Digital Dash: Amazon takes on Instagram & more

1. Amazon’s launched a shoppable Instagram, and life has changed forever
As a basic rule, if Amazon sets its sights on your territory, be worried.

And worry might well be an accurate way to describe Facebook and co.’s feelings about Amazon’s latest venture: shoppable social media.

The retail giant has just added a social feature called Spark to its iOS app.

It lets Prime members browse a feed of Instagram-worthy images and shop tagged Amazon items in just a couple of clicks.

Amazon_spark 3

The feature is being hailed as a cross between Instagram and Pinterest with ecommerce capabilities thrown in for good measure.

People can even respond to posts with “smiles” (the equivalent of Facebook’s Likes).

To get Spark off to the best possible start, Amazon has enlisted the help of some top influencers to create tons of amazing assets.

Users, who select five or more interest categories on their first visit, are also encouraged to upload their own shots, tagging products as they go.


If my bank card had legs, I think it would have read this and made an immediate dash for the door.


2. LinkedIn begins rollout of native video, offers a reporting insight nobody else is
It hasn’t escaped my attention that LinkedIn has been stepping its game up recently.

Following a serious website redesign at the start of 2017, we’ve seen the release of Lead Gen forms, the new Search Appearances feature, a Lite app version, and more.

On the scale of we’ve-been-waiting-frickin’-ages-for-this, the very latest launch is right up there.

Yep, you guessed it – we’re talking native video.

The business-focused platform has begun testing a feature that will let users record or upload videos directly within the app.

In other words, it’s finally catching up with everyone else.

But along with the test comes another notable news bite – not only will the feature come complete with the usual video performance insights (views, likes and shares), it will also reveal the companies viewers work for and their job titles.

This will give advertisers a really unique insight that could have a big impact on content development.

If you’re targeting designers and your videos are mainly being watched by nurses – it’s probably time for a rethink.

Here are a couple more important things to bear in mind:

  • Not all viewers’ employers and roles will be visible, only a selection of the top ones
  • LinkedIn will measure a view the same way as Facebook (it will need to play for at least 3 seconds to count)


3. Snapchat beefs up self-serve ad platform with ad creation tool
We’re barely done celebrating the arrival of Snapchat’s self-serve ad platform, and there’s already another advertising update to enjoy.

In a new attempt to convince advertisers they should chuck some cash in its direction, Snapchat has launched Snap Publisher – a tool that automatically converts any photo or video into a vertical video ad that’s perfect for the platform.

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If you’re not happy with the cropping/edits, you can simply override them and take control yourself.

This is a slick move from Snapchat and will be a big draw for many, who might not have had the means or motivation to alter their (perfectly good but non-vertically dimensioned) content just to suit Snapchat’s style.

If you don’t have a bank of beautiful assets to dip into you shouldn’t worry; Snap Publisher also has an option to let you pull in photos and videos from your website.

If even that’s too much effort, there are also 13 Snapchat-optimised templates you can choose from instead.


4. Facebook turns to brands in latest attempt to resuscitate Stories
You may have already heard a rant or two from us about how Facebook’s not dead. Take it away, Ads:

And while it’s very true that it most definitely is not dead, there’s a part of the platform that’s really not doing a very good job of staying alive at all.

You already know.

Yes, it’s that line-up of sad little circles that sit lifelessly at the top of your News Feed and somehow seem resigned to their forever-faded state.

It’s Facebook Stories.

Nobody’s using them on social media’s OG app because everyone’s too busy using them on Instagram and Snapchat instead.

But Facebook won’t be accepting defeat just yet.

In a bid to breathe some life into its own Stories, it’s opening them up to brands.

And with tantalising rumours of meaty metrics (one thing Instagram isn’t offering yet) circulating, there’s potential that this could be a turning point for Stories.

Facebook Stories for brands


5. Two new Snapchat features to try out (one of which is pure timesaving genius)
There’s just too much to distract us nowadays.

We’re showered with an endless stream of apps, notifications, memes, games and articles that leave us all in favour of anything that helps save time.

Snapchat gets it.

It knows that having to record and upload clips one by one is time that could be better spent Insta-stalking, so it’s released an update called Multi-Snap that means you can now record one continuous clip which it then splices into perfect Story-sized segments for you.

Another benefit of this is that you can capture a special moment in its entirety, rather than trying desperately not to miss the best bits.

The next update is more fun, less functional.

You can now use a new feature Tint Brush to give certain elements of your snaps a whole new hue.

Snapchat_Tint Brush

For some bizarre reason, a piñata was chosen to demonstrate the tool. I’ve never personally felt a burning desire to repaint one myself, but each to their own.