The “battle” of social media platform will never cease and this is evident from all the new features and functionalities, which they keep churning out on a regular basis. 2016 was a year no different in this regard, with the social media biggies – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn coming up with a bunch of important updates.
That said, here’s a recap of all the important social media updates of 2016.
Check what you missed!
A good news for digital marketers here, account switching is now possible on Instagram. All they need to do is add the additional account in the profile settings. With multiple accounts added to the platform, it’s easy to tell which account is being used as the profile photo related to the account appears at several places in the app. Easy!
One of the best features on Instagram is Videos, which was launched a couple of years back on the platform. Back then, there was no way of knowing how popular a video was. This changed with the introduction of “Views” for videos and gave users the total count of views for their videos. By tapping the views, they’ll also be able to see the total likes for the videos.
Instagram introduced advertising on its platform in September 2015. The count reached 200,000 and more in 2016. In terms of growth, it outdid Facebook by growing at a rate of 138%.
Short videos on Instagram gave way to longer videos, with the platform increasing the duration of each video up to 60 seconds. Moreover, iOS users can now create videos using multiple clips from their camera rolls (called Multi-Clip videos).
Yes, there was a time in 2016, when Instagram turned its focus on Windows 10 platform and brought the app’s features and functionalities to the Windows community. These features included Instagram Explore, Direct and Video. Windows 10 users could also find Instagram support for Live Tiles and check updates on their home screen.
In April, Instagram started rolling out a new look for its “Explore” feature, which will now have more video channels. The change was due to the ever-growing number of video viewers and the platform wanted to make it easier to discover more content that caters to the tastes of its users. There’s also a personalized channel for the users called “Videos You Might Like” and when they scroll through “Explore”, they’ll be able to see “Featured” channels with videos based on different topics.
Instagram gave a ‘shocker’ of sorts by completely transforming its logo in summer of 2016. The new logo of the brand was not favorited by many.
The retro camera gave way to a simpler camera, got a gradient rainbow, a flat design and embraced minimalism. The icons for associated apps – Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang were also completely revamped. There was a major overhaul in the design of the app as well, which became simpler with more focus on the content uploaded and shared.
Scrapping its chronological feed, Instagram shocked users with its new algorithm-driven feed, much to their contempt. The move was justified by the platform, which said that its users missed 70% of their feed and that, the new feed prioritizes the moments its users care the most about.
Instagram reached a new milestone in June with the community of users reaching a whopping 500 million. Of this, 300 million used the platform daily. Its global community also expanded, with more than 80% of its users living outside the USA.
Instagram started featuring videos based on its users’ favorite topics and interests in “Picked for You” channels in Explore. The section will contain selected, interesting videos for Instagram’s ever-growing community.
Trolls and hate messages are common on every social media channel and Instagram is no exception. It began testing a comment blocking tool for celebrities on the platform, which allowed them to shut down trolls and continue having a positive experience on the channel.
Instagram now enables brands to establish their “Business Profiles” on the platform. With this step, various brands will get insights about their followers, posts and the option to promote posts from the mobile version of the app. The insights will include metrics such as – impressions, reach, follower activity and website clicks.
One of the go-to tools for digital marketers, Buffer offered support for Instagram in July. Although there was an alternative ‘Shedugram’, it had some limits. Buffer was truly a blessing for marketers and reduced the steps for scheduling and publishing posts on the platform by sending them push notifications and letting them do the needful in a few taps. It must be noted that Buffer doesn’t really allow marketers to schedule posts, but remind them when the posts need to be published.
Instagram introduced Stories to be one-up its rival Snapchat. It lets users create and share the collection of their favorite moments in a slideshow format. Just like Snapchat, the photos and videos on the stories disappear after 24 hours from the profile and the grid. The Stories are displayed on the top of the users’ feed. Instagram also offers users text and drawing tools to make their stories more personalized and creative.
People with a new story to share will now have a colorful ring around their profile pictures. Viewing and commenting on the Stories is easy but sans any likes or public comments. To comment, users have to use Instagram Direct and send a private message. It’ll also be possible to feature only a part of the story on a profile.
Instagram added a new feature to Stories, which makes it easy for users to discover new accounts to follow or find new interesting content, which they otherwise wouldn’t have come across. They’ll also be able to view recommended Stories atop the Explore tab. The suggestions for the Stories for both features will be based on the users’ Instagram activity.
Instagram was in the news, when researchers at Harvard and University of Vermont came up with a program that used artificial intelligence to predict depression accurately by analyzing Instagram photos! The analysis took into consideration details like color and brightness to assess the uploader’s state of mind.
Instagram’s ‘Pinch-To-Zoom’ feature came a little late in the day, at the end of August, 2016. Users could now pinch to zoom for viewing photos and videos on their feed, profiles and Explore.
A month after launching Stories, Instagram released two new video features. The first one was to zoom in or out while recording a video and the option to switch between the front and back cameras, again while shooting a video.
Remember the time when Instagram added a new algorithmic timeline - the one that didn’t go down too well with the users? Back then, no one could have guessed that the platform had an ace up its sleeves in the form of Stories. On top of this, it is also going to use data retrieved from Facebook to rank its stories. This is a bid to be one up rivals Snapchat, which has a timeline based on reverse-chronological order. Instagram may have an upper hand here if it uses the data correctly and offers users what they really want to see and do away with any sort of chronology.
Instagram made it easy for users to spice up their Stories by adding existing photos, videos or Boomerangs from their phone with a single swipe!
Instagram offered celebrities the option to filter and modify their comments. This feature is soon going to be rolled out for the commoners too. Users will be able to turn off comments for their posts, along with filtering and modifying the comments.
Out of Office emails got a makeover, courtesy Instagram and Qantas. The Australia-based airlines made “OOO” emails interesting by helping users draft creative emails and also, embed their Holiday pics from Instagram on the go. When the feature is activated, the Instagram pic or video that’s tagged with #qantasoutofoffice, will get added to the OOO email.
Instagram rolled out its “Save Draft” button for users (announced in mid-2016), which makes it easy to refer posts you liked or need to view at a later date or to revisit a memory. With this option, users can save content on the platform, without publishing it then and there.
“With big power, comes big responsibilities.” The quote aptly fits Instagram’s decision to ensure the safety of the comments made on photos and videos on the platform. With a new “Comments Tool”, users can filter keywords, which they consider offensive or inappropriate or take their pick from Instagram’s default list of words. Along with this, users can also swipe to delete comments, block accounts and report inappropriate comments. There were also rumors of getting an option to ‘turn off comments’ for posts.
It is no secret that Instagram and Snapchat try to outdo each other by bringing new updates for their users. A clear indication of this constant competition was Instagram’s latest update. The platform now enables users to use colored text option in the Stories.
Sometimes, the only thing that comes in the way of a good and a bad photo is - bad lighting. But not on Instagram! The platform now lets users shoot photos even with inadequate lighting. By clicking on a half-moon shaped button at the bottom of their screens, users can take photos even in a low light environment.
Remember the “Photo Map” feature on Instagram? The platform decided to do away with it, considering the fact that it wasn’t used much by the users. Although the feature was excellent for frequent travelers, especially those who traveled internationally, it wasn’t as handy for other users.
Getting famous is as easy as a hashtag with Instagram’s new feature. A Belgian TV program called Culture Club, which is dedicated to art in all forms, will now allow anyone and everyone with an Instagram account to be a part of an exhibit at S.M.A.K – a famous contemporary art museum.
Teaming up with Mortierbrigade, it plans to install an interactive screen in the museum, which will display Instagram photos among artistic wonders. Being a part of this initiative is easy. All the users need to do is add #cultureclubinsmak to their posts.
Announced in August, Stories were made a permanent fixture on Instagram’s Explore. The feature lets users discover new stories they dig. This includes stories from people they don’t follow yet. It’ll also have a new “Suggested Stories” section, which will highlight interesting stories from the Instagram community, customized according to the users’ interests.
Land O’Lakes launched an interesting charity campaign on Instagram, which let people do more for the hungry than just clicking and sharing posts. The company promised to donate a total of 11 meals to more than 200 food banks, each time a user deleted a picture of meal from their feed on the platform. The process could be initiated by going to “Delete to Feed”, logging in with the Instagram account and proceeding to delete images of the meal(s). There was also the option to pledge by sharing the deleted photo with an optional message. The campaign lasted until mid-October.
Instagram filed an application to trademark the words “Insta” and “Gram”. This was a move to prevent third-party brands and apps from using the words.
36% of 18-29-year-olds in the USA have an Instagram account. This demographic clearly involves college-goers. To target this demographic, Instagram is going to launch a “Correspondents Program”. This program will have students from different colleges in the USA play the role of “student ambassadors” for college sports like football and create content for the fans using the Stories. The students will be chosen on the basis of an evaluation by Instagram’s team.
There were two important updates from Instagram in November. The first one was – “Live Video” for Stories and the other was “Disappearing Photos and Videos” on Instagram Direct. This lets users upload and share content more freely than ever.
Advertisers are on a roll after Instagram debuted ads not so long ago. In November, it introduced a new ad format, which included “Vertical Photo and Video Ads”. With this update, advertisers on the platform will be able to advertise their products and services as ‘vertical content’ using 4:5 aspect ratio. This change will offer the best ads experience to the users. For advertisers, the catch lies in the fact that they’ll get more space to get creative and get better view rates than before.
Instagram introduced Boomerang, Mentions and Links to add more fun to storytelling experience:
Instagram launched a series of eCommerce features, which allow brands to sell their products directly to the users. Brands can use this feature to tag products in their photos, include product information and most importantly, redirect consumers to the main website with “Shop Now” button.
Users on their part, will be able to view a “Tap To View Products” button on selected Instagram posts. When they tap on the posts, they’ll be able to view descriptions of up to five products and their prices.
Instagram had a bunch of surprises for its users in December.
In June, Instagram reached 500 million users on the platform. Within six months, its user base grew to more than 600 million! This was a significant milestone for the platform.
Safety remains a big concern for all content-sharing platforms, including Instagram. To up security for its users, Instagram included more tools and controls.
Like an idea on Instagram but not able to find the post later? Instagram now facilitates saving of the posts in the feed. With one tap on the bookmark icon under the posts, users can save posts to a new, private tab on their profiles.
