February has seen so many developments in the world of social media that it’s been hard to keep up – fortunately, we’ve got the key changes rounded up here.

Firstly, Facebook has had a busy month. To begin with, the social network has announced that videos in the News Feed will soon auto play with sound on when using a mobile device. This feature is likely to apply to ads as well, and from an advertising perspective, the possibility of delivering sound-on adverts to users – a more engaging format – would be a real improvement over the current situation. However, even though Facebook has claimed that this change has been positively received in tests, for many users having sound-on automatically will be viewed as invasive, and may end up negatively impacting the image of the advertiser’s brand.

Facebook has also improved its capacity for displaying vertical video, and introduced a watch and scroll feature, which also allows videos to keep playing even once the Facebook app has been exited. Facebook has mentioned that a lot of its focus moving forwards is based on video, which explains this focus on ensuring it’s as prominent as possible.

Additionally, Facebook has announced updates to its newsfeed algorithm in an attempt to “prioritise authenticity.” Pages that are seen to be “trying to game the news feed” by using posts asking for engagements, or that post content which is often hidden by users, are deemed less authentic and may be positioned further down the newsfeed. Given all these recent changes on Facebook, it’s important for businesses to assess their content strategy, so they can take advantage of this push towards video content, and move away from posts that are deemed inauthentic by this new update.

It’s been a hectic time for Snapchat too, with a number of developments ahead of its forthcoming IPO in March. In addition to a significant portion of its user base migrating away to Instagram, a survey out this month claimed that 80% of the app’s key demographic (18-24) always or often skip ads on the app – worrying for businesses aiming to advertise to this market through this platform. Although this age group has been referenced by Snapchat as a big advertising opportunity for marketers, younger users so far haven’t responded well to promotional content on the app.

However, it hasn’t all been bad news for Snapchat, with the announcement that websites will now be able to have their own QR codes. This will allow businesses to set up links to their websites within the app, reducing the number of steps between the app and the website. This should help improve the number of site sessions generated by Snapchat, as well as providing an additional reason for users to follow that business on the app. For instance, retail stores may see this as an opportunity to facilitate turning product inspiration into instant purchases with this new update.

In further video news, Twitter has confirmed that a new metric is being tested alongside likes and retweets. Users will soon see a view count next to their video content to gauge its popularity, in an attempt to help “surface the best content”, according to Twitter. Although there’s no announcement as to when this will be rolled out to all users just yet, this is yet another indication of video’s rising prominence in the eyes of social media sites.

Twitter’s increasing focus on customer service has also been highlighted this month, as it has now introduced a method for businesses to personalise their customer service responses. This feature allows customer service representatives to use a personal profile rather than the corporate one when responding to queries. Twitter has mentioned in the past the benefits of this human connection, saying that users are “22% more likely to be satisfied compared to those who had impersonal interactions with a business on Twitter”, and this addition only attempts to further this aspect.

Finally, Instagram has announced a new carousel-style feature to its app, allowing users to publish up to 10 pictures or videos as one post. This presents a whole host of opportunities for businesses to create engaging posts on Instagram that weren’t previously possible. For instance, this could be used to ask users to vote for their favourite product amongst a set; show a step-by-step process in brief stages; or for businesses to provide detailed behind the scenes content within one post.