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Facebook’s Rolling Out a New Design for Messenger Which Will See The Removal of the Discover Tab



facebooks rolling out a new design for messenger which will see the removal of the discover tab

After first announcing its intention to simplify Messenger back in 2018, Facebook is now close to launching the next stage, with TechCrunch reporting that The Social Network is rolling out an updated layout for Messenger which eliminates the ‘Discover tab’, taking it down to simply ‘Chats’ and ‘People’ as your in-app navigation options.

Facebook Messenger redesign

As you can see in this example, provided by social strategist Jeff Higgins, there are now only two tabs, which puts the focus squarely on your private conversations – here’s a shot of the current Messenger layout for reference:

Facebook Messenger layout

As noted, that aligns with Facebook’s push to make Messenger more focused. Back in 2018, then chief of Messenger David Marcus noted that:

Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.”

Facebook has slowly been working towards this goal since, and this will be the biggest shift to date along these lines.

As you can see in the example, Stories will also get added attention. In the new layout, when you tap on the ‘People’ tab, the initial screen will be a showcase of all the Stories your connections have shared in the last 24 hours. You’ll then need to switch across to the ‘Active’ list to see which of your connections are online.

Facebook has confirmed the update, and said that it will begin rolling out to users in the next week.

It’s a big shift, which in some ways, changes the direction for Messenger. But really, that change has been brought about by users anyway, as they’ve dictated how they prefer to utilize the app.

Back in 2016, Facebook announced its Messenger Bot platform, which, at the time, it heralded as the next big thing, the next big shift that would make Messenger a key, functional utility in virtually every aspect of your day-to-day life.   

Facebook Messenger bot platform announcement

Facebook seemed to be modeling its approach on the Chinese market, where WeChat has become a key connector for everything from paying your utility bills to buying groceries to even getting an instant loan, direct in the app.

Except, it didn’t play out that way.

While Facebook saw the future in bots, what it actually found was that most users weren’t overly keen on the option – and while the number of bots has grown (there were 300k active Messenger bots at last check), and usage of bots is increasing, they’re still not seeing rapid take-up, and they’re unlikely to become the transformative tool that Facebook once hoped.

Bots also don’t look like being the thing that finally facilitates more extensive Messenger monetization, another key aim for The Social Network. While messaging use is on the rise, Facebook is still grappling with that next stage, and converting all that attention into a more solid revenue stream, via both Messenger and WhatsApp.

Bots, and the Discover tab, were once seen as key to this, but this new update clearly shows that this won’t be, as the Mandalorians say, the way.

So what is the way? It seems that Facebook is now looking to payments and eCommerce to facilitate the next shift in messaging monetization – and while this update does lessen the focus on business discovery in the app, people will still be able to connect with the businesses that they choose, which is obviously what Facebook has found is the more common method of business connection in the app. 

What we’re seeing in other markets is the push towards Facebook Pay and WhatsApp Pay, which would enable easy funds transfer within messaging streams. Ideally, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency would also play a part, though that’s still largely up in the air (despite adding another new Libra Association member this week).

The playbook here appears to be to initially facilitate funds transfer within messaging streams, then, once money is already being moved in these apps, to add in eCommerce tools to provide shopping options with the same funds, then build on the payments eco-system from there.

Facebook’s already buying up partner businesses for this push. Last year, the company purchased Indian eCommerce provider Meesho, which primarily operates on WhatsApp. 

If Facebook can build WhatsApp Pay in Asian markets, that could provide a whole new business eco-system within the messaging app, which could also provide the template for the same via Messenger in Western regions.

That seems to be the next big opportunity, and within that, the simplification of Messenger makes logical sense. Rather than trying to push people to expand their behaviors, Facebook’s looking to pare back, and align with what people want. That’ll put more onus on individual businesses and developers themselves to get people to their Messenger apps and tools – but then, they’ll probably have to use Facebook ads to do that, another win for the company.

From a social media marketing perspective, the change will obviously change bot and app discovery, which could have an impact, while it could also put more emphasis on Stories, given their prominent placement. 

