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Welcome back to Spark Social Report by Spark Growth, where we provide biweekly updates on social media app updates and marketing trends! In recent news, Instagram users are now able to save their Stories as drafts, and TikTok launched multiple initiatives to support businesses on the platform. Scroll to read more!


Digital Marketing Trends

According to Social Media Today, here are some formats marketers can use to help generate leads and inquiries online. First are landing pages, which should include headlines, compelling copy, calls-to-action, contact forms, buttons, visually appealing designs, and hyperlinks.

The second is hosting a purchase-driven webinar, which should be aimed at educating and providing value to audiences while also promoting the products or services. Third are explainer videos, which should be kept short and should include a clear call-to-action. Fourth are how-to guides, which marketers must ensure are easy to understand and download, and should include eye-catching visuals.


Social Media App Updates



Instagram users now have the option to save their Stories as drafts. When choosing to save a Story as a draft, a new alert will notify users that drafts will be saved for one week, after which they will be automatically deleted. This feature—which is already applicable for in-feed Instagram posts—will be useful for those who want to exit out of the Story creator window and go back to edit their Story at a later time.

The platform is also rolling out a new “Security Checkup” alert, which will prompt users to update their profile info and settings. The aim is to guide users whose accounts may have been hacked and to help them keep their Instagram accounts more secure. Security Checkup encourages users to check their login activity, review profile information, confirm the accounts that share login information, and update their account recovery contact information.

Instagram announced that its data tracking period within Instagram Insights is now expanding from the past 30 days to the past 60 days. And as you can see in the tweet below by Instagram’s VP of Product, Vishal Shah, this number will be increasing to 90 days sometime in the late summer. The platform has also added a new calendar tool within Insights, which users will be able to access when they tap into the date range tools. These new features offer a more comprehensive view of past data, which will be helpful for brands and marketers. The update is currently rolling out to users.



And lastly, Instagram has added a new way to help users manage their platform experience with a “Sensitive Content” control. This control provides three options for restricting content that is shown on a user’s Explore page, including Allow, where users may see more photos or videos that could be upsetting or offensive; Limit (Default), where users may see some photos or videos that could be upsetting or offensive; and Limit Even More, where users may see fewer photos or videos that could be upsetting or offensive. Instagram notes that the “Allow” option will not be available for users under 18 years old.


Screenshot of new sensitive content options on Instagram app




The platform is also looking to support SMBs in the U.S. by running a virtual event called “Small Biz Block Party.” The nationwide event will feature multiple free interactive workshops and will bring business owners and TikTok experts together to share knowledge, tips, and insights on how to achieve growth on the platform. TikTok has scheduled 20 events for the Small Biz Block Party and will run from August 5th to November 18th. Each event will run for an hour, and all small business owners and their teams are invited to attend. Users can RSVP through the Small Biz Block Party webpage.

TikTok also announced a new automated detection process for policy violations. Over the next few weeks, certain content that is detected as violating TikTok’s policies will be automatically removed. Here’s what the platform stated about this update: “Automation will be reserved for content categories where our technology has the highest degree of accuracy, starting with violations of our policies on minor safety, adult nudity and sexual activities, violent and graphic content, and illegal activities and regulated goods.” TikTok creators can appeal their video’s removal directly in the app.

The platform has also launched “TikTok Unplugged,” which will offer a number of free business info sessions. TikTok Unplugged will collaborate with various creators who will share the creative processes that led to their successes. From tips on how to grow a brand with TikTok marketing and more, these weekly virtual events may be a valuable resource for businesses and marketers on the platform.

TikTok has also added new features to its live streaming options. First is scheduled events, where users can create an event card for an upcoming stream, and followers can register for a reminder when the stream goes live. Second, the ability to add a guest to a livestream is now available to all TikTok users. This was previously only available to users with over 5,000 followers. Last is live Q&A, an overlay that allows live streamers to showcase user questions from the comments. These updates may better allow TikTok creators to boost follower engagement and interactivity through live streams.

Lastly, TikTok has introduced “Spark Ads,” a new advertising option that allows marketers to sponsor already existing trending organic content which aligns with their brand. This can include the brand’s own organic content, posts by other creators which showcase the brand’s products or services (where the brand will have to reach out to the creator and ask to repurpose their clips for paid campaigns), or other relevant content. Spark Ads provides marketers with a relatively low-effort way to advertise on the platform.



