2020 has been a year like no other, but it hasn’t disappointed on the tech front. Read on for our rundown of the ten best updates this year…
1. Facebook Chat Plugin
The Facebook Chat Plugin sits on your website and was set up for brands who don’t have a chatbot.. Previously your customers would’ve had to sign into Messenger to use it, which made it impractical for many.
But Facebook changed that rule earlier this year to make the plugin accessible to all customers and therefore more useful to brands and their customer service needs.
You can easily set up and access the plugin via the Facebook for Developers site.
2. Automatic IGTV captions
If you create long-form content for Instagram, you’ll know how valuable IGTV is. You’ll also know it’s essential to include subtitles for people who prefer to watch video content with the sound off – not to mention users who have difficulty hearing.
But most would agree adding subtitles to videos can be a chore and can require a video editor. Fortunately, Instagram has just released automatic closed captions.
Using machine learning, Instagram now automatically adds subtitles to all videos you post, leaving you with one less thing to think about next time you post to IGTV.
3. Messenger Rooms
Seeing an opportunity to mimic Zoom, May 2020 saw Facebook launch Messenger Rooms, a free video conferencing service that allows up to 50 people to meet and talk for an unlimited aFmount of time.
The obvious use case for Messenger Rooms is branded lockdown experiences like wine tastings, employee training and webinars that you can easily promote and monetise via Groups or ads.
4. Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder
The perception among brands is that augmented reality can be costly and often requires a considerable amount of investment. But that’s not necessarily true.
This year, we got a first glimpse of Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder, which promises to make it easier to create AR lens campaigns, and it does.
Now you need only go to Ads Manager on Snapchat to choose from hundreds of templates and effects for custom branded lenses that are bound to get you noticed.
5. Instagram Checkout
Instagram’s highly-anticipated social commerce tool Checkout, which lets users shop and pay for items without leaving the app, is only available in the US for now.
However, when it launches globally (soon), it will benefit every DTC brand on Instagram by taking the purchases from ten convoluted steps to just a few clicks, therefore potentially raising sales.
Reels is Instagram’s TikTok copycat, but cloning accusations aside, it holds a lot of promise for brands already using TikTok.
For starters, any brand that’s already making content for TikTok should strongly consider cross-posting their work to Reels. Being a new feature, there’s reason to suggest Instagram’s algorithm will be kind to this sort of content as well.
7. TikTok’s Creator Marketplace
Despite talk of a ban in the US, TikTok has already surpassed two billion downloads and many of those have come from all age groups, not just teens as most assume.
To many brands, the app is still a minefield, but that’s ok because 2020 has seen TikTok get more serious about its approach to marketers, with updates like self-serve ads which work similar to those on Facebook.
And if you’re still confused, get a creator to do the hard work for you. TikTok’s new Creator Marketplace is a space for brands to seek out creative collaborations with the platform’s most engaged creators. .
8. Facebook Business Suite
Managing the same campaign across several platforms can be tiresome. Fortunately, one of Facebook’s latest updates combines the tools used to oversee campaigns across Instagram, Messenger and Facebook in one app.
Announced in September, Business Suite will make cross-posting, targeting and viewing insights from each platform easier than ever.
Check it out for yourself. You can access the service via desktop when you log into business.facebook.com or the Page Manager app on your phone.
9. Advanced contextual targeting on YouTube
What if you could target more granularly than ever before? That’s the thinking behind YouTube’s latest advertising tool – advanced contextual targeting (ACT).
The Google-owned platform is essentially using machine learning, video imagery and metadata from posts to drill down into specific interests and behaviours.
The example YouTube gives is you’ll be able to decipher between categories like luxury holidays and budget holidays with ACT, making your targeting more accurate.
10. Smart links on Linkedin
LinkedIn is focusing more and more on dwell time, and by that I mean its algorithm is paying attention to how long a user spends on each piece of content.
Thanks to an update to Sales Navigator, it’s helping brands better understand dwell time too with the launch of new smart links.
The smart links work like any other URL tracker but are specifically made for LinkedIn with the aim of helping brands sharpen their content through key insights.
Which feature are you most excited about? Email me at [email protected] to keep the conversation going. Kunal Pattany is a public speaker, technology commentator and the founder and CEO of Digital Human. With 15 years’ experience in marketing for leading companies like Kantar, a WPP data and insights company, he has turned his attention to the impact of digital and AI on humans and society’s response to innovation. To find out more about Digital Human, click here. To talk with Kunal about speaking opportunities, email [email protected] 👋