A roundup of new features on social media platforms you may have missed last year
Major changes happened across social media platforms in 2018, however some of these new features may have flown under the radar for irregular users of some networks.
Last year saw platforms shifting focus. Main changes include the prominence of video features, leading to them being more optimised for business marketing.
Other changes included more accessible services enabling wider audience reach.
We also saw a general boost in ways to advertise across platforms as they diversify, improve and curate their business-focused experiences.
Since Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 changes have been minimal overall, with the tech giant taking a hands-off approach. However, in 2018 LinkedIn had an overall face lift, making it’s interface, messaging and posting features smoother, as well as testing new tools and projects ready for 2019 general release. These changes include:
- Updated Personal Profiles and Company Pages
A fresh new look for profiles, adding more details and connection information to the headers of members’ profiles. These updates include a new contact menu, relocation of the profile image that could affect the background image, a broadened Summary section, and more.
- Relaunched Groups
LinkedIn Groups was completely rebuilt, overhauling the previously unintuitive and lackluster feature. This included adding dynamic features in conversation, such as multiple images and embeddable video, with various other multimedia images available in posts, alerts, and much more. These features were launched on both mobile and desktop.
- Introducing Video Captions, Article Quotes & Translations
With online accessibility gaining more momentum in 2018, LinkedIn is one of a few services helping make their space more inclusive. Members can now connect more fluidly on the platform. Inclusive features include the addition of closed caption options on video posted (desktop only at the moment). Translation of articles can now be done instantaneously, similar to Instagram’s & Facebook’s auto translate tool. Bitesize information is now possible from LinkedIn articles, which have easily highlighted and sharable quotes that can be quickly posted to other social media platforms.
- Events Tool for Offline Meetups
A feature comparable to Facebook Events, LinkedIn Events strives to “grow active, professional communities by building authentic, face-to-face relationships”. The tool enables members to set up and join professional events, invite industry connections, as well as communicate with other attendees. The goal is that it will help create lasting connections long after the event has taken place. As of Q4 2018 this feature was only running in New York and San Francisco as part of a pilot program with 500 event organisers, however the LinkedIn team hope to role it out globally in 2019.
- Voice Messaging
Similar to voice notes on Facebook, this new feature allows users to send voice recording to 1st-degree connections and for group messages via LinkedIn Messaging on the mobile app.
- LinkedIn Overhauls Campaign Manager; New Ad Products Added
Redesigning the interface & reporting experience so you can “quickly see how your campaigns are performing and make on-the-fly adjustments to improve results.” This is done through new navigation tools, faster loading data, improved search capabilities, and other optimised features. Personalised metrics allows you to view only what you really care about be that performance or video. It’s sleek, intelligent and a hell of a lot easier.
Other new ad products include LinkedIn dynamic ads and automated bidding for Sponsored Content. As well as Native Video Adverts, Carousel Adverts, and Lead Generation forms for Sponsored Content. Need a hand breaking all that down? We can help with that.
Objective-based advertising optimization and pricing Beta release announced.This is a feature for the Campaign Manager which will “make it easier to create campaigns and measure their impact”. The expected release date is currently mid-2019 for all LinkedIn advertisers.
- Business pages overhauled
With business pages generally less visible in the newsfeed during recent years Facebook hopes to reinvigorate them by adding a few subtle features. Firstly, you may have noticed that useful features for customers now have prominence on your page. This includes your business’ story, to which you can add music if you wish, company hours, messaging, etc.
Finally, you can now avoid unjustified 1 star spam with a prerequisite 25-character minimum before users can leave a review.
- Events improved
Facebook has added new ticketing integrations to make it easier for businesses to sell tickets for Events directly on platform. As well as new promotion tools with Event Adverts for business events.
- Facebook Watch – video
A year after the US launch, the Facebook Watch video streaming service is now global. New features include the launch of Premieres, which enables creators, publishers, and normal users to watch new videos together with their fans. Other useful tools now available are polling and gamification features which making viewing experiences more interactive and enable community feedback.
- Groups Upgraded
Groups got a huge update. Adding Watch Parties, analytics, and badges for active users, plus the ability to contact all the members, FB went all-in on this product.
Bad press and data breach revelations in the wake of Cambridge Analytic’s investigations led to a move from a lot of users to leave Facebook, but it’s proving quite a challenge. According to industry reporting, it’s also not stopped brands advertising on the platform. Probably because people use Facebook as a meeting place rather than just a social media platform.
- Organic Reach Reduced to Practically Zero
In an effort to refocus its users on meaningful conversations, Facebook essentially halted most organic reach (how many people see a piece of content that hasn’t been promoted) . In response to user feedback they’ve tailored the Newsfeed to prioritise user’s friends and family rather then business interactions. Even if people want to see your updates. Goodbye business traffic!
