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Facebook’s New App That Will Make Video Content HUGE

Quartz

Facebook has rolled out a new app that lets friends (and subsequently their network of friends and so on) add clips to an ongoing video focused on a single topic—April Fool’s Day, for instance. It’s potentially a game-changer for advertisers on the social network, which eventually could use the app to engage directly with consumers. And it’s another example of Facebook’s growing emphasis on video.

It’s easy to envision how the new app, Riff, might have been used during last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which over the course of three months generated more than 17 million videos posted on Facebook while raising awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The video-driven campaign contributed to the huge increase in the number of video posts on Facebook last year—up 94% in the US and 75% globally. In January, the company said that video views on the social network had reached 3 billion a day. “If you go back five years ago, a lot of Facebook was primarily text, right, and a little bit of photos,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors. “Now, I think the primary mode that people are using to share is photos, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future that shifted more and more towards videos.”

Facebook’s challenge is getting users to see the value of Riff. The few companies that have ventured into this niche haven’t seen major success. JumpCam, for instance, ranks No. 1,346 in the App Store’s social networking category, according to App Annie. CompetitorsMixBitCollabraCam, and Vyclone haven’t fared much better in the rankings.

But Facebook is pressing on with its video efforts—at its developer conference last week it announced plans to bring immersive videos with 360° perspective to the social network and its virtual-reality platform, Oculus.

“What really matters is that consumers are using video on Facebook, because that gives us an opportunity, one, to provide a great consumer experience, but two, to have ads match that consumer experience,” chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg said on the company’s most recent quarterly earnings call. “If there wasn’t consumer video on Facebook, video ads in your news feed would be very jarring.”

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CMOs Focus More On Tech To Automate Media Decisions

MediaPost

Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social marketing at Philips, manages more than 70 marketing technologies.

He is one of a growing number of marketing heads becoming inundated with technology as media silos crumble and data integrates to support cross-channel and cross-device marketing and advertising.

“Just in the customer relationship management sector, we have three or four major pieces of technology, and then underneath another three or four to manage the customer data,” Cahill said. “In the social space, we have about seven or eight pieces of technology to help with social listening, publishing, and analytics.”

Cahill is looking at technology investments to better automate media decisions and ecommerce, because as the company builds more Internet-connected products, consumers will purchase service contracts from the brand, rather than third parties like Amazon. He is also looking at adding technology around affiliate and media marketing as it relates to the triangle between search engine optimization, social optimization, and ad-serving.

For years, Gartner has been touting the majority shift in spend on technology from CIOs to CMOs. Cahill references the research firm’s forecast, which suggests that within the next few years, marketing will see CMOs spend more on new digital technology than CIOs. Not at Philips, he said, admitting that it depends on the company.

“It may be true if you’re a start-up like Uber and the model is built around marketing and customer engagement, but if you’re a larger company with an established infrastructure, the statement isn’t necessarily true,” Cahill said. “Marketing departments are making massive investments in technology to drive customer relationships and media.”

Gartner estimates that the average B2C relies on more than 50 applications and technologies to support marketing. By 2018, CIOs who build strong relationships with CMOs will drive a 25% improvement in return on marketing technology investment.

 

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Amazon Goes After Dropbox, Google, Microsoft With Unlimited Cloud Drive Storage

TechCrunch

Last year, Amazon gave a boost to its Prime members when it launched a free, unlimited photo storage for them on Cloud Drive. Today, the company is expanding that service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program. Unlimited Cloud Storage will let users get either unlimited photo storage or “unlimited everything” — covering all kinds of media from videos and music through to PDF documents — respectively for $11.99 or $59.99 per year.

And those who want to test drive it can do so for free for three months.

The move is a clear attempt by Amazon to compete against the likes of Dropbox, Google, Microsoft and the many more in the crowded market for cloud-based storage services. It’s not the first to offer “unlimited” storage, but it looks like it’s the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google also aims unlimited options currently at specific verticals, with its enterprise version, Drive for Work, its closest competitor; Microsoft also offers a business user-focused service for those who subscribe to Office 365.

The idea here is to tap into the average consumer who has started to reach a tipping point with the amount of digital media he or she now owns, potentially across a range of devices and in not a very organised fashion (hello, me).

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive, in a statement. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space–they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

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What makes a top brand video on Facebook and YouTube

DIGIday

Brands are taking Facebook video as seriously as YouTube. But what performs well on each platform differs, according to new data from digital video analytics company Tubular.

