Payments via Facebook Messenger Now Available Throughout U.S.

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Payments via Facebook Messenger is now available to all U.S. users.

The social network introduced the feature in March and extended it to the New York metropolitan area in late May.

Vice president of messaging David Marcus revealed the news in a Facebook post:

We’re happy to announce that Messenger person-to-person payments are now available to everyone in the U.S. Add your debit card and pay anyone on Messenger in a few taps. Money goes straight from your checking account to the recipient’s checking account. Easy and safe. As always, give it a try it and let us know how we can make even better for you!

Readers: Have you used or will you try payments via Messenger?

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Messenger P2P PaymentsWe’re happy to announce that Messenger person-to-person payments are now available to everyone in the U.S.! Add your Debit Card and pay anyone on Messenger in a few taps. Money goes straight from your checking account to the recipient’s checking account. Easy and safe. As always, give it a try it and let us know how we can make even better for you!

Posted by David Marcus on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pinterest Begins Rollout of Buyable Pins

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

The buyable pins feature introduced by Pinterest in early June has begun rolling out to iPhone and iPad users in the U.S.

Buyable pins enable Pinterest users to purchase products directly via pins, using their credit card or Apple Pay information, and the social network teamed up with brands including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom on the launch.

Demandware retailer clients including Gardener’s Supply Co. and Michaels are also part of the launch of the feature, as are Shopify stores such as Poler Outdoor Stuff and SOBU.

The transactions are fee-free for both retailers and users.

Pinterest said buyable pins can be identified by their blue price tags, and they can be discovered via users’ home feeds, boards, category feeds, search results and recommendations. The buyable pins feature also includes a price filter.

In addition, Pinterest introduced a “shop our picks” option, giving users access to “hand-picked” products for seasonal categories.

Android and Web versions of buyable pins are in the works, according to Pinterest.

Pinterest users: Are you ready to start shopping?

How to Create Engaging 4th of July Content (Infographic)

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

One of the biggest American holidays of the year is coming up Saturday—but it’s no time for your social media strategy to go on vacation.

For the Fourth of July, you don’t need a guest appearance from the POTUS to win big on social.

Unmetric recently put together an infographic showing ways you can create engaging content around Independence Day.

Unmetric suggests factoring in time (if you were planning to pull off an awesome integrated video campaign, it’s too late) and ideal post length. You can also look back at past successful content.

For more information, check out the infographic:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Facebook’s Instant Articles Satisfy the Need for Speed (Report)

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

The main selling point behind the Instant Articles iPhone application feature Facebook announced in May was quicker load times. Did the social network deliver?

Online performance monitoring outfit Catchpoint Systems analyzed network requests for Instant Articles on Facebook and found the answer to be a resounding “yes.”

Catchpoint Systems focused on an article from National Geographic, “Quest for a Superbee,” and the company detailed its findings:

We compared the Instant Article to its counterpart from National Geographic’s website–what users are linked to when reading the article anywhere other than Facebook for iOS. While the page loads relatively quickly in the small amount of samples we took–DomContentLoaded in 500 milliseconds and onload in 2 seconds, on average–the page still must load 233 host requests with 2 megabytes of content overall.

Since there is no onload or DomContentLoaded equivalent in iOS, it is not possible to do a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. What is relevant is: Since the article is preloaded, it appears to load instantly in the eyes of the end-user.

Therefore, it’s fair to say that the article has the equivalent of 0 ms load time, and in most tests we performed, no single request exceeded 300 ms. That is very fast, much faster than the performance of a typical news page on a mobile device. When the Facebook page containing the article is loaded, the user will see the article thumbnail relatively quickly (as the risk of requesting from a slower external source is eliminated since contents load from Facebook’s servers, to which the user is already connected).

Another factor that presents obstacles to making a direct comparison between the two versions is the amount of media within the article; the native version on the National Geographic site is, interestingly, less rich in media. For example, the Instant Article features mp3 audio files, a video and more images embedded directly in the article. While the native article on National Geographic’s site includes some of the same content, it is all linked to different pages, with the exception of four thumbnails and a banner image.

Since we tested through a backbone-based WiFi network in order to use a proxy for sniffing the traffic, it is unclear if any of this traffic is reduced using network aware development, so there may be a chance that Facebook sends less content on the wire for third-generation and fourth-generation connections. However, aside from possible optimization pertaining to bandwidth consumption, the Instant Articles are a great improvement in mobile user experience.

Catchpoint Systems concluded:

Catchpoint Systems’ analysis shows that Facebook Instant Articles are indeed “instant,” or as fast as possible given the variables that mobile users encounter in the real world.

By addressing a major issue (excessive third-party tags and externally hosted objects) that slows down the load time of news sites, Facebook is creating a new standard in news consumption. Instant Articles heralds a major improvement in the mobile user experience.

