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Friday5: Keep Your Eye on Social Media Week

Social Media Week is upon us once again. The second, weeklong conference of 2014 kicks off on September 22 in cities around the world, including São Paulo, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Berlin. Social Media Week brings together some of the top thinkers and professionals in the industry to share ideas, best practices and future insights in to the fast-paced and constantly evolving digital medium.

Here are a few key themes to keep an eye out for:

1. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has been discussed for a few years now. Whether it’s a Wi-Fi enabled watch or a pair of hi-tech glasses, wearable technology is shaping up to be the next big consumer product. Be sure to check out discussions happening in Los Angeles and London to see how the tech industry is responding and what this means for digital marketers.

2. Data Security and Privacy

The lists of companies who have suffered data breaches continues to grow, and security and privacy are a growing concern for consumers. People are beginning to put more pressure and scrutiny on companies and governments who hold their information. As consumers’ digital life continues to grow, this will continue to be an important trend to follow.

3. Mobile and E-Commerce

Shopping and buying online is nothing new but the frequency and consumer demand seems to be growing continuously. This is evident in the new products and services coming out to capitalize on the need for rapid, easy and secure mobile and e-commerce, including Twitter’s moves toward a mobile purchasing platform. Be sure to check out the many Social Media Week events discussing the future of mobile and e-commerce.

4. Social Media’s Impact on the News

Some say that the news media is “dying.” But, is it really dying or is it just changing with the times? Check out #SMWNEWS to follow the conversations happening during Social Media Week about the changes in how we report, consume and share the news.

5. Content and Storytelling

It seems like every conference or summit about digital media has a keynote speaker about content and storytelling, which tells you one thing: it’s extremely important. Anyone can produce content but it’s producing the right content at the right time to the right audience that matters. Follow #SMWSTORYTELLING to join the conversation about content and storytelling at Social Media Week.

What do you think will be the big trend in Social Media Week?

Be sure to follow #SMW14 to see what’s new and what’s being discussed before, during and after Social Media Week September 2014.

Image credit: Jason Howle

Hootsuite rolls out campaign functionality and Snapchat places greater emphasis on Stories

Hootsuite’s new campaign functionality, an increased emphasis on Snapchat’s Stories feature and more of the latest digital news.

Introducing Hootsuite Campaigns

Hootsuite has announced its acquisition of Brightkit, a service that allows customizable gamified elements in social marketing campaigns. Immediately following the announcement, the social marketing platform launched Hootsuite Campaigns, allowing marketers to manage and monitor live campaigns, tap into various web analytic tools and more. Marketers will have the ability to create and host contests, user-generated galleries and sweepstakes directly from within Hootsuite.

Snapchat Pushes You to Watch Friends’ Stories

Snapchat Stories are photos or videos that are made available for all of a user’s friends to see, and are a great alternative to the app’s traditional direct messaging feature. Until now, Stories have been non-interruptive in that users didn’t receive push notifications when their friends posted a Story. Snapchat has revealed that it is now “sometimes” sending push notifications as gentle reminders that friends have shared stories, likely resulting from the growing popularity of this particular functionality. TechCrunch reports that Stories received over one billion views per day in June.

Three Secrets to Great Content Marketing from Twitter, Dell and Cisco

Content marketing can be a challenge, but having a combination of humor, trust and spontaneity may be key to social strategy success. Content marketers from Cisco, Dell and Twitter share their secrets to a strong content mix.

Study: In Social Advertising, YouTube Converts More Customers than Anyone Else

A new study from Aol Platforms has deemed YouTube the leader in introducing new products and encouraging consumers to make purchases through paid advertising. The report used Convertro’s attribution technology to track how well a social platform influenced buyer decisions, examining YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Friday5: Twitter’s New Buzz Word: “Buy”

You might not think of Twitter as a destination for online shopping, but the social media site is inching closer to that reality. After announcing in July that Twitter acquired CardSpring, a payment infrastructure provider, it dropped another huge clue that it will introduce shopping services. Several users have spotted a new “Payment and Shipping” option within the official Twitter Android app settings menu, where users would presumably manage their payment methods and enter a delivery address.

