The social media space is changing fast, providing businesses with new tools and opportunities to communicate with their audience. HypeAuditor always stays ahead of the curve and keeps up with everything that happens in the industry.
To help you stay up-to-date with changes in social media, we’ve collected important social media news and updates on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok throughout 2021. We hope this list will help you better understand how to embrace the new opportunities and adjust your business and social media strategy.
We provide a short comment about what particular functionality means in influencer marketing and how it benefits brands and content creators. Also, you can see what happens in social media today in our released State of Influencer Marketing Report.
Instagram Updates 2021
Everyone knows that Instagram releases so many new features and updates that it may be challenging to keep track of all the news. We grouped them by months when a particular feature was added. First, we’ll show you the latest Instagram updates followed by other additions implemented on the platform up to the begging of 2021.
Instagram Live Badges
One of its latest features is Instagram Live Badges, designed to help content creators make money on Instagram. When an influencer goes Live with badges, which are monetary tips, viewers can buy them to support their favorite creators. So far, Instagram has rolled out Badges for Live to all eligible creators in the U.S.
Opportunities and benefits. Badges are a new monetary concept on Instagram. Content creators can get extra recognition and earn money for their content.
Experiments with Favorites and chronological order in feed
Instagram head Adam Mosseri has shed some light on the company’s plans to bring back the chronological order in feed. The platform is now experimenting with two versions of the feature. As planned, a new way will let people manage whose Instagram posts they want to see first. Additionally, there might be an option to see content in chronological order.
Opportunities and benefits. This is a big change to Instagram’s algorithm that will provide users with more options to control their feed and view content in the order they prefer.
The Add Yours Sticker
The new feature allows creators to post a story and add the Add Yours Sticker inviting other friends to post on their story. In fact, this sticker makes it possible to create a public thread in Instagram stories. Creators will be able to give their followers the ability to post photos right inside their stories.
Opportunities and benefits. It’s a new way for creators to engage their followers and build a sense of a close-knit community on Instagram.
Instagram Stories Link Sticker
The longed-for feature has finally arrived. In October, Instagram announced that they were giving the ability to add direct links in stories to everyone. Previously, the platform allowed only accounts with 10,000+ followers to use the Link Sticker in their Instagram stories. However, now the ability is expanded to all users.
Opportunities and benefits. Creators of any size, for example, nano-influencers, now gained the ability to benefit from link sharing and potentially partner with more brands.
The newest “Collab” option
The “Collab” option allows users to collaborate on content in a new and easy way. Influencers can invite other Instagram users to create feed posts and reels mutually. As Instagram explained, content creators and business owners can now co-author feed posts and reels. These posts will appear in both of the creators’ Instagram greeds. Also, you’ll be sharing likes, comments, and views.
Opportunities and benefits. The “Colab” feature provides content creators and business owners with a new way to collaborate with fellow creators. It gives them more discoverability than the standard tagging feature for posts and stories. In turn, brands will partner with influencers in a new way and reach wider audiences of engaged users.
New Partnerships features
Instagram experiments with new partnership features to give influencers and brands more opportunities to connect on the social media network effectively. First of all, they’re rolling out a specific folder within direct messages that’s designed exclusively for partnerships messages. It’s easy to miss out on a potential opportunity to partner with a perfect match, so this feature aims to help solve the problem.
Next, a new branded content partnership feature is also being tested right now. The feature is designed to help influencers get discovered by businesses more efficiently. Creators can add brands they’d like to work with to their preferred “brands list,” which will give influencers priority when companies are looking for new partners.
Opportunities and benefits. Instagram is working hard to make it easier for content creators and brands to work together. The platform tests new features to make potential partnerships more effective and fruitful.
In September, Instagram has launched a live test of a new ‘Map Search’ feature, which was only available for Australia’s and New Zealand’s users. The new feature allows them to find businesses and locations on the in-app map. Users can search for restaurants, cafes, stores, entertainment venues, and other places of interest.
Opportunities and benefits. The good thing about this new option is that it can help businesses boost their visibility, making it easier for people to find places directly from Instagram. Map Search also encourages visitors to create more generated content from a particular location.
