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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Wayin, Google Helpouts, and Tweet your secrets

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Facebook launches product ads

Earlier this week, Facebook unveiled a new way for marketers to promote all of their ads. Called Product ads, the new units let advertisers promote their ad on any device and can follow a user through the entire buying process, from product discovery through purchase. The creation of this ad unit was based on marketer desire to showcase more than one type of product a company offers, and ads can showcase multiple different products, or focus on a high-selling one. Product ads can also be used with the conversion pixel to optimize what is shown based on each individual consumer. In a test completed by Brand Networks, the ads were shown to have a 360% yield on ad dollars spent.


Read more on Venture Beat.


Twitter releases Answers as stand-alone product

Twitter’s mobile analytics product Answers is now available as a stand-alone tool for all marketers. Previously a feature only available within the Crashlytics dashboard, Twitter has reacted to the growing demand for in-depth and real-time mobile analytics outside of the developer circle. The product makes understanding your user base easier with intelligent auto alerts and simple installation. Answers is still available as part of the Crashlytics dashboard, but marketers who are keen to learn more about app performance without the technical details within the developer suite can sign up for access at answers.io.

More information on Twitter Blog.


New social search engine Wayin is launched

Although it is common for the average consumer to search for general information through search enginges like Google and Bing, they have not been able to do so from specifically social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter until now. Announced earlier this week, the Wayin search engine will allow users to searches across specific terms, in depth, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Search results can be broken down by common demographic parameters, such as location and gender. Mainly focused as a brand tool, it function more as a common search engine, with usability at the core. Additional features of the searches allow users to see sentiment and causes of particular conversation.


Read more on Social Times.


New tool lets users tweet anonymously

A new tool is allowing users to tweet out to their followers and the general public, masking their handle, so they can what’s really on their minds, without fear of retribution. The service, called “Tweet Your Secrets”, lets users type their secret into a dialog box, and it is tweeted out via the @tweetursecrets handle to the over 14,000 followers the account has. Although the company promises to respect to privacy of its users, they are encouraged to still review the privacy policy before participating.


Read more on Social Times.


Snapchat seeks $19 billion valuation

Snapchat is hoping to raise as much as $500 million from investors to reach a new valuation of $19 billion, making the app the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world. Snapchat’s move toward an entertainment destination could help with ad sales and wider audience engagement. The company’s founder turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook in 2013, leading the company to hit $10 billion in valuation last year. If Snapchat achieves its goal, they would be close behind Facebook’s $22 billion deal for What’sApp last year.

More information on Bloomberg.


Pinterest planning to disable affiliate linking

Although Pinterest was the no. 2 website in terms of driving referral traffic in 2014, a lot of this traffic was driven by affiliate linking from users who were trying to generate their own revenue. In an email to its user-base, the pin-sharing social network stated that all affiliate links, redirects, and trackers on pinned content would be deleted automatically. Pinterest is said to be cutting down on the practice because it has caused a large influx of irrelevant pins to be featured on feeds. Many fashion bloggers, users who most often utilize these practices, have complained that they were not given any advance warning and more still have threatened to leave the social network. It remains to be seen if general sentiment towards the user experience on Pinterest will improve as a result of the change.

More information on Wall Street Journal Blog.


96% of millenials in Mexico are on social media

Based on a survey conducted of 20-30 year olds in Mexico by the Competitive Intelligence Unit, it has been found that 96% of the demographic uses social media in one form or another, and that in addition, 95% of them use instant messaging. With only 57% of the demographic owning smartphones, the statistics show that desktop social networking is also extremely popular. The group makes up half of Internet users in the country, and a total of 63% of all social media users.


Read more on EMarketer.


Facebook takes stance on viewed impressions

Facebook took to its blog to share its position on impression measurement, stating that advertisers shouldn’t pay for an ad that hasn’t been seen. The two types of impressions, served and viewed, are differentiated by whether the ad format has appeared within the viewers screen and is not related to effectiveness or active viewing. Facebook uses viewed impressions to measure ad delivery across desktop and mobile and aims to apply this measurement standard to organic content from businesses in the coming months. Working with the Media Rating Council (MRC), Facebook has pledged its commitment alongside other advertisers to develop robust standards for viewable impressions, ensuring value and consistency are upheld.

More information on Facebook for Business.


Google Helpouts to shut down this April

Google Helpouts started in 2013 as a way of helping users learn new things or solve problems through video tutorials. However, the service has not grown as much as Google had hoped, and as such the service is being shut down in April of this year. The service was launched with corporate partners such as Weight Watchers and Sephora, and the service was free to use for consumers who wanted to view videos from volunteers, or there would be a $20 charge for users who wanted to view partner content. Google has let users know that they can export their Helpout history starting on April 20th until November 1st of this year.

More information on The Verge.


Facebook lets users add stickers to photos on mobile apps

With a new update to their app on iOS and Android, Facebook users can now add stickers to their photos before uploading them. Stickers have already been a part of different aspects of Facebook, with users being able to apply them to status updates, and to photos within the stand-alone Messenger app, but this marks the first time they will be usable with any photos on the social network. Users only have to update to the latest version of the app to try this, and it remains to be seen if the functionality will be added for desktop users after a period of testing.


Read more on TechCrunch.


New York Fashion Week generates almost 21m engagements on Instagram

New York Fashion Week has seen its most successful seasonal event in terms of Instagram engagements, with a total of 20.8 million during the week long event, with over 340 thousand photos shared. With over 20 million likes, and over 440 thousand comments, there was 193% more Instagram engagement for NYFW than the Spring/Summer event back in September. The top hashtag for photos of the event was #fashion, with 88,676 images shared, according to research from Curalate. The brand that generated the most engagement was Michael Kors, with the #AllAccessKors hashtag generating approximately 1 million engagements.


Read more on AdWeek.


TweetDeck gives teams secure account access

For the first time in 10 years, Twitter users can give teams access to Twitter accounts without having to share passwords. The Team tool, built into TweetDeck, is available in the latest update for web, Chrome and Windows, however the Mac app is yet to be released. Project leads with password access will be able to create team lists granting a range of permission levels without ever having to divulge a password. For the tool to work, all members must be using the TweetDeck client.

More information on Twitter Blog.

The week in social: Facebook relevance scores, Twitter Curator and Pinterest App Pins

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Facebook introduces relevance scores

This week Facebook introduced a relevance score for advertisements in an aim to ensure people see content that matters to them. The relevance score – a number between 1 and 10 – is calculated based on positive and negative feedback. While ads with guaranteed delivery like those bought through reach and frequency are not impacted by scores, the feature is said to help advertisers test ad creative, optimize campaigns in progress and lower the cost of reaching people. The tool is available globally via Ads Manager.


Read more on Facebook.


Curator: Twitter’s new tool for media outlets

Twitter has launched a new app that allows media organizations to create embeddable collections of tweets and Vines as a way to create rich stories. The Storify competitor, which builds on Twitter’s collection tool, allows you to filter content by user profile and post qualities like sentiment. Curator also gives broadcasters the ability to create on-air graphics with Twitter responses to shows. Twitter is accepting requests from journalists looking to be whitelisted.

