Here are all of the posts in the ‘News’ category.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #222

by Nick Mulligan in News

Mobile social users engage more with brands
Mobile social users are more likely than their desktop-only equivalents to ‘like’ branded content, according to a survey of 37,000 US online adults. The study asked recipients if they liked something a company posted at least once per week; 49% of tablet users and 46% of those using smartphones said that they did, compared to 37% of desktop/PC-only users. Meanwhile, 64% of US online adults access social media through desktops/laptops, 45% on smartphones and 25% tablets.

Facebook releases Q2 results
Facebook released its Q2 results last week and they contained some impressive numbers. Monthly active users (MAUs) have grown to over 1.3 billion, up from 1.276 billion in Q1, while mobile MAUs now total 1.07 billion (vs. 1.008 billion last quarter).

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The real success, though, is financial. Total revenue has increased to $2.9bn, the company’s biggest quarterly total, up from $2.5bn in Q1.

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Ad revenue for the quarter amounted to $2.68bn, of which 62% came through mobile. Indeed 30% of the network’s MAUs access it solely through mobiles or tablets, leading to discussion about the potential for a mobile-only version of Facebook. Ad prices more than doubled last quarter, too, allowing Facebook to increase its revenue while reducing the number of total ads. These figures combined have led to a valuation of $192bn, more than Disney or Toyota, which is 128 times its profits for the whole of last year.

LinkedIn adds new ad capabilities
LinkedIn has launched ‘Direct Sponsored Content’, a new ad format that will allow advertisers to test, tailor and target content, much like they do on Facebook. The new system will compliment ‘Sponsored Stories’, the main difference being the ability to target different messages at specific audiences.

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LinkedIn buys Bizo
Some more big ad news from LinkedIn: the network has purchased business-to-business digital advertising company, Bizo, for $175m. Deep Nishar, LinkedIn SVP of product and user experience, said of the move:

Our ability to integrate [Bizo's] b-to-b solutions with our content marketing products will enable us to become the most effective platform for b-to-b marketers to engage professionals.

Foursquare sheds check-ins
Foursquare has launched the latest version of its main app, through which you can longer check in. To do so, users will now need to use ‘Swarm’ – the main Foursquare app is being reinvented as a discovery service, similar to the likes of Yelp.

‘The Giver’ produces Kik campaign
A new film for young adults, named ‘The Giver’, is launching a campaign on messaging app, Kik. The film’s promoters have created a card that contains a trailer, trivia and film-branded stickers, all of which can be shared with other users within the app.

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Applebee’s looks for Instagram ‘Fantographers’
Over the next year, US restaurant chain, Applebee’s, is to populate its Instagram feed with content from ‘Fantographers’. First, users opt in for a microsite, then anything shared using #Applebees or #Fantographer is eligible to be posted by the brand. Each image will have a border added, like so:

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adidas and Champs Sports launch #adicolorTV
adidas has joined up with Champs Sports to produce a set of four online shows hosted on Instagram. The campaign, dubbed #adicolorTV, is being run through the Champs Sports page.

Expedia wants throwback photos
Expedia is looking to tap into the ‘Throwback Thursday’ trend on Instagram and Twitter by asking users to tweet such photos @Expedia using #ThrowMeBack. Each week, one winner is selected to receive a voucher, so that they can revisit the site of their photo.

Prime TV to reveal everyone’s favourite child
A new season of Modern Family is set to premiere on New Zealand’s Prime TV, which has created a Facebook app for the occasion. The ‘Favourite Child Detector’ analyses your Facebook history and ranks you and your siblings based on interactions from your parents.

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Michelle Phan being sued over music licensing
Here’s a cautionary tale to any brands and content creators using other people’s music or images withour permission. YouTube star, Michelle Phan, is being sued by electronic dance music label, Ultra, for allegedly using its music without the proper permissions. Phan sells adverts against her channel, and also uses it to promote her makeup line.

Captain Morgan made to remove Facebook post by ASA
Diageo-owned rum brand, Captain Morgan, was forced to remove a Facebook post, after the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it implied alcohol helps conquer boredom. The text read “Wednesday. I’m declaring war on mid-week boredom”, so you can sort of see where they’re coming from.

