April 2017 has been yet another busy month for updates and enhancements to social networks. Facebook and Instagram have been at the forefront of the updates; Instagram has more familiar-looking features and hits some big milestones for active users while Facebook has a number of new features to take note of. Pinterest, a social network we rarely discuss, has made a major change that arguably stops it being a social network and Twitter has gambled heavily on streaming video… more below!
Instagram Hits 700m Users
It’s still fairly early on in 2017 but it’s been a huge year for Instagram already with a range of new features for individuals and businesses and a growth in users and advertisers. During the month of April, Instagram reported that its userbase had swelled to 700m people, doubling in around 2 years. The growth-rate for the social network has actually increased, so expect it to hit 800m and more in the coming months.
While it’s “just a number”, that is double the number of users that Twitter has (350m) and could soon join the Facebook billion club, alongside Facebook (1.8bn) and WhatsApp (1.2bn). Instagram Stories, often called a copy of Snapchat, has been credited with an impact on growth and retention and Instagram Stories alone has 200m daily active users while Instagram Direct has 375m active monthly users. For comparison, Snapchat, which has been around longer than Stories or Direct, has just 161 million daily active users. The only way is up for Instagram!
Introducing Instagram Collections
“If you can’t beat them, copy them” seems to be the mantra for Instagram. After releasing a range of features that are remarkably similar to Snapchat (Direct and Stories), Instagram’s latest addition seems to have been inspired by Pinterest.
“Collections” lets users save individual posts into… yes you guessed it - collections! Save your favourite cat photos, holiday destinations and fashion into their own folders for future reading.
To save an Instagram post to a collection, simply hold your finger on the existing bookmark button and choose to add it to an existing collection or create a new one. To find your saved collections again, go to your profile and select the Bookmark tab, then click “Collections”.
On the Facebook mobile app, you can now use Facebook’s new in-app camera by simply swiping right from the News Feed. According to Facebook, “the camera has a range of effects like masks, frames and interactive filters” and is very similar to Snapchat’s own Filters feature. There are also partnerships with brands, so look out for Aliens, Minions and Guardians of the Galaxy characters on your Facebook Camera.
Facebook has over 5m advertisers
It’s another impressive milestone for Facebook - 5m advertisers on the world’s most popular social network with 75% of those 5m located outside of the US. The 5m milestone marks a growth in advertisers by 1m over the past 7 months, demonstrating that it’s still a fast-growing social network, despite its ‘maturity’.
In addition to the 5m advertisers, Facebook also boasts 65m Pages.
Facebook Video Covers
True to their prediction that the majority of content on Facebook will one day be video, people and brands might be able to swap cover photos for cover videos if their latest test is successful.
Facebook has confirmed the test, providing the following statement:
“We recently started testing the ability on desktop to upload a video as the Page cover. Once a cover video has been created, video will render when people visit the Page.
By making cover video available, we want to help you create more engaging interactions and drive more rich experience for your audience by letting you spotlight your creative content in one of the most prominent spaces: your Page cover.
This feature is still in early testing, but we expect it to roll out more widely soon."
Pinterest removes Like button
In news slightly out of left-field, Pinterest has announced that it is phasing out its Like Button over the coming weeks. The aim is to give the rebranded “Save” button (formerly the “Pin It” button) a bigger role.
From now on, if you like something, you save it! Pinterest has for a long time claimed that it’s not a social network, something that can you could argue for or against, but the removal of the “like” button makes Pinterest different to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - less of a social network and more of a “visual discovery platform”.
Snapchat World Lens
Because who wouldn’t want to look up and see a swarm of rainbow-coloured umbrellas overhead? Snapchat launched an updated app feature this month called New World Lenses. This new feature places animated objects into your real world through your phone screen. Pretty cool. The update that took place in April sees the lenses go up a notch as when you move, they can adapt to your surroundings.
Let the AR battle commence between Snapchat and Facebook. Who will win?
Twitter Live Streaming News
Despite losing the rights to NFL Thursday Night Football to Amazon Prime, Twitter has gone big on live streaming by announcing 14 (new, renewed or expanded) deals for live premium content.
That list of partners includes: Major League Baseball, the NFL, Viacom, BuzzFeed, Bloomberg Media, Live Nation and the PGA. These new deals will add hundreds of hours of exclusive content to Twitter, including live sports, concerts, news and entertainment.
The new content package is great news for sports fans as it includes Women’s NBA, College Sports, NFL pre-game and on-demand highlights and over 70 hours of live golf across 31 tournaments. For entertainment fans, the partnerships with Viacom and Live Nation will bring live streaming of the MTV Music, TV and Movie Awards and live concert streams.
Will any of these feature updates change your approach to your social media strategy?
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