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Snapchat stories: Here’s how 6 news orgs are thinking about the chat app

Nieman Lab

When Sam Sheffer, The Verge’s social media editor, launched the site’sSnapchat account at the end of July last year, he meant it to be a small-scale experiment.

“I only promoted it on my personal Twitter account,” Sheffer told me. “I didn’t make it an official thing that it was our account, I just told my followers, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to be doing this thing. Follow if you want to.’”

But soon the audience started growing; today, The Verge’s snaps each get about 10,000 views. The Verge, like many news organizations that are active on Snapchat, still views it as an experiment, trying out new ways to use the format — from covering live events like the NBA All-Star Game or the Oscars to a regular series where Sheffer has Verge staffers explain what’s on their desks.

Snapchat’s popularity is booming. Last year, it said that its users sent more than 700 million snaps daily; the company is reportedly in a new funding round that would value the company at $19 billion.

Snapchat’s potential for news outlets became more clear last month with the launch of Snapchat Discover, which lets a small number of publishers reach new younger audiences with well-produced stories that are made specifically for the platform and utilize slick graphics and video. No one is releasing hard numbers yet, but the buzz is they’re amazing. (“But from speaking to people at several other news organizations, I can tell you secondhand that the numbers, at least for the initial launch period, were enormous. We’re talking millions of views per day, per publisher.”)

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Bloomberg’s Justin Smith: ‘Platforms have done a better job at media.’

DIGIDAY

It has been a year and a half since Justin Smith became the global CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group with the mandate of making the Bloomberg LP media arm a household name with business executives around the world. Since then, Bloomberg Media has made a slew of new hires across sales, marketing and editorial. The unit has introduced Bloomberg Politics, with other verticals to follow, and relaunched its flagship site, Bloomberg.com.

In an interview, Smith talked about how publishers can compete with Facebook, why print still has a place at Bloomberg, and what he admires about Snapchat.

Bloomberg Media just launched a new ad campaign. What’s the message you’re hoping to get out?
The thing that we’ve been doing, and the reason I came to Bloomberg, is that I believe we’re one of the few companies — large, established, global media companies — that’s truly trying to marry the best of traditional with the most cutting-edge approaches and formats that are emerging from startup media. There’s a global road show, and we’re getting positive feedback. So while the brand has been well-known, I think the exciting part of these conversations is some of the new products. We’re already seeing double-digit traffic growth on the unique front as well as on the page view front.

Which startups do you look to for inspiration?
It’s hard not to admire what all the technology platforms have achieved, from Google to Facebook to LinkedIn and Snapchat now. They are at-scale, large organizations; they have figured out modern media in a better way than traditional media has. To look at how those technology platforms have created mobile content interfaces that have become market-leading, or advertising solutions they have developed that are market-leading or beating because of their measurability — they have to be the first stop in any media watcher’s process.

Publishers are approaching them with some wariness, though. Where do you stand?

I think it’s interesting that traditional publishers always complain about the platforms taking away eyeballs and not sharing. This frenemy type of dynamic: Facebook being the latest focus. The reason for their complaint is quite simple: These platforms have done a better job at media than media themselves. They’ve created better media content mousetraps. They are to a large extent wiping the table on digital advertising solutions that are measurable and data-driven.

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The State of Social Media in 2015

Econtent

When you were a youngster and wanted to meet new people and make friends, you had to travel to an event such as an ice cream social. Today, connecting with friends can be accomplished instantly via a few clicks a la social media.

If you need further evidence of social media’s omnipresent influence nowadays, take a gander at We Are Social’s “Digital Statshot 002″ report, which reveals that there are currently about 2 billion active social media accounts worldwide-equating to a whopping penetration of 28% of the planet’s population, with about roughly 1.6 billion of these accounts active via mobile. What’s more, 72% of all internet users are currently active on social media, and 93% of marketers use social media for business.