Readers: Have you encountered any Facebook Instant Articles yet? What did you think of their load speeds?

Beet Social Video Platform Updated on iOS

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

After quietly launching in February, social video platform Beet received a new update on iOS, allowing users to film short moments of their everyday lives and share them with others (like Vine, but with a focus on greater spontaneity). Challenging the idea of only sharing life’s highlights on services like Facebook or Instagram, Beet encourages users to simply record their lives, without waiting for something cool to happen.

With Beet, users are shown suggested accounts to follow, or they can login with Facebook to follow their friends. The app’s timeline view shows content from the last 48 hours of each followed user’s life. As users view videos, they can tap to skip or double tap (or more) to give in-app karma to the poster. As users continue to share videos, they add to their overall “story” within the app.

Beet’s discovery feed allows users to view popular or trending stories, as well as the new clips shared each day, which are presented in an ongoing “Today on Beet” story. Users can follow others via this discovery feed, or search for users manually.

With Beet’s new update, users can organize their clips into individual stories, create group stories with their friends or create public stories that anyone can join. The app now also supports moderated stories, where the owner must approve each submitted clip before it’s added to the group.

Beet encourages brands and organizations to download the app, and offers free app training and support for brands looking to utilize Beet as part of their social campaigns.

Beet is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store. The app is coming soon to Android.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the updated Beet app?

#LoveWins: How the Same-Sex Marriage Decision Spread Through Social

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Not long after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were recognized nationwide, social and mobile apps spread the news (and the pride).

Facebook offered users a rainbow filter on their profile picture — and more than 26 million people worldwide (as of Monday morning) did so using the site’s image-editing tool. Celebrities and public figures — such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former California governor/Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger — used the rainbow filter to show support for LGBTQ people.

The pictures received more than 500 million likes and comments (a total of more than 565 million interactions), as of Monday morning. The filter tool was built by two interns in a hackathon earlier this month.

Naturally, this led to people wondering if Facebook has ulterior motives for offering the rainbow filter tool. A Facebook spokesperson responded in Mashable to data-tracking claims:

This was not an experiment or test, but rather something that enables people to show their support of the LGBTQ community on Facebook. We aren’t going to use this as a way to target ads and the point of this tool is not to get information about people.

On Twitter the day of the SCOTUS decision, the site added colorful emoji to the hashtags #Pride (rainbow flag) and #LoveWins (rainbow heart).

Thank you @twitter for the #LoveWins rainbow heart, the #Pride rainbow flag, and your awesome icon. @TwitterOpen pic.twitter.com/Qt4l0Ka8C2

— Eddie (@L_EdwinSaar) June 26, 2015

Twitter users loved this capability. According to Talkwalker, within the first hour of the Supreme Court’s decision:

the #lovewins hashtag received 284,730 mentions, and 60,727 unique tweets
the #SCOTUSMarriage hashtag saw 88,872 mentions, and 20,375 unique tweets
the #MarriageEquality hashtag saw 63,968 mentions, 63,968 unique tweets

Among the tweets tracked by Talkwalker, 59.4 percent came from women, 40.6 percent came from men. Across all social channels, there were 191,000 mentions of “gay marriage” and “gaymarriage” within the first hour of the ruling.

Unmetric, which measures brand engagement on social media, told SocialTimes that the most engaging brands around this topic were Ben & Jerry’s, Target, Honey Maid, Visa and American Airlines — as based on the company’s Engagement Score of 0-1000.

While some tweets and Facebook posts had striking imagery, most of the successful ones were short and sweet — and text-based.

Ben & Jerry’s

Target

Honey Maid

Visa (engagement score on this post was 1,000)

pic.twitter.com/BCW7S5OK94

— Visa (@Visa) June 26, 2015

American Airlines

Lux Narayan, CEO of Unmetric, discussed with SocialTimes the brands’ efforts on the day of the same-sex marriage decision:

As is often the case with major news like last week’s SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, brands were quick to leverage the event on social media. While brands across various sectors all took a different creative approach to their tweets, there are universal lessons that all marketers can glean from this data about what works best — from the type of content, to the number of posts, to the timing of posts.

Readers: Were you one of the 26 million-plus to change your profile picture on Facebook?

The Social Buzz During Cannes Lions on Twitter (Infographic)

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel made a big impression with the announcement of Snapchat’s latest advertising product at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week. However, Snapchat wasn’t the only Cannes buzz on social media.

SocialBro analyzed more than 100,000 tweets from nearly 70,000 users during the week of the festival. Twitter chatter was overwhelmingly positive and peaked Tuesday, June 23, with more than 5,000 tweets sent at around 7 p.m. ET.

