Weekly roundups corral the news you can use.
Facebook Reorganizes Your Newsfeed – Again
First, let’s talk about why Facebook is always making changes. The more useful Facebook is for the people who use it the more those people will log in and the longer they will stay on the site. That means more opportunities for Facebook to serve advertisements and make money. And Facebook even works to make sure the advertisements are either pleasing or at least not annoying to the point of driving people off the site. An idea I wish more online publications would adopt.
Facebook is always looking for ways to make your experience more pleasurable and useful. Now you may say that if only Facebook will show you what you say you wanted to see all would be well. Let me ask you, weren’t you the one who followed the high school friends who post various life complaints or the uncle with the views you do not agree with? We are not always the best curators of the information we want to receive. So instead of asking us what we want to see, Facebook watches our behavior online and gives us more of what we seem to be attracted to.
The most common behavior Facebook used to decide if a piece of content was worthy of putting in newsfeeds was whether or not that content was engaged with. Did people “like” it or now “react” to is. What the content shared or commented on? This week Facebook announced that they are now also looking at the amount of time people spend with an update.
“With this change, we can better understand which articles might be interesting to you based on how long you and others read them, so you’ll be more likely to see stories you’re interested in reading,”
Facebook Messenger for Conference Calls
When you need to get a few people from different locations on a call you may turn to freeconferencecall.com or Uberconference.com. As of this week, you can also make those call on Facebook Messenger. This not only aligns with Facebook’s mission to connect the whole world but also proves beneficial for the Facebook at Work initiative.
Google Adds Podcasts
This update is surprising in that this was not already a feature of Google Music: Podcasts.
“Starting today on the web and rolling out on Android in the U.S. and Canada, we’ll connect you with podcasts based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast—whether you’re a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time.”
It was a fairly slow news week for social news. If you have an update that I missed, let me know in the comments.
Weekly roundups corral the news you can use.
Instagram Updates Web Interface
Instagram has always been a mobile-first social network with the website frustratingly being less than useful. This may be changing.
“Instagram rolled out an Activity tab on the web that’s identical to the notifications tab inside its app. Here you’ll be able to see who Liked or commented on your posts, or who followed you or tagged you. It’s now available to all users. ”
Is Snapchat Influencing Twitter?
Twitter has been making lots of changes this year trying to find what will make the social network stickier. Now they are trying stickers. In what seems to be an inspiration of the fun filters for Snapchat, Twitter is testing a new image feature.
“The feature will also let Twitter users see how others around the world have edited the photo and will also suggest photos that could be edited and posted, to take part in trending conversations and breaking news”
Google Wants a Piece of the Live Streaming Action
Live Streaming such as Meerkat and Periscope started taking over last year. This year Facebook enabled live streaming for all on their network. Now Google is testing a new live streaming app called YouTube Connect.
“YouTube Connect has much of the same functionality that you’d already find with Periscope and Facebook Live, according to a source close to the matter. You can log into the app using your Google or YouTube account and immediately begin streaming from your mobile phone. There are chat and tagging features, and a “news feed” that features the latest clips from your friends or those that you’ve subscribed to on YouTube.”
Audio Optional in Snapchat Discover
Videos are great but having the audio on is not always optimal. The most successful videos are the ones that can be enjoyed with or without audio. Many of which are captioned – which is Snapchat’s latest feature.
“Snapchat has quietly added a caption button that Discover publishers can use to make their videos audio-optional. When a publisher has made the option available, people can click the button to toggle on subtitles in order to watch a video without sound. A Snapchat spokesperson confirmed that the company introduced the closed captions for long-form videos within Discover about a month ago but declined to say whether there are any plans to extend them to other videos within Snapchat, such as Live Stories or individuals’ stories.”
Facebook Updating Metrics
Facebook video metrics is getting more granular. It is great to know how many times your video has been viewed. It is helpful to know when your video is viewed more often. It is most insightful to know if people are really watching your video or bouncing off.
“This new data gives Page owners a better understanding of when their audiences are watching their videos, providing a more detailed picture of performance that we hope will help publishers inform their video strategies.”
Did I miss any big news? Let me know in the comments.
