June 2018

For many who perhaps are enthralled in a series eagerly awaiting the latest episode or hooked on a sporting season desperate to see that final all-important match, social media can be a minefield of experience-ruining spoilers. I must admit to unfollowing people on social media platforms purely on the basis of their repeated posting of spoilers; however now there may be an easier way to avoid such content without cutting these people out of your news feed entirely.

Enter ‘Keyword Snooze’, a brand new feature from Facebook which allows the platform’s users to temporarily hide posts by keywords, pulled directly from the text within said post. Basically any ‘snoozed’ keywords or phrases will not appear to you from any person, page or group for the duration of 30 days.

“Even though we work to show you the most relevant posts on News Feed, we don’t always get it right. That’s why we’ve designed features like See FirstHideUnfollowSnooze, and now, Keyword Snooze. We hope that with additional options to help tailor your News Feed experience, you’ll be able to spend more time focusing on the things that matter.”

The main intended use of this new feature is stated quite plainly to be the avoidance of spoilers; however many may choose to use it to hide conflicting ideas or statements thereby enhancing the often discussed social media echo chamber effect. The feature’s impact in this regard will likely be small, but nonetheless worthy of consideration.

In a substantial shift from their digital roots, social media giant Facebook recently announced the launch of a brand new print magazine aimed at business leaders and executives. The magazine forms part of a wider marketing program known as ‘Grow’, which Facebook say “started life as a small event in the English countryside three and a half years ago” with the aim of helping to “grow businesses, networks and perspectives by shining a light on people, companies and trends that are challenging the status quo”.

The program now encompasses not only events but also a digital arm and the aforementioned print magazine, all designed to help maximise the program’s audience across as many platforms as possible.

The magazine will be available in selected airport and train business lounges as according to Facebook, “business leaders have limited time for long reads at work, so we've also created a physical version with journeys in mind”. The magazine will also be distributed to the platform’s clients directly. Alongside this all content will also be posted to the official Grow Facebook page and dedicated blog. This appears to be a temporary measure however as Facebook says that “a new digital home for Grow is coming soon”.

Grow will also continue to host small, invite-only Grow events in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Sweden.

Social media platforms are far from a perfect environment, especially where children are concerned. Sure they can be valuable tools if utilised correctly, but far too many fail to do so and instead these platforms can all too easily become theatres for hateful sentiments and harmful or even illegal content. Some sort of action is required in order to lessen and hopefully entirely eradicate this issue, and law experts think they have the answer.

According to new research published by the London School of Economics and Carnegie UK Trust, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like should focus on their “duty of care” to users, with participants suggesting that laws similar to long-tested and longstanding health and safety regulations should be put in place to police these virtual spaces much like we would any physical public place.

Leading the charge are Professor Lorna Woods, an internet law expert at the University of Essex, and William Perrin, a former Cabinet Office civil servant, who say that such regulations would reduce “harmful behaviours and risk” and create a “reasonably safe space for all”.

Professor Woods further stated, “Think about a public park or a pub or a library, and what sort of standards we expect in terms of safety and acceptable behaviour. In a children’s playground, is the climbing frame safe?

“It’s not about eradicating all risk, but are there any obvious problems with that climbing frame? Has it been designed to collapse for the entertainment of people standing around it who like seeing others fall off?”

This sentiment was echoed within the published research paper, in which the team asserted, “When considering harm reduction, social media networks should be seen as a public place - like an office, bar or theme park. By taking a similar approach to corporate-owned public spaces, workplaces [and] products in the physical world, harm can be reduced in social networks. 

“Duties of care set out in law 40 years ago or more still work well - for instance the duty of care from employers to employees in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 still performs well, despite today’s workplaces being profoundly different from 1974.”

Img: Kaplan Test Prep 
Social media can be a great and useful tool in our daily lives, allowing interaction on a global scale with little-to-no cost or hindrance. These platforms can also serve another purpose, allowing us to showcase the very best of ourselves to the wider world; however if used improperly they can in fact have the exact opposite effect, with potentially damaging consequences.

We have long since had confirmation that many recruiters will trawl through an applicant’s social media presence before making the decision as to whether or not to hire them, and now a new survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep has revealed that a significant majority of 68% of US colleges believe that delving into an applicant’s social media profiles is “fair game” during the admissions process. Though you might expect outrage at this revelation it appears that the students themselves agree, with a separate Kaplan survey of 900 high school students finding that 70% also consider admissions officers’ scouting of social media profiles to be fair game.

