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Facebook is best for small businesses

Warc

Facebook is by far the most effective social media platform for driving offline sales for small businesses, according to a new report.

Digital marketing company G/O Digital surveyed 1,000 US users aged 18 to 29 for a study on Facebook advertising and found that 84% of respondents said local deals or offers on that site were a major influence on their purchasing decisions. Further, 25% said “it’s very important and I would be likely to make an in-store purchase within a week”.

Facebook offers that could be redeemed at a local store were by far the most persuasive marketing tactic. Some 40% cited this as being most likely to influence them to make an in-store purchase at a local or small business.

Promoted Posts were effective for 12% and photos/videos for 11%, while loyalty app promotions gained a 10% response.

Facebook was also way out in front when respondents were asked which social media channel they found most useful for researching products or services before visiting a local business. Fully 62% opted for Facebook, with Pinterest (12%), Twitter (11%) and Instagram (9%) trailing in its wake.

“The most bang-for-your-buck way for many small businesses to drive in-store activity and sales through social marketing in the short term is going to be Facebook,” Jeff Fagel, G/O Digital CMO, told ClickZ.

“Pinterest and Twitter should definitely have a place in their larger social marketing strategy, but will serve different purposes and support different objectives,” he added.

Amid the ongoing debate about privacy, and recent revelations surrounding Facebook’s manipulation of news feeds, G/O Digital’s research suggested that local relevance and personalisation might be more important for users.

It found that just over one third (36%) of respondents felt that “ads that are targeted based on your personal interests and past purchases” were most likely to influence them to interact with Facebook ads from small businesses. More than one quarter considered “ads that are targeted based on current location” to be most influential.

“It’s all about relevancy,” Fagel declared. “For example, if you offer me $2 off a hot dog at a baseball game, I won’t mind having my mobile viewing experience interrupted by this ad, because it’s solving an immediate, relevant need that I have: feeding my hunger and giving me a discount at the same time.”

Twitter touts ‘objective-based campaigns’ to advertisers

MarketingWeek

The social network is introducing the model through four ad formats that brands will pay for if a user takes the desired action as a result.

This means brands can choose to pay based on tweet engagements, web site clicks and app installs, as well as gaining followers. For example, app installs or app engagement campaigns will only be charged on a cost-per-app-click basis. Targeting options are also provided to ensure tweets reach users at the right moment, the company added.

Twitter will suggest the appropriate ad format to advertisers using the self-serve tool.

The company said the launch aims to encourage brands to think harder about campaign objectives in order to lift performance to “the next level”.

“Let’s say you’re a camera retailer, and you want to drive more visitors to the summer promotion on your web site. You can create a website clicks or conversions campaign and then promote a tweet with a website link or website card our recommended ad format that is specifically designed to drive website traffic,” the company said in a video (see above).

Twitter said the tool delivered positive results during initial tests earlier this year and is currently offering the service to small and medium-sized companies ahead of a wider invitation-only rollout. The business has said in the past the majority of self-service buying on the network comes from smaller companies.

The launch aims to refresh the company’s pricing model, which previously only let ad buyers pay for Promoted Tweets when they were clicked, replied, retweeted or favourited. It is the latest in a pipeline of products from Twitter as it looks to lift ad revenues and address criticisms from some observers that user engagement and growth is stalling.

An upcoming tool will make it easier to create ads on the platform, allowing brands to crop images and more easily customise photos. Earlier this week, it launched its “Flock to Unlock” tool via a tie-up around Puma’s “Forever Faster” global campaign.

Twitter says it sees the “hundreds of millions” of visitors logged-out of its platform as the next key revenue generator for its nascent advertising offering and is exploring ways to monetise the audience.

How to Increase YouTube Engagement [Infographic]

SocialMouth

Many business that produce content as a marketing initiative are looking for alternatives to jump into different types of media and new channels of distribution to reach their potential customer.

Vine, Instagram, even Tumblr. But even though some have implemented a YouTube strategy in the last couple of years, it’s still a little intimating for many businesses, there’s the production aspect of it, and it can also be a little more complex in terms of understanding how to generate engagement.

Usually when I put it on the table with my clients, they look like video content is a bit more that they can handle.

But, is YouTube Marketing it worth the effort?

  • YouTube is the number one video website in the world
  • About 800 million people visit it every month
  • Many searches are conducted directly on YouTube instead of Google

In other words, the potential to help your prospect find your business in a whole different marketplace is huge.

