Unilever takes a stand against influencers buying followers
Consumer goods giant Unilever is cracking down on influencer fraud, calling out those on social media who buy ‘bots’ and fake followers. The corporation’s CMO has stated that they will stop working with influencers who buy followers, as they feel that it constitutes a ‘dark’ side of marketing practices and misleads the consumer. Yay to corporate transparency!

The ‘Gram just keeps on growing
Instagram has revealed that the platform now has over one billion monthly users. With the rise of Instagram Stories taking over a large percentage of Snapchat’s audience, and an estimated 70% increase in year-on-year U.S. ad revenue in 2018, it would seem that Instagram is set to show us all who’s boss.

Instagram Reaches 1 Billion User Milestone | Social Media Today

IGTV has launched - and it’s hot hot hot
HBO-who? The highly anticipated IGTV launched last week, in a move that could have YouTube quaking in their boots.The IGTV app will be available globally on iOS and Android sometime today, as well as in the Instagram app through a TV shaped button above Stories. It will provide a space for “ watching long-form videos from your favourite creators,” according to CEO Kevin Systrom. ‘The Wire’ it may not be, but we can bet that Gen-Zers are going to be talking about this with gusto.

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You can’t view with us! Instagram tests ‘Friends List Stickers’ feature
Want to make viewing your Instagram Stories an extra-exclusive experience? Computer science student Jane Manchun Wong has spotted a sticker that allows you to customise audiences per story. The feature is currently in testing, but looks likely to be rolled out to all users soon. So fetch!

Facebook opens Watch feature door to creators
Facebook’s video hub, Watch, will now be open to creators and publishers in a move that will grant them access to more revenue opportunities. Previously only featuring original content and programming, Pages will now be able to upload content. Some users have voiced concerns that original content will get ‘lost’ amongst the non-episodic videos, but, along with the recent launch of IGTV, it seems that Facebook is determined to corner the online video market.

New game show feature to come to Facebook
Brand new game and poll features are coming to Facebook video content, in another shot at rival YouTube. As well as a 'gameplay' tool that will enable the creation of live games with prizes in Live video content, there will also be a ‘Brands Collab Manager’ feature, allowing creators and brands to partner up with content. The ‘gamification’ of the platform’s video content, as well as the potential to bring in more of the influencer market, looks to make it more dynamic and appealing to the younger audiences that have rapidly been ditching Facebook in favour of YouTube over the last few years.

Poll: Do you think Facebook will be able to lure 'creators' away from YouTube?

There’s a new in-crowd on Facebook - paid ‘subscription Groups’
Facebook is testing a feature to let Group admins charge between $4.99 and $29.99 per month for users to access exclusive content. Facebook Groups product manager Alex Deveat claims that admins will be able to produce higher-quality content if there are funds coming out of the activity. Whilst the feature is currently being tested with a selection of home-organisation, parenting, and cooking groups, the main aim of the test is to find out what members would find valuable from such a service. We predict a wave of enthusiasm from the mummy-blogger contingent of Facebook.

Facebook’s new cross posting feature just made our lives easier
While individual users have been able to enjoy crossposting from Facebook to Instagram for some time, Pages have not had the same privilege. In what appears to be a new feature test, Pages on the platform can now create a single post on Facebook, and post it to your Page, Page Story, and Instagram simultaneously.

Good things come in threes… from Facebook
Facebook has announced three updates that they claim help users to better “create and save memories”. Rolling out first in India, and then to the rest of the world, users will be able to save photos and videos directly into their Facebook account’s cloud when using Facebook’s camera, share voice messages with friends, and archive your friends’ stories. Suck it, “storage almost full” message.

Brace yourselves, Messenger Ads are coming
In an update that has left some feeling, shall we say, somewhat displeased, Facebook is going to be bringing auto-playing ads to your Messenger inbox. While the company’s business chief has assured people that the platform “will be rolling out video ads gradually and thoughtfully,” and that “top priority for us is user experience,” we can’t help but wonder how much users will ‘enjoy the experience’ of having ads forced upon their inboxes.

