This week in social media news, Twitter announces Q2 2019 revenue and positive user growth, Pinterest allows marketers to create ads on the go, Facebook once again proves it’s unbreakable in its Q2 report, YouTube publishes its first report addressing protocols for active violence incidents, Reddit lets users design and hand out awards and NYC considers banning the sale of mobile location data.
Also, Facebook agrees to pay a $5 billion penalty and reframe privacy policies after settlement with FTC, Snap reports steady numbers in Q2, Twitter allows users to retweet with comment on the same tweet and more.
Stay tuned for more fresh news every day.
Twitter Posts Higher-Than-Expected Q2 2019 Revenue, Shows “Active User” Growth
Twitter released Q2 2019 revenue today and reported on positive user growth.
Why it matters: This marks Twitter’s seventh straight profitable quarter and shows positive signs that the company is effectively tackling the issue of sluggish user growth. The revenue report indicates steady user growth on the platform using a different growth metric than is typical for these quarterly reports.
The details: The platform saw a year-over-year (YoY) revenue increase of around 18 percent, beating estimates and placing revenue at $841 million.
As for growth, Q2 2019 marks the first quarter that Twitter has focused primarily on mDAUs, or “monetizable daily active users,” instead of MAUs or “monthly active users.” Whereas MAUs include users active on the platform that use TweetDeck or other tools that exclude ads, mDAUs do not account for these users.
Monetizable users surged to 139 million, up 14 percent YoY. According to VentureBeat, this “17 million mDAU hike over the past 12 months can be broken down into 3 million users in the U.S. and 14 million internationally.”
In a series of tweets from Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR), the platform noted how it is encouraging daily activity.
Pinterest Ads “On The Go” Mobile Tools
Pinterest shared a blog post about its new “Mobile Ad Tools.”
Why it matters: According to the company, “Mobile Ad Tools” enables businesses to easily create and manage Pinterest ad campaigns on a mobile device, anytime, anywhere.
The details: “Mobile Ad Tools” enables easy ad creation and consolidated targeting options, with which marketers can build brand awareness, reach new audiences on the platform and boost performance while staying within their budget. It also provides the options to check campaign metrics and optimize on mobile.
FOUNT and Little Blue Olive are among the brands who participated in the feature testing. Phillip Wachter, co-founder and CEO, FOUNT said, “We are seeing a drastic increase in engagement when Pins are promoted—up to 4,430 percent. Pinterest is bringing more traffic to our site than Facebook and Instagram, where we also run ads.
Facebook Reports Q2 Earnings, Growth Continues
Despite all the controversy surrounding the social media giant, including the recent $5 billion fine from FTC, Facebook reports steady revenue and user growth numbers in Q2 2019.
Why it matters: It seems like no amount of scandals can repel users from Facebook. For marketers who need to go where the users are, the platform remains desirable, at least for this quarter.
The details: Facebook’s revenue jumped to 16 billion and it is now seeing 2.4 billion monthly active users. The most significant audience growth again came from the Asia Pacific region.
Read the full Q2 report here.
NYC Could Ban Sale Of Mobile Location Data
New York City is reportedly considering a move to prohibit the selling of mobile users’ location data without a customer’s explicit permission to do so.
Why it matters: If passed, the bill could cut a source of revenue for telecom companies and apps that collect the information.
The detail: The bill was introduced by councilman Justin L. Brannan. If passed in its current form, it would establish strict requirements for wireless carriers and apps, requiring them to get explicit permission from users in order to share their location data with third parties. Per The New York Times, Brannan says the bill is a result of the federal government’s inaction on data privacy issues.
Reddit Users Can Now Design Their Own Awards
According to The Verge, Reddit has officially rolled out a “Community Awards” feature, which has been in testing since April.
Why it matters: Reddit hopes that “Community Awards” will complement the specific in-jokes and cultures of Reddit’s 1.2 million-plus subreddits.
The details: The new feature is an addition to already existing Reddit’s awards. Now, every Reddit’s community will have a choice to offer up to six awards. The prices for “Community Awards” will vary between 500 to 40,000 Coins (which translates to between roughly $1.99 and $99.99), and 20 percent of any coins spent in a subreddit will go directly into the moderator’s coffers where they’ll be able to use them to give out moderator-exclusive rewards, The Verge reports.
YouTube Shares “Global Internet Forum To Counter Terrorism: An Update On Our Progress”
In a blog post, the company says it is introducing joint content incident protocols for responding to emerging or active events, such as the terrorist attack in Christchurch.
Why it matters: The blog post states, “The objective of the GIFCT has always been to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to promote terrorism, disseminate violent extremist propaganda and exploit or glorify real-world acts of violence on our services. We do this by joining forces with counterterrorism experts in government, civil society and the wider industry around the world. Our work centers around three, interrelated strategies:
- Joint tech innovation
- Knowledge sharing
- Conducting and funding research.”
