Facebook is relaunching its Atlas advertising programme, enabling marketers to tap into its treasure trove of consumer data. Re/Code explains:
Facebook is reintroducingAtlas, the underused platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
Facebook says Atlas can help marketers track the effectiveness of their ads around the Web; it also says it will allow them to buy ads on non-Facebook websites and apps, using Facebook targeting data.
Facebook makes a point of saying these ads aren’t “Facebook ads.” But it is also playing up the notion that the ads marketers buy via Atlas will be more effective than other big ad platforms, because they use Facebook’s data.
Facebook says it is working with lots of partners, but so far has named only two. Ad holding giant Omnicom, which already has deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other big digital players, says it will buy ads with Atlas. Facebook’s Instagram will also work with the platform. The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.
What’s that? You’re worried about people using your Facebook data to serve you ads? Facebook says you shouldn’t worry, because your identity will remain anonymous to advertisers and publishers — they’ll just know some basic facts about you. But really, if you’re worried about this kind of thing you shouldn’t be on Facebook. Actually, the whole Web is probably a no-go zone for you. Sorry.
From a marketer’s perspective, the Atlas initiative is an inevitable development, as Facebook attempts to out-monetise Google.
As Pando notes, there’s another important side-effect to the Atlas initiative, as the world goes mobile:
Atlas solves a technical problem that has frustrated advertisers since consumers flocked to mobile devices: the inability to see how ads viewed on one device influence purchases made on other devices because digital “cookies,” the Web’s little stalkers, can’t track smartphone activity.
Check out the video, and check out Atlas, coming soon to a marketer near you.
We live in increasingly glass houses, where our lives are (in the finest tradition of The Truman Show) broadcast live to the world. Even if we avoid posting selfies in flagrante delicto, we can still end up tagged in photos that unflatter us. In the process of sharing stuff with our friends, we’re more and more likely to end up sharing with Google and its few billion acquaintances as well.
We’ve tended to view this is as an inevitable social transition, as the archaic notion of privacy is abandoned in favour of an always-connected “what happens in Vegas … now stays online forever” transparency paradigm. Yes, today’s employers may tut-tut and refuse to hire those whose indiscretions are blatantly displayed online; but tomorrow’s employers, their own failings similarly emblazoned across social networks, are likely to be more tolerant (or so we hope).
What we’re now seeing, however, is a move away from open social networks to the closed user spaces of OTT* messaging applications, especially amongst teens and young adults who are tired of leaving a digital trail which can be seen by parents and employers and by which they can be judged.
* These messaging applications are called OTT (Over The Top), to indicate that they sit on top of the mobile infrastructure, using internet data connectivity rather than the cellular messaging facility, usually at a much lower pricepoint
The move to OTT messaging is problematic for marketers, however, for several reasons:
“The messaging landscape is fragmented. Teenagers are ditching social media to chat on services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and KakaoTalk. Apps like Kik, Line and Tango are other popular SMS replacements, [along with] Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe and Skype.”
2. Advertising May Not Be Welcome
It doesn’t help that service providers such as WhatsApp are saying they don’t want to include advertising:
The people at WhatsApp say explicitly that they “are not fans of advertising.” Because of this, “WhatsApp is currently ad-free and we hope to keep it that way forever.” Are you listening, every other company? Because this is what users want.
Mainstream OTT messaging providers such as Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts will be more sympathetic to marketers’ needs — but first they need to capture a significant market share.
3. Messaging Platforms Are Aiming To Keep Those Eyeballs Engaged
As always in the mobile space, the Asian markets demonstrate the future of OTT messaging platforms. According to BGR:
Mobile apps linked to messaging services are taking over the two most important Asian app markets, Japan and Korea. Today, nine out of the ten biggest revenue generators on South Korea’s Google Play app chart are Kakao apps. It is effectively becoming impossible to launch a major hit in the Korean app market unless you use Kakao’s messaging app as your platform. This in turn means that everyone interested in mobile apps is using Kakao. The messaging app has turned into the dominant platform for game distribution. LINE’s role in Japan is not quite as strong, but games for this messaging app regularly hold about half of the positions in Japan’s top-10 iPhone and Android app revenue charts.
… Time spent on messaging apps is exploding even in markets where games linked to these platforms have not yet taken off. According to The Hindu, people in India now spend 27 minutes per day on chat apps, up from 7 minutes just two years earlier. Many of the most populous countries in the world — China, India, Japan, Korea — have now fallen in thrall of the messaging apps. Their share of the daily leisure time of consumers is rapidly expanding. This will inevitably give messaging app vendors a golden chance to turn into content delivery companies. And to stage a serious offensive against Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Second, revenue growth generated by games linked to messaging apps is unearthly. LINE is now generating 67% revenue growth — between quarters, not annually. China’s WeChat is already on a big, global marketing binge, which has helped it boost its presence dramatically from Italy to Nigeria over the past summer.