BBDO and Bacardi USA gave a new twist to Instagram’s Stories. It is possible to fast forward or rewind in Stories and BBDO used this feature to transform Bacardi USA’s account on the platform into a DJ app! Who would have thought of a hack like that! And because Stories on Instagram are short-lived, the team keeps uploading and re-uploading videos with their music regularly.
After announcing Stories a few months back, Instagram took it to a new level with “Live Streaming”. It announced that users will soon be able to add live video in their Stories called “Live Stories”. This means, while they can go Live and broadcast their videos, unlike Facebook Live, they won’t be able to save those videos. The update rolled out for users in the USA.
Face swapping isn’t new and it has been tried and tested too many times already. Snapchat decided to up its game in face swapping by introducing a new lens. Known as ‘Swapface,’ the lens lets users exchange faces after taking selfie and use it to swap faces with pets, babies, stationary objects or even imaginary faces for a laugh riot!
Snapchat made it possible for its users to create personalized URLs. The URLs are in the format ‘www.snapchat.com/add/username’, which can be shared across various platforms. It can become a part of an email signature, Twitter bio etc. Clicking on the URLs makes it possible for others to add the user as friends. This means it becomes more easy to reach out to more people and increase the friends list on the platform.
Geofilters is one of the most popular things to have ever happened to social media. Riding high on the success of this feature, Snapchat made a new announcement. From its initially designed “Community Geofilters,” it went to offer users Geofilters for anything and everything, including private events, business events, sporting events and so on and so forth. These were “On-Demand Geofilters”. In three easy steps of – Design, Map and Buy, these Geofilters can be created for any event or block for an hour to a month. The price begins as low as $5, depending on various factors. Currently, the feature is available in the UK, USA and Canada.
Like any other growing startup, Snapchat is investing in the right things. In March, the firm acquired personalized avatar and comic creating platform Bitstrips for $100 Million in a mix of cash and stock. Soon after the acquisition, Snapchat included sticker support for its users. This was a major update and brought forth some important changes in the near future for the platform in the form of “Snapmojis”.
After two fruitful years of learning how its users are using Chat 1.0 to interact and communicate, Snapchat introduced Chat 2.0, which allows people to chat seamlessly with more features than ever. It makes communication effortless with a single tap whether it’s a video, audio, calling, sending a sticker or texting. Along with this, it introduced “Auto-Advance Stories” for easily catching up with fellow Snapchatters. The new feature plays a new Story automatically till you swipe to skip or pull down to exit.
The major event of the summer – the Rio Olympics was a turning point for Snapchat. It made a deal with NBC to broadcast clips from the Rio Olympics. It was an unprecedented step as the biggest broadcasting deal ever, and needless to say, it was a win-win situation for both NBC and Snapchat. Both companies decided to share the revenue generated from ads in the content on the Discover page.
Giving importance to its Ads Business, Snapchat will now display ads between stories. For this, the platform has a new API, which will allow advertisers to create their own ad units. Snapchat will help advertisers develop and divide its ad business by – helping selected partners to buy ads and analyze the campaigns and by helping them come up with creative ad units. With this change, the platform aims to reach a massive target of $1 billion in ad sales for 2017.
Snapchat’s Discover section earned phenomenal success and the platform wants to make it even more better for its growing user base. This is why, it is coming up with a new design that’ll allow Publishers in the Discover section to get their unique titles. The layout will remain the same but Publishers will get their personalized cover page, text on their tiles and images. The Discover tab will also help users to subscribe and unsubscribe easily so that they can get or remove content from their personal feed. It also facilitates the sharing of a channel not only via Snapchat, but other social accounts, email and SMS.
Snapchat acquired BitStrips in March 2016 and the integration with the comics and avatar making platform has brought some interesting development to the table called “Snapmoji”. It’s now possible to design and customize your very own emojis and then integrate them as stickers in Snapchat to use. There’s a wide variety of options for the users to experiment with and have some fun with their friends on the platform. You can also unlock “friendmojis”, if your friends have Bitmoji setup as well.
Gaining new followers used to be quite a pain on Snapchat, unlike its competitors Instagram and Facebook, which offer friend and follower recommendations. This is all set to change with Snapchat’s ‘Suggest’ feature. It’s now possible to suggest a friend someone they could follow on the platform. That gives a new perspective to follow some cool Snapchatters and see their Stories.
Snapchat released a new feature to save Snaps and Stories on the platform. Known as “Memories”, it’s now possible to have a collection of favorite moments. While they can be opened by swiping up from the Camera, it is also possible to search them up by typing in a few keywords, thereby saving time. Memories can also be created by combining several Stories and Snaps together and are backed up by Snapchat, unlike photos and videos.
Snapchat joined the ‘biggies’ Facebook and Twitter by using behavior analysis to target ads to its users. Because user-privacy is one of the major highlights of the social media platform, this seems tricky. But then, behavioral information based on what Stories they are interested in, Live Stories etc. can be used to target ads and earn revenue.
Snapchat acquired search app Vurb for about $110 million (although some sources estimate the deal to be $200 million in total). The search engine and discovery app offers customized results based on its users’ interests and allows them to save specific search results. This can be important to Snapchat when it comes to “content discovery” on the platform, where it lags behind other popular content sharing platforms. It’s a possibility that can’t be ruled out.
Famed luxury jeweler Tiffany became the first ever luxury brand to feature on Snapchat. It reportedly invested a sum of $700,000 to launch a Geofilter campaign (#LoveNotLike) on the platform. The Geofilters were made available in all its 93 stores in the USA. The company also invested in video ads on Snapchat to build up a user base and also came up with a username and Snapcode. This move by the luxury brand is definitely the one to watch out for, as a large number of its targeted audience base (read shoppers) are already using Snapchat.
Snapchat had struck a deal with NBC to broadcast Olympics directly on the platform. And when the Olympics finally arrived, it announced several Rio-themed features for its users. The lot included Bitmojis, lenses, Geofilters and stickers, which allowed fans to support their countries. There were about 50 Geofilters and Lenses for that many countries and also displayed medal counts, featured flag animations, fireworks, swimming caps, sweat bands etc. Even the Live Stories were curated by NBC, based on the users’ countries.
Snapchat introduced “Geostickers”, which users can send via Chat or stick on the Snaps. Available for some of the biggest cities of the world such as San Francisco, Washington DC, London, Riyadh, Pairs and NYC, location services should be enabled by the users to view and use the stickers.
September was the month for rebranding for Snapchat, which renamed itself to “Snap Inc.” This was not the only big announcement from the firm. It announced a line of hardware, a pair of sunglasses called “Spectacles” available in three colors – black, coral and teal and consist of a lens with 115-degree angle. In short, Spectacles are tiny, wireless video camera in the guise of eye wear, which connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Using the wearable, users can create videos in form of “Circular Videos” and transfer them directly in the app. The best part is that the videos can be played on full screen on any device.
Snapchat is lately facing stiff competition from Instagram. In the wake of this, it took the decision to shut down the curated images and videos called “Local Stories” and focus on “Live Events” or “Live Stories” instead. However, users will still be able to see curated “Campus Stories.”
Introduced earlier in the year, Snapchat’s On-Demand Geofilters let users connect and engage with each other, adding to the popularity of the app. To give users more incentive to use Snapchat and its On-Demand Geofilters, the firm released a new web tool. With the new tool, users could create customized templates for various events without using any third-party editing software. By removing the complexity, Snapchat is making it easy for users to create and purchase these On-Demand Geofilters. Along with this update, the firm also enhanced some UX/UI elements.
Early on in October, Snapchat announced a major change in its platform. To make it easier for users to catchup with their friends, it scrapped the “Auto Advance” feature and introduced something called a “Story Playlist.” This new feature offers users better control on Story viewing experience, with one-tap Story viewing option. They can now select the Stories of their choice and view them in full screen and in the order of selection.
Following the announcement of “Snapchat Spectacles”, the platform is back with another exciting announcement. It’ll be possible to purchase these Spectacles from robotic vending machines, also known as “Snapbots.” Users can virtually try on the Spectacles available in – Coral, Black and Teal, and proceed to purchase the one they like by using their debit/credit cards.
Snapchat is taking certain steps and changing the way its Discover section functions. Soon, it will be paying publishers the estimated revenue upfront and keep the actual ad revenues to itself. For a long time, Snapchat split the revenue with its publishers but this move is going to change the whole arrangement. While the revenue for publishers will decrease with this change, the announcement made by the platform to push the Discovery section further down the friends list may also adversely affect their traffic.
Snapchat reportedly filed the paperwork for its IPO. As a result of the IPO, the platform with a 150 million daily users, may be valued at around $25 Billion and is planning to raise $4 Billion with the offering.
Following the footsteps of rival Facebook, Snapchat is keen to explore the Augmented-Reality scene. It acquired an Israel based AR startup Cimagine Media for approximately $30-$40 Million. Reportedly, Snapchat acquired the firm for its highly-skilled team and will use their talent to bring forth changes in the platform. Snapchat so far, didn’t officially announce anything on the acquisition.
Just when we think that Snapchat has done everything to surprise users, it throws yet another curveball. In December, it introduced “Santa’s Helper”, marking the beginning of native games on the platform. In the long run, this move can bring in the revenues for Snapchat as gaming offers users more options to interact and compete with each other and brands to take advertising to the next level.
Snapchat kicked off the Holidays with a new feature called ‘Groups’. The new feature not only lets users add and chat with up to 16 friends at a time, but also supports 1:1 chat. Switching to the 1:1 chat and Groups is a breeze as it takes a simple swipe. Snapchat calls this functionality ‘Quick Chat’. Also, it introduced two creative tools – “Scissors” and “Paintbrush”. While Scissors lets users cut out a portion of the Snap on the Preview Screen (to be used as a sticker later), Paintbrush can be used on Snaps in “Memories” to create unique “works of art”!
To lure advertisers on its platform, Twitter introduced “conversational ads”. The format of these ads was unique and exclusive to Twitter. The call-to-action buttons along with customizable hashtags make it easier for brands to connect and engage with their consumers.
Twitter has been trying really hard to take developers into confidence and encourages them to use it tools for building other, better apps. It launched Fabric app for developers (earlier available as a web app). The app uses Twitter’s “Crashlytics” and is a major plus for developers, who can use it to understand whether or not they need to take any action when things go wrong. This lets them prioritize the actions based on their importance.
