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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: SlideShare clipping, YouTube Gaming, and Instagram landscape

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Facebook adds a “Donate Now” button for non-profit organizations

Through a Facebook Business post earlier this week, it was announced that non-profit organizations will now have access to use a “Donate Now” button on their posts and advertisements. The button will be featured as the main call-to-action button on the Page as part of Cover Photo image, and now posts can feature the button both on desktop and mobile. Organizations must have their Page set up as “Non-Profit Organization” in order to utilize the feature.


Read more on Facebook.


LinkedIn introduces clipping for SlideShare

At the beginning of last week, LinkedIn introduced a new feature for SlideShare users called clipping, which allows them to cut particular slides or pieces of content out of one of the 18 million presentations that have been uploaded there. In addition to be able to clip, users can also share the pieces of content they glean with their network. Users can clip slides using an icon on the bottom left of their presentation window. Saved clips can then be organized into boards, similar to how Pinterest functions. Boards themselves can also be shared on LinkedIn and other social networks.

More information on SlideShare Blog.


Facebook testing new format for Story posts

Users have seen that Facebook is quietly testing a new format for posts, called a story, which allows photos to be uploaded to an album, and played in a slide-show format directly in the news feed. Facebook confirmed the test to Social Times, but with sparse details, and there is no official date or commentary on if it will be rolled out widely to all users. The format is said to be similar to the “Year in Review” option that Facebook gave users to highlight their year in Facebook interactions and posts.



Read more on Social Times.


Google debuts YouTube Gaming

Built as a social streaming service for video game players, Google has built YouTube gaming, a direct competitor to Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon approximately one year ago. To start at launch, there will be 25,000 available channels that include gameplay live streaming, promotion, gameplay footage, and other features. The search functions, powered by Google, cater to gaming audiences, and users searching for specific games will get auto-complete results that are more tied to games than general search terms. In response Twitch has been pushing to have exclusive streaming contracts with its top channels and it remains to be seen how quickly YouTube Gaming will grow. YouTube Gaming is currently available on web, iOS, and Android.

More information on The Next Web.


Twitter rumored to be testing notifications through Google Chrome

Some Google Chrome and Twitter users are receiving a new popup when they go to Twitter.com that asks for permission to send notifications for direct messages. This is not a feature that Twitter has announced, and for now appears to be only available on a PC when using Chrome, but it potentially signals a move from Twitter to attempt to integrate deeper into the web browsing experience.


Read more on Social Times.


Instagram announces landscape photo posting

On a blog post earlier this week, Instagram announced that it would be debuting a new long awaited feature, the ability to photo photos in landscape mode, or essentially not forcing users to post photos in squares anymore. The new feature also applies to portrait size pictures. The update applies to video as well, and the blog post cites that while square photos and videos are a significant part of Instagram’s identity, they want to prioritize the storytelling of its users, and especially for video they expect that this will make those stories more cinematic. As a last new feature, filters are being aggregated such that each one works with photo and video, where historically they have been separated.


Read more on Instagram Blog.


WhatsApp usage primarily takes place on Android

A new inforgraphic from GlobalWebIndex has shown that the majority of WhatsApp usage takes place on the Android. At an overwhelming 73%, the next closest platform follower is iOS at 22%. The figures include data from a larger 50,000 internet user study, and includes users from 34 countries. Although Android and iOS make up the majority percentage of users, Windows Phone has a significant stake at 10%. The latest figures for WhatsApp overall cite that there are over 800 million users of the service, making it one of the top messaging platforms available on the web and through mobile.


Read more on VentureBeat.


Facebook reaches new milestone of 1 billion users in a day

Facebook announced earlier this week that it had hit a new milestone in usage, with one billion users having logged on in a single day. The announcement came directly from Mark Zuckerberg, and interesting, because it represents nearly 1/7 of the entire world population. The world’s largest core social network, Facebook has seen tremendous growth, even past its 10th anniversary. There are no current numbers on average daily usage, but those are likely to be provided once the next quarterly report comes through from Facebook.

More information on Facebook.


MTV partners with Twitter for new Moon Man emoji ahead of VMAs

In the week leading up the Video Music Awards hosted by MTV, users who tweeted with the hashtags #VMA or #VMAs would see a brand new Moon Man designed emoji inserted into their posts. The Moon Man is the image for the award that an artist wins at the VMAs, and the emoji is meant to entice users to tweet about the show. This is not the first time that custom hashtag emojis have been available, as during the World Cup in 2014, users could tweet about their country and an associated national flag would show up in their post.

More information on AdAge.


Yahoo adds developer suite options for in-app sharing

During a conference earlier this week, Simon Khalaf of Tumblr announced that in-app sharing would be a new feature available to mobile app developers. The function allows developers to code a “share to Tumblr” button or function into their app so that pieces of content can be directly shared with a user’s Tumblr followers. To help the conversion funnel, a Tumblr user who sees shared content from an app they do not have will easily be able to single-click go into an app-store and download the app.

More information on The Next Web.

The week in social: Hangouts, MSTY, and Facebook Notes

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

New Vlogger guidelines set for UK partnerships

New guidelines for vloggers entering partnerships with brands have been published for the first time in the UK. The guidance issued by The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) follows the landmark Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling last year in which they said several vlogs praising Oreo biscuits had not been clearly marked. The CAP guidelines discuss several scenarios in which text clarifying that content is sponsored, or that a product placement arrangement is in place, might be added to videos.


See the full guidelines at CAP.



A food blogger and the owner of a bakery have been at the centre of the latest Twitter storm over a dispute surrounding free macaroons. The bakery claimed they were blackmailed after a blogger, who had been offered some free samples in return for writing a review, demanded more from the bakery in exchange for her efforts and then posted a negative review when they refused. There’s been a lot of back and forth on Twitter this week about who’s right and who’s wrong with a general consensus that both sides were at fault in some way or another.


Read more on Huffington Post.


