Social media updates: January 2024

Your monthly roundup of the social media updates and news from the past month.
woman wearing head scarf and white shirt


Table of Contents

True to form, January has felt like a long month.

Whether you’ve been doing Dry January or staying disciplined for your New Year’s resolutions, it’s undoubtedly a testing time.

But Vamp is here to help as we’ve closely followed social media updates throughout the month, with sprouts of exciting news emerging from the soil. 

This includes translation tools on TikTok that allow creators to reach foreign-langauge speakers, thumbnail testing on YouTube and sticker updates on Instagram.

So as you prepare to head into February, stick the kettle on, brew yourself a lovely cup of tea and sit through our January guide to social media.

woman wearing black gown on balcony


Translation tools

TikTok kicked off the New Year in typically robust fashion by announcing a range of new feature updates in a post on its site.

Among the most exciting are new translation tools that will help creators reach a wider, global audience.

This includes translation for text stickers and auto-generated captions, giving users the chance to turn on closed captions in their language.

Excitingly, the updates will support a vast range of languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and Turkish.

For influencers and brands, it’s difficult to exaggerate how important this update could potentially be.

After all, food influencers in England don’t just cook English food, fashion influencers in the US don’t only talk about trends on American soil and lifestyle bloggers in Spain don’t issue advice only applicable to Spanish-speaking followers.

So now you can work this into your TikTok strategy, tapping into new subscriber demographics.

You may also find this could be an excellent way to brush up your foreign-language speaking skills.

The world has never been better-connected than it is now, and with this update making language less of a barrier, 2024 could well be the year you go global.

To utilise this new update, all you need to do is go to Settings, then Language setting, before setting your Translation language and tapping Always show translations.

tiktok translation tool screenshot

Longer captions

If we’re being honest, an unfortunate reality of social media is the way some people (politicians, we’re looking at you) claim complex, nuanced issues can be broken down into a simple sentence or two.

The reality is there are many things in life that require considered, patient explanation.

And for influencers, this may well apply to your TikTok posts.

So step forward a new update that allows creators to write longer captions. For your photos and videos, you can now write captions of up to 2,200 characters for each post.

TikTok said: “With the extra space, you have more room to build on the stories you’ve shared, giving you another opportunity to express yourself and connect more deeply with others.”

It’s hard to disagree. If you’re sharing a deeply personal, intimate story about yourself then you now have extra bandwidth to give your videos extra context.

This may prove particularly useful if you’re an influencer who appreciates minimalism. Perhaps you’ve got a video to share that you don’t want to talk or write over, but would rather let viewers be immersed by the sounds and sights alone.

Now, having more room to write about that video could be the bridge you need to forge deeper connections with subscribers. 

Tik Tok application icon on iPhone 11 pro max screen in hand and have a bokeh for background. Tiktok social media network.May 7, 2021, Bangkok, Thailand
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Meta (Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp)


Meta has announced a string of new updates to its WhatsApp feature, Channels.

If you’re among those using Channels, as an admin you can now send out polls to gauge feedback. 

Influencers, with small or large Channel audiences, may find this opens a wealth of opportunity. 

Food influencers can now ask fans what ingredients they prefer in their recipes, yoga influencers can ask class members their favourite stretches and lifestyle influencers can gather key information on modern stresses they may be being paid to fix.

As pointed out by Vamp in our round-up of key social media trends in 2023, WhatsApp’s popularity as a choice for brands took a big boost last year.

So there’s never been a better time to cash in on a form of communication your subscribers may prefer.

Further updates to Channels include voice notes and updates to your Status. In a statement midway through January, Meta explained users can do this by: “Long-press the update you want to share, select ‘Forward’ then ‘My Status’.”

The post included an example of National Geographic sending out a poll, and Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny sending out the first voice note.

whatsapp channel polls screenshot
Photo credit: Meta

Custom sticker from still image

You may have noticed an increased use of stickers when using your social media accounts these days.

Well, the latest addition to the party is Instagram, who now enable users to cut out a certain part of an image before saving it as a sticker as part of its “create a cutout sticker option”.

That sticker can then be used in your Stories and Reels.

Are you looking to learn more about launching a social media campaign? Our guide shows you how to plan them.

instagram custom stick tool screenshot
Photo credit: Tech Crunch


A/B Thumbnail Testing

It’s been a long time coming, but YouTube says its A/B Thumbnail Testing option is coming soon.

The video-publishing giant first previewed the feature in June last year, which essentially allows creators to experiment with three different thumbnails upon publication.