Today is a special edition of our weekly roundups which corrals the news you can use. Instead of just focusing on what has changed this past week, we will review the highlights of 2015.
Of course, we will begin with the leader of change, Facebook.
How Facebook Evolved in 2015
The year started with algorithm changes that drastically decreased the reach of promotional type posts. Although this impacted all businesses, we focused on how nonprofits and small businesses could adapt.
To ensure a more credible business experience, Facebook also started removing fake profiles that were created by what I will call “Like” farms. Many businesses saw a drop in Likes on their page which caused some concern, but as we advised to clients, it was a good thing that helped increase valuable engagement with real people.
In March, Facebook ripped the inbox out of the mobile app to create the Facebook Messenger App. As we predicted, Messenger is evolving to be its own stand alone valuable platform.
There was an F8 event this year, which is a big deal because Facebook does not host an F8 every year. This is the conference where Facebook lets everyone knows their goals and ambitions. This year we heard about video, messenger, and virtual reality.
In April we saw how serious Facebook was about video as they crashed YouTube’s 10th birthday with news of their compelling changes to the video platform. We also saw the launch of video chat within the Messenger Platform.
It did not take long for Facebook to declare that they had taken control of the video marketing mountain. In May it was announced that brands were moving the video content to Facebook. YouTube said, but…but…people want to see how-to videos on the YouTube platform.
In July, Facebook began testing the ability to allow people to make purchases straight from business pages, because why would anyone want to leave Facebook.
Facebook is making moves on Twitter’s breaking news territory with Signals, and in the same week broke some news of its own that we may soon have more ways to respond to a post. It seems they are taking a variety of emotions into consideration.
Then Facebook did some hijacking of news, Star Wars news and hype to be exact, by using a Star Wars video to showcase their 360 video capability.
In October Facebook started making moves in the search world by announcing they are going to index the 2 Trillion posts so that they can easily be found (if they are public).
And since everyone is already on Facebook, why not use Facebook to connect and collaborate at work?
How Twitter Evolved in 2015
Twitter started making some changes in April when they redesigned their home page to be more of an open door to new visitors allowing them to see what the world of Twitter is like.
Twitter then changed the look of everyone’s profile by removing their backgrounds. Not everyone was happy about that. Twitter also began simplifying their ads platform and focusing on the ability for advertisers to get ever more targeted.
In August, Twitter made changes to their DM feature including an increase in characters you can use in a message.
Twitter followed along with the trend of being able to make purchased on social platforms and launched the ability to make a purchase via a partnership with Strip.
Twitter played to its strength of being the go-to place for news and is working to organize all that valuable information with the launch of Moments.
In October Twitter launched a polling feature that is native to the platform and also began letting users to put pieces of their story together with a grid display that you can embed in a site.
Twitter’s star became a heart and everyone freaked out.
How Instagram Evolved in 2015
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook now, started exploring how to integrate ads into the platform. Being that it is owned by Facebook, they quickly started getting a few things right with predictions of ad revenue being around $2 million.
In August, Instagram gave a little more creative control to their users by allowing users to create photos in portrait or landscape as opposed to just being square.
Instagram started paying attention to how all the kids are playing on sites like Snapchat and began implementing similar privacy features such as Instagram Direct.
Instagram is also spicing up some of the ways you can edit photos with their new app called Boomerang.
How Pinterest Evolved in 2015
In May, Pinterest began wooing developers by creating the Marketing Developers Partners program. Within just a couple of months, Pinterest became everyone’s personal home shopping network when it launched the ability for users to go from creating boards of wish lists to allowing users to make purchases.
Pinterest said I am here to stay when it announced that it reached a new milestone of 100 million users.
Pinterest made some moves to bring the online and offline world together when they narrowed their focus on enabling location based pinning.
How Live streaming Video Evolved in 2015
In March, Meerkat put live streaming video on all of our radar with a breakout moment at SXSW. As we mentioned in that weekly roundup, Meerkat’s success raised the tide for other startups like Periscope.
In May, Twitter took sides and decided that Meerkat was not allowed to play alongside Periscope on their platform.
Meerkat then decided that the best live streaming is the action packed live streaming, enabled live streaming capabilities from a Go Pro.
