Amy Dugmore brings you all the latest social media marketing news from the past seven days, and asks is Google+ on the way out?

Is Google+ Turning into a Minus?

Are Google+’s days numbered? The latest raft of changes to the platform has reignited the all-too-familiar speculation. Over the last week, Google has removed links to users’ Google+ profiles from the homepage, launched a standalone photos product drawing on Google+’s photo sharing features, and now, in its latest move, notifications for Google+ are being integrated into other products.

Lady using laptop showing Google search

“Now people can access notifications through Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, the its [sic] homepage, and its search results that appear under the new heading ‘Google notifications,’ instead of ‘Google+ notifications’,” VentureBeat reported.

It would appear that Google is trying to slowly reduce the prominence of Google+.

Instagram to Test Direct-Response Ads

Instagram is to begin testing direct-response ads. The move is part of plans by the network to make its advertising platform accessible to businesses of all types and sizes.

Following on from the success of its initial ad programme, Instagram has outlined three key areas which it believes will enable it to grow: “Expanding ad offerings to include action-oriented formats, enabling more targeting capabilities, and making it easier for businesses large and small to buy ads on Instagram.”

Instagram user on mobile

New ad formats will include call to action buttons prompting users to “sign up on a website, buy a product, or download an app”. Instagram plans to begin testing these new formats over the next few days.

The photo-sharing network also aims to make its advertising opportunities available through Instagram Ads API and Facebook ad buying interfaces in the near future.

Pinterest Launches Buyable Pins

It’s been hotly anticipating for a while now, but image-sharing network Pinterest has finally launched “buyable pins”. A blue button will be used to indicate buyable pins, enabling users to buy straight from the app. Meanwhile, a price filter will allow users to show products within a specific price range.

Pinterest on iPad

The feature is currently only rolling out in the US – but we’ll keep fingers crossed for a UK launch soon!

Solving the Mystery of Twitter’s Verified User Badges 

With Twitter awarding its blue tick Verified User badges at their own discretion, the secret formula for earning the coveted badge has long been a mystery. Just who are Twitter’s Verified Users?

Haje Jan Kamps from @Triggertrap researched to find out… The top three? Journalists (24.6% of all verified users), sports teams and athletes (17.9%), and actors and entertainers (13.6%).

There are 150,000 verified Twitter accounts, according to Twitter, which seems a large number but is actually an exclusive club when you bear in mind the social network has 300 million active users.

Katy Perry's Twitter page

Celebrities are, possibly, the most notable Verified Users, with Katy Perry being the most-followed Verified Twitter user at 70 million followers. According to Kamps, the average Verified Twitter user has more than 125,000 followers. Want that blue tick? You need to get popular, and fast!

Facebook the Face of Political News

New research from the US-based Pew Research Centre for Media & Journalism has revealed that 61% of American Millennials stay on top of political news via Facebook. While older generations are more likely to get news from TV, the proportion using Facebook for news is still fairly high. 51% of Generation X and 39% of Baby Boomers get their political news from Facebook.

Facebook home page

According to the research, 24% of Millennials claim that at least half of the posts they see on Facebook are related to politics or government, higher than Gen Xers (18%) and Baby Boomers (16%).

The web-based survey asked panellists about their use and trust of 36 news sources, local television news and five social networking sites.

More Social Media Marketing News and Advice

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About the author:

Amy Dugmore is social and creative strategist at ClickThrough Marketing. An associate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Amy is an expert at crafting creative content. Here at ClickThrough she guides our clients in the creation of eBooks, infographics and video, as well as helping them develop a strategic approach to social media.