Highlights from Facebook’s F8 2016 Conference: What Marketers Need to Know

hands-woman-laptop-notebookThis year’s annual Facebook developer conference was full of exciting announcements pertaining to marketers. Here’s a rundown of the most important takeaways:

 

  • Messenger Platform: Facebook introduced new APIs that allow brands to create custom experiences on Messenger. These APIs allow brands to build their own Messenger bots, such as automated on-demand content like weather or traffic updates, or customized messages such as receipts and shipping notifications.This API is currently open to a select few partners, and will broaden to everyone at a later unspecified date. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-tips-messaging-for-page-admins and check out this video from F8.
  • Branded Content: Facebook updated their branded content policy to enable verified Pages to share branded content on Facebook.  They also launched a new tool for brands/pages to “tag” a marketer when they publish branded content, allowing the marketer to see data from the tagged post and have the option to share and boost the post.  For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/branded-content-update.
  • Rights Manager: Facebook launched a new tool to help media companies monitor and protect intellectual property on Facebook. Publishers can upload their full library of videos to Rights Manager, monitor them, and use rules to tell us about how each video can be used. Learn more: https://media.fb.com/2016/04/12/introducing-rights-manager/.
  • Facebook Analytics for Apps Improvements:  Improvements to Facebook Analytics for Apps include deeper audience insights, push and in-app notifications (beta), powerful breakdowns, and an App Events Export API to analyze data offline.Most interesting for app marketers is the push and in-app notifications beta. You can now set up, create, send and measure push and in-app notification campaigns directly through Facebook. Request access to the beta by going to the Push Campaigns screen in Analytics for Apps.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

How to Find Your Best Facebook Audiences

5368326607_5a7015fa02_oWhether a seasoned marketing pro or new to the game, one of the most important things you can do to improve paid marketing performance on Facebook is test audiences. Testing allows you to to find the best targeting to produce scalable, efficient results. But knowing what to test—and how to get started—is the tricky part.

First, a note on Facebook’s ad structure. A campaign establishes the high-level goal that you’re trying to achieve.  You can target different audiences, also called “ad sets,” within a campaign. For example, if my goal is to get iPhone app installs in the US, I might name my campaign “iPhone – US – App Installs”. Within that campaign, I can define different audiences, or ad sets.

Now, the important question: how do you find the Facebook audience(s) that will produce the best results? The simple answer: test anything and everything, within reason. You may be surprised by which audiences perform well. Here are a few ideas for developing your test audiences:

Leverage your existing your users/customers

In my experience, the most efficient Facebook audiences are based on my current customers. These audiences, called “Lookalikes” can be created in a few ways:

  1. If you have your users’ email addresses, you can upload those directly to Facebook as a Custom Audience.
  2. If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, can create a list of web visitors.
  3. If you have the Facebook SDK in your mobile app, you can create a list of app users.

Lookalike audiences are created in the Facebook Ads Manager. Select “Lookalike Audience” and choose your source and audience size. Audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population of potential matches, with 1% being those who most closely match your source.

Target demos, interests and behaviors that your target audience shares 

This seems like a no-brainer, but you should define your target audience and brainstorm the qualities they might share. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do? What other brands/products are they interested in? Once you’ve done this, you have many options to find those individuals:

  1. Demographics
    This section provides a treasure trove of detailed targeting options: everything from education, racial affinity, generation, relationship status and much more. While it’s easy to create a hyper-targeted audience, be sure your audience size is not too small. 
  2. Interests
    Interest targeting lets you define your ideal audience by their interests, hobbies and Pages they like on Facebook. Facebook identifies these interests from information users added to their Timeline, keywords associated with the Pages they like or apps they use, and ads they’ve clicked on.
  3. Behaviors
    Behaviors are activities that people do on or off Facebook, constructed from both someone’s activity on Facebook and offline activity provided by Facebook’s data partners.
  4. Partner and Facebook categories:
    Facebook has created categories of 1st party data, grouping together people who have a similar affinity. Partner Categories include data from data partners. More here.
  5. Connections
    This allows you to target (or exclude) your Facebook fans. You can also target friends of Facebook fans. Additionally, you can target people that have attended your Facebook events.

Read more about Facebook audiences here.

Lastly, a few tips to boost performance:

  • Delivery will be limited unless your audience is large enough. Each ad set should have an audience size of 1MM-5MM people.  This doesn’t apply to Custom Audiences, because they are highly qualified, but does apply to Lookalikes.
  • Allocate a larger budget to a smaller number of ad sets to optimize more effectively, rather than splitting your budget into many ad sets.
  • Avoid setting up multiple audiences that overlap more than 20%. You can see which audiences are overlapping within a single campaign by using our Audience Overlap Tool.
  • Avoid editing your ad multiple times in a short period. Every time you make a change, the algorithm will need to relearn how to deliver effectively to your audience.

As you get more sophisticated and find what works, you should iterate and layer new targeting to find even more efficient pockets.

Have any additional tips or tricks to share? Respond below in the comments!

