From YouTube to Periscope: The Evolution of Web Video (Infographic)

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

The world of online video has changed dramatically in the last ten years. An infographic from Switcher Studio examines the current landscape of social online video and how engaged audiences are when it comes to video.

Just five years ago, YouTube was already receiving 3 billion views per day. This was also the first time 720p HD video was available in mass market handheld devices. Users were clearly very ready for an HD user-generated revolution. In 2015, users are recording and uploading 4k video from their smartphones, and they’re more engaged than ever.

75 percent of 18-29 year olds are watching videos on their phones, and 93 percent use their phone to prevent boredom. Those 50 and older also use their phones to prevent boredom, but only 31 percent currently watch video on their phones. This is a golden opportunity for brands and businesses to reach their core audience through video

Live video streaming is also growing substantially in popularity. According to the infographic, Facebook Live gains four-billion video views daily. Upstart services like Meerkat and Periscope already have two-million and 10 million users respectively, and videogame streaming service Twitch has more than 100 million monthly active users.

Video is expanding in every field and there are opportunities everywhere for users and businesses alike to expand their reach through video. For an idea of some of the potential numbers in play for event viewership, view the infographic below.

Mobile Game Roundup: Headshot Heroes, Gelato Flicker and More

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Did you miss any of last week’s new mobile games because of the Thanksgiving holiday? If so, there are plenty of new options available, starting with Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes from Electronic Arts. The turn-based battle game allows players to collect characters from both the light and dark sides and take them into single-player and multiplayer battles.

Here’s a look at some additional mobile games you may have missed, which released last week.

Headshot Heroes (Free on iOS) – From developer Duxpel and publisher Chillingo, Headshot Heroes is a soccer-themed game, challenging players to tap on the left or right side of the screen to pass the ball to their teammates and eventually take a shot at the goal. If players tap on the wrong side of the screen, they give the ball to the opponent, and the game ends. Similarly, if players tap at the wrong time (or on the wrong side) at the end of each game, their shot can miss the goal. When gamers make a perfect shot at the end of the game, they collect the goal keeper’s head as a prize. Gamers can collect coins as they play, which are spent to unlock new playable teams, and to upgrade the teams they’ve already unlocked. For instance, since games are timed, players can increase the amount of time they have to play.

PengWings (Free on iOS, Android) – From Biped Entertainment, PengWings is an endless climber, challenging players to help a baby PengWing reach its parents by tapping on the left and right sides of the screen to move the PengWing left and right, avoiding obstacles as it flies into the sky. Players can collect coins as they play, which can be spent on new playable characters, each with a different effect on gameplay. For instance, one character causes the controls to become reversed. Biped Entertainment will donate 10 percent of the game’s profits to environmental organizations.

Gold Miner Rescue (Free on iOS, Android, Amazon) – From Kurius Games, Gold Miner Rescue is a level-based mining game, challenging players to rescue a miner by dragging their finger on the screen to create a walking path from the mine to the miner’s house. Players are encouraged to lead the miner to the gold in each stage before they dig a path to his house, and can spend this gold on tools, like ladders and dynamite, which can be used to complete stages.

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode Three: The Last Place You Look ($4.99 on iOS, Android, Amazon) – This third episode in a five-part series from Telltale Games sees players help Jesse and friends on their quest to locate Soren, the final member of the Order of the Stone. In Minecraft: Story Mode, players help Jesse (who can be a male or female character) in a quest to save the world, and will make decisions which impact the way the story unfolds. Episode Three is available as an in-app purchase within the main Minecraft: Story Mode app, which also costs $4.99 to download. Owners of the first episode can purchase Episodes 2-5 in a ‘Multi-pack’ for $14.99.

Starside Arena (Free on Android) – Following the game’s release on iOS earlier this month, this space battle game from Epic Owl is now available on Android devices. In Starside Arena, players build spaceships to take into battle against other player-created ships. Each ship can be outfitted with weapons, engines, armor pieces and more, and as players win battles, they can spend their winnings on new weapons and other technologies for their ships.

Light Apprentice Volume 1 ($4.99 on iOS, Android) – From Amazu Media and BulkyPix, this gamebook sees players take on the role of Nate, the Light Apprentice, who must join four other Apprentices on a quest to restore balance to the planet’s environment and save the world. Light Apprentice Volume 1 includes the story’s first four chapters, with the story being impacted by the choices players make.

Jump Nuts (Free on iOS, Android) – This endless survival game from Affalai and Ketchapp challenges players to tap at the right time to send a squirrel between orbs. The orbs rotate automatically, so players must tap at the right time to avoid sending the squirrel off of the screen. Gamers can collect gems as they play, which can be spent on new playable characters. Gems are also awarded to players as free gifts over time, and additional gems can be earned by watching video ads when these opportunities are presented.

