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Facebook raises the frequency cap on ads

Digiday

Facebook has quietly altered its ad policy to allow brands to show ads more frequently to those who don’t already follow the brand.

Brands are now able to hit users with the same news feed ad twice in a given day, whereas previously brands were only able to do so once per day. Similarly, the number of news feed ads brands can serve users they are not connected to — users who have not liked that brand’s Facebook page — has risen to two daily from one. The number of news feed ads brands can serve to their page followers will remain at four, and the total number of ads a Facebook user can see in a given day will also not increase.

Facebook announced the changes in an email it sent to agencies this month.

While the change affords brands greater frequency for their Facebook ads, it also creates a risk of Facebook users becoming annoyed with brands and, correspondingly, Facebook itself.

“These changes raise the stakes,” OMD’s chief digital officer Ben Winkler told Digiday. “Advertisers who send out high-quality, relevant messages will benefit. Those who don’t, will do so at their own peril. People like great content, regardless of the source. But they have zero tolerance for one bad ad, let alone two.”

Jeff Semones, president at M80, said the move is just the latest sign that social media advertising is no longer, in fact, social. The old-school view of social media, he said, was that it would be digitized word-of-mouth marketing: brands would inspire customers, and those customers would in turn speak favorably about the brand on social media. The modern view of social is that it’s an advertising medium like any other.

“We tell our clients to think of Facebook less like a social network, and more like an advertising network,” Semones added.

Facebook’s transformation from a platform for well-crafted creative to merely a platform with reach has been a constant refrain during weeks, especially among attendees at Digiday’s inaugural Platform Summit last week.

“Facebook is now a place to drive reach to your content-marketing programs and less a place to be the center of your architecture,” 360i chairman Bryan Wiener said on Thursday.

Nestle digital manager Emily Cloud said on Thursday that the company has even begun repurposing images posted to Facebook for Pinterest.

And in late July, Sean Ryan, JCPenney’s director of social and mobile marketing, likened Facebook ads to “display ads on steroids.”

Enthusiasm for Facebook has not waned in light of these changes, however. And Winkler thinks that consumers’ may have a greater tolerance for repeat ads than some perceive.

“As long as Facebook continues to improve their product and their ad-targeting, that level may be higher than you think,” he said.

IDG Nanosite

The revolutionary Nanosite goes mobile. A mobile Nanosite features multimedia content, polls, and full social media sharing capabilities via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2014 08 21 at 2.22.30 PM IDG Nanosite

Facebook Launches Cross-Device Reporting

MediaPost

Being able to track campaign performance across devices has become increasingly crucial to advertisers as consumer attention shifts from desktop to mobile screens. To that end, Facebook on Wednesday rolled out cross-device reporting for ads, allowing marketers to see how people are moving among devices and across mobile apps and the Web.

“Facebook already offers targeting, delivery and conversion measurement across devices. With the new cross-device report, advertisers are now able to view the devices on which people see ads and the devices on which conversions subsequently occur,” stated a Facebook blog post today.

As an example, the company said an advertiser can view the number of customers who clicked an ad on an iPhone, but then later converted on desktop, or the number of people who saw an ad on desktop, and later converted on an Android tablet.

In a recent analysis conducted between May 15 and July 24, Facebook found that among people who viewed a mobile Facebook ad in the U.S., nearly a third (32%) eventually clicked on the same ad on the desktop within 28 days. The conversion rate was lower over shorter periods of time. So within a week of seeing a mobile ad, 22% converted on the desktop, and after a day, 11%.

The cross-device reporting relies on data from Facebook’s conversion pixel, a piece of tracking code used in conjunction with the social network’s software development kit (SDK), to get reports on which device someone saw an ad and eventually converted. The overall aim is to go beyond last-click attribution to see how different devices and app actions influenced a click.

To see cross-device conversions for campaigns, advertisers can go to the Facebook Ad Reports page, click Edit Columns and select Cross-Device on the left-hand menu.

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.”

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.

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.”

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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Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites

TechHive

Billions of people use assorted social networking sites, but just how happy are they with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest? The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which measures exactly that sort of thing, put out its latest report on consumer satisfaction with e-businesses—that’s social media, search engines, and websites—and it’s an interesting look at just which service’s Like button is getting a workout.

Historically, social media sites tend to rank among the lowest-scoring companies on ACSI’s 100-point scale. This year, social media boasted an overall customer satisfaction rating of 71, up 4.4 percent from the previous study. The 71 rating puts social media companies above airlines (69), subscription television (65), and Internet service providers (63).

acsi rankings social media 100360859 large Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index started rating social media companies in 2010. Scores are based on a 100-point scale. In this year’s rankings, Facebook and LinkedIn finished at the bottom, though both saw their scores improve over 2013.

Of the individual social networking sites, Pinterest was the most beloved site in 2014 with a customer satisfaction score of 76, stealing the crown from Wikipedia (74), which coincidentally was the only site to lose ground from 2013, falling 5 percent from last year’s score. Google’s YouTube and a newly-created “all others” category (which includes Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr) were hot on Pinterest and Wikipedia’s heels with a 73 rating, followed by Google+ (71) and Twitter (69).

Perhaps most notably, tied for dead last among social media ACSI still measures with scores of 67 apiece were LinkedIn and Facebook. Yep, you read that right, Facebook, the first network to crack a billion users and widely considered to be the pace-setter among social networking sites, couldn’t manage to top LinkedIn for customer satisfaction. That’s LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals that most people begrudgingly join for the sole purpose of scoring a better job.

At least Facebook and LinkedIn can console themselves in that they scored an improvement over last year, when both companies scored only a 62 on ACSI’s scale. That makes them big winners in terms of year-over-year improvement.

That good news comes with an asterisk for Facebook, though. ACSI notes that the scores were measured before Facebook revealed it had manipulated news feeds as part of a psychological test on hundreds of thousands of users. (That’s in contrast to the regular manipulation Facebook performs on our news feed.) But customers in this go-around seem happy with their revamped news feed and other enhancements, so maybe it’ll end up a wash. For now, Zuckerberg and Co. can take solace in a strong improvement in customer satisfaction, even if they are still tied for last in the category.

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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