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Facebook’s Next Big Bet Is Making Your Phone’s Camera Smarter

Facebook has gotten us all to share text posts and photos, and is seeing a lot of use of video. Now, it wants to turn is all into live streamers, and use advanced technology to aid our use of our phone cameras: That’s the gist of an outlook that Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox gave at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Tuesday.

Cox said that Facebook has already seen 400 percent growth in live streaming since opening it up to all of its users in May. Not all of that is coming from users watching broadcasts of major media brands, he explained, adding that the number of small broadcasters — teenagers that stream to just a dozen of their friends — was a surprise even to Facebook itself.

Key to Facebook Live’s future growth will be technology that adds to the live broadcast experience, said Cox. He showed off one example that Facebook is currently experimenting with in the lab: An app that automatically takes the camera input and in real-time renders it in the style of famous painters like van Gogh using neural networks.

The bigger idea behind experiments like this is to turn the camera into an advanced tool that unlocks live streaming and augmented reality experiences, said Cox. “This is going to help take the technology to the next level.”

Cox was joined on stage by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who argued that Live is an evolution of free expression on Facebook, complete with the challenges that come with it. The company has been in hot waters in the past for overzealous removal of content, and suggested last week that it was ready to relax some of its guidelines for acceptable content.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” Sandberg said. “We also want to be a really safe community. Those two things can come into conflict.”

As Facebook is making decision what content to keep on its platform and what to ban, it often finds itself confronted with criticism that it is exercising editorial control — a charge that Sandberg and Cox denied. “A media company is about the story that it tells,” said Cox. “A technology company is about the tools that it builds.”

Source: Variety, article by Janko Roettgers (http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/facebook-chris-cox-sheryl-sandberg-live-1201900331/)

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Tips for app store optimization

ASO, or app store optimization, is the process of creating and adjusting an App Store or Google Play listing for long-term, organic success.

The concept of ASO has caught fire recently due in no small part to the massive volume of applications clogging the app stores: nearly 3 million apps are available on the Apple App Store and Google Play apiece. Successful optimization can put your app on top for a long time to come.

Why ASO?
Apple itself recently touted that more than 65 percent of app downloads come from searches made in the App Store. That is bigger than all the television ads, Facebook promotions and burst campaigns out there, making search officially the strongest way to boost your app.

With an optimized listing, your app will be more likely to appear in relevant searches, capitalizing on the intent of users each time they search in the store.

Tailoring your optimizations
When optimizing your app, it is important to consider the platform on which you will be launch.

Apple and Google each have their own unique process for indexing your app. That means you will need to play to the strengths of each platform to successfully optimize for both.

Optimizing on the App Store
Apple’s App Store is the easiest platform to optimize for in many ways.

An app listing for the App Store consists of two key parts: Your app’s title and your app’s keywords. Only your title will be visible to the public, but both the title and the keywords have great influence on which terms you will rank for in search.

Words from your title and your keyword bank can be combined to build phrases.

For example, if your app is called “Fun Game” and you have the word “Free” in your keyword bank, you could pick up ranking for the phrase “Fun Free Game.”

By looking over your title and keywords, as well as reading your description and playing around with your app, Apple will determine foe which terms and phrases your app is relevant. That makes targeting the proper keywords in your title, keyword bank and description extremely important.

Optimizing on Google Play
Like Apple, Google also has a title field. Unlike Apple, Google restricts the title to 30 short characters. That means you will not be able to add too many key terms in your title.

Also, unlike Apple, Google has no keyword bank into which you can type manually targeted keywords.

Instead, Google uses the words in your title, long description and short description to determine foe which terms your app is relevant.

The short description is a small, 80-character description of your app that will appear to users on mobile as they search.

Google places great weight on your title and short description when it decides your ranking, so it would be wise to use highly searched, relevant words and phrases here.

The same is true of your long description.

If you can use high-volume, trending terms in your description in a natural way, you might find yourself picking up a lot of new rankings.

Converting users
ASO places heavy emphasis on the data behind your app. You always want to use the most relevant, trending terms as your keywords.

However, not all the action happens behind the scenes.

After all, a user still needs to like the look of your app to download, and that means optimizing your icon and screenshots as well.

Creative optimization is incredibly important in ASO.

An app can have great keywords, a solid title and a captivating description. But with an ugly icon and screenshots, it may never gain the traction it needs for success.

