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 Major Social Media Updates of September

Major Social Media Updates of September

Social media entrepreneur Matt Mullenweg once said, “Technology is best when it brings people together”. And we couldn’t agree more. 

With all its positive and negative impacts, we must never forget technology was invented to make the world a smaller place. The aim was to bring people closer to each other and to minimize the distance that separated us from our loved ones.🫂

This month’s social media updates are surprisingly in tune with Mullenweg’s belief. 

Social media platforms have been trying, for some time now, to increase their engagement by the means of community policies. Let’s see what exciting developments we have picked out for you this month!

1. TikTok Introduces Downvoting Comments

Social media users have been struggling with negative comments for a long time now. 

Creators have often taken to their chosen platforms to even point out the stressful impact these comments have on their mental health. Keeping this in mind, TikTok has introduced a new downvote option for users.

The feature that was tested for months will simply allow users to flag irrelevant or inappropriate comments. The thumb-down icon will appear on the far right of each comment, right next to the heart icon.

Although, unlike hearts, TikTok will not display the number of negative votes. The feature will only be visible to the person downvoting the comment and is also reversible.

The vision to help moderators identify negative behavior on social media platforms isn’t new to TikTok. Previously, Facebook tested a similar feature for years. Twitter’s most recent tests of private downvotes are also in progress, and Reddit’s public downvotes are an important feature of the platform.

2. WhatsApp Improves Group Audio & Video Call Experience

The most recent feature launched by WhatsApp, Call Links is all set to enable users to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

WhatsApp improves group audio & video call experience

The feature allows users to create dedicated URLs for WhatsApp group video and audio chats.

And just like that WhatsApp has made it easier for others to join the discussion in the app!

The highlights of this feature are :

  • You’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab.
  • You can create a shareable link to get people to join your chats.

The feature will benefit community connections and facilitate engagement. Moreover, the feature can also be used by brands to better connect with influencers and advocates. For example, imagine being able to run an exclusive chat that discusses your product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates!

Sounds exciting, right?

Moving on with their aim to enhance users’ call experience, Meta has also announced that it is working on a secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people.😮

Both the feature discussed above will provide a range of ways to use calls as a medium to spotlight the audience segments and increase direct engagement. Is this the future of marketing then – switching to messaging tools to target product/brand engagement? 📲

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below. 

Meta CEO provided an interesting take on this question by highlighting that “most people use feeds to discover content and (thus) use messaging for (a) deeper connection.”

And we most certainly agree with this.

Feeds are increasingly being taken over by entertainment.

Hence, if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, messaging and messaging groups could be an important consideration from now onwards.

3. Meta Launches Profile-Switching Interface to Maximize Engagement

It is no news that Meta has been continuously trying to improve the declining active user count on its platform. It has been looking at ways to hold onto its users and thus we have its most recent announcement. 

In an official statement, Meta said, 

“We know that many people use more than one of our apps to pursue different interests, reach a broader audience or share different aspects of who they are with different groups of people. With that in mind, we’re simplifying the process of creating and switching between accounts and profiles.”

The statement served as the official launch of Meta’s new profile-switching interface, which will indicate the number of notifications that a user gets on each of Meta’s platforms.

Meta's Profile Switching Interface

As can be seen in the above image, this new feature will enable you to see your Facebook profile in the account alongside the Instagram account. In other words, you will have an easier link between the two facilitating an easy switch between the two platforms. 

The major aim behind this feature was to get users hooked on Instagram and Facebook. But the added benefit of having activity notifications will enable active users to stay on top of alerts. 

These personal activity alerts are maybe not as beneficial for Meta’s usage stats, yet they are more likely to entice people. After all, we find those little red dots irresistible, irrespective of the nature of the notification!

The idea behind combining these platforms is to ease the switching so that you can just continue floating between Meta’s apps. Almost like trapping the users within its digital walls!

Having said that, Meta’s rolling out another feature – new account registration and login flow. This is to provide people with a more easy login and account making on Facebook as well as Instagram.

