Snapchat Launches First ‘Snappable’ AR Lens In UK With Three’s ‘Puggerfly’ Mascot

Snapchat announced on Friday a first of its kind partnership with UK-based mobile network Three. The two are leveraging the timing of the World Cup by launching the social platform’s first Snappable augmented reality Lens featuring Three’s now famous Puggerfly mascot (a virtual pug dog with butterfly wings)

Snappables are a new type of interactive Lens that for playing and sharing augmented reality games with friends. These experiences are controlled using touch, motion and facial expressions.

Three is the first brand to use the new Snappable format, which enables users to play as Puggerfly in an AR game of football. By tilting their heads left or right, users can dodge incoming Puggerflies while the Lens keeps score, and Snapchat users can then invite their friends to beat their high score.

Puggerfly made its first appearance in Three’s “Go Binge with Snapchat” campaign, and it has already become a trendsetter by being at the center of several firsts on Snapchat. According to a press release, it was the first AR pet to be featured on the platform, running in different Lenses during a week-long period in April, where users could raise a Puggerfly from a puppy to adulthood. Additionally, the virtual pet is the first Lens to “go to sleep,” and it was the first gamified Snapchat Lens that offered real-world rewards through Three’s mobile network.

Snapchat first announced Snappables in April, and they offer developers a means of creating gaming experiences on the platform. At the time, Snapchat said that it intended to release a new Snappable each week. Previous attempts to bring games onto Snapchat include last year’s Zynga Poker promotion, where users could play a hand of poker using facial expressions.

There are currently over 12 million daily Snapchat users in the UK, with the platform reaching over 25 percent of all smartphone users in the country. Users spend an average of three minutes playing with AR experiences and sharing over 250 million Snaps using Lenses each day. Snapchat reported that over 1 trillion photos were taken globally with the Snapchat camera in 2017, which comes out to about three billion Snaps a day.

“Since the start of our partnership with Snapchat we have focused on creating innovation and true integration across our campaign, end-to-end,” said Three’s director of brand and communications Kat Ward-Smith in a statement.

David Norris, Snapchat’s creative lead in the UK, added “We know how important big cultural moments are on Snapchat, and it is so exciting to bring Puggerfly back to the camera during the first weekend of the World Cup. We’ve already enabled Snapchatters to play with their Puggerfly as it learned to walk, dance and fly; so, what a great way to continue the story by creating the pitch invading Puggerfly to launch the UK’s first Snappable.”

Social Media News: YouTube On TV, Snapchat Woes And A First For Twitter

This week in social media, YouTube aims for TV viewers, Twitter touts live video, Snapchat defends its redesign and Facebook joins the dating game.

YouTube On The Boob Tube

With over 150 million hours of watch time per day, TV screens are now YouTube’s fastest-growing segment, the company reported on Sunday. To help advertisers reach and tailor campaigns to this demographic, YouTube will add a TV category to AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager in the coming months.

In the meantime, a new AdWords segment called “light TV viewers” has been added for brands who want help reaching cord cutters.

Twitter: New Kid At NewFronts

Hot off the heels of a profitable first quarter, Twitter hosted its very first NewFronts presentation on Monday, which focused heavily on live video.

The social network showed up ready to unveil 30 new content and renewal deals, including NBCUniversal, ESPN and Viacom.

Twitter’s biggest selling point for marketers was transparency about where ads appear on the site. During the company’s NewFronts presentation, Matthew Derella, Twitter global vice president of revenue and content partnerships, told marketers that they could say goodbye to unsafe brand environments and “hello to you being in control of where your video aligns . . . we say hello to a higher measure of transparency, we say hello to new premium inventory and a break from the same old choices.”

Snapchat: Sorry, Not Sorry

Backlash over Snapchat’s app redesign contributed to lower than expected daily active users (DAU) count in March, but the company stands behind the move . . . or does it?

During its first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told investors that they will continue to optimize the app redesign, especially for Android users.

“We are already starting to see early signs of stabilization among our iOS users as people get used to the changes,” Spiegel said.

Despite Snap’s apparent lack of concern, the company is quietly testing a design that undoes some of February’s controversial changes. The design would reportedly reunite Snapchat Stories from friends and celebrities—the biggest complaint from users.

Facebook’s Status: It’s Complicated

Facebook’s annual F8 developer’s conference tried its best to instill hope during a time of controversy and privacy concerns. Mark Zuckerberg poked fun at himself for his congressional testimony but otherwise assured developers that the site will continue to evolve, albeit with a new attitude of accountability.

