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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Buyable pins, Twitter Moments, and Facebook Reactions

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Pinterest improves buyable pins options

Announced through a blog post last Monday, Pinterest has expanded the merchants and platforms that buyable pins are compatible with. New partnerships between Pinterest and Bigcommerce, IBM Commerce and Magento will allow new merchants to leverage buyable pins to help consumers makes purchases direct through the social network. Specific merchants that will be offering buyable pins include Bloomingdale’s, Wayfair, DVF, and Steven Alan. As part of the blog post, Pinterest also announced that there are now over 60 million buyable pins available. Pinterest went on to cite that buyable pins have a 2x conversion rate in comparison to other mobile pins, touting the effectiveness of this offering.


Read more on Pinterest Blog.


Twitter launches Moments

As a way of helping more new users get into Twitter, the company has announced an launched a new feature called Moments. Moments aggregates customized pages for real-time events that allow users to follow conversations from many different accounts they may not follow. Users have to click the lightning bolt icon on the menu of their mobile app and they are brought to an intro page that has a short description and conversation highlights around the subject. Users also have the option to tweet about the moment with a prompt in the menu. If a user chooses to follow a moment, tweets that are related to it will be temporarily blended into the main timeline.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


YouTube releases updated app on iOS

In an effort to encourage more creators to take their work mobile, Google has released a new YouTube app for iOS with enhanced video editing tools. For general use, the new three main tabs are Account, Home, and Subscriptions. The video editing features include the ability to trim an uploaded video, add filters, and add music. Any music that is added to a video can be previewed first and can be chosen from a collection offered by YouTube or uploaded straight from the mobile device.

More information on Social Times.


Facebook launches Lead ads

A new format that has been in testing for the past several months, Facebook has just officially rolled out Lead ads. Aimed at making the process of subscribing to a service, newsletter, or another list easier, Lead ads will popular a form from the advertiser with pre-existing Facebook data from that user. Land Rover is among the brands using the new type of ad, and it was found that in A/B testing between Lead ads, and website link click ads, the Lead ads were more effective at gathering potential customer information. Additional features of the Lead ads include conversion tracking to calculate the return on investment for spending against the new ad format.


Read more on Biz Community.


Facebook testing Reactions instead of Dislike button

News broke several weeks ago from Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook was looking into a form of a Dislike button that would allow users to express empathy for a number of given situations where the traditional “like” may not be appropriate. The new expressions have now come in a user test in the form of Reactions, which are animated emoji to represent Like, Love, “HaHa”, “Yay”, “Wow”, Sad, and Angry. The impetus behind the different reactions is to give the user more options to express themselves, according to Zuckerberg. Currently, only users in Ireland and Spain are receiving the emojis for use, and it remains to be seen when they will be launched to the rest of the world.


Read more on Engadget.


Pinterest updates search for international content

With roughly half of the 100 million active users on Pinterest residing outside of the US, the company has taken some steps as of earlier this week to ensure that people searching on the network are receiving locally relevant content. Search results are customized now by country and by language, so if a user were to search for receipes in the United States, they would see results in English, with pins from other US users. In addition to this announcement, the blog for Pinterest cited that spell checking and search suggestions would become available for users in French, German, Portuguese, and Japanese.

More information on Pinterest Blog.


Twitter updates emojis for Direct Messages

One of the new small changes made to Twitter as Jack Dorsey is taking back control of the company as CEO, is how emojis appear in Direct Messages. Taking a hint from other messaging services, when an Emoji is posted by itself as a message, it will appear at larger than its normal size to emphasize the emotion that goes along with it. The change works for Twitter on the web and within mobile apps, but it is unclear if this support will carry over to third party tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

More information on Mashable.


Facebook debuts a feature to add college borders to profile photos

As the fall season goes into full swings, Facebook is debuting a new feature to let users show off their college pride in the US. The new feature lets users add a border around their profile photo with their college of choice, and it is being called team frames. This follows the trend of Facebook letting users temporarily change their profile photo to a different color for a cause, and also letting their profile photo be a looping video instead of a static image. The individual colleges features designed their own frames in combination with the Facebook product team.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Twitter expands its Amplify ad platform