The details: In its effort to fight terrorism, the social media company is releasing its first GIFCT Transparency Report and a new counter speech campaign toolkit that will help activists and civil society organizations challenge the voices of extremism online.
Facebook Will Update Its Privacy Policies After Settlement With FTC
Facebook announced that the company finally reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. The social media giant will pay a $5 billion penalty and reframe its policies on protecting users’ privacy and information.
Why it matters: According to Facebook, the agreement will require a fundamental shift in the way the company approaches its work and will demand additional responsibility from people building its products at every level of the company. “It will mark a sharper turn toward privacy, on a different scale than anything we’ve done in the past,” the blog post states.
The details: The company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a statement: “As part of this settlement, we’re bringing our privacy controls more in line with our financial controls under the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Our executives, including me, will have to certify that all of the work we oversee meets our privacy commitments. Just as we have an audit committee of our board to oversee our financial controls, we’ll set up a new privacy committee of our board that will oversee our privacy program. We’ve also asked one of our most experienced product leaders to take on the role of chief privacy officer for products.
To implement this, we’ll have to review our technical systems to document any privacy risks and how we’re handling them. Going forward, when we ship a new feature that uses data, or modify an existing feature to use data in new ways, we’ll have to document any risks and the steps we’re taking to mitigate them.”
Snap Publishes Q2 Update
In its Q2 update, Snapchat reported steady growth in revenue and user base, reaching record levels for both.
Why it matters: In Q2, Snapchat reports 203 million daily, highly engaged users, which is an increase of 190 million users versus Q1.
The details: A major new feature in the app, credited for driving a large number of downloads, was their gender-swap feature. Thanks to the update, Snapchat was downloaded approximately 41.5 million times around the world in May. Snap also continues to invest in its “Discover” platform, which more than tripled users’ total daily time spent watching Shows in this quarter compared to Q2 2018. The company also invested heavily in AI lenses, creating over 500,000 Lenses by the end of Q2 2019.
For more insights, read the full report here.
Tweet And Retweet With Comment On The Same Tweet Is Now Possible
Twitter shared a tweet announcing that users can now both retweet and retweet with comment on the same tweet.
Why it matters: This feature means the users will have an option to add context to every tweet.
The details: Twitter users are no longer limited by choosing one option, retweeting or retweeting with a comment, and the update ensures the original poster is alerted and can add their own opinion with a comment to the thread.
Study Finds Mobile Web Usage Is Higher Than Time Spent On Facebook
According to Mobile Marketer, mobile-only ad firm Kargo study showed that mobile web usage is overtaking Facebook app usage by three percent.
Why it matters: The study suggests that marketers need to make a careful decision about whether their ads appear in social media apps or on the mobile web. Whats’ great about apps is that they offer targeted audiences to marketers in a variety of social content and games (typically higher in engagement). At the same time, however, the mobile web offers more reach and can be more relevant in high-value advertising categories.
The details: Per the study, mobile web usage makes up approximately 17 percent of all time spent on wireless devices. And average time spent on Facebook has decreased in the past two years, with nine percent of Facebook app usage being spent on web content, behind other apps like Flipboard.
The study also suggests that mobile app usage is more fragmented now because people spend more time in apps, such as YouTube, Gmail and Instagram. Per Kargo, although app usage is mostly limited to social, entertainment and games, mobile web usage covers a broader range of content, such as automotive, shopping and finance.
WhatsApp Finally Expands To Basic Cell Phones
WhatsApp can be now downloaded on the KaiStore, which will make the social media service available to millions of KaiOS cell phones (like the Nokia 8110 remake) with at least 256MB of RAM.
Why it matters: The new Facebook and KaiStore initiative has a potential to help people who don’t have smartphones to communicate with their friends and family in a secure way and also, have access to more services and even job opportunities. The move is expected to open up WhatsApp use to more users in developing countries without smartphones.
The details: “We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic. We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies.
Report: Influencer Marketing Poised To Hit $15 Billion By 2022
Business Insider recently published the “Influencer Marketing 2019” report, focusing on “why brands can’t get enough of an $8 billion ecosystem driven by Kardashians, moms and tweens.”
Why it matters: In the report, marketers can find key statistics and recommendations on how to most efficiently navigate the constantly evolving market for their marketing needs, as well as develop and grow their relationships with influencers.
The details: The key takeaways include:
- “The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.
- Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard of the group. Nearly four in five (79 percent) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46 percent), YouTube (36 percent), Twitter (24 percent), and LinkedIn (12 percent), per Influencer Marketing Hub.
- There are two primary ways of categorizing influencers: reach and niche.
- Reach. As a general rule, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, engagement, authenticity, and accessibility all go up as follower count goes down.
- Niche. Brands can leverage relevant niche influencers to more intentionally target audiences.
- Before pursuing a partnership, brands and influencers alike should ensure brand fit, meaning that an influencer is aligned with the brand and product.
- Brands should develop a streamlined but robust network of high-quality influencers to diversify their bets.
