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The week in social: Instagram rebrand, YouTube messaging, and Tumblr Labs

YouTube testing in-app messaging

A new feature on YouTube, aimed at helping keep users on the service is launching to a small percentage of people, called native sharing. Those who have it are able to share the feature with others by inviting them into their conversations. Conversations start with a shared video and users can chat about that one, or share other videos in the thread. The feature is also part of a new tab on the YouTube mobile app. The YouTube team believes that native sharing will allow more videos to be shared, and thus content to be consumed. There is no official word on a wider rollout.



Pinterest now allows affiliate linking

Something that Pinterest was previously against, the service is now allowing for the posting of affiliate links for content creators so they can monetize the pinning they are doing, and thus continue using the service more. In a blog post released by the company, it was stated that spam protection on the platform is now much stronger, and that had been a previous reason that affiliate links were blocked. As part of these updates, changes to the Pinterest acceptable use policy are being made, but users do not have to do anything differently to leverage the update.

More information on Pinterest Blog.

Facebook Moments expands to Europe and Canada

Facebook’s standalone private photo sharing application is now available nearly worldwide, thanks to a modified release in Europe and Canada. The applications in these regions differ slightly as the facial recognition feature has been removed to comply with privacy laws in both places. The result is that users have to automatically tag each other in photos instead of the app automatically identifying who an individual person is. Photos are still classed together however, through an object recognition algorithm, that allows the app to guess the same person through features such as distance between eyes, and ears. The app will also ask “who’s this?” when an unrecognized face is featured in an uploaded photo, a new step in the interface.


Read more on TechCrunch.

Facebook adds new features to dynamic ads

Previously called dynamic ad products, Facebook had updated the ad category that serves users ads on products they have previously expressed interest in through search and through adding items to a cart on an e-commerce shop. The biggest update is for the ad product to now be integrated into the Facebook owned Instagram, where the ads function they same way. According to a blog post from Instagram, 60% of users learn about a product or service they are interested in on the platform, and a larger 75% are inspired to take action based on Instagram posts they see. Travel brands have even more options with dynamic ads, as they can take advantage of special dimensions, time and location.


Read more on Instagram Business Blog.

Tumblr labs lets users test brand new features

As a way to test new features with willing users, Tumblr announced the launch of Tumblr labs through a staff blog post earlier this week. In order to enroll, all users have to do is turn the feature on in their settings tab. Among some of the new features in testing include themed posts, reblog graphs, more granular options for scheduling posts, and privacy levels for posts within a single Tumblr. Each of the features can be turned off, and Tumblr has not guaranteed the workability of any new feature, as they are all created in a staff member’s off time.

More information on Tumblr Blog.

Twitter formally announces Periscope update plans

On the heels of the announcement of the #save function test, which allows Periscope users to put the hashtag in their title to have the service save their broadcast indefinitely, Twitter has announced several new features for Periscope that will be coming to market. The first is that Periscope broadcast will soon be saved indefinitely by default on both Periscope and Twitter accounts, with the option to have them automatically be deleted after 24 hours. Users will also be able to delete any past broadcast from their profile at will. In addition, users will now be able to search for broadcasts or a specific broadcaster, and within the search tab, users will see key categories to help guide their search. The final announcement shared was that users will soon be able to broadcast via drones, and a dedicated channel will be created to view streams for both drones and GoPro camera devices.

More information on Social Times.

WhatsApp launches bespoke desktop app

Although WhatsApp has been available for web since early 2015, this week marks the launch of its first dedicated desktop app. The app functions in the same way as WhatsApp does on the web, or on mobile devices, carrying messages and conversations across platforms with a user’s account. The app runs natively on desktop and allows for desktop notifications, and other features.


Read more on WhatsApp Blog.

Instagram updates its branding and app

Earlier this week, Instagram made what many consider a radical shift in its branding by debuting a brand new logo for all its creative apps, and updating the look and feel of its in-app interface. The previous logo featuring a realistic beige and tan camera is gone, replaced by a flat imagery camera with a rainbow gradient. In addition, the color scheme for the app interface has changed to be black and white in tone, in an effort to put more focus on the photos and videos being shared. Some users have expressed dismay at the changes, but it remains to be seen if online complaint will actually affect usage of the app.


Read more on Instagram Blog.

Amazon launching brand new YouTube competitor

Amazon is launching a service that will allow users to upload videos to their site, having Amazon Prime Video subscribers be able to watch them, and have the creators earn money from advertising and other methods, in direct competition to YouTube’s offering. This model is the same way that Amazon gained control of the digital books market, letting users publish on the Amazon store without having to develop a more formal publisher relationship. As additional incentive to creators, Amazon will be distributing $1 million USD each month to the creators of the top 100 videos uploaded to the service. Amazon has already partnered with many top content creators in order to draw attention to its new service, such as HowStuffWorks and Pro Guitar Lessons.

More information on Bloomberg.

Instagram business profiles now include analytics

Although not a fully released feature yet, Instagram’s business profiles are gaining new capabilities, specifically analytics to see how the profile and its content are performing. Analytics that are readily available include location (seeing followers by country and city), gender & age, performance of posts, and top posts, which are sorted by number of impressions over a week-long or month-long period. It is likely that once the business profiles are fully released, business owned and public figures will demand these types of analytics in order to be able to determine the impact of content creation on the platform outside of just sponsored posts.


Read more on Social Times.