Facebooks launches feature for English to Hindi status updates
Facebook has released a feature in its Android app that allows users to type in the English keyboard while the app translates the Roman characters into Hindi script. This is a response from the social media giant to feedback asking for efficient composing of statuses in native languages. With India being one of the largest countries in the world and with Hindi being the official language of the country, this will go a long way in attracting new users.
New Delhi implements the ban of surge pricing
With surge-pricing on rides-on-demand apps like Uber, passengers sometimes pay three or four times their usual fare during periods of high demand. Commuters have often taken to social media to vent their frustrations. In an attempt to keep fares more consistent, the capital city of New Delhi has introduced a ban on surge pricing as well as cab rides. However, as a direct result, many users in New Delhi were unable to book a cab through its service due to a lack of available cars on busy days.
Social is key in digital ad spend surge
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have released data showing that US digital advertising spending was up 20% y-o-y to $59.6 billion in 2015 – a record-breaking figure. Mobile and social were the two stand-out performers, with the former accounting for $20.7 billion (up 66% on 2014) and the latter at $10.9 billion, a 55% increase. The IAB’s senior VP of research, analytics and measurement Sherrill Mane was clearly impressed, describing the figures as “pretty stupendous" – we’d have to agree.
Teens break up with Instagram for Snapchat
We were all young once upon a time. And we all remember that young love is never easy – you think you’re happy, but when someone a little more exciting and dangerous comes along... POW - you’re off. This, apparently, is what’s happening to poor old Instagram. In fall 2015, a survey of 6,500 US teens from investment bank Piper Jaffray found that 33% of them considered Instagram their most important social network – but this spring, that number had fallen to 27%. Conversely, over the same time period, Snapchat’s popularity rose from 19% of teens saying it was their most important social network to 28%, taking Instagram’s prom queen crown. Chin up Instagram, it’s not like second place is first loser.
WeChat surpasses 700 million monthly active users
Congratulations to Chinese chat app WeChat, which surpassed 700 million monthly active users during March 2016, up 29% y-o-y in the same time period. Given its huge range of capabilities WeChat’s popularity is hardly surprising – users can order a cab, make a doctor's appointment, make peer-to-peer payments and more – Western apps have been playing catch up to it for years. WeChat is now targeting emerging markets such as India and Latin America as it looks to expand its reach further.
Facebook changes News Feed (again)
Facebook appears to change its News Feed algorithm more frequently than my brother changes his underwear and last week it was at it again. Now, the social network is putting greater emphasis on ‘engagement time’ - how long people tend to spend on a post. The old system favoured posts where users had liked or commented, but as people don’t engage with everything they read, instead Facebook will prioritize posts based on how long users spent on similar posts from the author or publisher in the past. Facebook will also be reducing the number of posts people see in a row from the same source, but claims that this won’t significantly affect publishers.
Facebook launches Group Calling on Messenger
With all the recent developments from F8, you would have thought Facebook would be giving Messenger a little breathing space to adjust. But there’s no rest for the wicked, as last week the app continued its transformation into all things for everyone, with the launch of Group Calling, and it’s freeeee. Users can tap the Phone icon, select which of the group chat members they want included who will all receive a Messenger call simultaneously. You can call up to 50 people at once – I currently don’t have quite that many friends, but I’m hoping to gain an extra 46 (give or take) over the coming weeks so I can put this into practice.
Facebook makes ad-buying more TV-like
Facebook is changing its video ad buying to become more similar to how advertisers would buy TV spots. The two main similarities will be the ability to use 'day-parting' on Facebook and Instagram, which is where ads are delivered during specific parts of the day and also Nielsen DMA targeting, which means they will now be able to hone in on a specific local television market area. This will make it easier for advertisers to extend their wider campaigns on to Facebook, though they've been told to be switched on to the fact that video is consumed differently on the platform (e.g. often without sound) and adapt content accordingly.
Twitter introduces Ad Groups to hit more targeted audiences
Twitter has updated its ads editor with a new function called Ad Groups which means that big brands can now reach smaller segments of people within a larger target group, and also use target-specific creative. Twitter's product marketing manager, Andrea Hoffman said:
Similar to how other ad platforms are structured, Ad Groups introduce a new level in our campaign hierarchy ... One campaign can have many ad groups, and an ad group can have many targeting criteria and creatives. This level of granular control helps advertisers improve how they measure results, set promotion schedules, test different audiences, and identify which Tweets work best.
Twitter joins up with Yelp for location tags in the UK and Japan
Despite using Foursquare in the US, Twitter has bypassed them this time to form a partnership with Yelp, which will provide location tags in tweets for the UK and Japan. The new location tags, which may have seemed a bit pointless in the past, will now provide more information when clicked on, such as the location's address and Yelp rating, as well as a link to the Yelp app itself.
In case you want to swap your face even more...
Snapchat has introduced a new feature which now lets you swap faces with your camera roll photos. So if a boob, a cat and the Mona Lisa weren't enough, you can drag inspiration from your photo archive. How it works: On Snapchat's camera screen, tap and hold to pull up the filters. Next to the face-swapping option, there's a new one to swap faces with photos on your phone's camera roll. Select and you'll see that Snapchat has already singled out faces from the most recent photos in your phone.
