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STATUS UPDATE
A quarterly publication from The Social Lights®
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What’s ahead?
Q3 Highlights
Facebook
Messenger
Instagram
Snapchat
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube
Increasing Feed Curation
Improving Transparency
Industry Themes
Platform Updates
LinkedIn
Amazon Eyeing Social
Miscellaneous
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SOCIAL MEDIA MOVES FAST. REALLY FAST.
That’s where we come in. Every 3 months, we bring you all the updates from
around the social sphere. So, what went down in Q3?
Amazon Eyeing Social.

Notorious for disrupting
industries, recent platform and
product announcements have
Jeff Bezos and Co. looming over
the social world.

Find out: How would an
Amazon-fueled social platform
affect the industry? Can brands
adapt and thrive?
Improving Transparency.

For months, some of the world’s
largest brands have called for
more transparency in social
advertising, as well as in
partnerships and content.

Find out: What are platforms
doing to appease some of the
most influential media buyers?
Increasing Feed Curation.

Platform algorithms and a
saturated ad space make for
tough sailing for brands in
social.

Find out: What updates are
platforms making that will affect
(and potentially benefit) your
brand?
Jump ahead >> Jump ahead >> Jump ahead >>
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Increased feed curation continues.
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Nearly all platforms are leveraging algorithms to show
users more of what they want to see. Whether through
artificial intelligence, image recognition, keyword filters, or
user history targeting, see how networks are working to
create a unique experience that attracts and retains users.
Increasing Feed Curation
Platforms showing you what you want to see.
Facebook
Snapchat
Instagram
YouTube
Twitter (twice)
Amazon
Brand Impact: Algorithms favor two key sentiments.

1. Relevance
2. Engagement
Publish timely and engaging content. Reach more people.
It’s that simple.
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Whether we (consumers) like it or not, platform and
product updates are typically brought on by necessity.
As brands and users continue to grow on a platform,
so does the content load.

That content load has grown so drastically, users can’t
possibly consume it all. So, platforms took matters into
their own hands, introducing algorithms that show (tell)
users what they want to see. These algorithms have
been widely disliked, but their utility is undeniable.

As advertisers continue flocking to the social space,
the effects felt by organic content are carrying over into
promoted content as well.
Increasing Feed Curation
Content volume is unconsumable.
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As marketers have seen organic content decline in
performance and reach, similar effects are taking hold in
paid social. Now, as advertisers gravitate to social, the ad
space is growing saturated.

You’ve probably noticed this. Odds are, one of the first five
posts seen on Facebook and Instagram is #sponsored,
and you’ll be served an ad after a handful of stories.

BuzzSumo published a study on the topic, citing market
saturation as a major cause for the drop in reach and
performance.
Increasing Feed Curation
Effects of organic carrying over to paid.
Image via BuzzSumo
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As the pattern goes, as market saturation increases, so
does the price of appearing in said market. Social media’s
ad market is no different.

Where are marketers feeling the biggest impact? 

In their budgets.

With increased competition and an overload of content,
advertisers are getting less bang for their buck. The cost
of appearing in the space is rising, while performance and
distribution are holding consistent or worse, dropping.

Not exactly the best news for advertisers.
Increasing Feed Curation
Ad prices up, performance down.
Image via AdStage
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If you subscribe to our eNews, you already know our take.
The algorithm is beatable, and you can do it by following
these five steps.
1. Video, video, video.
2. Don’t take Facebook users outside of the platform.
3. Make your content painstakingly easy to process.
4. Know, understand, and listen to your audience.
5. Be aware, and be in the moment.
So fear not, fellow marketers. Organic content can still
thrive, even in today’s pay-to-play environment.
You just have to know the rules.
Asset pulled from previous
eNews
Increasing Feed Curation
All is not lost.
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You could and should have!

Stay in-the-know for all things social by subscribing to
our monthly eNewsletter, where we share key updates
from the industry, details on our latest content, and
information about ongoings at TSL HQ!

In our eNews, we’ve discussed topics from beating the
Facebook algorithm, to Amazon’s potential battle with
Facebook, to top tips for creating content with
Snapchat Spectacles.

It’s easy to fall behind in social media. Our newsletter
makes keeping up easier.
Increasing Feed Curation
Why didn’t I hear about this?
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
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Increasing Feed Curation
TSL Brand Crush: The Knot
The Knot, an extremely popular wedding planning
service, is one of the best in appeasing platform
algorithms. The Knot effectively sources UGC,
highlights both its service and its users, and develops a
unique, recognizable social presence. Even better, the
brand does all of this without a single paid ad. 

You read that correctly. The Knot uses all organic
content.

How, you ask? The Knot does these things, which are
all highly favored by algorithms.

• Aligned influencer partnerships

• Continually revamped hashtag strategy

• Audience involvement

• Constant performance evaluation
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Social platforms improving transparency.
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Social platforms are perpetually trying to appease
advertisers, updating ad practices and targeting methods
to better show authenticity in the space.

In targeting, Facebook is removing options to fight
discriminatory advertising, ones that wrongly divide an
audience or could otherwise be used for the wrong
reasons. 

Conversely, Pinterest moved in the opposite direction,
ramping up its targeting capabilities to help advertisers
reach exactly the right person in the most cost-efficient
way possible.
Improving Transparency
Transparency in ads and targeting.
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Arguably the biggest complaints from advertisers in social
media come in reporting and performance. Following
Proctor & Gamble’s stand in January, platforms have made
significant updates to prove worthy of advertising budgets.

Facebook and Snapchat both launched new, improved
measurement and reporting tools. Instagram expanded
API access and reporting metrics, and Snapchat
announced partnerships with reporting and ratings.

Even further, Facebook announced that the platform
would refund advertisers for those ‘fat-finger’ clicks. You
know the ones, when you accidentally tap an ad or link
and can’t get back to the original screen fast enough? 

Yeah, you don’t have to pay for those anymore.
Improving Transparency
Transparency in reporting and performance.
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The success of influencer marketing brought on
suspicions, questions, and problems with authenticity on
social media, with questions commonly raised about
influencers selling out, overall brand alignment, and what
content was #sponsored.

Platforms addressed these issues through partnership
call-outs, incentivized influencer programs, and directly
labeling #sponsored content, doing their best to appease
all parties (advertisers, users, influencers, governing
bodies).
Improving Transparency
Transparency in partnerships and influencers.
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Fake news, inauthentic profiles, and misleading content
have plagued social platforms over the past calendar year.

Twitter and Facebook led efforts to corral inauthentic
content. Twitter used AI and machine learning to shut
down approximately 300,000 accounts linked to terror and
harmful content.

Facebook cracked down on fake ads, those that on the
surface promote a concept or product, but then lead to a
different, negative destination. 

According to reports, Facebook shuts down more than 1
million accounts every day due to inauthentic content.
Improving Transparency
Transparency in authenticity.
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In authenticity, brands have a great opportunity in appeasing both
platforms and fans alike through full transparency. That’s been
Away’s, a luxury luggage company, M.O. on social.

Away uses brand-aligned influencers, calls out its partnerships for
audience awareness, and full supply-chain transparency to deliver
a truly authentic experience to its followers.

Doing so, Away gives credit where credit is due for influencers
and partnerships, which is highly favorable for platform
algorithms. Additionally, this wins over its audience through
honesty, fostering brand loyalty.

To top it off, Away puts their money where their mouth is, offering
a lifetime warranty, which shows they believe in what they’re
selling, a surefire way to win over consumers.

Yeah, we’re swooning.
Improving Transparency
TSL Brand Crush: AWAY
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Amazon looming over social media.
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Amazon is drawing curious and watchful eyes in
advertising and social media. From its influencer
program to platform announcements, Amazon appears
to be on the cusp of moving into social media.

In July, Amazon drew rumors around Anytime, a one-
to-one messaging service for platform users. This,
along with recent advancements in chatbot
technology, could create a platform experience rivaling
that of Messenger.