Finally, one of the hottest app industry topics in Tokyo [at the Japan Game Show in September 2013] was the expansion of content services that we are about to witness. Over the next year, a rapidly expanding selection of comics, videos and music will start flowing to users of WeChat, LINE and Kakao.
4. OTT Messaging Is Taking Over from SMS
OTT Messaging isn’t only competing with Social Media, of course — it’s also taking on good old SMS text messaging, and (according to an April 2013 study by Informa) it’s already won. Business Insider reports that 41 billion OTT messages are now exchanged every day, compared with 19.5 billion SMS messages.
A late-2012 white paper by McKinsey highlights the key drivers of OTT adoption:
Technology Readiness, in the form of 3G or 4G networks; and penetration of smartphones
Cost Incentives, with SMS too expensive relative to data charges
Social Propensity, particularly driven by smartphone adoption amongst teens and young adults
Market share of specific OTT messaging applications
Here’s how those triggers drove adoption in South Korea and the Netherlands, according to McKinsey :
Do most of these triggers apply in New Zealand? Indeed they do.
5. Blink And You’ll Miss It
As if the proliferation of messaging platforms was not enough to worry about in itself, we’re now seeing the development of content that, like SnapChat, self-destructs. Forbesreports:
[Ephemeral apps, such as, in this example, Frankly, work like this:] send a message, and your recipient will initially see a box of blurred text. Once they tap it, a set timer counts down the seconds till the message has been deleted; sent to the digital afterlife. Chat windows, for the most part, thus stand empty at all times. Each time someone sends a text, they can also tap a black “x” afterwards to take it back, in case they change their mind. The idea is that the sender is always in control.
“Maybe, just as the rise of big data and government surveillance and privacy concerns and the over-curated self images on Facebook, people are saying, ‘I miss the days when I could have a private conversation,’” says Frankly founder Steve Chung. “‘Maybe I’m not saying anything bad, but you and I sit down in a coffee shop and we remember what we remember. When we leave, we don’t have reams of paper that recorded it all.’”
The question then isn’t if people want their messages deleted — plenty seem perfectly happy to keep reams of recorded texts — but whether they want more control over what is recorded.
Other ephemeral messaging services include such little-known names as Wickr, Blink, Gryphn, Ansa, SecretInk and Tiger Text. They’re fighting for market share in a still-developing arena, responding to consumer demand for a little more privacy.
Your messages probably still aren’t safe from the likes of the GCSB, Julian Assange or Edward Snowdon, but at least your boss shouldn’t be able to read them without your permission.
The existing News Feed displays a mash-up of posts from friends alongside Facebook pages you’ve liked . Those posts include check-ins, photos, videos, and status updates in some arcane order determined by an algorithm. The updated News Feed, by contrast, separates types of content, and lets users choose to view only photos, or only music, or only updates from businesses like yours—in other words, the pages they’ve liked.
One of the biggest changes to the design is the way it handles music. There’s a new feed to deal only with music-related stuff. You just choose the feed from a feeds drop-down list at the top right of the page.
The Spotify music your friends are listening to is now featured in the music feed. Facebook has moved your friends’ song listens out of the old ticker at the right hand side of the screen, and into the music feed.
And Facebook is doing a lot more with those Spotify listens. It looks for artists and songs that multiple friends are listening to and groups them together in an article in the news feed. The article contains a large picture of the artist, and at the left you can see all your friends who’ve listened to the artist lately. Mouse over any of the pictures and you can see what those people said about the artist.
The Following feed
Some of these themes are continued in other feeds. In the Following feed, Facebook now builds media rich articles using content from the pages of publications or public figures you like. For instance, if you follow the Onion’s page, you might see an article in your feed with the three most recent articles from the publication. Each article has its own image, and a 20-word summary. You might also find in-page videos of public figures you follow.
The Photos feed
The Photos feed simply displays all the posts that include photographs. The photos appear larger in the feed, as well as the text around them. Even the text in the comments boxes below the photos appears to be a little bit bigger than before. At the top of the Photos feed page, you’ll find a small header image that incorporates one of the images from your feed. (Actually, all the new feeds pages have these header images.)
2. Larger Pictures for More Visual Impact
Images are to be given much more priority in the new-look News Feed, for which we can probably thank Pinterest and Instagram (and the fact that, as revealed by Mark Zuckerberg, 50 percent of the content in the Facebook News Feed already comprises photos and videos). Little wonder, then, that the News Feed is being given a visual makeover.
