The social media landscape is constantly shifting. As a digital marketer, it’s imperative to stay up-to-speed as the different social players update their platforms. So, while you’re finalizing your 2018 predictions and forecasting, be sure to consider these changes that were recently implemented by the heavy hitters of social during the fourth quarter. In case you’re crunched on time, we’ve put together a list of the most important updates that were made and what those changes could mean moving forward.
Update: Facebook’s ever-evolving messenger platform is releasing a new feature called Customer Chat Plugin, which will allow businesses to not only talk directly with customers on their website using Messenger but also continue that conversation across web and devices.
Future potential: Customer Chat Plugin will prevent customers from losing conversations with a business once they leave their website, carrying over chat history and maintaining a constant thread on Messenger. This is not as robust as some professional chat solutions, but for brands and businesses integrated with Facebook it is a great next step in evolving customer service.
Update: Instagram has been churning out all sorts of Q4 updates, most notably its growing integration with Shopify. The feature itself isn’t new, but this recent expansion will allow more users and brand profiles to finally tag products available for sale in photos. Perfect time for the holidays, and a smart move for a social channel with limited organic linking capabilities but big ecommerce potential.
Future potential: The expansion will only continue, as Shopify rolls out to more users in the coming months. This holds a lot of potential for influencers seamlessly integrating product placement within their feed, brands that want purchasable posts and users that simply want to help followers find products they love.
Update: Finally, Snapchat has realized it can’t rely on its charm and social novelty for reeling in advertising and has begun testing pixel tracking for cross-platform stats. This conversion pixel will act much like every other social pixel that has come before it. It will enable websites to add social code for deeper performance insights like measuring traffic and sales that come off of the platform.
Future potential: As social continues to drive proof of its brand success, it was critical for Snapchat to jump on the pixel bandwagon. While brand awareness is clearly a vital part of any successful brand marketing strategy, if you are in the business of driving online ROI, eventually you will need proof of sales. This update could be pivotal for Snapchat proving its worth to brands shelling out big dollars for buys.
Update: With so many social channels copying each other to vie for ad dollars, Pinterest is moving in another direction: Search. The social channel just introduced a whole batch of new self-service tools, including targeted ads based on searches. Pinterest will now allow businesses to target consumers searching for potential products, while also auto-targeting their new ‘Taste Graph.’ Advertisers can use the new feature as a supplement to their keyword strategy. The new ad platform has taken a page from Google opting for exact match, phrase, and broader targeting.
Future potential: Pinterest is walking the search and social line, hoping to bring the best of both worlds into one platform. This means that 2018 is going to be very exciting as they push to prove themselves within both digital worlds.
Update: Twitter just made its $99/month ad subscription tool “Promote Mode” available in public beta, giving promotion power to smaller businesses and brands that don’t have the infrastructure or budget for ongoing paid efforts. Promote Mode provides a cost-effective and time saving solution through automated, always-on advertising that amplifies a users’ tweets and profile once activated.
Future potential: Promote Mode addresses a lot of pain points for running Twitter ads like time commitment and budget juggling. However, in its current state, it doesn’t provide a lot of choice. People can’t select which tweets they would like promoted, although they are filtered for quality, and they also can’t adjust budget on those posts to optimize for performance. Basically, users have to be willing to let Twitter take the wheel. We’re interested to see how this evolves as a paid solution moving forward.
Throughout the final month of 2017, social media companies have worked to resolve issues and answer long-awaited requests from advertisers. Maybe trying to finally accomplish their new year’s resolutions? Make sure you keep an eye on how these updates evolve, progress, or in some cases, fail once they are more heavily integrated in 2018.
Jess Ottaviano is a Digital Media Supervisor at GYK Antler. Jess’s 5+ year career at GYK Antler has allowed her to work on brands including: Sweet Baby Ray’s, Timberland Pro, Visit NH and Harpoon Brewery.
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