We Are Social across the pond
This week's big news is of course that We Are Social has opened in New York, our eighth office worldwide. Those who have been following us since the beginning know that this has been a long time coming, and we can't wait to start making a difference for US based marketers.
There's just one day left of the social media circus that is South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. That means there's just 24 hours left for you to say hello to the We Are Social team there.
Facebook's growth dwindles, Twitter still climbing
Facebook's userbase still dwarfs Twitter's, and its double-digit growth could only hold out for so long.
However, although Twitter's user numbers should double by 2014, it will still have only a fraction of the users that Facebook does.
What to watch for on TV
Not sure what to watch on telly tonight? A new study says nearly 40% of Brits turn to social media to help them find the must-watch programmes of the evening. It underlines the ever-growing trend for dual-screen viewing.
Facebook's 'Interests', check-in API, animation on tabs, mobile comments
Facebook now allows users to add their interests to lists, and then and follow collections of pages, subscriptions or friends, in a move similar to Twitter lists, but more clearly, Google+ Circles. Facebook has had an option for lists since 2007, but most of its users haven't used the feature. With Facebook now promoting celebrity-curated lists, they're clearly pushing the features, like they did with Questions early last year.
In the first sign of the results of their acquisition of Gowalla, Facebook also wants to become the backbone of your location data through updated APIs that will let the locations sent from other apps live as a layer on your Timeline. Check-in services will be able to pull your friend's check-ins - from other services, perhaps - and therefore create more chance of meetups. Nice.
In an update to pages, brands can now have animations and video that play on apps and tabs without the user initiating it, a departure from pre-Timeline policy. With an animation already playing, it should be easier for brands to drive engagement.
On the mobile front, Facebook app users can now like or comment with a single click from their News Feed in the new design.
Big updates coming to Twitter brand pages
Taking a few notes from Facebook and the recent launch of Timeline for brand pages, Twitter is plotting more visual page updates for brands that are spending with the network. Although Twitter is still being hush-hush about specifics, rumour has it that soon e-commerce, contests and sweepstakes will be available directly from the site. Twitter is also continuing to improve its language options, adding Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu last week, as it continues to try and further grow the userbase.
Today we are welcoming a very talented group from Posterous to Twitter. This team has built an innovative product that makes sharing across the web and mobile devices simple—a goal we share. Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.
Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.
Google exec says: Maybe you're just doing it wrong
Google+ is no ghost town according to Vic Gundotra, a senior VP of engineering at Google. He countered the no-man's-land claims with stats about the network's rapid growth, trumpeting 100 million active users over 30 days. Can't see what people are posting? Maybe it's their privacy settings. We can't help but be a little dubious.
On the plus side, if you do use Google+ and people +1 your content, Google is now encouraging users to say thank you. How cute.
Converting the location app Muggles
Foursquare and the like were unsurprisingly quickly adopted by dedicated tech geeks, but now Foursquare wants to reach out to the average Joe Smartphone through specials and deals. The service hopes that partnerships with ubiquitous, everyday companies, will lead non-techies to its side.
Pinterest quickly climbing the referral ranks
Last month, Pinterest overtook Twitter as a source of referral traffic to sites with the Shareaholic widget installed:
AddThis has also let readers peek into its site analytics, and, perhaps as a by-product of all this sharing, growth from Pinterest continues to skyrocket:
How long until Pinterest is up there with the likes of Twitter?
Social TV app Zeebox gains 22,000 users during 'Dancing On Ice'
Phillip Schofield, the host of 'Dancing On Ice', tweeted about Zebox four times during last week's show, and it gained 22,000 users as a result. However, Zeebox has been adding as many as 15,000 users an hour since the launch of its TV campaign anyway...
Channel 4's new channel with schedule based on online conversation
Last week's FT Digital Media Conference in London saw Channel 4 announce the launch later this year of a new channel - called 4seven - which will give viewers the chance to catch up on the most 'talked about' shows from the previous seven days. As well as traditional media, this will also include social media buzz. Considering Channel 4 say the new channel will help to increase engagement with viewers, it seems likely that programming will be strongly influenced by online feedback.
