‘Tis the season for holiday campaigns and 2021 preparation. We’ve seen a lot of new changes and adaptations this year for brands and retailers in the digital space from curbside pickup and BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In-Store) to improved delivery services. Luckily, social media platforms are still releasing new updates to help businesses continue to navigate this time. From Twitter’s new Carousel ad option to Instagram’s keyword search capabilities and shopping on WhatsApp, here are the top social media updates this December. Happy holidays!

Social Media Updates


Instagram Adds Shopping Tags to Reels

If you’re looking to generate another stream of income as a creator, you can now add Reels to the list. Businesses and creators can now tag products when they create Reels, enabling creators to add product listings to their clips.

The new feature will also allow creators to add Branded Content Tags for both Reels and Instagram Live in an effort to increase transparency on the platform. With new tags, creators can formulate more deals with brands and make money directly from their Reels content.

Instagram Adds Keyword Search

Great news for all social media managers and search enthusiasts: Instagram will now allow users to search for specific keywords. Previously, searching for a keyword on Instagram yielded results under the Usernames, Locations and Hashtags channels. Now, you can tap on specific search terms and Instagram will populate the posts for those exact words instead of just finding posts through hashtags. This way, you can include some of your keywords in the caption itself to maximize your visibility and Instagram performance.

Instagram Social media updates in December

However, not every word can be searchable. According to Instagram, keyword searches will be “limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines”. So, some niche keywords and topics could be unsearchable for now. Instagram will also rank its keyword search results based on the following factors: type of content, captions, when it was posted and more. The social media platform will also highlight the most relevant matches to each user, based on the algorithm.


WhatsApp Adds ‘Carts’ to its Shopping Experience

Whatsapp is no longer a stranger to eCommerce with their recent business features in place. Now, the messaging platform will continue to make it easier for users to buy items with their latest addition: Carts. This feature will enable WhatsApp users to add items as they engage with a business, then submit a larger order all at once via the app.

WhatsApp Social media updates in December

As explained by WhatsApp, “with carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business.” Carts will make it easier for businesses to keep track of order inquiries, manage requests from customers and close sales.


Facebook Adds ‘Vanish Mode’ in Instagram and Messenger

According to Facebook, some things are just not meant to last. Instagram and Facebook’s Messenger have now activated disappearing messages on their platform, which vanish after they’ve been seen by the recipient or when the sender leaves the chat.

Questions were raised in terms of the safety of this feature, considering the disappearance of offensive messages and the uprise of online bullying in general. However, safety continues to be an important measure here. If someone takes a screenshot while in Vanish Mode, both users will be notified with a message in the thread. Facebook also supports blocking and reporting in Vanish Mode which allows Facebook to review and the conversation and take action.

To turn on Vanish Mode, users can swipe up on the chat then swipe up again to turn it off. As a part of that update, Instagram also received many Messenger-inspired additions — like the ability to change the chat color or react with any emoji. The addition of vanish mode gives Facebook a competitive edge over Snapchat whose default setting is based on disappearing messages.


New Carousel Ad Format Option

Twitter’s newest ad format option is here: Carousels. Now, marketers can add up to six images or videos in an ad.


Carousel ads have seen much success on other social platforms with Sprout Social reporting that Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram drive 10 times more web traffic for businesses than single-image ads. Another Facebook study reports that Carousel ads drive 72% higher click-through rate than single images.

In testing their version of carousel ads, Twitter shared that App carousel ads “boosted installs per impression an average of 24% compared with single-asset formats, while website carousel ads boosted the average clickthrough rate (CTR) about 15%, Twitter found in its testing of the carousel format.”

Carousels are now available globally. Marketers can create these ads in their Ads Manager or through the API.

Quick Recap (Social Media Updates):

  • Instagram: Instagram Adds Shopping Tags to Reels, Keyword Search to Profiles and Tags
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp Adds ‘Carts’ to its Shopping Experience
  • Facebook: Facebook Adds ‘Vanish Mode’ in Instagram and Messenger
  • Twitter: New Carousel Ad Format Option

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!