What Brands Can Expect from Facebook in 2015

The following post was written by guest blogger David Neuman. Please read his bio after the post.

2014 brought a lot of significant changes to the biggest Social Network in the world ranging from auto-playing videos to completely moving their messaging feature to a separate application to continuing to decrease brands’ organic post reach. While some of these changes only impacted a small percentage of users, there will likely be some big changes in 2015 that will have a significant impact on brands. Here are five things brands can expect from Facebook in 2015.

Continuing to Pay for Post Reach: This is nothing new and something that has been effecting brands for a couple of years now. However, this will likely get even worse in 2015. Facebook is starting to crack down on posts that are overly self-promotional or are too advertorial; significantly decreasing their reach (or not showing them altogether). This change, combined with the expected increase in ad spends for news feed posts in 2015, will result in a large amount of brands having to pay for their posts to see any worthwhile reach. I expect many small businesses to increase their focus on other channels like Instagram and Twitter as a result.

Being Able to Advertise Based on Searches & Post Keywords: More of a prediction than something that’s guaranteed for 2015, but it makes sense given Facebook’s recent changes to their internal search engine and the fact that they have removed Bing listings from their search results. Facebook is now allowing users to search for a specific post by keyword and also is showing their most recent searches on their mobile application. Keyword bidding is highly successful on Twitter and would likely see similar success on Facebook. If you’re a seafood restaurant, for example, imagine being able to target users who post “I’m craving seafood”, or who are searching on Facebook for “seafood restaurants”, that are in close proximity to your restaurant.

Call to Actions on Facebook Pages: This has started to roll out for some brands and is expected to roll out to all pages in the coming weeks. Instead of having just “like” and “message” appear over a page’s cover images, brands will now be able to add call to actions such as “book now”, “contact us”, “use app”, “play game”, “shop now”, “sign up”, and “watch video”. When this is clicked on, it will redirect the user to an external URL and will alert page admins on the amount of call to action clicks that have taken place. Tip: do what the page below did and drive people to “click” through your cover image design.
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Video will be a Crucial Part of a Brand’s Content Strategy: Facebook has been heavily pushing video and it shows. According to Facebook, users are posting 75% more videos to Facebook directly than they did a year ago and that, between June 2014 and September 2014, users collectively averaged 1 billion video views on Facebook each day. Facebook also recently acquired video compression company Quickfire in January 2015 and video ad platform LiveRail in July 2014. We’ve seen for our clients video getting more organic reach on the news feed than other post types. Instead of promoting YouTube content on Facebook, brands should start to upload their video content directly onto Facebook.

Advertising and Content Strategy will Prioritize Mobile: It’s no surprise that mobile usage is rapidly growing on Facebook – both on the ad front and in overall usage. Ad campaigns and brands’ overall content strategies will need to continually think about how what they’re doing translates on mobile devices heading into 2015 or they will be missing out on lost opportunities. Besides the obvious of making sure your website is “mobile friendly”, make sure the messaging you include in your ad creative and post content resonates with a mobile audience.

 

-Post by guest blogger David Neuman-
david-neumanDavid has been with Prime Visibility for over 7 years and has over 9 years’ experience in Digital Marketing.  He manages Social Media initiatives for the company where he creates and executes Social Media strategies for the agency’s clients. David was also the recipient of two LISTNet awards for developing an algorithm to measure the virality of Social Media campaigns and has appeared on CNBC and WSJ Live.

What’s next for Snapchat in 2015?

Icon_100pxSnapchat rolled out its first advertising campaign in October 2014. If $485.6 million in funds from investors is any indication, people are betting on Snapchat in 2015.

According to Bloomberg, Snapchat is now valued at $10 billion. Many scoffed at Snapchat’s decision not to sell to Facebook for $3 billion back in 2013, but now the decision seems quite wise, after all. But how does Snapchat plan to make money in 2015, and will advertisers buy it?

The first paid media campaign in October 2014 was an ad promoting the horror film “Ouijo” that appeared in the updates feed with a “Sponsored” label. I think it was a smart decision for Snapchat to start with a video ad format that’s already familiar to advertisers, so more might be willing to get their feet wet. And companies like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, GrubHub and Acura are taking the bait.

Eric Murphy of Business2Community points out that not only does Snapchat offer a highly sought-after demographic of 13-25 year olds, it also offers a fully opt-in experience whereby consumers will interact with only the brands they choose (unlike Facebook and Twitter, where we see ads we may or may not be interested in).

Today advertisers expect to be able to buy a personal, one-to-one ad opportunities, and Snapchat certainly fits the bill. Snapchat is trying to differentiate itself from other social media giants by saying no to “creepy and targeted” ads in lieu of putting the consumer in charge. “We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be,” Snapchat wrote on its blog on October 17th.