Not long after, Jeff Bezos and Co. launched Spark, an
influencer-driven, product-focused version on
Instagram.

What does Facebook do if Amazon pushes into social?
We speculated on the potential effects.
Amazon Eyeing Social
Platform announcements.
Image via TechCrunch
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Tech companies and social platforms alike have been tied to hardware
product announcements in recent months. Amazon has earned
headlines for Alexa and Alexa-enabled devices.

One of the biggest concepts in tech is wearables, and social platforms
have zeroed in on tech-enabled glasses as their next frontier. Amazon
may have joined that race in Q3, sparking rumors about Alexa-enabled
glasses.

Should Amazon dive into social, these glasses would likely be a direct
competitor to Snap’s Spectacles and Facebook’s future lookalikes,
making for a pretty entertaining race for the best tech-enabled smart
glasses.
Amazon Eyeing Social
Product announcements.
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Amazon’s influencer program is attracting attention,
most notably for its recent move, opening services and
incentives up to YouTube stars. It makes perfect sense,
given that YouTube’s CPG and Retail influencers carry
significant weight in driving purchases and brand
sentiment.
BRAND IMPACT: This move greatly benefits brands in
sales attribution, the holy grail of social media
marketing. Brands with an Amazon presence can use
partnership-specific link coding to track conversions,
page visits, and ultimately, sales.

In doing so, both brands and influencers can generate
a better understanding of what inspires consumers to
act, leading to stronger, more efficient influencer
campaigns in the future.
Amazon Eyeing Social
Attracting and incentivizing influencers.
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Twitch, Amazon’s eSports and livestreaming platform,
got a UI revamp, giving it the look and feel of a social
network, rather than a video platform.

The UI is built on the Twitch Pulse social stream,
aiming to improve and encourage interpersonal
engagement, show more recommended (another
word for curated) content, and streamline overall
content discovery on the platform.
Amazon Eyeing Social
A new look for Twitch.
Image via Venture Beat
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Many brands have and are serving as cautionary tales
in the “[Brand] suffers as Amazon encroaches on
[industry]” conversation. The biggest takeaway? Don’t
try to compete with Amazon in Amazon’s world.
Resistance is futile.

So, is there any hope for brands? Of course there is!

Brands can still thrive by following three key steps.

1. Differentiation: Show how you’re different,
emphasize your service, and drive that messaging
home to generate loyalty within your audience.

2. Focused Brand Identity: Stay true to your brand,
how you treat customers, and what you stand for.

3. Engagement: Show your customers how much
they matter to you. Reward them. Incentivize them.
Engage them. Image via Adweek.
Amazon Eyeing Social
How can brands prepare?
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As we noted, there are three key factors for retailers and battling
Amazon. Few are succeeding at doing so at the level of REI.

Differentiation: REI doesn’t bend or concede to Amazon’s efforts in
dropping prices and offering day-of delivery. Instead, REI promotes the
knowledge gained by in-store visits, the quality of its products, and the
self-assured feeling consumers get when walking out of their door.

Focused Brand Identity: REI isn’t and never has been about sales.
The retailer has always promoted the experience gained when using its
products. 

Engagement: In addition to its in-store benefits, REI extends its
engagement to social media, constantly sharing user-generated
content, fielding questions and complaints, and celebrating consumer
wins.

That’s a model to follow in an Amazon-heavy world.
Amazon Eyeing Social
TSL Brand Crush: REI
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What else happened in Q2?
Platform by Platform
Facebook
Messenger
Instagram
Snapchat
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube
Miscellaneous
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Facebook
Facebook made it a priority to show its value and quantify ad
performance on the platform in Q3. In addition to a new Ads
Manager, it launched several features to improve the platform’s
overall ad experience, including improved business insights.

• Did you see a good ad in your feed? Create a similar one for
your brand.

• Wondering what ads you’ve interacted with? Check out your
history.

• Curious if your ad is performing well in certain areas? Check
out the new location indicator to see where your content is
resonating the most.

• Really happy with that influencer’s post from your brand
partnership? Promote it further.

Believe it or not. If you’re an advertiser, Facebook wants you to
be happy.
Proving value to advertisers.
Image via Social Media Today
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Facebook announced that cover photos are now open to 360-
degree shots and even video clips. 

Additionally, as influencer marketing remains a buzzword,
Facebook announced its own influencer program, aiming to help
content creators monetize and reward their efforts. The program
will also likely be used as a measuring stick against other
platforms in attracting brand partnership dollars.
27
Facebook
Opening up new brand opportunities.
Image via Facebook.
Brand Impact: These provide a great
opportunity for brands to show more
personality and flare in their Pages.

Protip: Use a highlight reel, event footage,
or content teasers to immediately capture
interest, show off your brand experience,
and encourage fans to scroll down to
view more content.)
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Arguably Facebook’s largest announcement of the quarter was the
launch of Watch, its television-style video discovery and
programming feature. Watch features a blend of sponsored,
scripted, and live content, bridging the gap between social media
and TV, a trend we broke down back in March.

As Watch content continues to thrive, the question arrives, what
does this mean for marketers?

Brand Impact: Leverage data from both TV and social advertising
to create an informed ad strategy. Be sure to account for 6-second
ads, pre-roll, mid-roll, and more. Further, Facebook’s targeting
capabilities help brands ensure that their content aligns both with
their audience and the show in which they’re advertising.

Pro Tip: Don’t want your ad associated with certain publishers?
Blacklist them.
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Facebook
Watch on Facebook
Image via Facebook.
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Facebook
Protecting the community.
Amidst the Fake News era, recurring natural disasters, and
divisive stances taken on social media, Facebook announced
several efforts aimed at creating a positive, authentic experience
for its community.

In harmful and negative content, Facebook is banning both the
content itself and its publishers, as well as demonetizing the
practice.

In times of crisis, Facebook upped its crisis response capabilities
and further expanded its Amber Alert notifications.

If users want to hide certain profiles temporarily, they can. 

Most recently, Mark Zuckerberg also took to Facebook Live to
address concerns and issues raised about Facebook’s
involvement in the election.
Image via the TechCrunch.
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Facebook
“Please use Stories,” Facebook pleaded, repeatedly.
Facebook’s Snapchat-duplicate Stories have yet to take off on
the platform, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to get
users to post to the space.

In the last few months, Facebook added live video to its Stories
section, similar to Instagram. It also added audience sharing
options (private, public, etc.) to help users choose who sees
stories.

Most notably, Facebook started testing the ability to cross-post
stories from Instagram to its flagship app, as stories have caught
on extremely well on Instagram.

Brand Impact: Marketers need to be prepared for a shift, should
the content type become mainstream on Facebook. While it’s
easy to scoff at Stories not doing well on the platform, Facebook
still offers unrivaled scale in social media.
Image via TechCrunch.
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Facebook
Announcements and loose ends.
During Q3, Facebook also made the following moves within its
flagship app…

• Instant Article subscriptions, possibly revitalizing an industry it
nearly killed off.

• Hardware projects in smart speakers, phones, smart glasses.

• Improved UIs for News Feed, Marketplace, Movies, Trending
News, and Applications.

• Bringing live video to Spaces, Facebook’s AR / VR app.

• Testing a native GIF maker.

• Keep reading with related articles.

• Catching up with Google and Pinterest in image search.

• Animated keyword and comment triggers.

• Branded Groups and admin badges.

• Improved translation capabilities.
Image via Facebook.
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Messenger
Messenger has leveraged chatbots to draw headlines in recent
months, a technology that is slowly catching on and is widely
underutilized.

The platform, which now boasts over 1.3 billion users, improved
M’s (its virtual AI assistant) integrations, now offering quick
responses and response gifs, better suggestions, and even
helping you buy movie tickets.