Chaos Battle Hero (Free on Android) – Developed by nterFun and published by Softmax, Chaos Battle Hero is a side-scrolling RPG, which allows players to collect 43 heroes and change characters during battle. Users can equip their heroes with new items, and can train their heroes over time. Gamers can compete against others in player-vs-player battles, and can join other players in guilds. Chaos Battle Hero is coming soon to iOS.

Fishing Town (Free on Android) – From Touchten Games, Fishing Town is a fishing game created in partnership with conservation organization WWF Indonesia. The game sees players join Lukas and his dad on a fishing adventure, and allows players to collect new rods as they play. Gamers will also expand their fishing town and interact with villagers. A portion of the game’s revenue will be donated to support marine and fisheries conservation programs in Indonesia.

Hidden Objects: Twilight Town (Free on iOS) – From Absolutist, this hidden object and city-building game sees players become the ‘Judge of the Others’ in a town where everyone seems to have a double life. Players are led through the game by quests, which will see them investigate the mysterious death of their predecessor. As users progress, they will repair buildings around town to unlock new hidden object scenes. The game offers 17 hidden object scenes to explore, and players can complete 100 collections as they gather items from these scenes.

The Whispered World ($9.99 on iPad) – From Daedalic Entertainment, The Whispered World is a point-and-click adventure game starring a young clown named Sadwick, who must save the world with his pet caterpillar, Spot. The game was originally released on PC beginning in 2009, and has received updated controls for iPad. For the first two weeks after the game’s release, The Whispered World will be on sale for $7.99.

Gelato Flicker (Free on iOS) – From Petricore Inc. and Thumbspire, Gelato Flicker challenges players to serve as many ice cream cones as possible by swiping to send the right ice cream scoops to the right cones at the edge of the screen. When a single customer wants more than one scoop, players may need to tap on the screen to change the order of the ice cream scoops in the center of the screen to ensure they stack the scoops in the right order on the customer’s cone. Games continue until players run out of time (they receive bonus time for each scoop they correctly serve), or until they give a customer the wrong ice cream. As players fulfill orders, they progress through business days, and will reach checkpoint days along the way. In future games, players can begin again from day one, or continue from one of these checkpoint days.

Wayward kangaroo fails as a hitchhiker, is taken in by police

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

You’re a long way from the outback, kangaroo.

On Nov. 27, the police department of North Ridgeville, Ohio, spotted this curiously out-of-place kangaroo hopping around in the middle of the road

See also: Affectionate kangaroo will hug your hands like she’s a tiny person

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We get animal calls. A lot of animal calls. Usually dogs. Every now and then a horse. I had a potbellied pig rooting…

Posted by North Ridgeville Police Department on ;Friday, November 27, 2015 Read more…

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Facebook Releases Apple TV Software-Development Kit

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Facebook released a new software-development kit for developers looking to integrate the social network’s features into their Apple TV applications.

Software engineer Chris Pan introduced the Facebook SDK for tvOS in a developer blog post, directing developers to the new SDK’s development guide and offering details on the following features that can be integrated into Apple TV apps:

Facebook Login: A fast and easy way for people to log into your app and for you to provide rich, personalized experiences. To log into an app with their Facebook account, people can simply enter a confirmation code displayed on the TV into their smartphone or computer, rather than entering their user name and password with the remote.
Share to Facebook: A simple way for people to share links, photos, videos and other content from your app with their Facebook friends.
Facebook Analytics for Apps: Helps you build a better experience by understanding your audience and how people engage with your app.

Readers: Do any of you use Apple TV?

What Drove Social Buzz on Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

The biggest shopping season of the year for retailers is here, as many companies posted about Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals on social this past weekend.

But which brands and verticals were most effective?

According to Brandwatch, most of the conversation was around electronics and clothing.

Brandwatch explained in an email to SocialTimes:

Over the last week, clothing (41 percent) just missed the title of being the most talked about product type for this holiday shopping occasion. While mentions of clothing spiked on Black Friday itself more so than electronics, toys and home goods, electronics still dominate with 1% more share of voice in the last 7 days, for a total of 42 percent share of voice.

Unmetric also tracked Thanksgiving’s most-engaging brand posts:

The three most Retweeted Twitter brand tweets about Thanksgiving came from:

Dennys (3,154 Retweets)
Dallas Cowboys (2,363 Retweets)
Forever 21 (1,741 Retweets)

The three most Liked Facebook brand posts about Thanksgiving came from:

Facebook (235,549 Likes)
Make the Connection (222,289 Likes)
Bank of America (136,061 Likes)

The three most Liked Instagram brand posts about Thanksgiving came from:

Instagram (690,804 Likes)
Victoria’s Secret (239,666 Likes)
Starbucks (205,252 Likes)

Lux Narayan, Unmetric’s CEO, commented on brands’ activity over the two big days:

There are multiple insights for brands to discover as they analyze this year’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday social content from other brands. Posts that express gratitude toward our service men and women do well. Contrarian themes like REI’s anti-Black Friday campaign also attract attention. One of the biggest takeaways is looking at how brands like Victoria’s Secret create winning content across multiple social channels, including Instragram, which only continues to increase in popularity.

