Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Android’.

We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #70

by Karen Wee in News

WhatsApp’s rumoured to launch a games platform
The sleeping giant stirs, if the buzz is anything to go by. Rumour has it that WhatsApp, one of the most popular chat apps worldwide, is in talks with WeMade, a US/Korean games maker for a possible tie-up. If this move materializes, WhatsApp would have effectively diversified its monetization approach while reaping increased revenues and possibly strengthen its dominance in the messaging market. Rival apps such as Japan’s Line and Korea’s KakaoTalk have been very successful with their gaming ventures, clocking in impressive download numbers and revenue. Line reported that its game platform has seen more than 100 million cumulative app downloads within 7 months, a significant number considering that there are 120 million registered users. Line Pop, one of the most popular games out of the 17 titles, had 1 million downloads on the first day and amassed US$1 million (about S$1.25 million) in revenue within the first 12 days of its launch. KakaoTalk’s less forthcoming with figures but data from the 3-month testing period showed that there were 82 million downloads from 23 million unique users out of its 80 million userbase. WhatsApp’s tie-up with WeMade will be a good arrangement as the games maker is strong in both western and Asian markets. In addition, this would give the company another source of revenue. Incidentally, WhatsApp has declared its disdain for advertising and felt that content was the most logical basis for a new revenue stream.

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Fuubo, a new Android Sina Weibo app, is a breath of fresh air
Sina Weibo users on Android have had to contend with clunky apps but that might be changing with a new app in town, Fuubo. Fuubo offers users an aesthetically pleasing interface and intuitive features such as slide panels as well as commenting, reposting and notifications functions. The app’s drawback at the current moment is the lack of direct messaging features and an English interface. Perhaps these will be rolled out in the coming months.

Fuubo-app-for-Weibo

Touchtalent offers creative people an interest-based social network 
What ignites your passion? If you’re an artist, then check out Touchtalent, a social network for the creative community. The brainchild of Ankit Prasad, a student at IIT Delhi, the platform has been online since July 2012 and houses works from artists living in 152 countries. Segregating works into 19 categories that cover calligraphy, sculpting, comics, music and literature in addition to other art genres, the site is integrated with Facebook and has registered more than 8.6 million users. In addition to showcasing works from artists, the site incorporates features that allow artists to sell their work and/or get hired for creative projects. The site also invites users to express their opinion via emoticons and share their work on various social media networks.

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IdBlogNetwork, a new social media advertising platform in Indonesia
New Indonesian blog advertising service, IdBlogNetwork, seeks to give Google Adsense a run for its money. They’ve joined forces with The Affiliate Gateway (TAG) Asia to offer Indonesian bloggers a wider range of affiliate marketing alternatives. The company also plans to launch a social media advertising platform named IdBuzzNetwork in April this year. The results aren’t great at the moment as affiliate marketing programs are still in its infancy in Indonesia. However this is expected to improve, as internet penetration and online shopping become more widely accepted within the country coupled with positive word of mouth by bloggers.

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Singapore Telco tests real-time social media marketing
In a refreshing departure from its usual stoic image, Singapore Telecom (SingTel) handed the keys to its Twitter account for a day  to local comedian, Hossan Leong.

ST

Known for his flamboyance and witty sense of humour, followers were asked to tweet situations in which they would need fast 4G internet speeds with the campaign hashtag, #Need4GSpeed. Hossan would then provide sidesplitting responses in the form of tweet replies, pictures and short YouTube videos such as the one below.

Facebook ads on par with TV for FMCG
According to those FMCG brands using Facebook, advertising on the network is as effective as its TV equivalent and offers a better return on investment. Nestle and General Mills both claimed they could trace a high percentage of sales to Facebook advertising after recent cross-platform campaigns; the former attributed 11% of Kit Kat sales to the platform, the latter 27% of Old El Paso.

Gartner’s Digital Marketing Survey
Gartner has published its 2013 Digital Marketing Survey, showing that the top two digital marketing investments for the coming year will be in e-commerce and social media. Indeed, over 40% of the 200 US marketers surveyed stated that social networking, in combination with their corporate website and digital advertising, is key to marketing success.

Gartner

Twitter’s popularity across EMEA areas
Twitter’s popularity varies across EMEA areas, according to a survey by GlobalWebIndex of over 152,000 internet users in 31 markets. It found that 51% of Saudi Arabian internet users are active Twitter users, where ‘active’ is defined as those who have used the service in the past month, followed by 39% in Turkey and 34% in the UAE. Meanwhile, the same study found that the number of global Twitter users has grown from 206 million in Q3 2012 to 288 million in Q4, an increase of 39.8%.

Twitter in the Middle East

How people use Twitter
A report by Brandwatch has produced some interesting findings into how people are currently using Twitter. After compiling data from over 10,000 random tweets, they noted that 62% of these were engagement of some sort, compared to 38% broadcast, while brands were highly prevalent in discussions. 3.6% of all tweets mention brands, amounting to 12,600 tweets per minute. In terms of gender analysis, men were more likely to discuss sport, games and news or politics, while women on average spend more time discussing music, work and education. Women were also more likely to tweet about personal matters, or enter online competitions.

Twitter users forming ‘tribes’
Analysis of millions of tweets has concluded that Twitter users are forming ‘tribes’ online, each with their own unique vocabulary. The theory contradicts the idea that networks like Twitter facilitate global sharing, with the most insular groups sending up to 90% of tweets internally.

Twitter tribes

Social media subject to the same disclosure regulations as traditional media
The Federal Trade Commission has decided that adverts on social platforms must follow the same rules of disclosure as their offline counterparts. This means that, even in a 140-character tweet, space must be devoted to either “promoted” or “ad”. In an update to their 13-year-old “Dot Com Disclosures”, the FTC has argued that consumer protection laws should apply equally regardless of the medium and, as such, the format does not exempt marketers from providing clear and effective disclosure. Also provided is information on how to make effective disclosure, which involves the avoidance of hyperlinks for disclosure about cost and certain health & safety issues, plus the clear and accurate labelling of hyperlinks and consideration of how these will be affected on various platforms and devices. The full guidance can be found here – subtitled “How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”.

Over 400 billion actions have been shared on Open Graph
Open Graph activity covers a lot of what we do on Facebook: following, liking, listening to music and so on. Ahead of last week’s SXSW, Facebook revealed that such actions have been shared over 400 billion times. Certain actions have seen a lot of activity: 110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times and 1.47 million books have been shared.

Facebook updates Timeline
Hot on the heels of the previous week’s News feed changes, Facebook has announced a set of updates to Timeline. There is now a separate space for “things you care about”, which ranges from movies or books to apps like Instagram, depending on the user. The “movies” section, for example, looks like this:

Facebook Timeline Movies

Moreover, the profile is now more strictly delineated into two columns; applications like the above will appear on the left, whilst the right is occupied by a user’s posts. This leads to what Facebook hopes will be a clearer layout, as follows:

Facebook New Timeline

Simultaneous with these changes, the social network has written a blog post detailing the development of the updated News feed, in which a user experience researcher discusses the development from receiving complaints about “clutter” to identifying what was meant by the term and instigating change intended to combat the issue.

