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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Instagram captions, YouTube Music Key and Facebook Say Thanks

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Stunning images turn astronauts into social media stars

166 days in orbit were enough to turn US astronaut Reid Wiseman, Germany’s Alexander Gerst, and Russian commander Maxim Suraev into must follow users in social media. During their five months aboard International Space Station the astronauts were in constant touch with a global online audience, sharing beautiful pictures of the Milky Way, images documenting pollution and environmental devastation around the world and a Vine time-lapse of sunset seen from the space. Back to Earth on November 9th, the trio grew its audience on Twitter to more than half a million followers. The achievement underlines the importance of social media as a crucial component for space programs like ISS, helping to renew interest for initiatives that have been struggling to obtain funds.


Read more on Quartz.


Instagram allows users to edit captions

Bowing to pressure from their users, Instagram now allows users to edit captions of their pictures. Unlike Facebook, your edit history is not recorded, and followers can’t see when you make a change. A new feature was also added to the explore page. Instagrammers can use the new ‘People’ tab o find new accounts to follow.


Read more on All Facebook.


Microsoft joins Instagram

The giant tech company just launched its Instagram profile. Microsoft hired the photographer Justin Bastien to document stories and show on @microsoft how many different people, with all sort of careers, use their products daily. The first featured professional was a barista from Seattle, that uses Skype to communicate with baristas and coffee lovers around the globe. The Instagram account comes to embody Microsoft’s “mission to reinvent productivity” by using the hashtag #DoMore.

Read more on Mashable.


Social TV: Real Housewives launches Emoji App

To enhance fans experience while watching its new season, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is back on Sunday night with an extra shot of fun: Bravo has launched ‘The Official Real Housewives Stickermojis App,’ giving fans the ability to send show-themes emojis through email, text, Facebook and Twitter. The app features more than 100 exclusive emojis of avatars and sayings of Housewives from Atlanta, New York City, Beverly Hills, Orange County, and New Jersey.


Read more on Lost Remote.


Vimeo releases first three episodes of its original content series

The first three episodes of Vimeo’s original content series High Maintenance have been released. This is the first production sponsored by the video-sharing website, and will cost the users $ 1.99 to watch. Fans also have the option to pay $ 7.99 to watch six episodes (three more chapters of this second season will be online in January). In both plans, users are not paying to buy the content — the money allows them to “rent” the videos for one year.

Read more on Social Times.

Facebook launches personalized “Say Thanks” video cards

With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, Facebook launched a new feature that allows its users to express gratitude using video cards. The tool, “Say Thanks”, allows people to record personalized videos and forward it to friends over the social network. It was rolled out globally on desktop and mobile, in eight languages: English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. To say thanks, you can visit facebook.com/thanks, choose a friend, select different themes, edit and add photos and posts to illustrate your friendship. Once done, the clip is published on your timeline, and your friend will be tagged in it.


Read more on All Facebook.


YouTube maintains 1st position as most popular brand on Twitter

A ranking stating the 20 most popular brands on Twitter brings YouTube holding its 1st position, followed by Instagram and Twitter itself. Social media networks still dominate the rankings – out of the top ten, two other positions are held by Twitter en Español (6th) and Facebook (7th). News brands like CNN, The New York Times and BBC, and sports channels such as soccer teams Real Madrid and Barcelona also feature prominently.

Read more on Media Bistro.


Pinterest says it doubled its male user base

Historically, highly populated by women and subjects like DIY, cook recipes, fashion and décor inspirational boards, Pinterest just reported that its male user base has doubled over the past year. With evaluation of $ 5 billion, the social network says about one-third of its new signups are men – a result of its international expansion. In emerging markets, the platform’s demographics are close to a 50/50 split. As an effort to diversify its audience and appeal to men, the site has introduced gender targeting for pins and also partnered with companies focused on masculine target.

Read more on GigaOM.


YouTube Music streaming service launches in beta

Google has finally announced details of its attempt to take on Spotify and Pandora in the music streaming market. YouTube Music Key will be rolled out in invitation-only beta, and will allow users to stream ad-free music without connection to the Internet. The service costs $ 9.99 a month and includes a subscription to Google Play Music, Google’s first and unsuccessful shot to beat Spotify. Both services will be integrated, with a single user’s profile drawing data from both platforms. Users will be able to watch YouTube music videos inside Google Play app.


Read more on Social Times.

Facebook reveals 500 million people use Messenger each month

According to Facebook, half-a-billion people have already downloaded and use Messenger, since the company unbundled it from its main app just a few months ago. The social networking giant justified the move, at that time questioned by its users and the market, as a necessary procedure to improve users’ messaging experience. It seems to be, though, a strategy to ease people’s access to the service. Instead of hidden inside Zuckerberg’s main application, the Messenger is now just two clicks away from the user – just like Viber and Whatsapp.

Read more on The Next Web.


Ocho video app secures funding

Ocho, the new video app launched last Tuesday, have secured $1.65 million in funding from Mark Cuban, Bill Lohse’s Social Starts and General Assembly co-founder Matt Brimer. Presented as a version for what YouTube would look like if it was initially designed for mobile, the app caps videos at 8 seconds and shows videos in a continuous stream. Ocho allows users to insert links in captions and display clips in a 16:9 format. Vice Sports has signed on as their partner, and plans to post exclusive content daily on the new platform, only available for Ios. Android version is expected in 2015.


Read more on Variety.


Uber will stream users Spotify’s playlists

Uber and Spotify might be about to launch a collaboration. As TechCrunch reports, the ride-sharing company’s iPhone and Android apps would have an integration to the music streaming service, which would allow the passenger to select and blast playlists through an Uber car’s speakers. The integration shall be announced this Monday, when Uber hosts an event to launch a new partnership – the clue is a musical notes graphic included on the invitation.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Flickr launches its Wall Art printing service globally

Anyone, anywhere in the world can order wall prints directly from their Flickr account. A month after launching Walls Art, the Yahoo-owned company has opened up the service globally. Users can select between wood-mounted and gallery-style canvas prints, in five sizes ranging from 8″ x 10″ to 20″ x 30″. The shipping of the products, however, are still limited to US addresses.

Read more on The Next Web.


The week in social: Tor, Disqus ads, and Instagram engagements

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Twitter no longer a top destination for Holiday shoppers

During the last Holiday season, Twitter released a report stating that it was a top destination for discovery around Holiday shopping. For this year, a new report from PunchTab has shown that US shoppers are not particular about using any social network to aid their shopping, and Twitter came in fourth on a list of six out of sources they would be likely to use. The report issued by Twitter last year was based on a survey of 2,000 Holiday shoppers, half of which were already Twitter users, causing the results to be arguably skewed. The recent PunchTab report showed that 67% of those users surveyed would choose “none of the above” for social network of choice when Holiday shopping.

More information on AllTwitter.


