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Twitter Vines Get Shared 4x More Than Online Video
  • According to AdWeek, unruly Media's research reveals that branded Vines are shared four times as often as branded Internet videos. The tech company also discovered that 4 percent of the top 100 shared Vines were made by brands. Comparatively, according to the New York-based firm, only 1 percent of Top 100 viral online videos were the work of brands.
  • Unruly today released those data points and a bevy of others in commemoration of Vines turning 100 days old, collecting stats from over 10 million Vines during a one-month period. For instance, social media schedulers should take note of this finding: Vines are tweeted more during the weekend than all of the weekdays combined. Also, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET is when Vine activity peaks.
  • "This data can really help brands determine a strategy for using Vine in their marketing efforts," Matt Cooke, Unruly co-founder, said in a statement. "We have already seen brands like General Electric, Adidas, AT&T, Volvo, PepsiCo and GAP adapt to the platform."
Could YouTube Become as Big as CBS or Viacom?
  • youtube_logo_v3 1According to Variety, within the next five years, Google’s YouTube could generate $15 billion or more in annual revenue — which would make it about the same size as CBS or Viacom, a Wall Street analyst predicts. The vidsite now streams 6 billion hours of video to more than 1 billion unique users per month across the globe. In the U.S., YouTube now reaches a bigger audience of adults 18-34 than any single TV network, global head of content Robert Kyncl said at Google’s YouTube Brandcast event this week, citing Nielsen analysis.
  • “We think the odds are extremely high that YouTube will be a large, profitable and highly consequential business” in the next few years, Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Carlos Kirjner wrote in a research note Friday. “It is becoming an attractive and important medium for brand advertisers, and we think it will increasingly compete (with traditional media companies) for the incremental video-delivered brand advertising dollars.”
  • This spring, YouTube is expected to launch a handful of subscription-based channels from premium content providers. That could represent another important revenue stream, in addition to YouTube’s ad sales. The site already offers pay-per-view streaming movies and TV shows from major studios and nets, though it’s not clear how significant that business is.
Instagram Has A New Tagging Feature It Believes Will Be Huge For Brands
  • This week, according to Business Insider, Instagram introduced 'Photos of You,' a new way for users to tag people, businesses, and products in photos. The feature seems similar to "tagging" Facebook photos. And it presents a new opportunity for brands to engage users of the social network.
  • With Photos of You, any Instagram user can add (or, tag) any Instagram account to their photos. An individual can now tag their photos with any other Instagram user, product, or the accounts of businesses. And a business can do the same. For example: now, when Nike posts a photo of an athlete to its Instagram account, it can tag the photo so that the athlete can also add the photo to his or her stream. This engages Nike's followers as well as any followers of that athlete, increasing the overall number of views of the photo.
  • Brands (and anyone, for that matter) can curate the photos tagged with their name, choosing which to showcase on their profile. This adds a new level of consumer reach — the feature aims to compel users to interact directly with the brands and businesses they follow.
Google: Government Censorship Attempts Increasing
  • According to Mashable, Google released its traditional six-month Transparency Report Thursday, the seventh since the company started releasing this type of data in 2010. And, according to the report, which covers July to December of 2012, attempts by governments around the world to censor political content on the Internet are increasing.
  • "From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content—an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012," Google's Legal Director Susan Infantino wrote in a blog post. These types of requests have doubled since the second half of 2011, when governments made 1,054 requests to remove 12,071 items.
  • In the blog post, Infantino points out the dramatic increase in government censorship attempts. "It’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown," she wrote. "In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services."
Hackers Attack 90,000 WordPress Blogs
  • According to Mashable, a number of WordPress bloggers discovered that their "admin" accounts became part of a hostile, exploitative botnet. The attacks began last week, and have affected more than 90,000 blogs so far. The hackers behind the attacks have combed through WordPress accounts and attempted to guess passwords via brute force. Their program cycles WordPress accounts through 1,000 common passwords. While this tactic is useless against savvy users, enough people utilize easy-to-guess passwords to make it worthwhile for the hackers.
