2019 has been yet another big year for Social Media and its marketing benefits for all businesses big or small. However, it’s an almost impossible task to keep up with every single change and launch across all of the platforms. In order to provide a reliable digital marketing service, we make it a priority to make sure we’re in the know, even if the changes are only tiny. As a business owner, it’s impossible to do the same - you’re too busy making sure your customers are happy! We’ve picked out 12 big changes that have happened in the social media landscape in 2019 so you don’t have to.
The beginning of the year kicked off with a bang, with big changes to the guidelines of influencer marketing becoming a hot topic early on in 2019. The CMA published guidance titled “Social media endorsements: being transparent with your followers”, that sent plenty of influencers into a frenzy, due to the tight and intense guidelines on what constitutes an advertisement, how to properly disclose an advertisement and the ramifications for not correctly disclosing paid and unpaid promotions. We wrote a post about it earlier in the year here.
In February, we saw changes to the way Facebook displays customer ads, by making them more transparent. Facebook decided to give its users the option to know more about why they are targeted by a specific Facebook Ad. Following this change, when users are met with an advert, alongside it is be a “Why am I seeing this?” option, to explain how and why this specific advert has been chosen for them. It seems to be a way of Facebook increasing their transparency to its users, to raise their trust of Facebook.
On 13th March, millions of users across Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp experienced a breakdown of digital society, with an outage across all three platforms owned by Facebook. Plenty of people headed to Twitter to complain and find out what was happening, as Facebook’s own bug report platform was offline too! According to Facebook’s official statement, the shutdown was caused by their changes to the server, although speculation suggested it could’ve been caused by Facebook’s push to integrate all the messaging platforms or even an attempt to hide some malevolent activities that were under the spotlight in the run-up to the shutdown.
In April, LinkedIn announced that all members would be able to upload documents and presentations, including PDFs and PowerPoints, directly to their feed, or within group posts. Following the addition of the function in messages last July, and giving company pages the ability late last year, it was about time for users to be able to post documents on their feed, in order to showcase their skills and build a professional presence on their platform. We think it’s a great feature that they’ve finally decided to include!
May saw Instagram beginning to test the removal of Instagram likes. Instagram said the removal of like counts was aimed to reduce social comparison and the negative effects that can have on the wellbeing of its users, which we think is a great goal to strive for. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said that the inspiration behind the test came from Instagram's Stories feature, where users can see their own engagement information but cannot see the information of other users.
In June, LinkedIn launched a blog post of new features they’d been working on to improve communication on their platform. The features included the likes of photo tagging, post reactions, and video messages. Our favourite feature is their reactions feature; sometimes a “like” just isn’t appropriate, and perhaps you need to “clap” to celebrate a colleague’s success or feel inspired and have a “lightbulb” moment. We think it makes LinkedIn reactions a little bit more meaningful and personal. Check out the whole blog post here.
July saw a huge redesign of the Twitter desktop, with a new updated look and feel to be more consistent with the way you see Twitter on other devices, making it much easier to navigate! The new desktop site also offers the ability to personalise your Twitter with different themes and colour options. Along with the redesign, Twitter made some of their clunkier desktop features easier to follow. One of our favourite changes to desktop features is the alteration to switching between accounts, which made it faster to switch between accounts such as your personal page and your business page.
August saw the release of a digital program that for us has been a lifesaver! This month, Instagram in Creator Studio was launched, allowing users to post and schedule upcoming posts for Instagram on a desktop. It’s a really useful tool for businesses who maybe aren’t always free to post social media spontaneously or those who prefer to work on a computer rather than a mobile or tablet screen.
Throughout September, in a copy-cat move of their partner brand Instagram, Facebook began hiding the total like counts on posts in Australia, to test the impact of removing the feature. Instagram took this move earlier in the year, to battle the negative effects of vanity metrics, and it seems Facebook followed in their footsteps. Owned by the same company, the platforms tested the removal of like counts in an aim for users to have more investment and engagement in posts and content, rather than the number of likes.
October saw a couple of big changes for Instagram. The first being the removal of the Following tab. Instagram’s Following tab, the activity feed that displayed what posts your friends are liking, commenting on, and following, started being removed for some users back in August, with the rest of the user’s feature being phased out in early October. No more spying on your friends! Despite the loss of the Following tab, we did gain a feature on Instagram in October. Over the past year, there’s been almost one new Story feature added per month, with a couple of exceptions. But this month, Instagram put some of our most loved features of Stories into one place, with the welcome addition of some more, and called it Create. You can find it over in the Stories section.
Twitter announced that starting in November, the platform would be banning all political ads on a global scale. At the end of October, the CEO of Twitter Jack announced that the decision had been made to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally, as ‘political message reach should be earned, not bought’. Their argument is that Twitter users should be able to decide which political parties and messages to follow and see.
As the year comes to a close, and we head into 2020, there’s bound to be plenty more changes and advances in social media. We’ve got wind of a couple already, including this one about Facebook Ads. In 2020, Facebook are planning on limiting the number of adds a page can run, in order to protect advertisers’ ad spend. With so many pages now using Facebook Ads, high ad volume can affect each advertisement’s performance as the platform doesn’t have enough time to optimize them. According to Facebook, the change will only impact a small number of businesses, so it's not likely that you will be affected, but it’s one to keep an eye on!
So there you have it! 12 big updates and launches we think you should be making the most of for the sake of your marketing strategy. We could have listed hundreds of changes and 12 is still a lot to get your head around! We’d love to give you a helping hand to get your digital marketing strategy in shape and we’re confident we can help you stay ahead of your competition. Please get in touch to find out how!