We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #44


Sina Weibo’s out of ‘Beta’
China’s Twitter-esque service is expected to roll out a revamped site combining best-of-breed features similar to Facebook’s Timeline covers and Google+ Circles. With a massive user base of more than 300 million and snazzy features such as social gaming and virtual currency, Sina Weibo is undoubtedly hot. If only they could find a way to monetise the service. Perhaps the revamp will put it well on the path to reaping financial returns.

Sina Weibo testing advertising product
Testing for Sina Weibo’s new ad product known as “Fans Headlines” is underway. Designed to be unobtrusive, promoted messages will appear at the top of the stream once a day and will move down the stream when seen. Advertisers will be charged on a cost-per-fan impression basis, with some companies already signed up as beta-testers.

Asian chat apps give Facebook Mobile a run for its money
Mobile social networks are gaining momentum around the world and whilst Facebook retains its top dog status on mobile, recent developments in Asia could dilute its dominance. Japanese chat app Line has become the most popular social network app in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. WeChat topped the charts in China and Hong Kong whilst KakaoTalk leads in Korea. Interestingly, in spite of the popularity of regionally created chat apps, Asians were found to be less social on average.

Line boosts visibility with KDDI tie up
Boasting a userbase of 55 million, Line is expected to gain more users and usage through its partnership with KDDI. Asian users love emoticons. Line has found a way to monetise by offering users a premium sticker collection for a fee. To share the love, emoticons can also be gifted to friends. This has reaped an impressive revenue of US$4.4 million within the first 2 months of the launch.

Burpple syncs with Instagram & rolls out Japanese version
Singapore-grown food journal app Burpple recently announced 2 titillating developments. First, the app now syncs with Instagram, a pervasive channel for online sharing of  food photos. Next, the app now has a Japanese version to support the growing userbase from the food-loving country.

Branch, a virtual playground for thought-leaders?
New kid on the social media block, Branch, could be the platform of choice for those seeking to engage in detailed, quality discussions about specific subjects of interest. Allowing users to “branch” out conversations from their main Twitter feed and also from personal websites and blogs, Branch provides a platform for forum-like discussions that can be broken off into separate but related conversations.

Will Facebook be the next iteration of direct marketing?
Brands will soon be able to target ads based on brands’ own pre-existing databases containing users’ e-mail addresses and phone numbers through a simple data upload form. This allows brands to find their existing customers on Facebook and talk to them. Facebook has already announced a few success stories, including a financial services company that doubled its fan base with this ad targeting and an app developer that could inform users who had used its apps previously about a new update. Brands can also layer in other targeting options, such as age, gender and interests.  This is a move that will surely make privacy fiends shout, but Facebook has emphasised that the brands already have this information and are simply matching it up to Facebook’s massive userbase.

Twitter now allows targeting for Promoted Tweets and Accounts
Twitter has just announced huge changes that completely overhaul its ad suite. The biggest news is that Promoted Tweets and Accounts can now be targeted at a much broader range of users based on their interests. Previously, the only way to appear in a user’s Twitter stream was if he already followed the brand or if Twitter thought the user was a close match to the brand’s current followers. Twitter has also lowered the price needed to enter the ad auction, which was previously sitting at 50 cents per engagement but has now dropped to 1 cent. That means that many more brands will be able to afford Twitter’s ads.

Google+ goes to work
Google has just unveiled a new set of Google+ features that are designed specifically for businesses, including restricted posts and video Hangouts that incorporate Gmail, Calendar and Google Docs. Restricted posts are private updates that can be seen only within your organisation and cannot be reshared with anyone outside of it. In a pretty cool update to the conference call, you and your colleagues can now join a hangout directly from your Google Calendar, and you can also open Google docs during the meeting. Google promises more business-focused features coming soon, and we’re curious to see if they’ve hit the nail on the head for the future of their social network.

Is Mitt Romney winning the Facebook election?
U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney has just a fraction of President Barack Obama’s Facebook fans, but Romney seems to be doing a better job engaging them. Romney’s team has also taken advantage of Facebook’s new Sponsored Search ads, and now Romney and his VP running mate Paul Ryan appear in the results when Facebook users search for Obama, Biden, Democrats, Republicans and other political pages. Team Romney is also running Sponsored Stories, which appear in users’ newsfeeds and lead directly to Rommey and Ryan’s Facebook pages, unlike Obama’s ads, which direct to an external page. This, of course, has led to a higher number of likes coming in per day for Romney, while Obama’s growth has been stagnant. Can Team Obama catch up to win the Facebook polls?

Barack Obama takes on Reddit

And perhaps Team Obama just isn’t too fussed about Facebook because they’re happy enough to be plastered on the ‘front page of the Internet’, otherwise known as Reddit. With hardly any advance notice, Obama sat down for an Ask Me Anything last week, which promptly brought down Reddit’s servers, as the site was flooded with visitors. Obama was online for just 30 minutes and answered 10 questions, but his session got 12,000 comments and 1,850,000 views within an hour. The president signed off with: “If you want to know what I think about this whole Reddit experience – NOT BAD!”

Team Obama’s epic Twitter response to Clint Eastwood at the RNC
We all know that the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are little more than political pageantry and a chance for one side to take a swing at the other party’s positioning. Not long after actor Clint Eastwood’s confusing ramble on stage at the Republican National Convention that referenced an empty chair and an invisible Obama, the president’s social media team hit a home run with just three simple words.

Samsung asks Paralympic athletes to blog
Fifty athletes from across the world are sharing their experiences of the Paralympics using an app on the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet as part of a big campaign from Samsung called “Sport Doesn’t Care Who You Are — Everyone Can Take Part”. And even if you can’t make it to London, it’s easy to get an insider’s view of the Games no matter where you are.

U.S. Open gets a new Foursquare badge
Tennis fans will love this one: The U.S. Open has partnered with Foursquare to release its second special badge to promote the tournament. Just check in at any tennis court around the world (or at the tournament’s court of course), and you can add this new stamp to your collection.

Finding your Six Songs with the Guardian
Music is one of the best vehicles to use to take a trip back in time, and when the Guardian approached us here at We Are Social to outreach the UK’s biggest music bloggers, it was music to our ears. The Guardian’s Six Songs of Me campaign is an attempt to capture the nation’s most beloved tunes and the music of our memories. We asked the bloggers six simple questions, and now they are happily reliving their favourites on vinyl.