Twitter Debates Whether to Hit Autoplay on Videos to Compete With Facebook

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Twitter is weighing a difficult decision, one that not only could disrupt the traditional order of things at the social network but also may well be the key to keeping up with Facebook and YouTube: to hit or not to hit autoplay on video.

Twitter is divided over whether to allow videos to simply start playing when users scroll over them. It is a feature already adopted by Facebook, but one that scares Twitter purists who don’t want it to stray farther from its text-based roots, according to industry insiders with knowledge of the company’s video strategy.

“It’s an argument that’s happening—a tug of war,” said one.

Twitter remains cautious, even though video has become an important tool for the service as consumers and brands have embraced it.

Twitter bought SnappyTV earlier this year, and its Amplify ad program, which relies heavily on video, is one area where it has a jump on Facebook. Amplify allows Twitter to partner with sports and entertainment brands like the NFL, which share videos against which the brands sell sponsorships. Twitter said 25 partnerships have already gone live on Amplify.

The debate over autoplay is not a trivial one—it would be a major shift on a platform still struggling to find the right formula to appeal to the widest number of consumers.

In a worrying sign just last week, Instagram surpassed Twitter in the number of total users—300 million versus 284 million. Facebook-owned Instagram also has tremendous video potential.

Since launching autoplay earlier this year, Facebook has been catching up to YouTube in views. In September, Facebook said it was showing 1 billion videos per day. The Twitter source, who has seen the latest numbers, said that figure has already grown to 3 billion.

The insider added that the completion rate—where viewers watch the entirety of a video—is “mind-boggling,” suggesting that autoplay is a winning strategy and something Twitter ought to implement, even at the risk of upsetting some users.

Meanwhile, “Google is freaking out,” said a media agency executive, as Facebook attempts to poach YouTube talent in order to improve the quality of its video offerings. YouTube has gone on the defensive with lucrative counteroffers in exchange for exclusivity.

When it comes to the video space in general, Twitter is seen as playing catch-up. It still lacks sophistication in regard to the analytics brands and agencies demand, and it remains in need of better targeting capability when it comes to serving videos to a custom audience, as Facebook does.

Where Twitter has an advantage is in the affordability of its video ads, which amount to about 2 cents per view, per the Twitter source. Video can cost marketers up to $1 per view via other social platforms.

Brands are eager to see Twitter adopt autoplay since it has proved to be such a hit on Facebook. “Think about what they would be able to do for the Amplify product,” the insider said. “They’d be able to sell on it like crazy.”

December 16th 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology, Twitter, video, YouTube

Facebook Drops Bing From Facebook Search Results

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The end to a long relationship with Microsoft search is another signal that Facebook is concentrating on serving connections within its network.

The post Facebook Drops Bing From Facebook Search Results appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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December 13th 2014 bing, Facebook

Zuckerberg Dislikes The Idea Of A Facebook “Dislike” Button

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“That’s not something that we think is good for the world,” the Facebook CEO says during his second town hall Q&A.

The post Zuckerberg Dislikes The Idea Of A Facebook “Dislike” Button appeared first on Marketing Land.

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December 12th 2014 Facebook

Which Brands Boomed and Which Ones Busted in Social Media This Year?

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Between constant tweaks to Facebook's algorithm, changes to Twitter and the rise of Instagram, social media has certainly kept marketers on their toes this year.

A new look into data compiled from 35,000 brands and 26 industries across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ from Sprinklr gives an inside look into how brands worked multiple social platforms this year.

Sprinklr's data measures marketers' own social activity in addition to anything that people are saying about the brand. The software cranks out a score for each brand based on 11 different metrics including sentiment, engagement and responsiveness.

Sprinklr measured brands' scores in the first quarter of the year compared to the fourth quarter (although it should be noted that fourth-quarter data is not complete since it is not the end of the time period yet). The data was then split into two groups: booms and busts—depending on how much a score increased or decreased during the year.

Fiat took the No. 1 spot on the boom list by using social media to push into markets like the U.S. over the past few years

"As their brand is entering this market, you see through social their brand health increasing," said Brian Kotlyar, avp of demand generation at Sprinklr.

The airline industry also made for some interesting trends this year. While Turkish Airlines made the No. 3 spot on the boom list, American Airlines was No. 1 on the bust list.

