A Game of Snap: Q1 Social Media Updates

Three months into the year and we’ve already seen huge innovation from the major social media platforms. There’s also been several copycat maneuvers. Here’s what we’ve spotted.

Facebook marches on

Facebook’s goal is bold and laudable. In a post by founder Mark Zuckerberg in February we learnt that it wants to connect everyone in the world as a force for good. It’s a quarter of the way to achieving its objective; 1.86 billion people use the social network.

There’s no evidence whatsoever of Facebook fatigue. In fact the teens are back in force. According to data from eMarketer two-thirds (65%) of US teens use the site daily, ahead of Instagram (63%) and Snapchat (54%).

Meanwhile Facebook has found itself at the front of the queue of tech organizations that are being called on to tackle fake news.

The platform is testing a number of solutions. A new formula for trending news factors in the credibility of the sources rather than ranking based on popularity. It’s also starting to test a tool that enables users to flag misleading stories.

Instagram adds storytelling carousel

Instagram, Facebook’s photo sharing social network, has added a carousel feature. You can now post up to 10 images in a single post.

The first image appears in the newsfeed with a link to the others in a swipe-able carousel. Brand executions include: how-to; before/after; demonstrations; products; and storytelling.

LinkedIn makeover challenges Facebook

LinkedIn has had a makeover and looks a lot like Facebook. The biggest change is to the homepage: a link to your profile is upper left; the newsfeed cascades down the middle; and an information panel sits on the right.

It has also reworked its newsfeed so that popular stories in a network are shown in a trending tab. You can use hashtags to join conversations. It’s almost certain to become a paid play if it proves popular.

Pinterest adds artificial intelligence image recognition

Pinterest created a new tool called Lens that lets you use the camera in the Pinterest app as a means of discovery. It serves images from Pinterest that match colors and objects of photos that you shoot.

Pinterest reported more than two billion searches per month, searching for details of the 75 billion pins created by site visitors saving images. It has enabled search ads for brands that using Kenshoo’s marketing platform.

Snap, crackle and story spot

Facebook imitated Snapchat and added Stories to its mobile application at the end of last year. It did the same with WhatsApp but later reversed the move. Now it’s added Stories to Facebook Messenger. There’s nothing subtle about the competitive challenge to Snapchat.

Snap Spectacles are available to buy online. They cost $130 and for now are only available in the US. Spectacles capture short form video via an integrated camera. The video is synced and shared with the Snapchat on your phone via Bluetooth.

Twitter on the deck

Twitter is considering a subscription service for brands and power users as a potential source of revenue. Paid for accounts would get access to improved analytics and tools. Don’t get excited. The announcement looks a lot like a proposal to roll out Tweetdeck to paid accounts in 2011.

Twitter has replaced Moments on the app with Explore. It’s one of the smartest things Twitter has done in a while, providing a summary of trending topics, moments and key topics. Expect it to become valuable real estate for advertisers.

Finally, Twitter killed its buy button after Facebook had previously closed down its own buy button and Instagram and Pinterest have struggled with theirs as well. Users aren’t buying direct from social networks but are engaging with content as part of an integrated play.

Ketchum has more than 600 people working in social media and digital around the work from Brussels to Beijing, and from Seoul to San Francisco.

We track changes on behalf of clients in analytics, content, paid, platforms, real-time media, and influencers in an internal Workplace community.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss how these changes affect your organization.

About Stephen Waddington

Stephen is a Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University. Chairman of Future Proof policy unit and Past President, CIPR. Author of Brand Anarchy and #BrandVandals; and editor and contributor to Share This and Share This Too. Connect with him on Twitter: @wadds