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Instagram could lead in social

Warc

Instagram will become the world’s most powerful social platform because of its visual and mobile roots, according to a leading industry figure.

Scott Galloway, of think tank L2, made the prediction based on his organisation’s collection of 850 data points across 5,000 brands’ digital footprints and the innate ability of humans to absorb information in pictures.

While humans have been reading words for hundreds of years, they have been reading visuals for thousands of years and absorb visuals 50 times faster than words, he noted.

And the resonance of visuals was evident in Instagram’s rapid take-up. It was the fastest growing social platform, with 200m users and its engagement of 1.5% was 15 times greater than that of Facebook.

“If you were to take a power algorithm – that being the size of the community times the level of engagement – Instagram is already the most powerful platform in the world,” he declared.

Galloway’s views were echoed in the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, from Social Media Examiner, which surveyed more than 2,800 marketers and found that they were increasingly turning to visual content across all platforms, but particularly YouTube and Pinterest.

The Fast Company highlighted the finding that interest in visual marketing rises with marketers’ experience. Among the least experienced – those with less than 12 months in social media marketing – Instagram (15%) and Pinterest (32%) attracted relatively little use. But for marketers with one or two years’ experience the use rose to 26% and 36% respectively and for those with more than five years in the industry to 47% and 66%.

As well as age, time spent on social media was another important factor in deciding to utilise visual platforms. Thus, marketers who spent more than 40 hours a week on social media were significantly more focused on Instagram (46% more) and Pinterest (37% more) than those who spent six hours a week or less with social media.

Another signifier of the rise of Instagram was the recent decision of Google, one of the most powerful and valuable brands in the world, to open an account – “another advertising vehicle” for the web giant, said The Verge.

Does Facebook Now Embody Maturity?

Eye on Media, Matt Kapko

Facebook had all the appearances and gusto of a grown-up company at F8 last week, its first developer’s conference in almost three years. The company’s rising sophistication was on display throughout the event, but it was even more abundant as founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered his opening keynote.

The sentiment sounds overly simple and altruistic, but it’s also a far cry from much of the way Facebook was built, designed and operated over the past decade. It’s not like Facebook didn’t care about its users or developers before. It certainly couldn’t have become a platform with 1.2 billion active users if that were the case. It’s just that today’s Facebook is becoming much more serious and business-like in its endeavors.

“We used to have this famous mantra. Move fast and break things,” says Zuckerberg. Those days are mostly gone though, taking some of the thrill and unexpectedness out of Facebook’s sails with it.

Facebook’s New Rallying Cry

“Now what we do is focus on building the best tools and infrastructure in the industry,” he says. Zuckerberg even went so far as to suggest a new rallying cry that tries to stay hip while hitting all the notes one would expect to hear from such a uniquely empowered company. “Move fast with stable infra” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but that’s how Facebook operates now.

That new theme may not be the best calling card for developers who like to break things before building something even better to put it in its place, but stable infrastructure is important to developers who make their living off Facebook’s platform. Compared to the sometimes abrupt and more controversial changes introduced in the past, Facebook’s gentler approach somehow exemplifies all the experience and struggles of a young startup that is now the largest media channel to ever exist.

Breaking things just doesn’t work for a company that now handles 470 billion API calls a day, a 20-times increase over the last three years. That smash-it-up mentality was ceremoniously supplanted at F8 by more serious developer needs like a promise to keep all APIs stable and operational for at least two years and a new service level agreement wherein Facebook commits to fix all major bugs within 48 hours.

“The best way we can help you improve people’s lives and improve the world is provide you with a stable mobile platform,” says Zuckerberg.

Users appreciate stability too, but that isn’t what creates the emotional connections that make Facebook such an important part of so many people’s lives. It only makes those connections possible and lasting.

Login Gains Privacy Controls and Anonymity

Changes to Facebook’s login product are where the needs and wants of users are most visibly outweighing those of developers.