Google Hangouts get a new stand-alone homepage

In the latest of a series of moves to downsize and restructure the struggling Google+ social network, Google have announced that Hangouts will now have their own dedicated homepage. The biggest resulting change is that users will no longer have to log in to Gmail and Google+ to access Hangouts. The new Hangouts also feature ‘an inspiring image to get you through the day,’ with images pulled from Google+.


Read more on Mashable.


New Music Messaging App, MSTY

A new app which aims to combine the best parts of Spotify and Snapchat, MSTY (‘My Song To You’), has launched worldwide giving users a new way to communicate with friends by combining music with text and photos. At launch, the app offers thousands of 30-second MSTY-curated song clips, with plans to add hundreds more each week. Once users have picked a song, they can attach a photo and type a short phrase on the image to complete the message. The London-based start-up boasts it’s the first messaging service to partner with Apple Music, Universal, Sony, and Warner. The company hopes that musical-greeting IMs will appeal to a wider audience than other messaging apps.


Read more on Fast Company.


LinkedIn launches Lookup

LinkedIn has launched a new standalone iOS app called LinkedIn Lookup in a bid to help users make better use of their co-workers’ skills. The company conducted research that suggested many corporate employees feel they could do a better job if they knew how to find out who else in the company had specific skills, and that most resorted to looking at LinkedIn rather than their own company’s intranet listings. The new app allows you to search for co-workers by name, title, current or past experience, education and specific skills. Co-workers can message each other, even if they haven’t downloaded Lookup and messages sent to LinkedIn Inboxes via Lookup don’t count towards the number of InMails users receive each month.


Read more on The Next Web.


Most popular emoji in the US revealed

With 74% of Americans now using emoji every single day, SwiftKey (creators of a popular iOS and Android keyboard app which learns and predicts users’ favourite words) have released data analysing the use of more than one billion emoji to determine the most and least popular emoji in each U.S. state.


Read more on SwiftKey.com.


Facebook overtakes Google as a traffic source for news

Facebook is starting to drive more traffic to digital media websites than Google according to new data from Parse.ly, an analytics firm which collects data for about 400 digital publishers including Conde Nast, Reuters, Mashable, and The Atlantic. Google is still the most-viewed website in the world. But when it comes to driving traffic to media sites, Facebook is now the clear winner. Facebook accounted for nearly 43% of traffic to Parse.ly’s network of media sites; generating 6 billion page views and over 1 billion unique visitors. Google, meanwhile, drove a mere 38% of traffic.


Read more on Business Insider.


Facebook gives Notes a visual overhaul

Facebook is rolling out a substantial update to Facebook Notes, the area of the site where users can write extended entries about whatever they want. The new Notes will allow users to add cover photos, resize pictures and add links or hashtags within posts. The move is thought to be a bid to compete with other popular blogging sites including Medium and Tumblr.


More information on Social Times.


Twitter unveils new name for ad platform

Twitter has renamed their Twitter Publisher Network as the ‘Twitter Audience Platform’. Twitter’s senior director of revenue products, Ameet Ranadive, told Tech Crunch that the network now reaches 700 million people, and it’s getting a new name to better reflect the reasons that advertisers like it. The rebrand is said to include several new features for advertisers looking to launch their campaigns beyond Twitter and is focused around audience and leveraging the unique data and signals that Twitter has.


More information on TechCrunch.


Twitter share price slips below IPO value for the first time ever

Twitter shares crashed below the price they were originally floated at for the first time this week as investors grow increasingly concerned about recent financial results and growth rates for monthly active users. Twitter’s inferiority to Facebook from a revenue generating perspective is still a huge alarm bell, with Facebook generating 71% more revenue per active user than Twitter in the three months to 30 June.


Read more on Wired.

The week in social: Yahoo Livetext, Twitter DM limits, and Periscope users

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Facebook Audience Network debuts new ad options

Ad options previously available on the standard ads manager for Facebook have now become options on the Audience Network. The Facebook Audience Network is a way for app developers to include Facebook advertising features into their app experience, and the new options include carousel ads, dynamic product ads, and native video ads. Facebook software engineer noted that the units being brought over to the Audience Network are those that have performed very well on Facebook Newsfeed with the in-app experience.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook improves dynamic product ads

Facebook launched dynamic product ads as a way to help marketers and advertisers reach their purchasing audience with more precision earlier this year, and several new features have just been introduced, rolling out over the next several weeks to further improve performance. Cross-sell and up-sell are the first of these features, enabling advertisers to show users related products when they have purchased something, not just after it has been placed in the cart, and this comes with the ability to define related categories with more flexibility. Additional new features include optimizing ad bids for sales versus clicks, so money is spent for the desired outcome.


Read more on Facebook Business News.


Twitter debuts full archive search

Announced on its blog earlier this week, Twitter has expanded its features for searching historical tweets through its subsidiary company Gnip, to allow users to search through the entire history of publicly indexed tweets, over nine years worth of content. Twitter ran a closed beta with a number of partners including BrandWatch, Sprout Social, Social Bro, Pulsar, and more. The features are open now to all customers of Gnip, and some of the scenarios that Twitter notes the new features would be useful for include; informing product launches, providing historical customer insights, and real-time benchmarks for Twitter advertising.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Facebook user pretends to be Target Customer Service rep on Facebook

Earlier this week, news got out of department store Target’s decision to not label toy sections by specific gender moving forward. The move prompted many Facebook users to post comments to Target’s Page agreeing or disagreeing with the sentiment. For those who disagreed, Facebook user Mike Melgaard used Target’s logo as a Facebook Page profile picture icon, and under the name “Ask ForHelp”, he posted satirical comments to said users, causing a viral movement of sharing the Page online. Melgaard was shut down after 16 hours, but not before many confused users sent snapshots of their conversations to corporate and lodged formal complains against Target for “poor customer service”.


Read more on Gizmodo.


New data shows what happens on social media in a single minute

In a new infographic from software development company Domo, it was shown what types of actions and to what scale happen online and through social media in any given minutes. Some highlights from the infographic include over 110 thousand Skype calls made, 300 hours of video uploaded on YouTube, over 1 million Vine videos looped, and over half a million swipes made on Tinder. One of the most staggering statistics shows that the global Internet population has increased by over 18 percent from 2013-2015, meaning there are now 3.2 million users connected to the Internet.