Facebook removing old school-related info from user profiles

In a move to help keep profiles of Facebook users current, the service is removing outdated information that has to do with a user’s education, such as their school residence and mailbox info if they are no longer in college. This has not been widely announced by Facebook, but it being seen by users as a notification on their timeline, as well as no longer having the information show in their profile.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Taylor Swift pulls music off of Spotify

With timing that coincided with her release of the new album “1989″, Taylor Swift and her music label have removed all of her music from the Spotify. The move comes as Swift is trying to push sales of her new album, as it is on track to have the best first week sales of an album by a female artist since 2002. Although it appears to a strategy that will work, artists are paid a small sum every time a Spotify user listens to an album, and due to the social nature of Spotify, it is easy to share music with user users, and on Facebook, with which the service is tightly integrated. It remains to be seen if this will be a strategy that other artists take up when they are releasing new albums.

More information on The Verge.


Facebook adds functionality for Tor

Earlier this week, Facebook announced the ability for users to access the service through the Tor Network, which is said to provide increased security of access to the service. As a side consequence this move may also allow users to access Facebook from countries where it is banned, because it makes anonymous user location data. There are critics of this move however, as many are saying that even though the service can now be accessed anonymously, it is still obvious that a single user is taking actions on a particular profile. Tor is a service that preserves cryptographic protections through the cloud.

Read more on Social Times.


Disqus makes sponsored comment service globally available

Following the ad product launch by Disqus this past April for sponsored comments, the company is making the product globally available, as announced earlier this week. The service allows advertisers to place an ad on the top of a comments section of an article, forum post, or other piece of online content, and is targeted by one of over 1,000 topic types. Currently there are over three million websites that will be able to support the ad system, and the product is offered through Disqus from a partnership with Xaxis.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook seeing increased requests for user information from the Government

Facebook has revealed new data about Government requests for user data, stating that requests have increased by 24% in the first 6 months of 2014, as opposed to the half-year ending in December 2013. Total requests for data were 34,946. Facebook has stated that they are seeking to appeal the requests for information, through a blog post issued this past Tuesday. On top of requests from social networks, other online services have also seen in increase. Government requests for user data from Google have risen 150% over the past five years, with an increase of 15% specifically for the past year.

More information on The Guardian.


Ad Grader helps advertisers optimize their Facebook ads

A new tool that will help advertisers rate and optimize the ads they are running across Facebook, Ad Grader focuses on helping improve the performance of News Feed ads. Using data such as ad budget, targeting, bids, and other info, the Grader will provide a rating from A to F, as well as tips to help improve the performance of the ad. It remains to be seen if the functionality of the rater will extend to other types of Facebook ad units, or to other social networks.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Vimeo launches new features available globally

Vimeo has just launched a new set of features to help bolster its international reputation. New features include the ability to self-edit subtitles and captions into videos, or to work through a translation service that is a part of Vimeo to add subtitles, which also includes the option for full audio translation. Creators on Vimeo also now have the option to access an expanded Video on Demand service which allows them to sell films digitally on a Vimeo-powered marketplace, which payment being allowed in US dollars, and Euros.


Read more on The Next Web.


WhatsApp lets users see when their messages are read

An already widely used feature in text messages and other messaging services, WhatsApp has just introduced the ability to let users send “read” receipts when they have seen a message sent to them. Previously, the famous double check mark symbol only meant that a message had been sent and then successfully delivered to a recipient’s device. The division between this and the message having been seen is now indicated by grey check marks, and blue ones for once the message is read. Users can also now hold down on the check marks to see time stamps for delivery and reading.


Read more on Mashable.


1/5th of American’s share religious views on social media

According to a report from Pew Research, 20% of adults in the United States post something about religion in a typical week. The report was based on a survey that was conducted during the months of May and June in 2014, with approximately 3,200 respondents. The same research shows that 40% of respondents shared religious views offline, so it is still less common in the social space to talk about religion. Specific groups were also shown to share more, with Evangelical Christians sharing at a 34% rate, versus unaffiliated individuals sharing at a 7% rate.

More information on Social Times.


Instagram becomes a top source of brand engagement for fans

Based on a new infographic from Simply Measured, a social tools provider, engagement with brand content on Instagram has increased by 416%. Company engagements measured were part of the Interbrand 100, and each company averaged 18,882 likes in Q3 2014, which relates to the percentage increase over the past two years. Of the Interbrand 100 companies, 86 of them have Instagram accounts, and 73% of them post at minimum once per week. 50% of engagement on Interbrand 100 company posts happen within the first 6 hours of posting.


Read more on Simply Measured.

The week in social: Tumblr autoplay, Redditmade, and Taco Bell

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Tumblr launches auto-play video ads

As a way of helping to monetize the platform further, Yahoo has introduced auto-play video ads onto the Tumblr. Video ads started playing for users this past Tuesday, and brands included for the ads are JCPenny, Hulu, Universal Pictures, Axe, and more. CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, stated that Tumblr is expected to produce $100 million in revenue in 2015. The format of the auto-play ads is different than pre-roll, as Tumblr wants to show ads to users who are interested in that content, rather than before watching the content they are searching for. In addition, Tumblr’s video player recently began to support Instagram and Vine videos, although marketers are not able to cross-post that content as ads as of yet.

More information on AdAge.


Taco Bell clears out social media pages to launch new application

In a marketing stunt aimed at getting the attention of all its fans, Taco Bell appeared to clear out the followings of its Twitter and Facebook pages, and darken its profile and cover photos to provide users with one message: that Taco Bell could be ordered through the company’s brand new mobile application. The new application lets users order food, find locations of nearby Taco Bell restaurants, and make payments by credit card. It remains to be seen if and how Taco Bell will rebuild its followings, however the company locked its main Twitter account which retains all of its 1.4 million followers, and its Facebook page still retains its 10 million likes, so it has not truly wiped its social presences clean.


Read more on AdWeek.


YouTube application now available on PlayStation 4

Google has released the YouTube app for PlayStation 4, which can be directly downloaded from the PlayStation 4. The app, which was previously available on PS3 and other gaming systems, makes its debut nearly a year after the console itself launched. Users can directly upload game-play clips to YouTube from their console using the system controller’s share button. The app also allows users to watch videos in 1080p format, and supports all of the common service’s functionality such as liking, commenting, and sharing videos.


Read more on VentureBeat.


Twitter removes Google Glass app

Twitter originally launched a Google Glass app back in May of 2013, but as of earlier this week it has been removed from the official Glass store. Prior to its removal, it was one of the featured apps in the store. There is no official cause or statement regarding its removal, but it has been speculated via Reddit that Twitter is no longer developing the app. Users on Reddit are also saying that if the Twitter app is removed, it cannot be re-installed. It remains to be seen if Twitter will issue an official statement on the matter.

More information on AllTwitter.


Reddit launches crowd-funding platform

A service made to compete with sites such as KickStarter and IndieGoGo, Reddit has created Redditmade, a crowd-funding platform with the intent of helping users fund, and manufacture designed products. The service will serve as an additional revenue stream for the company, and is an attempt to do so without angering its outspoken, vocal community. Redditmade has a focus on physical goods production, and the company takes a small cut of all the funds raised. Other revenue streams Reddit has include Gold memberships, an e-commerce site called Reddit Gifts, and advertising on its main site.


