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Here is a list of the major product announcements from top social networks, taken from their official page/blog/newsroom. It is a great way to see the evolution of these social networks, and keep up to date with the latest features and best practices. We’ve designed this blog to be a one-stop shop for centralized updates – add it to your bookmarks!

Main Sources as follow:

  1. Facebook newsroom, Facebook Developers newsInstant Article News, Ads news, Media
  2. Instagram business blog, and general blog
  3. Youtube blog
  4. Twitter blog and advertising blog
  5. Snapchat blog
  6. Linkedin blog
  7. Pinterest blog, engineering blog, business blog

May 2017

May 30th: Twitter adds a DM review inbox function that enables to filter DM from people you don’t follow.

May 25th: Instagram direct messages now support web links and different photo orientations, making it more generally useful as a messaging option for the 375 million monthly active users (on Direct alone as of last count).

May 25th: Facebook rolling out support for both AMP and soon Apple News as a part of its open source Instant Articles software development kit. “The updated SDK transforms the markup publishers use to create Instant Articles to generate the code needed to build these other formats, removing what we’ve heard can be a resource-heavy step in publishing on multiple platforms. With an easy way to get from one markup format to another, publishers can then plug-and-play the markup in their content management systems or third party publishing tools.”

May 24th: Pinterest rolls out a new ad format, allowing advertisers to publish video advertising that will automatically play in the home feed and search of its 175 million users: “They can pair a video with a set of pins that they want Pinner to take action on. That’s still a big part of it. The “do” component, people are on Pinterest to get inspired and then they do that.” Pinterest is also partnering with Nielsen and Moat to provide advertisers with precise ad measurements and results.

May 24th: Twitter ads to its AppleTV app a live 360 video and Periscope global map.

 

May 23rd: Twitter launches a new, customizable Direct Message Card that businesses can use to “promote and share bots and other customer experiences built in Direct Messages”.  For example, Patrón Tequila is “using the Direct Message Card to entice people to engage with their messaging bot — Bot-Tender — which creates personalized cocktail recommendations based on responses to questions around occasion, flavor, and even emoji.”

May 23rd: Facebook adds more ways to connect with friends in Facebook Live. The objective is to “make Live more fun, social and interactive”, by adding the ability to chat with friends about a live you’re watching. Data: “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos” which means that comments are a crucial part of the live experience. The feature is now being tested before global roll-out in the summer. The second major update to Facebook Live is “Live With”: the ability to go live with a guest (in picture-in-picture mode or split screen mode) and share this 2-places live with your fans. Check out the launch video for more details.

May 17th: Facebook updates the NewsFeed algorithm to Reduce Clickbait Headlines.

May 10th: Facebook updates the newsfeed to reduce links to low-quality landing page experiences (“little substantive content and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads”), both for ads and organic posts.

May 6: Facebook launches a Twitter-like new feature to show “Latest Conversations” to gather public posts related to a timely buzzing topic.

May 4th: Kevin Hart. Rhett and Link. Ellen DeGeneres. Katy Perry. The Slow Mo Guys. Demi Lovato. Ludacris… are starring in new (free – ad-supported) shows premiering exclusively on YouTube. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Brands will be YouTube’s first advertising partner for the Best.Cover.Ever. series.

May 4th: Snapchat at last opens up advertising to all budgets and business sizes, with a self-serve Ad Manager. [Image courtesy of TechCrunch].

snapchat advert manager

May 3rd: Facebook announces that – Snapchat clone – WhatsApp Status has reached 175 million DAU, only 10 weeks after launch – which is is bigger than Snapchat’s 161 Million daily active users. A clear competitive move on the markets where Snapchat currently has less traction than WhatsApp…

May 2: Twitter announces 16 new premium video content deals, including BuzzFeed, Bloomberg, The Verge, Live Nation, PGA Tour, WNBA, NFL, MLB… 8 months after launching live video on Twitter, Twitter has “delivered over 800 hours of live streaming premium video content across more than 450 events, driving an audience of 45 million unique viewers”. This audience is “global, mobile, and influential, with 55% of […] logged-in live viewers being under the age of 25”. Eventually, according to CFO and COO Anthony Noto, Twitter plans to air live video 24/7. 3 main reasons for this move according to Twitter: “helping people enjoy more great video content, helping publishers drive more revenue, and helping brands align with the best mobile video content”.

