There have been important updates for Facebook and its subsidiaries across August, which have wider implications for marketers and other businesses.
Facebook has branched into a new direction with its app that is aimed squarely at teenagers: Lifestage. Lifestage, currently only available in the US, is an app that relies heavily on user-generated video content and such videos are only visible to others at the same high school. Ironically, Lifestage replicates Facebook’s early days when it was used as an on-campus social networking service. Facebook has come under some criticism for not protecting vulnerable younger people. The app’s design, with lots of ephemeral video content, can be seen as a move against Snapchat and their current social media dominance over teens. Facebook is gradually falling in popularity with teen users, especially as more of their parents (and grandparents) move on to the app, therefore Facebook-owned Lifestage is an antidote to this trend. However, how well younger uses will take to the app instead of Snapchat remains to be seen.
Another of Facebook’s subsidiaries is also taking on the Snapchat market, this month Instagram has launched Instagram Stories. This in-app feature allows users to post pictures that will disappear after 24 hours, thus not appearing on (or interfering with) their perfectly-curated home feed. As Instagram stated in their introductory blog, “you don’t have to worry about overposting”. Users can edit their Instagram Stories with Emojis and their own drawing edits. Instagram Stories allows brands a major opportunity to create exciting video and image content that has a more authentic and ‘live’ feeling than a regular Instagram post. Brands will not have to worry about negative comments or responses, as this feature has been disabled on Stories. Particularly, businesses would be wise to be an early adopter of the Instagram Story, and post engaging ‘behind the scenes’ content which further humanises the brand.
In an attempt to reverse long-term trends of user growth stagnation, Twitter has introduced greater user controls over their own notifications. Users are able to select to receive notification from people they follow. This will help remove spam notifications that many users find an irritant. Other changes include adding a ‘quality filter’ to users’ home feeds. The algorithm behind this change will theoretically remove ‘spam’ tweets, which include automated tweets, repeated content, and account origin. Users that turn on this feature will see more content from accounts that they have previously interacted with and only people the user follows. Businesses and brands would be wise to keep posting varied content, as this algorithm could reduce reach if it deems content too similar and filters it from users’ feeds.
by Jenny Connelly