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YouTube is the most popular social network among American adults according to a large new study from Pew Research Center.

The new report includes findings on social media use among adults from a nationally representative phone survey conducted earlier this year.

Overall, the results showed that social media usage has largely remained stagnant over the past few years, with just two notable exceptions.

“YouTube and Reddit were the only two platforms measured that saw statistically significant growth since 2019,” the reports stated.

Out of all platforms, YouTube had the highest usage with 81% of adults who used any kind of social media saying they used the video streaming service. 

Facebook unsurprisingly came not far behind, with 69% saying they use the platform. In third place was Instagram with 40% of respondents saying they use the social network. 

You can see the full list of social networks and the percent of US adults who use them below:

  • YouTube (81%)
  • Facebook (69%)
  • Instagram (40%)
  • Pinterest (31%)
  • LinkedIn (28%)
  • Snapchat (25%)
  • Twitter (23%)
  • WhatsApp (23%)
  • TikTok (21%)
  • Reddit (18%)
  • Nextdoor (13%)

As the report concludes:

“YouTube is the most commonly used online platform asked about in this survey, and there’s evidence that its reach is growing. Fully 81% of Americans say they ever use the video-sharing site, up from 73% in 2019. Reddit was the only other platform polled about that experienced statistically significant growth during this time period – increasing from 11% in 2019 to 18% today.”

Beyond these broad findings, the report also includes demographic breakdowns for each platform and other findings, which you can see below:

YouTube Usage Statistics

  • 95% of US adults ages 18 to 29 say they use YouTube
  • 91% of US adults ages 30 to 49 say they use YouTube
  • 49% of US adults ages 65 and older say they use YouTube
  • 54% of YouTube users say they visit the site daily
  • 36% of YouTube users say they visit the site several times a day

Facebook Usage Statistics

  • 70% of US adults ages 18 to 29 say they use Facebook
  • 77% of US adults ages 30 to 49 say they use Facebook
  • 73% of US adults ages 50 to 64 say they use Facebook
  • 50% of US adults ages 65 and older say they use Facebook
  • 70% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily
  • 49% of Facebook users say they visit the site several times a day

Instagram Usage Statistics

  • 71% of US adults ages 19 to 29 say they use Instagram
  • 52% of Hispanic Americans say they use Instagram
  • 49% of Black Americans say they use Instagram
  • 35% of White Americans say they use Instagram
  • 59% of all Instagram users say they visit the site daily
  • 73% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site every day
  • 53% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site several times a day

Other Usage Statistics

  • 46% of Twitter users say they visit the site every day
  • 65% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Snapchat
  • 2% of adults ages 65 and older say they use Snapchat
  • 50% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use TikTok
  • Those with higher levels of education are more likely to use LinkedIn than those with lower levels of education
  • 51% of US adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree say they use LinkedIn
  • 28% of US adults with only some college experience say they use LinkedIn
  • 10% of US adults with a high school diploma or less say they used LinkedIn
  • 46% of women use Pinterest, compared to 16% of men
  • Adults living in urban (17%) or suburban (14%) areas are more likely to say they use Nextdoor
  • 2% of rural Americans say they use Next-door

To view the full report, click here.

After months of rumors, Twitter has confirmed it is launching a subscription-like feature which allows users to pay for premium content from content creators or influencers on the platform.

The company previewed the new feature it is calling “Super Follow” at its investor-focused Analyst Day event last week, along with a few other new features which are coming to the platform soon.

What Is Twitter’s “Super Follow”?

Super Follow will soon allow creators, influencers, and brands to monetize their tweets, similar to platforms like Patreon or YouTube Subscriptions.

“Twitter is working on a “Super Follow” function that can be used to earn money directly on the platform. Here are the first screenshots”

For a monthly fee, Twitter users can sign up to get exclusive content and perks from a select creator, including:

  • A supporter badge
  • Access to a subscriber-only newsletter
  • Exclusive content
  • Exclusive promotions and discounts
  • VIP community access

Unlike what you can find on sites like Patreon, Super Follow is a one-size-fits-all feature amd does not allow for separate tiers for fans or support.

While the specific revenue split is not clear, Twitter says creators will be able to earn money directly through Super Follow, making this a viable way to increase revenue from social media. This will likely also make Super Follow an attractive option for publishers hoping to find a new source of revenue other than digital advertising placements on their site.

Twitter Communities Take On Facebook Groups

Another upcoming feature highlighted at the Analyst Day event was the launch of Twitter Communities.

Similar to Facebook Groups, Communities allows users to join together around common interests or topics.