But really, the biggest implication will be down to connection, and ensuring that you give your audience reason to connect with your business via Messenger. Without the same discovery options, people won’t randomly come across your Messenger presence anymore (if they ever did), which will mean that you need to provide them with a reason to connect outside of the app itself.

That adds another consideration to Messenger marketing, but really, it’s likely much the same as it’s always been. The update just makes this a more refined focus moving forward.

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X Pitches Advertisers on Audience Reach Opportunities in ‘Q5’



X Pitches Advertisers on Audience Reach Opportunities in ‘Q5’

X is making a push to win over advertisers in the holiday season, by promoting its opportunities in “Q5”, which covers the post-Christmas to mid-January period.

As explained by X:

During [Q5], we see reduced CPMs and cost-per-conversion as consumers shop for post-holiday deals and products to support their New Year’s ambitions. Last year, X saw a 5% reduction in the average CPM and a 27% reduction in the average cost-per-conversion1.

Which could present new opportunity to reach a larger audience with your promotions, if indeed they are engaging on X over the holiday period.

“Q5 is filled with a wide variety of tent-pole moments, ranging from the holidays to sports, entertainment and more. With a surge of engagement around these conversations, your brand can remain relevant to your audiences while driving maximum ROI.

X says that, based on engagement data from last year, there are a lot of potential topics of interest for brands.

X also notes that sports video views are surging in the app, up almost 25% YoY over the past 6 months, while vertical video is also gaining momentum.

“Vertical video is the fastest growing surface on X. Over 100M people around the world are consuming vertical video daily at an average of over 13 minutes per day. On many days, vertical video accounts for around 20% of all time spent on the platform.

Though I would advise some caution in trusting these data points.

In recent months, various questions have been raised as to what X counts as a video “view” versus an impression, which is when a post is shown in-feed.

Technically, X counts video views like this:

“The main X video view metric is triggered when a user watches a video for at least 2 seconds and sees at least 50% of the video player in-view. This applies to View metrics for both uploaded videos and live broadcasts.

But that’s different to the actual view count that’s displayed on posts:

“Anyone who is logged into X who views a post counts as a view, regardless of where they see the post (e.g. Home, Search, Profiles, etc.) or whether or not they follow the author. If you’re the author, looking at your own post also counts as a view.

Even worse, X counts multiple views from the same person in that count:

“Multiple views may be counted if you view a post more than once, but not all views are unique. For example, you could look at a post on web and then on your phone, and that would count as two views.

So you can see how the public view count on video posts can massively overstate how many people actually watched a clip, which could be why X is reporting such big spikes in engagement. It just depends on which “view” metric it’s referring to here, actual views or exposure in stream.

Which makes all of these numbers a little difficult to determine, while X owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino have also continued to amplify misleading engagement stats via their own X profiles, muddying the waters as to what kind of actual reach and engagement you can expect.

And that’s before you consider the concerns that other advertisers have had with their promotions potentially being displayed alongside harmful or offensive content in the app.

But depending on how you feel about these aspects, and where your target audience is active, it could be worth considering X for your post-holiday promotions, as you look to maximize sales activity over the holiday period.

It’s also worth considering that with fewer big-name brands taking prime spots in the app, there may also be additional opportunity to reach people via X promotions.

There may be value, depending on your strategic thinking, though I would be keeping an eye on actual engagement

You can read more of X’s Q5 insights here.

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Gaza and Instagram make an explosive mix in Hollywood



Gal Gadot regularly posts demands for the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza

Gal Gadot regularly posts demands for the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Drew Angerer

Audrey Pilon-Topkara

Hollywood celebrities are paying the price for taking sides in the Gaza war — plastering their social media accounts with slogans such as “Free Palestine” or “I stand with Israel”.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for starring in “Wonder Woman”, has expressed unyielding support for her country since October 7, when Hamas fighters burst out of Gaza, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

“I stand with Israel, you should too,” she declared to her 109 million Instagram followers.

