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 May Look More Like Messaging Service
The Twitter we know now may soon look more like a messaging service, according to Twitter’s vp of product. Right now, the service is considering adding features users would find commonplace in WhatsApp and Messenger like chat bubbles and online status indicators when replying to someone.
Twitter’s very much been a broadcasting app, but now the platform is wondering what it could look like if it went back to its SMS roots a bit, and the answer is, it’d look much more like a messaging platform.
We also found out Twitter is testing threaded conversations to make tweets easier to follow by nesting replies within tweets to see who is responding to who in a conversation. Tweets will also be color-coded with labels to make them easier to follow.
There are no confirmations when or if Twitter would role out updates like this, but the earliest they’d make their way out of testing is next year.
These features shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. Jack Dorsey has stated that his ambition for the platform is to “increase the health of public conversation.” Each of these tools seems to be about facilitating the back-and-forth interactions between users. However, if Twitter does move to more of a messaging platform than where it is, that will be a pretty significant shift. It doesn’t sound like functionally the platform will behave any differently, but the emphasis will certainly be shifted as Twitter moves from one-to-many broadcast environment to a one-to-few conversation environment.
Twitter Inks Deal with the NBA
Twitter and the NBA have come to a broadcast deal, but this one’s quite different than other deals made in the past.
This deal will allow Twitter to stream the second half of 20 NBA games, and the focus of the stream will be on a single player starting in February. Users will be able to spend the first half interacting with the @NBAonTNT account to vote on which player the camera should focus on for the second half. The player with the most votes gets the limelight, and when the player sits on the bench, viewers will b able to see the whole game.
Instead of copying what traditional broadcasts have done, Twitter’s looking to change things up a bit by offering a viewing experience people can’t get anywhere else. The second half of basketball games is certainly the best part, and the focus on a single player chosen by the audience is a move that increases audience interaction. At the same time, traditional broadcast partners, like Turner and other TV networks, aren’t having what they offer cannibalized by another service.
IMDB Launches Freedive
Amazon-owned IMDB has launched a new video streaming service called Freedive. The service will allow users to watch ad-supported movies and TV shows for free.
This is different from Amazon Prime video, which is essentially Amazon’s version of Netflix that allows Amazon Prime subscribers to access a library of content and exclusive programs run without ads.
Freedive is available on its website or thorough Amazon Fire TV. The move opens up IMDB to a significant amount of video ad inventory, something IMDB has been running for awhile now for advertisers looking to reach IMDB's 250 million unique monthly visitors.
The move shows Amazon’s commitment to the video streaming competition currently taking place. Amazon’s also making major moves to be one of the advertising giants against Facebook and Google, and this additional offering to IMDB reinforces that.
News Quick Hits
Hulu announced that it now has 25 million subscribers, a significant jump from the 17 million it had only a year ago. This isn’t anywhere near Netflix numbers of 60 million, but the jump is notable. Hulu did not separate out how many of its subscribers also pay for Hulu’s live TV service, but it did reveal that for subscribers who do pay for live TV through Hulu, 50% of their time is spent watching on-demand content.
Instagram is allowing users to post the same content to two or more accounts at once. Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s founder, was against such a feature, but since he left the company, it appears Facebook is ready to move forward with this update.
Amazon has started piloting a program in which it’s sending free samples to consumers in their packages. The samples end up being what is essentially ads for the products sent to Amazon customers, and its an ad unit advertisers can’t get from the duopoly that is Facebook and Google.
We now have it—Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2019. This year Zuckerberg plans to host public discussions about the future of society to understand how technology will shape human behavior and expand his thinking beyond engineering. This seems like a personal challenge that would have been better served five or so years ago, but you know what they say about hindsight. It’s 20/20.
Google is adding Google Assistant to Google Maps, which means users will be able to verbally ask Google Maps for directions home or ask for restaurants nearby, for example. No more tapping required. Users will also be able to use Google Maps to respond to texts or send their ETAs by voice.