Facebook users taking breaks
Pew Research Center have reported that Facebook users are taking breaks from the network, with 61% of 1,006 users surveyed answering as such. Such breaks, which last from a few days up to several weeks before returning to the network, are caused by a number of factors: 21% claimed they didn't have enough time, 10% stated a lack of interest and 8% claimed they spent too much time on the site.
62% of companies to increase social media marketing budget
The Econsultancy/Responsys Marketing Budgets 2013 Report, which surveyed more than 800 marketers, has found that 62% of those intend to increase their social media budgets, in comparison with just 35% who intend to decrease and 3% who will keep their budget the same. This conveys the extent to which social media remains a growing point of interest for marketers.
Top 100 brands show massive growth on Google's social platforms
Over the last year, the top 100 global brands have shown a huge amount of growth on both Google+ and YouTube. 75% have established an active social presence on Google+, accounting for 20.9 million fans, which amounts to growth of 9400% in the course of the year. Of these 20.9 million, 16.3 million (78%) are following the top 10 brands, suggesting that this growth, while remarkable, is not spread evenly. As for YouTube, 87% of the top brands have their own channel, with a total of 3.15 billion views between them.
Lego forcing management to sit social media exams
Toy manufacturer Lego are making their management sit social media exams to ensure they understand the importance of online communication with consumers. Staff will attend a day-long course ending in a practical and theoretical examination, the culmination of which sees each post a Facebook update to the brand's page.
Facebook rumoured to be developing smartphone tracking app
Facebook are rumoured to be in the process of developing a smartphone tracking app, which would allow users to locate nearby friends, even when the app is not open. Due to be released in mid-March, the motives behind the app may be to allow greater targeting of advertising through the information gathered about users' locations.
Facebook trials new 'Lookalike Audiences' feature
Facebook has begun testing a new feature called 'Lookalike Audiences', which will allow advertisers to target users who are similar to those in their 'Custom Audiences'. When an advertiser creates a custom audience by adding a set of data, they will then be able to target ads to similar users, as assessed by Facebook's algorithms. The system is currently available to US advertisers.
Facebook set to purchase Atlas
Facebook are set to announce a deal to purchase Microsoft's ad-serving business by the end of the week, in a deal set to be below $100 million, based on previous $30 - $50 million bids. In doing so, the network looks to be attempting to build its own ad stack, meaning it could provide more data to advertisers about the effectiveness and return on investment of advertising within the social platform, and possibly target ads off site using Facebook user data. The move also displays another point of competition between Facebook and Google, in terms of capitalising on digital advertising as a whole.
Instagram introduces desktop feed
Instagram, which up until now has focussed on its mobile app, has in the last week introduced a desktop feed. After last year's move to allow access to Instagram profiles from a computer, this sees a further, more robust move into the desktop world. It will be interesting to see how quickly users choose to access Instagram from devices other than their mobile phones.
Twitter makes updates to Search and Discover
Twitter announced several updates to their Android and iOS apps, as well as their mobile website. From now on, all content in Discover will appear in a single stream and the same will be the case for Search. You can get an idea of the functions' feel from the image below:
Moreover, Search will now display tweets from a longer time period. Previously, only tweets from up to around a week previous were displayed; this is now set to increase, allowing users to locate content beyond the most recent Tweets.
Twitter ups price of ads, valued at $9.9 billion, acquires Bluefin labs
A number of stories have this week displayed the growth of Twitter in a number of areas. Firstly, they have increased the price of a promoted tweet from $150,000 to $200,000, a vast increase from the $80,000 charged at launch in 2010. Moreover, since the news that some employees were selling shares at a valuation of roughly $9 billion, the last week has seen that valuation increase to roughly $9.9 billion with the sale of further shares. Both of these pieces of news bode well financially for Twitter, ahead of a mooted IPO. In terms of the network's development in other areas, Twitter has acquired social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs. This seems a logical move, given the extent of the relationship between Twitter and television.
