Taylor Peterson – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Sat, 28 Aug 2021 01:11:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 Facebook expands test for in-stream ads on Live /facebook-expands-test-for-in-stream-ads-on-live-333911 Wed, 29 Apr 2020 18:50:01 +0000 /?p=333911 Advertisers concerned with brand safety can choose to exclude ads from appearing in Live content.

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Facebook is expanding its test of in-stream ads in Facebook Live to more verticals, including “pre-vetted entertainment, news and sports partners,” the company announced this week. The test is designed to help evaluate whether or not the ad format is effective before rolling it out more broadly.

For now, Facebook is piloting in-stream ads with only a select number of publishers. The limited test will help determine if pre-vetted content creators are able to successfully monetize their live video streams with in-stream ads.

How it works. When watching Live content from a creator included in the test, viewers might see a range of ad formats, including:

  • A pre-roll ad that runs before the live stream
  • An image ad that appears below the live stream
  • A mid-roll ad that plays in the main video player during the live stream while the broadcast continues playing in a shrunken window
Ads play in the main video player during the live stream. Source: Facebook

Brand safety controls for advertisers. When setting up campaigns in Ads Manager, advertisers will have an option to exclude ad placements from live streams. Advertisers can also add certain publishers to a blocklist in order to prevent ad delivery on either Live or Video on Demand content from a creator. 

For further brand safety control, advertisers can enable the “Limited” Inventory Filter to block ads from more sensitive content. This option automatically blocks ads from appearing in live streams.

Why we care. Up until now, Facebook has been testing the new in-stream product exclusively with gaming developers in Live. Now that it’s rolling out to more verticals (entertainment, news, and sports), advertisers across the spectrum could see an uptick in impressions with the in-stream Live format – especially now as people seek virtual ways to experience their favorite live moments.

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TikTok vs. Snapchat: A guide for marketers /tiktok-vs-snapchat-a-guide-for-marketers-332715 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 12:30:00 +0000 /?p=332715 A look at the key differences between Snapchat and TikTok.

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TikTok is having a moment. Whether you use the app already or have spotted TikToks popping up on other social platforms, it’s clear that TikTok isn’t just another fleeting trend. It’s here to stay.

Yet it’s easy to see how someone not familiar with TikTok (ahem, your boss) might dismiss it as a Snapchat reboot. Worse, they might assume content from Snapchat can be repurposed on TikTok.

The two platforms share similar features (and yes, similar audiences) but their value offerings are entirely different. TikTok is a video sharing app for short clips set to music while Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app centered on ‘Stories’ and other short-lived formats. Each platform offers unique ways to connect with audiences if used the right way by the right type of brand.

If you’re not sure where your brand fits in – or if it even fits in at all – you’re in the right place. Below is a simple guide that highlights key differences between TikTok and Snapchat along with essential considerations for brands looking at either app as a potential marketing channel.

At a glance…

Launched: 2011

Core features: Video and image capture, Story creation, text and video chat, camera filters, lightweight editing tools, AR ‘Lenses’, Discover tab, (Snapchat-native content covering user interests and subscriptions), Snap Maps

U.S. demographic: Primarily Millenials, with 78% of internet users aged 18-24 on the platform. Roughly 61% of Snapchat users are female and 38% are male*

Who users follow: Friends, celebrities, publishers

Daily active users: 218 million globally*

Total downloads: 75 million globally* in 2019

Revenue: $561 million in 2019*

Some brands using Snapchat: Taco Bell, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Burberry, Target, MTV

Launched: 2017 in China, 2018 internationally

Core features: Video capture, powerful editing tools, filter effects, creation prompts (reactions, hashtag challenges), sound library, ‘For You’ page (TikTok’s algorithm-based discovery feed)

U.S. demographic: Primarily Gen Z. 41% of users are between ages 18-24* and 27% between 13-17. Approximately 60% of TikTok users are female; 40% are male.

Who users follow: Content creators, celebrities, brands

Daily active users: 41 million gobally*

Total downloads: 738 million globally* in 2019

Revenue: $176.9 million in 2019

Some brands using TikTok: Chipotle, E.l.f. Cosmetics, Guess, ESPN

The basics: TikTok

What it is. TikTok is a rapidly growing video-sharing app that launched in 2017 by Chinese tech company ByteDance. In October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019.

How it’s used. Users create and post short, looping videos set to TikTok’s massive library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point. TikTok isn’t necessarily the place for serious life updates or connecting with friends. Instead, users rely on TikTok for entertainment and follow creators with quality content. Common TikTok videos include choreographed dances, lip-syncing, hashtag challenges, reaction videos, and cringe-worthy content.

Audience. The app has rapidly become a Gen-Z favorite, with 42% of users between ages 13-16 actively using the app. Users create and post short, looping videos set to TikTok’s massive library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point. 

Advertising. TikTok’s ad product is still in its early days. For now, advertising is only offered on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions) as TikTok’s self-service ad platform is still in beta. Ad units currently available include:

  • In-feed native video ads
  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnerships

READ: TikTok 101: A primer for brands

The basics: Snapchat

What it is. Snapchat is a mobile messaging app for sharing text, photos, and videos with friends. It launched in 2011 under the premise of sharing photos with a 10-second expiration, but has since evolved to focus on ephemeral video content in the form of Stories and curated ‘Discover’ series.

