Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Tuesday Tuneup’.
Internet.org’s Asia rollout continues in Indonesia
Internet.org has proceeded to launch in Southeast Asia’s most populous nation Indonesia, even in the midst of poor reception in India. The Facebook-backed programme provides internet services to developing countries through a range of free apps and websites. Last week, a group of Indian companies withdrew their support for Internet.org, citing concerns over ‘net neutrality’. They were afraid this would come at the expense of local businesses.
WeChat may soon appear in BMW cars in China
Online messaging in your car is a close possibility, if you’re driving a BMW in China. BMW AG has revealed that it plans to introduce Tencent’s WeChat into its cars in the country. The carmaker says this is coming in response to consumer requests for the app, which currently boasts roughly half a billion active users a month. Ford Motor has also said that its in talks with Tencent to integrate WeChat into their cars.
YouTube offers offline playback for India, Indonesia and Philippines
The latest update from YouTube’s Android app allows users in India, Indonesia and Philippines to watch videos offline. The update aims to provide a buffer-free video experience for those without high-speed mobile data access. YouTube videos can be saved to users’ devices and played from an offline mode of the app without an internet connection for up to 48 hours.
Viber launched Viber games
Chat app Viber has rolled out Viber games, which allow users to play games into the app using their Viber ID. The launch lineup includes games similar to ‘Candy Crush Saga’ as well as a bubble shooter game. It seems Viber is trying to replicate the success of its counterparts, Line and WeChat, who have been successful in generating huge revenue from in-app games. It will be interesting to see how Viber’s new strategy will impact the landscape of chat apps.
BBC news available on the messaging app Line
Users can now read the BBC news using messaging app Line. According to Line, the official BBC account (@BBCnews) has over 151,000 followers from 11 countries – Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the United States. The service is currently only available in English; however, local language capabilities are expected to launch after a similar experiment with WeChat and WhatsApp proved successful in India. In response to the launch of the BBC account on the Line, Akira Morikawa, the CEO of LINE Corporation described it as “just the beginning of further expansion to the infrastructure of the global services.” With messaging apps getting involved in news distribution, we’ll soon see what kind of impact it has on traditional news media.
Kakao Corp to launch own local news services
South Korea’s top mobile messenger service provider, Kakao Corp, announced a plan to launch its own local news services. Kakao has allegedly been exploring its partnership with local news providers for the new content distribution channel, to be launched later this year. A test version will be available for all users by the end of September. Details on what type of content will be involved has not been revealed yet, but will include news stories from major media outlets, as well as other stories from social networking services. The company says the app will show selected news articles based on the users’ interests, allowing them to share the content with their social networks. Kakao’s new service is expected to challenge Naver, South Korea’s dominant portal service with nearly 80% market share. It will be interesting to see how Naver reacts to the competition with Kakao in the battle over the local news market.
Weibo adds new feature for video records and uploads
Weibo app added a new feature that allows video recording, uploading and playing directly in Weibo. Although embedded videos have been there for a while, it’s meaningful that this is the first time Weibo ever built video function directly without involving third party sites. However, the new function doesn’t seem to be a threat to existing local video sharing apps like Tencent’s Weishi and Sina’s Miaopai at the moment as it doesn’t have video editing ability. But the new feature might add more burdens on Sina for the responsibility to censor inappropriate video content.
WhatsApp might no longer be free in India
Free messaging or call apps like WhatsApp and Skype might not be free anymore in India. The issue all comes down to the conflict between Telecom companies and OTT (over-the-top) service providers. (OTT refers to text, audio or video sent over the internet.) With rising smartphone usage and data access in India, increasingly fewer people are using SMS or phone calls, which are more profitable than data plans for Telecom companies. In order for revenue to bounce back, Telecom companies have requested the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) to approve a so-called ‘connectivity charge’ for free messaging and calls. But it is not clear whether this ‘connectivity charge’ will be applied to consumers in addition to data usage. However, the Internet and Mobile Association of India argues that TRAI should not be involved in this matter. It remains to be seen how the issue will pan out.
