Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Baidu’.
Indonesian airlines’ presence on social media
Brand24.co.id, a social media monitoring company in Indonesia, has released an infographic as reported by TechinAsia, depicting the country’s airlines and its presence on social media. AirAsia Indonesia leads the follower count on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Local airlines’ social media presence on the other hand are not as strong, especially for LinkedIn. Garuda Airline, Indonesia’s flagship carrier, has less than half of Air Asia’s number of Facebook fans and about one-eighth of Air Asia’s total Linkedin fans. Despite the differences in follower count, online conversations and social sentiment are still far greater for the local airlines Garuda Airline and Lion Air, as compared to AirAsia Indonesia.
Sina Weibo introduces a Snapchat-inspired tool called SnapWeibo
Similar to the popular mobile app Snapchat, Sina Weibo has recently introduced SnapWeibo where users can use hashtags to make their posts vanish within a certain time period. The procedure is as simple as signing into SnapWeibo using one’s existing Weibo account details and including time-related hashtags in either English or Chinese. The hashtags can be set to minutes, hours or days such as #2m# or #5h# or #1d#. Even if the tweet gets retweeted before it’s due to disappear, the missive will later appear to be blank.
Baidu overtakes Youku-Tudou as the biggest video platform
Kakao Talk updates its Plus Friend platform to Plus Friend Home
Korean chat app, Kakao Talk is rolling out a new feature update to its existing Plus Friend feature. The initial feature was launched in October 2011 for the purpose of allowing users to interact with their favourite brands and celebrities, and currently has over 400 partners availing the feature and more than 26 million active users following 100 million Plus Friend accounts. The upgraded version, Plus Friend Home, allows brands and celebrities to have dedicated homepages and custom design tools but is currently only available in Korea. As reported by TheNextWeb, the feature upgrades will allow brands to have their mobile homepage accessible within the chat room itself, and divided into three sections – ‘mini profile’, ‘chatting room’ and ‘brand home’ – as well as the ability to add links from websites and blogs to enable free interaction within and outside the page.
Facebook report Q1 earnings & increase in monthly
Facebook has reported its earnings for Q1 2013, announcing revenue of $1.45bn, up 38% from Q1 2012. 85% of total revenue came from advertising, amounting to $1.25bn, up 43% from Q1 2012.
The network simultaneously noted an increase in Monthly Active Users (MAUs). While growth slowed down in markets like the US, Canada and Europe, MAUs were up from 901 million in Q1 2012 to 1.1bn a year later, while Daily Active Users (DAUs) increased from 526 million to 665 million in the same period.
A great deal of this growth was down to mobile. Q1 2013 saw 751 million mobile MAUs compared to 488 million the year before, while there are now 189 million Mobile Only MAUs.
Twitter appoints Cynthia Gaylor as head of corporate development
Twitter has fuelled rumours of plans for an IPO with the appointment of ex-Morgan Stanley investment banker Cynthia Gaylor, who worked on the public offerings of Facebook, LinkedIn and Zynga. In what was her first ever tweet, she said:
— cynthia gaylor (@cynthiag) May 2, 2013
Twitter was valued at $9bn after an offer to staff in January and is set to hit global ad revenue of $1bn by 2014. This, along with the above appointment, has led to speculation by The New York Times that “next big step is to go public on the stock market, and insiders say the current goal is to have an initial public offering in 2014″.
Twitter ads now available to all US users
Twitter’s self-serve ads interface, launched in March 2012, is now available to all US users. Previously accessible only by invite, Twitter has used the period to improve on a number of features, from targeting to reporting, and decided to open the self-serve platform to everyone in the US. All you need to do to gain access is visit the page at business.twitter.com and answer a few questions. There has been concern that the increased demand will lead to either a boost in the number of ads appearing in users’ streams, or the price of ads. Russ Laraway, senior director of small- and medium-sized business at Twitter, has stated that “There will be no change in the frequency with which ads show up in timelines”, though it is not clear how price will be affected.
‘Photos of You’ on Instagram
Instagram has launched ‘Photos of You’, which essentially allows Facebook-style tagging of people and brands in photos. Previously, users would @-mention one another, as if on Twitter, to perform a similar function. This form of tagging comes with another key feature: it makes a full archive of all photos someone has been tagged in that appear on that user’s profile, assuming they have given permission. To prevent privacy complaints, Instagram has built controls that allow manual selection of which photos are visible to others. The feature looks to foster increased communication between individuals, but may also be beneficial for brands to interact with each other, as well as influencers with high follower counts and normal users.
Twitter updates Vine for iOS
Twitter has produced a couple of updates for the Vine iOS app, including the ability to shoot with the front-facing camera and tag others in posts. Where it was previously only possible to shoot with the camera on the back of the phone, the screenshot below displays a small button in the bottom left of the screen that allows switching between cameras. You can also see that @-mentioning is set to work much like on Twitter, Vine’s parent platform.
Path exceeds 10 million users
Path, the social network that limits you to 150 friends, has exceeded 10 million users for the first time. After reaching 2 million in Feb 2012 and 3 million in June 2012, the figure sees a large milestone for the platform. They’ve since added a search feature in December and released version 3.0 in March this year, which supported messaging. While the number of registered users is an impressive start for Path, it will be interesting to examine how many active users they manage to retain.
Where does brands’ Pinterest engagement come from?
According to a study by Digitas and Curalate, 30% of engagement on Pinterest comes from brand accounts. The remaining 70% comes from users pinning content from outside of brands’ Pinterest accounts.
J.C. Penney asks fans to come back on social media
Last year, J.C. Penney decided to get rid of sales and coupons, focussing instead on regular, low prices. The move was a disaster and they’ve recently taken to social media in an attempt to remedy it. They took to Twitter with the hashtag #jcplistens, whereby fans were asked which changes should be kept and which reversed. The move is a nice example of a brand using social media honestly, in an attempt to connect with fans. It will be interesting to see if it helps their ailing figures.
Mountain Dew purchases promoted tweets for apology
Another example of a big brand mistake was Mountain Dew’s ‘Felicia the Goat’ advert, which was criticised as both racist and misogynistic. Last week, they purchased promoted tweets to expand the reach of their apology, letting users know that they had pulled the advert. It’s an interesting idea: on the one hand, it allows the apology to be seen by as many people as possible. However, it also provides potentially unnecessary promotion to the original issue.
Lowe’s post six-second tips on Vine
Lots of brands are using Vine. Some are doing it well, some aren’t. Hardware storeLowe’s has strongly entered the former camp with their latest campaign, using Vine to post six-second home improvement tips. The medium brings to life content that is relevant but not necessarily exciting, while the tips themselves are useful, not an unnecessary experiment with a new medium. As such, the form and content compliment one another perfectly.
— Lowe’s (@Lowes) April 21, 2013
— Lowe’s (@Lowes) April 24, 2013
Red Bull’s ‘Imaginate’ Pinterest puzzles
Red Bull is asking fans to solve Pinterest puzzles based on stunts performed by trials cyclist Danny MacAskill. Six videos will be released, each showing a different trick, which fans must watch in order to solve a puzzle on Pinterest. This involves pinning content in the correct order to create an image of MacAskill. Those who do so correctly will be entered into a draw to win signed photos of the cyclist.
Hugh Jackman answers Wolverine questions
To promote the upcoming release of ‘The Wolverine’, in which he plays the title character, Hugh Jackman answered the Twitter questions of 11 fans in a series of YouTube videos. He also tweeted the answers and posted links to the videos from his official @RealHughJackman account. This is the latest in a series of social stunts around the film, including a 6-second ‘Tweaser’ released through Twitter’s Vine app.
