This Week in Social (Week of May 20)

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.

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr (Read more at The Wall Street Journal)  

As expected, the week kicked off with the announcement that Yahoo’s board met and agreed to acquire Tumblr for a cool $1.1 billion in cash. The move allows Yahoo access to Tumblr’s younger audience.

Tumblr founder David Karp will be with Yahoo for at least four years and have major control over Tumblr’s direction. Yahoo will take steps to invigorate Tumblr’s advertising offering, which has been limited to content-based native advertising to date.

Yahoo was the only seriously interested party. However, Tumblr had preliminary acquisition discussions with the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter over the past year.

This is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s biggest acquisition since she took the helm last year. Tumblr follows the acquisitions of smaller mobile start-ups.

Mayer wrote about the acquisition, “We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product road map, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo will help Tumblr get even better, faster."

The acquisition makes sense for a lot of reasons. It gives Yahoo a very hot new social platform with a strong mobile presence and young audience that hasn’t had a strong relationship with Yahoo over the years. It gives Tumblr investors something they’ve been asking about for some time—a return.

Now, the question is whether or not Yahoo can continue Tumblr’s successful growth while making it part of the Yahoo media ecosystem. Yahoo is a media company, but they should be careful not to alienate Tumblr users as they try to make the most out of the platform.

Mayer says she understands that. "Part of our strategy here is to let Tumblr be Tumblr," said Mayer.

Their plans are to use some features like the “dashboard” for more advertising, which is a challenge Tumblr has had in the past. How Yahoo turns eyeballs into revenue will really define the success or failure of the acquisition.

Yahoo has a bit of an identity crisis, and it’s difficult to say what it stands for. Tumblr has a clear identity, especially among its user base. Time will tell whether identities clash, merge or coexist.

Pinterest Launches Rich Pins (Read more on Pinterest)

Pinterest has officially launched “Rich Pins” for businesses, which provide additional information about an item to encourage purchases instead of just linking back to the pin’s origin. Rich Pins come in three types, depending on the content: Product Pins, Recipe Pins and Movie Pins.

Product Pins are for products like clothes and even furniture. They feature information on pricing, availability and where to buy info that is updated daily. Recipe Pins include cook time, ingredients and servings. Movie Pins include a wealth of information, including ratings and cast members.

Launch partners for Rich Pins include Sony, Target, Real Simple, Netflix, Flixter, Rotten Tomatoes and others.

Brands that want to activate Rich Pins can go to Then they need to add the necessary metatags to their sites, validate and then apply to get them on Pinterest.

Rich Pins allow brands to make their Pinterest content more actionable. Users will get deeper information, which will in turn lead many of them back to the site to be converted into customers. Right now, there is no way to sponsor pins or to push them, but there’s clearly potential here to make these into unique Pinterest ad units.

Flickr Gets an Overhaul

Tumblr wasn’t the only thing in Yahoo’s sights this week. They also unveiled a brand new Flickr experience for desktop and Android users. Flickr was famously acquired by Yahoo, ignored and is now trying to be the place where people share and store photos.

“Flickr was once awesome, and it languished… Now we want it to be awesome again,” stated Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer.

The new “awesome” Flickr brings a free terabyte of storage for users for photos, which equates to 537,731 photos. If that isn’t enough users can pay for more space.

Flickr has undergone a massive overhaul in terms of its look. It now has cover photos, which act as a banner at the top of user profiles akin to Facebook, Google and Twitter. Flickr photos are now massive, and they can be shared to other social plafroms like Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. Flickr doesn’t crop photos and keeps them high-res, unlike Instagram, which has become go-to photo platform. Albums have gotten a new look.

Finally, pro subscription accounts have been dropped. Although, current Pro users can continue to use it, but they may not want to as free users now have a massive amount of upload space and high-res photos, features Pro users used to pay for. Pro users will still get more statistics on their images, be able to replace photos without reuploading, have an ad-free experience and archive high-res original images.

