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For many initiatives, achieving high social engagement is a necessary step towards reaching an end goal. But in most cases, engagement alone doesn’t do enough to drive tangible results. No brand wants impressions for impressions’ sake—they want impressions that create an audience inspired to act.

The Millennial audience is one that is growing in importance as a powerful driver of the consumer economy, and while social media is native for them, most Millennials still report feeling overwhelmed by balancing their “double life”—that is both a social media presence and a real-world presence.

To harness the true actionable potential of the Millennial audience, it is crucial that communicators help Millennials bridge the gap between their lives on social media and their real lives; this bridge is content that inspires both engagement in the social realm and action in the realm of reality.

Luckily for social media marketers, Millennials are more willing than any other age demographic to base their actions upon content they consume in social channels.

A study conducted by Deloitte in 2015 found that 47 percent of Millennials say their shopping habits are influenced by social media, with 33 percent being influenced by social in health and wellness purchasing decisions. Survey respondents in other age demographics were only 19 percent likely to say that social media influences their buying actions.

This does not imply that Millennials are simply most willing to be passively led to action by branded social posts. Their adjusted action instead stems from content posted by their peers or trusted celebrities, such as product reviews. Social media content resonates with Millennials because it allows them to take informed action in the marketplace while still satisfying their innate craving for authenticity and social connection. These needs are no longer met by traditional corporate advertising.

Travel is also an area where Millennials find social media to be particularly actionable. A study by the Blitz Agency in Los Angeles found that 15 percent of Millennials say they use Facebook to decide where to travel, and 13 percent claim to base their travel actions on Instagram content. This ranks social media as the second strongest force driving Millennial action in the travel category, after word of mouth at 16 percent. This indicates that Millennials’ desire to feel like part of connected physical group is not purely metaphorical— they want an in-person connection.

Our very own Millennial employees here at W2O also noted that social content that features surprising facts and statistics also serves an extremely effective bridge between engagement on social media and real-world action. For example, shocking statistics that revealed a hidden truth about how destructive K- Cups are to the environment inspired one Account Associate stop using them to get her caffeine fix.

These examples demonstrate that content will spark action if it provides Millennials information about their peers’ actions or offers bold statistics. Both types of information serve as a compass, helping Millennials to guide their own actions to meet their innate desires for social belonging and authenticity.

And it makes sense that these factors would drive action. Perhaps the two halves of Millennials’ “double lives” are not as unique as previously thought. Historically, society has been most driven to action by leaders who create a sense of community and seem personally authentic. Why shouldn’t the same hold true in the social realm?

Engagement will come to those brands that make themselves relevant to their audience. But action on the part of Millennials will come to those brands that dare to cultivate online communities and strong, authentic brand voices on social media.

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In a world where the internet is no longer optional, having a social media presence has become a requirement for individual users and companies alike. Technology and thorough research have given us the ability to target our content to precisely the right audience. The only remaining question is: what content should we be putting in front of these semi-captive social users to inspire engagement?

As Millennials have entered the workforce in increasing numbers, it may be possible to leverage their native knowledge of social media to create content that inspires not only a chuckle, but the virtual nod of assent that is a like, share, retweet or comment.

One factor that Millennials report as a deciding factor for engagement levels is whether the content fits into their online persona. Any online action is public, and thus reflects upon the user’s personal image. The increasingly common, carefully cultivated social media life means that for something to be worthy of sharing, it must fit into the user’s personal brand.

A recent ad for Vitamin Water featuring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul struggling through a workout was repeatedly mentioned as one that Millennials were more than happy to share, comment on or tag friends in. Lovers of the show, fans of Paul’s, or really anyone who has ever not truly been 100% enthusiastic about their time on the treadmill (aka everyone) could identify with this ad, and the 15 second bite-sized Facebook clip was perfectly share-ready.

Another ad that inspired engagement among Millennials was the 2017 Heineken ad entitled ‘Worlds Apart.’ Several pairs of strangers from opposite sides of the political aisle each build a bar together while getting to know each other, and are then shown a clip of their partner sharing their social and political opinions, taped prior to their shared experience. When given the option of leaving or talking it out over a beer, each chose to remain and engage in discussion. Regardless of where you may fall politically, this ad inspires engagement. After all, who wouldn’t want to be known for espousing a love of peace-keeping and beer?

