We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #223


Facebook is moving messages
Facebook has announced that it will remove messages from its main iPhone and Android apps, forcing mobile users to download the standalone Messenger app. The change, which was implemented in Europe in April, will be rolled out worldwide in the coming days.

Facebook to remove Gifts
Facebook is shutting down ‘Gifts’, through which users could purchase gifts for one another, effective from August 12th. The Gifts team is being reshuffled to concentrate on some of Facebook’s other commercial ventures, including the ‘Buy’ Button. Before you start getting emotional, here’s one last look at Facebook Gifts:


Instagram catching up with Facebook for marketers
Mercedes Benz is reportedly retargeting Facebook users who have previously seen one of its ads on Instagram. This is the first time that such integration has existed between the two networks, and may well be the start of something considerably bigger. Indeed, figures have been released this week that suggest Instagram is catching up with its parent company for branded content. Instagram saw 493,000 brand posts last year – a way behind Facebook’s 2.5m, but a year-on-year growth of 49%, compared to Facebook’s 22%. For Facebook’s 6bn total actions on those posts, Instagram saw 3.4bn, amounting to 6,932 actions-per-post, way above Facebook’s 2,396.

Instagram launches Bolt
Instagram has launched its second standalone app, Bolt, which it hopes will compete with Snapchat. The two share many similarities – you can send photo/video content with a single tap, annotate it with text and, of course, it disappears once it’s been viewed. However, Bolt is slightly different, as users are limited to a contact list of 20 close friends. It’s been launched in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa first – expect a wider rollout pretty soon.


Facebook adds features to Slingshot
Facebook has updated Slingshot for the first time since its release. Users can now react to reaction messages as many times as they like, but will still be required to ‘unlock’ each first message by sending a shot of their own. There’s also a new ‘My People’ tab that makes adding contacts easier – it includes all of a user’s Facebook friends and mobile phone contacts.


Twitter has strong Q2, won’t rule out more changes
Twitter has released its Q2 financial report, which goes a fair way to answering some of its critics. It added 16 million new monthly active users, reaching a total of 271 million worlwide, while revenue grew 124% year-on-year to sit at $312m (of which ad revenue makes up $227m).

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Independent analysis by Socialbakers suggests that Twitter has improved its engagement, too. Analysing 11,000 different accounts between June 2013 and June 2014, Socialbakers found that the average interactions-per-month increased from 17,098 to 27,653. For brands, the increase was from 1,801 to 3,961, while media accounts went from 19,541 to 50,701.

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Increased engagement has been attributed at least in part to changes in Twitter’s user interface, making it more straightforward for new users. Indeed, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was asked last week about implementing an algorithmic timeline, like Facebook’s, and refused to rule it out:

I think it’s fair to say that we are not ruling out any kinds of changes that we might deliver in the product, in service to bridging that gap between signing up for Twitter and receiving immediate value… you will see a number of kinds of experiments that we produce there.

Twitter is currently testing a change that appeals to ease of use, with some of the more common acronym hashtags accompanied by an expanded label to explain their meaning.

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Twitter embeds linked tweets inside other tweets
Twitter’s changes don’t stop at the above. The platform now embeds linked tweets inside other tweets on its web version. To embed a tweet, simply include the link to it, and something like the below will appear.


LinkedIn increases Q2 revenue, launches ad product
Twitter wasn’t the only social network to reveal its Q2 finances last week. LinkedIn announced a total revenue of $534m (up 47% year-on-year), of which 60% came from within the USA. Marketing accounted for 20% ($106m) of the figure. The network is also looking for new revenue streams and is launching a new standalone product to offer a curated stream of updates (job changes, press announcements, status updates and blog posts) from target accounts, which could prove very useful for B2B advertising.

LinkedIn adds ‘follow’ button
LinkedIn has rolled out a ‘follow’ button to millions of its members, which allows them to receive updates from another user without formally connecting. The button can be hard to find at the moment – it appears next to certain posts in the home page or via the ‘view recent activity’ option on a user’s page.


Pinterest acquires Icebergs
Pinterest has purchased Barcelona-based startup, Icebergs, which allows creatives to collaborate on projects online, using images, videos and other digital content. Luke Carrell, strategy director at We Are Social, spoke to ClickZ about the move.

Pinterest’s existing functionalities emphasize a sense of collaborative curation that just doesn’t exist on other platforms. Users and brands have taken notice, so it makes sense that Pinterest would look for ways to expand its offering around that.

Snapchat set for $10bn valuation?
A year after rejecting a $3bn takeover bid from Facebook, Snapchat could be set for a valuation of $10bn in its latest round of funding. Bloomberg has stated that the company is in talks with Chinese internet giant, Alibaba, though neither side has commented so far.

BMW to advertise on Medium
Medium, the blogging platform developed by the founders of Twitter, is set to include advertising for the first time. Its latest collection of articles, dubbed ‘Re:form’, will appear alongside sponsorship from BMW.

Mountain Dew trials ‘click to call’ Twitter ad
Mountain Dew has experimented with one of Twitter’s new ad formats, ‘click to call’. It has done so successfully, too: the competition tweet shown below received roughly 3,500 calls in total.


Red Bull creates cardboard Vine
Marketing Magazine has run a piece on the best Vines of the week, with Red Bull taking the top spot. The energy drink combined an innovative use of its packaging with promotion for its upcoming Air Race.

Red Bull promotes Air Race on Twitter
That’s not the only interesting social ad for Red Bull’s Air Race, either. The below promoted tweet, apparently made using ‘unsafe characters’, bleeds into the tweet above.

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Expedia creates Facebook ‘Travel Profile’
Expedia is furthering its ‘Travel Yourself Interesting’ tagline with the creation of a pan-European Facebook campaign, dubbed the ‘Expedia Travel Profile’. The app scans a user’s profile for various travel-related information, such as the number of countries visited and most interesting form of transport taken, and creates an infographic from the results.

Virgin Holidays responds to Three with #showoff
Virgin Holidays has responded to Three’s spoof apology for increased holiday spam, telling viewers of its latest billboard ad to ‘#showoff with pride’ and share their holiday snaps on social media.


We Are Social and HSBC produce holiday campaign
We Are Social and HSBC have created a Facebook app, ‘UK or Away’, that looks to tie into summer excitement about holidays and staycations. Users can take part in a quiz, in which they guess whether a location is in the UK or abroad, or submit a photo for the chance to win a camera.

Hellmann’s creates ‘Summer Hack’ videos
Hellmann’s is tapping into the online ‘life hacks’ trend, producing a set of YouTube videos called ‘Hellmann’s Summer Hacks’. Each one shows viewers how to turn an empty jar into something useful for summer, from miniature BBQs to solar-powered lanterns.

HSBC and We Are Social create ‘Your Future Self’
We Are Social and HSBC have teamed up again for ‘Your Future Self’, a campaign that celebrates how university can contribute to later life. First of all, the bank is releasing four separate documentary films, each focussing on an individual whose life was changed by university. This will be followed by a competition in which contestants submit a ‘future selfie’ of where they hope to be in years to come – winners will be selected for a donation towards their future.

NBA adds its Twitter handle to match ball
The National Basketball Association is looking to increase its number of Twitter followers by adding its handle, @NBA, to the official match ball. It’s potentially a nice move, but the font might need to be a bit bigger before we start noticing it all that often.