China’s WeChat app gets flak for censoring messages globally
Tencent WeChat’s international foray may have just hit a stumbling block in what previously seemed to be a virtually unhindered path of expansion. Some users reported being unable to send messages containing sensitive terms even when doing so outside of China. A screenshot below shows an error notification stating that the message contained restricted words. These incidents raised privacy concerns that even international users are being subjected to the same censorship regulations and monitoring as Chinese users. Tencent has since apologized and clarified that the inability to send certain messages were due to a technical glitch which have been rectified.
Duke University recruits students using Sina Weibo
Last week, Brad Pitt’s Sina Weibo account created ripples of excitement amongst Chinese netizens. It seems Sina Weibo has been selected as the social media platform of choice amongst international celebrities, politicians and organizations seeking to reach out to Chinese speaking Internet users. Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering recently hosted a group chat on their Sina Weibo page to respond to queries from prospective students about its graduate program. Within an hour, the group chat fielded 80 questions from 150 participants. Graduates and current students on the program were also online to answer questions. Duke also has an active presence on Renren, China’s answer to Facebook, as part of what seems to be a rather aggressive social media strategy to reach out to the Chinese speaking market.
Sina Weibo rolls out partial English Language interface
Finally, Sina Weibo rolls out a partial English-language user interface on the web, long after they launched the English version of Weibo’s iPhone app in April 2011. Targeted at users in Southeast Asia, it seems many users encountered problems with using it and the English translation disappears as they navigate through the site.
The above screenshot shows the partial English interface on the web whilst the screenshot below shows the English interface on the iPhone app. There seems to be a vast disparity between the quality of the translation on both platforms. The dismal translation on the web interface could indicate that the product may not be ready for launch yet especially since Sina has not made any announcement of the new rollout.
Baidu teams up with Orange to reach out to North Africa & the Middle East
Chinese search engine Baidu launches El Browzer, an Android web browser to North Africa and the Middle East as part of its international expansion plans. Having tied up with mobile telco Orange for this latest venture, the app will be pre-installed or available for download on all Orange Android devices within Africa and the Middle East (AMEA). Available in Arabic, English and French, the launch of this app and the collaboration with Orange is significant as the telco has about 80 million customers in AMEA. It will be interesting to see what the year ahead holds as Baidu has identified Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Latin America as their chief target areas for expansion.
Social media harassment now more common in Japanese workplace
Japanese social media users seem to be experiencing a new form of stress and harassment in the workplace in the form of being pressured to accept friend requests from superiors or even being compelled to “Like” or “Comment” on their posts. It seems more people are turning to Japan Online Counseling Association for advice on how to deal with friend requests from co-workers and superiors on social networks such as Facebook. Employees reported feeling pressured to accept these friend requests to avoid tense relations at work. A survey conducted by Macromill, Inc last February of 500 Facebook users found that 42% were bothered by friend requests. Whilst it is likely that the intent of the supervisors is to get to know their juniors better, an expert has advised users in such situations to separate work from personal life.
Following the money trail in digital marketing
An article by Gartner has discussed how most brands intend to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2013, whilst going into further detail about the money trail and how companies can reallocate budgets from other areas, advising employing clearer measurements of success and tracking of the sources of funding. A breakdown is included of brands’ intentions for digital marketing.
Digital set to account for a fifth of advertising spend
Another study, this time by eMarketer, has also shown the extent to which brands intend to increase their digital spending. Worldwide digital spend, which has already passed the $100 billion landmark, is set to grow by 15.1% to $118.4 billion by the end of 2013. This growth will then remain in double figures as far as 2015, as shown by the graph below:
Organic Facebook impressions increase brand website visits by 76%
Ignite have conducted research into groups of people who view both organic and paid impressions on Facebook, compared with a control group who did not. They found that those who were shown organic exposure were 76% more likely to visit a brand website than those receiving no impressions, whilst paid exposure increased the same likelihood by 28%.
Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies catching up with social media
Fortune 500 companies are starting to warm to social media, a study by the Charlton College of Business has shown. These firms had traditionally lagged in the area and as late as 2011, 31% of Fortune 500 companies were without both a Facebook and Twitter page. This figure has dropped by 8% to 23% for the end of 2012. 62% also have their own YouTube account. In the UK, 40% of FTSE 250 companies have a corporate social media presence, representing an increase of almost three times, from 14% over the last year.
Regional Facebook fan breakdown shows up bought likes
Since Facebook have recently allowed users to view a breakdown of a brand’s fans by area, Socialbakers have produced research that highlights some curious data. Some brands have seemingly inexplicable high fan counts in certain countries, such as a fifth of Lufthansa fans coming from Indonesia & Pakistan, despite the airline serving neither of the countries. This information, whilst not conclusive, suggests likes may have been purchased. Also of interest from the study is an understanding that global fan counts do not always represent accurate marketing opportunities. For example, PlayStation outrank Xbox in terms of global fans, but Xbox triumph in all English-speaking countries.
More teens on Tumblr than Facebook
Research of 1,038 Internet users by Garry Tan shows the numbers of both 13-18 and 19-25 year olds on different social networks. Interestingly, the younger age group are more active in every single category, suggesting that thoughts about the potential demise of Facebook et al are premature. In fact, 55% of the former group were on Facebook, compared to 52% of the latter. Perhaps the study’s biggest finding is that Tumblr was used more by both age groups.
The social landscape is increasingly mobile
It is no secret that more and more people are using mobile devices to access social networking sites. In fact, research by Nielsen has shown that the market is continuing to grow, with 46% of US social media users in 2012 accessing the sites via mobile, compared to 37% in 2011. Whilst computers remain the overwhelmingly popular choice, with 94%, this is a drop of 3% from the previous year.
Furthermore, a Google survey showed that 60% of US smartphone owners use their devices to access social networking sites daily, compared to 16% who never do so. This is in comparison to 54% and 17% for the same figures in 2011.
Facebook loses 600,000 UK users in December
The Guardian have reported Socialbakers research that Facebook lost 600,000 UK users in December, raising the question of whether it is reaching saturation point in the market. Whilst social networks expect to see a slump in activity over the festive period, it will be interesting to see if this larger-than-average dip is a result of a long term effect, or just a more severe version of the aforementioned Christmas slow down. In fact, Socialbakers responded to the Guardian to clarify that Facebook is operating at nearly full penetration in the UK and that the slump in figures may be as a result of Facebook’s measurement tools. They measure monthly active users, which means that if people are not active over the last month, they will not appear. We may well expect the figure to shoot up again in January.
A message to Mark Zuckerberg? That’ll be $100, please…
Facebook’s never-ending search for new revenue streams continues, with the social network now offering users the chance to message Mark Zuckerberg for $100. Normally, messages from those who are not his fans will be directed straight into his ‘Other’ folder; the charge ensures that they go straight to his inbox. The system is a version of Facebook’s interest in potentially charging for messaging, which we previously reported and it will be interesting to see if these trials are rolled out further. We would message Zuckerberg and ask, but the fee seems a bit steep…
Instagram loses half active users in one month?
The Wall have reported that Instagram lost half of its active users in the last month, as a result of changes to its terms of service. The figures, which come from App traffic monitoring firm AppStats, seem to suggest that Instagram went from 40 million to 17 million users, which does seem incredibly steep. It may be the case that the numbers end up rising again quite quickly.
How to engage amplifiers
Twitter have produced an article on amplifiers, the people most likely to retweet your content. Their first point is that amplifiers don’t fit into one neat demographic but, having said that, there are a number of ways to recognise them. Firstly, they are heavy Twitter users and more likely to use Twitter on a mobile phone than others, with 54% of them doing so. They also engage in a wide range of activities on the microblogging platform, as shown by the below graph:
They are also much more likely to follow brands on Twitter, with amplifiers more than twice as likely as the average Twitter user to follow over 20 brands. Finally, they are big fans of television, so recognising the important of dual screening should be important to anyone looking for retweets.
Who are LinkedIn’s 200 million members?
