Facebook messenger reaches 800M users - what's next?
Facebook Messenger finishes 2015 as the second most-used app behind, you guessed it, the full Facebook app and it's got some big plans for 2016. We'll see the continuing development of M, its artificial intelligence bot, here to order all your 'I'm sorry I killed the cat (again!)' flowers etc. It's also predicted that Facebook Messenger is going to work harder to bring friends together offline and delight fans with a smattering of design treats (such as snowflakes falling in your chat window). And 2017? Hold on to your first born sons.

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Facebook lets developers build Messenger bots
As part of its aforementioned big plans for Messenger, Facebook has given some developers access to a chat SDK (software development kit) to create their own versions of its official assistance bot 'M'. The bots will allow people to use Messenger for more than just messaging, such as ordering things (like a cab for instance). By using Messenger in this way, businesses can avoid developing expensive stand alone apps and still connect easily with customers.

Instagram's Spotlight Compilations to change video watching habits?
Comparable to Snapchat's Live Stories, Instagram has changed its Spotlight Compilations to collate more than just content around big events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now, users can see the best videos relating to all sorts of new themes, for instance: “Dynamic Duos – Odd Couple Animal Videos”. Video has not always been an easy sell for Instagram, as users will often scroll with their sound down, but these longer series of videos might be enough to get the volume ramped up. Making video higher up on users' Instagram agendas means that Instagram can sell more video adverts (which make them more money) - geddit? So enjoy those animal videos...

Twitter launches new conversational ad format
Twitter is testing a new ad format which encourages people to join its advertisers' conversations and therefore spread brand messages in a more authentic (looking) way than if the brand just tweeted it itself. Here's how to spot if you've been targeted by a "Conversational Ad". You'll be presented with one or two buttons for branded hashtags (this will look sort of like a Twitter poll). After this a pre-populated message will appear (crafted by the brand), most probably accompanied by a picture or video. You can change any of these elements or leave them as they are and then tweet away. Of course, ideally brands would like to target people who have large amounts of followers and this is possible with Twitter's Tailored Audiences ad-targeting tool - but whether they do anything with the content is up to them.

Twitter rumoured to be changing character count to 10,000
The end of an era seems to be nigh, as Twitter looks to be building a feature which allows users to go over the 140 character limit to match its current 10,000 character DM limit. Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, also indirectly commented on the change by tweeting his views using an image (with lots of characters on it). It's rumoured to be happening towards the end Q1 and will mean no more running out o

Snapchat steps up advertising with new API
Snapchat looks to be taking that next step into the big boy league by working on an API to let partners buy their own ads with more precision. It will increase the variety of ads they can offer to include call to actions, encouraging downloads or sign-ups. As brands lust after its young, mobile audience, this is seen as a natural development. Our Senior Media Manager, Conor Lynch commented: 

The opportunity to create innovative campaigns and reach a younger audience means that demand from brands to advertise on Snapchat is increasing, and the development of a robust API will both accelerate this and lower the barriers to entry... It should also help develop the platform’s targeting functionality and the use of its existing audience data, which is currently quite limited. Snapchat is moving into the same space as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in becoming a fully fledged social advertising platform.

Snapchat shuts down lens store
It's a sad day for rainbow vomit fans as Snapchat has announced that its lens store will be closing. It will be upping its free lens portfolio from seven to 10 to fill the void that no doubt will be left by this sudden departure. Sources close to the brand say that it's more lucrative for them to focus on sponsored selfies like this one for Peanuts The Movie and the development of the aforementioned ad API. 

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#DrummondPuddleWatch makes first big social splash of 2016
Last week, a small marketing agency in Newcastle thought it would be a good idea to start a livestream of a puddle outside of their office and watch people navigate their way across it. The next thing we know, the whole of Twitter is drenched in puddle chat, including some brands at the ready to do what they do best - bring it to the mainstream. Here are some choice examples of Twitter responses.