Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 136)

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 136)

This week’s 5 most important social media changes

What’s changed in the last seven days? What does it mean?

Embarrassing messages can now be unsent on Snapchat, shopping tags can be added straight into Instagram Stories, and we get a sneak peek at what 3D posts will look like on Facebook.

Let’s take a look at these changes in more detail.

Facebook experiments with A/B testing

Reports have it that Facebook is experimenting with a new A/B testing option for page posts. While there isn’t a lot of detailed information at this stage, the function could help pages make more educated and strategic decisions about the kind of content that they post.

Read all about it here.

Messages can now be unsent on Snapchat

Following in Instagram’s footsteps, Snapchat has become the latest platform to allow its users to unsend their messages. The ‘Clear Chats’ feature is rolling out globally in the coming weeks and will work with text, images, memories, stickers, or audio messages in both one-on-one and group chats.

Read more here.

Instagram adds shopping tags to Stories

Shoppable tags were expanded to all business accounts on Instagram earlier this year and it has been a hit. Starting this week, users will be able to add a shoppable tag to their Stories in the form of a shopping bag sticker. Stories have proven hugely popular since they were introduced so this is not a surprising move for them to make.

Find more details here.

LinkedIn launches carousel ads

LinkedIn is stepping up their advertising efforts. The platform introduced the ability to create video ads earlier this year, now they’ve introduced carousel ads not dissimilar to the ones you see on Facebook. Carousel ads have been well received by Facebook users so it will be interesting to see how they perform on LinkedIn.

Find out more here.

3D posts are coming to Facebook

First mentioned at Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference earlier this year, 3D posts are part of Facebook’s investment in VR. Thanks to a post by TechCrunch, we’re now getting the first look into how the feature will work and what it will look like in feed.

Check it out here.

Follow us on Twitter for news of these social media and content marketing changes as they happen.

Social Media Algorithms: How Facebook decides what content you see

Social Media Algorithms: How Facebook decides what content you see

Our news feeds are a mix of posts from family, friends, our favourite sports teams, retailers, restaurants and news providers. What we see, however, is only a small selection of what our networks actually publish. So how do social media platforms prioritise the stories we see every day?

In a fortnightly series, we’ll be looking into the algorithms used by social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to determine what we read, watch and listen to. In part one of this series, we’ll look at Facebook’s Machine Learning Algorithm (MLA) and the factors it uses to filter information and serve us content.

In one day, a person has approximately 2000 possible news stories that could appear in their Facebook news feed, of which approximately only 200 will be seen. Facebook currently uses a Machine Learning Algorithm (MLA) which considers over 200 factors to decide which of these 2000 possibilities should be seen by users.

In one day, a person has approximately 2000 possible news stories that could appear in their Facebook news feed, of which approximately only 200 will be seen Click To Tweet

Post scores

Facebook’s algorithm works to determine an overall score for each post. Posts are ranked according to their overall score before being shown in user’s news feed. The higher the score a post, video or image receives, the more likely it will appear in your news feed.

So how does Facebook analyse and score every post to determine what users should see?

MLA considers a range of factors that have been learned through user’s previous actions to determine an outcome. These include how users use the platform (what type of posts they interact with, who they commonly interact with and why they use the platform) and information from websites/apps that use Facebook’s analytics tool to determine the posts users would be most interested in. The algorithm begins to learn users’ habits, interests, values and other traits for a more concise and reliable prediction of what users want to see.

To ensure your experience is ‘meaningful’. Facebook’s MLA will rank posts published by friends and family higher than those that are sponsored and irrelevant.

To avoid irrelevant posts, the MLA has been altered to avoid showing ‘engagement bait’ posts. Any post which encourages users to vote, react, share, tag and/or comment on the post will receive a lower ranking score.

Post ranking

When ranking posts, the algorithm considers four main components; inventory, signals, predictions and overall score.

The inventory refers to the thousands of possible posts that Facebook could display in users’ news feeds at any given moment; however, not all of these will be relevant or significant to particular users. ‘Signals’ must be in place to refine this inventory into a ranking of the most important posts for each individual.

Facebook’s algorithm defines ‘signals’ as factors that influence the overall significance score. These ‘signals’ can be influenced by developers internally coding parts of the algorithm and the algorithm’s own ability to learn a user’s habits and interests over time.

To further define the ‘signals’ that Facebook’s MLA focuses on, the ‘Facebook Journalism Project’ webinar earlier this year outlined four key ranking signals. The four signals below have been designed to prioritise posts which will be ‘meaningful’:

• Interaction with a person’s photo or status through comments and likes.
• Engagement with a publisher’s post which has been shared by a friend.
• The average amount of time spent on the creation of content.
• Links being shared between friends over messenger.

