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.
Video Ads Come to Messenger
It was going to happen, and it finally has. What is it? Ads on Facebook Messenger of course.
Messenger is getting autoplay video ads in the inbox section of the app. The ads auto-play as users scroll past them, similar to ads that display in Facebook and Instagram feeds. Users will be given the option to hide the ads by tapping an icon, but they cannot opt out of receiving ads within the messaging app.
You may not see ads right away as Facebook plans a slow rollout.
This was bound to happen. Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users, and Facebook was certainly going to monetize them the best way it knows how—advertising.
The ads do not appear in actual conversations with friends, so they shouldn’t feel too obtrusive. Still, something to watch will be how users react to advertising in what is considered an intimate channel.
Instagram’s Long-Form Video Platform is Here
Instagram has launched IGTV, a new video-centric property that will allow long-form video content, and long-form means… long-form. They’re going to allow content up to 60 minutes in length.
The launch of IGTV is coming with a big push with influencers. Influencers that have a presence on Instagram will be able to take their Instagram followers with them to IGTV, so they don’t start from scratch.
Videos on IGTV run vertically, and IGTV will actually run as a separate property from Instagram. That being said, IGTV will be available through a new tab within the Instagram app.
The 60 minute time limit is currently restricted to particular accounts. Everyone else gets 10 minutes, but the plan for IGTV is to eventually allow for videos of unlimited length.
So what’s the brand opportunity? Ads are not currently allowed on IGTV, but like any influencer or user, brands can create their own channels within IGTV to host long-form content.
There have been hints that Instagram was going to launch such a platform for a couple weeks. Now, we finally get to see what it is.
Instagram’s focus on influencers shows that it really wants to compete with YouTube. Get the content, get the content creators’ audiences and eventually build the advertising around those two things. Ads will almost certainly come to IGTV, and they’ll most likely be versions of what parent company Facebook offers on its primary platform—pre- and mid-roll advertising. That being said IGTV is the Wild West right now, so brands that have a library of long-form, vertical content may consider building a channel on IGTV while the platform is sparser than it will be when users eventually stake their claim there. Assuming they do, of course.
The question remains whether or not users have the appetite for long-form content from Instagram. Snapchat users are currently seeing tens of millions of views on videos that are three to five minutes long, so there’s clearly some desire for content longer than Instagram’s previous limit of 60 seconds.
News Quick Hits
YouTube has launched a new Creative Suite meant to help brands quickly launch and test creative. The tool offers a Video Experiments option to help brands put test work into the world and then quickly measure awareness, ad recall and purchase intent. It's also bringing its Director Mix and Video Ad Sequencing Tools to the suite to allow brands to more easily optimize creative for personalization.
Facebook is loosening things up when it comes to Watch. Now, it won’t just include original content designed specifically for Watch. It’s going to start being populated with videos from Pages. It’s also launching a new Creators Launchpad, which will be a program of sorts that will work to identify content creators and recruit them to create content for Watch. The platform was once pretty much a walled garden, but now, it appears to be opening up to get more creators and, in turn, more viewers.
Facebook is testing paid subscriptions to groups. Some group admins are now able to charge $4.99 to $29.99 per month for group members to gain access.
Snapchat is adding effects to Snap Map called Weather and World Effects. When users zoom in on each other’s locations on the map, animations will display over the Bitmoji avatar to add context to what’s happening. For example if a user is in a part of the world that’s raining, raindrops will animate on the screen. Snapchat’s working to make Maps feel more like a living, breathing world, and in turn make users more comfortable when it comes to sharing their locations with friends.