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December 10, 2020
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? In a fast-moving digital world, change may come even when no one asked for it, especially in 2020. A global pandemic, the US election, and way too much time at home required new features to be added to the most popular social media platforms. Along with new features came new layout changes.
We’ve outlined the biggest layout changes to 3 major social media platforms below.
Facebook was the most noticeable layout change, throwing out the classic set up we’ve known for a few years to opt for a more modern, minimalistic, and some may say less user-friendly desktop design.
The biggest reason for Facebook’s rollout? The fact that 98% of their users use the mobile app. More shocking? 80% of Facebook’s users only use the mobile app. Naturally, Facebook decided that their web app needed a facelift and unveiled this new interface in May.
This new design incorporates a lot of white space and uses simple iconography for buttons. It looks clean and seems to be less overwhelming, but there’s a catch.
People don’t know where to find anything on Facebook now. Seemingly every shortcut and button that users rely on while using the app moved or got a makeover. You can naturally guess people weren’t happy with Facebook because of this.
What does it mean for your social media marketing? The biggest change from this update is sizing for ads and Facebook page assets. You may also need to give yourself some extra time to get familiar with the new navigation and business manager changes, such as now using Creator Studio to schedule your posts.
While this new design is a stark contrast to their old, time will tell if this hinders your ability to share, connect, and engage with your customers.
Instagram didn’t completely update their app’s design, but they pulled some sneaky changes based on their most recent focus on short-form content and shopping capabilities. The biggest change to Instagram’s layout in 2020 is its navigation. Not long ago, you could open the app, find the “Post” button in the bottom-center of your screen, and quickly share a post. And notifications sat right next to the post button.
Instagram decided that their bottom navigation’s prime real estate could be served better by pushing their Reels feed and shopping tab to take those places. They stated, “We’ve seen an explosion in short, entertaining videos on Instagram. We’ve also seen an incredible amount of shopping move online.”
That’s right. Now, in the middle of your prime navigation sits Instagram Reels. If Instagram is primarily a photo and video sharing app, why would they move the tab that facilitates this to a small corner on the homepage? This change comes from Instagram’s effort to compete with Tik Tok.
The Tik Tok app’s appeal is its design to showcase the never ending feed of suggested videos. This black hole manages to keep users on their app for hours on end. Instagram booted the “Post” function to go all-in on their Reels and create a destination that beats Tik Tok.
That wasn’t the only change that came to Instagram’s design this fall. Notifications got evicted from the bottom navigation and moved to the main feed page as well. Now, a shopping tab exists in its place, where users can bookmark and shop products from stores they follow on Instagram. With the introduction of shoppable posts, it was expected that Instagram would continue capitalizing on their shopping feature. It seems that this change was worse than the Post relocation update.
If you are an e-commerce business, this new update means a world of opportunities for you to not only market your product but create a seamless experience for online ordering. A user could find your product and then be taken to that exact link on your website. And for some, the user can add their cart and complete the order without ever leaving the app, which creates less friction in the buying process.
You could also explore the world of Reels if your target audience were likely to engage with short videos. There’s an easier entrance to Reels when compared to Tik Tok, especially if you are already creating content on Instagram. But, when crafting these short videos, make sure the message aligns with your brand. Otherwise, you’ll be background noise in the endless scroll of videos.
Though Twitter hasn’t had a major layout change this year, it did add a new feature to the mix. Twitter introduced Fleets, disappearing posts that mimic the popular stories feature on both Snapchat and Instagram. Twitter states that these “fleets” are meant for “sharing momentary thoughts,” things you want to say but may want to take back later.
Reception to this upgrade resulted in a long string of memes accusing Twitter of copying Instagram and Snapchat. While this update didn’t cause a lot of negativity, it still begs the question: on which social media platforms do my business need to exist?
Twitter is one of the oldest social media platforms still used today. While this update isn’t too much of a change, it begs the question of whether or not your brand should explore Fleets. If you’re not on Twitter, Fleets isn’t a good enough reason to explore this platform. But, if you find a lot of traction of user engagement in your Instagram or Snapchat stories, testing the same format on Twitter could work for your business. It’s still too early to tell how Fleets engagement is measured, especially because many are slow to adopt the new feature.
UX changes not only create conversations and feedback from its users, but it also shapes your marketing strategy. If you find success with stories on Instagram, you may be excited about the changes in Twitter. Or, if your target audience is now less likely to engage on a certain platform, you may need to explore an alternate route.
You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by these changes. Instead, find the opportunities these changes present. Your marketing team should think the same about this. At PHOS, we stay on top of the latest digital marketing news and trends in order to craft (and pivot) your strategy.
Ready to transform the way you use social media marketing? Connect with us.