What these two seemingly dissimilar ads have in common is the ability to incorporate peoples’ existing interests, like sharing a beer and television, and common enemies such as working out and political divisiveness, so that content is seamlessly integrated into the user’s existing online presence. While the respective products are not necessarily the immediate focus of either ad, both brands received major props for their enlightened involvement that garnered far more attention than placing the product front and center ever could.

Another facet to gaining engagement centers on which channel is utilized. Millennials overwhelmingly admit that they exhibit what are basically split personalities, not just between their social media and their life in the “real” world, but between different social media channels as well. Essentially, a person may have an Instagram personality that is slightly more wild than their semi-reserved Facebook persona, while their LinkedIn personality is so bland it can’t even sit with them.

As a result, the same content that gets unprecedented engagement on Twitter, where Millennials report feeling less inhibited in their social actions, may report next to no engagement in front of the same audience on Facebook, where family, friends and potential employers promote a greater level of self-censorship.

For this reason, content that is bolder, riskier, and potentially less PC (a risk companies should maybe not always be willing to take) may perform better on Twitter, such as Wendy’s replying with extreme sass to customer requests, while Facebook may be the place for the safer content that can be more appropriately shared.

Branding has become so entrenched in everyday life that its power cannot be overstated from a personal, professional or corporate standpoint. Everything we do online is now available for our entire network to see. While we’re all focused on our personal brands, when it comes to creating engaging social media, companies should think less about how the client can fit their corporate identity, and more about how they can be relevant to the client’s personal brand.

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This week’s social scoop includes exciting updates across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Learn more about geo targeting updates, watch how Live-stream capabilities are evolving, and read about how Snapchat is continuing to make itself a valuable medium for brands to advertise on.

Facebook’s 2 Key Updates for Brands

  • There are a few different updates from Facebook this week.
    • Facebook has been testing the implementation of new Facebook Live tools. These updates include the addition of Geo Controls, allowing brands to target their Facebook Live to users in a specific area.
    • Facebook now allows brands to promote influencer posts as ads. It’s simple: an influencer will publish content for a brand using Facebook’s labeling system, then the brand can go in and promote the post as an ad. For this to work, the influencer must check the box allowing the brand to promote it. Only the brand associated with the influencer’s post will be able to run it as an ad.
  • What it means for brands: The ability to implement geo targeting into Facebook Live gives brands the opportunity to target people nearby. For example, if a retail store was hosting an event and went Live, that brand could target users within a certain mile radius of the event, encouraging them to stop by. As for the influencer update – this is big for brands. Currently the only capability close to this is Branded Content. Brands work with influencers all the time and this capability allows a brand to reach its own (and much larger) custom audience by not only reaching the influencers audience, but also providing credibility to the post and reaching the brands audience as well.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Marketing Land

(via Social Media Today)

Instagram Adds Guest Feature for Going Live

  • Instagram is following in suit with Facebook, now allowing users to have guests join their live-broadcast. Currently, the option is only available to a small subset of users, but the platform plans to implement this widely over the next few months.
  • What it means for brands: Giving brands the opportunity to have more than one user on a broadcast is highly beneficial for a couple of different reasons. First, it makes the very authentic way of communicating with an audience a bit less awkward and more natural, as it can be more conversational. It also opens the ability for brands to conduct interviews on Live stream. This could be useful for brands that are working with influencers in different places, allowing the brand to have themselves and one of their influencers go Live together and do a Q&A. This could also help save money in the long run.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Instagram

(via Social Media Today)

Pinterest Introduces Auto-Play Video Ads

  • About a year ago, Pinterest began testing the use of promoted video. Now, auto-play promoted video is available to all brands just like Facebook. The most popular type of video is the “how-to” videos, with 80% of pinners stating that these types of videos helped them learn something.
  • What it means for brands: Video content is known to perform very well across all platforms. By having the opportunity to promote video content on an app like Pinterest, brands can get a little bit more fun and creative with their content, knowing that it will be relevant to the space! For example, the image below features an ad from Cheetos. In this ad, the brand placed a boot-shaped Cheeto on display and discussed the quality of the “boot.” While the idea seems silly, the placement for the ad makes it relevant. The ad shows up in the feed and auto-plays when users search a relevant keyword such as “knee high boots.” Most importantly, the value of impres
  • sions and engagement significantly increase with video, especially with an auto-play feature. Brands should start seeing greater engagement on their promoted video content on Pinterest.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Pinterest, Marketing Land

(via Social Media Today)