In July, Facebook decided that it wanted to get into the live streaming game and began enabling Live Streaming features for the select few. In the past month, Facebook has been testing Live Streaming for all users and this past week announced Live Streaming for Verified Brands.
How Google Evolved in 2015
Google Plus seems to have been in intensive care all year with questions as to whether it is a dead platform, a niche platform or an evolving platform.
in August we learned that Google created Alphabet, which suggests they will be investing in everything from A to Z and all things Google became a product line under Alphabet. The next week we learned that all the bundled features of Google plus were breaking up into different product lines and focusing on paying attention to what people care about most which is communities and pictures.
And then Google changed their logo and people cared.
Other 2015 insights
Throughout the year, we also wrote a bit about Snapchat. This is definitely going to be the emerging app to watch in 2016. Already we see rapid growth and competitive views of videos on the sites. It is the favorite app of the younger generations. Snapchat seems to be focusing on courting media brands first.
Linkedin made news a few times this year with its acquisition of Lynda.com and their move to make all groups private. These seem to be moves to make Linkedin much more useful than being simply a noisy Rolodex. We expect to see Linkedin continue to find their sweet spot in the world of B2B social media.
YouTube has made some modifications over the year to be more user-friendly. I feel that even though there is a lot more competitive forces on YouTube, Google, or shall I say Alphabet is not too concerned yet.
If you would like to browse through all of our weekly updates, you can click here.
Weekly roundups corral the news you can use.
It has been a busy week in my news feeds. Here are a couple of highlights.
Let’s start with something you might have missed, or someone may have made a big deal about, or someone like me saw and went, eh…
Twitter has noticed how much people love editing and adding text to their short videos and images and may be testing out those features within the Twitter platform.
“That’s according to numerous images posted by Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and others pop stars, who appeared to have access to unreleased editing features from Twitter at MTV’s VMA awards show this weekend.”
And Instagram is taking note that people like to pass private notes to each other, so it is updating Instagram Direct.
“The revisions allow threaded conversations so you can chat about photos instead of simply commenting on them. You also can start group chats, which remakes the experience of communicating on the platform, which, even in Instagram Direct, always has been done in the comments. ”
In the world of Facebook, it looks like they want to get in the personal assistant game that Apple and Google have been dabbling in.
“Facebook Inc is testing a personal digital assistant called “M” within its Messenger service that can answer questions with live human help and perform tasks such as buying gifts online and booking restaurants.”
What news did you see in your feeds that we need to know about?
Our weekly roundups corral the news you can use.
Twitter is making some valuable changes to their DM feature including increasing the character limit and enabling photos and links to be shared. This makes a lot of sense considering the growing popularity of messenger apps being used today.
Has your brand been on Twitter for awhile and wish you had the archives to see how things have been going? Now you can. A new product offering now enables Full-Archive Search API that enables you to search for any public tweet ever posted.
Snapchat is making some tweaks to their app as well including the introduction of Travel Mode which will put those important stories on hold if you are not ready to see them, thus saving your some very valuable data.
A Trophy Case also recently showed up in Snapchat…Let the gamification begin.
If you have been hiding in a cave or under a rock this week, you might have missed the big news that Google now owns the Alphabet. Well, let me rephrase that, the Alphabet now owns Google. Well here is a visual to help you sort it all out.
Our weekly roundups corral the news you can use.
Live streaming video is the newest cool kid in town, so of course, Facebook wanted to get in with that crowd and recently launched their live streaming feature. Of course, it is being offered for cool kids only, aka celebs.
Facebook has another new feature launched this week, Send Message. When you see an ad on Facebook you can now send that brand a private message straight from the ad. That is kinda cool.
Facebook also owns Instagram (if you did not know). Facebook makes a lot of money off of ads (if you did not know). And now Instagram is ready to make lots of money from ads and is now open for everyone to purchase Instagram ads.
Speaking of ads, Twitter wants to make it easier for brands to spend money on Twitter advertisements, well as easy as using an Excel spreadsheet if you think that is easy.
The Twitter mobile interface is also getting more user -friendly, at least for people with an iPhone 6.