Read more on Domo.com.


Twitter removes 140 character count limit for direct messages

A much requested feature for many uses, Twitter announced this week that it would be removing the limit of 140 characters for direct message, lifting the limit to 10,000 characters. The change will take place over the course of the next several weeks, and affect users on Android, iOS, and web. Normal tweets will still be limited to 140 characters. Another feature of direct messaging that Twitter changed includes allowing any user to direct message any other, regardless of follow status.

More information on Mashable.


Snapchat introduces data saving mode

For users who have smaller data plans on their mobile devices or want to lower their overall data spend, Snapchat has introduced a new, less data-intensive mode. Called Travel Mode, users on Android and iOS can enable it, and when active, snaps and stories only load when a user clicks on them. In addition to this new mode, users can now add as many emoji as they want to individual snaps, and they can additionally export profile GIFs as a video instead of just a still image.

More information on TechCrunch.


Periscope passes 10 million users

In a blog post released earlier this week, Periscope announced that they had reached over 10 million users, approximately four months after its launch. The blog post continues to talk about how Periscope has been measuring its growth, hitting an all time high of having 45 years worth of video watched every single day, with 2 million active users everyday, 20% of its total user base. Time watched per day counts viewership on the web, a recently introduced feature that increases engagement outside of the currently existing mobile apps on Android and iOS.


Read more on Medium.


Facebook live broadcasting soon to be open to journalists and Verified Users

Facebook Mentions, the stand-alone app specifically built to let celebrities manage their Facebook interactions, will soon be available to all verified Page users, according to a statement from the company. This will include Facebook Live, the streaming service that is currently only open to celebrities but is a positioned as a live streaming function similar to Periscope and Meerkat. Although no official date has been set, it is speculated that the feature will be available before the Holidays, and there is additional speculation that Facebook Live will eventually be rolled out to all users.

More information on TechCrunch.


Yahoo Livetext messaging app now available worldwide

Yahoo’s messaging app that released last month, Livetext is now available globally for all users. The application allows users to record silent video and overlay emoji and text on top of the imagery. It is being positioned as a silent messaging app, good for school class or the workplace. Currently available on Android and iOS the app is free and has no advertising, a common tactic for new apps that are trying to build a user base quickly.

More information on International Business Times.

The week in social: Messenger for business, Kodak Moments, and Reddit guidelines

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Facebook tweaks news feed algorithm for content hiders

As part of one of the latest posts on the Facebook Newsroom, Facebook employees Sami Tas and Meihong Wang announced a change to the news feed algorithm for users who frequently hide content from their feeds. Although the percentage of users who take this action on a regular basis is small, it highly affects the content that appears in the feed, so Facebook is lessening its affect for specifically these users. Facebook expects that this will lead to a higher number of posts hidden overall as a warning to Page admins, but they also do not expect this to have a massive impact on those Pages overall metrics and performance. Organic reach for Facebook Pages, has been steadily decreasing and usually rests at between 1-2%, depending on audience size and active fans.

More information on Facebook Newsroom.


Pinterest hires former Apple designer

Susan Kare, a former Apple design lead who created popular icons such as the lasso and the paint bucket for the Macintosh OS, has just joined Pinterest as a design lead. There are no exact details on what she will be doing, but her overall role will be to improve the user interface, and she will work for the head of product, Bob Baxley, according to a press release from the company. Additional notable achievements for Kare include designed the typeface that was used in the first several generations of iPod, and working with Steve Jobs on the company he started after Apple, called NeXT, before starting her own design company.

More information on VentureBeat.


Kodak releases new photo-sharing application

In a market flooded with potential competitors, Kodak has released a brand new photo-sharing mobile application named Kodak Moments, after its famous branding tag line. The app allows users to take photos from the app itself, or pull from a photo library, share photos on Facebook, Flickr, and other social networks, and send photos wirelessly to retailers that have Kodak Kiosks and print their photos in a variety of sizes. It remains to be seen if this new app’s functionality will sway users from other popular photo-sharing apps such as Instagram.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook introduces live-streaming for public figures

In a move to potentially compete with live-streaming services Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook has just released its own service, but aimed at use for only public figures, with regular users being encourages to followed their favorites. Officially called “Live”, it is part of the Mentions app, and users can only get it if they have a verified Page. Users who can stream have the ability to post the stream onto their Facebook news feed, have comments displayed in line, and also permanently save their recording for future viewing. There are no official details on where or if this will become available for all general Facebook users.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Reddit revises content guidelines

Amid a large amount of controvery about censored content, and the general treatment of moderators and community managers over the last several months, Reddit has refreshed its content policy for all users. Previously, moderators were in charge of what content was acceptable on their subreddits, but now the company has put in place an official policy on what is and is not acceptable content to be posted to the site. In addition to this, subreddits are now subject to being either quarantined or banned for inappropriate content, according to part of the announcement from Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.

More information on Social Times.


Instagram has a strong image in the eyes of millennials

According to new data from YouGovBrandIndex, Instagram has higher levels of satisfaction and a better brand image than competitor social networks Vine and Snapchat. Based on simple prompted questions to a sample group, it was shown that Instagram users have a 64 point (from a 100 to -100 scale)) satisfaction average, a peak that was in in 2015 in late July. In comparison, Snapchat had a 31 point average, and Vine was lower at 20. Satisfaction also extends to average usage, where 37% of millennial Instagram users have logged in during the past 30 days, with only 29% on Snapchat and a lower 15% for Vine.


Read more on BrandIndex.com.


YouTube updates its video views counter

A problem that has plagued YouTube for a very long time has now been fixed. For content creators who upload videos that quickly rise in view count, it has been difficult to measure the true number of views as they increase in real-time. Previously, once a video went past 300 views, YouTube would display a “301+” view count, as the system attempted to calculate how many views were from true users, and how many were from bots. Now, the technology exists for YouTube to review video views more quickly, and accurate view counts will be displayed for all videos, according to an infographic that dictates their new process.


