June is typically a time when people start booking vacations and travel, but in the world of social media, the work on innovation never stops.
In fact, just last Friday, June 30th was #SocialMediaDay.
So in honor of Social Media Day, we've rounded up the latest launches and announcements from different social media apps over the last month.
(Just kidding, we write this roundup every month, but hey, it's fun to celebrate holidays.)
From Facebook to Snapchat, from new product launches to small tweaks, here's a list of what's new in social media this month. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights -- what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.
9 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month
1) Snapchat launched Snap Map.
In late May, Snapchat acquired Zenly, a French social mapping app that shows users where their friends are on a map so they can message and make plans to connect.
And sure enough, in June, a similar map showed up in Snapchat: a heatmap showing where users were posting Snapchat stories dotted with Actionmojis -- or more detailed versions of Snapchat Bitmojis that update in real-time. Actionmojis also show if users are traveling in cars, listening to music, shopping, traveling to an airport, flying in a plane, and more activities. Check out the demo video below:
The Snap Map is another move by Snapchat to make content more discoverable and to keep users engaged in the app for longer periods of time. Snapchat is locked in a battle with Instagram that it seems to be losing -- its user numbers are increasing slowly, so growth is decreasing, but increased engagement and more ways for content to be discovered could convince more people to share -- and advertise -- in the app.
If you're getting creeped out by the thought of the Snap Map, don't worry -- users have to elect to be visible on the map to friends, and they can operate in Ghost Mode, where nobody else can see their locations.
If you swipe down on your Snapchat camera and tap the gear in the upper right-hand corner, scroll down to the "Who Can" section, tap "See My Location," and choose if you want Friends to find you on the map -- you can even choose a select group -- or if you want to be in Ghost Mode.
2) Time Warner Inc. invested $100 million in Snapchat TV shows and ads.
In an effort to reach younger audiences on the platform, Time Warner has reportedly invested $100 million to create Snapchat shows and ads over the next two years. Time Warner and its various properties -- including HBO and Warner Brothers -- will produce three to five-minute shows, and Snapchat will "air" three shows per day in its vertical video format within the app.
Bloomberg reported that Warner Brothers will advertise upcoming movies within the app, too -- and will split the revenues with Snap Inc, according to The Wall Street Journal.
So, will HBO's "Game of Thrones" now live on Snapchat next? I'll be eagerly following these "shows" and if they take off on Snapchat. Almost 90% of viewers use a second screen while watching TV in the United States, so I'm curious to see if people will forego other smartphone capabilities to watch a three-to-five-minute Snapchat show or not. Either way, we'll keep you posted.
3) Users can now create Snapchat Geofilters without leaving the app.
Before this month, Snapchat users could create custom Geofilter designs and submit them to Snapchat for approval -- for parties, weddings, and other events.
Now, users can create custom Geofilters using the creative tools they already use to decorate their Snaps -- like emojis, the drawing tool, Bitmojis, and more.
Source: Snap Inc.
Using the mobile creative studio, users can create Geofilters, decide when and where they want the filters to appear on Snapchat (for a one-day event, for example, or for a weeklong conference), and submit the filters for approval and payment, which starts at $5.99. The studio can be easily accessed by tapping the Settings gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Snapchat app.
4) Twitter redesigned its website and mobile app.
Twitter has completely revamped its desktop site and app to make Twitter feel "lighter, faster, and easier to use." Here's a quick rundown of what's new and improved:
- More organized UI: Twitter now offers a sidebar where users can quickly and easily navigate to their profiles, lists, and personal settings.
- Clear typography: Twitter changed the in-app font, made some headlines bolder to attract attention in the busy feed, and changed the "Reply" button to a conversation bubble (so it didn't look like a back arrow anymore).
- Real-time reply, retweet, and like counts: Users can watch the numbers roll in within the app, instead of having to refresh and reload tweets to see how they're performing.
- Rounded avatars: Profile images are now rounded instead of square.
And here's what these changes look like on the platform today:
Many of the changes were mocked relentlessly by users -- where else, but on Twitter -- and this tweet is possibly my favorite among them:
what new twitter looks like pic.twitter.com/ANFOLvIv8N— pool party reb 🍹🌴 (@serinide) June 15, 2017
We'll see if a slicker interface attracts new users and keep existing Twitter users engaged.
5) Instagram launched the Archive feature.
Instagram has launched an Archive feature to give users the flexibility to hide -- but not permanently delete -- photos and videos they've posted on the platform. This feature gives users the flexibility to customize their page and hide posts -- or reintroduce old content at a later point. Simply tap the ellipses at the top of a post to try it out:
The Archive option was likely introduced in response to younger users permanently deleting pictures that didn't garner enough likes -- many of whom think having more than 25 posts on an Instagram account isn't cool. With the Archive feature, users will have the option to come back to old pictures -- and Instagram won't lose its engagement numbers. Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me.
6) Users can replay Instagram Live videos for 24 hours as an Instagram Story.
When Instagram Live was launched last November, users had to be very strategic about when they broadcast. Why? Because people could only watch a live broadcast while it was happening -- the videos would disappear from Instagram once the creator was no longer live-streaming (unlike Facebook Lives, which automatically exist as posts on a user's timeline).
But now, users can choose to post their Instagram Live broadcasts as Instagram Stories, which are viewable for 24 hours, or discard them so they disappear from the Instagram feed as normal. It's as easy as toggling a button:
7) Facebook reached 2 billion global users.
Yes, you read that right -- that's billion, spelled with a "b."
Facebook is now used by 2 billion people around the world -- and that's just Facebook, and doesn't include the other apps it owns. Between Facebook itself, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Facebook is responsible for the social media networking of close to half of the earth's population. Here's what the global spread of Facebook friendships looks like:
Considering the fact that Facebook was created less than 15 years ago, that's mind-boggling.
8) Facebook changed its mission statement.
Facebook's new mission statement is fitting, given the announcement of just how far the platform has penetrated around the world.
CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook's new mission statement last month:
Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."
Zuckerberg only just revamped the mission statement back in February from the previous mission statement: "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” But in February, he acknowledged the role his social network had played in the 2016 U.S. election and other geopolitical events that involved constant, real-time global communication.
Zuckerberg published a letter in February noting the social network's new purpose: "develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.”
So it makes sense that this new mission statement still echoes similar themes -- with the emphasis on community, globalization, and bringing people closer together. We'll keep you posted if it changes again -- as well as keep you up-to-date on new changes related to the new mission.
9) Friends can create group Spotify playlists within Messenger.
Facebook users can now create collaborative Spotify playlists in group Messenger chats. You can set it up by adding the Spotify extension for Messenger and going through the process below:
Friends don't need a Spotify account to add songs to the playlist, so it's a fun way for users to spend more time in Messenger. Plus, it's an easy way for Spotify to attract new users from the vast Facebook and Messenger audiences and get them to spend more time streaming tunes.
Did we miss any big social media stories? Share with us in the comments below.