Welcome to our third edition of our monthly social platform update.
The global pandemic has definitely affected social media in a multitude of ways. Facebook’s Q1 2020 results have shown an increase in its Daily Active Users (DAUs) of 11% year-on-year (1.7 billion), driven by an uplift in social media engagement from stay-at-home orders in place. Its Monthly Active Users (MAUs) saw a similar growth of 10% (2.6 billion). While on Instagram, influencers have lost, on average, 33% of their potential income due to the coronavirus pandemic, which equates to £2500 per week.
The study examined 500 influencers on the platform, ranging from micro-influencers to celebrities and found that 65% of them posted less sponsored content during the 8 weeks between 12th March and 7th May compared to the 8 weeks prior.
May has been another crazy month in social media. Communities have come together, features have been announced and most of the world is still in lockdown. Let’s take a look at what has happened recently. Shall we?
Instagram says internal spam filters have incorrectly limited some #BlackLivesMatter posts
After various users complained that their Instagram posts were being restricted due to usage of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, Instagram has issued an explanation, saying that the posts are indeed being limited, but not because of any intentional action by the platform to limit the discussion.
As explained by Instagram, the massive increase in usage of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has resulted in its systems incorrectly assessing the influx as spam. Instagram is working to resolve the situation to ensure users can continue to engage in the discussion via their posts
TikTok also faced challenges processing a similar influx in discussion around the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag last week, which prompted some users to suggest that TikTok was looking to censor the discussion from the platform.
Both Instagram and TikTok have separately shared their support for the protest action calling for systemic change to address racial injustice in the US. Instagram's parent company Facebook has also pledged $10 million in funding for programs focused on overcoming racial injustice - Facebook is also facing an internal walk-out due to dissatisfaction among employees as to how the platform has addressed elements of the surrounding debate.
Snapchat makes its ‘Dynamic Ads’
Snapchat is creating Dynamic Ads to help you create your Snap campaigns by formatting your uploaded product images into platform-friendly formats. You simply upload your assets, then Snapchat's Ads Manager will provide various templates for display to choose from, aligned to the platform's vertical display focus.
This feature helps you update relevant product information in real-time - so if a product’s price or availability changes, your promotion will reflect the revised details. This will certainly appeal to companies who are looking to market to younger audiences, and provide purchase additions within their Snap campaigns.
Instagram has been testing a double-story Stories feed with some users
Instagram is testing features which shows twice the amount of stories so you will be able to access more of them even faster. This could become the new normal for Stories if it sees positive response from users.
The various options point to the next big shift for Instagram - with more people using Stories, at some point, Instagram will likely look to switch the structure and aesthetic feel of the app from a traditional feed to a Stories feed. This could also mean a transition to the first action when opening the app directing straight into stories.
That would be a significant shift, but as parent company Facebook has repeatedly noted, Stories have been on the rise on both platforms and are on track to overtake the news feed as the primary surface for social media engagement.
This could also influence social media usage and the relation it has to posting strategies. Especially, when reposting content to stories and sharing knowledge have been a huge presence recently.
Facebook launches yet another new app, ‘Venue’, this time focused on live event engagement
Facebook's experimental NPE team has released its eighth app - and its third this week - with a new live event companion tool called 'Venue' which seeks to add to the engagement potential of real-time viewing.
The app allows users to access each commentators' thoughts and insights as Facebook will provide selected personalities, like journalists, athletes and/or “fan-analysts”, with their own 'Venue' within the app. This will work for each live-streamed event which is bound to be more frequent in the upcoming months.
The app will provide alerts around specific moments, fans can view the event as normal, then check-in when a trending discussion is happening, better facilitating the second-screen experience. The process plans to compete with the trending feature on Twitter and go one step further as users will be talking and watching the event.
Second-screening has become a key component of sports interaction - according to previous Facebook research, some 94% of people now keep a smartphone on hand while watching live TV. Social platforms have been trying for years to work out a way to better tap into this use case, but thus far, none have been able to crack the right formula that better balances live TV viewing with social media engagement.
TikTok announces #LearnOnTikTok initiative to encourage education during lockdowns
TikTok has today announced a new #LearnOnTikTok program, which will show a range of educational videos in order to help facilitate learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The content is being funded through TikTok's $50 million creative learning fund, which it announced as part of its broader $250 million commitment to assist with the impacts of Covid-19.
#LearnOnTikTok includes videos outlining exercise routines, sleep health tips, instructions on floral arrangements, and even lessons on aquatic life.
As noted, all of these lessons are being provided by businesses that have impacted (or affected) by Covid-19, so the clips serve as both educational resources to help people at home, and promotional vehicles for these professionals to share their expertise.
Instagram announces next stage of IGTV monetization, new revenue options for Instagram Live
Instagram has announced the next stage of monetization for IGTV, while it's also adding new digital 'badges' for IG Live, which will allow viewers to donate money to their favorite broadcasters.
This is a major step for IGTV. The lack of monetization tools for Instagram's longer-form video option has been a significant fallback to its success thus far, but users have more reason to post more content, more regularly, it will bring a much larger audience across, which will then enable Instagram to showcase the IGTV feature, and build its offering.
IGTV can become an important asset from an ads perspective. Depending on how fast IGTV ads roll out, and the benefit creators see, it could become a much more relevant platform, very quickly. In addition to IGTV monetization, Instagram's also looking to capitalize on the rise in live-streaming on the platform, by adding in a new way for live-stream viewers to donate to their favorite broadcasters.
Alex Ward, paid media executive at Wilderness Agency