A round-up of this week’s social media updates.
As ever, it’s been another eventful week in the world of social media. Here’s a little taster of what the platforms have been getting up to.
Say Hello to Messenger 4
Facebook has rolled out a new, simplified version of Messenger: Messenger 4, inspired by a recent survey in which “7 out of 10 (71%)” told the platform that simplicity is the “top priority for them in a messaging app”.
The new version sees easier navigation, featuring only three tabs instead of the original nine, and new ways to personalise conversations with custom nicknames, emojis and chat colours.
Messenger 4 will be rolled out in phases, along with its upcoming new features, such as Dark Mode – a re-skinned interface that cuts down on glare from your phone.
Share and Connect with Music
Following the success of adding music to Instagram stories, Facebook is bringing the same feature to both Facebook stories and the Newsfeed. The feature will work in a similar way to Instagram’s version.
Lip Sync Live is another way for artists to connect with fans by allowing fans to sing along to their favourite songs. Facebook are beginning to add live lyrics, inspired by fan feedback.
Continuing with the trend, Facebook will be introducing the ability to add music to profiles, showcasing your favourites or what you’re listening to.
To Message, Not to Share
Facebook is beta testing removing the share button on the Newsfeed and replacing it with a message button, likely to further contribute to already low organic reach.
With privacy concerns arising from data scandals and Cambridge Analytica, this may be one of the first signs of a shift from public networks to private messaging such as Facebook’s very own Messenger app or Snapchat, arguably the platform that started the counter-movement.
With private messaging on the rise, this strategic move might even prompt more people to share and distribute content, albeit in a more private and less trackable forum. Watch this space for more information.
LinkedIn Algorithm change to boost Engagement
Following on from feedback from users, LinkedIn has changed their algorithm to redistribute the reach of top content creators to help spread content being created by smaller accounts.
Part of this change involves redistributing 8% of the feedback currently going to the top 0.1% of content creators to the bottom 98% of content creators.
Around 8% of the feedback being taken away from the top 0.1% of creators and redistributed to the bottom 98%.
As LinkedIn explained, ‘we were in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users’. To combat this, the algorithm when determining the reach looks at estimated utility of engagement from particular users.
Snapchat leads the way with teens
A report by Piper Jaffray looking at 8,600 teens averaging 16 years old across 58 US states, has concluded Snapchat is the most popular social platform amongst younger audiences
Facebook use has dramatically dropped from 60% usage at least once a month to only 36%, with core engagement rates across ages 14-18 all declining steadily from 2 years ago.
Instagram once-a-month usage climbs from 74% two years ago to around 85%, which has helped Instagram become the preferred choice by 50% of businesses to advertise products.
WhatsApp gets Stickers
WhatsApp will be adding stickers to its platform. At first, only stickers created internally will be available, however there are plans to allow anyone to add stickers in the future.
The move looks to be Facebook-driven, with both original WhatsApp founders quitting this year due to being uncomfortable over the direction towards monetisation and supposed ‘gimmicks’ the platform was taking.
Those who want to create stickers will need to publish packs as an app for users to download. WhatsApp says it has provided a template requiring little development or coding experience.
SoundCloud Partnership with Instagram
Instagram has announced a new official partnership with SoundCloud, allowing users to share songs on Instagram Stories. Content creators will have to go to the SoundCloud app where they will be able to share to Instagram Stories. Followers can then click the link on the story to be redirected to Soundcloud to listen to the song.
Snapchat introduces AR to desktop
Snapchat has introduced desktop software for Windows and Mac called the Snap Camera, enabling AR effects which can be used on YouTube, Google Hangouts, Skype etc.
Interestingly, the Snap Camera will exist as a standalone app, with users not being required to sign into their existing Snapchat account. According to the company, Twitch broadcasters will be given access to other features.
In doing this, Snapchat’s aim is to boost developer and creator engagement with AR lenses, as opposed to specifically trying to boost user growth.