For a second week running, Air France’s “France is in the air” video soared on YouTube, racking up more than 17.8 million views on the platform from March 14 to March 20. That makes the playful, 45-second spot the current top brand video on YouTube. On Facebook, meanwhile, a clip from Marvel’s upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film topped the charts, attracting 9.4 million views between its Thursday upload date and the end of Friday.

“There was obviously significant spend behind [the Air France video], because you see there was only a tiny amount of [likes, comments and shares],” said Allison Stern, vp of enterprise at Tubular Labs. More paid promotion leads to a lower engagement rate, she said.

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Is Responsive Design The Right Way To Design?

Medium

Editor’s Note: I’m not a technologist, however I am someone that thinks about mobile frequently from a marketing and product perspective. Below are a few of my thoughts on the role of mobile web and RWD. Comments and criticism are welcome and appreciated.


If you had asked me a few years ago whether all web developers should be building sites with responsive design, my answer would have been an emphatic “yes.”

However, I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought recently, and I think my opinion has changed.

For those of you that need a quick refresher (or for my family and friends, who read these posts despite not understanding a word of them): Responsive design is an approach to web design that attempts to adapt and resize the layout of a website across several device types. In essence, the theory suggests that a mobile and tablet version of a website should match the experience of the desktop version.

One of the biggest arguments to support responsive design is that web visitors are increasingly viewing sites from a number of different devices, and therefore, they shouldn’t have to re-learn how to navigate your site each time.

This argument makes a lot of sense. An increasing share of web consumption is occurring on mobile devices. These users don’t create a distinction between mobile and desktop consumption, so why should publishers? It also doesn’t hurt that designing a responsive site is often cheaper to create and maintain, as it doesn’t require developers to repeat changes across a number of different templates.

However, I’ve started to believe (at least for now) that following this approach may dismiss the nuances of different reading behaviors, and ignores the strengths and weaknesses that each device offers.

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10 Trends Shaping the Future of Branded Content

ADWEEK

As we wind down the first quarter of 2015, the discussion around content marketing only continues to grow in volume. And it’s moving in so many different directions that it’s tough to divine what’s real and what isn’t. To get a better handle on the branded content landscape, we asked Stacy Minero, head of Twitter’s content planning team, what she is thinking about the space.

Minero is particularly well suited to do this. In her past life, she led content strategy at Mindshare, where she focused on creating a systematic approach to developing and distributing content for her clients. Throughout her career, she’s helped drive dozens of custom content programs with partners like NBC, Fox, Bravo, Condé Nast Entertainment, Apple and YouTube.

What follows is Minero’s list of 10 things to consider when creating content for brands, in her own voice.

Live marketing will transcend tent poles: In 2013, moments like Oreo’s now-famous “Dunk in the Dark” Tweet made live marketing synonymous with big tent-pole events like the Super Bowl, with Twitter acting as the vehicle that encouraged real-time responses from brands. This year, we’ll continue to see brands activate against these major events, but also lean heavily on connecting with their audience in everyday moments. A powerful example of a live, evergreen strategy is Oreo’s #OreoSnackHacks campaign, which gets consumers excited about fun, new snacking occasions and tasty combinations. Continuity and cadence will without a doubt be a big focus in 2015—especially among the CPG, auto and dining industries.

Content will be more participation based: Brands will invite their audience into the content creation process to make for a more immersive and fun experience. We’ve already seen this trend start to catch on. Last year, @TheHungerGames successfully built buzz and anticipation for Mockingjay the movie by launching the trailer on Twitter once enough fans had ‘unlocked’ it with a retweet. And Starbucks launched the #VoteForJoy campaign to encourage its followers to vote for their favorite holiday drink, which was later offered in all U.S. stores for 50 percent off.

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How Google’s Emphasis On Mobile Will Affect You

MediaPost

When it comes to search algorithm changes, Google has gone from making official announcements to a “this is something we do every day so don’t expect to hear from us” attitude. With this in mind, the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm change is a very big deal. As background, here is a high-level history of events:

  • June 11, 2013: Google announced specific recommendations for developing mobile-friendly websites. It listed common configuration mistakes and explicitly called out faulty redirects and smartphone-specific errors (incorrectly served 404s, Googlebot Mobile and unplayable videos).
  • September–October, 2014: Google tested several different mobile-specific indicators, using both mobile-friendly and non-mobile-friendly icons.
  • November 18, 2014: Google officially launched mobile-friendly designations to results in mobile search.
  • February 26, 2015: Google announced that, on April 21, it will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

Google has gotten very serious about mobile search and is taking a primary role in improving the experience. In other words, we’re on notice to clean up our site(s). The good news is that Google is providing instructions and tools to help us do this. Here are the top three things that every website owner needs to do in anticipation of the April 21 deadline:

1)     Make use of Google’s guide to mobile-friendly websites.Google provides a 60+ page guide that discusses why and how to build a mobile-friendly website. There are dedicated guides for several open-source CMS platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), as well as a specific guide to mobile SEO, with special emphasis on avoiding common mistakes.

