The year 2016 has been filled with a whirlwind of changes and updates for the social media marketing industry. This year, we saw the importance of social media during an election, our favorite platforms added new features (hello rewind on Snapchat stories), and we even lost a platform along the way (R.I.P. Vine). No matter the platform, 2016 brought new features that were designed to improve both the user and marketer experience. Here is our recap of the top social media news from 2016.
The sudden rise and fall of the social media app Peach was so quick, some users never even got on board. Peach was an app designed to help users share gifs, music, images, etc. all in one place. The idea was simple but the interactive features of the app and the nostalgic feel it gave users, propelled it to fame… for about a week. After downloading the app and using it for an hour or so, users became bored with the app. Almost as quickly as it began, Peach’s fame came to an end and everyone went back to tried and true social media apps.
Snapchat had initially created Geofilters for public places, but when they were met with high demand for personalized filters they created a way for the users to do it themselves. On-Demand Geofilters can last anywhere from one hour to thirty days and allow users to create their own Geofilter for business events, parties, weddings, etc. Within the first month, almost half a million Community Geofilters were submitted, and every day, Snaps overlaid with Geofilters are viewed hundreds of millions of times!
In late March, Instagram announced they would be switching from a chronological feed to an algorithmic one that shows the best posts first. Instagram was met with the same negative feedback as Twitter when they tried to do the same thing, but both brands held their own and now, here we are at the end of 2016 still stuck with out-of-order timelines.
We are so accustomed to the instantaneousness of our apps, smartphones, and laptops that even ten second waits cause an eye roll. The new instant Articles feature from Facebook eliminates the slow process of the article loading on your phone’s mobile web by opening the full article within the Facebook app. Readers can now have articles from publishers all over at their fingertips.
Twitter announced some long-awaited exemptions including:
- @names will no longer be counted in replies
- media attachments will no longer count as characters
- users can retweet themselves
- no need to do “.@” for a tweet starting with a username to reach all followers
While these are not updates that will fundamentally change the app, they are a step in the right direction for the app.
Twitter’s new feature provides marketer’s with the ability to target emoji keywords for Twitter ads based on users who have engaged with tweets that featured an emoji. The new type of targeting is made possible by Twitter’s official partners: AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode and 4C. The goal of emoji keyword targeting is to get a sense of the user’s attitude and feeling, allowing marketers to seize unique engagement opportunities.
The new 20% ad guidelines stress the favoritism Facebook has for ads that have little to no text at all. The update is most obvious when users upload an image to the Text Overlay tool, instead of the grid. The image will be ranked as “Ok, Low, Medium or High.” The reviews for the new style of rating images for ads is mixed, but for those who had been following a strict 20% in their ads, they won’t seem much change in the grand scheme of things.
The August update of Instagram brought us Stories, a new feature that lets users share what is going on in their lives that they don’t want on included in their profile. To solve the over-posting problem that some users had, Stories allows them to add updates as much as they want and the images or videos will stay live for 24 hours.
The conversion tracking feature from LinkedIn allows campaign managers to easily track and measure how many leads, sign-ups, content downloads, purchases, etc. they’re getting from a particular piece of content or ad text. This update from LinkedIn is giving campaign managers a more in-depth look at the LinkedIn audiences (industry, title, role, company, etc.) that are driving conversions.
YouTube has dealt with the debate over whether a disclaimer should be included in videos where the creator is paid to showcase a product. In response, they released an optional feature that would add a paid promotion disclosure at the beginning of the video. The disclaimer can also be added to old videos without losing view count and other important metrics.
Snapchat released World Lenses to give their users the ability to add props to their surroundings in a snap. The new lenses are applied the same as selfie lenses, allowing the user to truly customize each post. It seems with every update Snapchat is giving us another way to customize our snaps and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Yelp announced in early December that their new customer engagement style called the “Yelfie,” a play on the word selfie, will encourage users to take a photo of themselves at the business that they are planning to review.
2016 gave us, as users and as marketers, a more in-depth ability to customize content, measure key metrics, engage with consumers, and so much more. If the updates we received from our favorite apps are any indication of what is to come in 2017, we eagerly awaiting the next new features to be announced.