May 16, 2019: Instagram unveils curated @shop account, adds unfollower count for Creator Accounts and tests the separation of “Likes” on posts; YouTube introduces six-second ad creation tool; Facebook co-founder calls for Facebook to be broken up
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Insta Shop ‘Til You Drop
In case you weren’t already spending enough time on Instagram, the platform has launched a new @shop account that brings together posts from brands that sell products on the app. Scrollin’ and shoppin’ never felt so good.
You have my attention.
@shop will feature fashion, beauty, and home brands, all chosen by an internal team from Instagram. The account spotlights one brand per day, while also providing insight into the people behind the brand, including quotes from the owners and background on how they got started. So far, featured brands have included well-known makeup brands such as Glossier and smaller companies such as Brinker & Eliza. Every product featured on the account includes shopping tags, enabling users to tap and purchase the items – all without ever leaving the app. Talk about convenience. As of Tuesday morning, the account had 52k followers and counting.
What’s Instagram saying?
“Content featured on @shop will be 100% community-trends driven. The team managing @shop will work with the Community Labs team at Instagram to identify trends, brands and Creators that are of interest to our community so the account will be a real-time indicator of what’s new and emerging on Instagram.” – Instagram spokesperson
The race among platforms is not for more advertisers, but rather for more Creators. As of late, Instagram appears to be seriously vying for Creators’ time and attention with the launch of new features specifically geared towards increasing Creators’ experiences on the platform.
As we continue to see Influencers build their own businesses and launch their own Influencer-to-consumer (I2C) brands, social media platforms have new opportunities to support these ventures. With @shop, Instagram is showing support for Influencers’ ideas, creativity, and visions through the creation of a standalone page dedicated to not only boosting exposure, awareness, and increasing sales, but also to aiding the creation of communities.
Not Unrelated: Instagram Separates New Likes on Posts, Adds Unfollower Stats for Creator Accounts
It’s been a busy week over at the ‘Gram. In addition to launching @shop, the platform is also said to be testing an option that would separate new and old “Likes”, helping users to more easily see the latest activity.
I thought Instagram was considering removing Likes?
They are. ICYMI: at the end of April, Instagram began testing a change to the feed that would remove the number of “Likes” on a post for all viewers of the post and only the Creator would see the cumulative count. Although Instagram has neither confirmed nor denied the continued roll-out of the separation of “Likes,” it’s likely that these new sections would also only be available to the Creators behind posts, which would, again, put the emphasis back on authenticity and content quality – but still deliver that compulsion for Creators to monitor that activity.
You said busy week.
Yes, we did. In other news, Instagram Creator Accounts now have access to a new chart of followers and unfollowers, helping to provide Creators with additional context on account performance. As Georgina of @BostonGeorgina put it, “Previously, I relied on third-party apps to monitor my followers’ reactions to my posts. For instance, if I saw a spike after a post of food and a dip after a post of decor (and saw that happen several times), I’d tailor my content accordingly. With Instagram bringing this type of follower data into the platform, it will be much easier for me to examine the daily correlation between my posts and how my followers react in real time.”
Instagram’s latest test goes to show that even if Instagram moves forward with the public removal of “Likes,” “Likes” still matter. With “New” and “Earlier” sections for “Likes,” brands and Influencers will be better able to track the latest activity for specific posts or campaigns, offering further insight into who their posts are appealing to (and when), while also providing better opportunities to interact with users based on interests.
Six-Second Ads? YouTube’s Bumper Machine Has You Covered
YouTube has introduced a new tool that uses machine learning to automatically pull out a six-second version from a longer ad. STC Readers, meet Bumper Machine.
According to Debbie Weinstein, Google’s vice president of YouTube and video global solutions, advertisers will have a tool to create a Bumper by scanning a longer ad for “key elements,” like a voice-over or a tight focus on human beings or products. The result always ends with the “final call to action in the last two-to-three-seconds of the video.” For example, GrubHub took a 13-second ad and used Bumper Machine to create a six-second version here.
Before you get too excited, Bumper Machine is currently alpha testing and is expected to initiate a full roll-out in the coming months.
In the era of shrinking attention spans, six-second ads get the job done. YouTube has reported that 70 percent of the 122 bumper campaigns it analyzed drove a significant lift in brand awareness, and nine out of 10 of the campaigns drove ad recall, with an average lift of more than 30 percent.
While Bumper Machine will be helpful for marketers in its ability to crank out shorter, iterative versions of longer ads, even Weinstein says that “some level of human review” will still be necessary. In other words, the machine is not and will not be perfect. However, the speed at which Bumper Machine is capable of producing ads gives marketers the ability to quickly create multiple six-second versions of ads and can work with influencers to identify one or two of these iterations to A/B test.
To Break or Not to Break Up Facebook?
It’s the biggest question of late: should Facebook be broken up? Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes says “yes.”
I smell drama.
So much drama. For a long time, Hughes was Zuckerberg’s right-hand man for everything Facebook. Now, in a fiery op-ed published in the NY Times, he’s saying, “Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.”
What’s the TLDR?
Hughes states that Zuckerberg’s absolute influence over Facebook–and therefore over the unprecedented billions of people he can reach and behaviorally reprogram–is too much power for one person to have.
Let’s talk solutions.
Well, for starters, Hughes thinks that “just breaking up Facebook is not enough.” In addition to calling upon U.S. policymakers to step up and regulate, he goes on to assert the need for a new agency, empowered by Congress, to regulate tech companies. Cue “YAS” from Elizabeth Warren who, three months prior, spearheaded the convo around breaking up Big Tech.
What’s Zuck & Co got to say about this?
We won’t bore you with all of the details, but essentially, Zuckerberg’s counter-argument boils down to the idea that Facebook’s specific problems with privacy, safety, misinformation, and free speech won’t be directly addressed by breaking up the company, and that doing so would instead hinder its efforts to safeguard its social networks.
Any other POVs?
In a statement to CNN, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs and Communication, echoed Zuck’s statement, saying: “Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company. Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting government leaders this week to further that work.” –
Not great that this all comes during yet another security breach and security flaw with WhatsApp. As Facebook continues to struggle here (it feels like a new breach every week), Zuckerberg’s rebuttal to Hughes article was, again, subpar at best. However, even worse his (and by association Facebook’s), ongoing failures in crisis management. Instead of leading with transparency, compassion and actual accountability, which would help to start to partially diffuse the situation, Facebook execs continue to deny and deflect information, further fueling public and government tensions.