June 23, 2014

Twitter Adds Translated Tweets to iOS Apps

With World Cup coverage underway, people from all over the world are tweeting about the same topic in many different languages. Twitter wants to make it easier for everyone by bringing mobile translations to its iOS app in partnership with Microsoft.

After downloading the Twitter iOS update, users can click a small globe icon within each tweet to have it displayed in their native language.

Facebook Slingshot

Facebook has launched a photo-messaging app, known as Slingshot. The app’s features include sharing photos and videos with friends in a similar fashion to Snapchat. However, Slingshot’s point of difference is that it is built around a two-way interaction. It uses an unlocking mechanism, whereby photos received from friends must be unlocked by “slinging” a different photo back to the original sender. Like Snapchat, all images are deleted once sent and users can scribble or type over their photos.

On the social media page for the app, the creators said: “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator.”

The Slingshot launch comes as Facebook is trying to fight off threats from other social networking agents, which also contain messaging and photo-sharing tools.

Jelly adds replies to its Q&A app, offering back-and-forth conversations for the first time

Previously, all communication on Jelly was either a question or an answer in response to said questions, but now users can keep the conversation going to add context or just maintain a dialogue.

Jelly launched in January of this year as an answer to crowdsourcing information from your social networks, adding location-based answers in March.

Facebook’s iPad app becomes more of an entertainment hub

On the right side of the new Facebook iPad app, social notifications for Facebook games both native and on the web, along with video trailers of games that users have yet to play, trending videos and new articles will be served.

Facebook’s pick of videos will be based on the most-shared footage across the site, filtered by those in the same general demographic. Similarly, a popular games section will include casual titles that are getting greater than average attention from friends and Facebook users in general.

Amazon Fire Phone

The company debuted its first-ever smartphone at a mystery event held in Seattle on Wednesday. Its US release date is 25 July, although global distribution has yet to be confirmed.

The device has a 4.7in screen, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and an innovative system of cameras and sensors on the front of the phone to track head gestures from users, and change the display accordingly.

The Fire Phone also has a feature called Firefly, which combines a range of media-identification capabilities into one app, for example, Firefly can recognise (similar to Shazam) songs, movies and TV-shows. It uses the microphone to listen into a scene of a show and identify which episode you are watching, (similar to Facebook’s recent app update), and then it also directs people to buy the series from Amazon.

Twitter to buy video sharing site SnappyTV

Twitter is extending its drive into video after it announced the acquisition of SnappyTV, a video sharing website. The social media network has already started to embrace video with its Amplify programme, which allows sponsored video excerpts of televised content to be easily viewed on mobile.

In a statement, Twitter said: “One of the best ways to follow events as they unfold is through real-time videos on Twitter. As we continue to invest in video, it’s important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses, and event producers to share high-quality videos. To that end, we’ve agreed to acquire SnappyTV.”

The theory is that as people talk about certain TV shows on Twitter, others who see those tweets will be compelled to tune in.

Mobile and tablet video viewing up 532% YoY since 2012

The Q1 2014 Global Video Index revealed that in the first quarter of 2014, mobile and tablet viewing accounted for 21% of all online video plays, up from 3.4% in Q1 2012 and 9% in Q1 2013. Since 2012, mobile and tablet viewing has increased 532% year on year (according to new research from Ooyala).

While the majority of plays on tablets were short-form videos, viewers clocked 48% of their overall viewing time watching videos of 30 minutes or more. Viewing time of live video on connected TVs was 11 times more than on-demand content.

Sky IQ’s new viewing panel is providing data from more than 500,000 Sky homes across the UK

As TV has changed and technologies have evolved, so has the way viewers plan their viewing. Measuring overnights gives us a valuable first impression but can’t provide an overall picture of a show’s success – and the myriad of ways that viewers engaged with it.

Sky IQ’s aggregated and anonymised viewing panel aggregates data from over 500,000 Sky homes in the UK – and offers us a view of exactly how content is consumed – be that live, playback, on demand or via Sky Go.

