Tag Archives: marketing

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Pinterest’s Web Search is About to Get Much More Powerful
Pinterest’s new Guided Search Feature, which the company first unveiled on mobile in April, is coming to the web. Pinterest users will soon see a new search bar when they visit Pinterest.com. The search feature will recommend keywords intended to help generate more specific queries or better search results. For example, searching for “BBQ” on Pinterest might surface other keywords like “wings,” “recipes,” or “chicken.”

Twitter’s Video Hashtags Automatically Add Video to Text
Twitter has joined forces with Visa and Adidas (two World Cup advertisers) to experiment with video hashtagging. When a user types #visa and then a space, they will see a paper clip prompt, which will allow you to attach a video when clicked. Adidas is also testing the feature using the hashtag #allin, which will lead to this video.

Amazon Starts Prime Music
Amazon has introduced an ad-free music streaming service with more than one million songs.  Prime Music, designed to compete with Apple, Beats Music, Spotify, and Pandora, is available to subscribers of Amazon’s $99/year Prime Program.

Facebook Extends Ad Targeting to Web, App Use
Facebook is significantly expanding how it targets ads by including information about the sites that users visit and mobile apps they use outside of Facebook. The social network is taking the controversial step of extending that data collection to include the third-party sites and apps they use to improve the relevance of their own ads. Example: If you are thinking about buying a new TV and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps, Facebook may show you ads for deals on a TV.

Global Social Media

Less Than Half of the Earth’s Population Has Internet Access
The Internet continues to grow at a rapid pace, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of extending access, especially in poor and developing countries. The number of people with access to the Internet is expected to reach three billion by 2015. That’s up from one billion in 2005 — but still just 41% of the earth’s total projected population of 7.3 billion people in 2015. Internet access is of course higher in more advanced economies like North America, Europe, and Asia, and is lower in Africa, The Middle East, India, and parts of Latin America.

Instagram Introduces Advertising in UK, Canada, and Australia
Instagram users in the UK, Canada, and Australia will start seeing advertisements in their feeds. The platform has amassed 200 million users since its launch. Growth outside of the U.S. is particularly strong, with an estimated 165 million hailing beyond U.S. shores.

Noteworthy Campaigns

“Share a Coke” Bottles & Campaign Hit U.S.
Over the summer, Coca-Cola will replace its brand logo on some of its 20-ounce bottles with one of the 250 most popular names of U.S. teens and millennials. In addition, the logos on 1.25 and 2-liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero will be replaced by group names like “Family” and “Friends.” 12-ounce cans will feature nicknames like “BFF,” “Star,” “Bestie,” “Legend,” “Grillmaster,” “Buddy,” and “Wingman.” 8-ounce cans will bear the “Share a Coke” message.  In addition, Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers will offer to consumers who have the Freestyle mobile app the ability to scan a QR code to send a friend a coupon for a free Coke. Also, as part of the campaign, consumers who share Coca-Cola related stories using the hashtag #ShareaCoke will earn chances to be featured on brand billboards across the country and on the ShareaCoke.com gallery.  Starting this week, users can visit the campaign website to create virtual personalized bottles and share them on social media channels.  For those whose names aren’t featured on the real bottles, Coke is launching a national 500-stop tour where people can get customized mini-cans with their names for themselves and a friend.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Seeks Patent for Tech to Let Kids on Its Network 
Facebook currently restricts users to those over the age of 13. But it now appears that the social network wants to create a new way for young people to join — and still comply with the law.  In a patent application recently made public, Facebook describes a system to let parents authorize and supervise accounts for younger children in compliance with COPPA.

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Design
LinkedIn is rolling out a new profile design for its premium members. The new look includes a larger profile photo and customizable header image that spans the width of the screen. The new look is similar in style to Facebook and Twitter profiles. The new look is only available for premium members currently. The rest of the LinkedIn community will get the new look “in a few months.”

Facebook Rolls Out One-Column Design to All Pages
Facebook has started rolling out its streamlined desktop look for Pages to everyone worldwide. All Pages should have access to the new design by today. Admins accessing their Pages will see a tour of the refreshed design, and can switch to the updated design two weeks after the tour has been viewed.

Pinterest to Launch Self-Serve Ad Auction
Pinterest unveiled its first paid ads last month with a select group of marketers. Now the social network plans to roll out a self-serve, auction-based ad system aimed at small and medium businesses. Unlike the CPM-based ad business it has launched with big brands like Kraft and Nestle, the self-serve auction will take bids on a CPC basis. And while Pinterest has set a high spending threshold for brands to experiment with its “promoted pins” — asking for $1 to $2 million commitments – pricing in the auction will be set by the marketplace.

Google Search Intent Comes to Facebook
Google search intent can now be harnessed for Facebook ad targeting. Advertisers can target people who have clicked on their search ads on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, effectively bringing together search-intent data.  Here’s how it works: Hypothetically, Cadbury could target ads to Facebook users who’ve already clicked on Google ads yielded by searches for “chocolate,” “Easter egg,” and “Easter Bunny” – terms that signify a high degree of interest in their product. Facebook’s demographic and interest-level targeting parameters can also be applied to refine the audience.

Instagram Added 10 New Features This Week
Instagram announced 10 new editing tools this week for both iOS and Android. In addition to new adjustments like contrast, brightness, and saturation, Instagram’s filters have also been tweaked; users can now adjust the filter’s intensity with a slide bar.  Other tools include adjust (crop and straighten photos), warmth, highlights, shadows, vignette, and sharpen.