Here’s what you’ll see if you look at a typical Facebook News Feed now:
And how it will look once the revamp rolls out:
3. Facebook Albums Look Better Too
4. New Look For Shared Stories
Perhaps the most dramatic change is to the way that links are shared on Facebook. You’ll be familar with the current appearance:
The new Sharing layout resembles (and was probably inspired by) the table of contents of a magazine. The new look includes:
A much larger image
A more prominent title
And a longer summary that tells you what this article is about
Facebook is also starting to add the logos of the publishers in the corner, its own effort to add authority and credibility to the shared content.
5. Desktop Mobilised
This visual makeover will see Facebook adopt similar layouts across both desktop and mobile, taking advantage of recent mobile styling.
What About The Marketers?
Collectively, the changes add up to a bold new look to the Facebook News Feed, at least for consumers. But where are marketers in all this?
AdWeekreported on the reaction from the marketing industry:
Many marketers gleefully anticipated that the content-specific feeds that Facebook was reportedly prepping would improve their ability to target ads. But when Facebook announced the new feeds on Thursday, advertisers were all but shut out—many of them feeling none too happy about it. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has yet to determine how it wants to handle ads in the four new feeds.
The ability to target, say, image-rich ads to the Photos feed, or promote a brand-related jingle to the Music Feed ads would be “definitely a great opportunity for advertisers. I don’t know why they’re not making that available right now,” said Performics global CEO Daina Middleton.
Facebook isn’t leaving Madison Avenue completely in the dark. After the announcement, the company emailed marketers with a follow-up overview of the new feeds and design “and said right now ad units aren’t going to change,” said iCrossing’s head of social media Amanda Peters, who received such an email.
Despite that outreach, “I was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of ad units [during Thursday’s announcement],” Peters said. “I think [the new feeds] do present an opportunity for new units and potentially more dynamic units, more targeted units for specific feeds. My guess is that would come very soon.”
But maybe marketers shouldn’t be surprised about a lack of initial ad talk, given past Facebook announcements regarding product changes, said MEC managing partner and social practice lead Kristine Segrist.
“I feel like historically whether it was Timeline or other big platform changes, they roll out the user experience first, get some learnings, test it in the wild, then roll out the accompanying ad products,” she said. However “the scary story for marketers is whether users have newfound controls and can choose to spend time where brands or businesses can’t be part of the conversation.”
“There will be a section of the new News Feed dedicated to pages that users have liked”, saysTony Bradley. However:
Borrowing the personalized newspaper analogy, that section will be the equivalent of the classifieds section.
It’s fair to assume that the users who have liked your Facebook page are at least peripherally interested in your products and services. However, people spend time on the social network to be, well, social.
Their first thought won’t be, “Hey, I wonder if that company I liked has anything new to say.” It probably won’t be their second or third thought, either.
Don’t wait for users to find you in the equivalent of the classifieds. To stay in the game and engage with your community, take your business to them. How do you do that? Use lots of photos and videos to help you business show up in the sections of the new Facebook News Feed, such as Photos, that will have the most traffic.
In other words, even in the new-look Facebook News Feeds, old-fashioned Engagement is as essential as ever.
So you’ve decided to start promoting your business in Social Media — and, to make the task easier, you’ve decided to hire a social media consultant. But how do you brief him or her? And how will you know if he or she is doing a good job?
The Challenges When You Use A Social Media Consultant
The whole social media phenomenon simply didn’t exist when many of today’s Kiwi business owners learnt the marketing ropes. As a result, there’s a significant lack of knowledge amongst business owners — and it certainly seems to be age-related.
just 12% of business owners over 60 years old are using social media in their business
20% of business owners who are Baby Boomers are making use of social media
21% of Gen X business owners have adopted social media for their business
42% of Gen Y business owners have gone social
With Kiwi consumers overwhelmingly adopting social media (95% of them went to a social media site in the last month), businesses really have little choice but to get involved with the medium, even if it is through the use of a social media consultant. But it is essential to give them an effective brief.
What your Social Media Consultant needs to know
Your brief to your social media consultant should give them meaningful guidance on these seven questions:
Who are you trying to reach?
As with any marketing, an effective social media brief starts by identifying your target market. Understanding the target audience’s age, gender, location, interests, activities and passions will have direct bearing on both the content of any social media campaign and the networks your social media consultant opts to use.
What are you trying to achieve through social media?
For some businesses, the objective of any marketing (no matter the media channel) is simply to make sales. For those operations, the social media consultant might recommend Facebook Offers or Gifts or similar sales tools. On the other hand, you might be aiming to build a customer support channel; to achieve that, your social media guru might suggest a significant devotion of time and resources to Twitter. Or perhaps you want to generate leads, or improve your brand’s reputation.
Whatever your business objectives within social media, you need to specify them upfront to ensure that your consultant is on the same page.
What is your Brand Personality?
Whoever is speaking to your prospects and customers through social media needs to reflect the brand personality and style of your business.
An organisation that prides itself on friendly, homespun advice to anyone who walks through the front door needs to adopt exactly the same tone on Facebook. If you wish to be perceived as a thought leader in your industry, then your LinkedIn posts need to take the same proactive, well-informed approach.
On the other hand, if your staff are not happy outside their carefully-protected comfort zone, you don’t want your social media consultant to be outspoken on Twitter.
What resources can your organisation devote to social media?
You may think that by outsourcing to a social media consultant, you’re avoiding getting bogged down. The reality is otherwise: social media is a direct conduit between your organisation and your prospects and customers.
As such, it touches on every aspect of your organisation: marketing, sales, PR, customer service, logistics, the lot. Even if it’s the social media consultant’s fingers on the keyboard, he or she needs to be able to draw information and answers from, and supply follow-up requests to, every part of your business.
What related topics are of interest to your prospects and customers?
An effective social media presence is not simply about you and your brands — your followers will quickly abandon you if every message you post is about your organisation. At the same time, your social media consultant must post information that is relevant to your customers/prospects and related at least tangentially to your business.
A food company, for example, can talk about recipes (not only those featuring their products) or about last night’s TV chef surprise or ask followers for tales of their worst cooking disaster. Similarly, an engineering business might post about the engineering challenges of the proposed 501-day trip to Mars and back, or about new technologies that will impact on Kiwi businesses in the next five years. Posting about upcoming concerts is unlikely to be relevant to any business but music labels, concert promoters and ticketing agencies.
What key products and events do you want to promote (and how)?
Social media isn’t purely non-commercial, of course, so you will want to brief your social media consultant to post stories about your products and your organisation, of course. The secret, however, is in exactly HOW you go about planning those posts.
Consumers who like brands in social media do so because either (a) they do actually like the brand (they’re fans); (b) they want discounts and deals; and/or (c) they want to hear about new products and services. Actually, if they want to hear about the new stuff, they want to be first to know — and they won’t bother sharing stale news with their friends and acquaintances.
So if you want your messages to have a chance of being shared, you need to brief your social media expert to first start building anticipation ahead of a new product announcement; and then leak the news in social media ahead of the traditional channels. Think about it this way: if you were a big fan of X, wouldn’t you simply die to get inside knowledge ahead of the crowd?
How is your social media consultant going to be measured?
Managers and financial controllers are now starting to ask tough questions about Return on Investment and whether social media really delivers value for the time and money involved. If you’re going to outsource to a social media consultant, you need to set some benchmarks against which his or her efforts can be evaluated. The presentation below by Olivier Blanchard provides some smart suggestions which can form a great starting point for measuring that social media performance.
Outsourcing your social media can be a good idea — provided that you provide an effective and comprehensive brief that can make your social media marketing achieve tangible outcomes.
You may have heard that Pinterest, the virtual pinboard site, raised US$200 million in a new round of funding (if you didn’t know that, watch the video for a two-minute backgrounder). Total valuation of the site now stands at US$2.5 Billion, up a billion dollars from a year ago.
Not bad for a site that hasn’t yet earned any revenue.
Now that we’re talking some serious dosh, expect a bit more effort from Pinterest in terms of “turning views into money”. The site itself is carefully architected to link from pictures to places where you can purchase the subjects of those pictures; that’s a natural starting point for efforts to extract money from marketers.
According to a Bizrate report69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase as compared to only 40% of online consumers who visit Facebook.
The survey, which interviewed 7,431 online buyers from August 9 to 17 2012, also found that significantly more online consumers agree that Pinterest is a place to “get inspiration on what to buy” and “help keep track of or collect things I like.”
Last year Sony published data which showed that Pinterest drives 2.5 times more traffic to its homepage than Twitter. Similarly, there are 10 times more clicks of the ‘Pin-it’ button than the ‘Tweet This’ one.
Jewellery retailer Boticca found that after integrating ‘pinning’ buttons across its website, Pinterest became its number one social referrer, assisting roughly 10% of sales, compared to 7% from Facebook.
Furthermore, Boticca found that Pinterest users spend more than twice as much as Facebook users ($180 vs. $85), and the site drives higher numbers of new customers. 86% of visits from Pinterest are new to Boticca compared to 57% from Facebook.