A video made you keel over with laughter or made you ponder on something? Twitter wants its users to share it all with their network by expanding its social chat. To begin with, Twitter enabled users to send GIFs via Direct Messages and now, users can capture and share videos using the chat service.
Twitter bid adieu to its age-old reverse chronological timeline and debuted an algorithmic one. According to the platform, this feature was introduced so that the users can “catch up on the best Tweets from the people they follow.” Although the feature was optional for users, it was no less than a shocker for them.
February saw Twitter introducing a little tweak to its web platform. Instead of interacting ‘inline’ with a Tweet, users were able to reply to a Tweet in a ‘pop-up window’. This move by the platform is not entirely pointless and distracting because this in a way, promotes Cards. This will help Twitter “increase ad penetration and overall impressions.”
Ever since GIFs were first introduced to the platform, people have shared more than a 100 million GIFs on a wide range of topic. It let them express themselves in more ways. Looking at the popularity, Twitter makes it possible to share GIFs in Tweets and Direct Messages more easily with “GIF search”. Users can browse through the extensive GIF library to find what they’re looking for, and hit the GIF button. They also have the option to look up the GIFs by keyword or by categories.
The platform that gave a new twist to how people communicated, 140-characters a time, turned a decade old on 21st March, 2016. Ten years ago, the first Tweet on Twitter was from Jack Dorsey, who wrote - “just setting up my twttr”. From the first-ever Tweet and a 5-person startup, Twitter has grown into a billion-dollar public company with countless Tweets from the common people and celebrities, who use the platform regularly.
Twitter showed some love to Windows 10 by rolling out an update for making the platform for the mobile version of the OS. The update includes features such as – content discovery, public and private sharing, editing Tweets, Moments, Direct Messages, top Tweets and much more. Even the dark theme is now available for Windows 10 mobile users.
Twitter wants its users to feel safe while expressing their opinions. It strives to make abuse non-existent and is working in that direction. In April, it introduced another improvement to safeguard users’ opinion – the ability to attach multiple Tweets in a single report.
With this update, users can easily share more information regarding the abuse without wasting much time. It also helps the platform take an in-depth look into the issues so that they can resolve it quickly.
Twitter introduced a Message button in April, which lets users share Tweets privately via Direct Message. This is a step to make private conversations more meaningful as an increasing number of users have been using Direct Messages for communicating privately with friends, family and other connections.
In May, Twitter users were surprised to find a “Go Live” button on their Twitter app. This seems to be an integration of Periscope and its native functionality within the platform. However, it was speculated that this signaled at the certain end of Periscope.
Twitter wants its users to connect with more people across the world, who share the same interests. Finding new accounts, however, was tedious and required a lot of hits and misses. By introducing the Connect Tab and rolling it out in June, the platform aims to bring a solution to this. The tab helps users connect with their friends, family, popular accounts and much more.
Twitter introduced “Dashboard” in June, which was a standalone web app. The new addition to the platform helped businesses connect with their target audience by scheduling Tweets, managing the accounts and getting access to pro tips and analytics. Twitter claimed that its dashboard is more personalized. (Dashboard says Goodbye - as per the recent announcement made by Twitter on January, 2017)
Twitter expressed its interest in expanding its capabilities in machine learning, for which it acquired London-based firm Magic Pony Technology, which has developed some innovative machine learning techniques for visual processing. In fact, it had already begun investing for machine learning by acquiring some other firms like Madbits and Whetlab. With these acquisitions, Twitter hopes to better the platform and provide users a rich experience.
Initially, Twitter was bare-bones with the option to only post 140 characters, but soon it evolved into a platform that offers a number of interesting features and functionalities such as – videos, images, GIFs, emojis etc. And now, Stickers are also going to make their debut on the platform to make the images more exciting than ever. Users can use these multiple, customized stickers anywhere on their pictures.
With other social networking expanding their horizons, Twitter couldn’t fall behind. It allowed videos that were up to 140 seconds long for the users. Earlier, it allowed users to upload and share only 30 seconds of video but with this little improvement, users can do more. It’ll be interesting to see how this development contributes to live streaming on the platform.
Twitter released a standalone app called “Engage” for celebrities and influencers on the platform. The purpose of the app was to help celebrities and influencers connect in a better way with their fans and fellow celebrities/influencers on the platform. However, this doesn’t mean that the app is not for commoners, as they too can use it and connect with influencers, celebrities and also, verified users.
Twitter revamped its look and feel for Android users in June. The app was redesigned to give them a better experience that aligns with the operating system and included the following changes:
Think food and all that comes to mind is droolworthy, impeccably filtered photos posted on Instagram. But wait. Even Twitter wants to be a part of the foodaholic bandwagon by creating its own “Food Council”. The council is basically a “group of culinary figures who regularly join Twitter conversations on all things food and food culture”. Users can join in the conversation with #FoodFlock.
Twitter is now available in a “Dark Theme”. The Android-only update lets users switch to a dark mode, making it easy on the eyes in darker surroundings. It may not be useful per se, but it sure is something that some users may prefer.
Twitter decided to come up with a new campaign dubbed “See What’s Happening”. The communication campaign stressed on the fact that Twitter is the place where all the latest conversations happen and news is shared and discussed. As opposed to social network, it promoted itself as a News app.
Twitter made many striking deals with live sports broadcasters. This number is growing with each passing day. In July, it had a new deal with Campus Insiders. Apart from live broadcasting for more than 300 college sports events, the platform will also include breaking news, match analysis and highlights for several sports.
Live broadcasting seems to become an everyday phenomenon on Twitter. The platform made a Live News Broadcasting deal with Bloomberg to live stream TV programs for its users.
The blue tick-mark is of importance to Twitter users, especially celebrities and other bigwigs on the platform. To get the coveted blue tick, users can now fill up an application form and get verified on Twitter. Easy!
2016 was a major stepping stone for Twitter as a live streaming broadcaster. Apart from livestreaming on Periscope, it struck some major deals with various firms to broadcast several events live. This included a deal with Pac-12 Networks to livestream 150 university sports events in the 2016-17 season.
The Twitter Kit is an amazing feature, which lets developers and users get the most of the platform. Twitter added support for Vines in its Kit and also made way to include the changes that were going to be a part of “doing more than 140 characters”. With this update, Vines can now expand and play seamlessly in the Twitter app.
Have you ever imagined how difficult it’d be to express your emotions on social media channels sans emojis? Twitter got this right and introduced 72 new emojis just in time for World Emoji Day. This was a part of the release of Unicode 9.0.
GIFs are pure gold. And Twitter is full of them. Realizing their importance, Twitter expanded the size limit for GIFs from 6 MB to 15 MB.
PostGhost was stopped in its tracks soon after it started archiving deleted Tweets by politicians and verified users with more than 10k followers.
Scores of Tweets are written, deleted, shared and posted on Twitter every day. This makes it difficult for users to keep a track of certain Tweets. With “pin a Tweet” feature, this changed. But that was for one Tweet only. Things on this front are soon going to be changed with Featured Tweets, which is a new section that’s being tested on the platform.
Twitter is becoming a broadcasters’ haven and this was further cemented by the update on the platform. It now allows users to watch live sports, beginning with bits of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Apart from this, the firm has paid $10 million for the rights to stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football Games.
Providing instant customer service is one of the things Twitter is best at. However, it hasn’t really explored its potentials. This could change with its new feature, which lets users on the platform know when a page was most responsive. This could lead to more interactions between the customers and the businesses in the long run.
Twitter like other social media channels, aims at growing its existing community of users. A step in this direction was Dashboard, which was a standalone app that was meant to help small and medium businesses create and manage their connections. Apart from finding connections and helping in relationship-building, it also helped them save time and money. The dashboard acted as one place from where they could perform essential actions.
The three key features of Twitter’s Dashboard include – Analytics, Custom Feeds and the option to Create/Schedule Posts.
Twitter Live Events was already going places when the platform decided to work on a dedicated page for the same. The permanent page will host all the live streaming events. This will give users the freedom to pick and choose live streaming videos that they want to watch at the moment.
To celebrate National Dog Day on August 26, Twitter released a completely new category of dog-related stickers. Called “We Love Dogs”, the category offered 8 stickers for users to celebrate the day dedicated to the man’s best friend!
Twitter is continuously working to better its chat services. In August, it introduced a new button, which lets visitors contact website owners directly from the website. The button needs to be added to the website in some simple steps.
The dark, night theme introduced by Twitter was earlier available to only Android users. In August, Twitter made the theme available on iOS.
The #MissingType Campaign was a global initiative. Led by Engine Group agency MHP Communications, the campaign was used to raise awareness for NHS as well as other blood donation organizations worldwide. The campaign was supported by many celebrities, brands and cities, which showed their support for the cause by removing “A, B and O” letters from their logos, websites and products.
A lot of accounts and posts on Twitter are at the receiving end of trolls. To keep these trolls at bay, Twitter launched a new quality filter. The filter aims to keep the notifications clean by barring trolls, spammers, bots and unwanted followers.
After their introduction a few weeks ago, Twitter was ready with custom stickers for advertisers on the platform. The “Promoted Stickers” gave advertisers a new and a fun way to express their brand and engage in a better way with customers. The stickers were searchable and Pepsi was the first brand to launch its Promoted Stickers on the platform.
Instant Unlock Cards are a unique concept by Twitter. When Tweeple Tweet branded content, they get Instant Unlock Cards, which are their key to exclusive content. The exclusive content can be anything – a movie trailer, exclusive Q&A session, GIFs and much more. This feature led to an increase in earned impression and conversations for brands.
After opening up verifications for everyone on its platform, Twitter announced the extension of Moments to its creators, influencers, brands and anyone and everyone on the platform so that they can express themselves a wee bit more!
To keep the money coming, social media channels need to work on their advertising plans. Twitter seems to get more serious about this by testing new features on its Ads Manager including “Custom Filtering” and “Custom Metrics”. This will help marketers and advertisers get more information than before. The limited beta version of the Manager will soon be available as public beta.
Yet another example of Twitter partnering with broadcasters for live-streaming was the deal with eSports. The platform made a deal with ELEAGUE, which is an eSports company and as a part of this deal, the platform could live-stream all eSports championships.
