Stories may have originated on Snapchat, but these days they are a staple feature of just about every social network out there. Now, they are officially coming somewhere few would have expected – LinkedIn.

The company has played with the idea of introducing the feature for months, with Stories appearing in elusive tests across the platform. Beginning today, though, the feature is officially rolling out to everyone within the US and Canada.

The feature is largely what you would expect, allowing users to take a photo or video, add decorations or text, and upload it to the site. After 24 hours, the post will vanish to never be seen again (unless you reupload it.)

The company is aware that users might not expect or even want Stories like you might find on Facebook or Instagram. Instead, LinkedIn’s senior director of product says early tests showed users were interested in Stories for different reasons or uses.

“Members in the past have found sharing on LinkedIn to be intimidating,” Li told Engadget. “We’re hoping it’ll spark more conversations from people who just don’t really share content on LinkedIn.”

Indeed, the company still intends for Stories to largely be professional. To help keep things focused on this, LinkedIn Stories will also feature a question of the day to steer conversation.

“You’re not meant to share the same things that you would on other networks,” Li says. “That doesn’t mean you can’t share a picture of your dog … but the goal is to keep it keep the conversations in the same vein that you would have right in your workplace.”

Li also says Stories are part of a broader initiative to help connect coworkers who might feel isolated while working from home or remotely.

Other New LinkedIn Features

In addition to the official launch of LinkedIn Stories, the professional social network has introduced a number of new partnerships which bring integration for Zoom, BlueJeans, and Microsoft Teams to the network. 

This means you can start a video call using your preferred tool directly from LinkedIn’s chat tools, without having to open a separate app.

To help make LinkedIn’s chat more useful for users, the site is also launching the ability to recall, delete, and even edit messages, use emojis in chat, and flag harassing or inappropriate messages.

These tools are expected to roll out to users sometime in October.

Google is testing the waters of short-form videos with a new platform similar to the popular but controversial TikTok.

The company announced it is be launching a new service called YouTube Shorts which will focus on short, catchy videos like those found on TikTok or Instagram Reels. 

The announcement describes the new service as:

“Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.“

For now, YouTube Shorts is limited to India as Google tests its features and public reception. 

Though features will be limited at launch, Google says YouTube Shorts will eventually include a variety of features, including:

  • Create and upload videos of 15-seconds or less.
  • Edit videos with a number of creative tools.
  • Stitch shorter clips together with a multi-segment camera.
  • Add music to videos from YouTube’s library.
  • Speed up or slow down videos.
  • Timers and countdowns.

Early Version

The version launching to users in India this week is reportedly a very limited version of the tool including only a portion of the features that will be implemented in the final release. 

The purpose of the early test is to get feedback from early users so the company can better prioritize their efforts before releasing the service to a wider audience. 

Of course, this is likely not the only reason the company decided to test the service in India. 

India banned TikTok from operating within its country on June 29 of this year, similar to the actions taken by President Trump to eventually force the company out of the U.S. 

With this in mind, there is a clear opportunity to those who launch their own take on the tool in the country sooner rather than later. Still, YouTube has already confirmed it will be bringing YouTube Shorts to more countries in the near future.

Google is unveiling a new service called Fundo which helps businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives hold and monetize video events. With Fundo, event holders can set the date for their event, sell tickets, and connect with their followers all in one space. 

What Exactly is Fundo?

Fundo is an online platform which allows users to create and sell tickets to private events. Unlike many other online video event tools, there is no software or app to download. Everything is done directly on the platform’s site. 

Events can be easily publicized on other platforms, using a simple link to the event page. Users can also browse for upcoming events on the site.

Who Is Fundo For?

The primary audiences for the platform appear to be businesses, consultants, and celebrities, though the tools could be used by anyone looking to have private workshops or small discussion-based events. 

Specifically, the announcement calls out a few professions that may benefit from the platform:

“In addition to YouTube creators and their fans, we’re seeing authors, fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants and others use Fundo to find new ways to connect.”

