This Week in Social (Week of September 23)

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 Testing New Smartphone Payment Option (Read more at Business Insider)

Facebook is getting ready to roll out a feature called “Autofill with Facebook” that will allow smartphone users to charge items to their credit cards while shopping through mobile devices.

The feature’s functionality is all in the name. When retail stores have the feature built into their own apps, users can use the feature to automatically fill in credit card information through a drop-down menu if the user has synced a card with his or her Facebook account. It’s all about making mobile purchases easier.

This feature allows Facebook to leverage its position for many users as their online identity and get more data. In this case, that data is purchase behavior and credit card information. If Facebook can roll this out successfully, it would gather a lot of user data that could then be pulled into its ad platforms.

YouTube Cleaning Up Comments Through Google+ (Read more at Wired)

Comments have been the dark side of YouTube for some time, and YouTube is working to do something about it with advanced moderation features allowing video publishers to block individual users and keywords. YouTube will also be integrating closely with Google+ to make it easier for users to see comments from people within their Google+ circles by bringing them to the top. In addition, comments from video creators and “popular personalities” will show up at the top of comment threads, burying anyone showing troll-like behavior. Finally, users can make comments viewable to everyone or just people within their Google+ circles. Upvotes and downvotes on comments will remain.

Comments have been a major challenge for YouTube, and these tools will make moderation much easier. Google also wins here as it continues to push people to use Google+ more often. For brands, this means a less hostile environment, but it’s important to note that even though the tools are improving, any successful YouTube channel has a strong hands-on, manual moderation approach.

Twitter Adding Push Notifications Features (Read more at Mashable)

Twitter is making updates to send useful push notifications to its users through Twitter mobile apps.

The first is personalized recommendations on accounts to follow. Twitter has set-up an algorithm to identify accounts and tweets users may want to follow. Users can turn this off in their settings.

The second feature is called Twitter Alerts. Twitter says the feature “brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information during emergencies, natural disasters or when other communications services aren’t accessible.” The alerts are only available to law enforcement and public safety agencies, emergency management agencies, city and municipal governments, county and regional agencies and select state, federal, and national agencies and NGOs.

The feature is subscription based, but users that do activate it will receive alerts pushed to their devices with the Twitter app installed. The feature can be activated at twitter.com/[username]/alerts.

First of all, Twitter obviously wants users turning to its platform more often, and suggesting users to follow may help with that. The Alerts feature is more interesting. The platform has already proven to be a fairly valuable and somewhat reliable service during a crisis. This shows how Twitter is diversifying its platform to be more useful for more types users.

Google Brings Updates to Search (Read more at The Verge)

Google announced new updates to search, which it says will bring users to information quicker as the update includes new mobile features and better integration with Knowledge Graph.

The Knowledge Graph has been improved to provide better answers to more complex questions, including comparison results that outline two things a user would like to compare in a table. Users will also have access to filters to help them filter down to what they’re most interested in. For example, a search for “impressionist artists” will display a dropdown filter of other styles related to impressionist artists, such as Realist and Renaissance.

New interfaces and features are coming to mobile apps. Voice search is getting more powerful with the ability to understand more question types and provide more voice feedback. The iOS and Android mobile apps will also be getting more unified designs that Google says will be optimized for touch. Finally, Google Now will start pushing reminder notifications on iOS devices the same way it does Android.

The last feature has to do with Google Search. It’s new search algorithm, called Hummingbird, aims to make results more relevant and useful. Hummingbird launched last month.

We can see by what Google is doing where search is going. It’s getting to be more conversational, not focused on using keywords but submitting queries based on how we talk everyday. It’s also fascinating to see how technology is talking back to us. Everything is becoming more conversational and with Google Now becoming as robust for iOS as it for Android, it’s exciting to see how Google is anticipating user needs and delivering relevant information prior to asking for it.

Pinterest Launches Rich Pins for Publishers (Read more at Socialfresh)

Pinterest has announced a new type of pin, specifically for articles, which will include the article’s headline, author, description and source URL. Articles could always be pinned, but now they look better with bigger images and more information. Articles pinned in the past are also getting the update.

Businesses can start incorporating this by adding the necessary metatags to their sites, validating their rich pins and applying to get them on Pinterest.

This should be a welcome feature for any brand executing content marketing tactics. It also points to the importance of including a visual in any article posted. For users, this makes Pinterest an even more valuable bookmarking platform with the ability to save all types of interesting content.

News Quick Hits

  • LinkedIn is fighting back against a California lawsuit that claims that it hacks user email accounts to send messages without user permission. LinkedIn Senior Director of Litigation Blake Lewit argues that accessing user emails without permission is not something LinkedIn does. The network never pretends to be a user in order to access their accounts and invitations to join LinkedIn are never sent to anyone on a user’s behalf without permission. Everything LinkedIn does requires user consent. (Read more at LinkedIn)
  • Facebook announced that it is now allowing advertisers to upload lists of existing customer iOS iDFAs (identifiers for advertising) and reach them with relevant content. This allows advertisers to look at how people are engaging with them and then deliver advertising based on that behavior. (Read more at Inside Facebook)
  • Twitter has formed a partnership with CBS to bring video clips in near real-time to Twitter through its Amplify program to promote content from 42 CBS products. They provided the example of a “60 minutes in 60 seconds” ad to promote the news magazine. The goal is to use Twitter to reinforce its audience by engaging them online and recruiting new viewers through the microblogging network. CBS follows other brands including Ford and ESPN. (Read more at The New York Times)
  • Twitter and the NFL have formed a partnership that will bring NFL video highlights and content to Twitter through its Amplify platform. The clips will be preceded by short video ads that both Twitter and the NFL are able to sell. (Read more at AdAge)
  • Facebook is now letting users edit posts after publishing them. Previously, posts had to be deleted if any changes needed to be made, which meant losing all engagement. The feature is available through the drop-down arrow on posts. The feature has been very popular on Google+. (Read more at TechCrunch)
  • LinkedIn is pushing ‘sponsored jobs’ into users’ feeds. Previously, they only displayed in the right rail, but now they’ll appear with content, including news and updates. The change is intended to enhance visibility, particularly on mobile devices. (Read more at Mashable)