This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.
Users Can Now Shop Within Stories
Instagram and Snapchat are continuing their tit-for-tat, feature-for-feature back-and-forth. This week he two announced new e-commerce options for their Stories products.
Let’s start with Snapchat. Snapchat’s launched Shoppable Snap Ads, which run on the Discover page as well as between Stories. These ads display a catalog of products paired with a carousel of product images. Users can tap on items to be taken to a brand’s site to make the purchase. Snapchat’s working to give advertisers more measurement capabilities by allowing the ads to include the new out-of-beta Snap Pixel. That will help advertisers measure the value of their Snapchat campaigns.
Instagram’s taking its shoppable tags and bringing them to Stories. This means Stories will be able to feature shopping bag stickers that users will be able to tap to get product details and eventually lead to purchase on a brand website.
Being able to offer end-to-end e-commerce solutions is certainly a welcome step for brands looking to sell online. And as users spend more and more time in the Stories environment, introducing the ability to make purchases makes sense. Commerce-focused ads have proven successful in user feeds, so extending the capability to a product as popular as Stories is a natural extension.
Reddit Launches Native Video Ads
Reddit is looking to grow its video advertising capabilities with the launch of native video ads. Users will soon see in-stream video ads as well as out-stream video content. The ads will auto-play on desktop and mobile.
Currently, video accounts for 20% of the the content viewed by Reddit users, with video views accounting for more than 5 million minutes per day. Last year, Reddit launched a native video player, so it no longer had to rely on linking to YouTube to let let users see video content. Since launching that native player, native video views have seen 23% month-over-month growth.
As the number 3 most visited site in the United States, Reddit has a massive audience. And the appetite of brands for video shows no sign of slowing down. Facebook’s inventory is only getting tighter, so many brands are looking to other platforms like Twitter to invest some of their video ad dollars. And that’s the kind of conversation Reddit wants to be in.
The platform has taken steps to become more advertiser-friendly and have less of a Wild West feel. This move is one more step in that evolution.
Snapchat Launches Developer Platform
Snapchat’s long-awaited developer platform is now here. The messaging app that up until a few months ago preferred developers to not integrate Snapchat into their apps has changed its tune with the launch of SnapKit.
SnapKit will allow developers to make Snapchat a core part of their apps in a few ways:
Creative It will allow developers to add their own stickers to the Snapchat Camera.
Bitmoji Kit will bring Bitmoji stickers to other apps.
Login Kit means users will be able to log into apps using their Snapchat user credentials.
Finally, Story Kit will allow apps to bring in public Stories around particular topics into their apps.
There are a handful of examples already in the world. Tinder users can now communicate with each other using Bitmojis, and Postmates is letting Snapchat users add certain stickers to Snaps after an order’s been placed.
SnapKit isn’t available to everyone. Snapchat is vetting any apps that want to use SnapKit as Snapchat aims to position itself as a privacy-first platform. Other restrictions are apps won’t be able to access data about their users’ Snapchat friends or information on their actual users who link their accounts to Snapchat other than their display names and Bitmoji avatars. Any app that isn’t used in 90 days will be disconnected from a user’s Snapchat account.
The significance of Snapchat’s decision to launch SnapKit is rooted in whether or not Snapchat breaking out of its very secluded walled garden and into the app ecosystem will be part of the platform’s solution to grow its users, generate revenue and win back user trust following backlash over its app redesign. Being more pervasive across multiple apps could put Snapchat on the radar of more potential users. And beyond that, being the privacy-focused login alternative would differentiate Snapchat in the minds of users. That alone could be a reason for them to give Snapchat a look.
News Quick Hits
LinkedIn is launching carousel ads. The units will allow brands to share up to ten images on cards that users can swipe through. Currently carousel ads are limited to static images, so video is not included in the unit as it is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Facebook has created a central location for users’ Memories. This includes moments shared with family and friends along with those major life events that show up in user feeds on certain days. With this new section on Facebook, users will have a single place to find On This Day, Friends Made On This Day, Recaps of Memories and Memories You May Have Missed in one location. Facebook originally launched these features to spark user sharing of positive content.
Everyone can relate to sent message regret. Snapchat’s going to remedy that to a degree by allowing users to delete messages from conversations within the app. Up until this point a message would disappear but only after the recipient or recipients read it.
The second generation of Snap’s Spectacles are available for sale, and this time they’re easier to find. Users can now purchase them on Amazon. The previous versions were available exclusively from Snapbot vending machines, and because they were so difficult to find, Snap was left with a huge supply of leftover product. The second generation Spectacles are water proof, come with a less bulky charging case and different colors.
Facebook is giving users the ability to review brands within the “Ads Activity” section of the platform. Users will be asked to complete questionnaires about businesses they’ve worked with. Facebook will use this activity as an input in evaluating business practices, which Facebook will share with businesses if they’ve received a high degree of feedback. But ultimately, a high volume of negative reviews could lead to Facebook banning certain brands from the platform.
Snapchat is testing a feature called “bounce” that would mimic Instagram’s Boomerang feature.