Headlines & Stuff April 11, 2014

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Twitter Launches New Look
Twitter’s new design starting rolling out this week along with some other changes to the platform. The profile page now comes with a Facebook style large photo at the top and profile picture inset. Tweets with more engagement appear larger than ones with less engagement. Users can choose to pin their favorite tweets at the top of their profile feed. Users can now incorporate emojis into their tweets. In addition, users will start to see pop-up notifications when others on the platform engage with them. And finally, Twitter launched several new ad varieties including app installs, click-to-call and email signup options. Check out the new layout here, here and here.

Facebook Updates Ad Design 
In the coming months, Facebook will be rolling out a new design for ads in the right-hand column. This updated look will make right-hand column ads more visually consistent with the ads that appear in the News Feed (aka bigger). In early tests, Facebook reported seeing 3x the engagement from people who saw the new design. Some advertisers will start seeing this option later this month. The rest, later this year.

Facebook Aims to Clean Up News Feed Spam
Facebook this week announced a series of improvements to the News Feed to reduce spam from pages that are deliberately trying to game the system to get more distribution. The update targets three broad categories of feed spam behavior including: “Like-Baiting” (when a post asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share a post in order to get additional distribution beyond what it would normally receive),  Frequently Circulated Content (posting repeated content over and over), and Spammy Links (stories that use inaccurate language or formatting to trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads). Facebook is updating its algorithm to remove or adjust the frequency of all of the above.

You Can Buy Nielsen Ratings on YouTube Starting Next Month
Google is now confident enough in Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings product that it’s going to start selling guarantees to advertisers based on OCR ratings one month from today. And as of the end of 2014, Google will have OCR integrated direction into its Doubleclick platform.

Global Social Media

Yelp Goes Live in Japan
Yelp stepped into Asia when it launched in Singapore in September 2012 and now, nearly a year and a half later, its finally expanding its presence in the continent after going live in Japan. The move into Japan is a good one considering that the country overtook the US on global mobile app spending last year.  Yelp is now available in 26 countries.

Noteworthy Campaigns

SodaStream Targets Ocean Pollution
SodaStream has launched a cause-related campaign that aims to raise awareness of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a collection of mostly plastic waste that is twice the size of Texas. The campaign encourages consumers to sign a petition (hosted on Change.org) that will be sent to world leaders “urging them to work to address the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.”  Additionally, the initiative incorporates contests, social media sharing tools and branded entertainment to humorously take a dig at the soda industry – which it blames for environmental damage. SodaStream dubs the Pacific garbage patch “The Secret Continent” and using satire treats it like a “resort” destination. Visitors to the Secret Continent site are invited to explore the “fun plastic heaven in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.” They can scroll through colorful images of the “rare and enchanting fish,” including the “Plastic Fish” (water bottle), the “Common Piranha-Cola” (soda bottle), the “Carryfish” (plastic shopping bag) and the “Rubber Snail” (condom).  In case you miss the irony, an FAQ section explaining the joke is made clear on the site. If users can come up with catchier names for The Secret Continent or design its flag they can win SodaStream machines.