Meta New Account Registration and Login

“People new to our products can create a Facebook or Instagram account, and then use that account to sign up for additional ones. And people who have both a Facebook and an Instagram account can now easily use login information from one app to access the other, as long as their accounts are in the same Accounts Center.”

Although the process isn’t entirely new except for a simplified layout.

You need to know that Meta’s ambitions and experiments aren’t limited to only Facebook and Instagram. In an official statement, the company representatives have also said, 

“While these changes are currently limited to Facebook and Instagram, we’ll continue to explore how to improve connected experiences across all of our technologies.”

So, should we be anticipating a switching option for WhatsApp in the future?🤔

4. Instagram’s Green Signal for Videos Under 60 Seconds

It’s a sigh of relief for every Instagram user – whether active or not!😮‍💨 

Instagram recently announced that videos posted on Stories under 60 seconds will no longer be split into 15 seconds segments in the app. The announcement was confirmed to TechCrunch as, 

“We are always working on ways to improve the Stories experience. Now, you’ll be able to play and create Stories continuously for up to 60 seconds, instead of being automatically cut into 15-second clips.” 

The feature was tested by Instagram with selected users over the past year. And Matt Navara, social media expert made the feature public by posting the below notification.

Instagram Allows 60 Seconds

As you can see in this app alert, when you update your IG app, you’ll get a notification informing you that your videos on Stories will no longer be cut up. 

Time to extend a big thanks to Instagram for this seamless viewing experience.🤩

The feature is an extension of Instagram’s continuous efforts of merging its video products. 

Last October, Instagram retired its IGTV brand, and combined IGTV and feed videos into one format. The platform announced that all uploaded videos under 15 minutes would be posted as Reels.

Instagram IGTV and Reel Integration

There’s a simple aim behind merging the video products – simplifying the app. 

Adam Mosseri, the Instagram chief noted back in January that:

“We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

The merging of video formats will facilitate more opportunities in this respect. Meanwhile, it will also make it easier for users to understand where to find each type of content, or even better, it will be directly fed to their main feed. 

Ideally, the process should also help ‘Gram maximize their user engagement by increasing the availability of video content in more places. This is a targeted shift of video content into a more aligned format. 

IG also aims to gain a rich video inventory to insert user feeds, which is increasingly looking to do via AI-defined recommendations. As a result, it was recently noted that over 15% of the content on Instagram feed now comes from people, groups, or accounts that users don’t follow.

5. The End of Facebook Live Shopping Feature

From the 1st of October, Facebook users will not be able to use its Live Shopping option.

Facebook first debuted the feature in 2018 and has, since then, tested multiple ways to make the feature more seamless and popular. 

Last November, it started testing Live Shopping for Creators to allow creators and brands to cross-stream on both of their pages. This was in contrast with the earlier feature that only allowed to direct users to a single page. Last summer, FB also launched Live Shopping Fridays in collaboration with brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, and Sephora. 

It is no doubt that a live shopping platform could have been a great source of revenue for the company. Yet, the recent decision of shutting the feature down shows Facebook is rethinking its stance on Live shopping. 

In an official blog post, Facebook announced that the shutting down of the live shopping feature is to shift focus onto reels.  

“As consumers’ viewing behaviors are shifting to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product.”

And to think what will be the consequences of this farewell,

  • Users will no longer be able to host or schedule live shopping events on Facebook
  • Users can not create a product playlist or tag products in their Facebook live videos
  • The shutdown will have no impact on FB’s Live Broadcast Events

6. YouTube’s New Monetization Program

When we talk about platforms that dominate short-form video content, two platforms stand out to us – YouTube and TikTok. Both platforms have enjoyed quite a strong position and popularity amongst creators as well as brands. 

Not long ago we highlighted that TikTok’s value has raised for SMBs as a promotional platform. 

Read our June Social Media Updates to know more about it.  

And it was only last month when we noticed YouTube increasing the horizon for its YouTube Shorts

In a recent update, we saw YouTube outlining its new monetization program for shorts creators. The platform has announced that it will provide a more direct monetization option for Shorts creators.  

