Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 11/7/18

Interesting findings here that longer headlines on branded content have higher click-through rates. Perhaps because they’re more effective at quickly drawing the reader into the story?

Google is deprecating old RSS feeds from Google News next month, taking a convoluted approach that involves discarding the old but offering new feeds without setting up redirects or other accommodations for those subscribed.

Polls are the new big thing as Facebook follows Instagram with a feature allowing people to post polls using GIFs across desktop and mobile platforms.

Twitter has responded to the constant calls for better enforcement of its terms of service by clarifying the rules around what will get your account suspended or banned. Actual application of those guidelines continues to be spotty, though.

Hard to argue with the conclusion that the DNAinfo/Gothamist situation show that not only will local news not scale to the level needed for large companies to view it as successful (even if it is in the black financially) but it’s also too vital to leave in the hands of profit-motivated individuals or entities. Even national news is under fire from advertisers who are considered coverage of unpleasant issues hurts ratings and are threatening to pull their ads if it doesn’t change.

All brands will have access to Sponsored Messages on Facebook Messenger later this year. Yay?

More people are worried any regulations of tech companies resulting from the current focus on foreign manipulation of democracy through social media will go too far. I have to laugh at the comment about needing to expand our worldview beyond the self-selected media bubble it’s easy to create given our president almost daily reacts to one cable almost exclusively.

It’s kind of hard to fathom the implications of a potential Disney acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Putting aside the control over IP, the consolidation of control over a bigger percentage of media production and distribution – specifically news dissemination – is frightening, especially given the recent example noted above.

Even beyond what it produces itself, such a combined entity has potential repercussions for the press. Disney reportedly shut out the Los Angeles Times from press screenings as punishment for a negative report on its theme park business, a dangerous stifling of the free press. In response four critics associations announced Disney films would not be eligible for their annual awards as long as the policy is in place, seemingly creating enough public pressure that just today Disney relented and lifted the ban.

Twitter has rolled out 280-character updates to its entire user base, meaning…well…nothing, really.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

What’s Driving the “Broadcast With Friends” Social Trend?

For as much press as face filters and 3D augmented reality 360-degree videos posts get in the tech press there’s one trend that seems largely undercovered but which is no less real in the social media world.

Broadcasting with friends.

This past May, Facebook added the ability to add friends to a live broadcast, essentially enabling two-person video. In August Instagram followed suit by adding a feature where you can bring a viewer of your broadcast into your video. Then just last week Anchor enabled a feature where up to seven additional people can be added to a broadcast.

What’s behind this rush to make social media a group activity? There are two major points that seem prominent in the rollout of these co-hosting features.

It’s About Market Saturation

Between 2005 and 2010, the period of social media’s infancy and ascendency, adoption rose from just 5% to 47%. But since then it’s grown to just 69% of U.S. internet users, and much of that growth is coming from older demographics. Younger social users are more interested in messaging apps which have group activity (such as the much-copied “Stories” feature that’s now pervasive) baked in.

So there’s a push to get the existing user base to do more within the apps since growth can’t necessarily be depended on. Facebook counts 80% of the U.S. population as members, so it’s hard to see where any growth is going to come from unless it starts signing up infants. 76% of U.S. teens are on Instagram, though that’s growing while Facebook’s teen hip quotient is flattening in recent years.

It’s About Influencers

Everyone who’s not already considered an influencer wants to be an influencer. They want the prestige, the stardom, the paycheck from marketing agencies, the potential book or TV deals. So they are polishing their broadcasting chops, and interacting with a cohost in a way that’s not constrained by geography is a great way to do that.

Adding the ability to bring in a cohost offers more opportunities for conversations and the product mentions those conversations often include. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that adding in additional hosts was a top-requested feature by the influencers social networks often court and turn to for guidance regarding their product roadmaps.

There are surely plenty of other reasons social media companies are adding similar features to their apps and sites. Whatever the rationale, there’s a desire to make these apps and sites stickier, even if it means blatantly copying functionality from competitors.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10 /24/17

Facebook has downplayed their significance, but the fact remains it’s been testing a version of the News Feed that separates posts from publishers into a whole different section from updates from friends and family, with publishers able to buy their way into that “main” feed.

