WhatsApp reaches 900 million monthly active users but is hit with a bug that could impact millions
Just days after it was announced that WhatsApp now has over 900 million monthly active users, it was revealed that the messaging app had a bug that put up to 200 million of these users at risk.
Earlier this week, WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum revealed that the number of active users had increased by 300 million since January this year. This means that WhatsApp’s userbase has now more than doubled since Facebook purchased the service at the start of 2014. The increase in popularity could now see the app begin to generate money, and possibly merge with Facebook Messenger’s business model.
However, only days later, it was revealed that security firm Check Point warned that a bug in the popular messaging service, which allowed hackers to distribute malware and ransomware, put millions of users at risk. The bug only affected the web-based version of the service.
WhatsApp was alerted to the problem at the end of last month and immediately issued a fix. It is imperative, however, that users now update their WhatsApp software to implement this patch.
Twitter self-service ads go global
Twitter has extended the reach of its self-service ads to over 200 countries and territories. Prior to the roll-out, the platform covered just 33 countries.
The self-service advertising platform provides SMEs with a way to effectively run their own Twitter advertising, with access to creative and measurement services as well as a range of targeting tools.
With Asia Pacific Twitter’s fastest growing region, the platform now provides additional support for SMEs in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. Other countries that now have access to the service include Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Portugal, Afghanistan, Belize, Iceland and Pakistan.
While the number of advertisers on Twitter has increased by 74% to around 100,000 since November last year, the platform still trails behind Facebook, which attracts around two million SME advertisers.
Twitter restructures product development team as it faces criticism over failure to innovate
Twitter has restructured its product development team, which plays a crucial role in generating product revenue.
Forming part of a wider shakeup of Twitter’s product development business, the restructure comes as Twitter faces harsh criticism over its failure to innovate.
Indeed only this week, M&A investment bank Magister Advisors has issued a release that claims that Twitter’s “strategic immobility” has led to the surrender of the early advantage it held over rivals.
Commenting on the platform, a spokesperson at the bank said: Twitter has for all practical purposes failed to innovate its product since it went public. At IPO, Twitter had a unique platform that was mobile-first, significant momentum and global profile from the Arab Spring and other high-profile events, and a billion sign-ups.
“Fast forward less than two years and, alone among internet ‘majors,’ Twitter has squandered its lead by failing to innovate, failing to drive engagement and consequently ceding the lucrative mobile ad revenue land grab to Facebook and Google.”
The comments have increased speculation that Twitter could be in danger of being sold off to a bigger company such as Facebook or Google.
YouTube to provide improved advertising data
According to reports, YouTube is set to allow third-party services to access its platform, providing brands with access to in-depth analytic tools.
Until now, such third-party services have been banned from the site, leading to major advertisers such as Kellogg’s and Unilever pulling their ads due to an inability to measure the success of their advertising campaigns.
While YouTube does offer a degree of advertising insight, criticism has been made of its failure to explain the method behind its data collection.
Commenting on the reports, a YouTube spokesperson said: “We’re committed to meeting all of our clients’ measurement needs through a combination of product innovation and industry partnerships. Viewability in particular has long been a concern for our clients, which is why we’ve supported industry-wide efforts and developed MRC-accredited technology, Active View, to measure and buy based on viewability across our products. We have further efforts planned in this area and are taking our clients’ feedback into account as we continue to roll out new solutions.”
Google and Facebook are also amongst a number of companies who currently restrict third-party viewability verification.
Instagram opens up to all advertisers
Starting this month, Instagram will enable advertisers of all sizes to run campaigns on its social network service. According to a recent Instagram blog post, these self–serve ads are now also available in more than 30 new countries including Spain, Mexico, India and South Korea.
In addition, Instagram has also announced a range of new app capabilities including:
- Landscape photo and video to give ads a more cinematic feel
- Ads of up to 30 seconds in length to engage in richer storytelling
- The introduction of ‘Marquee’, a new premium ad product designed to drive mass awareness and expanded reach around key events
- A range of delivery and optimisation tools to enhance the performance of campaigns across Instagram and Facebook.
Facebook tests new ads and video functionality
A number of select advertisers, including Gatorade, Michael Kors, Mr. Porter and Carrefour Spain, are currently testing Facebook’s new mobile ad format. The ‘creative canvas’ mobile ads, which function more like an app, allow advertisers to integrate videos, photos, text, and links. Providing advertisers with a new and innovative way to enhance their mobile efforts, the content is built into the Facebook app so that users don’t have to leave the platform to view the ad.
Facebook is also currently testing pop-out videos with a number of users on the iOS app to help encourage greater engagement rates. The functionality will see ads follow users up and down their newsfeed.
Snapchat appointment signals new growth drive
Popular messaging service SnapChat has appointed former Facebook product manager Anthony Pompliano. Pompliano will lead the company’s growth and engagement team, with a focus on maximising expansion across regions.