We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #458

Facebook reveals new business tools for Messenger
Facebook is rolling out a new suite of tools for the 40 million active businesses on Messenger, including appointment booking options (in beta with select developers and businesses), a lead-generation template within Facebook Ads Manager and improved event reporting, due to be released later this year. As part of the changes, the platform has also said it will be updating its Standard Messaging window, which allows businesses to respond to inquiries from customers, to 24 hours – bringing it in line with WhatsApp.

Along with the new tools and updates, Facebook will also begin to phase out the Discover tab in Messenger – a process which will be completed over several months. Instead, it will invest in making sure Facebook users are directed to interact with businesses via Messenger in other ways.

Facebook partners with Spotify for new Stories integration
Music lovers, rejoice! Facebook and Spotify have announced a new partnership which will help make Stories more musical. The update includes the ability to share 15-second song previews from Spotify to Facebook Stories, by tapping the “Share” button from the Spotify app and choosing Facebook as the destination. Conversely, story viewers can tap on a “Play on Spotify” button in the Story to be redirected to the Spotify app to hear more. The move follows a similar partnership with Instagram last year. Spotify used to offer Facebook Story sharing in the past, but the access was pulled – second time lucky perhaps.

YouTube updates its algorithm to tackle ‘borderline’ content 
YouTube is looking to curb the spread of ‘borderline content’ in the UK and other English-speaking markets, by tweaking its referral algorithms to reduce the reach of videos which come close to breaching its community guidelines. As well as this commitment to reduce the spread of borderline content, the platform will look to remove banned content as quickly as possible, to promote authoritative voices and set a higher bar for which channels can monetise their content. YouTube will also work to champion verified and accurate material. An earlier trial in the US is credited with halving views of toxic content sparked by recommendations.

YouTube adds more age gates and reveals a web version of its Kids app 
YouTube is recategorising the ages of its YouTube Kids app users, in a move to help refine the type of content they are exposed to. Now, instead of simply having ‘Older than 8’ and ‘Younger than 8’, the platform will define users by ‘Preschool’ (4 years and under), ‘Younger’ (5-7), and ‘Older’ (8-12). According to YouTube, the age classification a user has will also define the type of content they can access, with ‘Preschool’ kids, for example, being targeted with videos promoting “creativity, playfulness, learning and exploration.”

As part of the changes, YouTube also launched a web version of its Kids offering. The website will offer a similar experience to the existing YouTube Kids app, where parents can track their child’s watch history and flag inappropriate content.

YouTube reviews its paid viewership strategy for new releases
YouTube has announced plans to lower its paywall for new shows during a limited window, so that people can initially tune in for free. Instead, revenues for these shows will be generated from advertising partners – which last year contributed $15bn to YouTube’s coffers. YouTube will not be seeking to completely dismantle its paywall; much of its current library remains under strict contracts with producers.

LinkedIn launches new Insights and Research page
LinkedIn has rolled out a new page as part of its Success Hub for Marketers, dedicated to actionable marketing insights to help marketers make informed decisions about their social media strategies. The new ‘Insights and Research’ page aims to offer comprehensive insights and is divided into three sections: ‘People Insights’, ‘Industry Insights’ and ‘Advertising Insights’. Under each section, marketers can find information on the platform’s audiences, trends relating to industry verticals, and advice on how to best use LinkedIn’s advertising landscape in order to measure and maximise marketing impact.

TikTok opens its own audience network in Asia
According to newly discovered developer documents and reports from those familiar with the matter, TikTok has rolled out its own native audience network to help advertisers reach its 260 million+ users in China and Japan. Similar to that of Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn, TikTok’s audience network will also let advertisers target users across third-party apps, offering media buyers the choice between full-page video ads or the rewarded video ads.

Through the network, media buyers will also be able to blacklist particular apps they’d rather avoid, along with apps in risqué categories like ‘adult health care’ and ‘plastic surgery’. While speculation will be rife as to what this move might mean for the future of the platform, TikTok itself is yet to comment.

Spotify reveals branded Instagram AR effect for album release
You may have noticed more AR effects of late on Instagram – that’s because last month, Facebook’s tool for building augmented reality effects, Spark AR, opened up to one and all. Spotify is one brand to have made the most of this, having just released a branded Instagram AR camera effect to promote the launch of UK rapper Headie One’s new album. The effect allows Instagram users to place the album cover’s reflective mask over their own face, along with a tattoo on their chest. Sadly, rapping skills must be user’s own.

The NFL celebrates its 100th season with new Snapchat AR Lens
The National Football League (NFL) is celebrating the upcoming kick-off of its 100th season (starting September 5th) with its latest Snapchat experience. The new AR Lens lets fans scan the NFL 100 logo to unlock a video showing historic highlights between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers (the two teams that are playing the first game of the 2019-2020 season). Beneath the pop-up video is also a clock, counting down the days, hours and minutes until the beginning of the NFL 100 season.

According to Snapchat, the new Lens will be geofenced to the Greater Chicago area – meaning that only people there will see it pop up on their Lens carousel in Snapchat – however, those users who scan a logo will still be able to take part in the experience. In addition to the AR Lens, the NFL is also set to bring back its NFL Highlights show for Snapchat this season.