Social Pulse: August’s Top 5 Stories

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The Social Pulse is your peek into the future of social media. Move your social strategy forward with the latest news and fresh insights from our +minded team.

Facebook to Video Titans: Watch Out

Ten words from Wired say it all: “It’s hard to overstate how huge video is on Facebook.” Hard to overstate, yes. But hard to understand? Not so much. Facebook notably veered into video territory in 2016 with the launch of a video tab in the app. Then Facebook announced it was taking up a video-first strategy earlier this year. Now, with the new Watch project, Zuck and the gang are showing how they plan to grow video on the platform even more — and beat video rivals YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon.

Though similar to the original video tab, Watch is a more structured platform for professional, short-form, and live or recorded video content. Over 30 partners have already signed on to create content for Watch, including A&E, Hearst, MLB, and National Geographic. But Facebook is encouraging independent creators to get involved as well, anticipating the platform to grow to eventually include hundreds — even thousands — of shows. To make it easier for creators to share Watch content and connect with their fans, Facebook is also introducing dedicated Show Pages.

Watch now appears on Facebook’s mobile, desktop, and TV apps for select U.S. users, with a wider stateside rollout coming soon. It’s still too early to tell, but since Facebook keeps 45 percent of video ad revenues (along with invaluable viewing data from its more than 2 billion monthly users), it’s likely that Watch will be huge for Facebook’s already huge video initiative.

Salesforce Enhances Einstein’s Visual IQ

Einstein, the artificial intelligence (AI) technology Salesforce unveiled last year, is a suite of embedded data analytics tools that stretch across Salesforce’s wide-ranging applications. Though flexible enough to support all parts of the business, Einstein adds some extra special intelligence to the marketing department. Marketers turn to the Marketing Cloud Social Studio, for example, to track consumer sentiment and improve engagement across social networks.

However, while text-based sentiment and engagement metrics may be instructive, social platforms are primarily driven by images —  with 2.5 trillion photos shared or stored online last year, per Deloitte’s estimates. But now, with a new functionality called Einstein Vision for Social Studio, Salesforce aims to enable marketers to see the big picture of these images.

Einstein Vision provides access to image libraries with 2 million brand logos, 60 scenes, 200 foods, and 1,000 objects, allowing marketers to better track image-based posts. They’ll get to see how their products and logos are used and by whom, insights that could open the door to smarter customer service. Though only currently available for Twitter, Einstein Vision should arrive for additional social networks soon.

Automated Ads May Help Twitter to Glitter

With a nearly 18 percent drop in Q2 2017 ad revenue compared to the same period last year, some of Twitter’s shine appears to be fading. Will a new automated ad program help restore its sparkle? The concept, a subscription plan aimed at small businesses and power users, offers a simple, streamlined way to amplify tweets.

Here’s how the program works: For $99 per month, Twitter automatically promotes up to the first 10 tweets sent by the subscriber every day (excluding retweets, quote tweets, and replies), targeting either users with similar interests or those in a selected area. Then, the platform delivers biweekly updates that detail Twitter activity and offer audience insights. The ad program — still in beta testing — is open only to certain users for now, though anyone interested can apply to join.

Will Amazon Spark Social Shopping?

A social network for shopping or a shopping site for socializing? Either way you look at it, Amazon’s new Spark platform may seem somewhat familiar. Combining elements from Pinterest and Instagram with Amazon’s own site, Spark is an image-based feed of shoppable, user-generated posts. It gives users the ability to discover Amazon-stocked products, comment on and like (Amazonese: add “smiles” to) others’ posts, and make purchases without leaving the Amazon ecosystem. And while it’s only available to Amazon Prime subscribers on iOS devices — with availability for Android devices coming soon — anyone can open the app to review the content.

But not everyone is so smiley: Brands can’t get involved on the platform yet, as Spark is only for those with personal Prime accounts. (Not that people couldn’t expense the $99 membership and become below-the-radar brand evangelists. But you didn’t read that here.) It’s why influencers (Amazonese: “enthusiasts”) may be key to Spark success.

That brings us to another big issue for brands: How to measure Spark success? Social analysis tools currently don’t have access to the platform, and they may never get it. But hey, cheer up, brands — you can still count comments and smiles.

Facebook’s Lifestage Goes to the Grave

Alas, poor Lifestage! We hardly knew it, reader, the teens-only Facebook app of infinite Snapchat-like videos, of most inadequate privacy settings and poor user experience (UX). Now, just a year after its launch on the iOS App Store, Lifestage is no longer, and Facebook has killed the Android version along with it. The app tried to encourage users to more closely connect with friends from school, prompting them to ask questions and post video replies with augmented reality (AR) filters, drawings, and stickers. But it never really took off, as its dismal #1,392 ranking in the iOS free category earlier this August made clear. The Lifestage loss comes on the heels of another notable Facebook failure — the standalone Groups app. Ashes to digital ashes. 

 

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