Posts

TikTok is still considered a niche social media site by some, but the platform has grand ambitions to keep growing into an even bigger platform in the future. 

In TikTok’s first-ever company event, held as part of the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the company’s leadership spoke about the challenges facing the platform and their plans to overcome them.

Company leadership addressed a range of topics, including shopping across the platform, user safety, iOS 14’s impact on online advertising, and more. Let’s go over some of the highlights:

Advertising Updates

Though it has already amassed hundreds of thousands of advertisers, TikTok’s president of global operations solutions, Blake Chandlee says the company’s current goal is in the millions.

To do this, TikTok is expanding its advertising toolset and creating new features to help advertisers measure the quality of ads.

Managing director and global head of monetization product, strategy, and operation, Ray Cao, also addressed the impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on its advertising operations. 

This update made it difficult to target and track ads to many users as it gave users the option to block many forms of online tracking. However, Cao says the social network will overcome this by increasing the options for contextual ad targeting.

At the same time, TikTok is working to improve brand safety by better assessing what type of content an ad may be associated with. 

As Francis Stones, head of European brand safety explained, the company’s review process now analyzes sounds, text, emojis, and imagery to ensure brands do not become associated with something problematic.

TikTok Shopping Features

Along with these updates to TikTok’s advertising services, the platform is also continuing its efforts to develop its live shopping functionality.

Global head of business marketing, Sofia Hernandez explained that the new feature is being developed to allow brands to take advantage of user-created content quickly and easily, though further details were unavailable.

As TikTok grows into a major force on today’s internet, it is working to provide brands and advertisers with the types of features they have come to expect from social networks. While this is just a small look at the platform’s direction for the future, it shows that the newly popular social network intends to keep growing with its userbase.

Facebook is preparing for a major overhaul of its main feed to turn it into a “discovery engine” geared towards video content, based on a newly leaked internal memo.

The memo, written by Head of Facebook Tom Alison, was first sent to employees on April 27, though it was only recently obtained and published by The Verge. This suggests the changes to the main feed may be coming sooner rather than later, however, the memo does not give a date for the update to arrive.

What Is a Discovery Engine?

It may seem like corporate jargon, but the move towards being a ‘discovery engine’ indicates a major change in priorities for how Facebook’s main feed functions.

In general, the term ‘discovery engine’ simply refers to helping users find more interesting content from accounts or pages they are not connected to. What makes this such a big change is that Facebook has always focused on content shared by connections like friends and family.

This opens the door for Facebook to become more of a general content aggregator than the more personal social network it has always been.

Facebook’s Top Three Priorities

In the memo, Alison identifies three near-term priorities that the social network believes will help create a place where people can find and share engaging content. These are:

  • Make Reels successful.
  • Build world-class recommendations technology.
  • Unlock messaging-based sharing.

By focusing on these three goals, the platform aims to expand the ways people publish and share content with each other.

What Will The New Facebook Feed Look Like?

While the memo does not go into many specifics about what the new Facebook feed will look like, The Verge’s Alex Heath spoke with Alison to find out how he is envisioning the new feed experience:

“Here’s how the future Facebook app will work in practice: the main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts its discovery engine recommends from across both Facebook and Instagram. It’ll be a more visual, video-heavy experience with clearer prompts to direct message friends a post. To make messaging even more prominent, Facebook is working on placing a user’s Messenger inbox at the top right of the app, undoing the infamous decision to separate the two apps eight years ago.”

Instagram is rolling out an update that expands its sensitive content filter in ways that may reduce how many people see some content.

Though the Sensitive Content Control was launched almost a year ago, in July 2021, the tool only influenced the type of content users saw in their Explore feed.

According to a new announcement, though, the newly updated version of this tool lets users control how much “sensitive content” they see across practically every section of Instagram including:

  • Search
  • Reels
  • Accounts You Might Follow
  • Hashtag Pages
  • In-Feed Recommendations
  • How Instagram is Controlling Sensitive Content

As the company explained, this does more than limit obviously inappropriate content, including graphic violence or illegal acts. It also covers “posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people.”

