July was an exciting month in the Social Media world. New features such as music and questions stickers in stories made Instagram even more interactive for its users, while Facebook also launched Watch Party as a way to bring people together around video. We have rounded up these new tools, other trends and updates impacting businesses in our Social Media News July 2018.
Facebook Launches Watch Party Around the World
Improving the overall engagement on the platform, Facebook launched Watch Party to all Facebook Groups around the globe. “We’ve been focused on building new ways to bring people together around video, create connections, and ignite conversations; Watch Party is the next step in bringing this vision to life”, Erin Connolly, Facebook’s Product Manager, said.
“Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment”, he added.
According to feedback from group leaders, the new tool is specially useful for “hosting Q&As around particular hobbies such as cooking or crafting, sharing behind the scenes details of a video, swapping tips and tricks for things like home improvement, decorating, or makeup tutorials with members in real time, learning new things like a workout technique or musical skills, and inviting special guests to join their Watch Party”.
Ready to get your party started?
Facebook is Testing Augmented Reality Ads in the News Feed
And more great news from Facebook, as the popular social network is also “giving advertisers new ways to show off their products, including with augmented reality”, according to “Tech Crunch”.
In an event for journalists and marketers in New York in early July, Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook’s global marketing solutions, demonstrated ads that allowed shoppers to see how virtual sunglasses and makeup would look on their own faces.
He explained: “People traditionally have to go into stores to do this. People still really love that experience, but they would like to try it at home” — so this “bridges the gap”.
Michael Kors was the first brand to test out augmented reality ads in the News Feed.
Instagram Introduces Music and Questions Stickers in Stories
Making its platforms even more interactive, Instagram introduced music and questions stickers in stories. The first feature allows users to add a soundtrack to your story that fits any moment and helps you express how you’re feeling. This feature is available on iOS only at the moment, but Instagram says it’s coming soon to Android too.
The second feature lets your friends submit questions for you to answer, being a fun way to start conversations with your followers in order to get to know each other better. The questions sticker is available on both iOS and Android.
YouTube Now Supports Vertical Videos without Black Bars on Desktop
YouTube rolled out an update to its desktop player in the end of July to automatically adjust the video’s aspect ratio to suit a computer’s screen size. The company announced the new feature in its help forum: “Historically, for non wide-screen videos (not 16:9) like vertical and square videos, we would show black bars alongside the video, making the video really small. This update moves away from the need for black bars. We launched this update on mobile awhile back (both Android and iOS) so this change also aligns the desktop and mobile viewing experiences”, an official community manager’s post said.
However, the update has been receiving backlash since its introduction, with some users complaining it makes videos even smaller.
“You need to either fix this or change it back to the way it was. One of my videos is wider than 640×480, but it’s being forced into a 640×480 screen. It’s not being resized properly. Parts of the video are being cut off. Plus, the larger size is actually decreasing the video quality. Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big. Either give us a way to opt out of this, or fix it”, one user commented.
Let’s wait and see if more adjustments will be made.
LinkedIn Introduces a New Reporting Experience in Campaign Manager
Making marketers lives easier, LinkedIn introduced a redesigned reporting experience for Campaign Manager, in order to help to understand better how campaigns are performing and quickly optimize for better results. The update includes major enhancements to save time on campaign reports, such as data being loaded much faster and the possibility to switch from accounts to campaigns to ads in just two clicks. Also, new features now give a better insight about ads which are performing well or not, speeding up the decision-making process about the campaign. Marketers can personalise their reporting experience as well, choosing the metrics view that they care about the most ( Performance, Conversions or Video).
Snapchat Connects Influencers and Businesses with New ‘Snapchat Storytellers’ Program
Making its first step into the influencer game, Snapchat is launching a new pilot program called “Snapchat Storytellers”. According to the website “WeRSM”, the move will help brands connect with top creators on its platform, giving advertisers more reasons to invest in Snapchat and its ads. If the initiative takes off, it could help to boost Snapchat’s popularity and demand once again, after it was overtaken by other apps like Instagram.
Last month Facebook introduced a similar feature called “Brand Collab Manager”, allowing businesses to find influencers for their marketing needs. You can read more about it here.
Want to get started with social media influencers? Check out our blog How to Choose Social Media Influencers and learn ways to increase your brand’s reach, authenticity and sales through meaningful collaborations.
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