We always say that social media changes all the time, and March 2017 has been no different. There has been a range of new launches and features within Facebook, ‘Stories’ are everywhere and LinkedIn has a fresh new look. We’re here to keep you up to date with what we think’s important in the world of social media...
Congratulations are in order for Instagram as they reached 1 million advertisers this month!
This really cements Instagram as social media advertising for all. Instagram’s USP is a focus on passion so small businesses can find their niche nicely on this platform, spending what they please to achieve results. It’s not just for the big players.
Advertising on Instagram Stories
Businesses worldwide: welcome to advertising within Instagram Stories! This is another social advertising option to consider through Facebook Business Manager:
“Ads in Instagram Stories use the same targeting and measurement tools as ads that run in Feed on Facebook and Instagram. You can capture audiences who have seen ads in their stories and target them on Facebook or Instagram feed. You can also run stories ads targeted at audiences that have seen your ad on Facebook or Instagram feed.”
This could be a nice alternative to the expensive Snapchat advertising, don’t you think? Especially for smaller businesses.
Shopping on Instagram
Isn’t it brilliant when things are made easier for you? Instagram has done just that. With the eye-catching images sparking inspiration that are shared daily on the platform, we love that a “Shop Now” feature is being integrated. This is definitely going to be dangerous for our bank balances but at least we’ll look Instagram-worthy!
“Stories” - Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat
Stories are slapped all over social media at the moment! Initially, they belonged to Snapchat but they’re not the only player in this game any more. Instagram launched their story offering last Summer and Facebook followed this month. Let’s explore what March looked like story-wise...
At the end of March a new feature was launched on Instagram Stories which enables users to view stories as they scroll - have you noticed the rainbow “story rings” yet? - rather than just at the top of the app. Very useful! Especially useful to those who follow a large number of people as who wants to swipe through the tiny menu that only showcases three stories at a time looking for your favourite accounts? Not us.
Late to the party? Or has it just begun? Facebook finally launched it’s own Stories offering this month. They have already launched various copycats of Snapchat on their family of platforms - Instagram. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger - so they have had plenty of practice before rolling out the big guns.
Their version of Stories has three main features: Facebook Camera, Facebook Stories and Direct. Exclusive filters (hello minions!) and an established friend list may well pull people in but only time will tell if Facebook Stories will have the same success as Instagram Stories…
We predict it will do just fine with their user base being over y’know...1 BILLION!
Have you noticed your Snapchat a little quieter than usual? WHERE IS EVERYONE? With more and more users moving over to Instagram Stories - and potentially Facebook Stories - where they have an existing audience and higher reach, Snapchat seems so very quiet which is worrying. How will they turn this around?
As Facebook continue to punish Snapchat for not coming under their wing, Snap Inc. have put a focus on hardware. Will this be what sets them apart from the crowd?
Are You In A Story Dilemma?
You want to tell your story but do you really want to tell it ten times over? This is a particular problem for social influencers as they feel the pressure to post on every platform going. Which do they choose & why?
New features for Facebook Advertisers
Facebook’s ad platform continues to evolve at an incredibly fast pace. The month of March was no different, with the introduction of a new testing feature and the announcement of a new ad format.
Obviously, ad testing has always been possible (and we’d say, essential) for successful ad campaigns, but it was quite a manual process - create multiple variants (copy, imagery, targeting), manually measuring and comparing results and optimising based on what performs best.
However more ‘formal’ A/B testing has been rolled out to all advertisers in the past month.
When setting up a new campaign, on the first stage of the wizard (when choosing an objective), there’s a checkbox for you to include a split test.
Checking that will allow you to select one variable to compare for each ad set and this will be the only difference between the two sets. Variables could be: target audience, ad placements or delivery optimisation (e.g. optimised for link clicks vs impressions). Once a split test is complete, Facebook will tell you your results and declare a “winner”, giving you some extra information to take your campaign forward.
Facebook announces new ad format - “Collection”
Facebook’s latest ad format comes hot on the heels of the pretty innovative Canvas Ads. The new format, called “Collection” is designed to encourage shoppers to make a purchase. The format is designed to combat slow mobile site loading times and the desire to see products in the real world, e.g. in video, rather than in traditional (white-background) product shots.
In a nutshell, it allows advertisers to display a video or image with clickable product images beneath. So, for example, you could show a promotional video featuring products, but the products that feature appear as clickable links beneath. The most obvious example would be fashion, where actors in a video wear different clothes, but these appear underneath as clickable products. Both Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger partnered with Facebook to trial the new ad format. While no indication of success was given, both seemed pleased with the potential of Collection ads.
For us, when it’s eventually rolled out to everyone, it’s an exciting opportunity for working with any brand who sells online.
LinkedIn UI & Messaging & Hashtags
After many years of looking the same, LinkedIn’s finally had a UI upgrade. You might have noticed a new, fresher look and feel to the main page and some improvements to features like messages (which now pop up in a box, a bit like Facebook) and company pages. There are a few less obvious features too, like the ability to hide “types” of notifications (hint hint birthdays and work anniversaries!).
And one of the more obvious changes from LinkedIn is that it now supports hashtags (again). In the past, people using hashtags on LinkedIn were often criticised, but now, users are encouraged to use hashtags in posts and users can now, on mobile devices, click those hashtags and search for posts that include them. However, there are reports that hashtags aren’t universal across all devices so far, so it might be a bit of a work in progress!
Facebook’s use of hashtags also seems to be improving, so we might see the day that hashtags can be used across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram!
How many times do you find yourself carefully trying to craft a tweet that fits within the 140 characters? Too many. Luckily, Twitter has eased the pain for us. They have announced that they will no longer count @usernames against your character limit in replies - YAY! This means that you can now respond to as many people as you like without their handles butting into your messaging. The @username will now appear above your tweet so something new to get used to there!
Will this get us engaging more on Twitter? Tests of the feature showed an increase in conversation so looks like it.
Will any of these feature updates change your approach to your social media strategy?
We’d love to hear your opinion!
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