David Mitchell writes a short story on Twitter
David Mitchell, author of ‘Cloud Atlas’, has released a short story piece-by-piece on Twitter. It’s taken 280 tweets – here’s how it starts:

Social, Digital & Mobile in the Middle East

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of reports on the social, digital and mobile landscapes of hundreds of countries around the world, today we’re very pleased to share a report on countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

As always, we begin with a quick update on the latest global figures:

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If you’re looking for in-depth numbers on specific countries beyond the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, you may want to check out these previous reports:

The Internet in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey
As in so many other areas of life, internet usage in the Middle East is a story of variety. There’s a huge disparity in terms of access, from almost complete penetration in Kuwait to barely 8% in Iraq:

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Interestingly, however, the role of mobile access is still very low in the Middle East, especially when compared to the numbers we saw in last week’s India report:

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Given the high rate of internet penetration in Kuwait, as well as that country’s relatively higher adoption rate of mobile internet, we believe that mobile devices will be the key driver of improved internet access throughout the region in coming months, and we’d expect overall numbers to increase significantly in the near future.

Social Media
Social media continues to grow in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, with many countries showing strong penetration figures:

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However, despite Facebook’s dominance in terms of user numbers around the region, it remains blocked in Iran.

Meanwhile, Facebook does not release user figures for Syria, although recent evidence suggests that it’s still a powerful platform within the country.

Mobile is a key component of social media usage in the region, with many countries seeing impressive figures for access on the go:

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Mobile
Despite the lower-than-expected numbers for mobile internet adoption, mobile usage in the region is strong and growing, with most countries exceeding the global average:

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However, 3G access remains elusive even in the most developed nations, and the vast majority of the region’s population continues to rely on lower-speed connections:

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Individual Country Details
You’ll find complete data for 20 of the region’s key economies in our full report:

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You can read the full report in the SlideShare embed above, or download it direct here.

In the meantime, here are the slides for Turkey to whet your appetite.

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Looking for stats for other countries? See our full range of free reports and social media guides here.

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WhatsApp overtakes Facebook Messenger

by Jason Mander in News

GlobalWebIndex’s latest figures show that WhatsApp has now passed Facebook Messenger to become the top mobile chat app globally. But as Quack! Messenger launches in the UK – promising its users a share of ad revenue – what factors are driving the boom in mobile messaging? And what fate lies ahead for the humble SMS? Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GlobalWebIndex, exclusively talks us through some of their key findings.

In 2014, we’ve seen an important transition in the mobile messaging space: WhatsApp is now being used by 39% of the mobile internet audience, pushing Facebook Messenger (38%) into second place.

Naturally, this global headline masks some notable local trends. WeChat is still the force majeure in China (being used by an impressive 84%), while Kakao Talk dominates in South Korea, Line is top dog in Taiwan and as many as 50% of teens in the UK and USA are wedded to Snapchat. Facebook’s Messenger tool has also received a significant boost from the network’s decision to remove the messaging functionality from its main app; in the UK, for example, the Messenger numbers jumped from 27% at the end of 2013 to 40% in Q2 2014.

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Across the board, though, one pattern remains consistent here: messaging services continue to enjoy buoyant rises. It’s against this context that Quack! Messenger enters the arena, promising UK users a chance to earn money in return for watching “wanted” advertising during conversation breaks (as it has already been doing in Spain and Italy under the name Chad2Win).

As the messaging space gets more crowded, it’s important to recognise that SMS/text messaging hasn’t been abandoned; overall, more people are still communicating via text than they are via IM services. However, the volume of messages being sent as via “traditional” SMS or MMS routes certainly is changing – with both formats now trending gently downwards after years of consistent growth.

To understand the reasons behind this, GlobalWebIndex surveyed 500 WhatsApp users in the UK. The results suggest that the once-dominant SMS has some pretty tough times ahead: just under two thirds of WhatsAppers say that chat apps are now one of their primary forms of communication, with over half saying that they almost always use them in preference to sending messages via SMS. The prospects for MMS are even more troubled: only 16% think that sending photos and videos via MMS is better than via a chat app.

Convenience and reach stand out as key drivers for this trend; two thirds say that mobile messaging services are the easiest way to send photos and videos, with a similar proportion claiming that they use them because most of their friends/family do too. Cost is also a big factor here: people like the idea that they are saving money, especially when sending messages internationally.

If we then turn our attention to attitudes among current SMS fans – that is, people who are currently using mobile messaging tools but who still prefer sending text messages – the future prospects for the messaging services look particularly bright. Those who still favour SMS are influenced the most by the ability to send messages without an internet connection (68%), the availability of unlimited SMS messages from their operator (68%) and the fact that not all of their friends are using mobile messaging apps.

But we have to imagine that all of these factors will be key targets for the mobile IM platforms: coverage will get progressively better, the offer of unlimited texts will get less relevant/impactful and the numbers of people using IM tools will increase. Perhaps most significantly of all, just 10% of people say they don’t trust mobile chat app companies with their conversations – which would arguably have been by far the biggest barrier against IM tools taking further ground from SMS.

