We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #379

Snapchat unveils its platform redesign
In a move to revive its growth and compete with long-time rival Instagram, Snapchat has begun rolling out its redesign in the hopes of appealing to both users and publishers. Its new algorithm will base its choices on what each person watches most, rather than how popular content is (so slightly different to Facebook’s approach). The redesign looks to differentiate between personal and professional media, so it’s separating them entirely, with content from friends to the left of the camera and publishers to the right.

Snapchat launches $250k Promoted Stories
Following its Black Friday launch with HBO, Snapchat is rolling out its new Promoted Stories ad format – just in time for the holiday season. Unlike traditional Stories, which are only visible to the account’s followers, Promoted Stories offer brands the opportunity to broadcast their ad to all Snapchat users within a set country. However, it could set you back around $250,000 for the privilege.

Snapchat releases new object recognition filters
More Snap news – the app has stepped up its filter game with object recognition filters, which automatically recognise what’s being snapped and create relevant borders or stickers. The new filter option will automatically appear in the user’s carousel after they take a photo of an item within a set of categories including: items at concerts, beaches, pets, sports, and food.

Facebook tests pre-roll ads for Watch shows
Breaking its self-imposed long-term ban of the ad format, Facebook has plans to test pre-roll video ads at the start of its Watch shows. Despite the format’s tendency to annoy users, Facebook is set to begin studying how users respond to the new commercial experience. It’s hoped that the TV show-style format of Watch programmes, and with YouTube’s success with pree-roll ads, will open up new revenue streams for the platform.

Facebook launches Messenger for kids
For the first time, Facebook is opening Messenger to children under age 13 with a new privacy-focused app. The new Messenger Kids, launched in the US today for iOS users, allows parents to download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them and approve friends who they chat with. Special proactive detection safety filters have been included, a dedicated support team will respond quickly to reported or flagged content, and Facebook has even manually created a kid-friendly version of GIF sharing engine, Giphy.

Facebook trials mass-broadcasting for brands on Messenger
The social network has confirmed that it is running internal trials for a Messenger Broadcast feature, which would allow brands to pay to share tailored messages with users. The new feature is considered to be part of the platform’s expansion into Sponsored Messages, further details of which are set to be announced by Facebook’s vice president of messaging products later this month.

Facebook Messenger tests ‘Customer Chat’ plug-in
Customers could soon be able to seamlessly carry on conversations with businesses across both their website and Messenger app, after Facebook has confirmed it’s running closed beta tests for its Customer Chat plug-in. The new feature, which will enable brands to easily add a chat feature to their existing website, will enable businesses and customers to hold conversations without losing history and context.

Instagram teases a wave of new features and updates
Instagram has added a remix option to its direct messages feature, allowing users to automatically capture and remix photos in replies back to friends – complete with the option to add stickers, text and doodles. The new update will also allow videos to be replayed more than once and give users the choice to allow replays on photo messages, instead of having them expire permanently once viewed.

As part of this latest wave of feature updates, Instagram is also testing: a native Regram button; allowing users to search for and add GIFs to their Stories and regular posts; an Archived Stories feature; a new Close Friends list; and an updated app for Android. As with many of Facebook and Instagram’s test features, only time will tell which ones make it to full launch … fingers crossed for GIF Stories?

YouTube joins the Stories-war with Reels launch
YouTube is putting its own spin on the popular content sharing format with the launch of ‘Reels’, which will allow users to put together 30 second video clips with stickers, filters, music, text, and other design options. Unlike Stories on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, Reels won’t expire, users will be able to publish more than one at a time, and will also allow for embedded links to longer YouTube videos. The rollout comes as part of a larger push to build a social network, as last week YouTube also announced it’s opening its “community” tab to all creators with at least 10,000 subscribers.

Pinterest and Tumblr get set for New Year’s departures
Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp will step down before the end of the year, handing the reins to president and chief operating officer, Jeff D’Onofrio; and after nearly six years at Pinterest, president Tim Kendall is also stepping down to launch is own company in the healthcare industry. Kendall will be succeeded by senior vice president for ads and commerce, Jon Alferness.

McDonald’s launches first Sponsored Bitmoji on Snapchat
McDonald’s has become the first brand to launch a Sponsored Bitmoji on Snapchat. The augmented reality feature sees an animated character mischievously run around a McCafe coffee cup, before stealing it and running off the screen. The Sponsored Bitmoji aims to promote its McCafe products and marks the official launch of the new format for Snapchat.