2024 Social Media Updates: News, Trends, and Resources to Know

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Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato

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It might be me, but I feel like there are social media changes, new trends, and updates happening all the time. It’s hard to keep up with it. But as a marketer, it’s vital that you know what new features are coming out on popular platforms.

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In this post, we’ll go over the top social media updates of the year for the most popular social media platforms. Then, we’ll dive into how you can stay up to date on the new features and trends coming in 2024.

Top Social Media Updates of the Year

Top Social Media Updates of the Year

1. TikTok: Shop launch, longer-form content, and music updates.

TikTok has made several updates in the last year, including adding TikTok Shop, encouraging longer-form content and giving users the ability to add songs to their music streaming service without leaving the app. Here’s what to know about each update.

TikTok Shop

TikTok is the latest social media app to add an e-commerce feature. TikTok Shop went live in September 2023 and brings shoppable videos and live streams directly to users’ feeds.

There are a lot of great tools for businesses on TikTok. You can now create custom product collections on your profile, for example. The shop tab allows you to display your products and customers can see recommendations and manage orders in one tab, right on the TikTok app.

Along with TikTok Shop, the social media platform also released TikTok Shop Seller Center. This separate app will include tools to allow businesses to connect directly with other e-commerce platforms like Shopify. There are also direct integrations to platforms like Salesforce.

Additionally, TikTok Shop offers an affiliate program that enables creators to connect with sellers through a commission-based program. Merchants can also take advantage of a logistics solution where TikTok Shop handles product storage, packing, and shipping. They work with third-party payment platforms to operate a secure checkout system.

This gives brands and creators the tools to sell directly through shoppable content on the TikTok app.

If you're a visual learner, this video walks you through everything you need to know about TikTok shop.

Here’s a rundown of all the new features for TikTok Shop:

  • In-feed video and LIVE shopping: Shop tagged products directly from videos and LIVEs in the For You feed.
  • Product showcase: Browse product tiles, read reviews, and purchase directly from a favorite brand's profile. Businesses can curate custom product collections directly on their profile page.
  • Shop tab: Businesses display their products on a new product marketplace and customers can easily search and discover promotions. Product recommendations are showcased via product listings and shoppable content, and customers can manage orders, all within a single tab.
  • Affiliate program: Creators can connect with sellers through new commission-based product marketing opportunities. Creators have a new way to monetize their creativity by sharing products in short videos and livestreams, and sellers can choose the Affiliate plan that's the right fit for their brand.
  • Shop ads: New TikTok Shop Ads bring more opportunities for sellers to promote their TikTok Shops, so customers can discover and complete purchases all within TikTok.
  • Fulfilled by TikTok: A new logistics solution that lets merchants focus on their products while TikTok Shop stores, packs, and then ships sellers' products to customers.
  • Secure checkout: TikTok works with trusted third-party payment platforms to facilitate transactions on TikTok Shop, to ensure a quick, smooth, and secure checkout process. All TikTok-protected US user data is stored in the US and managed by USDS.

Below are a couple of screenshots of what this looks like:

updates to power your social media in 2024; TikTok shop

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updates to power your social media in 2024; TikTok shop

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TikTok Encourages Long-Form Content

TikTok is now encouraging users to post longer-form content as the app continues to put more focus on original content and storytelling. The app plans to shift attention away from trends and toward unique content that encourages a longer watch time among users.

As a part of this plan, TikTok is saying goodbye to the TikTok Creator Fund and is instead encouraging creators to sign up for their new Creativity Programme. This program emphasizes longer-form content, with a required minimum video length of at least one minute.

TikTok Lets You Add Songs to Music Streaming Services

TikTok now lets you add songs you hear in TikTok videos to your Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music without leaving the app. They call this the new “Add to Music” feature that will begin to appear as a button that says “Add Song” next to a track name at the bottom of a TikTok video. This will save the song to your favorite music streaming app. When you click it for the first time, you must set which music service is your default and sign in.

Below is a screenshot of what this looks like on the app:

TikTok lets you add songs you hear in TikTok videos to your Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music

Image Source

2. Snapchat launches screen sharing for web.

In a move to compete with companies like Zoom and Microsoft, Snapchat has launched a screensharing feature for the web version of the site. The social media app is well-known as the place you go to send images that cannot be viewed for long, and for short-form video in their Stories feature. But now it seems they’re broadening the use of the app. The feature can be seen as a way to position the app as the screen-sharing app people use for personal use as opposed to the professional uses of Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Users can initiate a call by clicking the share button and then selecting the desired portion of the screen.

The move could change how casual users engage in digital collaboration: I can see students completing group projects with this or families using it to connect during the holidays.

The move comes after launching Snapchat Web last year where users can send videos and snaps, messages, and chat via video call on a browser. They also added an official paid subscription plan with exclusive features like seeing who has rewatched your Stories.

