Social Media Innovations: March 2019

By Alex Jeater

A round-up of this month’s key platform updates

Facebook drops key targeting options 

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We start with news that Facebook is dropping some key advertising targeting options on its platform. In what is a pretty significant shake up in the industry, housing, job, or credit advertisers will no longer be able to target Facebook & Instagram users by age, gender, or postal code. The move is in response to various legal challenges in the US. It’s not clear whether the rule changes will be implemented immediately in the UK, but history suggests that changes made to the platform across the Atlantic inevitably find their way into EU markets, so watch this space. 

Instagram introduces product checkout 

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Last month, Instagram launched a checkout feature which allows users to purchase products seen on posts without leaving the App. Currently in its beta stage, the Facebook-owned photography platform is testing the process in the US with 20 brands, including Nike, Burberry and Prada. Once users opt to purchase, they can enter their name, delivery address and payment details, which will be stored for future use. Instagram is also charging businesses a fee for each transaction. Expect to see a wider roll out, and even a standalone shopping App, in 2019. 

Snapchat rumoured to be launching a new gaming platform 

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Finally, it’s rumoured that Snapchat is to launch a dedicated gaming platform which “would let outside developers create games to be played through the Snapchat app". In recent months, Snapchat’s user growth has slowed, so any opportunity to help increase the App’s user base, differentiate it from Instagram, and increase the amount of time existing users spend on the App gaming, will help the platform become more appealing to advertisers.