Top Paid Social Features Launched in 2018

Chris Warman
Dec 11, 2018
Paid Media

On the eleventh day of Christmas iThinkMedia gave to me paid social features… Chris Warman takes us through his favourite paid social features of the past year.

As we near the end of 2018, it feels like a good time to take a look back at some of the best marketing features that have been launched throughout the year on social media. Some of them you may already be aware of, but a couple might have passed you by. So, it is worth seeing which ones you can add to your marketing strategy before 2019 begins, and brings with it even more changes!

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully it provides some food for thought. Let’s jump straight in and take a look back – in no particular order – at some of the best paid social features to land in 2018.

Instagram Account Verification

In July 2018, it was announced that Instagram was testing an in-app form to allow brands and public figures to apply to have their accounts verified. Before this update, accounts were only verified when Instagram deemed it appropriate.

Instagram social verification

Now anyone with enough followers can apply to have that elusive tick added to their profile to prove you are who you say you are. And in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘bot accounts’, this is vital to brands.

Instagram shopping

Instagram have also recently launched an in-app Shopping feature for businesses.

The feature aims to help brands direct shoppers to their e-Commerce sites without affecting the time users spend on the app itself. It works exactly like traditional post tagging but rather than users tagging friends, businesses can tag products.

Instagram social shopping

According to Instagram, when someone taps within a tagged post, they’ll see:

  • An image of the product from the post
  • A description of the product
  • How much the product costs
  • And a link that takes them directly seller website, where they can purchase the product if they are interested based on the information they have already seen within the post.

The products themselves will also be tailored to a user’s tastes and style, so the hope is that Instagram takes on a Pinterest-esque look and feel. Users will start to intentionally browse for products in the same way they do on Pinterest, intending to purchase even if they aren’t sure what to buy.

WhatsApp status ads

WhatsApp has seen very little change in recent years in terms of marketing, but they recently announced that this is all set to change. With the introduction of targeted advertisements to be displayed in the Status tab of its messenger. A move which is being driven by Facebook, who bought the app in 2014.

WhatsApp social ads

So far, the move has received a mixed reaction, to say the least, with marketers questioning whether users even look at the status tab enough to justify the investment and some users are reportedly switching to other ad-free messengers. This is a very recent development though, so might be something to keep an eye on in 2019 to see how it plays out.

Facebook tests augmented reality ads

Another feature that’s also still hot off the press is Facebook’s testing of augmented reality ads. They are still very much in their infancy but could have a huge effect moving forward and will now start appearing in users’ feeds, with a select group of advertisers like Michael Kors, Sephora, Wayfair and Pottery Barn running test ads.

Facebook social ads

The ads allow users to use Facebook’s native in-app camera to see how products (like sunglasses) would look on themselves.

The selling potential for this is huge, as it is a great way of creating engaging ads that will capture a user’s attention. However, this relies on the technology being up to scratch, and at this point it’s probably not quite there just yet. However, this is again something to look out for in 2019 and beyond!

Twitter Moments sponsorship

Twitter is the place people go when they want to find out about the world, whether it’s a specific topic or just a curiosity to discover what’s happening. This means Twitter is often the go to place to check when people want to discuss big events like the Olympics, Award ceremonies or the latest episode of Game Of Thrones.

Twitter social ads

Twitter have now capitalised on this by creating Twitter Moments, which is a feature that enables users to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories. As Moments have become more popular, top publishers have also started creating their own. This move brings with it a new premium inventory ripe for sponsorship.

As a result, Twitter have launched a new In-Stream Sponsorships feature – sponsored Moments. So now advertisers can sponsor Moments from premium content partners and reach audiences at scale while they view the content they are most passionate about.

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So, that wraps up our overview of some of the top paid social features launched this year. As you can probably tell, a lot of these features are set to really take off in the next year or so. Interestingly though they all seem to follow 3 major trends of social media marketing in 2018, which are an increased demand for more authentic marketing, a greater expectation from consumers for dynamic advertising and a continued shift towards video content.

I’m sure we will see these trends develop further in 2019. So, hopefully there are some things for you to look out for in the year ahead.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or tweet iThinkMediaUK and share your favourite paid social features of 2018. Merry Christmas!



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