Social platforms also continue to increase and, for the most part, thrive. In order, the top 10 most popular social networking sites (according to eBizMBA, Inc.) are Facebook (900 million estimated unique monthly visitors), Twitter (310 million), LinkedIn (255 million), Pinterest (250 million), Google+ (120 million), Tumblr (110 million), Instagram (100 million), VK (80 million), Flickr (65 million), and Vine (42 million).

Ask industry experts and they’ll tell you that social media has rapidly evolved from a niche digital channel into an indispensible and expected feature that’s fully integrated into the online experience for users everywhere. “Social media is no longer just for fun, but now provides an essential communication and research function to individuals,” says Annette A. Penney, online marketing strategist for Inspire and Acquire. “We now often prefer to communicate with our friends, family members, and work colleagues through our social media accounts rather than call them on the phone.”

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Mark Zuckerberg Q&A: The Full Interview on Connecting the World

Bloomberg Business

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has a big, expensive goal: to connect the world to the Internet. He spoke with Emily Chang about his plans, after returning from a trip through Southeast Asia and India last year as part of his Internet.org initiative. The interview airs Feb. 19 on Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

You are a year and half into this. Tell me your vision; tell me what inspired you to do this.

Zuckerberg: When people are connected, we can just do some great things. They have the opportunity to get access to jobs, education, health, communications. We have the opportunity to bring the people we care about closer to us. It really makes a big difference. The Internet is how we connect to the modern world, but today, unfortunately, only a little more than a third of people have access to the Internet at all. It’s about 2.7 billion people, and that means two-thirds of people don’t have any access to the Internet. So that seems really off to me.

There are all these studies that show that in developing countries, more than 20 percent of GDP growth is driven by the Internet. There have been studies that show if we connected a billion more people to the Internet, 100 million more jobs would be created, and more than that would be lifted out of poverty. So there is just this deep belief here at Facebook that technology needs to serve everyone. Connectivity just can’t be a privilege for people in the richest countries. We believe that connecting everyone in the world is one of the great challenges of our generation, and that’s why we are happy to play whatever small part in that that we can.

What has been your single greatest achievement, and what has been your biggest setback?

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Photoshop at 25: A Thriving Chameleon Adapts to an Instagram World

New York Times

The history of digital technology is full of innovations that are praised for having changed the world: the Mac, Microsoft Windows, the Netscape Navigator browser, the iPod and countless others. Then there are the many products that changed the world and were suddenly overtaken by some newer, supposedly better thing: the Mac, Microsoft Windows, Netscape Navigator, the iPod and countless others.

What’s rarer in tech is the product that causes major changes, hits turbulence and then, after some nimble adjustment, finds a surprising new audience.

This week is the 25th birthday of one such aging chameleon, Adobe Photoshop, an image-editing program that was created when we snapped pictures on film and displayed them on paper. It has not just survived but thrived through every major technological transition in its lifetime: the rise of the web, the decline of print publishing, the rise and fall of home printing and the supernova of digital photography.

Photoshop attained the rare status of a product that became a verb — like Google and Xerox. Along the way, it became a lightning rod for controversy because of, among other things, the way it can be used to turn women’s bodies into unnatural magazine-cover icons, or its use by propagandists and your casually mendacious social-networking buddies who doctor their vacation snaps.

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Is posting a photo the worst way to interact on Facebook

Business Insider

Data provided to Business Insider by the social-media analytics company Socialbakers shows just how badly photos perform compared with videos, links, and even simple text-only posts in terms of reach on Facebook.

What makes this data so remarkable is that it wasn’t so long ago that posting photos used to give brand page owners the best chance of their posts being seen by their fans (indeed, a Socialbakers study dated April 2014 declared “Photos Are Still King On Facebook”). Now the algorithm has changed, punishing photos, perhaps in response to page owners trying to game the system by constantly posting photos, or maybe because Facebook has been shifting its strategy ever more toward video in recent months.

The Socialbakers data, which covered 4,445 brand pages and more than 670,000 posts between October 2014 and February 2015, shows that video is now the most effective way to reach users in Facebook’s News Feed, driving more than twice as much reach as photo posts.