Brand Impact: In addition to the intrigue of purchasing items
directly through Messenger, the platform expanded its payment
options. With the expiration of Amazon’s patent on one-click
purchasing, Messenger could soon be a significant player in
social buying and shopping.
Growth, AI, and Generating Conversions.
Image via Marketing Land.
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Messenger
TSL Brand Crush: Shake Shack
Shake Shack launched an FAQ-based chatbot aimed at
streamlining the customer experience. The brand team loaded
the bot with over 300 questions and responses to help users
find their nearest Shake Shack, check out their menu, and
navigate common questions from other customers.

This consumer-first approach is key in chatbots. If they don’t
answer the questions being asked, then what’s the point?

Way to go, Shake Shack.
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Messenger
Messenger ads have been a source of speculation and intrigue
since Facebook announced the move in Q2. Now, Facebook is
hoping that brands will delve further into the one-to-one
messaging space, announcing the Messages Objective for
Facebook ads.

Brand Impact: These ads open conversations in Messenger,
giving brands an opportunity to have meaningful one-to-one
conversations with consumers who want to be spoken to.
These users are identified through targeting and user behaviors,
giving your brand the best opportunity to drive consumers to
action.
Ads are here.
Image via Facebook.
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Instagram
Image via Instagram.
Seemingly a quarterly announcement, Instagram added another 100
million users, eclipsing 800 million monthly users and 500 million
daily users in Q3. Instagram has added over 200 million users in the
last 8 months, and is up to over 2 million advertisers in the space.

Remember that thing we said about saturated market spaces and
prices? Might be worth revisiting and applying that to Instagram.

Additionally, Instagram’s growth is made more impressive by its
adoption within the younger demographics, thriving in a population
where Facebook has historically struggled.
Growing fast, and winning teens.
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Instagram
In an effort to improve its one-to-one messaging interface,
Instagram made several updates in adding photo and video
replies and new creative tools for fun responses.

Even better, Stories are now shareable within Instagram Direct,
offering word-of-mouth sharing opportunities for brands in the
space.

One of Instagram’s more popular posting tools, carousels now
support both vertical and horizontal photos, as opposed to its
previous square-ratio format.

In live content, Instagram introduced split-screen broadcasts, a
handy tool for interviews, talk shows, or live conversations. And in
a carry-over from Facebook, Instagram announced masks and
filters for live broadcasts.
Improving post, broadcast, and messaging capabilities.
Image via The Verge.
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Algorithms, as big of bummers as they are, aren’t going
anywhere, and they’re causing problems for brands and
influencers alike. As such, paid promotions and partnerships are
becoming more commonplace on Instagram.

Instagram is regularly coming out with updates and new ad types,
but the platform made waves with its announcement of Canvas
ads within Stories, which was met with very positive response.

Brand Impact: Canvas ads offer a fullscreen experience that
enables users to explore the path to conversion within a familiar
environment (Stories). The multi-frame capability helps users
develop a thorough understanding of a brand message without
leaving the platform. Additionally, Canvas ads bookend content,
are easy to skip, and can be highly targeted, so they don’t disrupt
the user experience.
Instagram
New advertising tools.
Image via Instagram.
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Instagram
One of the hallmarks of Instagram is its positive and supportive
community. Instagram is consistently working to keep it this way,
and for an image-first platform, that ironically starts in the
comments.

Instagram announced threaded comments, aiming to localize
conversations and make it easier to navigate high-traffic posts.

A big move in fostering positivity, Instagram also gave users the
ability to allow or disallow accounts from commenting on posts.
Community care and interactions.
Image via Instagram.
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Snapchat
Advertisers have been curious about Snapchat’s value in terms of
viewership and engagement. Eyes were opened in Q3, when
Snapchat announced that over 29 million people tuned in to NBC
News on the platform. The huge numbers generated by the twice-
daily show were impressive for two key reasons.

1. 29 million viewers is a very large number.

2. Snapchat thrives in the teenage demographics, who are
leaving traditional TV and news programming at a rapid
rate.

This level of viewership is encouraging for Snapchat, and while
engagement metrics remain cloudy on the platform, the success
is pushing Snapchat to move into scripted content by the end of
the year.
Original content showing strong.
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Snapchat
Prior to their Q2 earnings announcement, Snapchat released a
report, detailing who, when, and where people use the app. 

The report highlighted that nearly 60% of Snapchatters are 24
years old or younger, with 36% of users falling between 18-24.
This isn’t the only report to show Snapchat’s strength in drawing
teens, an area that Facebook has seriously struggled.

Additionally, Snapchat rolled out verification to influencers and
top profiles. With audience size remaining a mystery on the
platform, this distinction could be the start of a big push targeting
influencer marketing budgets.

As for the “where”, Snapchat doubled down on geolocation,
partnering with Foursquare and Factual to further enhance its
location-based advertising offerings.
Who’s on the platform?
Image via Snapchat.
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Snapchat
If Snapchat wants to draw those advertising dollars, the platform
will have to prove it can deliver business impact. They realize this,
and Snapchat is starting with standard social media metrics.

Web Traffic: By giving users the ability to add links to snaps,
brands and marketers can start drawing insights on click-through
rates, purchase intention and overall engagement for the
platform.
Advanced Mode: Snapchat launched its own version of
Facebook’s Power Editor, which will help brands target, test,
track, and measure campaigns. Further, brands can automate
campaigns to increase creative and targeting variants for
optimized A/B testing.
Delivering ROI
Image via TechCrunch.
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Snapchat
In advertising, brands are getting creative on Snapchat, and the
platform is even incentivizing small business advertisers who
develop content to fit its vertical format.

Burger King made the biggest waves in Snapchat ads during Q3,
becoming the first brand to shoot an ad entirely on Spectacles.

Brands have seen success in Snapchat ads, especially in driving
foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, but many advertisers are
still struggling to create ads that convert on the platform. In
response, Snapchat announced an education suite aimed at
helping partners and agencies learn about the platform, and how
to create ads that deliver ROI.

The program, along with performance announcements, are key
for Snapchat as Snap looks to boost its market value, which fell
below its IPO price for the first time in July.
Ads and media.
Image via AdWeek.
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Snapchat
At TSL, we’re constantly preaching the importance of developing
content specifically for a platform, not just copying and pasting a
TV ad to YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook and calling it a day.

Burger King’s Spectacles ad is a best-in-class example of
creating platform-specific content. What better way to advertise
on a platform built on ephemeral and in-the-moment content,
than creating a first-person view of the drive thru and featuring
the brand’s mascot?

In doing so, Burger King added to the user experience, rather
than interrupting it. They created a piece of content that feels
native to the platform, rather than getting overly branded. And
finally, they leveraged emerging tech in a way that engages the
audience in a way never-before done by brands.

Hats off to the King.
TSL Brand Crush: Burger King
Image via AdWeek.
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Snapchat
Snapchat’s dancing hot dog has been intriguing and alluring for
marketers over recent months, leaving brands and individuals
wondering when the feature would be used in advertising.

That day is here, as Snapchat announced 3D World Lenses are
open for purchase and development. The AR vehicle, especially
the interactive ones, are undeniably engaging, and Spiegel and
Co. hope that the new offering helps brands accomplish the
following.

• Inspire engagement

• Spark action

• Drive awareness and favorability

• Increase consideration and purchase intent.

We dove into the topic back in June and brainstormed some
immediate applications of the ad type. Check it out, and see what
your brand can do in the space.
Opening features to advertisers.
Image via Snapchat.
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Snapchat
Dunkin Donuts has been one of the most active brands on
Snapchat, earning recognition for their use of filters, content
strategy, and made-for-Snapchat approach.

In August, the coffee chain launched a filter campaign that allowed
fans to cast their vote for their favorite flavor and help determine
their next iced coffee flavor. To do so, Dunkin’ launched five flavor-
specific filters, and each use constituted a fan vote.