More ways to feature apps in new Facebook Timeline
One key difference in Facebook’s updated Timeline is the increased ability to feature apps. As users can now choose which apps to feature on their profiles, developers are able to create “collections” that showcase how their apps are being used. Foursquare, for example, can display the numerous places people have checked in.

Foursquare on new timeline

Facebook to incorporate hashtags?
Long since a mainstay of communication via Twitter, now Facebook are looking into incorporating the hashtag. Whilst it is unclear how far along development is, rumour has it that the feature would be used to group conversations on the network. #intriguing.

More prompts from Facebook to ‘like’ pages, fewer to ‘unlike’
In a move seemingly aimed at encouraging users to interact further with brands, Facebook have introduced a couple of changes to the visibility of ‘like’ and ‘unlike’ options. The first of these two comes as a twofold alteration to ‘liking’ a page. Now, when users like one page via mobile, they will be confronted with the option of liking other, ‘similar’ pages. Moreover, when content from a news website is shared, a button appears below it, offering the option to ‘like’ the page for related stories. In terms of ‘unlikes’, the updated News feed has been designed for lower visbility. When previously choosing to hide a story from the News feed, users were given two options: hide all stories from the page, or unlike it. Now, the latter has been removed, leaving only the option to hide all stories from the same source.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s views on Twitter
Head of WPP Sir Martin Sorrell has claimed that Twitter is more of a PR medium than an advertising one. Considering as an example the London Olympics, he discussed how it acted as a hugely effective word of mouth platform, more so than the likes of Facebook. However, a number of industry professionals have come out to disagree with Sorrell, including We Are Social’s own media director, David Gilbert:

Advertising success on Twitter can be achieved with a carefully thought-out strategy and tight targeting. As marketers, it is our responsibility to adapt our strategies according to the platforms and technologies available.

Twitter to launch iOS music app
Twitter are poised to launch a music app before the end of the month, according to CNET. The app will make music suggestions based on both what you are currently listening to and the music accounts you follow on Twitter.

Twitter Music

Twitter for Windows 8
Twitter have launched an app for Windows 8, including unique features intended at optimising the experience for specific devices. These include ‘Snap View’, which allows Twitter to be moved to one side of the screen and viewed simultaneously with other apps, as well as ‘search’ and ‘share’ charms to allow ease of access to the platform at any time. The launch video below provides further detail.

Twitter improves Analytics
Twitter stepped up their Analytics last week. On Wednesday, Twitter announced an improved ad insights platform, which will allow marketers to further track the effect of promoted tweets beyond their initial audience, allowing a fuller picture of how campaigns extend across the network.

Early stats on Vine usage
Early statistics on use of Twitter’s ‘Vine’ app have shown that it has gained traction already. By the end of February, it was used by 2.66% of all iOS devices, up 50% month-by-month. Notably, the figures for similar apps, including Cinemagram, Viddy and Socialcam all show decline over the same period.

Vine usage

Pinterest’s Web Analytics
Pinterest has gone in a similar direction to Twitter in terms of analytics, launching ‘Pinterest Web Analytics’, which will allow brands to discover information such as how many repins their content received, as well as who saw it as a result. This is now available for free to those with a verified website and will look as follows:

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest have themselves released some information about what’s available and how to gain access.

New Pinterest layout
As well as its Analytics tool, Pinterest used last week to launch a redesign of its network. The ‘repin’ button has been replaced by a large, red ‘Pin it’ equivalent, price now comes as a bubble in the top right corner of a pin and there is an enhanced view surrounding each pin, allowing you to more easily view other pins from the same board & site. Finally, there is a new ‘people who pinned this also pinned’ feature. All in all, shown below. All in all, the changes seem set to make the network even more visually immersive.

People who pinned this

LinkedIn to purchase Newsreader app Pulse
LinkedIn are in talks to purchase Alphonso Labs, makers of Newsreader app Pulse for a deal said to be worth between $50 million and $100 million. The app currently has around 20 million users, reading about 10 million stories per day.

LinkedIn produce B2B advertising banner
LinkedIn have announced SlideShare Content Ads, display units that will appear across the platform, designed at business-to-business advertising. Once a user scrolls over one of these, they will be faced with a presentation that they can scroll through either without leaving the page or in full-screen mode.

Foursquare in new round of funding
Foursquare is rumoured to be in the process of securing a new round of funding, amidst talk that the platform is running out of money. It is as of yet unclear how the network will fare, especially in comparison to the $600 million pre-money valuation received when they raised $50 million in June 2011. As other networks, including Facebook, have looked to eat into the locations market, Foursquare are seeking to fight their corner, with partnerships including e-commerce with Mastercard & Visa and a deal to come pre-installed on the Blackberry 10 device.

Netflix getting social
In what seems like a story that should have come about long ago, Netflix are finally launching social options for US users. Their previous Facebook offering in Canada, Latin America and the UK, which did not allow users to choose what they shared, has been replaced by a system whereby users who opt in will have rows added to their Netflix home page, detailing both “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends”. Inside Facebook has highlighted this as an important move in Facebook’s growing video strategy, which includes increased integration on the new Timeline and structured status updates that include verbs like “watching”. The features are discussed in the below video.

Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage powered by tweets
Yes, that reads ‘Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage’. The snack brand hosted aninteractive concert at SXSW, in which tweets from the audience would affect in concert events from lighting and cues to the encore song. For more information, I’ll leave you in the very capable hands of rapper LL Cool J.

Meet WolfDog, Old Spice’s ‘Executive Director of Marketing’
In a development of their wildly successful brand TOV, Old Spice have introduced a new ‘Executive Director of Marketing’ across a number of social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. General public, meet WolfDog.

Ford reach out to automotive bloggers
To market the new 2013 Ford Fusion, the car giant behind the vehicle has reached out to bloggers discussing it on Jalopnik. Flying them to Los Angeles under the pretence of answering market research questions for Jalopnik, they put the influencers in the car alongside professional racer Tanner Foust and created four pieces of video content, the first of which is shown here:

Jaguar promote F-type launch with Facebook competition
We Are Social have produced a Facebook competition to celebrate the UK launch of the new Jaguar F-type. Incentivised by prizes chosen by Jaguar’s communities and a selection of bloggers, fans must post an update relevant to the prize, alongside a link to the ‘Desire’ app. The campaign, which runs across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, forms part of an overall ‘Desire’ campaign that also includes a branded film, featuring Homeland star Damian Lewis.

French Connection sourcing user-generated films
Fashion brand French connection is encouraging its consumers to create their own video content from a selection of clips on the company’s website. Starting with video snippets that depict models wearing French Connection clothing, users are asked to ‘make a scene’ by cutting them together and adding a soundtrack and special effects. There are prizes available for the most-shared videos.

Ted Baker’s social finishing school
Ted Baker is promoting its new Spring Summer collection with an online ‘finishing school’, asking users to ‘write lines’, in a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the schoolday punishment. Each day, users are shown a ‘line’; the first 500 to ‘write’ it via Twitter, Instagram or the Facebook app will receive a limited-edition tote bag featuring their quotation. The most creative students will be rewarded with exclusive Ted Baker leather satchels, too: sure to make even the biggest kid into the talk of the playground.

