To celebrate Social Media Day, we’ve made a list of the most notable changes to our favourite platforms this year.
Let’s kick things off with Twitter, which has arguably undergone the most fundamental changes over the past twelve months. Despite facing public outcry and triggering the #RIPTwitter trend in response to the move from a chronological news feed to an algorithmically determined feed, Twitter continues to thrive with 310 million monthly users. Upcoming changes to what is included as part of the 140 character cap are likely to encourage more interactivity between users. Soon photos, GIFs, and videos will no longer take up precious character space in a message. Handles will no longer be included in the character count for replies, making it easier to carry a conversation. Though it may not sound like a game changer, any extra characters marketers can leverage to convey a message is appreciated!
Twitter has also introduced new features to enhance user experience. The most notable of which are Stickers, adding a whimsical touch to the platform, Location, allowing users to find site specific tweets, Moments, showcasing curated tweets on various trending topics, and Engage, offering celebrity users a better way to manage their fans.
Instagram redesigned their logo and joined Twitter in adopting an algorithmic feed, much to the dismay of many of their 500 million users. But they earned some points for introducing a button allowing users to send pictures directly to their friends. They have also announced enhanced profiles for businesses complete with analytic reports, demonstrating how important Instagram has become for brands. Analytics will help brands create more relevant content by showing the behaviour of their audiences and which posts are performing better. Well performing posts can also easily be turned into ads right within the app. In the next year we should expect to see more video content on the app, as Instagram works to develop dedicated video channels.
Snapchat, the app that makes anyone over twenty feel old, introduced fun new features like custom geo-filters and the ever-popular facial recognition filter. Keeping with the ephemeral spirit of the platform, the filters are constantly changing which encourages users to engage with as many of the filters while they are available. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the puppy face and face swap filters aren’t going anywhere!
Snapchat has announced that they will soon begin to show ads between stories, but at the steep price of $750,000 a day, brands investing in this marketing tool must be confident in delivering content that will be embraced by Snapchat’s unique market. Snapchat is rapidly gaining new users with 150 million daily users currently. In the past year they have grown their 25-34 audience by 103% and their over 35 audience by 83%. This presents a huge opportunity for more brands to jump on board and get creative with their own Snapchat account.
At their somewhat ominously named developer conference, F8, Facebook showed how they plan to occupy the space between off-line and on-line existence. The most exciting new feature is Facebook Live, live streaming video capability available to all users directly through the status update bar. This may prove to be a great marketing tool for conveying brand experience with a digital audience. And let’s not forget the fun new Reactions feature which left cynics everywhere still waiting on the elusive dislike button! Other updates include Instant Articles, which offers visually rich online news for mobile users, and the oh-so-convenient ability to order an Uber ride directly through the Facebook Messenger app.
Happy Social Media Day!