If you’re ready to start considering YouTube as a content marketing vehicle, or you’ve already started getting your feet wet, this infographic by QuickSproutprovides some key stats and best practices to generate more engagement.

how to increase youtube engagement How to Increase YouTube Engagement [Infographic]

IDG SMS Wins Social Media Award for Samsung Program

Media Shepherd

mediaShepherd LLC—a web-based company that provides “actionable intelligence” for media brands—announces the winners of the first-ever mediaShepherd Social Media Awards (mSSm Awards). The awards recognize the best of social media efforts focused around a specific campaign, publication, brand or company in various sectors of the media industry.

The 2014 mSSm winners are:

• The Onion. Consumer media brand. The Onion’s overall social media strategy has gained the satirical-news brand millions of followers on Facebook (more than 4.25 million), Twitter (more than 6 million) and Google+ (nearly 2 million). It effectively integrates its YouTube channel with content across all platforms and has a high level of audience engagement.

• Modern Salon. Business-to-business media brand. Modern Salon has an impressive social media following, especially for a b-to-b brand, with more than 34,000 Twitter followers, more than 290,000 Facebook fans, more than 47,000 followers on Instagram, and more than 3,000 pins on Pinterest. It utilizes a variety of techniques and opportunities to promote its brand via social media, including promotion of a live broadcast of the North American Hairstyling Awards ceremony and reliance on unpaid partner promotion (via partners’—such as Aveda, Paul Mitchell and beauty schools—social media sites). Modern Salon also focuses on sharing high-quality images.

• IDG Enterprise. Business-to-business/custom marketing. IDG Strategic Marketing Services created a custom social media marketing campaign on behalf of its client Starcom/Samsung, called “Tablets in the Enterprise.” The campaign included Twitter chats using a unique hashtag to facilitate conversations around key messages and drive awareness of the topic and related solutions. Other components of the campaign included a custom survey on tablet use in the enterprise, infographics, white papers and videos. The campaign, which engaged influential bloggers and IT leaders, reached 513,000 via its #Tablechat discussions, and nearly 8 million impressions.

• MVP Media/Turnbuckle Magazine. Niche/enthusiast media. MVP Media fostered a significant community on Twitter from scratch for the launch of its interactive, digital Turnbuckle Magazine. The campaign achieved a reach exceeding 1 million Twitter users as per reports from SumAll, as well as impressive brand exposure via viral posts that captured hundreds of retweets/favorites. The combined retweet-and-mention reach surpassed 3 million in each of the last two weeks of the campaign, and suprassed 10 million in the last 5 weeks.

• OneName Global (OnG). Publishing industry vendor.  OneName Global utilized a variety of social media platforms, but focused its efforts on Facebook and viral content to grow traffic to OnG’s Facebook page as well as convert traffic to its onenameglobal.com website in advance of the company’s launch in the marketplace. As of Feb. 1, the site averaged 25-30 visitors per day, and via its social media campaign increased that to more than 8,000 visitors a day by the end of February. Since the campaign began, OnG experienced a significant increase in website traffic, totaling 48,745 visitors from the campaign’s start to finish. The company anticipated reaching 30,000 users per day by its launch, a metric which it exceeded (by far). According to Alexa.com, the company was one of the fastest-growing/ranking sites online toward the end of its campaign.

The entries were judged by a panel of social media experts in the publishing industry, and were evaluated based on innovation, campaign execution and level of achievement, budget and staff size, support of the brand, viral nature of the campaigns, among other factors.

Social media marketing must move beyond buzz baiting

MarketingWeek

European brands are spurning chances to convince and convert social media fans into long-term leads by concentrating on attention-grabbing campaigns instead of functional content created to serve a specific purpose.

Marketers know the likes of Facebok and Twitter are key to online success but all too often talk about “likes” and “retweets” as indicators of success. Granted, buzz is important when tussling with competitors for share of voice. Nevertheless, with all the data and tools at a marketers disposal surely the need for more long-term objectives is far bigger.

It has not gone unnoticed by Twitter. The social network is letting advertisers from today (8 August) create content focused on specific marketing goals or what it dubs “objective-based campaigns”. It is part of a wider masterplan to get marketers to think harder about campaign objectives with the business realising its cost-per-engagement will only go so far before brands shift social media strategies to be more business focused such as driving web site visits or app downloads.

The dearth of maturity when it comes to social media marketing is highlighted by Forrester in a recent report on social media (mis)use. Social media is a “tick box” activity that focuses on attention-getting campaigns across Europe, it found, as many Europeans show lower interaction and trust levels to social marketing than any other region. The report goes on to draw parallels to search natural search engine results, which a third (33 per cent) of Europeans’ trust in comparison to 45 per cent of US consumers.

