Preparing for Instagram as an advertising platform

StarbucksIGadEver since Facebook purchased Instagram, Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that advertising will come to the photo sharing service.

During Wednesday’s second quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg pretty much confirmed that someday, Instagram will have ads:

(Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom) has always been clear that we’re building Instagram to be a business, and that’s – we expect that over time, we’re going to generate a lot of profit from it and probably through advertising. Now, that all said, right now, it’s just growing so quickly. I mean, the number that we’ve just said was 130 million monthly actives, video product is growing really quickly. There are so many directions to expand this in, that we think that the right focus for now, is to continue just focusing on increasing the footprint of Instagram and when the right time comes and we’ll think about doing advertising as well, and I think that’s going to be a really big opportunity.

Advertising could be huge on Instagram, as brands are increasingly flocking to it. According to Simply Measured, 67 of the Interbrand 100 companies are on the site already, engaging with users and sharing highly visual content. Among these 67 brands on Instagram, there’s an audience of 7 million users, and growing.

Several brands — such as MTV and Mercedes-Benz — have seen loads of engagement through Instagram, showing that people do comment and like Instagram photos from companies. Furthermore, Starbucks and Nike have not been afraid to utilize Instagram video for success.


Facebook launches photo comments for pages

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A month after Facebook introduced photo comments for users, the site is implementing this technology for pages. Now people can leave photo comments on page posts. Page admins can also respond to comments with a photo. This is rolling out gradually and globally starting today.

A Facebook spokesperson announced this capability to Inside Facebook:

For businesses, enabling photos in comments, both on Pages and elsewhere on the site, allows for conversations with customers to be more expressive and engaging than ever.

Readers: How often do you leave a photo comment?

Coming soon to Android: Photo saving direct from Facebook?


Facebook updated its Android application for members of its beta testing group Monday, giving a sneak peek at features that could be made for all Android users in the future. One of the more notable features of this update is the ability to save photos directly from the Facebook mobile photo viewer.

Additionally, it has updated Facebook Home (for members of the test group) to make the status bar denoting notifications and battery life a permanent fixture atop the lock screen.


STUDY: What does it look like when a Facebook photo goes viral?


Millions of photos are posted to Facebook every day — some of which are widely shared and become viral. A recent comprehensive study by Facebook shows that roughly 5 percent of photos uploaded to the site are then reshared.

While that might not seem like much, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure Jay Parikh noted in January that there are more than 240 billion photos on Facebook’s servers right now, with 350 million more added to the site each day. Facebook’s photo storage grows by 7 petabytes per month.

It’s the viral photos that account for most of the share activity. Facebook Data Scientists Alex Dow, Lada Adamic and Adrien Friggeri recently published a paper, presented at the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, about the anatomy of a highly-shared photo. They discovered that photos that are shared at least once are shared an average of 14.8 times. The top 0.5 percent of shared photos (those with more than 500 shares over the span of two weeks) account for 50 percent of all reshare activity on the site.

The team examined two pictures: one posted by President Barack Obama of himself hugging First Lady Michelle Obama shortly after Obama’s re-election, and a photo posted by Petter Kverneng, a young Norwegian man hoping to get 1 million likes so his friend would have sex with him.


Instagram’s real estate on Facebook News Feed grows following video announcement


Not long after Instagram launched its video features, it appears that Facebook made a change in how Instagram’s stories are shown in the redesigned News Feed.

Specifically, stories that showed when a user liked photos on Instagram have gotten much bigger. Video posts from Instagram to Facebook are also pretty large.


UPDATED: Facebook’s photo comments returned after brief outing


(UPDATE: It appears that the feature was just taken offline for a bit, and has since returned. Facebook told Inside Facebook that it is something the site is still rolling out.)