Among the biggest announcements at F8 was an upcoming dating profile feature. The new opt-in dating feature only suggests other Facebook users who are not already friends. The tool will allow users to build separate dating profiles that use first names only, which will be hidden from regular friends and news feeds.

Other notable reveals include the ability for users to clear their Facebook tracking history, WhatsApp video calls, live commentary on Facebook videos and the launch of Oculus Go—the latter of which was gifted to attendees Oprah-style.

Social Media News: Playable Ads, AR Shopping And Paying For Privacy

In case you missed the social media headlines this month, here are the most important things marketers should know.

Snapchat: Shopping With Selfies

Face swap? How about face shop? Brands on Snapchat can now sponsor a photo lens that allows users to buy products or learn more without leaving the app.

Adidas, Clairol, King and STX Entertainment are the first to use the new Shoppable AR feature, which was announced on Wednesday.

Instagram: Focus On Friends

Facebook’s Instagram announced another Snapchat-like feature this week—a special image that when scanned, allows someone to follow a specific account. Dubbed “Nametags,” the feature is similar to Snapchat’s QR codes.

Meanwhile, portrait mode in Instagram Stories just received a new mode called “Focus.” Snapping a photo in the new mode will keep the subject in focus, while slightly blurring the background. The new feature is available on iOS at launch, and rolling out to select Android devices beginning Wednesday.

Users can mention other accounts with the new “@mention” sticker, which works the same as tagging someone in the caption. While advertised for friends, the implications for influencer marketing are obvious.

Facebook: Play, Pay And Privacy

Facebook is testing a new “playable ad” format that would allow users to try a game before they install. Developer Miniclip was one of the developers who tested the ad in beta. Facebook will provide more details about playable ads during its annual F8 event May 1.

Would you pay for Facebook? During his testimony before the US Senate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that users are not able to opt out of being targeted for ads, saying, “that would be a paid product.” He also said that there would always be a version of Facebook that is free—causing many to speculate as to whether the social network will adopt a tiered level of membership in the future.

As the GDPR deadline looms closer, Facebook has updated its terms of service but it’s clear what the company wants users to move along. When asked to accept or decline Facebook’s new terms of service, users will see a big blue button marked “I accept,” while “See your options,” including the ability to decline the terms is smaller and less conspicuous.

Snapchat Gives Influencers More Stats And Marketers Free Ads

Snapchat is finally giving additional analytic support to its most popular users, giving an “Insights” feature to its Official Stories creator community.

Currently, the company will give its verified creators information on total and unique views, completion rates, time watched and audience demographics, interests and geographic data, which these influencers will be able to use to obtain brand sponsorships on their own.

“We have historically neglected the creator community on Snapchat that creates and distributes public Stories for the broader Snapchat audience,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said during the company’s Q3 earnings call in 2017. “Developing this ecosystem will allow artists to transition more easily from communicating with friends to creating Stories for a broader audience, monetizing their Stories and potentially using our professional tools to create premium content.”

As its platform stands now, Snapchat offers no official options for these verified influencers to partner with brands on its platform, either through sponsored or joint posts, meaning that the company will not see any direct revenue from empowered influencers.

The influencer tools are just one more effort by the social media company to take a loss-leader approach to consumer and marketer audience building. On Tuesday, Snapchat offered advertisers who had purchased video ads from its competitors free ad credits on its platform.

With the price of Facebook ads soaring year over year, the “ghost” is ready to swoop in with a tempting offer for those who have never tried Snap Ads. Mobile or social marketers who can provide proof of vertical ads purchased in the past three months can apply to receive credits to use toward their first Snapchat campaign. The credits would be worth “several hundreds of dollars with no minimum spending requirements,” a source told Recode.

The company has made considerable changes to attract marketers in recent months, including tools for app developers and new tracking features. Snapchat also announced Lens Studio in December—a tool that allows brands to design and distribute their own AR activations. Advertising revenue for Snapchat grew 38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, price per impression fell 25 percent over the third quarter.

The timing of Snap’s current credit offer may be fortuitous. EMarketer just revealed that teenagers are losing interest in Facebook—a demographic traditionally attracted to Snapchat.

“Brands should know that there’s a highly unduplicated, extremely engaged young audience on Snap that is 13-to-34 years old,” Marni Schapiro, director of sales at Snap told AListDaily in a recent interview. People under the age of 25 use Snapchat for 40 minutes on average every day. You won’t find these users in the places you used to find them.”

Teenage users of Snapchat were less than thrilled with the app’s recent overhaul, however. Distaste for the new app design has resulted in an online petition to revert back to its old design. The plea to Snapchat has earned over 650,000 signatures to date.