According to the survey admissions officers who say it’s “fair game” shared the following reasoning:
  • “Employers do it all the time. Colleges can do it as well.”
  • “I think if things are publicly accessible without undue intrusion, it’s OK. If it’s searchable, it’s fair game.”
  • “We don’t do this, but we could. I think high school seniors make poor choices sometimes when they put stuff online.”
Admissions officers who said they viewed this as an “invasion of privacy” shared the following:
  • “Their application should be the sole decider.”
  • “We use social media for recruitment, not admissions.”
  • “We only look at social media if the applicant includes or provides it.”
Reassuringly however while a large majority of admissions officers do defend their right to visit applicants’ social media profiles, only 29% say they actually do so. This appears to be a matter of choice rather than imposed regulations as only 20% say that their school has official guidelines or policies; and of that 20%, only 33% are not permitted to do so.

For all the perks it offers, Twitter has long been criticised for the sheer volume of hate filled speech and abuse which litters the platform, and can make life hell for any users made the target of such behaviour. To their credit the company do seem to be genuine in their ongoing pledge to fight these issues, but given the scale and nature of Twitter’s user base this was never going to be an easy task.

This week however the battle may have swayed slightly more in Twitter’s favour as they announced their acquisition of San Francisco-based technology company Smyte for an undisclosed fee. The company, which describes itself as “trust and safety as a service”, was founded back in 2014 by a group of engineers formerly working for the likes of Google and Instagram, and specialises in tackling safety, spam, and security issues online.

This seems like a clever move on Twitter’s part as their reputation as a breeding ground for online abuse may well be too far cemented to shake off if they fail to make significant progress soon. Smyte’s team however seem ideally suited to help in this regard, as they bring with them years of experience in dealing with such issues and are sure to provide valuable insight.

Announcing the acquisition via blog post on June 21st, Twitter stated, “The Smyte team has dealt with many unique issues facing online safety and believes in the same proactive approach that we’re taking for Twitter: stopping abusive behaviour before it impacts anyone’s experience.

“Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively. Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months.

“The health of the conversation on Twitter remains our top priority and we’re looking forward to approaching this work with an expanded team and new technology.”

A visit to Smyte’s website meanwhile presents you only with the message, “Smyte is joining Twitter! When we founded Smyte, we set out to build a company that would help keep people safe online. During the past three years, we’ve helped large and small customers alike solve countless issues with spam, abuse and fraud. We’re proud of this work, and look forward to continuing our mission at a larger scale - with one of the most important services in the world.

“As part of this we’re shutting down our business, effective immediately. Thank you for the partnership and support. Farewell @HelloSmyte, and hello @Twitter!”

Last week speculation ran rife after TechCrunch and WSJ reported on a mysterious invite being sent round reporters on behalf of the popular social media platform Instagram. The invitation offered little detail, simply stating, “Instagram has some news to share, and we want you to be the first to hear about it.” This event, scheduled for June 20th, coincided perfectly with existing reports from insider sources which said that Instagram had been quietly working on the development of a brand new long-form video platform. The event has now of course taken place, providing confirmation on the matter.

At the June 20th event Instagram revealed IGTV; the rumoured new platform made real. Available as both a standalone app and as a feature within the flagship Instagram app, IGTV features long-form video up to one hour in duration created with mobile viewers in mind, all displayed vertically in full screen to make the user experience all the easier on a smartphone.

Ease of use and user engagement are clearly the focus here. Videos from those you already follow on Instagram will begin playing as soon as you open the app; a feature which the company states is in order to replicate traditional TV media and remove the need to search, but could well be a simple ploy to up viewer figures on popular channels. You can also swipe up at any time to discover more, easily switching between options including “For You”, “Following”, “Popular”, and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.

Instagram’s Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Systrom said in a post detailing the announcement, “Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.”

IGTV will begin rolling out globally over the next few weeks on both Android and iOS devices.

Video in general is a fairly passive form of media, particularly in its more traditional form. With the rise of social media an opportunity has arisen however to change this, making video a more participatory and community-centric activity. This is the view held by those over at Facebook, who announced this week a flurry of brand new features designed to make video on the Facebook platform far more interactive.