She has continued to regularly publish or share posts demanding that Hamas release the civilians it is holding — earning her both approval and criticism.

“While you’re at it, can you use your platform to share all the missing and killed innocent Palestinians too?” a user on X, formerly Twitter, wrote in response to one of her posts.

In reprisal for the October 7 attacks, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip and launched a ground invasion, killing more than 17,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas government.

The Instagram account of American model Gigi Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent and followed by 79 million, has spent less attention on fashion in recent weeks.

She cited the “systemic mistreatment of the Palestinian people by the government of Israel”.

“Stop spreading lies. You and your sisters are antisemitic,” said one comment, with many others expressing similar views.

Famous stars can generate equally strong admiration and repulsion from the public, especially if they comment on divisive issues.

Well before social media, boxer Muhammad Ali, the actor Jane Fonda and singer Bob Dylan were adored or hated over their opposition to the Vietnam War.

More recently the actors Ben Stiller, Angelina Jolie and Sean Penn showed their support for Ukraine by visiting the country, in moves that were approved by most of their Western fans.

– Insults –

But the Israel-Palestinian issue is more divisive than most, exposing celebrities to even fiercer backlashes.

Kylie Jenner, the half-sister of socialite Kim Kardashian, shared a pro-Israeli post with her 399 million Instagram followers shortly after October 7, which according to US media she deleted an hour later after being hit with insults.

The Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon was dropped by her talent agency in November for comments she made at a pro-Palestinian rally, for which she later apologised.

Melissa Barrera, star of the fifth and sixth instalments of the “Scream” franchise, was cut from the cast of the seventh by the producers, who said they had “zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred”.

The Mexican had denounced what she called “ethnic cleansing” in Gaza.

Celebrities who take sides in the conflict have “a lot to lose and little to gain”, said Nicolas Vanderbiest, founder of the public relations firm Saper Vedere in Brussels.

Producers and sponsors have little appetite for mixing geopolitics and business, he said.

In this issue, two “extremely organised” communities are on the lookout, creating a “herd affect”, Vanderbiest added.

Tom Cruise prevented his own agent from losing her job after she had referred to “genocide” on her Instagram account, according to the cinema trade press.

Celebrities could just stay quiet, but with this conflict there is “pressure to pronounce” and no immunity from criticism, said Jamil Jean-Marc Dakhlia, a professor of information and communication at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris.

“Silence is seen as taking a position,” Dakhlia said. “So we are in a situation where you are forced to take sides, and not necessarily with much nuance.”

American singer and actor Selena Gomez, with 429 million Instagram followers, has been criticised for not taking a stronger stance on the issue.

Along with hundreds of others, including Hadid, singer Jennifer Lopez and actor Joaquin Phoenix, she took a middle road, signing a petition calling for a ceasefire and the safe release of hostages.

Earlier, hundreds of celebrities, including Gadot, had signed an open letter thanking US President Joe Biden for supporting “the Jewish people” and calling for the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

Very few signed both.

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More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, CEO says By Reuters



More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, CEO says By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: ‘X’ logo is seen on the top of the headquarters of the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S., July 30, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

(Reuters) – More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a post on the social media platform on Thursday.

This comes as the company, formerly known as Twitter, risks losing as much $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of the year as major brands pause their marketing campaigns on the platform, according to the New York Times.

X, which does not regularly release user data, could not immediately be reached for comment on how the December sign-ups compared to average or why Yaccarino disclosed the figure. Billionaire owner Elon Musk said in July the site had 540 million monthly users.

Several companies, including Apple (NASDAQ:), Disney, Warner Bros Discovery , Comcast (NASDAQ:), Lions Gate Entertainment , Paramount Global, and IBM (NYSE:) said in November they were pausing their advertisements on X.

Musk cursed advertisers that fled the platform after he agreed with a user who falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people.

A report from watchdog group Media Matters found ads from major companies next to X posts that supported Nazism. The platform filed a lawsuit in late November against Media Matters accusing it of defamation.

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