Instagram launches ads in Instagram Shop tab
Last year saw Instagram finally embrace e-commerce with the unveiling of ‘Shops,’ a feature that currently lives on the app's bottom navigation bar. Following testing in the US, Instagram is now introducing ads, which will be displayed globally via the Shop tab. When clicked, ads – which will appear alongside other ‘Shops’ content – will open the Product Details page, showing more information about the item, additional images, and other brand products. Users can then save the product from the ad to their wish list, or send it to a friend. This is an exciting opportunity for brands to expand their social media sales, whilst boosting their presence on the platform.

Instagram Shops

TikTok expands Shopify partnership
TikTok is getting stuck into shopping by expanding its partnership with the e-commerce platform Shopify. The expanded deal means that Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account will soon be able to add a new ‘Shopping’ tab to their TikTok profiles, allowing them to sync their product catalogues and create mini-storefronts on their profiles. Product links are another handy addition, allowing Shopify merchants to tag products in their TikTok videos. Kylie Jenner has swooped in as an early adopter of this new service, using the features to drive sales of her cosmetics brand. With TikTok placing its focus on e-commerce, it’s only a matter of time before the platform becomes a top destination for shopaholics. 

Instagram ditches ‘swipe-up’ links in favour of stickers
It’s time to say goodbye to swipe-up links on Instagram, as the platform looks to ditch the feature in favour of a sticker alternative. The popular swipe-up feature currently allows businesses and high-profile creators to direct their following to a website, where they can learn more about a product, read an article, and so on. Now the platform is introducing a new link sticker, which works in essentially the same way as the ‘swipe-up’ feature, but lines up better with Instagram’s current creative direction that favours interactivity. There are also rumours that the platform is considering expanding access to link sharing in Stories, with the new sticker perhaps signalling a step in this direction.

Clubhouse embraces spatial audio
Listen up, audio fans. Clubhouse is embracing surround sound by enabling spatial audio support via the app. This feature introduces subtle spatial cues that position participants on Clubhouse calls into three-dimensional space around the user’s head. This makes it seem as if users are in a room full of people, creating a more vibrant, human experience. The feature works best when using headphones, and is currently only available on iOS, with an Android rollout expected soon.

Instagram now requires users to provide their birthday
Instagram will begin nudging users to share their birthday with the platform. No, not so they can send you a present, but to help create new safety features aimed at younger users. Over the past year, the app has introduced teen privacy protection, as well as revealed its intention to launch a version of its service aimed at users under the age of 13. Starting from last week, users have begun to receive notifications prompting them to share their date of birth. Instagram is even developing AI technology that helps to identify kids who may be lying on their birthday entry form, highlighting the platform’s determination to ensure child safety.

instagram birthday

TikTok welcomes Taylor Swift
TayTay is now on TikTok! Pop superstar Taylor Swift has finally joined the video sharing app, much to the delight of her adoring fans. By last Monday, the #swifttok hashtag had been used on more than 181,000 video creations, tallying to over 1 billion views. Her impact is evident, with the dress she wore in her first video having already (swiftly) sold out. Expect album news, touring updates, and hopefully some VIP appearances from her cats.

Ones to watch
Twitter is testing ticketed Spaces and showing which friends are listening in, while TikTok is testing AR developer tools.