It points to the lack of advancement in standard operating procedures for social media marketing across Europe. If a campaign fails, there is a tendency to blame social media not working in that market. In fact, the discipline works just fine in European markets; strategies are just off.

However, there are brands making structural changes to enhance their ability to produce content based on consumer preferences. Pernod Ricard, Adidas and Mondelez have all restructured to give more local spin to their marketing, which could bring about social efforts that better reflect the intricacies of a market’s social media usage.

Like, many marketers, all three are working to find the right balance between global and local, particularly when it comes to digital activations. Key to this charge is community management, one of the most underrated marketing roles and tools. By understanding local nuances and what makes your local fans tick, marketers can augment their investments to secure long-term value though stronger advocacy and ultimately sales.

The need for better social infrastructure investment is pivotal as social spend is tipped to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 per cent from 2012 to 2017, according to Forrester. With more people using social networks to explore brands, brands need to be more surgical in their efforts to tie activities to users’ preferences and usage of Facebook and Twitter.

8 Tips and Tricks for LinkedIn Power Users

Mashable

You have hundreds of connections, stacks of skills and endorsements, a killer review of your experience and a flattering but professional headshot. Your LinkedIn profile is all set up for some seriously productive networking, and you’re ready to build up your brand online as you climb the ladder of success.

But don’t you wish you could get a little bit more out of LinkedIn? While having an extensive network is a big advantage, there several little things you can do to help make the most of the website — and a lot of them are free.

Here are eight ways to get a leg up on the LinkedIn competition.

1. Request to connect through search instead of the profile button.

When you send connection requests through the Connect button on someone’s profile, you have to prove you know them through a mutually listed company or school. To skip that step, just search for the person you want to connect with, and use the Connect button next to her name to immediately send the invitation.

2. Set up anonymous profile viewing to explore the network fearlessly.

Whether it’s an old college rival or your new boss, it’s natural to want to delve a little deeper into someone’s professional past. However, LinkedIn’s default settings notify users when someone looks at their profiles.

The first concern is coming off as creepy, but if you’re using LinkedIn to vet potential hires or recruiters, you may not want them to know what you’re doing. Luckily, there’s an easy fix to limit or remove all identifying information from your visit, so the people whose profiles you view won’t knew you were there.

The one caveat is forfeiting your ability to see who views your profile (if you have a basic account), but it’s a small sacrifice for searching in secrecy.

3. Use advanced searches to hone in on the best jobs and candidates.

Whether you’re a recruiter looking for the perfect person for an opening at your company, or you’re just someone looking for a new gig, a basic search might not yield the best results. While LinkedIn offers several paid upgrades that give you special tools for this, an advanced search can help you filter through a slew of postings and connections.

The paid upgrades give you deeper filters and streamline the process, but the free ones are a great first step toward a successful search.

4. Import your email contacts as connections.

If you’ve been using LinkedIn long enough, chances are you’ve connected with most people you’ve done business with by now. That said, searching through your email contacts is a great way to find anyone who might have slipped your mind or works in a different industry than they did before.

It may not make a huge difference right away, but all it takes is one message to start a big business move, whether it’s a new job or a major partnership.

5. Make sure your profile reflects your current work and aspirations.

Keeping your profile updated might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it’s helpful to clear out the cobwebs and keep the information fresh. You shouldn’t need to make major changes to the experience and education sections, but consistently updating your work portfolio will keep connections updated on what you’ve been doing recently.

While this is mainly useful for those in media, graphic design and other industries that often value work samples over resumes, it can also highlight a specific interest or specialty you want to parlay into a new job.

6. Take advantage of groups.

While connecting with people you don’t know is against LinkedIn’s rules, joining groups of users with similar experiences, jobs and interests is a great way to reach more people and resources. There are groups for colleges, industries, professional organizations, companies and common interests, and being part of these groups allows you search and filter through them with an upgraded account.

Each group has a page with an open forum and job board, helping those within the group help each other. Also, group memberships appear on your public profile by default, which will help connections see what you do beyond your listed experience.

7. Ask connections to leave you recommendations.

Letters of recommendation can make or break a job application, and LinkedIn allows users to recommend each other’s work at specific companies and organizations. While it might be awkward to ask at first, these recommendations add immediate credibility and depth to your experience. And beyond it’s content, the recommendation shows that people actually like you enough to say nice things about you for everyone to see.

