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Instagram Tests New ‘Add Topics’ Option in the Reels Upload Process

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Instagram's Chief Explains the Latest Changes in the App Following User Backlash

Instagram is trying out another way to refine its Reels recommendations, with some users now able to add topics to their Reels uploads, in order to better categorize their clips.

As you can see in this image, posted by user Jacki Pitkow (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new ‘Topics’ option aims to help you reach other users ‘who share your interests’.

That could provide another way for Instagram to showcase your content to a more engaged, interested audience, which could help to boost your Reels performance, and help you connect with more people who are interested in your brand/content.

It could also help Instagram refine its Reels recommendation systems, which is a key focus for the app at present.

Instagram, of course, really wants you to watch more Reels, which is why you’re constantly seeing Reels inserted into every element of the app.

I mean, it has scaled this back a little bit, after users got annoyed by its initial Reels flood. But even so, with Reels already taking up 20% of all time spent in the app, and rising, Instagram is very keen to show users more Reels content, based increasingly on AI recommendations, as a means to maximize engagement and fend off competition for attention from TikTok.

But as Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri notes, it hasn’t worked out its recommendations engine just yet:

“When you discover something in your feed that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar — you should be delighted to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now.”

‘Delighted’ is indeed a high bar, especially for an app like Instagram, which, thus far, has required explicit user input to define their home feed. Now, Instagram’s trying to go the TikTok route, but whether it can actually do it will come down to two key questions:

  1. Can Instagram actually create an algorithmic recommendations system that’s on par with TikTok, which is increasingly good at identifying user interests, and re-aligning its ‘For You’ around them in real time?
  2. Do Instagram users actually want that?

The first comes down to how well IG can identify objects and elements in each video, then align them to user interests. TikTok’s system is very good at entity detection, which, really, is the secret sauce of the app.

But the second is likely a bigger challenge – while people might end up spending more time watching Reels, because Instagram is wedging them into every gap and free space that it can find in the app, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re enjoying them.

There are likely two camps here – one would be the people who refuse to download TikTok, and who like Reels because, to them, it’s a fresh, fast take on video trends. The other would be people who do use TikTok, and who largely don’t like seeing Instagram become more and more like the short-form video app.

The Venn diagram of these groups will likely define Instagram’s success either way, though it does make sense that, if it can get its recommendations right, that could help facilitate more Reels take-up.

Which is why it’s looking for more markers, more indicators, more signals that it can use to refine its recommendation algorithms to make Reels the most compelling TikTok alternative that it can be.

While at the same time, you can bet that Meta’s army of lobbyists are bending ears in Washington, calling for more regulatory action to be taken against the Chinese-owned app.

On balance, I don’t think that Instagram can catch TikTok in this respect – but if TikTok were suddenly out of the picture, it could become the best alternative to take its place



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

With consumers obsessed over the price of a dozen eggs, could conspicuous consumption-driven influencer marketing falling out of favor? That is the question brands might be considering after the
backlash that cosmetics brand Tarte is receiving after a sponsored trip to Dubai. “Influencers were called out for appearing not …

Read the whole story at Marketing Brew »



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