Read more on The Next Web.


Pinterest releases App Pins

Pinterest’s latest addition to Rich Pins is the App Pin for iOS applications. The App Pin allows Pinners to install iOS apps without having to leave the platform. With more than 75% of traffic to Pinterest coming from mobile devices, it’s a natural evolution of the Rich Pin product. The feature is currently US-only and specifically for iOS apps.


Read more on Pinterest.


Snapchat experiments with localized Our Stories

Continuing to expand Snapchat’s use case from silly snaps with friends to full exploration channel, Snapchat is toying with a localized version of its Our Stories product. The feature allows users to see Snaps within a certain geographic range. The potential to connect users who are in a uniform location without knowing one another is a large opportunity for engagement at live events.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Pinterest kills monetization links

Pinterest has decided to end partnerships with affiliate networks in an effort to maintain a high bar of relevancy and quality of Pins. In its first total ban, the network will automatically remove all affiliate links, redirects and trackers on Pins without removing the original content. Pinterest has requested its power users look to monetize their fan base in approved ways, including paid social media marketing campaigns. The change won’t impact or be noticeable to a majority of Pinterest users.

Read more on VentureBeat.


Facebook formalizes legacy contact

Facebook has introduced legacy contacts, a feature that allows users to determine who will receive the rights to their Timelines when they pass on. A next step from Facebook’s memorializing of accounts, the update gives users more control over what happens to their profiles. Family members or friends can be identified to manage aspects of the profile from cover images to friend requests and pinned posts. The legacy contact will not be able to view the person’s private messages or log on as the user. It is also possible for users to have their profiles permanently deleted after death. This setting is currently available in the US and is completely optional.

Read more on Social Times.


Twitter updates navigation with swipe to dismiss for images

Twitter is changing the way users get out of viewing images in-stream. The change from tapping on an image to swiping up or down to return to the feed is an attempt to align more with current user’s natural navigation motions on mobile. This feature may have been inspired by third-party app Tweetbot, which has historically had a similar swipe-to-dismiss function.

Read more on The Next Web.


LinkedIn updates its developer program

LinkedIn is refocusing their Developer Program from primarily open APIs to partnerships in an effort to provide clarity and focus to preferred integrations. Building on their successful partnerships with the likes of Samsung and WeChat and their current Sponsored Update program, LinkedIn will now require developers to become a member of one of the partnership programs. From May 12, 2015, open APIs will be limited to enabling individual members to represent their professional identity, post certifications, share professional content and allow companies to share professional content to LinkedIn.

Read more on LinkedIn.


Millions say they use Facebook, but not the Internet

A recent report polling Facebook users in emerging markets revealed that the users of the social network don’t associate the platform with the Internet. Think tank LIRNEasia found that more respondents said they used Facebook than the Internet in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. The disparity between the two has raised some concerns for businesses or organizations looking to engage with populations that are heavily reliant on Facebook with the potential for all communication to be streamlined through the platform in order to ensure reach of message.


Read more on CNBC.


Google acquires photo startup Odysee

In its latest acquisition play, Google has acquired Odysee, a photo back-up and sharing app. Although no terms have been disclosed, the move sees the Odysee team join Google+ and indicates the platform may be looking to boost its photo product offering.

Read more on Business Insider

The week in social: Tweets on Google, Multi-product ads, and Instagram loops

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

59% of Internet users in Canada are on Facebook

Nearly 6 out of every ten Internet users in Canada are on Facebook, and nearly half of that number is accessing the service on a daily basis, according to a report from Forum Research. Large percentages also use other social services based on the report from January 2015, including 30% on LinkedIn, 25% on Twitter, and 16% on Instagram. Percentage of daily usage cascades down in a similar fashion, with 47% of users accessing Facebook daily, and lower percentages for the other networks. The report goes on to estimate that nearly 20 million people in Canada will access a social network in 2015.


Read more on AdWeek.


Twitter opening research and design center in India

Starting in the key hub city of Bangalore, Twitter is opening a research and design facility aimed at expanding its presence in foreign markets. This is the first facility of its kind outside of the United States, and the announcement comes on the heels of acquisition of Indian mobile start-up ZipDial for $40m. Dick Costolo, CEO, is coming under increasing pressure to reserve the slow-down of active user growth on the network, and to position the company as an affective tool for brand advertisers to reach their audience, and expanding into international territory is part of the company’s overall strategy.

More information on Financial Times.


YouTube introduces camera angle choices

A new experimental feature that launched earlier this week from YouTube, the service is letting users choose from multiple camera angles when viewing content. It currently only works for a single piece of content, a musical performance, but it allows the user to choose what angle they are watching the performance from by selecting from a series of thumbnails on the right of the video feed. This potentially makes streaming events more dynamic for the viewers as they can focus on the part of the action they want to see, but it remains to be seen if it will see wider adoption.


Read more on The Next Web.


71% of people check social media sites during work meetings

In a recent poll of 1,000 office employes done by LondonOffices.com, it was found that 71% admitted to checking social media sites during work meetings, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, primarily on their mobile devices. 28% said that they catch up on live events using Twitter, and 10% said that they look at more than one social network during a meeting. Interesting, the vast majority, 99%, said it was not acceptable to play games on mobile devices during meetings. Out of all reasons for using mobile devices in these scenarios, boredom was cited as the number one reason.

More information on Social Times.


Tweets to start appearing in Google search results

Google and Twitter have reached a deal earlier this week to start showing tweets in real time as part of Google search results for the first time since 2011. The purpose of the move is to increase interest in Twitter and show results from the network that Internet users may not otherwise see. Google will now have access to the entire set of Twitter data and posts to serve as search results where relevant. Data licensing may potentially be part of the deal according to Bloomberg, but there is not said to be any revenue sharing from the tweets appearing in search results.

More information on BuzzFeed.


Facebook introduces new tools for advertisers

Facebook this past week has just introduced new tools for advertisers, specifically multi-product ads, and an enhanced Custom Audiences feature that integrates retargeting options. Multi-product ads is the biggest shift, as these now work similar to scrolling billboards, in that advertisers can show a number of different products in a single ad the rotates copy and visuals. The new custom audience features allow users to be targeted based on what websites they have visited or have not yet visited, within a specific timeframe. Previously, this option was only available on Facebook Exchange (FBX) and other third party services.


Read more on Marketing Land.


Twitter offers small businesses quick promote option

This past Wednesday, Twitter introduced a new feature to allow advertisers to promote their content more quickly than using the native ads platform and setting up a promoted tweet. Quick Promote allows advertisers to choose a tweet to highlight, and it will automatically be promoted to users who have similar interests to the account that is promoting the tweet. Users just have to open the analytics dashboard, choose a tweet, and set a budget, all other targeting information is optimized by Twitter. Twitter says that users who see promoted tweets are 32% more likely to engage with that brand.


