We are seeing major changes in advertising on social channels this week. As the investigation on political advertising on Twitter and Facebook continues, the platforms are taking action to increase ad transparency as early as next month. Pinterest is also modifying its advertising capabilities and rolled out search advertising to all brands through the self-serve tool. In other news, Instagram now let’s users go Live with a friend (interesting) and Snap Inc. is partnering with NBCUniversal to create scripted programming on the Snapchat platform in 2-4 one minute segments. Take a look below to see what you may have missed this week.

Twitter Adds Transparency Center

  • Twitter initiated a new ad transparency movement, announcing its “transparency center” last week. This is in light of the latest investigation on how the social platforms were leveraged to advertise during the 2016 election. The transparency center gives users insight into all advertising information, including campaign spend, details into the organization funding the campaign, and targeted demographics of all ads on the platform. Political ads will have to identify campaigns and Twitter will promote these ads with a different look and feel than other ads to differentiate them. Additionally, Twitter will be closely monitoring compliance of the new rules and cracking down on the penalties for brands that violate them. They have hired over 4,000 new employees that will oversee these rules.
  • What it means for brands: The new ads transparency greatly reduces brand advertising privacy. Users and competitors will gain insight into details of campaigns that were traditionally not public information. While we don’t see this having a great effect on overall paid promotional plans, this may affect pharmaceutical companies that advertise during medical meetings and unbranded campaign/disease awareness ads. We’ll be tracking this update closely to learn next steps.

Additional Resources: Bloomberg, Twitter

(via Twitter)

Twitter Launches New Video Cards

  • Twitter is in progress of launching video cards which drive directly to a brand’s website. As a user navigates to a brand’s website the video will continue to play. Twitter hopes that combining the power of video while driving users to the site will increase conversions for brands. While testing this, Twitter says that the new cards achieved a 2X higher click-through rate than the industry benchmark for mobile video ads. Additionally, during testing they saw the number of users who abandon a site while it loads decrease because the ad continues to play as the site loads, keeping users’ attention.
  • What it means for brands: Video advertising is a powerful tool for brands, allowing them to bring a product or service to life and entertain its target audience. Including video cards that link to a website will not only make a more seamless experience for users, but also increase website views for brands. Having a video that continues to play as the website loads will ensure that users are engaged and not clicking out of the website while they wait.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Marketing Land

(via Social Media Today)

Facebook Increases Ad Transparency

  • Facebook’s biggest update this week, following in suit with Twitter, is to increase ad transparency. Facebook will be launching a “view ads” feature which gives all users insight into how brands are advertising on the platform. Typically, “dark” ads are only seen by people within an intended target audience. Now, users outside of a brand’s target audience will be able to view all promotional content published by a page. For politically driven pages, Facebook is implementing an “archived” section to give all Facebook users full transparency into a campaign, even after a campaign is complete. As an extension of this new feature, Facebook is testing two different feeds for users. One feed would be an explore feed, featuring posts from friends and family only. The second feed would be a “pages only” feed, where users can explore the posts of pages and brands they follow.
  • What it means for brands: Starting next month (in Canada, not US), brands will lose the ability serve content to (solely) specific target audiences. All paid advertising content will be viewable by users and competitors alike. Brands will be able to see each other’s ads, giving each brand insight into its competitors messaging and tactics- which is good and bad. While we don’t see this greatly affecting overall paid promotion strategies, where we do see this having a potential impact (for pharmaceutical companies) on paid promotions is surrounding medical meetings and unbranded disease education campaigns. We’ll be keeping our eye on this and share updates as they are released.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Marketing Land

(via Social Media Today)

Instagram Adds Go Live with a Friend Feature

  • Instagram is enhancing its Live stream experience by adding the option of going Live with a friend. The approach here is to make the Live tool more entertaining for users and less uncomfortable and intimidating for influencers or spokespeople.
  • What this means for brands: Having the option to go Live with a friend can be valuable for brands, as they can leverage this to answer audience questions or conduct interviews. This also eliminates potential coordination of having to all be in the same room – now influencers can go Live together from across the country. Going Live can be a great way to reach fans for celebrities or showcase a new product for brands, and as these live-stream capabilities continue to develop brands can expect to continue leveraging this capability for their audience.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Instagram

(via Instagram)

Snapchat Partners with NBCUniversal for Scripted Programming

  • Snapchat jumping on the live-TV bandwagon. The platform recently partnered with NBCUniversal to bring a daily Snapchat program called “Stay Tuned” to the platform, a scripted program covering the latest news in 2-4 minute segments. It makes sense that they are moving towards video programming in the app, as it is following the demands of users wanting to use their social apps to connect with friends but also for news and media consumption. This makes us think that Discover may not be gaining as much engagement as it used to and they need to find new ways to reach audiences with newsworthy information.
  • What it means for brands: Adding video news segments to Snapchat will expand advertising capabilities for brands in the coming months, possibly with more niche targeting and maybe even in-stream video ads like Snap story ads have now. Additionally, as Snapchat continues to ramp-up its user experience, this could attract more users and make it a more desired platform to advertise on. Younger audiences may start turning to Snapchat for all their news, which may cause competition with Facebook and Twitter.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Tech Crunch

(via Social Media Today)

Pinterest Launches Search Advertising

  • According to Pinterest, there are over 2 billion searches on the platform every month and 97% of those searches are unbranded. These results fueled their latest update, the launch of search solutions advertising on its self-serve advertising platform. For soft launch, these ads were only available with Pinterest Partners, but are now available via Pinterest Ads Manager for all brands. The search ads will work similar to those on Google. Brands can add keywords or key terms, and when a user enables a search that is relevant to the ad keywords, a promoted pin will show up in the search feed. Additionally, Pinterest expanded targeting capabilities for these ads with the new “Taste Graph.” This is an auto-targeting option that utilizes the advanced understanding of what people are looking for based on the pins they save, and supplements a brand’s keyword strategy by automatically targeting relevant searches.
  • What it means for brands: Giving brands the ability to promote their pins based on keyword searches is a great way to get the right ads in front of the right people. Additionally, leveraging Pinterest’s understanding of users via auto-targeting can expand a brand’s reach, but also ensure that the brand is reaching the right audience.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)