In a year where we could all use some good news, we’re happy to tell you about so many changes and innovations coming to your favourite social media platforms throughout the rest of 2021. 

Here are 10 of our favourite updates to watch out for…

1. Instagram Story Drafts

Instagram announced in late March that it plans to finally implement a “drafts” functionality into its Stories, allowing you to save a Story to drafts and go back to “finish what you started” at your own leisure. 

Story drafts were a highly requested feature, says Instagram, with the option allowing more flexibility for brands looking to create their Stories ahead of schedule. While you can currently save your Stories to your local device, this feature will keep all your Story drafts in one place, ready to go live at the tap of a button.

Shortly after being announced, app researcher, Alessandro Paluzzi, gave us a sneak peek into what Story drafts will look like:

Instagram story drafts example

While a date is not yet confirmed for the release of Story drafts, we do know it’s coming soon…

2. YouTube to recommend products shown in videos

YouTube has said they are “experimenting with a new feature that displays a list of products detected in some videos, as well as related products.”  

The goal of this feature is to “help people explore more videos and information about those products on Youtube,” and will present users with an automated suggestion of products related to those shown in the video.

This feature is currently being tested on users in the US, so brands and marketers all over the world are waiting for their chance to test out this advanced feature, which could be ground-breaking for product placement on YouTube.

3. Facebook’s audio-only rooms

Following in the footsteps of Clubhouse, Facebook has announced that an audio-only room feature will be available soon for users of the app. They appear to work in the same way as Facebook’s video rooms, launched last May 2020, which allows users to jump into public or private video chats.

Facebook audio room example

This feature will allow rooms to hold up to 30 people and will be available to any users of the app, unlike its competitor, Clubhouse, which is still an invite-only platform.

4. Twitter to add undo send functionality

There are rumours that Twitter is currently testing a feature allowing users to undo sent tweets. However, it’s said that this feature may only be available as a feature for those with a premium membership, suggesting that Twitter is exploring ways to create further revenue for its platform.

5. Tiktok launches Ad Library

TikTok recently launched its new Ad Library, following in the footsteps of Facebook, providing us with a whole database of ads across the platform. This feature allows users to search for the best-performing ad campaigns, with a range of filters to find the information you’re looking for, broken down by territory and sector.

TikTok ad library screenshot

Not only does it give us a hub for paid content, but it’s also a great place for creators to gain inspiration for their own content. While the feature is available, it’s still very early stages, with additional features in development.

6. Seeing double! 4-way Live launches on Instagram

Instagram is now letting you double up on Live broadcasts, meaning you can livestream with up to three people, previously limited to only one other person. This new feature follows the increase in popularity surrounding video and audio broadcasting, giving brands, marketers, and influencers new, innovative ways to go Live.

Instagram multiple live

7. Facebook explores Instagram for kids

It has been reported that Facebook is currently working on a version of Instagram which will be targeted towards users under the age of 13. It’s no surprise that this is in the works since Facebook already has youth-focused platforms such as Messenger Kids, which has over 7 million active users each month.

Instagram currently blocks users under the age of 13 from signing up for an account, however, many under-age users still create an account and use the platform. The ideology behind this version of the platform is to provide transparency and control to the user’s guardians, helping to minimise exposing these young users to the risks of all online platforms.

8. Twitter is once again eyeing up emoji reactions

It has been reported by Techcrunch that Twitter has been surveying users over the last few months about the potential implementation of emoji reactions, allowing users to quickly  express a range of emotions in response to a tweet, similar to Facebook’s emoji reactions.

We kind of saw this one coming, since Twitter has experimented with similar features in 2015, and it’s a common feature with most social media platforms.

9. Instagram tests product tagging in paid ads

Instagram is currently experimenting with “product tagging” in paid ads, aiming to maximise the reach of your products by boosting shoppable posts, expanding reach, re-engaging shoppers, and reaching new shoppers, too.

This feature is still in Beta testing, but it could be a game-changer for eCommerce brands.

Instagram product tagging

This feature will provide many new ways for brands to reach their users, such as:

  • View Shop’s Home Page
  • View Shop’s Collection
  • View Product
  • Save Product
  • View Website
  • Add to Cart
  • Initiate Checkout
  • Purchase

It’s also important to note that ads with product tags will drive users directly to the product detail page to learn more, unless you’re a checkout-enabled business, in which case your users will be directed straight to in-app checkout.

10. Snapchat acquires Fit Analytics for in-app product sizing

Snapchat remains a potentially lucrative platform for eCommerce brands going forward, with rumours that they’re developing virtual try-on tools alongside other features to assist product discovery across its platform.

Taking this one step further, Snapchat has now acquired a digital-sizing company, FitAnalytics, a technology firm that provides tools for brands to provide more accurate in-stream product sizing to their customers.

All the ingredients for a ground-breaking 2021, don’t you think?

Even just four months into 2021, so many new features have been launched, tested, or rumoured across key social platforms. As always, the best way to reach people on social media is changing every day, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!