Three Types of Events

For now, the platform allows for three different types of events to be held. These are:

1:1 Chat + Photos

The one-on-one event is pretty much what it sounds like – a way for creators to hold an event with a single individual or fan. This would typically be for a very casual conversation or low-key discussion. 

What sets this event apart is the introduction of a virtual photo booth feature which allows fans and creators to take virtual photos together.

For many professionals, this might not be all that interesting. However, YouTube celebrities or other well-known figures may find these one-on-one experiences a powerful way to connect with fans and still be able to monetize the experience. 

Meet and Greets

Meet and Greets are largely similar to the 1:1 type events, only with several fans or followers at a time. 

In the announcement, Google focuses on using these events to connect YouTube creators with fans for small roundtables and hangouts. 

As the company describes it:

“As a fan, you’ll have a variety of experiences to choose from. Join the Q&A with… channel members in a group Meet & Greet…”

Workshops

For most, this is going to be where Fundo really shines. 

Workshops allow for consultants, experts, and leaders to hold special events where they guide attendants through a process. 

For example, salon workers struggling to bring in clients during the pandemic can use Fundo to hold classes teaching basic hair care or styling to bring in revenue on the side. 

At the same time, these events help promote your core business by showing your abilities and expertise to all who attend. 

No matter what field you are in, Fundo workshops offer an opportunity to build your brand, showcase your goods, and connect with existing customers or fans all at once – and bring in a little bit of revenue while you’re doing it. 

How Secure Are Fundo Events

After the rise of Zoom Bombing – the act of breaking in and disrupting Zoom events – one of the biggest concerns for many virtual event holders is privacy and security. 

While the company doesn’t go into detail on how it prevents this from occurring, Google says there are no ways for users to crash an event without a ticket. 

As the announcement says:

“Safety is a top priority. Because Fundo is checking everyone’s ticket, there’s no risk of uninvited guests. We also have reporting and flagging features to curtail abuse.”


To sign up or find out more, check out the links below:

Sign Up: https://fundo.town/creators

Google’s Announcement: https://blog.google/technology/area-120/fundo/

Help Document: https://intercom.help/fundo/en/articles/4169996-how-does-fundo-work

As COVID-19 continues to be a major concern for people across the country, Facebook is introducing a new way for businesses and creators to monetize online events on the platform. 

Critically, the company says it will not collect any fees for paid events held on the platform to help businesses and individuals struggling during the pandemic. 

“Pages can host events on Facebook Live to reach broad audiences, and we’re testing paid events with Messenger Rooms for more personal and interactive gatherings.

In testing, we’ve seen businesses use Facebook to host expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes, and more.”

While Facebook is far from the first to offer a way to deliver paid events that are entirely streamed to attendees, their service is unique is the all-in-one nature. Facebook can handle not just the streaming, but payment, advertising, and organic word-of-mouth. 

To put it another way, a person can see the ad for your performance in their feed, make a payment, and view your event without ever leaving Facebook. The company is also one of the only services which does not take a cut of ticket sales. However, purchases made on Apple devices or through the iOS Store are still subject to Apple’s 30% fee. 

Prohibited Content

As with all content shared on Facebook, live events must stay within the Community Standards, Partner Monetization Policies, and Content Monetization Policies.

While these guidelines include the obvious things you might expect, such as banning hate speech, inciting violence, or “sexualized content”, the social network’s content policies prohibit some areas you may not expect. 

For example, promoting health products including medical masks and hand sanitizer is currently banned on Facebook. 

Other restricted categories include:

  • Debated social issues
  • Conflict or tragedy
  • Objectionable activity
  • Sexual or suggestive activity
  • Strong language
  • Explicit content
  • Misinformation
  • Misleading medical information
  • Politics and government

In addition to restricting these types of content, monetized events cannot include these some specific media:

  • Static videos
  • Static image polls
  • Slideshows of images
  • Looping videos
  • Text montages
  • Embedded ads

In the announcement, Facebook says the paid events will be available to brands and individuals for at least one year. After that, they may introduce new fees or even remove the service.

