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Social Media News Roundup February 2024

May 2024 Social News Round Up

While the sun may not have had his hat on in May, it appears social media platform teams have had their thinking hats on this month. We’re back to dive into the latest and hottest social media news updates in the industry. So, grab yourself a drink, sit back and relax while we share the lowdown of what’s been happening online this May.

Instagram’s Testing Ads to Stop Scrolling

Throughout May there were various reports of Instagram testing out a new video ad format that stops users scrolling in their tracks until they view a video ad. From what we’ve seen the new in-feed ad unit appears with a timer at the bottom, and won’t allow you to scroll any further until the ad timer runs down. So essentially Instagram has added unskippable ads to your feed, which as you can imagine isn’t going down well with their user base.

Previously when YouTube introduced unskippable video ads, it led to a large number of users downloading ad blockers. After all, there’s nothing more annoying on the internet than being forced to view disruptive, and annoying promotions for things that, let’s be honest you’re not interested in. Sure, for brands it offers an opportunity for prolonged exposure and increased placement…but for users? There’s nothing other than having ads thrown in your face…it’s giving us Black Mirror vibes for sure.

Do you think unskippable ads are the future? Or are they going to be a passing trend we’re all going to cringe at in 5 years?

YouTube has launched in-app games!

That’s right, in our April 2024 social news round-up we mentioned that LinkedIn had launched their own in-platform games and now YouTube has joined them! Having spent the past 8 months testing the new feature with a selection of users, YouTube has officially launched “Playables.” Offering over 75 basic mobile games to more users in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Australia. This move comes as a hope that it drives longer engagement time on the platform.

Now unlike LinkedIn, many popular creators on YouTube are linked to the gaming community, with gaming content generating over 4 billion hours of watch time in the app during 2022. Therefore, YouTube already know its audience is actively interested in gaming and in-platform games could hold a strong appeal.

But, how easy will it be for users to break the habit of heading to the app to watch video content? When Netflix added mobile games to its app, only 1% of the app’s users had actually engaged with the game offerings. We can only assume that YouTube’s larger rollout to users indicated positive results from the initial testing.

Could you see yourself using YouTube to play games?

TikTok are testing DM streaks

If you were a teen in the mid-2010’s then you probably remember Snapchat and having message streaks with your friends. Well, some Snapchat users have maintained 6-year (and counting) long streaks, with a compulsion to come back to the app every day. It seems as though TikTok is now trying to build even more compulsion by taking a leaf out of Snapchat’s book.

Some TikTok users have begun to receive alerts that they’ve activated a DM streak in the app, with the idea being that users need to continue to message each other daily otherwise risk losing the streak. Realistically though, how many of us need extra encouragement to spend hours scrolling TikTok? This move feels a little hollow from the brand, but when you consider that TikTok’s users are demographically very similar to Snapchat, the return of engagement through this mild gamification will keep TikTok users more active in their DMs.

Image shared by app researcher Radu Oncescu

That wraps up our social news for May. What update do you think will affect your brand the most? And which update are you most excited about? Check back next month for more insights to help you dominate your strategy and social media presence. In the meantime, why not brush up on your skills with our expert insights.