Now when users click on the “log in with Facebook” button, they’ll be able to select one-by-one whether that app can have access to their public profile, friend list, email address, birthday, likes, and the permission to post to their account.

“People want more control over how they share information, especially in how they use their apps,” Zuckerberg says. “We know some people are scared of pressing this blue button& We don’t ever want anyone to be surprised about how they’re sharing on Facebook.”

Read more…

Q&A: The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

Brian Solis Blog

Last year, my Altimeter Group colleague Charlene Li and I published a series of research reports on thestate and evolution of social business. In our research, we discovered that the most advanced businesses shared seven success factors in developing, launching, and measuring social business strategies.  Our friends at Jossey-Bass asked us to turn it into an ebook and that we did!

The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

During the launch, we were interviewed by the Amazon team to dive deeper into the difference between social media and social business strategies. It also set the stage for our 2014 research track on Digital Transformation (report here.)

I’ve included the Amazon Q&A for you here…

What does it mean to be a social business?

A social business is more than social media and the Likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al. Yet, it’s a term that’s often confused with social media strategy. But, there’s an important difference between a social business and a social media strategy.

Each represent distinct qualities where “social” is simply a qualifier. In front of media, social is an adjective that describes the nature of channels, networks, or platforms that facilitate conversations online. When placed ahead of business, social articulates a philosophy or approach.

In this case, “social business” is a philosophy; a way of business where social technologies supported by new approaches facilitate a more open, engaged, collaborative foundation for how we work.

How do you convince companies to see social media as more than just “a necessary nuisance?”

The fact that social media and social business cause debate or even confusion after all these years is understandable. Many executives see social media as a novelty or a distraction for young adults and kids. They haven’t realized the impact of social networks because they either don’t have time, can’t see the value, find it difficult to keep up with all of the networks, or a combination of all of the above.

Coming back to the differences between social media and social business, it’s important for any social media or digital strategist to learn the language of the C-Suite. In the ebook, we share insights from several top executives to understand what it takes to convince them of the true opportunity that social promises. We heard time and time again that their priority and focus is driving business objectives, creating opportunities and solving problems. They don’t make decisions based on technology or trends, yet strategists tend to emphasize social media rather than business goals.

Click to read more and see infographics

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 12.01.58 PM 1024x640 Q&A: The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

Improving Customer Targeting and Personalization Through Social Identity

Brian Solis Blog, guest post by Andrew Jones

Modern marketing is about more than just informing prospects and customers about products, but building relationships with them. The contextual insight available in social media offers an opportunity to better know and engage audiences with compelling, personalized content and experiences across channels. The following is a condensed excerpt from a forthcoming report.

The Fragmented Customer Journey

The customer journey has become incredibly fragmented, moving across various channels and devices, and saturated with more messages than ever. At the same time, customers have been empowered by new technology, increasingly expecting consistent, personal experiences. As a result, it has never been more necessary—yet also so complex—for brands to target and personalize customer messaging.

So why are marketers still sending untargeted, “batch and blast” emails, serving static web pages, and delivering the same ad to everyone (or just a small handful of segments)?

Lots of Data, Limited Context

With the proliferation of customer data in CRM, eCommerce, web analytics, loyalty programs, and other databases, enterprises have troves of information about their customers. Yet companies often understand customers in the context of their transactions and rarely as individuals. Customer identity today is a shattered mirror, with little pieces of it spread throughout the organization. Customer Service, sales, marketing, and loyalty each see a different piece of the profile. Without the right context, brands will never be able to build good relationships with customers.

