August saw a number of updates within social media. From the battle against fake news to new face filters and ad tech updates, here’s a breakdown of the top news from the last month…
In an increasing bid to compete with the likes of Amazon and Netflix with owned video content, Facebook has now rolled out ‘Watch’ to limited users in the US. This new video platform will host video content from a variety of creators and publishers, and aims to bring communities of TV lovers together through engagement, enabling audiences to see comments and connect with friends or other fans whilst watching the shows that they love.
A reported $1B investment on original shows next year would put Facebook in a similar ballpark to the likes of HBO, illustrating their commitment to the endeavour. The Watch tab, which is available across mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps, will also provide a new stream of ad revenue for both Facebook and its partners, who will take 45% and 55% of the ad revenue respectively. 2018 certainly looks set to be an interesting year in the world of video content – ‘watch’ this space!
In August, Facebook also took further steps in its on-going battle against fake news and misleading content. In order to maintain the integrity of information on the platform, Facebook will now be demoting posts that feature fake video play buttons as well as static images disguised as video. The aim of this is to reduce click bait stories and prevent deceptive practices which often lead audiences to accidentally click through to low-quality landing pages from their feed.
Furthermore, as a build on their current prevention of ads which link through to false stories, Facebook will now be blocking ads altogether from pages that repeatedly share false content. They will continue to use third-party fact-checkers to deem whether or not content is false, which should ultimately help to prevent both the spreading of harmful misinformation and disrupt any potential economic incentives from doing so.
There have been some notable new Facebook features introduced in the last few weeks, too, many of which seem aimed at bringing people together. For example, it’s now possible to share personalised birthday videos as well as monthly or seasonal memory recap stories.
Usability has been high on the agenda with design updates to improve navigation and readability within the platform. From an engagement and community building perspective, comment styles have been improved to give better visual clarity between comments and direct replies to other comments on a post.
Throughout August, a number of new face filters were made available on Instagram. Many of these provide a bit of light entertainment – such as the new kitten and sparkle filters. You can now also convey your mood through weather-inspired face filters which provide a “fun way to express how you’re feeling”. Other updates are more meaningfully inspired by the diverse community of Instagram users – such as a rainbow light filter.
New functionality has also been introduced to improve conversations within Instagram. Comment threads have been added – helping users to keep track of conversations, and making it easier to respond to a specific thread. In an effort to utilise the visual nature of the platform to improve conversations, users can now reply to specific videos, photos and reshared posts in Direct with photos and videos.
Finally, with over 250 million daily users, it’s no surprise that Stories continues to be a core focus for Instagram, and the latest development sees Stories become available on the mobile web, so that even more users can enjoy watching Stories from friends, influencers and brands alike.
LinkedIn has joined the growing ad ecosystem with the launch of its own Audience Network (LAN). This will allow advertisers to buy inventory outside LinkedIn itself, whilst still utilising the platforms demographic data – placing ads across a huge network of mobile sites and apps. The LinkedIn Audience Network was introduced in beta at the beginning of the year and is now set to roll out across English-speaking countries.
It seems an obvious business move given the depth of personal information shared by users within the platform, and the ad tech will now provide organisations with valuable retargeting capabilities as well as the potential to build out larger audiences for marketing activity and content. This is just one of many developments since Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn – and we’re sure there will be many more to come as it looks to increase revenue from its Marketing Solutions.
by Nicola Fairchild