Barclaycard crowdsource credit card features
Barclaycard are trying to open up to consumers in a bid to win back their trust. They plan to do this by asking customers to name what features they would like in their new credit card - e.g. where call centres are - before actually producing the card. In addition, they'll disclose how much profit they make from the card.
American Express: Sync. Tweet. Save.
American Express is letting customers get money off a selection of stores, by tweeting special offer hashtags from retailers including McDonald's, H&M and Best Buy. With the mechanic to get the discount so easy - simply to retweet - it's unclear whether this is actually any good for engagement, but it's still an interesting step in the social commerce path.
Walgreens launch barcode redemption on Foursquare
Without wanting to get over-excited, Foursquare just become genuinely useful. For so long, it was nigh on impossible to redeem a special because cashiers in any large chain didn't understand what was going on.
Now, that's all changed. Walgreens ran a special which created a barcode on the phone screen, which could be scanned like a normal product by the cashier, and thus work together with normal checkout systems. It might seem simple but it's a genuine game-changer as far as mobile check-in apps are concerned.
bmi launch Pinterest lottery
Pinterest is all the rage right now and marketers are keen to get involved, but bmi's Pinterest Lottery just seems a bit 2010. They've created five boards featuring five different destinations, each with nine pictures on them.
Users can re-pin a maximum of six pictures, and whoever has re-pinned that pictures goes in a draw for the chance to win a free flight. The problem with this: 're-pin to win' shows no real engagement with the brand - it's like 'RT to win' on Twitter. It doesn't feel very social.
Fanta hide characters in their Timeline
The launch of Facebook Timeline has obviously brought new challenges for marketers - as well as new opportunities. Fanta took the opportunity, by hiding characters on their Timeline:
On the 29th of February, Fanta posted a status update saying that the leap year day had thrown Fanta time out of kilter and four Fanta characters, Gigi, Lola, Floyd and Tristan had been brought into the past and hidden in the timeline. The first character hidden was Gigi; users were given the clues to identify the year she was in, and then had to 'like' an image of her to bring her back to the present.
Fanta - with their 2.6 million fanbase - asked for 1,956 likes to bring the character back, but managed just over 900. The key takeaway from this is that while there's definitely cool stuff to be done with Timeline, it might not drive as high engagement as expected.
Heinz launch another ketchup via Facebook
Last year, we launched Heinz Limited Edition Ketchup with Balsamic Vinegar on Facebook and it went down a treat. This year we wanted to go one better, so before their new Limited Edition Ketchup went into supermarkets, we created a game where fans could either win a bottle of the new ketchup, or buy one. Without any media support, 50,000 fans played the game.
Twitterscrabble: how to promote a new product
To promote the launch of Scrabble Trickster, Scrabble have created a microsite to get people involved in the traditional board game, exclusively via Twitter.
Users landing on the microsite are challenged to write the highest scoring ScrabbleTweet from a set of 100 random characters. Once you're happy with your entry, you can tweet it for judgment:
Mars found not guilty by the ASA
The Advertising Standards Agency published its adjudication into the celebrity sponsored tweets Mars purchased - and concluded that Mars did not need any action taken against them, as the '#spon' in the fifth tweet each celeb posted was enough to make it clear that the previous four tweets were also sponsored. As crazy as this judgement seems, it sets an interesting precedent.
Newt Gingrich launches anti-Romney timeline
Newt Gingrich's campaign last week launched a Facebook Timeline attacking fellow Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his record, particularly that he's a liberal. Despite prominent coverage on Mashable, the Page has garnered only 1,000 likes, suggesting the Gingrich campaign might want to, ahem, give it an abortion.
Red Cross launches social media operations centre
The Red Cross have launched a social media operations centre, which should help them find victims in times of trouble and offer them help, as well as recruit volunteers.