With so much going on recently, we decided to post an SEO roundup covering everything that happened in the world of Google over the last couple of weeks. And what a fortnight it was for the biggest name in search. Algorithm updates and multibillion fines were among the highlights and July is already shaping up to be another difficult week for Google.

Things in the world of social haven’t been quite as hectic – at least not by comparison – but it was still a busy week for Facebook and its rivals. So it only seems right to have a social roundup of all the latest news from this side of the industry, too.

Facebook reaches 2bn users

Facebook’s growing userbase has now reached the insane benchmark of two billion monthly users. Let’s not undersell this. Snapchat has only just broken the 300 million mark and Twitter is barely ahead of that itself (328m). Not that either of those count as small user numbers.

Two million monthly users is a huge deal and, more than the figure itself, the fact that Facebook is still growing says a lot. This is where Snapchat and Twitter are struggling: not the size of their userbases, but the lack of growth.

Facebook introducing household targeting

New targeting options are always exciting, especially when Facebook is the first to offer up something new. And here’s an interesting one. The network is now introducing a new system designed to help you target entire families – or, more specifically, entire households.

Let’s just be clear, you can already target individuals based on their “household composition”, which includes the following:

  • Children in Home
  • Empty Nesters
  • Grandparents
  • New Teen Drivers
  • No Children
  • In Home
  • Working Women
  • Young Adults in Home

However, these options only allow you to target individuals who fit the above descriptions. This new targeting option is completely different, allowing you to target full families/households – completely different prospect.

So, instead of targeting individual accounts, this means you’ll be able to target people living in the same household – as a group – in a similar vein to how TV advertising works. Assuming full rollout comes quickly enough, this will be an interesting feature to experiment with as the Christmas countdown approaches.

Changes to Facebook video views

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at Facebook regarding videos right now. The only thing confirmed at this stage is that videos on the network will soon automatically play, with sound, as users scroll through their feed.

Some will argue this is a step backwards in terms of user experience, but there are clear benefits from an advertising perspective. First, it’s worth mentioning users can turn audio off; it’s only the default setting that’ll change. Aside from that, audio playing as users scroll through video content gives brands so much more to work with when it comes to capturing user attention.

Of course, this comes with some UX concerns and there’s no getting away from this. But there are also UX issues with defaulting to silence on video. First of all, users have to click on videos that interest them to start getting the audio. It works both ways.

The other news on Facebook video is that plans for a video-only feed (ads included, of course) are gaining steam and the network is reportedly ready to pay up to $3 million per episode for series to host on its own rival to Hulu, Netflix and the other TV alternatives.

Did Snapchat just overtake Facebook on privacy concerns?

Privacy concerns are never far away from the likes of Google and Facebook. As for the other online ad players, they never really seem to rival the top two when it comes to privacy issues, but Snapchat could have just made a claim for the title with its new Snap Map system.

Snap Map allows users to see where their friends are – down to the exact building – which has prompted some police chiefs to recommend parents delete the app from their kids’ phones or heavily monitor their use of it. Not exactly the kind of PR you want as a network known for appealing to younger audiences most.

Showing user location is one thing but Snap Map also aims to tell users what their friends are doing a any given time. By tracking user movements and online interactions, the app is also able to tell people when their friends are sleeping, driving, listening to music and even flying in a plane on their latest holiday.

We’re not playing down the privacy questions Facebook and Google targeting raises, but this is a whole new level of creepy from Snapchat.

As always, we’ll be back with more updates on the latest news for advertising, search and social marketing. In the meantime, get in touch with us if you have any questions about how these stories might affect your marketing efforts, or if you have any other questions you’d like us to answer.