Read more on New York Times.


Facebook tweaks Build Audience buttons on Pages

Facebook has tweaked the “Build Audience” button on Pages for admins, and replaced it with “Advertise Businesses”, to be more all-encompassing. When clicking the new button, users will have options to boost their latest post, promote their page, manage all of their ads, and more. All of these options have been previously available to Page admins, so this is more of a cosmetic and user experience change. Other options including the invite friends and import contacts options have been moved to other sections of a page.

More information on AllFacebook.


Twitter appoints new head of product

In the span of 2014, Twitter has lost many key employees, including its CCO, CFO, the head of engineering, and more. But in an attempt to stabilize turnover and promote from within, the company has promoted its head of revenue products, Kevin Weil, to the head of products overall, what would be a demotion for the person in the position currently, Daniel Graf, who was hired away from Google. Part of Twitter since 2009, Weil has implemented big changes for Twitter, including the introduction of the password-killing Digits, changes to the ad platform MoPub, and new features for its various other developer tools. It remains to be seen if large changes are in the works with a new individual at the helm of product.

Read more on The Verge.


Instagram launches auto-play videos

Shortly after the announcement of auto-play video ads from Tumblr, Instagram has announced a similar feature, testing auto-play video ads with a number of specific sponsors, including Banana Republic, Lancome, and Disney. Advertisers have been keen to participate in these new ad models, but these practices have also been known to alienate users from services, and migrate to social networks such as Ello, which promise no advertising. The auto-play video ads on Instagram are 15 seconds long and feature sound, much like the standard videos posted by regular users. A specific ad from Banana Republic features use of the Hyperlapse feature.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook updates audience menu in ads manager

Facebook has changed the way audiences are managed and organized in the ads manager. Audiences can now be filtered by criteria including Quick Look, Recently Used, In Active Ads, and more. There is additionally a new audience called Event Audience, and although there are no specific instructions on how to use it, it is highly likely that this has to do with the new ability to promote events. Lastly, a new option to simplify custom audiences now exists, that lets users copy and paste customer data, rather than download a .CSV or .XLS file.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Pinterest redesigns profile pages

Earlier this week, Pinterest changed the look of its profile pages with some minor design modifications. Profile photos are now round, instead of square, and content of the user bio is centered along the top, where before it was left aligned. Under settings, users can now share their profile. Along with the same update, Pinterest improved its “internationalization” to better support the 32 languages it provides content in.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook drives majority of social referral traffic

A new report from Shareaholic, for Q3 social traffic, states that Facebook drives 25% of social referral traffic across the web. The dominant social network has nearly five times more social referral traffic than its nearest competitor, Pinterest, which comes in at 5.52%. Google+ and LinkedIn saw growth quarter over quarter, but they only account for only .07 and .04 percent of traffic. Facebook referrals have grown over 115% in the past 12 months, and Pinterest referrals have grown over 50%. Facebook remains the clear leader quarter after quarter, and Twitter is losing out in the race, with decreases quarter over quarter, this quarter at .88%.


Read more on Shareaholic.


60% of social log-ins come from Facebook

According to a new report issued this week from Gigya, provider of social management tools, 60% of social log-ins are shown to be done through Facebook. Yahoo and Google have both shown a decline where they were once more dominant, and Victor White, director of marketing communications Gigya stated of Facebook, “Facebook’s continued climb as an identity provider is likely a result of many factors but its efforts to give users more control over their data is playing a significant role”. Facebook also accounts for more than 75% of social log-ins for the non-profit and education sectors.


Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: Tsu, Facebook Rooms, and Monica Lewinsky

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Snapchat features first sponsored campaign for Ouija Movie

Snapchat has just posted its first promoted campaign, on the heels of announcements that it would start showing advertisements on its app. The first campaign, a promotion for the Ouija movie launching October 24th, is not however the first instance of brands using the ephemeral messaging service, just the first official paid placement of brand content. The ad appears as part of “recent updates” in the app, and has a sponsored icon next to it. The ad will disappear after it has been viewed, just like the majority of Snapchat content.

More information on Variety.


Spotify planning to offer family plans for up to five users

A much requested feature from users for the music streaming service, Spotify has announced plans to debut family plans for groups of us to five users. If two users are trying to listen to the music on the same account, when the second user plays a song, music that the first user is streaming stops playing, causing complaints by groups. With the new plan, families can save 50% of the normal subscription rate per person. The new plans for the popular social-sharing music service will be rolling out worldwide in the coming weeks. Other services such as Rdio already offer similar options.

Read more on The Next Web.


Monica Lewinsky officially joints Twitter

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, famous for leading an affair with former President of the United States Bill Clinton, has just opened a Twitter account as of earlier this week. Starting her account with a simple tweet stating “#HereWeGo”, the famous public speaker has a verified account, and thousands of followers. A contributor to Vanity Fair, the brand handle for the company also welcomed her to Twitter. It remains to be seen what kind of content she will push on the network or if her involvement is closely tied to Vanity Fair.


More information on Media Bistro.


Yahoo CEO details future plans for Tumblr

When announcing third-quarter results for Yahoo in an official release earlier this week, Marissa Mayer, company CEO, stated that Tumblr would be a big part of their revenue generation strategy. Forecasting $100 million of ad sales specifically for Tumblr in 2015, it shows that Yahoo is planning to lean on the social blogging network to keep the company making money. Mayer continued onto to say in a statement that over 260 of the world’s top brands have a presence on Tumblr. Overall however, quarterly ad revenue for Yahoo has been down in the past year, to $447 million, a 5% decrease.

Read more on AdWeek.


Users can now make hotel reservations on Yelp

The popular social review site for restaurants and other businesses, Yelp, now lets users make hotel reservations. The new service comes through a partnership with Hipmunk, a travel search site, and this comes on the heels of several other partnerships on the platform. These new partnerships allow users to take additional actions outside of just reviews such as making restaurant and other event reservations. The likely strategy for Yelp is to keep users on its site when they are making any sort of plans, rather than to have a user move to another site to make their reservation.


More information on The Next Web.


New social network Tsu promises revenue shares with its content creators

New social network startup company Tsu promises to be different from other social networks, in that it will allow users to “own” their audiences and the content they are creating, as well as share the revenue that is made from that content. Core features of the social network include peer to peer merchant services and fair content ownership, among others. Due to the increasing popularity of content creators on social networks, content ownership could be a key feature in determining which creators put their content on which networks. Founder of Tsu, Sebastian Sobczack, said in a statement about the network, ” With tsu, users can now maintain real ownership of the content they create and are rewarded proportionally.”


Read more on Social Times.