This approach is stellar for several reasons. First, it gives
consumers a voice, something they yearn for. Second, it brings in
a self-influenced competition (we know how much people love
taking sides). Third, it encourages word-of-mouth, as friends will
likely try to get other friends to participate in the competition.
Finally, all of these Filter uses are being sent to dozens if not
hundreds of people, with each use dropping CPM and
engagement-based costs.
TSL Brand Crush: Dunkin’
Image via PopSugar.
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Snapchat
True to form, much of Snapchat’s efforts centered around
developing new creative tools for content creation. Those tools
included…

• Multi-snap recording and a color-changing brush.

• Customizable voice filters.

• 3D, Bitmoji world lenses.

• AR-based sky filters (ex: turn day into night).

• Crowd Surf, a very cool, crowdsourced content curator that
is perfect for showcasing events.
Creativity first.
Image via The Next Web.
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Snapchat
Snapchat started several rumors in Q3, linking up with a pair of
the world’s most valuable companies.

At Apple’s annual product launch event, SVP of software
engineering Craig Federighi showed off the iPhone’s ability to
identify and attach AR masks to faces in great detail using an
iPhone-specific version of Snapchat.

Similarly, Google and Snapchat partnered to launch a coding
contest for teens to self-develop lenses in an effort to earn
mentoring sessions and an opportunity to have his/her filter go
live nationally on Snapchat.

These ties sparked speculations on future partnerships and buy-
out opportunities, should Snapchat’s struggles in growth persist.
Speculation on collaborations.
Image via Gizmodo.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 48
Twitter
Twitter’s strong user growth stalled during Q3, causing the
conversational platform to make some major updates to its user
experience.

The cornerstone for Twitter, its 140 character limit, is no more. In
an effort to help users better communicate, convey opinions, and
share conversations, Twitter doubled its limit to 280 characters.

The announcement was met with apathy and heavy sarcasm.

Oh, really? On Twitter? Who could’ve predicted that?

Throughout the quarter, Twitter made other updates around
community care, including a mute option to keep trolls and
strangers out of your feed.
Image via Twitter.
Stalling growth and platform updates.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 49
Twitter
Image via Twitter.
A new way to advertise.
In advertising, Twitter introduced an innovative, monthly payment
program that allows brands to buy ads for $99 per month. It’s
definitely worth looking into if your brand has an active
advertising presence on Twitter.

Brand Impact: The flat-fee model offers great opportunity in its
distribution elements. If an advertisement is well received and
engaged with, Twitter will continue pushing the ad out to more
individuals at no extra charge to the advertiser. Conversely, if it is
not well received, the ad’s reach will likely be shut down. 

So, basically, make good ads. Get good results.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 50
Twitter
Image via Twitter.
The programming train keeps rolling.
In media, Twitter’s live streaming success is catching the attention
of publishers, causing the platform to roll out an expanded line of
programming, including a regular series from Converse. 

Brand Impact: These social programming lineups appear to be
very effective in courting the younger demographics. As social
programming continues to thrive, ads will become more prevalent
in the space. Further, as more brands look to engage Gen Z and
the younger demos, brands will be able to leverage social’s
superior targeting capabilities to deliver the right message to the
right person at the right time (see conversation here).
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
Pinterest continued to prioritize search in Q3, moving keyword-
and lens-based search to its home screen. Additionally, the
platform introduced new ways to search in allowing users to
zoom and crop images to focus in on certain products or pieces.

Pinterest’s success in visual search caught the attention of Target.
The retailer is leveraging Pinterest’s Lens to direct image searches
straight to Target listings, allowing users to add products to
registries or carts, streamlining the path from product discovery
to purchase.

Brand Impact: Brands can benefit from Pinterest’s visual search
tool in two key ways. First, Lens makes sourcing content
inspiration and examples extremely simple. Second, in making
products and packaging simple and eye-catching, brands can
leverage the tool’s strength in product discovery.
51
Pinterest
Search. Find. Buy.
Image via Engadget.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
As Facebook’s family of apps blast their growth numbers,
Pinterest is taking the opposite approach. How many people
heard that the platform surpassed 200 million users in Q3?

Pinterest is going about its business, creating a seamless user
experience, one that directly influences and drives sales,
attracting new users, and landing partnerships. They’re not
broadcasting these moves to the world, rather, letting their work
do the talking for them.

Brand Impact: Pinterest speaks for itself. With over 200 million
people using the platform, undeniable influence in purchase
behavior, and a streamlined sales journey, how can your brand
not benefit by developing a content strategy for the platform?
52
Pinterest
Quietly growing.
Image via Pinterest.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
Looking to ease hesitancies about advertising on the platform,
Pinterest launched a self-serve ad platform. The platform connects
brands and advertisers with its in-house creative shop, Pin
Collective, to create content and ads that perform well and deliver
results.

Brand Impact: The platform is perfect for brands just starting to
advertise on Pinterest. It leverages its in-house content creation
and know-how to create the best ad experience possible for users
and advertisers alike.
53
Pinterest
Speaking of content strategy…
Image via Digiday.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 54
YouTube
For the first time since its launch, YouTube got a new logo, as well
as a whole new look. The new homepage features breaking news,
suggested content, trending videos, and new uploads. 

From a product standpoint, YouTube made a big move in growing
its presence as a social network, introducing in-app messaging
and sharing. The move is a clear effort to keep users within
YouTube’s walls and away from simply copying and pasting a link
into Facebook or Messenger, where a hefty majority of its video
shares occur.

Additionally, Google combined a pair of its products in merging
Google Play with YouTube Red, creating a video and music
service to better compete against mainstays like Spotify.
Image via YouTube.
Papa’s got a brand new bag.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 55
YouTube
A highly-anticipated move, YouTube TV is growing in popularity,
causing YouTube to roll the service out to an expanded lineup of
cities.

The success of YouTube TV makes knowledge of and practicing
advertising in social programming even more necessary for
advertisers, which is why YouTube is trotting its success in 6-
second ads.

Brand Impact: 6-second ads, while tricky, are a great way to
pique your audience’s interest on a subject or product. Leverage
this interest by ending with a quick call to action or redirection
(ex: Learn more by…) that leads viewers to a site or page that
further educates and engages them, bettering your brand’s
chances at generating meaningful conversions.
Image via TechCrunch.
TV and 6-second ads.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 56
LinkedIn
LinkedIn is catching on to the power of native content,
announcing a few content sharing updates aimed at increasing
time spent on the platform.

Users can now upload video content natively, rather than having
to share a YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook link and pull users out of
the platform.

LinkedIn finally gave way to multi-image sharing, something that
is widely adopted across other platforms.

Brand Impact: These moves help brands keep users attention,
greatly increasing the likelihood that a viewer will continue
scrolling content on the page over leaving LinkedIn to watch a
video, and then hoping that the user returns to the platform after
watching.
Image via LinkedIn.
Pushing for native content.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 57
• After being turned down in a $30B bid to buy
Snapchat, Google is preparing to launch Stamp,
its Discover-style, AMP-based news platform.

• Adobe launched Spark, its content creation tool
made specifically for social media.

• VSCO launched a video-editing tool.

• Musical.ly is adding content recommendations,
as well as a new look for user profiles.

• Giphy is aiming to better show its value and
impact, adding view counts to GIFs.
• Nextdoor, a neighborhood-based social network,
is closing in on 100 million users.

• Sarahah, an anonymous messaging and review
platform has generated over 250 million visitors
(accounts are not required to engage on the
network).

• Reddit’s efforts in banning toxic subreddits appear
to have paid off.

• Now over 1 billion users, WhatsApp now offers
business profiles, and will soon serve as an ad
space within Facebook’s web of apps.
Some extra notes from around the industry in Q3…
Miscellaneous
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 58
See how Instagram opening its API to third-party analytics is a big win for
marketers (hint: organic content and attribution).

With Amazon moving towards social media, what does that mean for
other social networks? We took a look at how the retail industry could
look in Facebook’s web of apps.