Read more on Mashable.


Hootsuite adds Instagram scheduling

Popular social media management tool Hootsuite has just added support for scheduling Instagram updates as part of its core features. It includes the standard scheduling features that are common to other networks that are featured on Hootsuite, but it also allows assignment of messages to team members when more than one person is accessing the account. Team workflows can also be created, including setting a process for content posting approvals, a feature generally critical for brands across other social networks. Hootsuite announced the new feature as part of a blog post and is seemingly aiming the new management features at brands and social media managers.

More information on Hootsuite Blog.


Facebook Messenger launches for businesses

Earlier this week, Facebook introduced a new way that users could get in touch with brands through a Facebook propertyl; with Facebook Messenger for business. Users who visit a brand’s website can sign up to be contacts with that business on Messenger, and brands can send customized messages for a number of different functions, including order confirmationss, general information, and more. Access to a business on Facebook Messenger also means that it can be used as a customer service channel for users directly through their mobile device without the need for a phone call. Currently, Facebook is offering this solution through a sign-up process only, and it remains to be seen if this will see wider adoption and roll-out.


Read more on Messenger.com.


Twitter introduces ads editor

In a move done likely to compete with Facebook’s power editor, Twitter earlier this week unveiled its own ads editor, which allows marketers and advertisers to edit multiple running ad campaigns at once. Users can download multiple campaigns worth of data into an Excel spreadsheet, and then make modifications to the spreadsheet and upload them back to Twitter. News campaigns can also be created by adding the necessary data into an existing spreadsheet and uploading it back to Twitter. The move is made in an effort to streamline the effort it takes to edit and create ad campaigns. Ads editor is currently only available to a select number of advertisers, but according to a blog post from the company it will be available across territories in the coming weeks.

More information on Twitter Blog.

The week in social: Yahoo Livetext, Facebook profile tags and self destructing emails

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Facebook native videos outperform YouTube, Instagram

In a recent study conducted by Locowise, 555 video-posting Facebook pages were analyzed during June to see their video-posting habits. Out of these Facebook pages, 96.4 percent of all videos posted were native Facebook videos, while YouTube accounted for 3.5 percent and Instagram only .018 percent. Native Facebook videos also trumped YouTube and Instagram in terms of video performance. Facebook native videos received an engagement rate that was 97 percent higher than YouTube and 75 percent higher than Instagram.

Read more on AdWeek.


AdEspresso launches Facebook Ads gallery

Facebook marketing partner AdEspresso announced its new tool, the Facebook Ads Gallery. The tool provides inspiration for advertisers by showcasing successful campaigns, a feature that will help businesses of all sizes grow. As of now there are over 1,500 ad examples living in the gallery. Advertisers can search for keywords, placement examples, verticals and objectives. Over 12,000 searches were conducted in one day. Top objectives searched included Sales, Lead Generation and Mobile App Installs.


Read more on Ad Week.


Pandora introduces sponsored listening

Users wanting to listen to their favorite music without being interrupted by ads now have an alternative to subscribing to Pandora One. Pandora’s Sponsored Listening feature asks users to engage with an ad in exchange for one hour of uninterrupted music. The ad, ranging from 15 seconds to 2 and a half minutes, will require the users to interact with rich media, ensuring they pay more careful attention to the ad content. Pandora’s Sponsored Listening trial period saw a 12 percent higher brand awareness and 30 percent purchase intent.


Read more on The Next Web.


Twitter introduces minor updates for iOS app

Twitter’s new update to iOS now includes options that give users a more seamless experience while using their devices. Users will now be able to favorite or reply to tweets while using other apps. In addition to this, saved drafts will be more readily available when crafting messages.

Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook to test profile tagging

Facebook will be testing a new profile tagging feature, which will allow its users to assert tags to their profiles or friends’ profiles. Tags will serve as a way to describe oneself or hobbies, such as “thinker,” or “graphic artist,” however users can also use any free-form tag they desire. Friends can “like” one another’s tags, which will cause tags to appear in order of the number of likes they received.


Read more on The Verge.


Dmail lets users retract emails

Dmail is a new app that allows users to retract emails they have regretfully sent. The app can be downloaded as an extension for Gmail and the Google Chrome browser. Once downloaded, Dmail will be placed into e-mails with the option of retracting e-mails after they have been sent. The app does have a drawback in that in order for it to work effectively, the recipient of the email must also have the Dmail extension in their browser and Gmail. Nonetheless, those guilty of sending an accidental email may be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Read more on USA Today.


Yahoo unveils new messaging app Livetext

Yahoo has launched its new app, Livetext, a messaging service that offers a unique way to communicate with friends and family. Users can send text messages during a video call, however the video will be muted. With the removal of audio Yahoo hopes to focus on real-time reactions and convenient communication while targeting young users. Livetext will offer similar features of other popular messaging services. For instance, there is no time limit for Livetext conversations and users can chat with friends using front or back-facing cameras. In the same vein as Snapchat, Livetext will also not save sent messages. Livetext is now available for download on the App Store.


Read more on Tech Times.


Periscope introduces mute feature

Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope has introduced a mute feature. The newly added mute button prevents users from being inundated with push notifications from excessive streamers. The update will ultimately help Periscope users quiet the incoming noise on the app while making their experience more user-friendly. Language preferences can also now be selected with the new update.

Read more on Mashable.


Facebook testing Buy & Sell button

Facebook is introducing its first e-commerce functionality – a new Buy & Sell button. The feature is currently being tested in Auckland, New Zealand and will direct its users to a page where they can view available items for sale in their area. The “Buy” button will allow transactions to happen instantly and can also unlock inventory data. The introduction of social selling on Facebook may very well open up the doors to large retailers and ultimately change the Facebook experience for businesses, shoppers and marketers alike.


Read more on Entrepreneur.com.