Read more on Mashable.


Twitter releases Q4 earnings report and statistics

Twitter reported its Q4 earnings this past week, and its regular user growth has slowed down quite a bit, with users being reported at 288 million, and increase of only 4 million from the previous quarter. This is troubling news for the company as this is only about 20% of the total audience that visits Facebook on a monthly basis. The number is also less growth than the company has experienced in quarters of previous years, and even under the projections of analysts who expected 291 million regular users. In terms of earnings, Twitter has actually had a strong quarter, likely due to the large number of new tools available for advertisers, reporting $479 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 97% from a year ago in Q4.

More information on The New York Times.


Tumblr introduces new content filter

Tumblr has introduced a new content filter that allows users to search for content by type in order to make archived content easier to seek out. Filters include text, photos, quote, link, and more. Previously users had to search by the month of publishing. In order to access the feature, users have to hover over an Avatar for the account they are searching, and select “Archive”, where they will be given the filter menu.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook updates Mentions app for public figures

As a new feature to Facebook Mentions, public figures or celebrities are now able to share directly to Instagram and Twitter, as well as add topics to the Mention feed. The updates were announced via a Facebook Media blog post by Allison Swope, product manager. Currently there are over 2 billion interactions between public figures and fans every single week.


Read more on AdWeek.


Twitter tests syndication of promoted tweets

Building on the fact that tweets can be seamlessly integrated across different mediums, from website feeds to TV scrolls and mobile apps, Twitter has begun testing promoted tweets across these platforms. Flipboard and Yahoo! Japan are the first two engaged in the trial and the partnership opportunity enables promoted ads to reach a larger audience on third-party platforms. Twitter believes this product will enable marketers to produce large-scale, rich and well-targeted campaigns across multiple platforms.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Instagram video introduces loop feature

Taking a note from the competition, Instagram has introduced video looping across iOS and Android platforms to their list of capabilities. The update plays to advertisers – ensuring that content is viewed by users – but unlike Vine does not incorporate a counter to indicate views. Looping is not set to impact the app’s data usage and embedded forms of Instagram video are also said to incorporate the feature.

Read more on Mashable.

The week in social: Snapchat Discover, Twitshot, and Spur

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Snapchat grows the most in 2014

In a recent report from Global Web Index, Snapchat has claimed to have two records related to its growth in the social space. One, it is the application that over-indexes the most within the teenage demographic, and a second where it has claimed it is the fastest growing app in the social space for 2014. Between Q1 and Q4 of calendar year 2014, the app grew a staggering 57%. Again, the teenage demographic has contributed to this growth, with 15% of teens globally using the app, and the percentage rising in other markets, specifically the US and UK. It remains to be seen if the app will continue its meteoric rise in 2015.

More information on Global Web Index.


Music frontman launches photo-sharing app Spur

Atilla frontman Chris “Fronz” Fronzak, has launched a new application called Spur, a photo-sharing social network, that has potential for content created to be seen by users worldwide, and not be limited to connections or follow groups. One change from other popular apps such as Instagram is that users cannot comment on photos, in an attempt to create a “hate-free” environment. The app currently sits within a crowded marketplace, but amassed over 5,000 users in less than 12 hours from launch.


Read more on Artist Direct.


Snapchat introduces Discover for brands

Following Facebook’s lead in the quest to become a publishing hub, Snapchat has launched Discover, a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. The collaboration between media players and Snapchat’s storytelling format allows editors and artists to control what content is influential, taking a step back toward one-way communication where – by contrast to other channels – the power is not with the people to determine what is visible. With ESPN, National Geographic and Cosmopolitan participating in the launch, Discover will allow brands to incorporate full screen photos and videos, long form layouts and ‘gorgeous advertising’ to engage their subscribers. Brands will also be able to sell ads and share revenue with Snapchat within their channels for ultra-targeted content.

More information on AdWeek.


Twitter expected to grow over 30% in 2015

India has become a new market of explosive growth for Twitter, and a report from eMarketer states that the network will grow to over 22 million users in 2015, an over 30% increase from last year. This is part of a continuing trend, as the network grew by 47% in 2012. The report goes on to say that usage will climb to just under 40 million users by 2018. Due to low internet usage country-wide however, only 1.8% of the total population is using the micro-blogging service.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook launches Lift to enhance ad measurement

Facebook is looking to help marketers move beyond last-click attribution to determine the effectiveness of their advertisements with a new product called Lift. Aiming to determine which portion of ad budgets are impacting the bottom line, the tool is positioned as an avenue to limit misattribution, which can lead to a misallocation of dollars. Lift will measure a control group’s tendency to buy a product versus a group exposed to advertisements. Facebook believes this tool could ultimately impact the industry by assisting in the shift of dollars to digital ads overall by demonstrating efficacy.

More information on Adweek.


Mobile now accounts for majority of Facebook ad revenue

In a report recently issued from Facebook investor relations, highlighted showed that mobile is increasingly an important part of the company’s ad revenue generation system, now accounting for 69% of total ad revenue coming in. The report goes on to cite daily average users, with total DAU at 890 million in December 2014, a year over year increase of 18%, and mobile DAU were at 745 million, a larger increase 34% year over year. Monthly active usage was up by similar percentages year over year, and Facebook has shown it is still a dominant player in social networks.


Read more on Facebook Investor Relations.


Twitshot makes tweeting with images easy

On the heels of a 2014 study which shows that attaching an image to your tweet results in an average 35 percent increase in retweets, Twistshot – a website that automatically extracts images from pasted links to make tweets more visual – has released an iOS app to make adding imagery even easier. Twitshot currently has a Chrome extension that enables instant sharing with an extracted image from your browser. The new app moves these capabilities to your iPad or iPhone using iOS 8’s share sheet without the hassle of downloading images. No word on an Android version.

Read more on The Next Web.


Tumblr introduces long form content interface

Tumblr has recently introduced a series of new tools that will make long-form content creation much accessible for users, likely in a move to compete with user web services such as Squarespace and Medium. The new tools aim to make adding different pieces of content easier; a new photo or video can be added anywhere by clicking a plus button icon, that gives options for which item will be added. The new tools also add a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface, so however a post looks when it is being edited is how it will appear once it is published. The workflow of editing a post has also changed, and shows dynamic options surround content being edited in real-time as opposed to an options tool-bar.

More information on The Next Web.


Facebook introduces Place Tips in New York City

In an effort to provide a test bed of users new useful tips and tricks about where they currently are in the newsfeed while on a mobile device, Facebook has introduced Place Tips. Content will be served when a user is at a point of interest and will include posts relevant to the location, photos, and other relevant tips. Tips will appear at the top of the news feed, and show an expanded view of content if the user clicks on it. The feature is now starting off as a pilot for New Yorkers, and it remains to be seen if it will expand to other major cities in the near future.


Read more on The Verge.