At this time, the purchasing capability isn’t available and it’s too early to tell what Twitter has up its sleeve, but if the “Payment and Shipping” option is here to stay, it could mean a lot for brands and e-commerce.

1. E-Commerce Continues to Trend Toward Social

This intersection of purchasing and digital media is an opportunity to revolutionize how consumers purchase products. If Twitter launches this capability, it’ll mean retailers can directly connect with consumers and track purchase habits through social posts.

2. Time Spent on Twitter

If this update comes to fruition it means users wouldn’t have to leave Twitter to purchase a product. Increased time on Twitter means more time to connect and influence consumer purchase habits without ever leaving Twitter.

3. Stronger Purchasing Habits

Brands and retailers would need to find a way to connect opportunities for commerce into the natural stream of social and mobile activity, rather than interrupting a user’s experience within the feed.

4. A Shift in Strategy

Brands would need to also shift their strategy in order to succeed in e-commerce. They will no longer take a traditional social media strategy to their social ecosystem. Brands would need to find a balance with their community between social content and social e-commerce.

5. E-commerce and Social Commerce

Brands and retailers on Twitter would need to remember that social commerce is different than social e-commerce. Shopping on Twitter would be much more engaging than a typical online shopping experience. Content would still be at the center but with an added emphasis on converting action to a purchase.

By introducing e-commerce options, Twitter would help bring in additional revenue streams and use commerce as a way to boost engagement among users. It’s not in full effect yet, but it may be happening in the near future so brands and businesses need to be thoughtful of their e-commerce approach and strategy.

How can your brand potentially utilize Twitter’s e-commerce option?

Pizza Hut Japan introduces a cat video series and Instagram rolls out Hyperlapse

A video series starring four cats, Instagram launches a time-lapse app and more of the latest digital news.

Japan Unveils Adorable Mock Pizza Hut Run Entirely By Cats

If you’ve ever wondered what four cats operating a miniature Pizza Hut store would look like, you’re in luck. Capitalizing on the internet’s obsession with cats, Pizza Hut Japan takes viewers behind the scenes of a mock Pizza Hut with a handful of short video clips.

Instagram Reveals Stunning Tech behind its New Hyperlapse App

Instagram launched a Hyperlapse app earlier this week and has revealed an inside peak into its technology. Image stabilization technology called Cinema, paired with a precise algorithm, reduces shake and creates fluidity in videos. Currently available to all iPhone and iPad users, and with an Android version rumored to follow, the app is unique in that it allows the creation of time-lapse videos without requiring a steadicam mount.

How Many People See Your Tweets? Twitter Opens its Nifty Analytics Dashboard to Everyone

Previously only available to advertisers and verified accounts, Twitter’s analytics dashboard is openly available for all users with an account more than 14 days old. Users can now access engagement values, impressions, link clicks and more for individual posts, and can use these learnings to optimize their content accordingly. Learn how to use the dashboard here.

Facebook News Feed FYI: Click-baiting

Facebook has announced changes to its News Feed algorithm in an effort to deliver less spam and better content to users. From reducing click-baiting headlines to reinforcing the best way to share links on Facebook, these updates help ensure users are being shown the most interesting content.

Friday5: 2014 Digital Trends Updates

Back in January we reported on five digital trends to look for in 2014 as we dived into the year. Now, the summer of 2014 is coming to an end and we’re moving into the second half of the year. Let’s take a look back at our predictions and see how they’ve evolved since January:

1. Visually Speaking

Visual fluency has been speaking loudly. We mentioned that visuals over words will be a must for brands’ content strategies in the coming year in order to better connect with their fans, and we definitely saw some brands listening.

As mobile usage continues to rise and dominate the digital space, consumers are shifting their communication consumption to short videos, emojis and immersive photography.  Even the simple gestures of mobile such as swipes have become a part of content consumption. The growth of Tinder has led to a series of shopping apps using “glanceable UI.”