So, as we approach the middle of the 10s decade, it seems inevitable that – while we won’t be saying a final RIP to the SMS or MMS – we’ll be hearing much less about them as a greater share of communication takes place via chat apps. In that context, WhatsApp’s price-tag becomes a bit easier to understand.

Note: GlobalWebIndex conducts quarterly research across 32 markets, representing nearly 90% of the global internet audience. Penetration figures for individual messaging services are a global average excluding China. Download a free summary of GWI’s new Mobile Messaging trend here.

We Are Social – We Are Six

by Lisa Berardi in News

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Friday afternoon saw the London office down tools; embrace the heat wave and head down to Lovebox, our annual tradition. And boy did we embrace it, an afternoon filled with food, fair ground rides, laughter and an awesome line up at Victoria Park.

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Lovebox is not the only event we’ve been celebrating recently. In London, we have just turned six years old and we honestly can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. The last 12 months have been amazing, we’re winning more and more awards for our outstanding work as well as being officially recognised as a great agency to work for. And, as we turned six years old last week, we reached 500 employees globally!

The secret behind our growth, the superb work that we are creating for all of our clients and our huge award cupboard is our team. Despite our global growth, we hold our values at the core of everything we do, and we are still determined to do the best work we can and to have fun doing it; which we believe is key to our success.

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We’ve now reached 145 people in London; developing and growing all our teams to enable us to offer even more to our clients.

And with all this talk of growth, as you may have guessed, we have some openings at the moment. In London, we’re currently looking for a Group Account Director, Account Director, Paid Media Manager, Paid Media Director, Senior Client Side Developer, Research and Insight Senior Analyst and an Executive too. If any of these sound like they could be you, then drop us a line.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #221

by Nick Mulligan in News

Facebook ad cost-per-views increase
Two Q2 reports from Facebook’s Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers were released last week. Nanigans noted an increase of 47% in click-through-rates since Q1, or 146% year-on-year, coupled with a 57% quarter-on-quarter increase on the cost-per-thousand-views (218% year-on-year). Kenshoo, meanwhile, reported a 21% increase in ad spend for the quarter (51% year-on-year).

Facebook regains number one spot for social logins
After six straight quarters of falling behind, Facebook is now the number one site for social logins, according to tech company Janrain. Aided by its new anonymous login feature, Facebook regained first place with 44%, followed by Google with 37%.

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Facebook is trying out a ‘buy’ button
Facebook is testing a ‘buy’ button on certain ads and page product posts from a limited number of small/medium-sized businesses in the US, which allows users to purchase goods directly through a Facebook post. It’s not yet confirmed if/when it will be generally released, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.

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Facebook creates ‘Save’
Facebook has added a new feature to its web and mobile versions, named ‘Save’, which allows users to save items, such as links, places, movies, TV and music, from Facebook to be explored later. It’s also possible to set reminders about content, all of which will remain private, unless you choose to save it.

Facebook launches ‘Mentions’ app
Facebook has a new app, designed specifically for public figures: Mentions. It’s available on the US app store for verified pages only, and looks to make mobile page management easier, allowing users to see the conversation about their page, post updates or host Q&As, join popular conversations and get notifications about any posts from influencers.

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Twitter buys CardSpring
Twitter has purchased CardSpring, looking to enable “in-the-moment commerce experiences”. CardSpring is a tool that allows developers to create various features that work with credit card payments. For example, in future a user may be able to claim a discount from a Twitter account by entering his or her credit card details; when that user makes a purchase from that vendor at a later point using that same card, the discount will be automatically applied.

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Twitter planning new research tool
In the coming weeks, Twitter will release a new research tool for brands, which it hopes will display the buzz that can be created around everyday moments. Brands can select keywords relating to themselves and analyse conversations around those terms in a weeklong period. The data will be presented in a set of different visualisations – Twitter hopes that these will make it sufficiently easy to use. It is currently unclear whether the new tool will be released globally or in the UK only.

LinkedIn launches Connected, acquires Newsle
LinkedIn has created a new app for the iPhone, named ‘Connected’. It attempts to encourage interaction on the network, with a series of social features, for example offering prompts to get in touch with your connections on their birthdays, or when they change jobs. It has also acquired Newsle, the machine-learning startup that scans the web for news stories and articles that mention specific individuals.

Google drops ‘real name’ rule
Google will allow users to use whatever name they choose on Google+ and linked YouTube comments, after three years of insisting that everybody on the platform be known by their real name. An official statement has said that there are now “no more restrictions on what name you can use”.

