Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Blackberry’.
Thailand’s Chang takes water orders through WeChat
Chang, Thailand’s largest beverage producer that’s best known for its beer, started an official account on WeChat last week. Calling themselves “WeChang”, followers are greeted with a welcome message that provides instructions on how to use the chat app to order drinking water for home delivery. In addition to offering a quick access to customer service representatives via WeChat, WeChang also allows customers to download a set of cute Chang stickers like the ones below. The chat app is currently also used to provide China Merchant Bank’s followers access to their bank balances in China. This might herald the future for consumer conveniences such as ordering home deliveries for food or groceries.
WeChat’s BlackBerry app gets ‘look around’ feature
Months after the launch of its BlackBerry app, WeChat has released an update that allows users to ‘look around‘ for people to chat or flirt with. The update also includes other popular features such as allowing users to add friends by scanning QR codes and downloading animated sticker packs. The recent rollout brings the BlackBerry version pretty close to the chat app’s current form on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms with the notable exclusion of video or voice calling. Tencent has indicated that the latter features will be made available in the WeChat for BB10 app, that is currently under development. In the meantime, Indonesian users seeking a specialized location-based flirting app can try Qute, a Tencent app that’s created just for the Indonesian market.
6 Chinese social networks observe Earth Hour
Last Saturday, people around the world switched their lights off for an hour from 8.30pm local time to observe “Earth Hour”, a movement to remind the world not to waste vital resources. 6 Chinese social media sites, Renren, Youku, QQ, Ushi, 139 and Kaixin, pledged to turn the lights off on their sites. Users were able to view their pages via a virtual light that followed their cursor. Although technically, most gadgets will not consume less power with darkened pages, the move was intended to raise awareness of the difference that the world can make with changes to their energy consumption habits.
Tencent lays out monetization plans for WeChat
Tencent, the maker of popular chat app, WeChat, will be rolling out a suite of services intended to build revenue streams that will help them monetize the app. The app will offer online-to-offline e-commerce capabilities, value-added services and games. WeChat member card holders can enjoy discounts for following specific merchants and daily deals on the official WeiTuanGou account. WeChat users will soon be able to buy special stickers and emoticons which may be sold as bundles through subscription. Gamers will also be able to play social games via WeChat in the near future.
Tribehired, Malaysian social recruitment site gets seed investment
Malaysian startup social networking-based jobs site, Tribehired, has secured a US$ 560K (about S$ 696K) seed investment from Singapore’s TNF Ventures. The funds will be applied towards expanding the team and expanding its job seeker and employer base as the company moves towards launching its services globally. The premise is simple: Using Facebook as a working platform, people are incentivized to recommend vacancies to friends while virtual resumes can be created for users of the service. The service has already attracted quite a few companies including Rocket Internet-funded e-commerce firms such as Lazada and Zalora.
YouTube hit the 1 billion a month unique users mark
Online video giant YouTube put their success into context for us last Wednesday, announcing their achievement of 1 billion unique users per month. This means “almost half of the people on the Internet visit the online site each month”. Looking specifically at Generation C (18-34 year olds), YouTube stated that this “demographic spend 74% more time watching YouTube on their smartphones now than they were last year”.
Facebook cover photo policy has been changed
The rule against page cover photos featuring a call to action, contact information, references to price or purchase information has been updated. Page owners now have more flexibility in terms of what they can include in their cover photo, however the no more than 20% text overlay rule still applies. The rule for cover photos and ad images are now consistent, “this is important as cover photos are beginning to be included in both organic and sponsored page-Like stories in News Feeds”.
Facebook to roll out its new commenting system
Facebook have been testing its new commenting system since November 2012, it “includes threaded conversations and a ranking algorithm meant to put the most relevant and high quality comments first”. The new updates will be available on an opt-in basis for all pages with more than 10,000 fans. Some of the key features of the new comments are the “option to reply to a specific comment and a ranking system that takes into account positive and negative signals, and connections”. Facebook are hoping the update will improve conversation management, enhancing the fans experience and public figure profiles.
Facebook to introduce Lookalike Audiences globally
Last week Facebook rolled out Lookalike Audiences to Power Editor accounts, this is a tool which helps advertisers target similar users “to those in their Custom Audience database”. Facebook reported that Lookalike Audiences have decreased cost per action and an online retailer experienced “lower costs per checkout when the Lookalike Audience feature was in limited beta”. To create Lookalike Audiences a list of first-party data must be uploaded, such as, email, phone number or user ID to create a Custom Audience. Facebook then uses algorithms to analyse the Custom Audience and produces a Lookalike Audience based on demographics, interests and what people are talking about.
iPhone users make calls using Facebook Messenger for free
Following on from its successful launch in the US and Canada, it is now possible for iPhone users in the UK to make calls to other Facebook Messenger users for free. You simply open the Facebook Messenger app, select the person you want to call and hit the ‘I’ button.
Happy 7th Birthday Twitter
Last week Twitter celebrated its 7th birthday - In the last seven years the social network has gained more than 200 million active users who create over 400 million Tweets each day. Twitter is now considered by most to be the go platform for the “lastest news, to exchange ideas and connect with people all in real time”. To celebrate this milestone, Twitter have made a video celebrating some of the many moments on Twitter so far, and a few of the UK’s best known Twitter personalities have been shouting about why they love Twitter so much.
Britney Spears is first to reach 6 million followers on Google+
Britney Spears has had the highest number of followers on Google+ since November 2011, and is now the first person to reach 6 million followers. According to Starcount, Lady Gaga is hot on her heels with a mere 100,000 followers seperating them.
Puma are paying for UGC
German sports giant, Puma, announced they’re trialing iPhone app, Foap. The new app allows users to upload photos to the platform and sell them to brands. Puma has asked Foap users to take photos in response to ‘Missions’ for its ‘Nature of Performance’ global campaign, the UGC purchased will promote the campaign across all social media channels. The ability to “create a library of content and achieve further engagement by getting users to rate the images” in Foap is one of the reasons Puma decided to use this platform.
