25 platform and tool updates from the social web in the last 90 days
If you like this list you may also want to check out what we turned up in the first quarter of 2015.
#1 Amazon does pins
Amazon has gone all Pinterest. Internet spotters stumbled upon a new visual service that the US online shopping giant is testing called Streams. Log into your account and check out the service. The products appear to be sponsored and change daily.
#2 Amazon disrupts supermarket supply chain
Amazon has turned the heat up on the retail business with a re-order button directly connected to the Internet to re-order popular household goods. This service is another bid by Amazon to disrupt supermarkets. Subscriptions for household goods have been available for some time.
#3 Innovative news apps
BuzzFeed has updated its news app and serves top stories each hour and Reuters has a new personalised TV news app that serves a personalised news shows on demand. These two apps signpost the future of news: on demand, mobile, personalised, snack format and video.
#4 Build Buzzfeed style quizzes
QZZR is a platform that enables you to create embeddable Buzzfeed-style quizzes. It’s simple and it’s elegant. It’s also free until you hit 50,000 engagements or want to export data.
#5 Facebook: Comments and likes aren’t the only metric
A change to Facebook’s algorithm takes into account how much time you spend looking at a story to decide what appears in your news feed.
#6 Send money in Facebook Messenger chat
Facebook extended the rollout of mobile payments in Facebook Messenger in the US. It allows a user to instantly pay or receive money from a friend. It wants to become a payment system and wallet like WeChat in China.
#7 Facebook: reach down, engagement up
Organic brand reach may be down in the Facebook newsfeed but engagement is up by as much as 50% year-on-year according to Simply Measured. Photos and video are driving the trend.
#8 Facebook data: the only way is up
Facebook published its Q1 numbers: 936m daily activity users, of which 798 million are mobile; and monthly active users are 1.44 billion, of which 1.25 million are mobile.
#9 Facebook gets friendlier
Another Facebook algorithm tweak. We’re seeing less content from brands and publishers, and more from friends. Facebook communities that work hard to earn attention are likely to be unaffected.
#10 Facebook platform for media content
Instant Articles is a new Facebook tool that serves media content natively within the app. It has launched with nine media partners including the BBC, Buzzfeed and The New York Times, and committed to share analytics data with publishers.
#11 Use Google Trends to predict content performance
Google is getting into the prediction business. New features of Google Trends enable you to interrogate data from Google News and YouTube. This is a great tool to test content ideas.
#12 Google buy button connects search and commerce
Google is trialling a buy now button alongside search results on mobile devices. It wants to act as an intermediary for mobile commerce and is seeking retail partners.
#13 Google tweaks algorithm for mobile
Google has added responsive design and site speed as variables to its algorithm. Non-mobile sites have been dumped in mobile searches. Use this nifty tool to test the performance of a site.
#14 Tool for Instagram planning
Influencer.DB has taken aim at the opportunity for influencer discovery and planning on Instagram. The tool serves free data to characterise an Instagram user such as topics, social profiles, location, frequency and engagement. Discovery requires a premium account.
#15 LinkedIn acquires Lynda.com
LinkedIn has acquired learning company Lynda.com. LinkedIn users will get access to Lynda.com’s professional development courses taught by sector experts. LinkedIn is resurgent thanks to its mobile app and Pulse. Joining the dots between job hunting and skills makes a lot of sense.
#16 Exploring content syndication on owned versus social platforms
Social platforms such as LinkedIn Pulse and Medium enable bloggers to reach new audiences. They’re particularly useful for b2b but the impact on SEO versus owned blogs is unknown. I’ve written about a syndication experiment that I’ve been running. So far so good, so long as you follow Google’s rules.
#17 Pinterest adds publishing access to content tools
To date we’ve had to publish images directly to Pinterest on behalf of brands or rely on motivated users. That’s changed with 10-Pinterest sanctioned content publishing tools. The first tools to get access to the platform are: Ahalogy, Buffer, Curalate, Expion, NewsCred, Percolate, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr and Tailwind.
#18 Twitter tweaks to reduce noise
Project Lightening is a Twitter project aimed at reducing noise on the platform. It wants to break the newsfeed and use human editors to serve important stories. Hard core Twitter users will be outraged but the platform has to do something to drive subscription sign-ups and improve ad performance.
#19 Twitter tweaks direct messages
Users and brands can now decide whether to accept direct messages from people that they don’t follow. Tweak the setting in Settings > Security & Privacy. This is a boon for anyone that wants to use Twitter for two-way conversation such as customer service, rather than breach the 1,000 tweet daily allowance, or clog up their main stream.
#20 Tweet first discovery tool
Here’s a handy web app from Digital Inspiration that will find the Twitter account that first tweeted a string, meme or URL. Bookmark it for the next time you want to find out the original source of content shared on Twitter.
#21 Twitter rolls out nested comments
Twitter continues its drive to become a mainstream network by improving its visual appeal replacing the RT function with embedded tweets and comments. The new feature has been well received by users. The change may reduce engagement by restricting how tweets are modified and re-shared.
#22 Your best headlines ever with free online testing tool
You’re going to want to play with this free tool from CoSchedule. It analyses headlines and gives you a rating for quality and the potential for social sharing based on resonance. It works for any type of communication and scores you 1 to 100. Less than 50: try again. 60s: decent. 70+: amazing. This headline scored 66.
#23 Foreplay? There’s a web app for that
Crystal Knows analyses social content to recommend the best way to engage with somebody by email. It couldn't be simpler: search on an individual, hit enter and it’ll spit out a personality report. The web app summarises social media content and suggests the best way to email, speak, work and sell to an individual. Register for the beta and try it out for yourself.
#24 Native ad campaigns bared
BrandTale is a tool we discovered via ProductHunt. It tells you where a brand is running native ad campaign. The tool scans all major media and returns the results for a brand and adjacent advertisers. Here's an example for British Airways. Handy for insight and planning.
#25 The Internet. In a newsletter
Reddit is a community where users submit and vote on the best content from around the Internet. Memes typically surface on reddit days before they hit Facebook and Twitter. There’s now a reddit newsletter published on a Sunday.