Spotify is letting everyone know they have the data showing you’re listening to podcasts at work.

The latest media company to help brands create catchy, hopefully engaging video ads is Buzzfeed, which is introducing BuzzCuts to take longer TV spots and easily make them into shorter, social-friendly videos.

Great, I can’t possibly imagine what kind of damage no longer requiring media companies maintain a presence in the cities they want to do business in will lead to. Except that I totally can.

You can now broadcast live with a friend on Instagram.

If you’re a publisher you’ll want to check out Facebook’s new guidelines repository to get a good idea of what won’t be applicable in six months.

Twitter is hoping sunlight will help stave off regulators as it opens an “Advertising Transparency Center” where anyone can search for who’s behind all current ad campaigns.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/23/17

According to the company, 80% of Snapchat users create posts at restaurants, which is one reason behind the Context Cards it recently announced that allow people to leave – and then find – tips and comments on eateries. Recode has more numbers on popular locations.

Publishers are preparing for the day (likely coming soon) when autoplay videos are blocked or otherwise out of favor with audiences.

Buzzfeed is getting serious about making moves and other long-form video.

Solid thoughts here on how with everyone focusing on original video productions, media needs to compete on the user experience even more than content.

Twitch is making it easier for original content creators to make money with their videos on the site, another move in the ongoing battle with Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.

Facebook is testing themed collections of updates – including videos, photos and more – that can be created and shared.

Payments are on everyone’s mind, with Facebook Messenger enabling PayPal integration (part of a larger PayPal effort to be more flexible in product offerings) and Google introducing a new feature that stores your payment information to facilitate easy checkout at participating online retailers.

Google says its revenue-sharing with publishers who use its recently-unveiled subscription system will be “exceedingly generous,” which I guess is better than nothing. The company also throws (deserved) shade at Facebook.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/20/17

Cool new functionality from Feedly, which lets you turn any Team Board, a collection of saved items you want everyone on your team to see, into an email newsletter.

Publishers can now add a paywall to Facebook Instant Articles, but only on Android because Facebook and Apple couldn’t agree on terms. I’m super-interested in seeing what results from this as my guess is the casual reader isn’t interested in taking additional steps.

Twitter has a new team of brand strategists under the name “#Fuel” to help advertisers quickly create the 6-second video ads that are currently all the rage.

A new study shows mobile users are fans of video ads that offer some sort of reward or incentive for watching them. Ugh, these entitled millennials.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/16/17

Twitch continues down the path of becoming the next YouTube (even while YouTube tries to mimic Twitch) as more brands launch channels there, most recently Funny or Die.

Facebook is experimenting with giving marketers access to the posts and comments of regular users (albeit sans identity) to give them insights into how people are talking about brands, products and more.

The “pivot to video” garbage trend continues, with Complex being the latest media company to lay off staff as it works to produce more video that it hopes will attract more ad dollars.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/13/17

Turns out Twitter can’t just delete single Tweets that violate its TOS, it can only suspend accounts. That doesn’t make how it seems to only apply those rules to high-profile accounts and not the army of vile, racist, sexist animals that bully women and people of color off the platform, but…no, actually that’s it.

Facebook isn’t just having a profound impact on democracy, it’s affecting the whole of society, from voting to commerce to social activism to every other facet of life. And it’s doing so unchecked by any regulation, moral compass or commitment to the public good.

The biggest change public education needs to make to adapt to a world where facts are instantly retrievable is to teach media literacy, otherwise those seeking to subvert society will only grow more powerful.

While the addition of social media adds a twist, the idea of brands enlisting student street teams to promote products on college campuses isn’t exactly new.

I like the accountability that’s baked into The New York Times’ updated social media policies for staffs but there are scores of other issues I’ll weigh in on at some point.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/12/17

Not surprising that activewear and beauty brands are those most likely to engage in influencer marketing, but it is a bit shocking that 70% of brands across industries have done so.

Time spent in mobile shopping apps is growing, with the biggest players like Amazon and Target seeing the most benefit from that trend.

If you read one thing today, make it Farad Manjoo’s gut-check of the “Frightful Five” technology/entertainment companies and the hold they either have or could have on culture.

