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Survey finds teens still tiring of Facebook, prefer Instagram

CNET

Internet analysts at Piper Jaffray have both good news and bad news for the world’s largest social network: Teens continue to lose interest in Facebook but are showing an increasing appetite for Instagram, a Facebook property.

The mixed-bag news comes from the investment bank and asset management firm’s semi-annual survey of upper-income and average-income teens in the US. Piper Jaffray’s spring 2014 report Taking Stock With Teens, published Tuesday, surveyed around 5,000 teens, and includes findings spanning fashion, video games, Apple products, and social networks.

“We saw Instagram take the mantle for the most preferred social teen site,” Piper Jaffray senior analyst and managing director Gene Munster said.

Thirty percent of surveyed teens chose Instagram as their most important social network, making it the top social property for youngsters for the first time in the history of the survey.

“Just to recap the changes over the last six months,” Munster said, “interest level in Facebook went from 27 [percent] to 23 [percent], Twitter 31 [percent] to 27 [percent], Instagram 27 [percent] to 30 [percent].”

Just one year ago, Facebook was the preferred social network for roughly 33 percent of teens, marking a relatively steep decline in interest from an important audience in a short amount of time. The report, then, adds to a mounting pile of evidence suggesting that teens, in search of a more fun zone, are tiring of Facebook.

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Twitter’s Vine Introduces Direct Video Messaging

TechCrunch

Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.

There is a direct parallel to be drawn here between Instagram’s Direct image messaging feature, obviously — and it goes hand in hand with Twitter’s renewed interest in its direct messaging channel. The allegory is interesting, as there isn’t a lot of public evidence that Direct has had any real traction. Still, it allows Twitter to experiment with video messaging in a separate silo, and it does make some sense to start with Vine before adding video messaging to Twitter.

You create a new Vine message by tapping on the Messages section, recording a video and sending it off. You can send to multiple recipients, but all of the conversations are one-to-one — much like competing messaging app Snapchat. If you send to multiple people, you’ll get separate threads for each one.

Notably, you can send Vine messages directly to anyone in your address book, regardless of whether they have Vine or not. This leverages your “private graph” in a similar way to WhatsApp’s early strategy. Twitter is likely hoping that this will spur growth much in the same way.

Offering a backchannel will also allow users to side-step the increasingly polished and professional community of Vine creators. This doubtlessly creates a barrier that stops some people from sharing because it’s not “good enough” to sit in their feeds. Like Snapchat, this allows people to post silly, stupid or funny videos that may not be as polished — or as pretty — directly to their friends.

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Advertisers Spend Much More With Facebook But Twitter Performs Better

The Wall Street Journal

Advertisers are spending a lot more money on Facebook than Twitter–even though Twitter ads deliver better results.

That’s the conclusion of a new research report issued by Resolution, a social and search advertising focused agency under the Omnicom umbrella. Based on an analysis of 20 clients’ social media activity in 2013 representing $37 million in ad spending, Resolution found that Twitter ads generate clicks at a significantly higher rate than Facebook. As a result, the firm found, advertisers are significantly dialing up their Twitter ad spending.

Still, the agency says that its clients, which include Pepsi, Lowes, State Farm, McDonald’s, HP , Pier 1, Hertz and FedEx, spent 127 percent more ad dollars with Facebook than Twitter.

On the surface, that makes logical sense, as Facebook boasts of 1.2 billion users vs. Twitter’s 241 million monthly users. During its initial earning report in February, Twitter announced solid ad revenue growth--including $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, despite a slowdown in new user adoption. Meanwhile, Facebook’s last few earnings reports have been stellar, particularly as its mobile ad business has taken off.

While keeping in mind that Resolution’s data may be skewed by its particular roster of brands and their unique social media goals, Twitter appears to have major ad momentum. Retailers, for instance, boosted their ad spending on Twitter 257% from third quarter to fourth quarter last year, while their spending on Facebook surged by 94 percent over the same period, Resolution said.

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How Twitter Has Changed Over the Years in 12 Charts

The Atlantic

It’s been eight years since Twitter debuted. Like the rest of the social networks that have survived, it has changed, both in response to user and commercial demands. The user interface, application ecosystem, geographical distribution, and culture not what they were in 2010, let alone 2006.

But each Twitter user sees the service through his or her own tiny window of followers and followed. It’s hard to tell if everyone’s behavior is changing, or just that of one’s subset of the social network. Now, new research from Yabing Liu and Alan Mislove of Northeastern with Brown’s Chloe Kliman-Silverattempts to quantify the way tweeting has changed through the years.

