This week Facebook hit one of its most notable milestones to date: the platform saw 1 billion users log into Facebook in a single day. That’s 1 in 7 people in the world. The world is becoming more and more connected, so it’s no surprise that the social media world is constantly evolving. Here are some key updates in social media this week.
Instagram Portrait & Landscape Images
The square format of photos has long been a part of the identity of Instagram, an instantly recognisable feature of an ‘Instagrammed’ post. Late last night, Instagram announced a very prominent change to this integral feature.
“The square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to,” stated Instagram in a blog post announcing the change.
Now, in addition to the classic square posts, you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape, simply by tapping a format icon to adjust the orientation.
Vertical video is widely supported by marketers, due to the fact that many reports claim that vertical videos have better engagement and watch time. However, many also snub this as overhyped, and believe that we will see many landscape ads in our feeds in coming weeks. Many brands have already begun experimenting and capitalising on this update. This news from Instagram continues to demonstrate Facebook’s focus on its overall visual and video strategy.
Google-owned YouTube has launched a dedicated service for online gamers, called YouTube Gaming, focussed exclusively on gaming content and live streams of gaming. This new service will be available globally as a website, and as an app in the UK and US. YouTube gaming was announced back in June, however it quietly launched this week. The service will be a portal including a directory of more than 25000 games, which will each have their own profile displaying related YouTube videos.
Games are one of the most popular and lucrative areas of YouTube, with the top 10 most popular games channels within the platform generating over 2.2bn monthly views. YouTube Gaming seems to be a direct attempt to compete with Twitch, a very similar service that it tried to buy last year, which was bought my competitor Amazon. With this service, YouTube aims to be a go-to all-encompassing gaming platform, allowing users to find on-demand video content and live broadcasts in the same place.
The gaming live stream service boasts improved moderation tools, allowing moderators to ban users, time-out users, ban filtered words and more.
Facebook Gif Support for Brands
In a recent blog post, we discussed Facebook’s announcement of GIF support, which was rolled out across standard pages, but brands were denied this update and the feature didn’t apply to business pages. This week, Facebook announced that they were indeed rolling this out across a select few brand pages. Before rolling this out across all pages, Facebook is testing the feature to judge whether it compliments, or detracts from, the end user’s NewsFeed experience.
Facebook already has auto-play videos, which are widely used by brands, so brands need to proceed carefully with this GIF support. If end users are constantly bombarded with moving pictures, they may switch off from a brand’s message and hide their posts. Overusing autoplay videos and now GIFs has very high potential of becoming an irritation to users. We wonder whether this will be the downfall of some brands who do not proceed with caution.