Facebook advertising revenue stalls despite strong growth
Figures from the 1st quarter of 2012 have shown that even the might of Facebook is not impervious to the advertising business cycle. Sales of $1.06 billion in Q1 were slightly down on the $1.13 billion reported in Q4 of 2011, though it's not uncommon for marketers to tighten their belts at the start of a new year.
Even so, it's important to emphasise how Facebook's users remain enamoured with the site - the social network now has 900 million users, of which 526 million use the site every day.
Despite this Facebook has shown strong growth in areas beyond new users. A recent amendment to their filings for their public offering has shown that Facebook now hosts over 42 million pages and 9 million apps. Since December 31, 2011 the number of pages with 10 or more likes has increased by 5 million and the number of integrated apps has increased by 2 million.
Facebook upgrades Android app
Late last week Facebook released an updated version of their Android app including updated messenger features and new shortcuts to encourage photo sharing. From the outside this seems like a direct attempt by Facebook to negate Google's advantage on the platform. As they own the operating system Google can integrate Google+ into the phone in ways that Facebook cannot. The updated app hopes to combat this by adding new icons allowing users to access Facebook's camera feature with 'one tap'.
Facebook have further enhanced their Android offering by announcing that Android apps will now work the same as web apps - if you click on a link to an app from your mobile Facebook News Feed, it will now load on your Android phone (or take you to the download page if it's not installed).
Instagram sharing on Twitter increases 20x in 12 months
The Instagram juggernaut keeps on rolling. Not satisfied with being bought for $1 billion dollars this month the photo sharing app has been taking Twitter by storm. Sharing between Instagram and Twitter has doubled in the last two months and is 20x what it was a year ago. Though some of this growth can be attributed to the new Android app, research shows that the average number of shares is also increasing. Impressive.
Facebook tests and launches a new set of features for select brands
Facebook is testing a new button that will simplify the process through which Pages create Sponsored Stories directly from their posts. Rather than using a complex ad dashboard, the 'promote' button will appear on the Page publisher as well as on posts that have already gone live. The feature is aimed at small to medium sized businesses that want to promote their content but cannot afford premium products such as Facebook Reach Generator.
Facebook has also made Offers available through the API to a select number of partners. Offers are a new type of story that enables Page Owners to post coupons that fans can collect through the News Feed. Making this available through the API will allow developers to integrate the feature into their social media management systems.
In addition, Facebook have also relaunched their 'Locations' app to fit the Timeline layout. The app allows users to search from a company's Page to find business locations near to them. At the moment the app is only available to select brands working with Facebook.
New Facebook Timeline apps
Christian Hernandez, Facebook's Director of Platform Partnerships has revealed the latest set of Timeline apps to be released. JustGiving, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Sky Italy and Canal+ are among the 18 new additions to the Open Graph world.
Big business turns to Sina Weibo
A recent White Paper has shown that 30% of Fortune 500 companies have accounts on micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo. The report showed that there are currently more than 130,000 enterprise accounts in Sina Weibo, of which only 208 are from the US.
LinkedIn launch iPad app
LinkedIn have added an iPad app to their iPhone, Android and Mobile Web products. The app has the ability to sync with the iPad's calendar offering the user Linkedin profile data on attendees of meetings and conferences.
Google+ launch share button
Google+ have launched a share button available to publishers worldwide to add to their site. What's interesting about it is that is stands alongside the +1 button, in case users want to share to their Circles without necessarily showing approval to a story. Particularly at a time Facebook are downgrading the importance of the share button, it will be interesting to see how this performs.
Barcelona vs Chelsea sets new Twitter record
There's nothing like a sporting giant killing to get us all talking. Last Tuesday was no exception with Chelsea's dramatic upset of the reigning European Champions Barcelona sending Twitter into a frenzy of excitement. The game knocked the NFL's Superbowl off the top spot as the biggest sporting event on Twitter peaking at 13,684 tweets per second. This demonstrates the growing use of Twitter as a way people share experiences of live events on a mass scale.
Will.i.am live-tweeting during The Voice
Building on the theme of enhancing live events through social media, The Voice judge Will.i.am was not satisfied with merely providing entertainment through the UK's TV screens. Will tweeted from his judging chair during the show to provide followers with extra insight into how he was feeling about his act's performances.
Channel 4 air live Twitter response ad
On Sunday night, in the first ad break for Homeland, the UK's Channel 4 premiered the trailer for Prometheus, Ridley Scott's new film. Viewers were then asked to share their thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #areyouseeingthis, with the best tweets picked out to appear in a live response ad in the next break. It was the first time ever viewers tweets have been shown in a live response ad and it worked - the hashtag was a trending topic in the UK, and the response ad worked well:
With Prometheus also teaming up with Zeebox, a dual-screen TV app, to offer a pair of Premiere tickets to one winner out of the many who watched a synchronised ad through the app, it was a successful night for the film's promo team.
Gawker's new commenting service
Gawker have launched a new proprietary commenting system called Burner, which is based on anonymity.
What's interesting is not so much the change itself, but the reasons behind it - namely, to disrupt commenting cliques. Removing names means that in theory, it won't just be the same people repeatedly dominating commenting threads. Which all in all, is probably a good thing.
Elle launches Shoppable Trend Guide
Elle have launched a clever Facebook app where users can click 'love', 'want', 'own' or 'buy' on each product page. By default, all interactions with the app are shared automatically on their Facebook Timeline — so even if users don’t make a purchase, they may draw curious friends in to interact with the app. It's a nice way of attempting f-commerce - including purchase as part of the app, rather than being the entire point of the app.
Pepsi launch global campaign focussing on social
Pepsi have launched a new brand campaign called Live For Now, which puts social at the heart of the campaign. This is partly through a 'social media cheat sheet', the #NOW board which pulls together the hottest stories from social media.
According to Techcrunch:
Beyond serving as a news aggregator, Singh says the site will include other features, like the ability for celebrities to pose challenges to their fans, and exclusive deals courtesy of sites like Thrillist. And naturally, the content can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
But according to Pepsi, the campaign will go above and beyond the Pepsi micro-site:
As part of the "Live for Now" platform in the U.S., Pepsi will present a series of exclusive pop-up, Twitter-enabled concerts this summer featuring major music artists. Additionally, Pepsi's first of its kind Twitter music partnership will enhance consumers' music experiences and bring them closer to what is hot in music today.
Considering their previous success in social media, it will be interesting to see how this campaign gets on.
Kraft personally thanks 4,632 Facebook fans with music video
Apart from competition prizes, there's very little reciprocal love from brands on Facebook. Kraft tried to change this on Tuesday. First, they posted on their Facebook Page 'LIKE this post, and you never know what may happen'.
The post garnered over 4,600 likes - with each person then thanked in a 'Likeapella music video':
C&A Brazil puts Facebook likes on store hangers
Before Mother's Day, C&A Brazil put Facebook like counters on the hangers in their flagship store - and uploaded their collection to their Facebook Page. Then, whenever anyone liked one of the products, the numbers would update in real-time. A nice way of convincing people to purchase.
Volkswagen create innovative flipbook ad for their Facebook Page
Volkswagen have created a genius little ad on their Facebook page. Through a photo album that doubles as a flipbook you can click to watch the Volkswagen Tricari Arc drive through the desert into an urban area in a continuous loop. The ad builds on what Smart Argentina did in Twitter recently, but is the first of its kind on a Facebook page. (The comments are also worth a read).
Hasbro bully tactics create social media backlash
Toy manufacturer Hasbro have received large scale condemnation for the way they dealt with blogger Martyn Yang. The blogger, whose hobby was writing about the brand, was tricked into giving his home address so that Hasbro could press legal proceedings against him. It seems ridiculous that brands still operate in this way when a quick email or phone call would have most likely wrapped the whole situation up with a far more satisfactory result.
Paying for Tweets is a PR disaster waiting to happen
An ABC Media Watch revelation last Monday has opened a can of worms for organisations paying celebrities to tweet for them. The Australian highlighted the negative response by the Australian public to the South Australian Tourist Board paying chef Matt Moran $750 to tweet about Kangaroo Island. We Are Social's own Julian Ward commented on how less than a dozen tweets can create a crisis for a brand:
The total reach of potentially damaging tweets was 3,453,843 and the cost is huge but unknown at this point. By doing what they have done, what does it say about the brand? Why go so cheap and why risk so much?