#TheStream – Issue 24

Batten down the hatches, it’s time for #TheStream.

Peter Gabriel Crowdsourcing ‘Sledgehammer’ Video Remake

Remember the music video to ‘Sledgehammer’? Well to help Peter Gabriel celebrate the 25th anniversary of his album ‘So’ he is asking his Facebook fans to help him recreate the video.

Using the ‘Grab Your Sledgehammer’ app on the Peter Gabriel Facebook page you can choose which section you want to recreate, upload from YouTube and choose your favourites out of those already submitted. The end result will certainly be very interesting!

Oh and if you are too young to remember ‘Sledgehammer’ wrap your eyes and ears around this:

Catchy no?

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#TheStream Issue 9

Hello and welcome to issue 9 of #TheStream. If you missed last week’s top news in social, tech and marketing then this is the place for you. There was one headline last week that we would expect you to have heard of however…

A big week for Facebook – IPO & Another Acquisition

IPO Time

Well with all the hype of the Superbowl, Facebook’s IPO went live on Friday, and, well, frankly did exactly what was expected. Finishing at $0.23 above its initial offering and never dipping below (thanks to some clever people who know how to control these things…not my speciality) the final valuation of the social platform is $105.19 billion. This makes it worth more than Amazon, Disney, McDonalds and Visa and is also the biggest internet IPO in history. Not bad for a company that has only existed for eight years and whose revenue last year was $3.7 billion.

The social data company DataSift created this interesting graphic overlaying Twitter sentiment onto the rise and fall in stock price of Facebook. Interestingly it mirrors the value, but don’t go betting all your money on the stock market just yet:

The important point to take out of this from a marketing perspective is simply, we were right. Facebook and other social media platforms are here to stay and Facebook’s IPO just cements this even further. And to use the company’s famous inspiration line; “This journey is 1% finished.”

With Facebook now a publicly traded company this means that everyone will now be able to have access to key data that will be provided by its reports. From the initial IPO filing socialbakers pulled together these top 5 Facebook stats:

  • Facebook’s worldwide MAUs (Monthly Active Users) reached 901M in March 2012
  • Facebook’s DAUs (Daily Active Users) reached 526M in March 2012
  • Facebook’s DAUs in Europe (152M) surpassed the number of DAUs in the US & Canada (129M)
  • Facebook in Asia is just behind the US with 119M DAUs
  • Facebook advertising revenue reached $872M at the end of March 2012

Facebook Acquires Karma 

No, Mark hasn’t changed his name to Earl. Facebook is getting into the gift app game with the acquisition of Karma and its team. Announced on the company’s blog, the co-founders Lee and Ben stated that the application and service will continue to operate in full and that the team will be moving to the Facebook HQ. Below is a 19 minute video from April by Robert Scoble where he interviews Lee and looks at the app and its tight use of the Facebook platform.

This is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s another high profile acquisition by Facebook of a top quality and well thought of mobile application and its talented team. Secondly, it’s further proof that that the mobile gift app trend isn’t going away and is likely to be something that we see a lot more of in the near future. Brands and marketers should take note of this trend, not only from a platform perspective but also a user behaviour one. Retail stores in particular should be looking at this kind of application as it provides a very big opportunity.

Karma isn’t available outside of the US (hopefully there will be an international roll-out soon) but there are other gifting apps that you can check out in the meantime. Our recommendation is to look at the application Wrapp (iTunes, Android). This is the app that is making the most noise around the EU right now and has recently come into some strong investment.

Microsoft Launches “Experimental” Social Layer

Coming out of Microsoft’s research division FUSE Labs is a new social search platform called so.cl (pronounced “social”). In actuality this has been around since December of last year but has only just begun to move out of beta and roll-out to others outside of its original small test group of students. Don’t expect to be able to sign up straight away as there is a waiting list (please stop signing up so I can get in).

The idea behind so.cl is to be a social search research tool for students. Students can use Bing to create boards of information around a topic that can then be shared or searched by other students. There is also a very neat “Video Party” feature that allows you to watch and discuss videos with others in a group.

Don’t be fooled by the “student” messaging though. This is very much Microsoft’s reaction to Google+, whereby it begins to add a social layer that brings different products together under one roof. Whether successful as a product or not is not what is important. This is about one of the biggest software companies doing research into its users and applying social to its products. Unlike Google however they are not prepared to roll this out all in one go, which is understandable giving the reaction to any changes in Office. If successful we can expect to see so.cl being added to more places. If not, it’s a nice experiement of which the results of will influence further social integration in their products in the near future.