Snap’s move to woo marketers away from its biggest competitors isn’t the only way to qualify for free advertising. A program called Snap Accelerate already gives special deals to startups that want to advertise on Snapchat, as well.

Snapchat was famous for vertical video messages and augmented reality filters until Instagram introduced Stories and AR. That’s not to say Snap hasn’t borrowed its fair share of features, but as a publicly-traded company, the disappearing-message app is feeling even more pressure to produce results.

While its user base is growing, Snapchat trails far behind its biggest competitor Instagram. The two social networks are expected to reach 86.5 million and 104.7 million users respectively in 2018.

Twitter’s First Profitable Quarter Hides Opaque Treatment Of Advertisers

For the first quarter in its history, Twitter has reported turning a profit, coming from increased ad revenue driven by improved ad engagement. However, despite this good news for investors, the social media network remains tight-lipped about metrics necessary for advertisers.

In its letter to investors, Twitter reported a 7 percent year-over-year increase in ad revenue growth for Q4, citing major improvements in the rate of ad engagements (an increase of 26 percent) and cost per engagement (a decrease of 42 percent). Click-through rates have also improved, though the company declined to give any specific figures.

Likewise, Twitter claims, without giving figures, that cost per impression (CPM) has increased despite the continued reduction in cost per engagement (CPE).

When asked about the company’s predictions for future CPEs on its earnings call, Ned Segal, Twitter’s CFO, again declined to give specific figures, saying:

“We’ve seen our CPMs be really healthy and we expect the CPM trend to continue and we try to think more about CPMs than we do about the inputs; that is, CPE or other things.”

Twitter has acknowledged that CPMs are the most significant metric for advertisers, yet refused to disclose specifics on what those numbers might be. Other important statistics for marketers, such as click-through rates and average time spent per user, are also notably absent from Twitter’s reporting.

“We feel good about where we are from a time spent perspective, but what we really talk about when we think about audience and engagement and the best way to measure the usage of Twitter as a daily utility is that [daily active user] growth,” Segal said when asked about time spent.

Twitter’s rivals in the social-media space, Snapchat and Facebook, have all disclosed specific information about CPMs and time spent to investors, even when those figures dropped significantly.

The platform’s own investor presentation reveals that not everything is in order with its ad business. While its ad revenue for the quarter did increase, it was only by one percent from Q4 last year, and was motivated entirely by international investment in Twitter ads: US spending on ads on Twitter dropped by 10 percent over Q4 2016.

In an announcement today, Twitter announced its intentions to “go back to basics” with its ad products, promising to use machine learning to improve targeting and make it easier to make media buys. But if the company won’t disclose vital information to advertisers, it may not be worth the price of admission.

Teenagers Are Leaving Facebook As Older Generations Sign Up

Facebook is losing ground with US users ages 24 and younger this year, according to forecasts by eMarketer. As older users join, younger generations are becoming less interested, with many turning to Snapchat over Instagram.

For the first time, eMarketer predicts that Facebook will lose users across age groups between the ages of 11 and younger, 12-17 and 18-24. The largest decline will be in users aged 11 and younger, at 9.3 percent. Teenagers and young adults are leaving at similar rates as one another. Users ages 12-17 and 18-24 will decrease by 5.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

Facebook acknowledged the decline in users in its fourth quarter earnings call to investors. According to the company’s estimates, its users spent five percent less time on its platforms, resulting in 50 million fewer hours on Facebook per day. For the first time in the company’s history, the number of daily active users in the US and Canada dropped, as well.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem concerned, citing quality of engagement over quantity.

“I want to be clear, the most important driver of our business has never been time spent by itself,” Zuckerberg said in the call. “It’s the quality of the conversations and connection.”

Ages 55 and over will become the second-biggest demographic on Facebook this year, which begs the question for youngsters—is the social network still cool? As parents and grandparents sign up en mass, younger users, especially teenagers, begin to crave privacy and camaraderie with friends.

There is some hope for Facebook in that many, but not all of its estranged users are migrating to Instagram. EMarketer predicts that Instagram will add 1.6 million users ages 24 and younger this year.

Instagram is still more popular in the US than Snapchat, however. Instagram users are expected to increase 13.1 percent in 2018 to reach 104.7 million.

Snapchat, meanwhile, is also expected to grow but at a slightly slower pace of 9.3 percent. The company will add 1.9 million users aged 24 and younger and continue to have more users ages 12-24 compared with that of Instagram. EMarketer predicts that Snapchat users will number 86.5 million this year.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Snapchat saw the addition of 8.9 million daily active users, the highest number of quarterly net adds since the third quarter of 2016.