Nike celebrates 1 million Instagram followers
Nike have reached 1 million Instagram followers and amassed 6 million photos tagged #Nike. To celebrate, the sportswear brand hosted a 24-hour celebration of their followers, championing user-generated content and accompanying each update with an inspirational quotation.

Nike Instagram milestone

Puma promote individuality with ‘Worn My Way’ campaign
Puma has produced a lifestyle campaign with the tagline ‘Worn My Way’, aimed at celebrating individuality. Using a new microsite as well as the hashtag #WornMyWay, consumers will be encouraged to answer the question ‘What does it mean to be yourself?’ The best answers will win prizes including limited edition Puma t-shirts. The campaign, which boasts involvement from musicians such as Professor Green and Mischa B, will also include experiential marketing throughout its course.

Sky Sports offers F1 tickets in Twitter quiz
In line with their Formula One coverage, Sky Sports have produced a competition to win tickets to next year’s Australian Grand Prix. In order to win the ‘virtual grand prix’, contestants must post a tweet containing a campaign hashtag, then answer a set of questions in a limited time.

Sharp’s real time marketing
Sharp has managed to pull off a real-time marketing stunt, poking its way successfully into a conversation between Kanye West and MTV host Sway. When the former reminded the latter of a small, remote-less Sharp TV he had purchased as a gift many years ago, the electronics brand decided to intervene, sending over their latest widescreen model, complete with remote control. Sway, who has almost 300,000 followers, then sent out the below tweet, easily repaying the investment made by Sharp.

 

The Papal succession and social
With thousands waiting outside the Vatican, white smoke eventually signalled the announcement of a new Pope. While scenes like this are to be expected with any such event, the Twitter storm that accompanied was undoubtedly a new twist. Once the @Pontifex account announced: “HABEMUS PAPEM FRANCISCUM”, 7 million other tweets followed. The tweet has now been deleted, giving Francis I the chance to blaze his own social media trail. In fact, the Papal succession highlighted a great deal about the changing nature of human communications as parallels were drawn between 2013 and 2005, shown perhaps most aptly in this Instagram post by NBC news.

The Vatican photos

The event also showed the power of Twitter to amuse and confuse. As his succession became clear, a Spanish Twitter account was discovered, claiming to represent Jorge Bergoglio, aka the new Pope Francis I. However, a bit of research (or access to a Spanish dictionary) might have made it clear that this wasn’t the case, with tweets including: “If I’m the new pope, children will love me more than the Santa Claus”. Even after it’s doubtful origin was revealed, the account’s popularity continued to grow and extended from 3,000 to 150,000 followers within the hour, likely due to a combination of the naive and the amused.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #62

by Karen Wee in News

Sina Weibo launches promoted feed ads
Still trying to find ways to monetize its popular Twitter-esque microblogging site, Sina Weibo has rolled out promoted feed advertisements to its 400 million users. Known as Weibo Tuiguang, the ads will appear in user feeds and be differentiated from user posts by a grey line and a notice indicating that it’s a sponsored post. Yet to be implemented on the mobile platform, the decision to roll out on the web platform first  is an interesting deviation from the company’s declared intention to focus on its mobile platform as it seeks to monetize.  In addition to promoted feed ads, the company is exploring a diverse range of options such as e-payments and fan headline advertising to start the revenue stream flowing. It better move quickly as its rival, Tencent’s killer chat app, WeChat is fast gaining ground having registered its 300 millionth user less than a week ago and drawing Weibo users’ attention away from the microblogging service.

WeChat’s new features to include song recognition & voice chatrooms
Speaking of WeChat, the app has unleashed a beta version 4.5 update that features multi-user voice chatrooms, Siri-like voice reminders and even a song database search feature along the lines of Shazam or SoundHound. The update will allow users to set verbal reminders for themselves and to search for an unknown piece of music by shaking the smartphone. The app will stream the song along with its lyrics but  is expected to be made available only to Chinese users due to copyright issues. Word has it that the update will be made available to iPhone users first before Android users. It will be interesting to see how many users the group chatroom can host.

Japanese chat app, Line, reaches 100 million users
Fast becoming a worthy rival to WeChat, Line has just passed the 100 million users milestone. The photo below shows the user counter that was set up at Line HQ in anticipation of breaching the 100 million users mark. Though a much smaller player than 300 million strong WeChat, Line is ahead of Korean Kakao Talk’s 72 million users, in the battle for dominance in the Asian mobile messaging market. Industry watchers expect these Asian players to expand into English speaking markets this year. This would be interesting as they face off with old players such as WhatsApp and new entrants such as Facebook Messenger in the international arena.

Snoop Dogg pimps Line on Twitter
Line has tied up with popular US rapper, Snoop Dogg to help its expansion into the North American market. Boasting a range of Snoop Dogg virtual stickers that are available for free downloads, Line has been getting lots of attention through the rapper’s shout-outs on Twitter.

Line’s aggressive foray into overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and the US has been credited with helping it to hit the 100 million user mark. Interestingly, the app’s maker, NHN Japan revealed some months back that half of its then 70 million users were not from Japan. The app is expected to gain more traction in English speaking markets in 2013 while simultaneously looking to expand in China with a Chinese version, called ‘Lianwo‘.

China’s MiTalk to give WeChat a run for its money
China-born Android-based smartphone maker, Xiaomi, has struck a partnership with Taiwanese startup, Mface, to market it’s messaging app known as Miliao in Chinese (aka MiTalk in English) across Southeast Asia. The collaboration is expected to help MiTalk expand its reach to Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. MiTalk aims to register 5 million overseas users by year end. The chat app currently has 23 million registered users, a large proportion of which are presumably from mainland China. The company will be marketing its smartphones in Hong Kong and Taiwan soon and may expand into North America in the next few years.

Worldwide smartphone penetration on the up
An article by eMarketer has examined the growing smartphone market around the world. It predicts that by 2016, roughly 75% of certain markets including the US and UK, will own one of the devices. The mobile phone market is incredibly saturated, with 130% combined market penetration of smartphones and non-smartphones. As such, they argue that the coming years will see an increase in the former and a decrease in the latter, resulting in the following figures:

Facebook release Graph Search
Facebook have announced Graph Search, a new social search engine that will allow users to search for results based on what their friends like. For example, instead of just looking for a dentist, you can look for “dentists in my area that my friends like”, or even the likes of “singles in my area who like Star Wars”. We have produced a comprehensive post detailing everything you need to know about the feature here.

Facebook bring free voice calls to the US
As we’ve previously discussed, Facebook operated a trial in Canada for free voice calling over the Internet with its iOS Messenger app. Now, they’ve extended this to the US with the latest version of Messenger for iOS. Provided that both users have downloaded the app, they are able to call one another for free, either over WiFi or by using up some of their data allowance.

Instagram releases monthly active user data
After the speculation about Instagram losing users, which we mentioned in last week’s mashup, the network has decided to release data about its monthly active users for the first time. They have stated that, contrary to the rumour, they have actually seen 10% growth in the period from December to January and that the last count showed over 90 million people using Instagram monthly.