April 2017

April 25: Facebook makes a new test with Related Articles. It takes the “related articles” further (remember this was implemented in 2013, and would list similar articles after you’ve read one), by showing “additional articles, which appear for topics many people are talking about on Facebook, will appear in a unit below the link”.

April 18: At F8, David Marcus announced new Facebook Messenger features for the messenger platform 2.0, to make it “more seamless and fun”. A Discover tab is added: “Discover showcases popular bots in our ecosystem, nearby places that people can message, and businesses that offer support or answer questions. Discover also includes categories such as Entertainment, News, Food & Drink and many more.”. Parametric QR codes enable users whenever they find a code to scan it and access more information from a bot. Chat extensions enable to add functionalities from brands like Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal and Kayak and more. This rollout ads richer gameplay, more M “AI-powered” features like ordering food with delivery.com, and enables smart replies for pages thanks to the API.

April 18: Snapchat launches new lenses (read: AR lenses) that are simply described as a way to “paint the world around you with new 3D experiences”.

April 18: Facebook launches Facebook Spaces: “A New Way To Connect With Friends In VR […] a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. Facebook Spaces launches in beta for Oculus Rift and Touch.”

April 13: Instagram announces 200 million daily active users and ads more stickers to the experience.

April 11: Facebook Announces Group Payments in Messenger on Android and Desktop, for simplifying the process of “splitting a restaurant bill or chipping in for a group gift”.

April 10: Twitter launches custom hearts for Twitter/Periscope: “Custom Hearts provide brands an opportunity to add more branding to their Periscope Broadcasts through custom graphics that display natively amongst standard Periscope hearts”

April 6: Twitter launches Twitter Lite globally on mobile.twitter.com. This Lite version minimizes data usage on smartphone or tablet when network is poor.

April 6: Facebook launches M in the USA. M is a “helpful assistant in Messenger, powered by artificial intelligence. M offers suggestions by popping into an open conversation to suggest relevant content and capabilities to enrich the way people communicate and get things done. But this is just the beginning for M… expect to see more and more AI-powered, delightful and relevant experiences improving Messenger for you, every day.”

April 5: Youtube launches Youtube TV. “Today, we’re launching YouTube TV in the nation’s largest metro areas—New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Philadelphia—with more U.S. markets coming soon. A YouTube TV membership is only $35 a month, less than half the average cost of cable.” A membership gives access to “Live TV streaming from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports Networks, Comcast SportsNet and dozens more”, but also cloud storage and YouTube Red originals.

March 2017

March 31: Snapchat launches Story search to discover new stuff from the 1M stories: “We’ve built a new way to understand what’s happening in Snaps that are submitted to Our Story, and to create new Stories using advanced machine learning. The results have been amazing: you can search over one million unique Stories on Snapchat!”

March 30: Twitter makes the anticipated 140 characters for your replies update: “when you reply to someone or a group, those @usernames won’t count toward your Tweet’s 140 characters”.

March 30: Facebook expands charitable giving tools. “Personal fundraisers allow people to raise money for themselves, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook, for example a pet. Personal fundraisers will launch in the US for people aged 18 years or older, and in beta over the next few weeks, as we hope to continue to learn and improve the product to make it even more useful. In 2016, we made it possible for people to raise money for more than 750,000 nonprofits through fundraisers, and donate buttons in their live broadcasts and posts. Today, we’re announcing that verified Pages can now add donate buttons to their live broadcasts.”

