This Week’s Top Stories
Snapchat has, as expected, rolled out Discover, a new editorial-driven product that is designed to deliver brand stories – it’s available exclusively to advertisers and select companies right now – through a collection of photos, videos and other media. It’s getting a lot of notice because instead of trying to bend a mobile-first approach to brand needs it seems to be fully created with a mobile-first mentality toward messaging. With messaging app usage on the rise almost across the board it’s unsurprising that brands in some way would want to get the attention of that growing user base.
Twitter made a couple big announcements recently. First was the launch of their “while you were away” feature that is meant to surface interesting updates that were published since the last time you loaded the mobile app. Then they launched both Group DMs, which allow you to send a DM to more than one person at a time (mimicking functionality that was standard in the first generation of messaging apps), including people who don’t follow each other, and native video uploads, allowing people to take and share videos up to 30 seconds long, doing some light editing along the way.
According to GlobalWebIndex, Pinterest was the fastest-growing social network in 2014 with the number of active users rising 97%. That was followed by Tumblr, which grew by 95% and Instagram, which grew by 47%. GWI also released data that showed the average global social media users has 5.5 accounts on various social platforms, though they are only active on 2.8 of those. And those people are using social media for, on average, 1.72 hours a day.
Target has gotten plenty of praise for their decision to involve plus-size fashion bloggers in the launch of a new fashion line designed specifically for plus-size women. This seems to have been driven by previous issues the retailer had with fashion lines that contained nothing for anyone who wasn’t tiny.
Conversations offline or on Facebook are more likely to influence someone to watch a show when they’re not watching TV while Twitter and text messaging dominate the conversations while people are watching TV. Lots more good information there about how TV conversations spread and how different media influence viewing patterns.
ShareThis has a bevy of stats about how and where people are sharing. There’s lots of interesting stuff here, but most notable is how certain categories of content are more commonly shared on specific platforms. So sports is most commonly shared on Twitter, likely because of the real-time nature of that platform, while Beauty/Fitness, Food/Drink and other lifestyle material is mostly shared on Pinterest. Overall, sharing on Facebook rose by over 8% due to its position as the “primary” social presence people maintain.
NBC has launched a Tumblr that’s devoted to hosting all the ads from the Super Bowl this year. And Facebook has their own Super Bowl “experience” that will pull in updates from your network of connections, live reactions from everyone else, photos, videos, live scores and more.
The New York Times shares some of the lessons they’ve learned about achieving social media success, including not futzing with the headline in the search of something more clever if you don’t need to, how they changed some of their processes to fully embrace photos and how they publish links to a story more than once with different approaches to the call-to-action. Some great stuff here, though a previous study about how the NYT is far outstripped by sites like Buzzfeed in terms of social success certainly needs to be kept in mind. Even so, this shows how a big media organization has adapted to social media and uses data to adjust on the fly.
The real-time marketing train wreck continues as a handful of brands either bought Promoted Tweets around or otherwise had some “fun” with the recent blizzard that was predicted for New York City. But as some people note, having a laugh around a serious weather event can quickly backfire if things turn south so it’s important, if you want to venture down this road, that these not be scheduled and forgotten about.
Interesting comments here regarding the shift away from pageviews and other similar metrics to something more complex – and harder to measure – like “time well spent” and so on. Particularly of note are the discussions about how total aggregate time spent across a number of single articles (as opposed to something like pages per visit) at different times may be the new indicator of media brand loyalty in that it shows someone who trusts the site and clicks through when stories from there show up in their social media feeds.
Vox is the latest media company to get serious about producing content that’s exclusive to social media and doesn’t link back to an on-domain story or other page. While that’s very interesting, the only gains they see are in brand awareness and engagement while sacrificing in other areas, including everything that’s accomplished on-domain. It also shows a startling disregard for the trap of content decay since the ALL of that content is going to disappear down the social media stream as opposed to having long-term, recurring value.
According to a November 2014 survey, Snapchat was 69% female and 71% under the age of 24. Overall adoption as a percentage of the social media user population, though, is largely unknown and varies widely from one survey to the next.
Pinterest really wants to address the gender gap that continues to be in play – and which may be hampering even faster growth, or at least would open up new advertising opportunities – by updating search so that men who are searching for something will see more results from other guys.
For the first time you can access updates from the messaging app WhatsApp on the web, but only for those who don’t use the iOS app.
A new study shows that consumers are playing a game with retailers, abandoning shopping carts and otherwise intentionally showing they’re walking away or not acting on purchases in hopes a new, better deal will be offered to them later. And more than that, the study’s authors say retail brands should play along and engage in a little give-and-take so the consumer winds up walking away feeling satisfied that they got the win.
According to a recent survey social media was the least popular customer service channel, with just 2% preferring to use that channel while most preferred either the phone or email. The survey also showed that 25% of respondents don’t even use social media for that purpose. Part of that, though, may be because not every company handles customer service on social media so the option isn’t even there, though the lack of dedicated channel doesn’t usually stop people from sharing their complaints/issues on social media so that argument may not hold water.
There is a tremendous market to be tapped in India for social networks, and Twitter is announcing its intentions to enter that market loud and clear. Missed call technology and practices might be unfamiliar in the US, but it’s a widely used practice in India. Even though it effectively means Twitter will be paying to push its content to users, it’s a strong user growth strategy that should pay dividends in this highly competitive and highly lucrative market.
Facebook has a new tool, called Lift, designed to show advertisers which of their ads are actually converting into sales. It will do this by essentially creating two groups of people – those who were exposed to the ad and those who weren’t – and reporting on their tendency to buy the advertised product. That comes on the heels of an earlier study that showed sales rose by 24% when Facebook paid ads were part of the media plan.
Conde Nast is breaking down more of those pesky ethical walls and will have editors from its magazines work directly with advertisers on branded content/native ads specifically designed to blend in with the rest of the magazine’s content, whether on-domain or on social media.
Flipboard announced Promoted Items, which would allow brand advertisers to insert content into the magazines people are creating. Meanwhile Pinterest says it’s expanding its Promoted Pins to the front page of the site, meaning more people will see them.
Publishers who traffic in native ads have found using their fancy custom CMS – which is a proposition with more than a few potential potholes – isn’t the best solution and have hacked on ad servers to provide the boost and metrics advertisers demand.
Tumblr has launched Creatrs, a program that’s designed to connect the artists that make up so much of the Tumblr user-base with brands who are putting together advertising campaigns for, of course, execution exclusively on Tumblr.