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8 Social Media Features You’re Not Using, but Should Be

February 08, 2018

With the social media powerhouses in a constant (and healthy) competition for share of voice and marketing budget, it seems new features are being rolled out more frequently than ever. For fellow marketers that may be feeling overwhelmed, or losing sleep at night wondering if they’re taking advantage of all of the social media tactics at their disposal, fear not. Here are the highlights from the last few months, focusing specifically on marketing and advertising.


Campaign Budget Optimization
Historically, budgets were created at the ad set level, meaning advertisers would need to decide how much budget to allocate to each set of audiences, placements, etc. Setting a budget at the campaign level allows advertisers to set their overall spend and let Facebook’s algorithms do the rest. This allows for more automated optimization between audiences, placements, day-parts, etc.

New Targeting Options
By now, most Facebook advertisers are familiar with lookalike and custom audiences, but there are some other targeting options that take those same concepts and go a bit farther. After uploading a contact list for a custom audience, you now have the option to target everyone that shares a household with the people on your list. Facebook identifies who occupies the same household based on profile information such as:

  • Shared Last Name
  • Self-declared Relationships
  • Location
  • Shared Activities (Check-Ins)

Another recent addition is the ability to target users if they have recently engaged with your Facebook or Instagram content, whether they currently follow you or not.

Facebook Messenger
Last year, the Messenger app was added as a potential placement for ads. Facebook also introduced “Message Us” as a call-to-action, encouraging users to engage with brands via messenger. Even cooler, brands can now send sponsored messages directly to a user’s inbox to reengage them in conversation and bring them back into the funnel. With the combination of these advertising opportunities, and automated messenger “bots”, some brands have used this as an opportunity to turn their messenger inbox into somewhat of a microsite where users can place orders, check shipping status, and give feedback. More convenience, more engagement, more success!


As competition between Snapchat and Instagram heated up, Instagram rolled out Snapchat-inspired “stories” in an attempt to curb some of Snapchat’s rapid growth. More recently, story ads became widely available and are continuously expanding. Over the past few months, Insta rolled out story options like adding GIFs, polls, or even superimposing your selfie into the picture. Just last week, it was announced that story ads would also support the “carousel” ad format. It’s hard to say to what extent exactly, but it’s clear that some of the time that was spent compulsively scrolling through the main feed is being replaced with compulsively clicking through stories, and it is important to have a presence in both spaces.

Not only can users follow accounts on Instagram, they can now also follow hashtags that they’re interested in. This is a huge opportunity for brands for two reasons:

1. It allows for more research into what’s trending, which brands can apply to their own content to be more discoverable.

2. Brands can encourage users to follow their official brand hashtag, creating a stream of UGC.

Copying Facebook
Ever since Instagram was purchased by Facebook, it seems likely that any Facebook advertising feature will eventually be rolled out to Insta (carousels, calls-to-action, retargeting, etc.) Most recently, Insta has rolled out collection ads, the shoppable fullscreen canvas experience that has been available on Facebook since early 2017.


Context Cards
When a user posts a snap with a location-specific geo filter, Snapchat may populate a card with useful links, information, and calls-to-action. See context cards in action in this video:

Augmented Reality Ads (The Future is Here)
In general, Snapchat ads have been given quite an overhaul in 2017, rolling out a self-serve platform with growing targeting options and reporting capabilities. The 3D World Lenses may be the most unique ad format introduced, allowing advertisers to create a 3D Animation that can be inserted into the lens (my favorite example below):

Here are the best resources for keeping up with these rapidly changing platforms:






General Social Media/Digital Marketing News

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