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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

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.

The week in social: Twitter app targeting, Best Buy, and Facebook search

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Google updates Hangouts with new features

Earlier this week, Google updated its Hangouts app for Android mobile devices with several new features, including letting users see when a contact was “last seen” on the network, letting users share their location, and new sticker sets for messages. Although stickers are not a new feature, Google is trying to expand their use case, by making the new stickers have hidden Easter eggs, with some stickers only being revealed by specific keywords. In terms of location sharing, when a contact asks “where are you?” in a message, users will now be prompted to share a location pin. Lastly, for videos in hangouts, new visual filters have been added, reminiscent of Instagram filters, such as sepia and black and white.


Read more on Venture Beat.


Twitter offers ad targeting based on app installs

As a new method of ad targeting on the heels of Twitter announcing that it would track user app downloads, Twitter is now allowing marketers and advertisers to target ads based on this data. In addition to looking at what apps a user has installed, actions taken with an app can be targeted to, such as whether as a user has registered with the application, or made an actual purchase within in. Because this potentially causes privacy concerns, users are able to turn off this tracking straight within their Twitter applications so their data is not added to these pools. This includes refraining from collecting information when users have enabled “limit ad tracking” on iOS and “opt out of interest based advertising” on Android.


Read more on The Next Web.


Instagram now boasts more users than Twitter

Instagram has just this week passed the 300m user mark, which puts it past Twitter, coming in at around 284 million users. In addition to the user announcement, the Facebook-owned company also announced that users are posting nearly 70 million photos each day. The company is soon planning to launch verified user badges, similar to what Facebook and Twitter currently do for celebrities and other high-visibility users, and will be used as a play to increase the authenticity of the network. Instagram is also in process of deactivating spam accounts as part of its continued improvement of the app experience.

More information on Social Times.


Facebook announces new story-targeting options

Facebook is notorious for showing users only a small bit of content from the people and Pages they follow in an effort to reduce clutter on the News Feed, but now the social network is providing Pages an opportunity to more effectively target users with their content and ensure they are seeing the right messages. Pages can now target a subset of their total fan following based on specific interests, so that stories have a higher proportion of reaching these fans. In addition, expiration dates can now be applied to content so that stories that are no longer timely will not show up in a user’s feed, and encourage them to “unlike” a page. The last new feature is called “Smart Publishing”, and for a story than many users are linking to on Facebook, it will show that story on the News Feed of users who have liked the Page that has opted into this option.

Read more on AdAge.


YouTube offering bonuses to Creators for exclusive contracts

Many top content creators on YouTube are a large source of traffic for the largest streaming video service, and YouTube is beginning to offer monetary bonuses if these creators sign multi-year exclusive contracts. One large threat to talent staying at YouTube is a content creator community called Vessel, and while still in the development phase, it is backed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ investment company. Other companies have attempted to poach YouTube talent as well, but the largest driver to their decisions on where to make content is the size of the audience, and for now, YouTube is still dominant.

More information on Social Times.


Facebook trending topics are launched on mobile

Facebook has just launched trending topics on mobile devices for Android in the United States, with updates to the service, including availability in other countries and iOS support to be coming soon, according to the social networking giant. Trending topics on Facebook have been available since January 2014 on desktop, but this week marks the first time they are showing up on mobile. Trending topics, when clicked on, are separated into five sections, Articles, In the Story, Friends and Groups, Near the Scene, and Live Feed, each offering a different perspective on the subject. Each one of these sections functions as a pre-defined filter depending on how a user wants to consume a subject.


Read more on Venture Beat.


LinkedIn begins to roll out new Homepage

Starting earlier this week, LinkedIn started rolling out a brand new homepage design, one that focuses on metrics of the individual user, such as how many people have viewed the user’s profile, and engaged with posts that a user has made. Users can click on either statistic to get deeper insights, such as how someone found the user’s profile, a new feature that was recently introduced across the board. While some users are seeing the new homepage now, the update will not finish rolling out until the the beginning of 2015.


Read more on LinkedIn Blog.


