Facebook Launches New Advertising Platform

Facebook, Atlas

A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a new (and very interesting) advertising platform from Microsoft, called Atlas. The social platform has been the #2 digital advertiser in the world, thanks to the large amount of information that it has on its 1.3 billion users, which it sells to individually targeted ads. Today, Atlas will be taking similarly targeted ads across the internet, which will more seamlessly connect online and offline.

Atlas will effectively give marketers more information on its users to point them to varying websites, apps and more. For instance, if RedBull wanted to target men between the ages of 18-24, it could use Atlas to identify such users and specifically show them ads for the energy drink across a multitude of sites, apps, etc.

If this multi-platform digital marketing works, it will create an additional method of marketing to users. One that will directly compete with the likes of Google, Apple, Yahoo, etc.

Having said that, this highly detailed targeting from Facebook brings up many worries relating to online privacy. Facebook specifically states that it never discloses info on its users, but the shear amount of details that the platform has on its users (both stated and voluntarily disclosed info) is highly coveted by all marketers.

Even scarier? When a user logs into Facebook on their phone, the company is able to see what other apps he or she is using and would then be able to show possible ads within those apps. “Nobody else besides Facebook has the depth of data about individuals,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at the research firm eMarketer. “That’s where the power of this ad platform is going to come from.”

Atlas will be interesting to watch develop, especially in the upcoming months as marketers determine how it could best benefit their clients. For now, it’s invite only and has been rolled out to a few of their key partners like Omnicom Media Group, SalesForce and SHIFT. Because of Facebook ‘playing favorites’, some marketers fear that they’ll be left out of the process and ultimate success of the new ad platform.

— Samantha

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Facebook to Kill Sponsored Posts in April

Sponsored Stories on FacebookMore news on the Facebook front: Sponsored Stories will no longer exist after April 9th, 2014.

If you’re unfamiliar with sponsored stories, they’re the posts that show up on a Newsfeed when one of your friends engages with a sponsored Page, event or application. For instance, when a fellow Facebook friend likes the RedBull Facebook page, and RedBull decides to promote that interaction, you’ll see it as a Sponsored Story on your own Newsfeed.

Although brands will be able to purchase Sponsored Stories until April 9th, such stories will transfer to other types of ads (like a Page Like ad) after the set date. In the future, all ads will include ‘social context’ where friends are mentioned in the content in order to get you to click it. A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable why the new addition of ‘social context’ to all Facebook ads is pointing the platform in a direction of phasing out Sponsored Stories:

“As announced in June of last year, we’re bringing the best of sponsored stories – social context – to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a standalone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.”

Overall, we’re interested to see how brands will create ads in the next few months, based off of these changes. We wonder whether or not adding social context to every ad will change how fans view promoted content — and how they ultimately interact with brands.

— Samantha

Instagram Ad Success

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It’s been about 6 weeks since Instagram introduced ads to its platform — and the results look good. As we’ve mentioned before, Instagram started slow, allowing only 10 retailers to start posting ads, which included Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s. Although Facebook has only released the results from these 2 brands, both have seen significant gains. Levi’s was able to reach an audience 47 times bigger than its follower count, while Ben & Jerry’s was able to reach an audience 29 times larger. Pretty impressive numbers.

Both brands were concerned that the numbers may have been inflated due to the novelty of the new ads. Because of this concern, they decided to pay more attention to numbers regarding ad recall and brand message awareness. Resulting from these ads, consumers were 32% more likely to remember the product highlighted than someone who had not seen it. They also saw a 10% jump in message awareness for people who were exposed to the ads. These are solid metrics, but information on how much these companies paid for these ads has not been released, making it is impossible to truly calculate ROI.

Personally, we think Instagram ads are off to a great start. We’ve seen a few ads on our feed which have been visually pleasing and even enjoyable. Hopefully this is how the ads will continue to be, however we have our doubts. Instagram put such an emphasis on making sure these initial ads were high quality, once more advertisers enter the game, the quality is sure to suffer.

Tell us: How did you feel about the new Instagram ads?

-Mike & Samantha

Worried About Instagram Ads?

We all hate ads being shoved in our face left and right, but don’t be scared, it seems Instagram’s new ad campaign will actually be pretty pleasant. Pleasant ads? Hard to believe we know, but Instagram is being very careful not to repeat mistakes made by Facebook when they first introduced ads. Instagram plans to slowly integrate these new “promoted” posts by allowing only a few, hand-picked, brands with successful existing accounts. Such brands include, Levi’s, Ben & Jerry’s, General Electric and PayPal. By only allowing access to these big, well funded brands, the posts are much more likely to be high quality, enjoyable photos. Here are two examples from Levi’s and Instagram themselves:

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As you can see, these are actually pretty cool photos. If you don’t agree and would rather not see a certain add, you even have the ability to click on the “…” in the bottom right-hand corner and hide and provide feedback on the ad. This will help Instagram learn what you like and provide more appropriate ads in the future.

Will these ads continue to be visually appealing and unobtrusive as time goes on? We will have to wait and see. No one really likes ads, but it is refreshing to see that Instagram is making the user experience its number one priority. How do you feel about this new introduction?