EyeEm overtakes Instagram in app downloads
Whilst this was going on, Instagram was actually overtaken by a rival photo-sharing app called EyeEm in terms of downloads, which was at one point the second most downloaded photo/video app behind YouTube. Instagram has since regained its position ahead of EyeEm, but this shows the potentially precarious position Instagram holds in the photo-sharing market.

Favouriting becoming more popular on Twitter
Over the past year, the option to ‘favourite’ a tweet has become much more popular, as the following graph shows:

This comes as a result of changes made to favouriting by Twitter in December 2011, placing the option in a much more noticeable position and making it easier to access favourited tweets. Interestingly, users are more likely to favourite an @-reply than a regular tweet, potentially showing how users are employing the function as a way of exhibiting a positive response, similar to a Facebook ‘like’.

Twitter and television
Twitter have released some intriguing statistics into the way in which people interact with television on the network. They claim that 60% of Twitter users access the site while watching TV and around 40% of prime time Twitter activity is about television. Using specific programmes as case studies, they showed how big TV events can attract an impressively high amount of online activity, such as an episode of Made In Chelsea that procured 215,220 tweets from 110,162 users, reaching a potential 124.2m users.

Twitter headers make it possible to fake verified accounts
The introduction of Twitter header images has led to an unwanted side effect for Twitter, as it is now possible for someone to fake a verified account. As you can see from the image below, it seems as though there is a verified account for a fictional creation, the children’s book character Percy Jackson. However, the blue tick that announces verification has simply been added to the background. Fortunately, there is still a way to tell the difference between verified and unverified accounts, as the word “verified” will appear when you hover the cursor over a true account.

New Myspace now publicly available
The new version of Myspace, which launched in July, is now open to the public after a period of invitation-only signups. The emphasis remains strongly on music and in particular discovering new usic, with an audio deck on each page and a variety of music-related trending stories. The main page also promotes investor Justin Timberlake’s new single. There is yet to be a formal announcement for the new launch.

Foursquare’s maps show the growth of the network
Foursquare have released a detailed map that shows the various places where people have checked in over the last three months.

As can be seen above, this shows various world hubs, but can also be used to show in more detail the areas where people like to check in within a city, such as a clear layout of the runways in Atlanta Airport. In an interview with TechCrunch, Foursquare’s data scientist, Blake Shaw discussed how having access to all this information is important for the future of the company. He stated how they are experiencing a stage of growth similar to Twitter in 2008, from a place to share information to a location for consumption of that information; that is, Foursquare intends to grow further towards being a tool for discovering new places.

Twitter tracking the Oscars
Twitter have released a tool for tracking the positive conversation around Oscar nominees in the six largest categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director. They have produced a real time graph that displays positive sentiment around any of the nominees, measured as a percentage score against the average sentiment level of all tweets on the network. This is similar to a project pitting Romney against Obama during the US Presidential Election and is of interest for examining how particular events or news stories have an effect on public opinion.

Smoothie King helping with New Year’s Resolutions
It’s a sad fact that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last a very long time. So drinks company Smoothie King have released a Facebook app called Lean Into Life, aimed at salvaging the spirit of New Year in mid-January, by encouraging users to take photographs of themselves whilst completing certain resolution-related challenges for the chance to win $100 gift cards, free smoothies or a bicycle. Fans are asked to take a photograph via Instagram and use the hasthags #SmoothieKing and #LeanIntoLife to take part in the contest.

Panera Bread Company promote ‘hidden menu’ via Social
Panera Bread Company last week sent out a tweet that announced their new ‘hidden menu’ and was met with a range of reactions from excitement to confusion. The idea is that the menu is not mentioned in store, but simply via social, meaning that in-the-know Twitter followers have to go in store and specifically request one of the protein-rich range. This exclusively-social promotion is an interesting idea and could be a very effective example for restaurant or FMCG brands.

Indy 500 campaign set to use people’s Instagram photos
An Indy 500 campaign is set to use Instagram images tagged with the hasthag #Indy500orBust. These will be placed on an interactive map, whilst users are also given the opportunity to win a VIP race experience by uploading photographs. After the controversy surrounding potential changes to Instagram’s terms of service, it will be interesting to see how many campaigns like this come about.

Bentley releasing cars with hashtag license plates
For the launch of three new models, Bentley showcased each with a license plate that displayed a hashtag of the car’s name.

The move is very similar to We Are Social’s campaign for Jaguar, where we emblazoned the model specific @sportbrake handle on the side of a prototype car. As such, it seems that we are seeing a growing trend in the automotive industry to attempt to support the launch of new vehicles with online conversation, specifically on Twitter.

The NHL’s Foursquare comeback
With the launch of a new NHL season, the league has released a Foursquare badge that can be unlocked by checking in at two games this season. Anyone who unlocks it is eligible for a 15% discount at the NHL online shop. Five separate teams have also released their own badge, which can be obtained by checking in at either a home or away game at any point in the season. Each of these qualifies fans for a separate benefit, including the change to win tickets or discounts at team stores.


Esurance Facebook campaign offers SXSW dream package
Online insurance company Esurance have released a campaign that offers fans the chance to win an all-access pass to SXSW, a $2000 hotel stay, iPad and the opportunity to create a set of videos that details the excitement behind the campaign. To win, fans must create content that displays why they are the right person to be behind the videos. The campaign taps into the technological nature of SXSW and produces a prize that is truly fit for the audience.

Volvic and We Are Social search for brand advocates on Facebook
We Are Social have produced a campaign for Volvic that asks fans to submit photographs that they feel best reflects the ‘Volcanicity’ brand. As an incentive, fans can win ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ around the theme of volcanoes, along with a camera to document them. The campaign is aimed at driving brand advocacy – Deola Laniyan, Account Director at We Are Social, said fans will:

become our community managers meaning the content that’s posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.

English and Welsh High Court ruling on Facebook privacy
The England and Wales High Court has made a ruling on Facebook privacy, stating that pictures on Facebook cannot be published in a newspaper without permission, even if they are set to ‘public’. The ruling is of interest to all those on Facebook and could display a pro-user attitude to privacy by UK authorities.

Tesco’s horse play on Twitter
You’d think the last week couldn’t have got much worse for Tesco, what with their value-range beef burgers being found to contain horse meat. However, it looks as though it has, after accidentally tweeting what looked like a joke about horses. It goes to show the danger of scheduling tweets and making sure you keep a close eye on all social media channels, especially at sensitive times.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #47

by Karen Wee in News

Whatsapp may be ousted by WeChat?
Tech In Asia recently assessed how Whatsapp measured up against the competition. Whatsapp has not evolved much since its launch a few years ago whilst competing apps such as Tencent’s WeChat (aka Weixin in Chinese), Line and Kakaotalk have evolved to incorporate social elements. WeChat is packed with features (available as plug-ins) such as allowing users to make video calls, read news via a newsfeed, make a cloud-based backup of their contacts, search for people nearby to chat with, upload photos to a timeline and update their statuses. By contrast, Whatsapp seems scanty and uninspired, making it difficult for them to stay in the good graces of  an audience that has become accustomed to constant improvements and feature-rich apps that combine social networking with mobile messaging.

