August 21, 2018: Instagram expands poll stickers into Direct Messaging while users report hacked accounts, Facebook gets sued over audience metrics, Pinterest rolls out new element within its sharing algorithm and LinkedIn builds new version of Groups set to launch at end of month.

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:


Insta-Polling Thru Your DMs

The Story

Instagram has added its popular poll stickers to its private messaging options, giving users more ways to interact within groups.

Tell me more

It’s the latest in Instagram’s efforts to enhance direct messaging – back in May, Instagram also added group video calling in Direct, working to facilitate more intimate connection within the app. And while Polls aren’t an entirely new feature for the ‘Gram (they’ve been available for Stories since last October), the ability to share Polls in direct messages presents unique opportunities for brands to work with influencers in new capacities.  

Your Move

The feature allows influencers to get direct, real-time feedback from a select/exclusive group of followers (with a max cap at 32). Influencers can get feedback on trends, content conceptions & insights (i.e.  brand-generated vs. influencer-generated content – which does the audience prefer?) Marketers could also collaborate with influencers to host discussion/group in Instagram DMs for community building and real-time campaign feedback and updates.


Not Unrelated

The Story

Hundreds of people have reported having their Instagram accounts hacked this month – and many of these hacks appear to have taken the same approach, coming from a Russian domain, Mashable reports.

What are Instagram users saying?

Help us.

What is Instagram saying?

In a new blog post, Instagram acknowledges being  “aware that some people are having difficulty accessing their Instagram accounts” and suggests that it is investigating the issue. In all of 224 words, 0 mention hacking.

What else?

Although Instagram says there has been no uptick in hacks, data from Twitter suggests otherwise. According to Mashable, Twitter users have directed approximately 798 tweets to Instagram’s official account with the word “hack” since the beginning of the month, compared to about 40 tweets during the same period in July. There are also numerous reports of hacks on Reddit, and a Google Trends search shows a spike in searches for “Instagram hacked” on August 8th and again on August 11th.


If Russian hackers aren’t able to create their own fake accounts to spread fake news before the election – was this a preliminary test to see how vulnerable these platforms are? Whatever the case may be, with social platforms slow to move, both influencers AND influencer marketers need to keep an eye on the accounts they’re working with to make sure accounts haven’t been hacked.  


Facebook v. Singer

The Story

Facebook has been blasted with a new lawsuit accusing it for deceiving advertisers by inflating the number of people its ads could reach.

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The lawsuit, filed by Kansas-based aromatherapy fashionwear business owner Danielle Singer, accuses Facebook of inflating its “Potential Reach” number for how many users were targeted by an advertisement, thereby misleading advertisers to purchase more advertisements than they might otherwise have.

What’s FB saying?

“This suit is without merit and we plan to defend ourselves vigorously.”

What are former FB employees saying?

“The potential reach number was like a made up PR number.”

What’s the industry saying?

The Video Advertising Bureau reported last year that Facebook’s estimates of audience reach in every U.S. state were higher than the states’ populations according  to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yikes.


Whether by class action lawsuit or by Marc Pritchard calling for industry reforms, advertisers continue to demand more transparency around data. This being the case, digital platforms need to have third party auditors, or they desperately need to find ways that verify and validate the audiences that advertisers are paying to reach.

Pinterest’s New & Improved Algorithm  

The Story

Pinterest has rolled out a new element within its sharing algorithm, which has improved recommended Pin results significantly, and is, according to Pinterest, “the largest application of deep graph embeddings to date.”

Walk me through it.

As explained on the Pinterest Engineering blog, the new process, called PinSage, uses contextual information from surrounding Pins to provide more accurate recommendations for additional matches, as opposed to using just the image or keywords to highlight such.

Go on…

According to Pinterest, the new process has resulted in 30% improvement in engagement and a 25% increase in impressions in ‘Shop the Look.’ When you consider that Pinterest is second only to search when determining purchase intent, it’s likely that the increased engagement and impressions will drive even more purchases on the platform.  


As Pinterest works to strengthen the related pin algorithm, the end result is that pins have a better chance of being seen by the target audience. As such, marketers should work to produce a higher volume and higher quality of pins around key topics, knowing that Pinterest is prioritizing contextually relevant pins.


LinkedIn Groups Are Ch-Ch-Changing

The Story

LinkedIn is building a new version of its Group platform with plans to launch it at the end of the month. As part of the updates, LinkedIn is integrating Groups content into the main LinkedIn website and mobile apps, giving more visibility and accessibility to Group discussions.

What else?

Group admins will be able to manage Groups on the app and members and admins will be able to reply to comments, edit posts and comments and post GIFs to Groups, as well as interact within Group discussions directly in the main LinkedIn feed (instead of  going to the Group page). That could make Groups more appealing to users and businesses looking to generate more reach on the platform, adding an extra opportunity for exposure.


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