This Week’s Top Stories
“Such a plan would represent a leap of faith for news organizations accustomed to keeping their readers within their own ecosystems, as well as accumulating valuable data on them. Facebook has been trying to allay their fears, according to several of the people briefed on the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were bound by nondisclosure agreements.”
PNConnect Insight – Publishers have experimented with full off-domain publishing before, but this takes things to a whole new level. Even with a share of advertising revenue, participating publishers are likely to end up at a disadvantage. Hosting content on Facebook instead of on an owned channel will mean giving up complete control over analytics, advertising, and, perhaps most importantly, user experience. For example, publishers can expect limitations on surfacing related stories, promoting other social channels, and building brand loyalty.
Above all, publishers would likely give up significant control of their future. The stories might get strong placement in the Newsfeed initially, but to date, Facebook hasn’t been shy about moving the goal posts. In fact, publishers may be considering this move largely because they’re seeing referrals drop as a result of changes Facebook has already made. In short, Facebook may position the deal as a helping hand, but it’s not clear they’re truly committed to media companies’ long-term best interests.
“The number of US Instagram users increased nearly 60% in 2014, bringing the social network’s US monthly user base to 64.2 million people, according to new figures from eMarketer. By 2018, Instagram’s US user base will top 100 million, reaching 106.2 million that year, when growth finally begins to taper off and dips into single digits for the first time.”
PNConnect Insight – The rapid growth of Instagram combined with the very attractive demographic is why, combined with Facebook’s ever-shifting sands, more and more brand publishers are placing a priority there.
“And then photos and instant messaging — the web’s two unassailable kingmakers — began to merge as smartphones became ubiquitous. The evolution of the camera phone from a novelty feature to a device that quite literally obliterated the need to have a traditional camera resulted in a flood of images onto the web. In 2014, nearly 1.8 billion photos were uploaded per day to the internet. Perhaps calling it a flood doesn’t do it justice. It’s a full-scale breach of the seawalls.”
PNConnect Insight – If photos aren’t a part of your brand publishing program – see the above note on Instagram – they should be. They are the currency of the web.
“But while it may be thrilling for readers to square off with a Times journalist in a Facebook comments thread, it’s hard to quantify what that does for the Times as a business. Media companies publishing directly to social media platforms is the latest in vogue digital media trend, but for all its bluster, no media company has proven a sustainable business model for the practice. There’s lots of investment, but little proven return.”
PNConnect Insight – The same questions should be asked of any brand publishing efforts: What is the cost/benefit breakdown of having the authors of a blog post or story – or some kind of brand manager – actively participating in comment threads and other conversations? In some cases this makes a lot of sense and can help build brand connections and shut down potential issues. In some cases the impact is going to be negligible and has the potential to do more harm than good. In others it’s simply a matter of scale, where the program simply can’t support devoting someone’s time to this sort of activity. Regardless, it’s a component that should be evaluated.
“Yik Yak, the location-based social media app that allows users to chat anonymously with other people within a ten-mile radius, is particularly popular among colleges students. While thousands of Liberty University students cheered Cruz’s speech, a few took to Yik Yak to share some less enthusiastic sentiments. And some members of the media perked up, took notice, and suggested that the Yik Yak chatter, not the applause, was a better sampling of how these students really felt.”
PNConnect Insight – A great example of reporters going outside the parameters that previously existed in order to add much-needed context to a story that goes beyond the spin and official story. This is certainly something to consider when brands are managing and attending large events since it can provide audience/consumer insights that may not be coming in on other channels.
“You can choose to add a location to your Tweets using Twitter for Android, Twitter for iOS, twitter.com or other mobile applications. For example: To give additional location context to your Tweet, you can add a general location label such as “SoMa, San Francisco.” In select locations, on Twitter for iOS and Twitter for Android, you may also label your Tweet with the name of a specific business, landmark, or other point of interest. These locations are provided by Foursquare.”
PNConnect Insight – It’s always made more sense for location information to be meta-data within the tweet rather than living somewhere else. Facebook figured this out early on with native check-in functionality. Foursquare as a stand-alone service had its moment in the sun but being folded into Twitter is more sustainable, especially considering how many changes Foursquare/Swarm has gone through recently.
“Today we’re announcing Layout from Instagram, a new app that lets you easily combine multiple photos into a single image. It’s fun, it’s simple and it gives you a new way to flex your creativity.”
PNConnect Insight – Building collages is something that’s been available through third-party apps for a while now, but Instagram creating its own helps not only it but also publishing programs that are wary of unofficial tools. It’s legitimate to ask why this (or Instagram’s Hyperlapse video app) aren’t just features of the core app, but regardless this can be fun addition to the tool belt.
“That’s a key takeaway from PwC’s new customer care report. The business consulting firm found that 41% of consumers had a positive experience with online chats, though only 4% favored social media when it came to resolving problems. The study’s authors argue that an opportunity exists for companies to improve the experience for customers with issues or grievances by enhancing digital offerings so that they respond more quickly than an operator.”
PNConnect Insight – It’s not necessarily – or at least it doesn’t need to be – about adding services to an existing program. It can also mean integrating existing resources into that existing program. Regardless of which approach is taken, having a customer service component is an increasingly important aspect of online brand management.