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Facebook Updates ‘Whale” Meme App with New Features



Facebook has announced a new update for its Whale meme creation app, which was one of the first experimental apps launched by Facebook’s NPE (or (New Product Experimentation‘) team late last year.

Whale update

As explained by NPE:

“2020 has been hard, and we’ve heard from many people using Whale that funny memes brought them much-needed smiles. With this new release, Whale aims to bring even more humor to your fingertips. Today, we’re adding private meme groups, support for GIF memes, and new top meme templates. We’re also working with some of your favorite meme creators to supercharge Whale’s creation experience.”

As you can see in the above screenshots, there are new, simplified creation tools, groups, updated discovery features and more. The new features build on the first major Whale update which was launched in April this year.

According to Whale, its early testers have said that the app’s creative tools are “the easiest they’ve used, including our GIF memes, library of top templates”. That could provide a point of differentiation for the app, and through Facebook’s acquisition of GIPHY, the team behind Whale now also has access to a range of top meme creators, which will enable it to tap into their popularity to not only create new tools, but also to get the word out among their fans and followers.

And while Facebook hasn’t provided any additional info on Whale usage, it’s the first of Facebook’s NPE apps that’s seen any major updates, which likely suggests that it is indeed generating interest.

Groups could also be an interesting element – in November last year, tech commentator Josh Constine noted the distinct lack of dedicated meme-sharing social networks, which may be a gap in the market.

Whale is not that exactly, but meme groups, linked to Whale’s meme creation tools, could be another step in this direction, which may see it gain traction, again boosted by incorporating ideas from popular creators.


It’ll be interesting to see if Whale does gain any real momentum. Thus far, it’s seemed like Facebook’s NPE team wasn’t really focused on creating the next big thing, but more just chucking ideas out there to see what happens next. Whale seems like it has the most potential of the ten or so apps NPE has released thus far, and while it may not become the next TikTok, the rising popularity of Reddit, which, for most users, is largely a feed of the latest memes, could point to it having more mainstream potential within Facebook’s packaging.

Whale is currently only available on iOS in the US and Canada



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.


Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.


These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.

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