In an official post announcing the new features, Facebook said, “Talk shows have historically used studio audiences to create interactivity, but imagine if the entire viewing audience could participate in the content together. Videos become more meaningful when people are active participants in the stories, and as viewing habits evolve, we want to enable content that's two-way.

“Today, we're announcing new ways for creators and publishers to create interactive videos. We're starting with polling for both Live and on demand videos, as well as gamification for Live. With these tools, our partners can add a range of new interactive features to videos such as: polls, quiz questions, challenges, and more. These can all be used within an individual video or to create a standalone game show. We're giving creators a blank canvas to allow them to do what they do best - create! - and we can't wait to see how they innovate.”

TechCrunch reports that early partners of the gameshow launch include Fresno’s ‘What’s In The Box’ and Buzzfeed News’ ‘Outside Your Bubble’. If the features prove successful, and I see no reason for them not to, you can expect partners and standalone creators to flock to this newly available form of interactive video.

The company are also testing a feature whereby participants can actually win a cash prize by participating in these gameshows, facilitated via a partnership with Confetti by INSIDER.

Towards the end of May we reported on YouTube’s brand new Music service and the transition of YouTube Red to YouTube Premium, which at the time had just began rolling out early access in the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. For those who were disappointed to learn that the service was not yet available in their region there may be some good news in store, as YouTube announced this week the official launch of YouTube Music across 17 countries.

Countries in which the service is now available include the 5 aforementioned regions as well as Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

YouTube sum up the new YouTube Music platform as follows:
  1. It’s ALL here. Not just music videos, but official albumssinglesremixeslive performancescovers and hard-to-find music you can only get on YouTube.
  2. Recommendations built for you. A home screen that dynamically adapts to provide recommendations based on the artists and songs you’ve played before, where you are and what you’re doing. Chilling at the beachNeed some motivation? The right music is right here, built just for you.
  3. Thousands of playlists across any genre, mood or activity. Try “A Dose of Sun” for brighter tunes on a cloudy day, “The Pop Hotlist” for the biggest hits around the world or “Distrito Latino” for Latin pop hits of the moment.
  4. Smart search so we’ll find the song, even if you can’t remember what it’s called. “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” Here you go. You can also search by lyrics (even if they’re wrong). It’s “Hold me closer, Tony Danza,” right?
  5. The hottest videos. We’ll keep you on top of what’s hot! The hottest videos in the world right now are right there, on their own dedicated Hotlist screen. Today in the U.S., it features “Nervous” by Shawn Mendes, in the U.K, it’s “Drippy” byIAMDDB, and in France, it’s "Fais moi la passe" by JUL.
  6. Ad-free listening, downloads and more. Get YouTube Music Premium to listen ad-free, in the background and on-the-go with downloads. Plus, your Offline Mixtape automatically downloads songs you love just in case you forgot to. For a limited time, get three months free of YouTube Music Premium here, ($9.99 per month after, $14.99 per month for a Family Plan)*.
Users of the YouTube Premium service, formerly known as YouTube Red, will have YouTube Music included as part of their subscription, although the cost for this has now risen to $11.99 per month.

Transparency is an issue of growing importance in online spheres, particularly in regards to social media marketing and those paid to promote products on these platforms. However it seems it is not only consumers who are beginning to take a stand against online influencers who engage in the purchasing of followers, the use of bots, and a number of other “shady” business practices; advertisers too are joining the cause.

Img: Judgefloro 
One such advertiser is Unilever, whose sheer scale, influence and purchasing power makes them ideally placed to force through some change in the industry. In a statement released on Monday 18th June the company, which owns several major brands including Lynx, Dove and Hellmann’s, announced three ongoing commitments aimed at increasing visibility and transparency on social platforms:
  • Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers.
  • Transparency from Brands: Our brands will never buy followers.
  • Transparency from Platforms: We will prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.
Unilever CMO Keith Weed commented, “In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society. One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.

“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships. Today we are announcing clear commitments to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.

“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact. We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”

Such change is undoubtedly needed as social platforms evolve and begin to dominate more and more of our time and attention. Whether Unilever’s brunt is enough to make a significant impact on its own is a question I cannot yet answer, but hopefully other influential advertisers will answer the rallying call and help to force through change for the better.

