2011 is not leaving in a whimper. YouTube, Twitter and Google + have all announced major updates to their platforms in recent days. For those of us who thought we were going to ease into the holiday season, think again. Staying apprised of the latest updates is exhausting but then again, isn’t this what makes our jobs so much fun?
Here’s to the New Year and also to an incredible 2011, where we saw the birth of Google’s seemingly first successful social network (Google +), the first social media company to successfully go public (LinkedIn) and several others surge ahead in popularity (Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Pinterest). Before looking back at the year that was, we’ll recap the news from the last week in advance of our 2011 recap that will be coming out next week.
Google + Rolls out more Features
It’s become more and more apparent that Google + is here to stay. On December 19th, Mashable broke the news of multiple upgrades to the Google + platform, many of which were improvements to existing features, in response to user feedback. Here is Google +’s latest suite of features and updates:
This feature is absolutely wild (pardon my excitement). Volume control isn’t what it appears to be: this feature has nothing to do with sound volume. Volume Control is “a slider that lets you fine-tune your streams and decide whether you want to see more or less items from a particular circle in your main stream.” In layman’s terms, this allows users to “weight” the importance of those brands and individuals in his/her circles and determine how often brands and/or individuals appear in their feed.
According to Mashable, Google+ photos have been upgraded with a new lightbox that boasts improved navigation and photo-tagging.
Google + pages have been updated with a triumvirate of new features:
– Multiple admin access to a brand page (up to 50)
– Redesigned notifications in its Google Bar
– Unification of +1 and follower counts
To save you time, here’s an excellent review by David, one of the Google + pages engineers, who takes you through all three features in less than a minute and a half:
And now on to YouTube…
YouTube Analytics replaces Insights
To start, YouTube Analytics is a huge upgrade over its predecessor, YouTube Insights, which only reported on gender, age and geography of users watching your video.
YouTube Analytics, which was rolled out on November 30, dives beyond this data and allows users to “have a deeper understanding of who’s watching your videos, what viewer demographic associations are and which topics viewers watch most,” according to Entrepreneur magazine. Two of the key features found within this new release include:
– Detailed viewer data: This feature is absolutely huge for marketers. Brands and marketers will now be able to split viewer data from engagement data and examine each of these categories separately. In addition to more robust insights into how users interact with your videos, you will also be able to determine how users are accessing content and which channels deliver the most engaged users. With more engagement metrics, brands will be able to pinpoint how users are interacting with his/her videos and turn these insights into actions.
– Audience retention reports: You are able to see precisely where viewers start to lose interest in your videos within your brand channel. Armed with this information, you are able to determine which types of content are most popular and as a result, customize content towards your audience’s interests.
If you haven’t noticed by now, video is huge! And I mean big. Video will experience the most growth of any form of digital content in 2012…mark my words. If you don’t believe me, take a look at what Chris Brogan has to say about video.
Twitter’s New Embeddable Tweets Feature
On December 9th, Twitter unveiled Twitter Brand pages, a huge announcement for this social media behemoth. The brand pages rollout is initially limited to a number of big brands, but also comes with a re-design, which we highlighted last week here at Get Busy Media.
We’re not here to talk about Twitter’s new brand pages…we’re here instead to speak about a more recent development. On December 15, Twitter announced its new Embeddable Tweets feature. Hubspot hit the nail on the head when discussing the newest feature of Twitter, “the true power and leverage of much of social media marketing resides outside the network itself.” Hubspot goes on to say, “your website or blog visitors can now follow, retweet or click on a link in an embedded tweet without ever having to leave the site.” In short, you can take tweets from your brand’s stream and embed them on your blog, website or any of your other digital assets for your readers to interact with. The big complaint with Twitter is that once your tweet falls below the fold, it is never seen or heard from again. This feature adds months, if not years to a tweet’s shelf-life.
This is huge news for anyone looking to drive engagement and can be leveraged in a variety of ways, including:
– Customer Testimonial
– Curate Awesome Content
– Conduct a Social Poll
– Broadcast an Event
Below is the final product of an embedded tweet (courtesy of Hubspot):
After reading about these major updates to three of the big five social networks, I felt compelled to investigate further and curate this information for our readers on Get Busy Media. Which one of the above updates are you most excited about? Which features don’t you like? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Have a happy holiday with your family and friends. We look forward to continuing to provide you with relevant, exclusive digital marketing content in 2012.