Facebook experiments with new meme creation app, Whale
Facebook has a new app - meme creation platform, Whale. Currently only available in Canada, Whale allows users to decorate photos with text and stickers in order to create memes that can be shared on social media or with friends via other channels. In addition to making memes, users can create their own image stickers using the crop and cut tools; and, for the more creative among us, there is also a freeform drawing tool to make and share unique creations.
The app has been created by Facebook’s 'NPE Team', a division inside the social network that builds experimental consumer-facing social apps. Canada is generally considered a suitable testing ground for this kind of thing, as it’s a good proxy for the US.
Snapchat extends its play commercials beyond six seconds
Following its initial announcement at Advertising Week in New York this September, Snapchat has now rolled out its extended play commercials in closed beta. From now on, whitelisted brands and advertisers will have the ability to extend their content up to three minutes via Ads Manager; while those who wish to get in on the action will be able to request to join. However, despite the new ad option giving the opportunity to extend content, Snapchatters will still be able to skip the ads at any time after the initial six seconds.
Snapchat splashes the cash on its AR future
At its annual Lens Fest conference last month, Snapchat promised a whopping $750,000 to its top augmented reality stars in 2020. The financial support, triple Snapchat's commitment this year, will provide more opportunities for collaborative projects and support the development of innovative ideas. Coinciding with the event, Snapchat also announced that Spectacles 3 will now be open to Lens creators, allowing them to create content for the hardwear for the first time.
Twitter rolls out new tools to aid conversations on its platform
After months of testing with users in the US, Japan and Canada, Twitter has rolled out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users globally. One of its most controversial features to date, it has a slight tweak to the earlier test version. Now, it not only lets users hide replies, but also gives them the option to block the replier.
Last week Twitter also announced that it has added a new 'Conversation Insights' element to its Media Studio tool, which provides account managers with more specific data around engagement they receive on the platform.
YouTube brings its Masthead TV ads out of beta
YouTube's Masthead for TV ad option is now available to all advertisers on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, following the completion of a beta test period which began in September of this year. According to the platform's product manager, the ad format can now be purchased either as part of a cross-screen buy that runs on mobile, desktop and TV, or as part of a single-screen-only buy that runs just on TV.
Google takes a stronger stance on political advertising
Following Twitter's recent decision to ban political advertising on its platform, Google has announced that it will be imposing a global ban on political campaigns matching their own databases of prospective voters against Google's user base for the purposes of advertising. Previously, advertisers outside of the UK and EU have been able to use this data, along with assumptions about political views based on browsing habits, to target individuals across platforms such as YouTube and Google Search. This restriction will be imposed worldwide from January 6th, 2020.
Ones to watch
Facebook has begun rolling out the option for Facebook and Instagram Stories to be added to Facebook Dating and, by early 2020, will make it available in all 20 countries; Instagram has started working on a new format for IGTV content which will switch the main feed into a vertical scrolling list; audio-streaming app Tidal is now integrated with Snapchat, following similar partnerships with Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories back in August; and, finally, Twitter has announced that it’s experimenting with a new tweet scheduling feature for its web app.