33 New Things in Digital in May 2018

Digital Marketing Updates

While the heat has slowly begun to subside, we look back to the month of May that was hot with a number of updates that came in. From Instagram features that allows users to turn their organic posts into ads, make group video calls to Facebook opening about their upcoming dating feature, the month has witnessed its fair share of updates. Read along to see what else the month brought to shore.

#1 Facebook Reopens App Review Process

Facebook Reopens App Review Process

Facebook recently paused all app reviews and new chatbot development on the platform to review its privacy and data policies. At the F8 Developer Conference this week, Facebook announced it’s reopening the app review process “after making some changes to make it more comprehensive and grounded on ensuring that each of [its] APIs creates value for people, is transparent, and builds trust.” Facebook also launched several new global programs and products and a redesigned Developer Site to help developers succeed.

#2 Instagram and WhatsApp to Roll Out Group Video Calling

Instagram and WhatsApp to Roll Out Group Video Calling

Facebook announced that group video calling will be rolling out to Instagram and WhatsApp in a future update. Video chat will be available within Instagram Direct and will allow both one-on-one and group conversations on the platform. On WhatsApp, group calling will simply be added to the already-popular voice and video calling features in the app. In the same announcement, Facebook also promised that stickers will also be coming soon to WhatsApp.

#3 Facebook Unveils Clear History

Facebook Unveils Clear History

Facebook announced plans to build Clear History, an upcoming feature that will enable users to see and delete the data Facebook collected from websites and apps that use its ads and analytics tools. Clear History is currently in development and will roll out in the coming months.

#4 Instagram Tests Improved Explore Section

Instagram Tests Improved Explore Section

Instagram is currently testing a redesigned Explore tab that will make it easier for users to discover things they’re interested in and organize suggested content into relevant topic channels. This new tool will make it easier to browse your interests and go deeper into any area you’d like. According to Instagram, the new Explore will be rolling out over the coming weeks

#5 Facebook Launches Upcoming Dating Feature

Facebook Launches Upcoming Dating Feature

Facebook is building a new feature for dating and relationships within the Facebook app. According to Mark Zuckerberg, “people already use Facebook to meet new people” and once this new product is released, they’ll have the option “to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events.” Facebook plans to begin testing the dating feature “later this year.”

#6 Facebook and Instagram Allow Third-Party App Share to Stories

Facebook and Instagram Allow Third-Party App Share to Stories

Facebook announced that select third-party apps can now enable the ability to share screenshots of their apps to Instagram and Facebook Stories with just a tap of a button within the app. The new Sharing to Stories feature initially launched with a handful of apps including Spotify, SoundCloud, GoPro, and others. More apps will be added soon.

#7 LinkedIn Adds Three New Lead Gen Forms

LinkedIn Adds Three New Lead Gen Forms

LinkedIn announced three new enhancements to lead gen forms for sponsored content and InMail campaigns that are designed to continue driving ROI for lead gen marketers. These tools include bid auto-optimization, which allows marketers to use automatic optimization in Campaign Manager to get more leads for a better price, an expansion to include desktop delivery for lead gen forms, and the ability to send lead data directly to two new partners, Salesforce Sales Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

#8 Facebook Develops New Tool for Detecting Phishing Attacks

Facebook Develops New Tool for Detecting Phishing Attacks

Facebook announced a new service for domain owners that will monitor new domains that are maliciously created to implement phishing attacks. These alerts allow website owners and admins to take action to protect their domain and the people who use their websites. Domain monitoring service and subscription management can be enabled for free on the Facebook for Developers site.

#9 Facebook Announces Groups Tab and Plugin

Facebook Announces Groups Tab and Plugin

Facebook announced plans to roll out a new Groups tab that will “make groups a more central part of the Facebook experience.” The new Groups tab will make it easier for users to manage their groups and will have a Watch Party feature for watching and discussing videos together within groups. In addition, Facebook is launching a new Groups plugin that admins and developers can add to their websites and emails to solicit people to join their Facebook group.

#10 Facebook Introduces New Analytics App and Analytics Tools

Facebook Introduces New Analytics App and Analytics Tools

Facebook released a new Facebook Analytics mobile app, where admins can review their most important metrics on the go in a streamlined interface. The new app keeps personalized overview tabs, features dashboards with reports saved via desktop, allows users to receive notifications about significant changes, and more. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

#11 Facebook Upgrades Video Retention Metrics

Facebook Upgrades Video Retention Metrics

Last week, Facebook introduced upcoming video retention breakdowns and insights that will be available to all pages in their Video Insights. In the coming weeks, page admins will have access to more data on audience retention from followers versus non-followers of their page, a breakdown of audience retention by gender, and zoom charts that give them a “closer look at the data” and allow them to “better visualize the engagement throughout the video.” In addition to these improvements, Facebook has also fixed a bug in the video retention graph to make it more accurate and reliable.