Photos had the lowest organic reach (the percentage of a page’s fans who see a post without the page owner’s needing to pay for advertising) over the period, with an average of just three out of every 100 (3.7%) page fans seeing a photo post.

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Viewability: The Advertising Trend Of 2015

MediaPost

The IAB is calling 2015 a “year of transition” as it recommends that advertisers seek 70% viewability during the year. But 2015 is more than a year of transition in terms of viewability. Viewability will be the defining advertising trend of 2015.

The move toward 100% viewability is a move toward greater accountability, higher quality inventory, and improved ad experiences. And the responsibility for making these changes falls heavily on publishers.

But 100%  viewability is tough to achieve, given the current state of the industry and the various content models employed by publishers. It also comes at a higher cost, which is somewhat contrary to the initial objectives of programmatic.

Publishers now have to perform a difficult balancing act between the art of publishing and the science of monetization. They must drive more traffic by publishing better and more timely content — the art — while adapting to the changing technology requirements of both programmatic platforms and viewability demands – the science. And, of course, this balancing act amid a rapidly evolving landscape must result in eventual profit.

Those publishers that can master this balancing of art and science, stand to benefit greatly. They will be more and more attractive in the eyes of increasingly sophisticated marketers who are driving these trends by demanding better results and increased transparency.

 

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Who needs a website? Will Facebook become a new content provider

Mashable

Go to where the audience is — that’s the common refrain of 21st century media. Consumers are fragmented, and its up to journalists and editors to bring the news to them.

Video startup NowThis News announced last week that it would take that this idea to its logical extreme by eliminating its website. Its audience resided primarily on social media anyway, so that’s where the company now lives. Going forward, it will focus on publishing work directly to platforms like Facebook and Twitter instead of looking to drive consumers to its website.\

For years, the digital media model relied on getting people to come back to a website and then showing them ads. Early on, publishers looked to appear high on the results for search engines (so called search-engine optimization) or on major portals like AOL and Yahoo in order to take advantage of their audiences. The emergence of social as a traffic driver in the past few years has caused digital publishers to put resources into building out their followers on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

As audiences have shifted to mobile, social media’s influence has grown.

“The reality is all the action is in the stream, whether it’s your Facebook stream or Twitter or Instagram. That’s where you’re spending your time,” said Andy Wiedlin, an entrepreneur-in-residence at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and the former chief revenue officer atBuzzFeed, in an interview with Mashable.

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Untangling your digital life (while embracing it)

Cnet

It wasn’t until I was lying on a doctor’s exam table that I realized just how much I was suffering from FOMO — fear of missing out.

As the surgeon worked on my arm, I turned and looked up at the ceiling. My limb was so heavily anesthetized a shark could have been gnawing on it and I wouldn’t have flinched. But there was another reason I wasn’t paying attention: the buzzing in my pants. Because this was a simple elective surgery, I didn’t need to change out of my clothes — and I got to keep my smartphone — and it was buzzing and buzzing.

The doctor swapped out surgical tools and made a noise that normally would have made me look, but I was focused on the now unnatural silence of my device. I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “Hey, can I check my email?”

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Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

Quartz

Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. Galpaya, a researcher (and now CEO) with LIRNEasia, a think tank, called Rohan Samarajiva, her boss at the time, to tell him what she had discovered. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” he concluded.

 “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook.” In Africa, Christoph Stork stumbled upon something similar. Looking at results from a survey on communications use forResearch ICT Africa, Stork found what looked like an error. The number of people who had responded saying they used Facebook was much higher than those who said they used the internet. The discrepancy accounted for some 3% to 4% of mobile phone users, he says.

Since at least 2013, Facebook has been making noises about connecting the entire world to the internet. But even Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s operations head, admits that there are Facebook users who don’t know they’re on the internet. So is Facebook succeeding in its goal if the people it is connecting have no idea they are using the internet? And what does it mean if masses of first-time adopters come online not via the open web, but the closed, proprietary network where they must play by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s rules?

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