We’re officially halfway through the year—we’re talking Back to School planning and even starting to prepare for the upcoming Holiday season. Despite the speed in which everything around us seems to be going right now, social media updates aren’t slowing down anytime soon.
This month brings a plethora of new products and features from our favourite social media platforms including TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, even featuring a bonus entry from WhatsApp. Here’s our latest roundup of social media updates.
Social Media Updates
A new video feature has made its way to Instagram called Reels, otherwise known as “Facebook’s answer to TikTok.”
Similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels lets users create and post 15-second multi-clip videos set to music which are then found in a “Featured Reels” section on user profiles and a separate section within the Explore tab. Reels also includes a set of editing tools like countdown timers and features to adjust the video’s speed, making it easier to record creative content.
For brands who are thinking of making the switch, it might be worth trying out a feature that lives in an app of over a billion active users, not to mention Reels is built into a camera that people already know how to use.
Regardless of TikTok’s uncertain future, Reels can also present a significant opportunity to marketers looking to boost their creative expression and engagement on the app.
For more information on Reels, visit Instagram’s latest announcement.
Shop Tab in Explore
We’ve discussed the importance of personalization at length, which makes Instagram’s newest Shop update worth noting. The social platform recently introduced a Shop tab within the Explore page, allowing users to browse through a range of shoppable products.
The Shop feed showcases personalized product recommendations, based on the accounts the user follows and the businesses that are using Instagram’s product listings. This means businesses can reach interested users even if they’re not following them, further heightening the visibility of a retailer on the platform.
Approved businesses can get their products featured within Explore’s Shop by tagging the products in their Instagram posts, which will then play into Instagram’s recommendation algorithm to reach different users.
TikTok for Business
If you’re looking to reach and connect with a younger, Gen Z audience, now’s your chance. TikTok launched a new advertising platform called “TikTok for Business,” allowing advertisers to create and launch campaigns under the slogan “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”
TikTok’s only biddable, in-stream ad option, In-feed ads, appears in between user videos as they scroll through the ‘For You’ feed. Other ad options include Brand Takeovers, TopView ad, Branded Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effects.
The platform also features Creator Marketplace, which brands can use to discover and partner with TikTok content creators and influencers on paid brand campaigns.
To learn more about TikTok’s advertising solutions, visit TikTok for more information.
New Custom Audience Options
If you’re selling on Facebook, this new update might just help you convert visitors and ‘window’ shoppers. With the rollout of Instagram and Facebook Shops, Facebook has added new custom audience creation options as a response to the recent boost in eCommerce activity.
Discover the new option through Facebook Ads Manager:
Once you click on ‘Shopping,’ you can build custom lists for ad retargeting using three different audiences: people who viewed products, people who added any product to their basket and people who purchased any products.
With Shopping, you can retarget people who’ve indicated a clear interest in your products, allowing your brand to maximize its Facebook and Instagram marketing eCommerce efforts as a result.
Tip: Expand your reach with Lookalike Audiences. When creating a Lookalike Audience, you’ll be able to use your new Shopping custom audience, targeting users with a high intent to purchase, based on their behaviours and interests.
New Data – Search Trends
If you’re looking for new ways to capture potential customers and re-engage past shoppers, Pinterest has announced their latest search trends, which focus on wellness, positivity and ‘starting a new business’.
More people are turning into Pinterest for self-care tips. The platform has recently seen the highest searches ever around mental wellness ideas including meditation (+44%), gratitude (+60%) and positivity (+42%) that jumped from February to May.
Pinterest says that searches for ‘starting a new business ’ are up 35% on average, as are searches for ‘future life goals’ (2x), ‘life bucket list’ (+65%), ‘family goals future’ (+30%) and ‘future house goals’ (+78%).
People are also trying new ways to stay positive as Pinterest notes that searches related to ‘gratitude’ are at an all-time high.
As an advertiser, consider creating content around wellness, gratitude or business-related tips and tricks or even promoting the products or services that support such a lifestyle. And if you’re looking to focus your marketing initiatives on Pinterest, this might be your time to tap into these trends among the Pinner community, aligning with key usage shifts and interests.
New Analytics Tools for Company Pages
Gauging the success of your marketing efforts starts with understanding your analytics and LinkedIn is making it easier for brands and social media managers to gain insight into their performance. LinkedIn rolled out a new Follower analytics for company pages, providing a full list of every person who’s followed your page.
