Snapchat and Instagram score highly with young adults 
A report from Pew Research Centre has found that a large proportion of young internet users in the US are logging into Snapchat and Instagram every day. The Social Media Use in 2018 study spoke to 2,002 U.S. adults about their use of the major social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. It found that 78% of 18-24s use Snapchat and 71% use Instagram, and respectively, 82% and 81% use them on a daily basis. Facebook was the most used site across all age groups, with 74% of users visiting the social network daily, down slightly from 76% in 2016.

WeChat hits a billion monthly users
Chinese messaging app WeChat has hit the incredible milestone of one billion monthly users. The BBC credits its success to the fact that it’s much more than a messaging app or social network – it’s also where people book taxis, order food, make appointments, do their banking, find dates and play games. However, it’s still lagging behind Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion monthly users.

Facebook launches new travel-focused tool 
Facebook has launched ‘Trip Consideration’, a tool that will allow brands to target users before they have even started planning their journeys. It’s a separate product to Facebook’s ‘dynamic ads for travel’ and works across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network. Here’s how it works in practice: Say I am going on holiday with my mates to a sunny destination, I’ve checked out a few options – thinking Ibiza but not ready to commit. When Facebook picks up that I’m doing my research via travel-related pages, advertisers can use this information to promote flight or hotel deals to me. A Facebook survey found that 68% of millennials used the platform to find ideas for their trips; 60% for Instagram.

Facebook seeks to clarify ad metrics
After a few very public mistakes in recent years in the way it reports its data, Facebook last week announced plans to increase transparency to restore advertisers’ trust in the platform’s results. The first of these planned changes will be aimed at addressing the way Facebook labels its metrics to explicitly point out when an ad metric is an estimate, in development or both. The social network is also preparing to launch its new Measure What Matters initiative, which will focus on events and online content to help advertisers better understand how to measure and improve ads on the platform.

Instagram tests several new features, including voice and video calls
Instagram is continuing its long-running streak of launching new feature updates, as a deep-dive into the platform’s code recently revealed several new features which could soon be on their way. These include: a universal portrait mode; a Cinemagraph creator; a new way for users to organise messages; and a feature to enable users to download their personal data from the app. In addition to which, files and icons for “Call” and “Video Call” were also found, suggesting the platform is preparing to launch audio and video calling within its direct messenger. There is currently no given timeline for the launch of any of these updates.

Snapchat and Instagram temporarily remove Giphy feature
Following complaints that an extremely racist GIF was being offered as an option to add to users’ Stories, both Snapchat and Instagram temporarily removed their recently added GIPHY integration feature. Despite all GIFs available on the platforms being rated PG, the mistake was “due to a bug in (GIPHY’s) content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers”. GIPHY has confirmed that staff are currently reviewing every GIF sticker by hand, and have apologised for any offence caused.

Snap aims to improve productivity and performance
After a turbulent year for the social network, which has seen its share price fall and the exodus of some of its top execs, Snap is hoping to “to unleash speed and productivity” within its organisation with its biggest round of job cuts to-date (120 to be exact). The platform wants to put the focus back on technical excellence and creating “a single, powerful and diverse team”.

Twitter wants to address credibility and measurement 
During a Periscope live broadcast last week, Twitter’s CEO announced plans to open the platform’s previously exclusive verification tick (usually reserved for celebrities, journalists and other public figures) to all users who request it – provided they can show the necessary documentation to prove their identity. The platform aims to move the elusive tick away from being seen as a status symbol, to make it a show that a user is a credible source of information. As part of this move to increase credibility and trust, the platform is also looking to tackle its long-time bot problem by deleting and suspending millions of accounts it believes to be fake. This move comes after recent research suggested that there are now around 49.5 million false Twitter users.

Twitter is deleting/suspending accounts at an unprecedented rate. In the past 30 days we have detected:

‣ 2.18 million new accounts
‣ 3.18 million deleted/suspended

We’ve never seen a net loss over 30 days, before.

The social network is also seeking to improve how it measures the health of the conversations and debates taking place on its platform, by crowdsourcing ideas on which metrics would best help to quantify this. Submissions are open to everyone between now and April 13th, and winning entries will receive significant backing from the platform.

Twitter tests integration with outside buying platforms 
Twitter is moving to greater embrace programmatic ad technology, in the hope of making it the easiest social network to buy ads, by building connections with outside buying platforms and agency trading desks. Previously the big social networks have avoided such partnerships due to the lower levels of control but, if successful, Twitter appears to be willing to relinquish some of that control for a more seamless integration. It’s also hoped that Twitter will be able to build on its recent interest from the ad industry, which has been fuelled by the success of its video ad formats.

YouTube announces new features for Live streams
YouTube recently announced a wave of new updates to its live streaming feature, which aim to bring the platform’s communities closer together. These changes include: chat replay (which allows anyone watching saved live streams to see the chat); location tagging for live streams, and the ability to search streams by location; auto-generated captions; and the expansion of its paid Live Super Chats function, which can also be used to trigger real world events – such as controlling a streamer’s lights or firing confetti cannons.

Air New Zealand launches personalised #EmojiJourney campaign
To give social media users a bit of holiday inspiration, Air New Zealand has launched its new #EmojiJourney campaign across Facebook and Twitter to give holidaymakers a personalised map of where to visit in New Zealand. When users see a post containing #EmojiJourney, they simply need to reply with three emojis which best showcase their ideal New Zealand holiday and a link will automatically be generated and shared, offering them to unique map highlighting areas of the country they may be interested in visiting.