Facebook’s data management issues remained the lead social media news story throughout 2018, after suspending Cambridge Analytica from it’s platform in March.
The company’s continuous stream of user privacy challenges left little space for other social platforms to make waves. Twitter put it’s focus on election integrity and performed a massive purge of bad user accounts. However, Facebook and Twitter focused on cleaning up timelines, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn continued to build out their ad offerings.
Almost all the platforms released new political advertising policies, and you couldn’t open an app without bumping into a Story. Facebook did it’s best to recruit more video creators, YouTube gave its creator base more monetization opportunities. While Instagram launched a video platform. Reddit wrapped up it’s first major redesign in over a decade.
User Data Handling Backlash
Last year was not the first year Facebook was scrutinized for it’s mishandling of user data. Rather, it was the first time the company was forced to take serious action against the companies that had been given entry into it’s systems.
Facebook has taken the brunt of hits for failing to safeguard its users. Twitter had work to do as well. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took part in about 45-minute live stream in March, answering questions about the spread of misinformation and abuse on the platform.
Facebook suspended apps, limiting API access to user information and eliminating third-party data brokers. Twitter purged thousands of accounts and changed the way conversations happen on the platform. It also restricted access to it’s API.
Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn increasingly Built out AD Features
They focused on building out their ad business. Snapchat’s user numbers dropped. But, it’s advertising revenue grew. By Q3, Snapchat accomplished record revenue growth after multiple new ad product launches, including an ad marketplace for Discover partners, e-commerce ad options etc.
Pinterest launched a number of new ad offerings right from Promoted carousel ads and an updated ads manager to wide format video ads. It also grew it’s audience to more than 200 million active monthly users.
LinkedIn totally changed it’s Campaign Manager, rebuilding it to better serve advertisers managing high-volume accounts. It also added Dynamic Ads to it’s Campaign Manager ad offerings.
In June, Instagram reported about 400 million people using Stories on it’s platform daily. Facebook, which launched Stories on it’s platform in 2017, saw an uptick in utility as well. In May, Facebook started testing ads in Stories and made the ad product available to all advertisers in September. YouTube launched it’s own version of Stories in November. Thus, giving the feature to channels with 10,000 or more subscribers.
Reddit got a Redesign
For the first time since its launch in 2005, Reddit began a major overhaul to it’s website and the network redesigned it’s platform. Advertisers are gradual to open their advertising budgets to Reddit. But, this could change as more brands realize the traffic Reddit is attracting.
2018 was a year of many changes and upheaval, and nowhere was this better reflected than on the social platforms.