How it’s used. Snapchat offers a way for users to keep up with friends, relevant news, and popular trends. A big draw is the ability to capture ephemeral content and publish it as a Story for followers to see and engage with for up to 24 hours. Snapchat has been investing heavily in AI and AR capabilities (or ‘Lenses’) to give brands and users more immersive creative abilities – like object scanning, try-on effects, and 3D environment interactions.

Audience. The platform is most popular among millennials and currently claims around 218 million daily active users (DAUs).

Advertising. Snapchat offers a range of advertising options through its self-serve ad platform, from standard Snap Ad units that appear between stories to ads that use branded filters and AR lenses. Snapchat also has an e-commerce component with shoppable ads, personalized targeting, and a native checkout feature.

READ: Marketing Land’s original guide to Snapchat

TikTok and Snapchat: Content comparison

Samsung x Snapchat (Snap Ads format):

Samsung x TikTok (sponsored challenge):


Join the Galaxy A ##danceAwesome challenge with @blackpinkofficial !

♬ original sound – Samsung

The marketing questions: Which platform is best for my brand?

What’s your objective? Both TikTok and Snapchat offer top-of-funnel opportunities for brands to connect with audiences. Specifically, TikTok can be effective for driving awareness with user-generated content (UGC) in the form of brand challenges, reactions, or filters.

While there are opportunities for brands to take advantage of UGC on Snapchat, the platform is better for sharing fleeting life moments and surfacing relevant content that the user might care about – like original series or Stories.

Plus, Snapchat’s shoppable and native checkout features can be a big draw for retail brands (especially D2C). The platform also has a hold over TikTok with more mature advertising options, while TikTok’s use for brands is still much more experimental. Don’t expect to find instant success marketing on TikTok, especially since it’s driven by users who value humor and fleeting trends (which might not work for all brands).

Consider your audience. Are they young and full of untapped meme energy? Look to TikTok. Tiktok users want a digital experience that’s authentic, homegrown, and downright entertaining. It’s part of the reason why reactions and brand challenges have taken off at warp speed. Instead of standing by and watching social play out from a distance, TikTok users are diving in head-first to leave their mark in near real-time, and brands can lean into that organic content creation process.

Since Snapchat is still a home for the Millenial generation, brands on the platform can capture more conventional, mainstream interests. As a whole, brands with audiences that skew younger should probably be experimenting with both Snapchat and TikTok.

Think about the content. If you’re focused on creating quality content with a traditional brand message, Snapchat is likely the better channel. Brands can get creative with Snapchat’s AR and Lens capabilities while still offering built-in (“swipe-up”) features for a more immersive user experience. TikTok content isn’t concerned with aesthetics or how good something looks, which makes it both a challenge and opportunity for brands. To be successful on TikTok, a brand’s content needs resonate with young users while offering the ability to engage with it.

Brand uses cases

TikTok x Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle’s first viral TikTok challenge kicked off in May 2019 after a customer filmed a video doing a lid flip, which Chipotle then posted to Instagram. The post racked up over a million views, prompting the brand to turn to TikTok to invite customers to try the lid flip trick for themselves with a branded hashtag challenge. The #ChipotleLidFlip challenge received over 104 million views, 111,000 video submissions, and over 59,000 participants during the campaign.

TikTok x e.l.f. cosmetics. Makeup brand e.l.f. also found viral success with TikTok’s hashtag challenge format. With over 3 million organic views of the #elfcosmetics hashtag on Tik Tok, the brand developed its own challenge to engage with the creator-driven community. The brand commissioned a made-for-TikTok music track for its #eyeslipsface campaign, prompting users to showcase their e.l.f. makeup looks set to the song.

Snapchat x Top Gun: Maverick. In December 2019, Paramount Pictures launched an AR-driven UGC campaign with Snapchat’s Cameos feature, in which users could add creative elements to their shots with digital overlays used to promote the film. Snapchat users who were interested in seeing more promo content from the film had the option to watch the entire 2-minute trailer.

Snapchat x Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Snapchat released “Snapchat Scan” in December 2019, and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola were the first brands to jump on board. The feature offers image-recognition so users can scan logos to unlock AR lenses and content. With Coke and Mcdonalds, users simply had to scan the packaging on their food or beverage to gain access to exclusive branded lenses. It’s a key example of how brands on Snapchat can engage users by blending creative content with elements of the physical world. According to Snap’s product marketing manager Carolina Arguelles, “using Scan in this way offers so many possibilities for brands – from creating fun, shareable moments, to sharing product information or offering a virtual trial.”

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TikTok 101: A primer for brands /tiktok-101-a-primer-for-brands-332710 Fri, 10 Apr 2020 21:04:20 +0000 /?p=332710 How brands like Chipotle and E.lf. are marketing on TikTok in 2020.

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You don’t have to install the app to experience TikTok. If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve already stumbled upon a TikTok-emblazoned clip of someone wearing bread on their feet or feverishly performing a choreographed dance. None of it makes sense and that’s the point. It’s meme culture at its finest.

Teens see TikTok as a home for pure, unfiltered entertainment. Brands, on the other hand, are watching it like a shiny new penny. The platform known for hosting amusing video challenges inspired by the ephemeral (and often satirical) nature of Gen Z is now starting to become part of the marketing equation.

“Being there early allows brands to authentically tap into the ‘it-crowd’ as long as they can adapt their message to the fun and informal tone,” explained Fred Schonenberg, founder of New York marketing firm VentureFuel. But that informal tone, he explained, is TikTok’s entire value. “Brands who show up with standard corporate messaging will alienate the audience as quickly as they seek to be embraced.”

