Does Twitter need another Ryan Giggs moment?

This Google Trend chart goes some way to proving the hunch that I’ve been harbouring for some time that Twitter’s UK growth explosion was kick-started by a Mr Ryan Giggs.

twitter and ryan giggs

When the front page of every newspaper isn’t allowed to say a certain someone’s name (but can happily point readers online to where its freely available) it’s no wonder that interest in Twitter shot up at this time. Furthermore, given the social network’s recent slowdown in user acquisition, one can’t help wondering if another useless celebrity gagging order is exactly what it needs.

Scandal drives the global gossip engine. Who knew?

 

How to opt-out of auto-play videos in Facebook

If you hadn’t heard, Auto-play ads videos in the Facebook mobile app (and desktop) are on their way.

Facebook Videos - DEATH

Good? Bad? Annoying? All three? Yeah, maybe. But look, here’s the bad news: on mobile, you can’t actually switch them off. What you can do however is prevent them from playing over your mobile network. In other words, make the videos only download over Wi-Fi only, and ostensibly opt-out of letting them auto-play on your handset.

Here’s how that works.

  • On iOS
    Go to Settings -> Facebook -> Facebook Settings -> ‘Auto-Play videos on WiFi only’
  • On Android
    Go to Facebook -> swipe right to the options pane -> App Settings -> ‘Auto-play videos on WiFi only’

Switch off auto-play videos in Facebook mobile

The benefits of this are two fold:

  1. If you’re hardly ever connected to wi-fi, you can pretty much ‘opt out’ of this auto-play media completely.
  2. If you’re not on any kind of unlimited data plan with your network provider, this will prevent Facebook eating into that precious data.

 

Hat tip to he who spotted this, Charles Arthur.
Go give him a follow.

 

83% of Facebook’s UK Daily Users are on Mobile

How many?

Facebook MAU DAU

Source: TechCrunch

According to the above chart, posted yesterday on TechCrunch, Facebook’s Daily Active Users (DAU) for mobile make up a staggering 83% of all active users.

First off, that’s a MASSIVE NUMBER.

Second, we need to dig a little deeper. As Josh Constine states ‘To be clear, total stats count each individual user as 1 regardless of whether they accessed from desktop, mobile, or both. Mobile stats count each user who accessed via mobile, whether or not they also accessed via desktop.’

What this means is that while they’re not exclusively accessing Facebook via mobile*, 83% of overall DAU do at some point access via mobile. That is still a huge number.

What does this mean?

  1. Surprise surprise, UK users access Facebook from their mobile phones
  2. If you’re a brand using Facebook to speak to your users (y’know, through building apps and stuff) you better be thinking MOBILE FIRST – but again, this is not news
  3. A genuinely surprising amount of new openness from Facebook means that we should be seeing more data like this in the future.

Hurrah and hurrah again.

I’m also left wondering, why on Earth wasn’t this picked up by more trades?

Whatley out.

 

PS. Reading this on your mobile? Best check Facebook…

PPS. Contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t ‘the first time’ Facebook have admitted this algorithm exists. They did that back in 2010

*To get the exclusive number, you’d need Facebook to release a deep dive on this image. But they haven’t done that yet. So we wait.

 

 

One of these things is not like the others

Can you tell?

Any ideas? Anyone?

No, I’m not sure either. In the meantime, I’ll just leave this here:

Example: a Twitter user is paid by a brand owner or marketing practitioner specifically to use Twitter to promote a brand, product or service. The brand owner or marketing practitioner should ensure that the Twitter user discloses the payment by including ‘#ad’ within their tweet. As tweets are limited to 140 characters, the use of the ‘#ad’ hashtag allows maximum room for the message itself, but also makes clear to consumers that the message has been paid for.

Nope, I can't work it out either

Cheers.

H/T Andrew Allsop.

Update: Sad times.

Ads on Instagram are already here. But are they legal?

Place your bets now please…

The facts:

  • The Facebook-owned photo-sharing site, Instagram, does not have a business model (yet).
  • ‘Official’ ads will be coming soon (if on hold), but celebrities (and their sponsors) aren’t waiting around.
  • The US Federal Trade Commission state that ads on social media must be labelled as such*.

With those key points in tow, let’s take a look at a few recent examples of how ads have begun to appear on the this particular social network –

EXAMPLE 1:  Lebron James, Nike

Copy: ‘These are simply the best!! Ultra comfy and can wear them with anything. I’m ordering 100 pair right now. #kicks #Nike #family’

Is this an ad? It could be deemed as such, certainly. Is Lebron James sponsored by Nike? Definitely. Is ‘endorsement of product across social media’ part of his contract? Maybe. This is something I’ve talked about before. In short: how do social media advertising rules work when it comes to sponsorship deals? Should this image have an #ad tag?

Let me know in the comments.

EXAMPLE 2. Kim Kardashian, Sun Kissed

Copy: ‘Sprayed tonight after watching KKTM! My legs are soooo dark! Loving Kardashian SunKissed! #AvailableAtUlta’

If this isn’t an ad, then I really don’t know what is. Let’s review –

  1. We’ve got a CLEAR product shot!
  2. We’ve got a a massive ENDORSEMENT (Kim’s ‘LOVING’ it guys).
  3. Finally, that final hashtag? Oh, hi there call to action. How you doin’?

All of these elements add up to a clear piece of advertising. Is it marked up as such? No. While you could argue that KK is endorsing her own products here (so no money has officially changed hands, and this is technically not actually ‘paid for’ advertising) and therefore she’s exempt from the advertising guidelines… but still, it’s a grey area at best.

