Events
Event Date Location

iMedia Brand Summit (Australia)

09/01/2014 - 09/03/2014 Gold Coast Australia

iMedia Brand Summit (India)

09/03/2014 - 09/05/2014 Adao Waddo, Salcette India

Data+: Analyze, Predict, Monetize

09/07/2014 - 09/09/2014 Phoenix AZ

iMedia Brand Summit: Marketing in an Always-On World

09/07/2014 - 09/10/2014 Coronado CA

Content Marketing World

09/08/2014 - 09/11/2014 Cleveland OH

Video Insider Summit

09/14/2014 - 09/17/2014 Montauk NY

Ad Age Digital Conference San Francisco

09/16/2014 San Francisco CA

Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit

09/17/2014 San Francisco CA

CSO Perspectives on Defending Against the Pervasive Attacker

09/17/2014 Boston MA

IT Roadmap Conference & Expo

09/17/2014 San Jose CA

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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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If you can’t check in, is it really Foursquare?

IDG News Service

Foursquare unceremoniously dropped its “check in” feature this week.

Now, the service has been re-created as a third-rate Yelp instead of a first-rate Foursquare. Check-ins are now done via Swarm, a new app launched recently by Foursquare.

The trouble with this is that, for many of Foursquare’s most loyal and passionate users, checking in to locations is what Foursquare has always been about.

This kind of late-stage pivoting is something of an unhappy trend. I believe the cause of these strategic errors by companies is a combination of taking longtime and passionate users for granted while simultaneously coveting thy neighbor’s business model.

That’s a risky strategy. A company that goes that route could fail to succeed with the new model and also fail to hang on to its most passionate users. Then it could be acquired by Yahoo, never to be heard from again.

Twitter trouble

The poster child for this kind of error is Twitter.

People who love Twitter fell in love with it when it was a hyper-minimalist, quirky, secret-code-controlled text-centric microblog. It was minimalism that made Twitter great.

But Twitter got a bad case of Google andFacebook envy. The company redesigned its spare minimalism to look almost exactly like cluttered Facebook. The CEO of a company called Berg illustrated this perfectly by putting his Twitter and Facebook profiles side by side. The redesign is part of a larger direction for Twitter streams to move from text-based to picture-based. Twitter is joining Google+ and Facebook in the arms race that has broken out as people use images, rather than words, to compete for attention.

Twitter also embraced the card interface, which Google has rolled out to multiple properties, from Google+ to Android Wear.

Twitter has recently been testing a feature called “retweet with comment,” which gathers up the original tweet in a card and essentially attaches it to the retweet. This moves Twitter away from its core idea, which is forced brevity.

Of course, new features can fail their tests and may never be rolled out. But the nature of Twitter tests suggests that the company is making the dual mistakes of taking its core user base for granted and simultaneously flirting with the business models of competitors.

For example, Twitter tested a feature that causes a link to a movie trailer to automatically appear when a user types in a hashtag for that movie.

Twitter is even considering dropping both the @ symbol, for identifying and linking to specific user accounts, and the hashtag, for linking to specific kinds of content, according to some testing it has done.

Over time, Twitter is evolving from something that people loved to something that is just like other services and has has few differentiating features.

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Facebook’s mobile app install ad business faces growing competition

Mobile Marketer

While Facebook’s mobile advertising business keeps growing – mobile represented a whopping 62 percent of ad revenue during the second quarter – the social network could become a victim of its own success, particularly on the application marketing front, as a growing number of competitors come out with their own, often compelling offerings.

The 62 percent of ad revenue delivered by mobile in the second quarter is up from 41 percent during the same period a year ago and from 59 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Facebook’s new mobile ad network and app install ads drive much of the mobile ad revenue but the company continues to look at ways to broaden its mobile ad business.

“When you think about our mobile ads, I do sometimes think that people think our mobile app install ads are all of the revenue or a great majority of the revenue, and they are not,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, during a conference call with analyst to discuss the company’s second quarter financial results. “They are only a part of the mobile ads revenues.

“Our mobile ads revenue is broad based,” she said. “We have large brands advertisers, small, direct response advertisers as well as developers using our mobile ads.