So, what is TikTok?

Boasting more than 500 million active users, TikTok is a mobile video-sharing app that stepped on the scene in 2018. Users can create and post short, looping videos set to music or sound bites – often with humor as the focal point. Like the other social platforms, TikTok features a personalized discover page, a home feed, user profiles, and a built-in suite of video editing tools. Because TikTok posts have a max length of 60 seconds, the end result is typically a quirky, highly concentrated form of entertainment that’s equal parts confusing and captivating.

Background. To understand TikTok, you have to look at it in the context of its forerunners, Musical.ly and Vine. Vine, the viral short-form video-sharing app launched in 2013, can be thought of as the originator of snack-sized viral video content. Vine put the wheels in motion for short videos to take off as a standard video format where creators could leverage the vertical orientation native to smartphones. (Snapchat and Instagram trailed this model with their own investments in video.)

In 2014, Musical.ly launched as a follow-up to the success of Vine, which Twitter acquired sadly shuttered in 2016. Users could create short videos with the added layer of lip-syncing. This approach, coupled with low production requirements, made it easy for just about anyone to create engaging content.

Fast forward to 2017, when Chinese tech giant ByteDance saw opportunity in Musical.ly’s content model. ByteDance acquired Musical.ly in 2017, and in 2018 rolled out to the international market with the name TikTok. By October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019.

What can you do on TikTok?

TikTok trends move fast. Blink and you might miss them. The platform doesn’t have the visual aesthetic of a curated Instagram grid – nor is it the place for serious issues (though some have tried). Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg thought he hit the mark in comparing TikTok to Instagram’s Explore page (according to leaked audio from an all-hands meeting). PSA: Instagram and TikTok are definitely not the same.

TikTok has managed to create a distinctive social experience that values spontaneity, humor, and relatability above all else. It’s turned social media into pure social entertainment.

Here’s how users are getting the most out of the app:

Video editing. TikTok has provided an entire generation of users with a crash course in video editing. The platform’s easy-to-use tools add a unique creative impact that doesn’t require the learning curve of an advanced video editing platform. Creators can choose from dozens of overlays, transition effects, filters, playback speeds, text options, and sounds. It gives just about anyone the ability to create an engaging video with just a few taps.

Playing with sound. The platform’s editing tools and advanced filters enable creativity by default, but a unique edge is the ability to add sound from a massive library of both licensed music and user-created recordings. After a video is posted, any user can rip the audio, re-create the parody, and throw it back into the TikTok ecosystem until the joke is dead. Similar to the way hashtags work to discover content, users can search for a song or sound to see the original content and all other videos it appears in. Sound on the platform inspires music video spoofs, funny lip-dubs, dance routines, and more.

Hashtag challenges. Viral trends start in the hashtags on TikTok. Hashtag challenges encourage users to attempt and share their own unique takes on challenges posed by different creators or brands – like Guess’s #InMyDenim challenge or Jimmy Fallon’s #tumbleweedchallenge. Challenge have proven to be an engaging way for users to easily create appealing content, while brands can use it as an opportunity to build awareness with consumers.

React videos. Users on TikTok have taken the concept of a reaction to a hilarious new level. With the ‘React’ feature, users can record their own reactions (with audio and video) to an existing TikTok video. The reaction video can appear side-by-side with the original.

Cringe-worthy content. Like a train wreck you can’t look away from, cringe videos feature awkward performances aimed at getting a laugh. It’s a format made famous on YouTube, and TikTok-ers are playing it on their own terms with injections of youth commentary and social satire. Still confused? Here are some examples.

Who’s using TikTok?

Gen Z runs the show. Younger audiences (ages 13-22) make up the majority share of TikTok users. As of September 2019, 42% of internet users in the U.S. aged 13-16 are on TikTok, according to eMarketer. Among ages 17-21, the percentage falls to 32%.

Older generations (Boomer, Gen X, Millennial) have used social as a mode of staying up-to-date with friends, exploring interests in groups, and communicating through messaging. Gen Z, on the other hand, is carving out its own value in social as an unbridled medium for entertainment, confessionals – and, well, dark humor. It’s part of the reason why brands have to think differently about their content approach on a platform that embraces weird, ephemeral, off-the-cuff entertainment.

“At the end of the day, people come to TikTok for engaging content, and brands can’t make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously,” said Tressie Lieberman, VP of digital and off-premise at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle stands out as one of the brands that understand how users are approaching TikTok – and what types of content they’re looking for, as you can see in this example:


@ your Chipotle buddy #fyp #chipotle

♬ sprint – goalsounds

Can TikTok work for brands?

Now that TikTok has taken off in the U.S. – and looks likely to continue growing – brands are itching to get their messages seen. Before jumping into the memetic platform, businesses need to ask whether or not they should be marketing on TikTok in the first place.

For brands setting out to reach younger audiences with fun, challenging, or unusual content, TikTok might be the place. But it’s worth it to note that image-based ads and Instagram-style product endorsements won’t cut it when marketing on TikTok.

“You don’t want to show up and feel like an advertiser,” explained Lieberman of Chipotle. “It’s not about creating content for Instagram and then posting it on this platform; it’s about really using the power of this particular channel and sharing content that will resonate specifically on TikTok.”

Here are some of the ways brands are dipping into TikTok.

