In this social media news roundup, we cover the most significant social media updates and changes for marketers in 2019 (so far) from gazillion Facebook updates (to save face) through Twitter’s superiority complex to the birdy sharing user data with ad partners without user consent.
“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.” – Paul Gillin
In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent social media news:
- Facebook made a lot of changes to its platform to save its reputation and avoid bazillions in fines
- Instagram introducing useful changes to e-commerce brands and influencers
- Twitter’s minor tweaks
- LinkedIn’s improvements on ad targeting
- Pinterest’s new features for sellers
Let’s dig in.
Social Media News This Year
There’s been a lot of changes in social media in 2019, with more rolling out all the time.
We’re only half-way through 2019, but as you’ll see, there’s been enough changes to make you think about reinventing your social media marketing strategy.
Google+ disappeared as of April 2019. All pages and profiles have been deleted. We are sure most of you already knew this but it is not something that we could’ve left out of the list. Google said they decided to shut down the network “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets customers’ expectations.”
However, simply because Google doesn’t have a successful history when it comes to creating social networks, it doesn’t seem like they are discouraged. We heard they plan to launch a new one – Shoelace.
Through scandals, scandals and… well, more scandals, it seems like Facebook is making a lot of changes to the way the network works. So, let’s go through some of the most significant updates.
- Custom Ads became more transparent. In the spirit of transparency, the company decided to let users know more about why they are targeted by a specific Facebook Ad.
- Targeting for certain ads is restricted. To fight discrimination, the company has restricted targeting options for some companies. Housing, employment and credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, race or gender.
- Changes in the News Feed algorithm. Aside from Zuckerberg’s goal to make Facebook transparent (but not too transparent), there’s also another: to make the platform like a ‘living room’. Hence why the 2019 algorithm update is prioritising close friends.
- Video algorithm update. Since the beginning of May, three factors impact video ranking: loyalty and intent, video viewing duration, originality and length.
- New tools for small businesses. In May, the company introduced new tools meant to simplify the management and promotion of small businesses.
Instagram’s popularity is growing by the minute. With more and more businesses participating and promoting their products and/or services on the platform, it was inevitable that the company would make some changes. Especially since the number of users that tap on product tags every month has grown from 90 million in September 2018 to 130 million in March 2019. Here are some of the changes that grabbed our attention:
- In-app checkout for e-commerce brands. This feature allows users to make purchases without leaving the app.
- Brands can promote sponsored posts from influencers. Instagram advertisers and brands can create ads using organic posts from the influencers they have relationships with. Basically, when you see this notation “Paid partnership with XXX” it means an organic post has been converted. This allows brands to set ad targeting for the post of that influencer.
Are Twitter users the most content? Seemingly so as Twitter has made the least obvious tweaks during 2019. Here are a few worth mentioning:
- A new desktop design. It has more customisation options and is, in general, very different from what it used to be. The biggest change comes in the form of the top navigation bar which has been moved to the left.
- Limitation to daily follows. In its quest against spammers, Twitter has limited the number of accounts a user can follow per day from 1,000 to 400. The company is certain users will be ‘just fine’ with this change. And in truth, unless spamming is your best marketing method, we believe you’ll be alright, too.
And before you actually believe in the supposed perfection of Twitter, here is something very interesting, and highly worrying, we learnt:
Twitter may have /accidentally/ shared data on users to ads partners even for those who opted out from personalised ads. That would be a violation of user settings and expectations, which #GDPR makes a quasi-contract. https://t.co/s0acfllEhG
— Lukasz Olejnik (@lukOlejnik) August 7, 2019
By the looks of it, Twitter seems to have shared user data with ad partners without user consent. GDPR anyone? Going once. Going twice. Penalty.
If are interested in more info about the company fessing up to more adtech leaks, take a look at this article from our awesome friends at TechCrunch.
The professional social network decided to improve ad targeting and give its ads a fresh new look. So in 2019, the company released a number of important updates:
- Lookalike audience. It combines your image of a customer persona with the data from LinkedIn to find your target audience. It finds people that are similar to those who have already shown interest in your brand.
- Interest targeting. This was introduced in January and it was later updated to include Bing integration. Currently, the social network targets users based on “a combination of your audience’s professional topics and content your audience engages with through Microsoft’s Bing search engine, in a way that respects member privacy”.
- Algorithm update. As of this year, LinkedIn emphasised posts that trigger constructive dialogues rather than crazy sharing. The algorithm also prioritises people you know (seems very similar to Facebook’s one) and topics you care about.
Pinterest might be – probably – the tamest social media platform out there. You don’t hear about data leaks, political scandals or Trump’s Pinterest tweets because they don’t exist. Still, for many businesses, Pinterest is the platform where a significant amount of customers are coming from. So, the company decided to improve customer experience. Here are the new features added to help the sellers reach and convert more customers:
- Shop a brand. Beneath Product pins, users can view a new section with more products from that specific brand.
- Personalised shopping recommendations
- Catalogs. Brands can upload their whole catalog to Pinterest and turn their products into shoppable Pins.
And there you have it, the most significant social media news, updates and changes of 2019 so far. Make sure you’ll adjust your marketing strategy accordingly and benefit from some (if not all) of them.
Do you have any suggestions or ideas what social media news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.
In the meantime, you can take a look at our email marketing blog for useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, search engine news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.