All chat apps in China to verify users with real identities
In an effort to “clean up” all instant messaging services, the Chinese government has ruled that all public account owners on any chat apps in China have to register with their true identities and get permission to publish. Although some chat apps like Weixin already has started real-name verification processes last year, this is the first time that the government has issued a formal regulation on this matter.
Twitter used for presidential election campaigns in Indonesia
According to Twitter, Indonesia has nearly 20 million active users and Jakarta is the number one city in terms of the number of tweets generated (2.4% of all tweets come from Jakarta). Most of these Indonesian Twitter users are first time voters aged between 16 and 20. This demographic accounts for over one-third of 187 million eligible voters in 2014 elections. The youth population are always connected online and active on social media. In this election year alone, 42.1 million tweets related to the election were generated, up 36 percent compared to last year. Seeing an opportunity to tap into Twitter for presidential elections in July 9th, Peter Greenberger, director of political advertising for Twitter visited Indonesia to meet presidential candidates to talk about how they could use Twitter more effectively in their campaigns. Presidential contenders, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and ex-general Prabowo Subianto have 1.5 million followers and 808,000 Twitter followers respectively. We will wait to see how Twitter plays a role to shape the political landscape in Indonesia.
Line to remove 20 gaming apps to focus on what’s working
With 400 million registered users, Line is one of the largest messaging apps in the market. The app has indicated plans to remove one-third of gaming apps (20) from its platform. This move is geared towards focusing its resources on apps that are achieving greater success, with hopes to “further propel the service as a global gaming platform.” Gaming revenue was $143 million for its most recent quarter, through 300 million downloads worldwide. This constitutes more than 60 percent of Line’s total revenue. Therefore, it seems reasonable to halt those apps that are losing popularity. Line has promised a refund for users who have purchased the games that will cease operations. However, Line has yet to decide whether to roll out replacement gaming apps or continue with its remaining gaming apps.
Facebook responds to organic reach questions
Facebook has released a statement explaining its decreasing organic reach, offering two key reasons: the huge volume of content on the network (a user could potentially be shown up to 1,500 stories per log in) and an attempt to increase News Feed relevance. The piece argues that they are not trying to make more money from paid ads and that fans still have a function – social context (i.e. seeing that your friend ‘likes’ an advertised page) reportedly drives 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift. For information on how to combat the changes, have a look at our full article on the subject.
Search ads have no measurable effect
Research conducted in the US by eBay, in conjunction with Berkeley and Chicago universities, has concluded that search ads have ‘no measurable benefit’. eBay customers were ‘unaffected by the presence of paid search advertising’, leading to questions about the medium’s future.
Facebook adds interactive video components
Facebook has added new interactive components to its standard video ads to increase their efficiency for lower-budget advertisers. The offering now includes a ‘video views’ option, allowing a company to serve ads to users more likely to watch them, such as those who have watched similar content before. It’s also now possible to add a call-to-action to a video, such as encouraging users to click through to a brand’s website.
Facebook rolls out new page design worldwide
Facebook has launched its new page design worldwide, which increases the similarity between pages and personal profiles. Admins will see a prompt to ‘take a tour’ of the changes and can then choose whether or not to make the switch. Regardless of their choice, the change will happen automatically two weeks after the tour is taken.
Instagram adds new photo-editing features
Instagram has added ten new features and updated seven, aimed at increasing the scope for photo-editing in-app. The new options include ‘Adjust, Brightness, Contrast, Warmth, Saturation, Highlights, Shadows, Vignette and Sharpen’.
LinkedIn updates paid profiles
LinkedIn has created a brand new image-centric profile layout, as you can see below. It’s only available to paid users for now, though – we’ll see if it’s enough to entice people currently using the service for free.
Pinterest creates self-serve ad auction
Pinterest is following its initial ad launch by creating a self-serve auction, aimed at small-to-medium businesses. Payment will be taken on a cost-per-click basis. Don Faul, Pinterest’s head of operations, explained how the auction works:
The ultimate price over time will be determined, as all auctions are, by how much competition and demand there is.
