Archive for the 'Facebook' Category



Twitter starts to tweak its tweet stream, to better compete with Facebook

Monday 1 September 2014 @ 9:30 am
Twitter starts to tweak its tweet stream, to better compete with Facebook

From the addition of video into the newsfeed to sponsored tweets, Twitter has recently been making changes to what its 271 million users see on their stream. Now the social media platform is doing its best to ramp up its advertising revenue — and to tweak what tweets its users see, in order to compete more effectively with Facebook.

By and large, the company’s efforts are working. Last year, Twitter demonstrated how promoted tweets can help to boost offline sales by 29 percent. In July, VentureBeat reported that Twitter had doubled its ad revenue in the previous quarter. And earlier this month, we learned how Twitter’s new video cards are changing how consumers and brands can interact with and embed video content into the Twitter stream.

Beyond these examples, Twitter has also rolled out sponsored profiles, which allow any user to pay to have her profile promoted, as well as  recommended tweets, which can appear in your stream when someone you follow has favorited that particular tweet.

So far, these adjustments to the tweet stream are relatively minor: Adding a few tweets here and there, not filtering the stream as a whole.

This is a markedly different strategy from Facebook, which heavily filters its feed using EdgeRank, an algorithm that determines what is displayed and how high it appears in a user’s newsfeed. By contrast, Twitter’s news feed is almost entirely unfiltered.

But these additions are definitely a change in the way the Twitter newsfeed is presented.

Much of this is experimental, as you might expect. You might get the impression that Twitter is on a path toward deviating from its ever-updating, stream-of-consciousness style stream. In fact, the notion that people can’t mute promoted tweets sounds a lot of alarm bells in the “This is just like Facebook” department.

So how far will Twitter go?

“The thing that makes Twitter unique is its live feed,” says Danny Wong, growth hacker for Shareaholic, the creator of popular social sharing buttons that appear on many websites. He believes that Twitter’s current experiments with how it presents its newsfeed are “doomed to fail.”

“Soon enough, [Twitter] will realize that copying Facebook won’t work because it simply isn’t Facebook.”

Twitter could be seen as scrambling a bit.

“Surely it’s concerned with the fact that it drives less referrals to sites than Facebook,” says Wong, noting that Facebook accounts for 23 percent of Shareaholic’s referrals, while Twitter has just 1 percent, according to a July report.

But Twitter also must be concerned with how overwhelmed people get simply trying to keep up with the ever-moving stream of their feeds.

“Many tweets go unread and aren’t resurfaced the same way Facebook does it,” Wong says.

Twitter & EdgeRank: An “exception to the rule”

Whenever two platforms are going head to head to increase their user bases, there’s usually a rule in play: When one introduces a new feature, the other(s) will follow suit.

“I think the exception to the rule for this is EdgeRank,” says Stacey Miller, keynote speaker and the senior social media community manager for the Vocus Marketing Suite business line. She doesn’t believe Twitter wants to become more like Facebook when it comes to that algorithmic aspect. “Twitter is such a powerful micro-content network. … Filtering news feeds based on an algorithm rather than the preference of viewing the firehose would probably be a turnoff for power users,” she says.

She’s also quick to note that you can easily create lists of people you want to pay particular attention to on Twitter. If you want a narrower focus, you can access that already — you just have to create a list or subscribe to someone else’s list.

“There is so much outrage around the Facebook algorithm, both from consumers as well as brands,” Miller says, “I’m not sure Twitter will take such a risk to filter relevant content.”

Feed filtering algorithms just aren’t very Twitter to start with. It goes against everything Twitter promotes itself to be — your up-to-the-minute view of the world. It’s all about real-time updates and interaction, not algorithmically calculated lists of what the systems thinks you’d be most interested in. No, that’s Facebook’s realm, and most experts across all areas of social media agree that Twitter would be foolish to dip its toes in EdgeRank-like waters.

However, there is some argument in favor of an EdgeRank for Twitter.

“There is a lot of noise on Twitter, and at some point there is going to need to be a way to filter that noise out,” says Tom Spano, former head of global event marketing for Twitter. While he’s certain the company is already working on a system similar to Facebook’s to filter out relevant content, he notes that there are many things users can do right now to filter the noise. “For example, you can choose which languages you want to see your Tweets in, and you can mute or block users to keep them off your feed,” he says.