LinkedIn have reached 200 million members around the world. The most active country on the network is the USA, with 74 million members, followed by India with 18 million. The fastest growth is going on in Turkey, Colombia and Indonesia, whilst China, Brazil and Portugal are displaying the highest mobile growth. If LinkedIn were a country, it would have the 5th largest population in the world, larger than Brazil and equivalent to roughly France, the UK and Italy combined.
Google+ Pages can interact with users who haven’t circled them
Having launched pages for businesses in November 2011, Google+ are now allowing these brands to communicate with all users of the network, as opposed to simply those who have circled them. The move seems to be aimed at encouraging brands to join Google+ and should allow more strategic methods of fan base growth.
Western Interest in Sina Weibo increasing
Sina Weibo’s launch of the partial English language interface on the web is timely, as Western celebrities and brands are looking to get involved with Sina Weibo. Brad Pitt, who does not currently even have a Twitter account, is the latest celebrity to join a cohort that includes Justin Bieber and Radiohead, whilst brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever and Louis Vuitton are all on board. As We Are Social’s Jon Hoel told the Telegraph:
If you want to be big in China then you have to be on Sina Weibo. Every major western company knows that it is the place to be right now if they want to build their brands overseas.
The Premier League on Twitter
Twitter have released a list of the most popular English Premier League football clubs on Twitter. Their study takes into account a number of metrics, from number of followers to innovative uses of the network and involves fans and players as well as official club accounts, looking for an overall, rounded measure of success. Manchester City will be delighted to welcome a new addition to their trophy cabinet, whilst Stoke, Swansea and Wigan are currently in the drop zone as the three worst-performing clubs. This interactive map shows the breakdown of supporters of different clubs all over the country and can be sorted by club or rivalry. Below you can see how Arsenal and Tottenham fans are spread across the UK.
The Associated Press to feature sponsored Tweets
News source the Associated Press are set to promote Tweets on their feed, which has caused anger amongst some followers and other journalists. These are not official promoted tweets, rather just branded content that they will post on their feed from time to time, with Samsung announced as their first partner. The negative reaction comes as a result of people arguing that this will somehow compromise the neutrality of their reporting, whilst others have jumped to their defence to claim that it will make no difference, even praising the organisation for their openness and honesty.
Lenovo’s ‘Year of the Do’
Lenovo and We Are Social have together released a campaign called ‘Year of the Do’, based around the PC company’s ‘For Those Who Do’ slogan. The Facebook app, based on the insight that sharing your resolutions can help in keeping them, allows users to share their New Year’s resolutions, which can then be seen and interacted with by friends and users around the world. We Are Social’s US managing director Leila Thabet said:
[The campaign is] about inspiring people to do and achieve their best and tapping into that…it’s about facilitating the do.
Monopoly’s ‘Save your Token’
Monopoly are looking to refresh the game with a social campaign that sees users required to vote and save their favourite token using a Facebook app. One of the eight classic tokens (i.e. board pieces – car, thimble, boot, dog, battleship, hat, iron, wheelbarrow) is to be replaced by a new one (robot, diamond ring, cat, helicopter, guitar) based on the number of votes cast. Would you give the boot the boot? Or perhaps it’s time for the battleship to walk the plank? Maybe the thimble should… oh, you get the picture.
Evian create cross platform campaign about ‘Living Young’ in January
To counteract the normal January blues, We Are Social have produced an integrated campaign for Evian that encourages fans to ‘Live Young’ in January. The activity is based around a social hub on Facebook that provides 31 different ways to enjoy yourself, ranging from a ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ game to a competition to win a trip to see the Northern Lights. In its first week alone, the campaign has boosted Evian’s fan count by 21,000.
UK ad regulator getting involved on Facebook & Twitter
Ad watchdog the ASA have banned a set of Tweets and Facebook posts from different brands. Firstly, they got rid of the below Keith Chegwin tweet for not stating it was an advertisement:
Then on Facebook, Antica Sambuca got in trouble for using “irresponsible” images in their updates. These included pictures of young people with multiple drinks, implications that people were set to drive and looked as though their subjects were intoxicated. This should come as no surprise, as since March 2011 it has been under the ASA’s jurisdiction to regulate social media and both examples clearly break the CAP Code. Brands would be best advised to follow the joint IAB and ISBA social media guidelines.
China is Twitter’s most active country despite being blocked?
Recent GlobalWebIndex data indicated that there were 35.5 million monthly active Twitter users in China in the second quarter of 2012, while India was next in line with 33 million and the US in third with 22.9 million monthly active Twitter users. This is an interesting statistic as Twitter, like Facebook and Google, has been blocked in China for more than 3 years now. The Next Web was mystified by the numbers and has sought clarification from the data provider but has yet to get a response. Defining active users as those who have “used or contributed to the platform at least once a month”, GlobalWebIndex estimates that 124 million out of 262 million active Twitter users worldwide tweeted during the second quarter of 2012. In comparison, 400 million out of 653 million monthly active Facebook users posted on the service during the same period. In the same report, Twitter ranked 6th amongst global social platforms with an estimated reach of about 16% of the world’s online population. Twitter user data has been notoriously difficult to acquire much less verify so watch this space for future updates on how Twitter fares in China.
Top 9 uses of microblogs & social networking services in China
In a recent report, microblogs seem to be gradually gaining popularity in China with increasingly frequent usage focused heavily on news, videos and photos. By contrast, growth seems to be slowing down for social networking services in China, as usage has evolved to focus on obtaining dining information and video sharing. The bar charts below tabulate the frequency of usage for Sina Weibo and Renren, the 2 most dominant networks for microblogs and social networks respectively, for ease of comparison.
Youku Tudou dominate China’s online video market
The merger between Youku and Tudou in China has created an online video behemoth that could reach as many as 310 million weekly unique viewers and generate 1.6 billion hours of video monthly. The site’s immense potential as an advertising platform is not to be trifled with as the combined entity now reaches about 80% of China’s online population. In the first quarter of 2012, Youku accounted for 20.9% of revenue for China’s online video market with Tudou trailing at 11.5%. Both companies led the online video market in terms of reach and revenue. Competitor Sohu.com Inc garnered a 10.9% share of online video market revenue, while Baidu’s Qiyi had 6.7% and Tencent came in last with 4.7% market share.
Discounts less important for alcohol consumers on social media
eMarketer recently reported on the impact of social media engagement on alcohol consumption. 73% of regular wine drinkers in the US were Facebook users with the numbers heavily skewed towards Millennials, who were found to be more than 3 times as likely as the overall sample group to be influenced by blogs and social networking sites.
It was interesting to note that discounts were not a significant influencing factor in encouraging alcohol consumers to “Like” or follow alcoholic brands on social networks. This seems to reflect a loyalty on the part of consumers to the same alcohol brand even in the absence of a discount. The study found that 15% of social network users made their alcoholic beverage purchases due to content found on social networks.
Why Google Plus should not be ignored
Since its launch 15 months ago, Google+ has registered 250 million users and over 1 million brands (which includes more than half of the top 100 US brands). In spite of criticism that Google+ is a ghost town, it was found that users are on the site an average of 12 minutes per day, just 2 minutes under Facebook’s average of 14 minutes per day. As if the statistics are not impressive enough, consider the fact that the G+ social share button is used 5 billion times daily as a way for users to endorse content. This is significant as 71% of consumers are more likely to be influenced by reviews from family members or friends whilst 84% use online sources when researching purchase options. The G+ button does more than just enable users to endorse content, it also influences the search results of people in your Circle and what you see when conducting a Google search. With more than 1 billion searches daily, this could be Google+’s silver bullet in its battle against Facebook.
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.
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.