Figures from Sky IQ viewership for Game of Thrones have recently been published, which I have summarised below:

Last year:

  • Nearly 1.5 million households engaged with the Season 3 premiere, with 85% of viewing via linear (either live or playback).

This year, however, Sky Atlantic did something unprecedented: on 7th April 2014 it simulcast the first episode of Game Of Thrones season four between the US and the UK at 2am, prior to the more traditional 9pm transmission later that evening.

  • Overall, 1.9 million households watched the premiere – up 26% on last year, accounting for 1 in 5 of all Sky households.
  • Linear viewing, both live and playback, is still king, accounting for 85% last year and 82% in 2014, although the increased proportion of catch-up might be due to that 2am simulcast.
  • Sky Go views were up an impressive 139% on last year, increasing share of overall viewing from 4% to 7%.
  • The other main growth area was Sky’s on-demand push service “Showcase” which saw an 89% increase in household viewing than in 2013, from 7% to 9%.

Because viewers can choose from a variety of transmission times and different ways to engage with the show, we can see how viewing of the 1st episode played out across different platforms during the week of the transmission window.

Monday 2am:

  • In total, nearly 60,000 watched the 2am broadcast via their Sky box or on Sky Go.
  • Just over 450,000 set their Sky+ boxes to record the 2am broadcast in order to watch at a time that was more convenient for them.

Monday 9pm:

  • Over 490,000 households waited to watch the episode live when the show re-aired at the more sleep-friendly time of 9pm on Monday evening – perhaps because watching live at the same time as half a million others enables synchronised social commentary via the second screen.
  • In addition, nearly 680,000 subsequently viewed this showing on playback.

In total, half of those that recorded either the 2am or 9pm showing had caught up on the same day, ready to discuss at work the next morning.

Wednesday 10pm:  a repeat of the episode on Wednesday evening attracted a further 165,000 households viewing live.

  • Of those who recorded the show, 20% caught up the following day after the premiere with the remaining 30% watching two to six days after transmission.


June 2, 2014

Facebook can automatically identify music and TV

iPhone, iPad or Android microphones to automatically identify music and TV programmes, which can be shared as updates using the normal ‘listening to’ or ‘watching’ format. Check out the Vimeo here.

Nielsen Twitter TV Rating to provide demographics

Nielsen’s Twitter TV Rating service now includes demographic information on tweet authors. So far, the data collected varies hugely between programmes: sport skews 79% male, reality 65% female. The youngest audience counted 98% of its members under 35, while the oldest saw 85% over 35.

YouTube expands its offering for creators

While YouTube is the most trafficked streaming-video site in the world, it has struggled to find ways to help its creators earn money beyond simply giving them a cut of advertising revenue. Over the last two years, Google committed millions to promote original content from YouTube channel partners, rolled out a monthly channel subscription feature, and opened up production studios that channel partners can use. But, they believe this still isn’t enough and over the next few months they will also be introducing:

  • A separate standalone mobile app that puts the creator features in the palm of users hands.
  • A feature that allows fans to fund their favourite creators on YouTube, enabling fans to donate money to their favourite channels without leaving the site. (It’ll be interesting to see if this is something YouTube users are willing to do, especially since the general public doesn’t usually associate the site as a place where you enter in credit card numbers to pay for stuff).
  • A way to harness the power of the crowd to create captions and subtitles for creators videos in 60+ languages and a larger selection of audio tracks for Youtube’s library of royalty-free music.

These features will join a few recent updates, including new comment management features, a way for artists to share in revenue from eligible cover song videos, and their ever-expanding Creator Academy.

Google Play Creates U.K.’s First Ad Break To Feature A Live Music Performance

British Singer Sam Smith, who’s single “Stay With Me” is currently number one in the U.K. charts, sang his song live from one of London’s most famous music venues, The Roundhouse, on Friday night. It was the U.K.’s first ad break to air a live music performance. It was broadcasted on Channel 4 at 10:45pm during Alan Carr: Catty Man.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014

Mary Meeker’s data dumps have become a highly anticipated event in the tech industry, as her research helps everyone else level up. She shared a new deck at the recode conference and whilst there is not that much new, it’s still hugely influential. The stats on growth no longer surprise but her thoughts on the changes caused by this growth are always interesting. The whole deck is worth spending time on, but if you want a quick take on the key points this Guardian piece is a good cheat sheet.