Advertising. TikTok’s advertising business is still in its infancy. The platform introduced a self-serve ad offering in beta last year, garnering enthusiasm from the brands who were first to test it out. The platform is still in beta testing and lacks some of the more robust targeting options and programmatic features that enable advertisers to automatically buy and measure ads.

For now, advertising on TikTok is only offered on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions). To get started, advertisers will need to create a TikTok ad account, after which a representative will grant access to the beta self-serve ad platform. Once in, the process for creating an ad is similar to other social platforms. Advertisers can define the campaign objective and select targeting rules based on age, gender, location, interests, etc. There is also an option to define the ad placement (TikTok, its affiliated apps – or both), as well as an option for automated placement (in beta).

Creative formats include:

  • In-feed native video ads
  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnership

Social commerce. In November, TikTok began testing shoppable video posts, making it possible for creators to place social commerce links in their posts. Users can then complete a purchase without leaving the app. For now, the option is still in beta with no current word on when it will roll out more broadly.

Sponsored hashtag challenges. Despite TikTok’s lack of a solid ad offering, brands are still finding ways to make their products known by leveraging the community at large (and we all know the TikTok community loves a good challenge). Sponsored hashtag challenges give brands the ability to create a video effect and pose a prompt to the community, which users can then play into with their own spin.

Brand use cases

Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle teamed up with its fans to create a series of challenges. Its first viral challenge kicked off in May 2019 after a customer filmed a video doing a lid flip, which Chipotle then posted to Instagram. The post racked up over a million views, prompting the brand to turn to TikTok to invite customers to try the lid flip trick for themselves with a branded hashtag challenge. The #ChipotleLidFlip challenge received over 104 million views, 111,000 video submissions, and over 59,000 participants during the campaign.

e.l.f. cosmetics. Makeup brand e.l.f. also found viral success with the hashtag challenge format. With over 3 million organic views of the #elfcosmetics hashtag on TikTok, the brand developed its own challenge to engage with the creator-driven community. The #eyeslipsface challenge “encourages raw and authentic videos that extend beyond makeup, and even beyond makeup users, with a focus on unleashing s(e.l.f.)-expression,” said a spokesperson at e.l.f.

While the vast majority of brands continue to push their polished Instagram content into Tik Tok, e.l.f. designed its campaign from scratch and was the first brand to create original music for a TikTok hashtag. The campaign broke the record for the most user-generated videos in a TikTok brand campaign and was the first sponsored brand to hold the #1 trend spot on TikTok. The campaign currently has 4.4 billion views and is growing.

Here’s what it looks like, courtesy of Jessica Alba (yes, celebs are getting in on it, too).


#eyeslipsface my errryday look #honestbeauty #cleanbeauty

♬ eyes. lips. face. (feat. Holla FyeSixWun) – iLL Wayno

Looking ahead

Perhaps the most valuable facet of TikTok is its audience. They’re young, sure, but they want a digital experience that’s authentic, homegrown, and thoroughly entertaining. It’s part of the reason why reactions and challenges have taken off at warp speed. Instead of standing by and watching social play out from a distance, TikTok users are diving in head-first to leave their mark in near real-time.

“While other social platforms compel users to post carefully curated content, TikTok invites users to release their inhibitions, have fun, and get silly,” said Ashley Fauset, VP of Marketing for Stardust. “Today’s consumers are increasingly savvy when it comes to advertising. Brands should pay close attention to the differentiation between TikTok and other platforms, and craft their channel strategy accordingly.”

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Social Shorts: Creative highlights, Quora queries, Twitter ad data, Facebook’s newest app /social-shorts-creative-highlights-quora-queries-twitter-ad-data-facebooks-newest-app-332700 Fri, 10 Apr 2020 20:29:40 +0000 /?p=332700 The social media marketing week in review: A round up of news and announcements you may have missed.

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(Beyond social) creative moments that caught our attention

Audi x We Are Social takes viewers on a virtual road trip. With much of the world on lockdown, Audi Australia in partnership with creative agency We Are Social jumped on the opportunity to recreate a scenic drive for those stuck at home. The four-hour, slow TV-style video – shot inside and around an Audi A6 sedan – takes viewers through Australia’s countryside, complete with weather changes throughout the journey. True to the times, director Luke Bouchier employed multiple cameras with four crewmembers in four separate cars to capture the footage, while composer John Hassell scored the track from his own home in France. Source: AdAge

William Grant & Sons opens a virtual bar. Scotch whiskey distillery William Grant & Sons is shaking up its stay-at-home routine by bringing the bar to people at home. The 1887 Virtual Bar (named for the year the family-owned company was founded) will feature weekly guests as hosts and bartenders. The first experience will take place on Zoom this week, and will include Hendrick’s Gin ambassador Charmaine Thio and Glenfiddich’s Brett Bayly as recurring hosts. It’s a refreshing example of how brands like WG&S are finding opportunities to connect with audiences while keeping the brand spirit alive despite restrictions around in-person gatherings. Source: The Drum

IKEA’s instruction manual for staying home. To amplify the public message to stay home during this crisis, the Swedish retailer released its own step-by-step guide for what to do in a pandemic. The guide looks a lot like IKEA’s typical instruction manual – branding and all – only, the words “Stay Home” are displayed above a house. Instead of listing tools to build the pictured house, the manual shows a key, a lock and 100 rolls of toilet paper. Below that, a graphic of a closed door shows a checkmark while an open door shows an “x,” indicating what NOT to do. The instructions were posted on IKEA Israel’s Facebook page and were created in partnership with agency McCann Tel-Aviv Israel. “It’s really not complex – just staying at home,” reads the post. Source: AdAge

Quora users are looking for answers on productivity tools

Source: Quora. Methodology: Percent increases are calculated using global answer views over the last three weeks (3/8/20 – 3/28/20) compared to the three weeks prior (2/16/20 – 3/7/20).

