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

NYC Removes Mobile Beacons after BuzzFeed Article Blasts Privacy Issues

Image source: BuzzFeed.com
Image source: BuzzFeed.com

An NYC agency approved hundreds of beacons—devices that can push ads and track mobile devices—to be installed in phone booths around Manhattan. But after BuzzFeed published an article about the beacons yesterday, City Hall promptly requested that they be removed.

As BuzzFeed reported, the beacons were installed without any public notice. This is problematic because of the potential privacy issues. BuzzFeed wrote, “The spread of beacon technology to public spaces could turn any city into a giant matrix of hidden commercialization.” Because the beacons can track the location of the public’s personal mobile devices, privacy advocates are concerned about the lack of transparency.

Hours after BuzzFeed published its article, City Hall requested that the beacons be removed. According to the Wall Street Journal, transparency is critical when using new technologies such as beacons: “It shows that while marketers tend to get jazzed about new advertising technologies, it is important not to creep consumers out or try to dupe them.”

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

Measuring Mobile Performance: Don’t Rely on CTRs

Image source: Forrester.com
Image source: Forrester.com

A recent study from xAd and Nielson found that Click-Through-Rate is a poor indicator of ad performance on mobile. In fact, Lower CTRs were often associated with the highest offline in-store visitation rates.

The study ran on xAd’s platform and measured 80 campaigns from 12 brands during Q1 and Q2 of 2014. Placed, a local analytics provider, measured in-store visits as a response to ads.

CTR is commonly used as a measurement of engagement for ads on the web. The assumption is that if a viewer clicks on an ad, he or she is probably interested in the product or service advertised. However, the likelihood that a viewer might accidentally click on an ad is much higher in a mobile environment. In its report, xAd said as many as 40% of clicks on mobile devices are accidental.

So how should marketers be measuring ROI in mobile? xAd suggests they should be looking at the full picture, which includes CTR along with SAR (secondary action rate) and SVL (store visitation lift). Because the vast amount of commercial activity still occurs at a physical store location, xAd recommends SVL as the best measurement for mobile ad effectiveness.

The question of how to best measure mobile effectiveness has plagued marketers for years. A recent study by Forrester shows that only 13% of marketers feel very confident in their ability to measure cross-channel, and only 18% are confident in their ability to measure the ROI of mobile efforts.

With over 10 million iPhone 6 phones sold by Apple in one weekend, there’s no question that mobile is a channel to be reckoned with. But marketers will shy away from spending on mobile advertising until the technology can catch up.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Facebook’s Rapid Growth in Video

Image source: Variety.com
Image source: Variety.com

Today the New York Times reported that a behind-the-scenes video posted on Beyonce’s Facebook page garnered 2.4 million views, while the same video posted on YouTube garnered just a few thousand views in the same time. Facebook might just be the only media company that can threaten YouTube’s reign over online video.

In recent months Facebook’s video viewership has grown to about 1.3 billion views per day, two thirds of which take place on mobile devices. That’s a 50% increase in video views from May to July, Facebook said. Facebook also added several “You-Tube like” features for video, including improved video ranking in users’ Newsfeeds and the ability to insert call-to-actions in native videos. Soon, users will be able to see how many views a video on Facebook has received and get recommendations for related videos. Read more about the planned features on Facebook’s business blog.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge further cemented Facebook’s power to spread online video. Facebook said more than 17 million videos related to the challenge were shared on its service between June 1 and September 1.

Still, Facebook has a ways to go to catch up to YouTube, which had over 4 billion video views per day as of December 2013.

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