Digital Dash: Pinterest nears $1bn ad revenue & more

1. Pinterest heads towards IPO after closing in on $1bn ad revenue milestone, meanwhile Facebook’s share price plunges

2018 is going great for Pinterest. The company is on track to rake in a cool billion dollars in ad revenue by the end of the year, which would double 2017’s results.

With that in mind, you might not be super shocked to hear the news that follows: “people familiar with the matter” as CNBC calls them, believe the company is heading towards an IPO in mid 2019.

It’s taken a fair amount of time for Pinterest to evolve its ads manager, plus for businesses to wake up to the huge potential the platform offers.

But things are really taking off now.

A heap of improvements to business profiles, as well as loads of innovative new features and tools have been announced over the past 6 months – and advertisers are finally paying more attention to Pinterest.

So that’s the good news. Want to know which company’s had some bad news this week? Facebook.

The Social Network’s share price tumbled over 20% (which equates to about $123bn) following a very unhappy-looking Q2 earnings report, which announced Facebook’s slowest ever user growth rate.

Incidentally, $123bn is the largest one-day drop in the US market history. Oh dear.

Among the results causing concern was the monthly user count, which only rose 1.54%, compared to 3.14% last quarter. The story was no better for daily active users (DAUs), which grew only 1.44%, compared to 3.42% previously. The number of monthly users actually decreased in Europe – another first.

However, Facebook is Facebook. And this is one company that is rarely stuck for an impressive stat.

Among all the slow growth results was a couple of golden nuggets:

  • Ad revenue grew a huge 42% year-over-year this quarter (although CFO David Wehner did warn this metric would decrease over the next year or so)
  • In June, 2.5 billion people used at least one of Facebook’s family of apps (which includes Instagram, WhatApp and Messenger). That’s just under a third of the world’s population. Wow.

Credit: TechCrunch


2. Instagram gets new “green dot” feature, will let everyone know when you’re online

Let’s move on to a slightly lighter bit of news now, with not one mention of the word “billion”.

Instagram is adding a green dot next to profile pictures to indicate when you’re online, the idea being to encourage real-time communication.

As confirmed by Insta in the announcement, you’ll only see the status update for friends who follow you or people you’ve spoken to already in Direct.

Photo: Instagram

Anyone whose reaction to this news was something along the lines of “No, I don’t want it. Take it away!” shouldn’t panic – you can simply toggle off your “Activity Status”, as it’s called, in your settings.

Bear in mind though that doing this comes at a cost: you’ll no longer be able to see anyone else’s green dots anymore either.


3. Snapchat drills down into users’ day-to-day habits for new Footprints series

Marketers tend to get pretty happy when they hear the term “data-driven insights” – especially when said insights will help them shape their content strategy on an important platform.

And Snapchat’s new location insights series Footprints – which analyses US Snapchatters’ visitation patterns – falls perfectly into that category.

According to the company, over 90% of its users opt-in to share their location, and interact with Snapchat approximately 25 times a day.

This is kind of mind-blowing in itself, but even more exciting in terms of the ridiculous level of data it provides.

What it boils down to is this: Snapchatters are using the app wherever they go; it’s ingrained in their daily lives and activities.

So what can we learn from the location data?

Well, as you can see below, specific trends have emerged around common things to do and the days on which they typically occur.

Snapchat also helpfully provided some notes about how the Footprints insights can be used to strengthen advertising.

Photos: Snapchat


3. Google launches personalised events for Search

Last year, Google launched event listings in Search. This meant you could search for things like “events near me” and a list of things going on in your local area would appear, populated from a variety of sites.

I’ve got to admit: although I’ve never used the feature myself, I don’t know why not. It’s actually really cool.

And it’s about to get even cooler.

Google will soon be adding a “For You” tab, which will offer personalised event suggestions for things to do nearby, tailored to your interests.


Photo: TechCrunch

You will also see key information on each event listing within Search, and be able to tap on one of them to get an overview of things like time, location, ticketing providers and more.

In addition, there will be a save button so you can keep track of events for future.

Websites can easily become part of the experience by marking up their event listings like so.


4. Workplace becomes more like regular Facebook with new personalised profiles

In big organisations it can be difficult to connect with colleagues beyond the neighbouring few desks, kitchen and water cooler.

According to Facebook, more than half of business decision-makers say they want to achieve greater connectivity in their organisations. And I don’t think they’re referring to the Wi-Fi.

To help people get to know their co-workers a little better, Facebook is launching personalised profiles for its professional platform Workplace.

You can navigate to someone’s profile to find out more about them, such as their full name, background, interests, location, languages etc.

It will also now be possible to view and celebrate colleagues’ birthdays .

Another new Workplace update is powerful search function People Directory, which lets you search for individuals based on a combination of profile field filters.

Photos: Facebook

5. Clickable hashtags to appear above YouTube video titles

Hashtags are a funny thing. They are present in one way or another on most social platforms, but serve little purpose on some while being hugely significant on others.

And having previously fallen into the former category, YouTube could be about to move closer to the latter.

The Google-owned company is starting to show video description hashtags above the title, and get this – they’re clickable.

As reported by Android Police, only the first three hashtags from a video’s description will be displayed in the more prominent position above the title. If there’s already a hashtag in the title itself, that will become clickable and none will be shown above.

Photo: Android Police

Clicking on any on of the three will take you to a search results page, featuring other videos using the same tag.

While the feature could be great for UX, it will also open up the door for YouTubers to jump on popular hashtags in order to appear alongside results. This was something mentioned on the Social Media Marketing Talk Show and I can see it happening.

Ultimately, if the quality/relevance of results is high, the feature could be really valuable. But if lists get cluttered with lower-quality results, it could definitely affect how well it’s received.

YouTube is also currently testing an Explore tab.

Similar to Instagram and Twitter, this will throw up personalised suggestions of videos you might like but from people you don’t yet follow.