Written by Monisha Kishin, Lee Ai Yun, Benn Tan and Erasmus William
Instagram ads are headed to the Explore tab
Don’t be surprised if you soon come across ads while scrolling through Instagram Explore - the Facebook-owned app has ventured into marketing on the Explore grid, showing users ads once they’ve tapped into a post and browsed through similar imagery.
Instagram’s latest approach of progressively feeding ads to users is an attempt to preserve the high visual quality of the space, and cater to users who are already in the mindset of discovering and exploring.
The platform has announced its plans to test the ad slots itself first, before launching to brands over coming weeks, including big-name corporations and smaller advertisers who may be looking to ramp up conversions, video views or reach. Advertisers may purchase slots through Facebook ads manager, and API they use to buy Instagram feed and stories. Apart from monetization, the move brings advertisers an easier way to purchase business space and connect with customers on the platform, instead of cracking the Explore algorithm.
Although advertisers have to proactively opt in at this stage, the default will eventually be an opportunity to opt out. While Instagram might be introducing ads into the Explore experience slowly and thoughtfully, the volume of ads will likely ramp up over time.
Customizable Twitter timelines might be a thing soon
Twitter is currently testing a new update where users can customise their timeline to increase accessibility. Twitter posted a tweet announcing that they are conducting tests for this potential new platform update and are also crowdsourcing for more customization ideas from users who are in the test.
One of the customization options provided by Twitter is for users to swipe to their lists from the home page, easily accessing different listed timelines with a flick of the wrist. It is possible that testing for this potential feature update is done randomly across the platform, so check out your Twitter account today to see if you’re one of the lucky few.
Also, a new Twitter.com is coming.
Twitter rolls out a newly redesigned desktop layout that features a simpler, airier look. In the latest version, the Twitter desktop appears as three columns, with trends shifted to the right column, and all of the menu and navigation items that had been at the top now listed on the left. The timeline stays front and centre. Twitter has been experimenting with layouts for quite awhile. Earlier this year, Twitter rolled out a two-column web interface to some users — a larger timeline on the left and trending topics and who to follow on the right.
The new appearance also corrals other customizable features, some that had been made available piecemeal, including the option to change the size of your text, switch to dark mode (with a black background instead of white) and the option to choose the latest tweets first.
Twitter’s number of monthly active users have been sliding. Thus, in hopes to make the platform grow, they are redesigning the desktop version, making it easier to use for new users, and more user-friendly for those who are already there.