In a bid to serve more high quality video content to users and help its creators monetize their efforts, Twitter announced earlier this week that it is expanding its Amplify ad platform, to allow advertisers that are part of a beta program to select categories of content and audiences they want to sponsor video content for. Previously, advertising sponsors would make a partnership with a specific content creator to advertise with pre-roll on top of that video content, but now advertisers can choose specific categories and audiences in such a way that it expands their potential reach. Content creators consist of brands from sports, news, and entertainment, and Twitter has cited through its blog post that it plans to expand the program globally in the coming months.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


LinkedIn is making groups private

As part of updates that will taking place on October 14th, LinkedIn will be making all groups, a feature introduced in 2004, only available privately to the members who are part of them. This is in part an effort to improve the quality and experience of the groups themselves, as users have been complained that there is an abundance of spam and self-promotion in the groups. In addition, LinkedIn will be launching a stand-alone app just for groups, to push the feature further after the change has been made, but the app will only be available on iOS to start. Additional features for groups will include adding images into conversation threads, improved filtering, and moderation.

More information on Marketing Land.

The week in social: Lobster on YouTube, the reality of Peeple, and verifying the Obvious

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Twitter expanding “Buy Now”

Twitter is ramping up its effort to close the loop on sales-over-social by extending their partnerships with Shopify, Demandware and Bigcommerce. These expanded relationships will bring opportunities for more vendors to enable “Buy Now” functionality to their posts. Best Buy, Adidas and PacSun are all rumored to be on board to provide social ads that don’t just redirect, but cut down on steps and friction along the purchase process.

Read more at Tech Crunch


Lobster partners with YouTube

Lobster has succeeded in placing themselves at the intersection of content creators in the wild, and companies seeking media assets. If you think that picture of a pumpkin patch on Instagram is perfect for your fall campaign, Lobster will contact the rights holder and negotiate the contract for you to do just that. This week, the company has made a huge step forward by confirming a deal with YouTube.

Read more at Tech Crunch


Twitter won’t verify the Obvious

A coffee retailer’s latte has a verified Twitter account. A brand’s concept of disorder and chaos has a verified Twitter account. A cereal cartoon has a verified Twitter account. Even a media company’s broad caricature of a human has a verified Twitter account. Despite all this, Captain Obvious continues an unanswered campaign for Twitter to verify and legitimize his identity. Note: this author, Captain Obvious, and The Most Interesting Man in the World all continue unverified, demonstrating a 3-point trend of bias against truly great beards.

Read more at AdWeek


Edward Snowden joins Twitter

In 5 days, Edward Snowden has amassed 1.34 million followers on Twitter. His first tweet “Can you hear me now” earned 120k retweets. Snowden has kept up a strong initial content push, trading tweets with Neil deGrasse Tyson, poking fun at the NSA, and complaining about 47GBs of notifications in his inbox … and yes, his account is verified.

Read more at The Next Web and Twitter



Klink is a new photo sharing social platform that has recently wrapped a 3 month beta. The company is promoting the app first and foremost as a social sharing channel, while promising users $2 for every 1,000 unique views to an image. Meanwhile, users can pay $.99 to feature their images and lift content above the noise floor. This type of pricing model will be an interesting study as the demand for promotion interacts directly with the supply of attention.

Read more at The Next Web


FourSquare and OpenTable

FourSquare and OpenTable have had a long standing relationship, and they’ve recently improved their user experience. An update released this week will enable OpenTable reservations to be secured directly within the FourSquare app. It’s a small feature that cuts down on clicks, and demonstrates the demand for companies to simplify the conversion process on mobile.

On the other hand, OpenTable is also experimenting with Uber-style surge pricing for hard-to-get reservations. The intersection of providing easier usage while also raising prices based on demand represents an interesting company picture.

Read more at The Next Web


Peeple, the answer for a problem no one has

At last, a place on the internet where people can judge others without recourse. No doubt you’ve heard already of Peeple, the Yelp-style rating app for humanity at large. The app promises users the ability to rate other human beings with the same ease and care with which they rate their local taco stand. While the predictable (and perhaps valid) backlash has been widely covered this week, some are speculating that the whole idea is simply a hoax gone wrong.

Read more at The Washington Post and Newsweek


Google acquires Jibe

Google is betting heavy on Rich Communication Services (RCS) to pick up the slack where SMS has left off. “The features in SMS have not kept up with modern messaging apps” says Android’s Minister of Messaging. RCS handles rich media such as high-resolution photo and video, and can be expanded into applications like screen sharing and location mapping. Jibe has been working on RCS since 2010, and appears to be saddled with the responsibility of integrating RCS into Android along side Google Voice and Google Hangouts.

