Yelp Attempts to Make “Yelfies” a Thing
Brace yourselves for grins with a good latte and pouts with stale pastries because as of yesterday, Yelp is letting its users mashup selfies with their reviews. And yep, they’re calling them “Yelfies.” A lot like the art of Snapchat, users can move and resize star ratings and business names before sharing the “Yelfie” on Yelp or on other platforms.Why do we care?
It’s really, really hard not to discredit the feature after snorting at the name, but there’s more to the “Yelfie” than meets the eye. The selfie’s turning into a bit of a “digital signature,” and with Yelp’s fake review problem, this is a brilliant solve to authenticating user-generated reviews, especially when these amateur ratings hold such high stakes for local businesses. But now, quite literally, the user is at the center of Yelp’s service. With this addition, Yelp will allow the user to create more of an identity on the increasingly social platform, positioning itself to move more heavily into influencer-based opportunities.
Publishers React to Decreased Snapchat Views
Back in October, Snapchat made a few revisions to its Stories page to move Snapchat Discover content below users’ stories. Not good news for publishers. The change dropped daily viewership for multiple publishers, some by larger percentages than originally imagined. Two publishers said daily viewership initially dropped by 33 percent, though one said it’s been able to “claw” half of that lost viewership, although the article doesn’t disclose how. However, along with the “below the fold” change, Snapchat did release the ability for users to subscribe to discover channels, giving publishers the ability to hold on to and track core viewership. That’s led some publishers in these past few months to refocus their efforts on other metrics like repeat audiences rather than day-to-day unique visitors.
Why do we care?
While this move only affects publishers, the change is a reminder that no matter how engaging the content, it’s only as powerful as the placement. And in Snapchat’s case, the platform has power over placement. Publishers refocusing efforts to keep their loyal audience growing will more accurately judge the success of the content moving forward.
CNN Acquires Beme
Beme, a social media app founded by YouTube star Casey Neistat, has been acquired by CNN, bringing the app’s video technology (and the power to tap into Neistat’s massive millennial audience) to the network. It’s easy to write this off as yet another network/brand/publisher trying to connect with the kids these days, but if we go back to earlier in 2016, we’ll see it’s much more than that. Bouncing back to April of this year, a CNN executive officially described the channel as "no longer a TV news network," instead billing it as "a 24-hour global multiplatform network.” This should be seen as the first major attempt to make that dreamy statement a reality, for the app’s 11 employees will be joining CNN to form a separate technology unit focusing on the new media venture and CNN’s wider mobile video efforts.
Why do we care?
While this wasn’t the direct cause of this acquisition, it’s fitting this news is reported alongside Snapchat’s 33% publisher drop due to the Discover feature dropping below the fold. It’s also fitting this news comes soon after Facebook’s inflated numbers and inability to act tough with fake news. Again and again in 2016, when it comes to publishers, the platforms giveth and the platforms taketh away. CNN’s acquisition of Beme is an attempt to take power back from the platforms, developing their own ways to advance their technology and reach a sharing audience without sacrificing control.
Breitbart Wars with Kellogg’s
The “alt right” news website Breitbart, known for its headlines such as “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew” and “Here’s Why There Ought to Be a Cap on Women Studying Science and Maths,” is pushing readers to boycott Kellogg’s after the brand said it was going to pull ads from its website. Using the hashtag “#DumpKelloggs,” the source is asking its 45 million readers to stop buying Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops and all other Kellogg’s products. Other brands have already said they would pull advertising including ModCloth, Warby Parker, AllState and Nest. Now, questions around the legality of a boycott are bubbling up including concerns around anti-competition and the First Amendment. In addition, with a Breitbart connection to the White House, lawyers are even predicting claims that this Breitbart-fed boycott squashes free speech.
Why do we care?
If you Twitter search the hashtag #DumpKelloggs or check Kellogg’s visitor posts to their Facebook page, you’ll see they’ve either chosen not to respond to any boycott-related news or they have yet to develop a response plan. That’s fair because this is new territory, folks. Share of voice is growing, sentiment is completely polarized, the hashtag has trended on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll be keeping a close eye on their social pages this week to see how Kellogg’s sets the bar for a response in this totally new publisher against brand warzone. It’s going to be one for the books.
YOUR WEEKLY PLATFORM UPDATES
MESSENGER INTRODUCES INSTANT GAMES
Perhaps influenced by the success of Messenger’s secret basketball game, the Facebook owned chat app has launched a series of games users can play within the app. We predict this will open more doors for advertisers in the future and will bump up the time users spend in the app since TechCrunch claims that “most of the games are simple to pick up and take around 30 seconds to play.” That’s the easy engagement a chat app can thrive on.
TWITTER ALLOWS MOBILE MOMENTS CREATION
Remember when Twitter announced that everyone could create a Twitter Moment, but only on desktop? Now, as promised, the feature is available on mobile. With users not embracing Moments as Twitter had hoped, the platform hopes this late mobile rollout will have more users converted, despite its late arrival.
WHO’S DOING COOL STUFF?
Using its user listening data, Spotify turns some of the stranger habits of its listeners into fun and colorful billboards. Headlines read: "Dear person who played 'Sorry' 42 times on Valentine's Day, what did you do?"
"Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton Soundtrack 5,376 times this year, can you get us tickets?" and "Dear 3,749 people who streamed 'It's the End of the World as We Know It' the day of the Brexit vote, hang in there." Taglines on the ads read, "Thanks, 2016. It's been weird." Ah, yes. We hear you, Spotify.
At last, someone has found a fun way to reach the ad blockers. As a part of their campaign for the upcoming series of Black Mirror, a freaky, darkly meta show often called the “Twilight Zone” of the 21st century, Netflix has released a set of ads that are toggled based on code from ad blocker software. The ad reads “Hello ad blocker user. You cannot see the ad. But the ad can see you.”
Plus: In other Netflix news, you can now watch Netflix offline. But before you get too excited, no, Gilmore Girls is not included.
Sony / Underworld: Blood Wars
While lenses aren’t new for brands on Snapchat anymore (think of Gatorade’s Super Bowl Snapchat lens) they’ve never dived into 360 technology before. But with Sony and Underworld: Blood Wars, a new first has been added to the Snapchat list. This is the first brand to incorporate a 360-degree view lens which transforms the background of a user’s video into a 3D landscape right out of the game itself.