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The week in social: Snapchat lenses, Twitter conversational ads, and YouTube HDR

Facebook Messenger reaches 800 million monthly active users

A new milestone for the stand alone Facebook app, the company announced this week that Messenger had surpassed 800 million unique monthly active users in a post on the Facebook News Room. The post continued on with an infographic that expressed the new features that were added to the service in 2015, including payments, video calling, transportation integration, and more. The post went on to detail some of the trends that are facing the digital and mobile messaging world as 2016 starts, such as the reduced reliance on traditional phone numbers for communication, and the increasing requirement of innovation in digital products.

Read more on Facebook News Room.

Snapchat discontinuing paid lenses

In a move to focus its efforts on other advertising products, Snapchat has closed its paid lens store. The company instead will focus on offering overlaid lends, that work as imagery on top of a picture, from brand partners, the most popular of which are typically movies. The service still offers 10 free lens for users each day, and any paid lens that a user has bought directly from Snapchat will still be available to use.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Twitter debuts new Conversational Ads

The latest ad product from Twitter that puts the focus on creating additional conversation, Conversational Ads allow advertisers to tweet at users, presenting them a choice to click on a call-to-action button that will pre-populate a branded message for them to share with their audience. When users are finished customizing and sending the message, they will get a short thank-you note from the brand. The original image or video from the promoted tweet that the brand sends out is also included with the new conversation started by the user.

Read more on Twitter Blog.

HDR support now available on YouTube

High Dynamic Range, or HDR for short, brings out enhanced color and picture quality to video, and is now a feature available to creators on YouTube. YouTube trails behind Netflix and Amazon who already support this type of content playback, and the announcement was made by Chief Business Officer of YouTube Robert Kyncl at CES in Las Vegas earlier this week. Users must have a playback device that actually support HDR in order to view content in this format, and many new-model 4K UHD TVs are able to support it. Other announcements for YouTube at CES included planned advanced in virtual reality and 360 degree viewing experiences.

More information on Mashable.

Twitter rumored to be raising character count limit of tweets to 10,000

Reported by earlier this week, Twitter is potentially going to expand its character count limit to 10,000, based on work that a “Beyond 140” team is doing at the company. The rumored launch date for the new feature is the end of calendar Q1 2016, and the 10,000 character limit would match what direct messages are currently capped at. It was first rumored that Twitter would increase its character count back in September of 2015, and further rumors speculate that even with the character count increase, the immediately viewable length of tweets will still be short.

More information on

Facebook potentially integrating Instagram into ad-set serving

Although not officially announced, Facebook advertisers have reported seeing an option to upload a separate image specifically for Instagram ads when creating a visual Facebook ad. If this feature is rolled out more widely, advertisers may no longer have to create a separate ad set for different sized images. The move would be a logical one for Facebook, as since Instagram advertising is now open for businesses of all sizes, seamlessly allowing for ads to run on multiple services may increase revenue for Facebook, and awareness for the business using the ads.

Read more on Social Times.

Instagram expands use of Spotlight Compilations

Spotlight Compilations, Instagram’s arrangement of posts centered around a timely, seasonal subject, have expanded to encompass more spontaneous categories. Originally, Spotlight Compilations were meant to aggregate clips from major Holidays and other events, but the feature saw so much popularity that starting from the New Year, different subjects are available to be viewed by users each day. The approach for Instagram is to show users content that they may not actively be following but upon discovery choose to start following, creating an enriching experience for the user’s feed. All the creators that are featured in spotlight collections are promoted by the service in the hope of gaining them more followers and engagement.

More information on TechCrunch.

Facebook shutting down ad-tech server LiveRail

Facebook’s ad server arm aimed at publishers called LiveRail will no longer be accepting new clients, starting from earlier this week. With already very little clients, the service was one that focused on helping publishers decide what types of video ads to show on their site to drive to most revenue growth. Facebook bought the LiveRail company back in 2014, as a way of keeping pace with automated video ad sales, where competitors like Google and Yahoo had a large foothold in the market.

More information on AdAge.