The Value of Social Identity

Social media has played a major role in compounding the complexity of today’s customer journey, yet is also laden with customer insights unavailable on other channels. Suresh Vittal of Adobe says that, “Social yields sentiment, preference, and influence in ways that no other data source can.” Social profiles contain demographics, age, geography, affinity, influence, and more, while ongoing social signals can provide insight into a customer’s real-time context and needs.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll define Social Identity as, “The information about an individual available in social media, including profile data as well as ongoing social activity.” Social Identity can:

- Enable better targeting and personalization throughout the customer lifecycle
- Help provide consistent customer experiences across channels
- Provide a clear source of social media ROI
- Increase the efficiency of marketing and advertising budgets

Continue reading…

 

What Is The Value Of Social Media Engagement?

Forbes

“There is no ROI in anything if you don’t learn how to use it.”

-Gary Vaynerchuk, Founder of VaynerMedia

There is a near consensus that social media marketing is valuable because it allows companies to directly engage with their customers, build brand presence, and ultimately sell more products.

However, justifying the value of social has been a conundrum for brand marketers over the last 10 years. Even in the most straightforward cases of ecommerce, there’s still the attribution question.  How much do you attribute to the relationship with the brand versus the last click?

What makes measuring social ROI so difficult is not a lack of data, but identifying which pieces of data matter.

The metrics for social media used to be all about likes and followers. That was the first step. Now social media enables core business objectives and provides so many different metrics and new data streams on customers and their behavior.

I wasn’t surprised to find that there are some really smart people already working to tackle this social ROI problem; in an attempt to get educated on the topic, here’s what I found.

Social media measurement shifting towards measuring conversations

The CMO Survey ran a study that asked CMOs to share the metrics that they were using to evaluate social media. You can see an interesting breakdown of the results below:

The different metrics range across the board from true financially based numbers, such as “profits per customer”, to social media specific actions like followers & friends. In addition, according to the study, ‘voice-based’ metrics such as net promoter scores and text analysis are quickly becoming strong indicators of success.

As Gary mentioned in his Inc 500 speech, word of mouth is a currency that affects your bottom line, and social media allows word of mouth to scale. Thus, it makes sense that companies want to measure conversations about their brand.

Leveraging social to drive core business objectives

Another worthwhile read is the Altimeter Group’sSocial Media ROI Cookbook. The report does a great job of mapping the problem that marketers face. 56% of marketers still list the ‘inability to tie social media to business outcomes’ as the largest pain point of measuring social media ROI.

Click to continue reading

Social Advertising Landscape Is Changing

MediaPost

In April this year, Twitter unveiled its much-anticipated mobile advertising network, with Facebook following closely behind with its Audience Network. These two giants of the social media world are embarking on the next stage of their journey to lure advertisers by using data from their own networks to help marketers target adverts to users even when they’re not on social media apps.

For Twitter, this means that marketers are able to display the same adverts as a promoted tweet to people who don’t even use Twitter, on more than a thousand other apps in the new Twitter publisher network.

With both channels clearly focused on a future of enhanced advertising capabilities, it’s another indication that the end goal is fully paid-for platforms, a long way from the free social and promotional experiments that companies originally signed up for.

According to a recent study by Ogilvy, increased restrictions on building organic reach with free Facebook content has resulted in brand pages only now being seen by between two and six percent, depending on the number of Likes per page. This means that even if your brand page has a million Likes, only around 2% of your fans will see anything you post, unless you pay to promote those posts.

Brands are really left only with the choice to allocate more marketing funds for social or break up with Facebook as delivery service Eat24 did publicly not so long ago.

If you’ve accepted that organic social growth is no longer viable on the major social channels and, as a result, you’ve ring-fenced marketing budget for the future of Facebook or Twitter advertising, you then need to ask yourself two questions. Do you want branding or performance advertising, and who is your target audience?

Some reports would have us believe that teenagers are abandoning Facebook in droves due to increased advertising and the network’s mainstream appeal, which now includes their parents. According to a report from iStrategy Labs, more than three million teens have left Facebook since 2007, while the 55+ age-group has seen growth of 80.4%.

