Let’s delve back into the world of social, shall we?
Here’s a look back at the biggest stories and campaigns to grace us in July, featuring Facebook, Southern Rail, eBay and more.
Facebook hits 2bn users, while Twitter stagnates
Facebook’s second quarter earnings report revealed that the platform has reached over 2bn users, with more than 1.3bn using it every single day.
The platform’s global total revenue was $9.32bn - up 44.8% year on year. Similarly, ad revenue rose 46.8% to $9.16bn.
This news comes in stark contrast to Twitter, which reported 328m average monthly active users for Q2 – the same as the previous quarter – and a decline of 8% in advertising revenue.
Mazda experiments with Facebook full-screen takeover ads
Earlier this month, Mazda started experimenting with full-screen immersive ads on Facebook.
Created with Facebook’s Canvas platform, the advert takes over the user’s mobile screen when tapped, warning users not to use their mobile phones while driving.
The creative involves a car skidding across the newsfeed and appearing to crack the phone screen. The message ‘don't scroll and drive' then appears, warning drivers of the risk they pose to other people if they’re distracted behind the wheel. Since Canvas was introduced in February of this year, other brands like Burberry, Coca Cola, and L’Occitane have also experimented with the format.
Amazon launches new social network
Amazon launched a new social network in July.
Named Amazon Spark, the feature enables Prime users to share posts about their purchases, also allowing others to interact with comments and ‘smiles’ (which are essentially likes).
Serving as a product-discovery tool and recommendation vehicle in one, it’s clearly inspired by Instagram. It also includes a shoppable feed so that users can click on and buy products with ease.
KFC launches controversial new campaign
July saw a shift in direction for KFC, with an all-new ad campaign created by Mother London.
Dubbed “The Whole Chicken” – the TV commercial features a confident chicken parading around in time to the rap song "X Gon' Give It To Ya" by DMX.
The ad has been supported by out-of-home and social activity, with a mural in London’s Shoreditch being re-painted daily by a number of well-known graffiti artists.
However, the campaign has been marred with controversy. Since the ad aired, there’s been a fierce backlash on Twitter and over 350 formal complaints to date. Some people have called it ‘misleading’, while vegetarians in particular have expressed distress over the depiction of a healthy living animal in an ad for fried chicken.
Read Mark Ritson's take on the campaign - Putting the C in KFC is an advertising error
McDonalds works with social influencers to promote UberEats service
News that will spell music to the ears of hungover people everywhere - McDonalds has now introduced delivery in the UK, teaming up with UberEats to roll out the service in 22 locations up and down the country.
The fast food chain has naturally been promoting this quite heavily on social, even sponsoring influencer content to generate awareness online.
The campaign has involved popular YouTuber Doug Armstrong surprising fans with a Maccy D’s delivery, as well as a video by LadBible that compared the speed of running to McDonalds with getting an UberEats delivery.
eBay introduces visual search (including on social)
Image Search will let users search by uploading a photo to eBay or taking one in real-time, while Find It On Ebay will enable users to share an image from a social platform with the eBay app finding visually similar listings. Both features use a deep learning model to process the images, before comparing them to the images of the live listings on eBay and finally ranking the items in terms of the most visually similar.
Visual search has already proven a popular feature for Pinterest, helping to speed up search and provide much more contextually accurate results.
Tourism Ireland creates GoT tapestry
July marked the return of Game of Thrones, much to the delight of fans, and the indifference of people like myself who have never watched a single episode (See me - Ed.).
Tourism Ireland was one brand to capitalise on the excitement, creating a special GoT tapestry to celebrate Northern Ireland as one of the key set locations from the show
The design, woven by the Thomas Ferguson mill, depicts classic scenes from the show, including the infamous Red Wedding. Tourism Ireland will release new sections of the tapestry as each episode is broadcast, rolling out related videos and content on social channels like Instagram Stories.
You can also check out a digital version of the tapestry here.
Social media helps track down Wimbledon fan
Wimbledon is always a talking point during the summer, and this year’s tournament was no different, with much ado in the UK about Johanna Konta and Andy Murray shutting down sexist reporters.
One of the most prominent moments (outside of the tennis) occurred when a towel thrown to a young fan was rudely snatched by an older spectator.
Naturally, Twitter users were outraged, and Jack Sock (who threw the towel post-match) appealed online to find the young lad. It wasn’t long before the boy directly responded on Instagram, receiving a replacement towel and an invite to watch Jack play once again.
Southern Rail generates some positive sentiment thanks to work experience lad
#AskEddie trended on Twitter in July, thanks to Southern Rail’s latest work experience candidate. Eddie, aged 15, took over Southern Rail’s Twitter account for two weeks, asking followers to tweet in questions via the hashtag.
Eddie’s smart and sweet responses delighted users, who subsequently bombarded him with a series of both legitimate and inane enquiries.
For the UK's Southern Rail – whose owners Govia Thameslink were recently fined £13.4m for poor performance – Eddie generated some welcome positive publicity. In fact, many users were left wondering whether it was in fact a deliberate stunt by the train operator.