Here’s the best of the marketing news from this week – from the big brands who have been let loose on Instagram’s new 60-second videos, to how Facebook means the 6 degrees of separation rule no longer applies.

Instagram makes their videos that little bit longer

Could you tell your brand story in just 60 seconds? Instagram has announced that 60-second video ads are now available to marketers. T-Mobile and Warner Bros. are just some of the big names that have got involved. Guinness also launched a new ad, filmed – you guessed it – in black and white. It’s about the record producer John Hammond who fought segregation by featuring both black and white artists on his radio show.

To show you how it’s done, here are the best branded IG videos from January.

Facebook celebrated its 12th birthday with ‘Friends Day’

To celebrate, users can now watch and customise their own personal videos: “photos depicting ‘special moments’ with their friends will be stitched together into short films.” The networking giant also announced that one of the world’s greatest clichés no longer holds true:

We know that people are more connected today than ever before. Over the past five years, the global Facebook community has more than doubled in size. Today we’re announcing that during that same time period, the degrees of separation between a typical pair of Facebook users has continued to decrease to 3.57 degrees, down from 3.74 degrees in 2011. This is a significant reflection of how closely connected the world has become.

That means you’re only 3.57 degrees away from Kevin Bacon after all.

YouTube starts creating original content

YouTube is taking the plunge into content creation and have commissioned documentaries and series for its premium streaming service Red Originals.

It’ll have lots of competition from Netflix and its ilk, but YouTube has reason to be confident. Red Originals will be in the expert hands of Susanne Daniels:

The former MTV executive — who left that position last fall — has a fair share of successful shows under her belt. At MTV, she oversaw the scripted series Finding Carter, Faking It and Scream. Before that, she was behind a handful of popular dramas aimed at teens and young adults, including WB’s Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While at Lifetime, she helped the network reinvent itself with series Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva.

If her previous form is anything to go by, the shows should be huge successes.

Twitter is still trying to prove it’s relevant

Twitter unveiled a redesigned homepage this week as reported on the BBC. The new homepage, which will roll out on the Twitter website and mobile site, features live updates from some of the network’s most active tweeters. It’s an attempt to prove that, when it comes to algorithmic curation, Twitter can hold its own compared to Facebook. Twitter has also followed Facebook’s lead by including GIF integration in its offering. The Verge commented:

This is similar to what other companies like Facebook and Yahoo have done with their own messaging apps — partnering with third-parties like Giphy and Tumblr to integrate catalogs of GIFs.

But when it comes to media stories, you’ll always find the chattering classes on Twitter. We’ll leave you with tweeters’ thoughts on Matt LeBlanc’s new gig.

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60 seconds from Instagram, Facebook's birthday and YouTube takes on Hollywood