Facebook Testing New Pinterest-like ‘Collections’ … And Other Hot Topics

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

If that’s the case, Pinterest should be feeling pretty flattered by their friends at Facebook this week.

Facebook “collections” are currently being tested by some well-known retailers and could be coming to a newsfeed near you.

In other news, YouTube mobile views jumped 400% in the last year and a half and Twitter wants in on the action.

Read about these top stories and more in this week’s news roundup.

1. Facebook testing new Pinterest-like feature

Facebook began testing a new feature this week which could be familiar to some Pinterest users.

Facebook “Collections” shares a similar look to Pinterest’s visual layout and is designed to let retailers showcase products and hopefully boost sales from Facebook.

Similar to a photo album, a collection is a page where users can view photos of products and choose to either “collect” “like” or “want” (rather than comments, like, and share).

Anything that is “collected” or “liked” is put into a new Timeline feature called “products.” It shows the things you admire, but aren’t quite ready to buy. Items that are “wanted” automatically get put into your “wish list.”

As  with Pinterest, Facebook users will have to click-through to the company’s website if they choose to make a purchase.

Bottom Line: “Collections” is still in the early testing stages and is only currently available to a select group of big name retailers (Michael Kors, Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus).  But if it eventually makes it to all brand pages, it could present a unique opportunity for retailers to showcase their products on Facebook.

Pinterest has driven big results for online retailers already, and while  “Collections” isn’t exactly Pinterest,  one can’t help but note the similarities.

2. YouTube mobile views up 400% in 18 months

YouTube announced this week that mobile activity on the popular video-sharing site has skyrocketed over the last year and a half. According to Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Global Head of Content, mobile viewership has increased from 6% to 25% over the last 18 months.

According to the YouTube Press Statistics page, this growth in mobile traffic took off in 2011, when traffic from mobile devices tripled to over 20% in one year.

Bottom Line: The surge in video viewership isn’t unique to mobile devices. From Q2 2011 to Q2 2012, overall online video viewership jumped 45%, with 900 million people watching online videos in the second quarter of 2012 alone. Nearly half of all Americans are now using smart phones, so it makes sense that you have a lot of people watching videos in a lot of different places.

The good news for small businesses? You can get in on the video action without spending a dime.

3. Twitter considering its own video-hosting service

According to reports, Twitter may soon become YouTube’s next big competitor. While no plans have been confirmed, Twitter is reported to be considering its own technology to allow users to upload video directly to Twitter through its mobile app.

Currently, users can only upload videos through hosting services like yFrog and TwitVid, or upload videos to YouTube and then share them on Twitter.

Bottom Line: Okay, so Twitter won’t really be competing with YouTube if it launches its own video hosting service, but it will be adding a new and exciting element to its social network.

Simplifying the process of uploading videos to Twitter from a mobile device could encourage more businesses to take advantage of the marketing benefits of this popular medium.

4. Twitter tries to boost SEO with profile directory

Twitter has quietly rolled out a new user profile directory that organizes every user’s profile name (Twitter handle) into an alphabetic database.

The directory won’t provide much (if any) direct benefit to the average Twitter user, but it is expected to help the social network boost SEO. This means, when people are  searching for you or your business on search engines like Google or Bing,  they will be more likely to see your Twitter profile as one of the top results.

Bottom Line: Twitter’s focus on boosting site SEO is good news for small businesses. People searching for your business on sites like Google are the exact same people you should want to find you on Twitter. What are these people going to find when they connect with you? Here are 10 things to keep in mind when getting set up on Twitter.

5. Brands can finally manage Google+ pages on mobile app

Google+ rolled out a long-awaited update to its mobile app this week. Now, bands can manage their Google+ Page from a mobile device.

Up until now, brand managers had to use the web or mobile browser version to manage all of their pages. The updated mobile app lets brands post, comment, and interact with their followers directly from their mobile device.

Bottom Line: This is good news for those businesses that are using Google+ to market their brands online. It is the last of the top social networks to provide this necessary function to users and should make managing Pages less of a burden.

What news stories caught your attention this week? Tell us in the comments. 

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