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Periscope Editors’ Picks Curated Streams at a Glance

Periscope Editors Picks Stream

Last week Periscope introduced a new human-curated channel named ‘Editors’ Picks’. The stream, which suggests popular past broadcasts, could prove useful for new and casual users who are still finding their feet on the network.

‘Editors’ Picks’ are available to all users under the ‘Broadcasts’ tab on the search page. Originally taking pride of place, the stream has since slipped further down the ‘Suggested’ list, with popular hashtags and featured channels overtaking them. Regardless, new users should make use of the stream as it shows a broad cross-section of the wide variety of types of content across the network - each to a standard worthy of curation.

With this addition Periscope have attempted to help new users to ‘browse for unique moments you may have missed’. Certainly an admirable challenge - and one that was in dire need of tackling, as the network now has a daily active user base exceeding 2 million. At this size, content discovery represents something of a challenge for users.

A high-five from us

The direction Periscope have taken with ‘Editors’ Picks’ gets a double thumbs-up from us at Giraffe; nothing quite beats human curation when it comes to share-worthy content. As the usability of functions on larger networks grows, discoverability and developments in search need to be big business for infant networks who are serious about getting competitive. Especially because content is the lifeblood of social media.

The new stream is likely to have something to do with Periscope’s recent acquisition of Evan Hansen, previously of the content team over at Medium. In May, Hansen made the move to be Editor-in-Chief of Twitter’s Live-streaming brainchild, with part of his focus on helping discover and curate the best streams for Periscope users. ‘Editors’ Picks’, alongside other recent featured channels, are certainly evidence of this in action.

Snapchat Usage Among Adult Users Increases

Adult Snapchat use increases

Snapchat is increasing in popularity among adults over the age of 35. Traditionally a network for teens and younger adults, surprisingly the trend hasn't had a major effect on it’s “cool” factor, and popularity remains high a this level.

According to information made available by CNN Money, the percentage of Snapchat users over the age of 35 has risen from 9% to 14% since 2014. What’s more interesting however, is that the network hasn’t lost any popularity with younger users. In fact, it is proving even more popular than ever with those between the ages of 25 and 34, with users up from 19% two years ago to 38%.

Traditionally when the older generation muscles itself onto a social network younger users become jaded and disengaged. By whatever means, Snapchat have managed to sidestep this issue and are now commanding a very unique cross section of engaged users. However, if the network are serious about realising their app’s potential they need to do way more than reaching out to older users - such as taking a good look at monetizing.

Snapchat’s growing popularity and move to the mainstream

The percentage increases should come as no surprise to users and social media marketers alike. Snapchat has become more mainstream, with more and more high-profile individuals and organisations now having a presence on the app - for example NASA, the White House and CNN.

Moves by the network such as introducing advertising API make clear that they are serious about broadening business’ horizons. With giants such as Facebook to rival, creating a fully-fledged advertising platform should be of crucial importance to them. Alongside development strategies which include both user-base development and monetization, Snapchat need to be serious about taking risks about network features at least where businesses are concerned. This means experimenting with more than just funny filters.

On claims about disengaging younger users, comScore’s VP of Marketing & Insights had this to say:

“Historically, those concerns about losing core users have been overblown… For social media platforms, growth can sometimes be a double-edged sword… They’re expected to grow toward mainstream adoption, but the moment they do, there are questions of whether it will drive out the early adopters.”

New Twitter App Helps Businesses Connect with Users

Twitter Dashboard

Twitter have released a new app that could help make it easier for businesses to engage with social media users. Dashboard focuses on providing easy-to-understand insights and actionable advice, all of which are designed for businesses who want to expand their community.

Twitter announced Dashboard in a post on their blog, describing it as a “powerful tool designed to help businesses connect with their customers and community”. At the time only available to business users within the US, three key advantages were listed on the blog; “Easily engage with your following… Tweet when the time is right… [and] Get tweet ideas and inspiration.

Notable features and their uses

The three advantages mentioned on Twitter's blog make it clear that through creating the app the network are eager to compete with scheduling platforms and management tools favoured by power users. Engagement-focused feed development and scheduling features are fairly typical of apps of this kind, so the most interesting are the “tweet tips” tailored to allow you to “kick-start your creative process”.

