Yahoo Continues Social Shopping Spree With Possible Hulu Acquisition

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Just last week Yahoo snapped up the 6-year-old, 100 million user platform Tumblr for just over $1 billion. This was not overly surprising, considering the fact that one of Yahoo’s biggest needs is some kind of social networking component, which they have failed to create naturally in the past. What makes this purchase particularly interesting is the age demographic of Tumblr, which is very young according to Quantcast; 21% under 18, 30% 18 to 24, and 22% 25 to 34.

This demographic could be a huge boost to Yahoo because of their stodgy image to many young consumers who do not remember Yahoo as an early innovator. The flip side of that upside is that they Yahoo may alienate some of the users because of the perceived image of the company taking over many people’s favorite social platform  who are afraid it will be altered for the worse (particularly with ads). While it does not look like much will change in the short term, as Tumblr CEO David Karp said they will be operate as a separate business so as, “not to screw it up.”

This was a large move for Yahoo, but it appears they aren’t done shopping yet, as they have been rumored to have bid between $600 and $800 million on the popular video-streaming service Hulu as well. An integration of Hulu and Tumblr as a commenting and sharing platform attached to Hulu could boost viewers and subscriptions on the heavily advertising reliant video service. Or, it could just be Yahoo spreading its net as wide as possible for the future.

In the midst of all the bidding, Yahoo also found time to re-launch Flickr, with a very snazzy new Web and mobile interface, as well as some fairly drastic changes to its model (especially for Pro users). But, what they thought would appeal to new users, mainly its design that closely resembles that of Instagram and Pinterest, also is annoying its existing core users. This change could create revitalization, or a complete collapse of the platform.

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Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer appears to not believe Yahoo can build its way into social, and instead wants to buy its way in. SiliconAngle is reporting that Yahoo is rumored to be bidding on two more companies (both between $150 and $200 million) in the social and mobile space.

Can Yahoo force its way in with a cash infusion, or will they ruin hot sites like Tumblr in their quest to become a social networking giant?

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Facebook Buys Instagram & ‘Joggler’ will Run Boston Marathon While Juggling


Top Story: 
FaceGram, InstaBook – Whatever You Call It – What Does It Mean?

When it was announced that Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion (yes, with a B) dollars, three shock waves went through the tech and mobile community. The initial shock was “Wait, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 BILLION?” Followed by a longer lasting and resounding shock – “What the hell is Facebook going to do with Instagram?”

In well under 24 hours a lot of different theories have been thrown out as to why Facebook bought its mobile photo sharing competitor:

 

      1. Facebook wants Instagram user’s data. Really? Facebook spent 1 billion dollars on 30 million people’s data when they have over 850 million users already sharing TONS of data every day?
      2. As investor Chris Dixon tweeted, “Giving up 1% of your market cap to take out your biggest threat is a savvy move.” Possible, but is Instagram’s 30 million users really a 1 billion dollar threat? Seems like there is more to it than that?
      3. It was a pure user buy. Does Facebook really need 30 million more users? Not for 1 billion, when they are still expanding internationally.
      4. Highly engaged mobile users = mobile ad revenue. Instagram is farther from mobile ad revenue than Facebook is now.
      5. Use Instagram to improve the mobile experience? This is a vague answer – but seems the most reasonable. Facebook’s mobile photo-uploading experience is miserable. It takes too many clicks, is slow and often crashes. Instagram on the other hand has an uber-fast upload process – combined with filters, blurring, framing, etc. All these features and easy upload process are very appealing to Facebook who sees around 100 million photo uploads a DAY.

It will be interesting to see exactly how deep of an integration Facebook and Instagram pursue, or will Facebook simply steal some of Instagram’s mobile experience and convert it to the less than satisfactory mobile apps.

Side Note: It was announced today that three Maryland public school workers share a $105 Mega Millions jackpot payout, which to anyone is a large one day payout. But, when you compare it to what the Instagram employees are splitting (albeit, probably not equally) it looks like pocket change. There are only 13 Instagram employees for that huge 1 billion dollar payout.

 

Under the Radar: Sephora’s Website Gets a Social Makeover

In a time where so much is rapidly changing in the social media field, it can be a challenge for businesses, especially retailers, to keep up. But one major retailer recently made huge leaps in keeping up with social media: Sephora. If you’ve been to the beauty product store’s website lately, you’ve likely noticed a little sprucing up going on.

In addition to having very visible icons to their social media properties, Sephora’s been working hard on building up their Pinterest boards. They’re even encouraging their salespeople to start their own boards, so customers can see what the knowledgeable staff is choosing in terms of beauty products. And, of course, Sephora has placed “Pin It” buttons next to all products on their website, in hopes that customers will start adding the store’s products to their own pinboards. This is especially important considering many of Sephora’s products can be purchased at various other locations and websites. If Sephora’s getting that direct link from a product being pinned, it’s more likely the product will be purchased from their website. The brand just launched their very first Pinterest sweepstakes, as well.

The beauty product store has also just joined Instagram, posting behind-the-scenes at Sephora photos, as well as shots of new beauty products and fabulously painted nails. Oh, and of course, this is all in addition to the now “traditional” Facebook and Twitter accounts. We love that Sephora isn’t taking things slowly and their diving in to as many platforms as they can.

Sephora is even taking steps to bring digital into their brick-and-mortar stores. There will soon likely be iPads in stores, allowing customers to check out user reviews of various products and learn more than perhaps the salesperson is willing to tell them.

Do you think other online retailers will start following Sephora’s lead and jump into all things social media feet first? Many retailers seem to be resistant to fully immersing themselves and, of course, we understand the risks. But it’s our belief that the benefits strongly outweigh these risks. Social media gives your brand the opportunity to stay front-of-mind for everyone who follows your platforms. Consumers will begin to see your brand everywhere they go and then they can easily access information and reviews about your products, that makes it much more convenient for them to hit that “purchase” button.

 

Around the Hub: #Hashtag Joggler

Taking social media a step further, a UNH student and marketing intern for The Meat House, will run the Boston Marathon with a hashtag tattooed on his chest: #MeathouseJoggler.  Joggler?  That’s right. According to his twitter profile, Thomas Gounley (@tgounley) will be “Running the Boston Marathon while juggling.”  So, not only is he making his body into a human Nascar, he intends to run the world famous sporting event while juggling.

According to a recent interview with BostInno, Gounley came across the idea when flipping through the Guiness Book of World Records.  While the Marathon won’t come close to the record (which currently stands at 50 miles), we like the idea of body art for digital PR.  We’ll definitely be tracking the hashtag while enjoying the race on Monday!

 

Tool of the Week: LeFeed

It can be difficult to monitor activity on Facebook, especially if your brand gets an escalated amount of interaction and you want to follow clients’ newsfeeds.  Enter Lefeed.com, a tool with a goal of improving users’ news feed experience.” LeFeed’s +/- system allows a user to teach the tool about the types of updates you’d like to receive in your feed to show which types of information (updates, images, links) a user prefers and from which users.

This could be especially advantageous to a brand.  Say, for instance, you have a goal of featuring more images on your feed.  You can use this tool to find posts with images from users you like and trust to share with your users. Just another example of a free tool that can help to streamline information consumption and sharing for individuals and brands.

 

Let us know what you think about this week’s #451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

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