We Are Social Asia Tuesday Tuneup #159

News
Sofia Maddalena

Facebook launches a simplified app for low-end Android phones
Facebook has quietly launched Facebook Lite, an app specifically designed for low-end Android phones. It was launched across a handful of countries across Asia and Africa (Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe). The app, which is a mere 252KB in size, is meant to accommodate low-end and dated Android devices, and those on 2G or poor quality internet connections.

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WeChat ads are now ‘Live’
Just a few days after testing ads in the WeChat timeline, Tencent has made them official. Regular ads began appearing in users’ timelines over the weekend, and the first ones to show up were from global brands BMW and Coca-Cola, as well as Chinese smartphone maker Vivo.

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Line’s sales growth slows, causing Naver’s earnings to miss expectations
South Korean internet giant, Naver, announced quarterly results that fell short of analysts’ expectations. This is presumably caused by the weaker performance from the gaming unit of Line, its messaging app. Their 4Q2014 net income was 134.5 billion won, a 149 percent increase year-over-year, but that missed analysts’ expectations for net income of 163.2 billion won. Games currently account for 60 percent of Line’s gross sales, but as Naver’s lower than expected results echoes Tencent’s WeChat (one of Line’s main rivals), it implies that there is a need for messaging apps to find more revenue sources beyond games.

LINE Euro-Americas Corporation

Line launches online supermarket for SEA
Line is set to launch an online grocery delivery service across Southeast Asia, starting with Thailand on February 4. Perhaps in a bid to expand its services and increase revenue, it promises discounts on some everyday groceries such as bottled water, coffee and instant noodles. Line is working with aCommerce, who will handle all the supplies, warehousing and shipping.

Marketers increasing digital budgets
A study has revealed that 80% of companies plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 to 18 months. Resource provider Mondo questioned 262 digital marketing executives about their budgets as well as areas like staff turnover and skill sets they were recruiting for. In the latter area, over half (54%) of those surveyed stated they’d be hiring people with Digital/Social expertise this year.

Facebook makes $2.5bn from mobile, releases new ad tool
Facebook is increasingly a mobile network. You don’t need us to tell you that. What you may not know is that its Q4 2014 figures included $2.5bn in mobile revenue, despite fewer ads being served. Compared with a year previous, Facebook served 65% fewer ads, but the average cost per ad was 335% higher.

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The network wants to show the value of these more expensive ads, especially those that people don’t click. As a result, it’s rolling out its ‘conversion lift measurement’, which allows users to see when someone who saw an ad ended up making an in store purchase, to all advertisers in all countries.

Facebook unveils ‘Place Tips’
Facebook is trialling a new feature, named ‘Place Tips’, in certain parts of New York City. iPhone users in the city who have location services enabled will receive different tips, photos and posts straight to their News Feeds, depending on whereabouts they are.

Twitter launches native video capabilities and group direct messaging
Twitter has unveiled its video offering, allowing consumers using mobiles to record and share videos without leaving the site. While video isn’t new to Twitter, users haven’t been able to shoot and share clips natively within the platform before. Our Communications Director, Lauren Underwood, spoke to The Drum about the benefits of the new tool:

It plays on Twitter’s strength as a real-time, breaking-news platform – I expect we’ll be watching some of this year’s biggest moments unfold on Twitter.

As part of the same release Twitter has also revealed group direct messaging capabilities. The new group chat function will mean that users can direct message up to 20 people at a time, and is widely seen to be an attempt to counter the rise of messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.

Twitter unveils local geo-targeting capabilities
Twitter has launched new geo-targeting capabilities, allowing brands to focus on individual postcodes and target at a much more local level. It’s been pitched by the platform as a potential tool for politicians campaigning in the UK General Election, now less than 100 days away. As Twitter points out, in constituencies where a seat is tightly contested, targeting by postcode could prove to be very useful indeed.

Vine now has a kids version
Twitter has launched its first child-friendly app, Vine Kids. It’s basically the same as Vine, with six-second looping videos, but the interface is different. Think animated helpers, a left/right swipe system for new Vines and a set of ‘quirky’ sounds when you tap the screen.

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Tumblr’s new features appeal to long-form writers
Tumblr is rolling out features to encourage long-form writers to use the platform. It’s “some real crafty shit” according to the network’s blog post explaining the new tools, which include clever quick formatting options. The platform will be hoping the features help it compete against challenger brands like Medium, which has been growing in popularity in recent months.

Pinterest rolls out ads in home feeds
Pinterest users! Hope you like ads, you’re going to start seeing a lot more of them. The platform announced last week that it will now show its US users Promoted Pins in their home feeds as well as their search results, where they’ve been appearing since last year. Don’t worry though, Pinterest has assured users they can hide any Pins they don’t like. Phew.

Snapchat launches ‘Discover’ feature
Snapchat has launched its publishing platform, ‘Discover’, through which a number of media partners will post content – from ESPN to National Geographic and CNN to Vice.

There are a few things that are instantly noticeable, particularly that there’s emphasis placed on editorial decisions as opposed to algorithms. Also, while a number of big media companies are involved, there are some large names missing: Buzzfeed, the New York Times and music giants Spotify and Vevo.

Those that are involved are planning on using the feature in very different ways. The Daily Mail, for example, is planning two updates per day with a focus on pictures compared to one text-heavy piece from Vice, while Fusion wants to source five different stories per day. AT&T has already announced a series containing online influencers, named ‘Snapper Hero’. For a glimpse at the sort of content you’ll be seeing, here’s how winter storm Juno was covered.

The Super Bowl and social media
Social networks love the Super Bowl. No surprises there. In fact, a whole host of platforms created special features for the big game. Facebook had a ‘football-only’ feed, which contained updates from friends, groups, teams and players. It also offered specific targeting segments for the game, from fans of both teams to those who were talking about tangential topics (flatscreen TVs, ads), while the NFL posted exclusive clips to Facebook.

YouTube created an alternative half time show and an advert hub, while Tumblr and Twitter both created Super Bowl specific feeds; the latter also posted branded games highlights. It seemed to work for Twitter –  this was the the most tweeted about Super Bowl of all time, with a total of 28.4bn tweets during the game. Here are some of the most shared.

 

 

Brands get social with the Super Bowl
Brands wanted to get in on the Super Bowl action, too. Some highlights include Lowe’s Instagram ‘Hypermade’ videos, Budweiser creating GIFs from its TV ad and Bud Lightpurchasing promoted tweets against other brands’ keywords, while a whole host of marketers took to Twitter before, during and after the event.

 

 

Brands and the #Blizzardof2015 When you’re talking about something as dangerous as last week’s US blizzard, it pays to be careful. Brands have been doing so nevertheless, with some good, bad and ugly results.