Below is a quick summary of the key takeout’s:

  • Internet Access Growth Slowing, But Not on Mobile
  • The total number of Internet users is growing less than 10% a year. Smartphone usage continues to see strong growth though slowing with mobile data traffic growing most aggressively; video is a strong driver of that growth.

o   30% of all mobile users are smartphone users.

o   Tablet shipments increased 53% in 2013

o   Mobile now accounts for 25% of all web usage (up from 14% a year ago)

o   Google’s average revenue per user is now 6X Facebook’s, and Facebook’s is 2X Twitter’s.

o   People spend 20% of their media time on mobile, but mobile gets just 4% of ad spend

o   Social Networking Is Changing From Broadcast to Private Sharing

o   Photo Sharing is up 50% over 2013 in just the first half of 2014 (1.8 billion photos are uploaded and shared everyday on Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2012, it was roughly 300 million showing a trend towards a visual culture)

There is also a good summary of the recent Deloitte New Digital Divide report covers some really interesting trends around technology and media consumption (multi-screen, TV, which is here and the full report is here too).

Apple Beats Deal Confirmed

The news is finally out — Apple is buying Beats for 3 Billion Dollars.

Headphone sales? Music streaming service (Beats Music)? Wearables? Music label deals? It is not about what Beats is today, but what it can become in the future.

Although the buy might not be as ‘exciting’ as Facebook purchasing WhatsApp it, like Google’s purchase of smart-thermostat company Nest, arguably makes more sense and gives a more interesting view of where consumers are heading.  It doesn’t have an immediate impact on advertisers as Beats Music doesn’t have an ad-funded free version. If however the streaming service does become more popular it will be yet another avenue advertisers could potentially use to connect with people, similar to Spotify and Pandora but powered by the wider Apple ecosystem.

2014 World Cup: What a Difference 4 Years Makes

With Brazil’s opening game of the World Cup tantalisingly close, this article is packed with some great search insights and a look at the competition’s global impact. Big fact for me: the World Cup has more global Google Search interest than the Superbowl, Olympics and Tour de France combined.


May 19, 2014

‘Secret’ app lets you be anonymous amongst friends

Secret, a new app recently launched in the UK lets you ‘share with your friends,  secretly’ creating a forum where people can feel free to speak their minds about one thing or another that a social network with more identification and accountability like Facebook or Twitter may hinder.

Secret AppTwitter Website Cards

Twitter is making progress on its promise to surface new types of ads this year, with the launch of the new website card ad format, which allows brands to showcase their website content within a pre-expanded Tweet.

Twitter says that in tests they saw higher engagement and lower CPC because anytime you give a person a large preview they’re more likely to click. It’s why photos and videos do better than straight text, especially on a highly ‘skimable’ newsfeed.

Twitter believes this combo of an image and a call to action will help drive more traffic for advertisers than a simple image and URL pairing.

Twitter Website Cards

Twitter Website Cards

The new ad unit comes less than a week ahead of Twitter’s Q1 earnings announcement. The company is not yet profitable, and investors who helped balloon the company’s stock following a late 2013 IPO will be anxiously awaiting news on the Twitter’s ad performance. News of better, more efficient ad units should help appease investors.

Would you be willing to abandon your flight plans to take a free trip to a mysterious location? 

Heineken Departure Roulette asked travellers in JFK’s terminal 8 to take a leap of faith and press a button on a specially-designed “departure roulette” board, which would assign them a new destination at random — effective immediately. They were also given $2,000 for expenses, along with two free hotel nights for their trip.

This is a great example of a brand tapping into the risky mindset of the millennial generation. Millennials, having witnessed the financial crisis of 2008, the ensuing global recession and the general failure of governments and institutions, view risk as simply as a fact of life, to be tolerated or even embraced.