What’s next for the Twitter newsfeed?

To sum it up? A combination of more of the same and more targeted, custom-tailored content. At least, that’s according to the social media experts we talked with.

Aaron Strout, a digital social strategist, believes that location, via self-reported and geo-tagged tweets, “will play an increasingly greater role in how tweets get targeted and delivered to end users.” People would have the ability to opt-in or opt-out of this feature — but, he says, “the onus [would] be on brands making their content that much more relevant.”

Spano thinks one of the biggest issues with the current Twitter newsfeed is feeling that you always have to be on it “for fear of missing out.” Hashtags help remedy some of this, he says, but there needs to be another way to “elevate” the most relevant content for specific users.

“Rather than creating user lists of important follows, which may be too technical for many users, these tweets will instantly rise to the top of my feed when I log in based on my choosing,” Spano says.

Twitter’s role in customer service can’t be discounted either, says Spano. In the near future, “[w]e’ll see a lot of companies heaving up on their inbound community managers to handle the influx of demand from customers wanting real-time, instant satisfaction regarding issues,” he says, noting that “the days of calling in and waiting on hold are over.”

Of course, much of this is just speculation. But one thing remains certain: Twitter can’t just use an EdgeRank knock-off to build relevancy in its newsfeed. A different, more subtle approach is required. One that maintains the spirit of Twitter but moves the social network forward, too.

A tough balance, to be sure. It’ll be interesting to see what stays, what goes, and what’s on the horizon.


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Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »











Here’s what it’s really like to work with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook

Sunday 31 August 2014 @ 10:30 am
Here’s what it’s really like to work with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook
Image Credit: Business Insider

Not a lot of people get the chance to work directly under billionaire founders and CEOs.

That’s why most people take what they see in the press or movies and create their own – often false and distorted – images of what it’s like to work with them.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, for example was depicted as an arrogant nerd-punk in “The Social Network,” the 2010 film about the founding of Facebook. The film perhaps played a role in creating some of the negative images that follow Zuckerberg to this day.

But is Zuckerberg really a hard person to deal with in real life?

Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, who worked with Zuckerberg for 3 years, says he’s definitely “a different boss.”

Even when we disagreed, he didn’t have this ego about him, like you could argue with him,” Taylor told Business Insider. “I mean, he would overrule you at that end if we couldn’t reach a conclusion, but I always felt like he was willing to argue it out and listen – which is sadly not that normal among many Silicon Valley CEOs.”

Taylor says he’s still good friends with Zuckerberg even after leaving Facebook, and hopes the rest of the world could see the good side of Zuckerberg as well.

I also learned that because the movie (‘The Social Network’) came out, it was really easy to build a caricature of these people with very public profiles, but I got to know a version of Mark that was much more human that I wish other people could see.”

In fact, this is not the first time Taylor had good things to say about his former boss. In his resignation letter, Taylor said Zuckerberg’s his mentor and one of his closest friends.

Taylor left Facebook in 2012, shortly after its IPO, and is now the CEO of Quip, a mobile-friendly collaborative word processor. You can learn more about Taylor and his new company here.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Gillmor Gang: Summertime Blues

Saturday 30 August 2014 @ 9:02 am
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Dan Farber, Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. This one seems more like an AA meeting for Apple addiction, as the Gang stumbles around pretending to be interested in Twitter tinkering with the Favorites model while just killing time until September 9. The reason we’re in reasonable humor is that we know we’re in for… Read More



11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week

Friday 29 August 2014 @ 3:10 pm
TC-weekly-roundup1 Before we take off for the long weekend, check out the best stories from the past week (8/23-8/29). After months of rumors suggesting that Google was prepped to snatch up Twitch, Amazon ended up dropping the money to make this deal happen. Alex Wilhelm originally reported the news for TechCrunch, but Kyle Russell offered some critical analysis about how Amazon’s acquisition is too big… Read More



Advertising’s new addiction: Programmatic buying

Friday 29 August 2014 @ 8:33 am

GUEST POST

Advertising’s new addiction: Programmatic buying

Programmatic ad buying has permeated every media platform and brand marketers are taking notice.  In 2013, marketers spent $3.36 billion on programmatic ad buying — and eMarketer estimates that it will soar to $8.5 billion in the next 3 years.

