Facebook Tests Promoted-only Posts In News Feeds: Reality Check Digital News

In this week’s digital news, Facebook and Twitter make big moves with ad transparency, email gets more mobile than ever, and Instagram gets users ready for their close-up with Superzoom.

Social News


Facebook gets into the Halloween spirit.

Just in time for the year’s spookiest holiday, Facebook has added a number of new Halloween-themed features. New backgrounds for text posts feature creepy imagery like spiders, bats, jack-o-lanterns, and even a detached eyeball. Meanwhile, new filters and stickers allow users to try on different “costumes” in photo and video posts. There’s even a Halloween game available via your camera. Naturally, these seasonal treats are only available through October 31, so access them now (if you dare)!

Facebook tests showing only promoted posts in news feed.

In other potentially scary Facebook news, the company is testing the removal of non-promoted posts from news feeds. This means brands and pages will have to put some serious money behind any content they want users to actually see. While posts from users’ friends will remain in the news feed, those from pages would not, unless promoted. A trial was tested in six countries, where publishers reported an immediate 60 to 80% drop in engagement following the switch. Facebook has stated that the move was made to let users see more content from family and friends. It also said it has no current plans to implement this shift worldwide.

Instagram Stories introduces Superzoom.

For users who are ready for their close-up, Instagram has a fun new feature that gets right up in your face. Inspired by zoom-in video memes kicked off a decade ago by “Dramatic Chipmunk,” Instagram’s Superzoom feature makes recording funny reaction clips easy. The function performs the dramatic zoom automatically — all users have to do tap once and react accordingly. Superzoom then creates a 3-second video clip. Of course, it comes complete with dramatic music to punctuate your close-up.

Twitter reports (mostly) good news from Q3.

Things may be looking up for Twitter, which has struggled to keep up with the growth and innovations of other social networks. The company’s Q3 report had both good and bad news for the company. On the not-so-great side of things, a miscalculation inflated Twitter’s reported Monthly Active User base by up to 2 million users. Worse, this likely affects every quarter for the past three years. Twitter says its Daily Active User count was unaffected by the error. In more positive news, though, Twitter projected that it will be profitable in Q4 of this year, thanks to shrinking losses. The news caused a significant jump in the company’s share price. Another promising development is a bigger push on programmatic advertising, which could have a positive impact on future revenue.

Social networks crack down on controversial content.

Several social sites made steps this week to address suspicious advertisements and other potentially harmful content. Reddit has upped the ante on removing hate groups from the platform, banning Nazi, white supremacist, and other racist groups. While Reddit has long had a policy against posts that incite violence, it now plans to go a few steps further in what can be expressed on the forum. Meanwhile, two major Russian news agencies, Sputnik and Russia Today, have been immediately and completely banned from advertising on Twitter. This comes amidst allegations that both agencies attempted to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In response, Twitter has announced increased information available to users about its advertisers.

At the same time, Facebook is addressing negative headlines by dramatically increasing ad transparency, too. Users will soon be able to bring up a page with information on ads they’re seeing. Available info includes how much was spent and which audiences were targeted. Political ads will have even more transparency, disclosing the identities and location of all political advertisers. The move comes in response to recent revelations of Russian-sponsored political ads interfering in American politics.


Digital News


More than half of the world’s emails are read on mobile devices.

As mobile takes an increasingly large bite out of how people use the internet, it should come as no great surprise that more people are checking email on mobile devices, too. Return Path last conducted this survey back in 2012, when 29% of emails were opened via mobile. In the new 2017 study, that number jumped to 55%, accounting for more than half of worldwide email viewing. The study also found that Apple’s iOS dominates mobile email viewing, with an impressive 79% of mobile email views happening on an iPad or iPhone.

Marketers targeting auto shoppers should catch them at home.

New data on auto intenders shows that a large majority conduct their mobile searches at home. In a study of 566 recent vehicle purchases, 59% of mobile auto shopping was done at home, while only 10% was at school or work. The research also finds that 17% of mobile searches were done from a dealership. This suggests more opportunities for geo-conquesting, catching auto intenders while they’re in the mood to shop and compare.’



Published on October 27, 2017

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