Digital footprint adopted for tax investigations, Facebook Stories sees growth and Twitter introduces automated paid promotion …

TIPPING OFF THE TAXMAN

Have you considered that an Instagram snap of your shiny new car or holiday home might lead the taxman to your door? Starting next month, the Government of India will begin analysing residents’ social media activity to match their spending patterns with income declarations. They want to spot those who pay too little tax without raiding offices and homes as they currently do. This isn’t a novel phenomenon – India’s efforts resemble the UK’s ‘Connect,’ which scours vast databanks of personal and commercial information to capture data relating to spending habits – but it is a reminder that when it comes to the digital realm, nothing is sacred.

Our digital footprints reveal more about us than we realise, and those who are (or could be) in the public eye should be aware of any potential threats. Thankfully – small plug – our cyber shadow auditing offer, DETECT, does a wonderful job of helping individuals to understand the extent of their online footprint (and critically, how to clean it up).

AUTOMATED ADVERTISING

After their latest earnings report – which showed both a decline in total users and advertising returns – it’s no surprise that Twitter’s thinking up new ways to bring in revenue. One option they’re working on is an automatic promotion programme, which enables users to pay a flat rate ($99) to have their account and some of their tweets promoted every month.

For subscribers to the programme, Twitter will take the reins and automatically select tweets to promote in other users’ timelines. Whilst users won’t be able to customise their target audience or select which of the original tweets will be promoted, the programme offers a simple, budgeted way for small businesses lacking the skills, time and effort required to manage a promotional campaign to see a little more attention. Think of it as an economy class ticket, or the Amazon Kindle compared to its flagship Amazon Kindle Oasis.

We’ll – of course – be sticking with Twitter’s original, premium tool, which allows users to create and promote that perfect message that resonates with their target audience, ultimately encouraging users to respond in a way that aligns with their campaign objectives.

HERE’S A STORY

In the first year since its launch, Instagram Stories has blossomed from a Snapchat clone into an integral part of the world’s largest dedicated visual communication app. Half of the businesses on Instagram produced a story in the last month, and it’s boosted the app’s average usage to 32 minutes per day for those under 25, and 24 minutes per day for those 25 and up. This surpasses Snapchat’s daily usage, suggesting Facebook’s strategy to squash Snapchat by copying its greatest features could be working.

Besides copying Snapchat Stories, Instagram has also given its Instagram Direct feature the ability to send disappearing photos, turning the app into a full-fledged messaging competitor, which has now become the fourth most popular messaging app in the world behind WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat. Team this with the fact that Instagram is connected to the larger Facebook ecosystem, which offers sophisticated audience data, and it’s hardly surprising that the platform has been attracting more ad dollars – a trend we see continuing.

ALSO THIS WEEK

  • Business Insider is scaling on YouTube by cross-posting its Facebook videos – DIGIDAY
  • China to Punish Communist Party Members Who Visit ‘Illegal Websites’ – BLOOMBERG
  • Facebook is reportedly working on a video chat device – THE VERGE
  • New York Times Co. Reports Rising Digital Profit as Print Advertising Falls – NEW YORK TIMES

 

AND FINALLY

‘How to lose a guy in 10 days’: Twitter reacts to Scaramucci’s departure from the white house

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