The biggest buzzes surrounding social media right now are all about algorithms, with more platforms announcing changes to the invisible formulas that ultimately shape each user’s experience. Facebook has been making constant algorithmic changes to their newsfeed all along, but now other platforms are following suit so they can better serve more paid ads to users. For businesses and marketers, that hopefully means more successful advertising on social media.
Back in February, Twitter announced the gradual roll-out of a new algorithm that rearranges the tops of users’ timelines to show tweets it predicts will be interesting to them, something like an extension of the “while you were gone” feature. The rest of the newsfeed will still appear in the familiar reverse-chronological order, however, not everyone was eager to embrace the change. After users expressed themselves loudly, Twitter decided to make the feature optional. (If you hate it, you can learn how to turn it off here.) If users agree to keep the feature, the new algorithm could hypothetically push ads and paid content to the top of their feeds for better visibility.
Shortly after Twitter’s announcement, Instagram shared it too would release an algorithm to filter users’ crowded newsfeeds by providing content relevant to their interests. Instagram argued that users miss 70 percent of the content in their feeds, but ultimately the algorithm would let Instagram control the amount of paid ads that are mixed in with content from users’ friends and family. Users spoke out against the change, with InstaGirl extraordinaire Kendall Jenner echoing sentiments that Instagram shouldn’t “fix something that isn’t broken.” Some users began spreading a #turnmeon hashtag encouraging their followers to turn on push notifications so they wouldn’t miss any posts. Instagram later tweeted that the new filtering will be put on hold and, like Twitter, it’ll likely be offered as an optional feature. Despite the complaints, it looks as though algorithm filtering is inevitable.
You might have noticed a lot more emotion in your newsfeed since February saw the release of Facebook Reactions, which finally addressed users’ request for a way to easily respond to a post when a “like” isn’t appropriate. Instead of having to type a comment to say how they feel, users can quickly hover over or long-press on the like button to choose from five emoji reactions: “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry.” For companies and brands that are very interactive with their Facebook fans, the Reaction feature should be a great tool for enhancing engagement.
Facebook also has been pushing for more video content for awhile now, especially from advertisers and publishers. To make it easier for publishers to see the payoff from their video content, last month Facebook released a more concise view of video metrics, and last week they responded to requests for a simple way to see how videos are performing on a specific day. Using the New Daily Breakdown, Facebook Page owners can see specific day-by-day metrics for their video content: Minutes viewed, number of views for the day, and the number of 10-second views. Also, Facebook announced it will discontinue support for BlackBerry 10 by the end of the year. (Blackberry users: You’re still out there??)
As users well know, DIY doesn’t always turn out perfectly IRL. This week Pinterest released a host of new instructional How-To pins and announced that users will begin to see similar how-to pins from major brands on the site. This new style of pin will likely serve as a model for regular users and smaller brands to design complicated instructional posts, like recipes or hair-braiding tutorials. But more importantly, it should help us avoid the dreaded #pinterestfail when replicating DIY projects.
This week the app announced a ton of new features now available on the “chat” tab. In order to compete with Facebook’s improving Messenger service, Snapchat’s update includes audio calls, better video calling, stickers, batch image uploads and more. Regular users will probably love these features, but it remains to be seen how brands and companies will adopt them into their marketing strategies on this platform.