According to Protein’s Risk Survey 2014, 62% of Millennials would quit their current job tomorrow for a life-changing adventure. Such excursions are of course highly gratifying for the participants but they also have the added benefit of providing social kudos in the online world.

Tumblr adds blog editor to mobile app

Tumblr has added a built-in blog editor to its mobile app, which allows users to customise the look and feel of their profile, demonstrating the importance of creativity and individuality users crave on the web.

American Express Example

American Express Example

It’s no surprise that brands have already started to embrace the changes. Notable examples include American Express, Lipton, Axe and L’Oreal.

Here’s a quick glimpse at the World Cup official FIFA partners, Coca Cola, Sony and Hyundai digital strategies for the tournament.

Sony – Social Sony

Sony announced on 12th May the launch of ‘One Stadium Live‘, a one-of-a-kind social network site dedicated to football fans around the world.

Sony One

Sony One Stadium Live

‘One Stadium Live’ is the latest of Sony’s digital initiatives to unite football fans from around the globe to share in the excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, hosted on its portal site and optimised for smartphone, tablet, and personal computers.

Coca Cola – iBeacon of happiness 

Coca Cola has indicated that it will be incorporating the growing iBeacon technology into its marketing plans around major fixtures at the World Cup. Coca-Cola has also invited fans from across the globe to be part of the largest flag mosaic ever created and show the world the power of football to bring people from different backgrounds and beliefs together. The flag is actually a giant mosaic, the largest ever created, constructed from photos and tweets submitted by fans from around the world.

Hyundai – Social team 

As part of Hyundai UK’s social strategy, the car giant has teamed up with Copa90, a large independent football channel on YouTube.

The strategy allows the company to place itself upon an established social channel, reaping the rewards of an already focused consumer base and engage with football fans and “add value” to its FIFA World Cup partnership.


May 12, 2014


‘Netflix Roulette’ For When You Don’t Know What to Watch

Like social media, television too has seen a shift towards digestibility with the advent of DVRs such as TiVo and Sky+ and the rise of Netflix & Blinkbox with a catalogue of backdated series and films. Yet, people still constantly moan about having hundreds of channels and nothing to watch, and the ability to find the stuff you want using the site’s own algorithms aren’t always on the money. Enter Netflix Roulette, a new app by Code USA’s Andrew Sampson. Spin the wheel, and find results and suggestions of what to watch. You can filter results by limiting genres, or search the library in its entirety.

Facebook in review: Q1 2014

Facebook has announced its figures for the first quarter of this year. The platform now has 1.28 billion monthly active users and 802 million daily active users, up from 1.23 billion and 757 million in the last quarter of 2013.

Facebook Active Users

Facebook Active Users

A large proportion of new users came from mobile. Over 1 billion people now access Facebook via mobile at least once a month, compared with 945 million in the previous quarter. Mobile-only users have grown from 296 million to 341 million in the same period.

Facebook FAN

Later this week, at its annual F8 conference, Facebook is expected to launch Facebook Audience Network (FAN). Facebook Audience Network is a way for the platform to massively extend its advertising inventory, specifically beyond just the Facebook platform into other mobile apps. FAN is further proof that Facebook is expanding its reach into a portfolio of directly owned, or aggregated, mobile destinations, to become the world’s most powerful mobile media network.

Facebook revealed that over 1 billion app installs had been driven through Facebook, and over $3 billion in payments managed, whilst pointing out that their own apps represent more than 20% of the total time spent by users on their phones.

Advertisers will be able to buy advertising across a number of new mobile media platforms, using two different types of ad format. A standard drop-down mobile banner, that layers Facebook audience data into the targeting system, and a custom-built unit that is completely tailored to the environment that it’s placed in, and is likely to use a lot more of the contextual data that Facebook holds, such as location data, and interest-based data.

Video ads are coming to Instagram

Instagram is soon to introduce video advertising, according to AdWeek.

