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What’s the latest social scoop this week? Facebook has exciting plans for the future, Instagram provides a FOMO cure, Twitter makes changes to its notification settings, and Pinterest introduces video ads.

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Instagram Rolls Out Events Channel

  • Can’t make it to the Yeezy concert or the first NFL season-opener? You’re not alone. Instagram is trying to put all the FOMO to rest with a new video channel within a user interest-customized Explore tab called Events. Events is now a feature for music, sports and current event lovers alike. Based on the accounts a user follows and the posts a user likes, the Events channel will show users content that coincides with their interests.
  • What it means for brands: Brands have another opportunity for consumer reach through content that users actually want to see. More time spent on Instagram because of the Events channel means brands are more likely to be seen both via ads and organic content. Although brands can’t directly engage with their audience through Events, sponsoring/participating in a popular event could prove successful. If any real-life event catches the attention of enough users, it can be featured on the Events tab.

Additional resources: Bizzabo; The Next Web

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(via TechCrunch)

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Facebook Launches App Just for Teens

  • Facebook launched an iOS app for people 21 years old and younger, and…it’s all video-based. Lifestage is meant for high schoolers wanting to know more about their classmates and vice versa, but technically anyone can download. The app prompts users to fill in their bio using video. Users’ likes, dislikes, happy moments, relationships, pets, etc. can all be uploaded via video and then viewed by other users. While this app may seem similar to Snapchat, a key difference is that Lifestage populates user newsfeeds based on location, showing people from their high school as well as those nearby. If you thought also it was a way for Facebook to attract younger users again, users don’t need a Facebook account to use the app.
  • What it means for brands: While not many of Facebook’s standalone apps have succeeded (Slingshot, Paper and Notify), this app only brings the platform closer to reaching its goal of basing all apps and content services off of video. Reaching that goal means brands will not only be further encouraged to utilize promotional video, but also, they will be introduced to more advanced and tailored video services. In this case, another Facebook video platform = something even better is coming for brand video content.

Additional Resources: Computer WorldCNN Money

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(via TechCrunch)

Facebook’s CTO Talks Future Plans with Forbes

  • Facebook has big plans for the future. Its pillars? Connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR). With a ten-year vision, Facebook’s CTO Mark Schroepfer has already made headway on each. This progress is marked by advances like Facebook’s technology that helps the visually impaired envision photos on Facebook through detailed captions. Aligned with Facebook’s overall mission to make the world more open and connected, the ten-year plan includes goals such as providing internet access to four billion people who are currently without it and finding ways for virtual reality to allow people to feel as close as possible no matter their actual distance. Overall, Facebook seeks to solve some of the world’s biggest problems in ways that they are equipped. When asked why the company is thinking so long-term, Schroepfer explains that intermediate milestones and patience are key to realizing those long-term goals. The future of Facebook is exciting in so many ways.

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(via E&T Magazine)

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Twitter Introduces New Notification Settings

  • Haters gonna hate…less now that Twitter introduced two new notification settings. Now users have the option to receive notifications only from accounts they follow. Trolls beware. While these Tweets can still be posted, this setting takes away the potential spam and harassment some users experience. The Twittersphere also has your back thanks to its “lower-quality content” filter which looks at signals like account origin and behavior. If certain Tweets don’t match up with user interactions and interests, then they won’t appear in their notifications tab. Say goodbye to duplicate and seemingly-automated Tweets.
  • What it means for brands: The users and topics brands want to track and utilize are now front and center. Brands will be faster and better able to generate content that not only appeals to their desired audience, but also reaches the right people more efficiently. Brands can now spend less time filtering through users and topics and more time building campaigns and content that support their products and services.

Additional resources: Twitter; Tech Radar

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(via Twitter)

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Pinterest Launches Video Ads

  • In a play to get more advertisers on board (pun intended), Pinterest announced its new video ad format last week. Pinterest has been working on its overall video format, and this latest feature proves they are betting brands are willing to pay the big bucks. Video components are of high value to brands and Pinterest is making the most of their abilities. Video ads will appear natively as short frame and expand into a bigger piece of content with sound when clicked. Not only is video length unrestricted, but similar to Facebook or Instagram Carousel Ads, each video ad is accompanied by six custom photo pins. This allows brands to build out great video content and include six CTA-featured pins simultaneously.
  • What it means for brands: According to Pinterest, consumers have saved/pinned 60% more video content in the last year than ever before. On a platform where 75% of consumed content is brand content, Pinterest knows brands will pay for high quality video content opportunities. Video ads are currently offered on a cost-per-impression model and not yet available through Pinterest’s self-serve ad platform. At this time, video ads are only offered to big-name brands that work with Pinterest reps, but we have a feeling that won’t last long. This new offering is a great opportunity for brands to start thinking about quality content that will grab attention quickly but also sustain interest once the ads are clicked. There’s also room to repurpose existing video content from YouTube, Facebook and other social platforms, to help increase the SEO of your existing content and provide future search compatibilities to new video.

Additional resources: Forbes; Fortune

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(via Fortune)


CaitlinThis blog was co-authored by Caitlin Orwin. Caitlin is a Social Media Marketing Associate at W2O where she works on all things paid social and social management. She loves writing copy and working with healthcare clients, as well as working in a dog-friendly office. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn!


 

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All social media platforms serve as a tool for storytelling.

Whether users are telling the stories of various humans of New York, sharing the story of their weekend through a series of 10-second photos, or capturing the perfect meal through the proper filter, all social networks empower users to publish their lives or the lives of others.

