December Social Media Updates

Facebook Messenger Stories Layout (Testing)

Facebook is currently testing a new layout for Facebook stories in Messenger. Currently, Stories are shown in a single line above messages however should tests prove fruitful we could soon be seeing stories taking up more screen space.

This feature is very much in line with Facebook’s broader moves to promote Stories use and to maximise engagement, as brands see up to 10x higher engagement rates on Instagram than Facebook. It’s clear that Facebook is attempting to bring across some of the features of the higher engagement platform, as recently they also introduced Music on Facebook Stories and expansions on Lipsync Live. More than 70% of Instagram and Snapchat users use the story function on both platforms every day, and 80% of all daily active Instagram users watch Stories just as often as they scroll the feed, so Facebook is clearly homing in on this on their highest user platform.

Instagram Update (Testing)

Keep an eye on your Instagram profile in the coming weeks – as Instagram has some changes in store.

Instagram is live A/B testing multiple updates worldwide including de-emphasising followers and following statistics and implementing new tab options for business profiles. Business profiles are being tested with a variety of tabs – there’s a new ‘shop’ button which is linked with the various shopping options that have been introduced this year, such as the shoppable stories, the in post shopping links.

A new ‘mutual follows’  tab is being tested which could be beneficial for marketers – brand collaborations could have be more informed before going ahead  and and targeting could be honed in on what your demographic is interested in. it is also a valuable addition as it will provide more context as to how users are attached to others in your own network, and allow people to create content accordingly.

Lens Creative Partner Program to boost branded Snapchat lenses

Snapchat is making it easier for businesses of all sizes to include branded lenses in their marketing.

Snapchat is introducing a ‘Creative Partner Program’ that enables businesses to link with certified creators to build engaging AR Lenses for Snapchat. The concept behind this being that it will encourage further spending on AR campaigns. Snap Lenses have proven to be quite popular, however it appears they are beyond the technical ability of most advertisers, even with Snap opening up the Lens Studio tool to all advertisers last year.

One in three of Snaps 186 million daily active users use Lenses for an average of three minutes each, according to data from Snap. If you’re trying to reach a younger audience – that’s a LOT of engagement. If you’re using Snapchat in your marketing and struggling to connect with your audience via regular Snaps, it could be a viable option to invest in an effective Lens campaign.

Instagram Cracks down on Fake Followers

Instagram is on a mission to eliminate inauthentic followers and likes that are gained by use of third party apps.

Instagram announced they have built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use third party apps. The users will be notified, urged to change their account password and inauthentic activity will be removed. This could be a game changer as there are a plethora of spammy accounts and platforms that promote growing your following.

As explained by Instagram:

“Every day, people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions. It’s our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity. Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.”

This will be interesting to observe as last time the platform cracked down on ghost and fake accounts – the spam purge of 2014 – follower counts dropped by millions for some accounts – Justin Bieber lost 3,538,228 followers, and rapper Akon apparently lost 56% of his followers. This time it is more of a warning it seems, however if you use apps to comment, like and follow other users, be aware of the potential risks.

Business Analytics Updates (Facebook Pages & Instagram)

Over the coming months, Instagram and Facebook Page analytics will be getting a makeover.

The current analytics functions will be expanding to cover all the ways people engage with businesses via their business profiles.

As explained by Facebook:

At Facebook Analytics, our core quest is to help marketers understand how their content and channel strategies actually drive real business results. As part of that charter, we’re excited to announce a major addition to Facebook Analytics: our Instagram Account and advanced Page analytics beta! Instagram Account analytics are a brand-new addition to our suite, and Facebook Page analytics are expanding to cover all the ways people engage with your business through your Page.”

In a nutshell: you’re going to be about to get more information about the people who interact with your social media accounts, and you’re going to get it all in the one place.