Details about the feature are hard to come by, but images shared by those who attended the event show a conversation hub which may make discussions easier for larger communities. 

Otherwise, the layout, design, and features look distinctly familiar to anyone who has been active on Facebook Groups in the past few years.

Twitter’s Goals for 2021 and Beyond

To close out the presentation, Twitter listed three specific goals to achieve in the future:

  • Double development velocity by the end of 2023, which means doubling the number of features shipped per employee that directly drive either mDAU (monetized daily active users)  or revenue.
  • Reach at least 315 million mDAU in Q4 2023, which represents a ~20% compound annual growth rate from the base of 152 million mDAU reported in Q4 2019, which was the most recently reported mDAU when Twitter first announced this ambition in March of 2020.
  • At least double total annual revenue from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion or more in 2023.

Twitter announced this week that it is adding Snapchat implementation to make it easier to share tweets across the platforms.

Now, rather than having to take a screenshot of a tweet to share it on Snapchat, you can now directly add tweets to Snapchat stories. 

Twitter has historically not made it easy to share your tweets to other social networks, making screenshotting the simplest solution. With this move, though, the company seems to be starting to open the door to future cooperation with more platforms. For example, Twitter says it will soon be adding similar integration with Instagram. 

How Twitter’s Integration With Snapchat Works

Starting today, Snapchat users can share tweets from the Twitter app to their Snapchat Stories on iOS, with Android users receiving the feature in the near future. 

However, this does not mean you can simply cross-post to both platforms at the same time. 

Instead, you can only select a public tweet you or other users have already publicly posted and share it as part of a Snapchat story. 

Most importantly, this makes it easier for users to then interact with tweets they see on Snapchat. 

When tapped, the tweet opens in the Twitter app, where you can like, reshare, or reply using your Twitter account. 

How To Share a Tweet To Snapchat Stories

To add a tweet to your Snapchat Story on iOS, follow these steps:

  • Tap the share icon on any public tweet in the Twitter app.
  • Tap the Snapchat icon in the horizontal scroll of icons at the bottom of the screen. 
  • This will immediately take you to the camera screen in the Snapchat app, where the tweet will appear as an immovable sticker. 
  • Complete your snap as you normally would.
  • Pinch or swipe to move and resize the tweet sticker. 
  • Add any Snapchat Creative Tools you want, including captions, stickers, Filters, and more. Tap the Send icon in the bottom right to share the tweet in your Snapchat story or send it directly to other Snapchat users or groups.

After shuttering the public verification process more than three years ago, Twitter is relaunching the system – with some changes. 

Recently, the company stated it plans to reopen the public verification application process in early 2021 after collecting feedback about the process. 

As Twitter says in the announcement:

“We plan to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021. But first, we need to update our verification policy with your help.

This policy will lay the foundation for future improvements by defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification and why some accounts might lose verification to ensure the process is more equitable.”

While many of the changes are yet to be cemented until the platform has gathered more feedback, Twitter has given some insight into how it will be approaching verification.

Who Can Be Verified?

According to the announcement, you must meet two criteria to be verified.

“To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.”

The first half of this means that six different types of public figures, organizations, or companies are eligible for the public verification process.

These are:

  • Government
  • Companies, Brands and Non-Profit Organizations
  • News
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals

As for being active, Twitter defines this based on 4 factors:

  • Completion: Accounts must have a full profile name and bio, as well as profile and banner images.
  • Present: You must have logged onto Twitter at least once in the past 6 months. 
  • Secure: The account must have a confirmed email address or phone number.
  • Following Twitter’s Rules: Accounts that have been locked for 12-hours or 7-days due to user conduct within the past 6 months are not eligible for verification. The only exception is if you have successfully appealed the account suspension.

Prohibited Types of Accounts

Some types of accounts will also be ineligible for the public verification process, even if they meet the “notable and active” requirements. These include:

  • Parody, newsfeed, commentary, or fan accounts.
  • Accounts for pets or fictional characters unless directly affiliated with a verified brand or entertainment production. This means that a verified account for Scooby-Doo would be allowed if the account is operated by Hannah-Barbera or one of the channels it airs on, but not one operated by you or me. 
  • Accounts which have engaged in severe violations of Twitter’s guidelines on platform manipulation or spam, such as buying or selling followers or retweets.
  • Accounts representing individuals or groups linked to harmful or hateful activity. 

Of course, Twitter reserves the right to revoke an account’s verification at any time. This could occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Letting the account become incomplete or inactive.
  • The individual is no longer in the public position which made them eligible for verification.
  • Violations of Twitter’s rules and guidelines.

Subject To Change

Currently, nothing is set in stone regarding the public verification process when it comes in 2021. Even the posted policies could be tweaked or changed before the final version is implemented. 