Technology has become more sophisticated in how users can communicate and share feelings with one another. New hyped apps like Yo and emoji-only services simplify the process even further and now, music messengers have been added to the mix. We’ve also noticed that brands have been embracing platforms like Tumblr with all its visual glory as a major hub for content-marketing. Instagram’s visually driven platform is also being transformed as a new medium to steer PR crises in real time as noted by New York Magazine.

2. The War for Privacy 

Ironically, the more excited we get about social sharing platforms, the more concerned consumers become about privacy invasion. We mentioned that privacy concerns would become more personally relevant – specifically Snapchat’s data breach and Target’s credit card information breach – and this has become more germane as the year has gone on. Privacy concerns have begun to affect our behavior and impact our morals. People have become hesitant to Google dates – what NY Mag coined “The New Abstinence” – out of respect and are now considering “stalking a crush online” as one of the “Seven Digital Deadly Sins”.

3. YouTube Channels Challenging TV -> YouTube Challenges Traditional Notions of Fame

We noticed that YouTube channels are becoming so influential, especially among younger generations, that we predicted it would start to challenge the power of TV and Hollywood. In April, YouTube invested in traditional ad spending to get the word out about the power behind their “stars,” as reported by AdAge. This inadvertently staked a claim that the notion of “celebrity” is changing entirely, and YouTube is leading the shift. Just last month, Variety commissioned a report which found that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among U.S. teens. YouTube of course, isn’t the only online platform changing the way we view celebrities. Instagram is responsible for a new form of teenage celebrity, dubbed “Instafame,” and Vine’s influence continues to grow with their “fan gathering” arm, comprised of some of the most popular Viners in America.

4. e-Sporting 

We highlighted that there was no doubt the gaming industry is reaching new heights, highlighting a very important niche trend we noticed: e-Sporting, or competitive video game competitions where spectatorship viewing was becoming a key attraction. We reported Twitch TV, a site where millions of people watch other people play video games, as a fast rising star. Low and behold, last month, everyone was sure that Google was buying Twitch, which eventually fizzled out but Amazon then moved in and made one of its biggest acquisition to date. Read the full story on Venture Beat.

5. Sensory Perception, The Always-On Consumer 

Nick Bilton of the New York Times discussed a very important topic of how the proliferation of mobile – such as wearable technology and smart watches – will yield smarter sensory mechanics. He envisions that smart technology will become more aware of its surroundings without the user’s input. We’ve seen this trend come to fruition and manifest itself in new ways, including context based advertising – communications that change based on environment, weather and other external factors. L’Oreal even launched the first-ever intelligent vending machine: L’Oreal with enabled color-recognition technology, which detects a color palette in a woman’s outfit by scanning her from head to toe, and expertly suggests eye, lip and nail shades that better fit the color of her clothing and hair.

What trends have you seen change or emerge since the start of the year?

This post was written by Maxine Gurevich and Amanda Kleinberg

Image credit: vancouverfilmschool

Facebook calls out fake news with “Satire” tag and Google rolls out website call conversions

Facebook tests “Satire” tag, Google introduces website call conversions and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Tests ‘Satire’ Tag to Help Users Identify Fake News

Prompted by user feedback, Facebook is testing a “satire” tag to identify fake news sourced from outlets such as The Onion, ClickHole and The Daily Currant. The tag will exist in the Related Articles box and will automatically appear after the user clicks on an article from a satirical website. Tests have reportedly begun a month ago and the feature will likely roll out to other parody news sites in the coming weeks.

Introducing Website Call Conversions

Early this week, Google released website call conversions, a new way of identifying and measuring the success of click-to-call ads. With a unique forwarding number, Google can track the exact keyword and ad that directed the customer to make a call on the website. Likely an effort to increase ad profit, the feature is only available in countries with Google forwarding numbers.

