SPRINGBOX / Insights

Social Trend Report: Stories expand with new updates from Instagram, Snapchat and now, WhatsApp

by Springbox Social Team, November 14, 2016

Stories, Stories, Everywhere

It’s been a busy week for the Story world. From the Facebook front came Flash, a standalone app and Snapchat clone, built for emerging markets due to its minimal storage and data usage. And Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp joined in on the fun with “Status,” its new feature where users can share pictures and videos and overlay them with custom elements — all of which, disappear within 24 hours. Sound familiar?

As for Snapchat, it took a page out of Instagram’s book by adding (essentially, copying) a rewind feature. So was there anything actually new? Don’t worry, Snapchat made strides in augmented reality with World Lenses that give users the ability to change their surroundings. The platform’s updates come at a time when its parent company Snap Inc. prepares to release its Spectacles in eye-catching and interactive vending machines. Snap’s retail strategy is pretty exclusive and includes dropping these “Snapbots” around the country in fun, touristy places for a day before moving them to the next mystery place. People have already pointed out unbranded billboards — and even airport tray promos — in various cities, giving audiences an insider feel, as part of Snap’s advertising.

And since its launch earlier this summer, Instagram Stories rolled out its biggest update yet with innovative features that surprisingly, haven’t come from Snapchat first. The update involves three new features: URL links that appear as a “Show More” button at the bottom of media to direct audiences to a browser within Instagram, @ mentions that will show up underlined and tappable within a photo or video and Boomerangs that users can now capture straight from the app and add to Stories.

Why do we care?

Whew. While it’s unlikely that WhatsApp and Flash will disrupt the popularity of Snapchat or Instagram in the Story realm, it’s still interesting to note. Facebook’s continued attempts to create new apps and expand others with features similar to Snapchat’s, and even Snap Inc.’s move towards Spectacles, only prove that visual communication is on its way to eclipse text.

Additionally, brands will want to pay attention to Instagram Stories’ latest update, especially the inclusion of links that would give advertisers a way to promote products outside of the app’s ecosystem, bypass the issue of links in Instagram captions and furthermore, link discovery with purchase. Mentions could end up as another way for fans to engage with brands and even Snap Spectacles’ impromptu and exclusive campaigns are showing how those ideas garner attention. Basically, the Story world’s growing and brands are going to have to keep up more than ever.


Could Twitter Save Vine?

The news of Twitter shutting down Vine shocked us all. Two weeks later, it turns out Twitter may try to revive the app from the dead by selling it. It’s unsure which companies have expressed interest in the sale, but one thing’s for sure: the future of the app — and potentially, Twitter — depends on Vine’s new owner, who will have a say in preserving content and the integration between the two platforms.

Why do we care?

While we wait for more updates on the impending deal, brands will want to take note of Vine’s support from the internet community, according to TechCrunch, that boosted the interest of potential acquirers. There’s no doubt that Vine had — and continues to have — a cultural impact on the world wide web, so don’t give up on it just yet. But brands should also prepare for change.


Facebook’s Latest Feature Lets Brands Make the First Move

As Facebook breaks more ground in e-commerce, it’s rolling out a new type of ad that gives brands a way to reach out to audiences first. Brands can now pay to highlight a bot in a user’s News Feed and when clicked, a chat window in Messenger with the advertiser opens.

Why do we care?

Facebook’s features focusing on communication between customers and brands, with Messenger at the center, are huge for brands in the social space. With larger accessibility with these new tools, brands and advertisers will want to make sure they’re not turning a blind eye to Messenger’s potential and shift towards online customer service and retail.


The Week’s Platform Updates

And e-commerce isn’t the only item Facebook wants to take over it seems. Now, the social network is looking to promote job listings through companies’ Facebook Pages. While still in testing mode, a new job posting format will allow users to click a button to apply, pre-populate their application with information from their profile and submit the application as a Facebook Message.

Why do we care?

With these features, Facebook’s beginning to overlap with LinkedIn, but has the advantage that its platform has more active users. For companies, there’s the added benefit of attracting attention and new page likes if job seekers are interested in the organization — and the ability to target job posting ads. But there’s a potential problem too with application submissions, as companies use Messenger for customer support as well. Still, the update is just another way that the social giant is looking to take over the world.


Cap’n Crunch

Funny Or Die might come off as a weird platform for Cap’n Crunch, but it turns out the kids’ cereal has a significant fan base in millennial males. In that sense, its branded entertainment series featuring Ben Schwartz and Lauren Lapkus as the hosts of The Earliest Show — and plenty of other celebrity guests — makes sense. The project, which was developed and created after talent was signed, works the brand into clever show segments (cooking tutorials, wacky ad breaks and social wall visits) so its presence isn’t overwhelming, but it caters to an experience that the target audience connects with.

Squatty Potty

Toilet sprays are invading the digital space with hilarious ads and the latest to join in is Squatty Potty with its Unicorn Gold ad. For the video, it’s bringing back its popular prince and unicorn duo to explain how the product works with the help of special emojis, cheeky humor and elaborately dressed royal ladies. In addition to launching on Facebook organically, the campaign will include a media buy on YouTube — and a Hollywood-style red-carpet premiere.

Congressional Leadership Fund

With the recent election taking the world by storm, Congressional Leadership Fund, a Conservative Super PAC, aimed to attract young voters by creating its own influencer. Now, whether you agree with them or not, the Fund’s series, “Real Talk with Ruth” was a break from the more aggressive political ads and aims to fit in with a person’s feed to cut through the political noise. The Fund didn’t deny that these weren’t negative ads in a different format, but the idea was that viewers were having a real and honest conversation with a friend. Targeted toward Hispanic and undecided voters in certain states, the ads that ran until early last week saw views that were 30 percent longer than ads repackaged from TV.  

Topics: Social, Snapchat, Instagram, Social Media, Social Media News, Facebook, Platform Updates, Social Media Marketing, WhatsApp, Vine