Snapchat Continues to Better Back-End Advertising Experience

  • Snapchat is making quite an effort to make itself a desirable platform for brands to advertise on. With this, they have been making metrics reporting and the overall back-end marketing experience more valuable to brands. The most recent updates include bulk campaign and ad set creation, ad testing abilities, new reporting techniques, and audience and media libraries. The audience and media libraries are a place where brands can save their audiences to use for later, as well as save media that is uploaded.
  • What it means for brands: As Snapchat’s back-end improves, brands are now able to rely on quality reporting and user-friendly technology to measure and maintain campaigns, similar to Facebook’s Power Editor. They can start using metrics to report on ROI, which wasn’t available previously and possibly made Snapchat a less-worthy platform to spend their media dollars.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land, Snapchat

(via Social Media Today)

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Lately we have been seeing social media channels becoming increasingly similar in their features and capabilities. The competition between apps and media outlets is fierce, and top-performing platforms are working tirelessly to one-up each other. This is great for users and brands, as this is improving overall experience.

LinkedIn Adds Website Demographics & Ability To Post Multiple Photos

LinkedIn has been working to improve user experience on the app and announced two new updates to the platform this week. First, they released a new tool called “Website Demographics.” This tool will provide insight on who is visiting a website based on profile data. This works like Facebook’s Pixel and Google Analytics. Marketers will be able to filter data based on eight segments:

  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Job seniority
  • Job function
  • Company
  • Company size
  • Location
  • Country

Additionally, LinkedIn added the capability for users to add multiple images to a single status update. Although there are no live story capabilities yet, this will allow people to tell more of a story from professional events or industry meetings and is more in line with the asset uploading functionalities other top social platforms.

  • What it means for brands: With the ability to look at website demographics, brands will be able to adjust their targeting based on data provided. For example, if a marketer was originally targeting people in IT but realize that HCP’s from the East Coast are visiting their website more frequently, they could create a campaign to reach the HCP’s with your product. The benefit of uploading multiple pictures for marketers will be to showcase more images and tell a story, thus providing more overall post engagement.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)

Snapchat Finally Updated Ad Insights For Brands

  • Snapchat has worked with third-party measurement firms to roll out its marketing mix measurement program. Previously, brands were skeptical to advertise on Snapchat because of the little consumer data that was available at the end of campaigns. The update will allow brands to track campaign ROI and sales lift. The update also allows for programmatic buys and AB Testing of ads.
  • What it means for brands: Just in time for 2018 planning (marketing talk!!), Snapchat can now guarantee more insight into campaigns launched on the platform. This will allow brands to compare performance to other campaigns running on various platforms, as well as evaluate the impact on a business’s bottom line. This additional insight was added to make brands more inclined to use Snapchat to advertise, as before there was little measurement or ROI data.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land, Advertising Age

(via Advertising Age)

Facebook Launched New Custom Audience Capability

  • Facebook recently launched a new custom audience feature. Brands now have the capability to do event-based targeting via Facebook. Put simply, this means that marketers can pull the data from Facebook event RSVP lists and target those profiles with ads. Very helpful!
  • What it means for brands: This will serve as a great re-targeting method. If a brand hosts an event, marketers can pull all of the “going” responses to the event and target the users who have responded with a special promotion or message for attending. On the opposite end, brands can also pull the “interested” and “no” response lists with hopes of targeting them to attend a brands next event or try out a new product or service that they missed by not being in attendance to the event. Brands can also use this to create a lookalike audience, targeting people with similar interests to those that responded to the event.

Additional Resources: Marketing Land

(via Marketing Land)

 

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There’s a lot happening this week in the social media realm for both users and advertisers. Check out new targeting capabilities on Instagram & Snapchat. See LinkedIn’s new ads manager, & stay up to date on recent changes from Facebook!

Facebook Messenger now has Ad Feature

  • Facebook has expanded its advertising capabilities by launching messenger ads on both Facebook and Instagram. The platform strategically waited to launch messenger ads until it could build up the number of users that downloaded messenger. Today, this number sits at about 1.2B active monthly messenger users. The way that messenger ads will work is that sponsored content will auto populate in their messenger feed. When a user clicks on the sponsored message, it will automatically redirect them to a landing page of the brand’s choice.
  • What this means for brands: Advertisers can now auto populate ads to its users, forcing them to have to look at their message before they keep scrolling. Although this is a great way to reach people, advertisers need to make their ads enticing enough for users to click.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, PR Daily, Facebook

(via Social Media Today)

