This week’s updates feature mostly on Facebook, who have been busy updating their functionality to create a better all-round experience for users. We also have a small but exciting and long-awaited update from Instagram which makes the visual marketing platform current and up-to-date.
Facebook icons get a facelift
This week, you may have noticed a slight tweak to the ‘Friends’ and ‘Groups’ icons on the Facebook mobile app.
This change arises following recent criticisms regarding the suggested inequality between the male and female silhouettes in said icons. Where previously in the ‘Friends’ icon the female figure appeared to be smaller and positioned behind the male figure, now the icon has been redesigned to position the two side-by-side. What is more, the female silhouette had been criticised for being poorly designed in comparison to the male, as such as been redesigned with a little more detail.
In addition to this, the ‘Groups’ icon has also seen a change. This icon displayed two male figures and one female, with a male figure in the foreground and a male and female in the background. This was criticised for not only displaying two males and one female, but also placing the female in the background and depicting two identical male icons. This week, however, this has been redesigned with the updated female icon being placed in the foreground, and the two different male icons in the background.
Facebook News Feed Preferences
In a recent Weekly RoundUp blog, we discussed a News Feed update that enabled users to begin prioritising who they see first in the News Feed. Now, however, Facebook has unveiled a new series of tools that expand on this feature, which enables users to have more control over what they see within the platform.
First up, as discussed previously, Facebook is enabling users to select up to 30 accounts – friends and Pages – to ‘see first’ in the News Feed. To set a friend or Page as one of these priority accounts, you need to go to News Feed Preferences and select their profile picture, which will tag their icon with a star.
Next, Find new Pages to connect to. Within the News Feed Preferences, you now also have the option to discover new Pages based on Pages you have liked in the past. In the Newsroom blog, Facebook stated that this feature is designed to ‘help you connect with publishers, artists and businesses you might be interested in […] in order to get more out of the stories you care about.’
Two final new features of the News Feed Preferences give you the option to select which friends to unfollow, and helps you to reconnect with people you have unfollowed. This section will display a list of the top people, Pages and groups that have been displayed in your News Feed over the past week, offering the option to unfollow any of them. What is more, it will also let you see who you have unfollowed in the past and enable you to re-follow them.
With the rapid growth of visual marketing in recent years, it comes as no surprise that Facebook has been slowly improving the video functions within the platform. The latest of these updates involves videos within the News Feed.
Where before, if a video caught your eye, but you still wanted to continue scrolling the newsfeed, you would have to make a note of the video and go back to it, and probably never end up doing so – bad news for social marketers out there! The detachable, floating video poses a solution to this. At the bottom of videos within your News Feed you will now see a new icon which, when clicked, opens the video in a sort of pop-out, which will continue to play as you carry on scrolling through your News Feed.
Unfortunately, at the moment, the detachable, floating video will only continue to play whilst you are in the News Feed. If you navigate away to a profile or Page, it will disappear. We are hopeful that this will increase the visibility of videos within the platform, which can only be good news for social media marketers.
Instagram photos get bigger and better
In a much-awaited update, Instagram has announced that it will be upgrading the resolution that it stores pictures within the app from 640 x 640 pixels to 1080 x 1080. This update will be gradually rolling out across the iOS and Android mobile apps, but Instagram has no plans to roll this out to the web version.
Despite the may benefits of this; sharper and cleaner images and improved ability to print images from Instagram; many users had doubts about this change, as they were concerned that this would cause their data usage to soar. However, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger took to Twitter to dispell these doubts, stating that the platform had worked hard to ensure that, whilst the image resolution would be higher, the increase in file size would be minimal so as to not effect data usage.
What are your thoughts on these or any other updates this week? Let us know in the comments below, or why not tweet us @SocialBuk