CommonSense Blog

The Social Scoop: June 2015

By Samantha Hershman | Jun 30, 2015

Social media changes came in left and right in June and the top dogs are making big moves! Facebook once again has updated their algorithm, ‘Lightning’ is Twitter’s latest project and Snapchat geofilters are now worth a price. Here’s what you missed in June:

Facebook: “See First” Could Change the Way People See Content

What It Is

Facebook announced a change to their algorithm (which is currently being tested) that will allow users to select people/Pages that interest them to show up at the top of the News Feed.

How It Works

  • Users can turn on the feature from a friend’s profile or a Page
  • It allows users to filter the News Feed
  • When a user selects ‘Following’, it will prompt them with ‘Unfollow’ or ‘See First’
  • Until now, users have only been able to Friend/Follow and unfollow other users/brands entirely
  • Once ‘See First’ is selected, everything the person/Page posts will show up at the top of the user’s News Feed so they don’t miss a thing

What It Means For Brands

This feature could be a huge asset for brands that have a following on Facebook. Currently, brands are in a constant battle to have their content viewed (over competitors) by users on most social media platforms. “See First” would provide the opportunity for brands to highlight their content to ensure user feeds aren’t filtering out their content and in return, it’s a great way for users to hone in on content that is important to them. This update highlights the significance of paid media advertising, because to avoid filtration of content, paid media will provide brands with that extra reach push.

Facebook: Algorithm Changes Factor Video Engagement

What It Is

Facebook made another change to their algorithm, factoring in actions taken on videos.

How It Works

  • Users can enjoy video without engaging with it, so now, Facebook is rewarding Pages that post videos in which users turn the volume up on the video or expand the video to watch in full screen and enabling high definition
  • Should a user partake in the above interactions with a video, Facebook has updated the News Feed to infer that the user liked the video and will show users similar videos to that, to push out content that the user is interested in viewing and engaging

What It Means For Brands

This change is set to happen shortly, but Facebook does not anticipate that Pages will see changes in distribution. While that is a strong factor, it is still just as significant as ever to produce content that is engaging and immediately captivating so that viewers will want to “interact” with your Page video. Also keep in mind that the content you are sharing is most similar to your competitors, so this would be a good time to see what they’re doing, and do it better!

Google: “Buy” Button is Coming to Search

What It Is

Google will soon feature a “buy” button along side their paid search ads. Their goal is to provide more than just a link to users, but a direct buying option, giving users the opportunity to take direct action from their google search ads. The “buy” button is about improving conversations on mobile, to help advertisers earn more across mobile devices with the on-the-go buying experience.

What It Means For Brands

The “buy” button will only be available on mobile searches for now and will appear alongside the paid search ads, but not organic search results. While this new feature may not be applicable to all brands, consumer and retail brands will benefit from this opportunity, driving people to their site straight from their Google search. Of course the catch is that brands will need to put paid dollars in to advertising with Google, but Google has said they have no intention to be a retailer, so consumers will still be pushed directly to your website.

Instagram: The Next Move in Ads

What It Is

Instagram announced they will be making sponsored advertising available to all business, regardless of their size. In addition, ads will feature a call to action similar to Twitter’s functionality with Twitter Cards, driving users straight to source.

How It Works

  • Each sponsored post will have a call to action button attached to it
  • It will be located on the same line as the “like” and “comment” button
  • User capabilities will include “shop now,” “install now” “sign up,” and “learn more” all directly from the post, really revamping the user experience on Instagram

What It Means For Brands

This development completely changes the way brands can target their content on Instagram. People want to see ads that mean something to them and in return, advertisers want to get their content in front of the correct audience to effectively deliver their message. These new features will allow brands to create an actionable post, converting more followers into more buyers. The platform will be working closely with Facebook in the next year to enable advertisers to reach people on Instagram based on select targeting options.

Instagram: An All New Way to Search & Explore

What It Is

Instagram has enhanced their Explore page to include trending tags (hashtags) and places, making search easier and more powerful for users.

How It Works

  • The Explore page surfaces trends as they happen in real-time by allowing users to view trending hashtags and places. There is also a curated collection of content that will be regularly updated.
  • Search now spans discovery to people, places, and tags at one time. Users will be able to search any topic and see Top and Most Recent Posts that have been updated, down to the second.

What It Means For Brands

People now have an easier way to find and see everything that’s being posted around trending topics. This is especially interesting news to brands, particularly surrounding campaigns or branded hashtags, to ensure that your content is populating among trending conversation. Additionally, if your brand does not currently have a customized hashtag, you can explore the conversation and develop a post to become a part of that topic. The same goes for places – if your company has an office for example in Los Angeles and there is a big event going on in that area, be sure to take advantage of posting an image from that location (with a trending hashtag!) to participate in real-time discussion. Instagram also mentioned that there will not be ads alongside images in the trending feeds and sponsored ads are not available for trends.

LinkedIn Elevate: A New Way for Employees to Share Content

What It Is

LinkedIn introduced LinkedIn Elevate to brands. This new feature helps companies encourage their employees to be brand advocates by giving them the tools they need to create and share content. It has three basic functionalities: content curation, easy social sharing, and measuring impact. This feature is only available to select companies at this time.

