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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.

World Tech Update- July 24, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU Facebook reports huge sales, Apple patents a smart watch and a space robot gets some updates.

 

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.

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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Sharing On Twitter And Pinterest Leans Mostly Mobile

MediaPost

By now it’s clear that mobile and social have become more than a shotgun marriage.Findings from comScore last month showed that more than 70% of time spent in social media takes place on mobile devices (including tablets). And total mobile engagement on social is up 55% in the last year.

In its latest quarterly report, ShareThis took a closer look at sharing activity among top social platforms on mobile. Twitter and Pinterest emerge as the most mobile-centric networks, with 75% of all content sharing on those platforms happening in mobile. By comparison, half of sharing activity on Facebook is mobile.

However, because of Facebook’s size (1 billion monthly mobile users), it accounts for 72% of sharing on smartphones, versus 14% for Twitter, and 12% for Pinterest. On tablets, Facebook’s share falls to 64%, and Twitter’s to 7%, while Pinterest sees a bump to 22%. “There is a clear preference for channels based on different devices. Pinners are more active on tablets whereas tweeters flock to smartphones,” states ShareThis blog post today.

Furthermore, Facebook is where people go to share content about politics and parenting, while Twitter — because of its real-time DNA — leans toward sports and business, and Pinterest sharing is focused on shopping. That’s a natural outgrowth of Pinterest’s emphasis on visual presentation and consumer products.

In that vein, mobile users are twice as likely to interact with desktop content as any other category.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, Android users are more active on Facebook, while iOS users are more likely to share material on Twitter and Pinterest. In terms of demographic trends, sharing on tablets among people 55 and over nearly doubled over the first quarter. And 43% of social activity on tablets is driven by people in that age group.

Social interaction on mobile devices also grew 13% among African-Americans and 6% among Hispanics in the quarter. Overall, sharing from smartphones and tablets grew more than 30%, while that on the desktop fell 5% between the first and second quarter. The mobile gain was driven mainly by activity on smartphones, which was up about 28%.

Across desktop and mobile, Facebook accounted for almost two-thirds (64%) of sharing, with Twitter and Pinterest each claiming 9%. But the two smaller competitors together gained 2% share on Facebook from the prior quarter.

The Best Tactics to Generate More Leads from Facebook and Twitter

SocialMedia Today

Social Media is a great way to connect, share and interact with others beyond the known periphery. Savvy business people are interested to explore this opportunity and reach maximum number of potential customers via social media. You will come across many online blogs discussing the best ways to enhance your social media reach. We will not delve into that same matter further. Our focus will be on something else…… Lead Generation.

Likes, pins, followers, comments, friends, and engagement- these are popular social media metrics. But, what is more vital to consider whether such metrics result on sales at the end of the day? Otherwise, all of them are completely useless.

Change your perspective

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media sites is that they are just only for brand awareness and not for generating leads. If you consider the same, your business is missing out a lucrative marketing channel.

Instead, of getting distracted with the counts of Facebook “likes “and Twitter “followers”, focus on the statistics that can contribute to your revenue. It will be impossible to track ROI, if your organization’s social media strategy is not constructed to support lead generation. It is high time to change your outlook and concentrate on generating social media leads.

If you are planning to start a lead generation campaign, Facebook and Twitter profiles are great places to begin with. Here are a few tips that you should consider to generate leads from these two well-known social media profiles:

Facebook

There are 1.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook and therefore, this channel is the prime focus of the business owners. However, this platform is often not conducive for direct sales, but by distributing quality content and engaging with the customers in one-to-one communication it possible to build trust among the Facebook users. What else you can do to generate leads from this popular channel? Let’s see-

Attracting the customers

First, it is important to understand the kind of information your potential customers are looking for. Sweepstakes, contests and group offers on your Facebook page are good to attract the attention of the customers. Do you remember “Do Us a Flavor” campaign from Lay’s? The brand just asked for a new flavor that the customers may like in their chips. The idea was simple and it clicked. This campaign generated huge publicity and the brand has no doubt gained lots of new customers.

Try to know your customers

You should also think about the information that you might like to know from your customers. It will be easier for you to convert your visitors into lead once you are equipped with more information about them. For that, you may use Facebook tab to ask them few simple questions. However, a social media user does not like these tabs and rarely visit them. You have to think of ways to encourage a visitor to fill up the questionnaire. A giveaway or offer can be enticing and works well to gather customer insights. You can also reveal the content of your website, if the user is ready to fill the signup form. Always try to keep such forms concise with minimum questions. You may ask for email address, demographic data or geographic location information. But, before that, customize your tab and make it brand related.

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What’s REALLY the Best Time to Post on Social Media?

SocialMedia Today

There are a heap of posts and infographics floating about the web which detail the best days and times to post to the various social media platforms. Some even have studies and data linked to them, showing the optimum times to get the most engagement and reach when posting on your chosen platform. While these generic guides are helpful – following this advice is better than just posting at random – the one thing I always think is, “Yeah, but…”

You see, generic data can be useful and can provide you with a level of guidance, but the generic audience they’re targeting with those times is not your audience. For example, the data might show the best time of day to post to Twitter is 11am on a Thursday, because that’s when the majority of users are active – but the specific audience that you want to reach might not necessarily be in that majority. And because of that, it’s also possible that the optimum time to reach them might not be 11am on Thursday. Maybe it’s a different time, a different day entirely – optimum times can vary significantly from industry to industry and business to business. With this in mind, here are a couple of methods you can use to ascertain the optimum times to reach the audience you really want to reach – your audience (and the audience of your competitors).

How to Locate Your Optimum Time to Post on Facebook

Anyone with a Facebook business page will also have access to Facebook Page Insights. While Insights tracks a tonne of data about your page interactions, this data is sometimes not as clear as you’d like when trying to work out optimum times to post. Enter Fanpage Karma. Fanpage Karma provides detailed analytics on your Facebook page, including helpful charts that show which days, times and post types are best for your audience.