Facebook launches CTA buttons for Pages

Facebook has just launched call-to-action buttons for Pages in the United States, and while currently on a few Page administrators have access to the feature, it is planned to become available for administrators across the country over the next few weeks, and then available globally in the coming year. The new CTA buttons, similar to, but not exactly the same as the ones available for Facebook ads, include seven options; Book now, Contact us, Use app, Play game, Shop now, Sign up, and Watch video. Administrators can choose the outbound link that users are directed to when the button is clicked. It remains to be seen if these will see widespread adoption among Pages.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Vine adds double-tap to like feature

Taking a cue from Instagram, Vine has added a new feature that allows users to double-tap a Vine to like it. This is likely in response to the paradigm of user behavior that allows someone to like or interact with a piece of social content by double-tapping on it, and it is also something that users have very vocally asked for. A smile-face appears when the Vine is liked, and it does not seem as though any other new features or fixes have been added to this latest update.

More information on The Next Web.


Best Buy posts tweet about ‘Serial’ and removes it with apologies

The incredibly popular podcast ‘Serial’, following the true story of a murder of a high school student in the late 90′s has stirred large amounts of social conversation, from users and brands alike. Best Best sought to take advantage of this by posting a tweet poking fun at the case, but it was quickly removed after backlash from the social community. The tweet referenced a lack of a working payphone at the site of a Maryland Best Buy, near where the murder was supposed to take place. Best Buy posted an apology to its Twitter account after the tweet was removed, citing it was in poor taste.


Read more on Mashable.


Facebook plans to introduce its own search tool

Previously having partnered with Bing to power its search, Facebook will no longer be using the Microsoft-powered service, and instead be introducing its own search tool next week. As part of the features of the new tool, users will be able to search through old posts and comments for information. Although Facebook has been working on its own search technology for a long time, Bing was used to provide results that reach beyond the interest Graph. Both companies have commented that they are continuing to work together in other ways.

More information on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Fresco, Slingshot, and Toyota

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Fresco seeks to be the Instagram of news

A new application, founded by John Meyer, seeks to be the Instagram of news, discovering stories by flipping through cover photos. Each photo on the mobile application features a caption and then a link to more information on the story. The largest challenge for the app team was finding a way to provide captivating images for each story, as licensing can get expensive, but there is said to be a highly engaged set of initial users. It remains to be seen if the visual way of attracting people to read news will take off in an app form. The app is currently available on iOS.


Read more on Social Times.


Snapchat geo-filters now available to all users

This year Snapchat introduced geo-filters, giving developers the ability to create snaps that would only show up in specific locations rather than for all global users to see. The past week the company opened up the option to all users. In order to use this feature, a user pick an image they want to upload and chooses an area for it to show up in, and then posts it to the community site. Images are subject to review however, and they must be original art and approved by the review team at Snapchat.

Read more on The Verge.


Twitter introduces update for photo editing to mimic Instagram

Earlier this past week, Twitter introduced updated photo-editing capabilities on its iOS and Android apps, providing new filters Photos can be edited by the users when they upload a photo into a tweet and then click on it, bringing up all the editing options. In addition to new filters being introduced, the strength of each filter can be selected, and the filters themselves are chosen through a slider thumbnail bar at the bottom of where the photo to be edited is shown. Photo filters have been available on Twitter since Instagram cards stopped being supported in 2012.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook enhances mobile app ads during Holiday season

For the Holiday season, Facebook has offered up some new options to entice advertisers to use their mobile app install ads. New features include the ability to buy ads with “highly predictable” reach and frequency, so they know how many times an advertisement will be seen when they are paying for it to be shown. Additional new features include videos that will auto-play in the news feed if one is featured in the ad, and providing device targeting for Amazon Fire tablets, previously unavailable. The post from Facebook’s business page announcing the new features went on to highlight ways to optimize mobile app ads, including testing multiple creative and getting specific about device-targeting.


Read more on AllFacebook.


The Walking Dead tops Twitter conversation

The mid-season finale of the popular cable network AMC show The Walking Dead achieved record viewership numbers this past Sunday night with 14.8 million total viewers, but almost more impressive were the Twitter conversation metrics around the same episode. With nearly 750 thousand tweets, 37 million tweet impressions were served to over 5 million users. Other shows that exhibited high amounts of Twitter conversation for that evening included Dancing with the Stars and the 2014 Soul Train Awards.

More information on Media Bistro.