Yahoo’s not aiming for Flickr to be the only place you share photos. It’s approach is to be the hub where you store your photos and distribute them to other platforms. That approach makes a lot of sense, but it comes at the risk of lowering user engagement on the platform. Instead of being a community for photo enthusiasts to discuss and interact, it’s really about the images.

This move is also a great way to reengage Flickr users, but questions remain as to whether it will be enough to bring new users to the service.

Twitter Launches Lead Generation Cards (Read more at Engadget)

Twitter launched what may be its worst named product, but marketers might not care as it has the potential to be very useful. The product is a new expanded tweet, known as a Twitter Card, called the “Lead Generation Card,” which allows users to click once to submit their names, email addresses and Twitter handles to claim a deal, get further communication or get more information.

The feature is available to any advertiser and tweets that have “Lead Generation Cards” can be promoted to increase their exposure.

Twitter’s been fairly limited to gathering this type of information unless you’re able to direct people to a landing page via a link. The news here is that Twitter is becoming more business-driven as marketers can get information from their followers and other Twitter users more easily. This information can then be tied into CRM systems.

Twitter TV Advertising is Here (Read more at The Verge)

Twitter’s master plan for TV may finally be here with its new advertising announcement that’s enabled by its acquisition of Bluefin Labs. The new product allows advertisers to target Promoted Tweets to viewers after they’ve watched ads on TV by a few hours or even a few days.

It works by watching if a user has tweeted about a show while on the air. Twitter assumes you’ve watched it, looks at the commercials that aired in the show and develops an understanding of the spots you might have seen. This can be completely automated.

Along with the announcement, Twitter is launching a TV Ads Dashboard that lets advertisers understand when spots aired. This allows better integration between media plans and social media marketing teams, so they can get the necessary information and insights to launch Promoted Tweets.

Twitter has found a way to do TV retargeting, reaching users with ads after they’ve been exposed to a television ad. Twitter has been working to set this up for some time with its acquisition of Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics service and its partnership with Nielsen. This brings the worlds of traditional paid media, earned conversation and then paid social to deliver and re-deliver a message.

Foursquare Sells Real-Time Check-In Data (Read more at CNET)

Foursquare has partnered with the social data company Gnip that will allow Gnip to sell Foursquare check-in data to businesses. Gnip now has real-time access to anonymous information on the places where people are checking-in. This offers Foursquare a revenue stream for its massive amount of location data.

Gnip will sell three pieces of data: each check-in’s location, the time and date of a check-in and the gender of the person checking-in.

Because of Gnip’s role as essentially a data reseller, Foursquare data will likely be distributed to other social media monitoring services through the Gnip API. Gnip already does this for social platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr, Disqus, StockTwits, IntenseDebate and Estimize.

There’s value in Foursquare’s check-in data generated by 35 million users and more than 1 billion check-ins. Information like shopping trends and shopping behavior is readily available on Foursquare and can inform business research.

News Quick Hits

  • Facebook is making its mobile Offers feature available to Android users. It became available for iOS users in April. Offers will have a simple layout with large images and clear call-to-action buttons. Users will also have the option to share Offers with Facebook friends. (Read more at AllFacebook)
  • Pinterest announced that its “Pin It” button will now be featured in some of the most popular craft, photo and commerce apps, including Etsy, which will have a “Pin It” button an photos. (Read more at Social Times)
  • Microsoft revealed its next-gen console, called the Xbox One, which among better hardware to run more demanding games than the current generation console, also has live TV integration, social TV integration and voice activation. (Read more at Wired)
  • Following a series of high-profile account hacks for brands, including Burger King and AP, Twitter launched two-factor account authentication, which allows users to receive an access code via SMS each time they attempt to log into Twitter from a new device. The challenge for brands will be that only one employee can receive the log-in code with the feature turned on, but that might be a minor inconvenience to help prevent a brand account from being hacked. The feature can be activated in account settings. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • Foursquare has updated its search capabilities to make finding particular venues easier. They call it “super-specific searches.” The feature allows users to filter results by places “I’ve checked in before,” “I haven’t checked in,” “my friends have checked in,” “offering specials,” “open now” and “I’ve saved.” (Read more at Mashable)