Friday Wrap #159: Lightning strikes Twitter, Nestle embraces Periscope, measuring mobile moments

Friday Wrap #159
Flickr photo of statues wrapped up on the Harvard campus
courtesy of Frank Hebbert

The Friday Wrap is my weekly collection of news stories, posts, studies, and reports designed to help organizational communicators stay current on the trends and technology that affect their jobs. These may be items that flew under the radar while other stories grabbed big headlines. I collect material from which I select Wrap stories (as well as stories to report on the For Immediate Release podcast) on my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


News

Google’s News Lab looks to future of journalism—Journalists use Google, and Google wants to make sure they can use it to their best possible advantage. To that end, the search giant has launched News Lab, designed to empower journalists with Google resources. In addition to providing access to tools (along with tutorials crafted specifically for newsrooms), Google is also updating Google Trends to provide reporters with “deeper, broader, and real-time data.” The third component of the News Lab is focused on the future of news and information, with enhanced support for media startups and citizen journalists. The overarching idea is to help reporters make the best use of Google in all phases of their reporting, from research to promoting interest in the finished article. Read more

The big change that could be coming to Twitter—Everything you know about Twitter could get shaken up if its Project Lightning goes forward. The idea is to offer a button in the center of the Twitter mobile app’s menu bar that will deliver useful information in real time, all curated by real people and sent to you based on your location and other personal data. The editorial team will package up tweets, images, and video that explain the big stories of the day, all of which will become Twitter’s core component and will be embeddable across the Net. Project Lightning could represent the demise (or demotion) of the Twitter timeline and kill the idea that Twitter is a social network. Read more

Watch Periscope replays on the web—With the Periscope app, you can watch what someone streamed for 24 hours, but until now, you couldn’t do that on the web. The latest Periscope update—announced, of course, on a Periscope stream—enables anyone to replay a stream for 24 hours on their desktop browser. Read more

Meanwhile, Instagram wants to beat Twitter at its own game—Instagram’s 300 million users post all kinds of photos, including shots from where news is happening. An update to the app’s Explore button will feature a curated collection of images from users that focus on current events. Twitter has had a lock on breaking news, but an Instagram representative said Twitter’s focus on text precludes helping people feel like they’re a part of what’s going on. The new Instagram feature will help people see live media happening immediately from locations where news is happening. Read more

Quartz launches charts-only site—Digital-only business news site Quartz (from Atlantic) published 4,000 charts last year. The site has now launched Atlas, where you can access those charts, along with all the data behind them, and embed them on your own site. Read more

Nestle is the first brand to run a sponsored Periscope stream—While a lot of communicators are still in the dark about the live mobile video streaming app, Periscope, Nestle ran a weekend-long campaign over the app. The Swiss company, promoting its Drumstick ice cream brand, connected with Periscope personalities (yes, there are already Periscope personalities) who broadcast classic summertime scenes (and included the hashtag #ad to stay in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s recently-strengthened guidelines). Read more

Investors pony up for visual content marketing engine—Olapic, a service that curates consumer-generated images and videos for use as brand assets, has raised $15 million in a Series B funding round. It’s another sign of the rising importance of visual communication in an increasingly mobile world. Read more

Trends

Programmatic advertising is coming to marketing—Communicators are woefully behind when it comes to data and automation, but they’re both coming fast whether or not we’re ready. Advertisers are using programmatic advertising—automated systems that identify the best device for placing an ad and adding it, all within seconds, and all with consumer response tracking built in. Twenty percent of digital advertising currently is delivered programmatically. According to a Harvard Business Review article, it’s all going to be part of the way organizations market, with advertising budgets transformed into marketing investments. Read more

New research provides insights into the Deep Web—Much of the Internet is never indexed or accessible via search engine. It’s behind authentication barriers and other means of keeping it from being visible, and it includes the “dark web,” which requires the use of special tools (like the Tor browser). A new study from Trend Micro offers some insight into the Deep Web, including its size (huge) and its uses (scoring weed). It’s also used by good people for good purposes. Read more

Mobile and Wearables

Study reinforces earlier reports on mobile app usage—American smartphone users spend 85% of their time on smartphones with apps, but almost as much time—84%—is spent with just five apps that users have downloaded and installed from an app store. Which five depends on the user, but the data reinforces a long-held belief that there’s a limit to how many apps people actually use, despite how many they may install. For communicators, that means the app your company deployed requires some serious communication to inspire people to open and use it. Read more

How should we measure app success?—The metric for assessing the success of a mobile app is downloads. What we should be measuring is how the apps are being used during a “mobile moment,” Forrester Research’s label for that instant when someone reaches for their phone in order to get information they need based on where they are, what they’re doing, and other contextual cues. Read more

Shipments of wearables poised to explode—More than 72 million wearable units will ship in 2015, according to estimates from International Data Group (IDG), representing growth of 173% over 2014. An IDG analyst called the surging demand for wearables “astounding.” Read more

Google innovates wearable for monitoring patients—Google has developed a wrist-worn, sensor-laden device that transmits detailed information about a patient to a doctor, even when the patient is away from the hospital. Data monitored by the device includes heart rhythm, pulse, skin temperature, and environmental data such as exposure to light and noise. Read more

Research

Engagement with brand content is on the rise—Engagement with brand content in the U.S. grew 52% in the first quarter of 2015 versus the same period a year earlier, and it’s growing faster than brands can produce the content with which people engage. Users engaged with content (liking, sharing, and favoriting across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) nearly 13 billion times in the quarter, and it wasn’t the volume of content that drove all that interaction. Of the 100,000 brands tracked in the study, 25 accounted for 12% of consumer engagement, including National Geographic, Buzzfeed, the NBA, Forever 21, Fox News, the Huffington Post, and People. Read more

Sharing matters—Do all those Pin It, Tweet It, and Share It buttons make a difference? Christopher Penn, SHIFT Communications’ Marketing Technology VP, applied some analytics to his own site in order to find out. Indeed, sharing mattered a lot; he was able to identify a strong correlation between shares and pageviews. He also found out LinkedIn mattered most, though the connection between social sharing and pageviews was strong across all the key social sharing sites. Penn then explores what else he can learn from the data, as well as from tests to see what kinds of actions produce changes in the results. It’s an instructive post the principles of which you should consider applying to your brand’s social efforts. Read more