Friendly Twitter war between Kit Kat and Oreo
A friendly Twitter war can be fun and exciting for the brand and their followers, and this is no exception:
A Twitter user tweets her two favourite chocolate brands…
@KITKAT respond with a game of noughts and crosses…
To which @oreo responded very cleverly…
Oreo triumphed over KitKat on this occasion, we’re look forward to the next round!
Capital One get savvy about social for March Madness
Financial giant, Capital One, have recruited retired ball player Charles Barkley as a spokesperson during March Madness 2013 and they’re hoping he’s going to jump on the Twitter bandwagon very soon, and understandably so as tweeting has become an important part of spokesperson deals. In the meantime they have a social media plan to see them through March Madness, cashing in on real time marketing opportunities with a newsroom-styled social media team responding to tweets whilst watching the games. Capital One understand that being part of the conversation is integral to online success, but have also invested in promoted Tweets, Facebook ads, YouTube promos, and general displays across the Internet to ensure all bases are covered during March Madness.
Press regulation to affect all forms of media
Bloggers could be facing libel fines under the new UK Leveson deal with exemplary damages imposed if they don’t sign up to the new regulator. The updated definition of a ‘relevant’ blogger or website under Clause 29 “includes any that generate news material where there is an editorial structure giving someone control over publication”. Many see this is a negative move for a country that has had a “free press for the last 300 years”, it could impact online news sites as well as small publications and local newspapers. It has been said that the new rules are there to protect small-scale bloggers and publications and to ensure publications like Hello! magazine would be subject to regulation but a small voluntary blog would be exempt.
The UK’s 2013 Budget in terms of social
We Are Social’s London analyst Ed Kitchingman gave us the low down on social figures during the UK 2013 budget announcements last week, and what a difference twelve months made. The 2012 budget received 138,500 tweets total, whereas the 2013 budget received 258,000, tweets in the first day. The sentiment of tweets however was overwhelmingly negative, but mainly in relation to the Chancellor himself and not the policies. #budget2013 was the top hashtag used on the day, it was tweeted 125,102 times. Here’s a look at the top 10 hashtags used throughout the budget announcement and immediately after in order of popularity:
The tweet that cost £14,268
UK parliament member Fiona MacTaggart underestimated the power of social media when she vowed to donate £1 for every retweet she received. Within the 35 minute timeframe Fiona set she received 14,268 retweets on Red Nose Day 2013. Fiona certainly wasn’t expecting the reaction she received but will live up to her word and intends to donate the full £14,268 to Comic Relief.
WeChat & Taobao testing in-app e-commerce search feature
Tencent’s WeChat is working with China’s largest e-commerce site, Taobao, to test an in-app e-commerce search engine. WeChat users will be able to message Taobao from within the chat app by typing the keywords for the products that they are seeking, and the app will respond with a link to the items. This extension of WeChat’s existing brands platform, which is used for social marketing, makes it easier for users to search Taobao without having to launch the web browser or native app. The search reach will include products listed on Taobao’s sister site, Tmall, also run by Alibaba Group. WeChat’s pending new feature heralds the start of social e-commerce search wave that is expected to boost mobile commerce.
Sina Weibo tests WeChat-like brand platform
WeChat’s rising popularity has reduced the amount of time spent by Sina Weibo’s users on the microblog. Sina is attempting to put up a fight with a new ‘Public Platform’ feature designed to rival WeChat’s brands platform. The feature is still under testing but when launched, it will offer brands, media and advertisers a dedicated channel to reach Sina Weibo’s 500 million registered accounts. This largely mirrors WeChat’s offering with two key differences: (1) WeChat has a smaller userbase of 300 million and (2) Sina’s current system doesn’t support outbound links to drive traffic to brand sites. Nonetheless, the feature is still in beta thus much remains to be seen whether the final launch product will support outbound links that allow advertisers to drive traffic to their own sites. Sina Weibo’s new feature will offer brands a more targeted approach (as users can opt in to receive updates), in addition to the existing promoted messages service which disseminates information to the entire userbase.
WeChat plans to monetize official accounts platform
Monetization has always been tricky even for hot apps like WeChat. Tencent WeChat is looking to monetize the official accounts platform as its users are willing to pay for services. An attractive medium for brands, some of WeChat’s official accounts have started to display ads within articles sent to readers daily. Merchants have also reported seeing traffic from WeChat converting into transactions. In spite of the early commercial success of these services, WeChat maintains that their future monetization efforts will not conflict with user experience. WeChat is always looking to enhance the user experience and its latest version includes a “shake-to-search-for-a-song” feature that makes Shazam-esque song recognition available simply by shaking the phone. Previously, WeChat’s “Shake” feature was used to enable users to meet other users or to transfer web pages. The enhanced feature will soon enable users to launch the official WeChat account for a TV program by shaking the phone while watching the program.
WeChat’s at the top of the Indonesian app chart
China’s WeChat topped Indonesia’s iOS and Android app charts following a TV advertising campaign that started a few weeks ago. The chat app also reached second position on the app chart for Blackberry, Indonesia’s top smartphone platform. WeChat’s dominance on the Android app chart has displaced Japanese app, Line, putting it in second place. It is estimated that there are currently at least a million WeChat users in Indonesia. This development seems to be testimony to WeChat’s partnership with MNC Media, which seems to be paying off in Indonesia, especially for the TV ads. The newly incorporated joint-venture company, MNC Tencent, looks set to overwhelm Line in terms of TV ads and public visibility in the longer term.
Skype powers court proceedings in Indonesia
The Indonesian legal system is harnessing the power of the internet to facilitate court proceedings in a cost-effective manner. For the first time, Skype was used for teleconferencing, allowing a rape victim to deliver her sworn testimony without having to be physically present in court. Though there were hiccups such as the conference call getting disconnected twice, the court process was not disrupted significantly. A far more cost effective substitute to expensive landline-based teleconference calls, the overall success of this hearing could herald the future for legal proceedings.
