Digital Bytes: Twitter founders Branch out

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news doing the rounds. This week we look at new platforms from the founders of Twitter, the death of Flash Player on mobile and Facebook’s new adverts…

Twitter founders Branch out

Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the men who founded Twitter, are hoping to emulate the success of their most famous creation with their two new ventures, Medium and Branch. Both websites are variations on Twitter, with Medium collecting photographs and writing and Branch allowing users to develop conversations (or ‘branches’) beyond Twitter’s 140 character limit. Writing on the Medium blog, Williams said: “Media is still the “connective tissue of society,” as Clay Shirky eloquently put it. And we think it can be better. Better for creators. Better for consumers. Better for the world. So, we’re re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we’ve learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today’s world.” Meanwhile Josh Miller, head of product at Branch, added: “Between articles, blog posts, and tweets, the internet is dominated by monologues. So we want to build a home for dialogues online, by combining the intimacy of a dinner table conversation with the power of the internet.” More information on both new sites can be seen on The Guardian. You can sign-up to Branch via Twitter, while Medium is current invite-only.

Adobe pulls plug on mobile Flash Player

Adobe has pulled its Flash Player plug-in from the Android Google Play store and will no longer develop software for mobile devices, the company has revealed. The decision has been taken because the plug-in is likely to cause “unpredictable behaviour” with the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean. On a post on their official blog, Adobe wrote: “Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.” Adobe will continue to develop Flash Player for PCs, but will focus most of their efforts on HTML5.

Facebook unveils newsfeed adverts

Facebook is set to show adverts in users’ newsfeeds even if they don’t subscribe to that brand’s updates. Companies looking to take advantage will have to pay a fee to have their messaging appear and there does not appear to be an opt-out option available. The move has raised concerns that users may be put off and abandon the website, but Facebook have told Tech Crunch that the adverts will be carefully vetted to avoid overload. “We want to be thoughtful about how we introduce ads in news feed, so we have limits in place to ensure that people’s news feeds are not filled with advertising, but we don’t have specific numbers to share.” Though the process is on a limited test at the moment, it is likely to be rolled out across all users in the coming months.

Mobile advertising reaches Olympic peak

The Olympics encouraged advertisers to spend 150 per cent more on mobile advertising, a new report from M&C Saatchi has found. News and sports websites were the primary beneficiaries of this increase, while over 50 per cent of the ads used location target to pinpoint users based in London. M&C Saatchi Mobile CEO, James Hilton, said: “Mobile advertising has given brands and companies an intelligent and highly segmented channel to reach consumers. Our data shows that brands and advertisers are prepared to invest in granular mobile campaigns that utilise platform and device type, location and time to reach consumers – ahead of the competition.” Money-off deals were among the most popular types of adverts, while the Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony, the Mens 100M Final, Bradley Wiggins’ cycling victory and Super Saturday (the day of Jessica Ennis’s Gold) were the most active days.

Bolt and McDonalds take Gold

Which brands got the most buzz during the Olympics? Who were the most mentioned athletes? And which sports were most popular in the US and UK? Social media monitoring platform Salesforce Radian 6 have been crunching the numbers and come up with some answers. Usain Bolt’s Gold haul made him the most popular athlete with over 962,000 mentions, while McDonalds won the brand wars, with 159,000 mentions. Gymnastics was the most popular sport in the US and – unsurprisingly – cycling took the crown in the UK. More facts and stats from ‘The Social Olympics’ can be seen in Salesforce Radian 6’s infographic.