Platform Update: July

Roll up, roll up. It’s your July platform update. And this month, we have a veritable smorgasbord of developments and innovations, including a raft of new ways for merchants to reach Pinterest users, and Instagram pushing video as their key focus.

Insta goes full steam ahead on video

The big news from Instagram is that they’re pushing video as the key focus now (though photos will still have a place on the app)

New videos will be shared as Reels, though this will only apply to new videos under 15 minutes. Old videos will remain unchanged, but will show up within the Reels tab in user profiles.

Instagram has also introduced boosting for Reels, which increases their appearance in feed, Stories, the Reels tab and the explore page. Eligible Reels must be under 60 seconds and be shot in full-screen vertical with 9:16 aspect ratio. (That’s no longer just good practice, by the way. Shooting in 9:16 vertical is essential – otherwise your videos won’t look right on the feed.) They must also not contain copyrighted music, GIFs, interactive stickers, face/camera filters or be shared to Facebook.

Boosting Reels lets you optimise for more profile visits, website visits or messages, in turn letting customers discover your brand, so it’s well worth embracing. But it’s fair to say that Reels are more time consuming to produce than static images, so experiment with native tools that make this easier or – better still – reach out to us to help leverage your assets / videos and turn them into great-looking Reels. The key to channel growth is creating high-quality content that customers find entertaining, informative and shareable, and that is definitely where we can come in. 

Pinterest Shop Front, open for business

Pinterest has announced a bumper shopping update, with a raft of new ways for merchants to reach Pinners.

Firstly, it’s updated its shopping API so that your product catalogue is better synced with Pinterest, updating stock or price changes in real time. Merchants can also now create video assets for their products with video in catalogue. For businesses, the updated shopping API takes the hassle out of manually updating your Pinterest catalogue, while video in catalogue adds dimension to your content, letting them see what your product looks like in action.

Using product tagging for Pins, merchants can feature products from their catalogue within their Pins’ scene imagery. This makes lifestyle content shoppable. Initial tests revealed a 70% higher shopping intent on product Pins tagged in scene or brand images than standalone product Pins.

Pinterest has launched a Shop tab for business profiles. Similar to Instagram, the Shop tab is merchants’ digital storefront showcasing shoppable Pins. It’s a place that collates your product Pins in one place, and you can also customise your product groups with cover images and descriptions.

Finally, inspired merchant badges have now expanded to the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany. This lets brands denote their values publicly, including Black-owned, sustainable and more. 

All aboard the LinkedIn carousel

LinkedIn has announced that it’s currently testing native support for carousel posts.

Up until now, users had to upload pre-made multi-page documents in order to post carousels.

Now select users can create these from within LinkedIn’s post editor by selecting their chosen images or videos. You can customise their order and add alternative text if you like.

This opens up a real opportunity for businesses looking to cut through on LinkedIn, as according to SocialInsider, carousels generate three times more clicks than any other type of content.

LinkedIn’s update brings image and video support to carousels, so you can create visually engaging posts. And it’s quicker and easier than ever, as you don’t have to use a PDF platform to create your document in advance. 

Facebook goes retro

Facebook has split its main UI into a Home feed for recommended content and a new Feeds tab, which shows the latest posts in categories like Favourites, friends, groups and Pages.

The Feeds tab is free of suggested content but may still include ads, whereas the Home feed focuses on recommended Reels and Stories.

The new Feed is available on iOS and Android now.

OG Facebook users may spot similarities with the original Facebook experience (we’re showing our age here): a feed full of activity from your friends, family and communities.

However, the algorithmically powered Home feed is the default, and so Facebook’s betting that here is where users will spend most of their time discovering new video content.

It’s hard to say whether the revamped UI will take off, as unlike TikTok, most users come to Facebook to catch up on the latest from people they know.

As your community will have to switch to a separate feed to view your posts, their reach could decline. So keep an eye on things, and encourage followers to add your Page to their Favourites, too. 

Snapchat, the happy app

A study by Neuro-Insight has found Snapchat to be one of the happiest apps of all, beating the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook on the basis of implicit or unconscious associations with the word “happy”. This is mainly due to Snapchat’s focus on close personal connections, leading users to be more tuned in to what they see on the app. Because Snapchatters dial in to the app’s content more than other platforms, they’re more likely to remember brands and moments. That’s on top of the fact that Snapchat has over 347 million daily active users who open the app at least 30 times per day. All this will be music to the ears of business owners. 

Four in five Snapchatters agree connecting with close friends is the simplest way to feel happier. Brands can channel this feeling through branded Lenses and filters encouraging one-on-one connection.

Nearly half of users feel it’s important for brands to build connections with them. So it’s important to show you’re not just about building a profit, but to demonstrate who you are, what’s your brand purpose and what you stand for. Use Snapchat ads to deliver a personalised experience, and help build those positive relationships with Snapchatters. 

Get more info around this here [link], and if you ever need a hand creating brilliant creative that helps build those positive relationship with Snapchat users, get in touch with us. We’re Snapchat creative partners, and we know how to create content that resonates with users – and performs.