Stickers – the fun add-ons to photos on Twitter were made available for all the users on the platform. Customizable and searchable, the stickers could be used on various image according to the users’ preferences.
Twitter Moments, which have a lot in common with Snapchat and Instagram Stories, finally expanded to all users. The feature gives them the opportunity to explore their creativity and come up with far more interesting stuff to share on the platform. The best part is that anyone can embed Moments and share them outside of the platform as well!
Twitter announced its Website Conversion Objective, which is a new campaign. Designed to “help its advertisers drive cost-effective conversions at scale,” the new feature focuses on marketers and implements what it learned from “successful direct response advertisers.” Right now, it is available in the beta form for users in the USA.
Not every Tweet finds favor with users, especially if it doesn’t match their interests, is in a poor taste or irrelevant. For this, Twitter introduced a new button “I don’t like this Tweet”. Using this button, users can give a feedback about what they want or don’t want on their feed. The button is available for iOS users, who can access it in the ‘feedback drop down’ menu located at the top-right corner of each Tweet.
Twitter has been consistently focusing on live streaming on its platform as well as on Periscope. To help its users get more out of this feature, it introduced ‘Subscription to Video Alerts’. This’ll make it easy for users to get live streaming alerts from the accounts they follow. Also, the notifications will keep coming in even when their Twitter app is closed so that they don’t miss an update.
A number of businesses have used Twitter to amp up their customer service. The platform made a significant improvement by offering new features. Users will be able to see whether or not customer support is offered by businesses on the platform when they search, DM or even mention an account. Also, businesses will be able to add the hours during which they offer support to their customers.
Remember the announcement Twitter made about extending its 140-character limit? It implemented the same in September by cutting down on what was earlier included in that limit such as URLs. This gives users the liberty to make the most of the 140-character limit and yet, express themselves creatively on the platform.
After launching Audio Cards and partnering with several firms like Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes and Rhapsody, Twitter is back with a new audio partner. The platform added Deezer to its list as its audio cards partner. Users will be able to listen to the music from the French music streaming platform directly on the platform.
To help its users cheer for and support their players and teams in the Rio Paralympics, Twitter released a set of #Paralympics emojis. Apart from English, the emojis were available in seven languages including – English, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, French, Japanese and Spanish.
Read Receipts are now there on Twitter as a part of Direct Messages. With Whatsapp and iMessage offering this feature and Facebook following suit, it was high time Twitter too rolled out the feature. It also offered typing indicators, which lets users know when their friends are typing a response to their message. The read receipts can be disabled by users if they aren’t too comfortable with the idea.
When Twitter decided to monetize Periscope in September, it came as a no shocker. With this step, content creators on Periscope will get a part of the revenues generated from ads during livestream. These ads will follow a pre-roll format.
Soon after launching Promoted Stickers, Twitter makes them live in the UK and other international markets. For instance, in September the sticker was used as a part of a campaign for promoting the movie ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’.
For video creators, Twitter announced a new way to earn money. Publishers of video content can now run pre-roll ads prior to their connect and earn revenue from them. The benefits of this feature are:
Twitter pulled the plug on Vine, the 6-second short video sharing platform. The reasons behind the sudden decision paves way for native video on the platform, which has been added to the platform ever since.
The decision to go express themselves beyond 140-character limit on Twitter, was a source of great joy for marketers. However, opinions were divided when the exclusion of links from the character limit came to the forefront as it may lead to spamming and clickbaiting.
With the NBA season kicking off, Twitter celebrated the whole thing with team hashflags. By using the hashflags on Twitter, users could support their favorite NBA teams.
Twitter is a platform, which time and again proves that it gives utmost importance to sporting events. For Australia’s 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup, it partnered with the Victoria Racing Club or VRC to live-stream the event for all the users across the globe.
Twitter contributed to the US Presidential election by teaming up with the BuzzFeed News team. As a part of this partnership, it streamed the Election Night Special, live from BuzzFeed’s offices in NYC. This ploy was mainly to target younger audience segment. Needless to say, the live coverage was a success!
To get more users view university sports events, Twitter announced a deal to live-stream Pac-12 broadcasts. This gave the universities more exposure to showcase their sports including ice hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, etc.
October was the month when users could add their Periscope account to their Twitter profiles by displaying a link. The link shows when a user is live on Periscope and paves the way for followers to follow them on Periscope as well. All they need to do is enable “Show My Periscope Profile”.
The most happening platform once again proved itself by organizing the world’s first ever Live #StarWars Q&A with the cast. This unprecedented move was to promote the new movie of the franchise – Rogue One.
Twitter introduced several Thanksgiving-related custom stickers for its users for the traditional holiday. Even Periscope updated its live streaming services with Thanksgiving-themed hearts.
Trolling is a perennial problem on Twitter, even though it’s a great platform for debates, discussions and other interactions. Although it has addressed trolling beforehand, it is also exploring new ways to cope up with similar issues related to abuse on the platform.
Twitter threw a curveball at its users by introducing QR codes, just like Snapcodes. However, no one had any inkling why this step was taken by the platform.
Pokémon Go was one of the best things to happen in 2016 and the mania doesn’t seem to die down. Twitter gave the lovers of the game the option to include the cute little monsters on their pictures in the form of stickers as a part of “Featured Stickers”, which debuted on the platform in August. Users can use multiple stickers on any picture from Twitter’s collection.
In a bid to capitalize on its growing developer communities, Twitter hosted regional developer meetups in March. It went on to announce “Twitter Developer Communities” program to support developers, which will include workshops, meetups and even hackathons.
The battle between Twitter and Facebook seems to grow with each passing day. To become the leading customer service platform, Twitter has Direct Message bots in its arsenal and done right, it can surely steal all the spotlight from Facebook’s customer services. To begin with, the bots will include automated replies that allow users to perform several tasks.
After the launch of video monetization through MoPub, Twitter added “Rewarded Video” or “Opt-in Video” to the MoPub marketplace. With this, the platform now includes more than 70 DSPs or Demand-Side Platforms. Because the videos are full-screen and non-skippable, they guarantee ad views.
Users will get a new way to check out live events on Twitter, with its Live 360 video, which will be marked with a ‘LIVE 360’ badge. These videos will be available from various broadcasters, including celebrities and give an interactive and immersive experience to the users. At present, only a handful of Twitter’s partners can use this feature via Periscope.
Live video is the in-thing on social media platforms nowadays and it’s finally here on Twitter. In December, the platform rolled out “Live Video” for users to share their experiences with others. Once live, anyone on Twitter and Periscope can join in and be a part of it by commenting and sending hearts.
Twitter has always been a real-time platform, with the latest Tweets available to its users in a ‘reverse chronological order’. However, it is bidding adieu to this order in favor of an order of relevance. With this change, users can see Tweets based on what is relevant to them.
Twitter has consistently made it possible for users to have a rich experience expressing themselves even with the limitation of 140-characters by providing options such as hashtags, Vines, photos, GIFs, polls etc. It enables users to do much more by changing what will be included in the 140-characters limit. Users will now get the option to use – replies, media attachments, retweets, quote tweets and still have 140-characters to express themselves. Even the “.@” is going to change for Tweets that begin with a username.
Twitter will now let users tweet @Google with an emoji and return ‘local search results’. This feature supports over 200 emojis, which enables users to get creative and end up with more surprises than they can imagine. Tweeting with a dog or a cat emoji for instance, will get them results that include pet stores or vet clinics. The whole thing is like having conversations with Google!
Moments are finally here on Twitter’s mobile version, soon after having debuted on desktop. With moments, users can now create a storyline with their unique perspective and share them directly from the phone. All they need to do is tap the arrow sign of any tweet and choose “add to Moment”.
Facebook has an app for its verified users, which allows them to connect with their fans and followers in several ways. Known as Mentions, the app is finally available for Android users.
Facebook’s Messenger app has been seeing a steady growth ever since its launch. Right at the beginning of the year, David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products in Facebook announced some new changes to the Messenger app. These included:
Facebook’s new feature “Sports Stadium” lets sports fans catch all the on-field action, even though they may not be physically present in the stadium. Available in real-time and in a chronological manner, the feature offers:
After testing Live videos with the help of selected users, Facebook expanded the feature to more users on the platform. Apart from their friends’ videos, users can view videos posted by public figures and verified pages.
Facebook’s varied reactions were made available globally in February. People could now react to posts by holding down the like button and tap – Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry. With reactions, Facebook aims to better the engagements on different posts on its platform.
Facebook turned 12 on February 4, 2016. And like each year, it invited users to celebrate the day as Friends Day, focusing on the importance of connecting or networking with likeminded individuals. It released statistics (Friends Day videos, highlighted inspiring friendship stories and launched new products (Best Friends and Friendship Sticker Packs) to mark the day.
With more than 50% of people watching live videos using their Android devices, Facebook finally announced rolling out Live for Android users and extending it to users in more countries.
For its global community managers, especially those who need to work with more than one language to cater to the users on Facebook, the platform brings a ray of hope! Now Facebook page admins can use a new setting and write posts in multiple languages. Because the feature is turned off by default, it needs to be activated before use. After activating, the admins can add as many languages as they want.
To improve the relevancy of posts and increase engagement on the posts and pages, Facebook replaced Interest Targeting with an organic target tool - Audience Optimization, which offers the following features:
Face Swapping is all the rage and we’ve seen ample use of Face Swaps on Snapchat. Taking a cue from the popularity of “Face Swap” lenses, Facebook bought MSQRD to bring face swap to its platform. The app can be used for giving users an enhanced live streaming video experience on the platform or integrating geo filters on Messenger.
Facebook made some changes to its News Feed in March. Live videos, which get 3-times more views than other videos, will be ranked higher in the News Feed when they are live. An update by the firm on December (based on user feedbacks) mentioned that when users post a Live video with graphics-only polls, it may not rank higher on the News Feeds.
To determine what type of content interests its users, Facebook is going to take into consideration the time spent in viewing the posts (once they’ve fully loaded) on its platform. Based on this factor, stories will be ranked on the users’ News Feed. Facebook also added that it’ll soon release an update to increase the diversity of the posts on the page.
Group audio calling is now possible on the latest version of Facebook’s Messenger app for both iOS and Android. With this feature, users can tap on the phone icon and select as many as 50 contacts to include in a group call. It was also speculated that the platform is soon going to introduce group video calls as well.
