What’s New in Social Media?

We bring you some of the most important new developments in the world of social media and digital marketing so you can stay the cutting-edge of the industry.

1. Facebook Removes 20% Text Rule in Ad Images

Anyone that’s ever used paid social will know how much of a big deal this is. Facebook is contacting advertisers informing them that “we will no longer penalize ads with higher amounts of image text in auctions and delivery”. Social media expert Matt Navarra revealed this last week:

This is great news for digital advertisers. The <20% text rule was initially introduced by Facebook to encourage businesses to take a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach after finding ads with less text perform better. However in our experience, we’ve found the rule to be overbearing and frustrating, often having to completely restructure ads to meet Facebook’s demands.

We can only speculate as to why Facebook have decided to remove this rule. In the age of COVID-19, governments, health bodies and businesses need to communicate safety guidelines en masse. Less ad restrictions mean more flexibility to communicate key messages.

2. Facebook Encourage the Use of Hashtags

Continuing on with Facebook, there has been evidence that Facebook are steadily incorporating hashtags back into the platform. Hashtags have always been available to use on the platform, but are far more prominent on Twitter and Instagram. 

However, this prompt started appearing for some Facebook Business users a month ago:

Now, as part of the new Facebook desktop interface, hashtag suggestions and usage stats appear for all users:

Bearing a strong similarity to sister platform Instagram, this appears to be Facebook’s way of bringing the two closer together. Mark Zuckerberg has previously stressed the importance of building an online global community, and hashtags allow exactly that. As we discussed in a previous blog post, hashtags are being used as a hub for important social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter or #WeMakeEvents. This adoption by Facebook shouldn’t be a surprise.

This is great news for businesses, as hashtags can now be used across all the major platforms. Our own research has found they can improve post reach by over 10%. On a larger scale, hashtags can be used to tie together marketing campaigns and lead to a more cohesive social media presence across your channels.

3. LinkedIn Introduces Stories

The platform have followed the way of Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by introducing a version of the ever-popular stories format. Like Facebook, professional networking site LinkedIn is getting a visual overhaul (though the two now look remarkably similar):

Following months of testing in selected countries, Stories have began rolling out worldwide on LinkedIn’s mobile version:

It’s yet to be introduced in the UK, but early feedback from the US & Canada is positive. LinkedIn Stories functions much in the same way as IG Stories – only those following you can view them. It will be interesting to see what kind of content creators and businesses come up with on the platform.

The monumental rise of Stories is hard to ignore. The vertical format has grown exponentially with the rise of smartphones, and the popularity of TikTok and IG Reels speaks for itself. It goes without saying that businesses must have a mobile-first approach in 2020.

4. Pinterest Expands ‘Pin Stories’ Launch

Visual discovery engine (and pseudo-social media) Pinterest has also expanded its roll out of ‘Pin Stories’.

“Story Pins is an all new type of Pin and publishing option that gives creators a way to tell dynamic and visual stories with videos, voiceover and image and text overlay. We’re making it easier for creators who are eager to share their talent, passions and creativity to flow back directly into Pinterest without the need for a website. For Pinners, this means the ideas within a Pin will be more engaging and actionable.”

So once again, it works much like Instagram Stories, who themselves adopted the format from Snapchat several years ago. The key difference is that Story Pins don’t disappear after 24 hours. This is Pinterest’s response to the rise of ‘social commerce’ – the purchasing of products directly through social media without the need for a website. Facebook has FB Shops, Instagram has Shoppable Tags. If your e-commerce business hasn’t incorporated social commerce into your sales strategy yet, now is the time to do it.

5. Sir David Attenborough Joins Instagram

The national treasure broke a world record by acquiring 1 million followers in just over 4 hours, beating previous holder Jennifer Aniston by 33 minutes. His first post, an IGTV video, has viewed 17 million times already:

The account was created to promote his new documentary, ‘A Life On Our Planet’. Despite not being managed by Attenborough directly, it has already attracted just under 5 million followers. Himself and his team understand the importance of reaching younger audiences where they spend their time. The team have taken full advantage of Instagram’s formats, with a mixture of longer IGTV videos, 60-second snippets and photos.

6. IGTV Now Provides Automatic Subtitles

Instagram recently introduced automatic closed-captions for IGTV videos, as we can see below:

IGTV has had a mixed reception since its introduction in 2018, doubling-down on the potential of long-form, vertical video. We feel the addition of automatic subtitles will be a major boost to the format, as users often watch videos muted. Could David Attenborough usher in a new era for IGTV? More importantly, when will we see our first David Attenborough IG Reel? We wait in anticipation.


  • IG Reels gets a new update, allowing for longer videos (The Verge)
  • TikTok reveals insights into how it’s algorithm works (Social Media Today)
  • Instagram could introduce paid links in posts, suggests new patent (The Verge)
  • Snapchat publishes insightful Generation Z report (Snapchat)

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