Welcome to our Platform Update blog series, keeping you in the loop with industry news and platform changes. Read on to see what's been making the rounds in the last few weeks; from COVID health resources on Instagram to Humanisation Prompts on Twitter. Let's go!



Instagram have officially launched Shopping in Reels, allowing both businesses and creators to tag products when they create content within the app. This decision feels like an obvious one; Reels content consists of the latest fashion looks, makeup, skincare and other product ‘how-tos’, making it the perfect place for users to shop.


How will it work? When users view an Instagram Reel, they’ll be able to tap a “View Products” button to either buy, save or learn more about the featured products. Additionally, creators can add a “Branded Content” tag to their Reels so they can showcase complete transparency when they’re working with a brand to promote their products.


The feature has been rolled out globally, having started the process last December. Happy shopping! 


Instagram Reels



Plenty of social platforms have been introducing new features in the plight to prevent the distribution of fake information surrounding COVID and vaccinations. Instagram specifically has rolled out two new updates, the first one has been implemented to assist areas with surging cases; users will see a link to their local health authority at the top of their feed to find the correct information and advice for their specific location. Secondly, anyone searching for vaccine information will be directed to credible health sources. Alongside this, they’ve also vowed to block hashtags that may contain COVID and vaccine misinformation. Nice!



COVID Vaccine Information on Instagram





Reddit is another platform that’s thrived in 2020. Their global daily usage grew by 44% (52 million daily users) year-on-year. And yes, whilst that number is small in comparison to other social platforms (Twitter has 187 million daily users and FB has 1.82bn…) none of those services are seeing the same amount of growth as Reddit, with Twitter reporting a 29% year-on-year growth and Snapchat reporting only 18% year-on-year growth.


The graph below shows the age demographics of their current UK users, 50% of them being under 35. Key take-away here; Reddit is definitely a platform to keep in mind if you’re a brand looking to target a younger demographic. 


Reddit Users in 2020





The app is reportedly exploring the option of allowing creators to extend the length of their TikTok videos, from one minute to three minutes. The news doesn’t come as a surprise; we’ve been seeing an increase in long-form content on Douyin, the TikTok equivalent in China, for a while now. We even predicted the move in our Approaching TikTok event last year.


Whilst it’s only in the testing phase, some users have criticised the decision. Many argue that TikTok’s appeal comes from the short-form, bite-sized chunks of content you can scroll through for hours. Others say it’ll become a replica of YouTube. Watch this space!


TikTok Video Length Increased





According to Pinterest there’s been a 35% increase in the number of monthly boards created during the last six months, and a 30% increase in the number of collaborative boards. Taking this into account, they’ve implemented some new features aimed at making the creation and navigation of the boards feature easier. You can now favourite a pin within a board or leave a note to yourself about a specific item.


Pinterest says the features were built with user feedback in mind and none of the new additions will be used for ad targeting. 


Pinterest Boards





Twitter has started testing “Humanisation Prompts”, a feature whereby users will be presented with the shared interests and mutual followers of the accounts they're replying to. This aims to point out what you might have in common with another user, to reduce the number of negative replies.


Twitter said "In the heat of the moment, people can forget there's another human behind a Twitter account. By showing what we have in common, we hope to remind people of what connects us as a starting point." How lovely.


Humanisation Prompts on Twitter




That’s all folks! See you in February for more platform updates.