Remember Facebook started out as a student network…

Google Introduces The Knowledge Graph

With what is possibly the greatest development in search (depending on how you feel about the Search, Plus Your World announcement), Google are rolling out the Knowledge Graph. Simply, it takes your search and pulls together all relevant information that you could need that then sits alongside the search results.

“The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query.”

Here is an example of what it will look like:

Twitter Has 10 Million Active UK Users

This is a great insight into Twitter in the UK and further enhances the importance of using the information platform. This means over 16% of the population of the UK are using the platform. Also of note is the fact that the global use of Twitter on mobile is 55% putting the UK at the number one spot with mobile Twitter penetration at 80%.

In comparison Facebook currently sits at around the 49.9% UK population penetration mark.

BBC’s Video Streaming Integrates Twitter

The BBC have announced a hugely ambitious video streaming program that as you can see from the video above looks set to be the very best video streaming of a sporting event that we have seen to date. The Twitter integration will include pulling in the latest Tweets from individual athletes to sit alongside their profiles as well as live reactions from the general public.


And finally…

Well that’s it for another week! What are your thoughts on the past week? Let us know in the comments below.

Bing Goes Social

The promise of social having a major impact on search came true in January when Google integrated Google+ into search results. Now Microsoft are going one step further by building into Bing’s search results Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger and in the future Linkedin, Quora and Foursquare.

“The new Bing introduces a brand new information architecture with a three column design that focuses on bringing you information from the web to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience.”

Promo video:

This is a much more advanced version of social integration into search results than Google’s and clearly Microsoft have been listening carefully to the complaints that people had about “Search, Plus Your World”. The Verge have put together this great walkthrough video that explains how it works:

“The new Bing isn’t there yet, but it’s clearly heading in that direction with some tweaking and optimization. “We’re annotating algorithmic results to actually get stuff done,” Weitz told me. While algorithmic search results are still there, the new Bing points you towards real people who you can ask for information, because as VP Derrick Connell mentioned earlier, people want perspective and not just raw search results.”

Check out The Verge’s full article for a complete run down of the New Bing.

This integration of social networks into Bing and the way it has been handled shows the power that the new web has. Putting people at the centre vastly improves the experience for the user. It’s safe to say that Google will be looking at this very carefully and don’t be surprised to see other social networks more closely integrated into their search product in the not so distant future.

Although not fully featured just yet Microsoft’s new Bing is clearly heading in the right direction and is slowly chipping away at Google’s dominance. However they’ll need to do something quite spectacular to get significant mind share over Google.

Source: Bing BlogThe Verge

Real time sharing – it's the now

Yep that is one awful headline but I couldn’t think of anything less cheesy. It is however true.

The last 24-48hrs have seen the Facebook “frictionless sharing” debate come full front and centre once again. From what we are reading, to where we are, will be shared with people across our networks and through technology without us having to worry about hitting the ‘share‘ button.It would appear, most who are talking about real time sharing are in the “OMG this is going to end the world” camp (slight exaggeration I’ll grant you that). I am in the other camp and this is why. (Oh and if you missed it have a read of MG Siegler’s post from earlier today, it probably articulates my point better anyway).

Apple, Google and Microsoft are preparing us, Facebook is pushing us, and companies like Twitter and Foursquare have already got some of us there (it would appear a few of us are yet to realise this). Real time sharing, or as Facebook eloquently puts it, frictionless sharing, is an aspect of the new web that will become the norm in a few years.

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Best Practice in Social Media with the IAB

It’s seven in the morning and I’m sitting on a train thinking about best practice guides. Actually, I’m thinking about what is best practice for writing best practice guides. Headstream is part of the IAB social media council and we’ve taken the lead on putting together a best practice guide for advertisers deploying social media. By lead, I mean that I have promised to write up what we agree together. The team is a very talented collective of social practitioners, refreshingly not all from agency land. Katy Howell (Immediate Futures), Amy Miller (LinkedIn), Hussain Chowdhury (Habbo), John Pritchard (Microsoft), Daan Jansonius (Socialmedia8), Tom Gray (Imagination) and Sophia Amin (IAB). A useful bunch, which is helpful considering the task.

