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The Biggest Social Media Updates from Q2 2018

8 MINUTE READ | August 14, 2018

The Biggest Social Media Updates from Q2 2018

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Lauren Lyster

Lauren Lyster has written this article. More details coming soon.

From the launch of IGTV, Instagram’s newest video format, to increased transparency across social platforms, Q2 swept in change and innovation. We’ve rounded up the highlights of Q2 2018 in today’s post to ensure you don’t miss anything as we kick off Q3 2018 and get into Holiday planning.

Following the Cambridge Analytica incident, Facebook made quick changes in order to remove potential user privacy vulnerabilities, which included:

it's all social - q2 2018 social updates

Targeting Based On Relationship Preferences

Advertisers are no longer able to target ads to a user based upon their relationship preferences, a self-chosen setting within a user’s “interested in” section of their profile. When available, this information could be leveraged to reach users, dependent on their sexual orientation. In order to prevent advertisers from specifically targeting the LGBTQ+ community, this filter was removed from the advertising UI.

Removal of Reach Estimates from Custom Audiences

Facebook also announced that advertisers would no longer be able to see reach estimates for any campaign using Custom Audience targeting (i.e., CRM list or pixel-based audience). This functionality was removed after it was discovered that advertisers could potentially uncover a considerable amount of detail utilizing the 1,200+ targeting attributes available within the interface. For example, if an advertiser were to apply a filter and reach estimates were to change, they could infer specific characteristics about those within the Custom Audience.

Global Rollout of Local News Prioritization

Announced in January 2018, Facebook made changes to the platform’s algorithm that would not only increase a user’s exposure to updates from friends and family over brands but also prioritize news from publishers within a user’s local area. This rollout initially only affected the US, but as of March, this update has been expanded to all countries, in all languages. This effort works to ensure that users see high-quality news from trusted sources, expanding from local news to include other cities that people may care about, and connect them to publishers from those cities as well.

Ease of Access to Privacy Tools for Users

In response to data privacy concerns and working towards GDPR compliance, Facebook also introduced a new privacy shortcuts menu that makes it easier for users to access, view, and change their privacy setting and control their data. This includes personal information stored within their profile, app access, and location-based settings.

To learn more, read our full overview of the changes within Facebook’s advertising interface surrounding data concerns.

Taking place May 1-2, Facebook used their annual developer conference as a platform to announce several updates to the platform.

Data Security and Privacy

Still responding to the concerns surrounding data privacy, Facebook’s biggest related announcement was the introduction of the Clear History feature, which not only enables users to see the websites and apps that collect their data but also delete this information. With this feature, users can also prevent Facebook from storing this information moving forward. Additional efforts towards privacy protection included a re-opened app review process, with new verifications and review requirements, as well as changes to what information developers can access via a user’s profile.

Newsfeed and Stories

Facebook announced a list of new features to improve the user’s experience on the platform including the integration of Spotify into Instagram Stories, the introduction of channels into Instagram’s Explore tab, and improved engagement. Comments are the focus of engagement efforts, with Facebook favoring posts from friends and family along with those seeing strong levels of conversation. However, they are looking to also implement proactive measures to reduce hate speech and bullying by allowing users to self-monitor with the eventual launch of an upvoting system, while Facebook continues to utilize AI to filter comments to hide hateful posts.

Evolution of Video

Based on user behavior, Facebook has implemented the use of ad breaks and pre-roll in videos that are longer-form, such as episodes of shows or regular postings from publishers and creators they are loyal to. How users interact with video will also continue to evolve through the expansion of branded content and the introduction of more shoppable units.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Still in its early stages, the introduction of the Oculus Go (its first standalone VR headset) means that Facebook will be working to scale AR & VR to make immersive content more readily available. While there is not an opportunity for advertisers within Oculus at this time, advertisers can instead focus on AR within the Facebook camera. Through the use of the AR Studio, creators can design unique, interactive camera experiences, similar face filters, and world effects seen on platforms such as Snapchat.

For an in-depth review of the Facebook F8 Conference, read about Devon’s experience.

The advertising industry in Russia is alive and thriving, and at the forefront of social media marketing is VKontakte, Russia’s most popular platform with over 70 million daily active users (compared to 10 million on Facebook), making it the 9th most popular site in the world.

With all eyes on Russia as they hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it’s no surprise that advertisers around the globe turned their sights to the platform as well. With an interface that looks very similar to Facebook, it has many of the same features such as a News Feed, Messaging, Communities, and synchronization with other social networks. Unlike Facebook, VKontakte also offers music subscriptions, (where musicians can share their music through official VK pages) and users can even create groups and communicate.

Want to learn more about how to advertise on VKontakte? Be sure to check out Katie’s article.

Following concerns of foreign interference on Facebook during the 2016 electoral election and in response to public criticism of data misuse and dark posts, Facebook announced new features that rolled out throughout Q2 to increase transparency and accountability across the platform.

Electoral and Issue Ads

Any account wishing to run political ads – electoral or issue-based – will be required to provide more thorough documentation in order to verify their identity, including their entity and location. Once approved, any related ads will be labeled within the News Feed with a “Political Ad” marker along with a “Paid for By” disclaimer, allowing users to have a better ability to spot these ads and have insight into their source. Within the US, Facebook is also building an archive of current and historical federal-election related ads, which once full, will cover a rolling 4-year period, starting from when the archive was launched.

Authenticity and Transparency for Pages

In order to provide further security to users when interacting with pages, individuals who manage pages with a large number of followers will need to be verified, ensuring that those in possession of the pages are not doing so with a fake account, which is against Facebook’s Terms & Conditions. Users will also be able to see more information about a page including when it was started and if it has changed its name, allowing additional context to evaluate a page’s credibility.

Introduction of View Ads

Quietly launched in Canada in November 2017,  “View Ads” was globally rolled out in late June, allowing any user the ability to view all ads that a page is currently running on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, and whether or not they are in an ad’s intended audience. This feature will include nearly all ads, including link ads, carousels, and collections. Offer ads will also be shown, though, Facebook will include a disclaimer for users that “Offers, special pricing, and other details may not apply to you.” Dynamic ads, due to their unique nature, will only have a subset surfaced for viewing, and they will not be searchable or indexed.

To learn how this changes will affect advertisers, read Lauren and Leyla’s full article.

Mobile-first. Simple and intuitive. Quality curated content.

These are the pillars of Instagram’s newest feature: IGTV, a new app to watch long-form, vertical video from creators around the world.

Accessible from its standalone app or within the Instagram app, IGTV is built for how individuals use their phones – full screen and vertically. Users can upload videos up to ten minutes in length to this new placement, a departure from the one minute limit that is in place for in-feed videos. Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload videos up to 60 minutes long.

At launch, IGTV does not contain any ads, though according to Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, that would be “a reasonable place to end up.” It is very likely that these ads will come in the form of pre- or mid-roll, creating a welcomed new platform for brands to advertise amid the continued saturation and increased competition across other placements. The eventual inclusion of ads would also provide IGTV with a needed revenue-sharing solution for Instagram and creators.

A new platform means new opportunity. Read Lauren’s article to discover the latest IGTV strategies.

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Whether you’re an avid social media user, a brand looking to increase its organic play, or an agency advertiser looking to find the next big thing, Q2 had a little bit of something for everyone.

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