  • After the hack compromises a user's system, it drafts the blog into a botnet, a collection of compromised systems that communicate with one another and often come in handy for online attacks. Private blogs aren't too useful in this system, but blogs that are housed on web servers are. Servers recruited into the botnet can attack a multitude of machines at once, and grow the system exponentially.
  • By using a strong password, turning on two-step authentication and updating to the latest version of WordPress software, users will "be ahead of 99 percent of sites out there and probably never have a problem," Matt Mullenweg, a WordPress founder said. WordPress.com users would be wise to heed Mullenweg's words, especially when it comes to two-step authentication. This won't benefit the myriad bloggers who use WordPress software and host their work elsewhere, but Mullenweg's other tips will still help.
Twitter’s Music App Is Real, Beta Testing Confirmed Along With “We Are Hunted” Acquisition
  • According to TechCrunch, this week, music discovery service We Are Hunted confirmed what has been rumored for quite a while, that it had been acquired by Twitter. Both We Are Hunted and Twitter are staying mum about what the team will be doing.
  • There are a lot of possibilities that come along with a standalone music app, most importantly a new revenue source. With enhanced Twitter Cards, fans of music would be able to find the music that their friends are sharing, buy tracks on the spot and re-share it. “There’s no question that Twitter and music go well together,” reads a statement posted on the We Are Hunted home page. “Artists turn to Twitter first to connect with fans, and people share and discover new songs and albums every day. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on at Twitter.”
  • This is a sign that Twitter is becoming a hub for all media: news, photos, videos and now music. All of the pieces are falling into place, and the platform is strong enough to handle all of it now, probably for the first time. Instead of relying on third-party services to bring the content to the platform, the tools are being built to share and interact with the content within the platform.
Facebook Tweaks Tool to Give Ad Buyers Better Feedback
  • According to CNet, Facebook is updating its Ads Manager campaign-tracking tool to provide advertisers with a bit more awareness of how their ads are performing against stated goals. The tweaks are a response to advertiser requests for more data on their ad buys on social-networking sites.
  • The refreshed Ads Manager tool, rolling out over the next few weeks, lets marketers identify their most important campaign goal, such as Page likes or app installs, to better determine the cost for that specific action.
  • The tool is also designed to help buyers calculate the return on their investment (ROI). The ROI changes encompass additional insight into the value of ads that link out to third-party landing pages and Web sites. Advertisers employing conversion tracking, which Facebook supports through tracking pixels, will find that their conversion results are more emphasized, and that Facebook now shows the calculated cost per conversion -- aka the price for a click, registration, purchase, or whatever the advertiser has defined as a conversion -- for each ad.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Starting Political Group
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Mark Zuckerberg is adding a new title to his roster: political organizer. The 28-year old Facebook Inc. chief executive is in the process of co-organizing a political advocacy group made up of top technology leaders that would push federal legislative reform on issues ranging from immigration to education, said people familiar with the development.
  • The group, which so far doesn't have a name, is aiming to raise roughly $50 million and has already secured commitments in the tens of millions of dollars from Mr. Zuckerberg and more than a dozen other tech executives including LinkedIn Corp. founder Reid Hoffman, said these people. The group plans to register as a 501(c)(4), a distinction reserved for social welfare groups that are not organized for profit, said a person familiar with the discussions.
  • Mr. Zuckerberg has told confidantes that the new group will initially be focused on comprehensive immigration reform and making the pathway to U.S. citizenship less complicated for all immigrants, said people familiar with the CEO's thinking. The group also plans to focus on issues including education reform and funding for scientific research. Many Silicon Valley executives including Mr. Zuckerberg and Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt have become more active in local and federal politics of late.
Samsung Confirms Smart Watch as Apple War Moves to Wrist
  • According to LapTop, as fears mount that the smartphone market has become too saturated, a Samsung executive says the time has come to build a smart watch. If you think Samsung has concocted a wearable device just to counter the rumored Apple iWatch, the executive VP of Samsung’s mobile business, Lee Young Hee, wants you to know that the company “has been preparing the watch product for so long.”