Mark Zuckerberg addresses Chinese students in Mandarin

Showing off an impressive skill that no one knew he had, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg addressed students at a Q&A at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in Mandarin Chinese. As part of his own self-imposed annual self-improvement challenges, Zuckerberg identifies a new skill he wants to learn and will pursue it for an entire year. In 2010, that skill was being able to speak Mandarin, Chinese. This year it has been to write one thank you note to a person each day. Currently, Facebook is still banned in China.

More information on Wired.


Twitter attracts more mobile app developers with phone numbers

A new service being offered to mobile developers through Twitter, “Digits” allows users to log into an app by submitting their phone number instead of having to enter their email address or do a social log-in with Facebook or Twitter. This new service is part of Twitter’s development tools, and among these are included ad server technology and app testing technology. This entire suite of services from Twitter is called “Fabric”, and was re-branded to this name earlier this week. Offering these new and improved tools its Twitter’s way of attracting app developers to integrate its service more, and as part of its overall strategy to expand out of just social networking into becoming a crucial app development partner.

Read more on CNet.


Facebook testing letting Page admins save draft posts

Certain Page admins on Facebook are reporting seeing a new option when creating a post directly on their page to save it as a draft for publishing later. This is not a feature that is available to all Page admins, and not one that Facebook has publicly announced either. Often times, Facebook will quietly test a new feature among a handful of users, and that is likely happening with this new feature as well. Options that are currently available for Page admins on posts include backdating, and boosting the post to show it to a wider audience.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Over half of all mothers consider quitting social media

Although moms are highly active and social media and a very effective medium for brands who want to focus their messaging on this demographic, according to new research the majority of this group has at least considered taking a break from social media. According to a report by Current Lifestyle Marketing, 53% of mothers aged 18 to 64 with at least one child have considered taking a break from, or quitting social media all together. The report goes on to say that this is the result of feeling the need to create the perfect image on social media all of the time. An additional stat from eMarketer shows that approximately 1 in 5 social media users are mothers.


Read more on AllTwitter.


Facebook launches Rooms app

A new standalone application from Facebook, the Rooms app lets users create an account without using their real name, for an increased level of privacy when discussing any topic. Users can set up a forum-like discussion thread with its own appearance and moderation settings. Inside each Room, users can share text, images, and video inside a vertical content feed. To join a Room, a user does not have to enter their email address, or even have a Facebook account, but they have to take a screenshot or have a photo of a Room’s unique QR code to enter. The Room application was built by Josh Miller and his team from Branch, a company acquired by Facebook earlier this year. Currently there is no function for discovering Rooms, and users can only enter through the aforementioned QR-code style invite system.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Buffer updates iOS app to introduce new features and native sharing

The popular social media scheduling tool Buffer has just updated its app for iOS with a host of new features, including native sharing, which makes it easier to post updates directly, using Apple devices. Users can now access the Buffer dashboard from the iPad app, allowing them to post to buffer during other activities such as browsing on Safari. Additionally, users can now send retweets through Buffer via other apps, such as Tweetbot.

More information on Marketing Land.

The week in social: Qik, Vine on Xbox, and the Walking Dead

Monday, October 20th, 2014

YouTube builds production space in Manhattan

Following up to facilities built in Tokyo and London in the last two years, YouTube has built a new production facility that resides in New York City. Slated to open on November 6th, the purpose of the studio will be to help YouTube creators bring a higher level of quality to their content, among other things. Also included will be a BrandLab, which will let brands interact with top content creators on the video sharing platform, as a way to build new partnerships. In order to gain access to the space, Creators need to have at least 5,000 subscribers and be part of YouTube’s Partner Program.

More information on New York Times.


Twitter begins offers money transfers through tweets

Through a partnership with Group BPCE, France’s second largest bank, French Twitter users will be able to send each other money, managed by the bank’s S-Money mobile payment service. The same service already allows payment through SMS. The service had an official announcement at a press conference in Paris earlier this week. The is the next move by a major social network to integrate payment and purchase options to their services.

Read more on Media Bistro.


Skype launches Skype Qik video messaging service

Aimed at keeping users connected between Skype calls, Skype has launched Skype Qik, an ephemeral video messaging service, where users can send each other short videos 1 to 1, or within groups. Each video sent lasts for two weeks, and users can erase a message earlier than that if they choose, and it will be deleted both from their record, and the inbox of the user it was sent to. Users also have the ability to block contacts if they do not want to receive messages from someone. Another feature, Qik Fliks, lets users send 5 second long GIFs as responses to longer Qik messages. Qik is currently available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.


More information on Skype Blog.


Facebook and Apple to offer egg freezing for women employees

A new perk for female employees at two of the most well known tech companies, Facebook and Apple will begin offering a perk that allows women to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons. They are two of the first companies to offer this benefit, with Facebook starting the coverage recently, and Apple planning to start in January. Costs for this type of coverage can be in excess of $10,000 for every round of egg-freezing, and $500 to store the eggs annually. These two companies offering this benefit has been seen as the next phase in the “perks arms race” in Silicon Valley. Facebook even reportedly offers new parents $4,000 to do whatever they want with.

Read more on NBC News.


First lady Michelle Obama makes viral Vine

Earlier last week, wife of the President, Michelle Obama participated in a Twitter Q&A, and during that, she answered a satirical Vine from Iman Crossan impersonating the President by posting a response that was a play on the song “Turn Down for What” on Vine. Her Vine showed her promoting her healthy eating campaign by dancing with a Turnip, and the video instantly went viral. The post has currently amassed over 25 million loops and is still going.


More information on Wall Street Journal Blog.


Mark Zuckerberg donates $25 million to help fight Ebola

In a move to help the fight against Ebola in the United States, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation. In a statement issued in a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said, “We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis…”. The post continued on to link to the CDC Foundation site with more information about Ebola.

More information on All Facebook.


Vine launches for Xbox One in 34 countries

On the heels of an announcement back in June that many more apps would soon become available for the Xbox One, Vine is now officially available for the gaming and entertainment system. The app is currently only available to Xbox Live subscribers. This is the first Vine app that has been designed specifically for the TV. Users can upload standard Vines just like on the mobile applications, but they also have the option to upload gameplay videos, an addition over the already integrated Twitch experience. The app works with Kinect, so users can make common commands using their voice to play, pause, and search.


More information on Venture Beat.


GoToMeeting comes to Android smart watches

GoToMeetings’ app is now available on Android smartwatches. The app allows you to join a meeting, mute a call, or leave a meeting. GoToMeetings created this app as a way for people to always be connected to their meetings. Although it has not been created to replace the desktop version, the added convenience will help people stay connected while they are traveling, or when they do not have access to use another device such as their computer. Smartwatches currently supported include Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, and the LG G Watch.

Read more on TechCrunch.


New infographic shows performance of the average Facebook page

Created by Quintly, a new Facebook infographic shows the average performance of all Facebook Pages by different metrics. Items measured include total number of fans, average number of posts, distribution of engagements such as likes and shares, and more. Many stats are compared year over year from 2013 to 2014, and on average, stats tend to show little to no growth. One stat of particular interest shows that with growth of fans on a Page, interaction rate lessens.


More information on Inside Facebook.