Snap, Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel told investors that the app’s redesign is easier to use and is attracting older users. On the surface, this appears to be good news, but Snapchat is known for being very niche—i.e. attracting primarily young consumers.

“Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups since it’s redesigning its platform to be easier to use,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in a statement. “The question will be whether younger users will still find Snapchat cool if more of their parents and grandparents are on it. That’s the predicament Facebook is in.”

Unilever To Social Media Giants: Shape Up Or We Ship Out

Unilever has given social media an ultimatum—stop spreading toxic content or the company will take its millions of ad dollars elsewhere.

Chief marketing officer Keith Weed will explain the company’s position in a speech given at the annual Interactive Advertising Bureau conference on Monday. Copies of the speech were obtained by certain press outlets beforehand.

“2018 is either the year of tech-lash, where the world turns on the tech giants—and we have seen some of this already—or the year of trust. The year where we collectively rebuild trust back in our systems and our society,” the speech reads.

Unilever spent about $9.4 billion on marketing last year, 25 percent of which is dedicated to digital. As one of the world’s largest advertisers, Unilever’s portfolio spans across food, home and healthcare industries including Dove and Lipton.

A September study by the CMO Council found that 88 percent of consumers would think differently about a brand or would stop doing business with it after a negative brand association. For Unilever, having so many brands under its name equals more risk of bad press or boycott.

“As a brand-led business, Unilever needs its consumers to have trust in our brands,” Weed will say in the speech. “We can’t do anything to damage that trust—including the choice of channels and platforms we use. So, 2018 is the year when social media must win trust back.”

Weed doesn’t accuse any companies in particular, but Facebook was quick to respond with a statement: “We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them.”

The speech targets divisive content and lack of transparency, naming fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate and toxic content directed at children. Unilever will also make a commitment to fight gender stereotypes in advertising.

Unilever has been accused of racism as recently as October when a Dove ad showed women of different races changing into one another. Dove apologized and promptly removed the ad saying that they “missed the mark.”

The company’s safety demands—for both brands and consumers—place additional pressure on companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to clean up their content.

Google-owned YouTube recently announced a new task force that will moderate and review videos that could be in violation of YouTube policy. Working alongside machine learning software, the new team will enforce stricter criteria on the channels earning money from ads. Over the weekend, YouTube announced potential punishment for creators who negatively impact the community.

During its fourth quarter earnings call, Twitter said it will continue its efforts to make the social network safer by clarifying its policies and adding new signals to give better context to reported Tweets.

In November, Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before US Congress regarding Russian interference that could have influenced the 2016 Presidential Election.

Twitter Finally Sees Growth In Q4, Continues To Invest In Video

Twitter enjoyed modest growth for the fourth quarter of 2017 despite a bad investment and plans to use its new features to bolster advertising ROI.

Daily active users (DAU) grew 12 percent year over year in the fourth quarter but dropped two percent over the third quarter. Monthly active users (MAU) were 330 million.

After three straight quarters of revenue losses, Twitter finally saw revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, albeit only two percent for a total of $732 million. Total revenue for the 2017 fiscal year reached $2.4 billion, a decrease of three percent year over year.

Twitter blamed its struggles on TellApart, a marketing technology company acquired in 2015. This bad investment resulted in approximate losses of $82 million year over year, according to the letter to shareholders, and fourth quarter growth would have been eight percent year over year had it not been for depreciation.

The social network isn’t giving up on performance-based marketing, however. In November, Twitter launched a new Promoted Tweet composer designed to simplify the process. Advertisers who had access to the new compose experience created 26 percent more Promoted Tweets, launched 13 percent more campaigns and spent 23 percent more on Twitter in the fourth quarter.

Twitter also doubled its character limit and increased username length during the quarter. To attract smaller businesses to the platform, Twitter began offering Promote Mode, an automation tool that promotes brand posts up to 10 times per day for $99 per month.

Emphasis was placed on ad serving optimization in the fourth quarter, which resulted in a 26 percent increase in ad engagement rates and an 18 percent increase in return for advertisers, Twitter said. Cost per engagement (CPE) declined by 42 percent year over year while overall ad engagements increased by 75 percent.

Going forward, Twitter says that its main revenue priorities are to improve core ad offerings, tap new channels of demand such as online video and add new advertising options for brands.

Like its competitors, Twitter is investing in video content to keep users tuned in. During the fourth quarter, Twitter announced approximately 22 deals and streamed approximately 1,140 live events with 60 percent of those reaching a global audience. User-generated streams also proved popular, with 28 million broadcast during the quarter across both Twitter and Periscope.