Twitter is no exception to this rule. However, the platform has always been unique in comparison to its competitors:  Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Perhaps Twitter’s most defining differentiator is its less visual platform, specifically compared to Snapchat and Instagram. Even so, Twitter is still competing (and generally winning) in the social media space. The question is… how?

What Makes Twitter Work?

Twitter has an ace in the hole:  it is the undisputed platform of choice for live events and iconic pop culture moments. From the 2016 presidential election to social justice movements to sporting events, people turn to Twitter for real time updates and to express their reactions and observe others’.

What is going in world news? Follow @CNN.

What is the score of the latest game? Follow @espn.

Who is the next big musician? Follow @allsongs.

How was your friend’s last day of work? Follow her account. (Don’t, though, because she is really MY friend.)

From the personal news of your friendship to global news, Twitter perfectly curates and delivers your content. Twitter has transformed into the modern day newspaper and that is why users love its platform.

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Additionally, the platform empowers users to create their own iconic moments for the world to celebrate, criticize, and join (e.x. #GIFOscars#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes#CareFreeBlackKids2k16).

Users are notified when people within their network are tweeting, retweeting or liking the same topic or trend– so even if a user is not privy to the conversation, they can join in without missing a beat.

Melania Trump Quotes

How Will Twitter Grow in the Future?

Twitter’s latest move toward growing their cash flow and number of users is broadcasting sports within the platform. Twitter recently signed its first broadcasting deal with the NFL, which will allow the company to stream 10 Thursday night football games this upcoming season.

And football is not the only sport Twitter is interested in:  last month the platform hosted live coverage of Wimbledon. Plus the social media company has signed deals with the MLB, NHL, NBA and Pac-12 Networks.

Livestreaming sports may address the two main barriers of the platform. First, creating a steady flow of revenue. Potential advertising for brands most likely will pique the interest of marketers, providing a constant, dependable flow of cash. Second, broadcasting sports may help grow the amount of people who use the platform. The games will be available for people to stream regardless of if they have a Twitter account. This provides access to those who may have never interacted with the platform the opportunity to become familiar with the social media network. If people would like to join the conversation where they are tuning in, Twitter is the most natural fit, which may lead to more people signing up.

Case Study: Olympics 2016

Over the past couple weeks, our analytics team took a look at Twitter presence of the five members of this year’s USA women’s gymnastics team. Below you will see the number of mentions each member accrued over the entirety of the artistic gymnastics competition (August 06, 2016 – August 11, 2016; August 14, 2016-August 16, 2016).

 

Gymnastics

If this volume of mentions can be amassed with merely five athletes in the span of two weeks, Twitter may be on the verge of becoming an untouchable competitor in the social media space.

Even outside of the five gymnastics’ superstars, Twitter has been bustling during the Olympics.

  • Tweeters have empathized with parents of competitors.
  • They have created overnight memes such as #PhelpsFace.
  • They have shamelessly praised their favorite athletes.

Katie Ledecky

It is clear the platform succeeds during live events, regardless of whether the event is streaming within the platform or not. However, one can only imagine how much success the network could have if the events that people were speaking about actually live-streamed in their feeds.

The combination of creating a platform where users can share their thoughts in real time while never having to leave the app could be the reason that Twitter does not just survive, but thrives. Plus, it eliminates the pain points of cross screen marketing for marketers, which may also be a reason they pay big bucks in ad dollars.

If streaming sporting events serves as a lucrative vehicle to gain revenue and users, Twitter may continue to strike up additional partnerships with other live events outside of the sports market. For example, Twitter broke social media ground by live-streaming the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Twitter is thinking outside the box and launching into new spaces, and we are excited to continue to grow our clients through this platform.


Jon Carillo Headshot

Creative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs, follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!

 

Brad Snyder Headshot

Research assistance for this project was provided by MDigitalLife intern, Brad Snyder. Brad attends Tiffin University where he is a business major with a focus in marketing and a minor in international business. Connect with him on Linkedin and if you can tolerate Cleveland sports follow him on Twitter at @b_snyds!

 

W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512Facebook is on the loose. They had so many announcements in the last 2 weeks, we’re just trying to keep up. They expanded their Facebook Live capabilities, with a slew of new updates released and coming, and they also released new audience targeting features. Surely you’ve also heard about Instagram Stories, yes Instagram Stories, not Snapchat Stories. And while we’re talking about ads, YouTube introduced TrueView in-display video ads. Intrigued? Check out the scoop below!

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Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Video Ads

  • Facebook Live has begun testing 15 second ads that will be appear within live broadcasts. This move will mark the first time Facebook has placed ads directly inside a video. The ads will appear mid-roll as an ad break and have a lifespan of 15 seconds. Top publishing partners of Facebook will be the first to try out the new form of advertising.
  • What it means for brands: We knew when Facebook started its paid partnership with select publishers and celebrities to produce Facebook Live videos, that advertising within Facebook Live broadcasts was just a short step behind. Any opportunity to advertise is a good opportunity, and with Facebook’s push to increase Facebook Live use, content, and impressions, brands who aren’t as involved on the production side can still make their way into a Facebook Live broadcast. We’re excited to see what’s next and how targeting will roll out for these ads.