YouTube is giving us all a glimpse into how the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new batch of data showing what we’ve been watching in 2020.

The insights reveal a wide-range of trends, but an overall theme of self-care and learning new skills runs throughout. 

Let’s check out some of the most revealing details from the report:

Home Cooking

As restaurant shutdowns spread in March and remain at least partially in effect across the nation, many have had to brush up on their cooking abilities or expand their repertoire. 

Add to this that the shutdowns gave many considerable extra time to try their hands at cooking things which take hours or even days to do properly, and you may start to understand why sourdough bread was a major trend on YouTube this year.

“By the end of March, one could make a legitimate case that a good portion of the world was simultaneously fixated on how to achieve a superlative sourdough starter. And the evidence for that was on YouTube.”

Similarly, users around the world increasingly searched for “restaurant-style” cooking techniques and recipes to replicate their favorite eateries from home. 

The company notes that it is extremely rare for countries around the world to all be searching for similar topics at the same time. Still, once the pandemic began in earnest earlier this year, global searches for cooking tutorials have been consistently heightened no matter where you live. 

Self-Care

This year has been uniquely turbulent, which has led many to use YouTube to assist in or to learn new techniques for coping with anxiety or stress. 

Specifically, people have been watching countless videos related to food, exercise, relaxation, medication, and peaceful sleeping since March. 

This includes heightened searches for a variety of topics including:

  • Yoga (Daily views have doubled since March)
  • Guided Meditation (Daily views increased 40% since March)
  • Home Workouts (Daily views increased 4x since March)
  • Nature Sounds

Keeping Close While Social Distancing

Perhaps the strongest way YouTube has helped people cope with the ongoing pandemic is by providing a way to stay connected.

“YouTube viewers used video to engage with each other directly and indirectly, sometimes in nuanced ways: even just participating in a rising coffee-making trend can make someone feel more connected to other people.”

This is most obvious when looking at the data for a few notable video trends:

  • ‘With Me’ Videos (Views of #WithMe videos jumped 600% since March)
  • Museum Tours (Daily views up 60%)
  • Face Masks (DIY tutorials have been viewed over 400 million times)
  • Dalgona coffee (A briefly viral treat connected users around the world)

Building Your Identity

Without our usual ways to express ourselves, many saw YouTube as both a creative outlet and a learning tool for further developing their identity.

“Video proved to be a unique way people could both express who they were and who they might become — say, by learning a new skill.”

This is reflected in a variety of video topics which have trended up since March, including:

  • Gardening
  • How to cut hair
  • Religious services
  • Video call beauty tips

YouTube as a Mirror

This data shows that people around the world have turned to a few basic needs when it comes to their content right now. From India to the U.S., YouTube says the uniformity of these trends has been “astonishing”.

When it comes to what people are watching right now, it all boils down to three basic needs:

  • Experiencing a sense of connection
  • Maintaining positivity
  • Projecting a strong sense of self

It was only a matter of time. Following TikTok’s meteoric rise to popularity, Instagram is taking the social network on head-on with its own short videos called Instagram Reels. 

While the Facebook-owned platform has supported video content for years, Reels shares several key features that made TikTok a hit, including the ability to include licensed or original music.

Specifically Instagram Reels features:

  • Users can create and share 15-second videos.
  • Can include audio including songs from a catalog of licensed music.
  • Users can upload their own audio or grab audio from other videos to use in their own videos. 
  • Instagram will also be creating a dedicated section in the Explore tab of the app, where users can find “Featured Reels”.

How To Create Reels

Creating a Reel is similar to taking a photo or creating any video on Instagram. Just open the in-app camera and slide the menu at the bottom to “Reels”.

