With new data showing that LinkedIn’s virtual events are experiencing a massive surge in participation lately, the company announced it is testing a new feature for audio-only live events. 

In the recent announcement, LinkedIn revealed that attendance for virtual events on the platform is up more than 230% year-over-year. At the same time, the platform says it also saw 150% more events created year-over-year.

Obviously, a major contributor to the popularity of these events is the ongoing Covid pandemic, which has seen in-person events limited or entirely canceled over the past year and a half.

As this continues to be a problem around the world, the company believes expanding its services to include audio-only events will draw even more users to LinkedIn live events.

As the announcement says:

“This month, we’re taking a big step forward and building on the success of LinkedIn Live broadcasts by launching an entirely new interactive events experience that allows our members to more actively participate in the conversation.

Being an active part of the conversation at an event can help you make new connections, bolster your professional brand and inspire peers. In our new experience, you can participate in the live conversation by raising your hand and joining the speakers, “on stage” to help direct and add to the discussion.”

Since audio-only live events are still in the testing phase, LinkedIn says only a small group of users will be able to host these events when they first roll out. However, anyone will be able to sign up, listen, and participate in these events.

Once the company is satisfied with testing the service over the next few months, the company says it plans to expand the ability to host events to more users, though an exact date when to expect this was not available.

Step aside Google, there’s a new top domain around the world according to the annual rankings of most popular domains globally from Cloudflare. For 2021, TikTok is the top site based on internet traffic.

The full list of the most popular domains in 2021 is:

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Netflix.com
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. WhatsApp.com

This is a big jump from 2020, when the newly popular social network ranked in just 7th place overall, while Google (which includes the variety of services under the Google umbrella, such as Maps and News) seemed safely in the top position. 

Cloudflare’s Year in Review report details TikTok’s rise to dominance over the course of the year:

“It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day. Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days. There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26).”

What Does This Mean?

To be clear, this is only based on traffic. This does not necessarily mean that TikTok is now the biggest social media platform around the world, let alone the site with the most users.

When looking at the number of distinct users on each platform, most estimates still place the upstart platform behind both Facebook and Instagram – let alone Google.

It is quite clear, though, that TikTok is quickly growing into a force to be reckoned with online. If it isn’t already on your map for your marketing plans in 2022, perhaps this report will cause you to reconsider.

Read the full Cloudflare Year in Review report, which includes stats on the top social networks, e-commerce sites, and streaming sites from the past year, here.

TikTok is introducing new ways for pages to monetize their presence on the platform via digital “gifts” and tips.

Notably, these tools are exclusive to individual creators or entrepreneurs through the Creator Next monetization suite, which is not available to brands on the platform.

In a way, this makes sense as the new monetization features are designed to be direct ways for other users to reward creators for sharing great content. Let’s talk about exactly what these new features are.

TikTok Tips

TikTok now allows users to send money directly to creators as a “tip”.

The feature is managed through Swipe and requires an account with that service to be eligible to receive tips. 

Although creators will receive 100% of the value of the initial tip, TikTok will apply a service fee to generate revenue from this feature.

Signed-up profiles will include a new icon on their profile, which will allow users to send $5, $10, $15, or custom tips up to $100.

By default, others will be able to see when you send or receive a tip, unless you specifically choose to make your tip anonymous.

To prevent misuse, TikTok limits users to $500 total or up to 100 transactions per day.

TikTok Video Gifts

TikTok’s new Video Gifts blur the line between Reddit awards and its tipping system. It allows users to pay to reward content they love with specific gifts, which are shown to other viewers.

The big difference between this and something like “Reddit Gold” is that recipients can then exchange their rewards for actual money via a virtual currency called “diamonds”.

Interestingly, gifts come with some very unique benefits, including a boost in the platform’s algorithm:

As the announcement says:

“… a key metric that TikTok uses to assess the popularity of a video is the number of Gifts sent to a creator’s content.”

Are You Eligible?

Users interested in utilizing these monetization features must:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Have at least 1,000 video views in the past 30 days
  • Have at least 3 posts in the past 30 days
  • Be in good standing regarding TikTok’s community guidelines
  • Reside in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, or Spain

If your account meets these requirements, you will be able to opt-in to the Creator Next suite.

For more, read the announcement here.

Twitter has confirmed it is dropping support for AMP pages, adding more evidence to the growing belief that AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Pages) are on their way out of use.

In an update to its developer document for AMP pages, Twitter says it is discontinuing support for the format by the end of the year:

“We’re in the process of discontinuing support for this feature and it will be fully retired in Q4 of 2021.”