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Content showing violence, including fighting between individuals
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive content, such as people in see-through or revealing clothing
  • Content promoting controversial or dangerous products such as tobacco, vaping, adult products, or pharmaceutical drugs
  • Content promoting or showing cosmetic procedures
  • Content or pages which sell products or services targeting health, including weight-loss supplements

Following the new update, users can select between three different levels of sensitive content moderation:

  • Less: Restricts sensitive content to the greatest amount
  • Standard: The default state for all users, which automatically limits some sensitive content
  • More: Users over the age of 18 can opt-in to see the widest range of content, including sensitive content which does not directly violate Instagram’s rules and guidelines.

Why This Matters

While most upstanding brands are normally unaffected by these types of updates, this could potentially have a much wider effect on companies or pages across a huge range of industries. 

The undefined nature of what constitutes “sensitive content” raises eyebrows, especially when it includes some content many users may not find controversial or objectionable. Additionally, users are having some content filtered out by default and must essentially opt out of this tool if they are of age. 

This creates the potential for Instagram to start limiting the reach of content from many companies who had previously found success using the platform to reach their audience. How large the impact of this is yet to be seen. If you see a significant drop in the number of people seeing your Instagram posts in the next few weeks though, you probably know why.

As social networks have grown into the central platforms most people use to find all sorts of information (including trends, news, and everything else), their feed algorithms have likewise grown in influence. They dictate what information you take in, what you buy, and how you see the world.

Due to this and the fact that the inner workings of these algorithms tend to be well-guarded secrets, these feed algorithms also tend to be surrounded with myths and misunderstandings. In attempting to reverse engineer these algorithms to better understand how to get the greatest reach, incorrect assumptions become accepted as fact which is allowed to spread without a clear explanation from the developers behind these feeds.

That’s why LinkedIn’s VP of Engineering, Sabry Tozin, is using a new blog and video series called “Mythbusting The Feed” to set the record straight on how the professional-focused social network surfaces content.

In the first set of videos, Tozin starts out addressing two questions:

  • “What kind of conversations are welcomed on LinkedIn?”
  • “What does it mean to be professional when it comes to content on LinkedIn?”

Here’s what he had to say.

What Kind of Conversations Are Preferred By LinkedIn’s Feed Algorithms?

While LinkedIn technically allows for posts about any topic, it is obvious that the feed algorithms prefer content that is authentic and relevant to other users. 

Since the platform is aimed at connecting professionals around the world, these discussions tend to be related to issues experienced by leaders and workers, such as the experience of switching to working from home, how you approach your career, or recent news from your business.

As Tovin says:

“We welcome all sorts of conversations on LinkedIn, but primarily we want to have conversations that people care about. Where the things they talk about, and the content they generate, are about things that are authentic to them, and resonate with them, but also make them feel like they’re connected to their communities.”

In the video, he also notes that LinkedIn sees a lot of activity around topics that may not be easy to discuss in person or at the office:

“Another thing we’ve seen is conversations that may be hard to talk about like mental health and wellbeing, other than productivity and how people think about working, but what that truly means to them.

We see LinkedIn as a place to have that conversation, and our technology teams are finding ways to enable that, to keep it safe, and for members to feel like this is a place where they can actually talk about everything that’s authentic to them.”

Does Content on LinkedIn Need To Be Strictly Professional?

As a social network targeted at professionals, there is an assumption that the platform’s algorithms will favor content that is formal, purely related to careers or industries, or strictly “professional”. 

Of course, this forgets that LinkedIn is a social network first and foremost. As such, it blurs the line between personal and professional, allowing you to celebrate personal growth which may only be tangentially related to your career. 

For example, it is not uncommon for content related to a range of personal milestones such as getting married, reaching a personal goal like weight loss, or overcoming an obstacle that may have been holding you back.