Did you hear that? It is the death knell of Google plus. Well, death may just be a way to transform into something else. Google has decided you do not HAVE to have a Google plus account for everything Google. Just a Google account.
So what may be in Google’s social future? Perhaps an acquisition of Twitter?
Pinterest continues to dominate news with ongoing enhancements that connect the ever-growing number of members on the site with the merchandise and experiences they would like to buy. In the next few months, it may be possible to make purchases on Pinterest without leaving the website or app as a new “buy button” is launched.
If you are dreaming of getaway and find yourself wandering through photos of ideal getaways that are posted on Instagram, you may find yourself clicking on one of those photos and landing on one of Hilton’s Hotel booking pages. This feature is brought to you by the Like2Buy technology that turns a “like” into a purchase.
We’ve all heard the term “digital natives” referring to the generation that was surrounded by digital technologies and toys from the day they were born. Will the next generation become the “Virtual Reality natives”? Consider the timeless toy we all played with as kids–I mean all of us, from Baby Boomers to Millennials–the Mattel ViewMaster. Now imagine that view master with better graphics, 3D graphics even. Add in a few sensors and some sound, and you will have a ViewMaster for the Virtual Reality generation. That’s what Google and Mattel have been imagining.
Happy 10th Birthday to YouTube. You have brought us a decade of entertainment, information, and a platform for heated debates. You have launched unknown “talents” to international stardom, you have democratized education, and you have made us less anxious about missing a “must watch” event because we know you will have it ready for us to watch on our own timetable. We celebrate your past 10 years because you have enhanced our past 10 years, and we thank you.
No matter how ephemeral social media can seem at times, it’s helpful to remember that our digital lives sometimes grimly outlive our actual ones. So the question becomes, once our time on this earth as a mortal personality has passed, what happens to our digital personality? Facebook has taken steps to answer that question by launching the option for users to assign a Legacy Contact to take over the account once a person has died.
originally posted on Concept Hub
The past month I have been posting about the many offerings Google has developed. One of the most important “secrets” to Google’s success, as well as to any innovative company’s success is to create an environment of play.
However in a world where we dress up in suit and work 8-12 hours a day to meet deadlines, or lately only strive to keep our jobs, play sometimes may seem a childish waste of time…sort of like how many people see or have seen social media.
However, more and more people are recognizing that social media is becoming more and more vital to their business success. And being successful with social media requires the ability and willingness to play.
I remember when I first heard of Twitter. It was early 2007 and even my friends who are always the first to jump on the latest technology were looking at Twitter with a puzzled look. But we all joined and we played. We did not create our “Twitter Strategy” nor did we question what Twitter’s revenue model would be. We just played.
More recently there are lot of people playing on Foursquare and various other location based games where they try to earn various badges and earn the right to be mayor.
What happens when a lot of people join together to play? They each come up with interesting strategies that they share with their community. They discover ways to integrate new tools into their business to make their business more fun to engage with. The team that originally developed the tools such as Twitter and Foursquare observe how the community is interacting with their tools and they develop more functionality to support those efforts. Revenue models are developed that are beneficial to all the contributors of the community.
I believe that new innovations will continue to be introduced to the world this way and that the companies that are willing to play early and often will reap the most the benefit whereas those who wait for a business model and solid strategy will continue to fall further and further behind.
Consider creating a task force of people whose job it is to play. Seek out the people who are inquisitive, communicative, and responsible – perhaps one person from each department and ask them to team up, play with new toys and report their findings on a monthly basis.
The world is moving fast, and it is becoming more fun too. It is rapidly become a world where businesses need to learn how to play, or get out of the game.
originally posted on Concept Hub
My father was the type of person who always had to have the latest entertainment or tools of convenience as soon as they were released to the market. I recall having one of the first Microwave ovens, VCRS, On TV (before Cable), then we had cable, then Satellite (the really big dish), and so on and so on.
What I learned from all those years of watching my dad buying the latest inventions as soon as they came to market was the value of waiting. If you wait it out the latest new inventions will become better and cheaper.
However I never imagined that we would live in a world where such inventions would become better and FREE!
I have a G1 Phone. I bought it last Christmas. The GPS on the phone was definitely lacking in precision and although it integrated with Google Maps, it did not provide turn by turn directions like a Garmin GPS did. It also did not tell me what attractions and shops were near by.
