social media watch

Biz Stone Thinks the World Is Ready for Jelly, a Social-Visual Search App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2014 03:54 PM

Back in 2001, the ladies of Destiny's Child gave us fair warning, but who knew we'd have to wait 13 years to see if we were "ready for this jelly?"

After leaving Twitter in 2011, co-founder Biz Stone formed Obvious to explore new ideas with some former co-Tweeters, and then launched Medium, a "digital speakers' corner."

This week, he unveiled at CES 2014 his next big thing: Jelly, an app that brings social and search together to answer queries. Not quite the caliber of 'Queen Bey,' but we're intrigued.

Users will pose visual questions via Twitter and Facebook and receive answers back from select friends and followers.

“What we’re really doing is taking full advantage of what makes mobile mobile: the brevity, the location, the shortness of the answers,” said Stone, CEO of the new company.

In a blog post, the company said Jelly uses humans rather than algorithms to gather and parse information. “No matter how sophisticated our algorithms become, they are still no match for the experience, inventiveness, and creativity of the human mind."Continue reading...

social media watch

Will LinkedIn Scale China's Great Firewall?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 20, 2013 05:27 PM

A test of the exportability of social networks across cultures is about to run as Linkedin reportedly prepares to expand into China.

“They're spending a lot to dominate the world,” said CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “Moving into China is a gigantic game-changer for them, it's like Coach going in there with handbags."

LinkedIn offers mobile and iPad apps in China, where four out of five of the country’s 591 million internet users access through smartphones. LinkedIn competitors abound in China, though, including Tianji, which claims 15 million users, while LinkedIn has quietly amassed 4 million subscribers, equivalent to its penetration in Australia. 

But it’s an uphill battle as the Chinese government continues to block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube—even Google Drive and LinkedIn’s SlideShare are accessible only through virtual private networks. But LinkedIn isn't considered a threat to China. 

"People on LinkedIn talk about their professional life, their work, news about their industries, it's not that sensitive," Xiaofeng Wang, a Forrester Research analyst told Ad Age.Continue reading...

social media watch

Facebook Launches Attack on TV with Auto-Play Video Ads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 12:41 PM

What were once distinguishable differences between social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now all becoming parts of a whole—a whole taht is focused on serving up better, more targeted and engaging ads. 

In the latest effort, following Twitter's more visual feed and Instagram's ads, Facebook has launched video ads today across its user network, debuting the new feature with a trailer for the upcoming film Divergent.  

Facebook is positioning the new ads to see if its network can best TV—a different route than that taken by Twitter, which has worked hard to make TV brands and advertisers their partner through its Twitter Amplify program. “Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time—with high-quality sight, sound and motion," Ad Age notes

The video ads will play automatically in users' news feed—a feature that the platform rolled out for general video content earlier this month. The autoplay can certainly be a turnoff, to which Facebook says "you can simply scroll or swipe past it." The video won't play sound until it is "clicked or tapped and played full screen." After the first ad, a "carousel of two additional videos” appears, making it easy for users to explore other content from the marketer.Continue reading...

social media watch

Sprint Rides Campaign Success Straight On Through Social Media History

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2013 07:02 PM

Sprint's latest campaign parodying the banality of text messaging with veteran thespians James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell is not only a hit for its originality, humor and class, but grabs the brand a first for last night’s debut of the eighth ad in the series on a fan's Twitter feed.

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, “Thinking About You,” starring Jones and McDowell reading a text exchange between a girl (Danielle) and her boyfriend (Tim), appeared on Danielle Gray’s Twitter feed. Gray, a frequent tweeter about her love of ads, was offered the chance to have her friends and fans get exclusive access to the ad until midnight when it was posted to Sprint's Facebook page with her tagged.

Despite the erudite actors in black tie, “The success of these ads is proof that sometimes the little ideas work better than the big ones," Marketing Pilgrim noted. “These ads are simple, uncluttered and fun. How often do you see that on TV?”Continue reading...

social media watch

Facebook, Apple Hope to Be More In Touch with Consumer Wants with Feed Improvements, Acquisitions

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 05:02 PM

Social media has given new life to the news, with a constant, eye-witness, real-time stream of events happening around the world, and Facebook and Twitter are working hard to keep such content front and center in their feeds. 