Additional resources: Business Insider; Mashable;

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(via Eric Ginsberg/Associated Press)

Facebook Live Introduces New Capabilities

  • Facebook Live has extended its display options to include full screen capability for iOS devices. They also announced two other new features coming soon; longer broadcasts and a video only mode. Longer broadcasts enable longer video sharing and the video only mode allows users to temporarily hide the comments and reaction on the screen during live broadcasts.
  • What it means for brands: All of these updates are going to make a great impact on the Facebook Live experience and we have a lot to think about.
    • Full screen capabilities: this enhances the user viewing experience and we’ll be curious to see how this new feature impacts viewing longevity and overall Facebook Live broadcast results for brands.
    • Longer broadcasts: this is great for brands that want to share more but currently spend time developing multiple broadcasts that don’t performs as well as maybe one longer broadcast that captivates the audience. What’s next? Mini Facebook Live TV series? To play devil’s advocate, longer isn’t always better, so it will be interesting to see how much time users are spending watching the longer video or if they tune out after a few minutes.
    • Video only mode: many brands will take advantage of video only mode, especially pharmaceutical companies that are restricted from participating in Facebook Live due to legal restrictions and commenting issues. This may just be the workaround!

Additional resources: Mashable; Yahoo! Tech

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Figure 2 (via Adweek)

Facebook Introduces New Audience Targeting Features

  • Facebook introduced a whole slew of new audience targeting features, including:
  • Advanced Custom Audiences: build custom audiences using multiple niche data inputs at once including: name, phone number, e-mail, location, date of birth, Facebook app user ID, and mobile advertiser ID.
  • Website Custom Audiences: create custom audiences based on who is visiting a website using: dynamic date, frequency, time spent, and aggregated values and devices.
  • Engagement on Facebook: create custom audiences based on audience engagements with lead ads and videos shared by a brand. The users that watch a majority of a brand’s videos are an important audience because advertisers can now specifically target those users.
  • Interest expansion: by selecting the Expand interests feature in the Detailed Targeting feature of Ads Manager, the software will expand interest targets that are likely to create more conversions.
  • Advanced matching: advertisers can use the customer data collected on their website, like phone numbers and email addresses, and match those with Facebook users. This allows the advertiser to retarget based on this new feature on the Facebook pixel.

What it means for brands: Facebook wants to be the first place advertisers go to share their content and target users. With each new capability, they are offering more and more opportunity for advertisers to target the right users, at the right time and truly maximize their advertising dollars, which latter up to their marketing KPIs and overall sales goals.

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(via Marketing Land)

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YouTube Introduces TrueView In-Display Video Ads

  • YouTube changed the name of the TrueView in-display video ads to TrueView discovery ads. In addition to this name change, YouTube will also be introducing the TrueView discovery ads to mobile search results for the first time. More relevant ads will also appear in the search results. YouTube cites that these adjustments have improved its click-through rates by 11%.
  • What it means for brands: This is huge news for brand, as this is the first time that Trueview ads can appear in the app’s mobile search results. YouTube is also reconfiguring their algorithm so that the most relevant ads appear within the search results. Since Trueview Discovery ads deliver high engagement when a user clicks on the video, brands should consider this capability to increase SEO and maximize their paid spend on YouTube.

Additional resources: Google

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(via Google)

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Instagram Imitates Snapchat with Instagram Stories

  • Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, a new feature that allows users to post videos or photos with a maximum lifespan of 24 hours. Sounds familiar right? This is very similar to Snapchat’s Story feature, where the stories disappear after 24 hours. This update came as a result of a decline in content being uploaded to the channel, mostly because Instagram has become a high-stress platform where users feel obligated to upload the best photos. Their mission is to capture the world’s moments and Stories will help alleviate some of the pressure that users have to upload their absolute best content.
  • What it means for brands: Instagram is hoping that users abandon Snapchat and that advertisers come back to the Facebook ecosystem. They know that audiences engage well with quick, disposable content, and they are not denying that Snapchat did it first and did it well – they just want to be players in the game. We’ll keep our eye on this roll out and further develop this impact it will for advertisers, but definitely continue to keep paid media budgets a priority.

 Additional resources: CNN; BBC

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(via BBC)

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Pinterest Launching Native Video Player

  • We know everyone is upping their video presence, Pinterest The platform will be launching a full integrated native video player, which is set to roll out over the next few months. Pinterest reps have shared that video has increased 60% on the platform in the last year, and because of that, they are updating their video search tools to increase video views and content sharing.
  • What is means for brands: Pinterest already improved pin search, so video search takes the platform to a whole new level and will impact the way users interact with video. There is a lot of potential for the video player, and can ultimately improve the way users shop on Pinterest. We see some digital advertising plans rolling out soon after…

Additional resourcesDigital Trends

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(via Social Times)

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Reddit to Introduce New Ad Offering: Promoted User Posts

  • Reddit will soon roll out a new ad offering called Promoted User Posts. Within these posts, advertisers can attach a sponsored ad to user generated post that was shared on Reddit. For example, if a user creates a thread about a unique experience they had with a Go-Pro camera, Go-Pro can sponsor that thread. Reddit will then display that thread to users throughout the website, to who they think would be the most interested in the post. Reddit will need permission from the user who originally posted the thread before attaching a sponsorship to it. If the Redditers accept the sponsorship, they will receive lifetime of Reddit gold, a feature of benefits on the platform.
  • What it means for brands: Reddit has a user base of 240 million, which means there are a ton of people interacting with the content. If brands find that a large portion of their target audience lives on Reddit, then this could be a great way to expand conversation to the blog, as opposed to strictly social and media ads, which may lead to increased SEO and engagement with the content.

Additional resources: Reddit

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(via Ad Age)

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October 9th, 2006 was the day Google, king of search, decided to buy YouTube. It was a landmark moment for digital advertising as it signaled the beginning of a shift in focus from messaging that was primarily copy and images to a more engaging form of content – video. For a long time, YouTube reigned supreme, with viral hits such as ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ and the ‘Harlem Shake’ drawing the attention of millions. Marketers saw the impact on brands that embraced the platform, with GoPro cameras and Dollar Shave Club prime examples of brands who grew from startups to companies valued over a billion dollars. However, as with most situations in a digital ecosystem, change is par for the course.