Tweet in case of emergency
Japanese Twitter users can now use an uber cool feature called Lifeline that allows them to find and follow accounts maintained by local government bodies – accounts that matter in emergencies. All they need to do is to key in their postal code to gain access to updates and relevant information in case of an emergency or outages affecting necessary services. Lifeline is only available in Japan at the moment. After the 2011 Virginia earthquake, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that affected people use Twitter, Facebook, email and text messages to communicate with friends and family to avoid jamming phone lines for emergency services. Perhaps it’s time to update emergency contact details to include important Twitter handles?

Apple’s iOS 6 comes with Weibo included 
China’s Sina Weibo is integrated with Apple’s iOS 6 for users with English language and Chinese settings. A source Tech In Asia spoke to indicated that the initial plans were to only make the integration available to users with Chinese settings at the launch of iOS6. Perhaps due to a change of mind or error, it is now available to English speakers as well. This is an interesting development as English speakers have always preferred Twitter. Could something be cooking in Sina Weibo’s kitchen?

Qihoo 360′s search engine’s new domain name is www.so.com
Qihoo 360 announced its new domain name recently in a move to improve users’ experience of its search engine. Qihoo, which was originally an anti-virus business, explained that the short and snappy name also stood for “Safe” and “Open”, hence “S” and “O”. Qihoo plans to monetise the search engine and is given a leg up against competitors like Baidu, Google, Sogu and Soso, with a domain name that’s shorter and easier to remember.

China’s answer to LinkedIn will likely be mobile
Professional social networking site LinkedIn has achieved great success in China registering 80% growth in 2011 and over a million users. Though faced with competition from clones that have diluted LinkedIn’s market share and confused users, Renren’s Vice President Huang Jing expects China to respond with a mobile social networking solution. He drew his conclusion from statistics showing that 60% of Renren’s users are using mobile platforms to access the social network.

Marketers want relationships, not just growth
Awareness, a US Social marketing software company, have conducted a survey of US marketers and discovered some interesting results. Firstly, the leading business objective for Social Media was discovered to be ‘Better Customer Engagement’ with 78% of respondents citing it as a central goal. This was followed by revenue generation of 51%. What this shows is that the marketers are far more interested in building relationships than building figures.

When it comes to investment, 66% of respondents said that multi-platform social media presence is high on their priority list. Additionally, 56% are investing more in the frequency on content published and 50% said that they would invest more in social media integration within their existing marketing initiatives.

‘Hello, welcome to the Facebook Ad Network’
Facebook has launched the beta-version of it’s new ‘Mobile Ad Network‘ which, in short, will allow advertisers to use Facebook’s data to target ads at you in other mobile apps based on age, gender, location and Likes.

The ads will be ‘non-social’ display ads meaning users will see social signals from friends interactions or be able to share them.

Facebook ‘Offers’ global domination
After its trial period, Facebook’s ‘Offers’ has been proven to help drive positive business results for its users and Facebook has announced that the testing period is over, paving the way for a global release. From now, companies with over 400 Facebook fans can create ‘Offers’ straight from their Facebook page and can also include unique codes to aid in the results tracking. Our very own Robin Grant, as quoted in Adweek, is delighted with the introduction of unique codes as it “finally makes Facebook’s Offers a mature and usable product for retailers wanting to drive volume sales and CPG brands wanting to drive trial”. One caveat in the small-print though is that any Offers must be paired with Facebook ad purchases. According to Robin the move is no great surprise and the pairing is not a deal breaker because Facebook is “just asking for a nominal amount to be spent on ads”. This should prevent any spamming of small, worthless offers. For a detailed summary of Facebook ‘Offers’, check out Simply Zesty’s run-down.

Facebook ‘Custom Audience’ ads rolled out to all advertisers
Facebook has extended its ‘Custom Audience’ feature beyond advertisers with managed accounts to all Power Editors and Ads API partners. A custom audience is one targeted via email address, phone number or user IDs that have been collected from a brand database and can be used for a more direct targeting of existing customers.

Social vanity leaps to new levels with Facebook’s ‘Highlight’
After an apparently successful initial trial, Facebook has broadened the beta version of ‘Highlight’ to become ‘Promote an Important Post’ that allows users to part with actual money to promote their own posts to be seen by more of their friends. Whether or not this is to become a common feature in Facebook remains to be seen.

Tweet ‘cards’ the future of Twitter?
Twitter has confirmed that by the end of the year brands will have the opportunity to create and display Tweet ‘cards’. Cards may include real-time sports results or polls. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, while speaking at the Online News Association conference, commented: ”We want to migrate to a world in which the 140 characters can serve as a caption for additional functionality. We’d like that to include things like real-time data, even an application functionality”.

Twitter’s mobile experience just got better
Twitter has spruced-up its iPad app and their Android and iPhone apps has also had a makeover with the same new header photo alongside photo-swiping and pinch-to-zoom. The new header photo will also interest marketers who can customise their brand pages to engage further with consumers with the header photo, but also with a more customisable background image.

Tumblr doubles yearly traffic, plus search visits up 200%
News in from comScore puts Tumblr on the rise with over 100% increase in unique visitors for the year between July 2011 and July 2012. With smartphone traffic also up, especially in the last five months – up 51%.

Search traffic has catapulted to 24 million search visits in July alone, 200 percent gain on 2011. The success of Tumblr has at least in part been due to its celebrity and brand uptake, boasting Beyoncé and adidas to name just a couple.

Google+ has 400 million registered users, no really it does!
Let the haters be hating, but it would seem that Google+ has some fans, with 400 million registered users and 100,000,000 monthly active users. This more then impressive stat comes straight from the mouth of Google’s Senior VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. From the looks of the numbers, Google has the user base, but it is currently only converting 1/4 to become active users.

Vimeo launches Tip Jar and pay-per-view service for filmmakers
Vimeo is a hotbed for talent and many would-be filmmakers use the site to share their latest creation with the world – currently for free. The new initiative from Vimeo will offer these filmmakers the chance to make a little dosh in the process. One way it hopes to do this is to play on the good faith of its 75 million users and offer up a Tip Jar to viewers. This would rely on viewers contributing directly and of their own accord and is available now. The second option is a more direct approach, setting a pay-per-play scheme that is due to roll out “over the next few months”.

Walmart’s local approach to Facebook pages draws them in just 2m fans
Walmart is one of the biggest brands on Facebook, with over 21m fans in total and has taken local to the next level with ‘My Local Walmart”. Partnering with Facebook, the supermarket wanted to create a more local approach and “enhanced local interaction at an unprecedented scale”. As a result the supermarket created around 3,500 local Facebook pages for its stores, but the results so far have so far not reflected that of the success seen with its other Facebook pages.

In total it has attracted just 2 million fans altogether, with the majority of local stores have between 101 and 1,000 fans, with just 4% having more then 1,000. When it comes to engagement the story doesn’t get any better, the local pages scored well below the 7% active fans achieved by Walmart’s main page, with just 0.01% being active fans.

