23 Major Updates From Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, & Snapchat

Social network updates: Instagram Ads now include mobile banners, Facebook launches Online Creative Hub, Microsoft buys LinkedIn, and more

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1. Line messaging app files to go public with $5.5 billion valuation: Line Corporation, maker of the popular Japanese messaging app Line, has filed to go public in what could turn out to be the biggest market debut of a tech company this year.

2. Twitch’s 100 million viewers watched 800 million hours of esports in the last 10 months: Market research firm Newzoo said that people watched 803.7 million hours of esports from August to May. It also reported that competitive gaming provided 14 percent to 31 percent of what folks were watching overall on Twitch. It also found that event and league organizers got the biggest slice of this viewership, 71.3 percent.

3. The Guardian is experimenting with interactive, auto-updating push alerts to cover big stories: For such a new technology, the news notification is a format that got really safe really quickly. For most publishers, notifications are rarely more complex than a headline that, when tapped, sends readers to their site. Some publishers, like Quartz and BuzzFeed, have experimented with the language within notifications, trading the stiff formality of newspaper headlines for a more loose, conversational tone. But notifications, and their role, have remained largely unchanged.

4. Instagram Ads Now Include Mobile Banners: The Facebook-owned app is rolling out a feature that links ads to profile pages so that when someone clicks on an ad from the news feed, a banner pops up at the bottom of the screen. The banner prompts people to take an action, like to visit a website or download an app. Clicking on the banner pulls up a website within Instagram.

5. Apple News is getting a redesign: Unlike last year at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple News was a major focus, Apple vp Eddy Cue briefly mentioned the fledgling app today boasting that it now has 60 million monthly active users and 2,000 publishers using it.

6. As Snapchat’s ad biz expands, it’s pressing for shorter ads: On Monday, Snapchat announced plans to make it easier for brands to buy and produce its vertical video ads — now called Snap Ads — and to test ads inserted between stories, the collections of photos and videos that individuals post for people who follow them to see.

7. How 3 brands are using Facebook Live to connect, engage & inspire their fans: Among the top brands and video producers using the platform, Dunkin’ Donuts, The Young Turks news network and the food-focused channel, Tastemade, all report seeing substantial engagement with their Facebook Live broadcasts.

8. How Insider is selling its newfound Facebook video expertise to brands: That didn’t take long. Since Facebook in April opened up a path for publishers to post videos with brand sponsors, Business Insider spinoff Insider has posted about 25 social video ads for brands including Diet Coke and Johnston and Murphy.

9. Twitter has invested in music streaming service SoundCloud: Two years ago Twitter thought about buying SoundCloud, but ended up walking away from the music service. Now Twitter has bought a piece of SoundCloud instead.

10. Facebook Videos Are Creating 13 Times More Chatter Than They Were Last Year: Facebook videos are creating 13.2 times the amount of chatter on the social network year-over-year, while users are sharing and creating three times the number of videos this year compared to 2015. There are 100 million hours of Facebook video viewed daily, the company told Adweek.

11. Pinterest Takes a Page From Facebook’s Playbook and Steps Up Its Ad-Targeting Game: Pinterest is launching three new types of targeting aimed at helping brands fine-tune their Promoted Pins, the site’s two-year-old ad product. Up until now, brands have primarily used Pinterest’s own data to target ads based on someone’s interests, location or type of device. Now, Pinterest is letting marketers plug in their own data to create more sophisticated campaigns.

12. Facebook is putting maps in ads and will measure store visits: Facebook is adding maps to its location-based local awareness ads to give brands a better chance you’ll visit their locations. And if you do, Facebook will now start telling brands how many people it thinks actually visited their locations based on these ads.

13. YouTube Director lets SMBs film professional video ads from their phone: YouTube just launched a new tool called “YouTube Director” — a video ad-creation tool aimed at SMBs that allows them to film professional video ads from their phone. According to the announcement, YouTube Director includes a suite of products “… that make video ads more accessible to businesses.”

14. Taboola teams with AppNexus to sell native placements programmatically: Content discovery platform Taboola has partnered with ad tech firm AppNexus to scale access to Taboola’s native ad inventory. AppNexus advertising partners will be able to buy placements in Taboola’s content recommendation widget programmatically. Eighty-five advertisers have already run native ad campaigns on Taboola through AppNexus, the companies said.

15. Twitter Now Lets Advertisers Target Users Who Tweet Emojis: Just in time for next month’s “World Emoji Day” (which is apparently a thing on July 17), Twitter is launching a new way for advertisers to target users that have tweeted with a certain emoji or engaged with tweets with a certain emoji.

16. Facebook: 1.15 billion people log in using at least two devices or browsers every 3 months: Facebook has found that 1.15 billion people around the world have logged in to Facebook using at least two different devices or browsers over a 90-day period.

17. Twitter adds live video button for iOS & Android & says Periscope embeds are on the way: Twitter is pushing its live video this week, rolling out a new live video button on iOS and Android phones, in addition to confirming that a Periscope embed feature will be available in the coming weeks.

18. Facebook Launches Online Creative Hub in Bid to Simplify Creation of Ads: To help marketers keep ads coming, not to mention make the shift to mobile advertising, the company is now introducing Creative Hub, an online platform for agencies, brands and anyone involved in the creation of ads on Facebook, really, to share, review, test and create ads on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. Facebook is billing it as an online space meant to foster collaboration.

19. Snapchat’s API Makes It Easier For Advertisers To Test, And Now They Need To See Results: Agency buyers believe Snapchat’s partner program, which allows third parties to buy inventory, will help the messaging service migrate from a bespoke buy to a more central part of a media plan.

20. Intel becomes the first brand to publish on Facebook’s Instant Articles: The distinction between marketers and publishers is getting increasingly blurred. Facebook, which created Instant Articles a year ago to make publishers’ articles load faster, is now giving that tool to brands. Intel is the first to take advantage, posting content from its digital tech-focused publication, iQ, as Instant Articles starting last week.

21. Snapchat is starting Real Life, an online magazine about technology: In a blog post describing the new initiative today, Snapchat employee and social media critic Nathan Jurgenson writes that “Snapchat is now funding Real Life.” In an email to VentureBeat he declined to elaborate on the nature of the funding but he did confirm that Real Life is “owned” by Snapchat.

23. Salesforce also made a bid for LinkedIn, CEO Benioff confirms: Salesforce was also a serious bidder for LinkedIn, the business networking site that sold to Microsoft for $26 billion this week, said CEO Marc Benioff.