October 13th, 2015, less than a decade later, Facebook decided to add a dedicated video channel right next to a user’s News Feed. This was another big step in the shift away from ‘static’ content. This was the first of many changes to the biggest social network on the planet that were implemented in an effort to make it a video-first platform. Fast forward only 10 months, and already most marketers say social platforms such as Facebook are more crucial to a video campaign’s success than a video platform such as YouTube.

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Source: The Future of Digital Video, by Trusted Media Brands, July 2016

This raises the question: why? What is Facebook doing that is changing perceptions so quickly?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest factors:

  1. Ad-Blocking. The majority of Facebook users access the platform through a mobile app where ad-blocking, a growing concern among industry leaders, is not as alarming.
  2. New changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. Recent changes have shifted focus away from brand content towards the content created by your connections on the platform. With one exception, video content.
  3. Integrating similar video products of competitors into their own offerings. A prime example of this would be Instagram’s new ‘Stories’ feature, a blatant copy of Snapchat’s own ‘Stories’, which was created after Facebook tested the feature first.
  4. The actions Facebook is taking to make uploading or creating video content as easy as possible. For example, Facebook can now take a few of your static images and combined them into an animated slideshow.
  5. Facebook Live. Few believed that Facebook’s live-streaming video offering would take off so fast, but after a broadcast from a woman in Texas about her purchase of a Chewbacca mask from Kohl’s brought in over 140 million views in just a few days those doubters have quickly disappeared.

Facebook Live is also the reason why the platform’s recent rise to video dominance will likely continue for some time. Over just the past few weeks they have added waiting rooms before broadcasts, extended the maximum broadcast time to four hours, spent over $50 million on publisher content, and begun testing mid-roll ads.

YouTube has begun making changes of their own in reaction to this competition from Facebook. They have restricted their ad products, added a live broadcast feature to their own mobile app, and increased the revenue content creators on the platform receive from users viewing their videos.

It will be interesting to see these two giants of advertising battle it out over the next few months and years. While Facebook has temporarily gained the advantage, YouTube still has the backing of possibly the most successful tech company on Earth.

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Facebook has been busy these last few weeks making many changes across the platform, including updates to their Messenger app and updates to their new Instant Articles feature. Snapchat still hasn’t sat still since the announcement of their API, recently launching Memories, and we’re having flashbacks to the 90’s, with Pokémon GO topping the charts as the hottest game. Let’s take a deeper dive and find out what this means for brands.

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Facebook Users to Restrict Live Audiences

  • Facebook’s API will soon allow users to restrict who gets to view Live Broadcasters can restrict by age, time zone, location, and gender. Not all Facebook users are privy to this new tool, only the broadcasters that share via Facebook’s API (content creators, media companies, & brands using specific software) have this privilege – not everyday users. Additionally, Facebook is also looking into introducing long-sharing live steams where broadcasters can post day or even week-long videos. More to come on this as the story develops.
  • What it means for brands: Now brands will have more flexibility when broadcasting live video from Facebook Live. They’ll be able to target more specific audiences by excluding certain demographics, that is, if they are using the proper tools that comply with the API.

Additional resources: Facebook for Developers

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(via Marketing Land)

Facebook Updated their App-Install Ads

  • Facebook updated its app-install ads with the ability to target certain audiences based on the likelihood of users actually using the app, not just downloading it and never opening it again. The product being used to calculate these audiences is called App Event Optimization. It uses 14 different user actions that could signify if a user is willing to download an app. Some of these actions include how likely a user is using a shopping cart/wish list, using the check out, actually buying that product, rating the app from which the product was purchased from, and viewing content or searching for a specific app.
  • What it means for brands: Brands will now be able to understand who is actually using their app and who they should properly be targeting to download their app. Brands often have an inaccurate read of who is actually using their app, and this new feature will provide the data they need to find out if their goals are truly being met (versus “guessing”).

Additional resources: Marketing Land

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(via Marketing Land)

Facebook Now Has 11,000 Chatbots

  • Back in April, Facebook announced that they would be launching chatbots in Messenger. These chatbots are digital customer service representatives for businesses. When a customer asks a question, they’re receive quick support. Since its inception, more than 11,000 chatbots have been added to Messenger, with over 23,000 people having signed up through ai, a Facebook service for developers. With the increase of chatbots, there has also been an improvement in these chatbots capability. For example, instead of replying just with text, the chatbots can now reply using GIFs, videos, and audio clips, among other files.
  • What it means for brands: Instead of manually replying to every message a brand receives on Facebook, these chatbots will make it easier to respond to everyone in a fast and efficient way. Also, less time can be allocated to responding to messages of customers, if a bot is doing this automatically, of course using approved messaging. This many not work for all brands, especially those that require stricter legal processes and those that need a personalized response.

Additional resources: CNBC; Forbes

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(via TechCrunch)

Facebook Testing Offline Video Access in India

  • Due to poor mobile connectivity and streaming capabilities overseas, Facebook is testing offline video access in India. The platform is testing out a video download option that will allow users to download a video when connected to WiFi, which can then be viewed in Facebook when later offline.
  • What it means for brands: Efforts to expand video reach to offline users (especially overseas) provides advertisers with more targeting capabilities and a wider range of audience to reach. The real test to Facebook is how they will measure video views, impressions and more after the video has been downloaded since it is off the platform.