SlideShare Axes Its Freemium Model, Makes ‘Pro’ Features like Analytics Free

SlideShare, the LinkedIn-owned site that allows users to share presentations online, announced they are eliminating the for-pay premium status and making their premium features available to all users. Additionally, SlideShare plans to introduce a new feature monthly, beginning September. Future updates include analytics, profile customization, private uploads and video sharing.

Vine Makes It Easier to Make Vines

Vine’s newest update allows users to import pre-recorded videos and turn them into Vine clips. The iOS update also boasts new editing features including the highly-anticipated preview-and-undo buttons. These changes come as Vine attempts to simplify its user process and engage more novice users who are unfamiliar with the platform.

Friday5: Instagram Rolls Out Ad Tools

It’s not new to see ad content on social media anymore. Nearly every social media channel has some form of ad content; some offer more robust tools than others. Facebook-owned Instagram—which first introduced ads about a year ago—has recently made a push to strengthen its offerings to advertisers by rolling out new dashboard with analytics. Let’s take a look at what Instagram’s new ad dashboard has to offer:

1. Account Insights

The ad dashboard can provide similar metrics as Instagram’s parent, Facebook. Advertisers can now track an account’s impressions, reach and engagement. In addition to these typically standard metrics on social media, the Account Insight page provides insight on the best time and day to post content. Prior to this update, brands would have to manually track account performance or rely on third parties such as Totem or IconoSquare—formerly known as Statigram—which had accuracy concerns.

2. Ad Insights

Taking another piece from Facebook, Instagram now offers an Ad Insights section on their dashboard. Ad Insights allows advertisers specific audience targeting and provides key metrics in order to track the ROI of an Instagram ad campaign. Advertisers can monitor the performance of each ad and campaign to better understand their audience and content performance.

3. Ad Staging

Probably the most interesting part of Instagram’s ad dashboard is the Ad Staging section. This section provides an area for advertisers and creative teams to collaborate on ads and campaigns before they go live. This is a crucial considering the emphasis Instagram—and its audience—puts on creativity and visuals. Teams can work together on the platforms to upload, edit, preview and time out distribution of ad content.

4. Real-Time Data

Instagram’s ad dashboard will provide metrics in real-time, allowing advertisers and community managers key information on how their ads and campaigns are performing. Advertisers will therefore be able to optimize their campaigns in real-time. In the world of ‘right now’ this is an important deliverable for advertisers.

5. Dashboard Timing

Instagram is slowly rolling out the dashboard to advertisers in the “coming weeks and months,” according to Instagram’s blog. From there it will make updates based on feedback and roll it out to more brands and advertisers later in the year—fingers crossed it’s in time for the holiday season. But it appears Instagram is taking things slow so it doesn’t alienate and disrupt the user experience.

Have you used Instagram’s ad dashboard? What are your thoughts on its offerings?

Facebook adds a new reporting feature and Twitter introduces Promoted Video

A new Facebook reporting feature, Promoted Video on Twitter and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Now Tells Advertisers When Ads Lead To Purchases Across Devices

Facebook’s latest announcement regarding a new reporting feature will give advertisers insight into how often ads drive users to purchase the advertised product across different devices. Facebook reports that within 28 days, 32 percent of people who showed interest in mobile Facebook ads transferred to desktop in the US.

Introducing Promoted Video on Twitter

Earlier this year, tests conducted by Twitter found that tweets containing native videos earn better engagement and higher views. Following the recent addition of Twitter Amplify and feedback from users and brands, the platform released Promoted Video in beta this week. Companies are now able to upload and distribute videos and view the content’s success through an analytics service.

LinkedIn details new publishing platform improvements

This week, LinkedIn announced three updates to improve the distribution of new posts on its publishing platform. The improvements include integration with the platform’s feed algorithm, mobile notifications for first degree connections and post inclusion in daily or weekly Pulse emails. LinkedIn remains a strong social competitor, employing an extensive network that allows users to distribute content to their connections and followers.