Tumblr better for social TV than Twitter?

Tumblr has argued that it hosts more conversation about television than its rival, Twitter. In a study published last week, the platform accepts that more live mentions happen on Twitter, but only marginally so – and the figure is easily made up for in the following days on Tumblr.


Tumblr Vs Twitter

Peugeot races against Twitter followers

Peugeot is offering Twitter followers a chance to win a driving experience for two in Germany, in order to promote its new model, the RCZ R. Entrants have to complete a 140-character tweet more quickly than the car can accelerate from 0-90mph on a track.

Live Video Conversations With Your Friends On Snapchat

Snapchat launched new features on Thursday that will allow users to send text messages and video chat live with friends. “Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence,” Snapchat said on its blog.

Snapchat users can enter a chat conversation with friends by swiping right on their name on the inbox screen. If both users are chatting simultaneously, a blue circle will appear notifying one another they are both online, at which point users can have a live video conversation.

You can find out more about the update here.


Filling your Amazon shopping cart just got easier now that the online retailer has launched Amazon Cart, which allows consumers to add products to their list of purchases via Twitter. Now, shoppers simply need to tag a link to a product link on Amazon with the hashtag #AmazonCart and they’ll be added immediately. This is seems to be another example of Twitter looking to find and build out new revenue streams, but whether this is enough to attract new Twitter users remains to be seen.

Facebook launches new video metrics

Facebook is launching new ways for admins to measure the effectiveness of their video campaigns. Currently, page admins can only see information such as the number of views a video has received. With the new video metrics — rolled out over the coming weeks — marketers can see the average duration of video viewed and the amount of time that a person watched 95 percent of the video

Video Views

  • A view of 3 seconds or more of a video. You can also see the portion of your video views driven by paid advertising.

Unique Video Views

  • The number of people who viewed your video for 3 seconds or more.
  • You can also see the portion of your unique views driven by paid advertising.

Average Duration of Video Viewed

  • The average amount of time people spent viewing your video

#WeWereThere Spotify partnership at Coachella

The novelty of the share everything social media ethos is well and truly dying for Millennials. In 2009 the social network Chat Roulette gained notoriety for its ability to anonymously pair two random people over video chat. Now in 2014, social media anonymity is pertinent once again but, rather than web cam gimmicks, this time it’s the results of emerging concerns about online privacy and the need for transparency.

Spotify partnered up with Coachella to offered festival goers a new interactive experience (#WeWereThere) through embedding every Coachella wristband (essentially your festival ticket) with an RFID tag giving it the ability for Coachella attendees to “connect, collect and share” their festival experience. This wristband was able to track your every step and dance move, Check-in all over the Coachella ground from concert stages to the art installations, and collect yours favourite songs along the way.


Coachella and Spotify Partnership


At the end of the festival, #WeWereThere creates an all-encompassing review of your Coachella experience from distance travelled in footsteps, number of artists seen, playlists collected, and more. This is great example of how a brand has been transparent about using your data and offering a valuable personalised reward in return for your participation, allowing users to relive the weekend, share their “Coachella Story” with friends and ultimately strengthen the relationship they have with Spotify.


April 28, 2014

@SummerBreak; reality TV aired exclusively on social media

Summer Break aired entirely on social media over 10 weeks across TwitterTumblrInstagram and YouTube. The show followed the lives of eight LA teens in their last summer together before leaving for college.  While fans are used to following the daily lives of their favourite celebrities, releasing entire storylines and thickening plots exclusively on social media is a completely unique viewing experience and turns the idea of what a reality show can be on its head.

From an audience’s perspective, an online show is ideal. It’s non-committal, but there’s always something new when fans refresh their streams. From a production standpoint, this innovative format removes the traditional multi-month lag in most production and distribution cycles. The series can also be readjusted and calibrated in real time based on analytics of which characters and storylines are resonating the most with the audience.