Vine Kids application is launched by Vine

A new spin on the popular Vine 6-second video sharing app, Vine Kids has launched earlier this week. The first kid-focused app launched by parent company Twitter, Vine Kids uses animated characters to lead them through the experience of using the app, and the app itself is largely considered a filter for kids who may otherwise be exposed to mature or inappropriate content on the main application. The app is currently only available on iOS and there is no word on whether it will be brought to other platforms.

More information on The Next Web.


Facebook to dominate social conversation during the Super Bowl

In a survey conducted by Fluent, over 5,000 Americans weighed in on which social network they would use to interact with content about the Super Bowl or post about it. 44% percent of respondents said that they would follow along on Facebook, with a much smaller 18% planning to follow along on Twitter. Potentially more surprising, users were more likely to follow along with Instagram than Twitter, at roughly 26%. Based on platforms, of users who responded that they would be following along with the game on mobile, 47% were going to follow along on Android devices, and 40% planned to follow along on iOS.


Read more on AdWeek.

The week in social: Obama on YouTube, Creatr, and Twitter in Canada

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Twitter grows by nearly 30% in the past year

For calendar year of 2014, Twitter experiences 29.8% growth in Canada, one its top growing markets, and the trend is set to continue with predicted double-digit growth in 2015. In 2014, the network had 5.9 million users, compared with 4.5 million in 2013. According to a report from E-Marketer, growth is expected to reach 6.8 million users by the end of the year. My percentage of users, Twitter is more popular in Canada than it is in the US presently.


Read more on AdWeek.


Facebook allows users to report fake news

In the next chapter of Facebook’s mission to keep the News Feed relevant, Facebook has added the ability to flag a news story as a hoax. By reporting a post as a false news story, it will appear less frequently in the News Feed and will eventually come with a warning to other readers. Fans of The Onion need not worry, with Facebook tests revealing that users are not prone to flagging satirical content as misleading.


Read more on The Next Web.


Tumblr launches network for content creators

Announced earlier this week by head creative strategist David Hayes, announced a new network for content creators call “Creatrs”, where top users will create content for Tumblr initiative such as good causes and advertising. There will be a team at Tumblr assigned to the initiative, to help users license their work, make money, and get credit for their creations across the internet. According to Hayes, $250k have been paid to Tumblr content creators over the past year as Creatr was being tested. It remains to be seen if the model will follow other social content creation networks like YouTube, who have revenue share arrangements with top users.

More information on Business Insider.


Twitter releases Digits log-in system for the web

Digits, the log-in system created by Twitter for mobile app developers, has launched the service for web applications. Because Twitter wants Digits to be implemented into applications that feature a mobile-first experience, users would still have to sign up via a native application first, but then they could use their same phone number to log-in via the web, if the app creator has enabled a site for it. The goal for Twitter was to let developers provide a consistent experience across all platforms.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


Spotify adds new tweaks to music discovery on iOS

In an effort to help users discover new music, and find their favorite songs more easily, Spotify has introduced a new feature on iOS where users can tap to preview a song or an album instead of clicking through to the entire body of work. The previews last for up to 30 seconds while a user holds down a finger on a song or album. Additionally, within a playlist users can move their finger up or down to sample songs from that playlist. To set up a queue for songs to play, users can now swipe right on a particular song and it will be added into the play order. These updates are planned to roll out later on for other platforms.


Read more on CNet.


Twitter launches translator in partnership with Bing

Twitter announced earlier this week that it is adding translation services powered by Bing to its site and mobile applications. The service has been officially added, after being in testing for several years, and is available specifically on the web, iOS, Android, and TweetDeck. Users have to activate the service on their account, and they will then see a globe icon next to tweets in languages other than the native one set in the user’s account. Once clicked, a translated version of the tweet will be shown. The feature was added to Twitter’s mobile apps earlier last year, but was removed after stability issues. 77% of all Twitter users reside outside of the US.

More information on TechCrunch.


Twitter encourages active users to post photos directly on the network instead of Instagram

As a way of helping to promote its native photo sharing, Twitter has started providing visual prompts to users to user its native photo sharing, as opposed to other methods that will not show the full photo in-stream, such as Instagram. The prompts have only been sent to power users across different categories such as sports and entertainment, potentially as a method of getting influencers to pseudo-back the native feature. Instagram disabled support for showing its photos directly in tweets two years ago, and at the same time Twitter introduced enhanced native sharing features and filters.


Read more on Mashable.


Online video stars ask the President questions with #YouTubeAsksObamna

This past Thursday, President Obama, one of the most engaged on the Internet, interviewed with three top YouTube stars; Hank Green, GloZell Green and Bethany Mota. Questions from the interviewers ranged from complex international political issues, to more fun and lighthearted questions. Each interview focused on a different subject, ranging from North Korea and Cuba, to what the government can do to help younger citizens. So far, the video of the interviews has racked up over 2.6 million views.

More information on AdWeek.


WhatsApp launching for desktop platform

The increasingly popular messaging service WhatsApp introduced a web-based version this past Wednesday, letting users send messages from the web in addition to the already existing mobile applications. The service was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion last year, and currently has over 700 million users. Conversations can now be carried from the phone to the web, but it is not currently available on iOS, due to “Apple platform limitations”, according to a blog post from WhatsApp.

Read more on WhatsApp Blog.


Facebook Groups users asked to complete survey

This past November, Facebook released a standalone app Facebook Groups, and users who downloaded the app were asked to complete a survey, presumably to understand user behavior and preference for the app. Questions included; ‘On your phone, where do you keep the Facebook Groups app?’, and ‘What is the primary thing that would make the Facebook Groups app more valuable to you?’. It remains to be seen how the questions will be used, but Facebook has a reputation for launching apps that flounder, so this is potentially a proactive attempt to create a better experience for new users.

More information on Social Times.


Pinterest makes acquisition to boost ad targeting

Kosei, a recommendation engine, has been acquired by Pinterest in an effort to boost its ad targeting capabilities. This latest acquisition aims to bridge the gap between the channel’s Promoted Pins and Guided Search, making a statement around the strength of the channel’s targeting. Pinterest’s head of engineering is confident Kosei’s highly personalized recommendations and catalogue of more than 400 million relationships between products will perfectly marry their existing offering and paid opportunities.

Read more on Venture Beat.


Facebook messenger testing voice-to-text messages

Facebook’s VP of Messaging announced tests for a new feature that would allow Messenger app users to convert voice messages into text. The development aims to extend on the current ability to send voice clips by enabling users to read the contents instead of having to play them out loud. While only available on a small scale, if the feature proves popular it would be made readily available.


Read more on The Next Web.

The week in social: Hatch, FB at Work, and Firefox Hello

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Most marketers will increase social spending this year

In a recent report from Salesforce of 5,000 marketers regarding budgets for the 2015 calendar year, 70% of them stated that they would increase spending from their marketing budget on social media. The comes across two separate categories, as 70% plan to increase in terms of ad spend on social, and 70% also intend to increase spend on organic social. Out of the total grouped surveyed, two thirds of them (66%) also said that social media was essential to their business. 38% of those polled will also be moving additional dollars from traditional media to digital this year.