In truth however, with 1.2 billion users and around 27 million Brits, no other website can compete with Facebook’s net reach. Even if the 13-25 year olds now prefer to interact on Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram, there’s a good chance that they’ll still have a Facebook profile, just be using it in a different, more passive way.

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Mobile social helps drive unprecedented jump in social media ad revenues: report

Mobile Marketer

Growth in mobile social and social native advertising are driving the largest year-over-year jump in social media ad revenues, with the total spend expected to be $8.4 billion in 2014, according to a new report out today from BIA/Kelsey.

In its latest U.S. Social Local Media Forecast, BIA/Kelsey forecasts that social media advertising revenues will reach $15 billion in 2018 for a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent. The growth rate is expected to be higher for native social advertising revenues, coming in at 38.6 percent; for social mobile, coming in at 38.3 percent, and for locally targeted social advertising, coming in at 31.6 percent.

“Looking at the overall social advertising forecast, we have raised that in total,” said Jed Williams, a senior analyst at BIA/Kelsey, Chantilly, VA. “Where we have raised that the most is in the out years of the forecast – we’ve raised it fairly significantly in 2017 and 2018 and we raised it slightly in 2014.

“The motive behind is that if you look at Facebook as a proxy to the overall social advertising marketplace, we have been encouraged and it has been eye-opening for us how they have continued to grow advertising revenue particularly U.S. advertising revenue, and what the drivers of that have been, particularly native and mobile,” he said.

“We still think there is a lot of growth there not just for Facebook in both of those areas and we see those areas as real drivers of growth across social media advertising. That growth is already occurring and it is occurring faster than we had anticipated six months of twelve months ago.”

Native advertising takes off
There has been a surge in native social advertising, driven by Facebook’s News Feed ads and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. As a result, BIA/Kelsey predicts native social advertising will eclipse social display for the first time in 2015.

According to the forecast, social display ad revenues will grow from $3.3 billion in 2013 to $5.6 billion in 2018.

During the same period, native social advertising will surge to $9.4 billion in 2018, up from $1.8 billion in 2013.

On mobile, social ad revenues topped $1.5 billion in 2013 and will reach $7.6 billion by 2018, surpassing social desktop for the first time.

The report also forecasts that locally targeted social advertising will grow from $1.3 billion in 2013 to $5.2 billion in 2018.

Continue reading

Is Facebook Organic Reach Actually Rising?

MediaPost

Contrary to a number of recent reports, most brands are seeing their organic reach rates rise on Facebook.

That’s according to new data from social analytics startup Shareablee, which found that among 150 brands, total organic reach grew 11% between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

The problem is that other reports have focused too heavily on Post-level reach — which has indeed declined 27% over the past quarter — according to Tania Yuki, founder and CEO of Shareablee.

What these reports have failed to consider is the resulting increase in engagement rates, which have actually increased 65% over the past quarter.

As such, these reports are creating “undue alarm” among brands and agencies, Yuki told Social Media & Marketing Daily, on Tuesday.

“People are engaging more, in response to fewer messages,” Yuki explains in the new report. “Activating more people relevantly leads to greater total organic reach, which [in] turn allows the influencer effect of your most loyal, engaged fans to grow.”

The broad perception that Facebook is curtailing brands’ ability to reach their followers (without paying a premium) appears to have already taken root.

In fact: “Over the past few weeks, I have personally spoken to at least thirty brand marketers … who are seriously contemplating pulling back their efforts from Facebook,” according to Yuki. “Some have been informed that Facebook is becoming a paid-only channel (even though promoted posts currently account for less than 10% of all brand content).”

And it’s no wonder why. Reports from a number of research firms and agencies have suggested that brands can no longer rely on Facebook to deliver their messages.

A recent report from Forrester, for example, suggested that brands should diversify their social media strategies because, among other reasons, “recent studies report that the average branded Facebook post reaches just 6% of a brand’s fans.”

Yet for those brands still intent on reaching consumers on Facebook, frequency remains key, according to Yuki.