Facebook Removes Ability to Edit Link Previews

  • Facebook announced that it is going to change the way that brands can edit the link previews attached to posts. The ability to edit a link preview means that when a link is posted, brands can edit the automatically generated description from Facebook. Now, brands will no longer be able to edit. The rationale behind the change is to minimize the amount of “phishing” on the platform, with hopes of preventing spammers from editing the link previews to contain false information.
  • What this means for brands: By September 12th, 2017 all media publishers on Facebook must establish link ownership, a tool that Facebook has provided for media publishers only. To access this, simply follow the instructions on the graphic below.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Facebook

(via Social Media Today)

LinkedIn Upgrades Campaign Manager

  • LinkedIn has made changes to their campaign manager which will make it easier for advertisers to manage campaigns. This will have an improved and more organized workflow, easier access to campaign performance, and a design that is more aligned with the LinkedIn feed.
  • What this means for brands: Advertisers can more easily navigate campaign manager and pull metrics more efficiently

Additional Resources: LinkedIn

(via LinkedIn)

How Snapchat’s Snap Map Feature Is Shaping Up for Advertisers

  • There are different reactions to the Snapchat map across the board. While some users find it as an invasion of privacy and have chosen to go on “ghost mode,” others feel more connected by being able to view stories around the world. Advertisers are feeling largely positive about this because of new location-based targeting capabilities. Yes, advertisers can do location-based targeting via video ads on Facebook, but the issue is that 95% of these videos and ads are played without sound. When users are scrolling through Facebook, they are not solely there for video content. On the contrary, Snapchat, users already have their sound on when the ads come up because they are accessing the application with the purpose of viewing videos.
  • What this means for brands: Essentially, this feature is opening up a brand-new world for advertisers to drive in-store traffic as well as increasing engagement and clicks to blogs or landing pages.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Business Insider

(via Business Insider)

Instagram Ups Its Retargeting Capabilities

  • Under the “Audiences” tab in Facebook business manager there are three new retargeting options for Instagram. These three options include: video, lead form, and Instagram business profile. The video capability allows advertisers to target people who have watched a certain length of their video. Lead form includes people who have opened, completed, or submitted a form that brands have previously targeted them with. Instagram business profile targeting allows businesses to target anyone who has previously interacted with their profile page.
  • What this means for brands: Now, advertisers can retarget leads based on how they have interacted with a page and to the degree in which they have interacted. This is a big advancement for advertisers, as now messaging can be tweaked for each different retargeting audience. This could be particularly useful for brands working with influencers. The influencer could post the video, and brands could then buy the audience that interacted with the influencer’s post and create ads to retarget these users.

Additional resources: Social Media Today

(via Social Media Today)

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Want to stay up-to-date with the latest in social media? Well, we’ve got the latest social scoop for you and let’s just say, we’re psyched about Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and some (Pop)sugar news. This week on the social front, there are a lot of exciting changes. Social platforms are continuing to surprise users by implementing unforeseen capabilities into the space.

YouTube’s Two Major Announcements

  • Recently, YouTube has made two major announcements. First, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that it now has 1.5 billion logged in monthly users. In other words, 1 in every 5 people around the world are logging onto YouTube at least once a month. This is a major milestone for the social channel, and this profound number is making marketers’ ears perk up. However, that’s not all. YouTube also announced that it has partnered with another Google company, Daydream, to allow people to produce virtual reality on any type of recording device. This is monumental for the platform, as VR has taken off but proven to be expensive to produce because of the 360-degree lens needed to film.
  • What it means for brands: Now, marketers can feel rest-assured that their YouTube marketing efforts are reaching plenty of people. Specifically, 1 in 5 people globally. The virtual reality announcement gives marketers the chance to produce unique and entertaining content for their target audience, without having to buy the latest VR producing gadgets. YouTube is not only making the platform more user friendly for the producers, but it is also keeping its viewers entertained.

