Social media is forever changing which makes it easy to miss an update from time to time. Once a month, we look into three of the latest key updates from the past few weeks from the various social media giants.

Instagram Adds New Creative Tools in Reels and Stories

Instagram has added some new additions to the creative options in both Reels and Stories, while also tweaking a few existing functions and expanding the roll out of its Branded Content tags.

First off, on Reels – as shared by social media expert Matt Navarra, Instagram’s adding new ‘Audio Mix’ and Voice-over’ options into your Reels composition tools.

The options enable users to add additional audio tracks – either via voice or music clip – to their Reels clip, while it also provides audio level controls to further edit your presentation. TikTok has the same functionality, so it’s not surprising to see it also appear in Reels – which is, of course, a copy of TikTok.

You can access the new ‘Mix audio’ and Voice-over’ options by tapping the microphone at the top of the Reels composer screen.

Navarra also notes that Instagram is now adding a ‘Reels’ watermark to the top left of your clips, which will ensure branding when Reels clips are re-shared.

You know which app also brands its clips in this way? Take a guess… 🤔

Instagram reels update 2

 

Over on Instagram Stories, user Amrit Kumar has shared a screenshot of a new ‘Camera Booth’ mode, which takes several shots in sequence.

Some users are also seeing a new ‘Multi-capture’ mode, which appears to facilitate the same functionality, taking several photos at once, without you having to press the button repeatedly.

All of these are relatively minor additions, but they do add to your creative options, and could provide new ways to maximise your Stories and Reels content.

Instagram reels update

Instagram Tests New Stories Layout on Desktop

More updates from Instagram here, as they are currently testing out a new format for the display of Stories on the desktop version of the platform, designed to make it easier to scroll through the various Stories from the profiles you follow on the bigger screen.

As you can see in the screenshot below, posted by Engadget, the new format presents Stories in a carousel, as opposed to a single Story frame taking up the screen. That makes it easier to flip through your Stories stream in a more dedicated, Stories-focused way.

Instagram desktop screenshot

 

Which is likely in-line with usage trends. Over time, Stories have become increasingly popular, even superseding the regular news feed in terms of engagement. As such, it seems likely that, at some stage, Instagram will put more focus on Stories over the main feed, at least as an option, which could eventually see the app open to Stories, like TikTok does with its full-screen feed of video clips, making it the key function of the app.

There is no information from Instagram at this stage which suggests that this is in the works, but this new desktop layout seems to align more with that approach, enabling users to focus entirely on Stories, separate from the main news feed.

Twitter Acquires Podcast Listening App Breaker to Expand its Audio Focus

Will audio-based social become a bigger element of digital engagement in 2021?

Twitter’s certainly putting its faith into audio connection. After launching the first wave of testing for its new, Clubhouse-style audio ‘Spaces’ feature last month, the company has today announced that it’s acquired podcast listening app Breaker, which it will use to build out Spaces and enhance the experience.

Twitter/Breaker

 

Breaker announced the acquisition on its company blog, explaining why it believes its team will be a good fit at Twitter.

“Here at Breaker, we’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” wrote Breaker CEO Erik Berlin. “We’re impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit at Twitter and enthusiastic about the new experiences that the team is creating.”

It seems like a good fit. Whether or not you believe that audio rooms are going to become a key trend is another question, but if Twitter can make Spaces work and facilitate the growth of great podcasting and audio talent, it could become an important growth and engagement opportunity within the main app.

More updates next month!

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