Facebook started 2018 with bang, announcing a handful of updates that impact all users. Instagram also rolled out updates to Instagram Stories, which are among the most popular features the platform offers. And of course, if Facebook and Instagram are making moves, so is Snapchat. The platform is updating their app-install ads to include deep linking, which is going to provide great benefits for advertisers.  – Read more about these new social media platform updates and how you can implement them for your brands!

Facebook Algorithm Prioritizes ‘Meaningful Interactions’

  • Facebook made a significant algorithm change earlier this month that will impact the way users see and engage with content on the platform. The social network will prioritize showing content that sparks “meaningful conversations” in user News Feeds, which Facebook is typically saying is content that family and friends engage with. Facebook wants users to feel positive on the platform by interacting more with people they care about, rather than leaving the platform due to the overwhelming amount of content from public pages.
  • What this means for brands: This update means everything for brands! With this update to the Facebook algorithm, brands must work that much harder to ensure the content their producing and sharing prompts quick user conversation and keeps users engaged. Video and especially live video is going to be prioritized higher in News Feeds according to Facebook, as this update was made with a video push in mind. For brands that leverage the platform as an awareness tool, they may want to start rethinking their strategy. Where we really see this change making an impact is for Rx pages that have the comments disabled. Comments are the one of the top ways to get users to engage, aside from video content, so while most Rx Facebook pages have the comments turned off for regulatory purposes, they may want to consider enabling comments if they want users to see their content. Facebook announced that this update will have not directly affect on advertising, unless the content does not create meaningful conversation, in which case is will be deprioritized in the News Feeds compared to other ads.

Additional Resources: The Guardian

(via Facebook)

Facebook Launches Stories Sharing from Desktop

  • Facebook is desperately trying to make Facebook stories as popular as Instagram stories. With a valiant effort, they will be adding the ability to post Instagram stories from a desktop computer. In addition to this new capability, they will also be making the Facebook Story feature more prominent on the homepage. Due to the future of virtual reality on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg wants to amplify Facebook stories because they are a “key component of Facebook’s broader AR plans.”
  • What this means for brands: As Facebook moves towards an updated algorithm that prioritizes what the network deems as “meaningful content,” brands should be considering video and live content as a top tactic to reach audiences. Facebook Stories, now more prominently placed within the News Feeds, will hopefully become more popular amongst users since the content within the News Feeds itself may become less visible. This is something we’ll watch closely as we shift our strategies with the impact of the new algorithm update – if this is something that will work, brands should hop on board.

Additional Resources: TechCrunch, The Verge

(via TechCrunch)

Facebook To Add a Communal Viewing Option

  • The amount of video content being watched on social platforms is increasing, with Twitter and Youtube leading the pack and Facebook close behind. Facebook has been pushing video content on users for quite some time now and in an effort to become the number one social network (next YouTube) in social video consumption, they’re testing out a new community video viewing feature to Groups called “Watch Party.” Facebook users who belong to Facebook Groups, will be able to view videos that Group admins share to Group feed. The videos can come from anywhere on Facebook – Live or previously posted – although Facebook did share that the motive was to get people to share more Facebook Live videos within their groups. The members of the Group can comment and like the videos in real-time. This also reinforces the recent push from Facebook to include more meaningful conversations between friends and users on Facebook.
  • What this means for brands: Because this feature enables videos to be shared privately between a specific Group, it will be interesting to see if this deters people from watching and commenting publicly on videos. Right now, users don’t spend as much time in Groups as they would on their feed, but assuming that these videos will pop into the feeds of the members, this could be an interesting way to get users more engaged in meaningful conversation. This could be a bit concerning for brands since most brand pages are business pages and not Groups, but we’ll watch as this unfolds… the shift may get us thinking about moving away from brand pages and instead leveraging Groups for community conversation. We also want to know if there will be metrics available for brands if their video content is shared and watched in a Watch Party.

Additional Resources: Variety, The Verge

(via Social Media Today)

Instagram Adds Text-Only Screens and GIFs to Stories

  • Instagram keeps stepping up their game on Instagram stories. The platform has introduced text-only Stories and now allows users to add GIFs to Stories. With the text-only stories (called “Type”), the platform provides a blank screen where users can type whatever they want and then post this to a story. They’re also testing out a transparent background GIF library for stories. In collaboration with Giphy, there will soon be a multitude of GIFs to choose from to animate stories. Like Snapchat, Instagram will notify users when their story is screenshotted.
  • What this means for brands: With these new updates, brands can directly outline/tell a story to consumers without needing an image to go along with the update. For pharmaceutical brands, the Type feature could be leveraged for medical meetings and other events to set the landscape and purpose of brand’s presence. Right now, we typically put text on-top of images when there is a lot to say or background that needs to be explicitly written out, but that could be distracting and this new feature is good for clean, clear messaging.

Additional Resources: The Verge, Wired

(Social Media Today)

App Install Ads to be More Targeted on Snapchat

  • For advertisers that promote app installs on Snapchat, brands can now re-target consumers who have previously downloaded the app so that they hopefully re-engage with the content. This tactic is called deep linking and is used to drive traffic to a section of an app to have the user re-engage with it while using Snapchat. Using this app-install ad feature allows consumers who are already interested in an app/brand become more engaged with it, as they will be directed to a different page within the app to become familiar with.
  • What this means for brands: With Snapchat integrating more advanced ad features into its program, it’s positioning itself as more of an advertising company, as opposed to a social platform. Brands can take advantage of this and begin to re-target consumers on Snapchat to have them become more familiar with the brand or app being promoted. Snapchat is also giving up more data to brands advertising on Snapchat, such as how many people viewed and then swiped up on the ad within three-time windows (one day, one week, or 28 days). Allowing more metrics for brands to use and benchmark on, it opens the door for brands to feel more comfortable and advertise more on Snapchat.

Additional Resources: Biz Journal

(Social Media Today)