1/3 of your Facebook friends see your posts
Research by Stanford University’s Michael S. Bernstein has shown that each Facebook update is seen by on average 1/3 of the poster’s friends. The study, which took into account the profiles of 220,000 Facebook users last June, also found that posts across the course of the month reached on average 61% of their friends. This high reach is something most users are unaware of, with most found to “consistently underestimate” the size of their audience.
Facebook’s News feed changes
As we reported last Friday, Facebook have announced a host of changes to their News feed. In the below video, we hear the Facebook team discussing the various differences users will see.
In essence, they have made two major changes. The first of these looks to provide a more visually immersive experience, with large images replacing what the network refer to as ‘clutter’ for everything from photo uploads to article previews and checkins. In fact, the inflated pictures and sleeker left side bar have led many to draw comparisons between the new format and the layout of Google+, a set of similarities highlighted in the following comparison:
It is in the second change that Facebook moves one step beyond its network rival. Rather than just one News feed, users will now have access to a number of different versions, allowing greater control over the stories they see. For example, you can switch from looking at a feed containing purely photos to the activity of all your friends, or the feed containing posts from the celebrities and news sources you ‘follow’.
The changes will post interesting challenges for marketers. First of all, the number and type of feeds will affect the way in which users receive branded content. Whilst the regular News feed will see brands compete with the same stories as they have do currently, the ‘Following’ feed will mean marketers are pitted directly against publishers, as well as celebrities with whom Facebook users have high affinity, increasing ever further the necessity of high-quality content. Moreover, there was no mention in the initial announcement of how adverts will appear in the new feeds. Whilst it is the norm for Facebook’s launches to focus on user experience over advertising and there is no initial change expected, brands will be looking to monitor any expected long term changes and how these may affect social strategy.
Tumblr to introduce mobile advertising
In an attempt at monetisation, Tumblr is set to introduce advertising on its mobile app, much like it already has on desktop. In the first half of this year, companies will be able to promote posts via mobile as well as web. This comes at the same time as research from Gartner on the increasing power of mobile advertising. This year expects to see $11.4 billion in worldwide mobile advertising revenue, up from $9.8 billion in 2012. By 2016, this could increase to $24.6 billion.
Red Bull introduce ‘Flow’
Red Bull are expanding both their social portfolio and association with the world of extreme sports by introducing Flow, a trick-sharing app designed for skateboarders and BMXers. Available for iPhone and Android, Flow allows users to either record in-app or upload pre-recorded content, which it then converts from individual clips to a seamless ‘flow’ of content.
Mothercare producing film for Mother’s Day
We hope any mums reading had a great Mother’s Day yesterday! To celebrate the event, Mothercare are producing a user-generated film about a day in the life of a mother, due to be posted on their Facebook page today. The video, directed by Susie Donaldson of ‘Child of our Time’, is a collation of various photo and video content sent to the brand’s social platforms with the hashtag #MothersDayMoments.
Hospitals’ Facebook likes increase with quality
There is a link between a hospital’s quality and the number of Facebook likes it has, according to research by the American Journal of Medical Quality. Whilst social networks are not prevalent in the US healthcare sector – note that below 50% of the 82 New York-based locations tested even had a Facebook page – those that existed in the social sphere gained on average 93 likes with every percentage-point drop in the mortality rate. Furthermore, there is a positive correlation between a hospital’s fan numbers and the positive reviews it receives, depicting the ever-growing nature of social recommendations in non-commercial spheres.
WeChat app to be available on Blackberry 10 soon
China’s WeChat has made a pledge on its Malaysian Facebook page to launch a Blackberry 10 version soon.
This move to support Blackberry’s latest model, a few months after WeChat launched its Blackberry app, will help WeChat’s expansion plans in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. WeChat’s 300 million strong userbase is largely from China but the company is setting its sights on the international arena. The heatmap below shows WeChat’s global penetration as of January 2013.
Tencent WeChat to open office in America
China’s Tencent has confirmed that it will be opening an office in America in 2013 as part of its move to take its successful chat app, WeChat, global.
Originally launched as Weixin in China, the chat app has seen exponential growth following the creation of its English brand, WeChat in April 2012. Though a precise date or location for WeChat’s US office hasn’t been revealed, the company says that the office serve as a customer relations department. WeChat will face fierce competition from other Asian rivals such as Line while working to convert entrenched WhatsApp users. Tencent already has offices in San Francisco for its online gaming operations and has seen a growing ratio of overseas WeChat users though the company declined to reveal numbers.
Google+ woos Indian users with government linked initiatives
With more than 60 million Facebook users, India is the third largest country market after US and Brazil for the social network. This makes it a natural target for Google which is seeking to get a foot in the door through the use of Google+ Hangouts to get the nation talking about the 2013 Budget. On February 28, Google streamed a live feed of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s presentation on YouTube’s IN conversation channel. To make the conversation more interactive, a Google+ hangout was held yesterday. A panel of economists joined the Finance Minister in fielding questions from Indian citizens who were selected after submitting questions using the #askthefm hashtag on Google+. Users were also encouraged to upload video questions using the same hashtag via the IN Conversation YouTube channel or via the google.com/+GoogleIndia page. Hangouts enable ordinary citizens to get closer to key events thus demonstrating the power of social media in helping the man in the street get involved in events that matter. What’s the upside for Google? Any new users who sign up or existing users who rediscover Google+ through these initiatives may help to contribute to the network’s daily active userbase.
