February 2018 Facebook & Instagram Updates

There’s a lot happening at Facebook and Instagram. Read our blog post to learn about the latest changes to the platforms and how these updates can help you maximize business results through social media.

GIFs Now Supported in Instagram Stories

On Jan. 23, Instagram officially added GIF support to its Stories feature. Users can now select from hundreds of GIF stickers to add onto their Instagram Stories. With this change, Instagram also announced an upcoming feature that will allow users to upload photos and videos of any size to Stories, so users will no longer be restricted to the 9:16 format. However, full screen, immersive ads are still likely to deliver the best outcomes for advertisers, so the best practice of vertical content for Story formats will likely hold true.Instagram

Instagram’s Carousel Ad Format is Coming to Instagram Stories

On Feb 1, Instagram announced plans to bring its Carousel Ads into Stories. Ads in Stories will no longer be restricted to one piece of media — they can now include three. What will this mean for advertisers? According to TechCrunch, this will allow for better storytelling capabilities,  versus advertisers forcing messaging into one image or video. And it gives them an opportunity to incorporate other Instagram features like drawing tools and the ability to pin stickers in videos.”

However, there is also potential for this format to be viewed as more disruptive. As with any new ad format, advertisers and agencies should carefully test to understand the new format’s performance. It will be important to understand if Carousels work as well as other Story formats and how Story Carousels work versus in-feed Carousels.

In terms of timing, Instagram says it’s starting to test this with a handful of advertisers before rolling out the capabilities more broadly.

Vimeo Launches Tools for Simultaneous Uploading or Livestreaming to Facebook and Other Social Platforms

On Feb.14, Vimeo launched new features intended to simplify video distribution across social networks, including one tool that allows live video to be streamed to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Periscope at the same time. According to TechCrunch, these new features coincide with the company’s shift to become “more of a one-stop shop for anything video creators need to run their businesses, from tools to host, share and sell their videos, to those that allow them to build their own subscription or over-the-top streaming services.”

Vimeo’s new features may help advertisers drive more reach around live content. However, brands and agencies should bear in mind that live campaign strategies will still require ad dollars to create awareness around the live stream and to encourage viewing.

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Facebook Acquired Identity Verification Provider Confirm

Facebook has acquired Boston-based Confirm, which has developed technology that enables verification of government-issued identification, such as driver’s licenses. According to Adweek, Facebook has said it will use Confirm’s technology and expertise to support their “ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.” No additional details have been released, but some see this as a possible move to address issues around fake news and election interference.

Possible Changes Coming for Facebook Watch

According to CNBC, Facebook is rumored to be planning to expand its TV-like service, Watch, to more individual creators and creating an advertising system where everyone would get a split of revenue, similar to YouTube. According to the CNBC, this could potentially “increase the amount of long-form video content that Facebook can sell ads against, and could reverse a decline in the time users are spending on the site.”

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