Sina Weibo’s 3rd birthday marked by monetisation woes
28 August was Sina Weibo’s 3rd anniversary since its public launch. Tech in Asia’s recent article details the history of the network and its prospects. The social media platform’s user growth has been phenomenal over the past 3 years at thrice the rate of its closest competitor, Tencent‘s QQ. Unfortunately, Sina Weibo’s extensive reach has not translated into large profits in spite of massive efforts to monetise the platform. Whilst Sina Weibo reported US$ 10 million profit last quarter, it consisted only 10% of Sina’s overall ad revenue and didn’t meet expectations. Still searching for a viable revenue stream, Weibo’s impending redesign seeks to increase user interaction instead of using the site for broadcast purposes. The increased level of engagement on the site should hopefully translate into an entrenched user base that might be more receptive to advertising.
Asian brands barely using social media for brand building
Warc recently reported findings of a survey of 153 executives from 14 countries conducted by Ogilvy & Mather and Ipsos. 66% of respondents stated that their main purpose for social media is to generate buzz, followed by monitoring online sentiment at 63% whilst only 2.6% used it for brand building. 60% of respondents stated that less than 5% of their marketing and communications budget was allocated to social media channels. This might change as companies discover the power of social media. 22% of enterprises found out the hard way when negative buzz aggravated crisis situations. Only half of the companies interviewed had social media crisis management plans in place.
Mogujie, China’s Pinterest, to raise US$ 200 million in C funding
Tech in Asia reports that Mogujie, China’s answer to Pinterest, is looking to raise US$ 200 million in C funding. Mogujie has been very successful in driving traffic to Taobao, China’s top C2C shopping site. In April, Mogujie’s 2.2 million daily visitors viewed more than 750,000 items on Taobao and purchased 60,000 items each day. Taobao ad referral click earnings were estimated at about US$ 15,900.
WordPress.com & 25 million hosted blogs blocked in India
An Indian Internet service provider, Tata Photon, has blocked access to WordPress.com and approximately 25 million hosted blogs in a move to censor websites at the government’s request. As reported by The Next Web, following claims that false online information is being used to fuel religious tension in the Northeast of the country, the Indian government has approached Twitter, Facebook and Google to remove inflammatory content from their respective platforms. Indian ISPs were told to block more than 300 URLs. It seems that Tata Photon has opted to adopt a blanket blocking approach that was not mandated by the Indian government, which stated in its letter that Twitter.com, Facebook.com and YouTube.com should not be blocked. The implication was that parent sites are not to be blocked. Tata Photon has not responded to press queries about the blanket approach as at the time the article was published.
Social media will influence £3 billion of UK sales
We all have that Pinterest board that functions as our online wish-list trolley, should we ever happen to win the lottery, right? And a new study commissioned by eBay says that the number of social media users who use social platforms when thinking about what to buy is only set to increase and that social networks will influence £3 billion of retail sales in the UK. Nearly half of all social media users are already relying on reviews and seeing what their friends are buying to inform their own decisions.
Facebook super fans can get a campaign rolling
Call it clout in action: Friends of active Facebook fans are more likely to interact with a brand if they see their friends doing it. A new study from Wildfire found that the best performing Facebook pages have bigger numbers of brand advocates and sharers who not only participate in a campaign, but who also share it with their friends and influence them to participate.
Budgets for Facebook ads are on the rise
Marketers are pouring more of their budgets into Facebook ads, and those budgets are now increasingly more quickly than those for search ads. Despite questions about Facebook ads’ effectiveness, some clients’ budgets have increased by 36% since the beginning of the year, according to Kenshoo. While paid search ads aren’t suffering, the amount spent there is becoming stagnant.
Facebook’s test of sponsored search results now added to API
Facebook had announced sponsored search ads in beta last month, but it looks like those ads are a step closer to becoming official. These ads appear in Facebook’s search results when you’re hunting for an app or a page in the top search bar. This feature has already been opened to some game developers, like EA and Kixeye, who are both bidding on Zynga game searches, meaning that when you search for “Cityville”, a sponsored search for SimCity Social could appear above it. Will this mean that pages have to advertise to be seen first? Facebook is also playing around with the design of the results and has already changed the size of the search box and added a “top hit” section.
Facebook app on iOS gets a speed boost
Facebook’s new version of its app for iPhone gives users a much-desired increase in speed, as well as switching up the design for check-ins, making it easier to see where you are in relation to the places listed. This is a great update, but we’re still jonesing for a ‘Share’ button and being able to upload multiple photos without having to switch to Facebook’s separate camera app.
Facebook tests out ‘subscribe to page’ button in newsfeed
The not-incredibly-well-known ‘subscribe’ button has now made its way to the newsfeed, which appears next to the ‘Like’ option you see when a friend has liked a page. Using the subscribe button means that the page’s updates will appear in your newsfeed, but you don’t have to make your relationship with the page ‘Like’ official.
Tumblr ‘truly disappointed’ by Twitter’s mission for consistency
The option to find fellow Tumblrs from your Twitter followers list is now gone, after Twitter’s recent decision to crack down on who has access to its API. Tumblr is the latest in a series of big names to fall from Twitter’s grace, even despite Tumblr enabling Twitter’s new “cards”, which allow tweets to be shown in a uniform way, on 70 million blogs. In a statement, Tumblr praised the ongoing relationship it maintains with Facebook and Gmail.
And once again in its quest for consistency, Twitter has removed the ability for users to see which client was used to post a tweet.
Play.com’s fans spent £2 million through its Facebook page
What’s the value of a fan? Play.com’s answer is roughly £6 per fan each year. The site found that its engaged fans spent on average 24% more than non-engaged fans and that customers who clicked ‘buy’ for the first time because of a Facebook referral spent 30% more than the average customer.
Cadbury adds 260,000 social media fans during the Olympics
Looks like Cadbury went for Olympic gold too. The brand had a huge upshot in followers and fans on its social media accounts after its Olympics sponsorship, including hitting the 2 million-mark on Google+. It also claims it was the first brand to use a Promoted Trend for the 2012 Games. What tricks will they pull out of their hat for the Paralympics?
What kind of Heinz bean are you?
In what Ad Age has called the “cutest social media campaign of the year”, we here at We Are Social have crafted the ultimate personality quiz, and after a few short questions, you’ll know your personality type down to the bean. And if you’re lucky, you could even win your name carved on one! Go on, spill the beans, which one are you?
PG tips’ Monkey gets Facebook fans’ holiday love
In between cups of tea, we’ve brewed up another brilliant campaign for PG tips and their beloved Monkey. This year, Monkey unfortunately couldn’t take time off for a summer holiday, so he’s asked fans to send him their holiday snaps for a chance to win a year’s supply of tea and a day out at Go Ape. We’re getting green with envy scrolling through these photos…
Lynx demonstrates its Effect by reaching 1 million Facebook fans
The delighted Unilever brand Lynx has launched a commemorative video that celebrates reaching 1 million fans on Facebook. The video includes more than 30 references to the successful ‘Lynx Effect’ campaign. The video shows a Rube Goldberg machine activated by a man who watches as scents and previous campaigns get engulfed by the machine and eventually sprays the man in Lynx.
Orange France tumbles past 500,000 fans
Unilever weren’t the only ones celebrating last week, and when Orange France reached 500,000 fans, they celebrated by launching an amazing GIF-filled Tumblr of maybe every GIF on the Internet. Take a look only if you have at least a few hours to spare.
Orange shows its youthful side with U24
Orange has launched a new offer targeted at customers under age 24 that provides them with free unlimited calls and texts to other Orange and T-Mobile customers. To help the promotion, they’ve created the very cool U24 Videogram Facebook app, which allows you to select Facebook friends, choose a style and create a personalised video to be shared.
Thomson hopes Google+ Hangouts and Twitter will help holiday hospitality
The holiday brand Thomson is making the groundbreaking move of incorporating Google+ and Twitter closely into a holidaymaker’s trip. Research has shown that consumers are using social networks regularly before travelling, and Thomson wants to tap into this by providing resort-specific hashtags so that customers can interact with dedicated Thomson staff, called iAdvisors. Alongside this, Thomson will be welcoming customers pre-departure via a Google+ Hangout. So much for turning off during your holiday.
