Practical Ecommerce

16 New Social Media Tools for Merchants

Take advantage of new and updated social media tools to enhance your ecommerce business.

Here is a list of recent updates from social media platforms. There are tools for content monetization, messaging, podcasting, tagging, analytics, customer interaction, and more.

Facebook

Facebook is testing new tools and experiences for creators. Facebook is exploring two new monetization features for creators: a tool that helps advertisers and creators easily connect for branded content opportunities, and an option to support a creator with a monthly payment. Facebook is also piloting a product-testing program and a content-rights-management tool for creators.

Facebook launches augmented reality effects tied to real-world tracking markers. Facebook is using location markers in the real world to trigger experiences from its augmented reality camera. It’s testing the feature with promotions for Ready Player One and Wrinkle In Time films. In April, it plans to add tracker-based augmented reality to its AR Studio tool, which is open to all developers.

 

Facebook is testing Messenger Broadcast Composer. Facebook is testing a self-serve sponsored messaging tool for small businesses that aren’t sophisticated enough to build bots. Facebook Messenger Broadcast tool will let companies blast a message to anyone who has started a conversation. Facebook is testing the tool externally, beginning with a small percentage of pages in the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand. Currently, the tool is free but will likely become a paid.

Instant Games platform now open to all developers. Facebook’s Instant Games platform is now available for all developers to build HTML5 cross-platform gaming experiences. New developers can learn more by visiting the Instant Games developer documentation page or start building and submitting games right away on the app page. Since Facebook launched its Instant Games platform in closed beta, nearly 200 games have been built.

Facebook launches Express Wi-Fi app for local hotspots. Facebook has launched an Express Wi-Fi Android app in the Google Play store that lets users buy data packs and find nearby hotspots as part of Facebook’s distributed Wi-Fi network. The company’s Express Wi-Fi program is live in five developing countries for local business owners operating Wi-Fi hotspots, where people can pay to access higher-speed bandwidth via local telecoms instead of paying steep prices for slow cellular data connections.

Express Wi-Fi by Facebook

Express Wi-Fi by Facebook

Google

Google launches Shoppable Actions. Google has launched a “Shoppable Actions” program, giving consumers an easy way to shop for products on Google Assistant and Search with a universal cart. This can help consumers shop effortlessly with your company and across Google with a shareable list, universal shopping cart, instant checkout, personalized recommendations, and more. Shopping Actions use a pay-per-sale model, meaning you only pay when a sale takes place. Shopping Actions appear within the sponsored Shopping Unit on the Google Search page, and on Google.com/shopping. Organic rankings are not impacted or changed.

Google unites payment tools under Google Pay. Google has launched Google Pay app for Android, to replace Android Pay and Google Wallet. With Google Pay, shoppers can check out without having to enter their payment information. Shoppers also receive exclusive offers and reminders to use a loyalty card when entering a store. Google Pay doesn’t share card numbers, so user information stays secure.

Introducing Google AMP Stories. Google has launched a Stories format for the open-source infrastructure of Accelerated Mobile Pages, for “visually rich, tap-through stories” such as Snapchat Discover and Instagram Stories. A publisher hosts an AMP story HTML page on its site and can link to it from other pages. And, as with all content in the AMP ecosystem, discovery platforms can employ techniques such as renderable pages, optimized video loading, and caching to optimize delivery to the end user. The format comes with preset but flexible layout templates, standardized user interface controls, and components for sharing and adding follow-on content.

 

Google Lens apps arrive. Google has launched Google Lens apps for Android and iOS. The feature can identify objects, buildings, and landmarks, and tell you more information about them, including relevant phone numbers, addresses, and hours of operation. It can also identify books, paintings in museums, plants, and animals. For some objects, it can also take actions.

Snapchat

Snapchat gives creators analyticsSnapchat creators who make official Stories or have large followings will start seeing view count and demographic analytics on their Snapchat profile. Stats include total story views, time spent viewing, daily unique story viewers, audience demographics, and audience interests such as film and television, food, and fashion. The new analytics could help creators show their total reach, refine their posts to match their audience, and compare their following to other platforms.

Snapchat adds @ mention tagging. Snapchat now lets users to @-tag someone in a Story, to call each other or promote their favorite influencers. After shooting a photo or video with the Snapchat camera, users can add text to it. While there’s no type-ahead drop-down menu like on some social networks, you can “@[someone’s username]” to mention them and even select the Add button through the “More” option.

Additional Tools

Twilio Flex. Twilio has launched Twilio Flex, a contact-center application platform built for two-way integration. Send and receive data from other tools — whether they’re homegrown or from Twilio’s marketplace of third-party custom integrations — to manage any customer interaction using a single interface. Flex is instantly deployable with a suite of channels baked into the user interface that you can choose to add with a few clicks in the provisioning wizard.

Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex

Pinterest Shopping Ads now available to advertisers. Launched last year, Pinterest’s Shopping Ads are now out of testing and are available to hundreds of advertisers. Shopping Ads allow advertisers to create ads automatically on the platform by pulling images from their product feeds. Pinterest is testing new ad designs aimed at prompting “more visual shopping cues” and expanding its Shop the Look program (an ad product that allows users to shop directly from a Pin) to France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.

WhatsApp Business app. WhatsApp has launched WhatsApp Business, a free-to-download Android app for small businesses. The new app makes it easier for companies to connect with consumers. It’s also more convenient for WhatsApp’s 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses. Business profiles help consumers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website URL. Smart messaging tools facilitate quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions. Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what’s working.

Expanded to over 130 countries, YouTube Go now supports higher quality videos. YouTube Go, the mobile version of YouTube built for emerging markets with features like offline viewing and nearby sharing, is expanding to over 130 countries. This wider rollout makes YouTube videos available to more people, even if they don’t have a good connection, or if they are offline. YouTube Go includes a suite of features that take into consideration the high costs of data, poor signal strength, and the prevalent use of SD memory cards on Android devices.

Anchor 3.0 offers enhanced podcast tools. With the relaunched broadcasting app Anchor, users can record a high-quality podcast, host unlimited episodes, and distribute with one click. The new app will now drop users directly into a podcast creation screen, with color-coded buttons for using Anchor’s various features in addition to the red “Record” button. There are buttons for recording with friends, for call-ins (now called voice messages, for direct, private conversations), for adding music from Apple or Spotify, and for adding transitions from Anchor’s built-in library of sounds.

Anchor

Anchor

Sig Ueland

Sig Ueland

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  1. Corey Zieman March 28, 2018 Reply

    Pinterest waited far too long to give us these beautifully working ads to target our clothing and other fashion/ household consumer goods with.

    I can’t wait to see how this continues to develop.

    Corey Z.
    Guaranteed PPC

  2. Carlos Rivera March 29, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for bringing the tech news to us, Sig!

    • Sig Ueland March 30, 2018 Reply

      My pleasure, thanks Carlos!