#12 Instagram Improves Direct Messages

Instagram Improves Direct Messages

Instagram added new call-to-action buttons and a better way to organize Instagram direct messages. Important new customer messages sent to a business account can now be found in its main Direct inbox, instead of a pending folder. Users can also star and filter messages. In the coming weeks, Instagram will begin testing quick replies that will allow admins to easily respond to common questions.

#13 Snapchat Goes Through Redesigning after Backlash

Snapchat Goes Through Redesigning after Backlash

Snapchat redesign will put Snaps and chats back in chronological order, and move Stories from your friends back over to the right-hand side of the app. This is in variance to the initially launched new layout, which put all content – Stories, snaps and messages – from connections over to the left side, with publisher and influencer content on the right. Users were not happy with that design – more than 1.2 million people signed a petition which called on Snap to revert back to the old format, while many celebrities voiced their dislike of the change.

#14 Instagram Tests Music Stickers

Instagram Tests Music Stickers

Instagram is testing a native payment option within the app with “a limited set of partners and businesses.” Users will be able to register a debit or credit card and security PIN as part of a profile and use the payment feature at restaurants or salons when reservations or appointments are booked within the Instagram app. The terms of service for Instagram payments are subject to the same rules as Facebook’s payment system. This rollout appears to be limited to the U.S. and the UK.

#15 WhatsApp Enables In-App Facebook and Instagram Video Viewing

WhatsApp Enables In-App Facebook and Instagram Video Viewing

A recent iOS update to WhatsApp includes a new feature that allows Facebook and Instagram videos to play within the app. WhatsApp users will now be able to watch Facebook and Instagram videos sent to them by their contacts without having to exit the conversation thread and go into other apps. The latest iOS update to WhatsApp also includes the ability to add and revoke admin privileges from other users in a group chat and gives admins the power to edit the subject, description, or icon of a chat already in progress.

#16 Instagram Tests Native Payment Option

Instagram Tests Native Payment Option

Instagram is testing a native payment option within the app with “a limited set of partners and businesses. Users will be able to register a debit or credit card and security PIN as part of a profile and use the payment feature at restaurants or salons when reservations or appointments are booked within the Instagram app. The terms of service for Instagram payments are subject to the same rules as Facebook’s payment system. This rollout appears to be limited to the U.S. and the UK.

#17 Twitter will soon be adding  Encryption to Direct Messages

Twitter will soon be adding  Encryption to Direct Messages

Twitter might be testing end-to-end encrypted direct messages called Secret Conversations. While Twitter hasn’t confirmed if this new feature will launch, code for this option was discovered inside the Twitter for Android application package (APK), which is where the code for unlaunched features that companies are quietly testing or will soon make available are often housed.

#18 Instagram Introduces New Features to Engage Followers

Instagram Introduces New Features to Engage Followers

Instagram announced a new variation of its polling sticker for Stories. Now Instagram users can add an emoji slider that allows them to ask and answer questions with an animated emoji on a sliding scale instead of simply picking between two options. Instagram’s emoji slider is available as part of the latest Instagram update for Android and iOS.

#19 Facebook Stories Reach 150 Million Active Users & Tests Stories Ads

Facebook Stories Reach 150 Million Active Users & Tests Stories Ads

With a reported 150 million daily active users on Facebook Stories, Facebook announced it is now testing the first Stories ads in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil. For now, these early ads will consist of 5- to 15-second videos that can be skipped. They will not have a call-to-action or click-through but will add this options in the coming months. Facebook also plans to provide businesses with more metrics on their Stories performance to prove their worth in driving ad revenues and goals.

#20 WhatsApp Adds New Group Messaging Tools

WhatsApp Adds New Group Messaging Tools

WhatsApp launched a series of new features to streamline group conversations and make it easier for admins to manage their groups. Admins can now set a description of their community and decide who else can change the group’s subject, icon, or description. Users will be able to get a group catch-up that shows messages in which they were mentioned and search for others in the group. This update rolled out for both iOS and Android.

#21 Facebook Targets Teens With Youth Portal

Facebook Targets Teens With Youth Portal

Facebook launched Youth Portal, a central place for teens that features first-person accounts from teens around the world, advice on how to navigate social media and the Internet, and tips on how to manage and control their experience on Facebook. The portal is available in 60 languages and is part of Facebook’s other ongoing initiatives to reach out to young social media users.

#22 YouTube Red is replaced With YouTube Premium and YouTube Music is Launched

YouTube Red is replaced With YouTube Premium and YouTube Music is Launched

In two separate announcements issued by YouTube this week, the company introduced a new music streaming service called YouTube Music that promises to make the world of music easier to explore and more personalized than ever, and announced that YouTube Red, the company’s subscription video streaming service, is becoming YouTube Premium

#23 LinkedIn Enables Users to Follow Hashtags

LinkedIn Enables Users to Follow Hashtags

LinkedIn delivered an alert stating that members can now follow hashtags they’re interested in to see this content at the top of the feed. This new tool is presented as another way to personalize one’s LinkedIn feed and appears to function the same way as Instagram’s Follow Hashtag tool.