Eric Garner case stirs high Twitter and online conversation

This past Wednesday, social conversation erupted around the case of Eric Garner, a 43 year old who died while being placed in a choke-hold by police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, after Pantaleo was acquitted on all charges levied against him. After the verdict of the case broke, the hashtag #blacklivesmatter was featured on over 13,000 tweets in the first hour. Controversy surrounds the case because the choke-hold used was not a police-authorized take-down maneuver and because Garner was unarmed.

Read more on USA Today.


Toyota donates child car seats for photo posts on social media

For the Holiday season, Toyota is donating 10 child car seats to the organization Buckle Up for Life if a user posts a photo on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BuckleUpForLife. The campaign by Toyota is part of a larger partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and is run during the company’s “Toyotathon” national promotion. In order to promote the campaign further, Toyota is buying social advertisements on Facebook and Twitter. As an additional strategy to spread the word through earned channels, Toyota is partnering with GrapeStory to have social influencers post about the campaign.

More information on AdWeek.


Google+ introduces pinning posts on profiles and pages

A feature that has long been available on other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Google+ has introduced letting users pin posts to their profiles, or to pages they are managing. Pinned posts operate on Google+ similarly to on other networks, users can choose a single post they want to highlight, and it appears at the top of the feed on their page, even if they post other content. This is used by marketers for many purposes, such as to highlight an ongoing campaign, or for users on their personal pages, to keep a favorite story or status update featured for longer than normal.


Read more on VentureBeat.


#GivingTuesday generates over 800 tweets per minute

Giving Tuesday, the third annual charity holiday taking place the Tuesday after Cyber Monday in the UK, generated record participation. Clocking over 800 tweets per minute, reaching over 180 million people, and being a trending topic on Twitter for over 11 hours. For various charities, over $46 million was raised during the day.


Read more on Social Times.


Facebook releases Slingshot version 2.0

Facebook’s standalone Slingshot app, which had launched back in June and fizzled out quickly for being compared to Snapchat except more complicated, has received a major overhaul in order to make it more like the core Snapchat experience. In the new version of the app, 2.0, users can follow friends and images shared are put in a central feed, and other users can “react” to these by posting a photo of their own. This new version of Slingshot is comparable to the Snapchat Stories feature of the app. It remains to be seen if this new update will resonate more with users.

More information on The Next Web.


LinkedIn used more by Inc. 500 CEO’s than Twitter or Facebook

Out of the Inc. 500 CEO list, a majority of them use different social networks, but none more so than LinkedIn. With 87% of these CEOs on the professional social network, it beats out Facebook at 85% and Twitter at 75%. In addition, 63% of the CEOs keep a paid social media expect within their company. In terms of other technology, 46% percent of CEOs feel that cloud computing will have an impact of their business, and 43% feel that 3D printing will have an impact.


Read more on Inc.com.

The week in social: Ferguson, Hiero, and Yik Yak

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Snapchat debuts new ad format with Samsung during AMAs

During the American Music Awards this past Sunday, Snapchat debuted its newest ad product only one month after launching its first sponsored post. Its partner for the new ad, a streaming sponsored story, is Samsung, doing an “Our Story” stream. Users could follow hashtags associated with the AMAs and interjected at the beginning of their stream and at key points, Samsung content would be shown. The new product is essentially a way for a brand to own a hashtag of an ongoing event, curated by Snapchat. It remains to be seen what other new formats Snapchat will release for ad its upcoming months as its user base grows and the company continues to try different revenue generating activities.


Read more on AdAge.


Yik Yak raises $62 million in new round of funding

The anonymous messaing app that launched a year ago, Yik Yak, has raised $62 million in a round of funding led by Sequoia Capital, giving it a valuation in the low hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal. The app is most popular for college age users, and is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Yik Yak is used for anonymous messaging within a given amount of space, and is meant to be for local messaging only. Users can send broadcast messages of up to 200 characters. The service drew criticism on launch for being a source of cyber-bulling within high schools. In order to combat this criticism, the service built geo-fenced “walls” around high schools to keep use of the app for more appropriate reasons only.

More information on Wall Street Journal.