Additional resources: CNET

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(via Digital Trends)

Facebook Introduces Instant Articles on Messenger

  • Facebook enabled Instant Articles for Android users, which will load within the Messenger app. The feature started softly rolling out last year, and is not yet available for iOS users, but this is coming soon. Just like on desktop, posts that are Instant Articles will include a lightning bolt in the preview.
  • What it means for brands: Instant Articles present the opportunity for brands to share full-length stories, blog posts, articles, etc. directly from the Facebook app, as opposed to users have to take the next step to click-out to a website. Bringing Instant Articles to Messenger is a smart move, because brands can expand the reach of their content to mobile users and streamline into sharing opportunities from mobile to mobile.

Additional resources: The Verge;

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(via Mashable)

 Brands Can Block Their Ads from Reaching Certain Apps/Websites

  • Facebook will soon allow brands to block [their] ads from appearing on certain websites or applications when those advertisements are extended to Facebook’s Audience Network. This will be available in Business Manager via a new feature called Block List. Although not all users of Business Manager can use this feature yet, the social media platform intends on integrating it into all brand’s/agencies’ Business Managers gradually.
  • What it means for brands: Advertisers can make sure their content is not being served to the wrong audiences, but more importantly, their content will not be mixed into association with “un-branded” 3rd party sites. Brands do not always want to have a presence in a space that does not properly represent their brand.

Additional resources: Facebook

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(via Adweek)

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Facebook Messenger Introduces Support for More Than 1 Account

  • Messenger will now allow users to sign into multiple accounts while using the iOS app. Users/community managers can easily navigate different accounts without having to sign in and out of each account. Within the app’s setting, users can go into ‘Switch Accounts’ to use another account.
  • What it means for brands: Advertisers that manage multiple Facebook accounts and/or have multiple accounts for one brand will be able to easily navigate between accounts without having to logout. Brands use Messenger to provide customer service, and if they have multiple accounts for their one brand, this new feature will make it easier and more efficient to respond to all of their customers. One caveat is to make sure to double check what brand the communication is coming from. Community managers can more easily mix-up the brands and respond from the wrong brand name, which is not best practice and presents confusion for consumers.

Additional resources: TheNextWeb

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(via Adweek)

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Pokémon GO Will Soon Partner with Brands for Sponsored Ads

  • In case you missed the biggest news in the social world, Pokémon is making a comeback, this time as a mobile app. With Pokémon GO being Nintendo’s most successful mobile endeavor to date, the app will soon be partnering with brands for promotional ads within the app – WELL, that was fast. There will be sponsored locations within the app that advertisers can buy, on a cost-per-visit basis. More people are playing Pokémon GO than using Twitter and time spent on the app has surpassed time spent on both Facebook
  • What it means for brands: The Pokémon GO audience spans across a large range of targets, and presents a large audience that is interested in the content. The game won’t be popular forever, so while it’s hot, it’s a great time for brands to get some “play” time within the app.

Additional resources: AdvertisingAge; Digital Trends

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(via Digital Trends)

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Twitter Uses Can Now Apply for Their Account to Be Verified

  • Twitter users will now be able fill out an application to become a verified account. In order for Twitter to accept a user’s application, they will need to ensure the authenticity of the account and will take a close look at the information provided on the application, which is fairly basic information that they will confirm before verifying the account. More information on the applications and next steps can be found here.
  • What it means for brands: Users are more inclined to trust a brand that is verified because the verification provides a sense of “Twitter” authenticity and credibility. This update helps users find real accounts to connect with a broader audience of real users. Twitter tends to favor verified accounts and a verified account presents additional privileges as a user, so it will be interesting to see how Twitter manages/treats verified accounts moving forward if it’s no longer “special.”

Additional resources: Twitter Blogs

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(via USNews)

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Snapchat Introduces New ‘Memories’ Feature

  • Snapchat introduced a new Memories feature that allows users to save their snaps in a Snapchat camera roll, search for them later, edit them, and re-share as a snap. This change questions Snapchats brand messaging, which has always been focused on quick, real-time content that disappears in seconds, but this new archive feature stirs the pot a bit. While it makes sense since users were saving their snaps as screenshots, or more recently to their camera role, this is a big change for the brand overall. With these changes, Snapchat expects users to spend more time using the app.
  • What it means for brands: With Memories, brands can save snaps that have been used on the brand’s Snapchat. These snaps can contribute to an asset library of photo and video that can used later in a Snapchat story or shared across other social networks and branded sites. This is especially great for brands that have slower approval processes than just real-time sharing, because now they can back and share the content on Snapchat that is not timely (but they’re still engaging with their audience on the platform). On the consumer front, users can save more of their photos that have brand filters on them and reuse at a later time, increasing the longevity of the branded filter and contributing to raising brand awareness across social media and beyond.

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(via iDownloadBlog)

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There’s no denying that video is the hottest form of content right now, especially with the emergence of live broadcasting that’s sweeping the internet through Facebook LIVE and Periscope.

It can be time consuming and expensive for companies to create video, but that’s only half the battle. The fact that you have a video is not as exciting to other people as it is to your internal team. So how do you make sure the right people actually see your video?

It comes down to two things – optimizing your video on YouTube so people can find it and distributing your video in the right way in the right places. Here are a few highlights for both of these areas.

Optimize video descriptions

Optimize Your Video

  • It’s important to identify your target audience for the specific video and what problem they are trying to solve by watching your video.
  • Research keywords for your video listing by using tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google Web Master Tools and YouTube and Google suggest.
  • Structure your YouTube channel as a homepage for your video content, with your playlists as your category level pages and your videos as your product or keyword level pages.
  • Optimize your YouTube video summary using key words, with a strong title and robust summary. Link to your website using the full URL address and include a subscribe link.