More information Social Times.


Facebook launching Amber alerts for news feed

In the United States, where Facebook has approximately 185 million users, AMber alerts will now be shown in the news feed through a partnership with National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The alerts will be shown to users who are in a geographically relevant area, and the alerts will include all available information on the missing child, including a photograph. Users do not have to sign up for the service, and it is estimated that they will see 1-2 alerts per year.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


UK teens losing interest in Twitter

A recent Ofcom poll found that while Facebook remains top platform of choice for UK teens, Twitter use is falling with a 9% decrease of share to 28% from the previous year. The poll shows teen attention shifting to newer, more visual platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, a trend seen globally, with Instagram’s share more than doubling in the last 12 months.

More information on AdWeek.


Blackberry sends Tweet from iPhone

The struggling Canada-based device and software manufacturer Blackberry, known for its formerly popular keyboard-based smartphone, made a blunder earlier this week while advertising the Twitter app for its device. Tweeting from an iPhone, the company sent an update about keeping up on the conversation with Twitter. Publication The Verge screen-shotted the tweet, and it has made round across the internet for being a major social media blunder. The post was deleted shortly after it was put online. Blackberry has recently been staging a comeback with their new device, the Blackberry Classic, and it remains to be seen if the retro-inspired smartphone with Blackberry’s new OS will be a hit.


Read more on Mashable.


Firefox Hello enables cross-browser chats

Mozilla released version 35 of their open-source desktop Firefox. The range of updated capabilities, including easy sharing across social networks and updated MP4 video, notably includes free access to their cross-browser chat app, Firefox Hello. Compatible with the likes of Google Chrome and other Web-RTC supported browsers, users are able to start a conversation with contacts directly from the toolbar. Sign-ups for the app are not required, but doing so allows users to import contacts directly.

More information on The Next Web.


LinkedIn planning to launch two new products

LinkedIn is a popular tool for job searching and identifying new career opportunities, but a source inside the company has told Mashable that two new tools are being developed in order to bridge the gap between coworkers and colleagues. The first product will be launching to a small set of users in the coming weeks and will allow them to send InMail to coworkers even if they are not connections. InMail allows users to reach out to those who are not a connection but is often times a paid service. The second tool would focus on sharing content among a group of coworkers more easily. It remains to be seen if either product will see an official launch and when the date of launch would be.

More information on Mashable.


Facebook launches Facebook at Work

The latest in a series of standalone apps from Facebook, the company earlier this week unveiled and launched Facebook at Work, an app that lets users have a social network that looks and functions just like Facebook, but limits the pool of interactions to coworkers. Currently as an app, the service is only available on iOS, but it can also be accessed via the web. Employers can make separate log-ins for employees, or users can link their work and personal profile to access everything in one place. The move makes Facebook an enterprise social competitor with other services, such as SocialCast, and Slack. Many details of the app remain to be seen, such as if it will support advertising, or have a paid subscription model.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Snapchat seeks $750,000 per day commitment from brands

Snapchat has reportedly been making the rounds to top advertisers in search for $750,000-a-day commitments for its new ad product. Having topped 100 million monthly users, the platform believes that while the ads are fleeting, the direct and intentional engagement from the coveted teenage audience warrants the price. For context, Snapchat is asking for rates that are higher than a masthead on YouTube, where a day will set you back $500,000. Many brands are wary of paying top dollar for an ad that will disappear, especially with the lack of reporting capabilities. Snapchat declined to comment stating they do not discuss ad prices.

More information on Adweek.


Royalty of Cambridge join Twitter

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have finally joined Twitter and Instagram. William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, has also joined Twitter, and all three of the royalty joined Instagram at the same time. The first tweets, the accounts for which represent the royalty rather than be straight from them, welcomed fans to the account and encouraged them to stay tuned for news from the royal family. Both the Twitter and Instagram accounts from William and Kate will focus on work they are doing, including charities such as the Royal Foundation.


Read more on CBS News.


Google search directly provides brand social links

As an additional boon to users who want information about brands when they are searching on Google, the search giant is providing direct links to brand social pages on the information card that appears to the right of search results. Social pages for celebrities have been shown in the information card section since the end of last year, but this marks the first time the feature will be available for brands. Other information shown will include recent posts by brands on the Google-owned social network, Google+. The profiles will appear on both desktop and mobile.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook expands video features for Pages

Facebook page administrators are slowly gaining access to personalized video features. The additions will provide admins with the ability to organize their video sections, choose featured videos for their pages and create select playlists. When Page admins click a “Go To Videos” button or clicking the video tab, they will be brought to a menu where all of the new options are available to toggle. The new feature is not available for all Admins yet and it remains to be seen if this will see greater adoption.

Read more on AdWeek.


Twitter launches startup contest Hatch

Twitter is launching a global startup competition for business owners that have used the Twitter API, or Fabric, the company’s mobile SDK to build their solution. The grand prize of the competition is $25 thousand, and the contest takes places with judging starting on June 8th, 2015. Finalists for the competition will present their startup for the first annual Hatch Gala this upcoming July in San Francisco.


Read more on Hatch homepage.

The week in social: Twitter autoplay ads, FB acquisitions, and Dropon

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Study shows that users enjoy Snapchat advertisements

A study commissioned by Snapchat has shown that the majority of users are receptive to the new sponsored campaigns on the mobile app being featured on the “Our Story” and “Brand Story” sections. Millward Brown Digital, the form commissioned for the study, showed that Snapchat users were three times more receptive to these ads than to a typical mobile ad. In terms of engagement, 66% of users liked a sponsored “Our Story”, and 40% liked “Brand Story”. As an additional bonus, the brands running the campaigns saw increased brand awareness and affinity. Snapchat, through recent investments is now valued at up to $10 billion.

More information on Social Times.


Twitter updates iOS app with animations and notifications

Twitter has added a number of new minor features specifically for iOS users earlier this week. The update includes an animation for when someone clicks to “favorite” a post, and while not a function upgrade, adds to the visual stimulus of using the app. The other portion of the update is an option to enable notification when new features become available, but it remains to be seen if it will only send alerts when they are made available to the majority of users, as Twitter has a tendency to quietly test new features with a small user group.


Read more on The Next Web.


Dropon is potentially the new Ello

While it has only been a few months since Facebook rival Ello popped onto the scene attempting to bring the fun back into social networking, new network Dropon is claiming that Ello’s time is up. Dropon’s offering extends from Ello to include more varied features and higher privacy protection. Both networks aim to remove the focus from advertising, but Ello doesn’t provide encryption for data that could easily be reviewed or exposed by the NSA. According to Nathan Jurgenson, editor of Cyborgology Blog, Ello may not even be displaced by Dropon, because newness is what is most exciting about new social networks to most users, not Ello itself, “If there’s one thing that is especially combustible in the tech space, it’s newness – often to a fault. But people wanted a Facebook killer more than they wanted Ello,”.

More information on Social Times.


