Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Facebook aims to become world’s top video aggregator

Last week I revealed that Twitter plans to exploit the power of online videos in 2015 with a new video advertising service. This week, it appears that YouTube faces further competition from Facebook, following the social media giant’s acquisition of video start-up Quickfire Networks.

Quickfire, which specialises in video compression without any loss of quality, has been purchased by Facebook for an undisclosed sum. The move will see Facebook take on rival YouTube (which is owned by Google), in a bid to become the world’s largest video aggregation platform.

Commenting on the acquisition, Quickfire, chief executive Craig Lee, said: “Facebook has more than one billion video views on average every day and we’re thrilled to help deliver high quality video experiences to all the people who consume video on Facebook”.

The news comes on the back of new statistics that reveal the number of video posts viewed per person on Facebook has increased by 75% over the last year. Facebook has made no secret of plans to become a leading native video platform, rather than using YouTube or another video sharing service to display videos on its site.

Key stats

  • More than 50 % of Facebook users in the U.S, who visit Facebook every day, watch at least one video a day
  • The amount of user-generated and branded content on Facebook worldwide more than tripled in 2014
  • In the U.S, the number of video posts viewed per person on Facebook has increased by a whopping 94% over the last year (75% globally)
  • 65% of the videos viewed on Facebook take place on mobile device

The latest stats regarding Facebook’s video reach coincide with its plans to encourage more brands to reach out and engage users via paid for advertising in News Feeds.

WhatsApp overtakes text messages

According to Ofcom, popular messaging app WhatsApp now handles 50% more messages than traditional text messaging. The report, which found SMS message traffic peaked in 2011 and has been declining ever since, has led to predictions that the end could be in sight for texting.

While text messages still delivered £40 billion for mobile operators in 2013, profits decreased by some £2 billion from the following year, coinciding with the increasing use of newer communication methods. WhatsApp in particular is now handling 30 billion messages every day and boasts 700 million monthly active users (up from 500 million in April 2014).

Controversially, however, it’s not all good news for the messaging app, with Prime Minister David Cameron reported to be considering banning WhatsApp if he wins the next election.

As part of plans for new surveillance powers announced following the tragic shootings in Paris, Mr. Cameron said he would stop the use of communication methods that cannot be read by the security services. With WhatsApp, Snapchat, Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime all encrypting data to keep communications secure, the proposed crackdown is set to face considerable criticism from privacy groups and campaigners.

LinkedIn rolls out publishing platform to all UK users

Business networking site LinkedIn has rolled out its publishing platform to all 17 million users across the UK.

The feature, which allows LinkedIn members to create and display posts within their profiles was developed to help people position themselves as thought-leaders and increase their professional reach on the platform. It also allows users to follow key influencers who publish content, without requiring an approved connection.

Commenting on the development, a LinkedIn spokesman said: “Collectively, our members have several centuries’ worth of experience under their belts, and we wanted to give them a tool to showcase and share it. Now, they can demonstrate their thought leadership and expertise, and learn from other people’s”.

Twitter to monetise non-members

Earlier this week it was revealed that Twitter plans to embed advertisements within the Twitter streams of external websites and apps, in a bid to boost engagement and revenue from non-Twitter users.

According to the Wall Street Journal, partner sites and publishers would agree to ads appearing in their Twitter streams in return for a slice of the revenue. ESPN’s SportsCentre app and Flipboard are both said to be considering partnership with the micro-blogging site.

If it goes ahead, the development is set to help Twitter capture new audiences who aren’t currently users of the service.

Pinterest search capabilities improved

Image sharing site Pinterest has bolstered its search capabilities in a bid to deliver better results to users. According to a company blog post made this week, Pinterest now uses a data-collection workflow called ‘QueryJoin’ to interrogate what a user might be searching for.

By combining data from user search queries, demographic statistics, adjacent queries and pins, Pinterest is now able to deliver more relevant search results. The improvement has been reflected in the level of user engagement on Pinterest, with the number of searches each user conducts increasing by 25% since the changes were introduced, according to the recent blog post.

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