We Are Social: Tuesday Tune-Up #17


1. Australians set to spend $30bn online this year

This week is shaping up to be the biggest week every for online shopping in Australia.

Sunday is set to be a bumper day for eBay.com.au with 1.6 million Aussies predicted to hit the site to purchase heavily discounted Christmas presents,

Elena Wise, acting MD of PayPal Australia notes “Over the last year, online commerce in Australia has grown at a rate of 11% and a huge number of Australian and international retailers have opened their virtual store doors to Australians. This year, consumers will be shopping across a mix of retail channels, from their PCs, to their mobiles to in-store. Wherever they are shopping, consumers are looking for flexibility, convenience and security.”

2. Aussies Facebook during sex?

According to a recent survey, some Australians will interrupt whatever they are doing to check a Facebook alert. This even extends to 2.8% of people who supposedly interrupt ‘intimate moments’ for a quick social media hit. That’s hot.

“For young people especially, the difference between social media and reality is blurring. The more time you spend on social media, the more you rely on it,” said Peter Applebaum, MD of Tick Yes, the agency behind the survey.

Applebaum notes that “as well as being useful market research coupled with a bit of fun, the results have also thrown up some serious marketing issues for brands. Over 20 per cent of those surveyed use social media to actively connect with brands, while a further 25 per cent use it for customer-service purposes. Add to that the growing use of smartphones and tablets to access social media and we see that not only do brands have to be engaging consumers through social media, but that engagement has become a 24/7 necessity.”

3. Yelp launches in Australia

Last week the juggernaut review site Yelp launched in Australia in partnership with Telstra’s Sensis division.

After seven years in the US, the site has already had 22 million consumer written reviews written about everything from restaurants to plumbers.

Yelp founder and CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman explains “We’re working with Sensis, they’re providing the local listings data, and they’re also going to be able to sell our ad products in the future, once the community on Yelp has taken hold, people are writing reviews and an audience has been built.”

There are already a few thousand local reviews on the site for Sydney and Melbourne and more are expected soon.

4. Facebook’s acquisition of Gowalla, privacy troubles and updates

Following rumours and reports this weekend that the company had been acquired, Gowalla today confirmed that its founders and several key members have joined Facebook and will move to its Palo Alto headquarters. Before today’s confirmation, a source close the deal described it as a ‘perfect match’:

As far as the big picture, Gowalla’s vision is about people telling stories, and Facebook’s vision for Timeline is about stories about important moments in life.

Facebook was once again in hot water over user privacy settings, but reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that the social network deceived users by failing to honour privacy agreements, which amongst other things, binds them to get user consent before releasing changes that override existing privacy settings. In response, Zuckerberg said that he feels the platform has “a positive track record for providing transparency and control over privacy settings” but also admitted they’ve made “made a bunch of mistakes.”

Facebook are experimenting with a new “Related Post” Sponsored Story format, which adds questions and comments to encourage more interaction between brands and their fans. Unlike “Comment” Sponsored Story, this new ad unit does not draw posts from a brand’s Facebook Page. Instead, the new ads “don’t have to connect to a previous post, and comment activity on the ad is solely kept within the ad, not connected to the News Feed.”

In other changes, Facebook has upped the character limit on status updates from 5,000 to 60,000. The idea behind the change allows for new content types, like sharing a novel in a few updates or using Facebook as a writing workshop space. So get writing.

5. YouTube’s record views and new look

comScore announced that YouTube racked up a record-setting 20 billion views in October. That number represents a little less than 50% of all videos watched in the U.S., whose Internet users watched an all-time high of 42.6 billion videos.

YouTube has also launched a major redesign and introduced “a new homepage, Channel design and a fresh coat of digital paint”, as they put it. The new homepage let’s users more easily connect their YouTube account to other social networks like Google+ or Facbeook, as well as find new channels and trending videos.

And to go with the new look, the YouTube analytics backend has also undergone a major overhaul. Some of the new analytics features include quick overviews, more detailed reports and statistics, audience retention reports and an audience builder.

6. Foursquare’s ‘Save’ and ‘Follow’

Foursquare has made it easy to save interesting locations that you read about online straight to your phone, with a new ‘Save to Foursquare’ button. The ‘Save to Foursquare’ button is aimed at online publishers and can enable publications to relate stories and reviews to places listed in the Foursquare app.

For users, the button let’s you save places directly to your Foursquare to-do lists, then if you are using ‘Radar’ it will gives you a reminder as soon as you are nearby the location. Jonathan Crowley, who oversees Foursquare’s partnerships with media companies, describes the user journey like this:

I’m on the L.A. Times website and I’m reading a review of a new sushi place at LA Live, then I can click the Save to Foursquare button from the review online and that sushi place will be added to my to-do list on Foursquare. And then when I’m in L.A. near LA Live and I’m looking at my to-do list, I’ll see that sushi place on my list and the L.A. Times review would show up when I am looking at that sushi place in the app.

Foursquare also announced that websites can now integrate a ‘Follow on Foursquare’ button, which enables users to follow that a person or business on Foursquare, similar to Twitter’s follow button.

7. Google+ Hangout with extras

It’s now possible to make free phone calls from inside a Google+ hangout. This allows you to dial people into the room from wherever they are, and may prove particularly helpful for conferences and party lines. The new feature initially only supports free calls to the US and Canada.

8. WordPress.com announces WordAds

WordPress.com have announced that they are launching an ad platform called WordAds in partnership with Federated Media, in response to high demand of bloggers wanting to earn money though their blogs. Carrying premium display ads from known brands, the service will only be available by application. It’s open to publicly visible blogs with custom domains, and factors such as level of traffic and engagement, type of content, and language used will factor into whether a blog gets accepted.

9. Walmart’s Shopycat

WalmartLabs has formally launched its first product, a gift-finding Facebook app called Shopycat. The app enables Facebook users to take the likes, shares and interests of friends and turn them into ‘intelligent’ gift recommendations. Its been designed with finding the ‘perfect gift’ in mind, and does so by first identifying “the tastes and interests of the recipient” and then matches them by searching “across a large universe of products to find the one wow gift.” With the wealth of data available through Facebook and sheer size of Walmart’s customer base, it’s hard to imagine this not being a hit.

10. GE’s hunt for a new ‘Instagrapher’

GE are on the hunt for a new ‘Instagrapher’ to replace professional photographer Noah Kalina who has been running the company’s Instagram and Tumblr accounts. For a chance to win, Tumblr and Instagram users are invited to upload images tagged #GEInspiredMe, in one of four categories related to GE’s work: Moving, Curing, Powering and Building. Submitted photos will then be shared on GE’s Facebook page, where fans can vote for their favourites.