Facebook purchases Wit.ai

A voice interface creator, Wit.ai, has been purchased by Facebook for an undisclosed sum of money. Wit.ai has created a natural language processing application programming interface, or API, the purpose of which is to turn text and speech into computing actions. Wit.ai currently boasts a community of 6,000 users, and the tool is used currently on hundreds of apps. In a blog post from the company, they noted that the platform would remain open for anyone to use, and the blog post did not announce too many specifics of how and when the technology would be integrated with Facebook.


Read more on Wit.ai Blog.


WhatsApp now has 700 million active users each month

The popular messaging app that was acquired by Facebook earlier in 2014, WhatsApp just released numbers saying that it has 700 monthly active users. In addition, the app sees 30 billion messages sent everyday, according to a Facebook post from founder Jan Koum. The service has been growing exponentially since the additional press it gained through the Facebook acquisition, hitting 500 million users in April, and reaching 600 million in August, before this latest milestone. WhatsApp was acquired for $22 billion dollars, one of the largest recent company acquisitions in the tech industry.

More information on USA Today.


New options become available for admins of Places on Facebook Pages

Some admins of Facebook Page Places are being shown new options to help provide and leverage specific information about their place. The new features include adding the ability to show user ratings, check-ins, and a map on the Page. These options cannot be individually selected, and not all Page admins have these features available. Like many other features across Facebook and Twitter, it is likely that this is being tested within a specific market to how Page interactions changes or is increased before it is rolled out more widely.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Google provides new features for Hangouts app on iOS

With version 2.5 of the Hangouts app being released on iOS earlier this week, several new features that already exist on Android have been introduced. Among these features are single-tap location sharing, additional stick packs for messages, general status updates, as well as searching for contacts only by their phone numbers. Voice call performance is also supposed to be improved, and various bugs have been fixed. These same updates were released for the Android app last month.


Read more on The Next Web.


Twitter considering auto-play ad previews for video

Following in the footsteps of Facebook and YouTube, Twitter is putting a focus on promoted video content. Discussed at CES, Twitter is considering making promoted videos automatically play a six second preview when they appear in people’s feeds. Alongside this feature could also see a change to how advertisers are charged with a shift from being charged for the initial preview to full video click through. Details have not been confirmed, and it remains to be seen if or when this will be rolled out, as it is likely to cause a stir among the devoted Twitter user base.

More information on AdAge.


Facebook reaches 1 billion video views each date

Facebook has experienced a surge in video uploads and views, noting that since June, video views have been at an average of 1 billion per day. Additional statistics include that the amount of videos from both users and brands or Page owners has increased 3.6 times, year over year, and that 76% of Facebook users discover videos that they watch right on Facebook, as opposed to other networks. As a nod to mobile users, 65% of video views globally on Facebook happen on mobile devices. This news will create pressure for other social video sharing services such as YouTube, which is the second most popular search engine in the US, and focused solely on video upload and discovery.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Facebook user growth slows, remains most engaged

New research released on Friday from the Pew Research Center shows that while Facebook user growth has slowed in the U.S., user engagement is ranked highest among other social platforms. The survey, conducted in September 2014, found that more than half (56%) of internet users 65 years and older use Facebook, which was the only bracket of growth for the platform. The survey also revealed that Americans are now using multiple social media sites, which could contribute to the growth in user numbers for platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Facebook acquires video compression startup

Facebook’s interest in developing video capabilities has been strengthened with the acquisition of video compression startup QuickFire Networks. QuickFire’s technology quickly converts video formats into files requiring less bandwidth for users, without sacrificing video quality. In line with latest figures showing user uptake of video watching on the platform, this news is also welcomed from markets with less bandwidth allowance.

More information on The Next Web.


WE tv app makes GIF creation simple

Capitalizing on Twitter’s love affair with reality show commentary, WE tv has announced the launch of GIF sync. The app will enable viewers to tweet, create memes and GIFs in real-time to continue and enhance their social media conversations. The app uses Shazam-like sound recognition software to sync TV sound bites with the app. WE tv believes the added capabilities will increase interaction during shows and enhance the viewer experience.

Read more on Mashable.

The week in social: Snapchat funding, Amex, and promoted pins

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

China starts blocking Gmail

The Chinese government has blocked access Gmail from third party software including Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook, causing anger and frustration from many internet users. This comes after a separate effort to block users from accessing Gmail via the web or first party apps, largely removing all common methods of access. Issues stem from users with personal accounts all the way to corporate businesses that utilize Gmail as their main communication tool. To combat this, users typically use a VPN (virtual private network) or another form of proxy that will trick the IP address into appearing as if it is from another region in order to access country-blocked services. Other popular services that are blocked in China include Facebook, and when LinkedIn started offering a Chinese-language product, it had to work with the government to ensure certain content would be censored.

Read more on New York Times.


Twitter testing promoted accounts in follow lists

A number of users have been seeing sponsored accounts in the lists of accounts other users are following, a new way for Twitter to sell ad space and generate revenue. An example of this comes from William Shatner who noticed Mastercard on his list of accounts he is following, even though the actor is not associated with them. This has potential implications such as implying a certain user endorses the brand or account. In response, the lists of these accounts with rectified. This format of promoted accounts has allegedly been appearing since 2013, however it is not mentioned as one of the available placements on the company site.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook facing lawsuit for scanning user messages

A class action lawsuit has come across Facebook for allegedly scanning the private messages sent between users for use in advertising. Some of the claims however were dismissed by a US District Judge in California, although Facebook will have to stand trial for others. Facebook has made an argument that its actions were covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, but the court ruled a sufficient explanation has not been provided. The lawsuit was brought forward originally in 2013, on the premise that the social network was scanning messages to find shared links related to Pages, and adding those as “Likes” to the respective Page. According to Facebook, this stopped in 2012, and messages are now only scanned for virus and spam purposes, but it remains to be seen how the lawsuit will play out.

More information on AllFacebook.


Pinterest launching advertising for all businesses for 2015

As of the start of 2015, all businesses are now able to place ads on Pinterest in the form of Promoted Pins. Promoted Pins are created in the same way and within the same categories as regular pins made by users, and show up in search as sponsored results. Promoted Pins have been in testing with the company since 2013, and a trial for brands started this past May. Promoted Pins will be priced on a pay-per-click model, as opposed to paid based on impressions, which is how many users see a particular ad. This past September, Pinterest rolled out analytics for its budding ad service, and it remains to be seen if brands find value in adopting this now widely available social ad format.

Read more on The Next Web.


Amex increases Instagram engagement using influencers

Running a campaign over the course of two weeks where their official Instagram account was handed over to social influencers, American Express was able to generate over 10 million impressions. As part of the company’s #MyAmex campaign, influencers including photographers, chefs, and fashion designers were given the reins of the account, and due to the content posted, engagement increased by 23%. Total engagements for the period were 40 thousand, and the rate at which the account gained followers doubled in the same period.


Read more on Adweek.


