We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #337

Brands flock to Snapchat – then abandon accounts
Research by eMarketer has revealed that while brands rushed to open Snapchat accounts in 2016, a large number then abandoned them.

Approximately 90% of activewear brands and 78% of beauty and fashion brands had a Snapchat account in September 2016. But many of these branded accounts have lain dormant since being opened. eMarketer analyst Cathy Boyle believes the issue may be a lack of strategic thinking on the part of the brands.
WeChat launches mini apps (just don’t call them apps)
China’s top messaging giant WeChat is rolling out mini apps which can be used within the platform. The ‘programs’ (Apple refuses to allow WeChat to officially call them apps) sit within the WeChat platform, so do not require downloading or installation and pose a real threat to traditional apps. Early adopters include McDonald’s, ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and cinema companies. 

Instagram launches Stories ads
Instagram is opening up advertising in its Stories sectionThe Facebook-owned app claims 150m people have been using Instagram Stories daily, representing a 50m user increase in just three months. Around 30 brands, including Capital One, Asos and AirBnb are already trialling the ads, which will be measured solely on the number of people reached.

Facebook Live soon available from desktops
Facebook Pages will soon have the ability to go live via web browser — and according to Mashable, regular profiles will soon follow. Until now, going live required either a phone running the Facebook app or, for publishers especially, specialised streaming camera rigs. The update means Pages will have the option to broadcast directly via a laptop or desktop’s webcam.

Facebook launches automatic subtitling for Page videos
Facebook has launched a free, automatic video captioning tool for all US English Facebook Pages. Powered by voice recognition software, the tool aims to takes the hassle out of transcription while making it easy to edit the subtitles it suggests.Facebook expands Instant Articles and launches Journalism Project
Facebook is testing a new way to help users discover more (real) news. Facebook will let nearly a dozen publishers – including BuzzFeed, El Pais, Fox News and The Washington Post – include more than one Instant Article within a single post. The update, detailed today in a blog post, is in some ways similar to Snapchat’s Discover feature, which lets designated media companies post directly to the app. 

The news comes as Facebook launches the Facebook Journalism Project. According to an announcement blog post the company is collaborating with media organisations on news storytelling formats, business models and ways to partner with local news outlets. 

Facebook to launch ads in the middle of videos
Think you can enjoy ad-free videos on Facebook? Think again. The platform is launching mid-roll ads – which start 20 seconds into the video you’re watching. Facebook will share 55% of sales from the programme to publishers – the same dished out by youTube. It won’t be paying compensation to viewers for the irritation this will cause. 

Facebook expands dynamic ads
Facebook is expanding its dynamic ads format to let advertisers target more users based on their web activity. This means, if you’ve looked at a few red dresses online, you can brace yourself for being hounded with ads for red dresses by Facebook advertisers. In the past, advertisers have only been able to single out people who specifically looked at a product on their website or mobile app.

Facebook’s Audience Network reaches 1b people outside the platform 
Facebook has claimed its Audience Network is reaching 1b people per month outside its own platform, while bringing in new publishers including Washington Post, Wenner Media and Univision. The ad network is designed for publishers to get another source of ad demand and allow advertisers get to extend their campaigns outside of the platform.

Snapchat launches universal search to simplify navigation
Snapchat has launched a search bar to make it easier to find friends, groups, Discover publishers and Stories. The search bar, which will soon be available to all iOS and Android users, lets you dig the best content out of Snapchat.
Snapchat tests new ad features to boost marketing appeal
Snapchat is planning to launch deep-linking and web auto-fill to make the platform more appealing to big budget marketersDeep linking is designed to appeal to e-commerce brands such as music streaming services; and  auto-fill, allows viewers to fill out lead-generation forms with one tap on the screen after seeing an ad. 

Canadian PM runs Q&A as Snapchat Live Story
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken to Snapchat to discuss education, hair products and his desert island essentials. While Snapchat has done similar Q&As with Kevin Hart and Selena Gomez, this is the first time a politician has taken part. Whether Theresa May or Donald Trump plan to follow suit remains to be seen (shudder).YouTube launches Super Chat
YouTube is launching Super Chat, a way for fans to to pay to have their messages highlighted to creators. Super Chat boosts specific user messages in chat streams of live streams, and keeps the messages pinned to the top of chat for up to 5 hours. In a blog post, YouTube said Super Chat helps keep conversations with (super) fans meaningful and lively, while giving creators a new way to make money. The product is being launched with creators iHasCupquake, Great Library (buzzbean11) and Alex Wassabi, and will be launched for creators in 20 countries and viewers in 40 countries at the end of the month.