As the video explains:

“Think of LinkedIn as a place to have an authentic conversation and not limit it to one topic or another because so many of those things go hand in hand.”

More To Come

In the coming weeks, Sabry says he will discuss even more about how LinkedIn’s feed algorithms work and common myths about the algorithms including:

  • How the Algorithm Works and Personalizing The Feed
  • Content Distribution and How LinkedIn Works To Address Bias

Advertising has undergone a massive shift in recent years. Instead of the sleek, high-end style that many associates with ads, consumers (and a growing number of brands) are embracing a more lo-fi, “imperfect” approach to ads. According to new research from Meta, this is especially true when it comes to social media ads.

In a recent blog post, Meta suggests this is about more than a change in visual trends. It is a shift in cultural standards and expectations, or “culture codes.”

As the post explains, this is “being driven by something more fundamental, which is a shift we’re seeing away from perfection and polish, towards a culture that instead celebrates what’s unpolished and real.”

Though it is unclear just how long this shift has been happening, Meta first noticed it in a study of Instagram Stories ads conducted back in 2019. 

The results of this study showed that ads that used a less-polished style performed far better in tests for both ad recall and content views compared to those with a more refined appearance.

This is particularly true for younger audiences who tend to spend a lot of time on social media. In a recent study from consumer behavior analysts YPulse, up to 84% of young consumers reported “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and  79% said they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

With this in mind, the researchers at Meta dug deeper to identify 6 specific codes that brands should follow if they want to continue connecting with online audiences:

Include Real People Telling Real Stories

Including real people – especially your actual employees or customers – helps to give your message authenticity. This is crucial for getting through to today’s savvy audiences.

Use “The Language of the Platform”

Obviously, we aren’t referring to the actual language you or other users speak, such as English, Spanish, Afrikaans, etc. In this case, speaking the language of the platform is all about proving you are “one of us” to other users by taking part in the latest trends, such as participating in “challenges”, putting a new spin on a popular dance, or using the hottest filters.

This helps establish your brand’s relatability to your audience.

Establish Relationships with Creators and Influencers

No matter what your feelings are about social media influencers, there is no denying the impact they can have on social media audiences.

According to Meta, even adults aren’t immune to the reach of influencers, with 63% of adults between 18-34 saying they trust a popular creator’s view of a brand.

This is considerably more than those who reported trusting brands themselves.

The power of influencers really comes down to the fact that they have established a relationship with their viewers and have an incomparable reach. This helps build your own credibility with a whole new audience you might have never reached before.

Go Behind The Scenes

When users say they don’t want to see “perfection” in ads, they don’t necessarily mean they want low-quality or poorly made ads. They just want to know your message is based in reality. This is why viewers tend to respond strongly to brands who are willing to take them behind the curtain. 

Keep Your Video Lo-Fi

Today, it is easier than ever to get access to affordable editing and production tools that can make your ad look like a Hollywood movie. Don’t use them. Sticking with simpler, lo-fi editing and production techniques, such as the most popular editing apps for smartphones, keeps your ad feeling authentic and hand-crafted.

Use Humor to Connect With Audiences

Humor is consistently one of the most effective tools for getting audiences to lower their guard. It makes your brand more relatable and makes listeners want to hear what else you have to say. The obvious catch here is that brands must be careful because several brands have made tone-deaf jokes which missed the mark and hurt their reputation.

In a blog post from this week, LinkedIns Chief Product Officer Tomer Cohen shares updates about the latest improvements to the platform’s search engine, accessibility features, and the content brands can share in feeds. 

Though these updates might seem scattered or disconnected, they are all united by one theme. LinkedIn is making it easier for users to find relevant and useful content, especially from brands on the platform.

Updates to LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn is expanding its search results to include news, topics, trends, and more from connections and relevant content from creators related to your search.