According to new research conducted by PR consultancy Edelman, 40% of users have deleted at least one social media account within the past year. That’s a pretty alarming statistic for the companies behind these platforms, and one that could only rise if corrective measures are not taken.

The cause of this mass departure from online platforms will likely come as no surprise in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and accusations over the facilitation of outside interference in the US election, as the blame is being placed squarely on a combination of privacy concerns, unreliable or fake news, and an overall lack of trust in these companies.

In a statement to CNBC, Edelman’s President and CEO Richard Edelman stated, “We learned that there is a serious lack of confidence in social media in all regions of the world. This is a cry from the heart; people are scared. They are outraged about the violation of their privacy, and uncertain about the truth because of the plague of fake news.”

This severe lack of trust is also having an impact beyond the platforms themselves and is now affecting outside parties making use of these sites, with 70% of respondents saying they expect businesses and advertisers to take a stand and put pressure on social media companies to address these longstanding issues. 48% went so far as to say that it is a brand’s own fault if its advertising appears alongside hateful, violent or otherwise harmful content.

The aforementioned results come from a survey of 9,000 individuals throughout Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US, published as part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France.

Nowadays ease-of-use is a major selling point for any social media platform, not just for the user but also any potential advertisers. An advert without a link will see much less success than one which allows direct shopping at the click of a button, or the tap of a screen. Instagram obviously recognise this fact, as they announced earlier this week that users will now be able to shop directly from Instagram’s Stories.

Instagram’s announcement read, “Instagram isn’t just a place of inspiration, it’s also a place of action, and we know that inspiration can come from anywhere. On Instagram Stories, when you see a sticker with a shopping bag icon tap on it to see more details about that product.

“From Adidas and Aritzia to Louis Vuitton, people have been able to shop from their favourite brands around the world, and now you can shop these businesses in Instagram Stories.”

The move makes sense for a platform like Instagram, which is heavily populated by fashion bloggers, makeup tutorials and influencers from a wide variety of fields. The Stories of many better-known Instagram stars are basically ongoing adverts anyway, so allowing the user to easily buy any advertised products does seem like a logical step.

Img: LinkedIn 
The spouses of military personnel face a rather unique challenge when it comes to employment. The very nature of their partner’s career means that house moves and relocations due to deployment become a frequent yet inevitable obstacle when building a sustainable career path of their own; in fact a survey carried out last year found that these individuals are up to four times more likely to be faced with unemployment than their civilian counterparts, through no fault of their own.

Professional networking platform LinkedIn have recognised this fact, announcing earlier this week that they will be expanding their Military and Veterans Programs, formerly known simply as the Veterans Program, to include military spouses.

This grants military spouses one year of free access to LinkedIn’s Premium services during each move to a new installation, including access to more than 12,000 LinkedIn Learning courses, aid with finding freelance/remote work opportunities, and everything else the platform has to offer. LinkedIn will also be “working to foster this community through the DoD’s growing military spouse LinkedIn group, as well as directing employers to this community as a top source of talent.”

The post announcing the expansion of the program concluded with the affirmation, “We are excited to set out on this journey and can’t wait to see the great things the military spouse community can accomplish.”

Digital marketing isn’t always easy. In fact, a good ad campaign will typically involve hours of research and hard work, along with some blood, sweat, and tears along the way. So why not ask for a little help?

As digital marketers, we spend day after day buried in our browsers, so they’re the perfect place to start looking into different ways that we can make our daily tasks a bit more straightforward.
As a fan favourite browser in our office, here are 5 awesome Google Chrome extensions that can be quite useful to many marketers:

One of the most important skills for any digital marketer is to be able to understand the difference between good link building practices, and poor practices. Of course, in terms of marketing, poor practices include a failure to track and monitor your links to determine success.

CampaignTrackly can help. With its automated link building feature that tags every link that you share, it becomes quick and easy to see how, when, and where your audience are engaging with your links, and with your content. Ultimately, this extension helps you to visualize your links effortlessly, along with your traffic and goals.

Maintaining a collection of relevant and useful information is essential for marketers, and yet the traditional ways of doing so are quickly dying out. Sustainable practices mean that large paper files are out, while browser bookmarks went downhill with the death of syncing services like Xmarks.

Today, more and more marketers are turning to extensions such as Evernote Web Clipper; a way of creating your own swipe files when doing target audience research and competition analysis, and saving, tagging, highlighting, and sharing ideas from any website, using any device with Chrome. Not only can you save inspirational content but also practical business documents, such as conference and hotel bookings.