To help decide on any changes, Twitter is holding an open feedback period from November 24, 2020 to December 8, 2020. If you would like to provide your opinion, you can by completing this survey.

Twitter is rolling out a new form of carousel ads which let you showcase between 2-6 images or videos in a single ad. 

According to the social network, the ads are particularly suited to helping businesses reach their advertising goal with a more immersive and interactive format which includes:

  • An edge-to-edge design
  • Third party measurement reporting
  • Accessibility support
  • New reporting features (such as swipes within the Carousel and breakdowns to measure individual Carousel card performance)

The ads have an edge on most other Twitter advertising formats because they allow you to approach an ad from a variety of different directions. You could highlight a variety of features and benefits of a single product, highlight a small collection of products, or tell a story about your brand. 

Why You Should Try Carousel Ads

Carousel ads have already proven to be a powerful tool on a number of other platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. 

According to a Nielsen study cited by Twitter, using 3 or more assets in an ad format increases awareness by up to 20% and purchase intent by 7%.

Based on Twitter’s early testing of the ad format, that will continue to be true here. The company says carousel ads saw an average 15% increase in click-through rates compared to traditional single asset ad formats. 

Carousel ads for apps saw an even bigger boost, with an average 24% increase in installs.

Twitter Carousel Ads Best Practices

To help you get started, Twitter provided a set of recommendations and best practices for making the most out of carousel ads:

  • Use all of the available components: Including visuals, headlines, descriptions, and calls-to-action.
  • Tell a story: Craft a visual narrative with a beginning, middle, and end to keep viewers engaged.
  • Consider the audience: Show different product images to re-targeted customers than you would show to new, prospective customers.
  • Highlight the product and its benefits: The product should be visible and there should be clear, simple communication of benefit to the consumer.

Available Now To Everyone

The new ad format is available to all advertisers and marks a renewed effort by Twitter to create a more effective and enticing advertising platform:

“This investment in performance advertising also includes expanding the capabilities of our ad formats to enable advertisers with more options to show and tell their brand story, while providing a more intuitive, engaging experience for people on Twitter.”

Twitter is testing the waters of launching a premium subscription service which would give exclusive features to paying members. 

The concept of a premium Twitter service has been rumored for weeks, until CEO Jack Dorsey told investors the gossip was true. Reportedly, the idea has become popular within the company following a recent decrease in ad revenue. 

In a letter to shareholders, the company stated:

“We are also in the early stages of exploring additional potential revenue product opportunities to compliment our advertising business. These may include subscriptions and other approaches, and although our exploration is very early and we do not expect any revenue attributable to these opportunities in 2020, you may see tests or hear us talk more about them as our work progresses.”

A report from CNN says the premium service could come as soon as later this year.

As for what the premium version of Twitter might look like, the company gave a sneak peek with a survey being sent out to some Twitter users. 

The survey specifically asks users “Which of the following features would you most/least desire?”

The premium features suggested in the email include:

  • Undo Send: A 30 seconds window for you to recall/withdraw a Tweet before anyone can see it.
  • Custom Colors: In addition to “Night Mode,” you could change the fonts and theme color of Twitter on your phone and computer. Background color, links, mentions, hashtags, and icons would appear in whatever color you choose.
  • Video Publishing: You could publish videos up to 5x longer than current default, which a much higher maximum resolution (8192×8192).
  • Badges: You get a badge(s) on your profile that links to businesses you own or work for (Example: A journalist can have a badge showing the magazines they write for.)
  • Auto responses: Able to write and set a menu of auto responses to use in replies.
  • Social listening: You can see conversation around your account on Twitter, including total volume, the people and businesses who are talking most often, and what they are saying.
  • Brand Surveys: You could be able to survey people about the ads you run to better understand if your ad was memorable and if people are likely to buy the products or services featured.

Another survey sent out explored the idea of removing some ads for a fee.

Of course, the features proposed in these surveys may never come to fruition and any paid version of Twitter could look radically different than what has been suggested. As the surveys note: 

“This is not necessarily reflective of what features Twitter will have in the future.”

Twitter is introducing a new way to tweet using just your voice – called simply Voice Tweets.

The company announced this week that voice tweets will soon be among the many different ways you can tweet, such as using photos, videos, and regular text. 

“Over the years, photos, videos, gifs, and extra characters have allowed you to add your own flair and personality to your conversations. But sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation.

So starting today, we’re testing a new feature that will add a more human touch to the way we use Twitter – your very own voice.”

To start, the feature is limited to a small number of people using the Twitter app on iOS devices, though it will be rolling out to all iOS devices in the coming weeks.