This comes after some users had noticed a lack of support for AMP going back as far as October.

What This Means For You

If you have been sharing AMP links on Twitter, you can technically still do so without any significant issues. 

However, instead of being directed to the AMP versions of your content, Twitter will automatically direct users to the original content. 

It goes without saying that this negates the point of adding AMP links instead of sharing the original page. 

Why Is AMP Losing Support?

Many people dislike AMP pages for a number of reasons, citing everything from buggy performance to criticism over the boost they received in search results for a time. 

In recent times, Google has seemed to recognize this. 

First, they did this by making AMP pages less obvious in search results by removing the icon which had accompanied pages using the format. Additionally, Google dropped requirements for pages to use AMP to be eligible to be included in the Top Stories carousel. 

The most recent evidence that Google is losing confidence in AMP is the September announcement that Google News would start showing fewer AMP pages in the results.

This has all led many to believe that AMP is on its way out at Google, as well as Twitter.

It is no secret that the hiring market has gotten considerably more competitive since the onset of the Covid pandemic. Now, LinkedIn is giving companies new tools to better attract new talent, improve communication, and compare yourself against your competition.

Especially in the wake of “The Great Resignation” (or, as LinkedIn is apparently calling it – “The Great Reshuffle”), the professional social network says it is “excited to introduce a few new LinkedIn Pages features that are designed to help your brand share more about your organization and culture to more quickly attract top talent while retaining your current employees.

Let’s explore exactly what these features are, how you can access them, and how they can help you solve your hiring challenges starting right now. 

Expanded My Company Tabs

For starters, LinkedIn is updating the My Company tab to make it easier to keep your employees connected, share data, and encourage employees to share branded content to their network. 

If you are unfamiliar, the My Company tab is a feature exclusively for brands on the platform with more than 201 employees, which is designed to connect coworkers even when they are working remotely. 

In the upcoming weeks, LinkedIn will be updating this tab with these new features:

  • Easily curate content from your Page Feed to the My Company tab with the simple click of a button.
  • Notify employees as soon as new content is curated and drop them right into the resharing experience.
  • Show employees how their re-share matters with a dynamic visualization of the content that others at the organization are sharing.

Share Your Workplace Policies

One thing made very clear by the current state of the workforce is that skilled workers are looking for more than a stable paycheck. They are looking for an employer that understands their needs and implements workplace policies that encourage a positive working place.

For example, LinkedIn says employees who are satisfied with their employer’s work schedule or location flexibility are:

  • 3.4x more likely to balance work and personal obligations
  • 2.6x more likely to be happy working for their employer
  • 2.1x more likely to recommend working for their employer

By sharing your company’s policies, you can help attract talent with a similar vision for their personal and work-life balance. 

Notably, the social network is giving this info a very prominent place on company pages, with policies being displayed directly in the LinkedIn Page header. That means it is one of the first things potential applicants might see when checking out your company.

See How You Compare To Your Competition

The last big update coming to LinkedIn is an addition to its Analytics tab which allows you to directly compare your page’s performance to up to nine competitors. 

In this new tab, called “Competitor analytics”, you can see how many followers your competitors have right now, along with how their latest content has performed compared to yours.

To find out more about these updates, read the full announcement from LinkedIn here.

Instagram is finally giving almost all accounts a new way to share links with their followers through Stories, after previously limiting the feature to verified or influential accounts.

Before now, the only way for most accounts to share links on Instagram was on their profile page. This made it difficult to use the platform to drive traffic to a website or online store. Often, brands were forced to resort to third-party tools to share links with their content, typically to lackluster results. 

This all made Instagram a tricky prospect for brands considering marketing their products or services on the platform. 

While this is bound to be a step in the right direction, Instagram is yet to allow links to be shared in feed posts – a common feature on most social networks.

Here’s how to start sharing links on your own stories.

Adding Links To Your Instagram Stories

Sharing links in your Instagram stories is still a fairly unique process. Rather than just copy and paste your link into a description, the platform is introducing “Story Stickers”. These function like any other sticker, except you can add a destination link that sends users to the desired page when tapped.

To add Story Stickers with links to your stories, follow these steps:

  1. Record or upload your story content
  2. Select the sticker tool from the bar at the top of the screen
  3. Select the “Link” sticker and add your desired link.
  4. Tap “Done”
  5. Customize and place your sticker.