“Twitter is known to have evolved significantly since its founding,” they write, “And it remains unclear how much the user base and behavior has evolved, whether prior results still hold, and whether the (often implicit) assumptions of proposed systems are still valid.”

While their paper is directed at fellow researchers, their results might be of interest to anyone whose ever used Twitter. They combined three datasets to come up with 37 billion tweets from March of 2006 until the end of 2013. The key thing to know is that they talk about two different datasets: What they call the “crawl” dataset constitutes all the tweets, and what they call the “gardenhose” dataset constitutes only a sample of either 15 percent of all tweets (until July 2010) or 10 percent of all tweets (after July 2010).

OK, with that caveat, here are some of their most interesting findings.

Click to see charts and continue reading 

What will social media’s giants look like in 5 or 10 years?

CNNMoney

Imagine a future where you’ll be able to physically reach out to poke your Facebook friends (gross), where tweets are the de facto mode of communication for large-scale emergencies (cool), and where people log into Google Plus for more than just wondering, “Are people using Google Plus yet?” (Okay, okay, we couldn’t help ourselves with that one — but really, we actually are, so put us in your circles already.)

If those scenarios seem far-fetched, perhaps you’re thinking too near-term. Whether it’s through major acquisitions or seemingly minor service enhancements, the major social networks are making changes to their products on a weekly, daily, even hourly basis. Fortune asked a few experts to daydream about where these networks might be five and 10 years down the line. Their responses were surprisingly realistic.

Facebook

Breaking the biggest news of the month, if not the year, Facebook (FB) set the social scene ablaze with its March 25 acquisition of Oculus VR, valued at approximately $2 billion. A sharp turn in Facebook’s product road map, the purchase has pundits imagining all sorts of crossovers for the social network and virtual reality technology.

“The Oculus purchase further shows how Facebook will be obsessed with staying relevant by buying the next big thing,” says Paul Berry, founder and CEO of New York City-based social publishing platform RebelMouse. Through this and other acquisitions, Berry thinks Facebook will become a brand-holding company in the future, similar to Viacom or Hearst. “I see them, better than anyone else, using their market capitalization to create even bigger market cap for the Instagrams or WhatsApps,” he says.

But internally, Facebook may split over dueling objectives, says Michael Jones, CTO of Portland, Ore.-based Little Bird, a company that provides social influencer analytics and research. ”[Facebook] used to be a lot more fun and idealistic, and now that they’re public, there is extreme pressure upon that organization to grow up quickly and to monetize,” he says. This “great divide” will continue on for years, as half of the company drives toward generating revenue while the rest pursues the founding ideals of authentic engagement and connecting the world.

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Google+ and LinkedIn drive few, but more engaged social referrals compared to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

The Next Web

Social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholictoday released its first report examining engaged social referrals. Since many of us spend an egregious amount of time using social media, the company was interested in answering the question “What is our behavior post-click, when we actually interact with a link one of our friends shared socially?”

As such, it was necessary to examine the average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate for each of the top eight social media platforms. Here’s the breakdown (data is from September 2013 to February 2014) from Shareholic, which tracks 250 million users visiting its network of 200,000 publishers.

We already know that LinkedIn and Google+ drive very few referrals compared to their competitors. Yet it turns out the traffic they do drive, is actually quite high on the quality scale.

Google+ users spend more than three minutes diving into links shared by their circles, view 2.45 pages during each visit, and bounce only 50.63 percent of the time. LinkedIn users meanwhile spend over two minutes on each link they click, view 2.23 pages with each visit, and bounce 51.28 percent of the time.

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Young people wary about the downsides of technology

Marketing Week

Download the full infographic here

Young people are conflicted between feeling empowered by technology and enslaved by it – a signal to brands to push their lifestyle credentials.

Most young people are cautious or cynical about the role that technology plays in their lives, new research suggests, with the vast majority (94 per cent) agreeing or somewhat agreeing that ‘people spend too much time looking at their phones and not enough time talking to each other’.

The Youth Tech report by youth research agency Voxburner and YouGov, seen exclusively by Marketing Week, also shows that 82 per cent of young people agree or somewhat agree that ‘it’s great to take a break from technology every now and again for a few days or more’. Voxburner surveyed over 1,500 UK adults aged 18 to 24 between December 2013 and January 2014 on a range of technology-related issues (see Methodology, below).

Technology addiction

The findings call into question the idea that young people are addicted to technology and inseparable from their devices. Elsewhere, the research reveals that while 40 per cent of respondents say they are ‘very interested’ in technology, only 9 per cent say they are ‘obsessed’.

“I think young people feel conflicted in their relationship with technology,” says Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner. “They love the convenience and empowerment that it brings to their everyday lives, but they also resent the fact that they feel enslaved by it.”