Amazon Prime Music comes to the UK

Amazon announced that its Prime Music streaming service will now be available for UK members. Paying Prime members will be offered one million tracks. The update gives current members a valuable perk to their membership while offering prospective members a reason to join the service. Though not quite on the same level as Spotify or Apple Music, at £79 Prime Music does undercut more expensive services. Prime Music libraries will also be based off of the listening habits of its UK members. The streaming service will be available for Android and iOS as well as through the browser and Amazon’s Fire tablets and smartphone.

Read more on The Guardian.


Twitter cracks down on plagiarism

Twitter is enforcing copyright rules to crack down on plagiarized posts, including jokes. Twitter will erase or hide tweets that have been stolen from their original poster, also known as the copyright holder. The policing of tweets comes after 25,000 Millennium Copyright Act notices reported last year and the well-known trolling issues that occur frequently on the platform.

Read more on Mashable.


Snapchat is fastest growing social network

It’s no secret that Snapchat has been one of the fastest growing social networks of the last few years. Now in its fourth year Snapchat has an estimated 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users. These numbers alone put Snapchat ahead of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in terms of four-year-growth comparisons for each network. Interestingly enough, while Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all generated significant revenue, Snapchat remains at $0 in revenue.


Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: Twitter Safety Center, Flipboard funding, and Sysomos buys Expion

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Facebook announces creative video ad highlights

As video becomes an increasingly important platform for Facebook, especially video ads, the company is moving to highlight the best in class creative efforts from marketers. This includes highlighting Facebook best practices, such as focusing on the story-telling aspect of a video, being cognizant of the short time for each video, and investing in proper production, among other items. Starting from June and to be featured in future months, Facebook IQ will highlight top video ad examples for marketers to see and learn from.

More information on Facebook.com.


Twitter removing backgrounds for users

Many Twitter users reported that their customized background images no longer appear on their profile pages on web. Confirmed by Twitter, the backgrounds were officially removed from home and notification timelines on Monday and replaced with a plain light blue color that many users have been complaining about. A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to Mashable earlier last week, “We’re removing background images from the home and notifications timelines on web for all users,”. Although the change actually started at the end of last year when profiles were redesigned, it was only slowly rolled out and more users recently discovered the change.


Read more on Mashable.


Facebook unveils secret video options for publishers

Facebook introduced a new video upload option similar to YouTube’s unlisted videos, called secret videos. This allows the video only to be viewed if a user has the direct URL or if the uploader embeds the video onto a website or another digital property. The video will not show up on the respective Page’s feed or on Facebook in general. In addition, several new customization options are available, including restricting audiences by age and gender, customizing the video with chosen thumbnails, categorizing the video by an interest category, and more.


Read more on The Next Web.


Sysomos buys Expion

Sysomos, a social listening tool company purchased Expion, a company that specializes in content optimization and social media management. With the combination of their companies, they will provide analytics to over 1,500 companies. As part of a general expansion, Sysomos stated that it will expand to 500 employees by the end of the year, with offices in ten cities around the world. The companies hope that with their large data processing capacity and capabilities with content management they will be able to provide a better customer experience.

More information on Social Times.


Periscope use slightly higher than Meerkat

In a study done by GlobalWebIndex of almost 50 thousand web users for Q2 2015, it was found that approximately 1% of them had used Periscope, and 0.9% of them had used Meerkat in the last month. When this is broken down by age category however, there are stark differences that lean in favor of either network. For example, 19% of the 0.9% on Meerkat is within the 16-24 age range, while 32% of the 1% for Periscope are in that range, arguably one of the most important categories.


Read more on GlobalWebIndex.


Pinterest introduces integration button for iOS

Pinterest unveiled a new feature for iOS that allows users to take content that is shared to them via their iOS device and pin it directly to a board to let them read later. In order to enable this feature, users have to choose to send/save a piece of content, and then enable Pinterest as one of the send options to save it automatically to a board. Pinterest explained how the options work through a blog post with an animated GIF to make it easy to explain to users. Android and web users have other options available to them that are also highlighted on the same blog post from the company.

More information on Pinterest Blog.


Facebook continues to lead for social log-ins

According to new data from Gigya, an identity management company, Facebook is still the dominant company in terms of social log-in, an option for users to log-in to services utilizing already existing credentials from social networks or other digital services. However the report also indicates that other services are growing in influence. While Facebook has a generally strong hold globally, it lost 5% of its share in both Africa and the Middle East. Amazon and PayPal are increasing in log-in services specifically for when it comes to purchases, likely as they are more associated with online buying in comparison to Facebook.


Read more on Social Times.


Twitter launches Safety Center

To help combat the problem it has with trolls on its service, Twitter is rolling out a new Safety Center, aimed at providing resources to users to help them not only deal with trolls, but also educate overall users on policies about abuse and trolling. Most of the content is not said to be new, according to Mashable, and provides somewhat obvious tips for how to stay safe on the service. The major complaint is that the Safety Center itself doesn’t do much to actual stop trolling.

More information on Mashable.


Flipboard confirms new round of funding

Earlier this week, Flipboard announced it secured an additional $50 million in funding from partner JP Morgan as a sole investor. While the company did not provide a valuation for this round of funding, the company is likely valued at between $800 million and $1.32 billion. At the time of the announcement, the company also released figures on usage, citing that there are 72 million monthly active users, the majority of which use the service on mobile. In terms of new users, Flipboard registers anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 per day.

More information on TechCrunch.


Google updates the YouTube mobile app with new tabs

New updates have been made to the YouTube mobile app to help navigate its services more easily. The tabs, for Subscriptions, Account, and Home, are currently available on Android devices, and will be out soon for iOS, although the timeline is not officially confirmed. In addition to the tabs, which offer familiar functionality, new features for videos are also available, such as editing a piece of footage, tinting images using filters, adding music, and uploading through the app. More updates are coming soon according to YouTube in the form of improvements to the app experience.


Read more on The Next Web.

