In this week’s digital news, Facebook hits a social media milestone with two billion users, Amazon’s WholeFoods purchase heralds the next big shakeup in e-commerce, and a study finds that men and women express frustration with brands differently on social media.
Social Media News
Facebook hits two billion users and announces a compassionate new mission.
Facebook crossed the two billion mark this week, announced Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday morning (via Facebook, naturally). The benchmark coincides with Facebook’s new mission statement, “Bringing the World Closer Together,” which aims to foster community. Facebook CPO Chris Cox says the goal is to make “social media the most positive force for good possible,” addressing much-publicized concerns about the ways Facebook has influenced political and social changes in recent years. Cox and Zuckerberg are traveling and gathering insight about users to take responsibility for the massive influence and minimize misuse.
YouTube mobile and desktop viewing are getting a makeover.
YouTube previewed upcoming changes at VidCon, aiming at making mobile and desktop viewing more visually appealing. YouTube’s mobile app will start adapting to differing video shapes and sizes, whether they are horizontal, vertical, or square. All videos will dynamically fill mobile screens in length, width, or both, depending on their dimensions. YouTube is also set to roll out its new desktop aesthetic, which includes a more “cinematic” Dark Theme. Changes are expected “in coming weeks.”
Instagram adds photo and video replies to Stories.
In addition to text replies, Instagram now lets you reply to Stories with a photo or video. And the feature includes a new sticker of the Story you’re replying to, which you can resize and reposition. This new update will boost the conversational capabilities of Instagram Stories – and give, yet another, blow to Snapchat.
Snapchat extends the ability to add links to all users.
Snapchat has one-upped Instagram by allowing all users to add links to their Snaps – a tool that is limited to verified users and business profiles with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram. A new paperclip icon in the tools list lets you enter a URL. And viewers will see a swipe-up prompt that directs them to the site. The update greatly increases the functionality of the app for businesses – adding new ways to market organically.
Study finds that men and women express brand dissatisfaction differently on social media.
In recent years, social media has become one of the dominant ways for consumers to express both highs and lows in brand experience to their social networks, and to brands themselves. A new study of 2,000 social media users examined how and where men and women tend to vent their frustrations, in addition to what they hope to gain from the complaint.
In the findings, both genders hoped for a refund and changes in company policy nearly equally, but more women were concerned about saving other customers from similarly negative experiences, and women were also more likely to be seeking an apology. The study also found that Amazon, Yelp, and personal Facebook Pages are preferred by women in airing their grievances, while male consumers are more likely to vent on Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube.
Instagram tests “favorites only” photo sharing.
Some Instagram users don’t want all followers to see every post, but still crave the viewability of a public profile. In response, Instagram is testing a way to share certain posts with a customizable list of favorite followers, which might include close friends and family but exclude co-workers and strangers from seeing a particularly goofy selfie. The shift curtails the use of “Finstagram” (fake Instagram) accounts, as some users currently juggle multiple accounts to curate followers.
Snapchat lets users buy custom geofilters in-app.
It’s getting easier for Snapchat users to create their own geofilters. The social app debuted customizable geofilters in February, but creation required users to visit to the studio website. Now, Snapchat is allowing users to create their geofilters in-app for as low as $5.99, using templates that can be customized with text, stickers, and Bitmojis.
The in-app option is only available in the U.S., and geofilters require approval from Snapchat (which takes about one day). However, for best results, Snapchat wants to encourage brands to continue to use the site.
Amazon’s WholeFoods purchase signals a new era in e-commerce.
Amazon caused a stir earlier this month with its announced acquisition of Whole Foods, which many saw as yet another sign of the e-commerce titan’s threat to brick-and-mortar retailers. But perhaps this move is a signal of reconciliation in the push and pull between traditional and online retailers.
The disruption of online sellers forced brands to develop e-commerce strategies in addition to in-store strategies. But, Amazon’s purchase of WholeFoods is a sign that e-commerce won’t wipe out traditional retail stores completely. Instead, the two can co-exist to best meet consumer needs, which will require some rethinking of the modern commerce landscape.
Ride-sharing brands acquired the most millennial customers over the last year.
New study by YouGov BrandIndex compared millennial consumer data from the H1 of 2016 to H1 of 2017. The research found that Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb experienced the biggest jumps in millennial customers from a year ago. Other brands acquiring more millennial customers are Delta, Adidas, Visa, Chase, Calvin Klein and Puma. There are lessons to learn from what these brands are doing to connect with this demographic. Get more insight into what millennials are interested in and what tactics are working for these brands here.
Google chooses to stop reading users’ Gmail for advertising
Google made headlines everywhere this week thanks to the EU’s hefty antitrust fine, but the tech giant also announced a move that will make many Gmail users happy. Free Gmail accounts will follow the example set by Google’s G Suite and stop scanning users’ email for marketing purposes.
While Google still intends to target ads in Gmail based on the data it collects from users, including search engine activity and YouTube viewing habits, the move may silence some of the harshest criticism the brand has received, from users who found the scanning too invasive. The move toward giving users more privacy is largely a branding decision that puts Gmail in closer alignment to the rapidly growing G Suite, which aims to take on Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud-computing and business software space.
Published on July 6, 2017