Facebook remains top destination for brand social content

Although it is well known that other, smaller social networks surpass Facebook in terms of brand content engagement, the social giant is still considered a top choice for brands to put their social content, and for users to seek it out, according to a new study from Simply Measured. Based on the report, the top 100 companies featured have a combined 1.1 billion fans, and 77 percent of the companies have more than 1 million fans. The report goes on to say that users are no longer concerned with ads appearing in feed, as the network is so focused on branded content. In terms of content creation, the Interbrand top 100 companies post an average of ten times per week on their Pages, with updates includes pictures and short bits of text, leading the way for high engagement.

More information on Simply Measured.


Snapchat raises 486m in new funding

The ephemeral messaging app Snapchat announced that it has raised $486m in a new single round of funding, putting the company at a valuation of approximately $10 billion. The announcement came on New Year’s Eve, and the new valuation put its a full $7 billion higher than what was offered to purchase the company for by Facebook last year, $3 billion. Although the company now has a high valuation, the revenue-generation model for the company is still in its infancy, with a small number of brands created promoted posts, or taking over the “Our Story” section for special events and sponsorships.

Read more on CNBC.


Twitter measures top 2015 resolutions

Taking a look at the top tweets regarding 2015 New Year’s resolutions, Twitter compiled a list of the most popular categories. The list, compiled of English language tweets, measured resolutions starting from December 25th up until the New Year hit. The top three resolutions, starting with #1, included working out, being happy, and losing weight. Other goals included working harder, and stopping smoking.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


Twitter rolling out ‘While you were away’ to majority of users

One of the features that Twitter has been quietly testing is now rolling out to a larger number of users. This latest feature, ‘while you were away’, shows users top engaged tweets from the accounts they are following. This is a change from the standard of showing a chronological order all all tweets that followed accounts are posting, and takes a cue from Facebook and other social networks that show content based on algorithms, engagement, and other parameters. For now, mobile users are the ones experiencing the update, and it remains to be seen if it will roll out to other platforms and the total user-base of Twitter.


Read more on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Ello, Twitter stock and Reddit Notes

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Leaked emails show that Mark Zuckerberg wanted to stop the Facebook movie

After the email account of Sony Picture CEO Michael Lynton and other key Sony Entertainment executives was leaked, information about business deals, mergers, and other confidential information became available to the public. One of these had to do with Mark Zuckerberg, and his alleged attempt to shut down the production of “The Social Network”, the movie that documents the early years of Facebook. Lynton emailed an executive at Warner Brothers in May of 2014, saying, “I said to Zuckerberg when he tried to stop The Social Network, ’No one wants their sophomore year in college examined or portrayed.”. In a recent Question and Answer session, Zuckerberg claimed that many of the details of the movie are inaccurate, at that his goal for Facebook was more than to build a company, but to help connect the world.

Read more on AllFacebook.


Sony to potentially sue Twitter over leaked email content in tweets

The general legal counsel for Sony Pictures has sent a letter to counsel for Twitter, requiring that the micro-blogging company suspend accounts that post tweets with information pertaining to leaked emails from Sony Entertainment, an information flow the former company has been seeking to stop for several weeks. Sony has taken issue with specific accounts, namely @bikinirobotarmy, which has been been posting screenshots of aforementioned leaked emails. It remains to be soon if Twitter will comply and block the related accounts, but it has done so in the past at the request of certain companies and government organizations.

More information on CNet.


More consumers use social media to help with Holiday shopping

Year over year, social media has become a source of activities that would typically take place offline, and on other mediums online, specifically searching for and discovering items for holiday gift purchase. Holiday gift discovery on social media has increased by 17% year over year according to an infographic from Crowdtap. In addition, the largest influence on social media was friends and family of users, taking 68% of the influence category when it came to making decisions. Mobile device usage while doing the actual shopping has also increased as a method of consumers doing on-the-fly research about potential purchases, where 67% of shoppers are viewing social sites on mobile to help with decision making, and 50% of that group doing price comparisons on their devices in-store.


Read more on Social Times.


Reddit to give back to users through random draw lottery

Reddit earlier this week announced that it will be giving away one tenth of its total company share value to random users using a lottery system as a way of giving back to the community that provides its content. In September, the company raised $50 million in funding, and made the initial announcement that it would determine a way to pay back its community for content curation. In Fall of 2015 the program will start, and the random users will be given “Reddit Notes” that can be used on an exchange to be defined.

More information on TIME Magazine.


Facebook updates Messenger, and creates app specifically for adding stickers to photos

Adding stickers into comments on Facebook is a move that was recently done to accommodate users who were used to adding images and emoji into messaging app comments, and Facebook has not just stopped there. New features just announced for the Messenger app by Peter Martinazzi, Facebook Director of Product Management, include Holiday frames for selfies, snow globe chat heads, Holiday themed stickers, and more. In addition, an add-on to the Messenger app from the Facebook Creative Labs, Stickered for Messenger, lets users add stickers on top of photos and then send to friends in Messenger.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Elsa from Frozen the top talked about toy for Christmas

In an infographic created by MediaMiser, the top toys being talked about on Twitter were analyzed by hashtag mentions, with the Elsa Glow doll based on the movie frozen taking the top spot, with 39% of all mentions analyzed. Other popular toys for the season included Skylanders, Zoomer Dino and Leapfrog TV, an interactive gaming console for young children. The infographic went on to cover a small amount of the conversation surrounding the Elsa doll with users panicking that they may not be able to find it in time for Christmas, and some complaining that other consumers bought the doll in high quantities to only sell it online later on EBay.


Read more on Media Bistro.


TVTag to be shut down in January 2015

TVTag, formally known as GetGlue, will be shutting down its services starting January 1st, 2015, according to an email to all users from the company. Facing dwindling active usage numbers, and an overall decline in the usage of check-in apps, GetGlue is being forced to shut down because users have simply not be interested in “checking in” to television shows, also potentially having to do with much programming being available on-demand. Television check-in apps have sought to become the dominant second screen experience but have not taken off in recent years, and one of the only major remaining players in the space is Viggle, which offers users real rewards for checking into shows.

More information on Lost Remote.


One of Facebook’s oldest users passes away

Anna Stoehr, a woman who become popular for writing a letter to Facebook, taking issue with its age limit (she was 114), died this past Sunday. Stoehr, lived alone on a farm, and was having trouble creating a Facebook account because birthdays for the social network only go back to 1905. The social network sent her a bouquet of 114 flowers as an apology, but users still cannot enter a birth date earlier than 1905 and Stoehr had lied about her age to be able to make an account.

Read more on NPR.


Social Ad Revenue to reach $15 billion by 2018

In an inforgraphic created by Invesp, it is estimated that social ad revenue will rise to $15 billion in 2018, which is a $5.1 billion increase over last year. As a year over year trend, this would equal approximately 24% growth per year. As a sub-segment of this, mobile social ad revenue is projected to increase from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $7.6 billion in 2018, for a 38.3% rate of growth per year. Overall, revenue from social ads is trending to a 194% total increase over the next four years.


Read more on Invesp.com.


