Digital Dash: Facebook’s “GlobalCoin” currency & more

1. Heard of “GlobalCoin”? It’s Facebook’s new cryptocurrency and it’s coming soon

I’m going to start off by admitting I’m no cryptocurrency expert.

Or at least I’m not yet.

If reports are to be believed, Facebook is set to release its very own digital currency, possibly as soon as next year.

And if that happens, it won’t be long until I’m much more clued up about the whole thing… because it could be a gamechanger.

As explained by the BBC:

“Facebook wants to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account. The social networking site, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs.”

And by Social Media Today:

“Facebook’s plan, seemingly, is to build its own transaction network which would facilitate funds transfers across borders, without the need for deals with local banks and/or financial regulators. That could enable Facebook to become a global marketplace, with users in all regions able to quickly and easily make safe, on-platform purchases – which could also extend beyond Facebook and into Messenger, WhatsApp, and importantly, Instagram.”

That last line is significant.

With Instagram launching more and more commerce features, and cryptocurrency on the horizon, big things could be coming over the next couple of years.

If the currency can be used across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, this also ties in closely with Facebook’s mission to interlink its family of platforms. This was something spoken about recently at the F8 developer’s conference.


2. You can now “Go Live with Guests” on Twitter

Next time you do a live Twitter video, here’s something to remember: you can now add up to three guests in too.

Viewers can request to join by tapping the smiley faces at the bottom of the screen, and if you accept, they can star alongside you for however long they want.

But there’s a catch.

You’ll only be to hear guests’ voices. Beyond their profile photos, they won’t be visible at all.

Here’s Twitter’s take on the new feature:

“Whether its #NBATwitter or #DemThrones, you can discuss your interests with anyone around the world and actually hear their perspective and reactions in real-time.”

But there’s a business case for this too.

Adding guests could be a great way to make live videos more engaging.

You could invite experts or influencers to discuss your products, or a related hot topic. If you’re feeling brave, you could even have a direct conversation with fans to discuss a new launch, for example.


3. IGTV adds landscape option

For ages, there was virtually no talk about IGTV at all. But more recently, there’s been update after update after update.

In fact, it was only last week we let you know about IGTV’s makeover, designed to bring it more in line with Snapchat and TikTok.

We also revealed it will benefit from more prominent positioning within Explore.

Before these, there was IGTV previews in Stories and the main feed.

And now there’s even more news.

In response to creator demands, IGTV now supports landscape video. Until this week, only vertical video was allowed.

Image: Instagram

In a statement, Instagram said:

“… we’re announcing support for landscape videos in addition to vertical. Ultimately, our vision is to make IGTV a destination for great content no matter how it’s shot so creators can express themselves how they want.”


4. LinkedIn beefs up ad targeting with data company acquisition

Shortly after announcing an Ads tab for business profiles, LinkedIn is back with another announcement.

The platform has just acquired data analytics company Drawbridge, Inc.

In short, this is great news for advertisers (but only really rich advertisers because LinkedIn advertising is eye-wateringly expensive).

Drawbridge specialises in using advanced machine learning to help marketers create more accurate audience personas for targeting.

In a blog post, LinkedIn said:

“We believe Drawbridge’s team and technology will allow us to accelerate the capabilities of our Marketing Solutions platform, helping our customers better reach and understand their professional audiences and measure the ROI of their campaigns across mobile and desktop.”

The acquisition could prove really valuable, and we’ll be watching closely to see if/when advertising options get more exciting.

But cost is a concern.

You can’t help but wonder if more refined targeting will result in ads being even more expensive than they already are. Then again, if more advertisers are tempted onto the platform, that could help prices drop.

Also, if the targeting is super effective, it’s easier to justify higher prices.


5. Can you guess right? Do people spend more time on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat

Emarketer has just released a report on time spent on Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Snapchat (US adults only).

It follows up on reports from the past 3 years, and predicts results up to 2021 too.

Let’s take a look at the stats.

Image: Emarketer

You can see av. time spent on Facebook and Snapchat has remained the same as in 2018.

In Facebook’s case this is a drop of 3 minutes from 2017, but the platform still wins by over 10 minutes a day overall.

Av. time on Instagram is steadily on the rise and predicted to continue.

I’ve seen a fair few shock-value headlines focusing on Facebook’s decline over the years (as reported by this study), but we really need to keep this in context.

The drop here is 3 minutes over 2 years, during a time when Facebook made significant changes and admitted these would result in people spending less time on the platform…

So nothing especially unexpected there.

Also, 38 minutes a day is still a big chunk of time.

In terms of Instagram, again it’s all quite predictable. I’m actually surprised the numbers aren’t a little higher. But doesn’t that just go to show how well used Facebook still is?

Another thing to consider is that Mark Z won’t lose any sleep over Instagram (which of course, Facebook owns) picking up the minutes its dropping.

As with all studies, it’s important to look at the specifics of the data too.

This study is US only, and we know from Facebook’s Q1 2019 results that the Daily Active User growth is much stronger outside of the US and Canada. So that’s just something else to consider.