Social Media News You Need to Know: January 2017 Roundup. This month, Twitter created a new Explore tab, Facebook updated the video algorithm, Instagram rolled out ads for Stories, and Snapchat launched the ability to create Snapcodes for any website. Facebook Mid-roll ads On January 9, Recode reported that Facebook plans to start testing mid-roll ads in video content. Photos and videos shared to Stories play in slideshow format and disappear after 24 hours. Facebook explains: “Longer videos that people don’t watch will not perform better in News Feed. Stories ads On January 9, Instagram announced ads in Stories. To go live, users simply have to swipe right from feed and choose Start Live Video from the format picker. This structure will now include ad groups. Sharing feature test Mid-January, The Financial Post reported that YouTube started a test for a new mobile sharing feature. Snap Inc. did not specify which brands were testing the features.
It’s the beginning of a brand new year and social is off to a roaring start with plenty of exciting updates.
This month, Twitter created a new Explore tab, Facebook updated the video algorithm, Instagram rolled out ads for Stories, and Snapchat launched the ability to create Snapcodes for any website.
It can take awhile to get back into the swing of things at the beginning of the year, but luckily, you don’t need to worry about missing something important. We’ve rounded up all the updates—big and small—from the major social platforms to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
Table of contents
On January 26, Twitter created a new Explore tab that combines trends, Moments, search, and the best of live video. The move is intended to make it easier for users to find out what’s happening on Twitter, whether it’s news, trending topics, or simply popular content.
Twitter explained: “Nothing is going away—we’re just making it easier to find what you want.” The new Explore tab has already rolled out on iOS and is coming to Android in the coming weeks.
On January 9, Recode reported that Facebook plans to start testing mid-roll ads in video content. The format would allow publishers to insert ads into video clips that are at least 90 seconds long. The mid-roll ads would play after people have watched for at least 20 seconds. Facebook itself will sell the ads and split the revenue with publishers, giving them 55 percent of sales. The social network declined to comment on the report.
Facebook Journalism project
On January 11, Facebook launched the Facebook Journalism Project, “a new effort to support quality journalism, improve news literacy, and provide reporters and editors with tools and training to help them better tell their stories.”
The program has three main initiatives:
1. Collaborative development of news products
- The creation of new storytelling formats (such as Live video, Instant Articles, and story packages)
- Initiatives to support local news
- Working on emerging business models, such as free trials
- Hosting collaborative hackathons with news organizations
- Holding regular meetings with media and publishing partners, hosting partners at Facebook’s F8 conference, and sponsoring journalism and publishing conferences.
2. Training and tools for journalists
- A series of e-learning courses about Facebook products, tools, and services aimed specifically at journalists
- Providing training for local newsrooms via collaborations with industry partners such as the Knight Foundation and the Institute for Journalism in New Media
- Open up CrowdTangle, “a tool to surface stories, measure their social performance, and identify influencers,” to partners
- Launching the ability for Page administrators to designate specific journalists as contributors, which would allow them to go live on behalf of the Page
- Working with the First Draft Partner Network, a coalition of platforms and publishers providing practical and ethical guidance on how to find, verify, and publish content sourced on the social web
3. Training and tools for everyone
- Promoting news literacy by working with third-party organizations to help provide people with the information they need to make decisions about which sources to trust
- Producing a series of public service ads (PSAs) to raise awareness about the issue of news literacy
- Making adjustments to the algorithm and the platform to better curb news hoaxes, including working with third-party fact-checking organizations
On January 25, TechCrunch reported that Facebook is testing its own version of Stories, nearly identical to Instagram’s new disappearing content feature and inspired by the popularity of Snapchat. The test is being conducted in Ireland on both iOS and Android. As on Instagram, Facebook Stories appear in circles at the top of a user’s feed. Photos and videos shared to Stories play in slideshow format and disappear after 24 hours.
Facebook explained to TechCrunch: “The way people share today is different to five or even two years ago—it’s much more visual, with more photos and videos than ever before. We want to make it fast and fun for people to share creative and expressive photos and videos with whoever they want, whenever they want.”
Messenger ads test
On January 25, Facebook launched a Messenger ads test. Currently available in Australia and Thailand, the test allows businesses the chance to place ads on the Messenger home screen, below recent conversations.
Facebook explained: “We believe this new test… reflects a lightweight, relevant, and useful approach to helping people and businesses connect on Messenger… We hope to learn a lot from this test, but we will take our time before considering further expansion to ensure that we deliver the very best experience to both advertisers and the 1 billion people who use Messenger every month.”
Trending feature updates
On January 25, Facebook announced three updates to their Trending feature:
- Trending topics will feature a publisher headline below each topic name—headlines will be selected based on engagement around the article, engagement around the publisher, and whether other articles are linking to it
- An improved system to determine what is trending—now topics will be evaluated based on whether they’re being covered by a number of publishers, rather than based on one article
- Everyone in the same region will see the same topics—rather than topics being personalized based on individual interests
The changes began rolling out on January…