August 2023 Social Media Round-Up

Aug SM RU Blog Header

Welcome to Rose Media’s monthly social media round-up for August! We recommend an accompanying beverage and snack for this one – there’s a lot to catch up on.

X – Aesthetics

The platform formerly known as Twitter has been undergoing even more significant changes lately in its attempt to move away from its previous form. There are some aesthetic-related changes to posts containing link previews, as they will now only show the URL and image generated from the link – any accompanying text will have to be manually inputted by the user. The X team are also looking to remove headlines from news links for ‘improved aesthetic’, however this seems a somewhat unwise move given Twitter’s previous issues with fake news distribution. This change to link previews could also prove difficult for certain posting strategies as it will rely on users to tailor any posts specifically to the X platform (even more so than what is currently required – word counts could be tricky if you don’t intend to become a paying member).

X – Ads

There has also been a lot of talk around advertising on X, with a new dashboard being released for the Creator Ads Revenue Share programme and the lowering of said ad revenue share eligibility threshold to 5 million impressions (previously 15 million). There has also been attempts to incentivise advertisers to return to the platform, with $250 in ad credit offered out to ‘select businesses’ – on the condition that they must already be spending at least $1000 on a new campaign already.

Elon Musk is still seemingly intent on blocking out the competition as X is allegedly limiting the reach of links to competitor apps (and any mentions of them too). This holds some irony given Twitter’s previous ethos of ‘defending and respecting the user’s voice’ in the name of freedom of expression…

Threads – Major Update and More New Features

The immense Threads saga rambled on into August following July’s explosive launch and subsequent mass decline. However, Threads are looking to entice these users back by the introduction of many features it was initially lacking:

  • Post translations
  • Custom alt-text
  • Sending Threads via Instagram DMs
  • Advanced notification features
  • Sorting followed accounts
  • Chronological following feed
  • Seeing previous likes

And finally (drum roll please)…

Desktop capability! The eagerly-awaited Threads web app dropped last week, including functionalities such as switching between Following and For You feeds (chronological feed of followed accounts vs algorithm-curated feed of following and recommended posts), creating Threads content and engaging with other posted content.

Sadly, Threads is still lacking some crucial elements (still no search function!), and the web app has not introduced these as yet. We can only hope that Threads have a great strategy in mind and will gradually roll out these features in an attempt to keep drawing users back to the app!

TikTok – Retail Plans

The folks at TikTok have also been very busy throughout the month, with a lot of activity around their e-commerce side. There are supposed plans to ban links to other e-commerce sites (e.g. Amazon), and they are also removing their Storefront integration feature (with Shopify and other vendors) on 12th September. This is most likely a tactical move to push forward with TikTok Shop and its increasing popularity – quite an Elon Musk-esque move at literally removing any mention of competitors from your platform…

They have also launched a feature called ‘Search Ads Toggle’, which allows brands to serve ads within TikTok search results. The plan for this, according to TikTok, is: ‘Ads are automatically created using the advertiser’s existing ad content and served against relevant user queries alongside organic search results. The ads are labelled as ‘Sponsored’ content and appear in varying positions on the results page based on relevancy, user intent (as understood from their search query) and broader learnings from other user behaviour.’

TikTok –  Bans

On a different note, New York City has officially banned TikTok on government phones, following in the footsteps of several other US states before them. The state of Montana has gone as far to prohibit the downloading of the app from 2024, along with many universities also banning TikTok use on campus Wi-Fi networks and university-owned devices. Security concerns are the predominant reason given for these bans – whilst TikTok’s data collection is nothing out of the ordinary within the social media industry, it’s the potential links to the Chinese government causing concern to government officials.

In addition to this, the personalised algorithm utilised by TikTok to produce each user’s ‘For You’ feed will become optional in the EU. This move has been made in order to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), the rules of which require “very large online platforms” to allow users to opt out of personalised content.

Other TikTok updates include the addition of text-only posts (likely to rival X and Threads) and the ability to now upload entire podcast episodes via creators’ RSS feeds, and then link them to their short-form TikTok content.

Instagram – Showcasing Comments and Music to our Carousels

New features alert coming from Instagram this month too! They are currently testing the ability for public accounts to share comments from any of their public feed posts (including Reels) to their Stories to accompany said posts. This is a good move for developing audience engagement from the creator’s side, but also a nod to the rising use of user-generated content for consumer companies on social media.

Instagram has also added the functionality to add music to Carousels, which is always a nice option to have for further developing content and promoting more engagement from your audience. Other features being worked on include video notes and the ability to reply to Notes with voice messages.

Finally, in a fun nod to the eternally popular astrology trend, Instagram are tapping into their inner Mystic Meg and testing the ability to check astrological compatibility with a new Sticker. Snapchat already has a similar feature to this, so it is likely that this Instagram development will be similar – but how fun! Why not share your star sign in the comments?

LinkedIn – Embracing AI Technology and Your Top Five Skills

After a few wildcard changes to key features within LinkedIn, it has now been revealed that their ‘Draft with AI’ feature is now officially in beta testing. This has the potential to be a great asset to the platform, for helping to simplify content production or even just beating that pesky writer’s block. We are still a little confused on the removal of carousels though!

They have also now rolled out a new feature that allows you to add five ‘Top Skills’ to your About section, which seems like a useful update for giving a bite sized overview of yourself to potential clients or employers.

Meta – Reels and Regulation

Meta has also had to make some key changes to adhere to the DSA in the EU, confirming this month that non-personalised feeds will be coming to Facebook and Instagram to comply with the act.

They have also recently released a new version of the Facebook Reels API, and this now enables third-party tools to use a whole host of new publishing features, including:

  • Scheduling and draft capability
  • Extra performance metrics for Reels
  • Tagging collaborators
  • Custom thumbnails
  • Longer formats
  • Auto music tagging

This is good news for social media managers in particular, as you will now be able to schedule Facebook Reels with your chosen content management platform and access more in-depth metrics afterwards – result!

 YouTube – A Short(s) Update

YouTube have been developing their Shorts platform (a direct competitor for TikTok predominantly, and their answer to Meta’s Reels) this month, advising creators that they are not considering extending Shorts length (currently 60 seconds) any time soon, and that Shorts views are not actually measured by when it appears on the screen but rather with viewer interest. They have also suggested that it would be more beneficial for creators to include content tailored towards their audience rather than the algorithm. Thirdly and finally, some features akin to TikTok have been added to Shorts:

  • Duets – known as ‘Collabs’ on Shorts
  • Going live
  • New effects and stickers
Aneela Rose

Aneela Rose

Aneela Rose is Head of PR at Rose Media Group overseeing all research and media related activity across B2B and B2C.

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