1. Facebook updates its News Feed algorithm to boost longer videos

Get ready to see longer videos on Facebook, as the social media giant recently announced that longer videos watched through will be given a higher priority in the ranking of the News Feed.

For Facebook Page owners, the takeaway is that longer videos that engage users may get a bump up in terms of distribution, but the side effect could mean that some shorter videos see a small dip.

There’s no set length on what makes a video “long,” however. As Facebook explains in its announcement, “the best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling.”

Facebook also recommends that Page owners utilise the video insights section in their Page Analytics in order to understand what works best for their particular audience.

It’s an interesting departure from Facebook’s previous emphasis on short-form video content. After all, social media + mobile = short attention span.

 

  1. More opportunities for advertisers on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook’s move to boost longer videos pretty much comes down to money. This announcement comes at a time when Facebook is also testing mid-roll ads, which would appear after 90 seconds of a video view. It’s Facebook’s way of subtly reminding publishers that in order to earn money their videos need to be longer.

Facebook-owned Instagram has also recently launched skippable ads into its Stories product, quickly moving to monetise its 150 million strong daily users. Ads will now show up between some Stories, which take up the full phone screen and otherwise seamlessly transition from one account to the next. Snapchat, which also has 150 million daily users over all, runs similar ads.

 

  1. Instagram rolls out multi-image posts

It wasn’t enough for Instagram to copy Snapchat with Stories; it’s now become a lot more like Facebook, too. The app has rolled out a feature that allows users to share multiple photos and/or videos in a single post.

The update allows users to select up to 10 photos and videos to combine into a single post. The final post looks like the app’s “carousel” ads that allow users to swipe through multiple photos.

The change is in line with the company’s ongoing efforts to boost sharing through efforts like Stories and live video.

 

  1. Snapchat officially files for IPO

Snapchat has officially filed for an IPO, ending months of speculation and, at the same time, revealing that it may never achieve profitability.

The filing showed that the ephemeral message service grew revenue almost seven times in a year — but its losses outstripped its revenue. Almost all of Snap’s revenue comes from North America.

The company also revealed some interesting user statistics, including:

  • As of December 31, 2016, Snapchat had 161m daily active users.
  • The average daily user opens the app 18 times a day and uses it for 25-30 minutes.
  • Sixty per cent of users create Snaps and/or use its chat feature every single day of their lives. BUT…
  • Snapchat’s growth slowed 82% after Instagram Stories launched. That’s HUGE.

Ahead of the filing, Snapchat imposed stricter standards for publishers on the Discover platform in a bid to reduce clickbait. Snap, the parent company for the social network, has cracked down on images that are misleading or have no editorial value in a bid to make the platform more attractive to investors.

  1. Google Maps now displays how busy restaurants are in real time

As part of its most recent iOS update, Google Maps will now be able to tell users how crowded a restaurant is in real time. The feature has actually been available on desktop since last November.

Version 4.27 (the latest update) rolls out live data on a user’s chosen location, meaning that it can chart just how busy each cafe or restaurant is at the time a user searches for it on the app. The new Live tool shows pink on the graph against the average visitor amount, while also remarking in grey alongside the graph, with comments such as ‘not too busy’.

As an added extra, the Popular Times feature also reveals the average time spent at your destination, helping users decide whether their restaurant of choice is best suited for a lazy Sunday lunch, or a takeaway option.