- Brands are likely to increasingly prioritize longer-term partnerships with fewer, more authentic influencers.”
Business Insider subscribers can access the full report here.
Web Floods With Fakes Offering To Buy Facebook’s Yet-To-Be-Launched Libra Currency
Washington Post reported that a number of fakes offering Facebook Libra currency for sale.
Why it matters: Per the Washington Post, this tendency once again proves that the company “is struggling to rebuild trust and fight the fraud likely to surround the new financial system.”
The details: Approximately a dozen fake accounts, pages and groups appeared on Facebook and Instagram presenting themselves as official hubs for Facebook’s currency that hasn’t been launched yet. Some of them offered to sell Libra at a discount price through third-party websites.
Several fake Facebook and Instagram accounts were already deleted and Facebook spokeswoman, Elka Looks, said in a statement for Washington Post, “Facebook removes ads and pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms.”
Facebook Reduces Ad Space On Mobile News Feed
Facebook announced in a blog post, that the company will change the format for ad appearance in its mobile “News Feed” in August to make the ads look and feel more organic.
Why it matters: “The changes to text, photos and videos are designed to simplify our formats and improve the consistency of our mobile experience. This will help drive increased ad effectiveness and make it easier to use the same assets on Facebook News Feed and Instagram feed,” Facebook stated in the announcement.
The details: Per the company, starting in August 2019, fewer lines of primary text will show on mobile “News Feed.” Only three lines of primary text will show on Facebook mobile “News Feed,” after which the app users will be able to click to view additional text. Also, maximum media height for photos and videos will be reduced to 4:5, with the tallest supported aspect ratio for images without links and for videos is now vertical (4:5). Media that is taller than 4:5 will be masked on Facebook mobile “News Feed.”
Facebook Publishes A New Report On The State Of Video Consumption In Australia
Facebook also released “My Screen, Video Consumption In Australia” report.
Why it matters: It’s crucial for marketers to keep in mind that video consumption behaviors are rapidly changing today and while traditional broadcasters are in a steady decline, online platforms are in high demand and can provide opportunities to reach large audiences, avoiding the traditional costs common for TV ad campaigns.
The details: Per the report, the top video platforms, services and channels are as follows: free to air TV; Facebook; Youtube; Netflix; Instagram; Snapchat.
According to Facebook, when formulating video plans,marketers should:
- Be clear on campaign objectives, and prioritise tactics that reach these objectives.
- Manage reach and frequency. Focus budget within channels with the highest audience within your demographic – fish where the fish are.
- Analyze duplication of the audience, and the incremental reach of video services, platforms and channels on your video plan.
- Understand how various demographics use different platforms, and adapt activity based on these insights to generate maximum value.
- Have a plan with regard to how your organization will adapt to the proliferation of ad-free channels.
- Scrutinize the cost premium of video providers – if it’s twice the cost, does it drive twice the return?
Facebook User Engagement Is Still On The Rise
Facebook is claiming that even as turmoil about privacy on the platform continues, its audience remains steady, at least that’s what they detail in their latest insights report.
Why it matters: After a series of controversies and the tense congressional hearings over Facebook’s digital cryptocurrency project, Libra, these numbers appear to signal good news for marketers concerned with the company’s damaged reputation and what kind of impact that would have on engagement.
The details: According to Facebook, monthly median engagement levels between Jan. 3 and July 18 increased with posted comments rising from 6 to 8, posts liked rising from 9 to 13, ads clicked rising from 13 to 17 in the U.S.; and worldwide, posted comments rising from 4 to 5, likes rising from 9 to 13 and ads clicked rising from 8 to 11.
TikTok Is Spotted Testing Several Instagram-Like Features
Reverse-engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong did it again–she spotted Tiktok toying with a few Instagram-inspired features. The details are yet to be revealed, but a TikTok spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is working on the features.
Why it matters: Instagram has already proven to be effective in attracting huge, engaged audiences, so it only makes sense that TikTok is copying the features in hopes to repeat Instagram’s success.
The details: The features in testing include Instagram-style grid, algorithmically generated “For You” page; “Discover” tab, Suggested Users, Sounds and Hashtags in Search page, show number of Downloads on videos, “Send To” section on Share UI, account switcher, “Liked by creator” comment badge, moving the TikCode button from Profile to Settings and adding like counts on each video on Sound and Hashtag page.
YouTube And FTC Children’s Privacy Case Is Settled
Bloomberg reported that YouTube reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission resolving allegations that the company violated rules about collecting data on and advertising to children.
Why it matters: Per Bloomberg, “The settlement resolves a probe into whether the Google video service broke the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which makes it illegal to collect information on minors and disclose it to others without parental permission. A group of activists last year asked the FTC to look into the matter. The FTC declined to comment.”
The details: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission five-member commission voted to approve the settlement. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, The Washington Post suggests Google will pay a multimillion-dollar fine.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 26th. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.