Additional Resources: Adweek

(via Adweek)

Snapchat Adds a New Geo-Targeting Feature

  • Step aside, Facebook and Instagram stories: Snapchat isn’t ready to back down yet. The recent battle between Zuckerberg and Snap App has resulted each platform trying to one up the other with capabilities and user technology. Snapchat has now out-done its competitors since launching the “snap map” feature. Snap map allows you to see your friends’ locations by using their bitmoji as an identifier. Simply open the app, zoom out on the screen, and the map opens. The vision behind snap map is to allow users to see what’s happening and where, as well as locate friends and see what they are up to. There is a “ghost mode” feature that turns off location trackers for those who feel that it is an invasion of privacy. Although Snapchat has not discussed implementing ads into snap map just yet, many are predicting that this will be the next step.
  • What it means for brands: If marketers can advertise on snap map, this allows them to take geotargeting techniques one step further and make ads for specific places, events, or areas through the “Our Story” feature. For example, if someone is near a clothing store, that clothing store could target their ads even more specifically to people at the surrounding stores or restaurants that are viewing the snap map stories.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Marketing Land

(via Social Media Today)

Why Instagram’s New Feature Will Help Marketers with Targeting

  • Instagram is making sharing capabilities even more user friendly. You can now make a post or a story, and only enable people from a pre-determined “favorites” list to see it. These posts will be saved under your “favorites” tab, but the content is private and can only be seen by you and people that you invite. Basically, users now have a public and private feed. Instagram has picked up on the making of “Finsta” accounts and wants to enable users to post public and private content within one profile. This allows users to engage more with their close friends, and post pictures specific for groups of people rather than sharing them with their public feed.
  • What it means for brands: Now, there will be niche groups of people and friends who share similar interests and content. Although targeted ads through favorites have not been made available yet, it is on the horizon.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, Adweek

(Social Media Today)

Facebook is Immersing Itself in a New Market: Digital TV

  • Facebook is taking its advertising capabilities one step further. The social media platform is now immersing itself into the digital TV streaming market. By the end of this summer, Facebook will be releasing “Facebook original” TV shows that people can view via the original platform. There will be two tiers of shows. The first tier includes unscripted 3-10 minute shows. The second tier is shows that are 30 minutes in length. Facebook is putting forth the money to create quality TV. An estimated $3.5 million has been spent to make each 30-minute episode. The difference between Netflix, Hulu, and Facebook TV is that it will not be subscription based. This means that viewers cannot opt-out of an ad experience, opening opportunities for digital advertising even more. We can expect an official launch by August 2017.
  • What it means for brands: Not only can you make targeted ads through Facebook itself, you can now implement digital video advertising through Facebook.

Additional resources: The Times, Business Insider

(via TechCrunch)

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Hard to believe, but it’s already that time of year again. The 2018 SXSW PanelPicker goes live today. You have between now and July 21st to submit ideas for consideration. This year, the SXSW folks expect to receive over 5,000 submissions. That kind of competition means brands and individuals need to stand out from the crowd. But how best to do that?

Hugh Forrest, SXSW’s Chief Programming Officer, provides several clues:

  1. Review the sessions and topics resonated in 2017: Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to filter videos from the SXSW YouTube channel since so many of the older videos have more views overall, but Hugh posted 10 great SXSW 2017 videos volume 1, volume 2 and volume 3 to help. Same goes for SXSW on SoundCloud. Hugh posted 10 top SXSW 2017 podcasts volume 1 and volume 2 to help there as well.
  2. Go Deep: Hugh makes it clear that topic depth matters more than width or breadth. That’s way the SXSW team prefers solo spots over panel sessions.
  3. Focus on the Future: Throughout its history, SXSW focuses on what’s next. But discussing current trends isn’t enough. Hugh’s timeline? Think 3 – 5 years out.
  4. Hugh’s also been pretty blunt about what not to do part 1 and what not to do part 2.

Note in the two what not to do posts, Hugh’s pretty clear that diversity matters. Diversity issues—both in terms of gender and ethnicity—will continue to be an important topic. Furthering that discussion in a meaningful way will be a priority in 2018.

One last thing you can do to improve your chances: attend one of the remaining SXSW Meet Ups. The SXSW team runs  local events in a handful of cities (the Brooklyn Meet Up happens tonight). It’s a place to ask SXSW staffers about the process or other specific questions.

I attended the Austin Meet Up on June 14. That’s where I got to ask for more detail about the selection process overall. Here’s what they told me: they put a lot of stock into original ideas, and reiterated the focus on future-oriented topics that look 3 – 5 years out. They notice if it’s someone (or a brand) that’s spoken before. In those cases, it’s important that the idea explores a new angle or represents a big validation or major progress against earlier ideas. They also look for engagement spikes in the PanelPicker (lots of votes, comments, etc.), so that does influence what they consider as well.

It’s a good reminder that the PanelPicker process is not the only thing that counts. Public votes that come from the PanelPicker count for 30%. Feedback from the SXSW Advisory Board, a group of industry experts from around the world, counts for 40%; lastly, votes from SXSW staff members count for the remaining 30% as they look to strike a balance between new and veteran speakers. See the SXSW PanelPicker About page for more details.

Visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ or click on the image below. All the best to those of you who will be working on submissions over the next few weeks!

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Want to stay up-to-date with the latest in social media? Well, we’ve got the latest social scoop for you and let’s just say, we’re psyched about Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and some (Pop)sugar news.

What Marketers Should Know About Instagram Story Advertising

  • The evolution of Instagram has been unique and forward-thinking. The app has hopped on many of the latest social media trends, ensuring its continued relevance and user engagement as technology advances. Instagram has adopted the capability of posting a story, replying to another user’s story, going live, and direct messaging. Over 200 million users per day are viewing the Instagram story feed. A new feature that Instagram has added for advertisers are direct-response ads, piggybacking off the story ads feature that launched this past January. This is the ability to place a call-to-action button on a story ad, and redirect users to another page based on the goal of the advertisement.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can now implement measurable campaign objectives into their Instagram story ads. For example, if a brand wants to drive users to their blog, they can simply post a direct-response story ad that has a call-to-action button that users can click and be re-directed to the brand’s blog page. Instagram allows image ads or videos up to 15 seconds in their story feed. So far, brands have seen major success by using these ads. Outdoors magazine, Outside, is seeing a 20-25% swipe through rate on their ads, while app, Whisper, saw 1.25 million views on their story ad, and 15% of those users clicked the link that redirected them to the website.

Additional Resources: AdAge, Marketing Land

(via The Next Web)

Twitter Adds 1:1 Ratio Images

  • Long gone are the awkward, rectangular image specs that Twitter previously encouraged for advertising. A new feature that Twitter has rolled out is allowing square images for website cards, which means the images now have a 1:1 ratio. The 140 characters per tweet rule still applies, and images account for 24/140 characters. Website cards are used to drive traffic to a company’s website via the Twitter platform.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can now claim additional real-estate on Twitter feeds with the bigger image size, which should lead to user engagement with the content because of the larger, more appealing image size. Twitter launched this in hopes of improving ad performance on the platform.

See below:

(via Twitter)

Facebook Adds New Live Streaming Features

  • This past month, Facebook has further developed their Facebook Live feature. Not only can users go live, but now they can also have live “guests,” as well as in-stream or private chats about the live-stream. Allowing users to begin a chat with a friend privately about the live-stream will increase the exposure of streaming because those who were not previously watching are now connected. Additionally, allowing people to go live together takes the pressure off being in the spotlight and entertaining viewers on your own. This could improve the quality of the content and the entertainment factor during a live-stream.
  • What this means for brands: Brands can now expect higher exposure when going live, and allowing in-stream conversation could spark the engagement that brands are seeking. Additionally, people may be more likely to interact because they can do this privately with their friends as opposed to the sometimes “spammy” live-stream chat feed.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, TechCrunch

 

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About a year ago, Uber and Lyft abruptly left Austin after disagreements with the city’s requirement for fingerprinting drivers. Things changed when House Bill 100 was signed into law on May 17.

Fast forward to May 29, when both Uber and Lyft returned their services to Austin. Their respective marketing machines are making it clear they’re back. I’ve seen signs around the city, received emails like this one below from Lyft offering credits to use the service over the next few days. And I’ve seen lots of Uber ads in Facebook throughout this time as well.

Lyft returning to Austin offer

So, what effect has their return had on local ride-sharing companies that have been filling the void for the last year? They’ve all taken big hits. Fare has already made it official announcing they are leaving Austin earlier this week.

Fasten CEO Kiril Evdakov is still bullish on his company’s prospects: “We’re thinking about growth thresholds, not about decline thresholds.”

What got me thinking about all this was the Here and Now interview of RideAustin COO Marisa Goldenberg. the non-profit company grew from about 300 rides a day to over 20,000 during the SXSW peak. According to Marisa, RideAustin saw a 55% drop in business in the first full week of Uber and Lyft’s  return. She also blamed seasonality—the first few weeks of June tend to be lower ride volumes overall. RideAustin hopes to make it through the summer months to get back to a threshold of 20,000 rides per week. That’s the target the company needs to hit to sustain their nonprofit business.

Click on the image below to get to the story where you can hear the interview with Marisa.

Here and Now - RideAustin interview with Marisa Goldenberg

Personally, I’m pulling for RideAustin. What are your thoughts? Have you returned to using or driving for Uber and Lyft now that they’re back, or will you rely on other options?

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