Weekly Bias: Apple vs. Facebook

June 16, 2015

Colleen Vaughan

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As the world turns, so does the battle between Facebook and Apple for ad business and beacons for businesses. Here’s what’s going on in the land of social media this week. Let us know in the comments what has caught your eye this week.

Apple’s news app takes aim at Facebook

Iphone users: do you utilize the Newstand app on a regular basis? Not likely. It’s being reported that the static app will soon be replaced on the iOS 9 update by News, which will allow publishers to assimilate their stories straight into a native app. Apple VP Susan Prescott calls the app “the best mobile reading experience ever”. Shared photos of the app design appear to have an interface similar to Flipboard, so stories will look and feel like articles taken directly from publisher’s websites. This app seems to be more than just another piece of hardware for Apple, fueled by a renewed commitment to content sharing. They are not only attempting to attract and keep new users; it appears they are going directly after Facebook’s core ad business by offering a copy-cat ad revenue split share  with publishers. The question remains, will publishers continue their third-party relationships or go straight to the source with Apple?

Facebook offers free beacons for Place Tips

Facebook is continuing its ambling journey away from its “post-and-like” roots as the aging platform expands its options for businesses. Facebook introduced Place Tips in January to cash-in on the growing popularity of targeted advertising. Place Tips is triggered by Facebook users who check-in at a specific location. Relevant information appears at the top of the user’s News Feed, such as cocktail suggestions or menu reviews if they’re at a restaurant. With mobile device usage in stores being higher than ever, Place Tip provides businesses with a choice opportunity to connect with potential money-spenders. Facebook is now offering free Bluetooth beacons to businesses to better optimize their Place Tips. The kicker? Businesses with notably active Pages will be given top priority, because Place Tips are only shown to users when there is enough content from the business to “offer an enjoyable experience”.

Twitter tweaks conversation formats with more algorithmic-ness

Twitter was once defined by human-powered curation, aka users were in near-complete control of what appeared in their timelines. You followed your friends, your favorite celebrities, anyone else of interest and only saw their tweets and retweets. Since last year, the platform has taken steps to control and warp what users see (see: ‘while you were away’ feature), mainly as an attempt to present a wider-range of content for new users. The latest tweak has reformatted the conversation view to “[group] conversations together and [highlight] some of the most interesting exchanges surrounding a given Tweet right below that Tweet,” according to a blog post by Twitter product manager Akarshan Kumar. This latest update pushes Twitter another step closer to being a Facebook clone, by basing their content control on an algorithm fueled by ‘interestingness’.

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