According to Kotlyar, Turkish Airlines is superb at customer service on social media while American Airlines misses the mark.

"It's interesting to me that you see these two brands confronted with extremely similar challenges, and one is clearly figuring out how to use social to elevate the brand and the other is struggling to make that leap," Kotlyar said.

Sprinklr said neither Turkish Airlines nor American Airlines are clients, but it declined to discuss its relationship with other brands on the list.

Kotylar also pointed out that brands must work harder to stand out because of the many tweaks and changes to social algorithms in the past year. For example, Time Out Group—which operates entertainment and news sites for 75 cities—took the No. 2 spot on the boom list this year, in part because of Facebook's shift to reward publishers that routinely post content to their pages.

Check out the full list of this year's winners and losers on social media in the infographic below.

December 12th 2014 Facebook, Google, Technology, Twitter, YouTube

Instagram’s CEO Tells Us Who His Favorite Users Are Now That There Are 300 Million of Them

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Kevin Systrom is presiding over the next-generation of social media, an era he helped spark with Instagram, and now the highly stylized sharing app has 300 million users, many of them younger than 35 years old. Instagram has become an obsession for celebrities and brands, and it is yet another channel for aspiring social media stars to find an audience.

The company announced its big user milestone this week, and Systrom (Adweek's Hot List Digital Executive of the Year) recently agreed to answer a few questions, via email, about the future of the photo- and video-sharing app, owned by Facebook. Here's what he had to say about his growing advertising business and the talent that populates the platform, including his favorite Instagrammers.

The Instagram team is so hands-on with its approach to advertising, and you personally vet all ads. What is the key for a brand to be successful on Instagram and for you to like their work?
We want every ad on Instagram to tell a story and inspire people. We get most excited when we see a brand extend their voice in a way that captures the creativity and authenticity of the Instagram experience. Our process will scale as more advertisers come onto Instagram. Our goal with working closely with advertisers is not to change or influence their direction but to share insights that help make each photo and video feel at home on Instagram.

Mark Zuckerberg predicted Facebook will be almost all video in five years. Could you see a similar path on Instagram?
Whether it's an ad or organic content, video provides a new creative dimension for storytelling on Instagram. Video lets people convey the power and beauty in a moment through sight, sound and motion. Brands, musicians and public figures were among the first to embrace video on Instagram, and we've been impressed with how brands have extended their reach with video ads. We're just getting started.

Who are your favorite Instagrammers whose success could be attributed to the platform? How important are they to a vibrant community?
It amazes me how the Instagram community celebrates and supports each other and their passions. These Instagrammers bring a dimension of craft and creativity to the Instagram experience, and we wouldn't be the same without them.

Who pops to mind?
Hong Yi (@redhongyi), an artist, has found her primary fan base through Instagram and has since been picked up by media all over the world. Kathy Ryan (@kathyryan1) is the director of photography at The New York Times Magazine. Her Instagram feed is a love letter to The New York Times building in Manhattan. Aperture just published a book of her images, and they are truly exceptional.

Who else?
Jon Lowenstein (@jonlowenstein) is a photographer who came to the South Side of Chicago on an assignment 15 years ago and decided to make the neighborhood his home. He had been photographing his local community for years as a side project but never found an audience for it until he started sharing them on Instagram. Now he has an engaged audience who follows his work everywhere—whether he's sharing everyday photos from the South Side or when he was off on assignment covering Ferguson, Mo. There's this amazing movement happening on Instagram where photojournalists in particular regions around the world are forming shared accounts where they publish images that celebrate everyday life. It began with @everydayafrica and has now grown to include dozens of accounts, from @everydayiran and @everydaysrilanka to @everydayUSA (launched this summer by former AP photographer and TIME's 2013 Instagram Photographer of the Year, David Guttenfelter, @dguttenfelder).

Instagram launched its first standalone app this year with Hyperlapse. What other apps and features would you like to see?
It's important for us to continue delivering tools that enable all forms of visual communication and inspire creativity. Last spring we released a new suite of creative editing tools, this summer we launched Hyperlapse, and in 2015, we hope to deliver more features that bring out the creativity of the community and provide new ways to explore and discover the content being created.