Escher Lizards Pattern MatchingIn fact, in 2013 nearly 50 percent of all brand marketing budgets were allocated to programmatic ad spend and it is expected to rise to 83 percent by 2017.

By 2020, I predict that 95 percent of all digital ad buying will be done programmatically.

But, in order to maximize the performance of an ad through programmatic efforts, marketers must understand the evolving technology and how to build a winning strategy.

What is programmatic?

Programmatic buying is the automation of media buys through digital platforms.

It is a more efficient delivery method for the same content that is already being pushed by brand marketers. The system automatically optimizes ad placements and sells the inventory at a price that advertisers are willing to pay.

However, just like any technological breakthrough, programmatic comes with its own set of challenges.

For agency and brand marketers, the top three programmatic ad concerns include the quality of the inventory, transparency of the process and the technology used to place the ads. Let me address each one of these concerns.

Quality inventory?

Some say that programmatic ad buying is limited to low-quality, remnant inventory. This is no longer the case and in today’s marketplace many premium placements can be accessed programmatically.


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Private marketplaces allow advertisers to access premium inventory that a publisher has reserved for specific buyers. This invitation-only auction is similar to an open auction, except a publisher restricts participation to select buyers and advertisers. It still requires a one-on-one interaction and relationship with the publisher, but gives advertiser an opportunity to access premium inventory programmatically.

Transparent and targeted

Programmatic auction technology has been criticized for its lack of transparency and fraudulent traffic.

There are a lot of companies that are making strides to match true buyer intent and pricing goals with available inventory. Look for services that provide real-time results and expose the true valuations of seller assets. This includes data monitoring through third party verification tools like DoubleVerify that can guarantee the ads are contextually relevant and the traffic is authentic.

One way an advertiser can address transparency concerns is to incorporate whitelisting and blacklisting into their campaign. This way, advertiser can guarantee that their ads only get placed on the sites that matter most.

Performance

Using data-driven targeting, brand marketers can optimize their programmatic ad spend and learn as they go.

Unlike a traditional media buy, brand marketers should focus on buying the audience instead of impression. Consider using retargeting services like AdRoll or ReTargeter to follow the user across the internet. If an advertiser manages their budget and paces their spend, they can effectively reach the audience that cares about their content.

The performance of the optimization algorithm becomes smarter as advertiser continues to purchase. The more data, the more insights, the better the campaign.

Set to soar

Programmatic ad buying is making strides across the industry as marketers continue to incorporate it in their campaign budgets. It is easy to see the scales tipping when the biggest social networks in the world, Facebook and Twitter, are joining Google in investing heavily in programmatic ad buying.

Facebook recently doubled down on programmatic by purchasing one of the largest video ad networks, LiveRail, for over $400 million.

In order to maximize the value of programmatic, brand marketers need to use intelligent delivery guided by advanced targeting and sophisticated, goal-oriented metrics.  If we learn to use it right, programmatic just might prove its power in the same way that search engine marketing eventually did.

Alex Debelov

Above: Alex Debelov

Alex Debelov is the co-founder and CEO of Virool, a leading video distribution platform that has promoted videos for thousands of companies including Intel, Sony, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Anheuser Busch and Mitsubishi. Alex graduated from Y-Combinator in 2012 when he founded Virool to help anyone promote their YouTube video, from the struggling musician to the Fortune 100 company.  Prior to Virool, Alex co-founded The Kairos Society, the world’s largest student entrepreneurship organization. Alex graduated from Babson College (#1 in Entrepreneurship by U.S. News and World Report) with a degree in Technology Entrepreneurship and Design. For his achievements in growing Virool, Alex has been recognized as Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 5 Emerging Entrepreneurs in 2013, and was named a Top 5 College Entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2010.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

ReTargeter is the simplest and most effective self-serve display retargeting platform.... read more »

AdRoll is the global leader in retargeting with over 10,000 active advertisers worldwide. The company’s innovative and easy-to-use marketing platform enables brands of all sizes to create personalized ad campaigns based on their own ... read more »











Facebook wants to let mobile users run keyword searches on friends’ profiles

Thursday 28 August 2014 @ 6:29 pm
Facebook wants to let mobile users run keyword searches on friends’ profiles
Image Credit: Facebook

Facebook has finally realized that you might want to use your mobile device to dig back into content your friends have posted in the past. And it’s working on it.

