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.
Snap’s Quarterly Earnings Point to New Android App
Snap shared its quarterly earnings results, and we learned two key things.
First, user numbers are no longer in decline. User numbers held at 186 million, which is good news for Snap which had previously seen two consecutive quarters of uses leaving the platform. And Snap’s making the most of the users it does have, increasing revenue 36% over last year to $390 million. Snap also shared plans to revamp Discover to make it easier to navigate and improve user engagement
The biggest news, however, is Snap finally appears to be making headway on an updated Android app. Its current version is slow and and full of bugs, but CEO Evan Spiegel said a test of the new version is currently in underway. We don’t know, however, when the relaunched Android app will be fully rolled out.
It’s good to hear Snap’s Android app is getting closer to fruition because a successful launch of that app could alleviate many of the company’s struggles. It’d open Snapchat up to a significantly larger user base—Android users. That would help with overall user engagement as iOS users would have more people to interact with on the platform.
Snapchat’s problem is it’s waited so long to launch an updated Android version that users have turned to and become accustomed to other offerings like Instagram and its Stories feature.
Spotify Goes All-In on Podcasts
Spotify is moving on from treating podcasts as an experiment to making them a core part of its business. This week it acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor FM, two podcast companies. Gimlet reportedly went for $200 million.
This is a big step for Spotify, which previously offered podcasts including some exclusive shows from the likes of celebrities, including Amy Schumer. Now, it’s not just a podcast provider. It’s in the podcasting business.
The move is smart. Podcast listeners are notoriously loyal, and using podcasts to keep its users engaged will only help Spotify on multiple fronts, including advertising. It also lets Spotify emphasize a content offering that doesn’t require it to pay music companies, while giving it a point of differentiation from the crowded music streaming market.
Twitter Quarterly Earnings Reveal Daily Active Users
Twitter shared its quarterly earnings report this week, and for the first time ever, it revealed daily active users (DAU).
We now know Twitter has 126 million daily active users worldwide, which is a jump of 9% over the previous quarter. Most of that came from international markets.
The goal in emphasizing this number is to show advertisers just how many people are eligible each day to see ads, but it also shows that Twitter is doing everything it can to take the emphasis off monthly active users, which it announced it will no longer disclose. This was the last time we’ll hear monthly active user numbers, which now sit at 321 million, down from 5 million in Q3. Much of that is to be expected as Twitter has been actively purging accounts that were violating Twitter policies.
In terms of revenue, Twitter ad revenue is up 24% over last year to $2.62 billion, and video is its fastest growing ad format.
Twitter’s biggest focus at the moment is engagement, and Twitter’s already taking steps here by working to make conversations easier to follow and be part of. The earnings report revealed that Twitter is going to work to initiate more conversations on its platform, including the possibility of making Twitter “feel more like chat."
News Quick Hits
Slack has submitted a confidential draft registration statement with the SEC, which will begin the process of having Slack’s financial information reviewed prior to going public. Slack will not be doing an IPO. Instead, it will have a direct listing with no underwriters, just like Spotify when it went public.
Facebook’s Messenger app got an update that lets users unsend messages. Users can tap a message and select “remove.” They have the option of removing a message for just themselves or for everyone in the conversation thread. Messages have a 10-minute window of removal eligibility. After that, they stay.
Mozilla’s Firefox web browser will be automatically blocking auto-play video and audio starting in 2019 with the release of Firefox 66. If users would like to activate such content, they’ll need to click a “play” button to initiate it, and if users find themselves on a website they frequent often and don’t mind auto-playing content, they can add that site to a whitelist. Firefox would follow other browsers, including Chrome and Safari, in limiting auto-play content.
Facebook is showing a big interest in blockchain with the acquisition of several of the main people behind a blockchain startup called Chainspace. It’s not clear how Facebook will implement blockchain technology, but it did start expressing an interest as early as May 2018.
Facebook is now allowing advertisers to target household income by U.S. zip code. Advertisers will be able to target users based on average levels of income in specific zip code areas, which basically means going after various income brackets (top 5%, top 10%, top 10-25%, etc.) by location.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the integration of Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp messaging won’t be taking place for at least a year or so, but that’s for users. Businesses are getting the integration sooner. Soon businesses will be able to manage all incoming consumer messages from Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp in one location, and when businesses respond to users, they won’t notice a difference in the interaction. Ultimately, this makes managing customer communication across the Facebook ecosystem easier.
Facebook is working to make its whole company more responsible for making the platform do better in its mission to be a “social good.” Now, employees’ bonus structures will be around stemming the flow of misinformation and helping Facebook do better on social issues. Previously, the bonus structure was around rewarding improvements to user engagement and monetization.
Facebook is shifting all new and existing campaigns over to an automated campaign budget system that auto-optimizes ads based on performance. This means ad sets will not be able to exist independently from each other with different budget levels. Instead, advertisers will be limited to setting their budgets at the campaign level. Facebook will then allocate the budget to ads that are performing the best.
The Unicode Consortium is rolling out 230 new emoji in 2019, and the theme this time around is inclusivity. Expect emojis with wheelchairs, prosthetics, canes, hearing aids and service dogs along with a yo-yo, falafel and others.
Instagram Stories is getting a donation sticker that users will be able to add to their content. Friends who tap the sticker will be able to directly donate to the organization in sticker. Only registered nonprofit organizations can be featured, and Facebook will not take a cut of the donation.
Facebook is updating its “Why am I seeing this button?” to allow users to see the brand that paid for the ad, targeting criteria and whether or not users were targeted because their contact information was uploaded. Users will be able to see who uploaded their contact information if indeed it was. The effort will help Facebook police brands who have uploaded audience target information obtained illegitimately by encouraging users to monitor ads they see.
Pages can now join Facebook Groups and participate in discussions with users there. Groups are typically organized around a shared interest, and Facebook believes brands are part of those shared interests. Up until this point brands would send users working for their companies into groups to participate.
Instagram is going to be more aggressive in pushing IGTV. Now, preview videos will display in your feed when someone you follow posts something to IGTV. The preview will be a clip paired with a CTA to watch the video in its entirety. IGTV doesn’t seem to be as successful as Instagram hoped when it launched, and this is clearly a means of bringing attention to a feature that users haven’t shown much interest in.