EXAMPLE 3: Nicole Richie, Suave
(image via Ad Age)

Copy: ‘Ad: My new don’t-leave-home-without-it product? Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil from @SuaveBeauty! Check out ways to add brilliant shine to your style here: bit.ly/XDJOkp’

OK, so this works. Finally someone is using the ‘Ad’ tag properly when it comes to advertising via earned media – hurrah! The interesting point here is that the brand in question has gone on record and said that the above image was indeed part of the existing partnership between the company and Ms Richie. Again, making things even clearer. Perfect.

——  So what can we learn from this?

There are three things at play here –

1. Without a business model, Instagram, and therefore Facebook, is clearly missing out on potentially lucrative ad dollars being bought and sold on their network.

2. Celebrities, and their sponsors, are getting smarter, faster.

3. In the same way that the ASA took Snickers and Nike to tribunal here in the UK, I wouldn’t be surprised if the FTC went knocking on the doors of a few US-based brands in the very near future.

It sounds so obvious when you say it out loud but, when it comes to paid-for endorsements on social media, clarity and transparency are key.

 

*Here in the UK, the ASA have a similar policy but the terms regarding disclosures are not as explicit.

NEW Twitter Cards for Brands: The Impact

Twitter has quietly launched new markup documentation for twitter cards…

And brands should take note. Why? Let’s start at the top –

What are Twitter cards?

Twitter cards are a fairly recent addition to the Twitter suite of tools that allow richest media content (images, videos, and blog post previews – or ‘photo’, ‘player’, and ‘summary’ respectively) to be displayed in-stream. Launched last year with a few partners such as The New York Times and WWE, these expanded Tweets are another way for publishers to engage with Twitters in a more meaningful way.

Since June last year, Twitter has slowly released this functionality both as new partnerships with other media houses; and as developer documentation for others to add to their own websites and blogs.

Why are they useful?

It’s simple: Twitter cards enable a preview (or in some cases a full view) of the content linked to in the Tweet. This means users of the official Twitter client can consume content without leaving the app and, if they do have to click out, they have a better understanding of what they’re about to engage with.

So what’s new?

Overnight, Twitter launched three more variations of the Twitter card on top of their ex: App, Gallery, and Product.

The first two work as follows –

App
This one shows information about an app; including the app name, icon, description and other details such as the rating or price. If your app is in the AppleApp Store or Google Play, then the corresponding information there can be pulled in accordingly.

Result? More app downloads, hurrah! 

Gallery
This new card represents an album or a collection of photographs via a preview of the photo gallery. This card indicates to a Twitter user that a gallery has been shared, as opposed to just one individual photo.

Result? More imagery = more engaging = increased CTR.

That’s all well and good, but it’s this next third one that I find most interesting:

Product
The Twitter product card can represent different products by showing an image and description, along with up to two customisable fields that let you display more details like price or ratings.

On both web and mobile, it would look something like this –

Result? MORE. SALES. It’s that simple. 

In short: this is fantastic.

This basically says that brands can now, with a simple piece of html markup, preview actual products, for purchase, including reviews and/or pricing information into their followers’ Twitter streams. Combine that with some decent tracking and you finally have what looks like a decent social sales ecosystem.

Think about that for a second; instead of ‘Hey! Look at this thing we’ve launched! [link]’, you now get ‘Hey! Look at this thing we’ve launched [image] + [price]’.

HUGE.

We’re already talking to our clients about getting this markup integrated into their websites’ product pages, and we’ve got a funny feeling a few of you might be too.

Exciting times indeed.

 

The FTC: Paying for a Tweet? It needs fine print.

Just over a week ago now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US ruled that ads in Twitter (or paid for/sponsored Tweets) need to follow the same basic requirements as the rest of the advertising world, eg: they need some fine print.

To prevent consumers being misled by their favourite celebrity, for example, sponsored social media must now be sure to include an explanation of sorts that explains that the content in question is paid for.

There are two kinds of responses to this ruling:

Response 1  (the dumb response):

“Oh my God?! Are you guys NUTS?! SMALL PRINT?! ON A TWEET?! WHAT? Does the FTC have any ideas as to what they’re talking about?! We’ve only got 140 characters to work with here! COME. ON!”

The FTC clearly state ‘Disclosures must be clear enough that they aren’t “misleading a significant minority of reasonable consumers. If a company can’t find a way to make its disclosure fit the constraints of social or mobile ad, it needs to change the ad copy so that it doesn’t require a disclosure.’

So we move on –

Response 2 (the smart response): 

“Oh, you mean sticking ‘#ad’ on the end of paid-for content? Yeah, sure. We can do that. In fact it makes sense and hell, it’s only three characters; that actually helps us!”

What’s great about this ruling is that they’ve been very clear about what does and what does not constitute ‘full disclosure’ and – to my mind at least – settles a long-standing argument over what is the best way to signal a Tweet is an ad.

Here in the UK both #spon and #ad are accepted or ‘recommended’ ways to indicate that the social media content you’re consuming is paid for. It’s something that I personally disagree with; #spon is too esoteric and doesn’t actually mean anything to the every day Twitter user. #Ad not only makes it clear what it is you’re looking at but it also uses less characters too. The FTC are in agreement:

‘Consumers might not understand that “#spon” means that the message was sponsored by an advertiser. If a significant proportion of reasonable viewers would not, then the ad would be deceptive.’

In short, when paying for tweets: #ad good, #spon bad. 

The full PDF from the FTC is available to download and, aside from being essential reading to every US-based social media practitioner, is actually a really insightful read and well recommended for anyone looking for a basic understanding of what is and what is not possible when it comes to the world of paid-for social media content.

I would especially recommend taking a look at ‘Example 17’ in the appendix to firmly understand the nuances involved when dealing with celebrity endorsements.