So best practice. First, the definition:

- Generally accepted
– Informally standardised techniques, methods and processes proven over time to accomplish tasks
– Commonly used when no formal methodology is in place or when what is in place is insufficient
– Through processes, checks and testing the outcome is delivered efficiently, reducing risk and complications
– Best practice maintains quality without formal regulation
– Needs to balance the unique qualities of the advertiser with the practices common to others

At the last meeting, we were asked to organise ourselves into four teams; strategy, measurement, regulation and best practice. Obviously I picked  the last, not because I didn’t want to stand up and move, but on the basis that this is the sharp end of social. The stuff people really need. So next, what should go into the guide? The good news here is at least three of the sections will be covered by my colleagues in the other teams, so strategy, measurement and regulation are in. But what else? Starters for ten:

- Making the business case
– Resourcing
– Deployment
– Campaign or programme management
– Risk and rewards

Thanks to Katy’s Hospital Club membership, we’re meeting up to talk further in one of the few bits of London that I know well enough not to get lost getting there. No guide needed.

‘From Silicon Roundabouts to a Silicon World’ #smwldn

‘From Silicon Roundabouts to a Silicon World’, a Social Media Week event hosted by the UKT&I this morning, looked at how UK brands need to think about behaving as they expand their businesses internationally.

The theme the panel came back to repeatedly, and what is emerging as a theme of the week at events I’ve attended and followed, is that wherever they do business, be it Bolton or Boston, brands need to understand their communities in a few different ways.

First, where are they?  Microsoft’s Mel Carson made the important point that companies need to remember that social media is not just about Twitter & Facebook. Should you consider using rich media, mobile technology or gaming to connect?  He also pointed out that old-fashioned email remains an important tool to include in a social strategy.  Apparently 25% of Facebook traffic still comes via Hotmail accounts.

Moonfruit’s Wendy Tan White emphasised the need to consider what your brand’s community wants.  The agency is launching a new website soon, that will merge its internal and external communities removing, what she called the ‘walled garden’ around what could be a brand’s most important advocates, it’s employees.

As for how you engage with your communities, there are a huge range of technological toys to play with these days, but as Nokia’s Ash Choudhury pointed out, it’s not about the technology, it’s what you do with it that counts.  If your brand’s priority is B2B, your time may be better spent developing meaningful niche networks with the few hundred followers you have on Twitter, than focusing resources in other areas that may go for maximum, rather than meaningful impact.

As this was a UKT&I event, the question had to be asked – what is the UK’s brand strength? Tan White highlighted the UK’s reputation as a leader in design and innovation, Choudhury and Carson championed the UK’s reputation as a barometer of change, quick to pick up and also move on from trends compared to other markets and therefore, something of an early warning system for brands who want to stay ahead of the game

E3’s games industry buzzword: Social

The fact that these guys and a lot of girls too were engaging in strong communities surrounding their favourite hobby was neither here nor there. There is an argument that these were the first truly online social networks, people just hadn’t thought of the word for it then.

Fast forward to E3 2010 and you cannot escape the mainstream media or the buzz word social. It is simply everywhere and for good reason. The Wii changed everything almost overnight and now Microsoft and Sony want a bit of that action. Plus the advent of Facebook, Twitter and online social games sites such as OMGPOP have made connecting and communicating with your friends and opponents that much easier and fun!

However Nintendo clearly has a very different opinion to its Japanese and American counterparts as to what “social” means. It was very clear from their press conference that they were not going to announce a social network like that of Xbox Live or Playstation Network. Although highly frustrating for this here gamer as I’d love to show off my Mario skills online! What Nintendo were talking about though shows perhaps why they are more successful. They talked about your real life social network of your family and friends and actually getting people together in one place to enjoy their latest titles. This perhaps is where they are still the most exciting company as they are sticking to their values much more resolutely than ever before. They are perhaps still missing a trick though by not having an online network, I would suggest that we may see something when the successor to the Wii comes along in a year or two.

Microsoft and Sony, as well as a large number of the developers and publishers, are all talking about their social networks, social integration and social interaction with their user base. I lost count how many times that word was said at the massive press conferences. Not that it’s a bad thing; it’s fantastic to see these companies doing what the games industry does best and pushing the technology forward.

On the quiet side to this manic week there has been a development that not many people will yet be aware of. Apple’s Game Centre became available to developers hinting that we may well see this new games based social network arriving soon. Taking the well established ideas of achievements, gamertags etc from XBL, PSN and Steam and adding an Apple twist to only further cement the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as genuinely serious gaming devices.

Social is going to be a corporate buzz word for a long time in the games industry, it may take a back seat to 3D or maybe even “Virtual Reality”, but as long as gamers of both hardcore and casual persuasion want to engage with their friends and enemies online and offline this is now the established standard which games have to be part of. Much like multiplayer, people will question value if their games don’t have social functionality. Let’s hope though that the developers and publishers are clever and don’t just bolt it on as an afterthought, which unfortunately will probably be what we see a lot of the time.

Samuel Hilary – Games Geek