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Not All Social Media Platforms are Equal – How to Pick the Ones That Work for You

Soshable

Launching a new business? Or promoting an existing one? Either way, my guess is that social media figures pretty high on your priority list when it comes to marketing your brand.

Over 70% of all online adults in the United States have a Facebook account. For the first time ever, 56% of senior citizens are on social media. That figure stands at 89% for young ’uns, or users from 18 to 29 years of age. The millennial generation, consisting of young adults born between 1980 to 2000 and accounting for nearly 30% of the US population, see social media as their primary means of connecting with brands. Over half of them claim that “social opinions” directly influence their purchase decisions.

So we all agree that being on social media is unavoidable if you want to be relevant to today’s consumer.

With the explosion of social media platforms, the question now arises, “which social media platforms will give me actual results?” And this, my friends, is the most sensible place to begin your social media journey.

Research Your Options

The first step to social media success lies in being active on the right platforms and engaging with your target audience in the form that they prefer best. But before you make a choice of which platform would work for your business, you need to first figure out what each platform has to offer you and then proceed by eliminating the least attractive ones.

Before we analyze each platform’s pros and cons, let’s see where they all stand with respect to each other.

The data above clearly shows Facebook as the leader in terms of number of users, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – in that order. This data also shows us how in a matter of a couple of years, Twitter has gone from being the third largest network to a lowly number five. At the same time, we see Facebook stagnating in its usage figures in the last year with a barely-there upward blip in 2013.

Let’s arm ourselves with some more facts about the top five social networks before we decide which ones work best for our business.

Facebook offers brands the widest possible reach – with 1.34 billion active users per month, Facebook is light-years ahead of competition. As a platform it is marginally more popular with women than men, it’s also more popular among Hispanics and Whites as compared to African Americans. A trend that has been accelerating in recent years is the exodus of teens from the site with 3 million teens dropping off in the last three years.

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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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Google Takes Backseat To Facebook’s Digital Display Ad Revenue

MediaPost

Google takes the No. 2 position in digital display advertising revenue behind Facebook, with its share of the U.S. market dipping from 13.7% in 2014 to 13.0% this year — and down to 11.1% by 2017, per data released Thursday.

Facebook’s digital display U.S. advertising revenue continues to climb from $5.29 billion in 2014 to $6.82 billion and $10.03 billion in 2017, per eMarketer.

The total U.S. market is forecast to climb from $27.05 billion this year to $37.36 billion by 2017.

This year, Twitter in the U.S. will take $1.34 billion, followed by Yahoo at $1.24 billion — rising to $2.54 billion and $1.29 billion by 2017, respectively.

Mobile advertising will drive Facebook’s and Twitter’s gains in the digital display market. For the first time in 2015, mobile will surpass desktop in U.S. display ad spend, rising from $9.65 billion in 2014 to $14.67 billion this year. Meanwhile, desktop display advertising in the U.S. will decline in 2015, falling to $12.38 billion from $12.56 billion last year, per eMarketer.

Facebook will generate nearly $5 billion in U.S. mobile ad revenue from display ads, rising to $7.53 billion in 2017. Nearly 90% of Twitter’s U.S. ad revenue will come from mobile devices this year, reaching $1.19 billion. Google takes a No. 2 position in the mobile display category — rising from $1.47 billion in 2015 to $2.37 billion in 2017. Twitter follows close behind with nearly $2 billion in 2015, and $2.29 billion in 2017, eMarketer estimates.

Apple rounds out the top five for mobile ad revenue in the United States with $795 million in 2015, rising to $1.46 billion in 2017.

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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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12 Breakout Social Media Successes

CITEworld

During the past year, the social media world saw a variety of well-executed ad campaigns, but these 12 standouts, from companies including Coca-Cola, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald’s, are the cream of the crop, according to social media experts.

Screen Shot 2015 03 30 at 12.27.01 PM 12 Breakout Social Media Successes

Ice buckets and IKEA catalogs. Girl power and friendships cemented over soft drinks. The resurrection of a cancelled TV show, and an adorable Pomeranian. These were the stuff of successful social media campaigns from major brands and organizations since the summer of 2014, as selected by the group of social media experts we queried.

The following campaigns succeeded on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other sites because of the fresh thinking and, in some cases, big money and audacious spirit that created them. Without further ado, here are 12 of the most successful social media initiatives of the past year, in alphabetical order. (For examples of earlier successful examples, read “14 Must-See Social Media Marketing Success Stories.”

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A New Industry: These Groups Love Freelancers

Jeremiah Owyang

A booming market emerges: The Freelancer Economy is predicted to be 40% of the American workforce in just five years, and the startups that power them have been funded over $10B – and a whole new class of organizations have emerged to support, empower, and connect freelancers.

Over the last decade, the Social Media industry birthed many groups to serve content providers. The birth of the social media industry resulted in many realizing that the audience gave way to participants. Nearly everyone is now creating, sharing, chatting, rating and ranking alongside the mainstream media. Just as we saw in the social media and blogging industry the rise of organizations to cater to these new influencers, such as BlogHer, Federated Media, Clever Girls, Glam and IZEA to offer events, gifts, sample products, services, and more, we’re beginning to see it repeat.

