Friday Wrap #42: Updated FTC rules, hashtags on Facebook, Instagram on brand websites, and more2013-03-15
There were plenty of big news items this week, making it easy to overlook some smaller, less flashy reports that were overwhelmed by all the coverage of the papal election, the new Samsung phone and several other stories. Still, there’s value in knowing about these, so let’s get right to them. As always, I collect the stories from which I select the Wrap items on my link blog at LinksFromShel.Tumblr.com.
FTC updates its social media rules
Much was made of the first release of rules governing marketing use of social media by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The update on those rules, however, barely made a ripple. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention, given that the update includes a crackdown on text-message spam, according to a Los Angeles Times report by Salvador Rodriguez. At the core of the crackdown are bait-and-switch messages that promise something free but require a fee. “The FTC is committed to rooting out this deception and stopping it,” the FTC said in a statement. “For consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.” A Reuters report notes that the commission “holds online advertisers to the same standards of honesty and full disclosure as newspapers and television.” The article quotes the FTC’s Lesley Fair, writing in a blog post accompanying the 53-page report: “Advertisers should make sure their disclosures are clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view their ads.” Over on the SHIFT Communications blog, Christopher S. Penn offers some advice on how to handle the rules when tweeting. It’s a spin on several earlier proposals, but is elegant in its simplicity.
Facebook will incorporate hashtag
There has never been anything stopping you from adding a Twitter- or Instagram-like hashtag to a Facebook update or photo. It just did you no good, since nobody could search for hashtags on Facebook. The ubiquitous social network is planning to correct that oversight. Nobody knows how soon the feature will roll out, since there hasn’t been an official announcement, but people familiar with the work being done have said the project is underway. “Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics and build those conversations up, giving users more reason to stay logged in and see more ads,” writes Evelyn M. Rusli and Shira Ovide in a Wall Street Journal post.
Google+ rolls out profile, page enhancements
One of the stories creating buzz this week was Facebook’s update to its news feed. That story overshadowed the introduction of improvements to the Google+ profile and page features. Among them: cover photos, an “about” tab, and local reviews. Get the story from Devon Glenn at SocialTimes.
B2B brands get more leads from social media content
A study from Compete analyzed 6,000 Twitter users who engaged over 400 B2B tech sites at the end of last year. In a blog post, Twitter itself highlighted a couple study results. First, 59% of site users visited the sites of tech companies whose tweets they saw, versus 40% of average online consumers. Second, Twitter users “actively search for B2B tech brands – 30 percent look for these companies, while only 12 percent of average internet users do the same in search,” according to Brafton. This boost is aided by using Twitter’s new lead-generation tool, which lets users download a file in exchange for sharing contact information from directly within Twitter. “Twitter noted that 11 percent of users who engaged Tweets from a B2B tech brand converted shortly after, compared to only 4 percent of average web consumers.”
Instagram is leading brands to reimagine website design
A number of brands are tapping into user-generated images posted to Instagram as fodder for their websites, according to a Mobile Marketer piece by Lauren Johnson. The brands include Taco Bell, Urban Outfitters and Chobani, who are incorporating images shared by some of their most loyal fans. As an example, Johnson points to Urban Outfitters: “The brand has a program called #UOonyou, which encourages consumers to upload photos on Instagram and Twitter for a chance to be featured on the company’s Web site. Once a photo is posted on the site, consumers can roll their mouse over each image to see how many people have liked the picture on Instagram.”
Vimeo adds video capabilities you just won’t find on YouTube
There’s no question that YouTube is the 800-bazillion-pound gorilla of video sharing. But if you want someone to pay for your video, you’re out of luck. Vimeo, which has been around a long time but has nowhere near the name recognition of its behemoth competitor, is looking to differentiate itself by offering just such a service. Peter Kafka, writing for All Things D, says Vimeo will give video owners the ability to sell their work, so “any kind of content owner — not just the big studios — hawk their stuff. And it is giving content owners a bigger cut of each sale. Most video sites usually let content owners keep 70 percent of each sale, but Vimeo is offering 90 percent.”
What you like on Facebook reveals more about you than you may think
A University of Cambridge study has revealed that marketers (and others) can predict an individual’s traits based on looking at what he or she likes on Facebook. Among the characteristics your likes could reveal: “sexual orientation, political leanings, religion, intelligence, emotional stability and even if they abuse drugs or alcohol,” according to a CNN report from Heather Kelley. Some characteristics are revealed using the model researchers developed better than others. For example, they were 95% accurate at predicting whether you were Caucasian or African-American, along with your gender, male sexuality, political leanings and whether you were Christian or Muslim. They could even determine, with 60% accuracy, whether your parents had separated before your 21st birthday.