Informed predictions are then made by the algorithm to decide on which posts users will find interesting by ranking the overall scores.

However, in the words of Facebook’s Director of Analytics, Dan Zigmond, “the algorithm is never done.”

Stay tuned for our Instagram algorithm article!

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 131)

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 131)

This week’s 5 most important social media changes

What’s changed in the last seven days? What does it mean?

Influence measurement veteran Klout are closing their doors, Facebook and Instagram have had some updates and Twitter could give other messaging apps a run for their money.

Let’s take a look at these changes in more detail.

Emoji sliders are the new way to poll your friends on Instagram

Tired of seeing those Yes/No buttons all over people’s stories? Don’t worry, there’s now a new way for your friends to poll you with an emoji sliding scale so now you can ask your friends ‘how much instead of just what’.

Everything you need to know here.

Influence measurement platform Klout is shutting down

Klout was among one of the first influence measurement platforms. Your Klout score told others just how influential you really were. But the platform has sadly announced that they will be shutting down as of May 25.

Find out more here.

Instagram adds new business management options

Until now, messages sent to business pages were treated the same as personal pages – if you send a message to a page that doesn’t follow you, the business doesn’t get an alert. Now, all messages will be redirected to the main inbox and you’ll be able to star and filter messages so you can follow up at a later time.

Read more here.

Facebook adds new tools for Live videos

Three new tools have been announced to help publishers ‘maximise their use of Facebook live’. Persistent stream keys, crossposting and live rewind will make it easier for publishers to go live on Facebook. The features aim to simplify the broadcasting experience, help publishers grow their audience and give viewers more flexibility while watching live videos.

All the details can be found on Facebook’s blog.

Twitter launches encrypted messages feature

Twitter is introducing a new encrypted messages feature in their Android app. This feature could increase the use of the message function between users because it employs the same security as messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Find all the details here.

Follow us on Twitter for news of these social media and content marketing changes as they happen.

F8: Facebook Developer’s Conference – What You Need to Know

F8: Facebook Developer’s Conference – What You Need to Know

The next 12 months promise big changes for the Facebook Inc. family. F8, the two-day conference run by Facebook, saw a range of announcements relating to new Facebook privacy measures, Oculus Go and new features to each mobile app.

Below is your complete guide to all the new features that are scheduled to be rolled out.

Facebook's developer's conference promises big changes for the Facebook Inc. family. Click To Tweet

Facebook

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the forefront of people’s minds, user privacy was bound to be a subject that everyone wanted an update on. Mark Zuckerberg reassured the public that Facebook is “mak[ing] sure that this never happens again.”

Clear History

Users will have more control over the information being collected. Users will soon be able to clear their Facebook history. This feature will allow users to see the information that has been collected by Facebook from websites and apps and delete the data. Users will also be able to disable browsing history collection all together.

Dating

Facebook is entering the dating scene by introducing a dating feature, designed for creating “real long-term relationships.” Profiles will not be visible to any of the people on your friend’s list.

People using the dating app will browse groups and events which Facebook believe relate to your specific interests. People who ‘unlock’ the same interests will be allowed to interact with each other and start a conversation.

Zuckerberg stressed that the feature has been designed “with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.”

3D Images

Images are also getting a facelift. 3D images will be enabled on the platform without the need for a specialised camera. Images take on a 3D feel by being able to shift slightly. The effect will also be able to be applied to past photos and memories.

Watch Party

Another new feature to appear in people’s timelines will be ‘Watch party’. The feature allows members of a group to watch and comment on videos simultaneously. The point is to create a shared viewing experience… a bit like you’d have in your own living room. The teaser demonstration showed that users are able to have a constant chatting stream, react to comments and invite other friends to join while the video is playing.

3D images, dating and the ability to clear your Facebook history are being introduced to the platform in 2018/19. Click To Tweet

Messenger

Messenger will also be getting some new features. The original Messenger app has over 1 billion downloads, however, Messenger has had a significant increase in their download numbers, currently being over 100 million downloads.

Developers want to create “richer ways for people to connect privately.” As such, Messenger will undergo a “complete redesign” to have a cleaner and simpler look. Instead of five tabs at the bottom of Messenger, there will only be three, the camera/video option being relocated to the top right-hand corner, and a ‘dark mode’ will be added.