Twitter stock increases amid rumors

This past Tuesday, stock for Twitter by nearly four percent on the heels of a rumor that CEO Dick Costolo would potentially be resigning. Sun Trust analyst Robert Peck said in a recent interview with CNBC that the future of Twitter’s top executive was in question, and that there would be a good chance that he would no longer be in charge within a year. Costolo has had a tough year impressing investors after his family trust sold all of their Twitter stock, and the rumor news increasing the value of the stock is likely perceived as a bad sign overall.

More information on Media Bistro.


Ello announces new features and a planned update for 2015

Ello has announced a number of new features related to adding comments on posts within the network. Users are now able to reply to comments, cancel comments that are considered rude or inappropriate, and images can also be embedded, similar to what Facebook started recently offering. For 2015, mobile apps are being built and the desktop app will be receiving a complete redesign. Additional features that will be added in 2015 include improved search, audio integration through Soundcloud, private accounts, and more.

Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: Twitter API, Netflix sharing, and Instagram filters

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Netflix app updated to include social sharing

The Netflix app on Android devices has been updated to include social sharing features, and is now compatible with Android Wear as well. The social sharing features make it more seamless to offer recommendations of a movie or TV show with friends on Facebook, and all of the sharing is done privately. The Android Wear integrations for the app go so far as to let users control playing or pausing media, receiving alerts when a recommendation is sent to them, and thanking friends for recommendations.


Read more on Venture Beat.


Twitter and Foursquare will partner to offer location-based info in tweets

Starting in 2015, Twitter and Foursquare will be partnering in order for Twitter to show more relevant, location based data to users. According to a story from Business Insider, new features could start appearing as soon as the first quarter in 2015. Twitter currently only has limited location abilities, such as telling where a user is when they sign up for the service, and when they send a tweet if they have enabled geo-tagging of tweets. There is no official word from the company on their partnership with Foursquare, but they did announce some plans for location-based features, including testing that showed users who were provided location based content tied to the location where they signed up for Twitter were more likely to open up the app within the next 30 days. It remains to be seen if this is the latest in attempts to improve the usability of the service in light of other competing social networks.

More information on Business Insider.


Instagram introduces brand new filters in app update

For the first time since 2012 with the release of Mayfair and Willow, Instagram has introduced 5 five brand new filters to the service. The new filters, called Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua are said to be inspired by the Instagram community of artists, according to an official blog post from the company. In the latest update, the way filters are chosen also changes, and a blurred thumbnail of the photo to be edited is shown with the filter applied when a user is making a choice. The new update is available for both iOS and Android.


Read more on Instagram Blog.


Facebook auto-enhances uploaded photos

As a tool aimed at improving the quality of the photos uploaded to the network, Facebook is now automatically enhancing every picture that a user uploads. The feature has been available since earlier this week, and although it is not part of a new overall app update, users have to option to disable via app settings on iOS, or they can tap the wand icon when they upload a photo to prevent the automatic changes from being applied. Enhancements to photos include increased brightness and clarity. There is no word yet on if this change will be widespread across devices and platforms.

More information on The Next Web.


New right-hand ad format breeds success for Facebook advertising

Back in June, Facebook redesigned the look of right-hand side advertisements, to be larger overall, and feature large format pictures, not unlike how news feed ads have been appearing for several years. Millward Brown, the market research agency, conducted a study, the results of which were posted in a Facebook for Business post highlighting performance of this new format. Among others, key stats included the new ad format increasing time spend viewing them by 29%, increasing dwell time by 50%, and increasing user behavior related to the ad by 46%.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Snapchat secretly makes acquisition deals

Based on the Sony Entertainment information and media leak over the past week, it has been reveled through company emails that Snapchat secretly acquired smart glass technology company Vergence Labs for $11 million in cash and $4 million in company stock. Vergence Labs produces Epiphany Eyewear, fashionable glasses that allow for single touch video recording. Through the leaked emails it was also revealed that Snapchat purchased AddLive in a deal that could be worth 30 million dollars. The acquisitions seem to imply that Snapchat intends on bolstering its video capabilities in the near future.

More information on The Verge.


Pinterest users can now edit several pins at once

A feature that users have been requesting for a long time, Pinterest is now allowing the ability to edit multiple pins simultaneously. In order to do this, users just have to go to the board, click on “move pins”, and select the pins that they want to shift around. Pins can be moved to a different board, and up to 50 can be selected at once. Other options include deleting all of the selected pins entirely. As the new feature is being rolled out over time, not all users will have access to it immediately.


Read more on Social Times.


Twitter introduces custom themes for its sign-in API

Digits, the social sign-in API offered by Twitter, has now started offering different design themes for developers, most likely in an attempt to have the sign-in screens match the theme or branding of the app or service. Developers only have to add a few additional lines of code to make these changes to the service that has been available since October. Digits works by having users register for an app by giving their phone number to receive a confirmation code, rather than by providing personal information such as full name and address.

More information on Venture Beat.


Foursquare releases new official app on iPad

Earlier this week, Foursquare released their official updated app on iPad, a change from the old Foursquare app that existed before the company was split into a Yelp-like service for discovery, and Swarm, specifically for check-ins. Features of the new app include a Top Picks section, which can be used newly for discovering events and popular travel destinations around the world. The new features have been added presumably to compete with travel destination planning services in addition to researching local places to eat or see, one of the main original purposes of the Foursquare app split.


Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook Rooms app gets Explore button to help make adoption easier

Rooms, the latest of standalone applications launched by Facebook, has just received an update in the form of an Explore option, that makes it easier for users to find popular or unique rooms. User adoption has been low for the application, much like other attempts to make standalone apps by the social networking giant, such as Poke, and Slingshot. In an interview with Kurt Wagner on Re/code, Josh Miller, product manager at Facebook said, “Because we’re at Facebook, people will question if we’re not blowing up after two months. I have to constantly remind myself that we can’t rush communities: We have to be patient.”.

More information on AllFacebook.


Twitter provides new mobile ad targeting options

Twitter has recently been exploring with offering new ad targeting options, and this past week it expanded these options even further. The two options include being able to target users by mobile carrier, and also targeting users with brand new mobile devices. 80% of Twitter users access via mobile, so this is likely a play to provide marketers more options to hit the majority of users by tightly segmented groups. The mobile carrier targeting is likely to benefit carriers and complimentary industries the most, whereas targeting to users with new mobile devices could be a smart option for marketers of mobile accessories or applications. These new options are available in 35 countries presently.


Read more on Media Bistro.


Engagement on Instagram for brands is 50x higher than on Twitter

After just having passed the user milestone against Twitter (Instagram has 300 million users, and Twitter has 284 million), Instagram looks to have a strong lead agains the micro-blogging service when it comes to engagement for brand content as well. In a comparison done by Socialbakers, the top 25 brands using Twitter and Instagram were compared and it was found that Instagram content had a 50x higher engagement rate than Twitter content. In addition, interactions with brand profiles were 38x greater on Instagram than on Twitter.


Read more on Media Bistro.