Facebook has updated its News Feed feature to highlight more news and "high quality content." The social network will start adding related links with news stories and as older stories generate new comments, they’ll be bumped back up near the top of News Feeds, leveraging the ever-evolving algorithm considered Facebook’s “secret sauce.” 

"Starting soon, we'll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile," according to a press release

The effort will put Facebook in more direct competition with Twitter, which publishes users' tweets in chronological order without the help (or hindrance) of a content algorithm like Facebook's.Continue reading...

social media watch

Twitter Starts Checking IDs to Safeguard Booze Brands—And Target Ads

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2013 08:37 PM

Twitter isn’t interested in corrupting minors, so the social media giant has set up a system of checks and balances to make sure no one under the age of 21 in the US will see any Twitter posts from alcohol brands. When requesting to follow a brand, users will have to enter their birthdate into a direct message for verification. 

"Our hope is that this approach to age-screening will enable alcohol brands to responsibly and safely connect with the right audience on Twitter," wrote Tarun Jain in a blog post.

Mashable notes that Bud Light, Knob Creek, and Bacardi as brands that require age-verification to follow. When a person clicks on those brands, a direct message is sent to verify the birthdate. If it isn’t filled out correctly within 24 hours, the address is off limits. Sometime in the future, Twitter may start trying to prove that users are telling the truth, but that's a bit far off, VentureBeat reports.Continue reading...

social media watch

Nissan Successfully Navigates Social Promo on Reddit as JPMorgan Regroups

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2013 04:56 PM

Japanese automaker Nissan recently became the first brand to promote a car, its new Versa Note, for purchase on Amazon

To bring further attention to the new model and partnership, Nissan asked Reddit users last week to request an item they would like from Amazon—and then started buying those items for them in an experiment overseen by two Reddit community managers.

Most advertisers would agree that Reddit is the kind of social network where you either speak the language or suffer the consequences. Of course, brands can fall victim to similar fates on Twitter, Facebook, and others, but Reddit's unique community and stringent ad rules make the platform a mine field for brands caught promoting themselves. 

Nissan, however, followed the rules and garnered more than 1,500 comments and requests and concluded the experiment by treating some Redditors to 30 months of Reddit gold (the website’s premium membership) and a long list of items including: “Grow a boyfriend, roller skates, new boots, How to avoid huge ships(book), Calvin and Hobbes Book set, ultimate bacon sampler, horse mask, glorious three-wolf moon shirt, 17'' catfish pillow, LOVE ( Beatles Soundtrack), Cooking with Coolio (book), 4,500 ladybugs, banana slicer, bookmark, skull cap, how to sharpen pencils (book), pizza cutter, headset stand, puzzle, diapers, french press, Battlefield4, chair, camera mic, necklace, nean bag bed, scooter suitcase, KitchenAid, and a Nexus 10," according to Digiday.Continue reading...

social media watch

Pinterest Sees Big Potential in Location-Based Place Pins

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 21, 2013 02:47 PM

Pinterest is pinning its monetization hopes on Place Pins, a new category of pins focused on travel that carries enormous potential in the lucrative business of location-based ads.

Place Pins let users pin images of bars, cafes, restaurants and other destinations onto dedicated Pinterest boards. The intention is to tap into social travel, helping users plan trips. The company says its Pinners generate 1.5 million pins tagged to locations every day, adding up to a total of 750 million across the site, with 75 percent of traffic coming from mobile. 

Users can create map-based pin boards integrated with map apps from Google and Apple, while Foursquare, Airbnb and OpenTable will provide content. The pins will make use of Foursquare’s location API and Mapbox’s map technology.

“Pinterest users like to plan vacations as much as they like to redesign their living rooms and make over their wardrobes, so it isn’t far-fetched to imagine hotels, vacation destinations and travel agents paying to promote themselves on the new pin maps," the Wall Street Journal muses.Continue reading...

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