Facebook launches Messenger Codes

Facebook is planning to extend its near-ubiquitousness with changes to its Messenger app. Users will soon be able to find new friends and add them with ‘Messenger Codes’. These codes, similar to Snapchat QR codes, will allow users to add people by scanning other users’ phones. This development is equally interesting from a business perspective; adding this technology to the Messenger app paves the way for businesses to allow users to scan codes directly in-app. This will help the Messenger app bring many other features ‘in house’, for example scanning boarding passes. Much like China-based alternative WeChat, the Messenger app will presumably change how and why people communicate via the app. WeChat has been a roaring success after users interactions with business – users can order takeaway, make store returns, as well as scanning the local area for new users. Is the Messenger app looking to follow suit?

Facebook looks at reading time

Facebook has also announced plans to tweak its algorithms relating to articles; it now plans on accounting for how long people actually stay reading the article when calculating users’ interests. Measuring how long users stay on articles, whilst also taking into account loading time, will help Facebook understand how much users did (or didn’t) engage with the content. The new algorithm will help overcome users who spend time reading content, but do not feel obliged to like or ‘react’ to the post. This is good news for publishers as ‘engagement’ with articles will no longer just be judged on likes, shares and comments and should still provide newsfeed visibility.
However, businesses and bloggers – be warned. If your article isn’t engaging, or the title isn’t reflective of the actual article, your engagement levels may be likely to drop and the new algorithm may push your content further down newsfeeds.

Is Twitter in trouble?

Twitter has actively pursued a younger audience – launching live-video platform Periscope, installing younger CEO Jack Dorsey, replacing ‘favourites’ with ‘likes’, adding polls. None of these initiatives seem to be translating into higher growth or profitability. After reporting another month of incredibly slow growth – just under two per cent – shares in the company fell by another 16%. That’s a total drop of over a third across the year. Just how well will Twitter fare in the coming months and years.

Video profile pictures

Following Twitter’s pursuit into video, Facebook has now launched a new video feature that may well take off in a big way. Users are now able to change their profile pictures to a video loop gif. Other apps, such as Vine and Boomerang (developed by Instagram), are able to load their content directly into Facebook profile pictures. This is an interesting development, and will create for some exciting creative opportunities. Just how well will businesses be able to harness the power and allure of video for their Facebook pages?