Simon Pilkington
July 3, 2014

Facebook prepare for video ads and #LikeAGirl Goes Viral

This week in social media: Facebook prepares the site for video ads, brand new emoji and Twitter looks to the world of online shopping.

It’s been a slow week in social media, but the major players are all preparing their networks for some big new ideas in the future. Facebook is preparing the news feed for video ads. Twitter accidentally launches pre-launches a new shopping feature. The Unicode Consortium shows off their new emoji set. And in this week’s viral video, viewers are encouraged to stop using “like a girl” as an insult.

Facebook prepares for video ads

We’ve known for a while that Facebook has been planning auto-play video ads for our timelines. But this week Facebook started putting the gears in motion, by updating the algorithm they use to show videos to their users. Now, videos will not only be ranked by how many likes, comments and shares they have, but also how long users look at them. Also, users who click play on lots of videos will be shown more videos in future; users who aren’t so keen will be shown less.

It’s all part of the long-term advertising plan – finding out which customers are more likely to engage with video ads, once they’re fully rolled out. The video ads will be soundless unless users click on them, so it’s definitely in Facebook’s best interest to find out who will be most likely to click.

Viral video of the week: #LikeAGirl

Feminine hygiene product distributor Always have kicked off a viral video campaign to discourage people from using “like a girl” as a derogatory term. The video features men and women being asked to perform tasks ‘like a girl’ and recording their responses. Often, they’ll do a lesser or weaker version of the task. Conversely, when young girls are asked to do something ‘like a girl’, they do it with confidence. This video is all about giving young women confidence to do the things normally only reserved for boys and men. It certainly resonated with its target audience – it got more than a million views in one day.

What made the video so popular? A few things:

Women’s issues are popular. Last week’s wrap was also about women’s issues. Feminist videos and videos encouraging confidence in young women are very popular at the moment, and fit in perfectly with today’s political climate.

It feels real. It’s impossible to know if this is setup, but it feels like real interviews with real women. The tactile, real feal of the video resonates with viewers.

It doesn’t feel like an ad. People are more likely to share a video about a worthy cause than an obvious ad. Always are keeping their distance here and only showing off their cause.

Also in the news:

Emoji, the ever-popular set of graphics that took text messaging by storm and now appear on Facebook and Twitter, are set for a revamp. The Unicode Consortium, the body which governs which Emojis can be part of a standard set, have expanded it with hundreds of new icons. Get ready to see them appear on your iOS and Android phones, and in your Facebook updates and tweets.

One minor controversy: the new set features a hand with a extended middle finger. Questions remain as to whether notoriously family-friendly companies like Apple will elect to include that one.

Twitter prepares online shopping system

Eagle-eyed users noticed this week that a ‘Buy Now’ button was showing up on a few tweets from brands and businesses, leading speculators to conclude that Twitter is planning to introduce a shopping service. The company, which has struggled to monetise its efforts through advertising, might see shopping as a great potential revenue stream.

There’s no official announcement as of yet from tight-lipped Twitter, and it looks like this might have just been an embarrassing early leak. One things for sure: the social media giant has its eyes firmly set on new tweet content to keep people on the platform.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you all next week!

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