This Month In Social (May 2023)

With all the best snippets of information of the month I could find about the top social platforms, this blog right here is the place to be for your essential news. Welcome to May’s ‘Month in Social’.

The impact of staffing cuts As part of its “focus on improving operational efficiency”, Meta is preparing itself for another round of cross-business redundancies. It comes in response to worsening global market conditions i.e. a significant reduction in Facebook and Instagram ad spend, and is part of something called: “Year of Efficiency”. Already, Meta has cut 11,000 roles – or 13% of its workforce – with another 10,000 cuts coming over the next few months.

However, they have started to see fundamental cracks appear within its operational framework like problems in ad ops and content moderation.

Index these links:

A spokesperson from the Washington Post stated that:

At least a half-dozen current and former Meta employees who have worked on trust and safety issues say severe cuts in those divisions could hamper the company’s ability to respond to viral political misinformation, foreign influence campaigns and regulatory challenges.

The cuts see many former employees without work, which will have a detrimental effect on their livelihoods.

But on the other side of the (more selfish) coin, ad buyers are reporting increasingly regular errors with Meta’s ad systems, following a major Facebook Ads error in April ‘23 which caused significant campaign overspend.

Follow the leader In the bid to help brands make more direct contact with their customers via Facebook, Meta is rolling out a range of lead-gen form updates.

Firstly, Meta is adding a new and exciting way to use in-stream discount codes with a process that will automatically apply the advertised code in the checkout flow, see below:

In addition, Facebook will notify a user who has abandoned their cart before the deal ends.

Businesses using the new Facebook Page experience can now also add a lead gen form to their website, linked to the CTA button on their Page.

In the UK While we know Meta launched the first stage of Meta Verified with users in New Zealand and Australia in February ‘23, and then expanded it to US users in March – it’s now the UKs turn to start buying blue ticks.

There is a slight difference though…

When the program entered the US market, Meta pulled its “increased reach element” for Meta Verified profiles – meaning users would have had more exposure potential in both Facebook and Instagram. It’s not yet fully known why they’ve decided to withhold this element, apart from Meta simply saying they need to “reassess the best way forward”.

A handy addition? Third-party platforms will soon be able to offer another type of Instagram ad placement via their apps. Although Instagram added search ads placement in March ‘23, the new capacity will also enable ad analytics, so platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, for example, will be able to provide full ad creation and analysis capacity within their management apps.

This better be worth the wait Finally! Instagram has enabled GIF Comments! Rejoice… or despair, depending on your personal perspective. Yes, that’s right, you can now search and share Giphy GIFs in the comment stream, providing another way to respond to Instagram posts.

Although interacting with GIFs has been a thing for quite some time (you could reply to Stories with GIFs back in 2020), the comments section has been looking a bit forlorn and… well… dead! Emojis can only go so far to express how “lit” and #OOTD is.

Twitter That could be a baaaaad idea Twitter could be setting a course for a future clash with EU regulators, with the company opting to withdraw from the EU’s voluntary Code of Practice on online disinformation, which is part of the Digital Services Act (DSA), just months out from the EU enforcing compliance with the new standards.

While this element is entirely voluntary (is it though?) Twitter’s unwillingness to adhere to these new, tougher codes of practice could see it fall foul of EU law. As a result, Twitter could face fines of up to 6% of its European revenue if found in violation of the Code. Eek.

In this feature film… I’m pretty sure I saw a Tweet with someone uploading the full-length of Shrek 2… silliness aside, all 650k subscribers can now upload videos up to two hours long in the app. While the rest of us unverified users wallow in 140 seconds of footage (that’s a fairly big discrepancy, right?), the longer upload capacity hasn’t been much of an enticement for Twitter Blue subscribers.

In addition to the feature length film, another update is coming thick and fast to users; the long-awaited picture-in-picture (PiP) playback window is now active on all platforms, meaning that you can keep viewing a video clip as you scroll through the app.

LinkedIn (Un)Lucky dip You may have noticed a significant dip in your LinkedIn follower count over the last week or so, and this could be why:

As explained by LinkedIn:

In order to better support LinkedIn members and contributors with more reliable engagement and reach insights, restricted and hibernated accounts will no longer be included in the total number of followers and connections listed on a member’s profile. Going forward, we’ll regularly update all members’ connection and follower counts to remove restricted and hibernated accounts. This is part of our efforts to build a safe, authentic, and transparent experience, helping reflect a more accurate view of your audience.

It seems like a very logical update, and you can better measure your analytics with more reliable and up-to-date data.

TikTok Mental health matters New in-app support resources Additional training for partner organisations Ad credits to boost exposure for support tools in the app Above are just three of a range of initiatives for Mental Health Awareness Month from social giant; TikTok.

The new in-app hub, so called #MentalHealthAwarenessHub will provide insights into a range of health and well-being topics, along with direct connection to support organisations, and other resources.

TikTok have said the following about how to access the hub:

To access the hub, go to the #MentalHealthAwareness hashtag page and tap on the link in the description of the hub to explore. It will be continually updated throughout May to highlight new educational and inspiring videos, mental health and wellness-centered creators, and organizations dedicated to raising awareness about mental health.

Let’s go… SHOPPING! is coming aboard the TikTok ship as its inaugural video shopping ads partner. It will enable users a new way to facilitate in-stream, in-app commerce.

Smartly’s tools will also facilitate connections with some TikTok creators to build campaigns – as well as having automated creative elements. In addition to this, via a direct partnership with TikTok, the ad offering from Smartly will provide more connective capacity, potentially being hugely beneficial to those looking to sell with the app directly.

Social platform prohibition Montana, US has become the first state in America to fully ban TikTok.

Reuters reported:

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation to ban Chinese-owned TikTok from operating in the state to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by China, making it the first US state to ban the popular short video app.

The ban is set to take effect from 1st January ‘24, after this time no Montanans will be allowed to use the app. It will be interesting to see how the general public will navigate themselves within this legislation – will there be speak-easy internet cafés with access to the forbidden app?