Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next!
Here’s what you need to know for social media news and updates from September 2013!
Facebook Plays with Auto-Play
Facebook is testing videos that play automatically on mobile, similar to how Vine and Instagram default their videos. The videos will be silent when they appear in a user’s newsfeed, but have the option to be expanded and un-muted when clicked.
This option will only be available for individual users during the test, but Facebook said it would “explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.” The social network is taking it slowly when developing this feature, as it would dramatically change the user experience.
In addition to users showing off videos with auto-play, Facebook is planning on offering this functionality to advertisers. This means ads would play automatically as well, stopping only when the user scrolls past them in the newsfeed.
Twitter’s Next Major Upgrade
Twitter is planning its next move in the wake of its IPO announcement – a complete overhaul of its mobile apps. Twitter is trying to tap into the highly-engaging visual content that Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have already adopted.
The new design will enhance the visual experience for users, most notably adding a photo stream. The traditional four tabs at the bottom of the app’s screen will also be replaced with swiping functionality to get to the different streams. The Twitter feed we all know and love will stay, as well as the Interactions stream, with a few tweaks.
Sources also indicate that Twitter is experimenting with a dedicated TV stream to make it easier for users to browse TV-related conversations.
Instagram to Add Ads
Instragram has finally succumbed to the lure of advertising dollars. The photo-sharing social network, after years without ads, announced that it will begin selling ads within the next year.
This is a risky venture, considering the potential to alienate the network’s 150 monthly active users by cluttering their feeds with overt paid advertisements. It’s also not clear how some of the big companies currently on Instagram will react to the idea of spending money on something they’re already successfully running for free.
Paid Instragram ads could be relegated to the app’s Discover feature, where users can now find popular content and search for users or topics. Instragram is also working to establish an analytics system to show advertisers the reach of their paid content.
Pinterest Promoted Pins
Pinterest is following in the footsteps of Instagram in their announcement that they will begin experimenting with promoted pins. This step towards monetization is the first Pinterest has taken in its four years of existence. This change is also linked to the network’s shift from web growth to mobile growth.
The ads will be tested initially in search results and categories feeds; that is, searching on a given topic might return recent pins from a business selling a product relevant to that topic. This change may spark even more businesses to create Pinterest profiles and pay for the promotion to expand their reach. Of course, businesses are able to create Pinterest profiles now, but any reach is purely organic.
For now, Pinterest is working with a select group of brands who will receive the promotions for free. Before disturbing its users, Pinterest wants to make sure the ads work well first and deliver value to advertisers.
Google+ to “Embed” Itself in Your Daily Life
Google+ recently introduced several new features, including the ability to embed public Google+ posts on other sites. The embedded posts would be interactive; that is, users can +1, comment, or follow the post and its author from the embed.
What’s the big deal? Google+ is trying to make it easier to expand your audience across the web by highlighting your content and making it easier to put it in multiple places. Facebook has already announced this feature as on its update list for the coming months, so it’s no surprise that Google+ has jumped ahead and rolled this feature out ahead of its competitor.
Another feature introduced is Author Attribution, the ability to tie an author’s blog post or article to his or her personal Google+ profile. To start, this feature is only integrated with WordPress and Typepad, with the plan to expand in the future.
What do these social network updates mean for the world of social media?
- Networks are getting more visual. Updates from all four networks are incorporating more visual content into their overall user experiences. Make sure you’re ready for the transition with some photos, graphic art, and/or videos to add to your content.
- Social media is permeating other sites. This means businesses have more opportunities than ever to reach their audiences. Now might be a good time to re-evaluate your social media strategy to make sure you’re prepared!
- Networks are becoming more alike. With Twitter trying to look more like Facebook, and Facebook trying to look more like Instagram, the world of social media seems to be flattening. Knowing the right strategies for each might become a little easier.
- Brands are further infiltrating social networks. Instagram and Pinterest testing the waters on paid advertising for brands means that they are entering the ranks of Facebook and Twitter in monetizing their vast user bases. More businesses will consider creating profiles on both Instagram and Pinterest as their options for reaching their audiences have expanded.
And what’s the best thing you can do to prepare for social media changes? Read our update every month! We’ll update you with any new features/changes in one quick place so you can make informed decisions on your social media strategy.