“The mobile app install ads which are run not only by developers but also by large companies that want to get people to install apps are growing. They remain a good part of our mobile ads revenue and we are excited about the opportunities there. But we see our opportunities in mobile ads as much broader than just installing apps.”

Mobile growth
Facebook reported yesterday that its overall revenue grew 61 percent for a total of $2.91 billion during the second quarter of 2014. Of that, $2.68 billion came from advertising, a 67 percent jump from the same period a year ago.

Growth in mobile use on Facebook continues to outpace general use, with mobile daily active user increasing 39 percent for a total of 654 million while mobile monthly active users grew 31 percent for a total of 1.07 billion.

In comparison, overall daily active users grew 19 percent for a total of 829 million and monthly active users increased 14 percent for a total of 1.32 billion.

The company also posted a 138 percent increase in net income for a total of $791 million.

App install ads
Facebook launched mobile app install ads in late 2012 and the offering quickly took off because it meet an untapped need to help developers drive app downloads. In less than two years, Facebook has driven 350 million app installs, per Fiksu.

However, Twitter recently released its mobile app promotion product suite. Fiksu is a partner, helping clients such as Groupon, Dunkin Donuts and Barnes & Noble drive app downloads from Twitter.

“Over the past 12 months, Facebook has enjoyed a leadership position with respect to performance in the app marketing space,” Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at Fiksu.

“While costs of media were often up to ten times greater on Facebook than other channels, they could command this premium because their cost per purchasing user was 28 percent better than other traffic sources, based on the strength of their segmentation tools,” he said.

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Twitter and Facebook see a bright future for in-the-moment spending

IDG News Service

If you’re an impulse buyer trying to reform your ways, Facebook and Twitter are not on your side.

Both companies said Thursday they were working on new services to let their users either make purchases directly from their feeds or gain instant access to deals and promotions that can be redeemed in stores. It’s the latest display of competition heating up between the companies as they seek to add digital storefront real estate to their sites.

Why waste clicks getting to Amazon or eBay when you can have all your fun in between retweets or “likes”? Naturally, you might also retweet the advertiser’s promotion, which would make Twitter happy.

With Twitter, the technology comes courtesy of CardSpring, which Twittersaid it had acquired.

CardSpring lets software developers create offers inside their apps that users can add to their debit or credit cards. When the person makes a purchase in the store, the offer or discount is automatically applied.

The idea is that on Twitter, similar types of offers from businesses might appear in the stream. Twitter users could access the offers by providing their payment information to Twitter or some other processor. “We’re confident the CardSpring team and the technology they’ve built are a great fit with our philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users,” Twitter said in its announcement.

Twitter has already integrated some e-commerce functions to its site, such as by letting people add items to their Amazon carts by replying“#AmazonCart” to certain tweets. Twitter also has partnered with American Express to let card holders buy items by tweeting in a certain way. Those only work for users who synchronize their Twitter accounts with their Amazon or American Express accounts.

CardSpring’s technology could make for a more streamlined buying experience, maybe even one with a dedicated “buy” button. Previous reports have indicated Twitter might be looking in that direction.

Twitter did not say Thursday that such a button was coming. “We’ll have more information on our commerce direction in the future,” the company said.

A “buy” button for Facebook is definitely on the horizon. The company isnow testing a service to let users buy retail items directly from their news feeds or from a business’ page. There are only a few small and medium-sized businesses participating now. Facebook identified only one: Modify Watches, which makes interchangeable watches that the company says are “dope.”

Naturally, these e-commerce services could help Facebook and Twitter’s bottom lines by attracting vendors that want to connect with potential customers.

One barrier to their success could be people’s willingness to share their payment information with Facebook or Twitter. Facebook, in its announcement, said it built its feature with privacy in mind and that no payment information would be shared with other advertisers. People can also select whether they want to save their payment information for future purchases, Facebook said.

US social media usage evolves

Warc

Social media usage in the US is changing as a result of trends including the growth of “lean-forward” behaviour, greater concerns for privacy and the rise of niche sites based around personal interests.