• Penalties for Clickbait
In addition to halting engagement baiting, which is when posts use captions such as “LIKE if you agree” or “TAG someone who NEEDS this!” to drive likes, Facebook say they will also be cracking down on clickbait headlines. This is when headlines try and entice the user to click, such as “You’ll NEVER believe what happened next!!”, usually to content that is heavily advert-focused and unrelated to what the headline suggests.
It’s a good move for taming fake news and misleading content, something we can all get behind (hopefully). Best to check the quality of the websites that you are linking out to…
- Launched IGTV
In an attempt to create an alternative to YouTube, they created a new long-form vertical video platform known as Instagram Television (IGTV).
Video capabilities on Instagram were previously limited to a maximum of 30-seconds. Now, IGTV allows users can upload videos of up to an hour in length. However, if your business doesn’t have a huge following you are likly to find your video is restricted to 10 minutes.
Instagram has said it’s not paying for any content in the short-term, and the service will not carry advertising when it launches. However, the company has said that it does plan to eventually give rewards to people making more popular videos.
- Advertising on Stories
Instagram has launched an integrated Shopping Feature, which makes shopping directly from the app more fluid. These new features include expanding Shopping in Stories as well as a trial run of an explore tab shopping channel. Testing began in June 201, eventually rolling out globally in 46 countries in 2019.
- Testing Exclusive Creator Accounts
Instagram is testing new features tailored to influencers in order to give them more control over their accounts. These include growth tracking, such as seeing data pertaining to follows and unfollows, and filtering tools for Direct Messaging, allowing influencers to receive notes from brand partners and friends. Plus they are introducing Flexible Labels that will allow users to designate how they want to be contacted. This is currently only being tested with a ‘small group’ of high-profile influencers.
• Cleaned out many Dormant and Fake Follower Accounts
A long overdue measure. However, some people saw their follower halved or worst.
• Crack down on Automation
If this has been part of your plan, that’s a strategy that’s not so easy to apply now as Twitter cleaned up its user experience. It still has an important place in a social media marketing strategy, but increasingly needs careful management. Contact us if you need help with that.
- Started to take Advertising
This is typically in video format, including featured content on the Discover tab with the option to have a 10-second pop up advert in between those featured brands. On a smaller scale advertising is available as a Sponsored Lens & Local Geo Tags.
- Introducing Snap Camera
This new tool brings snapchat Lenses to your live streams and video chats integrated with apps, including Twitch, YouTube, Skype, and Zoom. This feature gives users a plethora of lenses to choose from, not only on mobile but now desktop. Snap Camera for desktop allows users to stream and share with Lenses on multiple devices. New designs can be created daily by the Lens creator community through Lens Studio, allowing for branded lenses to be used more widely.
- Introducing Visual Search
An excellent tool for Amazon store holders as once an item or barcode is recognised in a photo or video, an ‘Amazon card will appear on-screen, surfacing a link for that product or similar ones available on Amazon.’ Users can then select to go to the App or website to make a purchase or continue browsing.
- Introduced Yellow
Snapchat is calling this a “launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies.” Pitched as an innovative tool, snapchat are hoping to push boundaries of mobile content. It is now open globally, following a trial 3-month programme being ran in LA. Successful applicants will receive the tools needed to grow a business from the ground up, “including funding, mentorship, introductions to industry veterans, a workspace, and the opportunity for distribution on our platform.”
Applications for summer 2019 opened February 1st.
- Introducing Explore on Snap Map
The new update to Snap Map allows updates to automatically appear when users visit an active location, such as a venue holding a gig or fundraiser, thus allowing for promotion of events in real time. This should boost attendance of events in the local area, where people may otherwise be unaware. Users also get updates for other moments, such as breaking news, events, and trends.
- Also Rolled Out Stories.
Not wanting to be left behind, YouTube decided to become ‘Instagram-like’ (or should we say ‘Snapchat-like, since that’s where it first launched?) However, YouTube stories stick around for seven days rather then 24 hours, giving the posts more time to reach subscribers.
- Accessibility with Youtube Live
YouTube have now expanded their automatic speech recognition technology (LASR) to work on YouTube live videos. This will provide a wider audience with automatic captions for live broadcasts, which is a very good thing.
- Live Geo Tags
Creators can now tag where the YouTube content is taking place. For instance, a specific store location in a shopping video or multiple business locations can add during a ‘day in the life’ live stream with a geo tagged location. This will give more context for live videos as users pop in and out of the stream. Users can then explore other content in that location by clicking through on the location tag.
- Super Chat Monetisation
This feature that enables creators to monetise their live streams, with users able to pay for a message which is highlighted and then pushed to the top of the chat feed.
Google+ is finally being killed off, well it will be in spring 2019 anyway, according to Google. We can’t say we are surprised, as it “currently has ‘low usage and engagement’ and 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than five seconds.”
Interestingly, our MD Claire Burdett predicted this would likely be the outcome, way back when Google+ first launched. Seems she does have a crystal ball after all…