Automobile companies engage Indian social media influencers
Social media influencers are being pursued by automobile companies to test drive their vehicles for a day or two and to talk about it via social media channels. India is no exception with automobile companies such as Ford, Mercedes and Tata engaging with influential social media users, running contests and offering free cars at their disposal for a few days. The intent is to allow the influencers the opportunity to enjoy the comfort and luxury of the cars and to share their experience on their social media channels. The payoff? The influencers posted pictures and wrote about their experience on their blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds creating buzz and reach as their fans jumped into the conversation.
Twitter partners with Japan’s DoCoMo to launch a Yellow Pages-like index
DoCoMo and Twitter’s partnership has seen the launch of the Twitter Yellow Pages Japan site. Created for mobile users though accessible via PCs, the site contains lists of recommended Twitter accounts based on categories such as food, shopping, sightseeing, local news, celebrities and sport teams.
In addition to Twitter’s list of recommended accounts, users can filter each category by location to discover other accounts that may be relevant to them. This tie-up is a win-win solution for both companies as Twitter garners more users making it more attractive to advertisers and DoCoMo chalks up increased mobile data usage with the potential to sell more smartphones.
Viber has 3.5 million users in Vietnam
The mobile messaging app battle in Vietnam seems to have a clear winner with Viber registering a userbase of 3.5 million. Competitors, Line and KakaoTalk, have a million users each while WhatsApp has not confirmed any user numbers. This growth is impressive considering Viber has not been actively promoting the app in Vietnam or anywhere else in the world. With a userbase of 175 million worldwide, of which a third are from Asia, Viber is a source of concern for rival apps such as Line, KakaoTalk and Zalo.
Marketers set to more than double social media spend
Over the next five years, CMOs will more than double the percentage of their marketing budget that is spent on social media, according to 500 surveyed. Currently, social media makes up 8.4% of that total; this is set to increase to 11.5% in 2013 and reach 21.6% in the next five years. Consumer goods companies are set to lead the way, seeing an increase from 9.6% to 24.6% in the same period.
How Twitter affects UK mobile and tech shoppers
A study of 6,000 UK Twitter users has looked to establish the network’s effect on mobile and tech shoppers. From the graph below, it can be seen that exposure to a brand’s tweet increases the percentage of users visiting a brand’s website, up to 62.7% in comparison with 45.6% of Internet users or 50.5% of those on Twitter not exposed to the tweet.
A key point to be taken from the research is that the likelihood of a user visiting a brand’s website increases with higher frequency of exposure to branded tweets.
How to gain Twitter followers?
The Georgia Institute of Technology have had their two cents on how to gain Twitter followers, analysing a selection of 500,000 tweets based on a number of factors including sentiment, engagement and readability. They concluded that those who posted shorter, happier tweets & engaged with their followers using RTs and mentions exhibited a higher rate of follower growth. Also effective was retweeting interesting pieces of news; those who did so gained more followers than those posting about themselves.
Facebook’s Insights fix will definitely affect reach
After the fixes to Facebook bugs affecting reach that we reported last week, tests by Edgerank Checker on 1,000 pages have shown an increase of over 30% across different types of Facebook reach:
It is worth reading the full post for its detailed analysis, including a breakdown of the effects by page size.
Facebook acquires Microsoft’s Atlas
The result of a long-mooted deal, Facebook has announced its acquisition of Microsoft’s ad-serving platform Atlas at a price thought to be under $100m, based on former bids in the $30-50m region. Facebook have claimed that their intention is not the construction of an external advertising network based on their social data, but instead that their interest lies in improving measurement tools, citing Atlas’s new tool for richer measurement of ad impressions. In light of the deal, Adweek conducted an interview with Facebook’s director of product marketing, Brian Boland and Dave O’Hara, CFO of Microsoft’s online services division, in which they discussed their plans to build a stronger relationship between the two companies. Boland said:
When we look at Atlas, it is a full acquisition where we are acquiring the technology, the people, the expertise and the client relationships. So this is a great accelerator for our aspirations around measurement.
Facebook working on redesigning Newsfeed
Last week, the Verge, amongst others, announced that Facebook had invited press to ‘come see a new look for News Feed’. The event will be held at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters this Thursday, 7th March at 10am PST. As for the expected changes,Business Insider claim to have a source close to Chris Cox, Facebook’s VP of products, with whom Mark Zuckerberg has entrusted the product. From this source, they have ascertained two important differences: firstly, News feed will know more information about you and use this to tailor what content you receive based on your likes, what you’ve viewed and even items you’ve bought. Secondly, News feed will look to pull content from a wider range of sources, as Facebook hopes to integrate sharing tools directly into company websites, allowing them to work more like pages. Rumour also has it that a radical redesign is coming to the mobile News feed, with a more vivid text-overlay and full width images taking over from the current format. A (sort of) artist’s impression below gives the gist of how the layout will work.
Facebook testing new actions in Open Graph apps
Facebook are testing a new set of actions in Open Graph apps, including ‘rate’ and ‘quote’ for books, as well as ‘want to read’ or ‘want to watch’. The below example displays how the ‘Goodreads’ app is already using the ‘rate’ system, though it is worth noting that no announcement has been forthcoming from Facebook.
Had good news? Facebook will suggest your friends send you gifts
For a while now, Facebook have been suggesting gifts for occasions like birthdays or engagements. However, they have now decided to add the ‘Give A Gift’ button to posts containing good news. Interestingly, it seems the feature is now using natural language processing, rather than just specific events, in order to make suggestions.
Instagram now has 100m active monthly users
The image-sharing platform Instagram has announced that it now has 100m active monthly users, up from 90m just a month ago. This displays incredibly fast growth; it took Facebook four-and-a-half years to reach such a level. According to AppData, Instagram is now the third-highest rank Android app and the 17th top free iOS app.
Google+ launches ‘Sign In’ and ventures into e-commerce
Google have launched an attempt to rival Facebook ‘Connect’, with their own ‘Sign In’ feature, along with an impressive list of partners that includes Banjo, Fancy, Fitbit, OpenTable, and Shazam. The below video explains the feature, along with some of its key elements, including the importance of privacy, control over sharing and easy mobile integration. In many ways, it mirrors and attempts to improve on Facebook’s concept of frictionless sharing from open graph actions.