Once selected, you’ll find a number of tools including a few specific to Reels:

  • Audio: Find a song in the Instagram music library or record your own audio.
  • AR Effects: Include visual effects from Instagram’s gallery.
  • Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before starting your latest video.
  • Speed: Speed up the audio or video you’ve selected.

Once you’ve gotten your song selected and set up any effects you want to use, just press and hold the capture button. 

You can also combine a series of short clips into a single Reel.

Once you’ve finished recording and editing, you’ll be taken to a sharing screen. By default, Reels will be added to a dedicated tab on your profile. You can also choose to share the clip to your Feed ensuring all your friends will see it. 

Why This Matters

Over the past couple years, TikTok has gone from an up-and-coming platform for kids to be goofy on to a bonafide part of online culture. 

Still, many are hesitant to add another social network to their life by signing up for TikTok. With Instagram Reels, they can get in on some of the fun without creating a new account for another platform.

There is also the issue of TikTok’s recent place in world news. The Chinese-owned social network has been accused of gathering immense amounts of user data and sharing it with the Chinese government. 

Over the weekend, these accusations escalated when President Trump threatened to ban the platform from the U.S. unless parent company ByteDance sells TikTok’s US operation to Microsoft. In an unprecedented move, the President also demanded the U.S. government receive a cut for approving any such sale.

It is unclear how banning the platform would work and the Chinese government has strongly condemned the threats from President Trump. 

With all this in mind, though, there is plenty of reason to keep an eye on Instagram Reels as a potential successor.

A new analysis of YouTube’s top 100 search terms of the year reveals more than just the most popular channels – it shows a subtle change to how users are engaging with the platform and what type of content they are most interested in.

While YouTube releases a few key findings at the end of the year, the company does not provide the data for the top 100 search queries each year. Thankfully, Ahrefs annually analyzes more than 800 million keywords used on the site using its Keyword Explorer tool to give us this report. 

Top YouTube Searches

Below, we are including the top 25 searches for both the US and worldwide. For the complete list of the top 100 search queries, check out the full report.

Top US Queries and Search Volume

  1. pewdiepie – 3,770,000
  2. asmr – 3,230,000
  3. music – 2,670,000
  4. markiplier – 2,380,000
  5. old town road – 2,040,000
  6. pewdiepie vs t series – 1,940,000
  7. billie eilish – 1,910,000
  8. fortnite – 1,630,000
  9. david dobrik – 1,610,000
  10. jacksepticeye – 1,580,000
  11. james charles – 1,560,000
  12. joe rogan – 1,560,000
  13. baby shark – 1,500,000
  14. bts – 1,350,000
  15. dantdm – 1,330,000
  16. snl – 1,260,000
  17. game grumps – 1,140,000
  18. cnn – 1,120,000
  19. wwe – 1,100,000
  20. lofi – 1,040,000
  21. minecraft – 1,030,000
  22. shane dawson – 993,000
  23. t series – 955,000
  24. fox news – 943,000
  25. msnbc – 936,000

Top Worldwide Queries and Search Volume 

  1. bts – 17,630,000
  2. pewdiepie – 16,320,000
  3. asmr – 13,910,000
  4. billie eilish – 13,860,000
  5. baby shark – 12,090,000
  6. badabun – 11,330,000
  7. blackpink – 10,390,000
  8. old town road – 10,150,000
  9. music – 9,670,000
  10. peliculas completas en español – 9,050,000
  11. fortnite – 9,010,000
  12. pewdiepie vs t series – 8,720,000
  13. minecraft – 8,560,000
  14. senorita – 8,290,000
  15. ariana grande – 7,890,000
  16. alan walker – 7,560,000
  17. calma – 7,390,000
  18. tik tok – 7,270,000
  19. musica – 7,140,000
  20. bad bunny – 7,040,000
  21. wwe – 6,870,000
  22. queen – 6,660,000
  23. eminem – 6,600,000
  24. enes batur – 6,600,000
  25. la rosa de guadalupe – 6,300,000

What We Can Take From This

While the lists are largely filled with the expected names like PewDiePie, Joe Rogan, and BTS, there are a few surprising placements that reveal a bit about what people are most interested in on YouTube. 