Head of Tesco takes to the net with new blog to build trust in brand
Philip Clarke, chief executive at UK supermarket chain Tesco, has decided that if you want to get a job done properly do it yourself. Launching a group blog to build trust and “explain what we are thinking and how we see the world”. The blog, dubbed ‘the talking shop’, launched last Friday and in his first post Mr Clarke starts off by explaining why the blog is there. It won’t just be Clarke posting, but also a “whole range” of the Tesco exec team, the stores and “out on the road” – so we may see Mary from Tesco Metro in Clapham North giving her two pence soon!

Waitrose takes a kicking with finish the sentence tweet …
Poor old Waitrose, another rather more upmarket UK supermarket chain, made the classic social media mistake – Finish the sentence – which turned bad on Twitter last week when the high-street store tweeted; “I shop at Waitrose because…” An accompanying hashtag #Waitrosereasons gave everyone the perfect tool to track as the hilarity unfolded.

Was this a total #fail on the part of Waitrose? As our very own Jim Coleman told Ad Age:

I think they genuinely wanted some insight from their customers, and opportunistic punters took the opportunity to play on the middle-class stereotype that Waitrose has. They didn’t react quickly enough or with a clear plan. It shows why being prepared with a crisis plan is key to your social comms, whatever brand you are.

New Facebook Deals from Kraft
A mobile start-up by the name of Endorse has just announced a partnership with Kraft to offer deals direct to consumers on Facebook. The new “Social Offers” feature will be released with Kraft’s Planter’s brand, helping Kraft link actual purchases with giving customers generous discounts.

The service can be shared peer-to-peer and also direct from the brand to the consumer. For peer-to-peer sharing the Facebook user will see a discount jump from 20% to 50% off following a share. The deal will then appear on that user’s wall to be claimed. Planter’s has launched its brand-to-consumer offering today and it can post deals to fans via its Facebook page.

1-800-Flowers.com celebrates 500,000 Facebook milestone with freebies
Hitting a big milestone on Facebook is certainly cause for celebration and not least for 1-800-Flowers.com. Who celebrated hitting 500,000 with free shipping, dropping service charges and a $10 Zynga gift card via Facebook Offers for its fans. Over 2,000 claimed the generous offer and it’s not the first time the company has been so generous. For Mother’s Day it ran a similar campaign drawing in 12,300 claims, half of which came from Facebook ads.

Amit Shah, director of mobile and social at the flower company, said that “The half-life of the redemption of the claims is very quick … the matter of days – not weeks”, adding that this has proven much more successful than an offer sent in an email.

American Express pair with Harvey Nichols for Sync ‘n Save deal
New ways to link up location, sales and offers are a key area of interest for many brands at the moment. A new partnership between American Express and high-end retailer Harvey Nichols aims to do just that with a Sync ‘n Save deal. This means customers can unlock a £25 statement credit when they check-in on Foursquare and spend £25 on their card.

In advance of this, customers need to sync their AMEX card with their Foursquare account. After check-in the customer is prompted to “Load to Card” and then they can get spending. That means a seamless experience in the store and no fiddly need to show your phone at the check-out. The deal runs until 1st October and looks to be American Express’ first Sync ‘n Save partnership outside of the US – definitely one to watch.

Twitter no-no from Kellogg’s Krave
There is no doubt that Kellogg’s social strategy on Facebook for its Krave cereal has been a great success, accumulating 277,000 fans. It’s latest campaign surrounds the launch of the white chocolate variety of the cereal and sits in a Facebook competition app. However Twitter is a different story, as Gordon MacMillan points out.

Krave has both social networks linked to from its website, but their Twitter account has not been updated for 18 months! It seems that the brand started off with both, but decided to opt for the more successful Facebook. As Gordon points out in his article “either use it or take it off” – certainly not good social sense to have a profile that is not actively managed.

Resident Evil 6 releases ‘shared nightmare’ campaign to Facebook
Last week developer and publisher Capcom launched a scarily named “shared nightmare” interactive campaign on Facebook to mark the release of Resident Evil 6. This marks the latest installment of the “No Hope left” summer campaign to launch the game. The game has some 3.7 million Facebook fans and the video was released to them last week.

The video depicts the viewers last moments as a deadly “C-virus” spreads, using data pulled from the viewers Facebook profiles they can send friends a final farewell message mid-video. You can check out the app here, if you dare!

Whatever you do #DontGoHome with Cole Haan
The shoe brand Cole Haan wants to be down with the kids and has as such released a new campaign “Don’t Go Home”. To accompany its re-brand, it is encouraging the young-uns to stay out late and #DontGoHome. The campaign hopes to boost awareness of the launch of its latest shoe, the Chelsea pump, which includes special Nike Air tech to make it super comfy.

The campaign started in advance of New York Fashion Week, with closed shop front metal shutters with text printed on like “You can sleep when you’re dead” and “Your fairy drag mother says don’t go home” and included the hashtag to be shared on Twitter and Instagram.

Obama’s after the younger vote with ‘For All’ social campaign
Barack Obama knows that the youth vote is a strong one and he needs to pull out all the stops to not only get their attention, but also to get them to actually go and vote.The campaign that hopes to achieve this is “For All” and was launched last week on Instagram with the likes of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba. The campaign aims to target those making their first vote, whilst also addressing the damaging comment from Mitt Romney that his “job is not to worry” about the 47% who don’t pay income taxes, are “dependent on the government”.

The campaign asks supporters to share their picture with hashtags: #forall, #obama2012, #campaigntrail, #opendoors2012 and #dnc2012.

 

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #46

by Karen Wee in News

Buy your own Weibo clone
Tech In Asia recently reported chancing upon a Weibo clone, named JiShiGou, intended for sale to corporations seeking to incorporate microblogging technology into their operational workflow. Hosted on the corporation’s servers, the product offers integration with Tencent and Sina Weibo, in addition to other Chinese social networks. What’s the price tag? The basic web package starts at 10,000 RMB (S$1,932) with optional add-ons such as text messaging support as well as iPhone/iPad and Android phone and tablet apps available at an additional fee. It costs US$2,380 (S$2,910) for iOS apps and US$ 1,587 (S$1,940) for Android apps with text message packages at US$126 (S$154) per 10,000 texts. JiShiGou makes it easy for a corporation to own a whole microblogging system complete with apps, text messaging support, auto-backup, updates and training for less than US$10,000 (S$12,225).

Tencent to localise WeChat in Indonesia
WeChat (aka “Weixin” in China) recently zipped past the 200 million users mark. Encouraged by the growth, Tencent, the company behind this messaging app, is setting its sights further afield for worldwide growth. Viewing Indonesia as a huge potential userbase because it comprises half of the Southeast Asian population, Tencent plans to set up an office in the country soon and has been in talks with local celebrities, media and merchants on co-marketing partnerships. In addition to considering making its app available on Blackberry, Tencent is exploring working with some telcos for BBM packages for WeChat.

Tencent releases version 1.2 of Weiyun cloud service
Version 1.2 of Weiyun, Tencent’s personal cloud storage offering, links up with the company’s Weibo microblogging and Weixin messaging service and runs on iPhone, Android and Windows. Comprising “wangpan” (cloud storage), a photo album that synchronizes across multiple devices, Wi-Fi hotspot transfer feature and a cross-device clipboard feature, Weiyun allows seamless sharing of files, text, and photo independent of the internet. Though currently still only available in Chinese, Tencent is open to exploring multi-language options to support global expansion.