The Dashboard app takes users through a quick process that helps craft a customised feed tailored to their business and industry. The system then combines mentions, hashtags and keywords to provide an easily accessible feed for monitoring brand and industry discussion with interaction in mind.

Creative tweet suggestions are offered with the user’s business in mind, clearly to help new users begin to utilise the network to it’s fullest potential. Twitter included the below example in their article:

For example, if you work at a restaurant, a tip like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members,” might remind you to share some recent recognition your chef received. Or, is you’re an interior designer, seeing “Share the live. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” might prompt you to Retweet a customer’s excited reaction to one of your recent projects.”

Twitter have come under fire in recent months for being inaccessible for new businesses and users, one of the main reasons cited for their fiercely declining user growth rates. Therefore it is great to see the network providing features designed to combat this and allow new users access to the unrivalled potential for interaction and outreach that it provides.

New Pinterest Team Looks Set to Monetise Content

Pinterest Acquire Team Behind Tote

Pinterest have announced that they are acquiring the team behind an influencer­-driven shopping app called Tote. The announcement suggests that the social network are serious about rethinking how they monetise the wealth of creative content shared across the platform.

The new hires created the Tote app which works by highlighting and suggesting products shared by fashion influencers and friends ­- so it’s clear that the team will be playing an integral role in developing monetisation strategy. Indeed, the team will be joining Pinterest’s growth and monetisation team. As a result of the acqui-hire, Tote itself will be shut down on the 15th June.

The reason for the hire

This isn’t the only significant hire that Pinterest have made recently, having also acquired the people behind Fleksy, a custom keyboard app. These hires are going to play a critical role in attracting users to the network, something that has become increasingly important in recent years. Directing influencers to the service will prove pivotal for the network, as will streamlining the full user experience; from discovery to engagement and, most importantly, conversion.#

In order to improve that customer revolution calls for increased engagement at every stage along the way. As a social network, Pinterest is involved throughout every point in the consumer experience, and so the future could hold great potential for them, but only with a willingness to invest. Therefore new talent that can crack each of these areas takes top priority.

It seems the network are serious about developing their capabilities and becoming a real contender in the social media marketplace. It’s now evident that they are more than willing to invest money into making new hires and become a real player in social e-­commerce.

The Tote team’s potential influence

As the Tote team have been focusing on encouraging purchases through the influencer model and using trendsetters as a key part in their business strategy, it is clear their influence could be nothing short of inspirational for the network. Pinterest need to harness what their community have given them in order to successfully monetise their network with long­term projected growth in mind, and those guys could help them achieve that.

Instagram Begins Adding In-app Translation

Instagram adds in-app translation

Earlier this month Instagram announced that the network now boasts over 500 million users, of which an astounding 300 million are active daily users. The photo­-sharing network are aware that with a global user base of that scale, the accessibility of content is key to continual growth, and are responding by installing a translation tool to allow users to better understand each other.

It’s becoming clear that Instagram are well aware of the important position that their network has begun to take in the world of social media, and are consistently responding with features which cement that status. The network have announced that an auto­-translation tool for comments and descriptions will be added in the coming month.

Users will be able to create an auto­-generated translation by clicking a ‘see translation’ link below text. This translation will be machine­-generated to a user’s chosen language, which can be changed in the user’s in-app settings. However, Instagram have advised users that certain older comments, and languages that aren’t detectable may not be supported.

Translation capabilities are nothing new for larger networks. Twitter and Facebook both offer auto­-translation to some extent, in order to allow users to keep pace with users across the globe. When you consider their recent milestone, it’s about time Instagram brought their communicative capabilities in line with rival networks

When the feature hits network-­wide in July, it will represent a significant shift for Instagram. Previously, while users were able to engage with a foreign user’s content, they were unable to interact with them if they didn’t share knowledge of a singular language, and so growth was halted. Now users will be able to see exactly what these people think of their craft hotdog picture, and respond in kind! This kind of accessibility is integral to building social network user-­bases at a global scale.