RIP swipe-up link
The swipe feature allowed you to bring your audience from your Instagram profile to a website. The option is still available. However, the platform replaced swipes with stickers.
Opportunities and benefits. This change gives content creators more options to customize their message, as they can now utilize different sticker sizes and styles. Also, they can put these sticker links anywhere on their stories.
New “Limits” feature
The new “Limits” feature is aimed to protect public figures and creators from abusive messages and comments. They can now limit or hide DMs and comments from those who don’t belong to their follower list or who recently joined it. Even though the feature is designed specifically for public figures, it’s available for all Instagram users globally.
Opportunities and benefits. Instagram wants to protect its users from abuse and explains that creators and public figures often receive unwanted comments and DMs. The new “Limits” feature will protect the users from hate and bullying and give them more control over their experience on the platform.
Text translation in stories
Instagram can translate text in post captions, comments, and user bios since 2016. However, in 2021, it has added the ability to translate text in stories automatically. From now on, if you see an overlayed text in a story in a language that is not set in your app as the main language, Instagram will display a “See translation” notification.
Opportunities and benefits. The new functionality benefits especially businesses that operate in global markets. Users from around the globe can now see the translation of texts in stories posted by their favorite.
A feature for discovering black-owned businesses
In 2020, Instagram noticed an increase in the number of businesses in the U.S. that included “Black-owned” or “Black-led” to their profiles, while 1.3 million posts on the platform supported “Black-owned” or “Black-led” businesses. Instagram has added new functionality that enables users to discover black-owned companies more quickly.
Opportunities and benefits. Instagram makes changes to amplify black-owned businesses on its platform. This label is designed to signify diversity and improve opportunities for the discoverability of such businesses on Instagram.
The new affiliate program
In June 2021, Instagram announced its new affiliate marketing program. A native affiliate tool should help content creators discover new products, tell their followers about those products, and earn commissions for purchases they drive — and they can do all these directly within the app.
Opportunities and benefits. The Instagram affiliate program makes it easier for influencers to earn money for their creativity and talent from product promotions. Users can buy products while supporting influencers they like and follow.
Behind the scenes of the Instagram algorithm
Instagram sheds more light on how its algorithm works. Well, as Adam Mosseri explains, there’s actually no such thing as “The Instagram Algorithm,” and they want to dispel this myth. The thing is that Instagram works using a range of different algorithms and processes, each of them having its own purpose.
When it comes to Feed and Stories, the most critical signals across these spaces, in rough order of importance, are:
- Information about the post
- Information about the author of the post
- Your activity
- Your history of interacting with other accounts
When ranking the Explore grid, first of all, Instagram pays attention to the following elements, in rough order of importance:
- Information about the post
- Your history of interacting with the user who posted (if you have interacted with them already)
- Your activity
- Information about the author of the post
Opportunities and benefits. In fact, it’s not an update or new feature that could provide any opportunities. However, learning more about how the platform works can help users improve their experience with Instagram.
Instagram Insights update
Instagram added new tracking abilities for Reels and Lives.
- For Reels. Users can track the effectiveness of your content using Likes, Comments, Saves, Shares, Plays, and Accounts reached.
- For Lives. Users now can check Accounts Reached, Shares, Comments, and Peak Concurrent.
Opportunities and benefits. Creators will have more tools to analyze the performance of their content and create more compelling and resonating messages.
Stories Caption sticker
Instagram has added the ability to convert words into text in stories with a new Caption sticker. So far, people can use it only with English, but sooner or later will be rolled out to other languages as well. This new feature automatically transforms verbal speech into written speech, making it available to wider audiences, like deaf people and not native English speakers.
Opportunities and benefits. The platform continues enhancing the ability to optimize the content on Instagram, adding new features. More users can now engage with creators’ content thanks to the new Caption sticker.
The option to turn off audio and video on Instagram Live
Users can now mute their microphones and turn off the video during Instagram Live. Probably, the platform aims to turn the live stream into something similar to audio chat rooms, like the recently popular Clubhouse app.
Opportunities and benefits. Instagram now has its social audio tool, which can probably attract new audiences to the platform and provide creators with a new way to interact with their followers.
