FWM Digital Bytes

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 Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, the rise and rise of digital ad spend and new functionality from YouTube and LinkedIn…

Picture this

A picture says a thousand words, but it’s worth a billion dollars if Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram is any indictation. The social networking giant finalised a $1bn deal for the photography app company earlier this week in news that’s been making waves across the internet – with good cause too. After all, Instagram was only founded in 2010 and it employs just 13 members of staff – are two years and a little over a dozen people really worth a ten figure sum? Perhaps… while Instagram may still be young, the app’s popularity is immense (it’s currently used by over 30 million people worldwide) and its acquisiton gives Facebook a significant advantage over rivals Twitter and Google in the photo-sharing sphere – they now own both the biggest photo-sharing (Facebook itself)and photo-taking services in digital. Facebook were keen to play down suggestions that they’d change the app though, with Mark Zuckerberg insisting that Instagram will not simply become a Facebook feeder. “We need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook,” he said on his Facebook page. “We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.” Meanwhile, Instagram added that the company will remain in business, helping Facebook build on the app’s success. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away,” wrote co-founder Kevin Systrom on the Instagram blog. “We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.”

Digital ad spend on the rise

Internet advertising will reach £6.1bn by the end of next year, according to a new report. Statistics company Enders Analysis projects that the amount spent on promoting companies online will increase by 13% this year and by a further 12% in 2013. Digital advertising spend increased by 14.4% last year and online is now estimated to be the single largest advertising medium in the world. The news follows reports from last week that suggested UK advertisers are likely to have spent £5bn on Facebook promotions alone by the end of the year. Elsewhere, online video advertising increased to £109m last year thanks to the rise of online TV services such as 4oD and display advertising crossed the £1bn threshold. It’s search advertising that remains the most dominant force though, accounting for 58% of total UK digital ad spend. Search grew 17.5% to £2.77bn in 2011.

Going live with YouTube

YouTube have announced that they are to monetize their YouTube Live streaming service by allowing advertising and other paid promotion options. YouTube Live is a year old this week and to celebrate the company have announced a host of new features on their blog, the most significant being the monetization option. Varun Talwar, YouTube partner product manager, writes: “A live event can be claimed in the new video manager like any other video and monetized with in-stream ads or paid options where you can set price by country.” Further details on the new developments can be seen on the Official YouTube blog or on Mashable. What do you think of them? Is YouTube the number one location for live streaming and will the new monetization features help YouTube Live truly take off? Let us know in the comments.

LinkedIn improve targeting

LinkedIn has revealed two new functions that will make it easier for advertisers to target their core market. The first new tool, Follower Statistics, is self-explanatory, allowing marketers to gain more insight into potential customers; the second, Targeted Updates, allows them to target those customers with much greater efficiency. It gives companies the ability to segment their followers by a range of factors and deliver different updates to different followers. LinkedIn’s Vice President for North American ad sales Jonathan Lister, told Business Insider that the new functionality is aimed at “driving media efficiency [and] creating direct and lasting relationships with [a company’s] audience”. In its early stages, only a select group of companies (incuding AT&T and Microsoft) will be able to use the new services, but they will be rolled out gradually over the next few months.