Digital Dash: Instagram shoppable Stories & more

1. Shoppable Instagram posts are coming to a screen near you
Social media has changed our daily lives unimaginably. A time where you didn’t know anything about your friends unless you actually spoke to them seems like a lifetime ago.

One thing we aren’t doing much of on social media though is shopping.

So far, the functionality offered by Pinterest and Facebook etc. hasn’t been enough to spark a major, or even minor, shift to social commerce.

Last year, Instagram – arguably the current frontrunner in terms of user growth – in collaboration with Shopify, made shoppable posts possible but only for a very limited number of retailers.

And now, finally, shoppable posts are rolling out to thousands more merchants, and are set to soon be available to all.

shoppable IG posts

The format allows retailers to tag up to five products in either new or old posts.

Users can tap the tag to view the product, and tap again to buy – all without leaving the app. Currently tags are only visible within the US.

Instagram boasts 500 million+ daily active users and the number is rising rapidly, so there’s no doubt that this is news worth taking note of. With the platform’s user base also being one of the most engaged, it’s very possible that this could be a bit of a turning point for social commerce.


2. Google blocks external linking in videos for non-partners
Still reeling from that controversy a while back – you know, the one which involved a ton of major publishers pulling their ad spend after YouTube ads were featured alongside highly offensive content – Google has announced a new rule designed to “curb abuse” and help determine whether videos are appropriate.

From now on, only creators who are part of Google’s official partnership program will be able to embed external links in their videos.

Non-partners will still be able to link to external sites but only through the video description (where it’s more likely to get missed).

The update comes off the back of Google’s automated system detecting some link screens being used in ways it considered harmful to users.

Set to be particularly hard hit by the change are those who use Patreon – a crowd-funding site – and others like it, to supplement their income.


3. Facebook could soon let you see every single ad a company is running
Analysing competitor’s social media activity isn’t as straight forward as some think.

Yeah, you can visit a brand page to get a sense of content and quality. Facebook will even watch the page for you and share some growth stats.

But so much remains unknown. A company’s advertising spend and strategy for example is crucial missing information, and yet so important in terms of understanding stuff like engagement and brand goals.

But things are about to get a lot more transparent.

Rumours report that Facebook will soon let you see every single ad a page is running, even if you’re outside of the target demo.

This could offer prime insight-gathering (stalking) material for competitor brands looking to gain inspiration and a competitive edge.


4. LinkedIn does a Facebook, rips off iconic Snapchat feature
Facebook copying Snapchat is old news. Instagram, even less shocking. But LinkedIn? LinkedIn? Wow.

Over the past year or so, the professional social network has been gradually adding new tools and features to keep its users interested and engaged.

And one of these – native video – has now been spiced up with the addition of location-activated geofilters for conferences and events.

These allow users to overlay videos with a custom graphic relating to whichever occasion they’re attending.

LinkedIn Geofilters

This is a clever move on LinkedIn’s part. Many of its users won’t have Snapchat so the new tool will have the benefit of appearing innovative and novel… when really it’s not at all.

Geofilters are also another (potentially very lucrative) advertising revenue stream. Although these are only in testing at the moment, it seems likely all advertisers will be able to create custom filters at some stage in the future.

In addition, LinkedIn’s product manager for video has revealed that video content is shared 20x more than any other type on the platform, and is especially popular among people attending events.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be a deer in my LinkedIn profile pic.


5. Facebook’s comments section gets an upgrade with Reply in Messenger button
Facebook’s been showing its post comments section some love recently.

After staying more or less exactly the same for about 100 years, a new bubble-style interface was introduced a few weeks back making it much more similar in appearance to Messenger and most other message apps.

And now, presumably to drive even more people to Messenger, there will soon be a Reply button that will allow users to begin a Messenger chat directly from the comments thread.

I’m sure brands will be sincerely hoping that the new button encourages their angriest ‘fans’ to keep their rants private right from the get-go. Unfortunately, they’ll probably do the exact opposite.


Bonus bite: Instagram introduces polls to Stories
You can now ask your audience to vote through Instagram Stories. I can see this being really popular with users, and a nice engagement-driver and insight tool for brands.

IG Stories vote