Kevin Moeller and Heather O’Shea of UM, the media agency network, discussed these themes in their paper, Cracking the social code: Aligning consumers’ need states to marketing objectives, published as part of the Experiential Learning series of articles from the ARF’s Audience Measurement 9.0 conference.

Their research drew on data from 4,000 active web users in America, and found there was a “progressive shift from lean-back to lean-forward behaviour” on social media, fuelled by smartphone usage and exemplified by multiscreening.

Working simultaneously with this increase in activity, however, is a heightened emphasis on privacy, and precisely which information should be available for anyone to view.

Two-thirds of UM’s American panel were worried about their “online persona” being public versus only one-third who were unconcerned – a negative imbalance that represents a “sea change” in perspectives on this topic.

“While this may seem like a disconnect from the very idea of a social network, it proves there are nuances in what consumers believe is publicly fair game compared to what they actively would like to share,” Moeller and O’Shea suggest.

Another indicator that user habits are becoming more nuanced is the uptake of newer or smaller social networks reflecting specific passions and interests.

Examples of niche platforms include deviantART, a site for art lovers, Ravelry, a community for crocheting enthusiasts, and Medium, an offering from the founders of Twitter that hosts longer-form content.

“While Facebook remains the main internet presence for audiences to connect with one another, niche social networks are becoming a driving force in the growth of the social sphere,” say Moeller and O’Shea.

Given that UM’s figures indicate that the creation of new social media profiles has effectively “stalled” even as usage grows, the major mainstream players may soon move to acquire their smaller counterparts.

“This could be the beginning of the ‘Profile Wars’ in which a battle for new sign-ups ensues with larger networks increasingly buying out niche cousins,” say Moeller and O’Shea.

Pinterest’s interest-following feature could be advertising gold mine

Digiday

Pinterest today made it that much easier for consumers to explore specific interests, and agency execs are already looking toward its potential advertising uses.

Previously, Pinterest curated pins around broad categories such as “outdoors.” Now, when users click on “Outdoors,” they’ll be able to find pins curated to interests as narrow as “ultralight backpacking” and “saltwater fishing.”

Pinterest is in the midst of introducing ads to its platform, but a Pinterest spokesperson said there are no immediate plans to allow advertisers to target users based upon the interest pages they chose to follow. But this being a platform whose only revenue source is advertising, it’s fair to assume that, if interest pages catch on with users, ads will be sold against them.

At least agency execs, always looking to target consumers based upon their interests, hope so.

“All we’re trying to do is go deeper based upon targeting people on interest. The ability to hit them in that context makes a lot of sense,” Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer at media agency Mindshare, said.

Pinterest’s 32 categories — such “travel,” “animals” and “kids” — were too broad to serve finely tuned ads, according to Jill Sherman, group director of social and content strategy at Digitas. Agency execs routinely describe Pinterest image as a visual search engine. Adding interest collections — essentially more-nuanced tags – can only enrich that database.

“It was basically a collection of boards. Now it’s much more: a very deep directory of interest,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said.

Interest pages are also a way for Pinterest to broaden its appeal, or at the very least, prevent it from losing users. Pinterest’s user-base still skews female despite its incredible popularity, Providing more pinpointed collections could attract even more users.

“This is where the entire social world is going; niche communities that have much higher receptivity than your broad-based Facebook and Twitter platforms,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said. “This is Pinterest’s way of serving a community of rock climbers versus someone creating another online community around rock climbing.”

Bitterman added that the tool would also likely increase the amount of time Pinterest users stay on the platform in a given session, another selling point for Pinterest as it ramps up ad selling efforts. The prediction speaks to the power of catering to people’s interests: it makes Pinterest more appealing to consumers, and more alluring to ad buyers.

Coming soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device

VentureBeat

Advertisers on Facebook see the emerging method of sequential mobile advertising as a way to better control their branding message with consumers on social media.

Sequential video advertising allows marketers to place targeted video ads in front of a user when they click an ad on their mobile device. Based on what the person clicks, and what the product or message is, marketers are then able to follow up with similar video ads as they hop from one device to another.

By creating a sequence of targeted ads, marketers can build up a pitch from one video to the next — starting with a “pitch” video and ending with a “sell” video intended to close the sale.

VentureBeat spoke to two sources who requested their names not be used because the information they were describing was based in conversations with Facebook executives.