Twitter has become a hotbed for political debates and bullying and has often been accused of censorship by its users for banning Conservative-leaning accounts, with some employees reportedly admitting the practice. With brand safety a growing concern across all marketing platforms, Twitter says it will continue its efforts to make the social network safer by clarifying its policies and adding new signals to give better context around reported Tweets—although it denies any discriminatory practices.

Snapchat Q4 Earnings Reveal Ad Revenue Growth, Adoption By Older Users

Snap, Inc. has reported substantial growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, smoothing investor relations after a rough first IPO year. The Snapchat parent company credits its success to improvements made to the Android app and “removing friction” from its advertising business.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Snapchat saw the addition of 8.9 million daily active users (DAU), the highest number of quarterly net adds since the third quarter of 2016. Annual revenues grew 104 percent from the prior year, but came at a lower cost than the previous quarter, according to CEO Evan Spiegel.

“In 2017, we focused on removing friction from our products, our advertising business, and our team,” said Spiegel.

Snap Ads were migrated to an automated auction last year, resulting in over 90 percent being purchased programmatically during the fourth quarter, and total advertising revenue grew 38 percent. Spiegel added that Snapchat we increased advertising impressions by over four times year over year while continuing to grow per-user engagement.

Total advertising revenue for the quarter was $281 million, an increase of 74 percent year over year and 38 percent quarter over quarter.

Throughout the year, Snapchat made a number of changes to its app that prioritize friends over publishers—a move that may have influenced the recent Facebook News Feed update. According to Spiegel, the redesign has increased the retention rate of new Android users by 20 percent over 2016 and increased the number of net additional users more than any other quarter in the company’s history.

Commonly associated with teenagers and young adults, Snapchat’s redesign is having a positive impact on older users, as well.

“Compared to the old design, core metrics around content consumption and time spent in the redesigned application are disproportionately higher for users over the age of 35, which bodes well for increasing engagement among older users as we continue to grow our business,” Spiegel said.

This may prove to be a double-edged sword as more users drive growth, but younger users may become disenfranchised with Snapchat as soon as Mom signs up. A 2016 study by Defy Media found that 30 percent of users between the ages of 13-24 prefer Snapchat because their parents don’t use it.

Emarketer predicts that the number of generation Y users who access Snapchat every month will account for 56 percent of all US Snapchat users by 2020.

Investors were clearly happy with the results as Snap, Inc. stock rose 22 percent hours after the earnings call.

Doritos Backpedals Against Twitter’s ‘Lady Doritos’ Response

Lady Doritos is the hot topic of the day—not for spicy flavor, but sick burns directed at the company on social media. In an interview with WNYC’s Freakonomics, CEO of Doritos parent company PepsiCo Indra Nooyi—a woman—said they are developing snacks for women that don’t crunch as loud, leaving the internet to wonder . . . why?

According to Nooyi, women—unlike their male snacking counterparts—do not like to crunch too loudly in public, lick their fingers or pour the broken pieces into their mouth. To meet this driving need that has come to the attention of PepsiCo, the company will soon launch a “bunch” of snacks designed and packaged for women.

Nooyi describes the female-focused snack line as low-crunch and full-flavored but less likely to stick to fingers. In addition, the snacks will be portable because “women love to carry a snack in their purse.”

It’s true that male and female preferences may vary by culture—in Japan, it’s often considered rude to show one’s teeth while smiling, for example—but the idea that women have special, more delicate snacking needs came as a total surprise to American consumers.

“Has anyone at Doritos ever met a lady?” wrote one Twitter user. “Instead of crunching noise the new Lady Doritos just say “sorry” quietly every time you bite down,” wrote another.

The official Twitter account for 30 Rock had a bit of fun with the trending topic with a shout out to the show’s main character Liz Lemon and her love for Doritos crumbs.

In fact, the only account seemingly in favor of the idea was Random House publishers, tweeting, “We don’t support Lady Doritos, but we do support the development of chips that leave less residue on your fingers. Think of the books!”

Doritos finally responded on Twitter in an attempt to smooth relations:

PepsiCo’s timing for a controversy is unfortunate, considering the praise it received for its Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice Super Bowl commercial. Fans were still playfully debating over who won an epic rap battle between Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage when “Lady Doritos” turned the conversation soggy.

The snacking giant also suffered a blow last spring when it aired a Pepsi commercial borrowing imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement. In the now infamous spot, Kendall Jenner seemingly ends strife between races by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. The resulting backlash was so intense that even the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. mocked it. Pepsi pulled the ad and issued a formal apology.

Any brand can, even with the best intentions, miss the mark—but if we’ve learned anything from past mistakes, post those mistakes on the internet at your own risk.