The evidence is apparent — social media is constantly changing. The brains behind these platforms are always testing out new features, algorithms, and ideas to make their platform more attractive to respective users. There have been a lot of noteworthy updates on social media platforms this year and we at iFocus are recapping the whirlwind that happened this past year to help you keep track of it all.
Even after the writing of this blog, there’s a good chance that plenty of new updates will occur within the month, and even the rest of the week.
Let’s take a look at the updates that have been on our radar in 2019.
Transparent custom ads – This year Zuckerberg and Co. wanted consumers to better understand targeted ads on Facebook and where they come from. The question of, “Why am I seeing this ad?” has been answered with more information being disclosed to consumers, such as the name of the business that uploaded the user’s information to facebook, potential involvement from agencies, affiliated Facebook Marketing Partners, and any other sharing of custom audiences that may have taken place.
Another great feature of this update is being able to see all active ads a page is running in the new Ad Library. This can give you the upper hand in viewing what your competitors are posting in terms of Facebook advertising.
Restricted targeting ads – In order to combat discrimination on Facebook, restricted targeting options have been made available for some companies. Housing, employment, and credit-related ads can no longer be targeted by age, race, or gender. Facebook said these changes came as a result of settlement agreements with civil rights organizations and will help protect the platform’s users from discrimination.
Changes in the News Feed algorithm – Facebook made it a goal this year to make individual News Feeds feel more like a “living room.” The News Feed algorithm attempts to take people’s close friends into account by discerning things like how much they have in common with a particular person and how people interact with one another. This, in theory, helps determine whose posts an individual is most interested in.
Other factors taken into consideration are being tagged in other people’s photos, recurring interactions with certain people, commenting on the same posts as other users, and checking in at the same places as other people, etc. This feedback you provide Facebook helps the algorithm better predict which friends you want to hear from the most.
Video algorithm update – Four factors have altered the way videos are ranked on personal News Feeds:
- Loyalty and intent: videos that people seek out and return to are prioritized.
- Video viewing duration: videos that capture the user’s attention for at least one minute are prioritized.
- Originality: unoriginal and repurposed content will be limited, as well as the content of the pages involved in the sharing schemes.
- Video length: videos three minutes or more are preferred by users.
New tools for small businesses – Facebook wanted to give small businesses more tools on their platform to succeed this year. We at iFocus know a little something about small businesses and were excited to see this update. A lot of the focus for these updates was on management and promotions of small business pages. Click here to learn more about what the update provides for your small business’ Facebook page.
Automated ads – Got a lot on your plate for your business’ marketing efforts? Automated ads allow your team to create a marketing plan for your business while saving you time. The only thing you have to do on your end is answer a few questions about your business goals, and the tool will generate up to six different versions of your ad, provide composed audience suggestions, recommend a budget, and send you to prompt notifications about your ad.
Appointments management – This new feature lets customers book a business’ services through Facebook and Instagram. It also allows you to send appointment reminders, customize your business menu of services, display availability, and manage appointments from your business page. All your appointments can correspond with your calendar or other appointment management tool. So helpful with busy schedules!
A new way to manage notifications – With a booming business, it can be difficult to filter through all the notifications coming your way. You now have the option to clear and mute all push notifications and also choose whether you would like to see notification dots, and if so, for which categories.
Facebook cryptocurrency – This is news we never expected from Facebook. In June, Facebook announced Calibra as a new subsidiary for financial services, along with its first project, project Libra cryptocurrency, along with the digital wallet. The Facebook team said this update aimed to enable money transfers for “almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as a text message and at low to no cost.”
The team wants to make sure you know that Calibra is a separate entity from Facebook, meaning that Facebook won’t have access to the financial data you use on Libra. While we’re not sure how far this new program will go, we still wish they decided to call it “Zuckerbucks.”
New desktop layout – Earlier this year, Twitter decided to roll out a new desktop design to its users. With it came more customization options and overall has a different platform layout than it used to. The most noticeable change is that the top navigation bar has been moved to the left sidebar. With this update came bookmarks, lists, updated profiles, and a new “Explore” tab.
Direct messages have also undergone a significant change. They now show conversations and sent messages in the same window. You can also get more options for themes and color schemes on the desktop format.
Follower limit – Twitter is continuing its mission to rid itself of spammers. They have decided to limit the number of accounts a user is allowed to follow from 1,000 to 400 a day. This will probably lead to no major backlash unless you truly are a spammer.
Brands can promote sponsored posts from influencers – For all those who use influencers as a part of their marketing plan, you can now turn a sponsored post of your influencer into an ad. The notation with it will state, “Paid partnership with [insert influencer name].” This will allow your brand to set ad targeting for the posts from influencers you may be partnering with. If you’re interested in learning more about setting this feature up, click here.
In-app checkout for e-commerce brands – We think this update is going to be huge for brands that use a lot of e-commerce marketing for their products. Instagram rolled out an in-app checkout feature for a limited number of brands, making it possible for users to purchase products without leaving the Instagram app. Talk about convenience!
Lookalike audiences on ad targeting – Targeting capabilities for ads was the main focus of LinkedIn ad updates this year. The platform now combines your specific criteria of a customer persona with the data from LinkedIn to find your target audience. The update finds people that are similar to the ones that have previously shown interest in your brand (i.e. if they’ve visited your business’ website before.
Interest targeting – At the start of the year, interest targeting was introduced by LinkedIn. More recently, Bing was integrated within this update. The platform can now target users based on a mix of your audience’s professional interests on LinkedIn and the various topics and content your audience engages with through Microsoft’s Bing search engine, but in a way that respects the privacy of members.
Audience templates – The new audience templates provide any user with the choice of over 20 predefined B2B audiences. These options include audience characteristics such as member skills, job titles, group affiliations, and more. This is a particularly helpful feature for beginning marketing efforts.
New post reactions – Probably the most exciting and notable update for LinkedIn was the new post reactions, which helped bring more personality to the platform. These reactions are meant to bring higher engagement on LinkedIn, as well as help users better understand peer feedback on things they post.
Algorithm update – An emphasis was made in posts that trigger constructive dialogue rather than out-of-control sharing. The algorithm update also prioritizes people you know and the topics you care most about.
Are You Ready for Social Media in 2020?
Do you see a lot of benefits in these updates that could be integrated into your social media marketing plans? Not sure where to start? iFocus Marketing is here to give you a hand!
Get in touch with us today. Our team of digital marketing experts will plan a strategy unique to your business to keep you up-to-date in this fast-moving, technological world we live in.