March: monthly social roundup

Twitter considering paid membership option – Twitter is looking for new ways to bring in revenue and is considering introducing a paid subscription package to its membership options, whereby users would pay a monthly fee for a version of Tweetdeck that offers an additional account management functionality. This new, intuitive dashboard – which has been described by Twitter as a “more enhanced version of Tweetdeck” – would provide high-end functions, including alerts, trends and activity analysis, analytics, composition and posting tools.

@replies on Twitter excluded from 140-character limit – Twitter has finally made one of the changes that it’s alluded to for almost a year. Last month, the social network will no longer count @replies as part of its 140-character limit in tweets. Now, replies will show “Replying to @username” in greyed-out text above the tweet, and when composing the tweet, users can click on the grey text to untick those they wish to exclude from the conversation from that point on. The platform has noted that, during tests of this new format, more users engaged with content.

Facebook finally launches Stories – Facebook has now launched Stories on its main platform, following the introduction of the Snapchat-pioneered feature in Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Stories lets users post photos and videos to a chain which will last for 24 hours. These can include masks, frames and interactive features – functioning in much the same way Snapchat’s feature works. These posts can be shared either to Stories, to users’ timelines, or even to a chosen group of friends in direct messages. It is also another indication from Facebook that its focus is shifting from textual to visual, more immersive content.

LinkedIn launches ‘Trending Storylines’ business news – Reflecting the modus operandi of most other social media sites, LinkedIn is turning its focus to trending news and stories currently being discussed. The new Trending Storylines feature is a daily newsfeed that offers users the top stories in their fields of interest, using LinkedIn’s wealth of data on people’s occupational interests to serve up relevant trending articles. The platform is clearly emphasising its status as a news platform and is trying to encourage engagement with the aim of fostering more network connections. The feature is currently only available to US users but will be rolled out to other key markets imminently.

Instagram improves its censorship – While Instagram has been working to find and censor posts that violate the community guidelines, it hasn’t yet had anything in place for hiding sensitive content. However, it has now added a ‘Sensitive Content’ warning, which covers photos that have been reported as offensive by other users and covers the visual with a blurred screen. Instagram has said that this will prevent “surprising or unwanted experiences” in the app, as users have to actively click on the photo or video to be able to see it.

Facebook gives advertisers cross-platform statistics – Following criticism that its own evaluation metrics don’t provide sufficient insight, Facebook is making its “people-based” marketing tools available to all marketers. Last November, Facebook began closing its Atlas ad-serving platform, and has instead built a dashboard offering cross-platform statistics. This means they can analyse Facebook and Instagram campaigns, as well as adverts running on Facebook’s publisher partner sites. Up until now, only the bigger-scale marketers have had access to this, but the technology is now included in the ‘advanced measurement’ dashboard tool. The purpose of this evaluation is to help advertisers have a better understanding of how efficient their spending is across platforms.

Facebook’s native video sees 10x more sharing than YouTube – A recent study from social media analytics provider Quintly has confirmed that Facebook prioritises video uploaded directly to the site, versus video shared from another source such as YouTube. The study found that native videos performed better in terms of average interactions and shares. Indeed, in December, Facebook’s native videos saw a 1,055% higher average share rate than those uploaded from YouTube, as well as a 300% higher rate of interactions. A couple of reasons given for this disparity are specific to the functionality of playing videos: Facebook videos play automatically whereas YouTube videos need to be clicked on; and native videos play within the platform’s interface while YouTube videos need to be loaded on an external web page displayed inside Facebook’s wrapper.

Facebook 360 – the first dedicated VR app – launches – Facebook is intertwining the real and virtual worlds by launching Facebook 360. The new app will act as a hub for 360 video and photo content shared by its users, and will have feeds that give users with the Gear VR mobile headset an entirely immersive social media experience. The four feeds are ‘Explore’, ‘Following’, ‘Saved’ and ‘Timeline’. Explore will show the most popular 360 content from a range of media companies and creators. Following will show content from friends, and Saved allows you to look back on content you may have seen on your smartphone or desktop when you have your headset to hand. Timeline shows your own published content all in one place.

Snapchat sees growing numbers of older users – Perhaps surprisingly, Snapchat is seeing much of its growth driven by older users. eMarketer has discovered that projections of user numbers for those over 45 have moved upward, whereas those for users aged 24 and below have slightly decreased. By way of an explanation, Snapchat has recently shifted its focus from the sharing of ephemeral messages to the publication of content from publishers. eMarketer’s analysts suggest that older groups are more likely to use the app for original content, which they are offered through these deals with brands and publishers. On the other hand, the projected fall in younger users may be due to the increasing number of features being implemented into Instagram.

Twitter’s Moments Creators can now see Analytics data – Twitter has launched Analytics for Moments, meaning that creators can see exactly how their Moments are performing. Easily accessible with a couple of clicks, Analytics for Moments means creators can see the number of opens, unique opens, likes, shares and the completion rate of that particular Moment. This will allow them to more finely tune their next creation and determine what it is that their followers want in their longform posts! This is likely to be a response to the fact that Moments were not as successful as the network had hoped.

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