Welcome to the first Monday of 2013. To ease you in gently, here's the first of our regular mashups of the week's social media news...
Facebook adds audio to Messenger App, tests voice over IP service
In an attempt to become a yet larger part of overall communications, Facebook have introduced voice messaging to their standalone Messenger App for iPhone and Android. Users will be able to send one another voice messages of up to one minute. More interesting is the news that a voice over IP service is being trialled in Canada, which would look to rival the likes of Skype and Voxer. Whilst these services currently have a powerful market share, the ubiquity of Facebook and subsequent convenience mean that this looks a powerful prospect.
Facebook announce changes to allow greater freedom for marketers
Facebook have announced a variety of changes this week, which will look to benefit marketers in a number of ways. Firstly, 'flexible sentences' have been enabled for Open Graph activity, allowing brands to alter the text that appears when someone uses their app.
This is set to be complimented by customisable headlines on adverts for pages, apps and events, which already existed for ads that led away from Facebook. This is set to look as follows:
Finally, Facebook are going to begin bundling together any API changes that will break existing code and will release them on a quarterly basis. Previously, Facebook announced these changes individually and gave developers 90 days to make any necessary changes to apps. However, this meant that changes could build up over time and end up with a new alteration needed every month. Now, all changes can be done at once, saving the time of those building for Facebook.
Forcing signups helps Google+ to 105 million unique monthly users
October 2012 figures from comScore have shown that Google+ attracted 105 million unique monthly users, up 60.9% from 65.3 million at the same time last year. This is in comparison with a 4.3% growth from 788.2 to 822.1 million for Facebook. Twitter claimed 182.9 million visitors and LinkedIn 161.9 million. However, the social network is still lagging in terms of mobile visits, with 7 million to Facebook's 91.3 million. This rise comes during a period of forced signups from Google, with those wishing to use many of the company's other features being forced to sign up to a Google+ account. For example, you cannot post a review on any Google service without a Google+ account. Perhaps surprisingly, this seems to have helped considerably with the growth of the social network.
Pinterest makes its first acquisition
Pinterest has this week made its first acquisition, a recipe site called Punchfork. The two year old site allows users to share images of food and accompanying recipes, as shown below:
Pinterest has long been used for sharing food and recipe related content and Punchfork's interface is not a million miles away from the social network's own. It seems that Pinterest is looking to go deeper into recipe sharing...
Brands marketing with temporary photo sharing apps
Brands have started using apps like Snapchat and Facebook Poke, which allow users to share a photo that auto-erases after a certain amount of time, as part of their marketing. New York Frozen Yoghurt chain 16 Handles, for example, have created a Snapchat campaign called 'Snappy New Year', asking customers to share an image of their purchase with the company's Snapchat account in exchange for a free voucher.
Meanwhile, Delta Lingerie shared a video through Facebook poke. The video, which showed a model putting on the lingerie, was sent to the brand's Facebook fans and automatically deleted after viewing. Going forward, it will be interesting to monitor how other brands attempt to market on emerging platforms like these.
Japan and Korea show highest New Year social activity
Twitter have announced that the highest Twitter activity for New Year's Eve came when midnight struck in UTC+09:00, the time zone including Tokyo and Seoul, with 33,388 tweets per second providing further evidence for the site's popularity in Asia. Other peaks can be seen on the map below:
New Year's Eve also saw record activity on Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site. The network recorded 729,571 messages per minute, 52% higher than the previous record set on Chinese New Year.
Polaroid launches 'Fotobars', stores for printing your Instagram photos
Polaroid, once the king of instant photography, are attempting to venture into the digital age by creating stores where people can print their Instagram photos. The idea stems from the insight that, whilst many of us have hundreds of photos on our phones, few of these ever see the light of day. The company's website says that it "offers a very easy, simple and cost-effective process to transform your favorite digital photos from your phone, computer or camera into extraordinary, cherished pieces of art". It will be interesting to see whether people take to the idea, or if this is a desperate attempt at an appeal to a bygone age.
Hunter create Facebook campaign dependent on the weather
We're happy announce our first campaign of the year - We Are Social has created a Facebook app giveaway, with daily prizes dependent on the ever changing British weather, for British-based Wellington boot company Hunter. Each day, fans will be asked to create and capture an image based on the weather in order to win a prize, ranging from a pair of wellies in wet conditions to fleece socks in the snow. The campaign is based on the insight that one of the few good things about bad weather is getting to wear certain beloved winter clothes and it will be intriguing to see how fans engage with it through the coldest month of the year.
Three quarters of world leaders now on Twitter
A study of 164 countries by the Digital Policy Council shows that 123 of heads of state are on Twitter in either a personal or official capacity. This is up from 42% in 2011 and just 20% in 2010.
The most watched leader on Twitter is Barack Obama with 25 million followers, with Hugo Chavez a distant second on 3.5 million.
Breaking news on Instagram
To fans of UK Premier League football, it will come as no surprise to hear that Frank Lampard may not be at Chelsea next season. However, what is of interest is the way in which club captain John Terry alluded to the news on Instagram, posting an image of the two players holding the FA cup with the text: ”Devastated is an understatement. We should retire the number 8 shirt in honour of Lamps.” It is as yet unclear whether John Terry has ever won the FA cup, or was indeed present in any of the images on his Instagram account.