Quora’s head of marketing, JD Prater, highlighted trends around how users (and brands) are engaging on Quora during this time of crisis. “From productivity tools to self-improvement activities to video conferencing, it’s obvious we’re all doing our best to settle into this new normal,” he noted.

In particular, he outlines the brands that are seeing a trending spike in engagement on the question-and-answer platform. “Several productivity tools are breaking through the noise and earning a lot of attention on Quora. Microsoft Teams rocketed up 310% while their primary competitor Slack was up 19%. No surprise here that popular video conferencing apps GoToMeeting, Zoom, WebEx, and Skype are seeing nice increases in views,” Prater wrote.

Twitter’s bot problem persists, Zoom vows to improve its platform amid surge in usage 

Zoom pledges to improve systems, ramp up security. With the global workforce scrambling to WFH, video conferencing platform Zoom is feeling the pressure as usage skyrockets. Zoom has acknowledged the cracks in its system and announced plans to continue improving its platform, protecting user security, and supporting the surge in traffic. In a blog post last week, Zoom wrote, “These new use cases have helped us uncover unforeseen issues with our platform… We appreciate the scrutiny and questions we have been getting – about how the service works, about our infrastructure and capacity, and about our privacy and security policies. These are the questions that will make Zoom better, both as a company and for all its users.” Source: Zoom. Why we care: As marketers, communication is critical – even more so in times like these. Zoom’s commitment to making productivity changes for the better is an improvement that we can all benefit from.

Twitter bots are alive and well – and fueled by politics. Bots and fake accounts have been a long time headache for Twitter users, but the problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Fake profiles and bots account for anywhere between 5% to 15% of total users, Social Media Today notes, but their presence has an even bigger impact. Social media analysts have called out swarms of bot accounts being used for malicious purposes, such as amplifying political messages or mass retweeting to drown out opposing views. Source: Social Media Today. Why we care: Despite Twitter working to address the issue through various measures (like bulk removal of fake accounts), the issue is still a red flag for users and brands. As told by Social Media Today, “banning political ads on the platform is one thing, but banning bot swarms would likely have a much bigger positive impact in the case of tweets.”

Facebook’s app for couples, Twitter shares more data with advertisers and TikTok’s latest legal troubles

Facebook has a new app for couples. Earlier this week, the tech giant quietly released a new app for couples called Tuned, developed by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation team. It takes on a messaging app appearance and is designed to help romantic partners communicate via text, voice messages, photos, and songs. Source: The Information. Why we care: The app abides by Facebook’s data policy, which allows user information to be collected for ad targeting purposes.

Twitter is sharing more data with advertisers. Twitter alerted users with a pop-up this week that it’s passing more data to advertisers in order to help prove the effectiveness of ads on its platform. As part of the effort, Twitter removed a privacy setting that users could toggle to prevent Twitter from sharing information (such as ads views and your device ID). For most users, that information will now be shared by default and can’t be turned off. Source: The Verge. Why we care: According to Twitter, this move helps verify that people are actually watching, interacting with, and otherwise seeing the ads that advertisers are paying for, which helps the company “continue operating as a free service.” For advertisers, this means more measurable data which could drive stronger ad performance. Suddenly, advertising on Twitter makes sense.

Publishers threaten to sue TikTok over music licensing issues. TikTok has taken measures to reduce the amount of copyrighted music on its platform, but the Chinese-owned app still has a long way to go. According to the Financial Times, the National Music Publishers Association is threatening legal action against TikTok, and rumor has it that Universal Music Publishing Group is considering doing the same. Source: Financial Times. Why we care: TikTok is still a young platform, and will likely continue to experience legal growing pains – especially with music as a core feature of its platform. Brands on TikTok should keep an eye on the music they use (especially in campaigns). Or, do what e.l.f. cosmetics did – and make your own track.

Facebook rolls out Quiet Mode, Instagram brings DMs to the web

Quiet time on Facebook. Facebook has released a new feature called Quiet Mode last week, which lets users mute all notifications in an attempt to promote downtime away from the screen. It will continue rolling out for iOS users through the next month, and it will be available for Android users starting in May. Source: VentureBeat. Why we care. Quiet Mode complements Facebook’s other efforts to offer relief in the time of COVID-19. It’s coupled with the app’s ‘Your Time’ feature as part of Facebook’s well-being suite that launched back in 2018. The ability to mute all notifications signals a broader push to address growing concerns about the impact of technology on mental health – especially during a time of crisis.

Instagram now shows DMs on desktop. As a long-awaited feature sought after by businesses, creators, and users alike, Instagram is finally bringing direct messages to its desktop browser site. Instagram announced the move on Friday, stating that users globally will now be able to access DMs on the web. Source: The Verge. Why we care: Desktop DMs have been in beta since January, and the platform has gradually added small features to mirror the DM experience users are already familiar with on the app. For marketers in particular, the ability to access DMs directly from the computer means one less step when connecting with audiences or customers. 

