CES sets the tone for 2018 tech

The telly and fridge event of the year is here. The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is taking place in Las Vegas this weekend and is actually about much more than the latest widescreen and a talking veg drawer (plz invent this). Setting the tone for 2018 tech innovation, the expo sees the world's biggest brands showcase what they've been working on. So far, Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa is wiping the floor with Google Home, with offerings including this Wi-Fi-connected scent machine, these Vuzix Blade sunnies and this tap you didn't know you needed. My personal favourite? This smart-ass shower. Brands are having their fun, too. In a typically optimistic and non-ominous tone, the @BlackMirror Twitter account replied to @PizzaHut's announcement of the eerily familiar autonomous delivery pizza truck.

Digital ad revenue hits all-time high in 2017
2017 is set to become another record-breaking year for digital advertising, as the latest figures from the IAB predict ad spend will hit $85 billion globally for the full 2017 calendar year. If correct, the figures would represent a 17 percent growth on 2016. Mobile was the star player, capturing 54 percent of all revenue, and digital video was the only desktop ad format to show growth.

It was a record-breaking New Year for Facebook Inc.
Facebook Live has proven just how mainstream livestreaming via social networks has become, as more than 10 million users took to the platform to ring in the New Year with friends over livestream - that adds up to more than 10 million shaky videos of fireworks and incoherent screaming. Facebook-owned WhatsApp also shared in the New Year's joy, as users sent over 75 billion messages of cheer - including more than 13 billion images and 5 billion videos - making New Year’s Eve 2017 the platform’s biggest messaging day ever. Happy New Year btw.

To cap off Facebook's successful end to 2017, the platform announced that there are now over 2 billion conversations held between its users and businesses every month, with more than 200,000 Messenger bots now active on the platform. Over 100 million users have also interacted with Facebook's 'Suggestions from M' feature in November alone.

Instagram launches new Recommended content feature
Instagram has launched its new 'Recommended for You' function, which will contain three to five suggested posts based on those that have been liked by other accounts users follow. The posts will appear as a separate, clearly labelled section to differentiate it from users' own home feeds. Hopefully, they've thought to prioritise content of cute animals being stupid in this rollout. Time will tell.

Instagram tests sharing Stories to WhatsApp
As part of Facebook's ongoing efforts to better integrate Stories across its network of platforms, Instagram is testing a new feature that will allow users to share Stories directly to WhatsApp as a WhatsApp Status. The feature is currently being tested with a small number of users but, once live, will offer users the option to tap to share to WhatsApp from the Instagram sharing screen.

Facebook tackles engagement bait in latest wave of updates
Having already taken on clickbait, Facebook's most recent update to its News Feed algorithm will penalise posts from users and businesses that attempt to increase engagement by asking users to like, share or comment. Teams at Facebook have already reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of posts in order to enable the algorithm to detect and downgrade posts. Tag a colleague to let them know.

Diageo pulls advertising from Snapchat
Following an ASA ruling that it had not taken “sufficient” care to prevent its ads from reaching kids and teenagers, Diageo has pulled all of its advertising from Snapchat until it can be sure its ads stay away from users under the legal drinking age. Following its ruling, the ASA has also banned Diageo from ever running a sponsored lens for its Captain Morgan rum brand.

Snapchat looks to take video beyond its own platform
Snapchat is reportedly developing a new video product, 'Stories Everywhere', which will let users share Stories outside the Snapchat app. The new feature is designed to boost Snapchat’s presence beyond the core mobile app and will focus on increasing user growth and making Snapchat a more engaging destination for news, sports, and other premium video and editorial content. The new product launch comes as part of a wider restructure of Snapchat's content team following the recent redesign of the platform.

Snapchat considers introducing non-skippable ads
The social network is said to be seriously considering plans to introduce a new rule that would see users forced to watch three seconds of an ad before being able to skip. This follows recent criticism of Snapchat's business model and if approved, the new suggestion would see the platform introduce a skip button similar to YouTube's.

Samsung became first UK brand to run a sponsored animated filter
We Are Social client Samsung helped users celebrate the joys of gifting during the festive season with the launch of the UK's first sponsored animated filter on Snapchat as part of the brand's 2017 Holiday campaign, "Giving is the gift to be shared." The launch came as the platform's sponsored animated filters became available to all brands, with Dunkin' Donuts being the first brand globally to utilise the new ad format.

Twitter updates its Direct Message feature for businesses 
Twitter is seeking to enable brands and businesses to provide better customer service via the platform with its latest wave of updates. The most notable is that users will now be able to tell if their messages are being read and responded to by a customer service agent or a bot. The numerous updates also include editable welcome messages for brands, and Twitter's new Account Activity API (application-programming interface) is in beta for developers.

Weight Watchers signs DJ Khaled as social ambassador
Popular weight-loss brand Weight Watchers has signed music producer DJ Khaled as its newest social media ambassador after he lost over 20 pounds following their programme. The appointment kickstarts the brand's new #WWFreestyle campaign and features existing brand ambassadors including Oprah Winfrey. The news sent shares in the brand up as much as 7.3 per cent.

Post courtesy of Florence Massey