Whilst we continue to worship at the alter of Facebook, a number of the other social media platforms have been slowly toiling away, making changes, upgrades and trying to diversify in order to offer something different to the behemoth of the blue-F monster. Whether it’s adding in new tech, new targeting opportunities or simply something wonderfully strange, they continue to encourage us to look beyond the safe option, and trial something that’s truly innovative, even during these troubled times.

Below are some of these key updates that you should be aware of from the world of social media:

Snapchat

We’ll start with Snapchat, a platform that’s very much still in the game despite what certain articles have said. In their recent annual Partner Summit, there were a host of intriguing and downright bizarre updates being initiated in the coming month. For starters there’s Snapchat Minis, the apparent highlight of the event, which are mini-apps within Snapchat created by 3rd-party developers offering users a range of tools to organise your social life. That could be from buying movie tickets, organising which performers you want to see at festivals, or helping your friends revise for a test with flashcards. It’s all about improving the social ecosystem within the app.

Image source: Snapchat

Another cool feature to note was the new Voice Scan/Search functionality, which essentially allows users to interact with a Snapchat Lens by voice recognition, asking Snapchat to change their hair pink, give them a hug etc. and the platform will find a corresponding Lens that will help facilitate this functionality.

Image source: Mashable

Among other highlights from the event were the inclusion of a Snap Action Bar, which is essentially a navigation bar to allow easier access to Snapchat’s features such as finding a particular business in the SnapMap, find 1st party Snap Originals TV shows, or to find user profiles. There’s also Local Lenses, which offer users a full 360* overlay representation of their surroundings and allow you and your friends to virtually paint the buildings around you together. One for Gen Z for sure!

A couple of slightly more bizarre additions being PlantSnap and DogScanner, both of which are apps integrated into Snapchat and allow users to scan either a plant or a dog, and Snapchat will be able to identify the species/type of tree. Not necessarily a huge commercial benefit but a bit of fun.

TikTok

TikTok, the new kid on the social block that has seen a real surge over the past year, and in particular since the lockdown with people, in particular teenagers, suddenly having a lot more time on their hands. With over 17m unique monthly users in the UK alone, it’s already surpassed other platforms such as Twitter and Snapchat. On top of this their users are very loyal to the platform by not deviating to others, with 43% not having an Instagram account and 45% not having a Facebook account.

The good news for us as advertisers is that quite recently the platform opened up its biddable capabilities to businesses, allowing agencies to setup and run ad campaigns directly instead of having to go through a rep. Similar to Facebook’s business manager, agencies will be able to bid on audiences, utilise a number of ad formats and report on performance. It means we’re able to use their full suite of ad formats from your standard In-Feed video ads, to the more engaging Branded Effects (similar to a Snapchat Lens), all the way up to a full-on takeover with TopView:

   
Image source: Tik Tok

 

Within their roadmap for the next year they are looking to expand their targeting opportunities around a number of interest categories, as well as improvements for the user experience such as Shoppable ads and Holiday Brand Effects. This is one social platform you definitely don’t want to take your eyes off.

LinkedIn

Since the takeover by Microsoft back in 2016, LinkedIn has slowly but steadily begun to expand its opportunities to advertisers. Previously the platform was only to be used if you’re looking to run B2B marketing to sell marker pens in bulk, or if you need to reach someone high enough up in a company who would be able to afford a holiday in the Maldives. Now the tide is turning. We’re starting to see the platform introduce ad formats such as native video ads and carousels, on top of the more generic Message Ads and right-hand column ads.

Recently the company has looked to further improve its offering to the more casual user, with the introduction of Stories. Anyone who has used Facebook or Instagram will be familiar with concept. Essentially, it’s a full screen mobile experience, usually made with video content, that is highly engaging and allows users to swipe to the site. It’s a great way to get your message and CTA across to users in a short, sharp and effective way, and it’s certainly been a winner for those other platforms.

Another new feature LinkedIn is looking to roll out in the coming months is the conversation format. It will be an expansion on their current Message Ads, sitting as a message in the user’s inbox, and once the user opens it, it becomes similar to a message bot, allowing the user to follow a designed path, whether that be signing up for a demo through a Lead gen form, viewing case studies or going directly to the site. For our property clients in particular, user data is massively valuable to re-engagement and conversion purposes and tying that in with a more professional social platform could help improve those qualified lead volumes.

     

Images source: Marketing Land

 

In regard to our other main social media platforms Twitter and Pinterest, there haven’t been as many updates or innovations recently from either of the two, apart from Pinterest’s recent introduction of commerce opportunities for businesses. Similar to what we see on Instagram where certain products are highlighted within the ads and users can then be driven to site to purchase.

The takeaway here is that whilst we continue to utilise Facebook/Instagram as our primary source of social advertising, the other platforms are busy trying to innovate and offer something unique and different, or just stealing ideas and rebranding as their own. We should continue to test and trial these platforms and their new opportunities more, especially as emerging platforms start to be adopted by younger audiences who are not even on Facebook. We must stay informed in order to keep our marketing schedules relevant and innovative and keep our clients aware of potential strategic prospects these other platforms can give us.

If you’d like to discuss your social media strategies, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Matt Woodman, Paid Social Manager