When a video goes “viral” on the biggest social media platform, it is both a good and a bad thing for the content creators. This is not because the videos get shared left, right and center, but because they often get shared without authorization. This is all set to change with Facebook “Rights Manager”. Here’s what video creators can do with its help:
Programmed through Messenger’s Send/Receive API, Chatbots are used to send and receive a structured message. This includes messages that contain text, images, stickers and even call-to-action buttons. Because the feature is immensely lucrative and allow users to trigger conversations with Brand Pages, chatbots are all over the place and are being used by brands like Uber and CNN to improve their customer service.
Introduced more than a year ago, Instant Articles generated 20% more clicks and 30% more shares than regular links. These articles are now available to publishers across the world as opposed to a limited number of publishers. The articles will also show up as regular web traffic in Google Analytics.
Facebook enabled verified Pages to share branded content on Facebook by making changes to its branded content policy, ads policy and also, by offering a new tool. Using this tool, publishers and influencers can tag a marketer as and when they publish branded content.
Social media marketers must have rejoiced when Facebook finally removed its 20% rule for ads! Although the rule was created in the first place to safeguard the interests of the users and to maintain the quality of ads, it led to many rejections just because some ad copies exceeded the 20% text limit! The only catch lies in the fact that the reach may be limited for ads when their text exceeds the limit.
Visual content is one of the mainstays of Facebook. Users communicate with a variety of visual content and also, communicate and share similar content with their connections. But the visually impaired or blind people miss out on this experience. To bridge this gap, Facebook used AI and introduced “Automatic Alternative Text” or “Automatic Alt Text”. This provides a vivid description of visual content like a photo using advanced Object Recognition Technology. This feature will be available on iOS screen readers and set to English in its initial phases.
Users can now discover Live videos in Trending Topics. The relevant Live video, if available, will be included in the search results page. The Live videos will be indicated by a red “Live” icon, which will notify users that they’ll be able to view Live video related to the topic on the results page.
Along with this, it’ll also be possible for users to search for Live videos by typing a few keywords in the search bar.
Facebook launched the Messenger Platform (Beta) with bots and Send/Receive API. The Bots will offer users automated subscription content such as – weather updates, traffic updates, live automated messages and so on and so forth. The Send/Receive API on the other hand, will send and receive text, images, interactive rich bubble with multiple calls-to-action.
Facebook also brought forth powerful discovery tools, including plugins for websites, usernames and Messenger Codes. In addition to this, it enabled opening of threads on Messenger from News Feed ads and a new customer matching feature, which will let messages sent on Messenger and not via SMS.
Facebook rolled out Windows 10 apps for Facebook and Messenger for desktop. It did the same with Instagram on mobile. With this step, Windows users will have access to the most up-to-date features of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Facebook enabled advertisers to target anyone who visited their website or mobile app within its Audience Network. This is a groundbreaking step as earlier, Facebook showed ads exclusively to its users. This step will boost the volume of ads served by Facebook in the time to come.
Broadcasting videos live is possible on Facebook and it guarantees more views than regular videos. There’s a dynamic shift in the way users produce and consume content on the platform and to add more value to it, Facebook now lets you dive straight into the interesting bits in a live video instead of waiting for them.
In addition to this, Facebook also announced a new feature called “Continuous Live Video”, which allows non-stop, long-form broadcasting for up to 24-hours. However, users won’t be able to download or share the video after the broadcast.
Move over text, images and stickers as Facebook rolled out video comments! Users can comment on their friends’ status updates and other posts by tapping on the camera icon and selecting any pre-existing video or recording a new one. But the desktop version allows uploading a pre-recorded video only.
Facebook announced a new feature called 360 photos to let users upload photos taken using a 360 camera, panorama shots and from Google Photo Spheres. Users can interact with the photos and also view them in Gear VR devices.
Introduced early on in the year, Facebook extended dynamic ads to Instagram. This will allow brands to make the most of their creativity and reach out to their target audience on the content-sharing platform. The ads will also be available for the travel industry.
Facebook ads can be annoying, misleading and highly distracting at times. This hampers seamless experience for users on the platform. To fix this, Facebook is expanding its Audience Network so that publishers and developers show better ads, even when the users are not connected to Facebook.
Facebook’s Trending Topics help people connect with each other by discovering major events, conversations and other latest topics. Introduced in 2014, the topics cover popular and relevant content. The social media giant released an overview of how these Trending Topics function:
Facebook rolled out “Featured Events” to iOS users in 10 US Cities. These include – Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Houston.
Facebook is testing a new shortcut in the navigation tab of its flagship app called “Send or Request Money”, which allows users to send or request money to and from their friends. Although the payments won’t be managed within the app, it’ll direct the user to the Messenger app for making payments. This peer-to-peer payment feature is in its testing phase.
Facebook earlier announced a change in policy for branded content on its platform. In June, it is enabling verified Pages to share branded content such as those in Instant Articles. The new features are:
The articles have to be tagged as Branded Content to make them distinguished from other articles.
Facebook revamped the look and feel of its Messenger app and gave it some new features. The new layout makes it easy for users to view their online friends, upcoming birthdays and favorite contacts. There’s also a “Home” button in Messenger app, which lets users go to the Home screen with a single tap. A search bar is another new addition to the app that can help users find what they are specifically looking for in the app.
Facebook introduced a mechanism sometime back. It let users alert the social network when their online connections showed symptoms and signs of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and immense struggle. Later, the platform rolled out more enhancements by notifying users, whose posts were flagged as “troubling” or offering them “first aid” such as redirecting them to information sources that counseled them. These features are now available to users across nations.
Facebook rolled out a new feature, which lets users create a video slideshow from their mobile photo album. Animations, themes, and background music will be used to enhance the videos. Users can also tag their friends in these videos, right before publishing the slideshow.
Facebook never ceases to amaze. As a part of its many tests, it is now offering users the option to create posts that’ll not be published to their Timeline but can be found on News Feed as well as search results. Ergo, they can now “hide” posts from their own Timeline.
Facebook introduced Diverse Emoji to promote diversity on its platform. Available within the Facebook Messenger, the new update will offer users more than 1,500 new emojis and about 100 of them will be designed for Facebook’s diverse audience. The emojis will be directly accessible from Facebook Messenger composer.
Facebook’s News Feed shows people stories relevant to their interests and from people and pages they follow. To make its News Feed experience better, Facebook announced an update, which will help the users view more posts from their friends and family.
Facebook announced that it’ll work on its News Feed so that people with many connections don’t miss out on important stories from people in their list. It said that it’ll update the News Feed over the coming weeks so that the stories from the users’ friends or people they consider important, rank higher on their Feed.
900 million people and more are regular users of Facebook’s Messenger app. Earlier, they could use limited features of the app to hold conversations with people and businesses. With new features added, users will be able to do so much more such as:
Photos are one of the many ways to tell people about your lives. Millions of photos are shared on Facebook and get reactions from users.
To enhance photo viewing and sharing experience for its users, Facebook introduced 360 photos. Taken in Panorama View or using a 360 photo app or a 360 camera, these photos offer an immersive experience for the users on the platform. 360 photos can be identified by a “compass icon” to the right-hand side of a photo and can be explored by tapping/dragging on a touch screen and clicking/dragging on other devices.
Facebook lets users create their own professional 360 content with Surround 360 Camera. Announced in the F8, the camera enables users to shoot video from 17 different cameras. Along with this, it also released the schematics for the camera hardware – it’ll cost users $30,000 to build. Also, the code of the camera is open-source and available on GitHub.
Getting your emotions across on a virtual medium like Messenger is difficult. But when you have Emojis to your rescue, the feat can be easily accomplished. Earlier, users needed a third party keyboard or learn ASCII code to make them happen. But now, they can use them within the Messenger with a built-in Emoji support and switch back and forth Emoji and text with a single tap.
In a major move to broadcasting live sporting events, Facebook live streamed USA basketball games. The live streaming was offered on both USA Basketball and NBA Facebook pages.
Live Videos is easily the “blue-eyed boy” for Facebook and it is evident from all the attention it is getting from the social media giant! The updated version of Facebook Live Video makes it more immersive and enjoyable:
Videos are loved by many users on Facebook. However, due to excessive mobile data usage or lack of time, they often stay away from watching branded video content on the platform. But now, Android users can save videos and watch them later, when they are offline by using the “save videos” option.
Facebook Ads are powerful tools and have been helping people discover and download apps for a long time. But it served only one purpose – getting more downloads. But then. what’s the guarantee of the app being used long after it has been downloaded? This is going to change with the new Facebook Ads update in place. The new App Event Optimization tool aims to deliver mobile app installs to users, who are “likely to take valuable actions within your app.”
Moreover, advertisers can also set specific actions while creating the ads like - rating a product, level completion, adding payment, viewing content etc.
Facebook rolled out some of the new features in its Graph API v2.7, which gives users more flexibility to use the APIs. These features include:
Instant Articles are now available on Messenger. With this development, the articles won’t open in a separate browser window when shared through Facebook Messenger. This calls for speedier loading – almost 10x faster than traditional links. Also, for a change, this update came to Android first instead of iOS.
Messenger Bots are getting more power on Facebook. Brands can leverage them to their advantage for their target audience. One of the uses of bots is to order food through Messenger. While Burger King created a bot to take orders back in May, Pizza Hut followed its footsteps by creating a bot that lets users order pizza from Messenger.
Facebook Messenger on iOS will now have 3D Touch support. This will let iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users get a direct access to scanning Messenger codes and let them preview contacts, conversations, photos, videos etc.
Finally, after many years, Facebook now allows users to format their status updates on the platform by allowing Markdown formatting. The rich text formatting will help users express themselves in a better way than before!
Facebook continued to pull out all the stops for its Messenger app with “End-to-End Encryption with Secret Conversations”, which reminds of the self-destructive messages on Snapchat! Putting people first, the platform revealed that it is testing a feature wherein messages and calls on the Messenger will be bolstered with additional security systems so that people can discuss sensitive issues over the Messenger with their friends, family, business partners and coworkers.
With the End-to-End Encryption in place, the messages sent and received on the platform will only be between two parties and no one else, not even Facebook. Also, users can set a timer and control the duration of each message to remain visible within a conversation. It can be anything from 5 seconds to 24 hours. For this purpose, Facebook will be using Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems.
