Facebook takes on Snapchat with new app, Lifestage, for people 21 and under…
It’s the social network your parents aren’t on…yet. Facebook has launched Lifestage, a standalone iOS app that allows users to create a video profile about who they are with their school network. Users shoot videos of the usual stuff – drugs, alcohol, sex, happy faces, sad faces, likes, dislikes, BFFs, dogs, etc. and the app creates a video profile others can watch. Anyone aged 22 or above can, technically, hold an account, but they will only be able to see their own profile. No word on when the app will be available in Australia, but we’re standing by for a parental outcry! 

…and Facebook introduces vertical videos
It’s no longer hip to be square – at least not for videos on Facebook. The platform is copying Snapchat’s 3V videos and already has brands on board – Ruby Tuesday, Mountain Dew, GE, Axe and Budweiser are among those testing the feature in its early stages. Until now, marketers and users have been able to upload vertical videos, though clips have appeared square until the user taps the post.

Facebook is also testing autoplay video ads that load with the sound turned on rather than the silent versions that currently play. The platform confirmed it is running a trial in Australia that will allow people to choose if they want sound from the start.

Snapchat to reach 217m users by the end of 2017
Whilst it’s a nice effort by Facebook, Snapchat doesn’t seem too concerned about their apparent product swipes. This ghost just keeps on growing. eMarketer is predicting that Snapchat will grow by 27.2% during 2016 and then another 13.6% next year. The growth will take the platform from today’s 150 million daily users to 217 million users by the end of 2017. While no Australia-specific numbers have been released yet, we don’t see the ghost disappearing any time soon. 

Whatsapp shakes up privacy policy to allow data sharing
What’s up with WhatsApp? They’ve made several changes to their privacy policy. Doesn’t sound too interesting – until you learn that one change will allow businesses to message the app’s billion+ users. This will enable companies to send messages that many people now receive by SMS. WhatsApp plans to test these new services, such as fraud alerts from banks and updates from airlines on delayed flights, in the next few months.

The move is part of a privacy shakeup that will also enable Facebook to better target ads across both Facebook’s own properties (including Instagram) and ads anywhere on the web through Facebook’s Audience Network. Whatsapp user phone numbers will become part of an existing database that can be anonymously matched with companies’ own customer lists to create audience profiles. Facebook will also be able to use the number to suggest friends to add and to track whether a user has both WhatsApp and the Facebook app on their phone.

As far as phone numbers and “last seen” data, TechCrunch understands Facebook will also be fed intel on a WhatsApp users’ operating system, mobile country code, mobile carrier code, screen resolution and device identifier, which all open up plentiful tracking/ad-targeting possibilities.
WhatsApp has set out two ways to opt out of sharing data for Facebook ad targeting on its website here.

Twitter launches new direct message buttons for websites
Want to DM a brand from their website but can’t be faffed to open Twitter? Now you don’t have to, so long as the website you’re looking at has a direct message button installed. The new button allows visitors to privately message an individual or company directly and is one of several new Twitter website buttons available.

YouTube rumoured to be planning new text and photo service
YouTube is rumoured to be planning the launch of a new feature called Backstage that will offer users a way to share texts and images without leaving the platform. It is expected to launch by the end of this year with select popular YouTube accounts and limited features.

Akin to a Facebook timelines or Twitter profiles, Backstage will live alongside the ‘Home’ and ‘Videos’ tabs within individual YouTube channels. Posts shared to Backstage will appear in reverse chronological order and will also be placed in subscribers’ feeds and notifications so that they’re more visible to fans.

Gatorade’s Snapchat video game ad to mark the US Open
Serena Match Point is an old-school video game featuring 22 levels, each representing one of Serena Williams’ Grand Slam wins. The game sits as an ad within ESPN’s Discover channel on Snapchat, and when users swipe up the ad, they will be directed to an in-app game experience. Gatorade will also use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to drive users to the game.

Myer partnered with Twitter to launch its spring collection on the runway and on social

In what Myer is calling a ‘world first’, the retailer launched their spring collection with gifs shot using a 360-degree camera. Customers were asked to retweet their favourite and would then receive a tweet reminder when it arrives in store. Myer also used Facebook Live for the first time to give viewers further insight into the new collection.

Snapchat is set to introduce behavioural targeting
Snapchat is planning to roll out behavioural targeting capabilities to advertisers in the coming months. At this early stage, data will only be captured from users’ activity in the app. Recent moves to enhance the advertising experience on the platform – including rolling out their first advertising API and “log in with Snapchat” button for the Bitmoji Keyboard app – hint at their move to allow more advertisers to buy, optimise and analyse their Snapchat ad campaigns and access more sophisticated targeting options to do so. There has been no official word from Snapchat on the targeting options yet, but we’re anxious to hear what they have to say.