“Video is where its going,” an advertising executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat. “With unique profile IDs, you have the ability to better sequentially target content for users as they embark on their journey through the social media funnel.”

The same executive added: “Sequential video advertisers gives marketers the ability to place different messages that can build upon each other. This gives you greater control over the delivery of your message.”

Another mobile executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat that advertisers want to better control, and deploy, product messages. But they are content, for now, in permitting Facebook and others obtain user data to target their ads.

For its part, Facebook uses a combination of its own in-house analytics and partners for the task of ad targeting.

Facebook is able to amass tremendous amounts of user data based on information contained in in its users’ profiles as well as their activity. That includes information on who you interact with and where you like to shop, for example. That data is gold to advertisers, keen to take advantage of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users.

“The writing is on the wall. Sequentially targeted ads are hugely efficient and ultimately cost effective. They have greater relevance for advertisers and better targeting,” said the second source, who has knowledge of Facebook’s mobile ad strategy.

“Anecdotally, it’s very promising. Facebook is putting a lot of effort into it,” the same source added.

Indeed, Facebook bought the video advertising outfit Liverail for an undisclosed sum earlier this month. Liverail’s technology optimizes video ad deliveries for mobile devices utilizing bidding and proprietary data. Liverail was considering an IPO this year but threw in its lot with Facebook instead, media reports said.

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Nadella’s Microsoft is obsessed with data-driven growth hacking

CITEworld

Satya Nadella’s message to the Microsoft troops yesterday underlines the way consumerization has changed computing already: To Microsoft, everyone is now a “dual user” who uses technology for work and play. That’s two chances to lose a customer if Microsoft products don’t delight them.

To make sure that those products do delight, and do what people need, Nadella is turning to some of the tenets of Silicon Valley startups like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, and Netflix: Data science and growth hacking.

Change agents and growth hacking

If you talk to people who work at Microsoft, you’ll have heard them use some new language this year, with phrases like “change agent” and “growth hacking.”

Getting comfortable with change and being involved in changing things is what Nadella pointed out that everyone at Microsoft is going to have to do; “Culture change means we will do things differently. Often people think that means everyone other than them. In reality, it means all of us taking a new approach and working together to make Microsoft better.” One Microsoft, as you might say.

And growth hacking is a Silicon Valley startup term that’s a lot more than just viral marketing, SEO, and A/B testing. It’s about turning product development and marketing into a virtuous, data-driven cycle where you get more users by figuring out what users do and don’t want; how they find your product and how they use it.

Josh Elman, now a VC at Greylock, tells a story about growth hacking in the early days of Twitter, when lots of people were signing up but few of them carried on using the service. Instead of emailing those users or trying to show ads to people who might be more likely to stick around, they focused on understanding what was going on.

“We dug in and tried to learn what the ‘aha’ moment was for a new user and then rebuilt our entire new user experience to engineer that more quickly.”

The key was getting people to follow other Twitter users, so they were seeing tweets they would be interested in. “As we kept tweaking the features to focus on helping users achieve these things, our retention dramatically rose,” says Elman.

His advice for growth hacking is very like Adam Pisoni’s principles for turning a company into a responsive organization (something he’s been doing at Microsoft as well as for Yammer customers). Find your heavy users who already love your product and find the features and the pattern of usage that made them into active users. Build things that attract new users — whether that’s your marketing or sharing from existing users — and make sure there’s a way for new users to get started that turns them into active users quickly. Then build more features that your old and new customers will love, and keep on going.

That means getting everyone involved in growth. Early on, Facebook had a growth team that included marketing, business development, product development, finance, and HR. It wasn’t just trying to get more users; it was behind projects like the system for importing email contacts, making Facebook available in multiple languages by crowdsourcing translations of the interface, and even creating the Facebook Lite experimental interface (a slimmed-down version of the site).

 One of the first times I heard “growth hacking” from someone at Microsoft was talking to Jeffery Snover about his “Just in time, just enough admin” toolkit for PowerShell at TechEd this year, when he compared fast releases and agile development to balancing on a bicycle. “You don’t get stability by going slowly,” he pointed out.

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