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Pinterest rolls out new commerce features for retailers as search volume climbs /pinterest-rolls-out-new-commerce-features-for-retailers-as-search-volume-climbs-331626 Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:54:08 +0000 /?p=331626 Upgrades include the new Verified Merchant Program, new conversion reporting opportunities, and updates to Catalogs and dynamic retargeting.

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Retailers on Pinterest will now have more ways to be discovered as the platform introduces new shopping features aimed at bringing products to where users are most likely to shop. Pinterest announced the new features Thursday, including the launch of the Verified Merchant Program, new conversion reporting capabilities, dynamic retargeting options, and updates to product Catalogs.

What’s new

Verified Merchant Program. Pinterest will now allow retailers on the platform to be verified, making their products eligible for distribution across Pinterest shopping experiences, including ‘Shop the Look’ Pins and related product carousels. Verified Merchants will have a blue checkmark badge on their profiles, and will be eligible for “high-intent shopping experiences and metrics like conversion reporting,” Pinterest said. The program has been in beta testing since last month and is now rolling out broadly. Retailers interested in signing up for the program can do so at pinterest.com/verified.

Conversion insights. Retailers on Pinterest will have early access to organic and paid conversion insights to more accurately measure Pinterest’s impact on website visits, checkouts, and sales across multiple attribution windows.  

Catalogs updates. Pinterest Catalogs, which allow brands to upload a product catalog for ads and Shoppable Pins, have been optimized to “lessen the time from feed ingestion to Product Pin creation,” Pinterest said. The Catalog update also includes new metrics, near real-time feed ingestion, user experience enhancements, and the ability to schedule feed uploads. 

Dynamic retargeting. Pinterest has extended its dynamic ad retargeting to global markets for advertisers who want to reach users who have previously engaged with their brand online or have abandoned their shopping carts. It’s a feature that has been in testing in the U.S. for a few months now. Now, brands can globally retarget exact or similar products that users search and save on Pinterest. The company said it will be working to build out even more “optimization levers” to give retailers more control around dynamic targeting.

Why we care

Now more than ever, e-commerce shopping is becoming an increasing necessity as brick-and-mortar retailers shutter their doors for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19. Retailers should be thinking about long-term engagement during this time of heightened online activity. Features that make the experience more frictionless and personalized – like dynamic retargeting or verified merchant badges – add a layer of trust and ease for consumers.

To get take advantage of the new features, Pinterest recommends the following approaches for merchants:

  1. Become eligible for increased distribution and access to new measurement and analytics tools through the platform’s Verified Merchant Program.
  2. Upload all your products to Catalogs to generate Product Pins, which display price, availability and product descriptions while linking directly to your e-commerce page.
  3. Use Shopping Ads to promote your products to reach more Pinners and optimize performance once you’ve set up your product groups within Catalogs.
  4. Take advantage of dynamic retargeting to reach users who previously visited your site, but didn’t purchase, as they continue to browse home feed.

More on the news

  • Initial partners of Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program included retailers like Quay Australia, Ruggable, Filson, Coychi, and Lotuff Leather.
  • Pinterest said that in recent weeks its seen an increase in searches (compared to the prior two weeks) for topics like “home organization” (+43%), “spa day at home” (+19%), “makeup tutorial for beginners” (+180%), and “kid-friendly recipes” (+64%). 

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Social platforms cut streaming quality as ‘social distancing’ wages on /social-platforms-cut-streaming-quality-as-social-distancing-wages-on-331492 Wed, 25 Mar 2020 21:08:31 +0000 /?p=331492 Advertisers could soon be feeling the effects of reduced speeds in the U.S., if they haven't already.

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Internet traffic is up, CPMs are down, and media platforms are pivoting to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Media giants across the globe are hurriedly making adjustments to keep their platforms stable and functioning during the massive surge in traffic. As a result, major platforms in the EU – Facebook, Netflix, Disney+, among others – are reducing video bitrates or defaulting to lower qualities to make way for the influx.

The push to downgrade streaming quality has been primarily focused in Europe with regulatory mandates to reduce network strain. But the U.S. might not be far behind – and advertisers will likely feel the impact.

Facebook & Instagram. Facebook recently announced it would be temporarily downgrading video streaming quality on its platform and on Instagram for users in the EU. A spokesperson from Facebook told Reuters that the move will help “alleviate any potential network congestion.” Marketing Land has not yet received comment from Facebook, so it’s still unclear as to when (or if) Facebook will follow suit in the U.S.

YouTube. Just a week after YouTube announced it would be reducing streaming quality for its EU users, the company has now confirmed it will cut streaming quality globally for a month. As of this week, YouTube videos around the world will load with the default standard definition (480p) quality. Users can opt to manually select a higher quality setting per video, but upon first loading, videos will no longer default to the high-res standard. It’s an extension of YouTube’s policy in Europe, where regulators have asked major streaming services to reduce their bandwidth usage.

Amazon. The e-commerce giant is also making efforts to downgrade video quality in Europe in an attempt to ease network strain. A spokesperson from Amazon told The Guardian that the company is “working with local authorities and internet service providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion.”

Why we care

While it’s still uncertain when – or if – there will be broadband restrictions in the U.S., it’s likely that video streaming platforms will still make adjustments to offset traffic loads. Brands in the U.S. currently delivering high-quality, high-budget video campaigns will want to pay close attention to ad performance over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, use the downtime to build a “worst-case scenario” strategy in case your video ad performance starts dropping due to buffering issues. If this happens, prepare to test alternative non-video creatives and potentially pause campaigns in the short-term.