Catching a glimpse of every follower’s individual profile provides an opportunity to understand your audience demographics which could help clarify and shift your content and engagement strategy.
Despite not being able to download this list, access to this information is invaluable to understanding your company page performance.
New Video Shopping Platform ‘Shoploop’
The surge of Shoppable Ads is not slowing down anytime soon with Google’s latest video shopping platform product, Shoploop that helps people find, review and purchase products.
What makes Shoploop a unique platform for shoppable ads is its video-based approach to selling products for under 90 seconds or less, which stands out as more of an interactive experience than scrolling through images on a traditional eCommerce website. Using Shoploop, customers can save products to buy later or click to buy it directly on the merchant’s website.
For now, Google is focused on beauty merchants, content creators and online store owners in the beauty industry with an emphasis on makeup, skincare, hair and nails.
“Our goal is to provide them a platform where they can review and recommend products and help others shop directly from their videos,” according to the company announcement.
The current site is optimized for mobile and will be available on desktop soon. For more updates, visit Shoploop to learn more.
Fleets – Twitter’s Version of Stories
Twitter recently launched Fleets, its own version of Stories. The feature is currently only available in select regions, starting with Brazil. The social platform is already planning on launching a collaborative approach to Fleets (Co-Fleets) by bringing two users’ conversation together.
As seen above, the new option would show up as a double bubble with the users combined into a single stream, similar to how it looks like when two friends go Live on Instagram. Like Instagram’s Stories, along with Facebook and Snapchat, Fleets disappear after 24 hours. This feature could provide a range of new use cases, including interviews, real-time highlights from events, conversation gifs and more.
According to Twitter, Fleets are here to stay. “We are trying this to understand how people might use this new way of having conversations in Fleets, as part of our bigger efforts to better serve the public conversation and encourage people to share fleeting thoughts.”
If your YouTube feed includes a bunch of 20-30 minute vlogs, you might be surprised to see a variety of 15-second video clips in the near future. YouTube is currently testing Shorts—a new, TikTok-like, short-form video option that’s integrated within YouTube.
As noted by YouTube:
“We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in the YouTube mobile app and upload as one video.”
With Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts, there’s a clear trend of platforms replicating TikTok’s core functions with the short video limit and multi-clip functionality. However, it will be interesting to see how responsive users are to TikTok-like content outside of the app and within other platforms they might already be familiar with, like YouTube.
At the moment, YouTube’s rolling out the feature to a small number of users on Android and iOS while they continue to gather feedback.
QR Codes for Small Businesses + Catalog Sharing
If you haven’t thought about using WhatsApp for your business, now might be the time. In its initial Shops announcement a few months back, Facebook noted integrating WhatsApp into its eCommerce plans. Now, WhatsApp added two new features to help brands better promote their presence on the platform.
To start, WhatsApp is adding new QR codes for businesses, helping them connect WhatsApp users with their WhatsApp presence, and start a message thread direct from the QR code scan.
“Previously when people came across an interesting business, they had to add its WhatsApp number to their contacts, one number at a time. Now, people simply can scan the QR code a business displays on its storefront, product packaging or receipt to initiate a chat,” according to WhatsApp.
The second update includes adding new catalog links to help promote a business’ product listings within the app. As seen below, catalog listings provide a basic overview of your products with shareable links for catalogs (as well as for individual products), making it easier for people to share the products with their network.
Despite its simplistic nature, this offering can provide another way for users to connect with new audiences where they can chat on a more personal level and share their product listings within the messaging app.
Quick Recap (Social Media Updates):
- Instagram: Reels, Shop Tab in Explore
- TikTok: TikTok for Business
- Facebook: New Custom Audience Options
- Pinterest: New Data – Search Trends
- LinkedIn: New Analytics Tools for Company Pages
- Google: New Video Shopping Platform ‘Shoploop’
- Twitter: Fleets – Twitter’s Version of Stories
- YouTube: TikTok-like ‘Shorts’
- WhatsApp: QR Codes for Small Businesses + Catalog Sharing
Tune in next month for another round of social media updates!
If you are looking to improve your social media results or have questions regarding the latest platform updates, we’d love to chat!
- Part 1 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: March 2021
- Part 2 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: June 2021 Edition
- Part 3 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: February 2020 Edition
- Part 4 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: April 2020
- Part 5 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: May 2020
- Part 6 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: June 2020
- Part 7 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: August 2020
- Part 8 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: September 2020
- Part 9 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: November 2020
- Part 10 Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: December 2020