Facebook now lets users ‘try on’ items they see in ads
The social network is rolling out a new ad format which will utilise augmented reality (AR) to encourage users to "try it on" directly from the ad. The new ads will appear similar to other formats in the Newsfeed but with an icon to access the new feature, which will open the user's camera and allow them to try on an AR version of the object being advertised. In addition, users will be able to share pictures of themselves wearing the virtual objects to their Facebook Story - potentially offering another in for Facebook to revamp the photo sharing feature, as people look to their friends for advice on whether or not an item looks good on them. So far, Michael Kors has become the first brand to utilise this new tool with an advert for its line of sunglasses.
Instagram brings questions to Stories
Last week, Instagram announced the arrival of its new 'questions' Sticker which enables users to pose a question on their Story, and receive feedback from followers. The new feature works in a similar way to Polls or the emoji slider, except that users will now have the option for longer-form responses. Answers are only visible to the poster of the question, but aren't anonymous, and can be re-shared on the original question master's Story.
Instagram opens e-commerce features to more brands
Instagram last week announced that its expanding its e-commerce ad offering to more advertisers. Its Collection ads feature, which offers brands a swipeable carousel display of images and videos - and allows users to explore and purchase products without leaving the main app - is now available to all e-commerce brands globally; while the platform's Shopping Bag icon for Stories, which allows users to view further product information - such as the item description, pricing information and links to a website - will be available to all brands to use "in their holiday campaigns".
Snapchat plans new e-commerce partnerships with Amazon and more
Snapchat could be about to make it possible to shop via Snaps, as a tip off to an unreleased feature in Snapchat’s Android app has suggested the platform is working on a series of e-commerce partnerships which could do just that. By integrating with third-party suppliers including Amazon, Shazam and more - Snapchat hopes to create a visual search engine that would identify objects, songs and barcodes from users’ cameras, and provide them with a link to where they can buy the respective product online. These links will also be shareable, enabling users to "subtly" hint present ideas to friends and family.
Snapchat introduces Lens Explorer
The social media giant has unveiled a new way for users to discover and unlock Lenses from around the world, with the introduction of Lens Explorer for its iOS app. The new feature, which is yet to launch, will give users the option to click on a new icon in the Lens Carousel and either tap a Lens tile to unlock a new Lens, or explore thousands of options from feature Stories. The Lenses are the product of Snapchat's Lens Studio, which launched late last year and has so far seen more than 100,000 unique Community Lenses created.
Twitter could let brands take over Explore with new ad offering
Twitter is currently testing a new Promoted Trend Spotlight ad format which would give brands the option to purchase a "visual banner equipped with a GIF or image background atop Explore" which would display for the first two times a user visits the section that day. The trial is currently being run in the US with Disney and, if successful, could provide an eye-catching alternative to the traditional timeline ads; as well as providing Twitter which a much needed revenue boost. The new format is planned to be offered as an add-on to the traditional Promoted Trends offering.
Twitter clamps down on fake accounts
The social media network has confirmed that it has shut down nearly 70m fake accounts in recent months, as part of ongoing efforts to clean up bots, trolls and other harmful users on the platform. In addition to which, Twitter has also begun removing locked accounts - those which have been blocked for displaying spammy behaviour - from users’ follower counts. As well as increasing transparency on the platform, and improving user behaviour, it's also hoped that this move will help to increase the credibility of users' accounts - particularly those of influencers, where follower numbers are often a way of negotiating fees and measuring reach.