It is then left up to the various partners to decide how they use the feature. From the Shazam example, you can see full extent of interactive sharing available:
The Fancy have chosen to integrate a buy button into shared content, providing another example of how brands can use ‘Sign In’. The following example displays how such posts will look.
Foursquare partners with Mastercard and Visa
In a bid at further monetisation, Foursquare have partnered with card giants Mastercard and Visa for providing discounts. Having enjoyed success from a similar deal with American Express, the social network has launched a new deal for all three cards, offering a saving of $1 for every ten spent with a check in at Burger King.
Vimeo ‘Looks’ to add Instagram-style filters to video
Video-sharing network Vimeo has further expanded its appeal to filmmakers by offering filters, known as ‘looks’, through a partnership with GenArts and use of their ‘Vivoom’ app. Each filter, or ‘look’, applies a different effect to video content, offering a straightforward method to alter a film’s appearance.
The feature, which marks Vimeo’s first external partnership, is set to be free for users for the first 90 days, after which a charge will be applied. Pricing structure is as yet undecided.
Pheed becomes number one social app for iOS
Last week, Pheed overtook the likes of Facebook and Twitter as the top social app for iOS. The network, which allows sharing of all sorts of content from text, photos, video and audio to voice or live broadcast, is believed to owe its expansion to positive reviews by high-profile teens on Twitter and Instagram. It also includes a number of interesting features, including the ability to watermark images, or put certain content behind a paywall. With such impressive growth, Pheed is definitely one to watch in the coming months.
WeChat launches in Indonesia
China-built cross platform messaging application, WeChat (known as Weixin in China) has launched in Indonesia. The potential is immense as Indonesia’s the world’s 4th most populous country with a population of 237 million people, slightly larger than WeChat’s worldwide user base of 200 million. The latest development is expected to put pressure on competitors such as WhatsApp and Line to make similar moves in addition to threatening Blackberry’s BBM’s dominance in Indonesia. WeChat’s popular integrated social networking features such as hold-to-talk voice messaging, ‘Moments’ status update and photo sharing features are expected to give the hybrid chat app a leg up with Indonesian users. Likewise, the features can prove attractive to advertisers seeking to leverage on the reach offered by the product.
Twitter vs Weibo
Last week we mentioned that Chinese Twitter users are the most active despite being blocked in China. Whilst Twitter is the dominant microblog service in the US, China has 2 homegrown microblog platforms, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, that are very popular within the mainland and increasingly beyond its shores. Given China’s massive population size and an increasingly affluent society that is wired and crazy about social networking, the twin threats that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo pose to Twitter’s microblog-dom’s dominance should not be ignored even if they currently do not have a stronghold on English-speakers. Check out the infographic comparing the 3 platforms here.
Indonesian Instagram users can now print photos with Instalogi
Prinstagram-clone Instalogi allows Indonesian Instagram users to print photos in addition to photobooks and stickers. Launched on September 1st, users can sign into their Instagram accounts on the Instalogi site, pick the photos they want printed, check them out, pay, send a confirmation and wait for the prints to be delivered. The startup’s founder Kemas Dimas revealed that plans are underway to develop a mobile web version of the product and that they’ll be holding an event with iPhonesia, the largest iPhone-based photography community in Indonesia.
WhatsApp offers unlimited messaging service for Indian college students
Making a play for the world’s 2nd most populous country, WhatsApp has partnered with Reliance to offer unlimited usage of its messaging service to college students. Reliance’s College Package is a prepaid plan offering students unlimited access to WhatsApp and Facebook for INR 16 (S$ 0.37) a month. The plan excludes calls and SMSes.
The deal will provide WhatsApp with an advantage as it competes with Indian-developed Nimbuzz which hit the 100 million users milestone recently with most of its users residing on the Indian subcontinent. WhatsApp has also struck deals with operators in Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Notably, Indonesian top operator, Telkomsel has added WhatsApp along with Line and KakaoTalk to its US$3 (S$3.69) unlimited monthly plan. India is on the radar too for Blackberry which doubled its sales presence and launched budget devices. It faces stiff competition though from Samsung which is the leading brand for Android devices in the country.
LinkedIn opens regional office in Dubai
US-based LinkedIn has opened a new regional office in Dubai, its first in the Middle Eastern region with more than a million members signing up within the United Arab Emirates alone. In February 2012, LinkedIn reported more than 44 million members in Europe, Middle East and Africia out of 175 million members worldwide. The company’s influence is reportedly growing at a strong pace with 2 new members signing up every second. Having recently hit 10 million members in the UK and 62% of its users residing outside of its homebase in the US, LinkedIn could be the next social networking behemoth to watch.
Facebook cracks down on fake accounts
Some page admins are reporting that they are losing tens of thousands of fans as Facebook deletes fake and spam accounts. Facebook estimates that on average, pages shouldn’t lose more than 1% of its fan base, though we hope marketers aren’t too worried by these fans who didn’t contribute to engagement anyway.
Facebook adds gift giving for big occasions
You really have no excuse for forgetting to buy a birthday present — now when Facebook reminds you of a friend’s birthday, you’ll also get the option to give a gift in the real world (at least if you live in the US). Browse the selection of $5 Starbucks gift cards, $35 cupcakes and more, enter your bank card details and voila, no birthday will be left behind. Facebook will be celebrating with presents for itself as well, as it takes a slice of each of the transactions and gets valuable data about its users, like their street addresses and bank account information.
Dropbox links up with Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups just got more useful with the announcement of Dropbox support, and users can now share files after linking their Facebook account with Dropbox. Other group members can like and comment on the update, just like a regular post, and the group will automatically be notified if the file has been updated.