8. Save job searches and receive email alerts.

If you’re looking for a new gig, you can save job searches on LinkedIn and get email updates daily, weekly or monthly. This is a great way of making the site work for you, as you look for work yourself.

Click to see images

Big Brands Are Driving Facebook and Twitter’s Mobile Ad Explosion

AdWeek

Twitter and Facebook are killing it with mobile ad sales right now chiefly because they are expanding their customer base from smaller direct-response and app-install players to big brands, according to industry observers. While Facebook is clearly out in front of Twitter in terms of getting packaged goods and carmaker spends (see graph below), increasing business with such deep-pocketed marketers will likely be key to each of their long-term futures.

“[Facebook is] getting these CPG companies—the Cokes and the Pepsis and the automotives —to look more seriously at their mobile advertising products,” said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at Altimeter. “I think we are going to see a continuation of this for at least the next year or two.”

Twitter yesterday reported that it raked in $224 million in mobile ad sales during the second quarter, up from $180 million in Q1. The newest figure also represents a 36 percent jump compared to 2013’s fourth quarter, when the social media platform brought in $165 million. The San Francisco-based tech company will achieve more than $800 million in mobile ad revenue if it keeps the pace it has set in 2014 so far. Facebook’s Q2 mobile ad sales were 34 percent greater compared to Q4 2013, and it could draw a whopping $6 billion from the marketing category with a strong finish to the rest of the year.

facebook twitter mobile ad revenue 01 2014 Big Brands Are Driving Facebook and Twitters Mobile Ad Explosionenlarge button Big Brands Are Driving Facebook and Twitters Mobile Ad Explosion

“It is difficult to reach consumers on their mobile devices, and the Twitter and Facebook feeds represent two of the better opportunities for advertisers to do that,” said Jim Anderson, CEO of tech firm SocialFlow. “Put another way: Attention follows eyeballs, and money follows attention.”

And so, they follow brands such asHeinekenTideCharmin and McDonald’s, which have invested in paid ads on the social-mobile platforms. (Neither Facebook nor Twitter categorically break out, as one example, their number of CPGs vs. e-tail advertisers.)

“Everything is moving mobile as our agency is seeing a huge lift in mobile ad spend and response rates when comparing our client data from the end of 2013 to Q2 2014,” said Dinesh Boaz, managing director and co-founder of Direct Agents. “Both Facebook and Twitter are positioned so well for the mobile paradigm shift that the surge in revenues comes as no surprise.”

Alex Taub, SocialRank’s CEO, added, “I believe Facebook and Twitter’s paid mobile advertising revenues will continue to surge.”

Well, they will for a while—but probably only as long as the data warrants the spend.

“They are going to have to answer to the results,” Lieb from Altimeter said. “And I know that Facebook is very assiduously working with its largest advertisers to help them craft really compelling mobile campaigns.”

Twitter sees logged-out audiences as its next ‘big opportunity’

Marketing Week

Speaking on the company’s second quarter earnings call, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he sees a “big opportunity” in the size of its logged-out audience who visit after seeing tweets on network news or in the newspapers to search for specific content and profiles.

He added: “We feel like we provide limited content to those hundreds of millions of other users who are unique visitors to our properties and we see a big opportunity to serve them just as well as the other two audiences.

“You get a great signal for the kind of content they like to consume and we think those signals will provide the data that we need to deliver the right kinds of monetisation experiences to that audience.”

That could include serving ad units to visitors to profile pages, for example, although Costolo sought to make it “very clear” that Twitter’s focus in the short-term will be enhancing the experience for logged-in users.

Twitter has been criticised by observers and investors for stalling user and engagement growth in previous quarters, but focusing on a different pool of users could allay concerns about its long-term investment potential.

Its number of monthly active users increased by 16 million to 271 million in the three months to 30 June, up from an increase of 14 million users in the first quarter.

Timeline views – Twitter’s measure of user engagement – grew 15 per cent year on year to 173 billion and up 11 per cent on the previous quarter. Ad revenue per 1,000 timeline views grew 100 per cent year on year to to $1.60.

Overall, revenue grew 124 per cent year on year to $312m, with ad revenue up 129 per cent to $277m – the highest rate of year on year growth the company has experienced in six quarters. This acceleration, Costolo said, was driven by higher engagement which “translates into improved ROI for our marketers”. The majority (81 per cent) of ad revenue was generated from mobile devices.

The company reported a loss of $145m, up from a loss of $42m a year earlier, as it continued to make investments in its platform and acquisitions.