What’s tricky for advertisers is that many of us don’t use Snapchat, so it’s harder to fully understand how it fits into the lives of millions of teens and twenty-somethings today. But with new ad opportunities from Snapchat that are sure to roll out this year, it’s clear that Snapchat is the new kid in town—and not leaving any time soon.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Google’s Ad Viewability Research: 56% of Ads are Not Seen

Image source: ThinkWithGoogle.com
Image source: ThinkWithGoogle.com

In its recent study published last week, Google identified five factors that impact viewability of online display ads. The factors are 1) State of publisher viewability; 2) Page position matters…; 3) …So does ad size; 4) Above the fold ≠always viewable; 5) Viewability varies across industry.

While none of the factors above are very shocking, some of the statistics Google released are surprising. The most controversial stat is that 56% of impressions served on Google display platforms are not seen.

Based on Google’s report, here are some key takeaways for marketers to ensure the best viewability for their ads.

Firstly, know the industry standard for viewable impressions. A display ad is considered viewable when 50% of the ad’s pixels are in view on the screen for a minimum of one second (according to Media Rating Council).

Secondly, pay attention to page position and ad size. Google found hat the most viewable ad position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page. Vertical ad units are the most visible because they are visible for a longer period as a user scrolls up or down a page.

Marketers should also be aware of maladvertising: malware that creates fraudulent clicks. If something seems odd in your reporting (for example, hundreds of thousands of impressions but zero clicks), your campaigns could be a victim of this type of fraud.

For smart marketers who are paying attention to results, and only spending with publishers who deliver those results, the issue of ad visibility should not be overwhelming. But it is an important factor in our changing marketing landscape in which display ads are recognized as less and less reliable.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

New Ad Opportunities on Facebook

Image source: Facebook
Image source: Facebook

Now that mobile advertising makes up 66% of Facebook’s total revenue, it’s no surprise that Facebook is enhancing its mobile ad program features. Facebook announced yesterday a few significant additions to its mobile app advertising program, including:

  • Ability to optimize ads for reach and frequency: This allows an advertiser to control how many times a user sees an ad.
  • Ability to target Amazon Fire users: Amazon Fire tablets join a roster of available devices which advertisers can target, including Apple, Samsung and HTC
  • Ability to use auto-play video in App install ads: Facebook reported that it delivers 1 billion video views every day.

Facebook also offered some tips for holiday mobile app advertising, including testing multiple creative, optimizing by action (install or reach/frequency) and targeting people who have recently used Facebook on a new device.

Further reading:

– Posted by Elizabeth Pace

The End of Free, Organic Reach for Brands on Facebook

Facebook is cleaning up its News Feed, and that means users will see fewer promotional page posts soon, the social media giant announced in a post published on Friday.

Facebook said it surveyed users and found that people “wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.” In response, Facebook said it will employ a new formula that will cause a steady decline in distribution for promotional posts. The change will take place starting in January.

This isn’t a huge surprise to brands, which have reported less distribution of their organic posts in recent years. Facebook has always said it favors “high-quality” content, but this is also clearly an effort to make advertisers pay up for promotion.

Facebook gave reasons why Pages are still an important part of business strategy, referring to a statistic that 1 billion people visited Pages in October.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

The Rise of Social TV (and what it means for marketers)

Image source: ClickZ.com
Image source: ClickZ.com

We all know television is in a state of flux. Between the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and a growing number of millennials cutting the cord to avoid rising cable bills, it’s no wonder TV execs are scrambling for the “next big thing.”

Well, the next big thing may be here already. Social TV, the integration of social elements with TV to create a dual-screen experience, is on the rise and proving quite popular. According to Mobile Marketer, brands like ABC who have integrated hashtags into their TV experience have seen immense participation across the Twittersphere. Another example is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week—the channel’s iPad app featured content intended to be consumed while users watched Shark Week on TV. SproutSocial reported that this campaign led to more than 13 million people having 21 million interactions with Shark Week on Facebook.

It’s no surprise that this trend is most prominent amongst millennials. Deloitte’s Digital Democracy survey (released in Spring 2014) found that 48% of millennials say they use a social network while watching TV. 86% of all US consumers say they are multitasking while watching TV, up from 72% two years prior.

So what does this mean for marketers? We should be thinking about an integrated approach when engaging consumers through TV. If we want our audience’s full attention, we need to take over their TVs and the device in their hands. But, heed this good advice from Clickz: “Before deciding whether you should spend your marketing budget on a social TV campaign, take a close look at your brand. If you think your brand does not have a lot to say in the space, look for other channels to engage your audience.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Will Programmatic Advertising Stifle Creativity?

Image source: Maxusglobal.us
Image source: Maxusglobal.us

Programmatic advertising was a hot topic at Advertising Week in NYC this year. The 5-day event, which draws to a close tomorrow October 3rd, features more than 200 events including seminars and workshops that focus on key business drivers in advertising and marketing. (For a further dive into what exactly “programmatic” means, read this Aspiring CMO post from July.)

On Wednesday, Havas Chief Executive Yannick Bollore spoke about programmatic advertising and whether it threatens to stifle creative output from execs. “Algorithm will never replace the creative director; I’m not worried at all for the future of creativity,” said Mr. Bollore.

