Here’s our regular mashup of the week’s social media news, complete with a bonus Christmas grumpy cat!
Online is where it's at for advertising
Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that there has been a 6% increase in online ad spend in the US in the last quarter, and an 18% growth year-over-year. This shows that even in an unstable economic climate, digital is a growth area that marketers are willing to invest in.
Facebook can tell you what's 'Nearby'
Facebook have made some major updates to the Nearby feature for its iOS and Android apps, choosing where to eat will never be easier. The feature combines recommendations, likes and check-ins of your friends to provide you with suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area that you're in. As people are already spending an increasing amount of time on Facebook this upgrade to the app will only entice them to use it more, and make full use of all its offerings. Should FourSquare and Yelp be worried?
The new Facebook Poke app has arrived
Facebook have launched a new Poke app, which can be used to send messages, photos and video that expire - once the time set by the sender is up the content is removed from the app. Much like the features of mobile app, Snapshot, users of Facebook's Poke app can add doodles and text to images but also gives you the option to report or block users. The fast paced nature of the app should attract a younger audience to communicate with friends in a new and exciting way.
Video ads are on their way to Facebook
Are you ready for video ads to invade your news feed? Well get ready because Facebook plan on unveiling a new video-ad product by April 2013. Facebook will offer video advertisers the opportunity to target large numbers of users in their news feeds, where the same video ad can be shown to you up to three times in one day over several platforms despite the user not having any relationship with the advertiser. The autoplay function will potentially prove to be controversial as it's currently planned to enable video advertisements to automatically start playing and expand out of the news feed into the webpage.
Facebook's mobile ad network exchange is no more
In a surprising move, Facebook have after three months pulled the plug on it's experimental data sharing mobile ad network which was testing the ability for advertisers to target ads on third-party mobile apps using Facebook's data. Facebook is choosing instead to focus inwards to the social network and improve ads on the platform itself. This brief experiment has highlighted the power of Facebook's data and doesn't preclude the possibility that Facebook will one day create its own fully fledged online ad network.
Facebook Collections has moved into its second phase of testing
The testing of Facebook's Collections feature, which enabled people to 'want' and 'collect', has now moved into its second phase. This phase of testing is looking at the language of the feature, testing different verbs to match the users desired action.
Facebook are also looking at gaining an understanding of how the feature is interacted with in terms of sharing. There is the possibility that Collections could remain a premium post type and require page owners to buy ads in order to promote it, and for the foreseeable suture Collections will remain on desktop only.
Facebook are testing paid for Inbox messaging
You'd think these messges that only make it to your 'Other' messaging folder do so for a reason, but Facebook has launched a test which has given a small number of users the option to pay $1 to bypass this barrier and have their message moved into the receivers Inbox. The test is only for user-to-user so fear not, no companies will be able to spam you just yet, and at this stage only one of these messages can make it into your inbox once a week. Facebook believe by charging they will "discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful."
Germany argue the use of pseudonyms over real names on Facebook
Germany and Facebook are butting heads once again, this time over users having to provide their real name on the social networking site at the sign-up stage and now allowing the use of pseudonyms, this conflicts with the German data-protection law. The Office of the Data Protections Commissioner in the state of Schleswig-Holstein is demanding Facebook changes its policy and other states are expected to follow.
Instagram's new Terms of Service ruffled some feathers
Insagram caused uproar when they updated their Terms of Service. The update was received negatively, threats of deleting accounts and boycotting the service were made if changes to the terms didn't take place. National Geographic made quite a statement with their post, along with others from the photography community on Instagram. They don’t want to loose the rights to their own imagery but it seems Instagram won’t be selling their photos any time soon. Soon after the first changes were announced another set of “new” new Terms of Service where announced to try and calm the critics.
The impact of the Twitter/Instagram Face-off
Instagram removing online previews out of Twitter didn’t go down well, insisting that users click out of one app and into another does not provide the best user experience. There was a method to their madness, they wanted to drive more traffic to their site . But as the graph below shows this hasn't necessarily been the case - yes daily visits to Instagram have gone up but the number of Twitter for iPhone users who visit the instagram.com site is 11 percentage points less than the number of people that used to look at Instagram content inline.
The number of active Twitter users has increased
Twitter announced through a tweet that they have now hit 200 million monthly unique users, up 60 million in the last six months since Twitter last shared numbers on its sixth birthday. It's a huge milestone for the company who have seen huge growth during 2012, with even the Pope joining the network to share messages, photos, videos and links. This is a long way off Facebook's one billion monthly active users, but Twitter are clearly hot on their heels.
Foursquare fight fire with fire with their updated Explore feed
Just days after Facebook announced the updates to their app feature Nearby, Foursquare have made changes to their Explore feed which now uses data from Facebook friends, even if they're not friends on Foursquare. This change will give users the option to tap into a large set of data whilst keeping their check-in privacy the same.
Get the family together, wherever they are, with Google+
Google+ have launched a Christmas campaign to highlight how Google+ Hangouts can bring family together. They have reunited characters from Wallace and Gromit films to show how the 10-way multi-person video chat can bring them all together at the most important time of the year, Christmas. The video prompts people to use the platform to connect with family over the festive season.
Google has created a website to host the ad, and they have also created a Holiday Effects app to run alongside the Hangout service, which allows people to put on a Santa hat, reindeer antlers or Wallace’s tank top.
Follow the journey of your favourite Donna Karan dress
Have you ever wondered how a couture gown goes from initial idea to the red carpet? Well now you can discover the journey for yourself using a custom Facebook app which was created by We Are Social.
We designed and developed the app that tracks the journey of the Atelier gowns, with a world map shows where the gown is on its global travels, and the scrolling timeline shows each gowns updates in its individual profile. The app provides Facebook users with the opportunity to experience the gowns journey around the world.
evian water - inspiring you to Live Young
In 2013 water brand evian is going to help Londoners find their inner child and rediscover what makes them happy with their January campaign, ’31 ways to Live young’. The campaign will feature a stunt in the London’s commuter hotspots and will also be found online on evian’s Facebook Live young hub which will be handled by We Are Social. We're very excited about working with evian and cannot wait for the campaign to launch, and we'll have a whole host of fun suggestions to share each day that will help you Live young.
Inspiring 26 acts of kindness
NBC News' Ann Curry has inspired a nation and even the world to join in and be part of the 26 acts of kindness campaign, asking people to perform acts of kindness in honor of the Newtown shooting victims. The Twitter hashtag #26acts has taken off and people are tweeting constantly about the good and selfless deeds they've been doing. Be it visiting the elderly, buying a coffee for the doorman or simply sharing a photo that's going to make people smile, the power of social media has made this happen. The message has gone from one person on a platform with the ability to speak to many, to millions on a platform talking about the way they've made a difference.
London Fire Brigade to have world's first 999 emergency feed
Tweeting the fire brigade before you leave a burning building - this could be the way forward. As the London Fire Brigade look to the future they are considering allowing users to report fires and other incidents using Twitter. As the Brigade are already using Twitter to broadcast news this could be seen as a natural progression for them. They're currently looking at other online platforms such as apps and blogs as they feel they need to communicate with the general public in the same way they communicate with each other.
UK's Director of Public Prosecutions issues social media guidance
Keir Starmer, the UK's Director of Public Prosecutions has released guidlines for the prosecution of people who misuse social media. The guidelines will attempt to answer the age old question, what is, and what is not, acceptable in the social sphere?
Ermahgerd... it's memes from your Facebook photos
You can jump for joy and clap your hands with glee as you can now create memes from your Facebook photos with a new tool from Cheezburger. It's a great way to create something that will resonate with your Facebook friends, so go ahead and unleash memes - tis the season to be sharing after all.