Twitter Announces Emoji Targeting for Ads

Emoji Ad Targeting

Twitter have announced a new way to target ads on their network in time for World Emoji Day on July 17th. Businesses will now be able to use emojis as keywords in order to connect with users expressing similar sentiments…

In a post on their blog on the 15th June, Twitter announced that they were releasing the new capability in line with their values of constantly improving precise targeting to “help drive deep engagement and better performance for brands.” Apparently an epic 110 billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014.

Emoji targeting allows marketers and advertisers to target users who have engaged or tweeted certain emojis through a selection of the network’s official Partners. Supposedly the feature allows brands a unique opportunity to reach users with certain mindsets, passions and even types of food - for example, the humble pizza emoji which has become ubiquitous with Giraffe Social Media #FatFriday tweets.

World Emoji Day

As pointed out by Twitter, the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2015 was none other than ‘Face with Tears of Joy’, or 😂 as it is more commonly known. This alone is a key signifier for the massive increase in the popularity of emojis across the world. World Emoji Day takes place on July 17th as it is the day that is displayed on the iOS calendar Emoji. Created by the founder of Emojipedia Jeremy Burge in 2014, according to the official website the purpose of the day is as follows:

"We ❤️ love emojis. You 💙 love emojis. Let’s  celebrate them! 🎉 celebrate them! The purpose of 🌎 World Emoji Day is to promote the use of emojis and spread the 😝 enjoyment that the bring to all of those 👬👫👭 around us."

As of yet we are unsure as to how successful emoji targeting will be. As primarily an expression of mood, it could have the potential to be a key identifier for reaching and engaging new audience members if used alongside sufficient industry focused keywords. However only time will tell to what extent.

Google Thanks the Internet’s Most Polite Grandmother

Polite Grandmother on Google

Google has used social media to personally reply to an exceptionally polite search conducted by an 86-year­-old grandmother. May Ashworth, who appreciates that manners cost nothing, believed she was communicating with a person at Google HQ when she used the search engine and has gone viral after her grandson tweeted a picture of one of her search queries.

25­-year-­old Ben John from Wigan had been visiting his nan May to do some washing when he stumbled upon a dreadfully polite search query on her laptop. Appreciating how delightful a sentiment it was, the Twitter user couldn’t help but to snap a quick photo and share it ­- which has since been retweeted over 15.5k times and received over 23k likes!

When asked why she had included ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in her search, May explained to her Grandson that she believed it to be standard online etiquette

“I asked my nan why she used “please” and “thank you” and it seemed she thinks that there is someone -­ a physical person -­ at Google’s headquarters who looks after searches… She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.”

Google respond in kind

While the world’s biggest search engine doesn’t care if you ask for information politely (on the contrary, it’s likely to affect the effectiveness of your search) May’s words nevertheless touched the hearts of the people behind the scenes. When the tweet took off, both Google’s official UK and Global accounts decided to respond in kind, explaining that in a world of millions of searches, it was hers that had brightened up their day.

It just goes to show that in a digital world where we are becoming increasingly focused on speed and efficiency, it still pays to take time to appreciate the amount of work that goes into making the awesome platforms which have quite literally changed our lives. May Ashworth ­- we tip our hats to you!

Facebook Unintentionally Declares War in the Philippines

Facebook War in the Philippines

This year on June the 12th was Independence Day in the Philippines. As is customary on public holidays, Facebook celebrated the occasion by sending their best wishes to users ­- but this time they departed from their normal light-­hearted voice by accidentally claiming that the country was at war.

Facebook like to ensure their users feel cared for. It’s the cuddly part of their branding that helps to entice users back to the network over and over again. That’s why they often share featured content and encourage users to engage in a social media dialogue. Independence Day in the Philippines was no exception. But as a result of sharing an image with the flag flying upside down they also unintentionally became the subject of much contempt by Filipino users.

Poor fact-checking resulting in a botched campaign

As stated in section 10 of the Philippines’ Republic Act 8491, “The flag, if flown from a flagpole, shall have its blue field on top in time of peace and the red field on top in time of war…” The image that Facebook posted included the latter of these, thus stating that the country was in a state of war.

When the resulting social media backlash came, the social network hastily deleted the post and issued a statement of apology to The Philippine Star.