Read more at Silicon Angle


Mobile timeline facelift

Facebook is rehashing the look and feel of the mobile timeline, creating more robust opportunity for identity expression. Users can create a featured photo gallery, produce a short bio & detail section, and elect to display their friend gallery above their activity timeline. FB is also testing the waters with replacing the profile pic with a short looping video.

Notably, the option to produce and post brief animations with minimal effort follows the social trends set this summer, like the Live Photo feature announced by Apple, and the GoPro’s recent addition of Trim & Share.

Read more at Social Times


Facebook ad updates

Four new ad options have surfaced at Facebook this last week. Most interesting among them is the introduction of Brand Awareness Optimization, which is said to target viewers that are most likely to recall a brand’s ads. There has long been a need for this type of targeting, though the methodology for finding these viewers is vague at best. FB’s feature updates also include the addition of video to carousel format, TRP style ad buying for cross-platform planning, and mobile polling.

Read more at Facebook Business

The week in social: Flagship, Twitter polls, and Facebook 360 video

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Instagram reaches 400 million users

Instagram reached a new milestone of users, with 400 million total registered. This is an increase of an additional 100 million since December of last year. In total, users are also posting 80 million photos every single day. The majority of users (around 75%), come from outside of the United States.

More information on Mashable.


Facebook introduces 360 degree video

Facebook has officially launched 360 Video. This means is that viewers can ‘choose their own adventure’ when it comes to how they view videos by choosing what angle they watch from (presuming they’ve been filmed with 360 degree cameras in the first place). Due to the technology constraints, it may be difficult for the average user to produce this content, but it is being considered an exciting step in the evolution of content creation.


Read more on iDigitalTimes.


Pinterest users have saved 92 million holiday pins

Saving pins for the holiday season is an incredibly popular activity on Pinterest, and an infographic released by the company with data compiled between 2013-2014 shows that 38 million users have saved 92 million pins. In addition, year over year the network has seen a 50% increase in the number of holiday pins being saved. Interestingly, 43% of the pins saved are from millennials, and 170 million of the saved pins are for holiday decor, the largest category.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook offers new messaging options for users who decline events

Previously when a user would decline an event invite on Facebook, they had the option to post in a group thread for the event with the reason they could not attend. Now, in an effort to further promote Messenger, Facebook is providing a prompt to have the declining user message the organizer and provide the reason in a private thread. This is not a publicly announced feature and it remains uncertain if it will see wider availability among all users.


Read more on Social Times.


New timelocked photo-sharing app Flagship launches

Flagship is a new photo app inspired by the movie “The Hangover”. It lets users take photos that are not view-able or shareable with other users until 12:00pm the day after they are taken. Users create private groups and all recipients then get to see the group content at the same time the day after. Using the app safeguards accidental social sharing meaning no content taken can be posted to social during the night in question. The French startup who launched the app has received $1.5 million in funding for a launch in the US.


Read more on iDigitalTimes.


Facebook quietly begins to roll out Page updates

ShortStack showed off a preview of some of the changes coming to Facebook Pages on a recent blog post. The changes include smaller profile pictures, and different locations for the Like, Message, Share, and Page Tab links. Lastly, the call to action buttons are far more visible. Facebook’s hope is clearly to help push more users from content to commerce.


Read more on ShortStack.


Users of Facebook Mentions can now see comments on articles

Content creators and journalists will now be able to see what users are saying about their articles using Mentions, whether or not the article comment mentions the author’s name. Facebook has cited through a Media blog post that this will allow authors to see how the public is reacting to their content. All authors have to do is implement the author tag on their website, inputting a single line of code on the header, and viewing the Mentions feed on the app.

More information on Facebook Media.


Twitter debuts custom Emojis for the Pope’s United States visit

Custom emojis are becoming an increasingly popular trend for Twitter, and the visit of the current Pope to the United States saw Twitter introduce a series of new emojis for hashtags citing his visits to various cities. Users can post about the Pope being in the US, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, and when the associated hashtag is posted, the emoji will show up in line within the post. Twitter also released a list of accounts users can follow for tracking the Pope’s visit.


Read more on Mashable.


Facebook updates Notes

Facebook has made new features of Notes official and rolled them out widely to all users. It is now possible to add cover photos to each note, in addition to re-sizing and adding captions to photos. Other features include adding formatting to the text in notes, such as bullets, quotes, and adding headers. While Notes can be viewed on mobile, they can only be created on the Facebook’s desktop web version.

More information on Facebook Newsroom.


Twitter introduces embedded polls into tweets

Twitter has released embeddable polls into native tweets. There has been no official announcement of the feature, and users who have access to it can only choose from a two answer poll, but if it picks up traction, that is likely to increase. The feature works on desktop and mobile, and it is reported that much of the Twitter staff and verified profiles have access to it. Polls are available only directly through Twitter, and third-party services such as TweetDeck do not support it yet.

Read more on Digital Trends.

The week in social: Custom emoji, Snapchat replays, and the Dislike button

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Users can now purchase replays on Snapchat

Snapchat has introduced a new feature to help monetize its service outside of ads and Discover partnerships, now allowing users to pay $0.99 to purchase 3 replays of a favorite snap. Snapchat this past year introduced a feature that lets a user replay a single snap once per day, but this new feature is aimed at allowing users to see more. Another new feature as part of the announcement saw Snapchat introduce “lenses”, or masks and other visual features that can be placed on top of selfies, with some being interactive. New lenses are being planned for continual release.

More information on The Verge.


Klout adding YouTube stats into scores

Earlier this week, Lithium Technologies announced that they would be integrating YouTube data into Klout, a service that scores users based on social media activity. Klout will add video views, likes, dislikes, and shares to its scoring algorithm moving forward. The changes will occur for all users over the course of the next several weeks. Klout currently covers a range of social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook is testing a “Dislike” button

At a question and answer session this past week at Facebook headquarters, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would finally be bringing a dislike button to the service, but not for the reason that most people thought. Zuckerberg positioned the test as a way for a new button to let users show empathy, addressing many user complaints that it is not always appropriate to “Like” bad or sad news. Although there is no official timetable, the feature will roll out to a test bed of users first and then more widely if the feature picks up in usage.

More information on The Next Web.


Skype introduces licensed video clips with Mojis

As a unique take on the distribution of GIFs online, Skype has introduced Mojis for its instant message feature, a way of sharing high quality video clips licensed through various partners. Current partners include Disney, Universal Studios, and the BBC. Content comes from shows featured on those networks, and in order to get access to Mojis, users have to update their Skype program. Mojis are currently available across all major platforms, desktop and mobile.


Read more on Mashable.


Twitter and Bloomberg expand partnership to surface financial tweet content

Twitter and Bloomberg are now working more closely together, where the former is helping to identify tweets that have financial opinions and information, to be provided on Bloomberg terminals. The data shared will also include sentiment analysis, which will allow users of the terminals to understand the intent of the content, and help them make better estimated decisions with it. A live feed or curated tweets will be provided to the terminals, and alerts will also be provided to keeps users aware of breaking news. The partnership between these two companies started in 2013 when Bloomberg first started integrating tweet content into its terminal feeds.

More information on Fortune.


Facebook introduces 100% in-view ad impressions

As Facebook is seeking to remain competitive against other social networks offering ads for marketers, it has this past week introduced a new way to pay for impressions of ads, those that only are 100% in view of a user. The ad type will be available for any ad product served in the news feed, and for the ad to have been considered as serving an impressions, the entire unit from top to bottom has to pass through a user’s feed. As a second part of the announcement, Facebook is now partnering with Moat, an independent measurement 3rd party, to ensure the video metrics it serves back to admins and advertisers are accurate.

More information on Facebook Business News.


Snapchat and NFL partner for Story content

NFL has partnered with Snapchat to provide exclusive football-related content to users through the Snapchat Live Story feature. Although users will not be able to watch actual games, they will have access to user snaps and official NFL content from various events. The NFL worked directly with Snapchat to create a schedule of content that will last the entire professional season, and last all the way through post-season into Super Bowl 50. The NFL reported that its first Live Story was viewed by “millions” of fans, but has not given clear performance numbers of this new campaign to date.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Google Chrome now offers Facebook push notifications on mobile

Google is continuing its trend of offering push notifications from various sites to users who access Chrome on mobile. For those who opt in, notifications can be received from the Facebook mobile site, delivered through Google Chrome. This expands a list of sites that can do this, including eBay, Pinterest, and VICE. Facebook software engineer Nate Schloss stated that the notifications were part of an effort to create the same experience for all mobile users, regardless of platform.

More information on The Verge.