YouTube brings more monthly visits than Facebook or Twitter

Based on a survey by GlobalWebIndex of web users aged 16-64, although Facebook has high membership than both Twitter and YouTube, most respondents had visited YouTube at least once in the last month compared with the other networks. Outside of China, 85% of users visited YouTube regularly, compared with 76% on Facebook, and only 40% for Twitter. The survey goes on to point out that while many users do not consider themselves active users of YouTube, it is still driving visits in the hundreds of millions every month.


Read more on Media Bistro.


Social Media reacts to grand jury decision in Michael Brown case

This past Monday night, a grand jury in the case of the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Mo, made the decision not to indict the officer for murder. A hashtag associated with the online discussion, #FergusonDecision, has proliferated all major social networks since the decision was made and has been a top trending topic in the United States on Twitter. Protesters from all around the country have staged peaceful demonstrations, but there has also been a fair share of riots, traffic stoppages, and varied crimes. It remains to be seen if the national conversation will have any affect on the future course of events.


Read more on Social Times.


Twitter introduces Twitter Offers

Earlier this week, Twitter posted a blog post announcing a new commerce service, Twitter Offers, available only in the United States for now, that allows advertisers to create commerce offers that are linked to Twitter Cards. Users can add a credit or debit card to Twitter and associate it with an offer from a business, and when the purchase is made with that card, the user receives a credit for whatever the value of the offer was. The benefits for marketers include being able to attribute sales and redemptions directly to the Twitter promotion, and being able to use their currently existing payment system to enable purchasers for their customers. Offers can be targeted to users by utilizing the existing targeting options from promoted Twitter campaigns.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


LinkedIn most popular social network among ANA members

Among members of the Association of National Advertisers, LinkedIn is the most used social network for professional purposes. Personal use among members is tied for LinkedIn and Facebook with 92% each, and users were more connected on LinkedIn, with an average of 507 connections, versus having an average of 385 friends on Facebook. Twitter came in third, with 71% use rate, and an average of 232 followers. Although users were more connected on LinkedIn for obvious reasons, Facebook still was cited as the favorite social network, more than likely due to its nature of recreational use. LinkedIn use among AMA users is nearly four times as high as the average for total internet users, at only 22%.

More information on Media Post.


Twitter testing in-Tweet analytics

A new feature for measuring the analytics of tweets, some Twitter users are reporting being able to see stats on individual tweets directly from their timeline, by tapping a button to view analytics right below the tweet itself on mobile versions of the app. Stats that the user can see include impressions, total engagements, and engagement rate. The data is pulled from the Twitter Analytics platform, and is seemingly just a way to show individual tweet stats more quickly. It remains to be seen this feature will see widespread adoption, as Twitter has a reputation for quickly testing and often time killing niche features.


Read more on The Next Web.


Nearly half of all Cyber Monday sharing related to Walmart

Based on a report issued by AddThis from data measured November 1-19th, Walmart gained the most impressions and engagement online for content related to Cyber Monday with 48%. It also earned high engagement for Black Friday content sharing, at 40%. Additional social data revealed that Twitter sharing of Cyber Monday deals actually decreased by 19% from last year, but that Pinterest deal sharing increased by 40% for Black Friday, and 33% for Cyber Monday.

More information on Technica.ly.


New messaging app lets users send GIFs to each other

Hiero, a brand new messaging app for mobile devices, seeks to help users create their own style of communication using a combination of provided emoji GIFs, images, and text. The idea is that users create “glyphs”, which is a message made of the aforementioned elements, as the founders of Hiero, TJ Nevis and Cass Baltz, believe that more emotion and storytelling can be portrayed through this rather than a simple text message, and that the format allows for additional personal expression. The app is currently in a pre-launch state, and user input on the app’s website will determine how the app evolves moving forward.


Read more on Social Times.


The week in social: Facebook Groups, Twitter search, and Snapcash

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Twitter Buy button being used for Holiday promotions

As the holidays approach, Twitter has partnered with AMC Theaters to promote its “Buy” button. AMC started offering a $30 gift card on its Twitter page this past Thursday. Theater goers interested in the gift card can click the “buy” button and will be sent to a landing site to enter their credit card information. After a slow year for follower growth, the company is now focusing on providing more insights and e-commerce opportunities for advertisers.


Read more on Mashable.