Who Can’t Use This

Although this makes sharing links possible for a great number more users than before, there are still some restrictions. Specifically, Instagram notes that Story Stickers are not available to “brand new accounts.” 

Presumably, this is intended to prevent spammers from creating fresh accounts to share low-quality or malicious links on the platform, though it is unclear exactly what constitutes a “brand new” account. 

Additionally, the company says that accounts found to repeatedly post hate speech, misinformation, or other content that violates Instagram community guidelines will have access to link stickers revoked. 

If you’d like to find out more about the new linkable Story Stickers, check out Instagram’s announcement here.

Instagram Insights is providing businesses on its platform with a wealth of new demographic data about who is engaging with their content – as well as who isn’t engaging.

Before, the platform only gave businesses Insights about the users who were specifically following your page. 

With the latest update to Instagram Insights, this is now expanded to all the users that see your content, even if they don’t follow your page or directly engage with your posts.

Below, we’ll dig into exactly what demographic information is now at your fingertips on Instagram Insights.

New Demographic Insights on Instagram

Your Engaged Audience

If you want to find out information about the users who are engaging the most with your content, you’ll want to look in the new Accounts Engaged section. 

Here, you’ll find a range of information including:

  • Where your most engaged audience lives
  • What gender are they?
  • How old are your most engaged audience?

Additionally, you can filter the information based on followers or non-followers and see the total number of accounts that have interacted with your posts within a set time range.

Who You’ve Reached

Of course, the number of people engaging with your content or following your page is just a fraction of the total number of users seeing your content. 

The new Accounts Reached section of Instagram Insights contains details about everyone who has seen your posts, whether they liked, commented, or kept scrolling. 

In this section, you’ll find the total number of accounts you have reached, as well as demographic details similar to those found in the Accounts Engaged section.

Where To Find Instagram Insights

If you’ve never checked out your Instagram Insights before, it is located in the main menu of the Instagram App when logged into a business account. 

From there, you can browse all these details and more – like when your followers are most online.

For more about the new demographic details available in Instagram Insights, check out the announcement here.

This week, Facebook teased a number of new features it is working on to help brands better connect with their customers and drive more leads across its platforms. 

The upcoming and newly released features highlighted by the company include everything from expanding its existing ad formats to creating entirely new ways to do business online. 

Let’s explore everything showcased in the company’s recent blog post below:

Click-to-Message Ads Come To More Chat Apps

For some time now, Facebook has offered an ad format designed to encourage viewers to take action through its many chat services, like Messenger or WhatsApp. 

Now, the company is updating this ad format to make it possible to reach brands on a wider range of messaging platforms, including those not owned by Facebook. 

While Facebook hasn’t provided an actual list of the messaging apps which will be included in the updated click-to-message ads, the blog post suggests it will include all major messaging apps used by consumers today. 

Start WhatsApp Chats on Instagram

Aside from dropping into someone’s DMs, Instagram has been obviously lacking the robust messaging options included on most Facebook social networks. Now, with integration through WhatsApp, that is changing. 

Now, brands on Instagram can add a click-to-chat button on their profile which will instantly launch a WhatsApp chat conversation when clicked. 

Even better, the company says it is working on ads that will also allow users to immediately start a WhatsApp chat from an advertisement on Instagram. 

Request Quotes on Messenger

Select advertisers are testing an upcoming feature that will allow brands to invite customers to request a quote within Messenger.

With the feature, brands can create a customized request form using 4-5 specific questions to ask potential customers before sending a message. 

Once completed, consumers can request a quote by completing a short questionnaire on Messenger.

Instagram Lead Generation

Though the company is keeping largely mum on the details, it also teased plans to launch free and paid tools for helping small businesses drive qualified leads on Instagram. 

“Advertisers use lead generation ads to connect with customers and connect leads in a more personal way, while reducing costs — like Seoul Spa, a Vietnamese beauty clinic, did with their Messenger campaign, lowering their cost per lead by 72%.”

To see more of the upcoming features Facebook is currently testing, check out the full Facebook for Business blog post here.

In the past, YouTube and its parent company, Google, have played very coy when it comes to its search and recommendation algorithms. Instead of explaining how it choose which videos to suggest, the video platform has preferred to simply offer tips for increasing a channel’s visibility.

Now, the company’s VP of Engineering is opening up, with what is likely the most in-depth explanation of how the company chooses and ranks which videos appear on users’ home screens. 