In an attempt to make YouTube the platform of choice for creative talents, it said:

“Starting in early 2023, Shorts-focused creators can apply to the YouTube Partner Program by meeting a threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days. These new partners will enjoy all the benefits our program offers, including the various ways to make money like ads on long-form and Fan Funding.”

However, the feature is not direct monetization but more of a combined pool of revenue, split based on video view counts. 

So let’s kill the mystery around the feature and see what it is! 

YouTube claims to have established a new process through which it can provide an equitable revenue share. And the inspiration to split revenue comes from the fact that monetizing short-form videos is no walk in the park.

This is because short videos do not allow the window to add pre and mid-roll ads into clips as these are only 30 seconds long. This leaves no direct connection between individual videos and thus, performance is almost impossible. 

The only complication that can be panned out as of now is YouTube owning and controlling the payment amounts.

As YouTube increases its emphasis on short-form content, there’s no doubt that more and more advertisers will pay attention to it. And, with the platform building its inventory of very short video ads, there’s also going to be lots of ad dollars to go around.   

In other words, YouTube just might become the destination of choice for aspiring creative talents, looking to make actual money from their clips.  

The current 45% revenue split is different from the usual YPP rev share, which allocates 55% of overall ad revenue to the creators.

YouTube New Monetization Program

But then, why is the amount low for Shorts?🤨

Addressing the above suspicion, YouTube’s VP Creator Amjad Hanif said:

“Most folks who are in short-form today are earning through a fixed fund, and a fixed fund doesn’t commit a specific percentage to the creator. In fact, it’s up to the platform to determine each and every month how they’re going to divide that up […] In short-form, we’re gonna’ share with all creators who are part of the feed. As a part of that, that means spreading it out across all the creators, whether it was right before the ad, or three videos away from the ad. Shorts is also an area where we’re investing a lot of product and engineering time into things like creation tools, as well as trust and safety. And so, part of that rev share is being aware of the investment we need to make.”

Therefore, the added costs (particularly in development and music licensing) have made YouTube take a bigger cut.  

At this point, it is also important to compare how YouTube excels over TikTok while monetizing its short-form video content. 

First, as we said earlier, YouTube might just become the chosen platform for creators looking to make real money. While TikTok does allow something similar, it still hasn’t dealt with the steady decline in TikTok’s Creator Fund’s payout. 

YouTube, on the other hand, has additional Shorts funding that sweetens its overall revenue share pie. Not to forget, it has already paid out over $50 billion to creators over the last three years. 

Once this funding is combined with the monetization potential of longer clips, YouTube clearly has the better package. 

Do you think YouTube actually will overtake TikTok and become the platform of choice for many rising stars? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

7. Instagram’s Media Kit to Help Creators

Now that you know YouTube’s aim to increase its monetization attempts, it is quite clear that the social media market has entered a competitive phase, more than ever before. And right now, the center of attention for all the social media platforms are creators. 

This is because the more actively a creator engages on a platform, the more will be fan engagement. 

Instagram, keeping up with the competitive trend, is testing out a range of revenue share and creator funding options. This is to provide variable means of supplemental income for IG creators. Simultaneously, the social media platform company is also working on an option to provide creators more autonomy.

Instagram New Media Kit

As can be seen in the screenshot shared by the app researcher Allesandro Paluzzi, Instagram is currently developing a new Media Kit option to guide creators through the process of building their image for brands. 

With this feature, creators will be able to write a bio, showcase their top posts and point to past collaborations as examples. It will also enable creators with adding key analytics and audience stats. 

In simpler words, the feature will simplify the process of packaging your IG presence as a potential promotional channel.

Instagram Provide Autonomy to Creators

Kind of similar to Meta’s Creator Marketplace Platform, don’t you think?🤔

Similar, but not the same.

The difference here is that Instagram will allow creators to have more authority over how they represent themselves to potential partners. Meanwhile, they would also be able to share this new media kit with potential collaborators themselves.   

Although the feature is still in its internal prototype stage, it has been confirmed by ‘Gram.

It is quite interesting to note that the concept of a media kit or creator funds has garnered a great amount of attention since TikTok outlined its new monetization policies. 