According to Foster Web Marketing, bad grammar is bad for business. In fact, 59% of audiences would be put off a company if they had clear spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in their content. Fortunately, getting it right is simple with Grammarly for Chrome.

Not only can this browser extension pick up on common mistakes, but it’s also able to look at contextual errors; ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’, for example. Perhaps best of all, Grammarly allows you to review your content in terms of American, British, Canadian, and Australian English which can help to boost your international marketing campaigns.

Nothing less important is the fact that it can check your work basically everywhere. Writing a reply in Outlook? Writing a pitch in your outreach tool? Adding a new blog post to WordPress? It covers all of that and more.

Research shows that video content increases dwell time on a website, making it an effective tool for marketers. However, video can be tricky to get right. So what are other businesses doing differently that makes them successful? VidIQ Vision for YouTube spells it all out.

This Google Chrome extension adds an additional layer to standard YouTube Analytics, delivering statistics for any video (average watch time, views per hour etc.), demonstrating how videos are ranked for relevance, looking into video SEO, and showing how and why some content is deemed to be ‘related’ and therefore recommended to viewers.

One of the biggest questions in digital marketing is this: why would someone choose to read your content if they can read something similar over on a competitor’s site? In order to make content interesting and engaging, it’s essential to be able to offer something different; perhaps an unusual take on a common topic, for example.

Google Similar Pages recommends similar sites to what you’re browsing, making it easy to find details on specific subject matters. This not only allows you to see what angle hasn’t yet been covered, but also provides you with more information about the topic at hand.

Additionally, it can also help you find new guest posting opportunities by showing you sites similar to the ones you were just featured on.

Adopting New Technologies

Around one quarter of marketers cite identifying the right technologies as one of their biggest marketing obstacles. Fortunately, the rapid growth of cloud-based software, such as the Google Chrome extensions above, are improving access to some of the most effective and efficient tools for digital marketers.

These tools serve a dual purpose: they provide marketers with the information they need to boost the quality of their campaigns while simultaneously streamlining processes to save time and money in the office. 

According to reports from TechCrunch and WSJ, Instagram have been quietly planning a subtle departure from their usual high-volume, short-form approach to media and are in fact planning to take on YouTube at their own game with the launch of a brand new professional video platform housing long-form content up to one hour in duration. Now it seems that we may have a launch date for the new hub, or at least a formal announcement on the way.

This revelation again comes from sources speaking to TechCrunch, who report that select reporters have now begun to receive invitations to a “special event” on June 20th – a date which lines up perfectly with initial reports of the long-form video hub’s launch.

The invitation reads, “Instagram has some news to share, and we want you to be the first to hear about it.”

As you can see the company haven’t provided much detail, or in fact any at all, but if insider reports are to be believed then this invitation could well be to the official announcement or perhaps even launch of the new video platform.

In terms of what sort of video video quality you can expect, think of YouTube’s home-based creators or Snapchat’s Discover feature rather than Netflix’s high budget approach. The new platform will reportedly feature 4K capability but it will be up to the creators to make use of this, which many YouTube stars simply do not.

We are yet to hear hint of a name for this new platform, or any specifics at all really, but hopefully all will become clear after the event has taken place.

In an official post dated Monday 11th June, Facebook announced that they will be taking existing features including ‘On This Day’ and ‘Friendversaries’ and combining them in a brand new page called ‘Memories’. Features such as ‘On This Day’ have long proven popular with Facebook’s users, with the company claiming that more than 90 million people make use of the feature each day; with that in mind collating these many interconnected facets within a single easy to find place simply makes sense.

The new ‘Memories’ page will include the following subsections:
  • On This Day: The content that you know and love will still be available within this section, showing your past posts and major life events from this date.
  • Friends Made On This Day: This section will include a list of friends you made on this date in the past, including special videos or collages that celebrate your friendversaries.
  • Recaps of Memories: This section will feature seasonal or monthly recaps of memories that have been bundled into a message or short video.
  • Memories You May Have Missed: If you haven’t checked your memories lately, this section will show you the posts that you might have missed from the past week.
The change could well have a positive impact beyond Facebook’s own user figures and finances, as recent research has suggested that such acts of reflection can actually have a positive impact on the user’s mood and emotional wellbeing – two important considerations on which social media as a whole is often accused of having a largely negative effect.