The week in social: Snapchat Discover, parents on social, and Moneypenny

Monday, July 20th, 2015

News habits of social media users

Users of social media in majority see their network of choice as a source of news, according to research from the Pew Research Center, in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For both Facebook and Twitter, 63% of users see their network as a source of news, while 59% of Twitter users consider it a source of breaking news, while on Facebook that number is only 31%, potentially due to the real-time chronological order of the general Twitter feed. These number are up considerably from 2013, where only 52% on Twitter and 47% on Facebook used the networks for news.


Read more on Journalism.org.


Facebook testing virtual shopping assistant for Messenger

Facebook has been moving towards making its standalone Messenger app a destination for mobile online shopping, and its latest move aims to make that transition even easier for users. It is rumored that Facebook is developing a digital assistant similar to Siri with the function primarily being helping users shop online through the app, versus being built for productivity. The virtual assistant connects to real people to help get shopping done, and is currently being referred to as “Moneypenny”, a reference to James Bond.

More information on The Information.


Facebook testing an insights button for Page posts

Facebook is quietly testing a new function to help get Page administrators more direct access to Page insights by adding a “View Insights” button to Page posts. The data gives a top-line view of performance for the post in question, showing how many people have been reached, a comparison against the average, and the total number of post clicks, or engagements. Although deeper analytics can be gathered by searching for the specific post within the page insights, the new function is likely meant to provide a quick summary.


Read more on Social Times.


Social log-in increases in the US and UK

In a report from Gigya, social log-in is shown to have increased in usage in the last three years in both the United States, and the United Kingdom. The percentage is higher in the United States, with 88% of users having utilized social log-in, with the United Kingdom at 66%. Since the last study completed in 2012, usage has increased in the United States by over 1/3, at 35%. Users have cited comments reasons for social log-in use, specifically not wanting to fill out additional online registration forms, and not wanting to create and then have to remember additional log-in information.


Read more on Gigya.com.


Gamers are more active on Twitter and Reddit

A new study from ShareThis has uncovered that Gamers are generally more active on social media than other users, with 27% of gamers sharing video content related to their games on social networks, and sharing an average of three gaming related stories per week across networks. The study additionally showed that gamers are influential among their peers, with 68% of gamers on social networks clicking on something posted by a user with a similar profile. Lastly, gamers are seen to use Twitter three times more, and Reddit two times more than the average social sharers.


Read more on ShareThis.


Facebook testing a Watch Later button for videos

As Facebook moves to compete with other social networks for video views from users, it is consistently testing and adding new features to the service. The latest is the ability to click a button that appears on the top right of a video to watch later, with the videos going into the “Saved” folder, where a collection of stories and content that the user saves is stored, including link posts, which is already an available feature as of last July. There is no official word yet from Facebook on when or if saved videos will be rolled out to the wider audience.

More information on TechCrunch.


Yik Yak messaging service adding photos for posts

Yik Yak, the privacy-minded anonymous social network, announced earlier this week that users would now be allowed to add photos to their posts. Photos on posts is the largest feature addition to the service in approximately a year, and it was previously tested with a number of communities on the network before being officially announced. In order to prevent an influx of spam from the use of this feature as well as general bots, mobile device verification will be required before new users can sign up and post. The company has also stated through an official blog post that additional photo features will be coming soon.

More information on Social Times.


Mothers are the more engaged parents on social media

In a combination study between University of Michigan’s School of Information and the Pew Research Center, it was found that the majority of parents (75%) use social media, with mothers being the most heavily engaged. Additionally, it was found that the percentage among each parenting group differed, with 81% of mothers total being on social media, with only 66% of fathers. 79% of the parents that do use social media say that they find useful information across their networks, and 81% of the same group attempt to respond to good news that is shared online on social.


Read more on Pew Internet.


Twitter releases data dashboard to help users track third-party access

In an effort to provide more transparency to its users, Twitter has just released a new data dashboard that allows users to track the activity of their log-ins to see when they logged in, from what device, and to what applications they have given access to their Twitter account for various purposes. The dashboard also links directly to any apps that are currently linked to a user’s Twitter account for easy capability to disallow access.

More information on TechCrunch.


Snapchat redesigns stories section

Earlier this week, Snapchat updated its stories feature on the iOS app to prioritize content from its publishing partners to show Discover and Live Stories above stories from contacts and friends. Partners for Snapchat include companies like VICE, ESPN, and Yahoo. This is likely a follow up to Evan Spiegel’s unveiling of Snapchat’s new ads approach at Cannes. Snapchat is currently valued at $16 billion, and is increasing the ways in which advertisers connect with its large audience.

More information on Mashable.

The week in social: Twitter birthdays, Messenger GIFs, & Meerkat Library

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Facebook redesigns Support inbox

Last week, Facebook quietly changed the design of its Support inbox to match other tweaks being made around the site. The new design features an introduction that provides bullets on what the inbox is best used for, with a feed of communications between Support and the user underneath. To the right, Help Center and Community Standards content are featured, with a search function and links to popular articles.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook adds new apps for GIFs in Messenger

Facebook Messenger recently released a series of GIF apps from third-parties to use and spice up conversations. They are currently testing GIF buttons, which allow users to find and send images in only two taps, making the process much easier. The button skims trending GIFs from Giphy and Riffsy, the companies that produced apps for Messenger.

More information on TechCrunch.


Users can now add birthdays to Twitter profiles

To keep followers more engaged, users can now add their birth date to their Twitter profile. Adding a birth date is completely optional and users are able to select who views it. The birth year is separate from the settings of the month and day, allowing users to expose as much or as little as they wish. Twitter will also use the new feature to show more relevant content and advertisements.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Twitter debuts video app download ads

Twitter is allowing advertisers to drive app installs directly from promoted videos. Statistics show that two-thirds of app installs for gaming companies come from video ads as opposed to still photos. This will now allow app install advertisers to optimize their bids according to install, paying by app click, which will ideally save money against social engagements on ads and achieve greater ROI.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


Facebook updates the design of its Friends icon

Facebook tweaked its friend’s icon that carried controversial symbolism. A designer at Facebook headquarters first noticed the icon and felt obliged to take action. It is speculated that the previous design was not done with ill intention, but rather a lack of consideration. The women was positioned slightly behind the man, shorter, and with a chip in her shoulder. The new icon shows the man and woman at the same height and intends to display a perspective of gender equality.