Instagram shoots past Twitter in daily mobile users
Maybe pictures are worth more than words now: For the first time ever, American smartphone owners spent more time browsing Instagram than Twitter and visited the Instagram app more frequently. Even though Twitter had more unique US smartphone visitors (29 million for Twitter and 22 million for Instagram), Instagram’s users are more engaged. In August, Instagram had an average of 7.3 million daily active users, compared to Twitter’s 6.9 million. And Instagrammers spent 257 minutes on the app on average, as opposed to 170 minutes on Twitter. How soon until Facebook figures out how to monetize these numbers?
Twitter beefs up ‘Discover’
Twitter continues to improve its Discover tab, a personalized finger-in-the-wind where the site tries to pick up what it thinks you’ll like reading about. Twitter has changed up the design, which now features a continuous stream of tweets that automatically expand to show photos.
LinkedIn adds ‘kudos’ for skills
In one click, your LinkedIn connections will now be able to give you endorsements for your skills and expertise, as well as make recommendations for ones you should add, in something much akin to a Facebook ‘Like’ or a +1. Skills are now vertically ranked based on the number of endorsements received from your colleagues, and you’ll be notified via e-mail and on the site when you’ve been given some LinkedIn love. This is available in the US, India, New Zealand and Australia, but LinkedIn promises it will be coming to more countries soon.
Myspace is bringing sexy back
We were sure that Myspace had been forever banished to the Internet graveyard, but then Justin Timberlake jumped on board and brought it back from the dead. Justin, along with Chris and Tim Vanderhook who bought the site in June 2011, have completely revamped it and hope to make it a social destination for artists looking to connect to their fans. If nothing else, the tech press is going gaga, and for good reason: The site is just downright pretty. The design looks like it has been heavily influenced by Tumblr and Pinterest, and keeping with the Pinterest vibe, the new Myspace invite-only for the moment. Myspace looks like it wants to play nice with Twitter and Facebook to populate your profile with photos and data so that new users aren’t starting from scratch. Get the grand tour of the new Myspace (as much as we can see now anyway) here.
Foursquare introduces personalized maps
Fed up with Apple’s maps on iOS 6? Foursquare has released its new update just in time. The Explore is getting better and better, and the latest update has a much more efficient search system, which gives a higher ranking to what’s popular in the area and what your friends like. And just like the website, the mobile app can now show a personalized map highlighting places you have or haven’t been before and where your friends have been.
StumbleUpon unveils redesign
Not to be outdone by Pinterest and other social networks, StumbleUpon has gotten a makeover that makes the random-internet-discovery-engine more personal and social. Users can now see what’s trending, find out what’s highly recommended by StumbleUpon “experts” and curate lists of their favorite content. Sounds pretty Pinterest-y. But StumbleUpon does seem to be going its own direction by incorporating personal profile analytics, such as your Stumble DNA, which shows the types of content you like best.
What can you buy for a tweet?
Kellogg’s has opened a pop-up shop in London where the cost of a bag of crisps is just one tweet. The experiment ended on Friday, but seems to have gone well, with hundreds of tweets and even spambots picking up the #tweetshop hashtag.
Paddy Power takes Twitter to the skies
To cheer on Europe during the Ryder Cup, Paddy Power bought the hashtag #GoEurope, but then took its tweets even further by putting them up in the clouds with a team of skywriters, which made the tweets visible up to 20 miles away. And all of Paddy Power’s support seems to have paid off, with Europe taking home the top slot and tweets using the hashtag from big names in golf.
KFC targets women in its first UK social media campaign
KFC has made a viral video featuring comedian Jenny Bede asking women to share their “it doesn’t count if…” stories about unhealthy eating on social media. While we’ve all been there (daily … it’s Monday, okay?!), it’s hard to imagine many women changing their perceptions of KFC from this video (especially nutrition-wise), one of the supposed goals of the campaign.
55DSL paints the town with ideas
What would you do if you had 55 seconds to live? Inspired by the brand’s recent launch in India, Diesel’s 55DSL has asked this question, and followers can see their best ideas “graffitied” on buildings on the brand’s site. The more tweets that are sent in with the #55secondstolive hashtag, the quicker the next level will be unlocked, which promises prizes to the top tweeters at each interval.
David Cameron says he’ll join Twitter
The UK’s Prime Minister himself has promised to join Twitter in hopes to communicate more directly with people, despite his past reservations about the social network. His office already uses the @Number10Gov handle, but having his own account will allow him to talk politics more personally. No word on what that handle will be, though@PrimeMinister looks suspiciously suitable.
Buy your own Weibo clone
Tech In Asia recently reported chancing upon a Weibo clone, named JiShiGou, intended for sale to corporations seeking to incorporate microblogging technology into their operational workflow. Hosted on the corporation’s servers, the product offers integration with Tencent and Sina Weibo, in addition to other Chinese social networks. What’s the price tag? The basic web package starts at 10,000 RMB (S$1,932) with optional add-ons such as text messaging support as well as iPhone/iPad and Android phone and tablet apps available at an additional fee. It costs US$2,380 (S$2,910) for iOS apps and US$ 1,587 (S$1,940) for Android apps with text message packages at US$126 (S$154) per 10,000 texts. JiShiGou makes it easy for a corporation to own a whole microblogging system complete with apps, text messaging support, auto-backup, updates and training for less than US$10,000 (S$12,225).
Tencent to localise WeChat in Indonesia
WeChat (aka “Weixin” in China) recently zipped past the 200 million users mark. Encouraged by the growth, Tencent, the company behind this messaging app, is setting its sights further afield for worldwide growth. Viewing Indonesia as a huge potential userbase because it comprises half of the Southeast Asian population, Tencent plans to set up an office in the country soon and has been in talks with local celebrities, media and merchants on co-marketing partnerships. In addition to considering making its app available on Blackberry, Tencent is exploring working with some telcos for BBM packages for WeChat.