March 23-27: Facebook introduces Messenger reactions, mentions and live location. You can now tag people using @someone in the messenger feed, to mention them, add emoticon reactions to media, and share your live location with others.

March 23: Youtube blogs about bringing personal concert with VR videos on YouTube. “You can watch these videos using the YouTube VR app available on Daydream or with Google Cardboard. If you don’t have a headset, don’t worry, you can still get the 360-degree video experience on your mobile phone or desktop.”

March 22: Facebook adds Live video broadcast from computer screens. “With this update, people can seamlessly share their screens, insert graphics, switch cameras, or use professional equipment in Facebook Live videos. They also have the option to broadcast to Facebook Groups they belong to, Facebook Events they’re part of, or Facebook Pages they manage.”

March 21: Instagram improves shopping experience with Discovery. “In November, we began testing a new shopping experience that made it easier for people to find, evaluate and track relevant products on Instagram. Posts with tags have an icon that makes discovery simple. Based on encouraging early results, we’re rolling out these shopping features to thousands of businesses that sell apparel, jewelry or beauty products in the coming weeks. Instagrammers in the US will soon be able shop and browse products from these businesses from posts in feed, on profile and in explore.”

March 9: Facebook launches Messenger Day globally. You can now add pictures and videos to your “Messenger Day” thanks to the “add to your day” button, you can choose who sees it, add some cool art, and your day will be available for 24 hours.

March 8: Facebook introduces Facebook 360 for Gear VR. “Today, we’re making 360 photos and videos even more immersive and easier to discover with the launch of the Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. The app is an exciting new way to explore Facebook 360 photos and videos. With more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there’s plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360.”

February 2017

February 14: Facebook ads New Ways to Watch Facebook Video. The update is about adding sound videos in the newsfeed “As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on […] we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life. If your phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound.” Facebook also “makes vertical videos look better on mobile devices” and “picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed.”

February 8: Facebook announces an update to Safety Check, called Community Help. “With Community Help people can find and give help, and message others directly to connect after a crisis. Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need.”

February 7: Youtube launches Mobile Live Streaming + Super Chat. “In 2016, we witnessed the most-viewed political live streams of all time – the 2016 U.S. presidential debates – and we launched the world’s first 360-degree live streaming support with full 4K video, at scale and for free. So what’s next? The roll out of our new mobile live streaming feature to every creator with more than 10,000 subscribers (the rest of you will have it soon!). It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives, and creativity.”

January 2017

January 26: Facebook updates Video ranking in the news feed in particular with “percent completion”. “In the past, we’ve made updates to News Feed that take into account more of the actions that you take on videos and whether a video is live or not. We look at a range of signals when determining which videos to surface to you in News Feed, including how long a video is watched, whether people choose to turn on sound, and if people open the video in full screen.”

January 25: Facebook rolls out Updates to Trending in the US. Trending is “a feature that shows people popular topics being discussed on Facebook that they might not see in their News Feed […] it displays a headline from a publisher’s article about that topic […] automatically selected based on a combination of factors including the engagement around the article on Facebook, the engagement around the publisher overall, and whether other articles are linking to it.”

January 19: LinkedIn rolls out its biggest desktop redesign since inception.

January 12: Youtube launches Super Chat for creators. “Anybody watching a live stream can purchase a Super Chat: a highlighted message in the chat stream that stands out from the crowd to get even more of your favorite creator’s attention. And Super Chats remain pinned to the top of chat for up to 5 hours, giving more airtime for your messages. […] We’re excited to start the Super Chat beta today with a few creators, such as iHasCupquake, Great Library (buzzbean11) and Alex Wassabi. And we plan to broadly launch Super Chat on January 31 for creators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries.”

January 11: Facebook introduces The Facebook Journalism Project. It is “a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry”. It includes working on storytelling formats — Live, 360, Instant Articles, etc. — but also innovative news formats developed with news partners and based on their needs. It includes working on local news, new business models and monetization options, and also providing training and tools to journalists.

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