How I longed for a Garmin. But I waited.
Last week I saw a commercial about Google’s Map Navigation; voice activated, turn by turn directions.
I immediately grabbed my phone and downloaded the Free application. Now, no matter where I am at I can get turn by turn directions to the closest coffee shop simply by saying coffee and clicking on Navigate.
My life is complete.
…and I did not have to pay a thing.
The concept of free has been up for debate for many years. More recently we have heard Rupert Murdoch whining about how quality news is worth paying for and the very successful Arianna Huffington telling him, his thinking is a bit outdated.
We are now living in a free economy.
I just finished reading Chris Anderson’s book on the topic, Free: The Future of Radical Price. (Highly Recommended)
Chris points out a number of reasons for the new free economy.
Today there are three other technologies that touch nearly as much of our economy as electricity does: computer processing power, digital storage, and bandwidth. And all three really are getting too cheap to meter. (page 77)
the cost of anything built on these three technologies will always go down. And keep going down, until it is as close to zero as possible. (page 78)
Which accounts for organizations being able to give away content and data for free. But even if an organization does not make that choice, piracy often forces free upon organizations, and the cost to fight piracy is often too high.
The Internet has disrupted pricing models across almost all industries. But at the same time free has made Google a tremendous amount of money. How can this be so?
Economics is often defined as the science of “choice under scarcity.” Bits of data, applications, content, information, are no longer scarce, in fact we have an overwhelming abundance such things. This abundance has made our attention and time more scarce than ever, and that is where we will find our new revenue models at.
If an organization begins to use free as a way to build community of interested participants, capture their attention and loyalty, and create ways to capture information about what is valuable to them, that organization will be able to deliver services that is relevant and timely to the needs of their community, something most people would be willing to pay a premium for.
In the offline world we see it as product placements on our grocery store shelves and in the goodies that are strategically placed for our impulse buying needs. To successfully capture our attention and dollars, marketers spend LOTS of money to research the needs and behaviors of their targeted consumers.
In the online world, all the organization has to do is offer free apps and information that can be provided at near zero cost and track the behavior of the customers. As Anderson explains;
The act of using the service creates something of value, either improving the services or creating information that can be useful somewhere else (page 29)
A start-up software company can launch with little overhead and offer it’s services for free. As the community grows and the company gathers feedback both directly and through observation, they can create enhancements that will be incredibly valuable which can then be offered at a premium price. This revenue model is often referred to as a freemium.
Services that enable their users to add content often generates revenue through relevant advertising, such as Google’s ad-sense.
We are also seeing revenue models that grow from affiliate marketing programs, or complementary product offerings. For example free photosharing sites that sell personalized merchandise such as mugs or calendars.
These online lessons of free can offer be transferred to the real world. One of my favorite case studies in Chris Anderson’s book was that of SampleLab (Page 60)
At SampleLab, a boutique in Tokyo’s teen-laden Harajuku district, customers get up to five free items each time they visit — everything from candles, noodles, and face cream to the occasional $50 videogame cartridge. The gratis-only “sample salon” attracts 700 visitors a day. How can SampleLab not charge for every item it stocks?
- Charge for entry – Only “members,” who pay $13 in registration and annual fees are admitted. With 47,000 members, SampleLab is so hip, teens now have to make reservations one week in advanced.
- Charge a “rental” fee for shelf space – Due to the store’s popularity, companies give SampleLab products for free and even pay $2,000 to stock one item for two weeks. SampleLab can carry 90 products at once.
- Charge for feedback – By offering extra free goods, SampleLab turns most of its members into a focus group. Teens fill out product -specific surveys online, on paper, or via cell phones. Companies pay $4,000 for that data. If 20 percent of its clients pay for the feedback, SampleLab earns a little less than half the monthly revenue it does renting shelf space.
What can you offer for free and how can you monetize free? This is an important question that all organizations in every industry should be asking themselves.
The trend of legitimate free offerings will continue to grow and will continue to disrupt revenue models of the past. However the one thing all these models have in common is the need for a large engaged audience, which is where the ROI of social media will be seen most clearly.