More about marketing in the time of the coronavirus

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YouTube to automate more video reviews in light of staffing challenges caused by coronavirus /youtube-to-automate-more-video-reviews-in-light-of-staffing-challenges-caused-by-coronavirus-330804 Mon, 16 Mar 2020 20:11:38 +0000 /?p=330804 YouTube will temporarily implement more automated reviews, which could cause unwarranted removals.

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Even digital creators aren’t immune to the impacts of COVID-19 as companies pivot to keep up with business demands amid closures and staff shortages. YouTube on Monday said it has implemented a temporary automatic review process to weed out content that potentially violates policies as in-office staffing in certain locations is reduced.

Automated process. To help compensate for the work carried out by YouTube’s review team, the company said it will be relying more on “automated systems” to remove content without human review. This is designed to help to keep the YouTube ecosystem intact and running as (close to) normal during a time that requires strict workplace protections.

“As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers,” the company wrote in a blog post. “This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review, so we can continue to act quickly to remove violative content and protect our ecosystem, while we have workplace protections in place.”

Non-violating videos could be removed. Because of the automated nature of the review process, some brands and creators may have videos removed even if it doesn’t violate content policies. YouTube said it will work with these creators and won’t issue strikes against content that has been removed by mistake.

Why we care. As automatic reviews take effect, it’s important that brands with a strong YouTube presence pay close attention to their video content over the coming weeks. When adding new videos to the platform, expect that unreviewed content may not be available via search, on the homepage, or in recommendations, YouTube said. Creators can contact YouTube to appeal the decision, but the company notes that “workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeal reviews.”

This story first appeared on Marketing Land. For more on digital marketing, click here.


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Reddit’s new ‘Trending Takeover’ ad unit lets brands appear on top of Popular feed, Search tab /reddits-new-trending-takeover-ad-unit-lets-brands-appear-on-top-of-popular-feed-search-tab-330382 Mon, 09 Mar 2020 19:06:38 +0000 /?p=330382 Launched Monday, the new ad unit has a campaign life of 24 hours and is designed to align brands with the most popular and relevant trends of the day.

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Advertisers on Reddit can now buy Trending Takeover ad units, the platform’s first ad type that appears in the trending section of Reddit’s Popular tab and Search dropdown.

Here’s how it looks in the Popular feed on mobile:

And here’s how it looks in the Search dropdown:

Driving to Reddit landing pages. When a user clicks on the ad, they are taken to a landing page that features Reddit conversations, posts, and communities based on keywords the advertiser selects. Here’s what that landing page looks like on both mobile and desktop:

Direct buys only. For now, Reddit said the Trending Takeover ad unit is only available on a reservation basis. be bought on a reservation basis. can be sold only on a reservation basis. Advertisers interested in buying ad space for this format should contact Reddit Advertising.

Why we care. Advertisers can use the Trending Takeover format as a way to drive high visibility and build top-of-funnel awareness right to the top-trending topics and issues.

“With millions of searches taking place every day and over one-third of users coming to Reddit’s Popular feed daily, brands can now be part of where cultural trends are born online — Reddit,” said Shariq Rizvi, Vice President of Ads Product and Engineering at Reddit. “For Reddit, a large focus for 2020 is about maximizing new and premium opportunities for brands to authentically engage with Reddit users.”

Reddit’s ad offering has been slow to match up to the more robust capabilities of other social platforms, but the new Trending Takeover unit is evidence that Reddit is placing a higher priority on connecting brands with audiences.

The site launched a number of new ad options in the last year, including app install ads with third-party attribution capabilities, cost-per-click ads, and rolled out native promoted posts the year prior. For brands looking to connect with niche, interested audiences, it might be worth revisiting Reddit as it continues building products to attract advertisers.

This story first appeared on Marketing Land. For more on digital marketing, click here.

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3 tips for optimizing paid social campaigns for seasonality /3-tips-for-optimizing-paid-social-campaigns-for-seasonality-329965 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 20:06:35 +0000 /?p=329965 How retailers can make their seasonal social ad dollars go further.

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Planning your paid social campaigns well ahead of your peak periods — whether seasonal, holiday or promotional — help ensure you hit your goals. Michelle Stinson Ross, marketing operations director at Apogee Results, offered tips on how advertisers can get the most out of seasonal social ads at SMX West in San Jose last week.

As part of a deep focus on digital commerce marketing, speakers discussed ways social commerce and shoppable media are transforming the way online retailers approach digital marketing.

Stay top of mind

“Paid social sits much higher in your sales funnel than paid search does. Just think about it… Are human beings really able to search for something they’ve never heard of before? No, probably not,” said Stinson Ross.

It’s the reason why paid social advertisers need to be thinking about social in the same vein as “old school” forms of mass media: newspapers, radio, or television. “These are all exposures to audiences that may have never heard of us,” she added.

Social media as a marketing channel may not present an “intense moment of buying,” Stinson Ross said, but it could provide an opportunity to remind or introduce consumers to your brand and how it can benefit them.

Early exposure also means you’ll be able to build up audiences to remarket to when your seasonal periods hit. “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn – all of them have retargeting options so that [brands] can remind them – hey, there’s a sale coming up,” she said. Effective retargeting works best when advertisers can segment top-of-funnel visitors from those already familiar with your brand and tailor the messaging accordingly.