Digital Magazine by Instagram
As one of the discussed social media current events, Instagram releases the first edition of ‘Instagram Insider,’ a new digital magazine that contains all the latest content trends, examples with captivating images, tips, and influential creators to follow on Instagram. The magazine is available in PDF form.
Opportunities and benefits. The magazine will give even more exposure to Instagram creators and provide the audience with top accounts to inspire readers.
Instagram now allows users to go live with up to three guests, while previously, you could go live with a single person in a stream. Live Rooms encourage live communication via the platforms providing new ways to engage Instagram audiences.
Opportunities and benefits. Live Rooms gives more opportunities for creativity and collaboration. Creators can host Q&A sessions, talk shows, or tutorials to reach new audiences and engage with the community.
Recently Deleted feature
The “Recently Deleted” feature helps users better manage their content and get their deleted photos and videos back. Content can be found in the “Recently Deleted” section and returned within 30 days. After that point, it will be automatically deleted.
Opportunities and benefits. The feature is mainly focused on protecting users from hacks. When hackers gain control over someone’s account and delete photos and videos, this functionality can be beneficial, especially for creators. To delete restore or restore, users now need to confirm they’re the account owner through either text or email.
Professional Dashboard for performance tracking
2021 started with a release of Professional Dashboard designed to help creators and businesses track their performance, use professional tools, and discover educational content. Even though some of these sources were already available, Instagram has finally brought them together in one spot to make it easier to discover specific tools. Professional Dashboard is open to all Business and Creator Accounts on Instagram.
Opportunities and benefits. Professional Dashboard provides creators and businesses with the tools they need. It supports small businesses and gives influencers more opportunities to earn and grow using their creativity.
YouTube Updates 2021
Last year brought a lot of changes to the video platform that influencers YouTube marketing. Learn more about significant YouTube updates grouped into four categories: YouTube Studio, Monetization, Community, and other improvements. Some of these social media marketing news might provide new opportunities to content creators and businesses.
The new YouTube for Creators website
The platform introduced a new website for YouTube creators, where they can learn more about all the programs, tools, and features built for those who produce content. Vloggers can find tutorials, guidelines, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Opportunities and benefits. The YouTube for Creators website is a prominent source of information for YouTubers, encouraging them to turn their passion into a living. While learning about all the important topics, they can build their community, grow their channel, and make money on the platform.
Creator Demographics setting in YouTube Studio
In 2021, the platform rolled out the Creator & Artists Survey for U.S.-based creators and artists aimed to collect information on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. The survey’s main goal was to ensure that YouTube is a safe and inclusive digital space place for everyone. The survey can now be seen under Creator Demographics in the YouTube Studio Settings section.
Opportunities and benefits. YouTube wants to understand better who uses the video-sharing platform and make sure it works for everyone equally.
Automatic video chapters
Those who use YouTube Studio can now add automatic video chapters for their videos. These video chapters enable viewers to jump forward to a specific video section quickly. The feature was implemented as an experiment in 2020 but rolled out to all eligible videos in 2021.
Opportunities and benefits. The new tool for YouTube creators helps them save time during the upload process. Also, chapters provide a better viewing experience, especially with long videos.
Monetizing creators should enable 2-Step Verification
Starting November 1, YouTube made it mandatory for all the monetizing creators to enable 2-Step Verification to access YouTube Studio or the YouTube Studio Content Manager.
Opportunities and benefits. This update is a response to the increased number of cases where hackers attacked YouTube creators. The 2-Step Verification is aimed to protect YouTubes from malicious actions.
YouTube Community and Comments
Private dislike counts
In November, YouTube made the dislike count private. It means that the dislike button is staying. However, only channel owners can now see dislike counts for their videos. Creators can find this information in YouTube Studio.
Opportunities and benefits. This is another effort towards making YouTube more inclusive. The platform’s goal is to eliminate hate and harassment and reduce dislike attacks, which some YouTube creators experience on an ongoing basis. People can still dislike videos to show creators which content they don’t like. However, as the YouTube team wrote, they found that viewers were less likely to use the dislike button to drive up the negative count when they didn’t see the numbers.
Expanding Community posts to more channels
YouTube rolled out Community posts to all channels with over 500 subscribers, while previously, this limit accounted for 1,000 subscribers. For channels that just reached 500 subscribers, it will take up to 1 week to get access to Community posts. Also, Community posts replaced the Discussion tab.
