Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 12/19/17

Today’s Must Read

This is a great piece on the “other” tech bubble, the one that’s building up inside a Silicon Valley ecosystem that’s still playing as fast and loose as it did in the late 90s, regardless of the changing social scene in the rest of the world. That kind of mindset, where tech founders still see themselves as disruptive geniuses, is just as dangerous as the monetary one that burst in 2001, but with the added potential to take down vast chunks of society when it pops because it has completely cut out an entire culture.

Media

A new report says the number of Netflix subscribers is now equal to the number of pay TV subscribers, something that can’t be good news for those companies but which explains why they want net neutrality dead. The only way they can compete is to eliminate competition.

Leaked information shows Mashable was in really bad shape before Ziff Davis bought it at what was seen as a steep discount recently. What’s interesting is that ZD says it will focus on SEO to help turn the site around. Weren’t we all told that social optimization was the key to success like just yesterday? Was that not true?

The latest in a series of articles and profiles over the last year or so claiming the cassette tape is making a comeback. I remain skeptical this is anything but a niche trend, but you never know.

While release dates are still largely unknown, Apple has picked up its third original series, showing its using its horde of cash to compete with Netflix and Amazon.

Social Media

There’s apparently a major problem at Periscope with creeps of indeterminate age and gender (so probably dudes of all ages) asking young girls to do sexually explicit things. That’s just the kind of behavior and unaddressed issue that’s not going to help the app win over new users much less build in any monetization model, particularly not as other services work to at least appear to be fighting that kind of problem.

A couple new features have been introduced by Facebook in the last few days. One lets you “snooze” updates from a person, Page or group for 30 days to take a break from whatever’s annoying you. The other is a new set of tools to address and prevent harassment, including facial recognition that will let you know when a photo of you have been posted even if you aren’t tagged. Putting aside how creepy that is and the myriad of potential uses for unwanted surveillance and tracking that allows for…no, I can’t get past that.

Facebook also announced the News Feed will begin downgrading “engagement bait” posts that have never been a good idea in terms of content strategy and now are officially so. That probably won’t help that the majority of what people see in their News Feed isn’t news of any kind, a finding that’s particularly disturbing given the huge number of people who identify it as their primary news source.

In a bid to woo more creators by offering them money, Musical.ly, the popular lip-synching app, has created a $50 million fund that could used for scholarships and other incentives that all come back to using the app more.

The “context cards” tested by Snapchat to add AR-like informational overlays to locations containing reviews and comments from friends have begun rolling out to users.

Twitter has begun cracking down on and deleting obvious alt-right and neo-nazi accounts, setting off the expected reactions from those groups. Hopefully this is just the first step in making the network a nicer place to converse and share news and opinions.

Good news for Snapchat that it’s still super-popular among U.S. teens, who view it as the single most important social app in their lives. The problem then is that they’re the only group that has the opinion, with literally everyone else not grasping how to use it or what it does, which is why parent company Snap has experienced issues with both user and revenue growth of late.

Content Marketing

Some interesting insights here from the Wendy’s AMA where the social media team talked about managing their sassy brand account. Of note particularly are the comments about how the voice was developed and has evolved as well as what kind of approvals are or aren’t needed.

A new study shows that corporate blogging is still an essential part of content strategy, one that produces results beyond just “engagement” assuming you put some attention and effort behind it.

Technology

All that talk around net neutrality that focused on how repealing it would foster competition runs in stark contrast to how it seems conservative groups don’t like any sort of competition when it comes to laying broadband fiber. Efforts around the country to stifle public-sector investment and infrastructure show the truth that it’s always just been about protecting certain businesses, not any initiative that will provide the best consumer option.

A bunch of new mobile apps that include not just news but chat functionality and thread moderation have been introduced by reddit, which hopes those will help it stay sticky among mobile users.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

 

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

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 11/14/17

A new study shows that headlines of 90 to 99 characters have the highest click-through-rate, but that runs counter to best practices for search engine optimization and other platforms, so who the hell knows, just do what’s working for you, man.

There seem to be flaws with this study on how the timing of news released on Twitter can influence conversations, but it’s an interesting premise and one that seems worthy of further exploration.

Pinterest has official launched board sections to help people better organize the material they share on that network. And it’s rolled out QR-like codes businesses can add to packages and other material that quickly create shoppable pins, the latest example of the QR code concept being a solid one, even if the initial execution didn’t take off.

There are a number of reasons outlined here as to why Musical.ly may have sold to a giant Chinese company for a reported $800 million, but the point is that this site didn’t exist three years ago and there’s arguably still a lot of potential that remains unlocked.

Mattress company Caspar becomes the latest business to launch its own unbranded print lifestyle magazine.

