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.
Snapchat and YouTube Woo Creators
Snapchat and YouTube are doing everything they can to get creators onto their platforms.
Snap just made a major announcement around creator growth, discoverability and monetization. One of the first major initiatives from Snap will be a revenue sharing program, which Snap is actively working to recruit creators to join. Snap’s moves couldn’t have come sooner as influencers have, in many instances, moved beyond Snapchat to other channels where they’re seeing advertisers focusing their attention when it comes to reaching audiences.
YouTube is also focusing on creator monetization. The first is Channel Memberships, which have been in testing for a small group of users. These memberships will allow content creators to charge $4.99 per month for viewers to receive badges, exclusive emoji, members-only content and other perks. Channel Memberships are going to expand beyond handpicked channels to any eligible channel with more than 100,000 subscribers.
YouTube’s also working with Teespring to give creators access to customizable merchandise items. This will be available to channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.
The final addition from YouTube is Premieres, which are pre-recorded videos that launch as live moments. Once a creator creates a live moment, a page is created by YouTube and subscribers are notified. Subscribers can chat on the page and get excited about the content. Creators can monetize these chats by using Super Chat, which allows viewers to pay to have their posts pinned to the top of the viewer chat.
Content creators are what give YouTube life, so it’s no surprise they’re doing whatever they can to protect their turf. Snapchat wants what YouTube has… finally. After years of ignoring creators, it’s done an about face to embrace them. The question is in an era of YouTube domination and Instagram launching IGTV in a way that’s courting creators at the outset, whether or not Snapchat can win them back.
Snap’s Expanding into Gaming
Snap has had an ongoing experiment with gaming with its latest effort being Snappables that allow users to play AR games with each other that involve sending challenges to friends. Snap appears to be pleased enough with that effort to launch a full gaming platform this fall.
That means third-party publishers may soon be making games for the Snapchat platform, which means more investment in time, developers and overall quality. Users will download the games from a Snapchat app store.
While Snap does that, Facebook is quickly ramping up its efforts to court developers to develop games for Messenger.
Snap has not confirmed these plans.
Snapchat is leading the charge in AR, no matter how much Facebook says its investing in it, so the move to bring in third party developers to up the ante seems like a good approach. Snap keeps users engaged by encouraging them to interact with each other. After all, it’s a messaging platform, so opening up the platform to generate more third-party content that encourages interaction seems like a wise move.
Group Video Chat Comes to… Instagram?
Instagram is getting group video chat support. The feature exists within Instagram Direct, and it allows up to four people to have have video chats with each other, while allowing users to simultaneously browse their feeds or add to their Stories.
Instagram joins Snapchat, Messenger and apps like Houseparty in offering the feature.
Instagram is quickly becoming the platform that does all things. It copies features left and right, and that strategy is certainly paying off as it continues to grow its user numbers. This feature is all about growing time spent on the platform. Instead of yielding user video chat time to apps like Houseparty, Instagram’s giving its growing user base yet another reason to spend more time within its ecosystem.
Facebook and Twitter Launch Transparency Tools
Facebook and Twitter have introduced new ad transparency measures following the controversy surrounding online ads during the 2016 U.S. election.
On Facebook, anyone can now go to a brand Page and see every ad it is currently promoting, whether its a dark post or not, across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the rest of the Facebook ad network. This information is available through a new “Info and Ads” button on Facebook Pages.
The goal is to make advertising on the platform more transparent, but it also allows competitors to see how each other are using the platform.
Twitter is doing something similar. It now has an ad transparency center that shows all ads run by brands and political organizations alike over the course of seven days. Users simply search for a Twitter handle to see anything run in the past seven days.
It’s tough to guess exactly what the fallout from such measures will be. Now, every brand’s activity on Facebook and Twitter is an open book. Anyone can see how messages are being tested by brands as well as how much creative is currently in the marketplace. The good news is its an open playing field, so no one has the advantage. Everyone can see what everyone else is doing.
News Quick Hits
Facebook has launched ‘Your Time on Facebook’ to give users an idea of how much time they’ve spent on the platform each day. Users can set up notifications if they go over a self-imposed time limit and control their Facebook notifications.
AT&T has acquired ad tech platform AppNexus. AppNexus will allow publishers to automate ad sales for display, audio and video. The technology will be integrated into AT&T’s existing ad tech in an effort to tie together AT&T’s existing portfolio of assets. This would be a powerful tool for AT&T to scale its platform further.
Instagram has updated its Explore tab to feature categories of content that are suggested to users based on their behaviors instead of just asking users to search. Currently, 13 topics are displayed: For You, Sports, Science and Tech, Food, Humor, TV and Movies, Style, DIY, Travel, Nature, Art, Fitness and Animals. Users can tap any category to view related content. Users can choose to mute topics that aren’t relevant to them.
Google is testing a new Image Search display for desktop that looks a lot like Pinterest. The layout is reminiscent of the inspiration search platform, and each image has captions describing the images in more detail. Users who click on a product will be given information on whether or not it’s in stock as well as related items.
Facebook is reversing its ban on ads promoting cryptocurrencies. In January, Facebook blocked such ads “associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” Instead, Facebook is implementing an application process that includes review of licenses and other information prior to allowing advertising.
Roku has launched Audience Marketplace in an effort to give publishers insight on viewers that they can leverage to sell their ad inventory. This will give publishers Roku audience insights on their audiences, including watch habits and demographic information. Roku will work with publishers to match ad impressions for advertisers. It will not be sharing the information in a way that it can be used elsewhere.
Google’s Doubleclick and AdWords brands are getting new names and being reorganized under new umbrella capabilities. Google AdWords is going to be called Google Ads, and DoubleClick will be moved under Google Marketing Platform. DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers will be rolled into one platform called Google Ad Manger. The goal is to simplify its advertising options for advertisers, publishers and agencies to better leverage all of Google’s capabilities.
Facebook is giving users the ability to snooze keywords. Pages, people and keywords can be snoozed for 30 days, so if you want to avoid show spoilers or talk of politics, you can select keywords to take a break from. The feature is in testing with a select group of users.
Twitter is attempting to prevent spam accounts from showing up by asking new users to verify their accounts using an email address or phone number. The move is meant to allay brand concerns around fraud created by companies that create and sell fake Twitter followers. In some instances, these Twitter followers have been purchased by influencers to make their potential reach look bigger than it actually is.
Facebook announced that it will distinguish journalism and political content following blowback from publishers surrounding a Facebook policy that categorized news articles as political content. Instead of categorizing them as the same thing, news stories will now be categorized as “Promoted News” and political ads will be categorized as “Ads with Political Content."