The social network has rolled out a search feature to some of its mobile users that lets them run keyword searches on friends’ profiles and on pages they follow, Bloomberg reports.

This might be a new test that the company is running. It’s certainly not surprising — or even completely new for Facebook. While Graph Search, Facebook’s enhanced search engine, was still a desktop-only toddler, the company announced it would support searches of posts and comments.

Then, this past January, the company started to roll out Graph Search on mobile, so this week’s new test is likely simply the latest test from the Graph Search team.

This capability, despite being mobile-only, could add some additional power to ad-targeting on Facebook. It would give advertisers an additional dimension of a user’s preferences and behavior. For example, if you search for “yoga pants Sally Smith” because you want to find the brand your friend Sally recommended last month, it could signal to advertisers that you are interested in yoga pants — cue the Lululemon ads.

Nevertheless, this will likely spur privacy concerns among users, although Facebook will only serve up results that are allowed by the user’s privacy permissions: The drunk picture you’re hiding from your mom won’t show up in her searches.

But just in case you’re worried, consult our handy guide on avoiding those Facebook disasters.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook didn’t actually acquire a sound studio, but it did hire audio engineers

Tuesday 26 August 2014 @ 4:30 pm
Facebook didn’t actually acquire a sound studio, but it did hire audio engineers
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-111085154/stock-photo-kid-does-not-want-to-listen.html

Part of Facebook’s overall strategy appears to include creating original audio content, as evident by a handful of recent hires who previously worked at sound studio WaveGroup Sound.

Facebook has confirmed to VentureBeat that the company did not acquire WaveGroup, as reported earlier today by TechCrunch. The news was sparked after the publication noticed WaveGroup’s official LinkedIn page had been updated with a description written in past tense, which mentioned that “the staff of WaveGroup became the full time sound design team for Facebook in 2014.”

Facebook did, however, confirm to VentureBeat that many of WaveGroup’s former employees had joined the company’s design team through the regular hiring process, but declined to comment about future plans involving original audio content.

WaveGroup is responsible for creating many of the social network’s in-app notification sounds, and has a long history of working as contractors for the social network. It seems pretty natural that WaveGroup’s former staffers would find a home at the social network full-time.

That said, Facebook has stated previously that its current strategy is to launch standalone mobile apps that sometimes take the place of (or expands upon) current Facebook or Instagram features. The social network also recently launched new iOS app Hyperlapse for creating time-lapse videos, and presumably has plenty of interesting unannounced projects involving its purchase of Oculus VR (makers of virtual reality headset the Oculus Rift). So, there’s probably plenty of need for original audio content as Facebook moves forward — even if the company isn’t talking about it.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.


Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook didn’t actually acquire a sound studio, but it did hire audio engineers

Tuesday 26 August 2014 @ 4:30 pm
Facebook didn’t actually acquire a sound studio, but it did hire audio engineers
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-111085154/stock-photo-kid-does-not-want-to-listen.html

Part of Facebook’s overall strategy appears to include creating original audio content, as evident by a handful of recent hires who previously worked at sound studio WaveGroup Sound.

Facebook has confirmed to VentureBeat that the company did not acquire WaveGroup, as reported earlier today by TechCrunch. The news was sparked after the publication noticed WaveGroup’s official LinkedIn page had been updated with a description written in past tense, which mentioned that “the staff of WaveGroup became the full time sound design team for Facebook in 2014.”

Facebook did, however, confirm to VentureBeat that many of WaveGroup’s former employees had joined the company’s design team through the regular hiring process, but declined to comment about future plans involving original audio content.

WaveGroup is responsible for creating many of the social network’s in-app notification sounds, and has a long history of working as contractors for the social network. It seems pretty natural that WaveGroup’s former staffers would find a home at the social network full-time.

