Facebook tells advertisers to speed up their mobile sites

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights.

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Instagram's stories diverges from Snapchat's by suggesting who to follow

Snapchat refuses to recommend accounts, but Instagram is betting that algorithmically personalised suggestions could make its new stories feature addictive.  Snapchat’s stories pioneered the ephemeral slideshow format, and while Instagram has not detailed how its clone is growing, Instagram’s Blake Barnes says the company is “really excited to see how quickly they’ve caught on, whether with everyday users or celebrities and brands.”  Meanwhile, Snapchat’s quirky design may hinder its future growth.  Instagram’s stories is more or less identical to Snapchat’s, but with small tweaks that make the feed easier to navigate.  Compared with Snapchat, Instagram is especially more intuitive for first-time users, and that gives people around the world, particularly in foreign markets where Instagram is better established, one less reason to ever try Snapchat.  The launch of Instagram’s stories doubled the workload for businesses, celebrities and ‘influencers’, who now post to both.  But some are considering how often they post to Snapchat - or if they even have to take it as seriously as they once did - given that it has fewer subscribers than Instagram.  But at least one influencer thinks the passion of Snapchat users is stronger, and they engage more. And Snapchat still has more fun features, for now, including its quirky lenses.  Facebook is known to be investing in similar technology, and most people think it's just a matter of time before it adopts lenses, too.

In a direct comparison of using both Instagram and Snapchat stories, Instagram’s product might be seen to lag behind in some areas. But it connects better with real friends, and the rewind feature makes consumption easy to control. “It has the early signs of being a product people love,” says Barnes.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

River Island launches novel in-store activated Snapchat filters

River Island is partnering with Snapchat to campaign with bespoke branded filters that only activate in-store - the first time such functionality has been deployed.  The location-based ‘Snap & Share’ campaign allows users in River Island stores to access filters that highlight key brand and cultural messages. The campaign runs for three months in support of a new polaroid-inspired advertising campaign, and to encourage engagement a competition will offer users sharing the bespoke filters the chance to win a £1000 shopping spree and digital camera. River Island marketing director Josie Roscop says while Instagram remains the brand’s most important channel, it is also keenly experimenting, and this Snapchat campaign aims to tie together the social and physical worlds. “We’re not expecting this to drive massive levels of footfall.  It is more about getting our customers to engage with the brand and share their opinion in a way that merges both digital and offline. For some, this type of activity can make the store experience fun again,” she says.

River Island is following the example of Burberry, which developed QR-style 'Snapcodes' on its products in April in partnership with the platform to give consumers access to exclusive content when they are in stores.

How to get to know customers better by monitoring social media sentiment

Comments on social media can be skewed towards either gushing praise or damning criticism, but social listening is an important addition to the mix of customer feedback” says a recent article in Raconteur examining the benefits of using social media listening to understand consumer sentiment.

Marcus Gault, Managing Director of Insight at Kantar Media, discusses the methods adopted by businesses looking for insight into what customers are saying about their brands, competitors and industry across social media; "To capitalise on the rich insights that online platforms produce, companies have to go beyond counting up quantitative metrics such as ‘likes’ and understand the sentiment and topics of conversations” says Gault. “Many businesses are now choosing to make a bigger investment in services that offer human analysis of online conversations,  giving a much more sophisticated understanding of how and why consumers are talking about a company or subject.”

Social Media Brands...

Facebook tells advertisers to speed up their mobile sites

Facebook is warning advertisers to speed up their mobile websites or face restrictions on where and when their ads appear across its service. Facebook has outlined ways advertisers can technically improve their websites, noting reports that up to 40% of website visitors abandon a site once there has been a loading delay of 3 seconds.  “Many businesses haven’t optimized their website for mobile yet and still have very slow loading times. This can lead to negative experiences for people, and problems for businesses such as site abandonment, missed business objectives and inaccurate measurement,” a Facebook spokesman said.  And while Facebook says it will consider “website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system,” it remains unclear if advertisers might have to pay more if they have slow-loading websites.  To help shorten mobile site load times, Facebook currently “prefetches” content posted to its service from publishers’ websites, and it is now extending that functionality to advertising as well.

Google has also been pushing marketers and publishers to speed up their mobile websites and already uses page load speed as a signal to rank websites on its search engine results pages.

Twitter to share ad revenue with video creators

Twitter says it is now sharing advertising revenue with video creators on its platform, and the split is reported to be generous, with creators getting 70 percent of the cut and Twitter keeping the rest. These are far better margins than are available to video creators on YouTube, which pays 55 percent of the video ad revenue. But Twitter is a video minnow compared to YouTube and Facebook, with the latter now committed to becoming a “video first” company.  Twitter says approved US creators will have the option to check a box when they upload their video granting permission to play commercials before the video runs. Twitter recently increased the maximum length of videos that can be tweeted from 30 seconds to 140 seconds and it is also expanding its number of livestreaming video events, across entertainment, news, and sports.

Twitter is offering users a new media library including GIFs and stickers and it already owns some key properties to help it push video, including Periscope and the social media agency Niche. The latter, which pairs its 35,000 or so video creators with brands, could be a natural fit for Twitter’s attempt to monetize video, especially as its live sports streams get underway.

FreedomPop launches WhatsApp SIM card in the UK

“Disruptive” telecoms start-up FreedomPop is launching the UK’s first WhatsApp-only sim card in a move which it hopes will shake-up established players in the telecoms sector. Users get unlimited free data when using the messaging app, as well as an additional 200 megabytes of general internet allowance and 100 minutes of voice calls each month - for free. The roll-out follows a £38m investment by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and other high profile backers including Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstromm.  The company says the deal will work across 31 mobile networks worldwide, including the US, Germany, France, Portugal, and Italy.  FreedomPop denies there is any potential conflict with European regulations regarding net neutrality and prefers to cite research predicting the decline in traditional text messaging in favour of services like WhatsApp. "There really is no reason anyone should have to pay for voice and text in today’s environment,” says FreedomPop's Chris Chen, adding: "WhatsApp usage in the UK is soaring and mobile companies see it as a massive threat to take away from their voice and text revenues."

WhatsApp has been hoovering up business as consumers increasingly switch from traditional phone calls and texts towards internet based apps such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Cumulatively this is expected to result in a $54bn loss of business to mobile network providers this year.

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