While those with Android devices and those on desktop computers are left out of being able to create voice tweets for now, everyone can still see and listen to voice tweets that appear in their feed.

How To Post a Voice Tweet

If you have been given access to voice tweets, you will notice a small icon resembling an audio wavelength next to the camera icon when composing a tweet. 

If you tap that icon, you will be presented with a screen showing your profile photo and a record button. Just tap that button to get started recording. 

Voice tweets are limited to 140 seconds of audio in each clip, though the company mentioned that you can keep talking and have your audio automatically split into a thread of multiple voice tweets. 

Once shared, your voice tweet will appear in other people’s feeds with a tappable image that will begin playing your audio in a docked window at the bottom of the screen. 

There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.

Whether it’s #storytime about your encounter with wild geese in your neighborhood, a journalist sharing breaking news, or a first-hand account from a protest, we hope voice Tweeting gives you the ability to share your perspectives quickly and easily with your voice.”

In a post to the company’s business-focused blog, Twitter revealed this week that Tweets including videos generate 10-times the engagement compared to posts without video.  

Most importantly, the pot highlights the fact that you don’t need a Hollywood-sized budget or cutting-edge cameras and microphone to attract this level of engagement. You just need an average smartphone. 

“Your phone is a fully capable multimedia studio in your pocket, giving you everything you need to create compelling content on the go.”

To help get you started, the company also provided a few ideas to spark your creative side. 

GIF It Up

Using existing GIFs you’ve found around the internet can be a tempting way to connect with your audience and show your pop-culture savviness. Instead, however, Twitter recommends creating your own, original GIFs.

Creating GIFs is also easier to do than most people realize. There are countless apps available for Android devices to help you create GIFs, but iOS users have it even easier. The iPhone’s Photos app includes a built-in GIF mode which can convert any video into a GIF. 

If you need more motivation to start using GIFs more often, Twitter also says tweets with GIFs generate up to 55% more engagement than those without. 

Record Your Screen

Another feature included in most phones is the ability to record your own screen and turn it into content. 

This is especially useful for more technical how-to’s or guides, though you can also find ways to show off your online shopping process, highlight your products, or easily turn a photo slideshow into a video. 

Use Stop Motion

via GIPHY

On the note of image-based slideshows, another type of video content you can easily create with your phone is a short stop motion video. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term, stop motion is the very foundation for all animation. The process simply includes taking a series of photos and playing them quickly enough to show action or movement. 

On your phone, the process is typically as easy as taking a photo, moving your position or the object you are photographing slightly, and taking another photo. Then, repeat. .

You can use these ideas to get started making stop motion videos to share:

  • Move the camera around the object
  • Keep the camera on a tripod and move the object instead
  • Add details to the object like drawings or text
  • Take the object apart to show how the parts fit together

For more tips on creating videos, check out Twitter’s best practices for videos.

Twitter is launching a new video ad option which allows advertisers to create and run short video ads (under 15 seconds) and only be charged if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds. 

The company describes the new ad unit as a “flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

What You Should Know

The new ads are similar to YouTube’s short bumper ads which typically run before pieces of content or as an ad-break during videos. As such, the ad is believed to be highly effective for driving high view rates.

For example, Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, says “this six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%.”

Oliveira and Dell were one of the select few given early access to the ad bid option. 

Last Notes

  • The new video ad option began rolling out on Monday and is expected to be live by the end of the week. 
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-Stream Video Sponsorships, and In-Stream Video Ads that are 15-seconds long or less.
  • Instagram considers a video to be viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are on-screen.

One of the biggest issues keeping many brands from promoting themselves more heavily on Twitter is the platform’s rampant trolling and abuse problems. Over the last few years, Twitter has become infamous for the rude, inappropriate, or even vulgar behavior of its users despite several attempts to address the issue.

Now, Twitter is giving users another tool to reduce the impact of trolls and other troublemakers by allowing users to hide replies to their tweets from the public.

While the feature has been rumored for months, representatives from the company have confirmed it will be rolling out the feature as a test starting in June.

As the company says in a blog post from this week:

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets.”

The tool allows you to actively moderate responses to your Tweets by individually hiding offensive or problematic responses. Users can then choose to reveal the Tweet if by selecting to show hidden replies.

Jane Manchun Wong previewed the feature, including screenshots of how it will work:

The feature doesn’t allow you to fully delete inappropriate comments like Facebook or Instagram, nor does it allow you to entirely turn off responses to your Tweets. Still, it gives brands and users more control over the toxicity in their feeds and provides healthier discussions for everyone involved.