Cool Things I’ve Seen This Week

The world renowned Pew Research Centre has published their latest look at social media usage, tracking it over the last decade. SPOLIER ALERT: It has increased. A lot. Whilst this is itself is not a revelation, there are some interesting takeouts in terms of ages and types of usage. US based but good all the same.


Snapchat’s need to prove that it is indeed worth almost double what Twitter is (yes you read that correctly) comes to the fore again with a leaked new feature by those pesky devs at Snapprefs and a big play on the superbowl. The leaked feature points to the potential to make video calls from within the app and some new monitisation features that are more than a hat tip the Asian messaging monster WeChat. Fresh from their failure to sell out the Hero spot last year Snapchat have reportedliy signed up several tier 1 brands to run with their ‘Live Story’ section. Wall Street will be watching this closely as this will show their ability to potentially replace Twitter as the go to place for real time engagement.


Speaking of Twitter, their attempts at copying everyone else’s ad models and functionality continues this week with Mr Dorsey announcing that they are trialing 30 second skippable pre-roll ads. This is a great example of a company scrambling to save a share price rather than understanding the context of interaction on the platform. Expect the share price to hit $15 by the end of Q1. The platform is still incredibly valueable to brand however with a single tweet from Oprah sending Weight Watchers stock surging 23. No commission for Mr Dorsey though.


On the flipside, Facebook continues to post above market expectations with their earnings call this week. 1.59 billion users, $5.8bn revenue and 80% ad revenue from mobile. In short – Team Zuck is crushing it. No one to rest on their laurels, they are extending their super successful mobile ad platform to mobile web (this a big deal in the FB/Google celebrity death match), launching a live video feature and are finally expanding their like feature.


Coolest use of Google data of the week award goes to Fixr who have created a map of the world showcasing the most searched for products by country. Apparently Russia’s most searched term was ‘How to fly a MiG?’ ahem.


It has not been a good few months for former Silicon Valley darling Theranos Labs. Having had their methods and tech questioned to the extent that their valuable partnership with Wallgreens was parked they now have much bigger problems with one of the Federal bodies that regulates blood test finding ‘problems’ with one of their labs. This story looks like it is going to run and run and is definitely one to watch as it is the intersection of tech innovation and Federal policy.


Video of the week goes to the short film ‘Hiking for Emails’. It documents Mahabir Pun’s crusade to bring internet to the farthest flung places in Nepal. You know like what Zuck is doing, but sans the evil empire bit.


Stat of the week – $1,728,100,000,000. The market cap of the ‘4 Horsemen’. In context this is the GDP of Canada. Watch one of the smartest men in the world Scott Galloway talking about this in more detail here.


And finally….

With the Valentines just around the corner, here is some Ad Land inspo for those of you that are lacking a bit of game…