Month: January 2018

Facebook just dropped a big hint that the News Feed’s days may be numbered (FB, SNAP)

Mark Zuckerberg and employees

  • Stories, which are short photo slideshows or collections of videos, are on track to overtake regular news feed posts as the most common form of social sharing across apps, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.
  • Zuckerberg said this change will influence how the company builds products in the future.
  • The Stories format was pioneered by Facebook-rival Snapchat.

The writing may be on the wall for Facebook’s most iconic feature, the News Feed. 

During Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed how social media usage is evolving. For many people listening, one specific comment by Zuckerberg quickly attracted a lot of attention. 

“We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” Zuckerberg said.

InstagramScrolling through the News Feed — the collection of photos, comments, and web links users see when they log into Facebook or open its app — has been the basic way users interact with the service for the past decade. Using it is as familiar as the keypad on a telephone. Even as Facebook has tinkered with the algorithms that decide what appears in the stream, the feed’s primacy within the social network has remained consistent and unchallenged.

Stories, by contrast, is a newer format for sharing videos and pictures on apps that’s more akin to a sequence or montage of clips that users stitch together. The images typically disappear after 24 hours.

The fact that Stories were first developed by archrival Snapchat does not seem to have turned off Facebook, which essentially copied the feature and incorporated it into all of its products over the last year. According to Zuckerberg, WhatsApp and Instagram are now the top two apps for sharing Stories worldwide. 

Still, the fact that Zuckerberg sees Stories overtaking News Feed posts is a big deal and could have significant implications for the look of Facebook’s service and the stability of its advertising business going forward.

An abuse-proof format? 

Zuckerberg’s comments about Stories do not come in a vacuum. They come as Facebook is trying to respond to  criticism that its service has been easily hijacked to spread misinformation and that it induces kids and others to overuse its social network. It’s possible Zuckerberg sees Stories as a feature that’s less prone to abuse than the News Feed.

If Facebook does shift its design focus from the Feed to Stories, it’s likely to do it in communications products such as Instagram and WhatsApp first. Those products both have younger user bases that may be more amenable to Stories. And rolling out changes on those services would pose less risk to Facebook’s ad business, which currently relies largely on marketers pushing ads into the News Feed. 

But don’t underestimate Facebook’s potential to dump the News Feed on its main service and app. The company has prided itself on being nimble enough to “move fast,” and it’s proven capable of doing so.

In 2012, the company completely overhauled its ad business, moving away from ads that ran on the right side of its web page when viewed in a browser on a desktop computer. In their place, the company created mobile-friendly ads that it incorporated into the News Feed. Today, mobile ads account for 89% of Facebook’s ad revenue. The rise of Stories could be the company’s next big story.

Here are Zuckerberg’s full comments about Stories from the the company’s earnings call:

“Another important shift that we’re seeing across the industry is the growth of Stories. We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps. That’s because Stories is a better format for sharing multiple quick video clips throughout your day.

The growth of Stories will have an impact on how we build products and think about our business, including WhatsApp and Instagram, which are the No. 1 and No. 2 most used Stories products in the world.” 

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg boasts that changes to Facebook have caused people to spend 50 million fewer hours on the social network every day

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Facebook’s usage decline should have investors worried — no matter what Mark Zuckerberg says (FB)

mark zuckerberg

  • In its fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, Facebook reported a 5% drop in daily usage of its service.
  • Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured investors that this was actually a good thing, saying the Facebook was focusing on promoting “meaningful interaction” not maximizing the amount of time users spent on the site.
  • But the drop follows a host of negative publicity for the company and growing concerns about how its site may be promoting addiction and depression.
  • Facebook’s discussion of the decline in usage raised several red flags — among them, that the company plans to make further changes to its service that could reduce usage further.
  • How much time users devote to Facebook is a big concern, because advertisers — whose spending comprises nearly all of the company’s revenues — determine where to place their ads in part based on where their target users spend their time.

Facebook investors had good reason to be concerned about the sizeable drop in usage of the social network in the fourth quarter — no matter how reassuring CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to be about it.

In announcing its holiday period results Wednesday, the tech giant revealed that usage of its service declined by an average of 50 million hours a day. That’s a 5% drop, Zuckerberg noted on a call with investors and analysts, linking it to recent changes the company made to what it shows users in their news feed.

But Zuckerberg argued that the decline was actually a good thing. The company is focusing on promoting meaningful interactions with users, not on the gross amount of time they spend with its service, he explained.

“By focusing on meaningful interaction, I expect the time we all spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” Zuckerberg said on the call. “I always believe that if we do the right thing, and deliver deeper value, our community and our business will be stronger over the long term.”