Google project adds captions to images

Since September, Google has been working on a new methodology to classify images. According to Google’s Research Paper, it developed a system that teaches itself to caption a photograph. The system scores between 27 – 59 according to BLEU score, a company that compares the quality of machine translations. Although this is lower than humans, who score around 69, this is a major step forward when comparing to other captioning systems.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Hotel uses brand new method to connect users to Facebook

U Coral Beach Club Eilat is taking social to a whole other level. The hotel, located in Israel, is sharing videos, photos, and allowing guests to check in using their personal RFID (radio-frequency identification) bracelets. The hotel’s parent company Fattal Hotels partnered with digital ad agency Ecaliptoos to create this real-time social experience by connecting to the guest’s Facebook. Now guests don’t need to worry about finding time to post pictures from their vacation at a later date.

More information on AllFacebook.


WhatsApp partners with WhisperSystem to provide encrypted messages

WhatsApp, the wildly popular messaging app, has partnered with the crypto gurus at Open WhisperSystems to implement strong end-to-end encryption on all WhatsApp text messages. WhatsApp has hundreds of millions of daily users worldwide, and was purchased by Facebook earlier this year for an eye-popping $19 billion. Open WhisperSystems creates state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption systems such as Signal, for voice, and TextSecure, for text.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Facebook releases standalone application Groups

Facebook announced the launch of its Facebook Groups app in a Newsroom post Tuesday, saying that the app is available in all countries, for iOS and Android. When users open the app, they will see all of theiur Facebook groups in one place. Groups used most frequently are at the top, and users can quickly move between each group. Users can track notifications and easily control which notifications they want to see. In the new discover tab, groups are suggested based on pages liked, groups friends are in, and where a user lives.


Read more on AllFacebook.


The most shared ads of 2014 on social media

With more than 405 million views and 5,819,822 social media shares since May, the number one ad of 2014 was Shakira’s “La La La” World Cup promotion. This World Cup ad had approximately 3x more shares than the second most popular video, Devil’s Due “Devil Baby Prank” ad with 2,151,148 shares. Other top ads for this past year include, Nike’s “The Last Game”, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love”, and Cardstore’s “World Toughest Job”.


Read more on Mashable.


Target creates new app to help steer Black Friday traffic

Target unveiled an app that uses location-based technology, powered by Point Inside, to link products with store maps. The user builds a shopping list or uses a search bar to find products, then the aisle where a product is located is revealed. On Black Friday, the app will serve up information on door-buster deals at individual Target locations. The app is the retailer’s latest attempt to blur the line between online and physical stores.

More information on Adweek.


Twitter search allows users to see every tweet ever

Twitter announced last Tuesday that you can search through every tweet sent on the service since 2006. The new search engine means that you’ll be able to search for that tweet from ’08 where your friend DM-failed and never noticed, or that link someone tweeted at you two years ago. But it also means you’ll be able to read back through tweets during the epic World Cup Final. For now, it’s a fairly simple engine: you search through words and hashtags to find what you’re looking for.

Read more on The Verge.


Snapchat introduces Snapcash for peer to peer payment

Users can add a debit card, type a dollar amount into Snapchat’s text-chat feature, and hit the green pay button to instantly send a friend money. The feature is on Android now and is coming to iOS soon. Beyond p2p payments, the trademarks could prime Snapchat for e-commerce and payments to merchants as well. For example, the app could one day send you a Snap or show a Story ad from a merchant, and let you buy the product shown instantly through Snapchat.


Read more on TechCrunch.


BuzzFeed partners with WeChat to increase brand presence

BuzzFeed teamed up with Tencent to become a media partner on the Chinese firm’s WeChat app, which counts 468 million monthly active users across the world. BuzzFeed will now have its own official account on WeChat. Readers are encouraged to follow the account, which will send out a number of messages per day, based on the top viral content or news that is deemed interesting. WeChat is a media-centric platform built for content dissemination.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Facebook to build secure, workspace version of its service

Facebook is building a workplace version of its service to rival the likes of Microsoft, Google and LinkedIn for interoffice communication. Facebook employees have been using the service internally for years to manage projects and work-related correspondence. Facebook will need to convince businesses it can be trusted with sensitive information that’s passed around company discussion boards.

Read more on ReCode.