March was another very busy month for the biggest social media platforms. So busy, in fact, that it’s possible we’ve missed a few of their announcements.
Wonder what the social media world is up to lately? Don’t worry! Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google you are interested in, today’s roundup should cover it all — and then some…
Facebook Releases More Tools for Marketers and Developers
Let’s start with Facebook. The company started removing voluntarily deactivated and memorialized accounts from Pages’ like counts to “give you a better, more accurate understanding of who your fans are.” In the case of reactivation, though, the likes will appear again.
Some big brands lost a lot of followers in the process. For example, YouTube shed 5.7 million, Coca Cola 5 million, MTV 4 million, and Disney 3.4 million.
Facebook also updated its community standards and launched On This Day and a new Messenger feature that allows users to send and receive money.
A select group of partners is testing topic data. This monitoring feature would give marketers aggregated insights on topic-centric discussions on the social network. Facebook states that the data cannot be used to target ads directly and that all personal information will remain private.
Does your target market include people living away from their home countries? You can now reach them easily with the new expat targeting feature.
The F8 Facebook Developer Conference always gives Facebook the opportunity to announce new products. This year was no exception. Here are some highlights from the event:
- Messenger Platform – Developers can create apps that integrate with Messenger and enhance the user experience. There are 40 third-party apps available right now.
- Analytics for Apps – Another free tool to help developers and marketers understand their audiences across devices, segments, cohorts, funnels, and more.
- Businesses on Messenger – “Businesses on Messenger enables things like the following: during the checkout flow on a business’s site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.”
- Spherical videos
- New share sheet for apps and App Invites.
- Updated social plugins – Comment Mirroring for the Comment plugin; embeddable videos; and mobile Share and Send buttons.
- Video API – Brands and marketers now have more control over their videos. For example, they can restrict audiences by age, gender, and location; publish to a Page without distributing to News Feed; and set an expiration date for videos. They can also add custom thumbnails and enable subtitles.
- LiveRail – Support for ad display in mobile apps and more accurate targeting of audiences.
This month, Facebook also launched two online training resources. Blueprint, which is geared towards agencies and brands, includes in-person training and a certification program. Learn How is a center for beginner small businesses and marketers.
Are you a FriendFeed user? If so, be aware that Facebook will close the site on April 9.
Is Your Website Ready for Google Search’s New Mobile-Friendly Ranking Factor?
Expect some changes to the Google+ platform very soon. Google is splitting it into three standalone products: Photos, Streams, and Hangouts.
Google Contacts has a new look and the Google AdWords app for Android is available globally.
Wondering what the upcoming mobile-friendly ranking factor in Google Search is all about? Search Engine Land reports that it runs in real-time and on a page-to-page basis. So don’t wait to start optimizing your website. “[A]s soon as Google picks up on the change, the site will start to benefit from the new mobile-friendly algorithm change,” says Barry Schwartz.
For some good tips to prepare for the new algorithm, read this article. Google has also created a list of common mistakes to avoid.
Oh, and by the way, the duplicate content penalty in Google Search is a myth. “[J]ust because you have duplicate content doesn’t mean your site will never see the light of day in Google, just those duplicate pages could be hidden away,” says Jennifer Slegg on The SEM Post
Some news on the YouTube front, now. First, there is a new programme with tools and resources for artists. The team also released interactive cards, the mobile-friendly successors to annotations. Located in the Video Editor, they are of six types: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website, and Fan Funding.
Last but not least, Gmail users may soon be able to receive and pay bills directly from their inboxes. The project is called Pony Express.
Instagram Updates Its Platform
Instagram launched the Layout app and Carousel ads. The new ad unit reveals additional branded items when viewers swipe left. It is also the first instance of clickable links on the platform.
A New Way for Brands to Tell Stories on Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.
Hashtag pages are now available on desktop. Just click on a hashtag to access the latest photos and videos posted by users.
Beginning today, the photos and videos you see on a hashtag page are sorted by the order they were posted. This means…
Posted by Instagram on Friday, March 27, 2015
Towards a More Secure Twitter
Good news for those who upload videos on Twitter from mobile devices. They are now embeddable. And did you notice a bar graph or “View Tweet activity” button in Tweets? Your account is part of a new Twitter experiment. Click to see analytics on posts.
Speaking of experiment, you may soon be able to tag locations pulled from Foursquare’s database. TV Timelines are also in the works.
The new “partner audiences” feature gives advertisers the ability to target Twitter Ads to “users who have shown powerful signals of intent off of Twitter.”
Twitter also updated its policy and rules in an attempt to fight revenge porn: “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.”
The fight against harassment continues with a new tool that allows users to report threatening Tweets to the police, and a “Quality filter” that hides threatening, offensive, or abusive messages sent from suspicious accounts.
Did you notice the redesigned analytics home page? From there, you can also promote your best Tweets.
Twitter acquired and launched live-streaming app Periscope for iOS. The app will remain separate from Twitter’s core app for the time being.
By the way, happy ninth birthday, Twitter!
In Other News
Amazon never rests, apparently. The company launched Amazon Exclusives earlier this month to shine the light on innovative products from select brands. However, it will also shutter its Webstore in January 2016.
BuzzFeed is adding podcasts to its strategy.
Zuru, Haiku Deck’s new tool, blends artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate automatic visual presentations from imported Evernote or Powerpoint content.
Has your Kickstarter project been successfully funded? Spotlight will help you convert it into a product showcase.
LinkedIn launched a Job Search app for Android, the 2015 Influencer Interviews series, and B2B Beat, a new weekly series focusing on B2B trends and issues. The company is also deepening its ties with universities with Graduate School Rankings and a new feature that allows students and graduates to add their college affiliation to their profiles.
Medium is testing domain names for publications. The updated iOS app also lets you write and publish drafts on the go.
Could 2015 be the year of Meerkat? The new app dominated conversations at SXSW and elsewhere this month. The team has also responded to the Periscope launch with an array of new features for iOS.
Pinterest is upping its advertising game. Ad Age reports that marketers and brands can now target users more precisely (by audience). Animated sponsored pins are also in the works.
FYI, your Pinterest home feed is not chronological anymore:
“Pinnability is the collective name of the machine learning models we developed to help Pinners find the best content in their home feed. It’s part of the technology powered by smart feed, which we introduced last August, and estimates the relevance score of how likely a Pinner will interact with a Pin. With accurate predictions, we prioritize those Pins with high relevance scores and show them at the top of home feed.”
Embeddable comment threads are the newest Reddit feature.
The Wikimedia Foundation and eight other organizations are suing the NSA.
WordPress has a free white paper explaining WordPress security.
Yahoo is 20.
Compu-Finder is the first company to be slapped with a huge fine under Canada’s new anti-spam law.
That’s all for now! See you next Monday for a new roundup of social media studies!
In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive our latest articles directly in your Inbox!
Also, join us for the next #BizHeroes chat on Tuesday, March 31. We’ll talk about motivating community for collaboration!