Costa Coffee launches ‘Coffee Club’ Facebook app
Costa has just released a new Facebook app that allows its 3-million-member Coffee Club access to their loyalty points online, and fans will be rewarded for registering their card on Facebook. We’re just hoping that you get a notification when you’re in need of a coffee.
Complaint on Odeon’s Facebook page has gotten 140,000 ‘Likes’
A Facebook user left a 466-word complaint note on Odeon’s official Facebook page, which has garnered hundreds of thousands of ‘Likes’ and more than 12,000 comments. It was posted over the Bank Holiday weekend when the page was most likely left unmonitored. There might have been an official response now, but it’s been buried by fans sympathetic to the poster.
Marketing stunt throws fictional toothpick character into the spotlight
What are Brazil’s most popular Facebook pages? Brands and celebrities no doubt top the list, but a newcomer has crept into the upper echelons: Gina Indelicada, a fictional, advice-giving character taken from a toothpick brand that had her on its boxes in the 1970s. So what is Gina doing now? Riccky Lopes, a 19 year old advertising student who doesn’t work for the toothpick company, has reimagined her as a sarcastic sage, doling out words of wisdom and answering questions from the page’s fans, and in just 12 days, there are 1.5 million of them. And fortunately, the CEO of the company doesn’t plan to shut the page down: “We never expected this kind of attention, and we certainly don’t intend to sue Lopes for it. Instead, we want to partner up with him.”
Does money buy social success?
Is there no end to what money can buy? Todd Rutherford, a new Internet entrepreneur of sorts, has turned the world of book reviews upside down by starting GettingBookReviews.com, a website that promises authors an online book review ranging somewhere ‘between enthusiastic and ecstatic’. And The New York Times has just published an expose on wannabe celebs buying fans to make themselves appear more bookable, with comedian Dan Nainan bragging that he spent just $424.15 on 200,000 Twitter followers.
In the light of this and after learning that many high-profile Saudis were also buying followers, perhaps it’s not surprising that Sheikh Abdullah has issued a fatwa saying that the practice was not only pathetic, but also that it’s sinful and dishonest. Issuing religious dissents about social networking might seem outside of his field of specialty, but it does ring true for a worldwide online culture that’s obsessed with getting as many likes, followers and retweets as possible.
Baidu and Sina team up on mobile search and content
China’s largest search engine Baidu announced its new partnership with microblogging service Sina Weibo to swap mobile and cloud-based search across their platforms. The companies are planning to share datasets to create a ‘better, richer mobile browsing experience’ for users. The partnership will include search and content integration as the Baidu Cloud initiative will pre-install the Weibo app. While neither Facebook nor Twitter have granted Google access to their data, Baidu and Weibo joined forces in March to provide real-time microblog results making Baidu far more social than Google. Baidu has almost 80% of search market share in China, whilst Sina Weibo has emerged as a powerful social force with its 300 million users. This collaboration is sure to achieve synergy depicting one of China’s most impressive growth stories.
A fancier Facebook reader app from Japan
Tokyo’s Wondershake, a startup known for its remarkable Japanese location-based app, has recently introduced a new iPhone app called Cake the Reader. Cake the Reader is a Facebook reader app that allows you to browse and comment on your Facebook Newsfeed. Within two days of its launch, the app had hit the third spot in Japan under the social networking category. It is commended for its impeccable smoothness when you flick through posts and switch between pages.
Baidu fires employees arrested for deleting forum posts for cash
Three Baidu employees were arrested for accepting bribes to delete posts on the Baidu TieBa forum service. Baidu acknowledged that it had dealt with such cases before but this was the first time that the police were involved. Global Times reported that tens of thousands of yuan were involved in this particular incident. However, details of the forum thread were not revealed.
China’s own Olympic Tweet scandal
China gets its own Olympic tweet scandal as Kaifu Lee, Chinese web celebrity and ex-Google China head, attacked the US swim coach on his much-followed microblog account. Lee posted Team USA swimming coach John Leonard’s personal information on Sina Weibo after Leonard questioned Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen’s legitimacy following her record-breaking performance. Lee has since deleted the post but it went out to his 15 million Weibo followers and received 14,000 ‘retweets’ and 4,800 comments.
F-commerce sales set to exceed £3 billion in the UK by 2015
Although just 4% of British consumers made a purchase on Facebook this year, new research shows that 40% would consider buying on Facebook if the experience were similar to shopping at an online store. That means that shopping on Facebook could account for 6% of online sales over the next three years. So far, this model has worked best for small businesses, but we’re interested to see whether f-commerce comes back in vogue for big brands.
Facebook introduces more targeting tools for Page posts
Facebook has started to add post targeting options for age, gender, ‘Likes’ and more, and this new suite of tools is meant to be rolled out to all pages over the next few weeks. The new list of target options is extensive, but the targeting will apply only to updates in the newsfeed, meaning that friends of fans who don’t meet the target’s criteria can still see the post when a friend ‘Likes’ or comments on it. Page admins are already able to target updates by language and location, but these additional features will help reduce noise and make posts more relevant to different audiences.
Page admins can no longer mark comments as spam
In a controversial move, Facebook has changed how page admins must deal with spam. Instead of being able to mark it as such, admins now only have the option to delete the comment outright and then report it or ban the user. Previously, admins could “hide” the comment as spam, but it would still appear for the user who left it while remaining invisible to other users. It’s hard to see how this is anything but bad news for community managers.
The ‘Like’ as loyalty
Why Facebook users decide to ‘Like’ a company could be shifting away from being enticed by discounts and deals and instead moving towards using the thumbs up as a loyalty card or a stamp of approval. According to new research, nearly 60% of Facebook users in the US who were surveyed responded that they ‘Liked’ a company page because they had shopped at the location or had purchased the product.
Twitter stakes its future on Cards
Twitter has recently revoked API access to some big names, including LinkedIn and Instagram, leaving startups fearful of what the future holds if Twitter continues on its one-track mission towards “consistency”. But Twitter wants its future to lie in what it’s calling ‘Twitter Cards’, the tech behind the expanded, multimedia tweets we’ve seen from the likes of The New York Times and The Huffington Post. But the issue with Twitter Cards is that they don’t appear on third-party apps, derailing the consistency that Twitter is so striving for. Instead, Twitter wants developers to build apps inside Twitter, making it something more akin to Facebook’s Open Graph. But how far will Twitter deviate from its simple 140-character stream as we know it? Only time (and the cards) will tell.
Retailers test out Foursquare’s new ads
Foursquare launched its first ad product last week, and Whole Foods, JCPenney and a handful of other US retailers have jumped on board. The offers range from the mundane (don’t think I’d go out of my way for a free croissant, Whole Foods) to the appealing, like $15 off a $75 purchase at Old Navy. View the whole gallery of ads here.
Who’s at the top of the social Olympics leaderboard?
London 2012 has been billed as the ‘Social Games’, and now we’re here to score it as such. Let’s find out who has been winning the gold online.
Believe it or not, the bumbling Mr Bean got the largest number of mentions during the Opening Ceremony, somehow beating out David Beckham, James Bond, the French announcements and Americans being confused by the NHS.
Twitter lit up with activity during the men’s cycling time trial on Wednesday, and the event generated an amazing 240,000 tweets, with 117,000 tweets naming Team GB’s gold medal winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins personally. Wiggins’ follower count jumped up 17% in just 24 hours after he won the gold, and there were about 12,000 tweets per minute about him at the end of his race, more than during the shootout between England and Italy in at Euro 2012.