Though Victoria’s Secret was a popular brand mentioned, Brandwatch noted that it wasn’t all glowing reviews of deals. The lingerie retailer was, by far, the most-mentioned over the past week:

While most of the sentiment was neutral, those that did have an emotion about Victoria’s Secret on social weren’t always happy.

Readers: Which brands had the best Black Friday deals?

Microsoft Introduces PowerApps for Quickly Creating Business Apps

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Microsoft has introduced PowerApps, which will allow business employees, developers and IT professionals to create and share business apps with their coworkers or teams ‘within minutes.’

For employees, PowerApps allows users to create apps in a Microsoft Office-like experience, and contains templates for getting started. Users can connect PowerApps to cloud services including Office 365, Salesforce, Dropbox and OneDrive (among others), as well as on-premises systems like SharePoint, Oracle databases and more.

Users can share these PowerApps like they would share documents, by entering a coworker’s email address. Created apps will work on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

In addition, PowerApps includes Azure App Service, so developers can create and share employee-facing apps. Companies can manage users’ data access within PowerApps.

The announcement blog reads:

PowerApps will dramatically accelerate how business apps are built, reducing time to solution from weeks or months to minutes and empowering a new category of app creators. It balances power between IT and business users, arming those closest to business needs with tools and services to not just envision but also implement the solution. It moves what has been for decades a set of scenarios that typically only run on-premises with PCs to being centered in the cloud and delivered mobile-first.

Users can request an invite to Microsoft PowerApps here. The service will be available in both free and paid plans, but the standard (paid) plan is free during this preview period.

Report: Mobile Visits to Retailer Websites on the Rise

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Cofactor has released new shopping data related to the holiday shopping season, and specifically Black Friday. Rather than Black Friday being a single day, the report found retailers have expanded Black Friday into a larger ‘season,’ which begins as early as October.

Cofactor measured shopping data from top retailers like Target, Macy’s, Toys R Us and others from October through November, and found the larger number of deals, spread over a longer period of time, may have resulted in less consumer interest by the time Black Friday actually arrived.

For October 2015, Cofactor found a seven percent growth in the number of available deals, and a six percent increase in visits on leading retailers’ websites, compared to October 2014. While this increase in deals resulted in increased traffic, it may have also caused ‘consumer fatigue’ by November. Specifically, Cofactor found website traffic decreased 16 percent in visits on leading retailers’ websites in November 2015, compared to last November.

On Thanksgiving day, website traffic was down 33 percent over last Thanksgiving, and on the morning of Black Friday (through 8 a.m. central time), website traffic was down 34 percent compared to last year. Overall traffic for October and November combined was found to be down nine percent over 2014.

While overall website traffic was down for the year, Cofactor found traffic to retail sites via smartphones increased in both months. Specifically, in October 2015, there was a 39 percent increase in mobile phone visits, and a three percent decrease in tablet visits to retailers’ websites, when compared to October 2014.

In November, there was a six percent increase in smartphone visits, and a 26 percent decrease in tablet visits year-over-year to retailer websites. Combined, the two months saw an overall increase in mobile phone visits to retailers’ websites of 17 percent over last year, and a decrease in tablet visits of 18 percent compared to 2014.

Even so, Cofactor found less users searched for deals on their mobile devices on Thanksgiving day. To be specific, there was a 15 percent decrease in smartphone visits, and a 48 percent decrease in tablet visits to retailer websites on Thanksgiving, when compared to last year. According to Cofactor, this means over 210,000 less people visited retailers’ websites on smartphones, and over 224,000 less people visited retailers websites on tablets on Thanksgiving day than last year.

Readers: Did you search for deals on Thanksgiving or Black Friday via your phone or tablet?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Broncos ‘edit’ Tom Brady’s Facebook post to troll star after win

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

What a time to be alive. Here, we have trash talk between Tom Brady and not an opposing player, but an entire NFL franchise

And better yet, it’s all going down on Facebook

See also: My high school teammate, Kobe Bryant

Before Brady’s New England Patriots clashed with the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, the superstar quarterback (or more likely, his social media intern) posted this Photoshop image to Facebook: Read more…

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Instagram Tests Multi-Account Support for Android App

By Monday, November 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Instagram appears to be testing multiple account support with select users of its Android application.

Android Police reported that some users with version 7.12.0 of the Instagram Android app—which is available via APK Mirror or Instagram for Android Beta Testers–are seeing an “add account” option below “clear search history.”

According to Android Police, those users are then given the option to select another account or create one, after which they gain access to a selector next to the account nickname atop their profile pages, enabling them to seamlessly switch from account to account.

There have not been any reports of a similar test for iOS.

Readers: Would you like to see Instagram roll out this feature?

Screenshots courtesy of Android Police.