Most clearly is the rising reliance on YouTube for music. Users have always looked up the latest music videos and singles on the site, this year’s data show that people are increasingly turning to the platform for music in general. 

Nearly a quarter of the top 100 search terms in America relate to music (including the keyword “music” itself being in the third slot), and that number only goes up when looking internationally. 

It is worth mentioning that ASMR – in the second highest spot in the US – is also a uniquely auditory experience.

Additionally, the top 100 shows a rising interest in news and current events. Alongside respected outlets like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, the complete list includes a number of satirical news figures like John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. 

Most importantly, the top search terms reveal that people are beginning to use broader search terms than in the past. Yes, they are also searching for specific branded content like fortnite and snl, but they are also using broad terms like “music”, “lofi”, and “memes”. 

Between this and YouTube’s suggested videos, this shows that the platform is still fertile with opportunities for smaller brands among the biggest names and influencers. 

To view the full report from Ahrefs, click here.

Google appears to be testing the idea of integrating its normal web search into search results on YouTube. 

Reddit users have been reporting seeing results and links to traditional web pages when doing searches on the video platform, as you can see in the screenshot below:

YouTube Showing Google Search Result

As you can see, Google places a single web page result among the video results, with an option to click the link or jump to a search directly on Google. 

The test appears to be limited, with many (including myself) being unable to replicate it. However, there are enough reports to conclude this is a legitimate test and not a glitch or hoax. 

So far, reaction to the move has been mixed. Many have decried the potential new feature as “annoying” and said they would “ryin the YouTube experience.”

However, there have also been those who see potential in the concept, saying it could make it easier to leap to Google when YouTube doesn’t provide the results someone is hoping for.

As one user described:

“Sometimes I’m looking for a tutorial but I want a video explaining it, and if it doesn’t exist now I have the option to do a quick Google search in the app.”

Personally I see some utility in integrating a single, non-obtrusive link within video search results. Obviously, those searching on YouTube are primarily looking for exclusively video content, but there are certainly scenarios where users are moving back and forth between YouTube and Google. This would be a convenient option for those situations.

LinkedIn is in the process of launching a new way to create and host live virtual events as group meetings and conferences move online in the wake of COVID-19. 

The new events tool combines two of LinkedIn’s existing features (LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live) to prioritize the virtual conference needs of today’s professionals. 

By bringing these tools together, you can now easily alert users to upcoming live streaming content and build an audience for your future streams. This creates better engagement and encourages your followers to set aside time. 

LinkedIn Events

LinkedIn says it has seen huge gains in both the number of people streaming and engagement on those streams, with live video receiving up to 23 times more comments per post and 6 times more reactions per post compared to native video. 

Why Create a Virtual Event?

In the announcement, LinkedIn highlights several ways Virtual Events can help businesses:

  • Host your event safely, in a trusted environment: Using LinkedIn Live, you can choose to live stream to your Page followers or Event attendees, so you can meet audiences where they are. Admins can leverage easy-to-use 3rd-party broadcasting partners, including Restream, Wirecast, Streamyard and Socialive, with more being added in the coming months. 
  • Attract the right professional audiences: We’ve made it easy for you to share your event to your Page followers and send direct invitations to your first-degree profile connections. 
  • Drive buzz and engagement for your event: You can build buzz for your event or live broadcast by posting an update to your Page or Event feed and by recommending key posts for attendees to check out. 
  • Get more mileage out of your events: Once your virtual event is over, you can keep the conversation going with the Video tab — a dedicated hub for a Page’s organic video content that can be accessed by all members of your community. As virtual events become the norm, the Video tab helps you extend the shelf life of your digital video content.