Facebook introduced Brand Groups, which are a great tool for marketers
in generating and leveraging brand loyalty.
In case you missed it or have a little extra time
over lunch, catch up on our musings from Q3.
Supplemental Reading
Like what you see? There’s more where that came from. Subscribe to our blog, and
get our updates, point of view, and social media know-how delivered right to your
inbox. 

Still not convinced? Your subscription also ensures that you’ll be among the first
alerted when we publish future Status Updates.
Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
THANK
YOU
www.thesociallights.com
59Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |

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Status Update: Social Media Trends and Updates from Q3, 2017

  • 1. STATUS UPDATE A quarterly publication from The Social Lights®
  • 2. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 2 What’s ahead? Q3 Highlights Facebook Messenger Instagram Snapchat Twitter Pinterest YouTube Increasing Feed Curation Improving Transparency Industry Themes Platform Updates LinkedIn Amazon Eyeing Social Miscellaneous
  • 3. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 3 SOCIAL MEDIA MOVES FAST. REALLY FAST. That’s where we come in. Every 3 months, we bring you all the updates from around the social sphere. So, what went down in Q3? Amazon Eyeing Social.
 Notorious for disrupting industries, recent platform and product announcements have Jeff Bezos and Co. looming over the social world. Find out: How would an Amazon-fueled social platform affect the industry? Can brands adapt and thrive? Improving Transparency.
 For months, some of the world’s largest brands have called for more transparency in social advertising, as well as in partnerships and content. Find out: What are platforms doing to appease some of the most influential media buyers? Increasing Feed Curation.
 Platform algorithms and a saturated ad space make for tough sailing for brands in social. Find out: What updates are platforms making that will affect (and potentially benefit) your brand? Jump ahead >> Jump ahead >> Jump ahead >>
  • 4. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 4 Increased feed curation continues.
  • 5. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 5 Nearly all platforms are leveraging algorithms to show users more of what they want to see. Whether through artificial intelligence, image recognition, keyword filters, or user history targeting, see how networks are working to create a unique experience that attracts and retains users. Increasing Feed Curation Platforms showing you what you want to see. Facebook Snapchat Instagram YouTube Twitter (twice) Amazon Brand Impact: Algorithms favor two key sentiments. 1. Relevance 2. Engagement Publish timely and engaging content. Reach more people. It’s that simple.
  • 6. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 6 Whether we (consumers) like it or not, platform and product updates are typically brought on by necessity. As brands and users continue to grow on a platform, so does the content load. That content load has grown so drastically, users can’t possibly consume it all. So, platforms took matters into their own hands, introducing algorithms that show (tell) users what they want to see. These algorithms have been widely disliked, but their utility is undeniable. As advertisers continue flocking to the social space, the effects felt by organic content are carrying over into promoted content as well. Increasing Feed Curation Content volume is unconsumable. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
  • 7. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 7 As marketers have seen organic content decline in performance and reach, similar effects are taking hold in paid social. Now, as advertisers gravitate to social, the ad space is growing saturated. You’ve probably noticed this. Odds are, one of the first five posts seen on Facebook and Instagram is #sponsored, and you’ll be served an ad after a handful of stories. BuzzSumo published a study on the topic, citing market saturation as a major cause for the drop in reach and performance. Increasing Feed Curation Effects of organic carrying over to paid. Image via BuzzSumo
  • 8. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 8 As the pattern goes, as market saturation increases, so does the price of appearing in said market. Social media’s ad market is no different. Where are marketers feeling the biggest impact? In their budgets. With increased competition and an overload of content, advertisers are getting less bang for their buck. The cost of appearing in the space is rising, while performance and distribution are holding consistent or worse, dropping. Not exactly the best news for advertisers. Increasing Feed Curation Ad prices up, performance down. Image via AdStage
  • 9. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 9 If you subscribe to our eNews, you already know our take. The algorithm is beatable, and you can do it by following these five steps. 1. Video, video, video. 2. Don’t take Facebook users outside of the platform. 3. Make your content painstakingly easy to process. 4. Know, understand, and listen to your audience. 5. Be aware, and be in the moment. So fear not, fellow marketers. Organic content can still thrive, even in today’s pay-to-play environment. You just have to know the rules. Asset pulled from previous eNews Increasing Feed Curation All is not lost. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
  • 10. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 10 You could and should have! Stay in-the-know for all things social by subscribing to our monthly eNewsletter, where we share key updates from the industry, details on our latest content, and information about ongoings at TSL HQ! In our eNews, we’ve discussed topics from beating the Facebook algorithm, to Amazon’s potential battle with Facebook, to top tips for creating content with Snapchat Spectacles. It’s easy to fall behind in social media. Our newsletter makes keeping up easier. Increasing Feed Curation Why didn’t I hear about this? SUBSCRIBE TODAY Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
  • 11. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 11 Increasing Feed Curation TSL Brand Crush: The Knot The Knot, an extremely popular wedding planning service, is one of the best in appeasing platform algorithms. The Knot effectively sources UGC, highlights both its service and its users, and develops a unique, recognizable social presence. Even better, the brand does all of this without a single paid ad. You read that correctly. The Knot uses all organic content. How, you ask? The Knot does these things, which are all highly favored by algorithms. • Aligned influencer partnerships • Continually revamped hashtag strategy • Audience involvement • Constant performance evaluation
  • 12. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 12 Social platforms improving transparency.
  • 13. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 13 Social platforms are perpetually trying to appease advertisers, updating ad practices and targeting methods to better show authenticity in the space. In targeting, Facebook is removing options to fight discriminatory advertising, ones that wrongly divide an audience or could otherwise be used for the wrong reasons. Conversely, Pinterest moved in the opposite direction, ramping up its targeting capabilities to help advertisers reach exactly the right person in the most cost-efficient way possible. Improving Transparency Transparency in ads and targeting.
  • 14. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 14 Arguably the biggest complaints from advertisers in social media come in reporting and performance. Following Proctor & Gamble’s stand in January, platforms have made significant updates to prove worthy of advertising budgets. Facebook and Snapchat both launched new, improved measurement and reporting tools. Instagram expanded API access and reporting metrics, and Snapchat announced partnerships with reporting and ratings. Even further, Facebook announced that the platform would refund advertisers for those ‘fat-finger’ clicks. You know the ones, when you accidentally tap an ad or link and can’t get back to the original screen fast enough? Yeah, you don’t have to pay for those anymore. Improving Transparency Transparency in reporting and performance.
  • 15. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 15 The success of influencer marketing brought on suspicions, questions, and problems with authenticity on social media, with questions commonly raised about influencers selling out, overall brand alignment, and what content was #sponsored. Platforms addressed these issues through partnership call-outs, incentivized influencer programs, and directly labeling #sponsored content, doing their best to appease all parties (advertisers, users, influencers, governing bodies). Improving Transparency Transparency in partnerships and influencers.
  • 16. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 16 Fake news, inauthentic profiles, and misleading content have plagued social platforms over the past calendar year. Twitter and Facebook led efforts to corral inauthentic content. Twitter used AI and machine learning to shut down approximately 300,000 accounts linked to terror and harmful content. Facebook cracked down on fake ads, those that on the surface promote a concept or product, but then lead to a different, negative destination. According to reports, Facebook shuts down more than 1 million accounts every day due to inauthentic content. Improving Transparency Transparency in authenticity.
  • 17. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 17 In authenticity, brands have a great opportunity in appeasing both platforms and fans alike through full transparency. That’s been Away’s, a luxury luggage company, M.O. on social. Away uses brand-aligned influencers, calls out its partnerships for audience awareness, and full supply-chain transparency to deliver a truly authentic experience to its followers. Doing so, Away gives credit where credit is due for influencers and partnerships, which is highly favorable for platform algorithms. Additionally, this wins over its audience through honesty, fostering brand loyalty. To top it off, Away puts their money where their mouth is, offering a lifetime warranty, which shows they believe in what they’re selling, a surefire way to win over consumers. Yeah, we’re swooning. Improving Transparency TSL Brand Crush: AWAY