2)     Test your site using Google’s Tools. Users of Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) are already familiar with Google’s emphasis on mobile, as WMT has been alerting users to “fix mobile usability issues found on site xyz.” Clicking on “View details” brings users to a three-step process: 1) Inspect mobile issues, 2) Follow these guidelines and 3) Fix mobile usability issues. For those just starting out or who don’t have a WMT account, Google provides the ability to test a single page. This report groups all of the errors in one page and links on how to fix the errors, based on how the site was built (I built via CMS, I built myself, I had someone build the site).

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Reuters Is The Latest News Organization To Get Blocked In China

TechCrunch

Reuters has joined Bloomberg, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in being blocked in China. Reuters itself reported that its website is not reachable in the country as of today.

The organization said it has suffered partial censorship in China in the past, but this time its English and Chinese sites are both affected. That’s verified by data from internet monitoring site Great Fire.

“Reuters is committed to practicing fair and accurate journalism worldwide. We recognize the great importance of news about China to all our customers, and we hope that our sites will be restored in China soon,” Reuters said in a statement.

The reason for the block is not clear. China’s internet censorship organ often blocks new sites and services without warning, but in cases of media it often follows controversial stories. That was the case for past restrictions imposed on The Guardian,New York Times and Bloomberg — each of which published political exposes prior to being blocked. However Reuters hasn’t recently put out stories that obviously raise red flags or cover sensitive topics.

In related news in China, Great Fire itself has been under fire from a strong DDoS attack over the past few days targeting sites that it mirrors in order to avoid censorship. The organization is being served 2.6 billion requests per hour, that’s hoicked the hosting fees up to $30,000 per day, prompting it to go public with a plea for help.

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How Important Is Mobile, Anyway?

SocialMediaToday

Mobile optimization has been a ranking factor on Google for some time. But it’s about to matter a whole lot more. According to a recent post on Search Engine Land, “Google said it wants sites to prepare [for mobile optimization].”

If certain pages or sections of your site are not optimized for your mobile audience, Google will take note and demote those pages in the search results for mobile queries. Google plans to roll this out April, 21 2015.

They’ve even provided a tool to test how mobile friendly your website is. Note that they’re apparently working out some kinks so make sure you read this post before testing.

WHAT IS MOBILE OPTIMIZATION?

Optimizing a website for mobile users can mean implementing techniques like responsive design. But adding in some responsive breakpoints for tablets and mobile devices isn’t all it takes.

And sometimes responsive might not be the best approach. There are times when a mobile-only page or website makes more sense. Measurable SEO Founder Chuck Price weighs the pros and cons of mobile-only and responsive design in this useful post.

Whether responsive or mobile-only, you’ll want to factor in speed and usability when optimizing for mobile…

SPEED

Your site speed depends of the server where its hosted and the files the user is required to download. I would recommend hosting your site on a virtual dedicated server or similar. You will pay more for this but its worth it.

Hosting on a shared server where you pay $10 a year for a service pitched by a race car driver is less than ideal. A shared server is one server with a bunch of other sites sharing the server’s resources. The low cost host will load these to capacity for maximum profit. This will slow server speed as more websites are being access – eating up resources.

Read more tips here… 

Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying

AdAge

Millennial influence within b-to-b buying decision groups is growing rapidly, according to a new study by Google and the research house Millward BrownDigital.

According to the study, 46% of potential buyers researching b-to-b products are millennials today, up from 27% in 2012. They’re now the biggest generational group researching b-to-b products for potential purchase. “We saw a big shift in a two-year time span in the number of millennials that are in the b-to-b purchase path,” said Mike Miller, Google’s director of business and industrial markets.

 Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying

The data comes from more than 3,000 interviews conducted in 2014 and Millward Brown’s multi-million person panel of internet users who allow the collection of their browsing behavior. Mr. Miller said he believes millennial influence is growing as the baby boomer generation moves toward retirement age. He also cited overall economic growth as a factor bringing more millennials into b-to-b businesses.

Digital Signals
Google also studied the digital behaviors of those participating in b-to-b buying decisions and found a big shift in mobile usage. Thirty-four percent of people involved in the b-to-b buying decisions in 2014 used their mobile devices across each stage of the purchase. In 2012, the number was 18%. Mr. Miller said he believes the increase indicates more b-to-b marketers are buying on mobile devices, as opposed to just researching there.

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