Zuckerberg may be right that by giving more prominence in users’ news feeds to posts from their friends and family members and reducing the number of videos and news stories from publishers and other organizations, Facebook may become more valuable for its users. Even if users spend less time overall with the service, they may end up interacting with their friends and family members on it more often.

Investors seemed mollified by such assurances. After falling more than 4% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the company’s earnings announcement, Facebook’s shares rebounded during the call. After it was over, the stock was up 1%.

Facebook’s earnings call raised some big red flags

But shareholders may have some second thoughts after they parse through the comments Zuckerberg and his fellow executives made on the call. That’s because they raised several red flags.

One big one has to do with how Facebook — or investors — should evaluate whether its new focus is working. Measuring the time users spend on the site is fairly easy. It also has the benefit of being something that can be directly compared across sites and other forms of media. One big indication for advertisers and investors of how important Facebook has become is the degree to which consumers have shifted their time away from newspapers, books, magazines and watching traditional television and toward social media.

But it’s completely unclear how the company plans to measure the amount of “meaningful interaction” its users engage in — something it said it plans to track on and off its service.

Facebook has already talked with users to get a sense of what they find meaningful and is using that to guide its decisions about what to show in the news feed and how it designs future products. But it’s uncertain whether the company will share its measurements on “meaningful interactions” with the wider world or whether outside organizations will be able to track such things on their own — much less compare them with similar data from other sites and media outlets.

Another big concern is that it’s unclear what exactly led to the drop-off in usage during the final three months of 2017. Was it due entirely to the recent changes Facebook made on its own or might it have been caused by outside factors that could reflect a problem in Facebook’s business? When asked specifically about that on the call, Zuckerberg ducked the question, instead simply repeating what he’d said earlier about the changes the company made to its service.

The decline in usage follows growing discussion about fake news and social-media addiction

Chamath PalihapitiyaBut there’s reason to believe that the decline wasn’t entirely due to Facebook’s own moves. For the better part of the last year, the company has been getting negative press about how its service was manipulated into spreading propaganda and fake news. Meanwhile, a growing chorus of researchers, parents, and tech insiders, including several prominent former Facebook executives, have been raising concerns that the company’s service is leading to addiction and depression and have been cautioning people to curtail their use of it.

There’s some indication that all this negative sentiment was already having an effect on Facebook — even before it tweaked its news feed. A recent survey by Baird Equity Research, for example, found that about half of all users across all age groups reported that they used Facebook less often to connect with friends and family members. The reported decline was particularly pronounced among those aged 18 to 34.

Regardless of whether the decline in usage came as a result of all this bad news or the changes Facebook made to its service, there’s a final reason to be concerned about it — Zuckerberg himself warned there are more changes to come. Facebook has only just started making changes to its web site as part of its effort to play down what it calls “passive” consumption and to promote “meaningful interaction.” And additional tweaks to the news feed or other services could further decrease usage.

“It’s not just one news-feed change that happens overnight,” Zuckerberg said.

Time spent on the site is important, no matter what Zuckerberg says

Given all the backlash Facebook has received of late, it’s not a surprise that the company is making these changes. It had to do something to show it was addressing the concerns about fake news and social media addiction or risk being forced to do something by regulators.

The problem for Facebook is that its business depends almost entirely on advertising. And advertisers determine where to spend their money at least partially based on where their target customers are spending their time. If consumers are spending less time with Facebook, there’s a good chance advertisers will eventually spend less money there.

And that’s going to be meaningful to investors — no matter how much spin Zuckerberg puts on it.

SEE ALSO: Facebook says its users are spending 50 million fewer hours a day on the platform

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CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

bii chatbot ecosystem

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes. 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. 

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies. 
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.  

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

Learn more:

Join the conversation about this story »

CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

bii chatbot ecosystem

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes. 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. 

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies. 
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.  

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

Learn more:

Join the conversation about this story »

Es oficial: Super Mario regresa al cine de la mano del creador de los Minions y ‘Mario Kart’ llegará a los smartphones en 2019

Super Mario Minion

Se acabaron los rumores. Nintendo acaba de soltar dos bombas para que sus fans arranquen con las celebraciones. Por un lado tenemos la confirmación del regreso al cine de Super Mario con una película animada, y por el otro, el anuncio del próximo juego para smartphones que será ni más ni menos que ‘Mario Kart’. (more…)

CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

bii chatbot ecosystem

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes. 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. 

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies. 
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.  

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

Learn more:

Join the conversation about this story »

CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

bii chatbot ecosystem

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes. 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. 

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies. 
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.  

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

Learn more:

Join the conversation about this story »