Digital ad revenue hit $88 billion in 2017
According to a recent report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, prepared by PwC, digital ad revenue saw a stellar year of growth in 2017 - increasing 21 percent to hit $88 billion. Of that figure, mobile captured the lion's share (57 percent), totalling $50 billion, up from $36.6 billion reported in 2016. Last year also saw increased revenue across video for mobile, social, and digital audio advertising. Read the full story here to find out more.

Facebook releases new updates for Stories and trails ads
As part of ongoing efforts to convince users to adopt its Stories feature into their daily lives, Facebook is currently testing a wave of new features in India which are set to be released globally. The first is the introduction of audio posts for Stories, which will allow users to share posts combining a voice message with a coloured background or photo. The Stories feature will also be getting an archive setting, similar to that launched on Instagram, along with a new setting which will enable users to save clips from the Facebook camera directly to the social network, instead of their phone. In addition to which, now that the feature can boast an impressive 150 million daily active users, Facebook is also testing five to 15 second skippable video ads for Stories with users in the US, Mexico and Brazil.

Facebook ads lead-gen features to dynamic ads for auto dealerships
The social network is expanding its dynamic ads for auto dealerships, which launched in November last year, by building in a new feature which will feed leads directly into the dealership’s CRM system. At least two dealerships have beta-tested the new ads, with strong results.

Facebook expands its reporting options to include new creative reports
Facebook has announced plans to update its reporting functionality to make it easier for those advertising on the platform to display their results. The update will include: a drag-and-drop feature to customise reports; a refreshed Ads Reporting experience to better analyse elements such as age, gender and placement; and a new “creative reporting” metric to give advertisers insight into the performance of creative ad elements such as headline, text, call to action, image, video. The new reporting function will roll out over the next month.

Instagram lets users share posts directly to Stories
Instagram is also releasing a new feature to its Stories offering this week, as it announced a new way for users to instantly share their posts, or friend / brand posts they like directly to their Stories. The process is the same as sharing a post through Instagram Direct. Users will need to click the paper aeroplane on a post they wish to share and then click the new 'create a story' button instead. As posts will be shared as a sticker, users can rearrange, resize, and place on customisable backgrounds before posting. All shared Stories will include the original poster’s username, along with a link back to the original post.

Instagram releases new communications tools for business pages
Instagram is looking to revolutionise the way consumers communicate with brands on the platform, as it launches new communications tools for brand pages. The platform has launched an email-style messaging tool which will: filter messages from new customers to the top of the pile; allow brands to set up quick replies; and will no longer send messages from customers the page does not follow to the 'pending section'. In addition to this new update, Instagram is also partnering with other companies to streamline the reservation or ticket-buying process. The aim is to address one of the long-running annoyances for users of the site - not being able to properly communicate with a brand.

WhatsApp unveils new updates for group chats
Among the messaging platform's latest wave of updates is a new 'group catch up' feature for its group chat functionality which will enable users to quickly catch up on long conversation threads. A new "a" button will be added to group chats and will direct users to messages where someone has either mentioned them or specifically replied to one of their messages. Along with this update, WhatsApp is also introducing the ability for group admins to set administrator controls, so only authorised participants can do things like change a group chat's icon or subject; and a new search feature to find specific users within a thread. The new features will be rolling out across the app's Android and iPhone systems immediately.

Snapchat updates its design (again) and adds new video ads
As part of efforts to win back users it's alienated with its recent redesign, Snapchat has unveiled yet another design update to help address some of the issues. The update includes bringing friends' video stories back alongside the media and celebrities in the Discover section, as well as showing personal messages in reverse chronological order again. However, despite being intended to address user concerns, the new update seems to only have annoyed and confused users and industry onlookers even further. In addition to the renewed design, last week users of the app will have experienced the first-ever series of non-skippable six ads on the platform. The new ads appear in the middle of Shows and will offer media partners the option to sell the ad space in their own shows, though most are predicted to be bought through Snapchat's automated ad platform.

Twitter plans to hide tweets which “detract from the conversation”
The social network announced last week that it will begin hiding tweets from accounts it deems to be "distracting from the conversation". And it's not just the one conversation. If Twitter deems an account's tweets worth hiding, then all of that user’s tweets will be hidden from search results and public conversations until their reputation improves. However, the platform will notify users if / when this happens and offer tips to help them improve their reputation. To view these hidden comments, users will need to scroll to the bottom of the conversation thread and click "show more replies" - or select "see everything" in their settings. Followers of a 'hidden' account will still be able to see and interact with a users tweets. In early testing, Twitter reported a 4% drop in abuse reports in its search tool and an 8% drop in abuse reports in conversation threads.

Burger King uses Instagram Stories to create burgers
Burger King Spain recently launched a campaign which used Instagram Stories' new Poll feature to allow customers to build their own Whoppers. Once fans selected their ingredients and built their own burgers, they were then emailed a code that would let them go into stores and pick up their custom burgers. The chain is now offering the "Instagram Whopper", based on the most popular choice, for a limited time.

Corona launches bragging out-of-office gif generator
Just in time for the bank holiday weekend, popular beer brand Corona has launched ‘the world’s most unapologetic out of office generator’- a microsite which allows users to generate automatic replies to emails received while on holiday. Users can select a GIF that represents their holiday destination, add a message and their date of return, and then the final customised GIF can be downloaded and shared directly their email provider.