The Walking Dead tops Twitter conversation

Last week the season premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC had 17 million total viewers, beating ratings for the Sunday Night football game, and had 11 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic. Even more impressive is the Twitter conversation surrounding it, with 1.3 million tweets during the course of the episode, making it the number one drama season premiere in terms of Twitter conversation. The show also was featured as all ten of the top trending topics in the United States at one point. With reference to Facebook, over 32.1 million interactions were caused by almost 8 million users.

Read more on Media Bistro.


BBC uses Whatsapp to create an Ebola alerts system in West Africa

International news organization, BBC, is using Whatsapp in West Africa to provide up to date information on Ebola. BBC has worked with other messaging apps in the past, such as, BBM, LINE, and WeChat to report on other events. It is using Whatsapp currently so it can reach a larger number of people in affected areas who do not need to have a high-tech phone or data plan. BBC is not advertising on the platform, instead it created a free profile. As Facebook & Whatsapp have stated in the past, they have no plans on adding advertising on the messaging app; however this use of Whatsapp does highlight a potential for new marketing ventures for the app.

More information on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Facebook mobile payment, Netropolitan, and Google+ polls

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

LinkedIn now shows users why someone viewed their profile

Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced a new feature that will allow users to see the reason that someone has viewed their profile, an addition to the feature that lets users see the person who viewed it. The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature has also been added to mobile, where it was previously unavailable. With the new features, users will be able to tell if a particular action taken on their profile, such as adding a new skill, has resulted in an increase of profile viewership.


Read more on Social Times.


Twitter updates Mac app to allow multi-photo tweets

The Twitter application for Macs, which rarely ever sees an update, has received a large one in the form of the ability to share multi-photo tweets earlier this week. The new version, called 3.1, also provides support for photos in direct messages. An interesting point to note is that multi-photo tweet support is enabled on the new Mac app, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android, but it is not currently available on the web.

More information on Media Bistro.


Facebook to potentially release a mobile payment system

Code that has been discovered in the Facebook messenger app appears to leak the fact that Facebook will soon be coming out with its own mobile payment system for friends, similar to Venmo, PayPal and other payment systems. The former president of PayPal, David Marcus, is now leading the team behind Facebook Messenger, so it is likely that he drew inspiration from his previous work to help bring the rumored payment system to Facebook. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made several mentions at conferences that point to a new direction for Messenger, but there is no clear timeline on when or if the payment system will be rolled out.


Read more on Engadget.


Twitter challenges United States government about privacy

Twitter has sued the United States government for violation of the first amendment of the Constitution, citing that the government has prevented them from telling users about requests from intelligence agencies. The suit was filed this past Tuesday in California. Because Twitter’s information on users is largely public due to the nature of its service, there have not been as many requests from the government for information such as with companies like Google. However, Twitter still claims that it should have to right to share the number of requests it gets for information from intelligence agencies, no matter the number. Twitter’s coming battle with the government is on the heels of Yahoo winning a seven-year long battle to declassify documents that show the government planning to fine the web services company $250,000 each day unless requests for information were adhered to.

More information on AdWeek.


New social media site Netropolitan caters to the wealthy

The Netropolitan club is a brand new social media that promises a clean, ad-free experience. The catch? Users have to pay $9,000 to sign up, and $3,000 every year afterward to stay a member. The founder of the site, James Touchi-Peters, explained that people would be willing to pay for the site for the same reason that they would be willing to pay for a high-end country club; because of the access to people with a similar lifestyle, even though the service is not drastically different from any other social network online. It remains to be seen if the site will actually gain popularity among the wealthy, or if it is just an attempt to cash in “private” social-networking among a small group of people.

Read more on NBC News.


HTC creates smartphone focused on taking selfies

The new Desire Eye smartphone from HTC that was recently announced boasts a 13 megapixel camera not only on the back, but on the front, with the chief reason being to let owners take high-resolution selfies for posting on social networks, or sending to friends. Announced at the Double Exposure even, the cameras come with additional features, such as dual-LED flash. The software that accompanies the camera allows users to use voice command to take selfies, with the option to voice command either a photo or a video. Additional software features include a Live Makeup feature, that will smooth the skin on someone’s face in a photo. The phone will be available through AT&T in the United States starting this month.


Read more on The Next Web.


Snapchat ads coming soon to users everywhere

Earlier this week at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, the chief executive of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, revealed how ads on the ephemeral messaging service would work. They will be coming soon, appearing in the Our Story feature, and not be targeted on tastes, and also will not interrupt communications from one user to another. The Our Story feature, launched in June, serves as a tool to collect snaps of various events, such as a music festival, and has always been a likely place for sponsored content to sit. According to VentureBeat, a sales team for Snapchat ads is planned for New York, rather than the home base of the company in California. Snapchat is currently values at $10 billion, with rumored further investment on the way.

More information on VentureBeat.


Skype announces new application versions for Mac OS and Windows

This past Thursday, Skype announced updates to the Mac version of its application, Skype 7, and a preview version of 7 for the Windows operating system. This new desktop version has a high resemblance to the refreshed mobile applications, which is to say there is a larger focus on chat, and improved photo sharing capabilities. Additionally improved features include easier ways to run text chat and transfer files while on a video or audio call. When files are being shared, unique icons that display file type are also displayed so let users know what type of file they are downloading.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook introduces new ad targeting options

Facebook has released a new set of minor targeting options, further expanding the ability of users to leverage the information on a Facebook profile to hit target audiences. The new options added include friends of newly engaged users, newlyweds, and recently moved. Expats are a new targeting option as well, allowing users to target all, India, and/or Pakistan. It is likely that the Expat targeting option will expand, and that this is a functional test bed to see use and adoption of the targeting feature.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Google gets new features for polls and Hangouts

This past Thursday, Google announced several new features, firstly a poll feature for its social network Google+, and a new application for Hangouts, the popular video-chatting service, that will work on Google Chrome and Windows desktop computers, and allows users to run the service outside of a browser windows. The poll feature for Google+, something that has been available previously for Facebook, lets users poll their friends on a given question, and photos can be added to polls through Google+, image upload, or a Google image search. The new Hangouts app for Chrome and Windows lets users run a Hangout on top of other browser activities they are doing, with support for voice chat, SMS, and phone calls as well.

More information on CNet.


Facebook rumored to be launching anonymous social network

Reports have surfaced that note Facebook is preparing to launch a social network, or a derivative of Facebook, that will allow users to share content and updates anonymously. The report, from the New York Times, states the it will come in the form of a standalone app, following Facebook’s trend of splitting out specific features and functions into their own apps, such as Messenger, and the less popular Slingshot. The app is rumored to be coming out in several weeks, and will let users have pen names, so they can take part in discussions where they would otherwise feel uncomfortable releasing their real names.

Read more on Mashable.