@SummerBreak cast members & their Twitter Handles

@SummerBreak cast members & their Twitter Handles

@SummerBreak ditched conventional 30 and 60 minute TV formats, and instead played out a 24/7 stream of tweets, photos and video content. Additionally, 60-second daily YouTube webisodes were posted, with weekly longer form wrap-ups from 3 to 15 minutes.

Casting has begun for the second series of the show and is expanding onto both Snapchat & Vine. This is due to the first season generating 10 million “engagements,” which encompass viewers reacting in tangible fashion, such as an outreach on Twitter or a “share” of some sort.  Data provided by AT&T last year said consumers viewed @SummerBreak content 644 million times by accessing Twitter feeds of the show, the sponsor, the cast, influencers affiliated with the show and sponsored hashtags; Tumblr; YouTube channels; AT&T’s Facebook page; advertising around the show; and social-media conversations.

FB Newswire

Facebook has joined forces with News Corp-owned Storyful to launch FB Newswire, which aims to make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to “find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook” in their work. It’s clear that this development is to make Facebook not only become your digital newspaper but compete with Twitter in the realm of breaking news. Subscribing to the newswire is easy; simply like the FB Newswire Page, and those stories will appear in your News Feed.

Google+ updates ads

Google+ has made three updates to its ad offering. Firstly, +Post ads, which turn G+ content into display ads, are now available to all pages with 1,000 followers or more. Secondly, brands can now choose to automatically promote their most recent update and only pay once it receives engagement. Finally, it is possible to promote a Hangout to a +Post ad, allowing users to either RSVP, watch live or watch a recording.

Esquire premieres show on Facebook

Esquire TV has premiered the first episode of its new US programme ‘Lucky Bastards’ through Facebook. The series, which follows six rich entrepreneurs around New York City, was broken up into three parts for Facebook users to watch. Watch them here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The actual content is questionable, but the strategic thought of premiering on Facebook has been tactically deployed for their target audience.

Netflix to become real TV and get its own ‘TV channel’ 

Netflix announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement with three cable TV companies to make watching Netflix as easy as changing the channel.

The deal will add Netflix as an app to certain set-top boxes giving subscribers of those companies the ability to watch the Netflix content they would otherwise be able to get only on their PCs, tablets, and phones, or with a third-party set-top box.

The agreement is part of a much larger trend in which traditional television is merging with internet video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Just this week, HBO unveiled an unprecedented partnership with Amazon to offer unlimited streaming of its older series on Prime Instant. Meanwhile, Amazon has just released its own set-top box, Fire TV, which allows users to stream shows onto their televisions from Netflix, Prime Instant, and other services.

Pinterest launches Guided Search to navigate you through its 30 billion pins

Pinterest launched Guided Search on Thursday, a new mobile-first tool that taps into Pinterest’s massive user collection to bring the things you’re really looking for right to the forefront.

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann claims that about 75% of Pinterest’s traffic now comes from mobile devices, so a truly mobile-first search tool is essential to the visual bookmarking site’s future. Pinterest is massive. The site now hosts some 30 billion pins, nearly half of which, it says, were created in the last six months alone. The feature is aimed at users who do not yet know exactly what they are searching for, but are rather exploring options. It’s incredible powerful and also very simple. Check out how it works here.

Guided search signposts a slow, gradual shift in Pinterest’s broader mission. Where it was once about collecting, Pinterest now focused is helping people discover, even when they can’t articulate what it is exactly they’re trying to find.


April 14, 2014

Does Twitter make TV better?

Media scientist Deb Roy has told audiences at the MIPTV conference in Cannes that Twitter and TV are “a shared synchronised social experience”.

“The biggest, most pervasive medium ever invented – television – is being intertwined with a global social medium, Twitter,” said Roy. “Twitter makes television better: it is in fact a force multiplier that can enhance the impact and possibilities of television.”

Roy gave some examples of TV shows and events that have sparked conversation on Twitter, including this year’s Oscars awards, when more than 5m people sent 19m tweets that were seen by 37m people.

Can Facebook keep up? It seems not. Twitter is working with research firms like Nielsen to pursue strategies of involving broadcasters with data indicating that Twitter buzz can persuade more people to tune in.