#24 Facebook Debuts Updates to Ads Reporting

Facebook Debuts Updates to Ads Reporting

Facebook announced plans to roll out an updated version of Ads Reporting that will make it “faster and easier to analyze ad performance” over the next month. The new, improved Ads Reporting experience will enable admins to analyze dimensions such as age, gender, and placement and easily identify their best-performing ad creative. Facebook is also adding admins’ campaign structure to the side editing panel, so they’ll be able to see and edit their campaign all in one place.

#25 Instagram Tests Possible Usage Insights Dashboard & Comment Features

Instagram Tests Possible Usage Insights Dashboard & Comment Features

Code found within Instagram’s Android app reveals that the company is testing a new Usage Insights dashboard that will show users their “time spent” on the platform. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom confirmed that the company is developing tools that will help its community know and understand more about the time they spend on Instagram. Instagram is also testing a new commenting interface with a row of quick-add emojis, an @ button for quickly tagging friends, and the ability to reply to a comment directly from a notification without opening the Instagram app.

#26 Facebook Tests New Search Engine for Influencer Marketing

Facebook Tests New Search Engine for Influencer Marketing

Facebook is working on a new Branded Content Matching search engine to help advertisers find page owners with “fans they want to reach, see stats about these audiences, and contact them to hammer out deals.” Apparently, the company wants “to help businesses find creators who can reach their target audience in an authentic way while allowing creators a path to monetize their Facebook content and fan base.” The new tool is currently being tested with a set of lifestyle brands and creators.

#27 Instagram Introduces Muting

Instagram Introduces Muting

Facebook rolled out “several updates to help admins keep their groups safe and manage them more efficiently.” These new tools include more timely and personalized help from Facebook on issues, a new online learning destination with tutorials, product demos, and case studies for group admins, pre-approval on content, and a quick and simple way to notify members when they’ve violated a rule. The latter also allows admins and moderators to collaborate by adding notes in their admin activity log about when and why they removed a post.

#28 Facebook Improves Admin Resources and Support for Groups

Facebook Improves Admin Resources and Support for Groups

Facebook rolled out “several updates to help admins keep their groups safe and manage them more efficiently.” These new tools include more timely and personalized help from Facebook on issues, a new online learning destination with tutorials, product demos, and case studies for group admins, pre-approval on content, and a quick and simple way to notify members when they’ve violated a rule. The latter also allows admins and moderators to collaborate by adding notes in their admin activity log about when and why they removed a post.

#29 Instagram Experiments with “All Caught Up” Alert

Instagram Experiments with “All Caught Up” Alert

Instagram is showing some users a mid-feed alert that states “You’re All Caught Up – You’ve seen all new posts from the past 48 hours.” Instagram hasn’t yet provided details on how this new feature works nor confirmed if this means that Instagram has shown you every post from people you follow or simply the ones served by the algorithm. This new feature is currently being tested with a select group of Instagram users.

#30 Facebook Asks Users to Clarify Privacy and Data Preferences

Facebook Asks Users to Clarify Privacy and Data Preferences

After being asked to provide a clearer explanation of what information it collects and how it uses this data, Facebook is popping up news feed alerts that ask users to review their preferences and details around advertising, face recognition, and information they’ve chosen to share in their profile. Facebook previously updated its data policy and made its privacy controls easier to find. These tools were initially required by the European Union in preparation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline but Facebook expanded them worldwide.

#31 YouTube Tests Algorithmic Subscription Feed

YouTube Tests Algorithmic Subscription Feed

YouTube confirms it’s replacing the reverse chronological order in which videos are served in the Subscriptions feed with an algorithm that “personalizes” the feed. This update is being tested with “some users” and appears to use a viewer’s watch history and other factors to recommend videos that the company thinks they’ll want to watch. This is similar to the way Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter show posts and updates.

#32 Twitter Rolls Out the Twitter Timeline Ads Pilot Program

Twitter Rolls Out the Twitter Timeline Ads Pilot Program

Twitter launched a pilot ad program called Twitter Timeline Ads. This new program allows publishers to generate revenue for their site with ads shown in embedded timelines. Twitter states it has “hand selected a small group of publishers” in the U.S. for this invite-only program. Other publishers can sign up on the Twitter Business site to find out more about the program.

#33 Instagram Organic Posts Can Now Be Turned Into Ads

Instagram Organic Posts Can Now Be Turned Into Ads

Facebook is rolling out a new feature that allows Instagram advertisers to turn existing organic Instagram posts into ads within Facebook Power Editor and Ads Manager. Advertisers will have access to Brand Awareness, Post Engagement, Reach, and Video Views objectives and be able to purchase the ads in “auction buying.” However, they’ll only be able to create an ad from an individual video and photo post for now. Carousel, Stories, Branded Content, and Instagram Shopping posts are currently not supported. This new feature is rolling out to “all global advertisers” within the “next few weeks.”

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