Facebook gets revamped collage layout for photo views

This past Thursday, an update to Facebook mobile applications changed the way photos were viewed so that instead of a standard photo stream, a collage is created, with photos enlarged based on how much engagement they have received. The update currently is only available on Android and iOS versions of the application, and an additional feature is an introduction of the “uploads” tab in the photo viewer, that will let a user see every single photo someone has posted, without having to sort through various albums. According to initial tests run by Facebook, the new update has increased engagement for photos across the board.


Read more on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Atlas, mobile Like button, and Twitter’s Fabric

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Facebook lets mobile users control when videos play automatically

Facebook users who access the social network via mobile devices now have choices when it comes to auto-play videos. A new message can be found at the top of many newsfeeds titled “Control When Videos Play Automatically” that reads: “You can change your settings so that videos only play automatically when you’re using Wi-Fi. This will help to save your mobile data.” By clicking on “more information,” Facebook will outline how to turn off the auto-play feature specific to your device.


Read more on All Facebook.


LinkedIn looks to retain user trust with simpler Terms of Service

LinkedIn is streamlining its terms of service, and telling users how their content will be used. They stated in a press release: “You own your content that you post on our services. You always have, and that hasn’t changed.” The updated user agreement reads very clearly, with a left column for useful reference for users, and the legalese in a column to the right to keep the lawyers happy. LinkedIn even provides videos that lets users know, very plainly, how their content will be used, and that users always have ultimate control.

Read more on Social Times.


Everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of its revamped Atlas ad platform

Last Monday, Facebook officially introduced Atlas at Advertising Week 2014 in New York, confirming reports earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal and Ad Age. Atlas is a re-engineered version of the Atlas Advertiser Suite that Atlas developed when it was still owned by Microsoft, prior to being acquired by Facebook in February 2013, and it will provide advertisers with a greater understanding of which Facebook users have seen, interacted with or acted upon ads, as well as offering an automated demand-side platform ad-buying bidding tool, targeting Facebook users elsewhere on the Internet.


Facebook plots first steps into healthcare

The company is exploring creating online “support communities” that would connect Facebook users suffering from various ailments. A small team is also considering new “preventative care” applications that would help people improve their lifestyles. The company been holding meetings with medical industry experts and entrepreneurs, and is setting up a research and development unit to test new health apps.

Find out more on Reuters.


Twitter wants to woo back third party developers with new ‘Fabric’ app platform

Twitter Fabric, a new app development platform that will contain tools that will assist third parties in creating Twitter-friendly apps more easily. Fabric could push Twitter into competition with Facebook, Amazon and Google, all of whom are working to better integrate their systems into mobile applications. One tool in Fabric that sounds very interesting is “Digits”, which will allow developers to sign up new users by telephone number. According to The Information, Twitter has been busy signing deals with wireless carriers around the world to tap into their (SMS) text messaging systems.

Read more on Media Bistro.


Page Performance from Cool Tabs lets Facebook Page admins size up the competition

Facebook application creator Cool Tabs in the form of Page Performance, which analyzes the last 50 posts on a page and contrasts them with their rivals’ efforts. The free feature allows page admins to analyze and monitor how their pages stack up when compared with those with similar like totals. Cool Tabs CEO said, “In our experience, social network strategy should not be static, but rather it should be constantly subject to change. We know that updating a Facebook page is very easy, yet getting it to be a productive tool for our company is not quite as easy.”


More creators share videos via email than YouTube

A recent survey asked 1,031 U.S. consumers who had recorded a video in the past six months their thoughts on the medium. Most people (54 percent) create videos for the purpose of sharing on social media. In fact, more people (52 percent) share videos via email than they do on YouTube (50 percent). 92 percent voted ease-of-use the most important feature of a video-creation tool.


More information on Social Times.


Facebook launches mobile Like button

Facebook’s Like button is now available to all Android and iOS mobile app developers. People using a mobile app can now directly Like the app’s Facebook Page, or any Open Graph object within the app, and share on Facebook. The mobile Like Button works seamlessly with the Facebook account the person is logged into on their device, allowing people to Like any piece of content, while in your native app. Facebook has encouraged all app developers to ensure their Pages are updated and relevant.


Read more on Inside Facebook.


Your embedded Instagrams will now appear much bigger and clearer

Embedded Instagram photos will now be bigger and cleaner than before, with a narrower bezel around the frame and a Follow button above the image. Existing embeds featured on webpages will continue to work, but Instagram warned there may be a small time period right after the launch when embeds could be glitchy. Publishers that embed photos on websites or articles, especially media outlets, will most likely be pleased with the refreshed design and thus more inclined to embed Instagram photos.


Find out more on Mashable.


Facebook makes changes to research policies

Facebook is putting into effect a new framework that governs both internal work and research that might be published. The platform has promised an “enhanced review process” before research can begin on groups, population or content that may be considered deeply personal. The guidelines require further review if the scope of research involves a collaboration with someone in the academic community. Facebook has also created a panel that will review projects falling within the guidelines. This panel will exist in addition to Facebook’s current privacy cross-functional review process for research.


LinkedIn seeks to improve Pulse by refreshing desktop and mobile reading

LinkedIn Pulse, the service that aggregates content from authors and sorts them into channels, is evolving as LinkedIn seeks to make it a focal point of its content consumption strategy. There is now a refreshed reading layout on both the desktop and mobile versions of the site, and users can easily scroll from one article to the next through a customized news feed. Additionally, mobile users will be able to see a set of articles from the author of the article they have just read, if they are interested in seeing more from that individual. The refreshed mobile experience is available on iOS and Android currently.


Read more on The Next Web.


Reddit raises $50m in funding, plans to give 10% back to the community

Reddit has raised a $50m USD round of outside funding led by Sam Altman of the Y Combinator, as the company looks to expand to introduce new product features requested by its users, and to bolster its community management team. An interesting side of this funding however, is that the investors want to give 10% of the funding dollars, or $5m USD, back to the community. The official blog post announcing the funding did not disclose how this would be done, but it is speculated through additional sources that this may come in the form of crypto-currency to top community contributors.

More information on Reddit Blog.

The week in social: Twitter polling, Selfielapse, and Sobo

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Google drops mandatory Google+ accounts for new users

Google is no longer forcing new Gmail users to connect their account to a Google+ profile. Now when someone signs up for a Gmail account, Google has inserted a ‘no thanks’ button for those not wishing to take the plunge with Google+, although the search giant claims it remains committed to the Facebook rival. Could this be the beginning of the end for the three year old social network?


More information on Marketing Land.


Yammer co-founder creates “social soundboard” Sobo

Yammer co-founder, Alan Braverman, has launched a new iPhone and iPad app called Sobo. It’s been described as a Vine for audio and allows user to record six-second voice messages using the microphone on their device to send to friends and followers. Braverman said: “We started at six [seconds], and figured maybe we’d change it later. But then we just never did. There was never anything scientific behind it, to tell you the truth. We just said, ‘Let’s see what people can do with it.’”


Read more on The Drum.