What single moment from the platform really impressed or surprised you this year, whether it was from a brand, artist or regular user?
The World Cup was an incredible moment for us. It reinforced to everyone on our team how global Instagram has become. Everything from the behind-the-scenes images from the players to fan photos from around the world. By the end of the tournament, one in 10 Instagrammers was following a World Cup player. We often talk about the steps we can take to help provide a real-time view into what's happening in the world, and the World Cup brought this to life.

Is there anything you can share about your style as a boss?
I care deeply about craft, the quality of how something is made and the experience it enables. There are a few things we often talk about, and they all come back to simplicity, creativity and community. One is doing the simple thing first. By this, we mean not complicating problems or solutions. Another is around craft and the idea that anything we choose to do, we should do with taste. This means things like being intentional about our work, finding quality in the details and doing fewer things better. We hope all of these come through in how we work and the products we build.

What are your favorite brands on the platform, and what was the most creative post you've seen from them this year?
Some of the most innovative brands were among the first to embrace Instagram (Starbucks, Levi's, Ben & Jerry's, Michael Kors), and they continue to be at the cutting edge of creativity. There are so many great brands doing great things on Instagram, and it's hard to pick a favorite. I've always been impressed with the approach of Burberry and their eagerness to push the boundaries.

We often hear reports that Facebook is not as cool with teenagers, but Instagram is popular with teens more than ever. Is that true? Are you seeing growth among young kids?
The way people communicate is changing, and no one knows this better than teens. We are using images to talk to each other, to communicate what we're doing, what we're thinking and to tell stories. We continue to learn from and be inspired by the way teens use Instagram. For them, it's both an artistic platform, and the place where they communicate with friends and keep up with the world around them. We've seen teen small business owners, photographers, world travelers, makeup artists, sports stars and cancer patients all use Instagram to share a piece of their identity, connect with peers on shared interests and experiences, and discover other worlds beyond their own.

What's next for Instagram—what is your strategy for maintaining relevance well into the future? For instance, what features and core functions must you embrace to grow and stay on top?
Five years ago, the big shift for the industry was Web to mobile. Today, we're going through another important shift from text to images. We want to continue to play a meaningful role in this transition to communicating visually. This means things like bringing Instagram to every person with a phone, and exploring new areas of communication like we did with Instagram Direct and Hyperlapse. It also involves expanding what we do best—giving people simple and fun ways to capture and share life's moments—from the everyday to the spectacular.

December 12th 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology

Kate Spade Wins at Pre-Roll by Letting Anna Kendrick Be Anna Kendrick

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Even with the buzz around this year's glossy, over-the-top holiday advertising, sometimes the simple stuff works best—at least that's what Kate Spade thinks about its new campaign with Anna Kendrick.

Last month, the brand launched "The Waiting Game"—a two-minute video starring the actress, who gets locked out of her apartment after a day of shopping. Four snippets are running on YouTube as five-second pre-roll ads, geared toward mobile viewers with shorter attention spans than people watching on desktops.

Footage for three of those ads was plucked straight from the main holiday spot. The fourth is a video of Kendrick directing people to to check out the campaign.

Kate Spade CMO Mary Beech said the fourth ad performed best out of the short clips, although she didn't have numbers to confirm that. It might resonate with viewers because it feels like an off-the-cuff, user-generated video, which of course has made platforms like Instagram and Vine red hot for brands in recent years.

"Because we know that the ads happen when a YouTube visitor is on their way to watching a video of their choosing, we wanted to experiment with one version of the ad that was shot specifically to take advantage of Anna being such an amazing comedian," Beech said. "She was distinctly able to break that fourth wall and address the YouTube audience directly, delivering a call to action that would have otherwise been a text or a link. It's our brand's voice that allowed us to be able to do that and Anna's unique talents."

Kate Spade also worked with Cinematique and Google to build a shoppable video that lets viewers click on any product in the holiday ad. After watching the video, viewers can choose to purchose those Kate Spade products, see another short video or find a seasonal cocktail recipe.

Kate Spade ran ads across Google's Display Network, targeting sites such as US Weekly, Salon, Food Network and Rolling Stone, which are popular with women.

Battle of the Video Platforms
Both the shoppable and pre-roll videos have reached 20 million YouTube viewers since Nov. 7.

At the same time that Kate Spade is claiming some success with Google video ads, the platform is facing increasing competition from Facebook.