Pinterest hits 100 million users

Pinterest announced that it hit the 100 million user mark, only 5 years after its inception, an average growth of 20 million users per year. Community Manager Enid Hwang made the announcement on the company’s official blog, and featured examples of pinners from different categories, ranging from comic book lovers to teachers. The post went on to express appreciation to users of the service, and made a note about looking forward to how it would evolve with the next 100 million.


Read more on Pinterest Blog.


Twitter debuts custom emojis as ad campaigns

Although custom emojis on Twitter are not new and have been used for special events like the World Cup and Wimbledon, a new partnership with Coke is marking the first time that a company is paying for a custom emoji as an ad buy. When a user tweets “#ShareACoke”, two bottle of the soda will appear as an emoji next to it. Roff Hoffman, director of global brand strategy at Twitter stated that as Coke is a partner with established trust, this new type of ad campaign would first be tested with them before it would see wider adoption and availability with other marketers.


Read more on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Super Likes, NFL sentiment, and streaming celebs

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Love at first swipe: The Super Like

In Tinder’s flooded market of right-swipes, it’s become nigh impossible to separate those seeking a real meet-up from others using the app as a time-sink. The company has responded by announcing a rollout of premium features, starting with the Super Like. Now testing in Australia, users can send their own profile to others in a gesture that says “I choo-choo-choose you”. The feature can be used only once per day, unless you want to upgrade to a premium account.

Read more at TechCrunch


Takeaways from AMAs

The power of Reddit’s AMA is undeniable. But, the most successful AMAs are far deeper than simply bringing a celebrity to the people. A recent study by Udemy highlights the elements of success in the top 50 AMAs from May and June, and takes a good look at what marketers can learn from those successes to drive short and long term gains for their brands.

Read more at Social Times


More time in Apps, less watching TV

Media & Entertainment companies continue to aggressively enable consumers to push away from traditional cable providers. While companies like Netflix, Hulu and HBO are pulling viewers onto the Internet, audiences are also increasing the time they spend in mobile applications. Flurry reports that consumers now spend an average of 198 minutes a day in apps, versus only 168 minutes watching television.

Read more at TechCrunch


Facebook Messenger now 2nd most popular app in the U.S.

80 percent of social media users also use instant messaging apps. Since Facebook spun-off Messenger into an independent app, the social giant has rewarded users by adding new app-only features such as VoIP and mobile payments. The result has placed Messenger at the second most popular app, beaten only by Facebook itself.

Read more on Social Times


For SMBs, Facebook enabling Actions over Likes

Facebook is home for more than 45 million small business pages. This week, the company upgraded the Pages applications that enables companies to build more effective digital storefronts. Viewers will be able to more easily scroll through lists of services, contact companies via text or phone, and buy goods without ever leaving the social page. The move indicates Facebook’s desire to prove value by converting viewers directly, rather than driving clicks to other websites.

Read more at TechCrunch


Instagram Ads are ready to go

Following months of limited testing and invite-only opportunities, Instagram will be opening their ad marketplace globally by the end of September. More than 30 countries will be able to engage in Instagram’s ad marketplace, and businesses of all sizes will have access to the platform’s 300 million users. Other features that Instagram will add include stronger calls to action (e.g. Install Now, Sign Up, Shop Now), and an ad-only 30-second video format.

Read more at TechCrunch


Verified accounts get Mentions + Streaming

Facebook launched Mentions more than a year ago. The app served as a dedicated method of providing posts and conversations from Verified Pages directly to their subscribed followers. With the advent of Facebook “Live”, Mentions will now have the ability to stream video. The feature opens huge potential for journalists, celebrities and other public figures seeking to broadcast content specifically to their Facebook followers.

Read more at TechCrunch


NFL Franchise fanaticism from Facebook

Who has the most hopeful fans for the season? Whose followers think the season is going to be a bust? Facebook conducted an analysis of NFL team fan sentiment during the pre-season to see which teams have the most optimistic audience. Short answer: The Kansas City Chiefs top the list for positive sentiment, while the San Diego Chargers are the team everyone loves to hate.

Read more at Facebook


Livestreaming celebs begin to emerge

With each new platform will come new influencers. Periscope, Meerkat, Mentions and a host of other livestreaming platforms have brought a new brand of media celebrity to the surface. Those willing to do it live have already begun make their mark. Touching verticals ranging from science, to sightseeing, to topless baking; and boasting reach as high as 410,000 for a single user, a new breed of social celeb has arrived.