Message Translation

Language barriers are one of the main issues preventing international communications. To help overcome this, Messenger is preparing to release a chat translation option. However, this feature will only be rolled out to users within the United States of America and will only be applicable to English-Spanish conversations.

Facebook plans to completely redesign the Messenger platform. Click To Tweet

Instagram

‘Explore’

Instagram will also be rolling out new features throughout the year, including improvements to the ‘Explore’ tab. Developers want to focus on creating a platform which enables users to “captur[e] any moment” and connect over “shared interests”. To this end – the explore section will be grouped in topics to ensure that you are seeing images that best relate to you.

AR Filters

Facebook’s AR Effects camera proved to be hugely popular so developers have decided to implement this feature on Instagram. “Anyone is going to be able to build face filters and effects,” said Zuckerberg. Users will not only be able to create their own filter, but also download and use other people’s creations.

Video Chat

Instagram will also be receiving a video chat feature. This feature will be implemented through the direct messaging section and will allow people to not only video call, but also use the Instagram application concurrently.

AR filters and video chat to come to Instagram in the months ahead. Click To Tweet

WhatsApp

Within the next couple of months, video calling will be receiving the group chat capability. Zuckerberg also clarified that developers are continuing their work on WhatsApp business, which was launched earlier this year, to make it usable for all businesses; not just small ones.

Oculus Go

Zuckerberg announced that Oculus Go was available for purchase. Starting at US$199, the virtual reality headset claims to be the “all-in-one” in Virtual Reality.

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 127)

Platform 5: This week’s most important social media changes (edition 127)

This week’s 5 most important social media changes

What’s changed in the last seven days? What does it mean?

This week we’re still talking about the fall out from the Facebook data scandal but amongst all of that, there have been some interesting developments with Instagram and LinkedIn. All the details below.

Let’s take a look at these changes in more detail.

Instagram introduces Focus

Now your selfies will look even better with Instagram’s new Focus mode. Focus mode is the equivalent to that of Portrait mode on the Apple iPhone 7 and 8.

Focus is not available on all devices though, read all the details here.

LinkedIn is adding GIFs to its messaging feature

Only weeks after being acquired by Google, Tenor will become the exclusive GIF search engine for LinkedIn. But is this really a win for LinkedIn? Do we need another ‘Facebook like’ platform?

Decide for yourself, read the ins and outs here.

Twitter and Facebook endorse the ‘Honest Ads Act’

Introduced into the American Senate last year, the Honest Ads act sets out transparency requirements for social media platforms, websites and ad networks. Twitter was the first to endorse the bill and Facebook quickly followed suit. Given Facebook’s recent data privacy issues, this comes as no surprise.

More details about the bill here.

Instagram is testing ‘Nametags’

First looks at Instagram’s new Nametags feature have been released by TechCrunch. The Nametag feature replicates the Snapchat QR code with users being able to scan other people’s codes via the camera.

Find out more info here.

Zuckerberg hints at an ad-free version of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg faced the American Congress this week. During his testimony, he said that “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.” Is Zuckerberg hinting at a possible ad-free version that users could pay for?

Read all the details here.

Follow us on Twitter for news of these social media and content marketing changes as they happen.

What Are AMP Stories and What Do They Mean For Your Website?

What Are AMP Stories and What Do They Mean For Your Website?

More than 5 billion Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have been created since they were launched in 2015. So what are they? AMP is designed to provide mobile users with web pages that load instantly by simplifying the HTML, JavaScript, and Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Now Google has launched the latest chapter of AMP: AMP Stories.

 

 

AMP Stories are designed to be immersive, tappable, full-screen content; like you see on Snapchat and Instagram stories. Until now, AMP has only been suitable for mobile, but Google has rolled out desktop support which will allow these stories to be supported by any kind of device.

Traditional AMP relies on text-driven content but stories are designed to be “visually rich”, relying heavily on images, videos, and animation to tell the story. This means instead of reading a news article, for example, users can opt to tap through the visual AMP story and absorb the main points in a more dynamic way and in a much shorter timeframe.

What does that mean for your webpage?

Like traditional AMP, stories have the potential to positively affect your SEO. Google has long adopted a mobile-first initiative. In addition to that, Google announced that from July 2018, loading speed of mobile websites will be a ranking factor in mobile searches.

From July 2018, loading speed of mobile websites will be a ranking factor in mobile searches Click To Tweet

Are these stories worth looking into? Definitely. Any business with a content strategy should be able to incorporate the stories into their existing plans – think tutorials, product reviews, lists etc. AMP stories have the potential to improve user experience and help brands deliver content in a captivating way.

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