Earlier this year, Heineken ran a campaign on Facebook that reached 35 million users in three days.

"What we're finding is that we have to consider Facebook as the key video partner going forward because not only does it have the reach but the effectiveness," Heineken’s senior media director of marketing Ron Amram told Adweek.

December 11th 2014 Facebook, Google, Technology, video, YouTube

Instagram Is Now Bigger Than Twitter With 300 Million Monthly Users

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Instagram now has 300 million monthly users, picking up 100 million since March. The photo- and video-sharing app has surpassed Twitter's official user count of 284 million.

Facebook's companion company, bought for $1 billion in 2012, announced the milestone today, as well as the fact that it will start handing out verified accounts, the kind coveted by Twitter's users.

The verified badges will be for public figures and brands, Instagram said. Verified badges, coming within the week, "will make it easier for people to identify and follow the authentic brands they care about," Instagram said today in an email. "When an account is verified, a blue badge will appear next to its name in its profile as well as in search."

Instagram has become the visual cousin to Facebook, attracting younger users at a time when the parent company is seen by some to be losing its youth appeal. Instagram also is expanding its ad business, recently releasing video ads.

Lastly, Instagram said it is purging fake accounts from the site, which means a number of brands could see their follower counts decline. Instagram said this is part of its ongoing anti-spam efforts.

December 11th 2014 Facebook, Mobile, spam, Technology, Twitter

A Facebook Hack To A Greater Democracy

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fb-us-flag A month after the mid-term elections, the Republican Party is rejoicing and the Democrats are reeling. But it’s democracy that took a big hit. According to the NY Times, this election was the worst voter turnout in 72 years. Only 36.3 percent of the nation’s eligible population voted. New York drew only 28.8 percent. California and Texas also drew less than a third. Washington D.C. Read More

December 10th 2014 Facebook

Facebook’s Parse Gets Crash Reporting, Local Datastore for iOS

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Facebook announced Crash Reporting and Local Datastore for iOS for Parse. The former lets you register, track, and resolve crashes in your apps.

“Being able to capture and fix crashes efficiently means fewer frustrated users, and better retention–one of the most important metrics to any developer,” says Facebook’s Nancy Xiao. “While we know there are a number of third-party crash reporting tools you can use, we hope that by adding Parse Crash Reporting, we can reduce the complexity that comes with using different Parse SDKs, learning new APIs, and even monitoring multiple dashboards. Instead, you can now manage crash reports right within the Parse dashboard you’re already familiar with.”

The Local Datastore feature is exactly what it sounds like.

“How many times have you opened an app and stared at a loading screen for minutes, only to be confronted with the dreaded, ‘No internet connection’? Most mobile applications are simply clients that display data straight from a server, losing all functionality without an internet connection,” says Xiao. “How great would it be, though, if an app worked regardless of bad reception or lack of connectivity? In the spring, we solved this problem with the release of Parse Local Datastore—but at the time, it was available only for Android. Starting today, you can implement the same functionality for iPhones and iPads everywhere, as well.”

Other recent addition to Parse include localization of docs, push A/B testing, app cloning, and the new ParseUI for iOS.

Last week, Facebook announced that Parse has surpassed 500,000 apps.

Image via Facebook

December 10th 2014 Facebook

Learn How to Block Your Ex and More in Facebook’s Cute, Quirky Tutorial Videos

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Facebook, at long last, finally seems to be getting the hang of the whole advertising thing.

In addition to the pleasantly whimsical "Say Anything Better" ads, which have been rolling out in recent weeks, the social network has been working on a cute series of tutorials called "Just In Case Studies"—which use quirky storytelling to explain how to accomplish various technical steps on the Facebook app.

Four videos have been released so far. The best of the lot is "How to Block Someone," which shows a girl doing just that with her boyfriend after a painful breakup—though it doesn't exactly go as planned. Like all the videos in the series, it's quietly amusing, relatable, nicely shot and charmingly self-conscious—with a voiceover that's just as halting as our heroine.

The tutorials, made by Facebook's in-house creative studio The Factory, also include "How to Edit a Post," "How to Share With Just Friends" and "How to Untag a Photo." They're not ads, per se—but they have the same bemused tone as the "Say Anything Better" spots.

And that's a good thing.

December 9th 2014 Facebook, Technology