Big acquisition news, the top 10 most innovative companies in a few fields, free Wi-fi for the world, how much real-time television conversation happens on Facebook, the benefits of Google+, predictions for brand publishing in 2014, more sites hacked, legal issues in real-time marketing, the Oreo tweet set marketers back, taking another look at audio and more, it's This Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, I compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, social media, mobile, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in their jobs.
If you have additional links, sources or ideas that might be helpful, I'd encourage you to add some via a comment below. And if you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links by subscribing to the This Week in Digital Magazine.
- Social content service Sprinklr purchased social and brand analytics firm Dachis Group. This merger of social business powerhouses is extraordinarily complementary and puts the new firm on footing to compete with the likes of Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle and others. (Altimeter Group)
- The practice of advertising is changing before our eyes, and those who are embracing that change are succeeding. Here are the world's top 10 most innovative companies in advertising. (Fast Company)
- Are people sharing stories via social channels without reading them? Some data indicate that it's true. (The Verge)
- An ambitious new project called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is claiming that by 2015 it will have hundreds of satellites in a low orbit and will be able to provide free Wi-fi to every person on Earth in a service it calls Outernet. (Apple Insider)
- Modelez International (perpetrator of the infamous Oreo tweet) will put more than half of its marketing budget into digital by 2016. (AdAge)
- Brand publishing is hot, and here are 5 brand publishing predictions for 2014, including changes in Facebook's algorithm, quality of design and the rise of GIFs. (Contently)
- Facebook is acquiring cross-messaging platform WhatsApp for $19 billion. With over 450 million monthly users, WhatsApp was a major threat to the social networking giant. For its part, WhatsApp says it will remain independent. (Facebook and WhatsApp)
- The persistence and comeback story of one of WhatsApp's founders. (Forbes)
- Moving beyond just the 500 or so Influencers in its program, LinkedIn will open up long-form posts to all members. (TechCrunch)
- We now have Facebook's official response to allegations of giving advertisers "fake likes." Short version: fake likes don't help anyone, including Facebook. (The Hub)
- While we've long believed that Twitter is where you talk about TV shows that you're watching and Facebook is where you talk about shows you watched, a new tracking study in the US, UK and Australia found that 60% of Facebook conversations about TV shows are real-time. (Inside Facebook)
- More behind the scenes at Secret and other "anonymish" apps. (The Verge)
- While half of Google+ users (some 540 million) do not visit the site regularly, they still use Google's products and services, and that's a benefit. (New York Times)
- Twitter sifted through data from Datalogix and Polk to determine that Twitter has an impact on car sales. (Twitter)
Measurement / Metrics / Big Data
- The world's top 10 most innovative companies in big data are using the information they glean in a wide variety of ways, from GE harnessing data from plans and trains to power an "Industrial Internet" to IBM sharing its problem-solving power with cities, businesses and universities. (Fast Company)
- "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." So says Sherlock Holmes, in his social media data warning. (SHIFT Communications)
Legal / HR
- One area of real-time marketing that hasn't gotten too much press: the legal risks of replying quickly. Brands are not people, and using names and likenesses without permission may land your company in hot water. (DigiDay)
- Forbes was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, who stole the credentials of 1 million users, and Kickstarter was similarly hacked. (Engadget and BBC)
- Related: more than 9 in 10 Internet users are concerned about online privacy. (eMarketer)
- Real-time marketing continues to get interest, particularly in the wake of the Super Bowl and throughout the televised award show season. Here then is a play-by-play guide for real-time content creation.(Edelman Digital)
- Remember that Oreo "dunk in the dark" tweet from last year's Super Bowl? It has set marketers back. (The Drum)
- Ineed, some have asked, is real-time marketing missing the point? (Brand Driven Digital)
- BMW Films was a first-of-its-kind series of 8-10 minute films released on the Internet in 2001-2002; BMW is now set to bring the series back. (AdAge)
- Coca-Cola has developed a revolutionary Social Media Guard to help you with your social media addition and this funny video illustrates it. (Coca-Cola)
Bookmark / Read / Watch Later
- In the conclusion of a series on brand journalism, here's how to think about the ROI of brand journalism. (Spin Sucks)
- Amid real-time marketing, social networks and other trendy topics, SEO may not seem sexy. But it's still the backbone of your digital efforts. Make sure you're getting SEO right. (Buffer)
- Transparency and authenticity win in marketing. And that builds trust. (Guardian)
- Audio may play a more important part in the future of storytelling and marketing. But it's odd that this piece doesn't have an audio version. (Holtz Communication + Technology)
CommentaryIf you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.
Facebook has caught the attention of just about all of Silicon Valley and beyond with its acquisition of WhatsApp. As a $19 billion deal ($4B in cash, $12B in stock and $3B in restricted stock units), it's the largest ever for the 10 year-old company. And it's completely in line with the approach to competitors that we've seen.
Previously, Facebook shelled out $1 billion for Instagram and offered Snapchat as much as $3 billion (which Snapchat turned down). The common theme: that the two tighter, more intimate messaging apps were considered competitors and it was noted that many teens were flocking to such mobile messaging apps. Included on that list was WhatsApp.
More than just recapturing some of the teen demographic, there are other reasons that Facebook acquired WhatsApp: reach into Europe and other international markets where Facebook has had low penetration such as India, Brazil and Mexico; a growth rate that dwarfs those of Facebook and other competitors.
There's no stopping Facebook on its path to global mobile domination. The only question is what will it buy next?