Right length for video

Distribute Your Video

  • Create a dynamic end screen where people can click through to your other videos and subscribe.
  • Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel three times – in your video, on the end screen and in the summary copy. When recording videos, reference other videos you’ve made that your audience may be interested in.
  • Consider YouTube paid advertising to target your specific audience when they are watching. YouTube has a number of paid options including video pre-views, side bar listings, overlay in-video ads and display ads.
  • Share video on your web site, blog and other social channels, paying close attention to the optimal lengths per channel. Videos will have higher reach if uploaded directly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, LinkedIn and Pinterest both allow you to share YouTube links and still feature them prominently.

To dig deeper into these areas, take a look at the slides we co-presented at the PR News digital conference last month, “Become a YouTube Distribution Star for Your Organization.”

By Missy Berggren and Sri Nagubandi

Ask any millennial if they’re sick of writing cover letters and you’ll be met with a resounding YES.

My YES would be particularly loud. While in the market for a Summer 2016 internship, I drafted upwards of 50 unique cover letters. The process, tedious and tiresome, stole nearly a week of my spring semester altogether. As I rearranged my skills and reworded my background into charming, industry-appropriate epithets, I found myself wondering how and why my potential value could be condensed into three paragraphs in a PDF. And I’m a writer. Imagine how an intern applying for a graphic design position might feel.

Particularly in the age of social media and technology, there has to be a better way to recruit and evaluate potential interns than asking them to draft and submit a cover letter. We threw out the typewriter when the computer came along; why not replace the outdated and impersonal cover letter with one of the diverse multimedia platforms available today? Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are already intrinsic to my generation’s daily experiences. It’s only logical that we begin to utilize them for professional purposes

Many companies are doing just that. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Snapchat have become powerful tools for internship research, recruitment, and even candidate evaluation. LookSharp, an internship and entry-level job database dedicated to connecting students with employment opportunities, found that 68% of college students used social media to find an internship in 2015. Their report also indicated that 49.5% of students used social media to research potential internships, while 46.2% used it to network with company employees in advance of applying.

In addition to its increased relevance for internship research and networking, social media is also becoming a common platform on which companies evaluate potential candidates. One agency dumped resumes, cover letters, and even interviews in favor of a Snapchat contest this recruitment season, challenging potential interns to create a Snapchat story for one of the agency’s existing clients. The prize for creators of the best stories? Internship placements at one of the company’s four U.S. offices.

Space150 is not alone in their commitment to modernizing intern recruitment. L’Oréal, Fetch, and other companies have streamlined their social media experiences and released multimedia applications in recent recruitment seasons. These strategies, the brands report, have attracted previously hard-to-reach applicants and altogether sourced more qualified, interested, and digitally proficient candidates.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are mainstays of these modern strategies, though YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and even Tinder have supported intern recruitment on multiple occasions.

It’s safe to say that a recruitment shake-up is in the works, at least among companies with a digital presence. Agencies promising their clients an integrated, up-to-date media experience should do the same for their potential employees, as there’s something inherently logical about sourcing and evaluating candidates within the platforms with which they’d work in an eventual internship or job.

My fellow W2O interns are equally intrigued – and to some degree, relieved – by social media’s developing convergence with intern recruitment. They shared their comments, questions, and concerns with me through an anonymous survey, the results of which are summarized below.

Company social media accounts are key facets of the internship search.

Of the W2O interns who responded to my survey, 78% reported using social media for their internship search process. That group explained that they routinely use platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to look for internship opportunities, as well as to research specific companies. One intern indicated that Twitter and Instagram are the main mechanisms by which he evaluates a company’s culture and visualizes himself within it. Furthermore, 57% of interns surveyed counted a company’s LinkedIn presence as essential to their decision to apply. If a company did not have a strong, updated LinkedIn presence, they might not even submit an application. 21% said the same about Twitter and 14% indicated that their prospective employer must have a strong Instagram presence.

Social media recruitment strategies like Space150’s Snapchat contest are creative and well-suited to the millennial audience, but impose high barriers to entry for applicants.

85% of the survey’s response pool said they would participate in Space150’s innovative recruitment strategy. One intern called it a “pretty cool way to reach millennials,” another indicated that the mere existence of the contest would increase his interest in the company, and a third argued that the contest could easily demonstrate a candidate’s worth. A few interns shared reservations, pointing out that the highly specified evaluation would automatically prohibit applicants unfamiliar with Snapchat from applying and that prospective interns might not be comfortable applying so publically.

Though W2O interns are generally receptive to social media recruitment strategies, they are concurrently less than comfortable with prospective employers having access to their social media accounts – an inevitable byproduct of applying via a social platform.

Interns were evenly split on the issue of company access to their Facebook accounts. 50% answered yes, I’m comfortable with a prospective employer reviewing my Facebook profile and photos, but the same percentage of interns responded that they were not comfortable with that scenario. The story was a little different for Twitter, where 78% of interns indicated comfort with a prospective employer reviewing their Tweets. 57% were okay with an employer reviewing their Instagram, but only 21% were willing to share their Snapchat account in the professional sphere – an interesting outcome, considering their willingness to engage with Space150’s innovative application.

Social media is more important on the company side than on the applicant side. 

