TV ad spend set to decline as digital sees continued growth
A new eMarketer forecast has predicted that US TV ad spend will decline a further half percent in 2018, fuelled by 'cord-cutting' and related trends among younger audiences, and will sit at around $69.87 billion by the end of the year. This drop would bring US TV's share of overall ad spend down to less than a third (31.6%). The trend is expected to continue until 2022, with the exception of 2020 when the US presidential election is set to bring viewing ratings and ad spend up. In contrast, digital advertising in the US is set to grow by 18.7 percent this year - taking it to a predicted $107.3 billion.

In the UK, eMarketer has also dismissed the "knee-jerk reactions" of doom to Facebook's recent data scandal, as its recent forecasts have predicted UK marketers are set to spend £3.3bn on social media advertising in 2018, an increase of 24% year-on-year. Facebook is actually set to claim a 21.3% share of digital spend this year and that the dip in teen users the platform has experienced could be attributed to the rise of rival platforms, such as Snapchat. Forecasts also predict that social media will overtake TV ad spend by 2020, taking it to a fifth of all media ad spend.

Facebook rolls out new privacy tools and shakes up data practices
As the social network continues to face increased scrutiny over its data practices in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's chief privacy officer has released a statement detailing a new set of privacy tools and a simplified privacy settings dashboard, to help users better understand and control the type of data the platform can access and share. These updates also include the simplification of the social network's terms and conditions, to translate them into "language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand". In addition to which, Facebook has removed ad targeting options that relied on consumer data from third-parties and has halted its long-time practice of providing anonymised data to information brokers.

Instagram introduces automated full-screen creative for Stories
After years of updates to its creative formats putting a strain on advertisers, Instagram last week announced the launch of a new offering to automatically convert images (both square and landscape) and video (up to 15 seconds) to fit full screen - allowing them to be easily featured as brand Stories. Instagram will use pixel matching technology to ensure the quality of the content remains and where the sizing of the asset allows, text from the post will also be added underneath the image to help boost engagement.

Snap confirms more lay offs within advertising and sales teams
Following a recent round of lay offs which saw 120 engineers leave the social media network, Snap confirmed last week that 100 more employees are to lose their jobs in another round of cuts. This time it is advertising and sales who will bear the brunt of the downsizing, and the company cites a new structure for team resourcing to 'support its mission' as the reason for the changes.

Snapchat adds group video chat and mentions
Drawing on elements from Facebook Messenger and Twitter, Snapchat is rolling out new features to bring group video chat and mentions on its iOS and Android apps. Up to 16 users at a time will be able to take part in the new group chats, extending to 32 for voice calls, and users will have the option to toggle between voice and video - and of course, face lenses will be available too. Snapchat is also introducing mentions for Stories, allowing users to tag their friends by adding an @ sign before their name. Both features will be available globally in the next few weeks.

Snapchat unveils first TV campaign
As part of its ongoing effort to be seen as a “camera” company, Snapchat has launched its first TV campaign to educate consumers about the app which featured during the Final Four on TBS last weekend. The ad was created in 60 and 30 second cuts and will continue to appear on TV in prime-time, cable and syndication slots for the next two months, as well as featuring in a broader digital campaign. The social network has also launched its own dedicated website, whatis.snapchat.com, to support its aim of educating wider audiences. The campaign comes at a critical time for the platform, as it struggles to meet investor expectations and continues lay offs as part of its corporate restructure.

Snapchat adds location-based ad options, launches Easter Egg hunt
Snapchat is continuing to make location tools more of a focus for the social network, as it unveils two new location-based advertising tools to help marketers reach their target audience. The new ‘Location Categories’ (enabling brands to target people based on type of location - such as gyms for fitness brands - rather than just by geographical locations) and ‘Radius Targeting’ (which will allow users to add or exclude a radius around an address, city centre, pin, or point of interest) features "will help advertisers connect with users based on their activity, with more specific location targeting".

Snapchat showed off its location capabilities in a campaign last week, launching The Great Snapchat Egg Hunt to challenge users in the U.S. and Canada to collect as many eggs as they could before April Fool’s Day. For those taking part, more than one million 'hidden' decorative eggs appeared on their Snap Maps in public locations and once found, users could tap the eggs to open 3D World Lenses and collect one point (or five points for rare golden eggs). Users were then able to share their score with friends and see how they ranked among the global Snapchat community.

Snapchat throws shade at Facebook with April Fools' Day filter
Snapchat truly made the most of April Fool's Day this year, as users awoke on Sunday to find a new filter which overlaid a Facebook-like design (complete with Russian text) onto their pictures - a clear reference to the accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Eagle-eyed uses also spotted references to bots and the age of Facebook's audience in comparison to Snapchat.

LinkedIn launches auto-play video ads
A year on from the initial launch of its video ad format, LinkedIn has added auto-play video ads to its Sponsored Content formats - allowing video ads to appear as standalone posts in the feed. The platform says it's going "all in on B2B video" as it looks to showcase how video content can support the entire marketing funnel and build brand awareness in the space. The format has been in testing with more than 700 advertisers since October, resulting in engagement rates nearly three times longer than other Sponsored Content. In addition, the network is also introducing the ability for businesses to include native video on Company Pages. The new updates will be rolled out globally over the next few weeks.