As Cohen explains in the blog post:

“If you’re interested in a particular topic when you search for it you’ll see the latest insights, expert opinions, and other breaking news. From finding the right people, communities, companies, jobs, or content, you can now make progress on any professional goal by simply searching for the topic you have in mind.”

The biggest change coming from this is the introduction of content from people outside your network, though the networking platform promises to only include “relevant creators.”

Additionally, the search engine is being improved to make it easier to “re-discover” posts you’ve already seen in your feed. 

Now, you can find something you’ve seen before on your Feed by searching with just the creator’s name and keywords used in their post.

Share Reviews (If You’re a Service Provider)

Any business knows the power of reviews. Up to 95% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase, according to some estimates. Reviews also make a greater impact than most other types of content because they are authentic.

This is why LinkedIn is making it possible for the 4 million service providers on the site to share recent reviews with other users.

In a similar vein, Cohen notes service providers can also hight examples of their work in the new Featured section of the page.

Customized Referral Links For Creators

To help entrepreneurs and creators boost their visibility, LinkedIn is introducing the ability to add a link to the top of a profile to make it easier to find out more about your business or upcoming events.

With this, you can direct people checking out your content to pages about your business, upcoming events or courses you are offering, or other pages for your products or services.

Though the feature is currently only accessible to those in creator mode, Cohen does note it will be rolled out more broadly soon.

Real-Time Captions for Audio Events

Audio events have been massively popular for LinkedIn, but there has been one glaring issue: they were completely inaccessible to those with hearing impairments, or those who weren’t in an environment that allowed for listening to content.

To fix this, the platform has made real-time captions available for English-language users. This way,  your audio events can be open and relevant for all.

To find out more, read the full blog post here.

At the start of 2022, LinkedIn Chief Product Officer, Tomer Cohen put out a call for suggestions on how to improve the platform for professionals and the brands they represent.

Just over a month later, the company says it is already working to integrate these suggestions with a slew of updates to how users can share content, manage their feed, and track their content’s performance.

We’ve collected the highlights below:

LinkedIn’s Updates Based On Your Feedback

Giving You More Control Over Your Feed

LinkedIn is making it easier to signal the types of content you want to see and to flag content that isn’t relevant to you.

Not only can you more easily follow and unfollow connections, but the company has also introduced quick ways to remove content by clicking the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of posts and selecting “I don’t want to see this.”

Lastly, LinkedIn is making it easier to find the content, pages, and conversations most relevant to your goals with improved search tools.

Connect With Industry Authorities To Build Your Career

LinkedIn has always positioned its platform as a tool for those starting out or looking to grow further to connect with the established experts and leaders in their markets. 

To further this goal, the company is working to create new opportunities for career advancement through live events, live courses, and even the chance to speak with industry-leading content creators like Jonathan Fields and Mita Mallick.

Better Measure Your Content Performance

Lastly, LinkedIn is introducing new ways to track how your posts are performing and refine your content strategy.

In addition to broad metrics like the number of people who view your posts, the company says it is going to be soon adding more granular details about your audience including their job titles, engagement patterns, and helpful demographic information.


Obviously, many of these features were already in progress before LinkedIn surveyed users. Still, they show how the company is looking to expand its capabilities in the exact areas users are also most interested in using to build their careers.

After suffering a massive drop in stock values earlier this week, Facebook is planning to pivot more towards being a short-form video platform. 

The shift in focus was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a company-wide virtual meeting with Facebook employees shortly after the stock crash, which was triggered by a devastating quarterly earnings report from the platform’s parent company – Meta Platforms. 

In its latest earnings report, Meta disclosed that it had lost money throughout the quarter as well as seeing the first-ever decline in daily active users. By the end of the quarter, the company says more than half a million users had stopped using the platform on a daily basis. 

All of this then caused investors to panic, leading to the company’s stock price dropping by over 200 billion dollars in a single day – the largest single-day stock drop in history.

Why Is Facebook Losing Users and Money?