  • 18. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 18 Amazon looming over social media.
  • 19. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 19 Amazon is drawing curious and watchful eyes in advertising and social media. From its influencer program to platform announcements, Amazon appears to be on the cusp of moving into social media. In July, Amazon drew rumors around Anytime, a one- to-one messaging service for platform users. This, along with recent advancements in chatbot technology, could create a platform experience rivaling that of Messenger. Not long after, Jeff Bezos and Co. launched Spark, an influencer-driven, product-focused version on Instagram. What does Facebook do if Amazon pushes into social? We speculated on the potential effects. Amazon Eyeing Social Platform announcements. Image via TechCrunch
  • 20. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 20 Tech companies and social platforms alike have been tied to hardware product announcements in recent months. Amazon has earned headlines for Alexa and Alexa-enabled devices. One of the biggest concepts in tech is wearables, and social platforms have zeroed in on tech-enabled glasses as their next frontier. Amazon may have joined that race in Q3, sparking rumors about Alexa-enabled glasses. Should Amazon dive into social, these glasses would likely be a direct competitor to Snap’s Spectacles and Facebook’s future lookalikes, making for a pretty entertaining race for the best tech-enabled smart glasses. Amazon Eyeing Social Product announcements.
  • 21. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 21 Amazon’s influencer program is attracting attention, most notably for its recent move, opening services and incentives up to YouTube stars. It makes perfect sense, given that YouTube’s CPG and Retail influencers carry significant weight in driving purchases and brand sentiment. BRAND IMPACT: This move greatly benefits brands in sales attribution, the holy grail of social media marketing. Brands with an Amazon presence can use partnership-specific link coding to track conversions, page visits, and ultimately, sales. In doing so, both brands and influencers can generate a better understanding of what inspires consumers to act, leading to stronger, more efficient influencer campaigns in the future. Amazon Eyeing Social Attracting and incentivizing influencers.
  • 22. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 22 Twitch, Amazon’s eSports and livestreaming platform, got a UI revamp, giving it the look and feel of a social network, rather than a video platform. The UI is built on the Twitch Pulse social stream, aiming to improve and encourage interpersonal engagement, show more recommended (another word for curated) content, and streamline overall content discovery on the platform. Amazon Eyeing Social A new look for Twitch. Image via Venture Beat
  • 23. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 23 Many brands have and are serving as cautionary tales in the “[Brand] suffers as Amazon encroaches on [industry]” conversation. The biggest takeaway? Don’t try to compete with Amazon in Amazon’s world. Resistance is futile. So, is there any hope for brands? Of course there is! Brands can still thrive by following three key steps. 1. Differentiation: Show how you’re different, emphasize your service, and drive that messaging home to generate loyalty within your audience. 2. Focused Brand Identity: Stay true to your brand, how you treat customers, and what you stand for. 3. Engagement: Show your customers how much they matter to you. Reward them. Incentivize them. Engage them. Image via Adweek. Amazon Eyeing Social How can brands prepare?
  • 24. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 24 As we noted, there are three key factors for retailers and battling Amazon. Few are succeeding at doing so at the level of REI. Differentiation: REI doesn’t bend or concede to Amazon’s efforts in dropping prices and offering day-of delivery. Instead, REI promotes the knowledge gained by in-store visits, the quality of its products, and the self-assured feeling consumers get when walking out of their door. Focused Brand Identity: REI isn’t and never has been about sales. The retailer has always promoted the experience gained when using its products. Engagement: In addition to its in-store benefits, REI extends its engagement to social media, constantly sharing user-generated content, fielding questions and complaints, and celebrating consumer wins. That’s a model to follow in an Amazon-heavy world. Amazon Eyeing Social TSL Brand Crush: REI
  • 25. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 25 What else happened in Q2? Platform by Platform Facebook Messenger Instagram Snapchat Twitter Pinterest YouTube Miscellaneous
  • 26. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 26 Facebook Facebook made it a priority to show its value and quantify ad performance on the platform in Q3. In addition to a new Ads Manager, it launched several features to improve the platform’s overall ad experience, including improved business insights. • Did you see a good ad in your feed? Create a similar one for your brand. • Wondering what ads you’ve interacted with? Check out your history. • Curious if your ad is performing well in certain areas? Check out the new location indicator to see where your content is resonating the most. • Really happy with that influencer’s post from your brand partnership? Promote it further. Believe it or not. If you’re an advertiser, Facebook wants you to be happy. Proving value to advertisers. Image via Social Media Today
  • 27. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | Facebook announced that cover photos are now open to 360- degree shots and even video clips. Additionally, as influencer marketing remains a buzzword, Facebook announced its own influencer program, aiming to help content creators monetize and reward their efforts. The program will also likely be used as a measuring stick against other platforms in attracting brand partnership dollars. 27 Facebook Opening up new brand opportunities. Image via Facebook. Brand Impact: These provide a great opportunity for brands to show more personality and flare in their Pages. Protip: Use a highlight reel, event footage, or content teasers to immediately capture interest, show off your brand experience, and encourage fans to scroll down to view more content.) Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
  • 28. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | Arguably Facebook’s largest announcement of the quarter was the launch of Watch, its television-style video discovery and programming feature. Watch features a blend of sponsored, scripted, and live content, bridging the gap between social media and TV, a trend we broke down back in March. As Watch content continues to thrive, the question arrives, what does this mean for marketers? Brand Impact: Leverage data from both TV and social advertising to create an informed ad strategy. Be sure to account for 6-second ads, pre-roll, mid-roll, and more. Further, Facebook’s targeting capabilities help brands ensure that their content aligns both with their audience and the show in which they’re advertising. Pro Tip: Don’t want your ad associated with certain publishers? Blacklist them. 28 Facebook Watch on Facebook Image via Facebook.
  • 29. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 29 Facebook Protecting the community. Amidst the Fake News era, recurring natural disasters, and divisive stances taken on social media, Facebook announced several efforts aimed at creating a positive, authentic experience for its community. In harmful and negative content, Facebook is banning both the content itself and its publishers, as well as demonetizing the practice. In times of crisis, Facebook upped its crisis response capabilities and further expanded its Amber Alert notifications. If users want to hide certain profiles temporarily, they can. Most recently, Mark Zuckerberg also took to Facebook Live to address concerns and issues raised about Facebook’s involvement in the election. Image via the TechCrunch.
  • 30. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 30 Facebook “Please use Stories,” Facebook pleaded, repeatedly. Facebook’s Snapchat-duplicate Stories have yet to take off on the platform, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to get users to post to the space. In the last few months, Facebook added live video to its Stories section, similar to Instagram. It also added audience sharing options (private, public, etc.) to help users choose who sees stories. Most notably, Facebook started testing the ability to cross-post stories from Instagram to its flagship app, as stories have caught on extremely well on Instagram. Brand Impact: Marketers need to be prepared for a shift, should the content type become mainstream on Facebook. While it’s easy to scoff at Stories not doing well on the platform, Facebook still offers unrivaled scale in social media. Image via TechCrunch.
  • 31. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 31 Facebook Announcements and loose ends. During Q3, Facebook also made the following moves within its flagship app… • Instant Article subscriptions, possibly revitalizing an industry it nearly killed off. • Hardware projects in smart speakers, phones, smart glasses. • Improved UIs for News Feed, Marketplace, Movies, Trending News, and Applications. • Bringing live video to Spaces, Facebook’s AR / VR app. • Testing a native GIF maker. • Keep reading with related articles. • Catching up with Google and Pinterest in image search. • Animated keyword and comment triggers. • Branded Groups and admin badges. • Improved translation capabilities. Image via Facebook.
  • 32. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 32 Messenger Messenger has leveraged chatbots to draw headlines in recent months, a technology that is slowly catching on and is widely underutilized. The platform, which now boasts over 1.3 billion users, improved M’s (its virtual AI assistant) integrations, now offering quick responses and response gifs, better suggestions, and even helping you buy movie tickets. Brand Impact: In addition to the intrigue of purchasing items directly through Messenger, the platform expanded its payment options. With the expiration of Amazon’s patent on one-click purchasing, Messenger could soon be a significant player in social buying and shopping. Growth, AI, and Generating Conversions. Image via Marketing Land.