Facebook Messenger is launching a new auto-translate feature in the U.S. and Mexico
Users of Facebook Messenger will soon be able to get automatic translations of messages received through the service. While the update is currently only rolling out to users in the U.S. and Mexico, and will initially only translate between English and Spanish, it’s an exciting development that breaks down the wall between users.

Messenger Kids: Like Messenger, but cuter
With a U.S.-only preview launched in December 2017, Facebook’s app to allow “kids to safely video chat and message with friends and family when they can’t be together in person” has now rolled out to Canada and Peru. The app is also promoting a new ‘Messenger Kids Pledge’ and ‘Kindness Stickers’ with phrases such as “Good Job” and “Best Friends”, in an effort to encourage positive communication. French and Spanish versions are currently in the works. “Way to go!”

Snapchat is bringing out a docu-series
The battle for the monopoly on video content continues, with Snapchat announcing that it will be launching a series of non-scripted episodes on the platform. The content will feature social media personalities, with the first series set to follow the lives of a real-life vlogger couple living in Laguna Beach. Here’s hoping for some Lauren Conrad/Stephen Colletti-style drama.

Give a clap for the updates on the app to the new Snap Map
Snapchat is making it even easier for us to know everything about the whereabouts of our social media friends, adding weather effects to the Snap Map feature. It will now highlight the weather in specific areas, as well as adding culturally-relevant animations such as holiday-themed effects. The update may seem puny in comparison to the big guns being rolled out by Facebook and Instagram at the moment, but perhaps the platform’s young demographic will enjoy the playfulness of the feature.

Snapchat Announces New Additions to Snap Map, Including Weather Effects | Social Media Today

YouTube is getting audiences hyped with new 'Premieres'

YouTube has launched a feature called Premieres which allows creators, for the first time ever, to build anticipation for their upcoming, pre-recorded videos within the platform. Creators will be able send eager fans to a dedicated landing page which will let them know a new video is imminent. Before this, creators would often use Instagram or Twitter to tease content. Here they can also use countdowns and a SuperChat feature, where they can chat with their audiences and answer questions. Premieres will also allow creators to insert pre-recorded video into live streams which means they can chat along simultaneous with fans, while this plays.

YouTube’s new Creative Suite wants to help marketers make better ads
With over 1.9 billion logged monthly users and an engagement rate of 60%, it’s no wonder that the creative community wants to take advantage of YouTube’s audience. In response to these requests the platform has unveiled Creative Suite, which will focus on delivering insights to brands, as well as storytelling tools. The tools allow brands to edit and make improvements to campaigns before launching them officially, which will help them to maximise the effectiveness of the campaign. With brands such as Kelloggs and 20th Century Fox already using the Suite, something tells us it’s going to catch on.

Audi ‘Think Faster’ campaign suggests Reddit’s redesign has put platform in pole position
‘The heart of social’ platform Reddit has redesigned its website and new native video player, and if Audi’s metrics are anything to go by, the updates have significantly increased user engagement. Audi’s ‘Think Faster’ episodes have seen up to six-times more engagement on the new design, and with the purpose of the campaign being to drive consideration rather than sales, according to Audi’s director of brand marketing, Ken Bracht, it seems that Reddit may be the one you want in the driver’s seat.

Burger King’s campaign is pulled after it leaves a bad taste in audience’s mouths
After creating a campaign on VK - the Russia’s own version of Facebook - promising free Whoppers for life to any woman who gets impregnated by a World Cup player, Burger King has pulled the ad and issued an apology. While the brand claimed that the campaign was meant to encourage “the success of the Russian team for generations to come”, critics said the ad was simply sexist and offensive to women. Three guesses as to how many women were in the room when they came up with that campaign....