I tested it to see what it looks like and here’s the screenshot of what the feature looks like in action:

screensharing feature on Snapchat

 

3. YouTube launches AI-powered creative guidance for ads.

For marketers and companies that place ads on YouTube using Google Ads, Google has added AI-powered features that can help you optimize your video assets and video ad campaigns. You can use this on Google Ads (in the Recommendations and Video Analytics section), but also YouTube since the site is owned by parent company, Alphabet.

The tool will evaluate ads against specific creative best practices that are proven by Google. Early adopters have already seen an increase in conversions. It will check for things like brand logo in the first five seconds, video length based on marketing objectives (six and 15 seconds for awareness, one to three minutes for consideration, and 15 seconds for action), voiceover quality, and aspect ratio.

According to Google, ads with voiceovers tend to convert better. The new AI feature uses historical data and existing best practices, so it might not be a fit for every brand. However, AI-driven advertising solutions can be a game-changer for optimizing assets and analyzing advertising strategies, helping you improve ROI.

Below is a screenshot of using the AI feature on Google:

using AI on Google ads

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4. Twitter: Rebranding to X and new job search feature.

Twitter, now known as X, has gone through many updates this year. First, we’ll dive into the rebrand (the expert opinions and controversies), and then we’ll look at a new feature that has been recently added to help users find a job.

Twitter Rebrands to X

I’m sure you’ve heard about Twitter rebranding to X and noticed the logo and URL change. Elon Musk, the current owner of X, has said he wants to turn Twitter into a super-app much like China’s WeChat. Right now, America doesn’t have an equivalent app, but industry experts imagine an app could encompass anything a person wants to do online from listening to podcasts, shopping, watching videos, and chatting with friends.

Many business analysts have said the move was risky because it undoes years of branding behind the company and blue bird. Twitter had reached the “holy grail” of branding and the brand name was a verb. People tweeted.

Since Musk took over Twitter, the company has seen financial difficulties, increased competition (hello, Threads, we’ll talk about you soon), and a decline in posts and users. The number of tweets decreased by 25% and the user base has dropped 3.9%.

Marketers know that a rebrand should always be much more than a vanity change because there’s no reason to kill your brand recognition and trust with a new name and logo if you do the same thing.

The problem is that while rebranding might make sense for the future of the app and help in the long term, making it happen will cost significant money in staff and infrastructure – and since Musk laid off three-quarters of its staff and is now embroiled in multiple lawsuits over unpaid bills, analysts are unsure if Musk can pull it off.

Twitter Adds New Job Search Function

Within the last month, X has added a new “Job Search” function to the app. The feature is known as X Hiring and launched in November 2023 for verified organizations at X. Elon Musk has positioned the feature as a direct competitor to LinkedIn. X plans to have a mobile-friendly version on iOS and Android, although a timeline has not been provided for that launch.

While Musk hopes to make this feature stand out among other job search websites like LinkedIn and Indeed, so far X Hiring looks exactly the same. Additionally, since major advertisers like IBM, Apple, and Disney have pulled out of X after reports of disinformation and offensive content, it remains to be seen how successful X will be as they start to roll out new features like X Hiring.

Below is a screenshot of what X Hiring looks like on the website:

X launches job search feature in 2023

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5. Threads: Launches and adds new features such as polls, GIFs, tagging, and account deletion.

As X has seen declines in users, Meta rushed to release a competitor app called Threads in July 2023. It got 150 million downloads in the first week. However, since then, the popularity of the app has been short-lived because it is very imitative and looks the same as Twitter once did.

While the popularity has stagnated, it’s important to note that the app has been releasing features regularly since it launched. First, they’ve added the ability to use polls and GIFs. Plus, they’ve recently rolled out the capability to delete your Threads account without deleting your Instagram.

Meta has been tracking every update made to their app on this webpage, so you can go back and see new updates whenever you like. They’ve recently started testing the ability to tag topics to categorize posts by interest or theme (like hashtags). And they’ve rolled out the option for users to opt out of their Threads being shown on Facebook and Instagram.

Threads account linked to Instagram

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6. Instagram: 10-minute reels, grid preview, content creation tools, and close friends reels.

Instagram has made a lot of updates this year, but it might’ve been hard to keep up. In this section, we’ll review the top updates.

Instagram Tests 10-Minute Reels

Ultimately, Instagram hopes to compete with YouTube for longer-form content – just like TikTok is doing by encouraging longer videos. Ten-minute Reels would give creators more time to film content like cooking demos, beauty tutorials, and more. Right now, this is being internally tested at Instagram and hasn’t moved to external testing yet.

Instagram Adds Grid Preview Feature

The Grid Preview feature gives users the ability to see what their grid will look like before a post goes live. To get to it, you go to Publishing then Grid Planner, where your posts, scheduled and drafts will show up. A simple, but helpful update.

Instagram Kills Its Guides Option

As of December 15, 2023, Instagram has killed its Guides feature. In 2020, Guides were launched as a way to highlight themed content and interactively showcase in-depth material. However, the feature has not been popular and Instagram removed the feature on December 15.

For creators, their Guides would be converted to Collections – but people cannot see the guides anymore. The app encouraged creators to download their guides (they have until March 14, 2024 to do so).