Snapchat adds Geofilters
Snapchat has announced the launch of ‘Geofilters’, a set of filters that are only enabled when a user is in a certain city or location. For example, a user gains access to the below filter only when they’re at Disneyland.

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The below video displays how Geofilters look and work in more detail.

The feature may be of interest to brands, but at the moment it’s up for debate just how useful it is. We Are Social’s own Grace Gordon told MediaPost:

For brands, while it’s still a fairly shallow way to engage with the program … the opportunity to position a logo on snaps taking place at a retail or event location is of course an attractive prospect

Pinterest adds related Category pages
Pinterest is adding a selection of specialised interests to each Category page, allowing users to more easily browse their key interests. Below, for example, you can see a variety of activities, each related to ‘Hiking’.

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Who won the social World Cup?
The World Cup may seem like a distant memory, but there’s still plenty of information coming out around social media. First of all, there’s this infographic, displaying how the World Cup was the biggest event in Facebook history.

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It was huge on Tumblr, too; the event led to 662,300 posts (of which 55,200 referred to Brazil vs. Germany) and 17.8m notes.

Across social media in general, Lionel Messi was the most talked-about player (363,000 mentions in total), followed by Neymar (316,000). We Are Social’s work for adidas proved hugely successful, too, according to Hootsuite’s analytics tool UberVu – the brand was mentioned 2.1m times throughout the tournament, the joint-most of any World Cup partner, alongside Sony. Indeed, Adobe found that the sports brand received 71% more tournament-related social media buzz than main rival, Nike. Research by SocialBakers found that adidas saw the largest increase in Twitter followers of any partner brand, followed by Sony and Coca-Cola. Sysomos found that the sports brand received 1.59m total brand mentions on Twitter, of which 917,000 used the #allin hashtag.

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Another successful partner brand was Hyundai, which used a mixture of paid and free posts on Tumblr to encourage people to share football images using #becausefutbol. Tumblr users who viewed and shared a #becausefutbol post sponsored by the brand were 31% more likely to recognise the brand as a sponsor, a figure that jumped to 176% for unpaid posts.

Heineken creates @wherenext
Heineken has created a Twitter service, named @wherenext, which aims to help people discover the ‘secrets’ of their cities by offering suggestions based on location. Interestingly, the brand name is not included anywhere – Heineken hopes this will provide increased credibility.

GE launches on Snapchat for moon landing anniversary
General Electronic posted its first ever Snapchat messages last week, each on a space-travel theme. It turned out that these were teasers for a new, limited edition shoe, called ‘The Missions’, which celebrates the 65th anniversary of the first ever manned moon landing.

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Cadbury launches Facebook-powered vending machine
Confectionery brand, Cadbury, has created a new type of vending machine in Australia, which dispenses chocolate based on Facebook likes. ‘The Joy Generator’ analyses likes and interests on the network, before automatically assigning a chocolate based on personality type.

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Johnson’s Baby launches ‘cake smash’
Johnson’s Baby has created a campaign around Prince George’s first birthday, which takes place tomorrow (July 22nd). Dubbed #Babycakesmash, the brand will encourage Instagram users to share pictures of their babies’ first birthday cakes.

We Are Social and Tullamore Dew’s ‘Parting Glass’
We Are Social and Tullamore Dew have created a campaign around the whiskey brand’s ‘Parting Glass’ message. To enter, users must submit a ‘Parting Glass’ photo via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, for the chance to win a trip to the company’s distillery in Ireland.

The Post Office launches #LoveSundays
The British Post Office is extending its opening hours to include Sundays, and has created a set of Vines as promotion. These all celebrate typical Sunday activities, such as staying in your pyjamas or enjoying a cuppa and a crossword.

Barbour illustrates summer stories
Fashion brand, Barbour, is asking Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users to share their summer stories using #BarbourSummer. A set of winners will be selected to have their tales illustrated and used as part of an animated film.

Marc Jacobs finds models on Instagram
Another story from the world of fashion – Marc Jacobs has sourced the models for its latest campaign through an Instagram competition, using the hashtag #CastMeMarc. The nine winners were selected from 35,000 entries.

MTV announces VMA nominees on Snapchat
Last year, MTV announced the nominees for its Video Music Awards via Vine and Instagram videos. This year, they were revealed on Snapchat before anywhere else, showing the extent to which the platform has risen as a tool for brands.

Shakira passes 100 million Facebook fans
More celeb news: Shakira has become the first celebrity to reach 100 million Facebook likes. In doing so, she’s become the most-liked celebrity on the network, ahead of Eminem and Rihanna, who have 91.9 million and 89 million fans respectively.