Millennials tuned in to social TV and multitasking

Research by Deloitte reported that 86% of US consumers flipped between tasks while watching the telly – further research from The Council for Research Excellence/Keller Fay Group also found that Millennials were the age group most likely to engage with social media while watching TV. Those engaged with TV and social media were identified to be particularly, older Millennials; 9.6% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they used social media while viewing primetime TV.

Younger Millennials ranked second after their older counterparts, those ages 15 to 24, with 9.2% using social media at the same time.

Xbox co-funds first UK TV drama

Xbox Entertainment Studios is developing a sci-fi series called Humans, based on the Swedish series Real Humans. This is the first time games a console maker has partnered with a UK broadcaster to co-fund a major series.

The eight part drama series will be produced by Kudos, maker of The Hour, Broadchurch, Utopia and The Tunnel. It will air on C4 in the UK and via Xbox in North America.

 Social and email are equal for conversation volume

The latest IPA TouchPoints5 data has been released, concluding that we now have as many conversations through social media as via email; 12% of all daily conversations occur through each medium. The research also found that 49% of all adults use mobile phones for activities other than texting or talking, doing so on average for 1 hour 30 minutes per day. Unsurprisingly, younger users were more mobile: 78% of 18-24s use their phone for activities other than texting/talking; they do so for an average of 1 hour 52 minutes a day.

The Sun – first newspaper to introduce hashtags to their hardcopy version

While nearly every newspaper, if not all, now have an online presence, The Sun is going one step further by bridging the gap between their loyal print readers and their online readership.

Each day in the printed paper, a selection of hashtags will be published alongside particular stories where the readers will be asked to continue the conversation by giving their thoughts online using the hashtag ‘what do you think?’

It is clear to see that The Sun is making a concerted effort to drive traffic to their paid-for online content which has so far struggled to rival the success of their upmarket counterparts.

YouTube pushing stars with TV adverts

YouTube is planning a TV ad campaign in the US to promote some of its biggest stars, after agencies requested a further push to merit their clients’ ad spend. The adverts will feature three YouTube celebrities with over one million subscribers each: make-up artist Michelle Phan, beauty/fashion vlogger Bethany Mota and baker Rosanna Pansino. YouTube is also extending the campaign to Rovio’s Angry Birds mobile game with rich-media ads pointing to one of the YouTube stars’ channel.

Britain also has a growing cadre of young YouTube stars reaching mass audiences. Twins Finn and Jack Harries are good examples: their JacksGap YouTube channel has 3.4 million subscribers, with their latest show documenting a rickshaw ride across India.

Gamer Joseph Garrett has 2.3 million subscribers – many of them kids – for his Stampylonghead channel, with its daily videos of a virtual cat exploring the Minecraft game. He’s now spinning off a new education channel.

Twitter redesigns profiles

New Twitter profiles are here, with a brand-new, yet oddly familiar, look as Twitter looks to help users show who they really are. (The new design is rolling out slowly, unless you’re a celebrity or a new user). This new design is more visually appealing and definitely aimed at attracting more users to the platform.

All the elements on the page are ‘big’, from the Twitter profile picture to the full-width header image and, of course, tweets. They get larger depending on their popularity (tweets that have seen more retweets, replies or favourites). One of the new Twitter profile’s most exciting features is the ability to pin a tweet. Now you can click on the little More menu in every tweet and select “Pin to your profile page” so that everyone will see that tweet first.

To get an idea of these new profiles, check out @ZacEfron, @flotus or @JohnLegend

Twitter’s new Own The Moment planning tool

The #OwnTheMoment tool contains a number of events that Twitter deems worthy of creating conversation around. I don’t know whether these are based on past or predicted volumes of conversation, but Twitter is pointing to these isolated moments as thought-starters for conversation planning. They will have most likely distributed this tool to clients and agencies, meaning that now everyone will be planning to capitalise on the same conversations. And that means that it will be a very crowded marketplace as everyone competes to own the real-time conversation. In reality, we need to plan for the process so that when you spot something that others aren’t seeing you can move quickly and champion your own conversation.