Instagram removes its Guides feature in 2023

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Instagram Adds New Content Creation Tools

Instagram has also added basic content creation updates including new photo filters, new text-to-speech voices, and updated fonts and text styles. Additionally, users can now undo/redo video edits, create custom stickers, and use the pinch/zoom/search feature when uploading content from the camera roll. You can learn more about these updates here.

Instagram Rolls Out Option to Post In-Feed Content and Reels for Close Friends

Users can now post in-feed content and Reels just for their Close Friends list. This update comes as social media apps are seeing a decline in public posts and an increase in DMs, Close Friends Stories, and more. Society may shift to less public online interactions and more toward intimate group sharing within enclosed groups. This move helps Instagram compete in the time of that shift.

7. Meta: Enables Amazon shopping, adds ad-free subscription options, and introduces notes to Messenger.

Meta has made several updates this year. Let’s dive in.

Meta Enables Amazon Shopping

Meta has partnered with Amazon to enable in-stream shopping, without leaving Facebook or Instagram. This new feature allows users to connect their Facebook and Instagram accounts to Amazon so the apps can more easily promote products in user feeds. It’s currently only available in the U.S. but it’s another big push for social commerce.

The partnership comes as the companies both aim to increase ad revenue. In a similar move, Amazon and Pinterest made a similar deal earlier this year, which has proved successful. These partnerships enhance the social media apps' ability to offer relevant products and brands marked on user’s Amazon accounts.

Meta’s Ad-Free Subscription Option

In Europe, due to changing laws, Meta introduced the ability to subscribe to Meta products without ads. However, if you make this choice (which you’re required to opt in or out of), your account will be limited. This means Meta won’t show you ads and your information will not be used for ads, however, they will also no longer place ads on or adjacent to your content.

Meta says many features will be unavailable to you if you choose this option:

  • Running ads and boosting posts for an Instagram account
  • Running ads and boosting posts for your Facebook profile (for example, boosting your own Marketplace listings)
  • Running ads for a Facebook Page, if the Page is linked to an Instagram account that has a subscription to use Meta Products without ads
  • Participating in partnership ads on Instagram or Facebook
  • Monetizing with Ads on Reels and In-stream ads

Meta Has Introduced Notes to Messenger

Remember last year when Instagram added a “Notes” option to the platform? This was essentially like adding a status, and people can see that status when they go to their messages and see their list of friends. This year, Messenger has added the same feature.

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You can post text-based notes that all of your Messenger contacts can see in the app. It appears in the row of profile bubbles at the top of your Messenger tool, just like the Instagram feature. Meta has made this move because IG Notes has been a hit with the younger crowd. Teenagers hopped on the note-sharing bandwagon, and this move helps Messenger compete.

8. Bluesky announces public web interface.

Have you heard of Bluesky? It’s okay, I hadn’t either. However, Bluesky is an invite-only decentralized social media app that was built to be an alternative to X (formerly Twitter). In recent months, they’ve crossed two million users and are about to add a public web interface, meaning you don’t need to have an account to read other posts.

This news from Bluesky makes sense because the main goal of the site is to launch federation by early 2024. This is the core feature of Bluesky, setting it apart from every social media app out there. With federation, you will always have the ability to choose (and exit) the app without being held to the whims of a private company. For example, spending a decade building an audience on a social media platform, only to leave it will hurt your business. It’s hard to delete a social profile and let go of those relationships and your saved posts. You don’t want to lose all your data; in comes Bluesky. When federation is released, you’ll be able to migrate your account information to any social media app you go to.

9. Google adds “follow” search topics feature.

Google is rolling out the option for users to “Follow” search topics and get notified if something particularly timely or important happens on a certain topic. When you follow a topic, you’ll automatically see articles and videos on that topic on Discover (the Google homepage). Now, you might be wondering, “How is this different from Google alerts?” After looking into it, Google Alerts will send you articles that contain any keyword. With the new Follow option, you’ll have the ability to see any new-to-you articles on a topic, no matter what keywords are used.

Staying Up to Date With Social Media Updates

FOMO (fear of missing out) has gripped our society since 2010. And when you add in the professional element, it can be hard to stay up to date with everything going on at all times. In fact, it’s impossible.

That’s why you must know how to stay up to date with updates in your industry, including social media updates. Here are a few top tips for staying in the loop:

Where can I find social media updates?

  • Directly on social media apps newsrooms. Most apps have a newsroom or blog where they update every time a new feature is launched or even tested. Bookmarking these pages will help you find social media updates.
  • Company reports. Many social media companies provide reports that can give you the latest news and data on any social media app. For example, at HubSpot, we have a social media report we update every year. You can get the 2023 one here.
  • Follow business blogs and magazines. Online publications that cover social media news in particular will help you stay up to date with new social media updates.

Social media is an important part of your business. But it makes sense that it can be hard to stay up to date with all the news, trends, and resources available. By bookmarking some of the best resources, you can stay informed and engage in the ongoing evolution of social media.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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