Some Facebook features are obviously more well received than others. Still, others seem like a good idea at the time, but upon “poking” into it further … not so much. On Wednesday, Facebook released the ability to reply or comment with images on profile posts. Many groaned at the thought of how this feature could be abused, but most people in my network seemed to be warming up to the idea by the next day. In fact most grumbling seemed to revolve around the fact that Facebook was still not allowing animated GIFs.

By Thursday, the feature had been extended to pages and groups. Surprisingly, as of this fourth revision of this feature review post, the feature has completely disappeared. In fact I noticed it was no longer working via the iOS Facebook app Thursday evening, but I thought it was just a hiccup. Speculation abounds. Will it return? Is it merely a glitch? We don’t know yet.

Inside Facebook has reached out to Facebook, and will update the story when the company responds.


Facebook could overtake Vine with Instagram video


The worst-kept secret in social media came to light Thursday, as Facebook introduced video for Instagram. It includes new video-specific filters, 15 seconds of multi-frame recording and a new feature called Cinema that will take shaky videos and make them look as if they were filmed professionally.

As Vine grows like crazy, Facebook needed to come up with a competitor. The iOS version of Vine — the popular 6-second video sharing app which was blocked from Facebook last year — recently hit the 13 million download mark. Facebook is hoping that Instagram’s 130 million users will be enough to make it the most popular video app. By introducing features such as Cinema and filters to video, Instagram can not only compete with Vine, but become the go-to app for advertisers.

With the addition of Cinema, a video stabilizer, brands can become major players on Instagram (and by extension Facebook), without having to spend big bucks.


Facebook unveils video for Instagram, complete with filters and stabilizing Cinema feature


After speculation about a news reader or even a new blogging platform, Facebook and Instagram finally set the record straight today. Instagram has debuted video sharing to its application as announced at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Thursday. Live now for iOS and Android devices, users will now be able to share and edit video complete with Instagram’s famous filters.

Instagram users will now be able to share 15 second videos natively in the application. Video is taken by pressing and holding the record button on the touch screen with the ability to delete specific clips users may not want. Once the user has finished recording, they can then add one of the 13 filters to the video and share with friends.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says the goal of Instagram has always been to share memories and moments in visual form. He ensured that the addition of video will still maintain the experience of Instagram highlighting the app’s speed, simplicity and beauty. With this in mind, the company has also introduced a new video stabilization tool called Cinema which helps to prevent shaky video captures.


Facebook rolls out photo comments


Facebook has begun to roll out photo comments for all users. The new feature allows users to share images as comments on posts. The feature will be made available for user to user interactions, and will soon be an option to comment on page posts, as well.

Previously, Facebook would allow users to share an image as a comment by posting a link. It would then pull the image as a thumbnail for easy viewing. With this update, Facebook removes this middle step and allows users upload their images directly from their computer. These images appear larger than those shared by links and are hosted directly on Facebook. Users will not need to take the time to upload an image through a hosting site such as Imgur, Photobucket or many others.


Facebook now lets users suggest photos for place pages

placesAs part of the social network’s continuing efforts to build out its location database, Facebook now allows users to upload and suggest photos for unadministered place pages.

Facebook’s location platform relies heavily on user-generated content and community editing. Anyone can create a place or edit the details of an existing place, such as the category, business hours, website or other information. Some place pages are run by the people or organizations that own them, and in those cases, they can designate their own profile picture. This new feature applies to places that don’t have an admin.


Unadministered places are ones that are not managed by a person, business or organization, and are often cities, public parks or local businesses that haven’t claimed their page on Facebook. They do not appear in Timeline format like claimed places do. These rely on Facebook users and a community of power users called “Places Editors” to be filled out with complete information and photos.

Previously, users could suggest the place’s official website and then select one image from the site to serve as the profile picture of that place. Earlier this month, Facebook began rolling out a new way for users to add any photo to serve as the profile picture. Users can now upload a new photo or choose from one of their existing albums. Other users can vote on the submitted photos, and the most popular one becomes the profile picture. The other images become part of an album for the place.

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