Facebook tests ads in Messenger

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

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Facebook, Snapchat deals produce meagre results for news outlets

Newspapers and other media outlets are struggling to make money from their partnerships with tech giants such as Facebook and Snapchat, according to trade group Digital Content Next, (DCN), raising concerns about their business models in a news landscape increasingly dominated by social media platforms. DCN found that 17 of its members generated an average of $7.7 million in the first half of 2016 from third-party platforms – 14% of their total digital revenue - but the publishers remained ambivalent about commitments to helping them make money on the platform. The survey of 19 DCN members, which included the Financial Times, ESPN, Bloomberg, NBC, and The New York Times, seems to show that while many publishers are trying hard to develop distributed content strategies, the distributed content platforms are not returning sufficient monetisation for the high-quality content that gives those platforms credibility among users and advertisers. The report, which offers a rare look at how much publishers are making from social distribution, shows that the majority of publishers’ distributed revenue came from YouTube, as newer platforms have failed to turn into meaningful revenue streams. While working with Facebook or Snap helps them reach bigger and younger audiences, reliance on the third-party platforms instead of their own websites means losing out on valuable advertising and subscription opportunities. A spokesperson for Snap responded by saying that the report’s figures were not representative of the revenue opportunities its Discover section offers publishers. However, while the platforms have challenges, most of their publisher partnership programmes are relatively new and constantly evolving and the platforms have been increasing their efforts to build relationships with publishers in recent months. Several media companies have dedicated staff to create content for Snapchat, hoping to reach younger audiences that use it. Yet so far, Snapchat ‘holds little to no short-term financial interest’ for publishers. Snapchat recently changed its model from splitting ad sales with publishers to paying them a licensing fee. The new licensing model ‘may translate into a limited upside for monetization by publishers,’ the report found.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

Cosmopolitan’s new influencer network signs up River Island as first client

Cosmopolitan has launched a millennial influencer network to help brands drive their commercial campaigns. It has signed up eight influencers with interests in fashion, beauty and lifestyle and plans to recruit more over time, keen to cover areas such as entertainment, music and art in the network. The influencers are all female and include the Instagram account of ‘fashion obsessed pug’ @sukiandthecity, with over 25.2K followers. River Island has become the network’s first client wishing to promote its new denim campaign which launches in February. The campaign will feature four of the influencers, including lifestyle blogger Lottie Murphy, and will give the fashion retailer access to the influencers combined reach of 265,000 followers, as well as Cosmopolitan’s wider audience of millions. The influencers will share posts on each of their social feeds to promote the denim campaign, while the publication will style them with pieces from River Island’s denim collection for a double-page advertorial in the March issue. The influencers will also feature in three-branded videos which will be shared on Cosmopolitan’s Snapchat Discover platform. Duncan Chater, chief revenue officer at Hearst Magazines UK, said: ‘The Cosmopolitan Influencer Network allows clients the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Cosmopolitan and our pool of influencers to generate bespoke content to help engage the women they want to reach.’

Social Media Brands...

Facebook tests ads in Messenger

Facebook has begun trialling ads on its mobile messaging app’s home screen. The social network said the ‘very small test’ will be launched in Australia and New Zealand and will allow businesses to place an ad on Messenger’s user interface. The card-style ads are reported to be fairly prominent and will appear below a user’s recent conversations, including image thumbnails along with text and a link. Clicking on the link can provide more information about a business or let users sign up to a service. Facebook has promised that the adverts will not appear in conversations, unless a user chooses to launch the ad and start a conversation with the brand. Messenger has over one billion monthly users and the social network noted people are sending over one billion messages to brands each month. ‘Businesses have long been telling us that they are excited about the potential of the Messenger platform to reach their customers and help them to drive sales, build brand awareness and increase customer satisfaction,’ revealed Facebook product manager Eddie Zhang when announcing the ad trial.

Snapchat launches football lenses

Snapchat has joined forces with a number of top European football clubs to launch a series of bespoke lenses which will allow fans to add real-time filters to their selfies to highlight their support. The lenses were first made available to fans of 13 clubs across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain until 22 January, and are now available at each team’s stadium for the rest of the season. In the UK, supporters of Chelsea, Arsenal. Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City will be able to paint their face in their team colour, as well as head a ball in real time. Users can post Snaps to My Story for all their friends to view, or share them as a picture or video message with friends. As well as in the stadium, fans will be able to access the lenses when visiting their team’s training ground and official shop. Other clubs taking part include Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Paris St Germain. Ben Schwerin, vice-president of partnerships at Snap, explained the real-time filters were launched to appeal to the football fans among Snapchats 50 million daily users in Europe. He added: ‘These new lenses give fans a dynamic, fun way to get in on the action and show support for their team.’ Schwerin revealed that top talent including Neymar at Barcelona and Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea have been using the social network to share behind the scenes moments with supporters. In December, Manchester City managed to acquire a pair of Snap’s elusive spectacles, becoming the first Premier League club to use the technology on match-days to provide excusive content to their fans.

Social media addiction may be in the genes, according to scientists

DNA influences how long people spend on social media, chat rooms and online gaming, according to a study by Kings College London. Scientists found that up to 39% of the difference between the highest and lowest users was due to the influence of genes, indicating people are not ‘helplessly’ consuming media. The study examined online media use in over 8500 16-year-old twins and compared identical twins – who share 100% of their genes – with non-identical twins – who share only half their genes. Previous research has linked obsessive social media use with depression and poor sleep. The latest findings suggest people are not ‘passive recipients of their environment,’ but instead actively choose their experiences, with these choices correlated with their genetic propensities. Genetic inheritance was responsible for 39% of the time the teenagers spent on websites for entertainment, 34% for the use of the internet for educational purposes and 39% for the time spent on online gaming. Facebook use was slightly less influenced by genes at 24%. ‘Our findings contradict popular media theories, which typically view the media as an external entity that has some effect – either good or bad – on ‘helpless’ consumers’, said lead researcher Ziada Ayorech, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Kings College London. The scientists noted that environmental factors do have an influence on media consumption, such as how much access a person has and the availability of online media. But when these environmental factors diminish, genetic propensity reflects usage.

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