This Week in Social (Week of September 16)

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 Tests LinkedIn Like Professional Skills Section (Read more at Mashable)

Facebook has been testing a new feature for user profiles that adds a ‘Professional Skills’ section beneath ‘Work’ and ‘Education’ sections. Users can use the section to add skills they believe will benefit prospective employers.

When users add in specific skills, links are created to interest pages, allowing you to, for example, connect to others who have also listed ‘marketing’ or ‘media buying’ as skills on their personal profiles. This allows recruiters to go to these specific interest pages and look at who has added them to their personal profiles. This is different than LinkedIn, which allows users to add personal skills to their profiles but not find others who have added it as well.

Facebook has made it a long-standing strategy to copy other social networks that are out there, and for the most part, it’s done this successfully. This is clearly a case of Facebook trying to get into LinkedIn’s game.

Last year it announced a partnership with the Department of Labor and has also created a Social Jobs Partnership app that has more than 1.7 million positions from recruiting companies. It won’t be easy for Facebook to get users to consider it a go-to platform for finding a job and showcasing yourself professionally, but adding features like this is a start.

Instagram Surpasses 150 Million Monthly Users and Teases Ad Plans (Read more at The Wall Street Journal)

Instagram is continuing to grow, and this week, it announced that it has 150 million monthly users, 15% more than two months ago.

With this news, Instagram’s COO Emily White revealed that ads will be coming as it looks to monetize the service in the next year.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “Ms. White’s team is looking at the possibilities around the app’s Discover feature, which promotes popular content, as well the search function, which allows users to look up images or themes. Ms. White said some retailers also are interested in ad products that will allow users to click on pictures of products that link to a retailer’s own site. But she expressed reservations about such a system because many mobile websites need improvement.”

Instagram has a poor history of introducing even hints of advertising in the past. In December, users revolted when it updated its terms of service, which hinted that user photos could be used as ads on the platform.

Instagram is getting the users. Now, it’s looking to monetize them. It has a few routes it could go, especially with its ability to pull in location data from users. It also has the potential for 15-second video ads from brands. There are seeds there for advertising. The challenge will be introducing it without alienating users.

Facebook Launches New APIs for News Organizations (Read more at MediaPost)

Facebook announced two new APIs, specifically for news organizations. The first is a public feed API, which will show a real-time feed of public posts for a specific word. The second is a keyword insights API, which will show the total number of posts that mention a specific term during a specific time period.

News organizations will be able use the API to show anonymous, aggregated results by gender, age and location.

CNN, BuzzFeed, Today, British Sky Broadcasting, Slate and Mass Relevance are early partners with the API.

The APIs will only pull in content marked as ‘public.’

This is part of Facebook’s effort to unseat Twitter as the source for real-time conversations. But it also benefits media companies as they can use it to show how ‘in-touch’ they are with public opinion by featuring it in their content.

This follows Facebook’s launch of hashtags, and a recent test of a ‘Trending’ section on user Facebook home pages. Facebook seems to be using this API to gain credibility with news organizations as a tool to inform news content, which will in turn show users that Facebook is the place to discuss real-time events.

Twitter Acquires MoPub (Read more at VentureBeat)

Twitter purchased the mobile ad exchange MoPub this week for $350 million in stock. According  to Twitter, “MoPub’s technology lets mobile application publishers mange their inventory and optimize multiple sources of advertising… in a single product.”

Twitter’s plans are to use MoPub to create a real-time exchange that allows brands to automate bids for inventory when it becomes available. This will include Promoted Tweets as well as ads on other mobile applications so higher-placed bids could run as Promoted Tweets, while lower bids might run in apps that are part of the exchange.

This follows a series of acquisitions this year for Twitter, including the purchase of Trendrr a few weeks ago and Bluefin Labs in February.

All of this gives Twitter more mobile ad dollars and the ability to show that it can scale advertising without overexposing users.

Twitter is going up against some big players when it comes to mobile advertising, including Facebook and Google, but this acquisition allows it to spread ads outside of Twitter, while maintaining the integrity of its existing ad products. Facebook has shown the potential for an exchange and programmatic buying. The acquisition positions it well for a mobile future.

Twitter Files for IPO (Read more at Bloomberg)

Twitter tweeted that it confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. That means a public IPO is in the works. Although, there are no securities for sale just yet.

It’s also worth noting that Twitter filed confidentially, which means it has to have annual revenue of less than $1 billion. This allows it to run its financials by the SEC without being exposed publicly.

Twitter’s value is around $10.5 billion, according to GSV Capital. Goldman Sachs will be the lead underwriter for the IPO.

In many ways, Twitter has felt like a public company for some time, but this will likely mean an even greater focus on its revenue-generators, such as mobile ads and its push for social TV. It will likely continue to expand in those areas as well as with its data. Companies are already licensing its data. It will likely look at its existing data model to see how it can monetize that further.

News Quick Hits

  • Yahoo announced that it will follow other tech companies like Google and Twitter in releasing a transparency report for data requests from governments. The report will include information on how it processed requests and the number of accounts affected. (Read more at VentureBeat)
  • Google+ announced two new features this week. Users can now embed Google+ posts on web pages just like they can tweets from Twitter and posts from Facebook. It is also expanding attribution in Google search by adding links to author’s Google+ pages in results that include work they’ve written on Wordpress, Examiner and Typepad. The goal is to add better attribution to authors. (Read more at The Verge)
  • Storify has been acquired by Lifefyre, a social curation site. The product, employees, engineering and support will join Livefyre, which pledges to build “the world’s leading social curation company.” (Read more at AppNewser)
  • Apple introduced its new iPhone, which comes in two models. The iPhone 5S comes with a fingerprint scanner, while the lower-cost iPhone 5C comes in five different colors and starts at $99 with a contract, $549 without. (Read more at Reuters)
  • Facebook announced that image sizes for ads are going to be consistent across all types of ad placements, meaning no different sizes for different ad types anymore. (Read more at AllFacebook)
  • The launch of Facebook video ads has been delayed, but a small group of U.S. Android users will start to see video automatically playing in their news feeds as they scroll past it. Users will need to tap the videos to activate sound. This is just a test for the moment. The only videos that will play will be from other users, celebrities and bands with verified pages. This will allow Facbeook to collect more data for the rollout of video ads. (Read more at AdAge)
  • Google+ has added a suite of web-based photo editing tools with the help of Snapseed. The update brings filters and sliders to adjust elements of each photo. (Read more at Venturebeat)