Mike & Samantha

Three Ways Brands Successfully Use Vine

When Instagram introduced their video feature, many thought Vine would soon be on its way out. While Instagram may have the advantage when it comes to number of users, we still see great opportunity with Vine, especially for brands. Vine offers a fantastic platform for brands to connect with their audience in a whole new way. Below, we have highlighted three such ways brands are successfully tapping into their Vine following.

1) Announcing New Products

New product promotion is always incredibly important to a brand. After all, whats the point of developing the latest and greatest if nobody knows about it? Here are two examples from Twitter and Puma of how to effectively promote a new product in six seconds:

2) Behind the Scenes

People love seeing behind the scenes footage. Whether it’s from the Super Bowl or the Grammys, audiences love exclusive material that the average consumer might not get. Here is a Vine from a Kate Spade fashion shoot and one from an XBOX event:

3) Straight Up Entertainment

One of the best ways to succeed in social media is simply create content people want to share. Regardless of topic, the more people linking your content, the bigger audience you reach. Here is a cool video from Urban Outfitters on glow-in-the-dark body paint and another one from Oreo, who may have just revolutionized your ice coffee:

-Mike & Samantha

Choosing Which Platform is Right for Your Brand

Jumping into social media can be a scary thought for any brand. There are so many options these days, from Facebook to Pinterest, where do you start? For example, you want to do some research like identifying where your customers are. This is not a new concept, just like in print advertising, you want to go where your target audience is. If you are selling custom NFL grill covers, it is probably not a good idea to advertise in People Magazine. Just like magazine readers, certain demographics gravitate to specific social media platforms.

There are a lot of factors to consider before setting up your social media presence. Just because social media is mostly free, that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. After all, you would never start an expensive print ad campaign without doing extensive research first. Choosing that social media platform that is right for you is paramount, but how do you know which one is right? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Who is my target demographic?
  • What are my objectives? (Improve SEO, Increase site traffic, Increase brand exposre, etc)
  • What platforms are my target demographic using?
  • What skills do I have that I can leverage on social media? (Copywriting, Graphic design, Photography, etc)

Now that we have you thinking a little more in-depth about social media and how it can help your business, take a look at this infographic by Social Barrel. Take it step by step and figure out exactly what platforms you can leverage for the best results.  Don’t waste your time and resources by investing in the wrong platforms, if you can successfully grow and cultivate your social presence, the results can be exponential.

how-brands-can-choose-the-right-social-media-platforms-for-their-goals-infographic

 

-Mike

Facebook Releases New User Data

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We had recently done a piece on how Facebook is getting ready to sell video advertisements on their platform. In order to create some hype among advertisers, Facebook released some recent user data for the U.S. and UK. Get ready for this:

More than 128 million people in the U.S. visit Facebook at least once a day. That’s a third of the population! Also, in the UK, about 24 million people visit the social media website everyday.

Of course these numbers are pretty staggering on their own, but another important thing to take away from this announcement, is that this is one of the first times Facebook has released regional data. This is significant to TV advertisers, who rely heavily on those breakdowns. Facebook is trying to show all the advertisers out there just how many people they can reach on a daily basis.

At $66.3 billion estimated to go towards TV ads this year, or 39% of all advertising spent in the U.S., there is some serious money to be made by Facebook. Although these daily user number are no doubt impressive, advertising analysts would like to see more granularity before they can really put a value on Facebook’s reach. For the first time ever, researchers say the average time spent on digital media will surpass TV viewing this year.

We can all see where  TV advertising is going and it is no surprise that Facebook is on the forefront. Sure there will be some backlash from user over having video ads in their newsfeed, but after seeing the potential revenues for Facebook in this new field, we expect to see them take TV advertising head-on.

-Mike & Samantha

Facebook to Launch Video Ads

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Facebook users will have a whole new reason to complain any day now as the social media giant plans to roll out video ads on your Newsfeed. As if your Newsfeed isn’t already cluttered enough with various ads and promotions, Facebook’s new video ads will be 15-second commercials that automatically play as soon as the site is loaded. Thankfully the ads will be muted as a default, but we are not so confident this convenient feature will last for long.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook is planning to charge between $1 million and $2.5 million for each 15-second ad, per day! Prices like that put these Facebook ads on the same level as the most notoriously expensive advertisements in the world, Super Bowl commercials. With the average 30-second commercial costing $4 million during the 2013 Super Bowl, Facebook’s pricing seems to be right on track. Is your Newsfeed as valuable to marketers as the Super Bowl? According to Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandburg, with Facebook getting 3 times the viewership of the Super Bowl, EVERY DAY, it most certainly is. Now are you and your friends going to gather around your Newsfeed in anticipation for clever ads like on Super Bowl Sunday? We would think not. However, with the sheer numbers advantage alone, Facebook has a lot to offer its future advertising clients. 

Like any change on Facebook, there is sure to be complaints from its users. We think these video ads will create a larger backlash than normal, primarily depending on how annoying and intrusive Facebook allows these ads to be. However, like all the other changes Facebook has gone through over the years, give it a little bit of time, and most users will eventually accept it as normal.

Is this the right move for Facebook? With growing discontent among its users, we think it is dangerous for Facebook to continually hurt the user experience it has prided itself on since day one. However, on the other hand, we can see how saying no to the profit Facebook will see off these ads would be hard for any capitalistic company. Only time will tell if the monetary gains outweigh the potential loss in users due to this advertising decision.

-Mike & Samantha