A number of Facebook Messenger users share their devices with others and so, it makes sense when for letting them switch between different accounts without logging in and out to use them. Having introduced it for Android devices earlier, the feature is now available for iOS users as well.
Facebook launched an updated Messenger Platform – 1.1 with some new features:
To target local audience in any corner of the world, Facebook offers automatic translation for updates in any language. The translation may not be perfect for now, but still, it is a significant step. And even if the translation doesn’t work, users can change it by editing manually.
Facebook bid adieu to its Paper App in July and said that the app’s best features will be integrated into the platform’s flagship mobile app.
Fundraising pages is a new addition to Facebook’s features. These pages will help charities accept donations from users on the platform and raise money for a cause. Available to 1% of users in the USA, Facebook said that it’ll be soon available to more users across the world.
Offers, their ad units and Page posts on Facebook get a “facelift” with some new features. Built for mobile, these will now offer more streamlined experience to users and make it easier for people to keep a track of them. For instance, businesses can either create online offers or in-store offers. These can be shared via the Offer ads or Page posts. These appear in users’ News Feed or as carousel ads. Advertisers will also be able to optimize the delivery of their online Offers to potential customers and businesses can keep a track of the offers claimed with the help of Facebook ads reporting.
Facebook made some more changes in Trending and gave a description of how the changes will work:
Blizzard Entertainment games will stream gameplay on Facebook Live. This bit of news comes in soon after Facebook’s announcement of gaming platform. To use this feature, gamers will need to login with their Facebook details.
Facebook acquired messaging app WhatsApp about a couple of years ago and now, it will share usage data with the app. The data can be used to –
However, users can still opt out of having their data being shared with the social media platform.
Videos will never stop getting all the love from Facebook. The platform will now show vertical videos in its mobile app. Users will be able to view videos in 2:3 aspect ratio on their News Feed.
Facebook started testing a new “Add Contact” feature on the fast growing Messenger app, which helps users send and receive messages even from people who are not on their friends’ list. With this new feature, users will be able to connect with more people even without adding them to their Facebook friend list.
Users on Facebook were used to get Autoplay videos on the platform with the sound muted by default. But the social media channel is now testing Autoplay videos along with their sound on by default.
There’s no doubt about the fact that mobile ads drive more user-traffic on Facebook. And when the ads are more creative, users flock to view them. With over 100 million hours of video viewed on Facebook every day, Facebook has been testing what makes video advert click in the mobile feed and found that there has been an increase in short-form video content (15-second adverts increased) and a decline in 60/120-second creative.
Here are Facebook’s video creative considerations:
Facebook made it possible to accommodate two people in a single Facebook Live broadcast, although this is going to be a phased rollout. The option will available to verified users, using the Mentions app on iOS. And the second phase of the rollout will include brands in the USA. Lastly, it’ll be available for brands and personal profiles worldwide.
Facebook is still going strong with its gaming platform and it has collaborated with gaming engine Unity to compete against Valve’s Steam. It’ll be interesting to see how this changes the gaming scene on the platform.
Facebook wants to increase its appeal for a younger audience. For this purpose, it launched a new app called Lifestage, initially available for iOS users. Targeted at under-21-year-olds, the app is easy to join. With some basic QA, users can create a video profile, which can be viewed by their friends. Lifestage posts will be “public” by default and viewable by everyone, even those who aren’t the part of a school community.
Want to donate to your favorite charity? This is going to be possible with a bot in Facebook’s Messenger app along with support from Assist. Also, powered by Stipe, paying for charity will be a breeze for users and raising funds will be easier for nonprofits and other foundations.
Facebook introduced a 24-hour window for standard messaging for businesses for responding to messages. Along with this, it is also testing subscription messaging for News, Productivity and Personal Trackers on the Messenger app. The review process is also faster now, and all applications will be reviewed within 5 days of their submission.
Video on Facebook is important. Owing to this, Facebook announced new video metrics in its Page Insights and the Video Library. This’ll help publishers get a better understanding of who is actually viewing the videos and also, know how people are engaging with Live Videos. It also gives publishers the information on ‘how sharing contributes to video distribution’.
The updates include:
Facebook added two new publisher tools for its 360 videos called – Guide and Heatmap.
Guide offers users a guided tour of a 360 video, when it plays on their device.
Heatmap,on the other hand, is an insights tool, which lets publishers find out which part of their 360 videos is more interesting to the viewers. It essentially shows the areas of the 360-degree field of the video, which the audiences spent more time watching.
Looks like Facebook wants its users to stay connected with their family and friends. It started working in this direction by offering more personally informative stories in its News Feed. Its new algorithm can predict which stories will its users like by correlating their activities, the relationship with a person or publisher, the amount of time spent reading an article etc.
Ads are the best way to earn money on various social media channels but they also hamper user experience. This is what led to the rise of ad blockers, which not only help users get rid of annoying ads on the platform but also filter out the “good ads”. This wreaked havoc on Facebook’s ad revenue. To bring a solution to this problem, Facebook announced some updates to ad blocking.
Facebook acted upon feedback from users and brought to the table a new way to control ads the users see on the platform. This was followed by an update on ad blocking. Users can opt for ad preferences to stop seeing ads they don’t really want to see. Similarly, users will get additional control to users so that they never see an ad again, which was blocked by them.
For this purpose, the social media giant pledged to expand tools to control ad-viewing. Also, it’ll have tools to let users stop seeing ads from businesses and organizations, which have added them to their customer list.
Almost every other user on Facebook has been a victim of click baiting. In order to offer authentic stories and reduce clickbaits in the Feed, Facebook is making continual improvements such as identifying the clickbait posts and where do they come from. For instance, it has penalized stories that have short visit time.
Soon after launching Stories on Instagram, Facebook is adding another Snapchat-like feature to its flagship app. It integrated MSQRD (the app it acquired not so long back) and offers users a selfie cam feed at the top of their timeline. Using this, users can record selfie animations, use fun filters and send them to their connections for fun!
Businesses can now promote their services and products on the Shopping and Services section on Facebook Pages. The sections may not have rolled out widely, but they were spotted in a number of countries in Asia and South America. This will make the platform a thriving selling place for various brands.
Facebook is testing commercial breaks during live video streaming as a move to monetize the broadcasters on the platform.
Thanks to Facebook, it is easy to remember friends’ birthdays. To make the experience even more beautiful, Facebook now offers a “recap of friends’ birthday wishes in the form of a 45-second video”. Tapping on a birthday video notification on their News Feeds, they’ll be able to preview, edit and publish a video.
Oculus announced a new VR experience on Facebook, which was the first-of-its-kind. Featuring President Barack Obama in Yosemite National Park, it was called “Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks” and created by National Geographic, Felix & Paul Studios, and Oculus. The experience gave users an immersive experience as they explored the National Park, guided by the president’s remarks. It was available on the Oculus Store for Gear VR and also, as a 360 video on Facebook.
To help advertisers boost in-store sales using ads on its platform, Facebook introduced Dynamic Ads for retail and also, Store Visits Optimization.
The dynamic ads for retail will display products that are in-stock at nearby locations. Linked with the retailers’ local product catalog through the ads system, when the product is out-of-stock, it will not be visible anymore in the ad section. Product summary, local availability indications, actionable steps and similar products are some of the other benefits of this brand new feature.
Store Visits Optimization on the other hand, will help advertisers reach people who are more likely to visit their stores.
To lure more users into using its Messenger app, Facebook has introduced a new feature. Now users will be able to poll their friends on anything they like. For instance, they can collectively take the poll and decide what movie to watch next, which place to hang out next or which prom dress to buy! The results are live and make it easy for a group of friends to take a decision.
Measurement is an important aspect to understand the campaigns and how effective they were. Because people are an integral part of digital measurement campaigns, Facebook now expands people based management partnerships to the advertisers using the platform.
Advertisers will now be able to target new audiences and that too in other countries using new targeting tools from Facebook. Also, they’ll now be able to target people who viewed their Canvas Ads. This way, advertisers can now reach out to a wide number of audiences who are highly engaged and not those who are less likely to user their services or interact with the brand.
Pages can now crosspost videos on Pages that have different admins or business managers. Along with this, they can also view the total performance insights of the crossposted videos. The best part is that this feature will also work with 360 videos and Live videos.
Facebook updated its Moments app in June with three impressive features. These are:
All the three features will allow frequent users of the app to come up with more creative solutions.
Facebook’s Analytics for Apps gets a makeover with some new features and an improved design. The changes include the introduction of the following features:
A large number of Facebook users log in to the app using their mobile devices. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Facebook continuously strives to improve its mobile experience for the users. One of the steps taken by the platform in this direction is – Prefetching or “pre-loading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a link is tapped.”
Facebook offers something more for users who are into 360 video production. It offers them a hybrid stabilization feature, which makes the videos less shaky and smoother than before. For this, it’ll use 2D and 3D techniques in its algorithm.
A Snapchat-like video feature was added to the Messenger app by Facebook. This new feature lets users share a live video call without interrupting the chatting process. This doesn’t require downloading any new third party app.
Facebook’s Messenger platform was well-received by its users. With millions of users from 200 countries on the platform engaging on the chat service, Facebook will bring more features to the table including a more seamless experience that lets users choose more ways to share, gives them more options to buy and offers more context. This led to the introduction of Messenger Platform v1.2, an incremental update.
Another example of Facebook focusing on its Messenger platform is “Instant Video”. Still a new concept, this new feature will help users connect in real-time and experience Messenger and therefore, Facebook like never before. From sharing quick moments with friends and family to holding discussions in details, it will find many uses. And the reactions that the users will get to see are just priceless!
Facebook earlier allowed Verified Pages to “extend their sponsorships onto Facebook”. This policy extends to Verified Profiles as well. This will help the influencers in various niches monetize their content on the platform by tagging it as branded.
People from all over the world celebrate festivals, fun moments and like to share it all with their friends and family. To help its users enjoy Halloween to the fullest, Facebook introduced “Halloween Reactions”. The regular reactions of Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Angry and Sad were available as Halloween-themed symbols.
Facebook added a limited-edition Halloween-themed masks for users, which were available for Live videos.