YouTube has heard the recent round of criticism about the inappropriate nature of many videos that appear at first glance to be aimed at kids and announced moves to try and clean up the problem.

After an unsuccessful rollout of an events-specific app, Facebook is trying again with Local, a new app that offers a single source of local recommendations and reviews from those you know. It also merged Stories with Messenger Day to make posting Stories across channels a bit easier.

Interesting stats here on the top publishing platforms, including how WordPress not only dominates in general but does so specifically in business usage.

I get what Amazon is doing with its reported plans (which it has disputed) to offer a free, ad-supported video service, but I’m failing to see how that can be described as a Netflix competitor, which is what many headlines have done. Meanwhile FullScreen is shutting down its streaming video subscription service, citing the high costs of keeping it going and the fact that the money might be better invested in other areas. And Philo announced it’s launching a subscription service that will, at least initially, only include entertainment content.

Advertisers on Snapchat can now link their Sponsored Lenses and Geofilters to their websites to increase conversion rates and extract more value from those ads.

ESPN is the latest media company to announce big Snapchat plans, launching twice-daily SportsCenter shows on the app.

Artists on YouTube can now add links to Ticketmaster events like concerts to their video descriptions to ease conversions.

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

Content Marketing Updates for 8/25/17

  • Snapchat has introduced Crowd Surf, a new system that uses artificial intelligence to find when many people are sharing video from a concert and assemble also those clips into a single video.
  • Facebook has redesigned its “trending news” section for mobile reading, making it easier to sort through updates and including related stories from a variety of outlets.
  • A redesign of the mobile News Feed in general is designed to emphasize visibility into who’s engaging with a post, where a link might take you and more to make the whole process, presumably, a bit more transparent. It also updated a number of features in the Camera app.
  • A new green dot will show you when someone has been active on Tumblr recently, letting you know who might be available to chat.
  • Instagram has added comment threading to help keep conversations going more naturally.
  • LinkedIn has introduced a new native video creation tool for the mobile app that will be rolling out to all users over time.
  • I’m not going to be switching over to Ghost anytime soon, but it’s great to not only see someone innovating in the blog platform space but also doing so in an open-source manner.
  • Twitter’s Explore tab will begin showing people topics they may be interested in sorted in a way that’s based on their usage of the platform. That’s an attempt to make valuable, relevant information more prevalent, especially to new users.
  • Interesting statistics here on why young adult shoppers prefer the experience on a brand’s own website as opposed to that of a retailer.
  • Could be bad news for Snapchat as influencers identify it as the one they are or are most likely to drop in favor of Instagram and others.
  • Facebook is selling in-stream spots separate from bundled News Feed buys, something that was apparently high up on the list of requests from agencies.
  • The photo you’re responding to on Instagram will now appear as a sticker in the photo you take as the response. Sure, why not.
  • Facebook’s latest target in the News Feed: Video clickbait. Specifically, it’s taking aim at some of the slimy tactics disreputable publishers engage in to trick people into playing their videos.
  • Apparently we’re more prone to make rash, impulsive shopping decisions on our phones than we are in person or on our desktop computers.
  • After bringing GIF-like previews to YouTube, Google is now introducing six-second previews of videos directly in search results to, it says, help inform people as to what they’re about to click on.
  • YouTube is curating a “Breaking news” section across platforms to help people stay connected and/or know what level of panic and despair to maintain.
  • Digital video advertising is growing ever bigger in absolute dollars, but as a percentage of overall digital ad budgets it’s remaining pretty flat.
  • Chat bots are something marketers need to educate themselves on ASAP.
  • Facebook’s new tool lets brands directly boost posts from influencers they’ve engaged in branded content campaigns, keeping the original person’s branding on the post. Ad execs, though, worry that this will lead to influencer posts being suppressed in the feed, diminishing reach unless dollars are spent.
  • Snapchat is the latest platform company to announce it will be moving into providing a home for exclusive scripted video content.
  • Some early success stories coming out of Facebook Watch, though I have to wonder how much of that comes from these videos being given preferential treatment in the News Feed.
  • You can now take 360-degree photos and video from within the Facebook app itself.
  • Publishers in the Medium Partner Program will have the option of making stories available only to members and then be paid based on engagement and reach. That also includes a metered paywall limiting non-members to a set number of “free” posts they can read per month.
  • As part of its effort to help restore trust in what news is shared on its platform, Facebook will display media brand logos next to stories from that site.
  • New updates to the Musical.ly app include a section of recommendations based on what you’ve watched and enhanced user profiles.
  • Email management software is the most common tool used by content marketers, followed by content management systems.
  • Snapchat will let advertisers control whether their ads appear alongside all content or just that produced by the company itself and its media partners.
  • You can now edit Anchor’s new videos and share snippets.