  • 33. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 33 Messenger TSL Brand Crush: Shake Shack Shake Shack launched an FAQ-based chatbot aimed at streamlining the customer experience. The brand team loaded the bot with over 300 questions and responses to help users find their nearest Shake Shack, check out their menu, and navigate common questions from other customers. This consumer-first approach is key in chatbots. If they don’t answer the questions being asked, then what’s the point? Way to go, Shake Shack.
  • 34. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 34 Messenger Messenger ads have been a source of speculation and intrigue since Facebook announced the move in Q2. Now, Facebook is hoping that brands will delve further into the one-to-one messaging space, announcing the Messages Objective for Facebook ads. Brand Impact: These ads open conversations in Messenger, giving brands an opportunity to have meaningful one-to-one conversations with consumers who want to be spoken to. These users are identified through targeting and user behaviors, giving your brand the best opportunity to drive consumers to action. Ads are here. Image via Facebook.
  • 35. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 35 Instagram Image via Instagram. Seemingly a quarterly announcement, Instagram added another 100 million users, eclipsing 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users in Q3. Instagram has added over 200 million users in the last 8 months, and is up to over 2 million advertisers in the space. Remember that thing we said about saturated market spaces and prices? Might be worth revisiting and applying that to Instagram. Additionally, Instagram’s growth is made more impressive by its adoption within the younger demographics, thriving in a population where Facebook has historically struggled. Growing fast, and winning teens.
  • 36. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 36 Instagram In an effort to improve its one-to-one messaging interface, Instagram made several updates in adding photo and video replies and new creative tools for fun responses. Even better, Stories are now shareable within Instagram Direct, offering word-of-mouth sharing opportunities for brands in the space. One of Instagram’s more popular posting tools, carousels now support both vertical and horizontal photos, as opposed to its previous square-ratio format. In live content, Instagram introduced split-screen broadcasts, a handy tool for interviews, talk shows, or live conversations. And in a carry-over from Facebook, Instagram announced masks and filters for live broadcasts. Improving post, broadcast, and messaging capabilities. Image via The Verge.
  • 37. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 37 Algorithms, as big of bummers as they are, aren’t going anywhere, and they’re causing problems for brands and influencers alike. As such, paid promotions and partnerships are becoming more commonplace on Instagram. Instagram is regularly coming out with updates and new ad types, but the platform made waves with its announcement of Canvas ads within Stories, which was met with very positive response. Brand Impact: Canvas ads offer a fullscreen experience that enables users to explore the path to conversion within a familiar environment (Stories). The multi-frame capability helps users develop a thorough understanding of a brand message without leaving the platform. Additionally, Canvas ads bookend content, are easy to skip, and can be highly targeted, so they don’t disrupt the user experience. Instagram New advertising tools. Image via Instagram.
  • 38. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 38 Instagram One of the hallmarks of Instagram is its positive and supportive community. Instagram is consistently working to keep it this way, and for an image-first platform, that ironically starts in the comments. Instagram announced threaded comments, aiming to localize conversations and make it easier to navigate high-traffic posts. A big move in fostering positivity, Instagram also gave users the ability to allow or disallow accounts from commenting on posts. Community care and interactions. Image via Instagram.
  • 39. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 39 Snapchat Advertisers have been curious about Snapchat’s value in terms of viewership and engagement. Eyes were opened in Q3, when Snapchat announced that over 29 million people tuned in to NBC News on the platform. The huge numbers generated by the twice- daily show were impressive for two key reasons. 1. 29 million viewers is a very large number. 2. Snapchat thrives in the teenage demographics, who are leaving traditional TV and news programming at a rapid rate. This level of viewership is encouraging for Snapchat, and while engagement metrics remain cloudy on the platform, the success is pushing Snapchat to move into scripted content by the end of the year. Original content showing strong.
  • 40. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 40 Snapchat Prior to their Q2 earnings announcement, Snapchat released a report, detailing who, when, and where people use the app. The report highlighted that nearly 60% of Snapchatters are 24 years old or younger, with 36% of users falling between 18-24. This isn’t the only report to show Snapchat’s strength in drawing teens, an area that Facebook has seriously struggled. Additionally, Snapchat rolled out verification to influencers and top profiles. With audience size remaining a mystery on the platform, this distinction could be the start of a big push targeting influencer marketing budgets. As for the “where”, Snapchat doubled down on geolocation, partnering with Foursquare and Factual to further enhance its location-based advertising offerings. Who’s on the platform? Image via Snapchat.
  • 41. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 41 Snapchat If Snapchat wants to draw those advertising dollars, the platform will have to prove it can deliver business impact. They realize this, and Snapchat is starting with standard social media metrics. Web Traffic: By giving users the ability to add links to snaps, brands and marketers can start drawing insights on click-through rates, purchase intention and overall engagement for the platform. Advanced Mode: Snapchat launched its own version of Facebook’s Power Editor, which will help brands target, test, track, and measure campaigns. Further, brands can automate campaigns to increase creative and targeting variants for optimized A/B testing. Delivering ROI Image via TechCrunch.
  • 42. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 42 Snapchat In advertising, brands are getting creative on Snapchat, and the platform is even incentivizing small business advertisers who develop content to fit its vertical format. Burger King made the biggest waves in Snapchat ads during Q3, becoming the first brand to shoot an ad entirely on Spectacles. Brands have seen success in Snapchat ads, especially in driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, but many advertisers are still struggling to create ads that convert on the platform. In response, Snapchat announced an education suite aimed at helping partners and agencies learn about the platform, and how to create ads that deliver ROI. The program, along with performance announcements, are key for Snapchat as Snap looks to boost its market value, which fell below its IPO price for the first time in July. Ads and media. Image via AdWeek.
  • 43. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 43 Snapchat At TSL, we’re constantly preaching the importance of developing content specifically for a platform, not just copying and pasting a TV ad to YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook and calling it a day. Burger King’s Spectacles ad is a best-in-class example of creating platform-specific content. What better way to advertise on a platform built on ephemeral and in-the-moment content, than creating a first-person view of the drive thru and featuring the brand’s mascot? In doing so, Burger King added to the user experience, rather than interrupting it. They created a piece of content that feels native to the platform, rather than getting overly branded. And finally, they leveraged emerging tech in a way that engages the audience in a way never-before done by brands. Hats off to the King. TSL Brand Crush: Burger King Image via AdWeek.
  • 44. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 44 Snapchat Snapchat’s dancing hot dog has been intriguing and alluring for marketers over recent months, leaving brands and individuals wondering when the feature would be used in advertising. That day is here, as Snapchat announced 3D World Lenses are open for purchase and development. The AR vehicle, especially the interactive ones, are undeniably engaging, and Spiegel and Co. hope that the new offering helps brands accomplish the following. • Inspire engagement • Spark action • Drive awareness and favorability • Increase consideration and purchase intent. We dove into the topic back in June and brainstormed some immediate applications of the ad type. Check it out, and see what your brand can do in the space. Opening features to advertisers. Image via Snapchat.
  • 45. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 45 Snapchat Dunkin Donuts has been one of the most active brands on Snapchat, earning recognition for their use of filters, content strategy, and made-for-Snapchat approach. In August, the coffee chain launched a filter campaign that allowed fans to cast their vote for their favorite flavor and help determine their next iced coffee flavor. To do so, Dunkin’ launched five flavor- specific filters, and each use constituted a fan vote. This approach is stellar for several reasons. First, it gives consumers a voice, something they yearn for. Second, it brings in a self-influenced competition (we know how much people love taking sides). Third, it encourages word-of-mouth, as friends will likely try to get other friends to participate in the competition. Finally, all of these Filter uses are being sent to dozens if not hundreds of people, with each use dropping CPM and engagement-based costs. TSL Brand Crush: Dunkin’ Image via PopSugar.