In a blog post and corresponding video Q&A,  Cristos Goodrow aims to provide specific answers about what signals matter, which don’t, and how the YouTube recommendation system works under the hood:

“We want these systems to be publicly understood, so let me explain how they work, how they’ve evolved, and why we’ve made delivering responsible recommendations our top priority.”

The Goal of YouTube Recommendations

First and foremost, Cristos lays out that the company recognizes the immense influence of its recommendation algorithm and works intensely to deliver videos that will make each viewer satisfied across their huge range of tastes and interests.

As Goodrow says, “there’s an audience for almost every video, and the job of our recommendation system is to find that audience.”

How Watchtime and Retention Affect Recommendations

Both overall video watchtime and retention rates are widely believed to factor into how likely a channel’s videos are to be included in users’ recommendations. What is much less clear, is whether raw viewing times or retention rates matter more. 

Unfortunately, Goodrow can’t provide much clarification here because the answer varies on a case-by-case basis. 

He explains that YouTube’s data generally shows that viewers who stick around for a greater percentage of a video are more likely to be satisfied. However, this is not the case for every type of video. 

For example, some types of videos tend to have lower retention rates but are still able to provide viewers with the information they are seeking. 

Additionally, the algorithm considers users’ viewing habits when deciding how to rank videos. How much weight it puts into a video’s watchtime and retention varies entirely based on which factor the algorithm believes is most important to each user.

Why Getting Recommended Takes Time

Newer creators often express frustration regarding how difficult it can seem to be to make it into recommendations. In many cases, it can take months before any of a channel’s videos start getting recommended. Even worse, the videos that get recommended may be months old at this point, making them potentially outdated or irrelevant. 

According to Goodrow, though, this is not intended to occur. YouTube’s recommendation system ideally will start surfacing videos immediately after they are uploaded to ensure the best performance. 

Where this breaks down is in trying to understand and recommend videos from new channels.

Without signals from users, YouTube doesn’t always understand exactly who a channel or video is relevant for. In this case, it may take longer for the system to start recommending the channel’s videos while it gathers more information.

Why Big Channels Dominate The Recommended Feed

Another point of contention for many YouTube users is that the recommended feed seems to favor larger, more established creators who are already well known. Instead, many say they want to see more content from new channels they have never heard of before.

Unfortunately, this problem is a result of the same issues driving the problem detailed above. 

Without information from users about the quality or value of a channel’s videos, it is hard for YouTube to accurately recommend the channel and its content for users. 

Because of this, driving user engagement through likes, subscribes, and comments is crucial for helping smaller channels be included in the recommendations. 


The full blog post and video from Cristos Goodrow go into much, much more detail about YouTube’s recommendation systems and how it selects which videos to highlight. If your brand is using the platform to connect with new audiences, build a loyal following, or drive sales, I strongly encourage checking them out for more when you have the time.

LinkedIn is launching new ways for brands to publish content on the platform, including a long-form content format called Articles for Pages and new ways to stream live events.

The new long-form content format provides the first chance for companies or organizations on the social network to publish content that is not restricted by character count while the updates to live streaming better integrate the platform’s streaming features to provide a simpler, more accessible, and more sharable.

Let’s explore these updates a bit more. 

Articles for Pages

While individuals have been able to publish long blogs and articles on their personal accounts for some time, company pages have been restricted to shorter content by arbitrary character counts.

With the new Articles for Pages, brands are finally free to go as in-depth as they want with their content on the social network, with absolutely no length restrictions. 

Importantly, Articles for Pages also comes with informative audience and engagement insights, including audience demographic details.

LinkedIn Live Events

LinkedIn is uniting its “Scheduled LinkedIn Live” and “LinkedIn Events” features together to make live streaming more streamlined and easy to do. 

Under the new title of LinkedIn Live Events, the platform is making it easier to access all of its live-streaming features while also debuting some new tricks and services. 

With LinkedIn Live Events, brands can:

  • Promote a livestream in advance to a targeted audience
  • Notify registrants and select Page followers when the event goes live
  • Generate views on the event page from anyone on the site, whether they’ve hit “Attend” or not, during and after the show.
  • Share the replay of the live content for further reach and engagement
  • Access LinkedIn Live with fewer followers than before
  • Use expanded registration forms for Events to better suit your needs
  • Manage leads with integration with Zapier.

Together, these new features open the door for brands to connect with their audience and promote their products and services in exciting and helpful ways which have been proven to drive leads. They are definitely worth considering if your brand serves professionals or entrepreneurs.

To find out more about LinkedIn’s latest announcements, check out their recent blog post on LinkedIn Pulse.