Again, it is important to take into account the differences between Apple and Google when you optimize your creatives.

For example, Apple’s search results display two screenshots for each app, making your first two screenshots – or your first screenshot and your preview video, if you have one – vital for converting users.

Google, on the other hand, does not display screenshots in search results. Instead, your icon will be the only creative item featured in the results.

Take these differences into account when you set up your listing for each store.

WITH THAT, you have got a solid foothold for optimizing your app with both Apple and Google.

Each platform has its own unique challenges. But a successful optimization could be the first step towards scaling nearly 3 million competitors on each app store.

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily, article by Dave Bell (http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/tips-for-app-store-optimization) 

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Snapchat Needs to Go Public Before Instagram Stories Kills It

With Snapchat leaking that the company is planning a quick initial public offering (IPO) at a $25 billion valuation, the real motivation for speeding up the deal may be the ability of Instagram Stories to grow to from scratch to 60 percent of Snapchat’s user base in just 10 weeks.

L&F Capital Management suggests that Snapchat’s current advantages are easily replicated, and that “Instagram will ultimately consolidate the teen user base.”

They see a Snapchat IPO as another one-trick-pony like GoPro, Fitbit and Shake Shack. All three had hot IPO’s and a big jump in price in the first few days of trading. But within a year, competition swooped in and the companies’ stock prices crumbled.

A recent Wishbone survey targeting 35,000 Snapchat users between the ages of 12 and 25 found the company’s primary competitive advantage is its filters. Geo filters and puppy dog faces are what the youth demographic currently wants for viral “fun.” But the survey also revealed that if Facebook had Snapchat-type filters, it would take market share from Snapchat’s 12 to 25-age demographic.

Facebook Instagram Stories launched on August 2, and already has 100 million daily active viewers, compared to Snapchat’s 150 million users after almost five years. A big part of Instagram Stories’ rapid adoption has probably been due to “immersion” within the 500 million users in Instagram’s ecosystem.

L&F is confident that Facebook can continue to grow its earnings by 30 percent compounded, because the falling “Cost per Engagement” for the Instagram and Facebook platform is a magnet for advertiser dollars and an impediment for other social media platforms.

Snapchat is the primary target in the Facebook’s app consolidation plans. By knocking off Snapchat’s core features, Facebook will strengthen its user base and take share in the youth demographic, where advertisers desperately want to increase engagement.

Snapchat currently has an advantage when it comes to private direct messaging, but that feature is easily imitated. Facebook is already testing a similar tool with Messenger. By enabling short-lived direct messaging text, photos and videos, Messenger would seem to be a huge threat to Snapchat’s value proposition to users.

Instagram Stories already addresses the public messaging components, and when combined with Facebook Messenger features, it could also offer the kid-targeted private component.

L&F believes that with all the hype around Snapchat, the stock price will undoubtedly jump after the IPO. But it also expects Snapchat to be “butchered” as reality sinks in that the company does not have “protectable” value.

Source: Bretbart, article by Chriss W. Street (http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/10/09/snapchat-needs-go-public-instagram-stories-kills/)

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Most US Young Adults Watch Mobile Video on Facebook

Teens aren’t the only ones turning to YouTube to consume video content, young adults ages 18 to 20 are as well. According to June 2016 research, more than half of US young adults watch mobile video on the video-sharing site—and just as many view mobile video content on Facebook.

Social Media Platforms Used by US Young Adult* Mobile Video Viewers to View Mobile Video Content, June 2016 (% of respondents)

Native advertising software provider Sharethrough polled 300 US internet users ages 18 to 20, who were asked questions after being shown an autoplay in-feed native video ad.

Though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% of young adults watching mobile video on that social platform each day.

Daily Time Spent Viewing Video Among Mobile Users* Worldwide, by Device/Channel, July 2015 (minutes and % of total)

Video habits are steadily moving to mobile. A survey from Millward Brown revealed that though time spent watching video on TV is still greater than on other devices, video habits are shifting, thanks in part to the proliferation of mobile devices entering the market, as well as growth of multiscreen usage.

According to the study, half of all video viewing happens on TV sets—split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22% of total daily time spent viewing video.

Source: eMarketer (https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Most-US-Young-Adults-Watch-Mobile-Video-on-Facebook-YouTube-Daily/1014553#sthash.wg5EmPZF.dpuf)

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