We spend a lot of time on social media sites -- globally, it’s around two hours per day. But for all of that time spent social networking, we may not always know what’s going on behind the scenes with the sites themselves.
To help you save time while staying informed, we’re launching a monthly social media news roundup.
This month, we’ll discuss Snapchat’s growth and content diversification, Google’s step into live-streaming, and other changes worth knowing about. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights in the social media space this month -- what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.
10 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month
1) The Washington Post starts curating content for Snapchat Discover.
The Washington Post announced it would become Snapchat's first editorial partner to provide breaking news updates on the platform. The Post will publish multiple times per day as headlines break in its print and online newspaper editions so Snapchatters can easily consume the content in a more visual way. Snapchat is all about innovative visual content, and this step moves Snapchat in the direction of becoming a content destination site instead of just a content sharing site. Here's what it will look like on the Discover tab (when a Snapchat user swipes to the left):
SNL is a viewewship juggernaut -- almost 11 million people watch it each week. If it sees success with posting original content on Snapchat outside of its regular distribution strategies on YouTube and other social media platforms, marketers might consider producing their own "shorts" on Snapchat and seeing how they perform.
3) Snap Inc. files for $3 billion initial public offering (IPO).
Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., filed for a $3 billion IPO on February 2nd. After rebranding as a camera company and launching Snapchat Spectacles in September 2016, marketers eagerly waited to hear what they would do next.
Snap Inc. now faces intensified competition from other social media platforms with larger user bases that have adopted features similar to Snapchat's. For example, Instagram launched its own version of Stories last year, and it currently has more users making Stories than all of Snapchat's total user base. Marketers should keep an eye on how Snapchat evolves and which platform is better suited for ephemeral content for their audiences.
4) Snapchat launches first original reality show on A&E Network.
Snap Inc. announced its forthcoming partnership with A&E to produce "Second Chance," an unscripted reality television show about breakups on Snapchat. The show will diversify audiences for both Snapchat and A&E and get existing Snapchat and A&E audiences on the other platforms. Marketers who aren't already advertising on Snapchat may want to start doing so as it grows its audience even further with original content.
5) YouTube launches mobile live-streaming for creators with 10,000 subscribers or more.
YouTube took a big step toward competing in the live streaming video space by launching mobile live video recording for users with over 10,000 subscribers at the beginning of February. YouTube hopes to beat out the competition -- Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram have similar live streaming features -- by providing higher quality to the thousands of creators already publishing frequently on the platform. Given the searchability of YouTube videos in Google Search, marketers might consider broadening their video strategy to include live video on YouTube, too.
6) Facebook adds a weather tool to desktop and mobile apps.
In early February, Facebook started rolling out its in-app weather tool that lets users see five-day forecasts on their Facebook News Feed. Additionally, users can receive notifications about weather alerts at specific times -- like before they leave the house in a rainstorm. Facebook continues to make the site a destination, one-stop shop for users, so marketers should make sure to dedicate strategy and budget toward producing content and ads for the platform with a massive, engaged user base.
7) Facebook cracks down on discriminatory advertising.
On February 8th, Facebook updated its advertising policies to explicitly prevent discrimination on the platform. Previously, it was possible for advertisers to target based on race, ethnicity, and other demographic traits. In recent months, Facebook has taken steps to be more responsible to its community of users -- by starting the Facebook Journalism Project in part to prevent fake news, for example. Marketers should make sure to review the new advertising policies to ensure that ads aren't potentially discriminatory against users.
At the beginning of the month, Instagram started testing the ability to publish up to 10 photos in a single post on the platform. Soon, the Instagram news feed will start looking more like Facebook's if users start publishing photo albums, or galleries. If your audience is highly engaged on Instagram, or if you market physical products, galleries could be a unique approach to generating engagement. Here's what uploading looked like in one user's app:
Medium CEO Ev Williams announced that Medium would launch a subscription product to develop additional revenue streams apart from simply advertising. This news came shortly on the heels of the layoffs of 50 Medium staff members to move toward a model where storytelling quality is prioritized over clicks and shares. Medium publishers should keep their eyes peeled for updates on any algorithmic changes coming with this new direction that could impact their readership.
10) Pinterest adds Visual Discovery to search through your camera.
Pinterest launched new visual search tools that will enable users to point and shoot their camera and receive suggested Pins based on photos they capture. Users capture photos through Pinterest Lens, the in-app camera, and the app starts suggesting Pins related to their search. For example, Pinterest says that if users take a photo of a pair of shoes, the app will suggest clothing Pins that could work as an outfit with the shoes. This tool makes visual discovery much easier, and users might be more willing to purchase from the app when their ideas have context from suggested Pins. Marketers and sellers on Pinterest should improve Pinterest strategies to fully take advantage of the ability to be found as a result of this update.