Opportunities and benefits. YouTube gives a broader group of creators to use this functionality to better interact with their audience and build a close-knit community.
New daily limits for custom thumbnails
YouTube added limits on the number of custom thumbnails a creator can upload within 24 hours on their channel. Those who try to exceed the thumbnail limit will see an error message. This update will minimize the number of thumbnails needing review.
Opportunities and benefits. YouTube focuses on reducing spam and abuse, making the platform a better and safer place for everyone.
Other YouTube Updates
YouTube Shorts, short-form videos from 15 to 60 seconds in length, is a perfect place for anyone to connect with new audiences using just a smartphone. YouTube provides all the tools for easily making short videos and interacting with audiences in a new engaging way. Everyone can watch Shorts and create them with YouTube’s creation tools available globally in the YouTube app.
Opportunities and benefits. Assuming the popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts can help vloggers attract new and younger viewers to their channels.
The YouTube Shorts Fund
Speaking about YouTube Shorts, last year, YouTube introduced a new program named the YouTube Shorts Fund. It’s a $100 million fund distributed to eligible creators throughout 2021 and 2022. Creators who produce YouTube Shorts can earn up to $10,000 per month.
Opportunities and benefits. This program is the first step to building a monetization model for Shorts on the platform. It encourages creators to earn money for their talents and turn their creativity into a business.
New Clips Function
Last January, YouTube started testing the new clip feature that allows you to create short clips of live streams or videos. The clips can be from 5 to 60 seconds in length and are easily shareable across social media.
Opportunities and benefits. This move might mean that YouTube aims to improve its live-streaming abilities. Clips can help creators grow their channels, and a clip that goes viral can bring in masses of new audiences.
Experiments with tagging products
YouTube started testing a new feature with a limited number of eligible creators. Pilot participants can experiment with tagging products in their content. When they tag products in their videos, they will see a “View Products” label in the bottom-left corner of the video. In turn, viewers can click the label to see a list of the products tagged by an influencer.
Opportunities and benefits. This pilot project aims to give YouTube creators the ability to earn money from products they tagged. Those who became part of this pilot can earn every time a viewer clicks a label and goes to the product page.
TikTok Updates 2021
TikTok has become one of the sensations in the social media space. Started as an app mainly for dancing, singing, and lip-syncing shorts vides, it quickly gained massive popularity among younger and elder generations. The app also attracted businesses that started using TikTok for their marketing needs. To help you stay up-to-date with what’s new on this social media, we’ve created a list of some essential TikTok updates over the last year.
New TikTok Creative Options
To reward creators for their creativity, TikTok introduced Creator Next, a new portal that combines all monetization tools into one platform. It allows eligible creators to unlock new and existing tools and maximize monetization opportunities. The Creator Next features include:
- Creator Fund. The Fund rewards eligible creators for making TikTok videos. Creators who believe they meet all the requirements can apply within the app.
- Creator Marketplace. It’s the official platform for collaborations between creators and brands on TikTok. Participants get an extra chance to find and connect with brands for sponsorship opportunities.
- LIVE Gifts. Creators can collect Diamonds based on the popularity of their LIVE videos. Viewers can send Gifts to their LIVE videos; these Gifts help TikTok understand how popular a video is. And Diamonds can be redeemed for money from TikTok.
- Video Gifts. Like with LIVE Gifts, this is another way for influencers to collect Diamonds from TikTok for their popular content. While creators get LIVE Gifts for LIVE content only, they can receive Video Gifts for short videos.
- Tips. TikTokers may get tips from their viewers. We’ll provide a few more details on the topic below.
Opportunities and benefits. TikTok wants to make it easier for its creators to partner with brands on the platform. Also, new features in Creator Next give users a new engaging way to interact with their favorite content.
Open Application Campaigns
This new tool helps brands list their campaigns for TikTok creators who can self-apply. Businesses can share their campaign briefs, including key metrics and video references, with a broader group of influencers. If some of those influencers are interested in participating, they can send an application for approval.
Opportunities and benefits. The new option gives creators more opportunities to engage and partner with the brands they like while showing their content creation skills. It can be a new easier way for businesses to discover potential partnerships.