Kids are causing the biggest changes in TV

The average six- to 14-year-old in the UK still spends 10.4 hours a week watching linear TV, according to research firm Dubit. But the growth of tablets is startling: the percentage of children with access to a tablet at home has surged from 20% in 2012 to 51% in 2013 and 84% now.

Angry Birds maker Rovio is one of the companies capitalising on this: it has quietly built its own kids’ TV network within its mobile games, generating billions of views for shows by other companies – including Fraggle Rock – as well as its own cartoons. Meanwhile, British startup Hopster has an app blending shows with educational games. “For the first time this new, alternative ‘first screen’ is going to establish a relationship of equals with the TV,” said Hopster founder Nicholas Walters.

MTV makes mobile ad deal with Mobsta

MTV have announced that all their premium ad-sales will be handled by Mobsta. With Mobsta already handling all mobile ad-sales for the ad2one group, this deal will not only give MTV a premium sales house but also give Mobsta extra generated reach. MTV have emphasised the importance of mobile following a recent surge of traffic coming through mobile devices. The Mobile share has now reached a quarter.

MTV’s UK head of digital sales Duncan McCrum said: ‘TV is delivering ever-higher levels of engagement with its entertainment and music content via new viewing screens and platforms. The way we sell advertising is constantly evolving in line with these changing patterns of consumption to make it easier than ever before for our clients to connect with these hard-to-reach audiences via mobile.’

The industry was slightly perplexed with Facebook’s unexpected purchase of virtual reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion. It stands in stark contrast to other recent technology acquisitions, such as WhatsApp and Nest. There is no obvious marketing application, no instant access to an established user base, no hidden trove of patents. Instead, Facebook is finally using its riches to help realize Mark Zuckerberg’s idealized future in which people can “experience the impossible.” And they couldn’t have picked a better place to start.

So what are the implications of this bold purchase?

Facebook’s IPO afforded it the luxury to make bold acquisitions such as this one. But its new found position as a publicly-traded technology titan also brought its future under scrutiny. Facebook has acted with its purchase of WhatsApp and its failed bid for Snapchat. Those acquisitions collected headlines, but arguably lacked vision, and for some exposed some scrambling to quell concerns over its ability to maintain relevance within a fickle teenage demographic. The purchase of Oculus foreshadows a different Facebook, a more confident Facebook, one prepared to boldly move beyond its roots to deliver on Zuckerberg’s vision.

It isn’t clear where Facebook will go first with Oculus. Initial predictions range from monetized gaming to virtual reality “hangouts,” but both would require Facebook to develop well outside of its comfort zone. Indeed, it is folly to predict the future of Oculus, because its future does not lie in the hands of Facebook. Rather, it lies with a community of tens of thousands of developers and hardware startups who see its potential as a medium for their visions. Already, those visions are spectacular, e.g., simulated skydiving, tactile response and treadmills that let you physically walk in virtual worlds. Facebook are now a key part of this innovative sandbox.

In one sense, the closest parallel to the Oculus acquisition may not be a hardware startup like Nest, but instead an open community such as YouTube. In much the same way that Google receives credit for the innovation and content development which happens on YouTube, Facebook can grow its brand simply by fostering an environment that is conducive to innovation. As this community grows, Facebook gains access to more content, more data and ultimately more advertising revenue.

For advertisers, the Oculus ecosystem is a new frontier, and Facebook’s acquisition heralds the start of a gold rush. The easy thing to do is to sit back and wait until Facebook identifies the quickest paths to monetization. But realistically, traditional advertising opportunities on Oculus are years away. Forward-thinking companies should become the innovators, not wait for them. The possibilities for proprietary development are enormous: virtual showrooms, remote tours, customizable environments. Virtual reality is the most immersive experience available to developers today, and thanks to the vision of Oculus and the deep pockets of Facebook, consumers are finally ready to experience the impossible.


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