This Week in Social (Weeks of July14)

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 Upgrades Analytics Dashboard (Read more at AdAge)

Advertisers are now able to get much more data from Twitter's native dashboard. Twitter card publishers and verified users can now go to their advertising dashboards to see how organic tweets are performing in a single interface. This level of information was previously limited to only promoted tweets. Now, users can see the number of impressions, clicks, expands, replies, retweets and favorites organic, non-promoted tweets received.

All data is exportable to a CSV file. The dashboard is available at Verified account holders have access as does anyone who has an advertiser account.

The upgraded dashboard is great for advertisers. It allows them to easily see what is working and what isn't and from there, determine what type of content deserves additional paid support in the form of a Promoted Tweet. But it also allows advertisers to more easily look at other factors like timing and cadence that contribute to success and then evolve their approaches from there.

All of these features have been available through third-party dashboards in the past, but Twitter offering such a service is a significant move, nonetheless. Of course, third parties are watching this closely as Twitter encroaches once again on one of their core business offerings.

LinkedIn Acquires Newsle (Read more at The New York Times)

Newsle, a service that allows users to import Facebook and LinkedIn contacts and then receive alerts when any of them have been mentioned online, has been acquired by LinkedIn. Newsle will continue to operate as a standalone entity, while some of its features will be added to existing LinkedIn products.

According to Ryan Roslansky, head of content products at LinkedIn, "The combination of Newsle and LinkedIn is good news for professionals everywhere because it means even more relevant insights about the people they care about." Roslansky explained that knowing more about the people in your network, such as when they're mentioned in the news can "surface relevant isights that help you hit your next meeting with them out of the park."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LinkedIn very recently launched Connected, an app that helps users stay in contact with those in their networks as well as receive updates on individuals before going into meetings with them. Newsle fits into this by offering another source for anticipatory information that LinkedIn can arm users with. Newsle will allow users to be up-to-date on what their connections are doing on LinkedIn and across the web with less effort. They appear more knowledgable and are better able to connect with others based on what is going on in their lives, and LinkedIn becomes an indispensable tool for doing just that.

Google+ Removes Real Name Requirement (Read more at Marketing Land)

Google+ is no longer implementing it controversial requirement for users to use their real names on the network, which in turn makes them use their real name across all Google properties from Gmail to YouTube.

Google implemented the standard to associate online identities with real people, potentially leading to more civil online discourse. However, once Google+ became the only way to comment on YouTube videos, the outcry against the requirement hit a crescendo. Users have claimed they sometimes want to use fake names for a variety of reasons, including personal safety.

According to Google "there are no more restrictions on what name you can use." Google stated that the policy "has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step forward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."

If you do choose to change your name, Google+ can lock you from making any other changes to your name for up to three months.

It's easy to understand why Google initiated the policy in the first place. More civil comments would be welcome many places online, particularly in YouTube comments. However, in niche cases, the policy was a non-starter.

Many users simply couldn't use the platform because it posed too much of a risk, and in some cases the real name policy actually had a negative impact. The move may be too little too late for Google+ to get users who dismissed it because of this policy.

Snapchat Introduces Geofilters (Read more at TechCrunch)

As Snapchat accelerates its focus on location-based features, the ephemeral messaging app has launched Geofilters, which are location-based photo filters. Users in a specific location will have access to filters limited to that location, such as New York City or Los Angeles-only filters. The filters can easily be added to snaps.

The filters are free to users and clearly in the middle of a limited rollout as they're only available in New York and L.A., but they hold potential for brand integration. For example, Nike or Disney could create filters that users can add to their photos. This would be one fairly straightforward option for Snapchat to generate revenue.

Facebook Tests Buy Button (Read more at AllFacebook)

Facebook has announced that it is in the process of testing a buy call-to-action button with a select group of small and midsize businesses.

The feature adds a buy button to ads and page posts, allowing users to purchase the featured product without leaving Facebook. Any financial information shared by users will be kept with Facebook and not shared with advertisers, but users will have the option to save their payment information. 

The feature is limited to the U.S. at this time and works on mobile and desktop.

Facebook has proven with app download ads that it can be an effective direct response platform, and these ads could easily play into that. Plus, it allows Facebook to collect more data from users. In this case, that information is payment info. For advertisers, it offers another opportunity to leverage the platform to reach an audience in their News Feeds with a clear ROI-driven goal in mind.

Twitter Acquires Payments Platform (Read more at Twitter's Blog)

Twitter has acquired CardSpring, a payments infrastructure startup designed to connect merchants and payments processors by creating applications for credit cards, discounts and other payment processes. The service allows users to collet sales offers, sync them to a credit card and then collect the discounts in the store or online.

Facebook is in the process of testing a buy button, and Twitter has experimented with Amazon on a feature allowing users to add items to their Amazon carts through Twitter. This is the latest move by Twitter to allow users to purchase directly on the platform. 

It's easy to see how CardSpring technology could be incorporated into Twitter ads. For example, a TV advertiser could target buy now ads to users who are watching a TV show with that advertiser is running a spot. Or perhaps advertisers could use CardSpring to share a discount that users could claim on Twitter and then redeem in-store. All of this, however, is speculation as Twitter has not confirmed how CardSpring will be incorporated into the platform.

News Quick Hits

  • Secret has added two new features. The first, dubbed Collections, consists of curated streams of popular secrets related to a specific topic. The second allows users to view posts from their Facebook friends while remaining anonymous. Users must login via Facebook to activate the feature. (Read more at Mashable)
  • Japanese messaging app Line has filed for a $10 billion IPO. The service is currently mulling over a dual listing in New York and Tokyo. Line currently has 300 million registered users compared to Facebook-owned WhatsApp's 500 million. (Read more at Mashable)
  • Facebook is now allowing developers to sell virtual goods through News Feed and sidebar ads with out-app purchase ads. The ads are currently only available on desktop. The ads have already been tested by Kixeye, which sold $10 worth of in-game credits for $5. The ad received a 10% CTR. (Read more at TechCrunch)
  • Facebook Ads Manager is now available through its mobile site and iOS and Android apps. The service's mobile capabilities allow marketers to pause and resume campaigns, edit budgets and schedules, view insights and respond to alerts. (Read more at AllFacebook)
  • Pinterest is allowing users to follow sub-categories of curated pins. When users click on a broad category like "outdoors," they're presented with more specific sub-categories like "ultralight backpacking." Users can then choose to follow those sub-categories. The sub-categories offer a great deal of potential for advertisers to deliver targeted ads. Although, Pinterest is not making advertising within these categories available at this time. (Read more at Digiday)