As Zuckerberg laid out to employees, he sees three major contributing factors to the unflattering quarterly earnings report. These are a recent wave of investments from Meta to establish Metaverse, difficulties with advertising after the of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature and Android’s take on this information sharing feature, and TikTok.

The first issue is easy to believe. After the company’s hugely publicized rebrand to Meta, it has been spending a lot of money to establish its Metaverse platform – which has yet to pay off. Given the mixed-to-negative reception the Metaverse has received, it is also possible investors are nervous about the potential for eventual revenue from the platform.

Facebook is also seeing a notable loss in money from advertising, largely because the largest mobile operating systems have both implemented new features which give users more information and control over how their information is being used. 

On one hand, this is a benefit for users because they can now easily opt-out of being tracked online. On the other, it makes it much more difficult – and even potentially impossible in some cases – to target relevant ads for users. This leads to less interest in ads from users, which translates to less engagement, and thus less revenue, 

What About TikTok?

After surviving challenges from Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook may have finally met a competitor it can’t afford to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg told employees that part of the company’s poor quarterly performance was an “unprecedented level of competition” from TikTok.

As such, Zuckerberg plans to directly focus on promoting its short-video-related content and features across both Instagram and Facebook.

As he told meeting attendees:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

While both of Meta’s social networks have increasingly prioritized video in recent years, this underscores a renewed emphasis on video content – especially short, easy-to-share clips like those found on TikTok. As such, brands hoping to reach their audiences on these platforms should be prepared to similarly focus on creating video content that connects with their potential customers.

As part of its ongoing effort to expand its video capabilities and be “no longer a photo sharing app”, Instagram says it is introducing new ways to promote and remix videos on the platform. 

Specifically, the company is rolling out new ways to build interest for scheduled live streams using banners, and the ability to remix any recorded video.

These updates seem positioned to make Instagram more competitive with both TikTok and Twitch, which are extremely popular with younger viewers and creators.

As Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, explained in the announcement:

“We’re focused on building for teens and creators, and in the spaces of video and messaging. And these are within those themes.”

Below, we’ll explore both of the new updates in more detail.

Promote Scheduled Live Videos With Banners

When scheduling live videos on Instagram, streamers can now choose to highlight these upcoming streams using a special banner. When clicked, the banner also lets users set reminders for the live videos.

As Mosseri says:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a Live from creating a feed post, or even now a story post, about that live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Notably, these banners can be used to promote one-time-only events and recurring streams on a channel.

Remix Any Video You Want

Instagram is expanding its ability to “remix” content to all videos on its platform.

Similar to TikTok’s video reactions, these remixes allow users to take existing videos and add their own reactions or to rework them into something entirely new.

Originally, this feature was limited solely to Instagram’s short Reels videos. Starting now, though, users can do this to any public video by tapping the three-dot icon in the right corner of videos and selecting “Remix this video.”

However, people who share videos must opt-in to having their content remixed by others.

For more, check out the video from Mosseri on Twitter:

Instagram is slowly rolling Instagram Subscriptions – a new subscription feature that would let creators on the platform make a regular income from their biggest fans.

Instagram Subscriptions works similar to Patreon or other online subscription-based platforms. Creators are able to completely control their subscription prices and offer special content or features exclusively for subscribers. 

Instagram Subscriptions Preview Image

At the moment, the special subscriber features specifically include:

  • Subscriber Lives: Broadcast live content exclusive to subscribers.
  • Subscriber Stories: Share stories that only your subscribers can see.
  • Subscriber Badges: Paying subscribers can add a badge to their comments, making them stand out as loyal supporters. 

As the announcement says:

“With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can develop deeper connections with their most engaged followers and grow their recurring monthly income by giving subscribers access to exclusive content and benefits, all within the same platform where they interact with them already.”

During the initial testing period, Instagram is limiting access to Instagram Subscriptions to just a small handful of creators. However, the company says it plans to expand access to many more people in the coming months, along with a variety of new tools to make the service more beneficial for creators and fans alike.