Pinterest seek $2.5 billion valuation
Hot on the coat tails of Twitter and their $9.9 billion, Pinterest are looking to raise new financing which would value them at between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. The network is yet to make a great deal of revenue, but does have strong connections to the retail market, so it will be interesting to see how its financial future unfolds.
Snapchat raises $13.5 million
Messaging app Snapchat has raised a $13.5 million, putting an overall valuation of the company at between $60 million and $70 million. According to co-founder, Evan Spiegel, the money will be used for:
hiring and servers, definitely. But most importantly, it allows us to remain independent and continue to grow the Snapchat community.
Moreover, the company now reportedly sees 60 million snaps per day, displaying the rate at which users are now engaging with the platform.
Vine raises age gate to 17+ after pornography criticism
Vine, Twitter's video sharing app, has raised its age gate from thirteen to seventeen in the wake of its being used for the production and distribution of 6-second pornographic films. From now on, whenever users try to download or upgrade the app, they will be requested to confirm that they are at least seventeen.
Vimeo introduces age ratings
Video-sharing platform Vimeo has introduced three age ratings for its content: All Audiences, Mature or Not Yet Rated. When a user uploads a video, they will be asked to divulge whether it includes violence, nudity, swearing or illegal substances, upon which their content will be rated automatically. A badge will then appear next to the video when viewed by others. If those uploading videos are shown to be labelling them inaccurately, the video's rating will be changed and may lead to sanctions if the action is considered persistent or intentional.
Saga closes social network for the over 50s over racist comments
Saga has closed down Saga Zone, intended as a 'Facebook for the over 50s', after receiving comments of a racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic nature. They reported receiving a particularly 'vicious exchange' about the Middle East, after which a number of users were banned from the network. After further consideration, they have decided to dismantle the network entirely, stating that whilst it may be okay for non-branded social networks to allow a "free-for-all", this is not something that they wanted associated with the Saga brand. The more cynical reader might wonder if other factors were involved for the network, which had “many thousands” of registered viewers but only “low hundreds” of regular contributors.
Arby's produce 'fan of the week' campaign
Restaurant chain Arby's have produced a 'fan of the week' campaign to celebrate reaching 2 million fans. Anyone who uploads an image of themselves eating in an Arby's will earn the opportunity to enter a draw to be 'fan of the week' and receive a $25 Arby's Facebook page. In a nice touch, they launched the campaign by locating their 2 millionth ever customer, a woman named Donelle Norblom, who in 1970 received the accolade when eating at her local Arby's. The chain rediscovered her and has created a video of her discussing her win, liking the page on Facebook and becoming the 2 millionth Arby's Facebook fan.
O2 store fronts to display Twitter Valentine's messages
Telecoms firm O2 have decided to scrap their normal front-of-house advertising in stores until Valentine's day, replacing it with Valentine's day messages received via Twitter. If you're looking for a way to share with your loved one, tweet with the hashtag #O2Tweetheart and you could declare your love via the high street.
GLAMOUR magazine promoting new range with Google+ hangout
GLAMOUR magazine have decided to host a Google+ hangout for fans and fashion bloggers to celebrate the new Very.co.uk range, allowing them to talk with GLAMOUR editor and members of the magazine's fashion team. The hangout will see a discussion of fashion overall, as well as the opportunity to win prizes, including subscriptions, style consultations and a £1,000 shopping spree at Very.co.uk.
NASA to hold Google+ hangout from the International Space Station
Even the sky isn't the limit for Google+, apparently. NASA have announced plans to host a Google+ hangout live from the International Space Station on the 22nd February. Two NASA astronauts and one from the Canadian Space Agency will answer questions about life on the ISS for an hour on the day, from 11am to midday Eastern Time. You can submit a question in the form of a video via YouTube until 12th February, or ask questions live via Google+, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #askAstro.