November has been yet another intriguing month in the fast-moving social media sphere, with countless developments across multiple channels. We’re going to take a look through those which will likely have the greatest impact.

Firstly, it has emerged that Facebook has stopped insurer Admiral from using social media data to set policy prices. Admiral had planned to use data concerning the way people write statuses and the number of likes they receive as a method of perceiving which users will be safer drivers and adjusting prices accordingly. However, after a number of objections raised by prominent privacy-protection agencies, Facebook blocked Admiral’s plan at the last minute, claiming that the scheme would have contravened its privacy guidelines. As noble as this may seem, it is worth noting that if users begin to distrust Facebook with their personal data, their targeting systems for ads will become less effective, which implies that this decision could originate from a more self-serving perspective.

Furthermore, Facebook have announced a swathe of changes to their metrics, the most notable of which concerning organic reach. According to Facebook, summary figures over 7-day and 28-day periods on the ‘Page Insights’ dashboard had previously been miscalculated due to repeat visitors being treated as multiple unique users, and will now be on average 33% and 55% lower respectively. These errors have challenged faith in Facebook’s metrics once again, with many led to believe that non-paid posts had reached more people than they had. Facebook have claimed to be introducing greater third-party verification in their metrics in an attempt to dissuade the growing negative sentiment.

Over to Twitter now who have announced that they will be rolling out customer services bots into their direct messaging feature in an attempt to entice more brands to use it as a customer service platform. These automated responses can range from simple welcome messages responding to a DM, to helping with a range of common queries (for instance, allowing customers to get more information about the tracking of an order). This is encouraging news for businesses, as these features present a new range of customer service options, and may encourage users to direct complaints to a private channel, rather than airing their grievances over the public timeline. Although this is a step forward for Twitter, in reality this just playing catch-up with Facebook who launched a comparable service on their Messenger app back in April.

A series of interesting developments for businesses on Instagram have been announced this month. Firstly, Stories are getting more dynamic – the Boomerang app has now been attached to this feature, which will facilitate the creation of simple yet engaging video content, and the addition of Mentions to Instagram Stories provides the opportunity for businesses to engage with consumers in a new way. For instance, brands could tag users in their story as a more personalised way of interacting with customers in their premises or at their events, without having it remain on their feed permanently. Secondly, Instagram is introducing e-commerce features, designed to make the transition between finding inspiration and purchasing items easier. Although currently a US only trial, businesses will soon be able to tag products in their photos, provide information about them, and link through to their website with “Shop Now” buttons. This is extremely interesting news for retail businesses as it provides a key opportunity to mould an engagement channel into a sales channel. Lastly, following on from Facebook and Twitter’s further forays into live video last month, it should come as no surprise that Instagram are also planning on getting in on the act. As we mentioned in last month’s roundup, live video presents a world of opportunities for businesses, so this should be one to watch.

Finally, after last month’s mourning of Vine, it seems that its resurrection is already on the cards. According to multiple sources, Twitter has already received a number of bids from companies vying to purchase Vine. A new owner may mean new developments for the app, so we’ll be keeping an eye on how this one turns out…