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April 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 4th May 2023

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

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April 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 4th May 2023

April was another busy month for all of our favourite social media platforms, with lots of new tools and features being released that will benefit both casual scrollers and brand marketers. As expected, Twitter has been dominating industry headlines as its verification overhaul continues to spark controversy amongst users, but plenty of interesting updates were also introduced by the rest of the major social sites too. Join us as we recap and review a selection of them below.


Fewer Ads for Twitter Blue Subscribers

First up - Twitter users who pay for Twitter Blue will now be served approximately 50% fewer ads in their timelines, meaning they’ll see twice as many organic tweets in between promoted tweets or ads when browsing the app. However, this change doesn’t apply to promoted content elsewhere on Twitter, such as ads on profiles, ads in reply threads, promoted events in the Explore tab, promoted trends, and promoted accounts to follow, which will still be seen by everyone, regardless of whether they’re paying or not.


Visual Branding Options for Twitter Ads

Twitter has also unveiled some new promotional features which brands can now build into their ad campaigns - although some of them are simply refreshed versions of existing options. Firstly, Hashmojis (formerly known as Branded Hashtags) allow advertisers to design a new, custom emoji that appears at the end of a hashtag, so people can see that the hashtag is related to that brand or event.

Secondly, Hashfetti is a confetti-style animation whereby a larger version of a brand’s Hashmoji will rain down across the screen when the hashtag is tapped on, surprising viewers with a fun effect and giving them more visibility of the design. Hashfetti animations will run for 24 hours.

And finally, a new Custom Likes feature has arrived, which enables brands to customise Twitter’s Like button with a branded animation. This will appear briefly when a user likes a tweet containing the brand’s selected hashtag. Custom Like animations will happen on all organic or promoted Tweets that contain the advertiser-selected hashtag for 24 hours - including those posted by everyday users.



Facebook Marketplace Videos

Facebook has added a new video element to Marketplace, which allows sellers to include videos within their listings, as well as letting buyers request a video from sellers to assist in their purchase decision. For sellers, this will help increase transparency, allow them to add more details to their listings, and prove that an item is definitely real. Facebook also says that by working with the Marketplace community, it has discovered that sellers who add videos to their listing are more likely to receive a message. Similarly, for buyers, being able to request a video will boost confidence and make it easier to check out the condition of an item, resulting in a smoother and safer purchase process.


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YouTube Premium Features

YouTube users who pay for a premium account now have access to a range of new features which will enhance their viewing experience. Firstly, the ability to queue videos, which was previously only available on desktop, has been expanded to mobile devices, giving viewers more control over what they want to watch next. Secondly, Google Meet Live Sharing will allow premium members to host Google Meet sessions where all attendees can watch YouTube videos together. This option is currently only available on Android, but over the coming weeks, it will be rolled out to iOS users via SharePlay on FaceTime too.

Thirdly, Premium users can now continue watching YouTube videos wherever they left off - even if they switch to a different device - meaning they can jump back in without interruption. The fourth update, Smart Downloads, enables users to download videos straight to their library when connected to WiFi, meaning they can watch them offline. And finally, an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p HD video quality is being launched, making videos extra crisp and clear for premium subscribers.


Twitter Inc Merges into X Corp

Twitter Inc, the company which previously owned Twitter (as well as Vine and Periscope in the past), now no longer exists, after being merged into X Corp, Elon Musk’s technology company. This ties in with Musk’s vision for an “everything app” called “X” which he loosely announced last October - an app which he hopes could end up having a similar impact to the one WeChat has had in China. Despite being primarily marketed as a messaging app, this all-encompassing platform is used by billions of Chinese citizens to pay bills, buy public transport tickets, register their details, do grocery shopping and more, so naturally Elon wants to create his own version for the Western market.



YouTube Livestream Alerts

YouTube has added a new ‘Notify Me’ CTA button on upcoming live-stream listings, which will help creators maximise viewership of their broadcasts by keeping their fans updated on in-progress streams. With these reminders, users that have expressed an interest in a creator’s upcoming broadcast will be able to opt in to receive a notification when the stream begins. This will make it much easier for viewers to stay on top of broadcast times and will ensure that people don’t miss out, ultimately getting more eyes on creators’ content.


LinkedIn ID Verification

With verification options and identity checking tools becoming increasingly common on social media platforms, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn has decided to introduce some new ID features. The first one is a partnership with identity tech platform Clear, which will allow users to confirm who they are with their Government-assigned ID. Once verified, a banner will then appear on their profile with a green tick, confirming that they are a trusted user. Secondly, to verify workplace connections, employees of certain companies can now verify that they do definitely work for that organisation, using their official company-issued email address. At the moment, anyone can simply claim that they work for a business on LinkedIn, so this update will give users reassurance that they are actually speaking to someone from the company if they decide to get in touch.


