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The week in social: FB video insights, Instagram Explore, and Meerkat points

Instagram updates the Explore page with new features

Earlier this week, Instagram announced two brand new features via its blog, the recreation of its Explore tab on the mobile app, and an improved search function. The Explore tab now allows users to easily look at popular hashtagged photos, as well as popular locations. The top of the Explore tab will feature periodically rotating top collections for users to explore. The search feature has been improved such that users can search for not only hashtags and other user accounts, but specific locations so they can see photos that were taken at a particular place. The updated features are available on both iOS and Android with version 7.0.

Read more on Instagram Blog.

Facebook Messenger no longer requires a Facebook account

For users in the United States, Canada, Peru, and Venezuela, Facebook is allowing Messenger sign-up without having a Facebook account, in order to make the process more seamless for new users. When signing up after downloading the mobile app, all users have to provide is their mobile phone number, a photo, and their name. A News Room post on Facebook goes on the explain that there are additional benefits of signing up with a full Facebook account, such as being able to message Facebook friends straight from the start, but this is likely a move to help make Facebook Messenger a default messaging choice for mobile users in a crowded space.

Read more on Facebook Newsroom.

Facebook launches Celebrate Pride tool with rainbow photo filter

After the ruling by the Supreme Court in the United States legalizing gay marriage, Facebook introduced a tool to help celebrate the ruling, that allows users to click a single button to place a transparent rainbow filter across their profile photos. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the tool, which allows users to preview their photo first before making it the default. As the ruling was top news across traditional as well as social media outlets, many brand and news outlet logos also changed their logos to feature a Rainbow pattern, separate from what Facebook offers to individual users.

Read more on Forbes.

Facebook users can now set expiration dates for videos

Previously only an option for status posts, Facebook now allows Page admins to set expiration dates for natively uploaded videos. Although there was no large announcement made, Facebook updated the related Help entry on its site that defined how the new feature would work. In order to set an expiration date, the user simply has to click the button beneath “Schedule Publish Date” to turn on expiration, and select the date to decide when it is taken offline. Reasons for admins to want videos to expire could be due to a limited length for a particular campaign, or alternately a seasonal message that would not be relevant after a set period of time.

Read more on Social Times.

Snapchat launches native ad format

Earlier this week at Cannes, CEO of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, released a video that explains the benefits of Snapchat’s ad model, the vertical video view, or V3 as it is being called. Utilizing this native ad format, Snapchat is under pressure to make money off of its over 100 million registered users, with benefits being that it takes up the entire screen, much like a typical Snap, whereas Facebook and YouTube ads only take up the part of the app screen where the video is being viewed, often times not the full screen by default. The Ads section of the Snapchat website further backs up benefits of advertising on the platform, with user data broken down by age, video view stats, and more.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Users can now search for and add links to posts right within the Facebook iOS app

A new option that is available on Facebook for iOS, users can now search for links to accompany their status updates straight within the app, instead of searching for content on an outside web browser. In order to utilize the new feature, users only have to click the paperclip icon when creating a new status update, and typing the subject of the story will link them to possible content that matches what they are trying to highlight.

Read more on Facebook Engineering Blog.

Facebook ads video tab to insights page

As videos are becoming a larger portion of what marketers are using as tools on Facebook, the service is now offering a tab specific to video analytics on its Page insights. Data displayed on the tab includes video views at the Page level, top videos by date range specified, and metrics from videos shared by other Pages. It is likely that the analytics provided here will expand through user demand or testing by Facebook. In the coming weeks, the tab features will be available globally on Facebook, and also through the Insights API.

More information on Facebook Media Blog.

Users can now watch Periscope replays online

A common complaint for users of mobile live-streaming apps as of late has been the inability to watch streams after they’ve ended. This was solved for Periscope users to an extent with the ability to watch streams for up to 24 hours after they aired through the Android and iOS apps, but the functionality is now being extended to the web. With web replays, users only have to click a link to a stream from a post online, and the stream will open up in a new browser tab to be watched from the start. It is speculated that the 24 hour limit for replays will be removed as more influencers and entertainment personalities are developing presences on the network.

More information on The Verge.

Facebook providing badges for Page admins who respond quickly

Some Page admin users on Facebook are discovering that they have received badges for being able to respond to user comments quickly. For admins that respond to 90 percent of messages or more in under five minutes each over the course of a week, they will receive the badge for display. Response Rate and Response Time are indicators that are only being shown on some Pages however, so it is likely that Facebook is quietly testing this feature for now.

Read more on Social Times.

Meerkat updates rewards and points system

As a method of rewarding engagement and encouraging use of its platform, Meerkat, the other popular live-streaming mobile app, developed a leader-board and a points system, but it is now expanding this offering. Users who engage with upcoming streams and participate when content goes live will gain additional points within the system as additional incentive. Meerkat was prompted to make the announcement as users have noticed their Meerkat scores changing even while they were not actually streaming. An official blog post from the company states that interaction between people is the most important part of the experience, and that users should be rewarded for that.

More information on Medium.