Despite Mr. Bollore’s confidence that human creativity will always remain at the heart of advertising, Business Insider’s Programmatic Advertising Report claims “Programmatic platforms are on pace to fundamentally reshape the entire digital advertising landscape.” The report found that real-time-bidding (RTB), one of the key components to programmatic buying, will account for over $18.2 billion in U.S. digital ad revenues in 2018, up from $3.1 billion in 2013.

There is no doubt programmatic advertising will garner an increasingly large investment from marketers in the coming years, but creativity remains crucial for the success of any campaign. While programmatic may cut out some of the middle men/women who plan, buy and optimize campaigns, it doesn’t replace the human ideas that fuel ad concepts.

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Bollore that art and science can, and must, coexist in the new advertising age. According to Mr. Bollore, “It is nonsense to oppose data with creative, and to oppose emotion with rationality. A combination of the two can completely work.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Twitter Announces Organic Tweet Analytics

Image source: TechCrunch.com
Image source: TechCrunch.com

Yesterday Twitter announced an enhanced Tweet activity dashboard to provide insight into organic Tweet performance. Previously, organic data was available but difficult to find and measured in less detail.

The new dashboard will allow advertisers to:

  • See how many times users have viewed and engaged with organic Tweets
  • Compare performance month-over-month
  • Export organic and promoted data metrics into a CSV file

In its post announcing the new dashboard, Twitter also suggested best practices for brands based on its analysis of 200 brand advertisers:

  • Tweet consistency is a key factor to maximize organic reach on Twitter
  • Leverage current events such as sporting, awards shows or trending topics
  • Mention influencer Handles with a large following
  • Include photos or videos

According to TechCrunch, Twitter has opened up the dashboard to all users who tweet in English, French, Japanese, and Spanish, and whose accounts are older than 14 days. You can learn more about how to access the dashboard on Twitter’s support page or simply visit analytics.twitter.com to check it out.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Amazon To Develop an In-House Ad Platform

Image source: Mashable.com
Image source: Mashable.com

The battle for online ad market share may be heating up, as Amazon is reportedly planning to develop its own keyword-based text ad platform. This would give marketers another option for targeting web users on a large scale, in addition to ad giants Google and Facebook. The WSJ was first to report the news late last week.

The new platform, reportedly called Amazon Sponsored Links, would allow marketers to directly reach Amazon’s 250 million active users across its various sites, namely Amazon.com. Currently, marketers can advertise on Amazon sites through text-based keyword ads powered by Google and other third parties. Additionally, Amazon has its own display ad network, showing customers display ads that align with their searches across Amazon.com, IMDb.com and Quidsi properties (which include Soap.com).

Though it’s just speculation at this point, some believe Amazon’s ad platform would closely resemble Google’s AdWords, which is the core revenue-driver for Google’s $50 billion per year ad business.

Perhaps it’s only fair that Amazon should challenge Google’s stronghold on the online ad market, as Google has stepped on Amazon’s e-commerce toes by introducing product listing ads and Google Shopping Express.

Neither Amazon nor Google have commented so far. Stay tuned for more.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Do Publishers and E-Commerce Go Together Like Twizzlers and Guacamole?

Image source: BusinessWeek.com
Image source: BusinessWeek.com

There’s no question that publishing is in a state of disruption. As advertisers continue to shift dollars from print to performance-based digital channels, publishers are struggling to find new ways to make money in the digital era.

For a time, many publishers believed the emergence of the tablet to be their saving grace. Some expected print ad dollars to shift seamlessly to tablet  in a similar model, but that hasn’t happened – and tablet use is not growing at the same rate as smaller mobile devices. A recent article published on Digiday, the author argues that “the tablet magazine was flawed from the start… conceived based on what publishers wanted and not on what consumers wanted.”

Because old ad models do not translate well to the digital space, publishers are left scrambling to find new sources of revenue, and many are in trouble. However, the emergence of content marketing has provided a glimmer of hope and new revenue opportunities.

Today Digiday published an article about publishers who blend e-commerce with content, which presents a new source of revenue, but it’s one that has caused some unrest amongst readers. Earlier this month, the Washington Post inserted “buy now” buttons into articles that mentioned products, linking directly to purchase pages on Amazon. After claiming the buttons’ insertion into articles was a mistake, the Washington Post removed them.

While certain publishers have been blending e-commerce with content for years, the latest Washington Post incident brings to light questions about the future of the publisher business model, and what impact new revenue sources will have on editorial integrity.

The same questions are being raised about branded content practices (also called native advertising), in which publishers include sponsored content that is intended to look like editorial content. If you haven’t already seen it, check out John Oliver’s recent rant on native marketing, in which he states, “I like to think of news and advertising as the separation of guacamole and Twizzlers. Separately they’re good. But if you mix them together, somehow you make both of them really gross.”

The general public’s tolerance for a Twizzler-and-guacamole combo has yet to be established.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace