As the saying goes, April showers bring May…changes to social media. Here are the biggest updates from the past week in social:
1. Business features are coming to Instagram, with TechCrunch reporting that while Instagram earlier confirmed they’re building business profiles for brands, we now have a first look at what these business profiles look like. A new “Contact” button allows users to look up directions or email a business, and a new line for categories, to tell users more about the business. Other rumored features include post insights and the ability to buy ads from a mobile device. Keep an eye out for more news on this in the next few months!
2. A redesign of Instagram is looming as well, with reports of a minimalist black-and-white app interface in the wild, with a broad rollout expected soon.
— Engadget (@engadget) April 26, 2016
3. YouTube is rolling out 6-second bumper ads, claiming that snackable videos perform particularly well on smartphones. Google says the unskippable ads are the “little haikus” of video ads and that the short format ads work best when combined with a TrueView or Google Preferred campaign, and “lifting upper funnel metrics like recall, awareness and consideration.” See what Audi is doing with the bumper ads here and here (both of which are cut from their longer TrueView ad).
4. FB Messenger is testing disappearing messages, taking a page out of Snapchat’s book. Some users are being given the option of turning on “disappearing messages,” where new messages disappear after 15 minutes. Why? Perhaps it could appeal to the Snapchat crowd, but I think Snapchat has moved beyond this function by building out more features for users. I can’t think of a time I would ever use this…
5. Periscope launches sketching, improved viewer stats. In what’s shaping up to be the war over live streaming, Periscope has updated to keep pace with the now widely available Facebook Live, offering the ability to sketch on your stream (which is also reminiscent of Snapchat) and improved viewer stats, so those hosting streams can now see a better history of viewership for streams and easily see when their peak viewership occurred.
6. Instagram is adding video to carousel ads, in an effort to expand the options for advertising on Instagram. The platform is beta testing video carousels with Taco Bell, ASOS, Macy’s and Airbnb, to name a few, and the feature will be widely available in the next few weeks. Carousel ads have been available on Instagram for some time, but only with still images. This update will allow mixed media, both photos and video, for what should be an exciting new tool for storytelling on Instagram.