While Snapchat added in this great new feature, it silently killed its in-app purchase options which basically weren't exactly flying off the shelves. Turns out no one wanted to spend money on watching snaps again or buying extra lenses. One user commented: “No one is going to buy those filters, losers.” - Quite.
YouTube rolls out 360-degree live streams and spatial audio
YouTube has started supporting 360-degree live streaming on its service. On-demand videos will also be able to play with spatial audio, which is audio that plays the same way that people hear, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role. YouTube creators will be able to use the 360 streaming technology straight away, as long as they have a camera which supports it and if they don't? They can try it out at on of the YouTube Space locations, currently located in L.A., New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin among other places. YouTube has also kindly opened its 'Live API' to camera manufacturers who'd like create cameras which can send 360-degree live streams to the service.
LinkedIn launches LinkedIn Students for the great unwashed
LinkedIn has launched a standalone app just for students as they approach the big bad world and make the slow move away from binge drinking to proper jobs (take it from me, it's a slow and torturous journey). It works on an algorithm (always feel so brainy using that word) based on users' preferences and college alumni connections. It's got a Tinder swipe system ("perfect for millennials!!" The creators behind it surely cried) and serves as a soft introduction to the world of networking.
MTV Cribs is back via Snapchat!
If you haven't heard of Cribs, where have you been all my life? The show that gives viewers a unique tour around the ridiculous houses of the rich and famous and frequently featured the line "this is where the magic happens" is back with its own series entirely on Snapchat. This comes as MTV desperately attempts to reach new audiences after seeing declines in its viewing figures. MTV is also starting a new Snapchat series called Pants Off, about sex and relationships, and users will be able to use auto-advance tech to blend video from the show with gifs and celebrity interviews for sharing. Ok, so my pants are off, what next?
JCPenney creates real-life Pinterest boards to inspire mums
Targeting Pinterest loving mums ahead of US Mother's Day on 8th May, JC Penney will host its own Pinterest boards in 10 malls around the country. Showing apparel, beauty and hair inspiration, the boards have had input from 20 bloggers to offer mums (or moms, rather) looks that they can go straight in-store and buy. Pinterest insights also revealed that their target audience over-indexes on interests such parenting and saving money in relation to average pinners, so this has fed into content fuelling shoppers with inspiring and helpful ideas.
3 Musketeers Chocolate (Mars) creates its own influencers
Mars has thrown three unknown youngsters into the limelight in the hope that they'll become YouTube sensations and re-launch Mars's little-known chocolate brand 3 Musketeers to a new Gen Z audience. They've launched a YouTube channel and posted three videos which are also shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is the first time a brand has tried to create their own influencers and so far the feedback has been o....k, around a 50-50 thumbs up/thumbs down ratio. What do you think?
KFC misplaces the Colonel's secret recipe with #NSFW tweet
KFC had to quickly delete a tweet after it got slammed by tweeters last week who were left with a worse taste in their mouth than a dusty chicken zinger burger would leave after a night out drinking only Crème de menthe. The tweet read: "Warning. #NSFW. Something hot and spicy is coming soon…" and had the below image attached. Social media managers beware, it could happen to any of you... the misjudged tweeting... (and maybe also the penis touching.)
Brands attempt to pay their respects to Prince
Music legend Prince sadly passed away last week to an outpouring of mourning from friends, colleagues, fans and, erm, brands on social. With all the untimely tragedies we’ve seen in recent months, you would have thought brands would have got a little better at dealing with them (here’s a quick tip: if you don’t have something relevant to say, don’t say anything at all). Cheerios probably got the most flack for its effort, which was deemed overly self-promotional, but it certainly wasn’t alone. Here’s a few of the ‘tributes’.
Cheerios deleted their tweet, but slack never forgets. pic.twitter.com/AhmDmcuVt0
— Arielle Calderon (@Arielle07) April 21, 2016
We are saddened today at the news of Prince's passing. His music meant so much to so many. pic.twitter.com/qMpnSO5zIq
— TiVo (@TiVo) April 21, 2016
— Pandora (@pandora_radio) April 21, 2016
Snapchat fails with Bob Marley filter If you didn’t know, April 20th is also known as 420 — Christmas for cannabis lovers. The folks over at Snapchat may have sampled said product a little too hardwhen they came up with the idea of launching a filter that enabled users to apply a bit of ‘Bob Marley’ to their own face to mark the occasion. Of course, people didn’t take it too well, with many pointing out that Marley did a lot more than wear a hat and smoke joints.
Snapchat's half-baked 420 nod is a Bob Marley blackface filter?! Dude was Jamaican! Did waaaay more than smoke weed. pic.twitter.com/t6tazxnMxT
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) April 20, 2016
Oh, damn, Snapchat — reducing Bob Marley to a 4/20 weed-and-dreads filter? Not good.
— Jeeves Williams (@jeeveswilliams) April 20, 2016
Designer 1: how can we celebrate 420 in a tasteful way
Designer 2: hmm
In unison: bob Marley blackface! pic.twitter.com/Ksq6Jm58aR
— TOPSHELFTYSON (@topshelftyson) April 20, 2016
When asked for comment Snapchat stuck to its guns, claiming that it had worked with the Bob Marley Estate to create the filter and that it respected Marley’s “life and achievements”.