With the current climate being so unpredictable, it’s more important than ever for Social Media and ecommerce merchants to innovate and keep up with the drastic changes to society.  We’ve rounded up some of these innovations that could help inspire your ecommerce strategy. 

Facebook Shops 

Facebook Shops make it easier for businesses to set up a single online store for their customers, which is accessible on both Facebook and Instagram. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours which showcase their brand. This step means that any seller/creator, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with their customers more conveniently- it’s also free to set up!

The process will work by Facebook providing eligible businesses with a link to a new ‘Shop Builder’ platform- which will be an extension of their existing Facebook page tools. Using this Builder, businesses will be able to upload their product listings separately or connect their existing eCommerce provider, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and more.

YouTube Launches YouTube Select

YouTube has announced its new way of buying advertising through YouTube Select, designed to be a safer way to advertise on YouTube. The service is similar to that of Google Preferred, as it gives advertisers access to a more curated and higher-quality selection of creators and publishers. The core content lineups will also be the same as they were under Google Preferred, with categories such as music, sports, gaming and technology. 

However, YouTube has been emphasising the streaming of YouTube to TV and so have also released a package specifically for YouTube TV content. Within this, it’s adding new lineups of up-and-coming or niche creators. The idea behind the scheme is to make advertisers feel safe and have more control over which content they choose to advertise on. They’ll have access to advanced brand suitability controls, as well as the option to only serve ads on videos that have been machine-classified and verified by humans across all lineups.

Facebook has brought Giphy and is integrating it with Instagram 

Facebook has announced that it has acquired GIF platform GIPHY in a deal reported to be worth around $400 million. Giphy is currently one of the leading GIF sites on the internet, offering tools for creating, sharing and remixing GIFs. According to Facebook, 50% of all GIPHY’s traffic comes from its apps such as Whatsapp and Instagram, and half of that traffic comes from Instagram alone. As part of Facebook, GIPHY will now become part of the Instagram team, the goal being to make it even easier for users to send GIF’s and stickers in Instagram stories and direct messages. 

Facebook trialling skippable video ads 

Facebook has begun testing the ability to skip mid-roll-in-stream ads this week for ads that last between 5 to 10 seconds. The ads in testing are allowing users to skip in-stream ads after 5 seconds of viewing time. Facebook said that during the first five seconds, an inactive skip button and a countdown timer will appear, and once five seconds have passed, the button will turn opaque, giving viewers the option of skipping the ad and resuming the video they were watching. 

This is still currently in BETA mode with only a handful of publishers, while Facebook decides if this is something they want to roll out. A spokesperson for Facebook has stated that they’re currently evaluating whether these ads are beneficial for people and for businesses before deciding whether to expand it further.

Facebook launching 15 new blueprint courses

Due to the current Covid-19 situation that businesses have been thrown into, the demand for more online opportunities for small businesses has surged. To support this, Facebook has released 15 new Blueprint courses including a range of new elements, such as using social channels, marketing goals, content calendars and more to help businesses in these unprecedented times. These courses are already free to take, but new revisions have made them more ‘straightforward’ and ‘put concepts into context’  to help people bring what they learn to life.

Instagram guides 

Instagram has today launched a new ‘Guides’ option for profiles, which will enable selected business users and creators to highlight recommendations, tips, and other content in a new, dedicated tab. The guides can be accessed on your profile, where posts and IGTV areas are, and the guides can be shared on your story or through direct message, allowing profile users to share detailed and more contextual posts. 

The initial launch of ‘Guides’ is part of Instagrams effort to boost wellbeing during the current situation, it could also become another platform for showcasing products at some stage.

Linked In Sales Navigator Updates

A new update from LinkedIn has seen them add some new tools to its Sales Navigator platform in order to help marketers to gain more insights into their on-platform efforts and establish a better connection with potentially interested users. One of the updates is Smart Links, which is similar to UTM tracking for URL’s, but applies to LinkedIn links specifically. If you add a Smart Link to your LinkedIn posts or InMail, you’ll be able to view who opened the link, how long they interacted for, and which elements were most interesting to them. 

They’ve also added a new option to create contacts using Microsoft Dynamics 365 using Sales Navigator, along with a new ‘Alerts’ panel that allows Sales Navigator users to like, comment and share updates directly from the home page.

Changes for TikTok music rights 

Up until now, TikTok usage for brands has allowed them to act freely when choosing the music used in their promotions, as this usage already existed in previous agreements back when it was called Musical.ly. However times have now changed, TikTok has quietly altered the rules around commercial usage of popular music, which will stop verified brands from using popular tracks, referring them, instead, to a new, royalty-free ‘Commercial Music Library’ of sounds that are available for businesses

So now you’re all caught up on the latest social advancements. Could you implement any of these features in your online strategy in the future?

Make sure to read our latest blog to discover how algorithms are helping to give us fashion advice. 

If you want to keep up to date with all of the latest social updates and innovations, make sure you’re following Social Circle on Instagram and Twitter. We’ll see you virtually next month!