In celebration of World Emoji Day, Messenger announced the launch of “Soundmojis.” Soundmojis are emojis that, when tapped by the user, play a short associated audio clip. With sounds ranging from crickets, drumrolls, evil laughter, and music clips from popular artists, Soundmojis offer another way for users to express themselves and interact with each other on Messenger. The Soundmoji library will be regularly updated with new sound effects and sound bites.


screenshot of emojis on facebook messenger


Facebook is also planning to invest over $1 billion in programs for creators over the next 18 months. The primary focus will be on providing more monetization options for creators and the content they share on Facebook and Instagram. One of the programs is “Bonuses,” which will be available for both Facebook and Instagram. This will reward creators for reaching certain milestones and engagement levels with their content and presence. Bonus programs will be seasonal and will continue to expand over time. Some bonuses that are currently available include an earnings bonus to select video creators using in-stream ads over the next four months, and an expansion to the Stars Challenges program, which will now include select gaming creators who will receive a monthly bonus for hitting specific Stars milestones over the next three months.

Starting in August, businesses in the U.S. who use eligible participating service providers will have the ability to enable Facebook Pay as a payment option directly on their websites. This will offer a more streamlined e-commerce option for businesses, as customers will be able to have a speedy checkout without having to re-enter their payment information. Facebook is starting the rollout with Shopify merchants and will expand availability with more platforms and payment service providers over time.

Facebook has also announced some new additions to Groups. First, admins can now recognize knowledgeable experts within the Group by awarding them with a “Group Expert” badge. If the user accepts this role, they can display the badge next to their name in the Group. This addition may make it easier for members to recognize information and posts from a reliable source. The second update is automatic invites, an engagement tool that will allow Group Experts to invite their recently engaged Page followers to join groups they have created. And lastly on the list of Facebook updates, the platform has introduced a “Creative Guidance Navigator,” a mini-site that includes advertising tips to help marketers improve their ad creation strategy. Users can filter the navigator’s display by platform, format, business size, region, and more. This will allow brands to gain more specific and relevant insights. Access the Creative Guidance Navigator here.



Less than a year since its introduction on the platform, Twitter announced that it is retiring its story option called “Fleets.” Twitter stated that this move was done because the platform didn’t see enough of an increase in Fleets usage as it had aimed for. Instead, Twitter noted it will be focusing on creating other ways to incorporate the media that Fleets did, such as images, video, stickers, and more. Additionally, the top of the timeline space will continue to be used to prompt in-progress audio Spaces. Users will still be able to access Fleets until August 3, 2021.


Twitter added a new update to its reply control options, a feature that first rolled out last August allowing users to choose who could reply to their posts. The update now allows users to retroactively change their control options after a tweet goes out, which means they can restrict or update who can reply to their tweets at any time.



To all Snapchat users who love their Bitmoji, here’s some exciting news: the platform has launched 3D Bitmoji avatars! This advancement adds another layer to the already popular customizable avatars, and these new Bitmoji iterations will include over 1,200 different combinations of facial expressions, poses, backgrounds, and gestures.




Last week, YouTube announced a slew of features and app updates. First, automatic video chapters are now available for uploaded clips. This means that instead of a creator having to go in and manually create timestamps, YouTube’s machine learning will do this automatically. Creators can also choose to opt out of this setting. The automatic chapters feature will start rolling out to newly uploaded videos and will begin rolling out to older uploads at a later time. Next, the platform has launched a new dark mode for YouTube Studio on desktop, which is being rolled out to all users. Creators will be able to switch to dark mode via “Appearance” settings. Lastly, YouTube is making its Stories Insights overview available for all users, which can be accessed through YouTube analytics on desktop.

YouTube is also rolling out a feature called “New to You,” created to help users discover content that aligns with their interests based on past viewing behavior from channels that they have not previously seen. The aim of this option is to help creators reach wider audiences and maximize viewer engagement.

The platform is also looking to incentivize and reward creators for reaching channel milestones with new Achievement Cards. These will be displayed on the YouTube Studio dashboard, where creators can see when they are passing certain milestones such as subscriber count, views, or watch time hours.

In its latest effort to provide users with reputable health-related information and reduce the spread of misinformation, YouTube has added a new “health content shelf” at the top of the results page, which will link to content from recognized sources. Though the platform is not limiting the search results to videos from these providers, it is giving them priority in these searches.



Pinterest is now available in Arabic on all platforms! This addition now makes the platform fully accessible in 37 languages. Pinterest’s expanding language options may allow brands to reach more diverse audiences globally.



Clubhouse has added a new direct messaging feature called “Backchannel,” which allows user conversations to extend beyond its live Rooms. Backchannel, which has a 1:1 and group chat option, as well as an optional second inbox for message requests, provides another avenue for Clubhouse members to continue their discussions in new ways.


That’s all for this week’s updates! Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more digital marketing news.


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