  • The Samsung exec also told Bloomberg that Samsung is “working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” Samsung just recently introduced its first wearable gadget for 2013 in the S Band, a Fitbit-like wristband that will sync with the S Health application in the upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone.
  • According to a separate Reuters report, the Samsung smart watch will perform many of the tasks of the smart phone, although the source wouldn’t elaborate. If other smart phone watches on the market are any guide, such as the Martian Watch and I’m Watch, we would expect the Samsung device to make calls, offer some fitness functions, as well as deliver news and social updates at a glance. It’s also possible that Samsung will court developers to make apps for its watch, which could help the brand be even less reliant on Google’s services. Meanwhile, Apple’s watch is said to offer many of the same features, with Bloomberg adding that the iWatch could also let you check your map coordinates and monitor your heart rate.
Matt Cutts on What’s Needed for SEO Success in 2013 and Beyond – Live Blogging
  • According to Search Engine Journal, this past Wednesday, the panel “What’s Needed for SEO Success in 2013 and Beyond” sat down for a session during the final day of SMX West. Made up of industry experts Greg Boser, Annie Cushing, Janet Driscoll Miller, Duane Forrester, Rae Hoffman, and Matt Cutts, the group covered the importance of authorship, SEO strategy, and the evolution of mobile.
  • “Mobile is going to surprise a lot of people,” said Google’s Matt Cutts, “Be sure you look at how your site looks and performs on mobile. It’s important to make sure your site is lean and loads fast, as that’s important on mobile. Look at your server logs and break out mobile vs. desktop - what you will see is an exponential curve and you always want to pay attention to exponential curves.”
  • When asked whether authorship is the new page rank, Cutts recommended the implementation of authorship, stating that, “reputation will matter more and more as we move forward.  Over time, we (Google) will be caring more about identity and social.” And when asked about SEO strategy, Cutts responded clearly and succinctly: “What Google wants is what users want.”
Facebook Unveils Changes to Its News Feed
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook Inc., hoping to keep users logged on longer as it faces competition from myriad new social apps, is tweaking its news feed again. Changes to the feed—the key channel on Facebook's service where users post and consume content—include a more minimal design, larger images and new types of sub-feeds. The revamp reflects a big push to prod users to spend more time on the site and curry favor with brands hoping to be noticed by Facebook's users.
  • Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, during a briefing at Facebook's headquarters Thursday, repeatedly referred to the new design as the foundation for building the "best personalized newspaper." As part of the redesign, friends' photos will now appear larger and shared articles will include bigger images, text and the logos of publishers. Facebook began rolling out the new design for the Web on Thursday, and will soon push it to mobile devices.
  • For location check-ins, Facebook will feature a large map of destinations. For posts about business, users will see their cover pages and pictures of friends who have "liked" the business, in the social network's parlance. The changes highlight the immense challenge for Facebook, as it tries to shore up its stock price while satisfying all the players of its ecosystem: its users, developers and advertisers.

Google Bringing TrueView Ads to Apps, Games
  • Google_logo_transparent 1According to AdWeek, seventy percent of YouTube's in-steam ad views are those skippable TrueView ads, Google’s svp of advertising Susan Wojcicki told attendees of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting on Tuesday in Phoenix, Ariz. And consumers should expect a lot more of TrueView, as Wojcicki announced that now users will soon be seeing—or not seeing—such skippable ads in apps and games.
  • The move marks the first time Google will run TrueView ads against nonvideo inventory, Wojcicki said, and is intended to "enable users to have more choice." Google has previously said, and Wojcicki reiterated, that TrueView ads have led to a 40 percent reduction in the number of people who click away from a video when shown a pre-roll.
  • While a first for TrueView ads, this isn't the first time Google has extended the idea of at-will advertising outside of video. Last October the company introduced the Lightbox format that extends a standard, static ad into a rich-media or video unit when a user mouses over it for a couple of seconds.