Further Reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

What does “social-first” content really mean?

downloadContent distribution across platforms like Facebook and Twitter has become an absolute necessity for publishers. Instead of focusing on driving clicks to their own websites, publishers are now vying for their audience’s attention on native platforms where the competition is stiff.

Jason Abbruzzese, Business & Media Reporter at Mashable, says it best: “Social is now flooded with content, and the platforms are no longer content to just be traffic hoses. Social will still be a huge part of distribution, but it’s far more competitive and cut-throat than it has been.” (Pulled from this great selection of social wisdom from NewsWhip)

There are hundreds of articles and blog posts published each week about how to create social content that engages and stands out from the crowd. But what are the key factors that make content truly “social-first?”

Here’s a list of what you should keep in mind when creating content for social platforms:

  • Video, video, and more video:
    Audiences are hungry for video and becoming accustomed to seeing it in their feeds, particularly with the introduction of auto-play. Video posts average 62% more engagement than photos (source). 75% of Facebook video views occur on mobile devices (source), so video content needs to work on small screens. Test length, subject matter, captions, branding and other variables to find the sweet spot for your audience.
  • Leverage Facebook Instant Articles:
    While Facebook made a big to-do about Instant Articles being about a better experience for users, and not about taking power from publishers, the fact is it does indeed provide a better experience. No one likes scrolling down his or her feed, clicking on a post only to wait while it loads—if at all. Publishers say it’s getting easier to make money from Instant Articles, so why not give it a try? It’s now open to all publishers.
  • Social-first is mobile-first:
    Chances are your Facebook and Twitter audience is viewing your content on mobile, so focus on content that can be digested easily and on-the-go. Incorporate snack-able, eye-catching content such as video clips, GIFs, and infographics. Naturally, users will gravitate towards native content published in their feeds, so ask yourself which is more important–clicks or eyeballs? The right balance might be a combination of both.
  • Keep experimenting:
    It’s a phrase said and heard too frequently, but the only way to know what will work for you is to give it a try, while remaining true to your brand. There’s simply no one-sized-fits-all guidebook to producing engaging content. Some brands have shared their best practices, so articles like this one from Buffer Social are a good place to start.
  • Capitalize on trending topics:
    Explore social listening tools to learn what people are talking about and when relevant topics, or your brand, are mentioned. Publishing platforms like Social Flow will even optimize your posts and Tweets to ensure they go out at the best time for your audience: when they are active and when the topic is trending.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Instagram’s Success & Why Marketers Love It

unnamedSince Instagram rolled out self-serve ads last year, marketers have been flocking to engage potential customers on the photo-sharing app. It’s no surprise, given the success of its parent company, Facebook.

Instagram ads became successful so quickly because it’s easy for advertisers to get up and running. Advertisers can set up Instagram campaigns from Facebook’s ad interface, and the same targeting options and ad formats are available. Most advertisers are already familiar with and comfortable with Facebook Ads, and since Instagram is an extension rather than an entirely new ad product, advertisers are more eager to give it a try.

Another important success factor is the ad format. Instagram is a full-screen mobile experience, and the ads follow suit. Rather than getting stuck in a sidebar or in a tiny mobile banner, brands get enough real estate to capture attention and tell a story. Instagram is a mobile product, and its ad experience lends itself well to mobile devices, unlike some other sites and apps that try to squeeze entire desktop web experiences (and ads) into a tiny screen.

Instagram has been quick to give advertisers what they want, particularly with mobile video ad opportunities. Most recently, Instagram rolled out 60-second video ads. The previous max was 15 seconds, which is pretty limiting, and advertisers were keen for more time in front of viewers.

However, there are still some issues preventing Instagram from becoming pure gold for advertisers. Because Instagram is traditionally a non-click environment, the platform has been cautious about rolling out links beyond the call-to-action buttons in its ads. That’s why you see so many brands and promoters referring to the links in their profile – users still can’t post clickable links along with their images. The only way to drive Instagram users to a website is through click-to-web ads, which are far more expensive than Facebook or Twitter. But even though Instagram is only pay-to-play, advertisers seem to be willing to pay up.

Instagram is in growth mode and has captured advertisers’ attention. It will be interesting to see what they roll out to keep advertisers happy in 2016.

Further Reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

How Ads Can Be Targeted on Facebook

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

bullseye2Why You’re Being Targeted on Facebook

Regardless of how often you log into Facebook, chances are you’ve been “creeped out” by at least one post or advertisement that has been shown on your news feed. How did Travelocity know I was looking up hotels in San Francisco this morning? Why does Amazon.com keep showing me sales for products I regularly purchase? Many Facebook advertisers can answer these questions easily, but the majority of users are likely unaware about why they are being served a particular advertisement. To answer the question of “why am I seeing this ad”, it is important to understand the following: there are thousands of different ways a user can be targeted on Facebook and not all of them are based on your profile information. I bring up the fact that targeting isn’t just inclusive of your Facebook profile because this used to be the only way you could be targeted. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has significantly revamped their advertising offerings by partnering with a bunch of different 3rd parties and expanding their own functionality. The next time you see a Facebook advertisement and aren’t sure why, it could be due to one of the below ad options.