Using this, you can work out what times you should post, and what type of content you should post, to maximise reach, response and engagement, based on your specific business data.

But what if that’s not enough? That data might be great, but that doesn’t necessarily show you the best times to post, just the best times to post based on your own previous behaviour. What if you’re just starting out and you haven’t posted enough for that data to be indicative? What if you’ve only posted at certain times of day, say, morning and night, but maybe, if you posted at midday, that might be better? That won’t show up in the data, right? The best way to get around this is to also analyse your competitors.

To do this, you can either look up your competition, based on what you already know, or you can research who your competitors are by looking them up in Google (make sure you search in incognito mode so the search results are not specific to you). Search for the top five keywords or phrases you want/expect people to associate with your brand – you can also enter a location, if your main competitors are local. For each search, note down the top results, then look them up on Facebook and run their pages through Fanpage Karma too.

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Why Facebook’s user experiment is bad news for businesses

CITEworld

The big data problem isn’t just about handling petabytes of information, or asking the right question, or avoiding false correlations (like understanding that just because more people drown at the same time as more ice cream is eaten, banning ice cream won’t reduce drownings).

It’s also about handling data responsibly. And so far, we’re not doing as well with that as we could be.

First Target worked out how to tell if you’re pregnant before your family does and decided to disguise its creepy marketing by mixing in irrelevant coupons with the baby offers. Then Facebook did research to find out if good news makes you depressed by showing some people more bad news and discovered that no, we’re generous enough to respond to positive posts with more positivity.

But if companies keep using the information about us in creepy ways instead of responsible ones, maybe we’ll stop being generous enough to share it. And that could mean we lose out on more efficient transport, cleaner cities and cheaper power, detecting dangerous drug interactions and the onset of depression — and hundreds of other advances we can get by applying machine learning to big data.

It’s time for a big data code of conduct.

Facebook’s dubious research is problematic for lots of reasons. For one thing, Facebook’s policy on what it would do with your data didn’t mention research until four months after it conducted the experiment. Facebook’s response was essentially to say that “everyone does it” and “we don’t have to call it research if it’s about making the service better” and other weasel-worded corporate comments. And the researcher’s apology was more about having caused anxiety by explaining the research badly than about having manipulated what appeared in timelines, because Facebook is manipulating what you see in your timeline all the time. Of course, that’s usually to make things better, not to see what your Pavlovian reaction to positive or negative updates is. The fact that Facebook can’t see that one is optimizing information and the other is treating users as lab rats — and that the difference is important — says that Facebook needs a far better ethics policy on how it mines user data for research.

Plus, Facebook has enough data that it shouldn’t have needed to manipulate the timelines in the first place; if its sentiment analysis was good enough to tell the difference between positive and negative posts (which is doubtful given how basic it was and how poor sentiment analysis tools are at detecting sarcasm), it should have been able to find users who were already seeing more positive or more negative updates than most users and simply track how positive or negative their posts were afterwards. When you have a hypothesis, you experiment on your data, not your users.

That’s how Eric Horvitz at Microsoft Research has run experiments to detect whether you’re likely to get depression, whether two drugs are interacting badly, whether a cholera epidemic is about to happen, and whether people are getting used to cartel violence in Mexico.

Using public Twitter feeds and looking at language, how often people tweet and at what time of day and how that changes, Horvitz’s team was able to predict with 70% accuracy who was going to suffer depression (which might help people get treatment and reduce the suicide rate from depression). Not only did they use information people were already sharing, they asked permission to look at them.

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Brandnew’s Back-Door Approach To Native Advertising

AdExchanger

Everyone wants to get into native advertising, yet everyone has a different definition as to what exactly that entails. Social media sites have it easy because any sponsored post, automatically blending into the site design, can hitch a ride on the native bandwagon.

But while Facebook and Twitter are the current hotbeds of social advertising, Instagram and Pinterest are coming up fast. But unlike Facebook and Twitter, advertising around the two image-based interfaces revolves heavily around influencers, instead of traditional paid placements.

Berlin-based Brandnew IO, which began in early 2013, provides a platform and service designed to help brands reach influencers on Instagram and Pinterest.

“At that time we saw that more and more brands and agencies wanted to reach new consumers,” said Brandnew CEO Francis Trapp. “They wanted to target groups on platforms like Instagram and at the time there was no central way of doing it.”

At first, Brandnew identified influencers manually but it soon developed a platform designed to automate the process and handles campaign tracking. That being said, Brandnew’s staff still needs to vet the influencers for quality.

“We check to ensure these influential people are worth taking onboard,” Trapp said. “We determine if they have big enough accounts and real followers as opposed to fake followers. We ensure that the quality of their content is suitable for our brands.”

Trapp spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Brandnew pushes brand-produced images out for influencers to share. Is that actually native advertising?

FRANCIS TRAPP: We see ourselves as a company that connects brands with influential people. Obviously we also need to consult brands on what works for them on these social channels. Sometimes our clients have a very clear idea of what the campaign should look like, but sometimes they have no idea.

One thing we have to ensure is that the campaigns we run are interesting for all parties involved. On one hand this means that the client should run a campaign with an image that really represents their brand. On the other hand, the influencer should make sure that image is distributed to the right accounts. Our influencers always tell us that they want to run campaigns that don’t annoy their followers. That’s the main hurdle to native advertising.

Sometimes we see that certain clients of ours view Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as social media and nothing more. We are convinced that each platform has a unique DNA, and the way people use each one differs. Typical demographics of Pinterest users differ from Instagram users. This has to be reflected in the campaigns we launch for the brands we represent.

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