How To Create Your Own Virtual Event on LinkedIn

To be eligible for hosting Virtual Events, your Page must also meet the criteria for accessing LinkedIn Live – which means your page must have at least 1,000 followers. 

The company has also suggested that it will only approve brands for LinkedIn Live who regularly engage with their community by responding to comments and facilitating a dialogue. 

Once you have been approved, the process is simple:

  • Select “Create a LinkedIn Event”
  • Select the option which says the event will be “online-only.”
  • Once you are ready to stream, open an accepted third-party streaming tool and select the event as the stream destination, instead of your organization’s Page.

The currently accepted third-party stream tools include Streamyard, Restream, Wirecast, and Socialive. The company has indicated it will soon be adding support for Wowza in the near future.

Once your stream begins, all event attendees will be notified through in-app or onsite notification. If enabled, attendees may also be notified through push notifications or browser alerts.

Facebook is making some key changes to improve uploading and publishing videos on the platform, such as increasing the number of videos you can upload at one time and introducing a new way to manage multiple videos at the same time.

The new features include:

  • An update to Facebook’s bulk uploader
  • Updating how playlists are organized
  • New ‘bulk actions’ features
  • Introducing the “Series” feature to organize content into episodes

Check out the details of each new feature and update below:

Updating the Bulk Uploader

Facebook is making it easier to upload multiple videos at once by allowing you to upload up to 50 videos to one page at the same time.

Even better, you can manage details of videos as they are uploading, including editing the title, description, tags, and scheduled post time.

Additionally, the company is introducing new ways to schedule your videos by letting you choose to publish your videos at regular intervals rather than at a specific time. For example, you can automatically set your videos to publish once a day or once a week once they have been uploaded.

Improved Bulk Actions

The social network is introducing more actions that you can make to multiple videos at a time. The new available bulk actions include:

  • In-stream ads
  • Rights manager for RM Lite and RM Pro
  • Bulk Scheduling
  • Secondary edit features:
    • Add tags
    • Add custom labels
    • Add video to playlist/series
    • Auto captions
    • Audience Restrictions (only available at the time of upload)

These bulk actions will help save time and improve workflow by making changes to several videos at once.

Updates to Playlists

Facebook’s video playlists are being updated to make it easier to manage and organize related videos without having to start a new page.

The newly updated playlists provide a few key benefits such as:

  • Organization: Playlists are a simple, flexible way to organize your topical or thematic content
  • Discovery: In addition, playlists now have new discovery benefits:
    • Playlists increase your videos’ distribution through related content recommendations, helping you reach and and grow loyal audiences
    • Viewers can click to open playlists from posts in News Feed, when videos are uploaded into a playlist
    • Playlists are showcased prominently on your Page
    • When viewers open a playlist from your Page or a News Feed post, it will playback in the order you dictate
    • Playlists have a unique URL you can share with your audience on or off Facebook
  • User flow: When clicking on your playlists from your Page, the News Feed unit, or Videos tab, viewers are taken to a list of your playlist content, allowing them to browse and choose a video to start watching.

Facebook Series

Facebook is creating an entirely new feature similar to playlists which allows users to discover video content across multiple channels.

As the company explains, series offer all the benefits of creating a playlist while also providing the following unique perks:

  • Series episodes can appear in the continue watching unit in the series Page.
  • Users can continue watching a series within Facebook Watch.
  • Users can navigate between seasons and episodes. They can also continue watching where they left off at any time.

Playlists and Series can both be created and managed from Creator Studio.

“A series provides a viewer flow, feature set, and brand aesthetic that is best suited to support episodic content, whether a cooking show in which each episode can be independently viewed, or a drama that is best viewed chronologically, due to a narrative arc across episodes.”

The Videos Tab

To house the new Series and help centralize Facebook’s video content, the company is also launching a new tab available for all pages.

The tab collects your playlists and series, while also allowing users to follow your Page to be notified about your latest videos as they’re published.