Mitchell notes that because technology is deeply ingrained in young people’s lives, they take it for granted and do not necessarily enjoy using it. He argues that brands should focus on how they can improve people’s lives, rather than the technology itself.

For example, he praises the dating app Tinder for helping people connect for dates in a simple and functional way. “On the Tinder home page there’s a video that explains what it does,” notes Mitchell. “Rather than labouring over the various features of the app, it shows how people don’t always have the courage to ask for a date and how Tinder can help.”

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Facebook Reveals 10 Year Plan, Confident on Mobile

The Street

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Facebook (FB_) CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the company’s thinking process around its three, five and ten year strategy in a conference call with analysts to explain the social network’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, a virtual reality platform that venture capital investors in the company compare to Silicon Valley’s biggest breakthroughs such as the Apple (AAPL_II, the iPhone, the Macintosh, Netscape and Google (GOOG_).

Investors puzzling over Facebook’s apparent entrance into virtual reality may be heartened by the clearer picture of the company’s medium-to-long-term thinking provided by CEO Zuckerberg. They also may be comforted by Zuckerberg’s increasing confidence that Facebook has solved its problems in bringing more than 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) to mobile devices.

Those two developments, expressed on Tuesday evening in a call with analysts, may have more bearing on Facebook’s share price than the immediate impact of the Oculus VR acquisition. The company Facebook is acquiring is still in the process of developing its next generation product after using crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise $2.4 million to develop its first product, Oculus Rift.

While Facebook is shelling out $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in stock for Oculus VR, in addition to an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock incentives, Oculus VR is unlikely to have any impact on the company’s earnings in the next few years.

On Tuesday, Facebook was unwilling to provide specific financial guidance on the acquisition or how it came upon a price, but CFO David Ebersman noted that the company focused on the games business because it’s the furthest along. It is worth noting no bankers were hired to advise Facebook’s acquisition, indicating CEO Mark Zuckerberg is confident he can be an effective dealmaker in Silicon Valley.

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Meme-jacking 101: Everything your brand needs to know

Ragan

Memes. What began as fun cartoons to get a laugh out of viewers has turned into marketing vehicles capable of going viral almost instantly.

These amusing cartoons and captioned images speak to everything from being a mom to poking fun at public figures; they engage users and are shared freely. Simple, fun, and well-received, memes are here to stay.

Enter meme-jacking. The practice of hijacking popular memes for the benefit of marketing your brand or product is an excellent, simple way to engage established followers while reaching out to a new market.

What exactly is a meme?

The term “meme” was first introduced in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; it comes from the Greek word mimema, which means “something imitated.” It was first meant to describe humans’ method of transmitting social memories and cultural ideas and truths to one another—ideas that travel from one mind to another.

Now, almost exclusively online and available in various forms, memes are concepts that spread from one person to another in viral fashion. They can be written words, spoken phrases, images, or videos.

Why meme-jacking works

When exploring marketing options, the idea of using a meme may not have occurred to you, perhaps because of the seemingly complicated nature of creating them. This is where meme-jacking—or, as it’s sometimes called, “meme-vertising”—comes into play. By using an already established meme, most of the work is already done.

Need more convincing? Here are five other reasons that meme-jacking is a successful marketing tactic:

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Facebook takes mobile ad analytics in-house

VentureBeat

Facebook likes the mobile advertising space. So it’s getting ready to bite off an even bigger piece.

The Menlo Park, Calif. based social media kingpin is growing its in-house mobile analytic capabilities while at the same time working with the company’s roughly 13 mobile ad partners. It’s a two-pronged approach aimed at increasing Facebook’s clout and its access to data.

While Facebook says it doesn’t yet have the capability to totally rely on its own in-house analytics platforms, some say it’s only a matter of time until it cuts out the third parties.

“Advertisers are trying to cut out the middlemen, and mobile advertising is the frontier for this to happen. Facebook and Google are starting to allow advertisers to go directly to them,” said analyst Ray “R” Wang of Constellation Research.

The mobile ad market, and the third-party mobile analytic outfits that help marketers target their ads, is wide open and ripe for the taking. The space grew 105 percent in 2013 to a total of $17.9 billion, and research firm eMarketer expects that tally to grow to over $30 billion by the end of 2014.

Google currently dominates the market, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the mobile ad revenue haul, but Facebook is catching up fast, with 17.5 percent in 2013, rising to 21.7 percent in 2014, eMarketer says.

For its part, Facebook knows the future is mobile: It has over a billion mobile users, according to its latest quarterly earnings report, and more than half of last quarter’s $2.5 billion in revenue comes from mobile ads.

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