Tencent releases version 1.2 of Weiyun cloud service
Version 1.2 of Weiyun, Tencent’s personal cloud storage offering, links up with the company’s Weibo microblogging and Weixin messaging service and runs on iPhone, Android and Windows. Comprising “wangpan” (cloud storage), a photo album that synchronizes across multiple devices, Wi-Fi hotspot transfer feature and a cross-device clipboard feature, Weiyun allows seamless sharing of files, text, and photo independent of the internet. Though currently still only available in Chinese, Tencent is open to exploring multi-language options to support global expansion.
China’s Renren network mimics Facebook’s Timeline
Renren, a Chinese social network that has always maintained a close look and feel to Facebook , has now introduced a profile structure similar to Facebook’s Timeline. Facebook is currently blocked in China, but Renren continues to grow, though its engagement numbers are not as strong as Facebook’s. Renren reported 45 million monthly active users in Q2, which is only 27% of its 162 million total active users. Renren also created a Pinterest clone earlier this year.
Microblogs get their own Chinese TV drama
Microblogs, known as Weibo in China, are such a pervasive cultural phenomenon, they’re the focal point of a new Chinese TV drama called Micro-blog Master. Set in 2010, the period of the rise of microblogs in China, the fictional story documents the competition between two rival weibo companies. Those who are hoping that the drama’s based on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo will be disappointed to know that the drama doesn’t tell their story.
Yelp debuts in Asia with Singapore launch
US-based reviews and listings site Yelp recently launched in Singapore, marking its foray into Asian markets, albeit pretty late in the game. Wired Singaporeans can submit reviews on places whilst businesses can start up their own pages on the site. Food review sites are not new in Singapore as locals have already been using popular sites like Hungrygowhere or apps like Burpple. In other parts of Asia, Yelp faces competition from locally developed services such as Zodio in Thailand, which is looking to expand within the region and Dianping, which has established a firm foothold within China.
19% of US online women on Pinterest, 12% of US online adults Instagram
A new study from the Pew Internet Project found that almost half of all online adults have posted original photos online. For the first time, Pew asked respondents about their use of photo-heavy social networks, specifically Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, and found that 12% of online adults use Pinterest, but a whopping 19% of American online women are on the site, mostly creating home decor wishlists and looking for craft inspiration. About 5% of US online adults are on Tumblr, with 11% of young adults on the site. Instagram’s growth has also skyrocketed in the months since its acquisition by Facebook. 12% of US online adults are using Instagram, including 27% of 18 to 29 year olds. In the last six months, the daily active user base has had grown by more than 1,000%, with its daily active user base now standing at 11 million strong. Maybe $1 billion was more of a bargain than we originally thought?
Fortune 500 companies embrace corporate blogs
America’s largest corporations haven’t always embraced the idea of having unfiltered online conversations with the public, but new research shows that the times are a’changing. Adoption of new social platforms, especially corporate blogs, has increased across Fortune 500 companies over the last year, even after so many have proclaimed the death of the blog. This year saw the largest increase in corporate blogs among these companies since 2008.
European business execs turn to Twitter before big-name publications
The upper echelon of the business world now spends more time on Twitter than on well-known business websites, like Reuters, Bloomberg and The Economist, according to new research. The research tries to pinpoint the media habits of executives with an average salary of £125,000. More than 60% of the execs said they accessed content via their mobiles, and LinkedIn is surprisingly the most popular website for this group.
Ping hears its death knell, but iTunes and iPhone still get social
Ping, Apple’s ill-fated music network, will soon be going to the internet graveyard, and Apple finally set the date on Ping’s iTunes page: September 30. The network’s shutdown was imminent, as Apple announced a new version of iTunes with more integration with the already established social networks, Facebook and Twitter. Users can now ‘Like’ music, videos and apps and see what friends like. And it’s not just iTunes that’s getting friendly with social networks, it’s also the new iPhone and iOS 6. New features include updating Facebook or Twitter using Siri, sharing photos, links and map locations to Facebook and syncing your phone book contacts with your Facebook friends.
Facebook ends Reach Generator program in favour of Promoted Posts
Facebook has ended its Reach Generator program for premium advertisers, less than seven months after it was announced. Reach Generator allowed advertisers to pay Facebook on an ongoing basis to sponsor their page posts and guarantee a 75% reach of the page’s fans over a month-long period. Facebook are focusing instead on their Promoted Posts to simplify their ad offering. This product is available to all pages with more than 400 likes. Promoted Posts, like Reach Generator, ask advertisers to pay a fee to reach a portion of their existing audience.
New Open Graph policy will help Facebook understand affinity
Developers who create custom Open Graph actions that express affinity — for example “love”, “favourite” or “star” — will now need to associate their verbs with the social network’s built-in Like action. This will help Facebook understand the nature of the connections users are making so that they are able to detect positive affinity better for advertisers. Facebook started allowing developers to create custom verbs for their apps last year, and the most popular ones express something simliar to a ‘Like’, such as “smileyface”, “yum” and “nom”. But not all of these verbs have to be positive, so Facebook has asked developers clarify them so that ads can be targeted to someone who makes an action equivalent to a “Like”.
Has Facebook eliminated a few degrees of separation?
Just how connected are the people across the planet? Facebook has by far the most complete data set and research behind real-world friendships, and through a partnership with Stamen, a design studio, we can see just how intertwined the world is. The project poses some awesome Freakonomics-style questions: Why do so many Japanese people live in Brazil? How did so many people from Australia and Nepal become good friends? Set aside a good chunk of time for this one.
Twitter beefs up targeting options for Promoted Tweets and Accounts
Twitter has added even more specific geo-targeting options for its paid-for features, such as Promoted Tweets and Accounts, and some countries can now be targeted based on their region or city. Twitter has put the focus on three countries, including Japan, which now has options for wider regions around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. This is also true in the UK, where tweets can now be targeted to London or Manchester. But the most interesting might be the update for the US, not long before election time in November, where advertisers can now set geo-targets based on state.