Facebook Retargeting

Retargeting isn’t unique to Facebook. It exists practically everywhere on the web due to Google and other display companies offering it as an advertising option. Specific to Facebook, it’s based on your browsing behavior on an advertiser’s website. If you take the “desired action” on the company’s website, you might see a retargeting advertisement the next time you log into Facebook. A lot of e-commerce businesses will use this as an opportunity to try and get you to you purchase product. Say, for example, you add a product to Amazon.com’s shopping cart, but do not end up completing the transaction. Amazon.com might serve you an advertisement for an additional 10% off of that product the next time you log into Facebook to try and get you to complete your purchase. These ad units are not actually run on Facebook’s ad platform, but through 3rd party platforms that have a partnership with Facebook’s Exchange product.

Partner Categories

Facebook has partnered with Axiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to allow advertisers to reach users through behavioral targeting methods. This is based on various data points including loyalty card data, transactional data, the U.S. Census, the DMV, and more. With Facebook’s behavioral targeting, you’re not reaching people based on what pages they “like”, but based on their actual purchasing / offline behavior. If you own a store in NYC selling vitamins and other health products, for example, originally you might promote to new customers on Facebook by targeting users who are in NYC who “like” pages related to health and wellness. With behavioral targeting, you can now target users who are in NYC that actually buy health and wellness products above the national average.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences allow advertisers to upload a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs to Facebook. Facebook will then match up that data to people on Facebook to create a custom audience. If you have a list of 400,000 e-mails, for example, and upload it to the network; Facebook will create a custom audience list for you to target as long as those individuals are using the same e-mail address to access Facebook. If you are a frequent customer of a brand, you might see an advertisement for a new product on Facebook because that brand created a custom audience list of their most loyal customers. Custom audiences can also be created based on website traffic and Facebook app activity.

Look-A-Like Audiences

Look-A-Like audiences are a list of Facebook users who are similar to a Custom Audience that you have uploaded to Facebook. If you upload a list of your most loyal customers’ e-mail addresses to Facebook, for example, Look-A-Like audiences can generate a list of the top 1% of users who are similar to these customers based on their likes and interests.  If advertisers want to expand their reach, they can generate a list of the top 10% of users who are similar to these customers.

 

-Post by guest blogger David Neuman-

david-neumanDavid Neuman, Guest Blogger
David is the Director of Social Media Services at Prime Visibility. He 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.

Insight into Brand Conversations on Facebook

Image source: Techcrunch.com

Image source: Techcrunch.com

Facebook’s ability to provide a mass amount of first-party data is unmatched, and therefore it’s been one of the most powerful tools for marketers in recent years.

Now, Facebook’s opening up it’s vault of data even further, granting access to “topic data” that allows marketers to see what people are saying about their brand on Facebook. This could prove to be an incredible tool for marketers to listen in and gather real-time, uninhibited feedback on their brands, services and relevant subjects without a formal survey.

“We’ve grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity (not including Messenger) to offer insights on all the activity around a topic. That means marketers get a holistic and actionable view of their audience for the first time.” Facebook wrote in a blog post announcing the new feature. Facebook is partnering with data company DataSift to help turn the data into relevant insights for marketers.

Facebook provided several examples of how topic data could be used:

  • “A business selling a hair de-frizzing product can see demographics on the people talking about humidity’s effects on their hair to better understand their target audience.
  • A fashion retailer can see the clothing items its target audience is talking about to decide which products to stock.
  • A brand can see how people are talking about their brand or industry to measure brand sentiment.”

The feature is initially available to a limited number of DataSift’s partners in the US and UK. And unfortunately, the data can’t be used for ad targeting (yet). It would be incredibly powerful for marketers to be able to target their ads to individuals who are already discussing the brand or relevant subjects. However, user privacy is a key concern in when and how Facebook allows marketers to leverage topic data.

We’ll have to stay tuned to see how marketers will harness the power of topic data, and how useful the new feature proves to be.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Twitter Launches New Video and Group Direct Message Features

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.17.02 AMThis week Twitter announced some much-anticipated new features that it hopes will provide a richer, more immersive experience for users.

The first feature is a mobile video camera that will allow users to capture, edit and share videos directly from the Twitter app. iPhone users can upload videos from the camera roll as well (coming soon to Android, too). The videos will not auto-play like on Facebook, but they can easily be viewed with one tap from the in-feed thumbnail image.

The video feature is a smart move for Twitter, especially with the growing popularity of Facebook on video. Facebook had one billion video views per day in September 2014, which has reportedly tripled since then.

The second feature, group direct message, will allow users to engage in private messages with a group of up to 20 people.

These features will roll out to everyone in the coming weeks, but you can already view videos on the Twitter feed and engage in group DMs if you’re invited to one.

Additional resources:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace