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 Launches Local Tweets (Read more at The Next Web)
There’s nothing Twitter isn’t getting into lately from music to television to data. Now, it’s getting into the location game with a local tweet discovery feature that allows users to discover tweets from people within a certain distance of their locations.
Twitter expanded the number of locations that use its Trends feature to 160 countries and cities weeks ago. Now users can access local data depending on where they are via the iOS or Android mobile apps. The goal is to bring relevant information based on where you are, not whether or not you follow someone.
The tweets that are surfaced are the most relevant ones that are nearby, such as those related to a big activity like a football game or something that’s trending like a concert. The potential for advertisers is to target people who are nearby within their Twitter streams.
Other features that Twitter rolled out with tweets by location include: the ability to invite friends from within the app, improved video playback for Vine and now, retweets include the original author of the tweet and the person who made the retweet.
Twitter taking this on is akin to Twitter aiming its sights on Foursquare. Taking data and information based on your location and serving it up to you with context is part of Foursquare’s basic foundation.
Foursquare’s been in the location game for some time, and it’s been shifting its focus to be more of a local search engine. Twitter isn’t an immediate threat, but Foursquare is certainly watching Twitter on this closely.
Overall, the move makes sense. Twitter is focused on being on the pulse of what is going on in the world around you, and having some local context that gives you the pulse on your world, makes Twitter even more useful.
Foursquare Lays Groundwork for Ad Retargeting (Read more at Valley Wag)
Gawker’s Valley Wag obtained a pitch deck for advertisers detailing the retargeting efforts Foursquare has been pitching advertisers. The deck outlines an offering that would allow a business to track a check-in using Foursquare and display an ad within the Foursquare app. Then a similar ad or even the same ad could be displayed the next time the user is online.
The initial cost is $50,000 to $75,000, and the program would launch next month with ads going live in late June or early July.
The pitch deck leaks at a time in which many are wondering about Foursquare’s long-term survival, and investors are growing im
patient for the company to turn a profit. Co-founder Dennis Crowley aimed to dispel those rumors saying the company is “performing well” with March being its biggest revenue-generating month to date with six-figure deals with large national retailers and a big push on small, local businesses.
Retargeting has proven to be somewhat controversial, but with big players like Facebook offering retargeting, Foursquare would be in good company. This approach also lets Foursquare put its wealth of location data, arguably its biggest asset, to use.
Crowley says that Foursquare offers a “location data layer” over the Internet, similar to how Facebook provides the social layer. Based on Crowley’s observation, this would position Foursquare well for the future as to spread its location API to more platforms.
Foursquare’s found itself needing to play defense lately. A strong advertising offering could allow it to get its footing and play offense for some time.
Google Now Comes to iPhone (Read more at Huffington Post)
Google Now is now available for the iPhone. The app was previously only available on Android devices, and even though Google Now isn’t as deeply integrated on iOS as it is on Android, iPhone users will still get a taste of the smart Android assistant.
Google Now syncs with your Google account and looks at your behavior to automatically let you know things like traffic updates and flight information based on your behavior, much like an assistant.
Google Now follows the likes of Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google Search as the latest service to migrate from Android to iPhone.
Google’s being very smart here. Siri, Apple’s version of smart assistant, hasn’t exactly blown users away. Google Now learns from user behavior and offers information before a user asks for it. At least that’s the goal.
It also offers a way to show iOS users what Android has to offer. With Google Now not being as integrated into iOS as it is on Android, it can show iOS users what it can do, while showing the potential for how it could do more. With Google Maps coming to iOS devices going above and beyond Apple Maps, users are already seeing the potential for Android. Google Now is just another way to do that, while still gathering user data.
Twitter Ads Available to Everyone (Read more at AdWeek)
Twitter’s self-serve advertising suite is now available to all U.S. users, allowing anyone to run campaigns to promote their accounts or tweets to target groups and track results through Twitter analytics. The self-serve platform was previously available by invitation for testing to a select group of users. Twitter even kicked it off by offering a $50 ad credit to the first 100 eligible signups.
Opening up the ad platform to more businesses won’t increase the frequency in which users see ads.