While Facebook are of course focusing on the positive here, they do recognise that not all memories are positive. While the passing of a relative for example is often posted to Facebook if only to notify friends and family of funeral arrangements and does often garner a lot of attention and reactions, thereby making the post attractive to Facebook’s algorithms, you’re unlikely to want reminding of this solemn yet sorrowful occasion. In an effort to prevent such posts from appearing within what is supposed to be an uplifting subsection of the platform, Facebook say they will “try to listen to feedback and design these features so that they’re thoughtful and offer people the right controls that are easy to access”. How successful that will prove to be remains to be seen.

As for how to access the ‘Memories’ page, this can be found in place of ‘On This Day’ through the Memories bookmark either to the left of your News Feed on your computer or in the “more” tab on the bottom right of your mobile app.

Of all the major social networking platforms on offer today, LinkedIn arguably best understands its place and primary appeal. They have survived so long in a market overcrowded with big-money ventures by sticking to what they do best; namely professional networking and recruitment.

In recent months the company have released a flurry of new features designed to refine the recruitment process within the platform, with notable examples including the introduction of Resume Assistant and the launch of the new ‘How You Match’ feature, the latter of which was released as recently as last month. Better yet for all the jobseekers out there the company show no signs of slowing down in this regard, announcing yet another brand new feature just last week.

The new feature in question is called ‘Your Commute’, and its function is fairly self-explanatory. Basically when viewing a job on LinkedIn, users will now be presented with “See Your Commute” module which displays a potential commute time from your listed address to the workplace. The new feature functions much like Google Maps, allowing users to view travel times whether they choose to walk, drive, or use public transportation.

Alongside the new module LinkedIn have also given users the ability to set their commute preferences with the Career Interests dashboard, helping to ensure that any job recommendations you receive are both relevant and fit with your lifestyle.

According to LinkedIn, 85% of US professionals say they would take a pay cut in return for a shorter commute, so it is clearly a factor that matters when searching for a job. With that in mind, I expect this new feature to see a fair bit of use.

Img: Facebook 
In a blog post released earlier this week, Facebook announced the launch of brand new tools designed to “help make fundraisers even more impactful and accessible”. These new features include allowing brands, public figures and nonprofit pages themselves to fundraise directly from their Facebook page, as well as the ability to add additional members as organizers in order for them to assist with the fundraising process.

The new organizers feature functions much like adding another admin to a Facebook page or group, or listing a friend as a co-host of your event. Up to three individuals can be added as organizers to assist the founding admin in promoting the cause and ultimately, raising more funds.

On the subject of fundraising from Pages, Facebook say that early trials have already achieved promising levels of success. One cited example is that of artists Tegan and Sara, who recently launched a Page fundraiser to help send 100 kids to LGBTQ summer camp in the US and Canada.

“Each of these new features is aimed to help nonprofits raise more from their supporters through Facebook Fundraisers,” Facebook’s post states, “and we’ll continue to work on tools to make fundraisers even more meaningful.”

In recent times we have seen Facebook make substantial efforts to expand their portfolio beyond basic social networking, delving into the fast-rising medium of video in a bid to rival the streaming giants like YouTube. This week however their announcement focused not on video but instead on music; which comes as no real surprise given how the two often go hand-in-hand.

In an announcement posted to the Facebook Newsroom on June 5th, Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Business Development & Partnerships, and Fred Beteille, Head of Product, Music & Rights, told readers, “We’ve been partnering with music companies around the world to bring music to more experiences on Facebook. Today we’re announcing new ways for people to express themselves with music in their posts, including a new feature, Lip Sync Live.”

There was little detail given as to what form many of these new features may take, other than testing new ways of adding music to videos and other posts. In fact the only specifics given relate to the Lip Sync Live feature, which does exactly what you would expect from the name.

“We’re starting to roll out Lip Sync Live, which lets you lip sync to songs from forever favorites like “Welcome to The Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses to new hits like “Havana” by Camila Cabello,” read the announcement, “With Lip Sync Live, you can express yourself with music from a variety of genres in real time. So whether you prefer songs like “Happier” by Ed Sheeran or “God’s Plan” by Drake, Lip Sync Live lets you bring friends and family into spontaneous musical moments.

