The Biggest Social Media Updates of 2018 (and how you should use them in 2019)

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Two thousand eighteen shifted the way we view our timelines, market and create content, and what that content even is.

First Quarter: A busy beginning to the year

Facebook

Twenty-eighteen started with a message from Mr. Facebook, himself. Mark Zuckerberg announced a major change to how Facebook is built. He said, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

For brands, storytelling and fostering genuine connections with consumers is now essential in order for your content to be seen. Therefore, the more engaging your content is, the more you’ll be rewarded by the new algorithm (think videos and sequential storytelling).

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Twitter

Fast forward to March, and Twitter also announced Timestamps. Timestamps is exactly what it sounds like. Because Twitter is best for micro-moments, marketers can now share videos from the exact moment that they want their followers to watch.

Snapchat

In February, Snapchat created more opportunities for advertisers. According to VentureBeat, Snapchat opened up to all developers. Now, more advertisers can test and optimize different types of ads on the platform.

Snapchat also rolled out an Insights feature for content creators in February 2018. These new insights provide more information about story engagement and your audience’s interests and demographics. More information at the fingertips of influencers and marketers means the potential to deliver more appealing content.

Instagram

In February, another opportunity for storytelling was unveiled by Instagram. The Carousel Ad format within Instagram Stories allows brands to extend their messaging.

Second Quarter: A few, but mighty changes

LinkedIn

In May 2018, LinkedIn announced that the platform now has video ad formats for sponsored updates. The professional network says that “LinkedIn video ads hold attention 3x longer than static Sponsored Updates.” With more attention on your ads, video is a necessity for the marketer looking to advertise on LinkedIn.

Instagram

In June, Instagram expanded the way that we shop on the app. Brands can now post shopping stickers in their Instagram stories. Once a user taps the shopping bag info, they can see more information about that product.

Also in June 2018, Instagram launched IGTV, an entirely new platform for the app. Users can now watch extended vertical and full-screen videos through the stand-alone IGTV app or through the traditional Instagram application. Currently, brands do not have the ability to place video ads on IGTV. However, they can now share long-form videos with their audiences using IGTV.

Third Quarter: Brand Stories & Visual Search

LinkedIn

In early July, LinkedIn introduced Carousel Ads for Sponsored Content. The new feature has three goals for advertisers: tell an extended and engaging brand story, capture the attention of users with high-quality visuals and ultimately, reach towards your business goals by studying analytics from your carousels.

Instagram

Users can now officially feel closer to and easily get more information on the brands they love. In September 2018, Instagram revealed new shopping features by expanding shopping in Stories and adding a new Shopping Channel on the Explore page. Users can now find product images from brands they follow and from brands they might like.

Snapchat

In September 2018, Snapchat piloted visual search, making shopping and brand discovery more streamlined for users. Users can point the Snapchat camera at an item or barcode, hold the camera screen, and then allow Snapchat to search for the item (or similar ones) on Amazon.

The fourth quarter of 2018: new ways to shop, advertise, and extend video content

Instagram

In October 2018, Instagram Stories made it easier to show videos that are longer than 15 seconds. Stories automatically makes longer videos their own separate segments.  

Snapchat

Also in October 2018, Snapchat unveiled Snap Originals, a new experience where users can watch interactive and vertical shows designed for mobile. Within this new content will be the ability to advertise with six-second ads that users can’t skip.   

Pinterest

And finally, in October, Pinterest improved the ability to shop by allowing users to see the pricing and availability of products of interest.