In social media this week Facebook improves Instant Articles, Instagram reaches another milestone, Twitter introduces Engage and Twitter and Vine change video.
Facebook have introduced some improvements to Instant Articles particularly for the use of branded content. If a publisher identifies a third party product brand or sponsor, Facebook will pull the logo from their Facebook page and insert it next to the byline. This new feature will be available from the end of June.
Also in the coming weeks, Facebook are updating the Article Style Editor to support new colouring, text and spacing features and also to include a real time preview tool so that publishers can see edits as they make them. Instant Articles are a really powerful way to reach your audience and more companies are starting to use them. Facebook themselves admit, however, that heavily branded content receives lower engagement so the changes should be subtle rather than obvious.
With the announcement this week that they have reached 500 million users, Instagram have confirmed their place as one of the leaders in social media. With 300 million using Instagram every day it also remains one of the most interactive. Surprisingly, Instagram have also reported that 80% of Instagrammers are living outside the US.
A new companion app has been launched by Twitter. Engage shows users their most important follows and @mentions from influencers and most loyal fans. In effect, it removes the general Twitter chatter so that users with a particularly high number of followers or followings can monitor the accounts that are most important to them.
The new app also offers a more streamlined way of seeing your Twitter stats and allows you to track post-by-post performance. Engage has received great feedback so far but unfortunately it isn’t currently available on Android or outside the US. A general release date hasn’t been announced.
A common theme across social media platforms is the importance of video and as part of the same announcement, Twitter reported a 50% increase in the number of video Tweets since the start of 2016.
Rolling out now, Twitter have increased the length of video from 30 seconds to 140 seconds (up to 10 minutes for select publishers) allowing users to get more creative in crafting videos for their audience. Videos will also be easier to explore. Tap on the video and it will take you to a full screen view with suggested video and Vine Tweets at the bottom.
In an announcement released at the same time as Twitter, Vine also announced that they were increasing their standard 6 second length. As an experiment, the platform is allowing longer video to go #beyondthevine. A small group of creators will be experimenting with the longer length.
Vine have confirmed that they are staying true to their 6 second videos but that they can now be used as a trailer to point directly to a longer video (look out for the “Watch More” button). The 6 second limitation on Vine inevitably means that users are directed to other places to see longer videos.
This could be a step to keep customers within the platform, making Vine more commercial, and Vine confirm that they are also “exploring monetization opportunities for creators”. The longer video option is in beta and Vine are inviting creators or publishers to apply to be part of the experiment.