The Collaborative Economy industry is birthing many groups to help service providers. That same metaphor is now repeating in the Collaborative Economy. Individuals, called “micro-entrepreneurs” or “freelancers” or “Makers” or “hosts/drivers/taskrabbits” are now creating their own goods and experiences, alongside Fortune 500 companies. To help standardize the language being used in the Collaborative Economy, these folks are called Providers, who offer rides, homes, goods, and services to Partakers, learn more about the three Ps, on this definitive post.


Social Media vs Collaborative Economy: Reach and Intimacy

Trusted Peer Cohort Reach Intimacy
Social Media Influencers, Bloggers, and YouTube celebs. High, they can reach thousands to millions of eyeballs in a single tweet, and with engagement, a network effect. Low, they’re unable to have meaningful converations with all of their following.
Providers, Freelancers, Airbnb Hosts, and RideShare Drivers. Low, they can only reach those in proximity they’re working with. High, since peers trust them for rides and experiences, they’ll trust them for recommendations of other offerings.

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How Four Top Publishers Use Facebook For Video

The Media Briefing

Facebook video usage has skyrocketed over the past year, which makes it particularly attractive for publishers given what seems to be ever-shrinking organic reach with other types of posts.

According to figures recently released by the social network, Facebook users are seeing nearly 4 times more video in their feeds compared to one year ago. That’s a steady 1 billion video views every day for the network. Crucially, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said during a an earnings call last month that over 65 percent of videos are watched on mobile devices.

As online video continues to rise in importance for the modern media company, I spoke to a handful of top publishers to collect some best practices for using video on Facebook, and to better understand what might be at risk.

The Economist: Marketing the brand with video

“For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

Before posting videos to Facebook, The Economist had the fairly standard practice amongst news outlets of publishing video on its own website and monetising through pre-roll advertising. Last summer however, Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy, decided that wasn’t “a viable long-term video strategy”.

After effectively doubling the publication’s video views by posting video content to YouTube, Standage started experimenting with uploading videos via the native Facebook player, which had “a much greater impact” on the number of views. He says:

“We are using this observation that if you post videos with a native player you can get millions of views as the basis of a new video strategy which we are still developing. For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

The Economist’s most successful video on Facebook was a 4 minute-long animated graphic with voice-over about demographics, what Standage calls a “live chart”. The publication has had over 800,000 views on Facebook alone of that video.

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The New York Times on Social Media: Not About the ‘Hyperbole’

American Journalism Review

Michael Roston has a clear vision of what makes a good social media editor — and it’s not about driving empty clicks back to a website.

It’s really about knowing how to publish true things on the Internet. To put it simply, a great social media editor needs what every journalist needs: a “strong editorial judgment,” he said.

“That’s what everyone on our team shares: we all have a sense of how not to blow things out of proportion and not to get ahead of journalists and editors,” said Roston, a senior staff editor on the New York Times’ social media desk. “It’s very important to know what we’re actually reporting and when we can’t say more or exaggerate things and get into the kind of hyperbole that you might see on other social media platforms, where they’re just trying to get people to click through to content.

“For us, it’s very important that we focus on delivering what the news actually is.”

Roston and his team are responsible for distributing the Times’ content on its Twitter account, with 15.5 million followers, and its Facebook page, with almost 9.3 million likes. He recently spoke with AJR about the team’s strategy. The following is an edited Q & A.

American Journalism Review: In a January Nieman Lab articleyou talked about the Times’ social media desk joining a new department. Explain some of the changes your desk has gone through.

Michael Roston: The social media desk of the Times, for many years, was hosted under the interactive news desk. The idea was that we were the leading technology enterprise in the newsroom, so we needed to work closely with developers and interactive news, who build a lot of the really cool things you might see on the Times website.

The changes made around the Times newsroom indicate that, rather than working hand in hand with the technology providers, it makes more sense if we’re working hand in hand with the people who generate analytics for the newsroom, so we can understand who is coming to us, and who’s reading what kind of stories and when they’re reading them. We’re also working more with the SEO team that’s been built within the newsroom. These teams of people have all been put under one group so we can work together more seamlessly.

We’ve always had a very strong relationship with the people who ran the Facebook page, but we’ve recently just formalized the relationship. So now they work in the newsroom, just like the rest of the social media team.

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Three Myths About Programmatic Native Advertising

MediaPost

There has been a lot of discussion about the merging of native advertising and programmatic buying since the launch of the Facebook Exchange (FBX) two years ago. With the creation of FBX, demand-side platforms (DSP)  built support for creative metadata, such as headlines, thumbnails and the other categories that make up native ads.  This was version 1 of programmatic native.

Seeing the success of FBX, Web publishers began hypothesizing about how they could bring the same native RTB capabilities to their sites and applications outside of Facebook. With the IAB closing in on the ratification of OpenRTB 2.3, which will add native capabilities to the standard programmatic process, we are closer to version 2 then ever before.

But before we get there, let’s examine three current myths regarding the merger of native and real-time bidding.

Myth #1) Native RTB has arrived. While multiple platforms have experimented with custom solutions to merge RTB capabilities with automated native ad delivery, there is currently no standard that all publishers and platforms can utilize. FBX offers the ability to programmatically buy native ads at scale on Facebook, but this solution does not offer a standard that open Web publishers can adopt.

Standardization for Native RTB is coming very soon. The IAB is now in the final stages of completing the OpenRTB 2.3 spec, which for the first time will include support for native ads.  This draft is currently going through final IAB comment and approval process. Over the next three months, you can expect to see a feverish level of activity between native technology players to push through integrations with DSPs to truly bring Native RTB to the industry at scale.

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