Remarketing is also an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell to past customers, said Stinson.

Target seasonal behavior

Timing is everything and targeting for seasonal behavior is key for online retailers. Surf gear ads in the winter and ski gear ads in the summer aren’t likely to resonate. That said, the trends and consumer behaviors may surprise you. Look at search trends data and your own analytics to be able to anticipate — and get ahead of — your seasonal upticks.

Take cues from brick-and-mortar retailers, suggests Stinson Ross. “We can pay attention to competitors and other retail outlets as to when is that signal going out to customers that it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday. We can begin to target that in social.”

Connecting throughout the customer journey

Retargeting becomes especially important when advertisers can return to audience pools generated through broader campaigns, Stinson Ross said. Commerce advertisers can bolster social retargeting efforts by building lists of social visitors to target with Search campaigns.

When it comes to measurement, marketers should beware of measuring paid social’s impact based on last-click attribution.

“While you may get them to go to that page and consider that product, they may not buy in that particular moment. But that’s where PPC can pick them up, finish the process and get them to the sale in the end,” Stinson Ross concluded.

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How to tackle rising Facebook CPAs /how-to-tackle-rising-facebook-cpas-329545 Fri, 21 Feb 2020 16:56:21 +0000 /?p=329545 Madeline Fitzgerald of 3Q Digital offers tips for making the algorithm work in your favor.

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SAN JOSE – With more advertisers and bigger budgets crowding onto Facebook and Instagram, acquisition costs are climbing. Advertisers can make their social ad dollars go further by re-thinking campaign fundamentals.

“You need to make sure you’re scaling your available inventory for click-through rates, mirroring your audience, and being dynamic,” 3Q Digital’s Senior Strategy Development manager Madeline Fitzgerald said in sharing tips for lowering CPAs across Facebook at SMX West Thursday.

Deconstructing Facebook CPCs

Audience size: bigger is usually better. CPCs on Facebook are affected by audience size, account structure, and click-through rates (CTR). The narrower and smaller your target audience, the more competitive your bid will need to be, Fitzgerald explained. The competition in the auction will ultimately impact the CPC outcome.

“If you’re noticing that your CPCs are really high, one of the first things you should do is check your audience sizes. If you’re seeing that [it’s] getting too specific, see if there are any other interests, behaviors, demographics that we can add.” Doing so, she explained, will help to broaden the target pool and give the Facebook algorithm more options to show your ads.

If you’ve reached a ceiling, broad targeting might be the next step. “If you already have a mature account, don’t go straight to this if you’re still early on in your testing phases. But if you’re trying to get to that next level, broad targeting is great way to do so,” Fitzgerald explained.

Account structure and segmentation. Account structure and the way we segment our ad sets can also determine the available ad inventory. Ads can run across a range of Facebook properties – from News Feed and Messenger to Stories and Instagram feeds. When we add segmentations like placements or geographies, the audience pool becomes restricted and advertisers might miss out on more efficient inventory.

“The algorithms are smarter than we are,” she reasoned. “Let the robots have it on factors like devices and placements. A couple of years ago, we laughed at everyone who did that. But we’re actually seeing a 13% lower CPA with some of our clients who [no longer segment those].”

Segmentation can be valuable when focusing on the funnel stage – i.e. audience personas, creative, and destination pages. But Fitzgerald recommends skipping demographics, geographies, devices, and placements — any of the factors you can’t edit after you set them up.

Campaign budget optimization. Soon, ad set budgets will be going away, in favor of campaign budget optimization (CBO), which uses machine learning to automatically serve ads to the target audience based on predictive analysis.

“I think the biggest way to figure out how to work this into our strategy is to think about the language Facebook is using to tell us about how the algorithm operates. Facebook tells us that CBO looks at the available opportunities – which is a combination of audience size and the audience’s propensity to actually convert into billable opportunities.”

Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes volume over potential for conversion, which is why CBO works, she explained. Marketers can group together audiences with similar potential reach or size and the budget optimization tool will see more conversion potential for larger audience within the budget.  

Conversions are in the creative

Mirror your audience. “As advertisers, it’s our job to help users see themselves and their goals – what they want to accomplish – in our creative. We need to make sure we’re making it very obvious for them,” said Fitzgerald.

Compelling ad creative should be able to clearly visualize the value proposition of what’s being promoted. And it’s not just about getting more users in the door, it’s about getting the right users in the door because they were drawn to your creative.

Engage audiences with video. Facebook has been pushing advertisers to use animation and video for some time now, but Fitzgerald argues advertisers still aren’t doing enough with it.

“A lot of advertisers take existing creative and put a slow zoom on it, or pull a three-minute explainer video and think that counts as an ad. But that’s not really what we’re being called to as advertisers here,” she said. “It’s our job to figure out how to leverage movement in a more disruptive way, and think about new original ways to talk to people.”

Highlight clear value in the copy.  Effective copy isn’t about being brand heavy. It’s about making users comfortable with clicking on an ad. Fitzgerald explained that advertisers can build that trust and comfort by keeping ad copy directly tied to the value of what you’re selling.

“We want to make sure users don’t need to go through any guesswork to figure out what’s going to happen next,” Fitzgerald said. “People don’t want to have to read through your whole website to understand why they should engage with your brand.”

This story first appeared on Marketing Land. For more on digital marketing, click here.

Original URL:https://marketingland.com/how-to-tackle-rising-facebook-cpas-276352

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