How It Works

  • Content Curation: The app recommends stories from Pulse and Newsle based on an algorithm designed to show employees relevant stories that reflect their presence on LinkedIn
  • Easy Social Sharing: Makes it easier to share on LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Measure Impact: Allows the employee and companies to review statistical information about their content sharing, so that employees can see the impact they’re social sharing is having on the overall engagement of the Company Page

What It Means For Brands

According to LinkedIn, when any employee shares content on LinkedIn, the company they work for receives six job views, three Company Page views, and one Company Page follower. Employees drive tremendous value to a Company Page and are responsible for about 20% of the overall engagement. LinkedIn Elevate gives employees the knowledge to be thought leaders and share information about what they do and who they work for, which in return, helps companies better hire, marketing and sell.

Twitter: Video Autoplay Has Landed

What It Is

Twitter is making some big changes, including the elimination of click to play! Native videos, GIFs and Vines are now playing  automatically on Twitter as users scroll through their timelines.

How It Works

  • Native videos, GIFs, and Vines uploaded and Tweeted will play automatically when scrolling through timelines
  • When the video is clicked on, it will resize to a larger view and continue playing with sound from where it left off
  • This feature is currently available on web and iOS, with Android following

What It Means For Brands

Brands will now be able to capture the attention of current and new followers with powerful and engaging videos. Twitter has acknowledge that Promoted Videos would continue to deliver high impact, engagement and meaningful views for partners (no worries – your dollars won’t go to waste), so paid advertising is still as important as ever when developing social strategies. Additionally, since videos are playing on a repeated, automatic notion, brands will want to ensure that video content is unique and compelling so that users remain captivated and don’t continue to scroll through, with the first few seconds being super engaging and eye catching.

Twitter: “Project Lightning” is Going to Change the Way We Look at Tweets

What It Is

“Project Lightning” is a major new feature that will bring event-based curated content to the platform so that users can follow live events in one spot. Rather then getting lost in the Twitter timeline, the content will be handpicked high interest tweets that will live on its own tab.

How It Works

  • Users will be able to select the tab that will direct them to a live events screen (current events, breaking news, cultural events and experiences)
  • When a user opens an event, they are taken to a selection of tweets that have been hand selected by Twitter editors
  • Twitter will have guidelines for what constitutes “Project Lightning” material and will aim to feature only 7-10 top events a day
  • Users will also be able to follow an event directly, which will curate tweets in their timeline

The Best Part!

Users can access ‘Lightning’ events on and off Twitter. Tweets will be viewable on Twitter.com, on the mobile web, in the Twitter app, and as embeds on other webpages.

What It Means For Brands

It is crucial that brands share strong, unique content to drive engagement, which means the need for rich, creative images and videos is important in every tweet. With this new update, brands will also want to revisit their current social strategies, as the urgency for agile and timely approvals on content will be imperative to real time event progression. In addition, paid media will largely contribute to content exposure in real time. Promoted Tweets give your brand exposure and magnify your content reach, which with Project Lightning, will translate into users both on and off of Twitter.

Twitter: Ads Targeted at What Apps You Download

What It Is

Twitter shared a new tool, only available to advertisers, called “installed app category targeting,” which allows advertisers to target their ads to users who have installed similar apps.

How It Works

  • Twitter has added a “search or browse for installed app categories” section for targeting on the back-end. Marketers can go in and manually search apps or pick from a list of App Store or Google Play categories.
  • Twitter provides an analytics dashboard that gives insights into how users are responding to those ads

What It Means For Brands

Brands will now have a new way to target potential users similar to “who to follow” suggestions. This tool allows marketers who are interested in driving installs of their app to target users that are using apps similar to theirs in order to reach the maximum potential demographic. Knowing exactly who your audience is becomes a huge advantage to app makers. Additionally, Twitter is providing an accompanying metrics dashboard that provides insight into how users are responding to the ads.

SnapChat: Could Geofilters Be a New Source of Revenue?

What It Is

Snapchat’s geofilters are fun, colorful ways for users to let people know where they are, and now Snapchat is hoping to turn these location-centric digital stickers into revenue. Businesses can make their own geofilters – for a price, of course

How It Works

  • Half of Snapchat’s several thousand geofilters are user generated, but the social platform is now prompting brands to partake in ‘paid-for’ stickers that are distinguished with a small ‘sponsored’ imprint
  • Brands and Snapchat will collaborate on the design
  • Geofilters can be applied to an image or video when the user has turned on their location services

What It Means For Brands

This move to use geofilters is a clever way to disguise advertising as a fun and whimsical add-on for users. It opens a huge door for brands to get their fans to show support without making them feel like they are promoting something. Right now, Snapchat charges $20 per 1,000 views of a video ads –  but have yet to reveal the cost and duration of a sponsored geofilter. This is a great opportunity for brand exposure, especially for those that target teens and millennials, who’s audiences then save their Snapchat images to their camera roll and share across multiple social channels for their followers to see.

A special thanks to summer intern, Chantelle Patel, for her contribution this month!

For more: The Social Scoop – June 2015