Twitter agrees to surrender tweets of Occupy protester
Twitter has ended its legal battle with New York prosecutors and agreed to hand over the tweets of Occupy protester Malcolm Harris, which may show that the defendant knew he was breaking police orders. The social network had initially argued that the tweets were Harris’s property and, as such, handing them over would serve as a breach of the Fourth Amendment. The case represents an interesting landmark in the nature of privacy and proprietary rights over content posted online.
LinkedIn hits 10 million users in the UK
LinkedIn, the social network for jobs, has announced that 10 million British professionals use the site. LinkedIn dug through its data and highlighted the top job titles (“owner” easily takes the top slot), the biggest industries and the most represented companies on LinkedIn in the UK. And today we learned that there are exactly 103 British people who call themselves professional sailors on the site.
Google buys Instagram competitor Snapseed
Did Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram leave Google shaking in its boots? Google’s first round of retaliation has now come, as it picked up mobile app developer Nik Software, meaning that Google now owns Snapseed, an Instagram competitor. Although Google+ often gets dismissed as a ghost town, the network could become a go-to platform for photographers, which have already been flocking to the site because it has been quick to adopt photo-friendly features, such as showing photos in a large format and in a lightbox, which Facebook quickly noticed and implemented as well.
New Skype beta lets users sign in using Facebook
Skype has been integrated with Facebook chat for a year now, but Skype has just added a feature to its beta version for Windows and Mac that make signing up to the app even easier: Just log in to Skype using Facebook. Skype is also touting more of its Microsoft credentials, and the beta also comes with Live Messenger integration.
Saturday Night Live asks the crowd for recommendations
The fans spoke, and Saturday Night Live listened. The popular US show is now asking its fans for suggestions about hosts and performers after noticing that fans took to its Facebook page to make recommendations. Now Saturday Night Live has made it official. Tweet using the hashtags #SNLHost or #SNLMusic or leave your comment on their once-a-month crowdsourcing posts, and sit back and enjoy your selection.
Oreo dives into pop culture with ‘Daily Twist’ campaign
Who knew Oreos were so versatile? From the now-iconic image of the 7-layer rainbow Oreo celebrating Gay Pride Month to the release of the new iOreo 5, Oreo has been celebrating its 100th birthday year by posting historic milestones on Facebook and making itself part of history in the process. Through timely and tongue-in-cheek updates, the page has seen a 110% growth in engagement. If the gay pride Oreo started the conversation, its latest post mocking the iPhone 5 has kept the viral ball rolling.
Grey Poupon seeks out only the classiest of Facebook
Need an excuse to remove a few Facebook friends or clean out your ‘Likes’ section? Grey Poupon is putting potential fans to the test by asking them to first apply for membership to the Society of Good Taste before they are allowed to ‘Like’ the page. If you’re rejected, try, try again. Though we’re sure to be let in, as we do know a few things about the best-of-the-best secret societies…
The xx release new album through a single fan
Alt-pop band The xx have taken the socially driven album release further than ever before. Unlike other bands, which usually tie social releases with a large initial reveal,‘Coexist’ was sent to just one fan and allowed to spread organically from there, which is visualized on their site. A digital copy of the album is also being given to everyone who purchases a tour ticket, showing the shifting face of interaction between fans and artists.
Artspace.com and Tumblr team up to find ‘the next Artspace Artist’
Artspace.com, the leading online marketplace for contemporary art, has partnered with Tumblr to host a competition to find ‘The Next Artspace Artist’. The winner will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to create an Artspace Edition to be sold alongside famed contemporary artists. Emerging artists may submit work for consideration via a dedicated Tumblr. Semi-finalists will be chosen on by Tumblr popularity (reblogs and other share options) before being whittled down to three finalists by a jury of art experts.
Millions watch online video of Topshop London Fashion Week Show
More than 2 million people from 100 countries watched online footage of Topshop’s Spring/Summer 2012 Unique show in the three hours after the fashion retailer live streamed it. Both #Topshop and #unique trended globally on Twitter, and Topshop estimates that more than 200 million people were exposed to image and content from the show within that time. Viewers saw a personalized live stream, and they could click on clothes and accessories to browse colour options as they came down the catwalk. They could also create screenshots and video clips to share instantly on Facebook, as well as pre-ordering the collection for delivery. Broadcast on Topshop’s website and Twitter page, as well as 200 media partner websites, the show was also shown on large screens at its Oxford Circus flagship store in London.
Volvo looking to make brand relevant for Pinterest users
One challenge for certain brands using Pinterest is getting users to engage with visuals about a product that would not always interest them directly. A shot of a Volvo, for example, might not be particularly engaging for all Pinterest users. So that’s why the car company created a contest where, by creating a board about their ideal road trip and repinning a Volvo S60 image, users can win the trip they’ve dreamt up. Volvo’s social media manager says the campaign is “about situations that pinners can relate to, where the Volvo brand is relevant”.
Kraft Cheese teams up with Five Guys to feed the hungry with Foursquare
To celebrate National Cheeseburger Day, Kraft is teaming up with Five Guys, the popular burger chain, and is using Foursquare to spread the word. Each check-in will trigger a meal donation to Feeding America, and users will get a thank you coupon for Kraft Singles. As an extra bonus to get you to the top of the leaderboard, Foursquare will be offering bonus points for checking into a burger restaurant on September 18.
Bacon Barter campaign asks exactly what bacon is worth
Everyone’s had them — times where you’d do anything for a bacon sandwich. To see just how far bacon can go, Josh Sankey is travelling across America without cash or card, but plenty of bacon. He’s hoping to see how far he can get, trading the meat for other sustenance, car equipment and even places to sleep. The campaign for Oscar Mayer is being promoted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via #BaconBarter.