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Snapchat looks toward monetization while Facebook gives away free wifi | Social You Should Know

It’s a story that we’ve heard repeatedly: Young social network grows but makes no money. Young social network looks to monetize. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Will it work for Snapchat? We’ll find out.

Snapchat Adds “Stories,” Tests Monetization

Snapchat, the very popular instant messaging platform with “disappearing messages,” is making some changes. First, their new iOS and Android apps have a new feature that allows users to create “Stories” in a 24-hour timeline of photos and videos that are shared with their friends. Instead of the 10-second limit the company has for most messages, Stories delete themselves after 24 hours. And instead of being sent one-to-one, as most Snapchats are, Stories are visible to all of your friends. Also this week, Snapchat acknowledged they were experimenting with a new button that would lead message recipients to an ecommerce site. In the first use, that ecommerce site was iTunes to listen/buy music. But it’s not hard to envision how the combination of stories and “buy” buttons could lead to brand pages and ad units at some point in the future.

Facebook Expands “Graph Search”

Facebook this week expanded Graph Search to include posts about particular topics. Previously, users could only search for people, photos, places and interests. Now you can search for what people are saying about a particular topic, like a TV show, a sporting event or a ridiculous government shutdown. As I explain in this Tech News World article, this is all about Facebook trying to surface more conversations. First they added hashtags, then story bumping and now enhanced Graph Search. If the social network can get “credit” for timely conversations, there are huge monetization opportunities, in Graph Search and beyond. If you don’t yet have the new Graph Search, don’t fret. Facebook started rolling it out on 9/30. As of this writing, I don’t have it yet either. Take a more in-depth look at this and Snapchat in our weekly Social Conversation:

Facebook and Cisco Partner for Free Wifi, with Check In

Cisco and Facebook this week launched a new national partnership being called CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi under which stores (or other retail locations) can provide free wifi for FB users who check in on the social network. As soon as you check in to the participating location, wifi is unlocked. The user quickly and easily gets free wifi, while the location gets two things: 1) the social action of a Check In, which is great; and 2) high level demographics on who is checking in at your location, such as age, gender and hometown. It’s a really nice example of adding utility to a user in a way that adds a lot of value for the store. It also keeps Facebook in the center of the check in universe and lets Cisco get more business with wifi. It’s the old win-win-win-win scenario. Now, if we could apply that scenario to that government shutdown…

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