Read more at AdWeek

The week in social: FB Away Messages, Tumblr reblogs, and WhatsApp

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Facebook testing Away Messages for Page admins

Some Facebook users are reporting seeing a new feature for the Page administration options. The new feature allows the admin to show that they are away, for up to 12 hours, and it can be toggled off if the admin returns sooner. When they Page admin is away, message received will not count towards the Responsiveness rating that Facebook applies to Pages, a feature that was introduced earlier this year.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook launches TV ads in key US cities

Facebook has introduced a new ad campaign on TV in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco that will be running on networks through September. The advertisements are videos that animate the posting of status updates and photos to a users feed, and are meant to advertise the individual use of Facebook to share important moments, rather than appeal to businesses to spend money. A Facebook rep confirmed that they want to reach their potential audience through a variety of key touch-points, when asked why money is being spent on network TV.

More information on Recode.net.


Instagram direct messages receive new features

Straight on the heels of the announcement by Instagram that users would be able to post photos in both landscape and portrait shapes, new features for direct messaging have become available. Detailed on a new blog post, users are now easily able to share photos in their feed through direct messaging, with a share button right next to the Like and Comment buttons when they view a photo. Clicking on the share button will open up a menu of contacts, and the user can choose who they want to send the photo to, and if they want to add a caption. If the shared photo is private, the user receiving the image will have to follow the original poster.


Read more on Instagram Blog.


MTA VMA’s are most tweeted program ever

According to new data from Neilsen, the MTV Video Music Awards, hosted this past Sunday, was the most tweeted about program on record, since Nielsen started tracking in 2011. Over 21 million tweets were posted by over 2 million people, providing a reach of 12 million individuals, with 676 million impressions, with a 69% engagement increase over 2014. On Facebook, there were 39 million interactions from 16 million users. In an interesting twist for a pop culture event, the age group creating the most engagement online was above the age of 35.

More information on Social Times.


Sprinklr integrates with the Instagram Ads API

Earlier this week through a blog post, Spinklr announced that they have integrated more deeply with Instagram, to provide organic scheduled posting, and advertising. Users of Spinklr can access ad-buys on the same network with all major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Instagram. Spinklr currently has what is called early access to the API, and self-serve ads for Instagram are expected to roll out in the coming months.

More information on Sprinklr Blog.


Meerkat introduces live hashtags

Users of Meerkat have access to a new feature that allows them to add a hashtag to the title of a stream, which will then also be added to the user generated feed of tags at the top of the app screen, according to a new blog post from the company earlier today. The intent of the new feature is to create communities around both seasonal and year-long subjects, so it becomes easier for users to find what they are looking for.


Read more on Medium.com.


Facebook testing new ads format for mobile

Facebook is testing a new content-focused version of mobile advertisements that functions as a combination of many different Facebook ad formats, including carousel ads and auto-play videos. The ad will take the form of a Facebook in-feed post, but when clicked it will bring the user to a full screen version of the ad experience, meant to function as an in-Facebook version of the advertiser’s site. Facebook is currently testing this format with Michael Kors, Gatorate, and a few other companies, but it is not open to all advertisers.

More information on Recode.


Google+ brings its Collections feature to iOS

Collections, the feature that Google+ launched earlier this year in May, to act as a competitive feature to Pinterest, has been brought to iOS. The feature allows admins to create sets of photos and other content under a specific title, and the Collections can be made private, semi-private, or public. The feature was previously only available for the web and Android. A few other changes have been made based on user feedback, including the ability to add tag lines, and search for specific collections.


Read more on TechCrunch.


WhatsApp hits 900 million monthly active users

This week, WhatsApp’s founder Jan Koum announced that the the popular messaging service reached 900 million monthly active users. This shows an increase of 100 million MAU in the time since April, when Koum announced the 800 million milestone. This also comes after the announcement that the app has been installed on over 1 billion Android devices alone.

More information on Engadget.


Tumblr updates the look of re-blogs

Tumblr has updated the way its re-blogging feature works to make added comments more readable by all users. Previously, comments in a Tumblr reblog appeared in the same way that some email clients thread conversations, indenting the next conversation adding to the chain. For popular re-blogs, this made it difficult for users to follow the conversation. Moving forward, comments added to re-blogs will appear in a consistent column so users can read the separate conversations easily and chronologically. This new feature will appear on the website and the mobile app.


Read more on Mashable.

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.