YouTube to invest in its biggest stars to combat media rivals

Google has announced a plan to invest in YouTube’s biggest creators in order to get new show formats off-the-ground and in an effort to fend off competing media-platforms. YouTube claimed it will experiment with new video formats in the coming months to diversify its offering from the short-form formats many of its creators currently use to create content.

More information on YouTube Blog.


Facebook extends reach with new advertising platform

Facebook is nearing the launch of a new advertising platform for marketers to more effectively connect with their target audiences across multiple devices. Facebook’s new advertising platform is said to be an overhauled version of the Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad-serving platform that was purchased from Microsoft last year. The new version will be renamed just ‘Atlas’ and is expected to be a great help for marketers when it comes to targeting and measuring the effectiveness of their online advertisements.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal.


Selfie-lapse takes over

Instagram released an update for its Hyperlase app this week allowing users to use the phone’s front facing camera to take time lapse videos. An Instagram spokesperson described the update: ‘Creating a #selfielapse is as simple as tapping an icon on the app’s home screen, which toggles between the front- and rear-facing cameras. As before, a Hyperlapse video can be shared directly to your Instagram or Facebook account, or simply saved to your smartphone’s camera roll to access later.’

More information Inside Facebook.


Ello – The advert free social network

“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.” This is how the creators of Ello described the up and coming social network that they hope will become a rival to Facebook. The company also states that it won’t sell data about you to third parties and calls the collecting and selling of your data, “creepy.” Ello is currently in beta testing and only available to people that have an invitation to join, you can request yours here on their website.


Read more on Mashable.


KitKat #Bendgate tweet breaks Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ Superbowl ad Twitter record

A KitKat ad has generated over 20,000 retweets and over 9,000 favourites in just 48 hours. The ad was released amid the social media frenzy mocking a bending flaw in the new iPhone 6 dubbed #Bendgate and has become the most retweeted advert of all time on Twitter trumping previous record holder Oreo Dunk in the Dark which received 15,700 retweets and 6,500 favourites.


Read more on The Drum.


YouTube prankster hit with sexual harassment claim over ‘ass pinch’ sketch

YouTube favourite Sam Pepper has been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit after a victim failed to see the funny side of his ‘fake hand’ ass-pinch prank involving a prosthetic limb. The comedian outraged many of his 2.4m subscribers after approaching sex education activist Laci Green for his sketch, which elicited a slew of further allegations relating to Pepper’s off-screen behaviour. In response to the claims Collective Digital Studio has dropped Pepper from its multichannel network.

More information on Mashable.


Twitter working on native polling tool

Twitter is working on a new set of interactive Cards that would allow people to run polls natively across its social network. One key advantage this would offer is the ability for users to interact without being redirected away from Twitter, which would likely improve engagement rates with any polls.

Read more on The Next Web.


Hootsuite now valued at $1 billion

Hootsuite has raised $60 million in its latest round of venture capital funding, which now values the company upwards of $1 billion. Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes says that this latest funding round will likely be used for international expansion and possible acquisitions. Hootsuite are also working to bring Instagram and Snapchat into the dashboard, too.


Read more on Re/code.


You can now add items to your #AmazonWishList through Twitter

In a follow up to #AmazonCart (a hashtag-powered service that lets you put products into your Amazon shopping cart simply by replying to a tweet) Amazon are launching #AmazonWishList, a similar tool which lets you quickly add items to your Wish List.
Here’s how it works:

1. Connect your Twitter account to Amazon

2. Reply with #AmazonWishList to any tweet containing an Amazon product link (from anyone)

3. The item will be automatically added to your Amazon Wish List


Read more on Media Bistro.

The week in social: Bebo, Facebook Media, and Moments

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

YouTube stars heading to Facebook?

Facebook is looking to take on YouTube as a distribution network for online video, and has reportedly been courting some of YouTube’s top contributors and testing uploads of some of their shows directly to Facebook. Facebook is reported to have hired staff in Los Angeles to engage the YouTube stars, and are also reported to be working on new advertising units to compete with the revenues they would receive from YouTube.

More information on The Wall Street Journal.


Bebo set to make a comeback

Bebo look set to make a comeback after launching a re-brand teaser video on YouTube to showcase the service as a colorful mobile app – rather than the social network it once was. The video called ‘#Bebo – Probably not for boring people’ demonstrates how users will be able to create cartoon avatars which can be personalized to give their messages a creative flair. Additionally, the site’s whiteboard feature will make a return, with users able to send drawings to each other. However, the video has mysteriously been set to private over the last few days and is no longer available to view.


Read more on The Drum.


Facebook launches Facebook Media

Facebook has launched a new service called Facebook Media which aims to assist media companies and publishers in using its platform. The new site is geared specifically toward public figures, organizations and media companies in a similar way that Facebook for Business was set up to help advertisers. People can comb through success stories and learn how to best use products such as Facebook Mentions or videos.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Facebook building new stand-alone app Moments

Facebook is building a new standalone app codenamed “Moments” that lets you share with smaller groups of people. The app reportedly lets you tap on a group of friends you’ve created to share with them. This is easier than creating Lists and is also easier than tapping the names of your family members in an ordinary Facebook post. Moments would share directly back to Facebook, but when the people you’ve shared with see a Moment in their feed, it would be called out rather than get lost in the sea of general posts. The new app is said to most resemble Cluster (pictured below), a social networking app that lets you create “spaces” for each of your family and friend groups, and then share photos or texts with them.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Topshop create social catwalk at LFW

TopShop created a new ‘Instagram/Facebook’ powered Social Catwalk especially for London Fashion Week which allowed people from around the world to be part of the event live. The Social Catwalk debuted the latest looks exclusively on Facebook, while 5 VIP Instagramers gave unique views to the world, and invited fans to feature in their #topshopwindow … All while the new range was live streamed online with ‘Click to Buy’ linked to each outfit.


More information, check out this video.


UK social media spending to increase by 50%

The UK’s social media ad spend will rise by half this year, growing to approximately 10.5% of the UK’s overall digital ad funding, according to an industry report from eMarketer. The study projected that ad spending on social networks will rise by half in the next year and that by 2016, the social networks will account for around 15% of the nation’s digital ad investment. Facebook is predicted to dominate the market and is expected to capture 75% of the total social media ad spend.

Read more on The Drum.


Facebook updates application for iOS 8

Apple’s newly launched iOS8 comes with an update to the location services settings meaning Facebook has had to change its settings too. Before, there were only two choices for the kind of permission you could give an app: on or off. Now, there are three choices: always, while using the app, or never. Facebook have been quick to reassure users that they will not be tracking any new data with the change and that users that have previously turned on location settings will be automatically set to ‘always’ but with the option to change.

More information on Facebook Newsroom.


Time spent in social media apps rises by 40%

New data from Localytics has revealed that time spent in social networking apps has risen by 49 percent year-on-year, largely due to very strong “snacking” like behavior. Overall, people are spending about 21 percent more time in apps this year than in 2013, with music apps seeing the biggest increase – up 79 percent. Health and fitness apps were up 51 percent, with social media apps third.


More information on AllTwitter.