Twitter’s reaction was a little slower than Usain Bolt’s 100m sprint on Sunday, and Twitter’s reaction peak was 33 seconds after his 9.63-second victory last night. Bolt racked up 1.5 million tweets, with second place finisher Yohan Blake getting just a fraction of the coverage.
The top Olympic athletes and country’s team pages are showing just how much fans are chatting with them and about them on Facebook. Engagement scores have passed what is typically seen for fan pages of their size. The national teams’ pages seem to be the main place to natter about the Games, most likely because of the number of unofficial or dormant pages for some of the athletes.
London 2012′s pool camera jumps into Twitter
Can’t stop watching the swimming? You don’t have to. Twitter feeds have been created for some of the cameras around the Olympics, which then tweet images directly from the events. The feeds give you a good laugh, and they already have thousands of followers and climbing.
Olympians rebel against IOC’s social media regulations
London 2012 is living up to its ‘Social Games’ billing, but not for everyone. Some US athletes are leading an online uprising against Rule 40, which prohibits them from talking about their sponsors on social media if they aren’t official sponsors of the Olympics, even if they are automated tweets, like runner Leo Manzano’s accidental tweet from his Nike+ app.
Tom Daley’s Twitter troll is arrested
A 17 year old was arrested in Weymouth after he harassed diver Tom Daley because of his fourth place finish in the Olympic men’s synchronised 10m platform diving event. Several of Daley’s followers got the story trending and even started a Twitition to try to get the harasser banned from Twitter.
Martin Schoeller goes on Instagram duty
The New Yorker has handed over control of its Instagram account to Martin Schoeller, a photographer for The New Yorker, as the first in a series of guest takeovers. Schoeller will be covering the Twins Days Festival in Ohio, which is apparently the world’s largest gathering of twins, where he’s shooting the final portraits for his upcoming book.
Tourism Australia creates a Facebook travel of friends’ advice
Tourism Australia has developed an app that shows your Facebook friends where you’ve checked in and what photos you’ve taken so that they can play virtual travel assistant for your next trip Down Under. The app is a cool integration of Facebook and Google Maps and shows how we don’t leave social media behind when we go on holiday.
Funny-man employee hits MLB Twitter accounts
Major League Baseball franchises fell victim to a suspected hacker last Thursday when a series of highly offensive posts were made public. The New York Yankees were the first prey with a tweet that Derek Jeter was about to have sexual reassignment surgery. This then progressed throughout the day with five other accounts being targeted. It was later discovered that the culprit was a rogue MLB employee.
Vodafone Australia’s ‘social media expert’ has a bad day at the office
Here’s another one to file in the “forgot the internet was public” folder. Vodafone Australia employee Arthur Kotsopoulos has been suspended pending an investigation into a series of aggressively derogatory tweets about fellow staff and customers. Arthur, who had given himself the title of Vodafone’s ‘social media expert’, reeled off racist and sexist posts before suggesting that anyone failing to understand him would get a “pimp slap backhand”.
Chinese social media users ‘happier’ than Westerners
Researchers from two universities in Holland and in China studied 46 million posts from Twitter and Sina Weibo. While almost all of the posts on Sina Weibo were from China, 80% of all tweets were from the United States. The study revealed that 79% of the messages on Weibo were expressing positive sentiments as compared to 71% on Twitter. The Chinese largely avoided mentioning large groups such as political parties – only 3% of the Chinese referred to ‘organisations’ as compared to 16% on Twitter. Sina Weibo users also posted on a wider range of topics with 19% more messages over the weekend as opposed to 11% less tweets on average over weekends. While the social media scene is vastly different in China and the West, the reason behind a less negative outpour on Weibo could be largely attributed to the tight regulation of social media in the nation.
Facebook invests in underwater net cable for Asia
In order to support their growth in South Asia, Facebook is investing in an underwater internet cable to be built from Malaysia through to Japan to boost the Internet speed. A Facebook spokesperson commented:
Our investment in this cable will help support our growth in South Asia, making it possible for us to provide a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Facebook definitely has its eyes on Asia where it has made big progress in markets such as Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Social Bakers has recently announced that Asia has overtaken North America to be the second-largest continent in terms of Facebook users. Asia as a whole only has an online penetration rate of 6 percent, so the number of Facebook users will continue to grow exponentially as infrastructure allows for more people to get on board.
Mobile messaging apps threaten Facebook and other social networks in Asia
With social media sites focusing on building their service on mobile phones, a genre of communication apps – mobile messaging apps – are gathering speed as an alternative point of messaging. Skype led the change in early days but today, WhatsApp and a number of Asia-based messaging apps following the principle to connect people via text messages and calls see a huge amount of success. For instance, Japan’s Line had 45 million users in less than a year while Korea’s Kakao Talk registered 52 million users. WhatsApp, the more popular one of the lot claims to receive 2 billion messages across its platform every day.
While mobile carriers have partnered with Facebook and Twitter, their partnership focuses on the low-end, pre-paid users to enjoy free access of the social networking platforms such as Facebook Zero on feature phones. However, the messaging apps target the other end of the spectrum – the smart phone users. This is the caution why apps will continue to rival Facebook as they are designed for mobile, offering a platform to connect with friends for free. While Facebook’s mobile ‘messenger’ is a stripped down version of the private messaging aspect of its app, the Facebook offering is reviewed as ‘heavy’, taking longer to load and requiring more information than mobile messaging apps. Many may value the fact that Facebook shows older messages but they are not particularly relevant to quick instant messages. Obviously, this is because the Facebook app also lacks a mobile-centric chat approach of WhatsApp and others. Not only are the mobile messaging apps gaining significant attraction in Asia and other emerging markets that Facebook is looking to grow within, but they have relationships with operators and offer more functionality than social networks.
Vietnamese authorities watching out for Baidu’s social site in Vietnam
The largest Chinese search engine Baidu is said to launch a new social network site in Vietnam. The site is called ‘Baidu Tra da quan’ which stands for Baidu Tea Stone Pub and is currently located at tieba.baidu.com.vn as a ‘coming soon’ page. Despite the hype from netizens on this forum-like social site, Vietnamese authorities have said that they have not received any application from Baidu to set up a social site in the country. It is evident that Baidu is looking to penetrate the Vietnamese market as the company launched a portal site last year together with its Yahoo answers equivalent.
Survey reveals marketers are more interested in awareness than ‘likes’
A survey from Ad Age and Citigroup asked marketers who buy Facebook ads about what their goals are and 45.9% responded that building awareness and sentiment for their brands was their top priority. In second place was driving traffic to brand websites with 17.6% followed by staying in touch with customers, generating likes / sales leads and finally social commerce:
Getting behind the code of Facebook’s new “Want” button
Last week developer Tom Waddington discovered the ‘Want’ button for Facebook, andhas now revealed further findings after taking a deeper look at the code behind it.
Using the Graph API Tom was able to generate updates and stream stories, hence revealing the code. The Want/Unwant button includes ‘socialcommerce’ and there are a number of actions associated with purchases, including “product.purchased”.
This would allow users to share product purchases, charitable donations or items purchased directly within Facebook games to their profile pages and Timeline.
App usage to affect how Facebook targets mobile ads
According the the Wall St Journal, Facebook is to release a new type of mobile advertising, that will target consumers based on the mobile apps they use. Using Facebook Connect to track this behavior, the social network will then target ads based on this data. The ads are due to be announced next month and could prove a great revenue generator for the team.
Companies like Apple and Google don’t track what its users do in apps to target mobile ads to them. This certainly will raise privacy concerns – to which the social network is no stranger to.
Facebook’s App Store hits UK shores
Facebook’s App Centre has begun rollout in the UK and features apps including Spotify, The Guardian, Deezer and Livesport.TV. Facebook hopes the App Centre will drive additional revenue streams through app purchases – gaining it a neat 30% cut of the revenue.
The App Centre will allow developers to charge for Facebook apps for the first time and host Pages to promote them. The App Centre launched in the US in June and is continuing its global rollout.