China’s Renren network mimics Facebook’s Timeline
Renren, a Chinese social network that has always maintained a close look and feel to Facebook , has now introduced a profile structure similar to Facebook’s Timeline. Facebook is currently blocked in China, but Renren continues to grow, though its engagement numbers are not as strong as Facebook’s. Renren reported 45 million monthly active users in Q2, which is only 27% of its 162 million total active users. Renren also created a Pinterest clone earlier this year.

Microblogs get their own Chinese TV drama
Microblogs, known as Weibo in China, are such a pervasive cultural phenomenon, they’re the focal point of a new Chinese TV drama called Micro-blog Master. Set in 2010, the period of the rise of microblogs in China, the fictional story documents the competition between two rival weibo companies. Those who are hoping that the drama’s based on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo will be disappointed to know that the drama doesn’t tell their story. 

Yelp debuts in Asia with Singapore launch
US-based reviews and listings site Yelp recently launched in Singapore, marking its foray into Asian markets, albeit pretty late in the game. Wired Singaporeans can submit reviews on places whilst businesses can start up their own pages on the site. Food review sites are not new in Singapore as locals have already been using popular sites like Hungrygowhere or apps like Burpple. In other parts of Asia, Yelp faces competition from locally developed services such as Zodio in Thailand, which is looking to expand within the region and Dianping, which has established a firm foothold within China.

 

19% of US online women on Pinterest, 12% of US online adults Instagram
A new study from the Pew Internet Project found that almost half of all online adults have posted original photos online. For the first time, Pew asked respondents about their use of photo-heavy social networks, specifically Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, and found that 12% of online adults use Pinterest, but a whopping 19% of American online women are on the site, mostly creating home decor wishlists and looking for craft inspiration. About 5% of US online adults are on Tumblr, with 11% of young adults on the site. Instagram’s growth has also skyrocketed in the months since its acquisition by Facebook. 12% of US online adults are using Instagram, including 27% of 18 to 29 year olds. In the last six months, the daily active user base has had grown by more than 1,000%, with its daily active user base now standing at 11 million strong. Maybe $1 billion was more of a bargain than we originally thought?

Fortune 500 companies embrace corporate blogs
America’s largest corporations haven’t always embraced the idea of having unfiltered online conversations with the public, but new research shows that the times are a’changing. Adoption of new social platforms, especially corporate blogs, has increased across Fortune 500 companies over the last year, even after so many have proclaimed the death of the blog. This year saw the largest increase in corporate blogs among these companies since 2008.

European business execs turn to Twitter before big-name publications
The upper echelon of the business world now spends more time on Twitter than on well-known business websites, like Reuters, Bloomberg and The Economist, according to new research. The research tries to pinpoint the media habits of executives with an average salary of £125,000. More than 60% of the execs said they accessed content via their mobiles, and LinkedIn is surprisingly the most popular website for this group.

Ping hears its death knell, but iTunes and iPhone still get social
Ping, Apple’s ill-fated music network, will soon be going to the internet graveyard, and Apple finally set the date on Ping’s iTunes page: September 30. The network’s shutdown was imminent, as Apple announced a new version of iTunes with more integration with the already established social networks, Facebook and Twitter. Users can now ‘Like’ music, videos and apps and see what friends like. And it’s not just iTunes that’s getting friendly with social networks, it’s also the new iPhone and iOS 6. New features include updating Facebook or Twitter using Siri, sharing photos, links and map locations to Facebook and syncing your phone book contacts with your Facebook friends.

Facebook ends Reach Generator program in favour of Promoted Posts
Facebook has ended its Reach Generator program for premium advertisers, less than seven months after it was announced. Reach Generator allowed advertisers to pay Facebook on an ongoing basis to sponsor their page posts and guarantee a 75% reach of the page’s fans over a month-long period. Facebook are focusing instead on their Promoted Posts to simplify their ad offering. This product is available to all pages with more than 400 likes. Promoted Posts, like Reach Generator, ask advertisers to pay a fee to reach a portion of their existing audience.

New Open Graph policy will help Facebook understand affinity
Developers who create custom Open Graph actions that express affinity — for example “love”, “favourite” or “star” — will now need to associate their verbs with the social network’s built-in Like action. This will help Facebook understand the nature of the connections users are making so that they are able to detect positive affinity better for advertisers. Facebook started allowing developers to create custom verbs for their apps last year, and the most popular ones express something simliar to a ‘Like’, such as “smileyface”, “yum” and “nom”. But not all of these verbs have to be positive, so Facebook has asked developers clarify them so that ads can be targeted to someone who makes an action equivalent to a “Like”.

Has Facebook eliminated a few degrees of separation?
Just how connected are the people across the planet? Facebook has by far the most complete data set and research behind real-world friendships, and through a partnership with Stamen, a design studio, we can see just how intertwined the world is. The project poses some awesome Freakonomics-style questions: Why do so many Japanese people live in Brazil? How did so many people from Australia and Nepal become good friends? Set aside a good chunk of time for this one.

Twitter beefs up targeting options for Promoted Tweets and Accounts
Twitter has added even more specific geo-targeting options for its paid-for features, such as Promoted Tweets and Accounts, and some countries can now be targeted based on their region or city. Twitter has put the focus on three countries, including Japan, which now has options for wider regions around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. This is also true in the UK, where tweets can now be targeted to London or Manchester. But the most interesting might be the update for the US, not long before election time in November, where advertisers can now set geo-targets based on state.

Twitter agrees to surrender tweets of Occupy protester
Twitter has ended its legal battle with New York prosecutors and agreed to hand over the tweets of Occupy protester Malcolm Harris, which may show that the defendant knew he was breaking police orders. The social network had initially argued that the tweets were Harris’s property and, as such, handing them over would serve as a breach of the Fourth Amendment. The case represents an interesting landmark in the nature of privacy and proprietary rights over content posted online.

LinkedIn hits 10 million users in the UK
LinkedIn, the social network for jobs, has announced that 10 million British professionals use the site. LinkedIn dug through its data and highlighted the top job titles (“owner” easily takes the top slot), the biggest industries and the most represented companies on LinkedIn in the UK. And today we learned that there are exactly 103 British people who call themselves professional sailors on the site.

Google buys Instagram competitor Snapseed
Did Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram leave Google shaking in its boots? Google’s first round of retaliation has now come, as it picked up mobile app developer Nik Software, meaning that Google now owns Snapseed, an Instagram competitor. Although Google+ often gets dismissed as a ghost town, the network could become a go-to platform for photographers, which have already been flocking to the site because it has been quick to adopt photo-friendly features, such as showing photos in a large format and in a lightbox, which Facebook quickly noticed and implemented as well.

New Skype beta lets users sign in using Facebook
Skype has been integrated with Facebook chat for a year now, but Skype has just added a feature to its beta version for Windows and Mac that make signing up to the app even easier: Just log in to Skype using Facebook. Skype is also touting more of its Microsoft credentials, and the beta also comes with Live Messenger integration.