Twitter Super Follows Become ‘Subscriptions’

Twitter has re-launched its subscription feature, previously known as Super Follows, with a simple new name - Subscriptions. Subscriptions allow creators’ most engaged followers to help them earn money from their contributions on the platform. When someone enables Subscriptions, their followers can sign up to access bonus Tweets created especially for them, and will receive a badge that shows up beside their name whenever they reply to the person they’ve subscribed to, meaning they’ll stand out in the conversation. To be eligible for Subscriptions, users must be 18 years old, have at least 500 followers and have been active in the past 30 days. It also looks like Twitter is considering making Subscriptions a Twitter Blue exclusive feature soon!



10,000 Character Tweets

Twitter users who pay for Twitter Blue can now post tweets containing up to 10,000 characters. The limit was already increased to 4,000 back in February, but now it seems the platform wants to enable users to upload even more long-form content. It’s certainly a huge jump from the standard 280 characters available to those who don’t pay, and an interesting change from Twitter’s original focus on short, brief posts. What do you think? Is this a positive update that will allow more creative freedom, or is it best to stick to shorter tweets?



New Instagram Reels Features

Instagram announced a variety of new Reels tools which it hopes will empower creators to “express their creativity, connect with their audience, and earn a living”. Firstly, a dedicated inspiration area has been added to the Professional Dashboard, where users can discover top trending songs and hashtags, see how many times an audio clip has been used, tap in to use it straight away, or save it to use in a Reel later.

Next, the Reel creation flow has been simplified, so video clips, audio, stickers and text are now all available together on a unified editing screen, making it easier to align and time elements of your Reel to the right moments. Some users are comparing this new interface to CapCut, TikTok’s separate video editing app.

The third update relates to analytics. Two new metrics have been added to the Reels Insights section - total watch time and average watch time. Total watch time measures the total amount of time a Reel has been played (including replays), and average watch time measures the average amount of time spent viewing a Reel. Users will also now be notified specifically when they gain a new follower from one of their Reels, rather than from elsewhere on the platform.



Add Up to 5 Links in Instagram Bio

One of Instagram’s most requested features - the ability to add multiple links - has finally arrived on the platform! Now, up to 5 URLs can be added to users’ profiles, which will give both individuals and businesses more ways to drive traffic to their websites, socials and blogs. However, this update could have some implications for third-party link tools such as Linktree, which many creators currently use to incorporate multiple links into their Instagram profiles. Are you planning to add more links to your bio or will you continue using an external tool to showcase multiple URLs?



Twitter Advertisers Must Pay for Blue

Up until recently, anyone on Twitter has been able to run ad campaigns on the platform, but now, as part of Elon Musk’s ongoing push to incentivise subscriptions, users must pay for either Twitter Blue or the Verified Organisations scheme if they want to start (or continue) running ads. The change makes sense - after all, users are more likely to trust ads from verified accounts with the blue checkmark, plus it only costs around £100 per year, which, although expensive for regular users, is unlikely to have a huge impact on brands who are already setting aside large budgets for their advertising efforts.



Keep Disappearing Messages on WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s Disappearing Messages function, which automatically deletes messages from a chat after 7 days when enabled, has received an update. The new tool, called Keep in Chat, allows users to keep hold of messages they want to retain for later reference - however, the sender of the message must approve this action first. The sender will be notified when someone wants to keep a message, and will have the ability to approve or deny the decision. If the sender denies the request, the message will be deleted as usual when the timer expires after 7 days, but if they’re happy for the recipient to keep it, the message will be saved into the recipient’s Kept Messages folder with a bookmark icon beside it.



Free Blue Checkmarks for Big Twitter Accounts

The recent changes to Twitter’s verification scheme have understandably received a fair amount of backlash on the platform, with many celebrities and other high-profile users publicly refusing to pay for Twitter Blue following the recent removal of all legacy checkmarks. So, perhaps in response to this criticism, Twitter has begun quietly reinstating the blue checkmark for large accounts - aka those with over a million followers. However, some researchers have noted that this doesn’t appear to be the case across the board, suggesting instead that the blue tick has only been given back to those who have been vocal about the situation. It’s certainly an interesting development that will be worth keeping an eye on!


Multiple Device Login on WhatsApp

A new option has been introduced on WhatsApp which will enable up to four users to log into the same account on additional devices, which could be useful for businesses that use this platform for customer conversations. Multiple team members will now be able to access messages at once without anyone being forced to log out, meaning more requests can be handled, therefore increasing efficiency. To link companion devices, users can simply enter their phone number on WhatsApp Web to receive a one-time code, which can then be submitted on their phone to enable device linking, rather than having to scan a QR code.



Custom CTA Buttons on LinkedIn

LinkedIn users who have signed up for a Premium Business account can now add a custom CTA button to their profile, which will direct profile visitors to a specified URL. The options will be: Visit my store, Visit my website, View my portfolio, Visit my blog, Request a consultation and Sign up for a demo, offering more ways to send traffic to an external webpage of your choice. The button will appear at the top of users’ profiles, just below the bio section.



Have you tried out any of these new tools yet, either on your personal profiles or your brand page? Which platforms do you think have released the most exciting features so far this year? Reach out to us on Twitter @3sixfivepro to share your thoughts and let us know if you’ve benefited from any recent social media updates, whether they relate to content creation, customer service or account verification. We’d love to hear from you!