There are hundreds of updates, new features, and beta tests every month on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other major social media platforms. We’ve identified the most important changes that are likely to affect you as a producer of content or a manager of communities on these platforms.
Highlights from February includes a focus on engagement from Facebook and Instagram, live video features from Twitter and LinkedIn, and a new set of rules for YouTube creators.
- Those with Instagram Business accounts can now respond to Instagram messages from their Facebook Page inbox.
- Facebook has added new features for groups, including updates to post formatting and subscription options.
- Facebook Messenger now allows you to delete messages after they’ve been sent, but only within the first 10 minutes.
- Facebook expands Watch Party beyond Groups, to now include Pages and Profiles. This update also includes new features, like Live Commentating, which allows picture-in-picture commentating on a public video.
- Facebook is giving users more details about who is targeting them with ads via their “Why Am I Seeing This?” feature.
- Pages can now apply video-first layout to their pages called “Video Template,” which features a spotlight video panel, places linked Facebook Show pages prominently, and includes other video-first features.
- Instagram has added an IGTV promo feature to the main feed, allowing publishers to include a one minute promo clip within the Instagram feed that links back to the full video.
- Instagram has new features for Stories including updates to the Questions Sticker and a new Countdown Sticker, in their effort to increase meaningful engagement among users.
- Instagram Stories users will no longer be able to see who viewed their story after 24 hours.
- Periscope rolled out a new feature that allows up to three guests to join a live-stream on camera.
- Twitter has opened a beta program to test new conversation features, including redesigned, color-coded threads; nested replies; and replies that hide retweet and like counts.
- YouTube has announced it will disable comments on most videos featuring minors. The announcement came as a response to reports of predatory behavior, specifically child predators leaving coded sexual comments on videos. Creators will be allowed to keep comments on only if they can demonstrate to YouTube that they can actively moderate their comments.
- YouTube has rolled out a warning system for publishers that violate its rules. Publishers will see a one-time warning for their first offense, but additional strikes against the rules come with harsher penalties.
- LinkedIn debuts live video streaming to the platform. Launching in beta (invite-only for now) in the US before going worldwide, users can live-stream to a specific group or on their LinkedIn Page.
- LinkedIn rolled out updates to its recruiter platform, incorporating AI to improve recruitment matches.
- Facebook is expanding its “budget optimization” feature to include all campaigns. The platform will automatically funnel funds to the most cost effective audience within any ad campaign.
- Facebook introduced targeting based on “household income by zip code.”
- Facebook Watch is expanding their advertising program, offering new features to advertisers in a big to take on TV marketing.
- Facebook will now add information about who uploaded your phone or email address used for targeting in an ad.
- Reddit added new performance metrics for advertisers, including an improved conversion pixel and “App Installs” as a campaign objective.
- Twitter has released a new podcast, Character Count, that talks with the teams behind successful Twitter ads in each episode.
- Snapchat upgraded its “Explore” education courses with a new range of tools and insights for marketers and advertisers.
Rumors and Tests
- During an earnings call, Facebook outlined several areas of product development focus for the year, including a private sharing function for Stories, encryptions, and AR improvements.
- Instagram is testing an option to create public “Collections” to which multiple users can contribute. This will pit Instagram directly against Pinterest, whose shared boards are the major currency of the platform.
- Facebook bought an AI start up to improve its shopping features.
- Instagram is developing a new feature that allows a user to link multiple accounts to a single login.
- Instagram is testing a donation sticker, as part of a slew of features Facebook has tested for non-profits in the past year.
- Instagram is rumored to be close to launching a new “Quiz Sticker,” giving users multiple answer options to increase engagement.
- Twitter is testing updates to its camera feature, changing up the options for users creating and sharing photos and videos.
- According to @Jack, Twitter is considering the possibilities around editable tweets, with one option still showing the original tweet.
- Snapchat’s new Android app will roll out by the end of this year, according to CEO Evan Spiegel.