This Week’s Top Stories
News Feed FYI: Taking into Account More Actions on Videos
(Facebook Newsroom, 6/29/15)
PNConnect Insight – Like a previous News Feed adjustment, this algorithm update looks beyond overt engagements, such as Likes and comments, to other indications of interest, such as turning on the volume for a video, when deciding what to show you. This new algorithm allows Facebook to determine more accurately which videos people really want to see. Things are getting easier for users, more interesting (and sometimes challenging) for brands, and more beneficial for Facebook. For individual users facing information overload, this could be an experience upgrade. But for brands, the update strengthens the case for uploading native Facebook video rather than linking to YouTube or Vimeo videos. You can’t just pump loads of video into your Facebook stream and count on Facebook to deliver it to your audience. Your video content has to be interesting and engaging from the first second, and should not always rely on sound to convey their message. Savvy brands will be taking a much more strategic look at the video they produce as a result of this algorithm change.
PNConnect Insight – The lesson of this cautionary tale isn’t to avoid Q&A sessions altogether. The lesson is to be realistic about hostile audiences and steer clear of public discussions that are likely to engage them. If anyone in the room had been comfortable pointing out the potential ways this could go south, the team likely would have scrapped the idea.
Facebook’s Snapchatty New Photo Uploader Lets You Overlay Text and More
PNConnect Insight – This move is in line with Facebook’s general strategy: If a feature on another social platform seems to be catching on and resonating with users, either mimic it or buy the platform. As such, the move says as much about Snapchat as it does about Facebook. It will be interesting to see whether this new feature boosts Facebook’s popularity as a photo-sharing option, especially with millennials, or whether it just serves to highlight Snapchat’s feature set.
Facebook Makes It Easier to Share Links Without Ever Leaving Facebook
PNConnect Insight – The app update, which lets users search for links to share, has a notable limitation: It only includes links that have already been shared on Facebook. This feedback loop could end up making the News Feed more insular. If someone wants to share a link to a story but can’t find it because no one else has shared it, they may decide the extra step of grabbing the link from a mobile browser isn’t worth it. The link never gets shared, and a potentially important voice never gets added to the conversation. This underscores the need for brands to share links to owned content when it’s relevant to the Facebook audience.
Rights Management 101: The Dos And Don’ts Of User-Generated Content
PNConnect Insight – With so many brands now interested in user-generated content, it’s useful to see some general guidelines on how to do it well and avoid upsetting the people you’re trying to engage — or worse, violating rules on fair use. These suggestions are rooted in solid thinking and are worth consideration.
Google+ Brand Posts Will No Longer Show Up On Google Search Cards
PNConnect Insight – Google keeps saying Google+ isn’t dead, while taking actions that increasingly marginalize the network. The micro view of this announcement is that your brand’s Google card will no longer show information sourced from your Google+ page. The macro view is that no matter what Google says it’s going to do, Google+ is most likely dying as a platform and isn’t worth the investment of resources and effort for many brands.
Marketers’ Favorite SEO Tactics And Metrics
PNConnect Insight – We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, and the industry appears to agree: Creating relevant content for your audience is the best way to get your content discovered. If your content isn’t relevant to the interests of your audience, any other tactics you employ aren’t likely to do much good. With 46% of survey respondents listing relevant content creation as one of the most difficult SEO tactics to execute, it’s safe to say that while we as an industry are beginning to “get it” conceptually, we’re still struggling with it tactically.
PNConnect Insight – Regardless of how this turns out for the publications themselves (which is likely to be a short-term bump devoid of long-term brand loyalty), this will be good for Facebook, which gets to keep all that juicy audience data. Also, the ~30 posts/day some publications have planned is substantial, a factor that ordinarily would mean they’d get penalized in the News Feed. But Facebook will likely give them a pass, at least at the outset, to incentivize this behavior.
Even Messenger Wants To Get Away From Facebook
PNConnect Insight – Allowing people without Facebook accounts to sign up for Messenger will help Facebook increase the app’s user base, which will makes the tool more enticing for developers, which is what this play is really all about. Allowing people to access their iOS or Android apps from within Messenger drives revenue opportunities for both developers and Messenger. Given Messenger’s ability to use mobile networks as the entry point for access, it may be that Messenger, not even Facebook itself, is the biggest opportunity for Facebook as a company.
Meerkat Introduces Embed Option For Livestreaming
(Fast Company, 6/26/15)
PNConnect Insight – This is super-smart and along the lines of what we proposed here as a potential next step for live-streaming apps. This update doesn’t go as far as a profile page, but it’s a move in that direction.
Shazam is Adding Social Features to Try to Become More Than Just a Blue Button
PNConnect Insight – Aiding discovery is a noble goal, but as an app primarily known for identifying music, Shazam may be overreaching in trying to become its own insular social network. As usual, everyone feels that if they do one or two things really well then they want to be known for more than just those one or two things, even if that means downplaying existing functionality.
Blogging Site Medium Rolls Out Password-Free Email Logins
PNConnect Insight – This makes a lot of sense, as it further lowers the barrier to entry for new users.
The One Irrefutable, Universal Law Of Podcasting Success
PNConnect Insight – While there’s a certain amount of “well, duh!” to this post, it makes a valid point. Brands or organizations that want to succeed in podcasting have to keep at it regularly to build relationships with their audiences. You can’t expect success overnight, and you can’t expect listeners to keep coming back unless you’re there reliably with useful information. An irregular recording and publishing schedule doesn’t serve the listeners or the brand.
Mobile Video Views Jump 100% YoY in Q1 2015, Up 367% Since 2013
PNConnect Insight – This report indicates that mobile views will exceed 50% of all online video views by Q3 of 2015 (which begins this week). This is another reminder of the importance of a responsive site design, geared to the needs of mobile users as well as desktop users. Meanwhile, as you create video for your online presence, bear in mind that up to half of the views may come via smartphone or mobile device. Small text or detailed video may not be effective.
Buyable Pins Start Rolling Out Today!
(Pinterest Blog, 6/30/15)
PNConnect Insight – This is official now. The rollout is still limited to an initial set of launch partners, but retailers can sign up for updates when the program starts expanding.
Millennial-Focused Small Businesses Set Up Shop on Social
PNConnect Insight – It’s good that businesses are using social media to reach snake people millennials, since that’s where their customers are. But if they’re focusing heavily on Facebook, as the article suggests, and not other networks that are increasingly popular with this demographic, they’re fighting today’s battles with yesterday’s research.
Baidu To Invest $3.2 Billion Developing Online-to-Offline Services In China
PNConnect Insight – For brands with operations in China — especially B2C operations — this is a significant development. Baidu is China’s Google, and being able to connect online searches with offline merchants’ point-of-sale could make e-commerce much easier in China. If you do B2C business in China, this is something you’re going to want to watch, as Baidu moves from connecting people with information to connecting people with services.
Targeting 1 Billion People, Facebook To Open Its First African Office
PNConnect Insight – With 1 billion inhabitants and several emerging economies to focus on, Africa presents Facebook — and those brands doing business there — significant opportunity. As the article notes, more than 80% of African users access Facebook via mobile. Consequently, Facebook will work on cementing relationships with advertisers and small businesses to support them in the mobile ad space. This means that if you can ship there, you can advertise there and do business there. Not all brands are looking to expand their presence in Africa, but for those that are, this is a welcome move by Facebook.