Facebook amped up its Live video features by adding new tweaks. In October, it said that it’s working on Prisma-like Live video filters. This new twist to the Live videos will give the videos a makeover and people can experiment and get as creative as they want with it.
Windows 10 users can now use Facebook app to send Voice and Video calls, although the features arrive a little late in the day.
Facebook added PayPal support on its platform by allowing PayPal payments in bots. This will help its large number of users to get access to the online payment platform. Users will also get notifications regarding their PayPal account activities.
Facebook found a bug that caused a “discrepancy” between the definition and calculation of video metrics. It also announced that it fixed a bug that affected the engagement count on Pages.
360 seems to be the future of photos and videos on Facebook, which is now bringing both 360 photos and videos to Instant Articles on the platform. This will help publishers create a better experience for their readers.
Customizable push campaigns for apps were built by Facebook to help businesses engage in a better way with their target audiences. These are now no more in their beta version and available to users on the platform. Facebook also enhanced the campaigns by redesigning the way audience targeting works. Audiences can be targeted with reminders or new offers and adding deep links.
Also, in-app notifications get rich and more immersive for the users, which will be available as a part of the push campaigns and increase user engagement.
There’s so much we can do “with a little help from friends”!
Facebook introduced a volley of new features, which helps users discover new things around them by getting recommendations and reviews from their connections. From finding a new place to travel to local events and any other local business for that matter, people can now take quicker actions on the platform.
Initially, these features are rolling out for the USA-based users.
Facebook tested an option wherein users will be able to use the app and yet, save on their data. The ‘Data Saver’ version of the app will be available to Android users in various countries so that they are less reliant on unreliable data connections.
Facebook introduced a “live-scheduling” feature that’ll help its audience know about an upcoming live streaming video about a week in advance. Informing the users will ensure that the video is viewed by maximum users. The same feature will also provide reminders so that users don’t miss the live broadcast.
Just like LinkedIn, conversation topics are a part of Facebook too and are being tested by the social media giant. These topics give users suggestions about what conversation will they be having with their friends on the Messenger. This will help a lot of Facebook users break the ice with their connections.
Traditional TV viewing is going to get more facelift, courtesy Facebook!
To give its users a better video viewing experience, Facebook is letting them watch the videos on the platform on a bigger screen. Users will be able to stream any video on Facebook to their TV via devices such as – Apple TV or Google Chromecast. And while the video plays on the TV, users can scroll through their news feed on the device from which they are streaming the video. They can also save other videos to view later. This feature will work for Live videos as well.
Instant Articles get monetization option on Facebook as the platform announced some New Formats for the direct sold campaigns along with Audience Network (added video and carousel ads), which added more value for Publishers. For instance, they’ll be able to extend premium campaigns in the articles. Additionally, the articles will be able to support larger and more flexible ad units with this announcement. And of course, publishers will be able to extend branded content in Instant Articles.
Apart from these changes, Facebook was also testing a “native call-to-action in Instant Articles”.
In order to connect the world, Facebook is bringing its Fee Basics plan to audiences in the USA after offering it to African countries and parts of Asia. The move will benefit low-income Americans and Facebook is in talks with the US government for the same.
The Facebook News Feed is cramped with lots of features already and there’s limited space in it to house ads. By 2017, it’ll reach maximum advertising capacity on the Feed. To lessen this load, the platform plans to test ads in Facebook Groups.
Facebook’s Graph API v2.7 was already a major one, with several new features to the table. Although v2.8 is not as major as its predecessor, it still brings some considerable changes with itself.
Marketing API Changes – Facebook is giving advertisers more control over its Instant Article ad placement. It is going to be separated from the Audience Network, which will allow advertisers to turn the Instant Article ad placement on or off in their campaigns. Also, redesigned Offer Ads and Native Offers help users easily claim various offers on their mobile devices and redeem the same across the devices.
Custom Open Graph Changes – Facebook also added two new Common Open Graph action types called “games.plays” and “books.rates” for developers and also cuts down on Custom Open Graph actions and objects.
Facebook is an ever-growing platform and many businesses and organizations use it for keeping their coworkers connected. This led to the creation of “Facebook Workplace” about a year ago. The competitively priced feature is used by over a 1000 organizations and has 100,000 groups already. Workplace rolled out in October to all companies and organizations, who want to use it. Apart from the usual features such as Live, Reactions, Trending posts, News Feed and Search, it’ll also have some more features. The Workplace-only features will include a dashboard with analytics and integrations, easy integration of the Workplace with existing IT systems etc. Facebook also announced “Multi-Company Groups” or shared spaces, which will allow employees from different organizations to come together at one place and collaborate. Its “Workplace Partner Program” will allow companies have more access to the Workplace.
Giving its viewers the rare opportunity to experience spatial surround sound, Facebook introduced Audio 360 for its video. It’ll have a “suite of tools, including Spatial Workstation, which enables creators to publish 360 videos with spatial audio on News Feed.” To enable this feature, users will need an ambisonic microphone or use monoscopic/stereoscopic audio with the tools, which are downloadable. Stereo headphones will help users enjoy spatial sound in the 360 Videos.
Facebook launched a new app called “Event from Facebook”. Dedicated to people who want to be a part of the latest events and other occasions around them, the app will include –
Facebook stopped the rollout of its Marketplace as it faced a rise in several illegal listings such as firearms, drugs, animals and even babies!
Facebook had announced end-to-end encryption for its users back in July and it rolled out for its users at last. This move will enable users to communicate securely on Messenger.
Facebook launched a new, standalone version of its Messenger app for Android called “Messenger Lite”. The compact version of Messenger Lite is under 10 MB, offers the same core features as the Messenger and works exceptionally well on average internet speeds and Android devices. This enables the users to easily exchange photos, text, stickers, links and more with their connections on Messenger/Messenger Lite.
Initially, it rolled out in – Kenya, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Tunisia.
To encourage buying and selling within the local community, Facebook announced Marketplace. It was a platform to discover new things or pre-owned things and buy or sell them easily. A tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app enables users to explore the Marketplace.
Products on the Marketplace are available in a variety of categories and tapping on an image provides details such as product description, name and profile photo of the seller and their location. It’s also possible to save the products for reconsideration. To buy a product, the seller can be contacted directly via direct messaging and making an offer. The rest is between the buyer and the seller, including delivery and payment modes as these two facilities are not available on the Marketplace. Initially, Marketplace was available in four countries – the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Facebook gave yet another indication of becoming a mirror-image of its rival Snapchat. It introduced a new feature called “My Day”, which bore a strong resemblance to a feature on Snapchat.
The new feature will appear over recent conversations when the users open the Messenger app on their devices. The lenses may be missing, but users will be able to use stickers, share what they think and invite their friends to the conversation. It’ll also be possible for users to check how many of their friends have viewed “My Day” on Messenger.
At Oculus Connect 3, Oculus announced the latest developments in VR technology. It announced the details of Touch controllers and also revealed Santa Cruz, a feature prototype.
Giving its users “a new HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience”, Facebook launched Instant Games on Messenger. The games are designed for both the Messenger app and Facebook’s News Feed. Also, both mobile users and desktop users can play these games. Discovering the games on the platform is a breeze, without downloading any third-party app.
Facebook has tons of features for which users need internet access. This includes watching Live Videos, scrolling through Instant Articles, viewing GIFs etc. Now users can get access to speedier networks to enjoy the features of the platform to the fullest as Facebook offers a new feature “Find Wi-Fi”. With this new feature, it’ll be easy for users to locate the public Wi-Fi hotspots nearby and use them.
Facebook introduced some new tools for its users at its recent Social Good Forum. Here’s what’s new:
Facebook is testing Rooms within the Messenger app in certain countries. This may remind users of ‘chat rooms’ from the early days of the internet. Based on an app of the same name, it is being tested in Australia and Canada.
Facebook rolled out two more resources to build Messenger Bots as well as measure them. It added that developers on messenger platform can apply to FbStart program and ‘Messenger bot support’ in Analytics for Apps.
To help businesses stay at the top of conversations across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger app, Facebook launched a “unified inbox”. The new feature regroups all conversations into one place so that businesses don’t miss out on anything, on any of these platforms.
Messenger v1.3 now brings some interesting features and functionalities to the table. It includes some New Ad Formats and Tools along with several Developer Options. With these features, Facebook paves the way for businesses to draw users to their bots.
If you get advertisements while chatting with a Messenger bot, don’t be surprised. However, they’ll have a 24-hour window for pushing any kind of promotional content.
Facebook launched what looked like a Snapchat clone for its users in the emerging markets. The new app known as Flash has Snapchat-like features, including masks. What’s interesting is that it is lightweight and works in emerging markets with unreliable internet and data connection. The app launched in Brazil first and it may expand in other countries in future.
Business leaders and business influencers will now get a number of new resources to get started on the Facebook, build their strategy and connect with target audiences on the platform. One of the resources is a downloadable “Business Influencer Guide” for business influencers.
When it comes to being a professional social media channel, LinkedIn enjoys a “monopoly” of sorts. This will change soon as Facebook introduced a new Jobs section for Pages. Using this feature, businesses can create job listings on their Page. This will include – job title, the type of contract, salary along with a description of the job posted. The postings will also have an “apply button” for job aspirants that’ll trigger the job application process.
Facebook can show only a limited number of ads on its News Feed. But this is all set to change with its decision to test ads for Apple TV and Roku viewers in the USA.
Signal – Facebook’s free discovery and curation tool for journalists now supports Live Video. This will help journalists identify what’s happening around the world and get a visual proof of the same. They’ll be able to see a story or an event unfold as and when it happens.
To give more clarity about its insights to partners and the industry, Facebook updated its metrics. As a part of this process, the platform:
Facebook’s “ethnic affinity” marketing solution lets brands use relevant advertising and reach their multicultural audiences. The social media giant pledges to improve its anti-discrimination policies to make discriminatory advertising redundant. The changes made to its advertising products for this purpose includes:
Facebook is taking giant steps in three areas – Virtual Reality, Connectivity and Artificial Intelligence. To bring about this change, Facebook is conducting advanced research. This research will contribute to building avant-garde products and services in the future for the platform.
Facebook released a new Live Video feature on Mentions. The app, which is exclusively meant for verified users will now have features such as:
To help people share and discuss moments and events that are happening around them, Facebook launched a new “marketing program”. Now, messages related to specific events will be placed on the top of users’ News Feed and include events like the “Supermoon” or a festival. This will help them stay connected by sharing moments with others.
