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The #SocialSkim – Week of July 30th

This week in social media:
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Top Story: Facebook Loses $120 Billion In Market Cap

Facebook saw its stock tumble by about $120 billion in market cap after a dismal earnings report was released Wednesday. The precipitous 19% drop was the result of missed expectations on revenue, a slowing user growth, and weak guidance.
As of Wednesday morning, the company was valued at $630 billion. By the end of trading Thursday, that number was down to $510 billion. As for Mark Zuckerberg, he saw his personal fortune drop by about $17 billion throughout the course of the day.
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The main cause of the drop was not necessarily the earnings report itself. The company reported $5.12 billion in net income for the quarter, up from $3.89 billion in the year-ago period. User growth also troubled investors, being almost completely stagnant in the U.S. and Canada, and declining in Europe.
Facebook Q2 numbers - Daily Active Users
However, the main catalyst for the dizzying devaluation was a statement by  Facebook’s Cheif Financial Officer David Wehner.
In a statement, Wehner warned:

“Our total revenue-growth rates will continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018, and we expect our revenue-growth rates to decline by high-single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4,” he said on the conference call. Wehner also said Facebook still expects expenses to grow 50% to 60% from last year.”

In a year of bad press and public relations, the forthright statement was enough to send investors running. It also had a significant impact on competitors Twitter and Snapchat. Twitter saw a decline of 24.2%, and Snapchat followed suit with a 4% drop in value.

Facebook Adds Ads to Stories

Facebook plans to utilize the 150 million users who use ‘Stories’ every single day. This will add another reach option for marketers, allowing for ads to be placed directly between the stories.
Screenshots of a Facebook Stories ad from Oculus
They released a statement describing the value to markets saying:

“Businesses are already seeing results using ads in Instagram Stories. For example, Tropicana ran video ads in Instagram Stories for its summertime product promotion campaign, achieving an 18-point lift in ad recall and 15-point lift in purchase intent among males. OpenTable used ads in Instagram Stories to drive online restaurant reservations, resulting in a 33% lower cost per reservation compared to other ad formats. And Overstock ran video ads in Instagram Stories to acquire new customers and increase sales, and generated an 18% higher return on ad spend and a 20% decrease in cost per acquisition.”

While the ad option is not yet available, Facebook noted:

“Soon, you’ll also be able to run ads in stories on Facebook to extend your reach to customers across multiple platforms. And since the formats are similar, you can easily repurpose creative assets to share in stories across our platforms, maximizing your reach to people who are likely to be interested in your offerings.”

Facebook Releases ‘Watch Party’

Facebook announced this week that it has released ‘Watch Party’ communal video viewing for groups. This new feature will make pre-recorded videos just as interactive as Facebook Live videos. The team released the following statement describing the new feature set:

“Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment. We’ve been focused on building new ways to bring people together around video, create connections, and ignite conversations; Watch Party is the next step in bringing this vision to life.”

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Instagram Tests Follower Removal

Instagram has begun testing new features which would allow users to remove followers from public accounts.
A screenshot of Instagram's remove follower toolWhile private accounts have had this ability for some time, public accounts have not.  It’s worth noting that the content would still be public and therefore viewable to the deleted user, however, it would be slightly harder to find.

Instagram Tests Region Restrictions

Instagram is now also testing the ability to limit access to your Instagram stories by location. Instagram Stories location restriction screenshots
This new functionality will allow brands to limit exposure in unwanted markets and also create content which is more geographically specific.

LinkedIn Rolls Out ‘Voice Clips’

This week Linked in has rolled out the ability to record audio clips within messages.
LinkedIn audio clips in messages example [GIF]
LinkedIn Released the following statement noting the advantages of voice messaging:

Easily message on-the-go: People speak about four times faster than they type, making voice messaging great for explaining longer or more complex ideas without the time and involvement of typing and editing a message. It’s also helpful for when you’re on the move and don’t have time to stop and type.
Get to it when you can: Leaving a voice message can often better for a recipient than calling them since they can listen and respond when they have a free moment.
Better express yourself: Speaking in your own voice allows you to build a more personal connection and effectively communicate. It’s easier for your tone and personality to come through, which can sometimes get lost in translation in written communications.

LinkedIn has seen major growth in its messaging platform, and these new tools are another step by their team to enhance user experience.

Snapchat Launches ‘Storytellers’

Snapchat has launched a new program called ‘Snapchat Storytellers’  which connects brands to Snapchat influencers for content collaboration. As described by TechCrunch, the program will introduce brands to a selection of the Snapchat ‘s most popular content creators.
“[Snap creators] will star in ads for Stories and Discover or provide creative direction to brands with their expertise, gleaned from gathering audiences of millions over the past few years, in exchange for cash. Top creators can often earn tens of thousands of dollars or more for deals with brands.”
Screenshots of content from Snapchat influencers
This new feature set is part of the company’s ongoing effort to expand revenue channels. This adds on to the ‘official stories’ added late last year, and in-depth audience insights added in February.

Twitter’s Monthly Active Users Drops, And So Does Its Value

Adding to the FUD (Fear, uncertainty, and doubt) surrounding the social media sphere, Twitter has seen a drop in monthly active users.
Twitter Q2: Monthly Active Users
However, dissimilar to Facebook, the cause of this decline largely relates to the platforms recent crackdown on bots and misuses. You may recall from a previous social skim article that Twitter recently broadened its effort to legitimize the platforms metrics by removing hundreds of millions of inactive accounts. Their team released the following statement and infographic to depict their efforts:
Twitter Q2: Anti-Spam and Bot Detection numbers

“As a result of our health work, decisions not to renew or move to paid SMS carrier relationships in certain markets, and our decision to allocate resources towards GDPR and health, MAU could decline on a sequential basis in Q3. Based on our current level of visibility, we expect the decline to be mid-single-digit millions of MAU.”

Apparently, investors did not like this explanation as shares tumbled 24.8% in two days of trading.

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Market Watch – Facebook Drop
Tech Crunch – Snapchat ‘Storytellers’
Social Media Today- Instagram Testing New Features

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