July 24, 2018: Instagram launches online status indicator and tests follower removal option and Story limitation, influencer marketing ad spend & transparency standards increase, Snapchat releases “Footprints” insights series and Reddit launches dedicated chatrooms on subreddits

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Instagram DM Metrics / Rates are at the Top of Our Wish List – Here’s Why

Say goodbye to scrolling through the ‘Gram in peace – your Instagram followers will now be able to see when you’re online, thanks to a new green status dot next to your name in the direct-message inbox, indicating that you’re currently on the app. It’s worth noting that the activity status dot is only seen by people you have previously had a direct message conversation with, or people you follow. And for those of us who miss the days of undisrupted scrolling – here’s how to hide your activity status.

What it means, IRL: The ability to be able to message someone (and know that they’ll see it instantly) drives engagement, which is why we’ve seen so many social media platforms invest in features that fuel that in-the-moment response. And, when you consider that 85% of people’s messages within Instagram are shared with the same three friends, it makes sense for the ‘Gram to focus on these smaller audience behaviors to boost engagement and increase time spent.

With the spread of information happening in private messages – which is also more likely to result in propagation and action – the question then becomes, when it comes to impact, does it depend on how many followers are DM’ing your post? Is the future of propagation sharing content in messages? Or, does the number of people saving that post indicate purchase intent +  further action? @Instagram, we’re looking at you for answers.

Make it work: From a brand perspective, with the active notifiers extending to those people have communicated with via DM, it may help prompt more engagement with those who you’ve already established a connection with. If people see that a brand is active in their messaging inbox, they may be more likely to get in touch about a new product or offer – though they will also likely expect a quick  response. As such, brands can work with influencers to hold AMA ‘office hours’ – making them more human and accessible – even the potential for offline meetups, real-time viewing, etc.


Instagram’s Testing… Testing… 1, 2, 3

Instagram is back at it again – this time testing two new features which will give users more control over  who can see their content, which could help boost overall engagement rates.

Remove Followers: The first, a removal feature, gives users the option to remove followers from their feed. Previously, only private account users had the option of removing followers which, evidently, was not an option for brand-owned accounts. Since Instagram’s algorithm factors in overall engagement, this function could come particularly in handy for those who are looking to boost their engagement rates and consequential platform reach. Like we’ve been saying all along, the quality of your audience matters – Micro-influencers, FTW.

Limit Story Access: The second feature Instagram’s testing is the ability to limit access to your Instagram Stories by location. If passed, this would allow influencers and brands to finally target stories by region – which would be huge for national and global brands alike.


Influencer Marketing Spend Hinges On Transparency 

A study conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers found that 65 percent of multinational brands are planning to increase their influencer marketing spend over the next year. The survey covers 34 companies, representing 15 categories and about $59 billion in global media and marketing spend. However, that willingness to invest more is accompanied by higher expectations for transparency standards – with 96 percent of  brands saying that an influencer’s quality of followers was “absolutely essential or “very important.”

Seemingly, these findings reinforce and emphasize the importance of influencer fraud, brand safety guidelines, and ethics standards – especially when the burden of executing these policies and legal consequences falls on the brand. As a marketer, it’s important to select influencer marketing solutions and partners that provide the information and transparency you need to make informed decisions based on your brand risk.


Walking In A Snapchatter’s Shoes

When it comes to user data, Snapchat has lots of it – over 90% of Snapchatters opt-in to share their location, and they interact with Snapchat approximately 25 times per day. According to Snap, they’re using the app wherever they go – which provides great insights into the restaurants, gyms, transit options, and other places they care about most. As a result, Snapchat has introduced “Footprints,” a new insights series focused on who Snapchatters are, the places they visit and when.


It’s likely that this is why Amazon is looking to team up with Snap. Snapchat’s users are sharing their location and doing so often and Amazon wants access to that (because they don’t have it), especially when the social communications on their own platform aren’t taking off in the ways they want and they’re investing more in in-store retail. Understanding when consumers do what, offline, is huge.

Reddit Platform Updates: The Sequel

Reddit is continuing its push to boost platform engagement. Thanks to the addition of dedicated chat rooms on subreddits, Redditors’ demand for a way to engage around topics in real time has finally been answered.

Marketers can leverage influencers and community managers to tap into relevant chat rooms, conversations and subreddits, or co-host a chat room featuring in-demand influencers based on popular conversations and subreddits as indicators of content interest. Real-time conversations give Redditors the ability to ask influencers questions or give suggestions about a product, which provides marketers with noteworthy insights.



Facebook Tests New Info Labels for Branded Content Partnerships

Facebook Outsources AI R&D to Subject Matter Experts

Twitter’s solution to measuring perceived video quality on mobile devices