All of which makes Pinterest a pretty tempting dish to put before a marketer.
What to expect from social media in the year ahead?
Jeff Jarvis, author of “Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live” and “What Would Google Do?”, and musician and social media artist Amanda Palmer explore the impact of social on business, government, and individuals with The Economist‘s Robert Lane Greene at The Economist’s World in 2013 Festival on December 8th 2012.
Amongst the perspectives:
focus on the relationships, not on the technologies
especially with social media and privacy, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
At about 15 minutes in, Amanda talks about how she personally felt a deeply emotional connection with her fans that Twitter made possible — and that simply could not have happened a few years ago. Don’t miss it.
Do we really need another social network? That must be the question for many businesses, already stretched trying to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more.
The answer is a resounding YES, if that additional social network is Google Plus (also known as Google+) — and here are seven compelling reasons why YOU need to be using Google Plus for YOUR business NOW:
It will improve your ranking on Google Search.
Google is already “experimenting” with making clicks on +1 buttons one of the more than 200 signals informing its search algorithm, according to a company spokesperson. But it could go much further and factor in the number and size of your “circles” — the pools of Google+ users following a brand — as well as how widely its Google+ content is being shared. YOUR challenge is to build a worthwhile presence on Google Plus NOW, ahead of Google’s search expansion.
Early Adopters get the most benefit
Just imagine how much more effective a profile you’d now have on Facebook if you could have been there from the very beginning, attracting followers and building relationships! Leading brands have been very quick to set up Google plus pages; their worry is that early adopters will reap the search benefits, while others will be buried by those who have collected more +1s. If you hurry, YOU can be a fast follower too.
Google Plus is the fastest growing social network ever
According to comScore, Google+, launched by the Internet search and advertising giant on June 28, had 25 million unique visitors within a month.In comparison, it took other social networks much longer to reach 25 million users: 22 months for Myspace, 33 months for Twitter and 37 months for Facebook. And that runaway growth continues. How fast are YOU at seizing the day before Google Plus gets too crowded?
Google is adding a “social layer” to everything it does
Google CEO Larry Page just changed the rules. He recognised that social has become the most popular game in town, with users spending much more time on their social networking than they do on searching. Google needs to go social or risk daming its revenue streams; so now a quarter of every Google staffer’s bonus depends on the company’s success or failure in social media. That’s why they’re throwing everything they’ve got into Google Plus — and why YOU need to be firmly embedded in that social layer as well.
The Customer is now In Control
All the surveys are saying the same thing: consumers trust each other more than they trust you. 90% trust recommendations from people they know, according to a Nielsen global study, whilst 70% are prepared to believe consumer opinions posted online — the same as Brand Websites and ahead of TV advertising (62%) or online banner ads (33%). If you don’t start to build social relationships with your customers wherever you can, how can you be sure they will recommend YOU when the time comes?
Content Can Be Shared
If you’re going to the trouble of creating content for your blog, Facebook or Twitter, it’s copy-and-paste easy to share it on Google Plus as well. Sometimes, all you have to do is paste the link and Google Plus takes care of the rest. So why wouldn’t you connect with as many people through as many social networks as possible?
Social Can Be Slow
According to research conducted by Marshall Sponder of WebMetricsGuru, the average social media campaign takes between three months and a year to show results. So what are you waiting for? The best time to get started is RIGHT NOW.
1. Social brands don’t just send messages, they create value for people and communities.
2 Social brands are happy to exchange rigid control of their brand for greater involvement with people.
3 Social brands manage their brands in a more human context. It is less about the word of the brand guidelines and more about the spirit of the brand, often replacing formality around tone of voice in favour of expressing brand character, values, purpose and cause.
4. The types of content that social brands can create categorised as providing information, utility, entertainment, reward, incentive or something that reflects a person’s character and what they value. Brands are still totems to what we believe, reflecting our personality.
5. Timeliness of response is a critical indicator of social enablement. Social brands are agile and responsive to the needs of people, relishing opportunities as they arise.
6. Being appropriate in social doesn’t mean using a lot of brand outposts. The use of brand outposts is driven by what is most relevant for the community.
7. Negative and positive sentiment is acknowledged and accepted by social brands
8. Social brands create, develop and encourage behaviors that mirror community or individual behaviors. They meet and exceed expectations, often delighting people in doing so.
9. Social brands are true, compelling, authentic and transparent.
10. Social brands simplify their intent and continually act to achieve it. They have established what they want to achieve and ensure everything builds towards this commitment. To be a social brand you have to be a good brand, a good employer, make good products, provide good customer service and have a moral centre to your purpose by those that represent you.