What’s New in the World of Social Media? September Recap

By Matter

As we begin October with fall in full swing, we bring you social media news and updates that took place in the last month. From a new app that brands want to make use of, to the latest in Facebook features, here are the updates you should be aware of.

Target to Begin Incorporating Pinterest’s Visual Search

Voice and visual search are supposed to be two of the next big things, and Target is looking to get out in front. A blog post from Target announced that Lens, Pinterest’s visual search function, will soon be integrated into Target’s registry experience and app. Visual search allows you to take a photo and it will provide you with similar products. The days of searching using keywords and scrolling through thousands of products for the one you want could eventually be coming to an end.

Polly Social Polling is a Hit on Snapchat

A new app, which goes by the name of Polly, is making waves on Snapchat. Polly allows users to create quick, simple polls (either on their own or through templates) and then attach those polls to snaps on the platform. The polls can be shared on Facebook and Twitter as well, but for the time being, it’s much more of a Snapchat thing. Polly has only been around for about a month, and in that time, it’s picked up 20 million users (99% of whom are teens) and generated more than 100 million votes. As Social Times notes, there’s potential in using the app to gather some nice anecdata on brand perception, user habits and, of course, everyday questions that are fun to ponder.

Twitter Launches Popular Articles in ‘Explore’ tab

Twitter may not be the most widely used B2C social platform, but the little blue bird knows its niche, and that is breaking news. According to Adweek, as part of ongoing efforts to solidify and maintain a hold on being the first place people turn to discover what’s happening, Twitter has recently started featuring popular articles in ‘Explore,’ one of the app’s main sections. The articles take into account the user’s location and accounts that he/she follows when selecting which content to feature, so it’s customized for everyone.

Facebook Removes Ability to Edit Third-Party Links

Once upon a time, it was quick and easy to customize a shared article on Facebook through tweaking the copy or imagery. In July 2016, Facebook took that capability away from non-publisher pages to tamp down on spam and ‘fake news.’ According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has extended that ban to promoted articles as well; in other words, advertisers are no longer able to make edits to news article headlines or metadata because by doing so, they could potentially alter the content in misleading ways.

Pinterest Tops 200 Million Monthly Active Users

The more users that a social network has, the more digital real estate it can offer to advertisers. The more digital real estate that social networks can offer to advertisers, the more money they can make. All of this is to say that the brain trust at Pinterest is sure to be pleased that the image-pinning site is adding users at a healthy clip. According to Pinterest, more than 200 million people are using the site every month.

Facebook live API Updates Shoot for Professional-Quality Videos

Facebook introduced two updates to its Facebook Live API (application-programming interface) aimed at enabling publishers and developers to create professional-quality live video. The first, automated encoder configuration, was added in response to publishers’ concerns about the challenges of continually fine-tuning their encoder settings to ensure the consistency and stability of livestreams. The second, frame-accurate start times, was put in place so that developers can indicate the exact frame and moment to go live since having a strong start to a broadcast is so important. Facebook Live adoption has been a success, with those now accounting for 20% of videos on the platform, but the quality isn’t always great. These tweaks are a couple of ways the social giant is trying to improve on that (Social Times).

Facebook is Testing a Group Video Chat App Called Bonfire

According to Adweek, Facebook may soon be inviting mobile users to gather ‘round the Bonfire.’ The social network confirmed that it is testing a group video chat application called Bonfire in Denmark; it’s a new way to group video chat where users can interact with up to eight friends, plus play with effects and take pictures of the video chats. It’s one more way to get people to spend even more time on the platform, and it’ll be interesting to see how the test group receives it and whether Facebook decides to move forward with this type of feature.

Business Tools Are on the Way to WhatsApp

WhatsApp messaging service, which has 1.2+ billion users and is owned by Facebook, has been testing verified business accounts and experimenting with creating tools for those accounts. As of now, it’s still in the early stages, but WhatsApp is approaching these tools along two tracks: one for small businesses and another for enterprise-level companies. According to WhatsApp, “These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.”

LinkedIn Users Can Finally Upload Videos

According to Social Times, LinkedIn has begun to globally roll out the ability for users to upload videos to the social platform. Once users are granted access to this feature, they are able to tap on the video icon in the share box at the top of the feed in their iOS applications or the post button in their Android apps to record or upload videos. Users will have access to insights including companies, titles and locations of viewers of their videos, as well as total views, likes and comments, available via the dashboard section of their profiles, on both mobile and desktop. Right now, it isn’t available for company pages, but that’s probably only a matter of time, and when it arrives, brands will have one more option for creative storytelling and messaging on the platform.