This Week in Social (Week of August 5)

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.

Facebook Updates News Feed for More Relevant Posts (Read more at Inside Facebook)

Facebook’s News Feed has been a source of mystery and confusion for marketers, but the social network is making some updates that it believes will help surface more relevant posts from users’ friends. The new features, Story Bumping and Last Actor, affect how Facebook selects which stories display in a News Feed.

Story Bump allows posts that may have been buried by more recent posts when you check your News Feed to be viewable later, so a post that went up at 6:00 PM isn’t shown when you check Facebook at 8:00 PM because of more recent posts can now show up when you check Facebook later.

Last Actor looks at your last 50 engagements and gives more weight to friends and pages you’ve interacted with recently.

The features are intended to improve the News Feed with fresh content, which is a challenge because Facebook engineering manager Lars Backstrom revealed that there are about 1,500 stories seen per day on average.

Marketers should welcome the changes. Story Bump means that timing is less important and marketers won’t be punished for posting at the wrong time. Content is still eligible for being displayed at a later time, which should increase engagement Last Actor means most recent behavior matters more than before, so encouraging people to interact with content regularly will be important for content success.

Twitter Launching Security Updates (Read more at VentureBeat)

Twitter is updating how it handles security with a new option that replaces two-factor authentication—a system that uses a text message to authenticate user login. The text messaging system did not work for everyone, including people who tweet with non-mobile devices like iPod touches.

The new system relies solely on an Internet connection. The new feature, when enabled, sends a push notification to a user’s mobile device with the Twitter app installed when a login is attempted from an unknown source. The notification will include details about the login along with the location from which the login is being attempted. You will then be given the option to approve or not approve it. You will also receive a backup code in the application to record in another location in the event your phone goes offline permanently.

The feature can be activated in the “Me” tab where you can access settings and security.

Twitter hacking has become a major issue for people and brands alike, and Twitter appears to be taking steps to resolve it. This is an important step for any brand to activate with a Twitter account and should be set-up with a brand’s social media lead as he or she will be able to quickly approve or disapprove a login attempt.

Instagram Adds Video Uploads (Read more at TechCrunch)

Instagram launched its most significant update for iOS and Android since launching video-sharing about two months ago. Now users can upload videos from their phones, instead of relying solely on the videos they record within the Instagram app. From there, users can trim the videos, splice them together and crop them within a square shape.

The update also includes a feature that automatically straightens crooked photographs. When a user taps ‘Straighten,’ the camera or slider can be used to rotate the photo and get it just right.

This opens up new possibilities for Instagram. Users had to decide whether to record something through Instagram or their less limited camera phones before. So you might have a great video through your camera phone but not be able to use it on Instagram. Now, people can upload and trim as needed, which should increase Instagram video quality.

This is particularly powerful for brands, which now have more flexibility when using Instagram Video. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean uploading 15-second spots, but it could.

News Quick Hits

  • Gary Briggs has joined Facebook as its first CMO. Briggs comes from Motorola. He’ll take his experience there to help Facebook improve and increase marketing efforts, increase awareness and usage of its products, and lead overall marketing. (Read more at Advertising Age)
  • Twitter updated search with auto updating search suggestions, including how you’re related to a user. Search also includes a new photo gallery, allowing a user to view more photos at a time in search. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • Pinterest is continuing its e-commerce dominance with a new feature that allows users to receive alerts when the prices of items they’ve pinned drop. The feature will roll out in the coming weeks with emails summarizing all sales to prevent spam. This positions Pinterest as a critical shopping tool but also as a means for marketers to alert prospects to changes in price. (Read more at ClickZ)
  • Amazon owner and founder Jeff Bezos has purchased The Washington Post. Amazon has no role in the acquisition, and Bezos will be the sole owner. The Post Co. will change its name to something still being determined but will still be a publicly traded company. Bezos says he will not be the paper’s day-to-day lead. (Read more at The Washington Post)
  • Facebook Chat has finally come to BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry users will now have an indicator when a message is sent and the ability to change their profile and cover photos. This doesn’t put the app on parity with iOS, Android or Windows versions, but it is getting a bit closer. (Read more at The Next Web)
  • Feedly, the RSS reader that grew in popularity following the shutdown of Google Reader, launched a premium lifetime service for $99.99 to the first 5,000 people to pay this week. The $500,000 raised will go to better hardware. Feedly will offer a monthly $5 pro service for users who were too late to the limited time lifetime subscription plan. (Read more at AppNewser)
  • YouTube founders, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, have launched a new video creation app called MixBit. The service allows users to record video up to 16 seconds as length but also mix and edit video. The design is intended to make stitching clips together as easy as possible. 16-second clips can be added together to create an up to hour long video with 256 individual clips. Then the final product can be shared to various social networks. (Read more at The New York Times)