Tinder looks to increase interactions with ‘Moments’
Tinder has launched ‘Moments’, which it hopes will enrich interactions within the app. Users can share a picture, or ‘Moment’, with all their matches, who will be given the option to ‘like’ it or not, based on the normal left/right swipe mechanic. Once someone likes your photo, you can start chatting about it. Photos will disappear after 24 hours, which we’re sure nobody on Tinder will take advantage of in any way whatsoever.
Microsoft adds new apps to Xbox
Microsoft has announced that 45 new apps will be coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360before the end of the year. These include Vine and Twitter, the latter of which will be integrated into the console, such that users have the option to see tweets about TV content they’re watching or trending shows.
Foursquare brings ads to Swarm
Foursquare is integrating adverts into its new app, Swarm, to be served to users after they check in. So far, the ads (shown below) are set to be used by a number of brands, including Pepsi, P&G, Hennessy, Volvo and Shell.
Hellmann’s teaches cookery through WhatsApp
Mayonnaise brand, Hellmann’s, has created an app for its Brazilian consumers named WhatsCook, a live recipe service that allows users to speak to experts or professional chefs using WhatsApp. The feature takes full advantage of the ability to send images and videos through the platform.
Listerine is creating a World Cup newsroom
Mouthwash brand, Listerine, is sponsoring the World Cup for the first time this year, creating a campaign dubbed “Power To Your Mouth”. This will see a newsroom set up for the tournament, wherein the brand will create content for Facebook and Twitter based on events, and then bid for ads in real-time, based on which posts receive the most engagement.
World No Smoking Day Vines
Anti-smoking charity, Quit, created a campaign for World No Tobacco Day, with three different looping Vines, each displaying a different demographic group of smoker. Each one ends with the simple line “before this video starts again, another smoker will die”.
Lego embraces social video Lego has made its first foray into the world of social video, producing a Vine and an Instagram video. Each focusses around a shy ‘mixel’ named Seismo.
IHG and Coca-Cola launch Instagram competition InterContinental Hotel Group and Coca-Cola have teamed up to produce a summer campaign, which asks entrants to pitch their most creative story ideas in a 15-second Instagram video for the chance to meet Hollywood actor, Josh Lucas. IHG will support the campaign with a set of video kiosks, explained in the below video by Adweek.
Jack Daniel’s creates smartphone photo competition Jack Daniel’s is asking customers to post pictures of their summer experiences through various social sites, in fitting with a set of weekly challenges. Two prizes will be dished out each week, one chosen by judges and the other by a public vote. The campaign looks to promote Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, aimed at a younger audience than its core product. Asos celebrates an #EpicSummer with Mastercard Asos and Mastercard have joined forces to create a campaign dubbed #EpicSummer, which asks twenty-somethings to share pictures on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag. Prizes include concert tickets and an Asos shopping spree.
Newcastle Brown Ale paying for followers Newcastle Brown Ale is continuing its ‘No Bollocks’ attitude with a campaign that offers $1 to the first 50,000 people to follow the brand on Twitter. Why? Well, why “endure the unsolicited marketing of other beer brands for free when you can endure Newcastle’s unsolicited marketing and get paid?”
Ben & Jerry’s offers ice cream for tweets Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream brand, went ‘cruising’ around the streets of Washington D.C. last week, offering free ice cream. All residents had to do was tweet the brand, telling them where they’d like the truck to stop.
— Ben & Jerry’s Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) May 29, 2014
Bashar Al-Assad promotes Facebook posts
Promoted posts from Syria’s president, Bashar Al-Assad, were spotted on Facebook last week. A number of people objected, including The Syria Campaign, which has demanded the network donate any money it received from the posts to Syrian children. The organisation has created the below replica of Facebook to direct people to a petition.
The CIA launches on social
In a story that may or may not be linked to the above, the CIA has launched accounts on Facebook and Twitter. It’s taken a humorous approach, causing something of a Twitter frenzy – the account has amassed almost 600,000 followers already.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014