That said, Facebook has stated previously that its current strategy is to launch standalone mobile apps that sometimes take the place of (or expands upon current Facebook or Instagram features. The social network also recently launched new iOS app Hyperlapse for creating time-lapse videos, and presumably has plenty of interesting unannounced projects involving its purchase of Oculus VR (makers of virtual reality headset the Oculus Rift). So, there’s probably plenty of need for original audio content as Facebook moves forward — even if the company isn’t talking about it.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.


Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Social Media Is Silencing Personal Opinion – Even In The Offline World

Tuesday 26 August 2014 @ 8:05 am
facebook-sign-89 Social media is not living up to its promise of being an online outlet for discussion that mirrors our communications and conversations that take place in the offline world. In fact, people are less willing to discuss important issues on social media, than they are in real life, a new report from Pew Research Center has found. It may seem like an obvious conclusion: of course, people are… Read More



Snapchat – The Next Great Advertising Platform (guest post)

Tuesday 26 August 2014 @ 1:49 am

How valuable is ten seconds of Millenial mindshare? Brands like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Audi and the NBA are ramping up their advertising efforts with Snapchat, the photo and video app that disappears in 10 seconds. Although there are many skeptics, I am not one of them. Snapchat is poised to become the next great advertising platform.

Brands crave scale, demographics and engagement. Snapchat can check all three of those boxes. Scale: Every day, 700 million snaps and 1 billion stories (a thread that can be viewed for 24 hours) are viewed. There are more than 30 million Monthly Active Users and 16.5 million Daily Active Users. Their loyalty is impressive- average users visit the app an astounding 14 times per day. Snapchat’s growth is far outpacing its rivals. Between Q3, 2013 and Q1, 2014, Snapchat grew 67%; faster than any of its competitors (GWI Social). 70% of those users are female.

Demographic: Advertisers, and their agency minions, crave one group more than any other- Millenials (18-34 year olds). According to comScore (June, 2014), Snapchat is the #3 social app among Millenials (32.9% penetration), behind only Instagram (43.1%) and Facebook (75.6%).

Snapchat usage

Engagement: Mobile banner ads have proven to be a disaster. One agency estimates click through rates of only .01%. Snapchat’s unique advantage as an advertising platform is the format, which literally requires engagement. In contrast to display advertising, which is passive, Snapchat users must hold their finger over a photo or video to view it. Brands know with certainty if their ad has been viewed and by whom.

The demographic is ready to engage on this platform. According to Sumpto, (usually referred to as “Klout for college students”), 73% of college students would open a Snap from a brand they know and 45% would open a Snap from a brand they don’t know.

To date, the most effective Snapchat advertising strategies have been exclusive content and authentic voice. Below are three examples from 2014 of brands successfully engaging with their consumers via Snapchat.

Brand: Audi

Strategy: Partner with The Onion to engage with future luxury auto buyers

Execution: In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, Audi partnered with The Onion for the ongoing Snapchat theme, “All The News That Isn’t Football”. The pairing of Stock Photos with ironic captions helped Audi achieve 37 million impressions.

Audi

You can see more about the Audi campaign here:

Brand: Free People (fashion)

Strategy: Turn fans into “Insiders”

Execution: Exclusive sneak peek for upcoming collections featuring top models. The company’s Millennial staff is also a tool for connecting with their demographic. This includes tours of the company office and features like Question Wednesdays, where Free People employees answer questions from the community.

FP_Snapchat_Camille-Rowe_2

Supermodel Camille Rowe, in a sneak peak of upcoming Free People lingerie

Brand: NBA

Strategy: Behind the Scenes at the NBA’s marquee events

Execution: The league used Snapchat to provide a different vantage point during the

2014 Draft as well as the All Star Game. Those successes led to the exclusive locker- room interview at the League Championships, where Hall of Famer Bill Russell spoke with Series MVP Kawhi Leonard.

NBA_bill russell

NBA legend Bill Russell interviews the MVP of the Championship Series, Kawhi Leonard

Brands, this is your call to action. Learn about Snapchat and start Snapping. Snapchat may well be the next great advertising platform.




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