Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store Could Be THe Most Important Launch Since the App Store – If Facebook announces the “Messenger Bot Store” at F8, as many predict, it would be arguably the most consequential event for the tech industry since Apple announced the App Store and iPhone SDK in March 2008. Even Steve Jobs could not have foreseen the impact of what he described as “a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and download third party applications directly onto their iPhone”. By the time the App Store opened for business in July 2008, approximately 6 million people worldwide owned an iPhone. By the end of the year, the number of iPhone owners had more than doubled, and in each of the following years iPhone sales doubled and then doubled again. The App Store ecosystem – which now has more than 1.5 million iOS apps – heralded the arrival of a new “mobile” era. Today, Facebook Messenger has 800 million monthly active users – more than 100 times the number of iPhone owners when Apple launched the App Store. Messenger’s current active user base exceeds even the total number of iPhones ever sold. Messaging apps now have more active users than social networks. – TechCrunch

Instagram Testing New Algorithm-Driven Feed – Photo-sharing app Instagram is testing software, rather than the clock, to order the images in a user’s feed, following in the footsteps of its parent Facebook Inc. Starting Tuesday, a small percentage of Instagram’s 400 million users had their feeds reordered, with posts that Instagram thinks they are most likely to find interesting at the top of their feeds. The order is based on an analysis of posts a user has liked, commented on or searched for on Instagram, a spokesman said. The change is a risk for Instagram, which has won over users with its simplicity. Instagram’s U.S. user base is expected to grow 15% in 2016 to just over 89 million people who use the service at least once a month, compared with just 3.1% for social networks overall, according to eMarketer. – Wall Street Journal

Digital Ad Spending To Surpass TV Next Year – Next year will mark a major milestone for ad spending, as total digital surpasses TV for the first time, according to eMarketer’s newest quarterly ad spending forecast. In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending. – eMarketer

Facebook Just Added Data To Help Brands See If They’re Driving Offline Sales – Facebook Atlas, the social platform’s ad server that extends far beyond its own site and apps, is getting a few noteworthy updates today.  The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is announcing Offline Actions, which lets Atlas-using marketers upload their own point-of-sale data and view it alongside their ad campaigns. It’s a move likely to appeal to brick-and-mortar retailers and packaged-goods brands. The measurement-oriented product will, in theory, let advertisers know more clearly if their Facebook Atlas campaigns—which encompass ads via numerous publishers and websites—are driving offline sales. Until this development, adding this sort of sales data was only available to marketers when their promos ran on Facebook’s website or mobile app. – AdWeek

The 30 Most Influential People On The Internet – For our second annual roundup of the most influential people on the Internet, TIME sized up contenders by looking at their global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news. The list includes Kanye West, Joy Cho, James Corden, Laci Green and more. – Time


Brandi Smith
Brandi Smith
Senior Social-Digital Strategist

A strategic communications professional with 10+ years of experience, Brandi has managed a plethora of award-winning public relations and social media campaigns on behalf of CPG brands. With an emphasis on consumer lifestyle, food, beverage and fashion clients, Brandi specializes in leading the integrated planning and execution of brand management strategies designed to generate both consumer awareness and engagement. Throughout her career, Brandi has served clients such as Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Jim Beam and White Wave Foods while employed at Ketchum.

After living in Chicago for a number of years, Brandi returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations with a second concentration in Sport Management from West Virginia University.