We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #386

Facebook profits soar despite slow user growth
Facebook now boasts 1.4 billion daily users (up 2.18% compared to Q3), but the world’s largest social network just experienced its slowest quarterly growth ever in Q4 2017. Mark Zuckerberg attributes this to fewer viral videos, leading to less time being spent on the channel. Time spent on Facebook has fallen by roughly 50 million hours every day – or 2.14 minutes per daily user per day.

But don’t forget, this is Facebook we’re talking about. Despite this fall in time spent on the platform, the network’s ad machine has still proven effective for marketers and brought in $4.26 billion in profits last quarter.

Facebook hints at News Feed’s demise
During its Q4 investor call last Wednesday, Zuckerberg made the bold statement that he predicts “Stories are on track to overtake posts in the News Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps“. While this hints that the social network’s focus may be shifting way from the News Feed, the move – which could potentially be detrimental to the platform’s ad business if not managed properly – is likely to be tested on its other products, such as Instagram, first.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm gets updated (again)
Facebook has announced another update to its News Feed – this time prioritising posts from local publishers. The changes come after continued feedback from users that they “want to see more local news on Facebook”. The update is currently being rolled out in the US, with other countries to follow later this year.

Instagram introduces Type Mode to Stories
“Now, you can turn your most random thoughts into something colourful and expressive” as Instagram brings its new Type Mode to Stories. From this month, when users open the camera feature in Stories they will see a new “Type” setting next to “Normal” under the record button, which will allow them to type and stylise words and phrases. The new styles can also be enabled when adding text to any photo or video.

Instagram tests Carousel ads for Stories
It’s been less than a year since Instagram first brought ads to its Stories feature, and it’s already expanding its offering. Last week, the platform announced that it had started testing Carousel ads for Stories with a handful of advertisers including Gap, Coca-Cola and Paramount. The new format would mean that Stories are no longer limited to one piece of media.

Scheduling options come to Instagram
Following the latest wave of changes to Instagram’s Graph API, businesses will now have the option to schedule organic posts. The update will also enable business profiles to view public posts that they have been mentioned or tagged in, as well as view other business profiles. The social network also announced last November that 25 million businesses were using its platform, up from 15 million last July and 8 million last March.

Snapchat flexes its e-commerce muscles
Snapchat has begun selling branded merchandise via a new digital stores inside the app, hinting at a potential move into e-commerce for the social network. The new store appeared in Snapchat’s Discover section, previously reserved for media companies. It offers users items like a branded hot dog toy – modelled after then dancing hot dog character – before they disappear. The new store feature, which is currently reserved for Snapchat and has not been offered out to other brands, also has the capability to take payments in-app. In the past, Snapchat has struggled in attracting ad revenue to the platform – so could a move into e-commerce provide the answer? Only time will tell.