  • 46. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 46 Snapchat True to form, much of Snapchat’s efforts centered around developing new creative tools for content creation. Those tools included… • Multi-snap recording and a color-changing brush. • Customizable voice filters. • 3D, Bitmoji world lenses. • AR-based sky filters (ex: turn day into night). • Crowd Surf, a very cool, crowdsourced content curator that is perfect for showcasing events. Creativity first. Image via The Next Web.
  • 47. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 47 Snapchat Snapchat started several rumors in Q3, linking up with a pair of the world’s most valuable companies. At Apple’s annual product launch event, SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi showed off the iPhone’s ability to identify and attach AR masks to faces in great detail using an iPhone-specific version of Snapchat. Similarly, Google and Snapchat partnered to launch a coding contest for teens to self-develop lenses in an effort to earn mentoring sessions and an opportunity to have his/her filter go live nationally on Snapchat. These ties sparked speculations on future partnerships and buy- out opportunities, should Snapchat’s struggles in growth persist. Speculation on collaborations. Image via Gizmodo.
  • 48. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 48 Twitter Twitter’s strong user growth stalled during Q3, causing the conversational platform to make some major updates to its user experience. The cornerstone for Twitter, its 140 character limit, is no more. In an effort to help users better communicate, convey opinions, and share conversations, Twitter doubled its limit to 280 characters. The announcement was met with apathy and heavy sarcasm. Oh, really? On Twitter? Who could’ve predicted that? Throughout the quarter, Twitter made other updates around community care, including a mute option to keep trolls and strangers out of your feed. Image via Twitter. Stalling growth and platform updates.
  • 49. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 49 Twitter Image via Twitter. A new way to advertise. In advertising, Twitter introduced an innovative, monthly payment program that allows brands to buy ads for $99 per month. It’s definitely worth looking into if your brand has an active advertising presence on Twitter. Brand Impact: The flat-fee model offers great opportunity in its distribution elements. If an advertisement is well received and engaged with, Twitter will continue pushing the ad out to more individuals at no extra charge to the advertiser. Conversely, if it is not well received, the ad’s reach will likely be shut down. So, basically, make good ads. Get good results.
  • 50. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 50 Twitter Image via Twitter. The programming train keeps rolling. In media, Twitter’s live streaming success is catching the attention of publishers, causing the platform to roll out an expanded line of programming, including a regular series from Converse. Brand Impact: These social programming lineups appear to be very effective in courting the younger demographics. As social programming continues to thrive, ads will become more prevalent in the space. Further, as more brands look to engage Gen Z and the younger demos, brands will be able to leverage social’s superior targeting capabilities to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time (see conversation here).
  • 51. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | Pinterest continued to prioritize search in Q3, moving keyword- and lens-based search to its home screen. Additionally, the platform introduced new ways to search in allowing users to zoom and crop images to focus in on certain products or pieces. Pinterest’s success in visual search caught the attention of Target. The retailer is leveraging Pinterest’s Lens to direct image searches straight to Target listings, allowing users to add products to registries or carts, streamlining the path from product discovery to purchase. Brand Impact: Brands can benefit from Pinterest’s visual search tool in two key ways. First, Lens makes sourcing content inspiration and examples extremely simple. Second, in making products and packaging simple and eye-catching, brands can leverage the tool’s strength in product discovery. 51 Pinterest Search. Find. Buy. Image via Engadget.
  • 52. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | As Facebook’s family of apps blast their growth numbers, Pinterest is taking the opposite approach. How many people heard that the platform surpassed 200 million users in Q3? Pinterest is going about its business, creating a seamless user experience, one that directly influences and drives sales, attracting new users, and landing partnerships. They’re not broadcasting these moves to the world, rather, letting their work do the talking for them. Brand Impact: Pinterest speaks for itself. With over 200 million people using the platform, undeniable influence in purchase behavior, and a streamlined sales journey, how can your brand not benefit by developing a content strategy for the platform? 52 Pinterest Quietly growing. Image via Pinterest.
  • 53. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | Looking to ease hesitancies about advertising on the platform, Pinterest launched a self-serve ad platform. The platform connects brands and advertisers with its in-house creative shop, Pin Collective, to create content and ads that perform well and deliver results. Brand Impact: The platform is perfect for brands just starting to advertise on Pinterest. It leverages its in-house content creation and know-how to create the best ad experience possible for users and advertisers alike. 53 Pinterest Speaking of content strategy… Image via Digiday.
  • 54. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 54 YouTube For the first time since its launch, YouTube got a new logo, as well as a whole new look. The new homepage features breaking news, suggested content, trending videos, and new uploads. From a product standpoint, YouTube made a big move in growing its presence as a social network, introducing in-app messaging and sharing. The move is a clear effort to keep users within YouTube’s walls and away from simply copying and pasting a link into Facebook or Messenger, where a hefty majority of its video shares occur. Additionally, Google combined a pair of its products in merging Google Play with YouTube Red, creating a video and music service to better compete against mainstays like Spotify. Image via YouTube. Papa’s got a brand new bag.
  • 55. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 55 YouTube A highly-anticipated move, YouTube TV is growing in popularity, causing YouTube to roll the service out to an expanded lineup of cities. The success of YouTube TV makes knowledge of and practicing advertising in social programming even more necessary for advertisers, which is why YouTube is trotting its success in 6- second ads. Brand Impact: 6-second ads, while tricky, are a great way to pique your audience’s interest on a subject or product. Leverage this interest by ending with a quick call to action or redirection (ex: Learn more by…) that leads viewers to a site or page that further educates and engages them, bettering your brand’s chances at generating meaningful conversions. Image via TechCrunch. TV and 6-second ads.
  • 56. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 56 LinkedIn LinkedIn is catching on to the power of native content, announcing a few content sharing updates aimed at increasing time spent on the platform. Users can now upload video content natively, rather than having to share a YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook link and pull users out of the platform. LinkedIn finally gave way to multi-image sharing, something that is widely adopted across other platforms. Brand Impact: These moves help brands keep users attention, greatly increasing the likelihood that a viewer will continue scrolling content on the page over leaving LinkedIn to watch a video, and then hoping that the user returns to the platform after watching. Image via LinkedIn. Pushing for native content.
  • 57. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 57 • After being turned down in a $30B bid to buy Snapchat, Google is preparing to launch Stamp, its Discover-style, AMP-based news platform. • Adobe launched Spark, its content creation tool made specifically for social media. • VSCO launched a video-editing tool. • Musical.ly is adding content recommendations, as well as a new look for user profiles. • Giphy is aiming to better show its value and impact, adding view counts to GIFs. • Nextdoor, a neighborhood-based social network, is closing in on 100 million users. • Sarahah, an anonymous messaging and review platform has generated over 250 million visitors (accounts are not required to engage on the network). • Reddit’s efforts in banning toxic subreddits appear to have paid off. • Now over 1 billion users, WhatsApp now offers business profiles, and will soon serve as an ad space within Facebook’s web of apps. Some extra notes from around the industry in Q3… Miscellaneous
  • 58. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC | 58 See how Instagram opening its API to third-party analytics is a big win for marketers (hint: organic content and attribution). With Amazon moving towards social media, what does that mean for other social networks? We took a look at how the retail industry could look in Facebook’s web of apps. Facebook introduced Brand Groups, which are a great tool for marketers in generating and leveraging brand loyalty. In case you missed it or have a little extra time over lunch, catch up on our musings from Q3. Supplemental Reading Like what you see? There’s more where that came from. Subscribe to our blog, and get our updates, point of view, and social media know-how delivered right to your inbox. Still not convinced? Your subscription also ensures that you’ll be among the first alerted when we publish future Status Updates. Please Distribute | © 2017 The Social Lights® LLC |
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