Friday Wrap #111: A social web standard, press releases have legs, the rise of “sadvertising”

Friday Wrap #111
Flickr photo courtesy of Loz Pycock
The Friday Wrap (which is what you’re reading) is a curated rundown of news, reports and posts from the past week that, while they didn’t go viral or attract much attention, are still interesting and useful for communications professionals. I select Wrap items from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.

News

W3C to develop social media standards—The World Wide Web Consortium has announced it will develop a standard way to build social network operations into the Web, including adding friends, commenting, and sharing updates with text, photos, and video. The standard also will allow multiple networks to interconnect via a federation model. The standards will allow companies to connect their employees and better interact with customers through their own sites. Read more

Foursquare reinvents itself—Foursquare isn’t about the check-ins any more. The social media app wants to compete with the likes of Yelp and Google Places, relegating check-ins to a new standalone app called Swarm, which will work seamlessly with the new Foursquare app, which will help users find nearby restaurants, bars, and other services. The launch of the new app was accompanied by the unveiling of a new logo. Read more

First robot-written stories published—We knew it was coming, but the first earnings reports written for AP by robots have appeared. Reports for Hasbro, Honeywell, and GE, among others, now include the tagline, “This story was generated automatically by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research.” Read more

Facebook introduces a read-it-later list—Facebook has launched a competitor to Pocket that stores links from your News Feed and Facebook Pages for Places, Events, Movies, TV shows, and music to a list where you can access them later. Dubbed “Save,” the utility will let you stockpile lists and content so you don’t have to stop scrolling through your feed in order to read the items that interest you. Read more

Research

Study details how PR is using social media—For nine years, the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) has surveys PR adoption of social media, producing a longitudinal view of industry practices. Among the findings following the 2014 study: Twitter has replaced Facebook as the most frequently accessed new channel for PR activities. Meanwhile, traditional media’s influence has weakened. Results also showed that “blogs, social and other emerging media are enhancing public relations practice and that social and other emerging media continue to influence traditional mainstream media.” Read more

Press releases still valued, but journalists want them stripped down—Nearly 90% of reporters and editors still find value in press releases, but most want them packaged more efficiently so they can get to the point in less than a minute. Quotes in press releases are still important, but journalists want them to be authentic (that is, the person to whom the quote is attributed actually said it) and substantive. Read more

Sustainability a growing purchase consideration—A significant study of 30,000 consumers around the world reinforces previous studies that found people increasingly consider sustainability in their purchase decision, even actively seeking information on sustainability performance. The study from Accenture and Havas Media also found that people believe business is as accountable as governments for improving their lives. Read more

Native ads okay with readers as long as they’re relevant—Consumers will read sponsored content as long as the story is relevant, they are familiar with and trust the brand, and they believe the brand has subject matter expertise in the topic addressed in the content. The study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edelman Berland also found that telling a good story will attract more readers than pitching a product. Read more

Advertisers happy with Facebook Unpublished Page Posts—Unpublished Page Posts—a relatively new offering that lets advertisers share messages with a select audience that don’t appear on the brand’s timeline—account for just over half of Facebook ads. One short year ago, they represented just 2.9% of the total. Read more

Trends

The rise of “sadvertising”—Storytelling in advertising is increasingly trying to tug at our heartstrings. The shift is based on early successes, like the “Like a Girl” campaign from women’s hygiene brand Always, Verizon’s ads addressing cultural prejudices, and Dove’s “Real Beauty,” the latest ad from which racked up over 37 million YouTube views.  Read more

The Internet of Things is poised to disrupt business—The interconnectedness of devices is advancing rapidly and will have a disruptive effect on business, driving tech firms to shift from providing hardware to delivering services and analyzing data, Read more

Facebook referral traffic skyrockets—The debate over its organic reach rages on, but there’s no doubt that Facebook is driving more and more traffic to websites. it’s the only one of the top eight social networks to drive more traffic from March to June than in the months before. Read more

Applebee’s turns Instagram account over to fans for a year—The concept was first executed by Sweden, which gives an average citizen control of the country’s Twitter account for a week. Several copycat efforts have been launched, by restaurant Applebee’s is the first to do it with its Instagram account. With nearly 800,000 photos tagged #Applebee’s, the chain has decided to turn the account over to its diners for a year. “Our plan is to repost best images from our ‘fantographers’ for an entire year, encourage them through challenges to ignite competitive spirit, and give them social shout-outs to spread some love,” according to marketing communications executive director Shannon Scott. Read more

Social networks deliver the worst customer satisfaction—There aren’t many industries that produce worse customer satisfaction that social networking companies. Only airlines, cable TV and Internet Service Providers fared worse, according to a report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Most are improving over last year’s scores, though, in recognition of the fact that “their long-term prospects may be in jeopardy unless they do better.” Pinterest came out on top among social networks; Facebook trailed the pack. Read more

Vine used by brands for guerrilla marketing—Brands are paying Vine’s most popular producers to incorporate their products into their videos without a “sponsored” or “promoted” label; sometimes only a hashtag makes it clear the producer was paid to produce the video. The product placement concept has gained such widespread appeal that agencies like Gary Vaynerchuk’s GrapeStory are cropping up to connect brands with Vine producers. Read more

Employers increasingly pass on candidates due to their social media posts—As employers more commonly scour social media as a way to check on job candidates, more are opting not to hire a candidate because of content they found there, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Last year, 34% said they passed on candidates over their social media activity; this year the number is up to 43%. Read more

Mobile

Instagram plans Snapchat competitor—For a brief time, the Snapchat mobile app displayed a banner introducing Bolt, a service offering “one tap photo messaging”—and then it was gone. Speculation is high that it’s a Snapchat competitor. Will it be woven into Snapchat? Will it compete with Slingshot, Facebook’s existing ephemeral app? Stay tuned… Read more

Facebook is tops with mobile users who engage with brands—Consumers who access social media via their mobile devices are more likely to interact with brands than those who use computers to access social sites. According to a report from Forrester Research, more American adults still use computers to log into social networking sites, but brand engagement was higher among smartphone and tablet users. Facebook accounted for 25 minutes of social media use on mobile devices, followed by Pinterest at 22 minutes, YouTube at 12 minutes, and Instagram at 10 minutes. Read more