With the Storytime Tool, TikTok users can become a part of the brand’s storytelling experience. It motivates users to become a part of the brand’s storytelling. Instead of standard ads on TikTok, users can personalize their experience by tapping to direct the action in the video and choose their adventure.
Opportunities and benefits. TikTok wants to help advertisers create the most engaging ads and make the most of their creativity while building a unique viewer experience.
Tips on TikTok
As we mentioned above, the Tips feature is one of the tools in the Creator Next portal. People can directly show gratitude to creators for their content using tips. Creators will receive 100% of the tip value. They need to have a Stripe account, the payment provider used to receive tips. TikTokers can sign up in seconds and manage their earnings in an easy-to-use dashboard.
Opportunities and benefits. Tips are a great way for viewers to express gratitude to their favorite influencers. In turn, creators can monetize their creativity and talent and connect with their audience on a deeper level.
If viewers want to appreciate a TikTok video, they can now use Super Likes. As you may know, standard likes simply color the heart symbol with simple animation, while the new Super Likes feature can display various types of icons that show up on viewers’ screens. This makes “liking” a video a more engaging experience.
Opportunities and benefits. TikTok expects Super Likes to highly increase user engagement with your videos on the platform. What’s more, it can help businesses improve brand awareness by showing their logo over the screen.
TikTok for Ecommerce
Pop-out showcase is a library of images and stickers that advertisers can access and use as an additional layer on top of their videos. These visuals help them better illustrate the products they’re showcasing or other important elements of their story.
Opportunities and benefits. These pop-ups are clickable elements and can serve as more dynamic call-to-action buttons that motivate viewers to take action.
Product Links + LIVE Shopping
TikTok introduced new tools for commerce and a better shopping experience. Product Links provide one of the new solutions for commerce on TikTok. Brands can highlight their items in-feed ads and live stream videos using dynamic product links that will direct viewers to the dedicated detail page describing the product.
LIVE Shopping enables businesses to integrate products from their TikTok Shopping into a LIVE session. It’s a great way to connect with their audiences in real-time and viewers can explore the product while watching a stream.
Opportunities and benefits. Product Links are a useful tool for businesses to give a new experience to their viewers and the ability to learn more about featured products without even leaving the app. At the same time, LIVE Shopping means more opportunities for users to explore and engage with the productУУ and shop from the brand.
Dynamic Showcase Ads
Dynamic Showcase Ads generate video ads that are based on viewers’ activity. Brands can promote several products and personalized video ads. At the core of these ads is a product feed, a data file containing all the information about your product. To make Dynamic Showcase Ads more effective, advertisers need to updates and optimize these feeds. Check a step-by-step guide to creating Dynamic Showcase Ads.
Opportunities and benefits. Brands can use Dynamic Showcase Ads to increase awareness, increase purchase intent, and drive app downloads by promoting their products and services to their potential customers.
Brands can now boost organic content in a user’s feed with Spark Ads. This tool helps businesses turn existing videos into ads, boosting this organic content in a viewer’s feed. According to TikTok, these ads have a 142% higher engagement rate than standard In-Feed Ads.
Opportunities and benefits. TikTok aims to help brands reach a wider audience of consumers. Spark Ads can provide businesses with new opportunities to build awareness and spread their message using native advertising instead of a hard sell.
Expanded partnership with Shopify
TikTok expanded its partnership with Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform for online stores. It will help Shopify merchants produce creative content that sends people directly to their online store for checkout. Now, it will be easier for users to learn more and purchase the products they find on TikTok.
Opportunities and benefits. This partnership with Shopify will create more options for brands to attract consumers with engaging content. TikTok will now be available to Shopify merchants.
Seize the Opportunities of the New Social Media Updates
We covered just some of the social media marketing news. Nevertheless, these insights may help you adapt to the always-evolving social media landscape and use the new opportunities and changes to optimize your marketing strategy in 2022.
Stay tuned! We’ll be covering top social media platform news, along with new Instagram updates and improvements to other social networks, each quarter.
Don’t hesitate to add Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok updates of 2021 that you consider important in the comments section.
One of our experts will get back in touch with you soon.