YouTube will then report back the results of which one is receiving the most clicks following a two-week window.

Rene Ritchie, a YouTube creator liaison, said: “Thumbnail testing is still in testing. As of late last year, the testing ramped up to 50,000 of various types, sizes and regions across YouTube (which is still a tiny number given how many channels are on YouTube).

“That’ll continue until the team feels like it is delivering what it needs to for creators, and then it’ll start moving into launch mode.

“No timeline yet, because it’s hard to predict how fast or slow tests of this size will go, but as soon as it’s ready to launch YouTube will absolutely let everyone know.”

In a world saturated by an extreme volume of choice, the small details have never been so important.

It’s not an exaggeration, as experienced social media experts like us will tell you, that a thumbnail can be the difference between hundreds of clicks and millions of them.

Perhaps you’re a travel influencer who’s been stewing over the choice between a gorgeous sunset or idyllic, palm tree-clad beach, now you can really get the bottom of which one will work better.

And as you continue to absorb the information YouTube provides on your thumbnails, you will crucially be better placed to take photos as you search for that key shot to get people clicking.

youtube a b thumbnail testing screenshot
Photo credit: YouTube

Long-form video clips into Shorts

Ritchie added in a blog post that YouTube now gives uploaders the chance to convert long-form videos into a Short, without being plagued by editing headaches.

So if you’re a brand looking to replicate the success of a highly-viewed in Short, you can now do that using crop and zoom tools. You can also convert landscape footage to Short format.

He said: “Got a long-form video you want to remix into a Short but, you know, in a not super ugly clashing aspect ratio ugh gross way?.

“Well YouTube has a whole new workflow to help you more easily change those old layouts. In other words, crop, zoom, even stack them landscape longs into snappy, snazzy clipped Shorts! 

“It works with all the Remix types and you can see how over at YouTube creator.” 

Not sure what a YouTube Short is? Well, as Vamp has highlighted, there has been a growing movement this decade towards short-form video thanks to TikTok’s meteoric success.

This is YouTube’s answer to that, offering up vertical videos limited to 60 seconds. Last year, YouTube claimed Shorts had surpassed 50billion views per day, reported by TechCrunch. 

So with the short-form video arms race showing no signs of easing any time soon, you can ensure you don’t come up short by experimenting with these new editing tools.

Are you a small business eager to make 2024 the year you really take off? If so, you can see our complete social media guide for small businesses.

youtube shorts long form screenshot
Photo credit: Adweek

Channel activity 

Here at Vamp, anything that makes influencers feel comfortable is something that has our backing.

Step forward a new feature that allows you to access Channel Activity inside live chat.

That means that within your live chat feed, you can view how handles have been moderated previously. This includes deleted chats, timeouts, hides and messages from the past 30 days.

Streamers can therefore keep a closer eye on potentially disruptive viewers, giving them a wider pool of information before deciding to take action.

YouTube’s CEO, Neal Mohan, said in a post on X: “Hey streamers, you can access Channel Activity from your live chat feed to see user chat history, public user history and other moderation activity in streams.

“Avail on desktop but coming to mobile soon.”

If you’re interested in launching a social media campaign, Vamp’s guide shows you how to plan them

X (formerly Twitter) 

Video first 

If we reported every claim Elon Musk made these days, we’d never get any other work done.

But there was one statement that raised an eyebrow, and should be noted by brands and influencers moving forward.

Musk claimed that X (formerly Twitter) is now a video-first platform in a blog post shared in January.

The post added that its new Immersive Feature tool has over 100million users.

It read: “X is now a video-first platform, with people watching video in 8 out of 10 user sessions.

“We launched a new surface: Immersive Video, which now has over 100million daily users – more than half of who are Gen Z, the fastest growing audience on X.”

X also claimed that in December users watched 130 years’ worth of videos 30 minutes or longer after enabling long-form video.

This would appear to be Musk’s strategy in the ongoing video arms race on social media.

So if you’re an influencer or brand, it’s important to keep an eye on X as the year progresses. 

If you haven’t posted a video, short or long, on X before then there has never been a better time to see if your content resonates.

Are you a small business looking for your big break in 2024? See our social media guide for small businesses

Until next time

January has been an exciting month, on social media at least, to kick off the year.

The constant influx of social media updates are showing no signs of slowing down, with February expected to be another month full of game-changing updates.

But if that all feels a little overwhelming, don’t fret.

Vamp will be paying close attention throughout the month, and we can’t wait to check back in with you at the end of February for another round-up.



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