Instagram has revealed that they’re set to start rolling out sponsored Instagram posts in the UK imminently. The ads were announced last year, and have already rolled out in the US. Adverts on Instagram will have a “Sponsored” label where the time stamp normally would be, with users able to click on the ‘…’ button on the bottom right to hide the ad. However, the ads will not be available to all advertisers just yet with only a ‘few businesses that are already great on Instagram’ being invited to take part. “Our aim is to make any advertisements people see as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos they enjoy from brands who are already using Instagram,” spokesman Will Guyatt told the BBC.


More information on BBC.


YouTube introduces real-time analytics

YouTube has announced a major upgrade to its analytics dashboard that will provide video publishers with a minute-by-minute look at how people are watching their videos. YouTube publishers have been asking for more immediate data as previously it was very hard to determine the number of people watching in the early hours after publishing. The new dashboard shows estimated real-time viewership data for a content owner or channel’s last five published videos in two charts, minute-by-minute for the last 60 minutes and hour-by-hour for a sliding window of the last 48 hours.

Read more on The Next Web.


Twitter updates profile design for iOS

Twitter has rolled out a new profile interface for iOS users. The biggest change? They no longer hide everyone’s bio line behind a swipe. Your profile will now lead with your background image, your avatar photo, and your bio. Beneath that are three buttons: one that shows your tweets; one that shows the photos you’ve shared; and one that shows everything you’ve favorited.


More information on Twitter Blog.


Facebook updates news feed algorithm

Facebook has announced two new changes to its News Feed algorithm that will take into account how timely a post from a friend or a Page is when deciding whether to show it. News Feed will now track the latest trends and display posts related to those topics more quickly. Facebook will also take into account how likes and shares of a post trail off when deciding whether to include in your News Feed. Rather than just counting the total number of likes a post has received, the algorithm will take note whether the likes happened in the first few hours after the post went up. If engagement has died down, Facebook will take it as a sign that the post is now less relevant. Facebook is rolling out the changes gradually. The company informed Page owners that it doesn’t expect “significant changes in distribution.” However, some publishers will find that time-sensitive posts will have greater reach earlier on in the lifecycle and reduced distribution later on.


More information on Facebook Newsroom.

The week in social: Applause, Discovery, and disappearing Facebook posts

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Facebook experiments with disappearing posts

Facebook has begun testing a new feature for its iPhone app that lets users schedule posts for deletion after a certain interval of time – anything from one hour to seven days. The feature is currently being piloted and it only available to a very small number of users. This is another of Facebook’s attempts at taking on rival Snapchat and follows the launch of their Slingshot app earlier this year.


Read more on The Next Web.


Snapchat will monetize with new Discovery service

Snapchat finally looks set to reveal how they plan to monetize their increasingly popular service. They’ve recently held talks with “at least a dozen media companies, including newspapers, magazines and television networks” about a new service called “Snapchat Discovery.” Scheduled for release in November, the platform will let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen.

More information on The Wall Street Journal.


Google launches Applause for Hangouts on the air

Google have unveiled Applause, a new Hangouts on Air feature that allows viewers to give a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ during broadcasts. This new feature also generates a real-time chart documenting the audience’s feedback as it happens giving broadcasters an easy way to monitor viewers’ feelings about their efforts. Applause follows two other features, Live Q&A and Showcase, that have evolved the Hangouts on Air experience for brands and businesses. The former gives hosts the chance to solicit, select and answer questions in real-time, while the latter allows artists and brands to promote tickets and other goods.


Read more on 9 to 5 Google.


Apple gets social with Live Hub for iPhone6 launch

For the first time ever, Apple chose to roll out a Pinterest-style social hub to accompany its live stream for its annual product announcement. In addition to the live stream, Apple published photos, behind-the-scenes footage, play-by-play commentary and real-time reactions from attendees and the web. The notoriously closed-off company even added share buttons to the page to allow easy posting to Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter, all under the hashtag #AppleLive.


See the full site here.


Millions of Google passwords leaked

Earlier this week, a list of almost 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords were posted on a Russian Bitcoin forum but the passwords seem to be old, and may not actually belong to Gmail accounts. Instead, it seems that many of the passwords were taken from websites where users used their Gmail addresses to register and may be completely different to the password for their actual Gmail account. The list was posted to the Bitcoin forum this past Tuesday, and started to be covered by media only on Wednesday.

More information on Mashable.


Twitter introduces ‘Buy Now’ button

Twitter has taken a step into the world of e-commerce and launched a ‘buy now’ button. The new feature allows users to make purchases directly through Twitter without needing to leave the site / app. The team at Twitter are taking a cautious approach with the button only available to a ‘small percentage of US users’ and only featuring a small handful of 28 test partners made up of artists, brands and non-profits.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


Facebook asks users for feedback on ads

Facebook has started asking users why they chose to hide a particular ad in order to determine if it was just annoying or if it was inappropriate. Ads that are marked as offensive will be pulled from Facebook while individuals that mark ads as annoying will see less of them. Facebook say this will lead to less ads being hidden overall as users will start to see ads that are more relevant to them.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Facebook reaches 1 billion video views per day

To prove to advertisers that it’s not just YouTube that has massive video engagement online, Facebook announced that it now delivers 1 billion video views per day and will begin showing everyone view counts on publicly posted videos from users, Pages, and public figures. Whilst the figures sound promising, Facebook still has some way to go to catch up with YouTube who last said it racked up 4 billion views per day. Facebook also confirmed that it’s recommending additional videos to watch after you’ve seen one, and that video publishers can include a “call-to-action” link that viewers can click at the end of a video. Finally, it noted that video publishers and Pages now have access to previously announced deeper analytics about view counts and unique viewers, as well as how long people kept watching before moving on.

More information on TechCrunch.


Twitter announces first mobile developer conference

Earlier this week, Twitter announced Flight, their first mobile developer conference, that will take place this coming October. The company announced details over an official blog post, calling the conference “a gathering built by developers, for developers.” The conference is intended to help developers build better mobile applications using Twitter integration. At the same time, Twitter has updated its dev.twitter.com website, with new features to supposedly launch soon.


Read more on AllTwitter.


United States accounts for over 41% of all mentions on Twitter

Media monitoring company Mention released an infographic earlier this week, analyzing over two months worth of tweet data, and it shows that two out of every five tweets on average that are replies take place in the USA. The data went on to show that the most prolific posting time for replies in the US was around 3pm GMT (or 10am EST). In terms of reply sentiment however, the most positive ones come from Spain, New Zealand, and Mexico, although the English language is still the most popular in terms of tweets by language.

More information on AllTwitter.


DiGiorno Pizza becomes latest company to make a social media blunder

DiGiorno burned itself this week by joining a Twitter hashtag conversation about domestic violence – #WhyIStayed. The hashtag had become prominent following the release of a video showing Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancée Janay Rice and the news that Rice had been released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. The person running the DiGiorno account quickly realized their mistake deleted the tweet and minutes later tweeted an apology – “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.”

Read more on Digital Trends.