What can businesses take from Facebook’s boo­boo?

If there’s one thing businesses can learn from the mistake it’s to always ensure that your desire to share far-reaching and engaging content doesn’t overshadow sufficient research. While you should certainly be reaching out to different subsets of your user base, always bear in mind that if you are engaging over something that you don’t have much knowledge of you should check your facts are correct right down to the finest detail.

The last thing you want is something seemingly innocent to end up landing you embroiled in some kind of controversy. Thankfully for Facebook in this case it was short lived ­- but you might not be so lucky.

New Instagram Feed Algorithm Vexes Users

Instagram feed algorithm

Pipelined changes to the order of posts on Instagram news feeds have begun to take effect, much to the outcry of users. The controversial change means that posts will now be prioritised by an algorithm, as opposed to the original ‘most­ recent’ order.

The network’s scheduled departure from ordering posts chronologically was first announced back in March; apparently, as an answer to users missing out on an average 70% of posts across their feed. Responses at the time weren’t overly positive ­ one such user claimed that “now instead of 70 percent I miss close to 100 percent because I have no to desire to open up the app…

The new algorithm has so­-far been launched to an unlucky sub-­section of users and, according to a spokesperson for the network, will be rolled out “broadly and globally in the coming weeks.”

How does the feed algorithm work?

The change is similar to that made by Twitter last year. Instagram now prioritises posts that users are deemed to have already given the thumbs up too, such as those users who have previously been interacted with or those whose content has been engaged with. In this sense, the new feed is closer to a content discovery page than a traditional news feed.

Previously, many users resorted to scrolling in order to ‘catch ­up’ when they opened the app. Ironically, they are now unable to do this. Scrolling back through a feed with the new algorithm is seemingly endless as it lacks the ‘caught up’ endpoint of its predecessor. This is only good news for the network. By repeatedly serving up new and exciting content, they increase the likelihood that users will continue to discover new things and limit instances of disengagement.

Implications for businesses and marketers

One thing which has particularly been noted by users is the frequency and prominence of advertising and promoted content across the new algorithm. Instagram certainly haven’t hidden the fact that they are expanding the features that make the network attractive for business users and marketers.

The new algorithm could spell trouble for organic results. The trick will likely be encouraging users to engage with your content to ensure that future posts are still prioritised on their feeds -­ otherwise rates of engagement are likely to drop.

What are your thoughts on the new algorithm? Tweet us ­- @GiraffeSM.

4 Big Changes Lurking Behind Instagram’s Code

What's hiding behing Instagram's code

A look behind Instagram’s code has revealed some game­changing unpublished features. The image­sharing social network will soon be bringing analytics to businesses profiles ­- but it turns out that may not be the only feature social media marketers can look forward to…

The potential changes were discovered by Elliott Murray, head of innovation at Social Chain, when he decompiled code from the latest version of the app. The recent update was clearly a prelude to the network swaying towards more monetisable features in line with their growing user base among business users, and was met with widespread criticism (we, however, rather liked it).

It is then somewhat unsurprising that when Murray looked behind Insta’s code he found four different boolean variables that give an awesome insight into future features. Boolean data is a data type that has two values, commonly true and false, which can control flow of different actions. As of yet, these new Instagram features haven’t been activated.

Murray documented his findings on a post to Medium, each of which can be found below…

1. can_boost_post: This will be a common statement for any Facebook business users. This variable suggests that soon Instagram will be offering the same option ­ a paid boost that will allow their content to reach more users.

2. can_see_organic_insights: Instagram scheduling app Later recently leaked a selection of screenshots of what Instagram’s upcoming analytics will look like. As there is a specific label for ‘organic’ insights, this could suggest that regular users will be able to view the analytics interface alongside businesses paying for ads.

3. can_convert _to_business: Much like Facebook, this variable suggests that the social network will soon be differentiating between users and business pages. This should come as no surprise to social marketers when you consider what the update meant for the network. Whether that migration will be voluntary or mandatory is yet unclear.

4. show_insights_terms: Insights terms include reach, views, engagement rate, impressions and other such examples of specific analytical data. Clearly the network want to give strategists exactly what they want - access to some serious data.

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