This Week in Social (Week of April 22)

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.

Tumblr Mobile Ads Go Live (Read more at TechHive TechHive)  

Tumblr launched promoted posts for mobile users this week with advertisers including GE, ABC and Warner Brothers. The ads come a year after Tumblr launched promoted posts in Tumblr’s Radar feature, which highlights content on the Tumblr platform. Now, promoted posts will display in user dashboards, similar to Facebook ads in user news feeds.

Users will see up to four ads per day, which will be identified by a dollar-sign icon. The ads are initially mobile-only, but there are plans to migrate to the desktop experience at some point in the future.

One of the biggest and most noticeable moves from this is the fact that mobile ads are the priority. This approach supports how social has gone mobile with mobile advertising expected to reach $7.29 billion in 2013 according to eMarketer.

Now, Tumblr finds itself at an interesting impasse as it works to become a must-have social platform on marketers’ lists akin to Facebook and Twitter. It may have set itself back a bit by very publicly dismissing advertising in the past. There’s also the issue of Tumblr ad complexity. Many brands are already faced with the challenge of creating content, and Tumblr, being more long-form, presents an interesting challenge of creating something a brand finds worth promoting.  However, Tumblr users are very engaged, and brands that succeed on the platform will certainly stand out and benefit as some brands like Adidas already have.

AP Twitter Account Hacked (Read more at Associated Press)

The AP’s Twitter account was hacked on Tuesday, and hackers posted false claims that two explosions went off at the White House, injuring President Obama. The false tweet caused the Dow Jones industrial average to drop immediately only to eventually recover, showing the rapid reaction from information, even false information. Twitter suspended the account within a few minutes, and news quickly spread that the account had indeed been hacked.

This really shines a spotlight on Twitter’s desperate need for two-factor authentication, a feature that both Facebook and Google have implemented, which every brand should have activated. According to The Verge, two-factor authentication is in the works and in the process of internal testing.

This also shows how quickly news can spread. The high-speed trading machines automatically reading news and information were responsible for the roller coaster ride taken by the Dow Jones industrial average. It quickly corrected, but it does show a level of vulnerability.

As always, nothing is every 100% secure, but brands should work to make sure their accounts are as secure as possible, while still being accessible. Actions like having unique passwords across all social accounts, monitoring third-party apps that have access to your social media channels, not clicking suspicious links, making sure computers are up-to-date, signing out when you’re done and having a passlock on your phone are small steps brands can take to protect themselves.

Tumblr Updates App with Sharing (Read more at PCMAG.COM)

Tumblr updated its iOS app this week to encourage users to do more sharing and saving of Tumblr posts. Now, users can share posts to other social channels, like Facebook or Twitter, without leaving the app. They also have the option to email a post. The updated app even allows users to save different Tumblr posts for reading or viewing later to read later platforms, including Pocket and Instapaper, which was acquired by Betaworks this week.

This update followed this week’s launch of Tumblr’s first app for Windows Phone.

You may recall that Tumblr shut down its Storyboard project, which was set-up to have editors curate the best Tumblr content and showcase it for users. Now, with more users sharing and saving content, Tumblr will have a better understanding of which posts users find most engaging, not editors. This should encourage content distribution outside of Tumblr to other social networks, which may help others discover the platform.

The integration of Pocket and Instapaper points to a new focus for Tumblr to encourage more long-form content beyond short posts and photo blogs that have made Tumblr so popular.

Users will see content and save it for later when they have more time to spend with it.

LinkedIn Launches Address Book and Calendar Management App (Read more at CNET)

LinkedIn launched a new address book and calendar management app called LinkedIn Contacts that allows users to import all email interactions and calendars to sync with their LinkedIn contacts. The service aggregates information from all of your address books, email accounts and calendars and then automatically updates them on your LinkedIn account. Right now the integration is with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, CardMunch (owned by LinkedIn), Evernote and TripIt.

Once connected, LinkedIn will show you the name, photo, title, contact information and locations of people you’ve interacted with. Users can search their imported contacts to, for example, find people they’re connected to at a specific company. Users can customize profile pages by adding notes on people and information about how they know them or things they know about them on a personal basis. That information is only viewable to the user.

The LinkedIn app is smart, displaying the people you’ve interacted with most recently over email or scheduled meetings by displaying information like job changes and birthdays on your profile page similar to what LinkedIn calls a “personal assistant.” This gives you a reason to reach out and stay in contact.

Adding someone to LinkedIn Contacts is not the same as connecting with them. You only get public information until you connect.

The feature is available on both the web application and a companion iOS app, separate from the LinkedIn app.

LinkedIn Contacts makes sense. LinkedIn has been making update after update to change the game in how professionals network with one another. This really becomes the equivalent to writing information on the back of a business card. Users can more easily find who they’re connected to and add private notes to follow-up on later. Although, there are a few big things missing, including interactions across other social media channels such as Twitter.

LinkedIn gains a lot from this, primarily around user data and understanding how people are connected outside of LinkedIn. However, there’s a value exchange. In exchange for that data, LinkedIn’s making managing contacts less of a headache.

News Quick Hits

  • Twitter continued its branded content partnerships by signing a deal with BBC America that allows Twitter to share video clips that appear in-stream on Twitter, potentially with a pre-roll ad. This follows rumors from the previous week that Twitter is working on similar partnerships with Viacom and NBC Universal. (Read more at AdAge)
  • Twitter reached a multi-hundred-million-dollar deal with Starcom MediaVest Group this week, which includes “special access” to ad slots, research data and new, unannounced ad products. In return, Starcom has committed to spend $200 million or more of client funds. The two companies will combine some of the resources used for measuring and tracking data and advertising. (Read more at The New York Times)
  • Facebook redesigned the mobile view for Pages with a sleeker look that invites users to like, message, call, view business hours and how many times they’ve checked-in. The re-design is intended to showcase pages in a way that’s more useful for mobile users who are out and about looking for business information. Page admins should ensure all information is up-to-date, particularly location, hours and price range. (Read more at Mashable)
  • Foursquare updated its website to put local search features front and center to coincide with changes made to its mobile app. As Foursquare has evolved to compete more with Yelp and Google Local Search, use of Foursquare’s ‘Explore’ feature has doubled. (Read more at SocialTimes)
  • Twitter is continuing its focus on social TV with a new partnership with the music television network Fuse called Trending 10, a new TV and Internet show that uses Twitter music data and conversations to power content. (Read more at GIGAOM)
  • Twitter and PeopleBrowsr reached a settlement in a lawsuit that started when Twitter blocked PeopelBrowsr from accessing the Twitter data firehose. PeopleBrowsr will continue to have access until the end of the year, and then it will have to transition to getting data through one of the authorized resellers. (Read more at Wired)
  • Facebook acquired Parse to help developers build more apps faster and across multiple devices. Parse provides back-end support for cross-platform apps, so Parse allows Facebook to encourage developers to build more Android apps. Unlike iOS, Android requires developers to accommodate multiple devices and operating systems. Parse makes that easier. (Read more at TechCrunch)