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The Week in Social: Alt Twitter, Social Sauce, Big Ads

Alt Parks: The Badlands

In case you missed it, the U.S. National Parks Service was in the Twitter spotlight this week. According to reports, the new Presidential administration issued a gag order on all National Park Twitter accounts. Shortly after, someone with access to the Badlands National Park account began tweeting facts about the environment. Though the tweets were removed from the account later, the outburst was well documented.

The fallout of the story has multiple facets, but the interesting note is that this revolution took place on Twitter. Twitter seems to perpetually struggle for footing amongst its competitors in video, paid media, and fast innovation. However, it always comes out on top in the area of fast, unfiltered news. Sharp marketers will be watching for how Twitter makes the most of this valuable edge that they have in the social marketplace.

Read more at NPR and Vox

Twitter works the live stream game

If you like exclusive access, live events, and second-screening, you should get comfortable with Twitter. Twitter was the exclusive live-streaming service from the red carpet during the Golden Globes, the Country Music Awards, the American Music Awards. Moving into the coming year, Twitter has already secured deals with Thursday Night Football, Wimbledon, and esports. Twitter’s latest business efforts lack huge steps in innovation or broad user features. Instead, they’re opting for securing content and access, which we will expect to keep them in the game for some time to come.

Read more at TechCrunch

Facebook rewards Longer, Better Vids

Facebook wants better videos. We’ve spoken at great length about how the market’s judgement of performance on Facebook is measured in views, where a view is anything over 3 seconds. In a shift of focus, Facebook is moving away from the simple view metric, and looking closely at how long viewers stay with the content. The approach will reward longer videos that gain higher rates of completion with a bump in distribution. This is a solid move away from video for the sake of video, and should effect a boost in the quality of content you see in your daily Facebook feed.

Read more at Engadget

Social Sauce!

Sadly, we’re not referring to a miracle condiment that infuses a bland campaign with a rich creamy ROI. This week, McDonald’s gave its fans a chance to grab one of 10,000 bottles of Big Mac sauce in stores, and across social platforms. Customers in-store could use the code phrase, “there’s a Big Mac for that”, and online viewers could interact during live-streams that took place on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We expect to see more campaigns like this, given reports showing that only one in five millennials has ever tried a Big Mac.

Read more at AdWeek

FB abandons personalized topics

In August, we highlighted the rocky road that Facebook’s Trending Topics feature was facing. Viewers were critical that the human factor in the news feature was causing unfair bias in the featured stories. In response, Trending Topics was switched to an algorithmic feed that scored relevance against user activity, and provided appropriate news. Viewers in the modern news ecosystem demand that providers take steps to weed out fake news, and present a complete picture. In response, Facebook will show the source of all trending topics, and all topics will be served based on region, rather than individual.

Read more at The Next Web

Twitter’s Explore tab

The Moments tab is gone – cast off into a sea of fancy titled features we couldn’t be sure we wanted. In its place, the Explore tab is rolling out for all Twitter users. The revised tab allows viewers to find new, fresh content. The titular function will be Twitter’s easy-to-use portal for videos, promoted stories, and trending topics.

Read more at Twitter’s Blog

Messenger Ads

Eddie Zhang writes, “Businesses have long been telling [Facebook] that they are very excited about the potential of the Messenger platform to reach their customers and help them to drive sales…” In other words, brands want to know where audiences are, so they can put ads there. Meanwhile, platforms want to sell that space to those willing to pay for it. As a result, Facebook Messenger is now serving ads. Great, big ads. Ads that eclipse the app features, big.

Read more at MessengerBlog

Facebook Stories

Facebook’s Stories, a clone of Instagram Stories, itself a clone of Snapchat Stories; is live in Ireland. The feature allows users to post ephemeral stories to their followers. The Instagram feature gained 150 million active daily users in 3 months. With the desirability of temporary content sharing, Facebook is counting on viewers who want new features, without having to rebuild their Friends list. Expect to see the feature roll worldwide soon.

Read more at TechCrunch

Snapchat goes public this week

The story comes from a private source, but all the pieces are in place for Snapchat to IPO this week. The company expects to valuate at $20-$25 Billion. Snapchat has been moving steadily toward this moment for the last year. We’ve seen a developing landscape where Facebook and Instagram freely copy features from other apps. Thusly, Snapchat must get to market while their strongest asset, their users, are firmly in place.

Read more on VentureBeat