September in digital: shopping, ads and regulation

As the summer season came to an end, it was back to business for much of the digital world. Naturally, this meant lots of new and exciting developments in the ever-changing landscape of social media.

Instagram continues to make shopping ubiquitous

September was a big news month for Instagram. It saw the departure of its co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who announced their resignation in order to explore their “curiosity and creativity again”. Alongside personnel changes, there were plenty of app developments too.

The app launched its dedicated Shopping channel in the Explore tab, serving up personalised goods to users. And details were shared to The Verge on a potential new dedicated shopping app in the works, called IG Shopping.

UK media giants call for oversight of social networks

The UK’s largest broadcasters and ISPs, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, BT and TalkTalk, called for social media companies to be regulated by an independent body. In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, they argued they “do not think it is realistic or appropriate to expect internet and social media companies to make all the judgment calls about what content is and is not acceptable, without any independent oversight”.

The group stressed this wasn’t about censoring the internet, but about ensuring there was accountability and transparency over the decisions these private companies were taking.

Facebook Stories debuts ads

After an initial test with select advertisers in the US, Mexico and Brazil, this month saw Facebook roll out ads within its Stories service to all advertisers worldwide. Stories ads feature the same targeting, measurement and optimisation capabilities as other ad services on Facebook. They also have the same performance metrics as Instagram Stories: reach, brand awareness, video views, app installs, conversion, traffic and lead generation.

An Ipsos survey commissioned by Facebook found that 62% of respondents said they were more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a Story, and more than half say they make more online purchases as a result of Stories.

TripAdvisor announces social plans

TripAdvisor wants to become the Facebook and Pinterest of travel. The online review platform recently unveiled its plans to launch a new redesigned website and mobile app based around travellers and their destinations. The new website, to be launched later this year, will feature a ‘travel feed’ where users see content from people and brands they follow. The idea is that users create profiles and share trip updates, photos, videos, tips and recommendations to others.

CEO and co-founder Stephen Kaufer said he hopes TripAdvisor goes “from the world’s largest travel site to the most personalised and connected travel community ever”.

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