Read more on Medium.com.


Facebook redefines cost per click for advertising options

Facebook redefined cost per click to benefit advertisers and their objectives. Currently CPC accounts for any click within an ad unit. This could be a like, comment, share, a click to a website, or to “continue reading.” With the new update, CPC will only account for clicks related to certain ad objectives. This includes clicks to another website, a call to action, to install an app, and clicks to view a video on another site. The update will provide more precise measurements for advertisers and how they are bidding so they can reach their campaign goals.

More information on Facebook Business News.


Facebook debuts updated controls for the News Feed

Facebook released new tools with features to make the social media experience more personal. One feature allows users to select friend pages they want to see first on their New Feeds. The tools will also suggest Pages to connect to based on previous Pages users have liked. The last feature will contain a list of top people, Pages, and groups the user has seen in the News Feed over the past week. There will be an option to unfollow any friend or page or choose to re-follow someone they may have unfollowed in the past.

More information on Facebook News Room.


Meerkat adds additional interactive features

Updates from Meerkat will make the broadcasting experience more interactive. Broadcasters can now invite viewers to take over their stream for up to sixty seconds. Users simply tap a viewer’s profile and invite them to their stream. The broadcast becomes more intimate and encourages shared experiences. Another update connects Meerkat with Facebook and notifies users when a friend or page they have liked joins the network. The final update includes a Meerkat Library that saves streams to every user’s personal history and allows them to choose which to share with their followers.


Read more on Medium.com.


Instagram will soon support high resolution photo upload

Previously, Instagram allowed users to upload photos only in a maximum resolution of 640 x 640 pixels, but now the Android and iOS apps will allow uploads in 1080 x 1080 resolution, confirmed to CNET by an Instagram spokesperson this past Monday. There are still some unknown details, as the update will roll out progressively to all users. There was previously a rumor of the increasing upload resolution uncovered when analysis of the apps source code saw a reference to “1080px”.

More information on CNET.


Facebook testing new pop out video feature

Some users on Facebook have reported seeing a new feature in the video player that allows them to pop a video out of the News Feed to watch in a separate window. The feature exists as a button on the video player itself next to the full-screen and HD buttons. There is no official word on this from Facebook on if or when this would roll out to all users.


Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: Facebook logo, Meerkat embedded, and Bing linking

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Facebook updates photo upload features

Uploading photos on Facebook just got more interesting with new editing abilities. The new photo uploader will allow for added text in any color, filers, and the use of Facebook’s stickers. This may seem familiar to users of multiple social networks, as Snapchat has similar editing effects. The new tools are said to allow for people to be more creative as they share moments with family and friends.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Instagram awards winners of iconic photo recreations

Instagram announced the winners of their Iconic Photo Contest. Participants were asked to reinvent classic photos from the past and add the tag #RecreatedClassics. Photos were judged on originality, creativity, and inspiration. Three winners were chosen and all will receive a limited edition Leica camera to continue nurturing their passion for photography.

More information on Instagram Blog.


Atmospheir relaunches on iPhone

The days of business cards for networking may be in the past as the app Atmospheir launched its redesign and relaunch for the iPhone. While tangible cards are often lost or shoved in the back of a desk drawer, the app acts as an address book and makes sharing information easier between users. It automatically updates as contact information changes. Each card contains only what the user wants from email, phone, address, education, birthdays, work titles, and websites. Users can add links to over 20 social media sites, broadening the ability to connect and communicate with others. Outside of shared information, users can send text messages, voice, photo, GIF, location or video messages to their contacts. The app will be available for Android later this year.


Read more on Atmospheir.com.


Facebook to launch redesigned Comments plugin

As announced on Facebook Media earlier this week, a new comments plugin will be available shortly. It will have a new layout, better spam control, and additional changes on the comments front end. With a cleaner design, the plugin will be more compatible for more sites and will be optimized for mobile. Users don’t have the option whether to update, as it will be done automatically cross-platform.


Read more on Facebook Media.


Facebook updates News Feed algorithm

With an ever-changing algorithm, Facebook has tweaked the News Feed once again. Research showed that although people don’t always want to like or comment on a post, they may still be interested. Now the feed will account for the amount of time people spend on a story relative to other content in their feed. It will calculate videos that are played and articles that are opened as well as whether a person turns the volume up or makes the video full screen. The goal, according to Facebook, is show people more of what they want to see and less of what they don’t.

Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Facebook changes video advertising constraints

As video advertising on Facebook has become increasingly popular, advertisers were concerned with the effectiveness of their ads as users scroll past them without absorbing the information in many cases. They were unhappy with Facebook’s policy to pay for advertising space, even when it was ineffective. Facebook argued that its ads provide value to advertisers the second they are displayed, even without sounds, however the company has agreed to the “10-second option” after receiving feedback from advertising partners. This means that unless a user views a video ad for at least 10 seconds, the advertisers does not have to pay for it. This will potentially ensure more effective brand messaging from the advertiser.

More information on Wall Street Journal.


Facebook Pages see increase in Likes

Based on research from Locowise, it was found that Pages saw organic growth in Likes of 0.2% this past May. This is compared with 1.95 percent on Instagram. In addition, of pages measured for May, there was 8.34% reach of each post by number of total Likes, and engagement of 6.61% per post of all users that were reached. Videos were also the content most seen by users who Liked Pages, at nearly 12% with links and photos coming in afterwards.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook slightly updates logo

A change so small that many users may not have noticed, Facebook updated its logo earlier this week. The logo remains mostly the same, with white text and a blue background as users are familiar with, but the text itself is now slightly thinner, and the “a” has an updated look to it. Previously, the logo was using the “Klavika” font, but now it is using a custom font, according to the company.


Read more on Mashable.