Facebook Insights made more accurate and now include mobile
Last week, Facebook made two important updates to its Insights to help Page owners understand more about the true reach of their posts. This now includes mobile data, previously this was only desktop, and a change to desktop News Feed views. In a move to improve efficiency, the News Feed will load fewer stories and only load more when the user scrolls down the feed. As impressions and reach is calculated upon load of the story in the Feed, the reach shown in Insights will be far more accurate as to what users have actually viewed.
Twitter introduces simpler search
Via a blog post on Friday last week, Twitter announced that it has introduced search autocomplete and ‘People you follow’ search results via twitter.com. This adds to recent updates relating to query suggestions and spelling corrections.
Search autocomplete reveals a drop-down menu of possible matches as you type – much like Google search – and you can select your query before you finish typing it. In addition Twitter has introduced spelling corrections, related search suggestions, search results with real names and usernames and results from people that you follow.
Twitter goes football mad for the Euro 2012 final as 16.5m tweet
Stats released from UEFA on the Euro 2012 Final show that the match beat the Tweets per second record for a sporting event previously held by April’s Chelsea vs Barcelona Champions League semi-final. Amazingly, when Juan Mata Garcia (@juanmata10) scored, around 15,358 tweets where generated per second. The match saw 16.5 million tweets and Fernando Torres was the most popular player, with the #Torres hashtag clocking up 18,000 tweets. Spain also managed to generate the more positive mentions over Italy.
The Streamgraph above shows the volume of tweets during the full Euro 2012 championship period, broken down by country. You can see the full country-by-country results here.
Leeds Rhinos replace shirt names with players Twitter handles
In a social commitment above and beyond, plus a nice social marketing move, UK Rugby League team the Leeds Rhinos decided to take to the field in shirts with their Twitter handles instead of traditional names on the back of their shirts. This will be the first time a rugby team has done this and special preview editions of the shirts will be available.
Tinie Tempah & Nike lead a scavenger hunt for his new Blazer trainers
To celebrate the launch of Tinie Tempah’s new clothing line ‘Disturbing London’, the rapper has created a special edition of Nike’s Blazer trainers. These trainers were to be revealed once a scavenger hunt on twitter found their location.
The hashtag for the activity was #blazerhunt and clues revealed 6 locations around London. Whoever was fastest to the locations got one of the only 60 pairs made.
Heineken creates social hub for Olympics fan-generated content
As an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Heineken is asking fans to upload their photos celebrating the Olympics to its fan hub. These will then be whittled down to the cream of the crop, which will be displayed ‘near-live’ on JCDecaux’s Transvision screen at Charing Cross station and on digital outdoor screens throughout London Underground and rail stations. The campaign will also use a sponsored hashtag #celebratelondon2012 on Twitter. The online fan hub will go live next week.
Get extra Tesco Clubcard points by promoting them on Facebook
UK supermarket giant Tesco, is to offer Facebook users double Clubcard points if they like, share and buy products from its ecommerce site. As part of the four week trial, customers need to register for the Share & Earn Facebook app via the Tesco Facebook Page. Tesco has an impressive 839,703 likes on its Facebook page and certainly has a good base to work from – one to watch.
FemFresh utter fail on Facebook
Feminine hygiene brand FemFresh last week suspended its Facebook page after receiving negative consumer complaints on its page. Our very own Tarryn Blackwood spoke to The Drum about her thoughts on the issue:
It’s clear that Femfresh hasn’t understood or embraced what social is all about. They managed to undo a whole year’s work of community building and management just because people didn’t have nice things to say about them. Not only did they swiftly dump their social agency in a transparent attempt to pass the buck, they also proceeded to run crying to Facebook for help in making the bullies go away.
Femfresh’s biggest mistake was to keep quiet, rather than making the decision to either stand by their campaign, or pulling it because of the public backlash.
Barclays times its Facebook campaign to imperfection!
So we’ve all heard about the ‘issues’ that Barclays Bank has had in recent days, with its disgraced CEO and Chairman steping down amid accusations of Libor-rigging. To top it all off, this news came just as Barclays introduced its Facebook fans to Dan, a normal guy who has some personal finance tips for us, introduced as:
Dan’s a HR manager and spends £5 a day on lunch. That’s about £100 a month; enough to buy a ticket to the vintage car festival he really wants to go to in August. Bringing food from home for a couple of months would mean a more memorable end to the summer. So come on Dan, get making those sandwiches and book those festival tickets.
Oh dear, and so the ensuing comments came in. Including a personal favourite:
Bob’s a CEO and spends £5,000 a day on Bollinger. That’s about £155,000 a month; enough to buy a classic Ferrari at the vintage car festival he really wants to go to in August. Rigging LIBOR for a couple of months would mean a more memorable end to the summer.
After a long social silence, Barclays eventually took to its UK Facebook page with a big apology over the Libor issues. It was a brave move from Barclays and one that in a situation like this, is the only option for social – be honest, own up and say sorry.
Real-time Twitter trends on Yahoo! Japan’s search page
Yahoo! Japan now features the top three trending Twitter keywords on its search page, which link to the real-time search subpage following Twitter’s tweet integration partnership with Yahoo! Japan earlier in 2011. This could benefit Twitter greatly as its top trends will likely reach a wider audience as a result of being featured on Yahoo! Japan’s search page, which sees almost 50 billion monthly page views. Let’s see if the rate of new Twitter users in Japan increases significantly as a result of this.
Tencent Weibo integrated into Baidu search portal
Chinese Internet search giant Baidu integrates social networks into its search portal, and its new partnership with Tencent enables Tencent Weibo users access to their accounts right from the Baidu home page. Microblogging service Sina Weibo and social networking sites Renren and Kaixin001 were already supported back when Baidu launched its new homepage in September 2011. It’s heartening to see industry competitors cooperate to create a more user-friendly online environment where social network services are streamlined onto a single platform for easy access. I don’t think we’ll ever see this happen with Facebook and Twitter on Google’s homepage though.
Localised YouTube service in Malaysia
YouTube has recently launched a localised service for Malaysia at youtube.com.my. Adam Smith, YouTube’s Asia Pacific Director of Product Management, had this to say about the new regional service:
Over the last few years Malaysians have been watching YouTube in huge numbers, and by launching a version of the site optimized for Malaysia today, we aim to create an even more relevant local YouTube experience.
Instagram and Hipstamatic partnership
Despite its 27 million users, Instagram is still pretty much a closed community. Although this is likely to change with the impending launch of its Android version, Instagram is still not entirely an open photo-sharing platform as it does not allow photos to be imported into Instagram from other services, although it does have sharing options that exports its photos out onto Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. This looks set to change thanks to its partnership with Hipstamatic, the first time Instagram has opened up its platform API to third parties, which to be honest came as a bit of a surprise considering that they appear to be rival photo-sharing applications. Hipstamatic users are now able to export their photos directly into Instagram’s network with a single click. This partnership frames Instagram as a social network instead of a mere mobile app more than ever, and will perhaps help Hipstamatic boost its revenues as well since it is a paid app.
Intel’s infographic generator
Intel, which previously released the popular Museum of Me app, has created a new tool – an infographic generator that compiles and displays data that’s all about you. This new What About Me? app culls info from a user’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profile to produce a data visualization of his or her composite social media profile. The analysis of data includes an assessment of one’s overall mood, daily habits, stuff recently talked about, tracks interests based on what one tweets and posts about, as well as most popular post and photo. Expect more infographics on your Facebook wall soon.
Capturing social value with new Google Analytics tools
Social media is deeply woven into people’s purchase decision journeys, but it’s not been easy to measure this, even when solely looking at people’s online behaviour. Google have now made this easier with its new set of social tools built into Google Analytics, allowing you to see how traffic coming from social sites leads to ‘goals’ on your site (for example e-commerce purchases, test drive requests), both immediately and in future visits.
