Facebook cracks down on low quality ads and news content
Following the announcement earlier this year that it would "demote ads that included shocking, disruptive or malicious content", Facebook last week revealed that it would be taking this one step further and will now be tackling low quality ad content. This includes ads that withhold information, contain engagement bait and / or ads with sensationalised language. For those who get caught out more than once, Facebook will now penalise all ads from those it deems repeat offenders. And it's not just dodgy advertisers the platform is taking on, new publishers and other websites that "illicitly scrape and republish content from other sources with little or no modification" will be given less prominence in the News Feed.
Facebook brings Instant Games to HTML5 with Facebook Groups
Thanks to improvements to smartphone processing power, Facebook is giving HTML5 another shot "as a way to expand its Instant Games...to the developing world through Facebook Lite, and to interest communities via Facebook Groups" - although initially only to groups about gaming.
Facebook adds more options for branded content
Facebook has made some changes to the way branded content is displayed on its platform, the biggest of which being that its Branded Content tag will now display as "with (brand name)" and will be followed by a new "About this partnership" icon - which will lead users to more information about the two pages and their work together. The language of the Branded Content tag has also been updated to "Paid Partnership", as opposed to just "Paid". Facebook is also said to be testing two new features: one which would allow brand pages to tag others for non-financially related partnerships; and another which would enable Pages to indicate partnerships via messages within the content, instead of a dedicated tag.
In addition to these updates, the platform has announced that it will expand its previously US-based Brand Collabs Manager to more countries over the coming week, including India, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and the UK; and has added a new feature which will allow "brands to post marketing project briefs and creators to respond to those briefs, along with keyword search and location filters."
Instagram tests tapping through posts
The social network is testing a new way for users to advance through posts, by tapping as they would a Story - instead of suffering through the "supposedly cumbersome experience of scrolling" down the feed. The update is currently only being tested in the platform's Explore tab, "with no plans to be implemented in the main feed yet".
Snapchat brings 2D objects to life with its latest Lens creation tools
Snapchat has released "a trio of Lens Studio templates" with an all-new marker tracking feature at their core, which will enable users to turn 2D objects into augmented reality objects by "linking animation to them". Once users have created their new Lens, they can leave a SnapCode behind for other users to discover something new. The update also comes with a new segmentation template which can transform "portraits, hair or the entire sky" and will allow users bring their friends' faces into the Lenses they design. All of the new Lens Studio tools were previously limited to the Snapchat team.
Twitter shames those who break its terms of service
Following increased public pressure for social networks to do more to protect their users, Twitter announced an update last week that it will publicly show if a user has broken its terms of service. Instead of simply removing the tweet, the platform will now replace it with a grey box which reads "This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules", complete with a link back to the platform's rules. This new sign will appear both on the user's profile and on the URL to the tweet, and will remain live for 14 days after the offending content is taken down. Any user who reports a tweet will also be shown a replacement message saying "You reported this tweet", to help communities show that their concerns are being listed to and actioned.
YouTube teams up with Eventbrite to sell live performance tickets
Following on from last year's partnership with Ticketmaster, YouTube has announced a new agreement with ticketing website Eventbrite that will allow fans to book tickets to see live performances via an artist's video page. Available exclusively on its Official Artist Channels, the new listings option will include a blue "Tickets" button which will take fans to the Eventbrite page - allowing them to easily purchase tickets to see their favourite artists. Thanks to the new deal, YouTube says "it now covers over 70-percent of the ticketing market (in the United States)."
YouTube helps brands engage with hard-to-reach TV audiences
YouTube has announced a set of new tools that will help advertisers to "engage audiences watching live TV on YouTube as well as those watching on-demand videos on the video-sharing network via traditional TV sets", by allowing them to customise creative assets and paid media based on device type. According to YouTube, it currently reaches 50 percent more 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. than all TV networks combined; and this move means that brands will now be able to reach YouTube audiences across computers, mobile phones and tablets in Google Ads, as well as Display and Video 360. The update also includes a new targeting segment, Light TV Viewers, which will enable advertisers to target audiences who consume most of their content online; as well as introducing specific reporting tools to help advertisers assess adverts that run on TV screens.
Tommy Hilfiger launches new Facebook Messenger experience
Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger has released SideFlix, a new Facebook Messenger experience that offers fans exclusive branded content when they share it with friends. The more friends they invite, the more content they gain access to. As a build on this, "when two mobile devices are placed next to each other, influencers Jia-Ye Wu and Mia Kong take users on a journey across Shanghai, ending up on the fall 2018 TommyNow Icons runway". As a third and fourth device are added to the mix, more influencers will appear and take users through a party in New York and designer events in Tokyo. SideFlix also gives fans the option to tap on any featured clothing and save the item to their wish lists, linking back to product details on the Tommy Hilfiger website - enabling friends to shop together in real-time online.
Three turns to Snapchat, Instagram and Tinder
Three - the UK's smallest mobile provider - is partnering with Snapchat, Tinder and Instagram to run platform-specific promotions over the next three months. The new partnerships will see the brand sponsoring the revival of Snapchat's “rainbow puke” Lens, featuring profiles for Henry VIII and his six wives on Tinder (all of who all appear in the brand's latest ad campaign) and host the “dead-scrolling Olympics” on Instagram. This comes as the latest in a growing trend for telcos to offer mini-exclusives to consumers through tech partnerships. Three says that as it continues to grow in the 5G space and build excitement of what this will mean for the brand, partnerships such as these help it to reach new audiences without having to rely on calls or texts.