“Brands must … resist reacting to the disappointment of lower post reach by stepping down on frequency, and keep relevant content coming if they want to maintain the audiences they have built up on Facebook,” Yuki explained.

Furthermore — “Posting less frequently — as some suggest — does not result in those fewer posts reaching more people, even if those fewer posts are higher performing,” Yuki warned. “It is just too difficult to achieve momentum.”

Social media drives US ad revenue

Warc

Native social ad revenue in the US is expected to grow massively this year, more than doubling from $1.8bn in 2013 to $4bn this year, according to the latest industry projections.

Media consultants BIA/Kelsey forecast native’s growth will continue into 2015, when it will reach $5.4bn, and with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.6% it is expected to increase to $9.4bn in 2018, Marketing Charts reported.

This means native social ads, such as Facebook’s newsfeed and Twitter’s promoted tweets, will account for more than 60% of total social ad revenue of $15bn.

Furthermore, the format is expected to overtake social display ads in terms of revenue next year as social display is projected to generate $4.7bn in revenue in 2015.

Social mobile ad revenue in the US will also record an impressive growth rate over the next four years, BIA/Kelsey predicted.

As mobile devices drive up social networking consumption, social mobile ad revenue is forecast to grow at 38.2% CAGR through to 2018, or more than double the 15.3% CAGR expected for desktop social ad revenue.

Social ad revenue is expected to be worth $3.7bn in 2014, rising to $7.6bn in 2018, by when desktop social ad revenue will be worth $7.4bn, the report said.

Jed Williams, vp consulting at BIA/Kelsey said the company was initially sceptical about social mobile’s revenue capacity because of certain limitations, such as small screen size and static creative.

However, he said Facebook, Twitter and other networks have generated “dramatic” revenue growth over the past year through mobile ad acceleration and natively integrated mobile ad formats, and he expected this growth to continue.

“As social usage further migrates to mobile platforms, the need for locally targeted messages and offers that leverage mobile’s unique capabilities will expand,” he said.

He went on to predict that social local adspend will increase as national brands drive more traffic to individual stores and provide more personalised offers for target consumers.

How social networks are muscling into mobile advertising space and what it means to publishers

INMA

If money makes the world go around, then advertising can take the credit for a good deal of it. Whatever marketing channel you care to look at, from print to online, it’s fueled by advertising.

And in the mobile arena, advertising has been an equally important driving force that has powered the industry forward from a position where, five years ago, it was barely on any brand’s radar, to today, where most brands of any note realise how pivotal a mobile presence is to their future success.

Spending on mobile advertising has been increasing steadily in recent years. In fact, more than steadily. Between 2012 and 2013, mobile ad spend in the UK grew by 93%, from £529 million to £1.03 billion, to account for 16% of all digital advertising spend.

Among the major beneficiaries of this boom have been the mobile ad networks who connect advertisers with publishers (of mobile sites and apps) and take a cut of the ad spend as their reward for doing so. Perhaps not surprisingly, a not-so-small industry has emerged, as more and more ad networks have launched in search of a slice of this increasingly lucrative pie.

But given the way the industry is moving, I wonder if the party, if not quite over, is drawing to a close for many of them.

Over the past 18 months, most networks have added programmatic buying to their offerings, seeing which way the industry wind was blowing.

Others – one example is Adfonic, which recently rebranded as Byyd and relaunched itself as a demand-side platform – have moved away from the ad network model. They’ve turned to the ad exchanges for their inventory and concentrated instead on helping advertisers target the right consumers by using programmatic technology, relying on the quality and sophistication of their algorithm to deliver results.

Perhaps more significant is the entry of the social media giants into this space. Forget Google – its dominance of the search landscape is a given – but think Facebook and Twitter.

A few months back, Facebook launched app install ads. The company has seen such success with this that more than one pundit has since said to me, if you are an app developer looking to get your app seen and downloaded by consumers, Facebook is the only place you need to be.

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