Social has double the value than previously thought
In line with Google’s new kit, a new study from Adobe says that social media drives twice as many sales as it’s normally credited with. The difference lies in attributing the proper value of social media in the consideration phase (the ‘first click’) rather than just the ‘last click’:
A visitor interested in buying a new watch might click through to a jeweler’s website from a Facebook link posted by a friend. After mulling over the purchase for a few days, that same person might return to the site after searching for the name of the retailer on Bing and make the cash register ring. First-click analysis would give credit for the sale to Facebook, while last-click analysis would give it to Bing. Adobe simply suggests they both deserve a share of the credit.
By last-click attribution measures, the average value of a social media click to a retail site is about 60 cents. That’s the average of all the purchases, diluted by the number of people who clicked but didn’t buy. However, the average value of a first click from social media is nearly double at $1.13.
A long time ago, we used to be friends
Maybe it’s not just the house that needs a spring cleaning anymore — now more Facebook users are unfriending their connections and loose acquaintances than ever before. More than half a billion people were unfriended in 2011, and Facebook is now trying to cut back on News Feed noise and accelerating the trend by making it easier for you to see less from friends you don’t know as well, automating the process of labelling them acquaintances.
Facebook’s new high-res photos, post pages and ad copy size
For those Facebook friends you do want to keep around, they can now see your photos and their own in high-resolution and full-screen. In another change, post pages have been redesigned to look and feel more like Timeline, with ‘Like’ and ‘Subscribe buttons getting a more dominant placement.
Finally, Facebook is cutting the number of characters in ad copy from 135 to 90, and ad images are getting smaller as well, as part of a more streamlined approach.
Happy sixth birthday, Twitter!
It’s amazing how Twitter has evolved from this sketch six years ago, into a platform so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine the social web without it. We’ve reported earlier that it’s announced its 140 million active users and average of 340 million Tweets a day.
As social networks get older, more ads tend to follow and Twitter is no exception: it’s now including Promoted Tweets in users’ timelines, even if they aren’t following the brand. Want to target Apple fanboys or Android junkies for your next campaign? Twitter now lets brands target based on device.
Today, they’ve also started offering self-serve advertising to Am Ex customers that was announced last month.
Tweetdeck is growing up too. In the latest update lists now become much easier to create and manage, image previews show up in your stream as thumbnails then get displayed in a much larger gallery, and the classic RT makes a comeback.
Pinterest grows up fast
Pinterest, the ‘princess of the Internet’, has earned her crown with some impressive stats. The site grew by 52% in February, taking just nine months to reach 17.8 million unique visitors, faster than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Tumblr.
Brands have quickly migrated to the site, with some already reaching out to influential ‘power pinners’ to curate boards for them. But just how much is a pin worth?
Spotify unleashes new music discovery apps
Whether you want to scan the archives of big labels or collect every song mentioned on Twitter with #nowplaying in a playlist, Spotify has made it easier than ever to find new tunes. Spotify’s new apps are packed full of social integration, with one even pulling info from Facebook to build playlists based on what your friends are listening to.
Friends Reunited to re-launch – better than ever?
Friends Reunited was the original UK social network, and it also used to have the most visitors. Now, 12 years after it first launched, it’s going to re-launch tomorrow with a focus on memories and nostalgia.
This is all very well, were it not for that fact that Facebook Timeline also focuses on the past, making it hard for Friends Reunited to return with a vengeance. It’s a point underscored by our very own Aisling McCarthy:
Even though Friends Reunited was one of the pioneers of social networking, it was Facebook that really shaped the culture and behaviour of the world of social. Although its usage is sure to plateau soon, I think that this year Internet users are going to care more about sharing personal content on Facebook and discovering new tools for creation and curation.
There are a slew of new platforms out there at the moment but it looks like curation is a trend that is set to continue in 2012.
With the popularity of platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr, I just don’t see Friends Reunited getting a look in. I’d like to see it prove me wrong – but sadly, I don’t think it’ll be too long before the site admits defeat for the last time.
PeerIndex aims to focus on ‘influence marketing’
PeerIndex has often been viewed in the shadow of Klout, its nearest competitor. Last week Econsultancy carried a revealing interview with PeerIndex CEO Azeem Azhar, in which Azhar explained his company’s focus on ‘influence marketing’ and how PeerIndex, unlike Klout, can find topic-specific influence at scale.
Bieber becomes first Instagram user to reach a million followers
Last Tuesday, Justin Bieber became the first Instagram user to reach a million followers. He’s posted just 281 photos to reach this milestone. More proof, if it was needed, that Bieber alone makes the Internet go round.
The Guardian’s social reader app helps drive record traffic
The Guardian posted record unique visitor and page impression figures in February, largely due to its Facebook app that lets users read Guardian stories and share them automatically via Ticker, Timeline and News Feed. Six months ago, Facebook delivered 2% of its referral traffic, compared to 30% now. Another example of Facebook’s Open Graph driving significant traffic to third-party apps and websites.
Walgreens add customer service tab to Facebook Page
American pharmacy Walgreens has added an ‘Answers’ tab to its Facebook Page, which includes both frequently asked questions broken down by category, and even the opportunity to speak to a pharmacist directly online.
FC Barcelona launch ‘FCB Alert’ Facebook app
FC Barcelona have launched a Facebook app which they hope will allow them to better engage their 28 million fans. ‘FCB Alert’ includes exclusive content and news from the club, interactive features such as games and polls, as well as an F-commerce option that allows fans to buy merchandise. Crucially, the app:
tailors content specifically for different groups or individuals based on their respective interests, demographics, and geography using the data that exists within Facebook.
However, this happens only after the user grants permission to access no fewer than 11 separate categories of personal data. Yikes.
McCain hosts Facebook competition with big prize
Last Wednesday, McCain Oven Chips hosted a #McCainMums Twitter party aimed at mummy bloggers to launch their ‘Lucky Spuds’ competition, which combines on pack promotion with a Facebook game mechanic. Fans are told to buy a special pack of McCain chips with a ‘Lucky Spuds’ promotional flash on it, then to go online and play the Lucky Spuds game on Facebook using the code on the back of pack to enter. Each code allows 1 play a day, and the highest score of the day wins the £1000. They’re giving away £1,000 every day for 12 weeks, with one overall winner set to pocket £100,000. This is one we can’t chip away at.
Lancome hosts Instagram contest
To promote its ‘Rouge In Love’ lipsticks, Lancome is running the ‘Colour in Your Life’ Instagram contest where users are asked to take photos of their most ‘colourful moments’ and then tag them with one of three related hashtags: #inlovewithday, #inlovewithdusk or #inlovewithnight.
Cadbury UK hosts Google Hangout for chocolate lovers
Cadbury UK hosted a hangout on its Google+ page, where it talked users through how to taste white, milk and dark chocolate, as well as teaching them about the different varieties. It was a clever activation as it was targeted towards just one of Cadbury UK’s Circles – the ‘tasters’.
Boris Johnson u-turns on Twitter account grab
London Mayor Boris Johnson came under fire for changing the @MayorOfLondon account into @BorisJohnson, taking the 250,000 of the followers from the official mayoral account to that of his re-election campaign. Due to the subsequent outcry in social media, Boris was then forced to make an embarrassing u-turn and change the account back to its original Twitter handle.
Artists using social media for co-creation with their fans
The Internet can rocket the unsuspecting to their shot at fame, but can social media also spur collaborations between the stars and the everyday folk? There were three great examples of this this week with musician Deadmau5 live- streaming the creation of a new track and unexpectedly sourcing the lyrics from a fan, Isaac Simmons creating their new video from fans’ ‘Draw Something’ doodles, and Paul Schrader and Brett Easton Ellis casting via Facebook for their new film.