Create Video Collections on Pinterest with Vevo

Pinterest users can search, save and share more video content with the addition of the new Vevo player. Joining YouTube and Vimeo, the entertainment platform could potentially entice a more diverse audience to engage on Pinterest. In the future, this could mean possible opportunities for Pinterest to profit through advertisements and sponsorships.

Friday5: Pinterest Announces Conversations

Last week, Pinterest unveiled a new way for users to “communicate, collaborate and share with one another,” by launching a new messaging feature called Conversations. With the launch of Conversations, users will be able to keep ongoing discussions on Pinterest around their favorite Pins without having to leave the platform. In this week’s Friday5, we look at what this new feature has to offer.

1. What It Is

Pinterest’s new messaging feature allows Pinners to share discoveries with the people who’d appreciate it the most, plan projects with friends and reach out to people who share their interests. It’s meant for friends or partners to share ideas and make plans around different Pins that interest them. It’s a way for Pinners to share Pinterest content privately with each other.

2. What it isn’t

Unlike Facebook or Twitter’s messaging platforms, Pinterest Conversations is not about messaging or being a communications service. Conversations is about empowering the way people are currently using Pinterest. It’s not necessarily designed to plan events but rather discuss Pinterest content on Pinterest rather than through another medium such as email or another social network.

3. How It Works

When users choose to ”Send a Pin,” they can select to send the Pin to one person or a group of people from a list of contacts that is provided. Once the Pin is sent, the conversation will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the website or tablet app. Mobile users will be treated to a separate screen to view their messages. Exchanged conversations will look similar to those of Facebook’s and will be easily accessible by simply clicking on them and can quickly be shut down by selecting the “X” in the corner. On the desktop version, the conversations will only partially cover the frames behind them, making it easier for Pinners to scroll through and still be able to see the content shared on their feed.

4. Why Did Pinterest Launch Conversations

Last year, Pinterest launched a feature that allowed Pinners to send Pins directly to their friends. This feature exploded with users sending more than two million Pins a day. However, once the Pins were sent, there wasn’t much users could do with the Pins. With Conversations, the hope is to have Pinners continue the conversation within the platform, which can lead to more Pins being shared, and more users engaged.

5. Implications for Clients

Pinterest has directly included Guided Searches into the messaging feature, which will help Pinners to search, discover, and share content that is relevant to their conversations. This may lead to new ways of sharing and collaborating via Pins. Brands that are on Pinterest can now, more than ever, assist their audience with projects such as meal planning, travel ideas, home remodeling and more.

How can your brand utilize Pinterest Conversations?

Image credit: Pinterest

A new video streaming app and Pinterest introduces messaging feature

A new video streaming app, Pinterest introduces messaging and more of the latest digital news.

Remote Control Your Friends with Video App Sup

A new video streaming app called Sup was released this past week from the founders of Yahoo acquisitions Stamped and Milewise. How it works: A user sends a request, and if accepted within five minutes, a silent, live video stream begins between friends. “Supping” is expected to be an interactive experience, as users can direct and watch friends in real-time.

Your Twitter Feed May Soon Be Filled with Accounts You Don’t Follow

Twitter is testing a new feature that displays tweets on users’ timelines from accounts that they don’t follow. The tweets, which include a subtle “follow” button in the bottom corner, are currently available to a select group of Twitter users. Though this feature presents additional monetary opportunities for Twitter, it will likely result in more cluttered feeds.

Pinterest Launches Messaging Feature

Pinterest has introduced a messaging capability so users can collaborate on projects and share pins. In an effort to encourage more conversation within the platform, Pinterest will allow users to share a location or project pin for upcoming trips, and those in the group can respond with a message or additional pins. This messaging feature differs from Facebook’s messenger in that users will not have contact lists following them around on the platform.

Twitter Dropping Hints about Shopping Services

It is very possible that Twitter will be introducing shopping capabilities in the near future. Several users have noticed a “Payments and Shipping” menu option on Twitter’s Android app, and there is no denying that this service has great potential to increase Twitter’s revenue. An official release date has not been announced at this time.

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