Mike Gupta, Twitter head of strategic investments and outgoing chief financial officer, says as the company looks to make improvements to the experience, making it easier for users to find the content they want, it expects timeline views to decrease among monthly active users.

Twitter is continuing with a collection of changes to drive more value to users immediately after they create an account. Costolo said he would not rule out changing the timeline to be curated by an algorithm – similar to the Facebook news feed – as Twitter looks to convert new users into active ones.

WhatsApp tops Facebook Messenger

Warc

WhatsApp, the instant messaging service, has overtaken Facebook’s own Messenger service to become the top chat app in the world outside of China, a new survey has revealed.

According to the latest Mobile Messaging survey by GlobalWebIndex, an online market research firm, WhatsApp was used by nearly 40% of the worldwide mobile internet audience each month of its survey covering Q2 2014.

Based on the usage of instant messaging tools by 600m adults aged 16-64 across 32 markets, the survey found the audience for this activity has grown 30% over the past two years.

Despite the growth of WhatsApp, which Facebook is in the process of acquiring for $19bn, Facebook Messenger saw a sharp rise in usage in some countries. In the UK, for example, it has increased from 27% in Q4 2013 to 40% by Q2 2014.

GlobalWebIndex attributed this to Facebook’s decision to remove the messaging component from its main app and transfer it to the Messenger service.

After Facebook Messenger were Skype (32%) and Line (10%) in terms of global usage, but other apps tracked in the survey – such as Snapchat and WeChat – were used by relatively small percentages globally or were limited to particular markets.

WeChat, for example, was the top chat app in China – perhaps unsurprisingly – and used by 84% while Snapchat was the most popular in mature markets.

Snapchat secured 14% of the mobile audience in the UK, US and Ireland, but also scored highly in Canada and Australia, and it remained very popular among teenagers. Nearly half (48%) of 16-19 year-olds in the UK used the service.

WhatsApp was most used in South Africa (78%) and Malaysia (75%), but was also dominant in Argentina, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain and India.

In other findings, just under two-thirds of WhatsApp users reported that mobile chat apps were now one of their primary forms of communication, with over half confirming that they have overtaken SMS as the way they typically send messages.

Also, over three-quarters of WhatsApp users believed Facebook has no right to sell their personal information to gain ad revenue, and 85% were concerned about how companies might use their conversations without their knowledge.

When an ad is not an ad on Facebook

Digiday

Facebook’s recent changes to its news feed algorithm have decreased organic reach for brands and, at the same time, increased reach for editorial operations. But for whatever reason, the social network has not treated native ads as advertising so far. The result: a de facto loophole that brands and publishers have both exploited.

Publishers are making their relatively larger reaches on Facebook an ever more vital part of their native ad pitches, giving brands greater distribution on Facebook than they would ever see from their own pages. Because when a publisher posts one of its native ads to its Facebook page, Facebook registers it as an editorial post, not a brand one.

“As far as the algorithm goes, they are not treated as ads,” Facebook spokesman Tim Rathschmidt said about Facebook posts for publishers’ native ads.

Consider Netflix’s heavily lauded native ad about women in prison that ran on The New York Times. Had Netflix created and published that piece of media itself, and subsequently posted it to its own Facebook page, it would have been considered a brand post and likely would not have enjoyed the large amount of Facebook reach it did.

But in creating the piece with The Times’ T Brand Studio, the Gray Lady’s native advertising team, Netflix’s native ad was treated like a typical editorial offering when posted to Facebook.

Sebastian Tomich, vp of advertising at The Times, is well aware of this advantage and is using it to pitch brands on working with the T Brand Studio: The Times’ native ads are not posted to the Times’ Facebook page but to a page solely for media created by the T Brand Studio.

But being posted to the T Brand Studio Facebook page did not seem to have a negative effect on the Netflix native ad. Quite the contrary. That piece received 4,952 Facebook likes, 1,053 Facebook comments and 1,860 Facebook shares for a total of 7,865 Facebook interactions as of July 22, according to social media analytics company SimpleReach. A story about Obama contemplating military action in Iraq published on the same day as the Netflix native ad received only 2,029 Facebook interactions.

The higher interaction count is in part due to the Times paying to promote the Netflix native ad, but from Facebook’s perspective, the content was not so much an ad as it was a story like any other Times piece.

“As along brand studios are creating content, they will be treated like a publisher as opposed to an advertiser,” Tomich said about Facebook.

For publishers like Forbes and Upworthy, which share their native ads from the same Facebook page where they post their editorial pieces, the reach on native ads is even greater.

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