Facebook and LinkedIn have led the way for launching self-serve ad suites. Now, Twitter is following their lead and capitalizing on a larger number of smaller budgets. For a long while, Twitter was criticized for lacking a monetization plan, and Twitter has quieted the naysayers being expected to bring in $582 million in global ad revenue this year alone.
App Activities Get Pulled Into Google Search (Read more at TechCrunch)
Google will soon start integrating app activities into search pages to show users what friends are doing and giving Google+ a more prominent role in search results. This is made possible by Google+’s sign-on service that it launched in February to allow users to log into third-party websites using their Google+ information.
Now, information pulled from apps that are signed into with Google+ will start displaying in search results to make “it easy to discover what other people are doing around the Internet when they’re doing a search on Google,” according to product management director Seth Sternberg.
The integration works when a user signs into an app using a Google account. Then they grant permission to send activity to Google, which Google aggregates to identify what is popular and then display on the right hand side of a search page. This will allow users to see what music is trending from SoundCloud or what movie is most popular from Fandango and so on.
Integration partners include Deezer, Fandango, Flixster, Slacker Radio, Songza and TuneIn.
Google is really flexing its search muscles with this integration. Now, Google+ will be front-and-center on search results pages, which couldn’t be better advertising for Google+. It also allows Google to make social sign-on data more actionable and useful for users.
Facebook’s Q1 Earnings Show Growth (Read more at USA Today)
Facebook’s made it no secret that it’s putting mobile first, and based on its first-quarter earnings report, that appears to be paying off. According to the social network, 30% of its total advertising revenue came from mobile, which is up from 23% in Q4 of 2012. Part of this has been fueled by its mobile app install ads that allow users to download apps to their phones directly from the ads. Those have been used by 3,800 developers and have generated 25 million downloads. 40% of the top grossing Android and iOS apps used the mobile app install ads.
Facebook also highlighted some new advertising features that have taken off. The number of brands using custom audiences doubled since last quarter, and retargeting using the Facebook Exchange generated a 70% lower CPC on Facebook than traditional Web retargeting. Finally, Partner Categories, a feature that uses third-party data from partners like Datalogix, have unrolled allowing stronger ad targeting on the platform by allowing advertisers to “enable marketers to incorporate off-Facebook purchasing data in order to deliver more relevant ads to users.”
Facebook noted that ad revenue rose year-over year by 43% to reach $1.25 billion. Total revenue reached $1.46 billion, an increase from $1.06 billion last year.
Facebook’s mobile ad offering was announced in February 2012, and they’ve started to crack the nut on mobile ads, particularly with mobile app developers. Google still dominates mobile ad revenue, however as it’s share in mobile ad revenue is only expected to grow this year.
Facebook’s growth in advertising revenue reflects a big focus on Facebook this past year on data and advertising. Facebook partnered with third-party data providers and has invested significantly in new ad offerings. This past year it’s evolved more as an advertising platform than as a social network.
The Q2 earnings report will be even more interesting as we’ll learn more about Facebook Home’s level of success and Graph Search.
News Quick Hits
- Following the impending end of Google Reader, Digg and Feedly asked users what they’d like in a replacement. Feedly is now planning to update its product in the next few weeks, and Digg will launch a new product in June, which it hints will require users to pay for. (Read more at paidContent)
- YouTube announced that people are now watching more than 6 billion hours of YouTube videos per month, doubling the amount consumed a year ago. It also gets 1 billion unique visitors per month. (Read more at GIGAOM)
- Instagram added a new feature to version 3.5 of its app that allows users and brands to label people in Instagram photos by tapping a picture and filling in the names. Tagged users will be notified in a new “Photos of You” section on Instagram. This can be tweaked in your user privacy settings. There’s potential for brands to encourage users to tag photos of their products and logos in their Instagram pics. (Read more at CNET)
- LinkedIn revealed that its updated mobile app and new products are not going to deliver the advertising growth as quickly as hoped, which led to shares falling 10%. Still, the professional network posted a profit of $22.6 million, up from $5 million one year ago. Its revenue growth outpaces Facebook’s significantly. (Read more at Wall Street Journal)