Digital Brief – Social Media Updates and Digital Marketing News
Key social media updates and digital trends in March aren’t surprising. Live video continues evolving, social networks tweak ad platforms to grow relevance, and Google provides more robust data in the Search Console.
Facebook Video Upgrades – Facebook announced a number of upgrades to how videos are displayed including bringing sound into the newsfeed, vertical video display enhancements, watch and scroll, and Facebook TV. The most important of these is sound will now automatically be on for video in the newsfeed! This is huge since now most Facebook videos are optimized for no audio (because audio defaults off) but with this change we anticipate that more people will listen to audio with their videos. It remains to be seen if they will immediately turn volume off, but for now this means that audio can be included in Facebook videos.
New Tools for Facebook Live – There are a number of new tools available for Facebook Live – the most important one is that users can now go Live from a computer. Pages can also specifically give Live access to administrators, creating a more robust admin management platform. Profiles that go live can now get stats on the performance of their streams (this is the first time we’ve seen analytics on profiles – interesting), comments can be “pinned” to the top to provide them with more prominence, live videos now have permalinks to pages and you can also crosspost a Live Stream to multiple pages. This shows Facebook’s commitment to Live and the importance for businesses to consider using the platform.
Facebook Announces Mid-Roll Ads – This is likely to be ANNOYING for users, but potentially lucrative for advertisers and content creators. Facebook is now allowing video publishers and advertisers the option to put ads in the middle of a video. This is similar to traditional TV where ads are displayed in the middle of content vs. at the beginning. It will be interesting to see what the viewability and completion rates are of these video ads and if they will cause users to stop videos part-way through. If you run Facebook video ads this may be worth testing.
More Facebook Features
Facebook Makes 84%of Ad Revenue from Mobile – If you run Facebook Ads you MUST have a mobile strategy if you want to reach most consumers. This means that mobile optimization (or ideally mobile first) should be a part of your mobile strategy.
Facebook Ads Job Posting for Pages – Going head-to-head with LinkedIn, Facebook now allows businesses to share job postings on their Page. Since people log into Facebook more often than LinkedIn, this could be a great opportunity to publicize job openings. We’ve noticed more and more job postings on Facebook (even prior to this feature) so it could be worth experimenting with.
Facebook Goes to Single Trending Topics – Trending topics on Facebook used to be customized – so each person would see trending topics most relevant to them. Now, Facebook will show everyone the same trending topics.
Facebook Messenger gets New Features – Facebook has been pushing Messenger for businesses for a while now and working to create bots and other tools to make Messenger the easiest place for customers to connect with businesses. As consumers become less inclined to use email or even SMS/Phones in favor of apps, this development shows that Facebook wants to capitalize on the trend. Pages can now respond to messages for a longer time period and also allow users to opt-in to subscription messages. Unfortunately subscription messages can’t be promotional but can include news, updates, and appointment information. If you are looking for an easier or more convenient way to connect with customers this may be it.
Instagram’s Web Footprint Surpasses Twitter – The online footprint of Instagram is officially bigger than Twitter! Over the past few years interest in Twitter, from both users and businesses. has been declining, and even with the regular political headlines in the US Twitter hasn’t seen growth. If you are prioritizing your social networks it may be time to rethink the importance of Instagram as it continues to grow.
SnapChat IPO – In case you missed it, SnapChat (now just called Snap) IPOed and is now a publicly traded company. This article from Ad Age gives you the top things that you need to know about the IPO and how it may impact your thinking about SnapChat.
SnapChat QR Codes Redirect to Any Website – SnapCodes (the SnapChat version of QR codes) can now redirect to any website. This means that you can create a scannable code that sends people to your site. Previously SnapCodes could only send you to SnapChat content.
LinkedIn Gets a new Look and Feel – LinkedIn has a completely new user interface, look, and feel. Take some time to look around! They’ve made a lot of (mostly good) changes to how content is displayed and organized. Also double check your profile to see how it looks in the new format.
Twitter Fails to Capitalize on Popularity – This isn’t an article (sorry – no link) but many people have pointed out that Twitter has failed to capitalize on their massive opportunity with publicity from the President of the United States (this is not a political post). Many thought that with all of the publicity surrounding Tweets from the President that Twitter would take off – but that hasn’t been the case. The social network continues to struggle to stay relevant.
Twitter Adds Periscope Live Video to the Top of Trends – Twitter has now added live video to the top of their trends. This shows the continued push and focus on live video – although with Facebook and YouTube both offering live video it remains to be seen if Persicope can really compete as a live streaming platform.
YouTube kills 30 Second Unskippable Ads – YouTube announced that they will remove 30 second unskippable ads from their toolbox, focusing instead on shorter ad units like 6 and 20 seconds. The goal of this is to provide an experience that works better for both advertisers and viewers – the 30 second spots were just too long when people are only viewing an average of 90 seconds of a video.
YouTube Rolls out Mobile Live Streaming + SuperChat – Mobile live streaming is now available for users with over 10K subscribers (and will launch for everyone else soon). This shows YouTube is serious about live streaming. They also announced SuperChat which creates a revenue stream for Live Streamers – people can pay for their messages to stand out or to pin them to the top of the chat thread.
Google Launches Data Studio – Google Search Console is a free tool (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools) that provides search and other relevant data on your website performance. The new Data Studio provides more information by allowing users to pull data in and see trends for information like impressions and more.
Google Reduces Star Ratings Threshold – Google reduced the number of reviews needed to display a star rating beside your local listing. Previously businesses needed many reviews (although they never said exactly how many) to have the star ratings display. Now a star rating can be displayed even with only 1 review. This means that 1 bad review could ruin how your business looks on Google. Do yourself a favor and if you have a local business get some reviews going.
Google Lets Users Share Lists of Places – Users can now create lists of local places and share them with their friends. This makes local listings more relevant as people can create and share lists of top restaurants, attractions, and more. Businesses could also create their own lists to drive local engagement and support other community businesses.
Search Metrics Releases Search Ranking Factors – Search Metrics released their correlation analysis showing the factors that lead to higher search results. This shouldn’t be a big surprise – it still comes down to the same big buckets – Links, Social, User Experience, Technical, User Signals, and Content.
There is No Universal Best Time to Post on Facebook – I’ve been ranting about this for a while, but now data from Buffer backs it up. There is no such thing as a single best time to post information on Facebook (or any social network). Do some work to figure out what is really best for your audience.
Pinterest Launches New Visual Discovery Tools – Pinterest has launched a few new discovery tools making it easier for people to find content on Pinterest. The new tools also make it easier for people to shop – if you are selling products online this could be an opportunity to make Pinterest even more effective for you.