Only time will tell if Meta and YouTube are trying to overtake TikTok creators or if they are only jumping on the trend. For now, TikTok isn’t able to offer in-stream ads or similar direct monetization tools. Yet, it is working to establish its creator payment options.

8. Reddit’s Key Engagement Trends

Remember when we said technology is to decrease distance? Seems like Reddit took Matt Mullenweg quite seriously. In its recent attempt to show how well the platform Reddit works on community building and engagement, it launched a research report. 

The report looks at,

The ways Reddit facilitates community engagement
Importance of community engagement in modern times (indicting the new normal of WFH)

The research was based on responses of over 2000 social media users to find out how people used social media platforms to connect. The major idea of the research was, of course, to study Reddit’s role in particular in facilitating community engagement. 

Reddit Key Engagement Trends

The 13-page report titled Find Your People highlighted the below-mentioned points:

  • First off, Reddit says that the platform is synonymous with community and outperforms all other apps in the key aspect of community building and engagement.
  • Reddit helps facilitate positive engagement through community trends and the up-and-downvote process. The downvote process which has till now been seen as a risky feature has helped Reddit weed out troublemakers and trolls.
  • The Reddit community unanimously follows established norms and behavior. This is because subreddit posts and ad comments are also treated as communities – moderated and not hidden by automated systems or internal restrictions. 

The overall gist of the report hinted at Reddit as more additive and not addictive.  

“For our study, we asked half of the participants to stop using Reddit for three days. Without access to the communities they look forward to engaging with, users reported feeling isolated from their communities and out of the loop. They wondered what they’re missing out on, because Reddit is an important part of their routine and where they turn to stay informed.”

Reddit Emotional Associations

Another important point noted was Reddit welcomes brand participation as much as any other platform. 

Reddit Welcomes Brand Participation

Despite its reputation as being hostile to brand approaches, Reddit users are very much open to brands participating in subreddit discussions.

“Reddit users welcome brands into their communities. In fact, redditors want brands to actively participate in their communities and interact with them directly, offering brands the opportunity to cross the bridge from “outside advertiser,” to “members of the Reddit community,” and make more meaningful connections with their audience.”

In conclusion, Reddit stands strong to its claims of being a platform that was founded to have a positive impact on users’ mental well-being. It fosters a spirit of inclusion and community as opposed to more addictive and harmful traits.

9. Instagram To Launch a Re-Post Feature

Are you familiar with Twitter’s Re-tweet feature? Of course, you are!

Recently, Instagram is also testing a similar feature. The platform is testing a new option that will allow users to share others’ content with their followers. Currently, there isn’t, much information out. But, the platform has confirmed that the feature is being tested with selected users.

“We’re exploring the ability to reshare posts in Feed — similar to how you can reshare in Stories — so people can share what resonates with them, and so original creators are credited for their work,” a Meta spokesperson explained.

Are you excited about this new feature? Or do you prefer to carefully curate your own Instagram stories instead?

10. Meta Launches Community Chats For Messenger and Groups

Meta is going through a struggling period as it continues to lose its once dominating market share to new disruptive rivals. And, let’s agree that turning Instagram into TikTok hasn’t panned out well for Meta.🤷🏻‍♀️

Therefore in an attempt to regain its lost sparkle, Meta recently announced the soft launch of its Community Chats feature for Messenger and Facebook Groups. 

This new feature will allow users to create new real-time chat, voice, and video channels directly from their Messenger app. It provides many new avenues for engagement and growth to admins of Facebook and Messenger Groups.

Meta Community Chats

The feature, which is inspired by popular social messaging apps like Slack and Discord will also allow admins to add categories for discussion targets. In theory, the feature will provide a more organized and real-time engagement to its users. 

However, the real question that arises is if users will want to engage with it. 

Community chats could be the engagement win that Meta is desperately in need of right now. But, only time can tell if users would rather keep chat communities or dedicated platforms. 

And with this, we have reached the end of our 10 most exciting social media updates.

Let us know which one was your favorite.

We take our leave here but worry not for we will be back again with more exciting updates.

Take care! And stay savvy!

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