Multimedia recruitment strategies are interesting, W2O interns summarized, but presently a company’s social media presence is more relevant to the internship search than its ability to evaluate via social media. W2O interns are using social media, particularly LinkedIn, to look for internship openings, network, and research companies. One intern confirmed that social media was a “big part of why I liked W2O.” Their social media accounts, the intern continued, provided a glimpse into the company culture and relayed its strong community vibe – “which I think people really look for in a workplace.”

W2O’s Talent Acquisition Associate Taylar Haney, who oversees the company’s internship program and all related recruitment, also weighed in on the ways in which intern recruitment is evolving. She agreed that the industry is moving towards social media integration, but noted that many agencies have room to grow in terms of their appeal to millennial applicants. She cited career-specific company social media accounts as a primary area for improvement, a strategy employed to great success by L’Oréal but not emulated across the board. If interns are doing their research on social media, she said, companies should meet them halfway with updated career pages.

Taylar also spoke to the concern among W2O employees that social media evaluation strategies could leave their social presence vulnerable to review by potential employers. She underscored how important it is to keep one’s social media presence “clean” and professional, but also assured that she doesn’t always review an applicant’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social profiles before hiring them. “LinkedIn is a must,” she told me, “but I and the rest of the Human Resources department prefer not to look at other forms of social media. That doesn’t mean we won’t do it, but it’s not guaranteed that we will, either.”

So what’s the takeaway, besides the fact that it’s time to get rid of cover letters wherever possible? I’d argue that the story is still developing, as many companies – including digital or social media-based agencies – are still employing traditional recruitment and evaluation methods to source interns. Furthermore, concerns about privacy and accessibility linger on the applicant side.

What’s clear, though, is that a company’s social media presence is more crucial than ever, as interns are certainly looking to research and network with potential employers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even other, less conventional platforms.

Me, I’m looking forward to the day when my three PDF paragraphs can be condensed into 140 characters, 6 seconds, or an unspecified time frame on a still-to-be-developed social media platform. But for now, I’ll make do with cover letters – just know that I’m using Facebook and Twitter to research them.

We started our Twitterendum series asking what would happen if only Twitter users voted in the referendum. We concluded that post by saying:

“Of course, tweets are not votes. Twitter users do not reflect the UK population as a whole. Twitter users account for roughly a quarter of the population (23%) and tend to skew young and urban.”

While we were well aware of the limitations in the Twitter dataset, we were equally curious to see what it could tell us about voting intentions. So, now the UK has voted and the results are in, how did the Twitter model fare?

WHAT WORKED
All in all our Twitter analysis accurately forecast the direction of the vote (whether the location skewed ‘stay’ or ‘leave’) in 248 out of 381 Local Authority Districts (LADs). It inaccurately forecast the direction in 91 LADs, and a further 39 LADs didn’t have enough data so were unable to be placed in either camp.

W2O Group, Brexit Vote, analytics

The predictions for the frontrunners in the ‘remain’ camp were very accurately predicted. Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter, Cardiff, Brighton and Hove, Glasgow, Edinburgh and parts of London, all led the referendum’s ‘remain’ category with a margin of 20% or more. Ceredigion was the only exception, which was forecast as the ‘remain’ frontrunner by the model, but only did so by a margin of 10%. The model accurately predicted the top Bremain locations in England, and only fared slightly worse in Scotland (it didn’t predict as much intensity for remain in places like East Dunbartonshire), and obviously didn’t include places like Gibraltar (where an impressive 96% voted ‘remain’).

Brexit Vote W2O Group analytics

The ‘leave’ camp were marginally less well represented. All leading members of ‘leave’ in the Twitter model were accounted for in the final vote tally, but not with the same level of intensity. Burnley, Hartlepool, Kingston upon Hull and Wakefield scored margins of above 35% in favour of ‘leave’, and experienced similar levels in the model. Predictions for Eastbourne and Oldham were also broadly in line with voting outcomes, albeit less so. However, Twitter frontrunners for ‘leave’ didn’t line up with actual outcomes. Boston, South Holland, Castle Point, Thurrock, Great Yarmouth and Fenland experienced margins of 40% and above for Brexit in voting and had much lower ratios in the twitter model. A large part of this was due to the fact that our model de-emphasised areas with a low Twitter handle representation, a factor in those six locations. Havering was easily the worst call made by the model, which was seen to be slightly in the ‘stay’ camp; final referendum result placed Havering as radically in favour of Brexit, with 70% of the population there in favour of ‘leave’.

WHAT DIDN’T
It wasn’t so much the direction of the vote in LADs that was erroneous, but the extent of the vote. The referendum is a total voting tally, and is called when either ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ passes the winning post by achieving 50% of ballots cast, plus at least one vote, so the actual margin in each area is extremely important. That is to say, rather than determining victory on a per LAD basis, the overall number of votes were the most important. Our model was constructed primarily using unique accounts backing either camp from the LAD, and the percentage of the population they represented. In almost all LADs, Twitter results overestimated the margin in favour of the remain camp, overemphasising victory margins and downplaying the losses, pointing to a firm ‘remain’ victory. London was especially problematic, which we estimated as a single entity rather than breaking it into multiple zones. This effect was greatest in outer London areas, proving completely inaccurate in forecasting the result in the aforementioned Havering.

W2O Group analytics and Brexit vote

YOUNG VERSUS OLD
No matter what the size of the sample, uncontrolled bias skewed the results. Age was a major determining factor for the model’s shortcomings. Simply put, people aged 45 and above were scarcely represented.

Twitter skews young, urban and only accounted for approximately 23% of the population (30% of internet users in UK). Our model forecast a decisive victory, and under the above conditions it was fairly predictive. However, not only did voters aged 18-34 account for only a fraction of the population, they appeared to have voted a lot less (only 36% of 18-24s and 58% of 25-34s voted, according to Sky Data.

As a result, the model’s forecasting generally biased towards a group that leaned towards ‘remain’ (75% of 18-24s voted to ‘remain’ according to YouGov). Whilst this explains the underlying lean toward Bremain, the areas with a disproportionate amount of older voters were inherently less accurate. We can see that for the majority of areas with a disproportionate amount of people above 45, the model predicted completely inaccurate results.

URBAN BIAS
The same bias was was even more present in urban centres, where data was much more concentrated.

When choosing the source of a tweet, we assigned based on self-reported locations in each twitter handle bio.  Overall, twitter users reporting their location were far more likely to identify a major city than a rural place, even if only peripherally attached to it. The result was that LADs containing a major city had a disproportionate amount of content, higher percentage of representation and thus higher scores in our model.

Ultimately, cities likely had even more of a ‘stay’ lean due to high proportion of younger people combined with higher scores due to a larger amount of unique accounts identified.

OTHER MISCELLANEA
We calibrated the model to only include people living UK through analysing self-reported city of origin and the usage of the English language. While this is not necessarily a bad way of representing people who live in the UK, there is no doubt a high number of non-voting migrants in our model. According to a House of Commons Briefing Paper on migration, 5.3 million migrants lived in the UK, 2.9m of which came from the 27 EU member countries. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that this population would have been very active in the run up to the vote. This lends further bias to the ‘remain’ camp, as reflected in Figure 3 above.

IN CONCLUSION
So, Twitter is useful at understanding a very specific audience in a very specific context, but we must be wary of stretching it further. A referendum is a truly seismic event, with all walks of life represented in the electorate. While public and accessible to most, Twitter is far from representative of the UK population as a whole. The value of its data lies in illuminating a particular part of society and in the ease of access and quantity of its data. Size of sample is certainly important (the number of unique accounts observed is much higher than that accessible through traditional polling), but with such heavy bias it ultimately overpowers the ability for the model to make predictions about events encompassing the totality of society. The Brexit result was surprising to many, and shows how easily we’re caught in our own echo-chamber, surrounded by like-minded people and unable to fathom the full spectrum of opinion. Looking at Brexit through Twitter underscores this phenomena and the importance of a balanced dataset if one is to make observations of any kind.

Predictions using data fare well when the underlying elements follow specific rules. Politics can be hard to predict because those rules tend to be opaque, or only sporadically followed. Recent failures in data-driven models of the political landscape (The Brexit result or Trump’s nomination, for example) could be down to the fact that the electorate is ultimately changing the underlying rules on what they will vote for. Making sense of the world using data is an important advantage and a cornerstone to better making better predictions. Nonetheless, when making predictions with data (irrespective of robustness of model and its accompanying data), it is good to remember that the world remains an uncertain place, and to approach predicting it with a healthy dose of humility and scepticism.

Earlier this month, more than 35,000 oncologists, communications pros, journalists and others arrived at McCormick Place in Chicago for one of the buzziest medical conferences in existence: The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

The meeting is considered one of the most important events for those working in the oncology space. It brings together the brightest minds in cancer to highlight key presentations and groundbreaking data that can lead to saving lives.

The oncology community is very active in terms of commitment to breakthrough science *and* social media. In this case, Twitter has overwhelmingly been the breakout social media platform in medicine. Over the course of the ASCO media cycle, which starts on May 18, when abstracts are released online, and ends when the conference concludes, the #ASCO16 hashtag was used m 88,590 times. While some conferences have been more stringent in terms of photography, video and social media use, ASCO has been one of the most forward-thinking medical meeting organizers when it comes to social media.

Last year the grand experiment was Periscope. But the hype around Periscope, and even its spiritual sibling, Facebook Now, had largely faded.

Instead, social media attention this year was focused on the breakout media-sharing app, Snapchat. The mobile app lets you send quickly disappearing messages, photos, and videos, either directly to friends or to everyone who follows your account. If you haven’t heard of it, check with your children, anyone under the age of 30, or First Lady Michelle Obama. Person-to-person content disappears after a few seconds and posts to a user’s public “Story” disappear after 24 hours.

Snapchat attracted a few high-profiles users at ASCO. Don Dizon, M.D., a Massachusetts General oncologist and early Twitter adopter, waded into Snapchat, but no one at the meeting invested more than Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota, who goes by “cancerassassin1” on Snapchat and Twitter. Lou shared a number of snaps at ASCO16, and told me that he was able to add thoughts and a “more personal touch” following sessions he attended.

“I had a lot of fun using Snapchat at ASCO. It’s interesting that the scientific and medical community are ahead in so many ways, but behind in others, like social media,” Lou told me during a phone call.

According to reports, Snapchat is estimated to have 85.5 million users in the US by 2020, and per Dr. Lou, maybe Snapchat might make its way into the ASCO app at #ASCO20.

The idea of using Snapchat had some institutional support, too. We used custom Snapchat geofilters at our annual “Unofficial” tweetup to help people customize dress up their snaps from the event, but the bigger news was ASCO’s embrace of the technology: they had their own geofilters, available to anyone at within McCormick place.

According to an ASCO spokeswoman, the filters were used about 520 times and viewed more than 15,700 times. At least one of those users was Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey…and this PR chick:

ASCO_Christiana

While Snapchat numbers pale in comparison to those on Twitter, with time, Snapchat could be the next big social platform at medical meetings. And as Dr. Lou pointed out to me, the next generations of medical researchers/oncologists will likely live to see a cure for cancer, and just maybe Snap their way there…