In social media this week WhatsApp revamps status updates, YouTube changes unskippable ads, Twitter enhances Direct Messages, Pinterest rolls out promoted Pins and Snapchat Spectacles return.
When WhatsApp first came to our mobile phones, status was a simple choice from a few options and that was it. On February 24th, to coincide with their 8th birthday, WhatsApp are rolling out an update to your status options “which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp”. No other information has been provided so we will have to wait until the 24th to find out more.
It has been reported this week that YouTube’s 30 second unskippable adverts will end in 2018. The change doesn’t mean that adverts will disappear as adverts upto 30 seconds will still be able to be made unskippable. The six seconds “bumper ad” format introduced in April 2016 will also remain. This is great news for users but maybe not so good news for marketers and advertisers who are used to using the full 30 seconds to communicate to their potential customers. There is an argument, however, that if the longer unskippable adverts irritate a viewer then they aren’t effective anyway and that a shorter, more user/viewer-friendly approach could help. It could also be seen as a response to Facebook’s increasing video capability and offering and a response to YouTube needing to stay competitive to advertisers and more attractive to users and viewers.
Direct Messages in Twitter have been given custom profiles so that customers can feel that they are having a conversation with a human rather than a bot. Launched first with T-Mobile, Direct Messages have been made more personal as the profiles show the real face, name and title of the agent they are messaging. Custom profiles also show customers when they are speaking to a human or a bot so they now what types of responses they can expect. Custom profiles are currently only in beta for Direct Message APIs but you can express an interest if you want to be able to have access. This is another indicator that Twitter is continuing to develop the platform as an effective customer service tool but it could be a while before the option is available to everyone.
Promoted Pins have been available for some time in the USA and Canada and in the UK since April 2016. Pinterest have announced that they are continuing their rollout and Promoted Pins are now also available in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
If you missed out on the limited stock of Snapchat’s Spectacles launched at the end of last year you will be pleased to know that they are now available to order in the US from www.spectacles.com. There is still a 2-4 week wait for delivery but for $129.99 you could be making 10 seconds Snaps from your perspective and wirelessly adding them to your Memories on Snapchat.