July has been a busy time for social media. This month saw the rise in vertical video, while some of the biggest tech companies teamed up to form a data sharing alliance. Group video chat is now available on WhatsApp and LinkedIn became a little chattier…


YouTube adds support for vertical video

As we spend more time on our smartphones, the engagement from vertical video – that is, video filmed in portrait mode – is soaring. Both Facebook and Instagram already support this new format, with Instagram recently launching a dedicated product specifically for vertical videos.

YouTube, the reigning home of online video, has finally caught on and will allow users to view vertical videos, both on the web and on mobile. Its media player now cleverly adapts to different aspect ratios of videos. This means that users can now watch portrait videos without having them shrunk and two ugly black bars placed on either side. Finally! Read more

Try on lipstick directly on Facebook with new AR ads

Social networking giant, Facebook, has released a new ad format: artificial reality ads. Reminiscent of Snapchat filters, the new ads will allow users to ‘try out’ products such as lipstick and sunglasses using their phone camera. The format is currently in the testing phase and only available to a handful of advertisers.

This new feature is an effective way of increasing user engagement on adverts, adding a personal element and most importantly, pushing potential customers further down the sales funnel. In the automotive industry, Kia has already started testing this technology. Facebook users can get a glimpse of what the 2018 Stinger GT will look like on their driveway. Though this technology is still in its infancy, it’s one to watch for all our clients. Read more

Voice clips are coming to LinkedIn Messenger

Already a favourite on WhatsApp, voice messages are coming to LinkedIn. These messages are essentially like voice mails, where users can send short pre-recorded messages to each other using LinkedIn’s chat platform.

For business relationships, this could be a game changer. Sometimes personality, warmth and tone of voice can get lost or misinterpreted in written language. Short voice messages, on the other hand, can be listened to at the recipient’s convenience and could hugely benefit business relationships. Read more


Internet giants team up to launch Data Transfer Project

Some of the biggest internet companies teamed up to launch a new way to move data between platforms. The Data Transfer Project is an open source initiative that allows users to securely and seamlessly move their data from one service to another without downloading and re-uploading it again.

The aim of the project is to give control back to the user. For example, a user decides they don’t like their music streaming service and want to stop using the platform, but can’t because they will lose all their playlists. With the Data Transfer Project, they could use a data export service to save their playlists on the cloud – which they can then import into a new music streaming service later.

Another benefit users will enjoy from the Data Transfer Project will be on social media. A user may, for example, discover a new photo printing service but realise that their photos are all on different social media platforms. Instead of trawling through their accounts to download and then re-upload all their photos, the Data Transfer Project will enable users to import photos directly to the photo printing service via an app.

According to the Data Transfer Project website, the project is still in its early stages and isn’t quite ready to be used just yet. However, the organisation is actively inviting more internet services to join the project. Read more


WhatsApp rolls out group video chat

The much-anticipated group video chat feature has finally come to WhatsApp! Users can now have video chats with up to four friends. To start one, users simply need to start a video call with one person and then tap the new ‘add participant’ option to add more people.

Similar to all other components on WhatsApp, group video calls are completely end-to-end encrypted. On their blog, WhatsApp claims that the new feature has been designed to work reliably around the world in different network conditions.

The feature is being rolled out gradually and will be coming to your iOS or Android phone very soon. Read more

YouTube enhances VR functionality

YouTube has announced a new set of updates aimed at enhancing its virtual reality capabilities. The YouTube VR app will now be available on more VR devices, including Samsung Gear VR, powered by Facebook owned Oculus. YouTube will also introduce communal viewing where users can discuss videos with others whilst watching them. Communal viewing is a trend we’ve also seen with Facebook, which recently rolled out Watch Party. The service which enables users in a group to chat and consume video content together.

Perhaps the most important aspect of VR for entertainment is good quality content. There are more than 800,000 VR experiences available already on YouTube VR. The platform is now trying to expand that by partnering with even more content creators including sports and tourism organisations. Read more


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