The top tweet was from Oglivy & Mather featuring a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln #OgilvyCannes #Inspire series for #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/mExIiD1GAp

— Ogilvy & Mather (@Ogilvy) June 21, 2015

To see demographic data and top hashtags, check out the infographic below, from SocialBro.

Facebook’s Prototype Mobile Ad Format: A Perfect Mix of Branding, Direct Response

Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox showcased a preview of what the social network’s future mobile ad format could look like at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the first impressions are that the new mobile ad format will be more aesthetically pleasing than current Facebook mobile ads.

Similarly, the concept will enable more interactive ads that can blend video with static and moving images and information. But the real kicker is that the new mobile ad formats won’t require users to leave Facebook.

Alhough the social media giant’s vision of rejuvenated mobile ad formats is in its early stages, it highlights how the company is moving in the right direction by investing more in mobile and video. Here are five things Facebook got right with its prototype mobile ad format:

Users don’t have to leave Facebook: The new iteration of Facebook mobile ads marks another step in the company’s evolution toward serving all content within the Facebook application without taking the user outside of the Facebook ecosystem. Encouraging users to spend more time in the app engaging with ads will result in a higher quality of traffic and better campaign conversion for advertisers.
It’s more user-friendly: Facebook has streamlined the user experience with mobile ads. There will be fewer steps involved in the user’s journey when researching and experiencing a product or service, resulting in an expected higher conversion rate.
Form follows function, part I: The new Facebook mobile ad format is a natural evolution of the multiproduct ad formats that many e-commerce brands now utilize for their mobile apps. The purpose of these multiproduct app environments is to enhance the user’s experience and familiarity before purchasing. If Facebook follows through with this revolutionized ad format, it will augment its ongoing efforts to provide more advanced e-commerce mobile advertising solutions.
Form follows function, part II: One of the main challenges in the mobile advertising industry is the fact that users spend a significant amount of their time searching and exploring on their mobile devices, while the actual final purchase is still done via desktop. In fact, only 15 percent to 20 percent of searches that occur on a mobile device result in final purchases, The new Facebook mobile ad format should alleviate this problem by making the touch point between the advertiser and consumer much more accessible for mobile users.
Mobile video advertising on Facebook is here to stay: With the strong presence of video in the mocked-up Facebook ads Cox presented at Cannes and the attribution model insights, this ad unit is another demonstration of the convergence between the branding and direct response world–a trend that has been building momentum for some time on Facebook. Now, Facebook is set to offer advertisers even more ways of bridging the gap between awareness and affinity and actual sales.

Over the past 18 months, Facebook has done an admirable job of matching advertisers’ growing demands for more targeted desktop and mobile ad solutions with users’ demands for clean, simple site and app functionality that isn’t cluttered with irrelevant ads and content. With its possible new mobile ad format, Facebook appears to have captured the best of both worlds for a user experience that will help drive more time in-app and more sales opportunities for advertisers.

David Serfaty is vice president of social advertising at Matomy Media Group, a global digital performance-based advertising company. He can be contacted at david.s@matomy.com.  

Atmospheir Relaunches Contact Management App on iPhone

By Tuesday, June 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Atmospheir announced the redesign and relaunch of its contact management application on iPhone. Atmospheir combines its address book functionality with in-app communication tools, with the goal of automatically keeping track of each user’s changing information and social media profiles.

The app allows users to create user names and separate profile cards for business or personal contacts, with each card being customized to include only the information users would like to share. Atmospheir cards support email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, education information, birthdays, work titles and websites.

Users can also enter their user names or links for more than 20 social networks, from Facebook and Twitter to Reddit, Tumblr and beyond (with more in the works). Users can show these individual social media profiles to only personal contacts, only business contacts, or both.

When meeting another Atmospheir user, contact information can be shared by simply entering the user’s Atmsopheir user name. Once the connection has been made, any changes to the user’s Atmospheir card(s) would trigger a notification to their contacts, and would be automatically updated within the address book. Users can also manually add new contacts (for non-app users), or use Bluetooth to discover nearby users.

Outside of these address book features, Atmospheir allows users to send free text, voice, photo, GIF, location or video messages to their contacts, without leaving the app. When inviting a non-app user to chat, the app prompts users to send a traditional text message, encouraging the contact to download Atmospheir themselves.

In a statement, Atmospheir CEO and founder Matt Crumrine commented on the app:

Atmospheir’s singularity lies in the fact that it blends contact management, modern technology and social networking. We’ve created an app that connects people who want to share specific information about themselves with people who want or need that information. Atmospheir is the best solution for staying connected with the people that matter most.

Atmospheir is available to download for free on iPhone, with an Android version coming later this year.

Readers: Do you use Atmospheir or other contact management apps?