TikTok: Partnering Up
In-App Shopping With the rise of e-commerce and social media, social platforms are trying to make their channels – quite literally- one-stop shops. Towards the end of August, TikTok partnered with Shopify to enable users to purchase products directly through the app. The platform is helping to drive consumers straight to the digital point of purchase by allowing Shopify merchants to add a shopping tab to their business account. This will link directly to their online store for checkout which will really help boost product discovery and sales for businesses.
Joining Forces with Vimeo and Canva TikTok has partnered with Vimeo and Canva to make advertising on the app easier for small businesses by streamlining the content-creation process. The video builder tool, Vimeo Create, will enable direct ad production and posting through the TikTok Ad Manager. It will also offer custom video templates including graphic and text overlays, transitions, royalty-free music and more. In addition, Canva has created an online library of over 50 TikTok ad templates which can be personalised to create authentic and visually compelling content. Canva’s Publish End Points tool enables brands to natively publish aesthetically pleasing content directly to TikTok and naturally engage with their audiences. These features will not only reduce the cost and time of building campaigns, but also help brands find their community – and customers.
24 Hour Stories This month TikTok experimented with 24 hour lasting Stories, a feature that was originally popularized by Snapchat. Story-style content on apps like Instagram and Facebook offer an opportunity to link the creator community with brands, creating sponsored content and generating advertisements. The disappearing Stories could provide a new way for creators to interact with their audience and monetize their social media activity on TikTok. It’s unknown whether Stories will become a permanent feature on the app.
Instagram: A Wave of New Features
Say Goodbye to Swipe Up Links From August 30th, Instagram ditched Swipe Up links and replaced them with Link Stickers for Stories. The Link Sticker feature directs followers to an external link which Instagram claims will streamline stories creation experience, add creative control and boost engagement. Link Stickers are an addition to the poll, music and donation stickers currently available and allow for more prominent placement of links. This feature is only accessible to accounts who are verified or have reached the threshold follower count although Instagram reveals that it’s evaluating whether to expand link sharing in the future.
Improved Search Results This month, we saw Instagram tweak their search feature by displaying more visual results. Search results will now prominently present photos and videos, as well as associated hashtags and accounts. To improve the relevance of results, keyword terms are being expanded, starting with English and subsequently building from there. Results will be informed by your text in search, your activity and popularity of information. Instagram’s improved search feature should make the app more usable and keep users scrolling through.
Shop Tab Ads As Instagram attempts to position itself as a player in the e-commerce landscape, the platform introduced ads that will appear in the Shop tab. The Shop ads appear in the tab feed and include a “sponsored” label with a link to product pages. With the number of U.S. consumers shopping on social channels expected to reach 90 million in 202, the ads provide a new way for businesses to target consumers with personalised advertising. This update is currently being tested in the U.S., with plans to expand to other markets. A balance between ads and content will have to be achieved to ensure the tab isn’t overly saturated with sponsored posts. What’s more, the update will further distance Instagram from the ‘square photo-sharing app’ persona which it hopes to leave behind, and help to transform it into the entertainment hub it intends to be.
Audio Tab In an effort to promote Reels, Instagram added an ‘Audio’ tab to the search bar on the app. The tab makes it easier for users to explore the music available on the platform, allowing them to save a track for later use in Reels. , while also highlighting trending songs and inspiration for incorporating them into videos. The new feature replicates TikTok’s ‘Sounds’ tab, making it easier for users to view Reels using the tracks and tap into music-related trends.
In Other News…
Snapchat Trends The platform released Snapchat Trends, a public website that features trending topics, words and phrases. Anyone can view and search the website for trending content, which is based on public Stories from the last 30 to 90 days. It is designed to help marketers tailor campaigns and respond to relevant trends, consumer language and real-time reactions to brands and products. Making these insights public will enable social listening and encourage brands to consider Snapchat as a marketing venue.
Yik Yak is Back This month we saw the return of the local, anonymous app, Yik Yak, which was once popular among U.S. college students. Yik Yak was shut down four years ago after it gained a negative reputation for rampant cyber-bullying and subsequently declined in users. Similar to the 2014 version, users can anonymously post and comment on short text posts which are only visible within a five-mile radius. To prevent breaches of guidelines such as bullying and harassment, the platform has created a lengthy list of ‘community guardrails’. Yik Yak is currently only available in the U.S. but has announced plans to enter other regions soon. The news of the app’s return has sparked conversation online but only time will tell if it will be welcomed or rejected.
Twitter Spaces Update Twitter has added new features to its Clubhouse-esque audio tool, Spaces with the aim of increasing engagement, relevance and discovery. Users can now tweet directly from a Space, which automatically includes the relevant hashtag. New search options have also been added within the Spaces tab to improve recommendation algorithms, so that users can find relevant Spaces more easily. Improved guest management options and discovery tools should also prove beneficial to hosts. Refining the user experience of Spaces will hopefully open up more possibilities for brands and creators to harness audio on the platform. We’ll be back next month with more updates you should be aware of!