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Facebook’s Declining Organic Reach a ‘Real Nightmare’ for Marketers

Eye on Media, Matt Kapko Blog

Facebook can’t be faulted for following the same path as other mass media channels that came before it with regards to advertising, but there are many marketers who are still hoping for something different this time around.

Over the past couple weeks numerous reports have surfaced indicating a sharp decline in the organic reach of Facebook posts. The slowdown is nothing new. In a short pitch for ads in April 2012, Facebook calculated the average organic reach of page posts at 16 percent of all fans.

So what’s changed? A survey last month of more than 100 brand pages by Ogilvy concluded that “it’s only a matter of time” before the organic reach of content published by brands is “destined to hit zero.” The analysis found that organic reach of those brand pages was hovering at 6 percent, marking a 49 percent decline over a four-month period.

The organic reach of brands with more than 500,000 likes was barely hitting 2 percent in February, according to the Social@Ogilvy report.

“Right now we’re very mad at Facebook,” Dave Martin, Ignited’s senior vice president of media, said earlier this week at the Mobile Media Summit. “The reason we’re so mad at Facebook is because Facebook won’t allow us to share content with our followers and fans as we could a week ago.”
Pay for Play? No Thanks

The pay-for-play option isn’t exactly paying off in spades either, he says. Now when Ignited purchases ads for its brand clients on Facebook it “takes longer and costs more than it ever has and our engagement scores go down,” says Martin.

Worse yet, because there’s so much uncertainty about the genuine interest of many brands followers, far too many ads are simply “reaching people that don’t even care,” he adds.

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Steer clear of these 15 social media mistakes

Ragan

Social media is the most popular online activity, so it makes perfect sense for businesses to want to tap into it to increase sales. More than 90 percent of businesses use social media.

But simply opening an account or sending out some tweets is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of your marketing strategy. By avoiding some missteps, businesses have the ability to increase their return on investment (ROI) and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

Avoid these mistakes:

1. Not having a strategy.

Less than 20 percent of businesses say their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are constantly inundated with information and messages. Businesses that don’t have a social media marketing strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audiences.

Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind. Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the Web but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets.

Social media works best when you integrate it with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should you link the accounts together, but tie them directly to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns.

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For Facebook, Measuring Across Devices And Apps Is A Huge Focus

AdExchanger

Facebook is increasingly focused on connecting audiences across screens and channels, and helping clients measure those results.

Graham Mudd, the company’s director of advertising measurement for North America, described aspects of the company’s approach to AdExchanger at the IAB’s Mobile Marketplace conference.

“We believe the future of marketing is being able to find specific consumers based on what the publisher, advertiser or intermediary knows about the consumers,” Mudd said. “And [to do that] we need to move beyond panels and cookies to census-based measurements.”

Instead of relying on consumer panels, which Mudd said fail to provide the necessary scale to measure diverse audiences across channels, Facebook is focusing on a combination of CRM data and third-party data from companies like Datalogix, Acxiom and Epsilon to help clients enhance their measurement capabilities.

Mudd also confirmed that the new “people-based measurement capability” that Facebook ads product VP Brian Boland alluded to in an AdAge op-ed will include partnerships with other data providers, although he declined to name the providers.

Facebook uses Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and Datalogix to measure the effectiveness of ads on both Facebook and Instagram, even though the latter is positioned as a separate brand and service. The company does not however, target users with ads based on data collected from both Instagram and Facebook.

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Infographic: Why visual content is better than text

Ragan

Did you know that it’s 50 times easier to get a video to rank on the first page of Google than other content types? Here’s why visuals are an important part of any content strategy.

People process visuals 600,000 times faster than text.

Website visitors typically read only 20 percent of the text on a page.

People retain 80 percent of what they see and only 20 percent of what they read.

If you aren’t incorporating visual content into your organization’s communications strategy, these statistics from an Ethos3 infographicmay be enough to persuade you otherwise.

Here are a few compelling facts:

  • Social media users are 40 percent more likely to share visual content than other types of content.
  • Ninety percent of online shoppers said they find videos helpful when making purchase decisions.
  • It’s 50 times easier to get a video to rank on the first page of Google than other content types.
  • Infographics can improve website traffic by 12 percent.
  • Ninety percent of the information your brain receives is visual.
  • More than 60 percent (65 percent) of people are visual learners.

But there are still more reasons why visual content is important. Check them out in the graphic below:

Click to see infographic

The beginner’s guide to measuring social media ROI

Ragan

For a marketer, return on investment defines a campaign’s success, and many executives demand hard numbers.

According to a study of marketing expertsperformed by Domo, however, three out of four marketing experts can’t measure social media ROI.

Let’s look at the basic yet vital aspects of social media marketing ROI.

1. ‘Likes’ and follows: Measuring engagement

The simplest way to gauge social media ROI involves counting followers on Twitter, your “likes” on Facebook, and consumer affiliations on all your other social media sites.

Keeping a spreadsheet to track social media conversions (followers, “likes,” etc.) gives you data to show that your campaign delivered X new social media connections. Facebook shares and Twitter retweets are also vital to documenting a campaign’s success.

Simple tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics help you track a specific post’s success, pinpointing customers’ response to particular types of content.

To measure the success of a given keyword, hashtag, or unique topic, try Brandwatch, GroSocial, and Keyhole. They explain trends on social networks for the keywords you enter.

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Survey finds teens still tiring of Facebook, prefer Instagram

CNET

Internet analysts at Piper Jaffray have both good news and bad news for the world’s largest social network: Teens continue to lose interest in Facebook but are showing an increasing appetite for Instagram, a Facebook property.

The mixed-bag news comes from the investment bank and asset management firm’s semi-annual survey of upper-income and average-income teens in the US. Piper Jaffray’s spring 2014 report Taking Stock With Teens, published Tuesday, surveyed around 5,000 teens, and includes findings spanning fashion, video games, Apple products, and social networks.

“We saw Instagram take the mantle for the most preferred social teen site,” Piper Jaffray senior analyst and managing director Gene Munster said.

Thirty percent of surveyed teens chose Instagram as their most important social network, making it the top social property for youngsters for the first time in the history of the survey.

“Just to recap the changes over the last six months,” Munster said, “interest level in Facebook went from 27 [percent] to 23 [percent], Twitter 31 [percent] to 27 [percent], Instagram 27 [percent] to 30 [percent].”

Just one year ago, Facebook was the preferred social network for roughly 33 percent of teens, marking a relatively steep decline in interest from an important audience in a short amount of time. The report, then, adds to a mounting pile of evidence suggesting that teens, in search of a more fun zone, are tiring of Facebook.

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Twitter’s Vine Introduces Direct Video Messaging

TechCrunch

Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.

There is a direct parallel to be drawn here between Instagram’s Direct image messaging feature, obviously — and it goes hand in hand with Twitter’s renewed interest in its direct messaging channel. The allegory is interesting, as there isn’t a lot of public evidence that Direct has had any real traction. Still, it allows Twitter to experiment with video messaging in a separate silo, and it does make some sense to start with Vine before adding video messaging to Twitter.

You create a new Vine message by tapping on the Messages section, recording a video and sending it off. You can send to multiple recipients, but all of the conversations are one-to-one — much like competing messaging app Snapchat. If you send to multiple people, you’ll get separate threads for each one.

Notably, you can send Vine messages directly to anyone in your address book, regardless of whether they have Vine or not. This leverages your “private graph” in a similar way to WhatsApp’s early strategy. Twitter is likely hoping that this will spur growth much in the same way.

Offering a backchannel will also allow users to side-step the increasingly polished and professional community of Vine creators. This doubtlessly creates a barrier that stops some people from sharing because it’s not “good enough” to sit in their feeds. Like Snapchat, this allows people to post silly, stupid or funny videos that may not be as polished — or as pretty — directly to their friends.

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Advertisers Spend Much More With Facebook But Twitter Performs Better

The Wall Street Journal

Advertisers are spending a lot more money on Facebook than Twitter–even though Twitter ads deliver better results.

That’s the conclusion of a new research report issued by Resolution, a social and search advertising focused agency under the Omnicom umbrella. Based on an analysis of 20 clients’ social media activity in 2013 representing $37 million in ad spending, Resolution found that Twitter ads generate clicks at a significantly higher rate than Facebook. As a result, the firm found, advertisers are significantly dialing up their Twitter ad spending.

Still, the agency says that its clients, which include Pepsi, Lowes, State Farm, McDonald’s, HP , Pier 1, Hertz and FedEx, spent 127 percent more ad dollars with Facebook than Twitter.

On the surface, that makes logical sense, as Facebook boasts of 1.2 billion users vs. Twitter’s 241 million monthly users. During its initial earning report in February, Twitter announced solid ad revenue growth--including $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, despite a slowdown in new user adoption. Meanwhile, Facebook’s last few earnings reports have been stellar, particularly as its mobile ad business has taken off.

While keeping in mind that Resolution’s data may be skewed by its particular roster of brands and their unique social media goals, Twitter appears to have major ad momentum. Retailers, for instance, boosted their ad spending on Twitter 257% from third quarter to fourth quarter last year, while their spending on Facebook surged by 94 percent over the same period, Resolution said.

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How Twitter Has Changed Over the Years in 12 Charts

The Atlantic

It’s been eight years since Twitter debuted. Like the rest of the social networks that have survived, it has changed, both in response to user and commercial demands. The user interface, application ecosystem, geographical distribution, and culture not what they were in 2010, let alone 2006.

But each Twitter user sees the service through his or her own tiny window of followers and followed. It’s hard to tell if everyone’s behavior is changing, or just that of one’s subset of the social network. Now, new research from Yabing Liu and Alan Mislove of Northeastern with Brown’s Chloe Kliman-Silverattempts to quantify the way tweeting has changed through the years.

“Twitter is known to have evolved significantly since its founding,” they write, “And it remains unclear how much the user base and behavior has evolved, whether prior results still hold, and whether the (often implicit) assumptions of proposed systems are still valid.”

While their paper is directed at fellow researchers, their results might be of interest to anyone whose ever used Twitter. They combined three datasets to come up with 37 billion tweets from March of 2006 until the end of 2013. The key thing to know is that they talk about two different datasets: What they call the “crawl” dataset constitutes all the tweets, and what they call the “gardenhose” dataset constitutes only a sample of either 15 percent of all tweets (until July 2010) or 10 percent of all tweets (after July 2010).

OK, with that caveat, here are some of their most interesting findings.

Click to see charts and continue reading 

What will social media’s giants look like in 5 or 10 years?

CNNMoney

Imagine a future where you’ll be able to physically reach out to poke your Facebook friends (gross), where tweets are the de facto mode of communication for large-scale emergencies (cool), and where people log into Google Plus for more than just wondering, “Are people using Google Plus yet?” (Okay, okay, we couldn’t help ourselves with that one — but really, we actually are, so put us in your circles already.)

If those scenarios seem far-fetched, perhaps you’re thinking too near-term. Whether it’s through major acquisitions or seemingly minor service enhancements, the major social networks are making changes to their products on a weekly, daily, even hourly basis. Fortune asked a few experts to daydream about where these networks might be five and 10 years down the line. Their responses were surprisingly realistic.

Facebook

Breaking the biggest news of the month, if not the year, Facebook (FB) set the social scene ablaze with its March 25 acquisition of Oculus VR, valued at approximately $2 billion. A sharp turn in Facebook’s product road map, the purchase has pundits imagining all sorts of crossovers for the social network and virtual reality technology.

“The Oculus purchase further shows how Facebook will be obsessed with staying relevant by buying the next big thing,” says Paul Berry, founder and CEO of New York City-based social publishing platform RebelMouse. Through this and other acquisitions, Berry thinks Facebook will become a brand-holding company in the future, similar to Viacom or Hearst. “I see them, better than anyone else, using their market capitalization to create even bigger market cap for the Instagrams or WhatsApps,” he says.

But internally, Facebook may split over dueling objectives, says Michael Jones, CTO of Portland, Ore.-based Little Bird, a company that provides social influencer analytics and research. ”[Facebook] used to be a lot more fun and idealistic, and now that they’re public, there is extreme pressure upon that organization to grow up quickly and to monetize,” he says. This “great divide” will continue on for years, as half of the company drives toward generating revenue while the rest pursues the founding ideals of authentic engagement and connecting the world.

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