LinkedIn wanting to capitalise on the ever-increasing trend that is video. LinkedIn has now added an option for users to record and send video clips inside messaging chats.
“Millions of members have posted videos and shared them with their connections or in groups: sharing ideas, experiences, or simply a view into their working life. Now you can do the same in messaging, too.”
3 – Topics
And lastly, LinkedIn now allows users to easily find all the hashtags and news that they follow and the groups that they follow. You can find this section on the right side of your desktop feed, or by tapping on your profile photo on the top left of your mobile app.
Now, we’re on to the big dogs – Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram has announced the launch of its new Branded Content Ads option, which offers brands and creators a new way to maximise their on-platform influencer partnerships.
As explained by Instagram:
“We’re introducing the ability for advertisers to promote creators’ organic branded content posts as feed ads. 68% of people say they come to Instagram to interact with creators. With branded content ads, businesses have an opportunity to tell their brand stories through creators’ voices, reach new audiences and measure impact.”
For a while now, users have been able to post music to their stories. Now, Instagram is officially launching its new music stickers with lyrics option, which displays the song lyrics on screen.
Music stickers with lyrics are now available in all regions where music stickers are available.
Instagram is also developing a new ‘Stop-Motion’ camera option for Instagram Stories. This is great news for creators, as we are all aware of the importance of creating interesting videos for social media – this new update allows us to create captivating video, without filming anything at all. Expect to see it in your Stories options soon!
Instagram will also start rolling out ads on the Explore tab in the coming months. According to IG, more than 50% of their accounts use the Explore feed every month. This will be a great placement for ads.
Facebook is rolling out a new option which enables Pages to publish updates targeted to their top Page fans specifically.
I’m personally a massive fan of this new option. Targeting top fans specifically could give you another way to facilitate more community engagement and allow for a stronger connection. Through directly reaching your most passionate and loyal fans, the possibilities are endless for engagement and conversions. I can see this being particularly effective for larger pages.
The social network also announced its new ranking factors for post comments. Facebook said:
“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:
- The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or
- The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.
We will continue to take other signals into account so we do not prominently show low-quality comments, even if they are from the person who made the original post or their friends.”
Facebook has announced its framework document, which is based on feedback from the relevant bodies, which it will use to govern the development of its content review body.
The key points, based on Facebook’s initial discussions, have been:
- Independence – Facebook says that organisations have repeatedly stated the need for a group that operates independent of Facebook itself, and is not influenced by Facebook management, governments or third parties. “The board will need a strong foundation for its decision-making, a set of higher-order principles – informed by free expression and international human rights law – that it can refer to when prioritising values like safety and voice, privacy and equality”.
- Selection – Facebook says that another key point is exactly how the board will select and hear cases, and subsequently deliberate on outcomes. Facebook says that, in making its decisions, “the board may need to consult experts with specific cultural knowledge, technical expertise and an understanding of content moderation”.
- Diversity – Lastly, Facebook says that the new board needs to be “as diverse as the many people on Facebook and Instagram”. “These members should be experts who come from different backgrounds, different disciplines, and different viewpoints, but who can all represent the interests of a global community”.
This is an update that won’t be interesting to users, or some businesses, but for those that are interested in the world of technology and networks, this is a great update. Personally, I believe this should have happened years ago. Regardless, it is a good move for Zuck and Co.
Facebook announced its own cryptocurrency, named Libra. This announcement is long overdue, as we have been aware of a cryptocurrency emerging from the silicon valley giant for a while. The update revealed the details of Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees.
To help promote and handle their venture into the world of crypto, Facebook is launching a subsidiary company also called Calibra that handles its crypto dealings and protects users’ privacy by never mingling your Libra payments with your Facebook data, so it can’t be used for ad targeting.
I am by no means a cryptocurrency expert, but this is a huge update for the world of technology and finance, so if this is something you’re interested in, click here to read more.
Yet another month has passed, and a lot of substantial updates came with it. I hope you enjoyed reading June’s roundup as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Until next month. Cheers!