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.
Instagram Launches New Commerce Capabilities
Instagram’s pushing its shopping capabilities more than ever. Now, users can buy products featured in Instagram Stories, but beyond that, Instagram is launching a channel dedicated to personalized shopping in its Explore section.
The Stories feature works by allowing advertisers to ‘tag’ their images and videos with links that take users to commerce sites. 90 million users tap on these buyable tags each month.
The Explore tab is offering something different. The tab will leverage algorithms that will suggest products to users based on their individual tastes, brands they follow and brands they might like.
Instagram’s tapping into something fashion brands discovered on its platform awhile ago—people love to use the platform to find product inspiration. And over recent months and updates, Instagram’s been looking to turn that inspiration into revenue by making posts shoppable.
This extension into Stories was largely foreseeable, but what’s more of a surprise is dedicating an entire section of its Explore tab to driving commerce. Instagram’s no longer just a destination that lets users passively see opportunities to shop in their feeds, it now offers a way for them to actively use the app to shop.
Snapchat Partners with Amazon to Rollout Visual Search
Snapchat and Amazon have partnered to create “visual search,” a new feature that lets users aim the Snapchat camera at items in the real world to then find them to purchase on Amazon. So if you see something you want, open Snapchat, tap the Amazon card that appears on recognized products and get a direct link to make the purchase.
The move is part of a larger effort by Snapchat to embrace more commerce-focused features. Snapchat launched Shoppable Ads earlier this year as well.
A commerce partnership with Amazon is a pretty big deal given its scale, recognition and pervasiveness as an e-commerce provider. That’s a big boost for Snapchat when it comes to social commerce over competitors like Facebook and, more specifically, Instagram.
This is also one more way Snapchat has shown how broad it views the capabilities of its camera. It’s been used to identify music tracks, a la Shazam, and now it’s being used to recognize and then purchase products.
Facebook Expands Stories Ads Globally
The 300 million users of Facebook Stories are going to start seeing a lot more ads, now that advertisers globally can launch paid creative within the feature. The rollout to global advertisers follows a test that occurred in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil.
Facebook wants to make what happened with Instagram Stories, happen on Facebook as well by offering the same targeting, measurement and optimizations advertisers have come to expect from Facebook.
Facebook Stories have not taken off to the same degree Instagram Stories did, which saw 400 million daily users by its second birthday. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has 450 million daily users of WhatsApp Status—WhatsApps answer to Stories. Facebook Stories currently has 300 million total users, and we don’t know how often they check in on the feature.
This move creates a lot more inventory for Stories, and 300 million users certainly seems like an opportunity to reach an audience with a full-screen, sound on ad message, especially if advertisers allow their Story creative to be served across all Facebook-owned properties instead of just one.
News Quick Hits
Pinterest has expanded Shop the Look Pins to all business accounts. Shop the Look allows businesses to tag their fashion and home decor Pins in a way that lets users see information on products featured in the pins like availability, pricing and links to make purchases.
SiriusXM is acquiring Pandora in a deal worth $3.5 billion. The acquisition is intended to help both SiriusXM and Pandora take on the likes of Spotify and other major industry players like Apple, which recently closed on its acquisition of Shazam.
Instagram founders are leaving Facebook over frustrations with Mark Zuckerberg who has become more involved in the Instagram side of the business. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the founders of Instagram, have been with Facebook since 2012 when Facebook acquired the app.
Instagram users can now send GIFs to each other through direct messages thanks to a new integration with GIPHY. This is the first time Instagram has allowed any sort of GIF integration into the app.
Twitter has a new policy that will be implemented later this year following a period in which the public will be able to provide feedback. The new policy relates to “dehumanizing speech,” specifically it would prohibit “content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target.” The policy removes the requirement for a specific user to be targeted in a comment that diminishes a group's humanity. This would be added to the hateful conduct policy.
Facebook is under fire for using information users provided for security purposes, such as phone numbers to enable two-factor authentication, as a means for advertisers to target them with ads. Information that was not submitted by users to their profiles or for any means other than security has been being used by Facebook for ad targeting purposes. Beyond that, it’s been discovered that user phone numbers provided by friends, such as when they share their contact information to Facebook, has been used for ad targeting purposes.
Amazon is making another push into brick-and-mortar commerce with the launch of its new 4-star store, which determines its inventory based on what products are best reviewed on the Amazon website. All products in the store are rated at least four stars, are currently trending or continuously perform as top sellers.