This Week in Social (Week of October 28)

This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.

Twitter Adds In-Stream Video and Image Previews (Read more at TechCrunch)

Twitter’s IPO is just around the corner, and this week it made updates to make photos and videos more prominent on the service. Previously users had to click a link to see a Vine or a photo, but now visual elements are automatically expanded within the Twitter Web and mobile interfaces. This only includes Vine videos and Twitter photos at the moment, but this could expand to include other elements like videos, link previews and more.

This is a departure from Twitter’s stance in the past to keep the tweet timeline as streamlined as possible. The update has also added the Favorite, Reply and Retweet buttons between all tweets, taking away the step of needing to open a tweet to interact with it.

The idea behind this may be to improve the platform for advertising. Advertisers will be able to display more visual, attention-grabbing elements in their Promoted Tweets.

This also plays well into Twitter’s acquisition of Vine. Vines will be auto-expanded, giving the platform more of a spotlight on its parent network. Instagram recently started selling ads on its platform, so this puts Twitter in the running for some of those visual ad dollars.

Finally, this update makes Twitter fit into the way the Web is going by making it more visual with Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms focusing on visuals.

Google+ Adds Custom URLs and New Photo Features (Read more at The Next Web and The Verge)

Google+ has added a long-awaited feature: custom URLs. Google+ URLs have been long, clunky sets of random numbers, but now users can change it to something easier to share and remember.

The feature is only available to accounts that have a profile photo, at least 10 followers and are at least 30 days old.

Businesses that have linked a website or are a verified local business can get custom URLs for themselves as well.

Custom URLs have been needed for some time. They allow users to easily share and communicate the address of their profiles, and they allow businesses to direct consumers with much greater ease. This is a feature that comes late, but it’s better than never.

Google did not stop there, however. It also announced new features for photos. The next version of the Google+ iOS app will allow for automatic uploading of full-sized images, a feature already available on Android. Photos can be uploaded even without opening the app.

Users will also be able to search for photosusing terms that haven’t even been tagged to the photo. There are also quick editing features like auto-enhancements that can be turned on for selected albums. Users can also choose the strength of filters, and automatically remove distracting people and images from their shots like photobombers.

Google+ is focusing on what social networkers care most about, and that’s photos. There seems to be a gap, however, in the features they’re adding and what they’re communicating. Outside of tech enthusiasts, the updates are largely unknown when they could be key features for potential users.

Facebook Reports Strong Q3 (Read more at AllFacebook)

Facebook reported its Q3 earnings this week. Revenue is up 60% to $2.02 billion. Net income came in at $425 million and net losses at $59 million.

Advertising revenue was up 66% to $1.8 billion, 49% of which came from mobile advertising. Last year, mobile revenue was only 14% of its advertising revenue. It also let shareholders know that the network has 1.19 billion monthly active users, 18% more than last year. 728 million of those users are active daily. Mobile active users sit at 874 million.

This represents Facebook’s most successful quarter to date. Facebook did admit however, that it has seen a decrease In daily users, particularly among younger teens. Still, Instagram’s teen audience has grown 5% this year.

Facebook is looking good on nearly all fronts. Mobile used to be its Achilles heel, but now it’s a strength. Ad revenue is high, and Facebook has become a go-to platform for advertisers. As long as it can keep its users engaged and show advertisers results, Facebook will continue to dominate the social network landscape.

The decline in teen engagement may not be a major concern as AdAge points out. Pew Research found that 94% of teens have Facebook accounts, and 26% have Twitter accounts. While Facebook may be seeing a decline, it is still very powerful and prevalent among teens.

News Quick Hits

  • Facebook has updated its Messenger app to encourage more use on a regular basis. The new version allows users to send messages to people even if they aren’t Facebook friends as long as the sender has the recipient’s phone number stored in his or her address book. This, of course, requires sharing your address book and phone number with Facebook. (Read more at AllThingsD)
  • Kickstarter cofounder Charles Adler is leaving the crowdfunding site. CEO Perry Chen will move into the role of Chairman, and Yancy Strickler will become the CEO following Adler’s departure. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • Facebook may soon start tracking mouse movements, including scrolls, hovers, right clicks and highlights, according to reports. (Read more at Ars Technica)
  • LinkedIn’s Q3 report revealed an increase of revenue by 56% over last year to $393 million, net loss of $3.4 million and net income of $46.8 million. LinkedIn highlighted its new marketing solutions, premium subscriptions and recruiter tools as reasons for its recent success. (Read more at LinkedIn)
  • Twitter is working to encrypt Direct Messages. The reason for the update is in response to NSA efforts to monitor public data. (Read more at TheNextWeb)