Saturday Night Live asks the crowd for recommendations
The fans spoke, and Saturday Night Live listened. The popular US show is now asking its fans for suggestions about hosts and performers after noticing that fans took to its Facebook page to make recommendations. Now Saturday Night Live has made it official. Tweet using the hashtags #SNLHost or #SNLMusic or leave your comment on their once-a-month crowdsourcing posts, and sit back and enjoy your selection.

Oreo dives into pop culture with ‘Daily Twist’ campaign
Who knew Oreos were so versatile? From the now-iconic image of the 7-layer rainbow Oreo celebrating Gay Pride Month to the release of the new iOreo 5, Oreo has been celebrating its 100th birthday year by posting historic milestones on Facebook and making itself part of history in the process. Through timely  and tongue-in-cheek updates, the page has seen a 110% growth in engagement. If the gay pride Oreo started the conversation, its latest post mocking the iPhone 5 has kept the viral ball rolling.

Grey Poupon seeks out only the classiest of Facebook
Need an excuse to remove a few Facebook friends or clean out your ‘Likes’ section? Grey Poupon is putting potential fans to the test by asking them to first apply for membership to the Society of Good Taste before they are allowed to ‘Like’ the page. If you’re rejected, try, try again. Though we’re sure to be let in, as we do know a few things about the best-of-the-best secret societies

The xx release new album through a single fan
Alt-pop band The xx have taken the socially driven album release further than ever before. Unlike other bands, which usually tie social releases with a large initial reveal,‘Coexist’ was sent to just one fan and allowed to spread organically from there, which is visualized on their site. A digital copy of the album is also being given to everyone who purchases a tour ticket, showing the shifting face of interaction between fans and artists.

Artspace.com and Tumblr team up to find ‘the next Artspace Artist’
Artspace.com, the leading online marketplace for contemporary art, has partnered with Tumblr to host a competition to find ‘The Next Artspace Artist’. The winner will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to create an Artspace Edition to be sold alongside famed contemporary artists. Emerging artists may submit work for consideration via a dedicated Tumblr. Semi-finalists will be chosen on by Tumblr popularity (reblogs and other share options) before being whittled down to three finalists by a jury of art experts.

Millions watch online video of Topshop London Fashion Week Show
More than 2 million people from 100 countries watched online footage of Topshop’s Spring/Summer 2012 Unique show in the three hours after the fashion retailer live streamed it. Both #Topshop and #unique trended globally on Twitter, and Topshop estimates that more than 200 million people were exposed to image and content from the show within that time. Viewers saw a personalized live stream, and they could click on clothes and accessories to browse colour options as they came down the catwalk. They could also create screenshots and video clips to share instantly on Facebook, as well as pre-ordering the collection for delivery. Broadcast on Topshop’s website and Twitter page, as well as 200 media partner websites, the show was also shown on large screens at its Oxford Circus flagship store in London.

Volvo looking to make brand relevant for Pinterest users
One challenge for certain brands using Pinterest is getting users to engage with visuals about a product that would not always interest them directly. A shot of a Volvo, for example, might not be particularly engaging for all Pinterest users. So that’s why the car company created a contest where, by creating a board about their ideal road trip and repinning a Volvo S60 image, users can win the trip they’ve dreamt up. Volvo’s social media manager says the campaign is “about situations that pinners can relate to, where the Volvo brand is relevant”.

Kraft Cheese teams up with Five Guys to feed the hungry with Foursquare
To celebrate National Cheeseburger Day, Kraft is teaming up with Five Guys, the popular burger chain, and is using Foursquare to spread the word. Each check-in will trigger a meal donation to Feeding America, and users will get a thank you coupon for Kraft Singles. As an extra bonus to get you to the top of the leaderboard, Foursquare will be offering bonus points for checking into a burger restaurant on September 18.

Bacon Barter campaign asks exactly what bacon is worth
Everyone’s had them — times where you’d do anything for a bacon sandwich. To see just how far bacon can go, Josh Sankey is travelling across America without cash or card, but plenty of bacon. He’s hoping to see how far he can get, trading the meat for other sustenance, car equipment and even places to sleep. The campaign for Oscar Mayer is being promoted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via #BaconBarter.

 

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Five Friday Facts #31

by Cai Yu Lam in News

DeNA brings social gaming to Renren
Japanese mobile social gaming company DeNA has extended its reach and visibility in China after it announced a partnership with Chinese social networking site Renren that will see its social games included in Renren’s Android app. A dedicated section has been created for DeNA’s Mobage platform within the Renren Android app, which users can conveniently log-in to with their Renren IDs to access and play any of the near-40 titles that DeNA offers in China. According to Renren, there are currently 154 million active users on its social network, which makes this partnership a considerable opportunity for DeNA to assert its presence in China to better compete against rival GREE.

GREE acquires Korean social gaming company Paprika Labs
In more social gaming news, Japanese mobile social gaming network GREE has acquired Korean social game developer Paprika Lab for an undisclosed sum, after having just purchased US-based social game developer Funzio for US$210 million or S$269 million last month. GREE will incorporate Paprika Lab’s social gaming portfolio into its existing ‘GREE Platform‘, including the popular Facebook game HeroCity which sees more than 150 million monthy active users. 

Singapore marketers’ attitudes towards social media
Research from Experian Marketing Services reveal that marketers recognise the importance of social media, even though 78% of marketers surveyed believe that the company website is still the most important source from which consumers find information about the brand or its product. Reassuringly, social media channels are the second most important source of information at 57%.

95% of Singapore marketers surveyed also ranked social media as ‘highly effective’ or ‘effective’ at delivering the best return on investment (ROI), while 89% felt similarly towards online advertising. Despite marketers’ recognition of social media’s ROI, 63% reported that they had previously invested in a new digital approach that did not deliver this anticipated ROI. This was most pertinent among online/digital companies at 74%, and financial companies at 68%. The key reasons for the failure were identified as the lack of understanding of the target audience, which 26% of marketers admitted as such, while 23% pinned the reason down to the channel itself. There’s still some way to go for marketers to understand both the behaviour of their consumers on social media, and how to best utilise the channels themselves to engage their audiences.

Social networking habits of Android smartphone users in India 
Social networking is one of the top activities for smartphone users in India, and Nielsen Informate has uncovered some social networking usage habits of Android smartphone users in India. An astounding 93% of Android smartphone users in India access social networking sites on their smartphones, with 86% of users accessing apps and 66% accessing websites. There’s no surprise that Facebook leads the list of top-ranked social networks with 88% reach, but surprisingly Google+ comes in second, albeit a far second with 17% reach. 1 in 3 Facebook users do not use any other social networking property, which is a testament to its popularity in India indeed. Most tellingly, Android smartphone users access the Facebook app 17 days a month as opposed to its website, which users access only 9 days out of a month.

 

Facebook engagement declines
According to a poll conducted among 1,032 Americans by Reuters and research firm Ipsos, Facebook users are spending less time on the site as compared to 6 months ago. 34% of Facebook users spend less time on the site and 35% said they are less engaged on the social network than before, with only 20% of those surveyed spending more time on the site. The study also found that 4 out of 5 Facebook members have never been influenced by ads running on the site, which indicates that the ad products Facebook has been promoting so vigorously may not be working as well as they would hope.

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