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NewFacebookLogoEverything You Need to Know About Facebook’s Test of Video Ads (AllFacebook)
The Facebook feature that has been long anticipated by marketers and long dreaded by users is one large step closer to becoming a reality, as the social network announced Tuesday that it will officially begin testing video ads this week, with “a small number of people” who will see a spot for upcoming feature film “Divergent” when they access their News Feeds on desktop or mobile. The video ads will function in the same way as the auto-play feature that was rolled out earlier this month for videos shared via Facebook or Instagram: They will begin playing automatically as soon as they appear on screen, without audio. USA Today Facebook’s video advertising foray squares off against Google’s increased efforts to attract billions of dollars to its massive video-sharing audience at YouTube. “Now, Facebook will rival YouTube as a source of online video ad reach,” said Forrester analyst Nate Elliott. The Guardian The social network would not disclose pricing but said its goal for the test feature was to make it a premium advertising product that could be used to reach large audiences at specific times. Facebook’s shares, which have posted substantial gains over the past four months, hit an all-time high of $55.18 on the news, before closing up $1.05, or 2 percent, at $54.86 on Tuesday. TechCrunch The current format strikes a balance between what users and what advertisers want. What a lot of users want is no ads at all. Understandable, but good luck with that. Digiday “From a marketer standpoint the ads are appealing, but ultimately it depends on how they’re received by users,” one agency buyer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Digiday earlier this year. “If they alienate or annoy users too much, then ultimately that’s not a good situation for anyone.”

YouTube Finally Releases a Roku App in Time for the Holidays (VentureBeat)
YouTube has dropped a holiday gift in Roku’s channel store today with the long overdue release of its own YouTube Roku app. While Roku set-top boxes might have the most third-party apps from streaming media services, one thing that’s always been absent was an official YouTube channel until now.

Tips and Tools for Measuring Social Engagement in 2014 (SocialTimes)
One of the challenges is that engagement is hard to measure and most marketers are still measuring engagement based on referral traffic, likes and shares. According to Marc Landsberg CEO and Founder of SocialDeviant, a social marketing agency, in 2014 more marketers will be focused on social media as an “activation channel.”

Woman Falls into Bay While Browsing Facebook (CNET)
“She wasn’t splashing around too much.” With these words, senior constable Dean Kelly of the Melbourne (Australia) Water Police offered his description of a woman who had walked straight off the St. Kilda Pier and fallen into the water after being glued to Facebook.

New From Twitter: Promoted Account Ads in Mobile Timelines (AllTwitter)
Recently Twitter has been testing the Promoted Accounts feature within mobile Timelines on iOS and Android devices, and this functionality has now rolled out to all advertisers. This is good news for Twitter, good news for Twitter stock holders and good news for brands looking to attract more followers, a huge percentage of which use Twitter exclusively on their mobile devices.

Continuing its Public Content Push, Facebook Acquires SportStream (AllThingsD)
Facebook announced on Tuesday it had acquired SportStream, a San Francisco-based startup that aims to better surface all the public-facing content circulating inside the social giant. Bottom line: Ideally, SportStream will make it easier for media partners — like, say, a Fox Sports or an ESPN — to find Facebook chatter about up-to-the-minute sports events, allowing the partners to better use that content on their properties.

Viggle Acquires Entertainment Media Company Wetpaint (LostRemote)
Viggle, the app that “listens” to what is on TV and rewards users with points for every minute watched, has acquired entertainment media and technology company Wetpaint for $30 million in cash and stocks. Wetpaint, an eight-year-old Seattle based startup, originally launched as a network for wikis, but in recent years morphed into a celebrity news and entertainment website currently reaching 12 million unique visitors a month.

Al Jazeera’s AJ+ Publishes First Videos on YouTube (GigaOM)
Al Jazeera’s new online video venture AJ+ is not set to launch till next year, but the team behind it just published a few videos on YouTube that show how AJ+ will try to distinguish itself from other news publishers online. The preview comes after Al Jazeera officially announced in October that it was going to launch an online-only news service.

Nelson Mandela Tops Google Search in 2013 (AppNewser)
The death of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela earlier this month weighed heavily on South Africa but also around the globe. Google found that Mandela was the No. 1 “trending search” for 2013.

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