Adapted from our biweekly internal social news roundup, This Week in Social News is a quick look at a few of the more interesting recent stories you may have missed.
Social Networks (Further) Embrace Messaging, GIFs, Emojis, and Other Stuff:
There’s a whole lot of ‘out with the old’ this week. First up, LinkedIn has launched an (incredibly overdue) update to its messaging service. While plenty of people use the venerable professional social network (380 million, with somewhere around 100 million monthly actives) for things like job hunting, networking, and recruiting, the messaging feature hasn’t really taken off. Is this update, which adds support for emojis, stickers, and GIFs in your professional communications, the magical ingredient? Your guess is as good as mine. But don’t deny that we all delight in finding the perfect GIF for all types of communication, whether you’re having a bad day at work or just really like cats. (Then again, we might not so much delight in the idea of companies and advertisers using GIFs in their communications, but so far this is just in the testing phase on Facebook. So don’t panic just yet.)
Messaging is an already crowded space, populated with the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, and even good-old-fashioned email/Gchat, not to mention messaging-only apps like GroupMe, WhatsApp, and Line; but LinkedIn has an extra challenge with Slack, the powerful, customizable, and already-entrenched workplace chat solution.
Speaking of messaging tweaks, Instagram has made a few updates to its Instagram Direct feature. While the oft-requested threaded messaging is the biggest change, they’ve also thrown in a quick camera feature and (you guessed it) more emoji options.
In bigger Instagram news, the company has announced support for new image sizes and orientations. In addition to the standard square, Instagrammers can now share content in landscape and portrait mode, which is huge news for both users and advertisers alike. A post on Instagram’s official blog had this to say:
“We know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram. Friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end.”
Hallelujah. Check out this video outlining the new camera modes.
While we’re on the topic of new camera stuff, it looks like Twitter is testing some interesting new photo and video editing tools. If you were following #VMAs or any of the dozen other MTV Video Music Awards hashtags during the big show this week, you may have seen a celebrity or two mucking around with the (as yet) unreleased features. From what we can tell, you’ll soon no longer be limited by Twitter’s current crop/filter/post dynamic. Whether stickers, captions, or any of this stuff makes its way into Twitter’s core product is anyone’s guess, but Taylor Swift sure seems to be having fun with it.
Of course, this wouldn’t be social news without a little bit of Facebook. Last week marked a (surprisingly low-key) milestone in Facebook’s history. Zuckerberg shared the news that, for the first time in the social network’s history, 1 billion users logged onto the site in a single day.
To put that in perspective, roughly 1 in 7 people on the planet used Facebook last Monday. Add to that the fact that only an estimated 3 billion of us have internet access, and it’s really more like 1 in 3. Predictably, the tech press seized the opportunity to predict the end of Facebook’s growth, but Zuckerberg maintains that 1 billion daily users is just the tip of the iceberg.
Forrester analyst Nate Elliot wrote a pretty great blog post about social spending. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that media teams are a lot better than social teams when it comes to allocating social ad dollars—so companies might want to think carefully about how they assign resources as social moves beyond a siloed organic channel for content distribution. A quick quote from Nate’s post to illustrate the point:
“When social teams run the social ad budget, just 59% of marketers say they get value from Twitter ads; when media teams are in charge, Twitter delivers results 79% of the time. Likewise, social teams only get value from YouTube ads 64% of the time; media teams find success on YouTube 80% of the time.”
The CMO Survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business shows marketers are allocating more budget to social in the next 12 months, despite ongoing challenges with measuring its effectiveness. Only 15% of CMOs said they have been able to prove the quantitative impact of social media, while 43.5% said they have a good qualitative sense of impact but not quantitative. 41.5% of marketers haven’t been able to show any significant impact from their social media efforts.
Random Tech News:
With the increasing competition for video ad dollars from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like, it’s pretty easy to underestimate YouTube, but the Google-owned company is still tops with marketers. eMarketer estimates that video ad revenues will reach $9.5 billion this year, which is up 25% from last year; the pioneer is clearly still doing something right.
Facebook is playing around in the Siri/Cortana space, beginning a beta test of the simply-named personal assistant M. As part of a larger functionality update for its Messenger service, M is reportedly augmenting the AI with live human beings, letting end users do things, instead of just search for information. M promises to let you book tickets, make appointments, send flowers – anything a real personal assistant might do for you.
If it seems kind of like cheating to you that M uses actual human beings to provide the AI functionality, you’re not alone.
Just for Fun:
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the official release of Windows 95, which was pretty much the start (no pun intended) of the tech-and-internet focused world we now live in. In the spirit of celebration, check out this classic (and unintentionally hilarious) Jenifer Aniston and Matthew Perry-hosted guide to using the OS.
And along the lines of outdated technology (or, in this case, outdated approaches to interacting with technology), here’s an oldie but goodie from my favorite Amy Schumer.
Have a great (long, for those of us in the US) weekend everyone!