We get it. We tried unplugging over the holidays, too. But since social media never sleeps, here's a list of 5 big trends, brand moves and platform updates that went down during the break.
1. Facebook Gets Thirsty For NYE Eyeballs
Via a notification on New Year’s Eve, Facebook Messenger wished all their users a happy new year — and let them know they can now use new “festive frames and stickers” in their app. Not a great move as many users see app notifications as an interruption. And notifications that are basically advertisements? Even worse. Many users explored these new options and found them to be remarkably similar to Snapchat. New year, same story.
Why do we care?
Facebook’s Messenger app has around a billion users (which, as this article points out, might have a lot to do with the loss of the chat feature in the Facebook app and the aggressive push to this new chat-centric app). So Facebook is no stranger to nudging its users. However, as the platform war to get people sharing personal stories wages on, we’ll continue to see more and more desperate tactics to get eyeballs on personal sharing features.
2. Twitter + Media: Together at Last, Together Forever
After the release of Moments (their curated feed of topical news), Twitter is one of the first social companies to make a categorical shift into media. They are hiring editors, producers, striking deals with the likes of the NFL and other premium live video providers, positioning Twitter as more than a curator and distributor.
Why do we care?
Twitter needs a new identity, and this push could further differentiate it from Facebook and Snapchat. Although, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram are all already dancing around becoming full-fledged content creators. Keep an eye out for how this new original content, produced in-house and through partnerships, creates new advertising opportunities and affects engagement.
3. Pinterest: A Coming-of-Age Story
After the release of Pinterest’s new Explore tab in November, as another step towards their shift into a business-friendly product discovery platform, Pinterest introduced the ability to showcase up to 5 boards on business pages. This replaces the previous implementation — a random assortment of recent pins.
Why do we care?
If Pinterest is intent on becoming a way for consumers to discover products — moving away from their teen years of being a social platform — then allowing businesses greater control over how their products are displayed is a no-brainer. This addition, in conjunction with their buyable pins, remarketing and custom audience tools, video pins and experience redesigns, positions Pinterest as a great place to sell a product. Sellers of physical goods rejoice!
4. Brands Start Bunkering Down for Trump Attacks
If you’re in a category Trump is likely to attack, e.g., healthcare, tax preparation, anyone who outsources labor overseas, media, actresses, musicals, big retail stores and candy, then you should be ready to respond, and fast. What your response should be depends on your customers: if they have a negative opinion of Trump, wear the criticism as a badge of pride. Otherwise, misdirect with flash, like H&R Block did with their coup hiring of Jon Hamm as an on-screen spokesman.
Why do we care?
Trump is like a natural disaster -- hard to predict but there are things you can do to prepare. Don’t be caught without a plan for when his volatility strikes.
5. Snapchat's Playing Hard to Get
Go to most social platforms, and you will be inundated with celebrities, influencers and the marketing and hype that goes with. Snapchat wants to avoid that impersonal hubbub. They cater only minimally to celebrities, allowing only a few hundred accounts the “official story” designation that marks the true accounts of popular figures. But they do not work with celebrities and train them how to use their app, they do not release metrics to their celebrities, and they do not curate the content of popular figures above the content of your friends and family. This will allow Snapchat to remain authentic and about true connections with real people. At least they hope.
Why do we care?
Because influencer marketing is banned in Snapchat’s terms of service, advertising is far harder to come by and far more expensive on Snapchat for global presences. Geofilters and lenses can cost a small fortune: $350,000 to $600,000 for a daylong national geofilter — a branded image that people can overlay on their photos — and up to $700,000 for so-called lenses that can transform a user’s selfie.
YOUR WEEKLY PLATFORM UPDATES
SECRET SEARCH CHANGE (SHH!)
News outlets are just getting hold of a Twitter search change that’s been reported to have happened in September. The platform has quietly moved away from reverse chronological order in search to relevance order. However, if you still want to see tweets sorted by time, the "latest" filter is still there, as well as "news," "photos" and "videos." Everything is fine.
JACK DORSEY’S ON BOARD WITH A TWEET EDIT FUNCTION
The founder of the platform tweets his support of an edit function in response to a suggestion from a verified account, and everywhere. Trump advisors rejoice.
YOU NO LONGER NEED TO DOWNLOAD PERISCOPE TO GO LIVE
That’s because live functionality is all fully integrated into the Twitter app now. Twitter added this Periscope “Go Live” function back in June, but the catch was you were directed to the Periscope app. However, now with the live feature fully integrated, the app’s days for existing as its own entity are numbered.
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS 360 & LIVE VIDEO?
A 360 live video, that’s what! Twitter’s investing in the technology and announced the update at their #What’sNext conference early this month. Twitter has the live video fever and is putting a lot of their eggs into their Periscope/Twitter basket to support this technology. However, they are still playing a bit of catch up as Facebook released this technology to influencers at the end of 2016 and has a much larger reach and following.
OLD AD FUNCTIONALITY REPURPOSED FOR A NEW GENERATION
Gen Z shops 200% more on mobile than the previous Gen Y. Yet no one is being that innovative on how to sell to this generation. Until now. YEAY, a new app similar to Snapchat with its flowing video and hip vibe, is revolutionizing the way post-millennials shop. So far it’s doing things right, so much so that a few secret big companies have taken interest. According to Forbes, users can use static shots, text, emoji and video to sell and socialize. But that’s a common thing on platforms these days. Beyond this, YEAY is showing a unique understanding of authentic content and isn’t taking shortcuts to spark excellent UGC. Watch out for this one. If things go well for YEAY, the founder, Melanie Mohr, is predicting 5m unique visitors by the end of 2017.
FULL-PAGE ADS ARE COMING TO STORIES
The visual platform’s story feature (now with over 150 million users) will now have full-screen ads. The test is starting with over 30 big brands and will include targeting, reach and measurement capabilities.
A NEW TARGETING OPTION FROM THE SOCIAL GIANT
In the past, Facebook dynamic ads could target users who specifically viewed products on their websites or mobile applications. But now, the targeting capabilities have been extended, allowing advertisers to target based on users’ web activity.
FACEBOOK EXPLORES MID-ROLL VIDEO ADS
Until now, video ads were limited to sponsored posts that brands purchased directly from Facebook. But, brace yourselves. After 20 seconds of viewing a video, you’re likely to get hit with a mid-roll ad.
WHO’S DOING COOL STUFF?
With the news of Carrie Fisher’s death, Cinnabon is doing stuff. But it’s not cool. And it’s definitely not sensitive. The day the news broke, Cinnabon tweeted a recycled picture from their #MayTheFourthBeWithYou tweet that was supposed to be a tribute to the actress's life and cultural impact. To keep it mild, it fell short. The Twitter world lost their minds, and the social media team at Cinnabon is likely in a war room somewhere frantically creating response models and crying. With every celebrity death and world tragedy, we seem to get another example of what NOT to do as a brand on social. Play it safe, y’all.
The first brand to take advantage of the new live 360 video from Twitter? Airbnb, of course. (The brand also happens to be a part of the 30 brand test for Instagram story ads, as well.) The brand is hoping these authentic video experiences will provide immersive experiences and provide a sense of community to viewers, which is right on brand for the peer-to-peer rental website.
If you love a fresh dose of sass and quick wit to match, you better follow the Wendy’s Twitter account. Last week a user, Thuggy D, challenged Wendy’s “never frozen” campaign and long story short, the burn Wendy’s returned will go down in Twitter fast-food history. Wendy’s is getting an insane amount of reach from their 1:1 strategy. Mashable dives into the strategy behind the responses and includes a quick exchange with the sass master herself.