Twitter continues to get it wrong on every possible occasion by suspending Rose McGowan’s account in the middle of her crusade against Harvey Weinstein and other abusers, apparently because she included a phone number in one Tweet. Meanwhile, those calling McGowan and countless other women the most terrible of names (not to mention all the racism) are just fine, thanks. She was eventually reinstated.

Publishers are finding Facebook Live isn’t living up to its initial promise and so are reexamining Twitter as a place to host live video programs and broadcasts.

There’s so much good information in this story recapping a study into mobile push alert usage, the issues publishers face in providing them and more. Highly recommended.

Facebook says it deals with “fake news” in about three days after it’s published, which is about two days and 18 hours too late.

Yes, Snapchat is still doing just fine with teenage audiences, who still prefer it to Instagram. At least according to this study. Next week there may be a new one that directly contradicts those numbers. Nothing matters.

YouTube has relaunched its Creators website with more tools on how to produce quality videos and attract an audience.

To the surprise of hopefully no one, LinkedIn is slowing rolling out and experimenting with videos ads that will likely become more and more common as time goes on.

Blah blah blah Facebook 3D posts VR blah blah blah.

Facebook has introduced Stories for Pages, allowing brands and publishers to jump in on the hot new format being adopted by roughly every social and messaging platform in the hopes that someone will please use it because right now no one is.

Forrester Wants Tap To Be a Brand Feedback Platform

Last week Forrester, the well-known research and analysis company, launched Tap, a new app centered around customer feedback on companies, brands and products. People leave short, Twitter-style posts with positive or negative comments or questions and the companies can respond appropriately.

There’s no lack of outlets for the average mobile user to share their commentary on a brand or product both with that brand and with the general public. A recent Sprout Social report showed 56% of Millennials and 39% of other demographics have “called out” a brand on social media, which is the second most popular channel for consumer complaints. They’re doing so to warn others and have their problems resolved.

So it’s not necessarily that Forrester is offering the public something unique by giving them a place to post their opinions and feedback. Instead the value proposition is that it’s an environment where brands will have a dedicated presence and respond to that feedback.

That’s different than the corporate inconsistent efforts deployed on Twitter and Facebook, where the volume of responses and attitudes of those posting their comments can get overwhelming and hard to manage very quickly.

The real value in the app is what could be realized by both Forrester and the companies participating in those conversations.

Forrester is in the survey and analysis business. Their reports on industry trends are legendary and highly sought after, which is why they’re usually incredibly expensive. Tap would provide a treasure trove of new data to slice and dice and use in future reports and forecasts. It would be able to analyze the comments being left and look for insights both on the individual company and industry level.

All of those insights can then be packaged and sold to its corporate customers. Those companies would be able to see volume, tone and more, all of which could be used to allocate resources and efforts in the future.

All of that is well and good, but there’s a significant roadblock to realizing this value: Adoption. There has to be some reason for consumers to download and begin using the app beyond the idea of providing feedback to companies. Basically, what’s in it for them? Why should they use that app instead of Twitter, Facebook proper, much less the chat bots on Facebook Messenger and other platforms that are becoming more popular for customer service purposes? Is there something unique being offered?

That will likely be up to the individual company to decide. Perhaps it’s a coupon in exchange for leaving a comment or something like that. Whatever the case, it will fall on those companies to promote the app and encourage adoption, identifying a specific and unique reason for the consumer to do so. Otherwise this will be a sparsely-populated community uncovering insights of limited usefulness.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 10/3/17

comScore is the latest company seeking to help advertisers determine how well their ads, in this caseTV and digital, are driving physical store sales.

More shade being thrown on the cost-effectiveness of what are now called “macro-influencers,” those with huge audiences.

More ways for retailers to use Instagram’s shoppable posts are now available.

You can now add polls to Instagram Stories, getting your followers’ feedback on whatever you like.

Facebook is finally adding new tools for publishers and creators tired of having their videos freebooted, integrating third-party services into Rights Manager.

The Verge and Polygon are joining Buzzfeed in producing live video programming for Twitter.

Snap Accelerate is a new program from Snapchat to help startups who are just figuring out their advertising in general embrace that platform quickly and easily.