“To try it out, choose the Lip Sync Live option when starting your Live video. After selecting a song from the song list, you can also add a description and customize your video with masks or a background.”

When broadcasting with Lip Sync Live, friends will see the artist and song highlighted on the video and can tap to easily follow the artist on Facebook.

Ever since Instagram first switched from a chronological feed to one dictated by an algorithm, the exact determining factors used to decide what you would and wouldn’t see have remained a mystery; until now that is.

Before the switch Instagram users missed on average 70% of all posts and 50% of their friends’ posts, according to a report from TechCrunch. So, despite some early backlash the idea seemed a logical one; as a result of the change Instagram now say that relevancy sorting has led to users seeing 90% of their friends’ posts - a substantial increase on times before the shift to an algorithm-based feed - and spending more time on the app in general. All this while, they stayed silent on the underlying mechanics.

Now however the Facebook-owned social media behemoth has seemingly abandoned their attempts at secrecy and instead opted to share the three most relevant factors when determining what appears in your feed. AI systems capable of machine learning then analyse your past interactions on the platform to further personalise your uniquely-tailored feed.

The aforementioned most relevant factors, as reported by TechCrunch, are:

Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher rankings given for what seemingly matters to you. This is determined by past behaviour on similar content and potentially AI analysis of the actual content of the post.

Timeliness: How recently the post was shared, with prioritisation for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

The algorithm also incorporates other factors including Frequency, Following, and Usage, albeit to a lesser extent.

Facebook’s Trending feature has somewhat ironically never been all that popular itself, and has been the cause and centre of countless problems and controversies over the years since its introduction. With that in mind it came as no great surprise when the company announced this weekend that they will be scrapping the Trending feature altogether in favour of more engaging alternatives.

In a blog post released on June 1st Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook, said the change was being made in response to low engagement (the feature accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average) and a documented shift in how people consume news on that platform, which he says is “changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video”.

Facebook are also hoping that shifting away from the Trending feature and introducing more ways to explore news from “trustworthy and quality sources”, they can subdue the proliferation of ‘fake news and misinformation on the platform, while avoiding yet more accusations of bias.

In place of the discarded feature, Facebook are testing new alternatives including:
  • Breaking News Label: A test we’re running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed. We’re also testing breaking news notifications.
  • Today In: We’re testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.
  • News Video in Watch: We will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.

Owing to the advent of technology, businesses irrespective of their scale of operations are investing everything they have to keep up with the dynamics of today’s digital market. Companies which already have an online presence are beefing up their marketing strategies, and rest are rapidly moderating their business models to ensure compatibility with the promptly evolving digital world. Let’s delve into some of the statistics that will help in understanding the importance of digital marketing.

  • 72% marketers considered traditional marketing methods inadequate and moved towards digital marketing strategies to increase their revenue.
  • Approximately 49% of companies have invested in a digital marketing plan, and the numbers will substantially rise in the coming years.
  • In the coming years, over 80% of companies will increase their digital marketing budget which is speculated to go beyond the overall budget of the IT sector.
These statistics clearly indicate that digital marketing has become the need of the hour, if not the need of yesterday. To further shed light on the subject, let’s look into the advantages of digital marketing.

Infographic provided by Contentualize

Facebook’s dominance in the social media market may be slowly dwindling as teen users in the US begin to show a distinct preference for the services offered by the likes of YouTube, Snapchat, and Facebook’s own Instagram.

This is according to the latest research from the Pew Research Center, published on May 31st, which clearly shows that unlike in recent years, Facebook is no longer the dominant online platform among teens. To put some numbers behind that claim, only 51% of US teens aged 13-17 say they use Facebook; down 20% from 2015. Facebook now holds a lower status among US teens than YouTube, with 85% making use of the platform, as well as Instagram (72%) and Snapchat (69%).

743 teens were interviewed as part of the survey, along with 1,058 parents of children aged 13-17.

This apparent mass-departure among teens could potentially be worrying for Facebook, as if this trend continues their eventual loss of market share is surely inevitable; it’s simply a matter of time.
Facebook as a larger company are arguably too big to fail at this point, especially when you factor in their ownership of Instagram which continues to gain popularity among this demographic, but Facebook as a platform may struggle if they fail to attract these users back. With the same survey revealing that 95% of teens now own a smartphone, that’s a substantial market to miss out on.

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