It’s (Finally) the End of the Road for Google Plus

Google announced earlier this week that it will be shutting down its social network, Google Plus (Google+). According to Google, Google+ for consumers will be sunsetting over the next 10 months, and will officially close in August 2019, meeting the same fate as other abandoned Google platforms such as Google Reader, Wave, and Buzz. The demise of Google+ is no shock, but what finally made it official was none other than a privacy breach.

What started as a way for Google to compete with Facebook, Google+ is now facing a similar situation to Facebook’s biggest issue to date, the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Google+’s data breach, saying that a bug exposed the personal information of up to 500,000 users to 438 third-party apps. This bug was active from 2015 up until March 2018 when Google discovered the problem and solved it.

Google’s decision to stay quiet about this privacy issue for over six months was likely due to the fact that Facebook was experiencing catastrophic backlash during the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, and Google did not want to join Facebook in the spotlight. Their silence is now raising eyebrows from its consumers who use other Google products such as Gmail, Google Chrome, and YouTube.

Although the privacy breach made for its official demise, Google+ had been facing a long, slow death for years after never really taking off when it launched in June 2011. The idea of Google+ was to create a new way of sharing information by organizing friends into groups and choosing who gets to see what, instead of blasting people with every piece of information someone shares. When it was first launched, Google+ had over 10 million users in just two weeks, but now, according to Google, 90% of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds long.

Some people believe Google+ failed because it was too late to the social platform market, while others believe its way of sharing information was just not up to par with consumers wanted, but no matter what the case, it is still shocking to see yet another platform born from such a powerful company fail in such a huge way. Although Google+ did not get as much engagement from consumers as expected, Google will be reinventing the platform for businesses to use for internal communication between coworkers.

Google Launches New Video Format- Outstream Ads

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Last week, Google launched its new video format, Outstream Ads, designed for the mobile environment and created to present your ads to audiences beyond YouTube.

What is different about Outstream Ads is that you do not need to have a YouTube video present to run your video ad campaigns, unlike TrueView or Bumper ads. Because of this function, you are now able to run your video ads on different platforms to reach more potential customers.

Outstream Ads is built exclusively for Google video partners, which include publisher websites and mobile apps, so yes, this new format is mobile-only. As users are scrolling on their mobile device, your video will begin to play with the sound off, and then the user can tap the ad to unmute it. Conveniently, the user also has the option to restart the ad.

Marketers can now purchase Outstream ads on a viewable CPM basis. The format is similar to Responsive ads, with Google enhancing the look of the ad with a message, logo, and link. All you need to provide to start your Outstream video campaign is a logo, video, headline, description, and destination link.

Slow-Loading Pages Beware!

girl-925284_1920The social media giant Facebook recently published a blog post announcing an algorithm that will shake up how certain posts are displayed in a user’s newsfeed.

Over the next few months, Facebook will measure how long it takes for a webpage to load on its mobile app and compare it to different online websites. If the site takes a long time to load, the page may move down a user’s feed or disappear altogether. Many factors are being considered, such as current network connection and general speed of corresponding web pages. If signals indicate that a page will load faster than others, the link to that page will appear higher on your Facebook feed. But for those worried about Facebook hurting their website’s chances of being seen, Facebook has already released a “best practices” guide to assist companies on how to speed up their web pages and how to make their websites more mobile friendly.

Not sure how fast your website is loading and/or how your site’s speed stacks up against competitors’ sites? Google offers a free tool to help test how quickly your website is loading. To test your website’s load time, click here.

Facebook Launches Another Clone to Snapchat

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The competition for top app continues! Facebook Messenger is the latest Facebook app to mimic the popular photo-disappearing app Snapchat. Snapchat is known for pioneering popular photo-sharing features enjoyed by billions, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to outshine them. Messenger Day is Facebook Messenger’s latest clone of Snapchat’s popular Stories feature. Messenger Day allows users to add photos and videos where friends can view and reply to them for up to 24 hours before disappearing. The target is to create a more casual means of communication between friends and family with the goal of increasing engagement on Facebook’s main app.

Facebook has a long history of attempts at trying to outdo Snapchat’s Stories feature. In February, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp revealed a new feature called Status. WhatsApp’s Status feature allows its users to share images, GIFs and videos for up to 24 hours. Last August, Facebook-owned Instagram released a Snapchat-inspired Stories feature as well. Instagram Stories has become a huge success for Facebook with more than 150 million users daily.

It’s safe to say Facebook seems to be on the right track at competing with Snapchat for user growth. Snapchat’s share price even dropped slightly the morning Facebook announced the release of Messenger Day. Facebook’s Messenger Day has already starting rolling out on iOS and Android devices, so be on the lookout for the newest update!

The Numbers Are In..stagram

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Remember when Vine took over the social media world and shortly after, Instagram decided to add videos to their feed? Well, as many predicted, Instagram has not stopped its clone ways. Just a few weeks ago Instagram added “Stories” to its platform. Sound familiar? Instagram has done it once again; it has now taken Snapchat’s concept and incorporated into its own feed. So the question is, are people using this tool? Yes! Though Snapchat numbers have not decreased any, Instagram numbers are growing because of the new Stories feature. As of now, brands are using this tool to their advantage because the amount of views they receive on Instagram nearly triples the numbers on Snapchat.

According to Social Media Today, over 100 million people use Instagram Stories each day. Maybe users had enough practice story making since Snapchat launched four years ago, but Instagram has not stopped there. The Explore tab on Instagram always informed users on their favorite interests including celebrities, clothes, and even food, but now Stories will be loaded in the Explore tab so users can watch stories from different sporting events, concerts, and other events. The popular Stories being posted on the Explore tab is very convenient for users who want to know what is going on around the world and Instagram has made it one click away.

Twitter No Longer Crops Images

From websites to social sites, trends show that images are king. Image-based web headers, backgrounds, and navigation are skyrocketing in popularity; Facebook posts with images perform significantly better than non-image posts; and photo-based sites like Instagram and Pinterest continue to grow at astronomical rates. Images have also been linked to high conversion rates.

Because of this, businesses work hard to curate impressive imagery that will attract and convert users. The downfall is that some of these sites have different image guidelines, causing your original image or artwork to be cropped, unless you spend the additional time and money necessary to customize that image to fit each platform’s suggested size guidelines.

Luckily for businesses using the popular micro-blogging platform Twitter, that is no longer the case. Earlier this week, Twitter announced they are no longer cropping images down to what was the size of roughly 1000 pixels by 500 pixels. Additionally, the multi-photo displays will appear larger and more beautiful. This means your images will appear just as beautiful on Twitter as they do on Facebook, increasing the opportunity for clicks and/or conversions.

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Instagram also no longer crops its images providing users with more creative freedom. Before this change, Instagram photos would be cropped into a square, often cutting off important parts of images. However, the popular photo site now allows landscape and portrait photos in addition to its square format option.

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