Podcasting is now possible on Facebook with the new “Live Audio” feature. This new feature will work exceptionally well for users who shy away from featuring on Live Video.
Facebook gave a much-needed boost to personal status updates by adding color to plain text updates. Users can now add a background color (either plain or gradient) to their text updates by choosing from the options given.
Facebook rolled out the ‘group video chat’ for Messenger users. The feature is available on iOS, Android and even on the desktop version of the app. The feature will allow users to add as many as fifty friends to the call by tapping on the video icon. Group members will get notified and can join the conversation whenever they are ready. There’s also an option to “ring” specific people as a gentle reminder to join the call.
Another addition made to the Messenger app by Facebook is a powerful native camera. Easy to use, the camera will offer “unique art and 3D special effects”, which will give conversations a fun twist! Together with other features, the new camera will let users get more creative and possibly, be hooked on to the app. The feature works with video too, when users long press the button.
Facebook’s Workplace is going to take on collaborative apps with full integration with SaaS services. When it was launched, it clearly lacked features like CRM app integration support, file sharing, email and calendars and offer similar functionalities to organizations. With the integration with SaaS services, it can soon be at par with other enterprise tools.
In a bid to make people use the Moments app more, Facebook has created a lighter, web version of the same for users. This is a welcome move for people who still access their Facebook accounts from the desktop.
Fake news is a recurring issue on the internet and to curb it to an extent, Facebook has come up with a plan. To begin with, it is encouraging users to easily report the fake news on the platform posted by users or by a third party. The flagged content will be displayed as disputed content on the News Feed.
Facebook launched a Parents Portal with resources for parents. The idea behind this portal is to encourage conversations between parents and children and ensure that the children are safe online. It’ll have basic information and tips to help parents know how to take care of their kids who are active on the platform.
Messenger payments are already available for users in the USA but not elsewhere. With Facebook securing an e-money license in Ireland, this could be an indication of the platform gearing up for peer-to-peer payments in Europe.
To help its users fight scammy advertising, Facebook is testing a new tool. It appears below the ads displayed on the platform and asks users “if you made a purchase, how did it go?” Also, users can use the tool to rate their experience between “well” or “poorly”.
Android users finally get more features for HD Videos on Facebook. They can now upload videos in HD, get system-wide picture-in-picture video, easier notifications among other features on the platform.
Finally, Live 360 video is a possibility on Facebook to give users an immersive experience. Along with 360 Photos, it will encourage the viewing and sharing of some really amazing stuff by the users in the time to come.
Facebook got a wakeup call in October, when it found a discrepancy between the definition and the calculation of video metrics. It has since apologized and fixed a certain bug, which affected the engagement counts. Now, it is updating metrics for Estimated Reach, stream reactions and the Graph API. There’s also a “channel for regular information on changes” for those who want to be in the know.
After having introduced dynamic ads for retail and store visit optimizations, Facebook is bringing dynamic ads for the mobile app installs as well. This will help businesses in “finding customers who take action beyond the install, driving valuable repeat actions (such as in-app purchases) and measuring the value of marketing.”
Facebook added customizable time zones, more flexible report and hourly charts to its Analytics for Apps. This will make it easier for users to view all the data in their own Timezones as opposed to the Pacific Time. The timezone can be changed at any time. Also, Facebook offers better charts and reports to measure the analytics.
Remember the “Prisma fever” on Facebook? The app that gave a tough competition to Instagram filters with its artistic filters and was immensely popular with the masses. It also brought artistic filters to live video till Facebook finally decided to pull the plug on Prisma’s access to its Live API.
Facebook built a new “Creative Hub” to bring more ideas to life. Facebook has designed it to be a “faster and easier way to produce ideas that capture attention and delight people where they’re spending their time—on mobile.” Users on Facebook and Instagram can use it to experiment with content creation by exploring their creativity. Open to all, it will also have an inspiration gallery with examples of some of the best mobile creatives on Facebook and Instagram.
Oculus Touch controllers were finally launched in stores and online. The highly-speculated VR devices offer users an immersive experience and users will be able to try out as many as 54 games and experience with this launch.
In December, Facebook along with Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube partnered to identify and curb the spread of potential terror-related content online. For this, the social media channels collaborated and created a shared database of “hashes” or unique digital “fingerprints”. This will let them remove any content connected to terror-related acts.
Introduction of “How-To” Pins was the first major update from Pinterest in 2016. With these Pins, users can view stepwise instructions, tips and list of supplies needed. This feature is immensely helpful for Pins across categories like – fitness, lifestyle, recipes, makeup, art, DIY, fashion etc. This feature makes the Pins more dynamic as it saves the onerous task of visiting the original website to get the steps. Also, it makes it easy for users to share, follow or repost the Pins. The feature was launched for users in the USA, the UK, France and Germany.
One of the most useful additions to Pinterest’s repertoire is the new ‘Shopping Bag’ feature. This feature makes shopping as unique as unique can be, along with Pinterest’s ‘Buyable Pins’. Now users can put Buyable Pins in the shopping bag, which will remain in it till they are ready to checkout. And to checkout, users need to enter the details only once, after which, it’ll be easy for them to automatically checkout without having to re-enter the details. Also, the platform now offers a new way to search for products within the Pins by enhancing its visual search with a simple tap at the icon atop a Pin. Simple!
In June, Pinterest made a bold move to scrap its ‘Pin It’ button and make way for ‘Save’ button. Although the former button did well for many years, a recent survey shows that 10% of users are more likely to hit ‘Save’ than ‘Pin It’. It also makes sense as ‘Save’ indicates saving of ideas, experiences and interests. At the same time, it is self-explanatory, especially for the new users on the platform. Pinterest will also add a new feature to the platform, where it will be possible to view all the boards, which have the same Pins saved. This is great news for those who like to explore more and find new users with similar interests.
Pinterest acquired bookmarking service Instapaper although there are no clear indications what it’ll do with the technology. It’s interesting to learn though, that with this acquisition, Pinterest gets inside information about what all people bookmark and what do they do with the saved content.
Video ads are a regular feature on social media channels and they are finally here on Pinterest. The platform will now have ‘Promoted Video Ads’, which is justified by the 60% increase in video views. The videos will all run on Pinterest’s native video player and users will be able to take a call to action after watching it. The video will also be combined with featured pins and enable users to click on or buy a product or a service. This gives the ads a clear advantage over ordinary ads and makes them more memorable.
In a bid to improve video viewing and discovery on the platform, Pinterest introduced a native video player. This enables users to watch a video and interact with it, without even leaving the platform. It is also keen to improve video recommendations for the users and experimenting with improved video discovery. For instance, the recommendations are likely to be based on personal pinning history, saved items and engagements with other Pins and boards.
Campaigns become a breeze for marketers with the all new ‘Promote’ button on Pinterest for businesses. All you need is to click the button and promote any Pin of your choice without having to start a campaign right from the beginning. And the time to set up a Promoted Pin on Pinterest using the Promote button takes just 9 seconds! As of now, this feature is available only in the USA.
In yet another effort to woo its advertisers, Pinterest made some updates for retargeting. It’s now possible for businesses to target users based on engagements. Basically, it lets advertisers retarget users, who interacted with Pins. With a new ‘Pinterest tag’, advertisers can create new audiences, which will be based on a total of 9 events such as purchases, signups and add to cart among others. Additionally, it’s giving advertisers more opportunities to target users who visit a specific website via ‘Actalike Audiences’, which is based on the fact that audience on Pinterest tend to act in a similar way.
To add more value to the ideas, Pinterest launched Promoted Video and Explore section. While the videos are aimed at “bringing ideas to life” and to “tell compelling stories”, the Explore section offers curated content that combines Pinners’ favorites as well as the latest stories and trends that are doing the rounds. In other words, get the day’s top picks customized and personalized just for you by using the Explore section.
Pinterest revamped its notifications and inbox, which became simpler after the overhaul. As a part of the changes, it removed the “You” section, combining it with “News.” The notifications tab became more visual and gave a gist of the Pins, which fellow Pinners have liked, saved or are discovering on the go. It is also interactive, as users can now tap the Pins, boards and profiles directly from notifications. The redesigned inbox has messages, Pins sent by other users, invitations to group boards and comments made on the Pins.
In its endeavor to make Promoted Pins more relevant to users, the social bookmarking platform rolled out three new variants of ‘Promoted Pins.’ The three varieties of Pins will be available for Pinners in UK as well. In no particular order, these are –
NASA made its Instagram debut in 2013. After 3 years and over 17 million followers, it took another “leap” in 2016 by uploading its archive on Pinterest (and GIPHY). Users on the social bookmarking site can now get access to NASA’s huge collection of incredible new and historic images, videos as well as other Pins spanning several categories such as Earth Science, Aeronautics, Astrophysics etc. that’ll leave them wide-eyed! Mission Mars anyone?
There are examples galore of how people try different ideas on Pinterest, which often end up as heartbreaking #PinterestFails. Nevertheless, people don’t give up trying and taking up the projects on the platform. For those who love to experiment with new ideas on Pinterest, can now mark an idea as ‘Tried and True’. This is a unique way to tell fellow Pinners that the project is worth trying and that, they were successful in their attempt! Also, Pinterest will have a green smile icon that’ll inform how many people have tried a specific idea.
A couple of years ago, Pinterest launched Promoted Pins for advertisers in the USA. This was followed by the expansion of Promoted Pins in the UK and now, in Canada. The move comes as no surprise with Canadian Pinners saving more than 4.4 billion ideas over the year at the rate of 3.9 million Pins per day and that too across several categories. Pinners based in Canada will also be able to view Promoted Pins from local companies.
Pinterest completely revamped its business profile design, which now allows brands and businesses to display more products/services and ideas. As a part of the redesign, it introduced a new slideshow-style ‘rotating showcase’, displayed at the top of the profiles. Any five boards can feature in the showcase with the option of ‘Buyable Pins’ in a “shop” slot. Businesses can therefore, highlight everything that they want Pinners to spot on their profile. This move by Pinterest seems to be a step to be one up its rivals Instagram, which tweaked its business profiles on July and Facebook, which launched its Marketplace recently.
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