Bing partners with Facebook to expand App Linking

App Linking on Facebook, a measure introduced to provide deep app linking as a cross platform standard, was announced to be expanded with a partnership with Bing on the Facebook Developer’s blog. What this means is that users who are searching on Bing on mobile devices can click on results that would normally take more than one action on another specific mobile app and be sent straight to the respective page. For example, if a user searches for the Instagram page of a particular user, they can bring up that page on the Instagram mobile app directly, instead of opening just the main app, and then searching again for the page they want.


Read more on Facebook Developers Blog.


Meerkat debuts embeddable video player

As Meerkat continues to battle with similar live-streaming social app Periscope, it has now debuted an embeddable player, so that Meerkat streams can be viewed on other digital platforms. The announcement came as Meerkat is partnering with Discovery Channel to stream content related to the upcoming Shark Week, starting July 5th. Meerkat users can also see content in the app itself, by following @SharkWeek. Meerkat is using partnerships and a public API to encourage more use of its app as it battles competitor Periscope.

More information on TechCrunch.

The week in social: FB video insights, Instagram Explore, and Meerkat points

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Instagram updates the Explore page with new features

Earlier this week, Instagram announced two brand new features via its blog, the recreation of its Explore tab on the mobile app, and an improved search function. The Explore tab now allows users to easily look at popular hashtagged photos, as well as popular locations. The top of the Explore tab will feature periodically rotating top collections for users to explore. The search feature has been improved such that users can search for not only hashtags and other user accounts, but specific locations so they can see photos that were taken at a particular place. The updated features are available on both iOS and Android with version 7.0.


Read more on Instagram Blog.


Facebook Messenger no longer requires a Facebook account

For users in the United States, Canada, Peru, and Venezuela, Facebook is allowing Messenger sign-up without having a Facebook account, in order to make the process more seamless for new users. When signing up after downloading the mobile app, all users have to provide is their mobile phone number, a photo, and their name. A News Room post on Facebook goes on the explain that there are additional benefits of signing up with a full Facebook account, such as being able to message Facebook friends straight from the start, but this is likely a move to help make Facebook Messenger a default messaging choice for mobile users in a crowded space.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Facebook launches Celebrate Pride tool with rainbow photo filter

After the ruling by the Supreme Court in the United States legalizing gay marriage, Facebook introduced a tool to help celebrate the ruling, that allows users to click a single button to place a transparent rainbow filter across their profile photos. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the tool, which allows users to preview their photo first before making it the default. As the ruling was top news across traditional as well as social media outlets, many brand and news outlet logos also changed their logos to feature a Rainbow pattern, separate from what Facebook offers to individual users.


Read more on Forbes.


Facebook users can now set expiration dates for videos

Previously only an option for status posts, Facebook now allows Page admins to set expiration dates for natively uploaded videos. Although there was no large announcement made, Facebook updated the related Help entry on its site that defined how the new feature would work. In order to set an expiration date, the user simply has to click the button beneath “Schedule Publish Date” to turn on expiration, and select the date to decide when it is taken offline. Reasons for admins to want videos to expire could be due to a limited length for a particular campaign, or alternately a seasonal message that would not be relevant after a set period of time.


Read more on Social Times.


Snapchat launches native ad format

Earlier this week at Cannes, CEO of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, released a video that explains the benefits of Snapchat’s ad model, the vertical video view, or V3 as it is being called. Utilizing this native ad format, Snapchat is under pressure to make money off of its over 100 million registered users, with benefits being that it takes up the entire screen, much like a typical Snap, whereas Facebook and YouTube ads only take up the part of the app screen where the video is being viewed, often times not the full screen by default. The Ads section of the Snapchat website further backs up benefits of advertising on the platform, with user data broken down by age, video view stats, and more.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Users can now search for and add links to posts right within the Facebook iOS app

A new option that is available on Facebook for iOS, users can now search for links to accompany their status updates straight within the app, instead of searching for content on an outside web browser. In order to utilize the new feature, users only have to click the paperclip icon when creating a new status update, and typing the subject of the story will link them to possible content that matches what they are trying to highlight.


Read more on Facebook Engineering Blog.


Facebook ads video tab to insights page

As videos are becoming a larger portion of what marketers are using as tools on Facebook, the service is now offering a tab specific to video analytics on its Page insights. Data displayed on the tab includes video views at the Page level, top videos by date range specified, and metrics from videos shared by other Pages. It is likely that the analytics provided here will expand through user demand or testing by Facebook. In the coming weeks, the tab features will be available globally on Facebook, and also through the Insights API.

More information on Facebook Media Blog.


Users can now watch Periscope replays online

A common complaint for users of mobile live-streaming apps as of late has been the inability to watch streams after they’ve ended. This was solved for Periscope users to an extent with the ability to watch streams for up to 24 hours after they aired through the Android and iOS apps, but the functionality is now being extended to the web. With web replays, users only have to click a link to a stream from a post online, and the stream will open up in a new browser tab to be watched from the start. It is speculated that the 24 hour limit for replays will be removed as more influencers and entertainment personalities are developing presences on the network.

More information on The Verge.


Facebook providing badges for Page admins who respond quickly

Some Page admin users on Facebook are discovering that they have received badges for being able to respond to user comments quickly. For admins that respond to 90 percent of messages or more in under five minutes each over the course of a week, they will receive the badge for display. Response Rate and Response Time are indicators that are only being shown on some Pages however, so it is likely that Facebook is quietly testing this feature for now.


Read more on Social Times.


Meerkat updates rewards and points system

As a method of rewarding engagement and encouraging use of its platform, Meerkat, the other popular live-streaming mobile app, developed a leader-board and a points system, but it is now expanding this offering. Users who engage with upcoming streams and participate when content goes live will gain additional points within the system as additional incentive. Meerkat was prompted to make the announcement as users have noticed their Meerkat scores changing even while they were not actually streaming. An official blog post from the company states that interaction between people is the most important part of the experience, and that users should be rewarded for that.

More information on Medium.