Global Social Media

Google Introduces an Online Form  to Let EU Users Request the Removal of Outdated Links
The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled last month that individuals should have the right to remove outdated information about themselves from search engine results. The so-called “right to be forgotten” means that an individual should be allowed to request that irrelevant or outdated information is removed from a company’s servers and therefore removed from being publicly available on the web. In response to this ruling, Google has launched an online form which will allow users to submit an official request. 12,000 requests were submitted the first day of the form’s launch.  Google handles nearly 80% of all searches in Europe.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Sephora’s Augmented Reality Mirror
For their latest project, beauty retailer Sephora has teamed up with augmented reality and virtual reality technology company ModFace to launch a mirror that may change the way people shop for makeup.  Sephora’s new mirror will simulate makeup on a person’s face in both real time and 3D. This unique technology tracks a person’s facial features and “applies” eye shadow to your face via a camera’s video stream. Customers can try out multiple colors and textures by tapping the color on the screen and see how it looks from all angles by merely turning their faces.  The product will help the store eliminate the need for tester products and utensils used to apply and remove them. The mirror is currently only available at the Milan store, but should it become a success, it will be placed in locations around the world.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Twitter Strikes Billboard Deal For Real-Time Music Stats
Twitter has struck a deal with Billboard Magazine to serve up real-time stats on the top trending music. The charts provide real-time ranking on the most-shared tracks in the U.S. during the past hour. Filters present a real-time feature to search and view the most-shared tracks in the U.S. over the past 24 hours, with a weekly summary for both Trending 140 and Emerging Artist charts. More than 1 billion tweets were sent about music in 2013. Seven of the top 10 most-followed accounts on Twitter are musicians.

Facebook Cuts Down Automatic Updates in Your Friends’ News Feeds
Facebook announced this week that from now on fewer “Implicit stories” will make it into the News Feed. That’s Facebook’s way of describing automatic updates from third-party apps. From the Facebook Blog: “We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in the News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action.”

Psy’s Gangnam Style Nears 2 Billion Views
K-Pop legend Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is nearing the two billion mark, almost double Bieber’s “Baby,” which is in second place. It is the undisputed champion of YouTube’s most watched videos list. Though music videos became a thing of the past on television, they continue to see huge success on YouTube. Twenty-nine out of the 30 most watched YouTube videos are music videos.

Global Social Media

Twitter will hit nearly 400mm users by 2018, with over 40% in Asia-Pacific. 
eMarketer has released a forecast of Twitter users worldwide and projects that the social network will have nearly 400 million users by 2018, with over 40% in the Asia-Pacific region. By the end of this year alone,  AsiaPac will account for 32.8% of all Twitter users, exceeding its 23.7% share in North America. This is despite the ban on Twitter in China, which represents the region’s largest portion of internet users. India and Indonesia are strong markets for Twitter. Both countries have seen user numbers increase by more than 50% this year, becoming the third and fourth largest Twitter populations, at 18.1mm and 15.3mm users respectively,  passing the UK for the first time.

Iranian Judge Summons Facebook CEO For Breach of Privacy
A conservative Iranian court opened a case against instant messaging services WhatsApp and Instagram while summoning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over complaints of privacy violation.  The Zuckster is unlikely to heed the summons, which is asking him to appear in court to “defend himself and pay for possible losses,” after some citizens in the region issued a complaint. On a separate note, Iran recently sentenced eight Facebook users to a combined 123 years in jail for various charges  including insulting the country’s supreme leader on the social network.

Noteworthy Campaigns

IBM Crowdsources Latest Smarter City Effort
In the latest phase of its “People for Smarter Cities” marketing push, IBM crowdsourced digital videos from around the world showcasing how residents would improve their cities. The first phase, known as “Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities,” ran last year and featured IBM-branded structures like benches, rain shelters and ramps that improved or enhanced some aspect of urban life.  This new push was done via partnership with Zooppa, a community made up of 200,000 members, including filmmakers, bloggers and environmental communities. Out of nearly 80 accepted entries, eight winners from around the world were selected. Videos covered a range of topics from repurposing empty spaces and aiding the physically challenged to spurring employment. Awards ranged from $500 to $10,000. The videos are available on the branded People for Smarter Cities site as well as through IBM social channels.

Product Integration on Late Night TV

Written by: Digitally Approved
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The men of late night TV are killing it with viral videos. It’s no secret that Fallon, Kimmel, and Samberg (SNL, Lonely Island) are capable of producing videos for the masses – can you remember the last time you woke up and a Fallon video wasn’t trending or waiting in your newsfeed? We certainly can’t. These men churn out great, shareable content so consistently that brands can’t help but want to get involved. Check out this recent Purina integration from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. We could watch this all day. (And probably will!)  

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Pinterest Launches First Paid Ads with Kraft, Gap and Others
Pinterest (which just raised another round of funding, valuing the platform at $5bn) has more than a dozen marketers lined up to run campaigns with three to six month commitments including Kraft, General Mills, Ziploc, Nestle, Lululemon, Gap, ABC Family and Expedia. The site is taking a “consultative approach” to ad selling, which means they will work closely with the brands to help them understand what type of creative resonates with Pinterest users. According to their head of partnerships, Pinterest will eventually “get to the place where we’re answering RFP’s.”  In other Pinterest news, the platform teamed up with FYI Network to launch a new home design show called “We’re Moving In,” which follows new housemates using Pinterest as a source of inspiration.

Foursquare’s New Swarm App is Here
Foursquare’s new app called Swarm has arrived this week. The company announced in early May that it would split its experience into two apps. Swarm is intended to be a convenient way to keep up with what your friends are doing, letting you check into venues, just like the Foursquare app, but also lets you automatically share which neighborhood you are in. The app includes stickers (similar to emoji), a new revamped version of Mayorships, and the ability to make quick plans with friends around you.

Twitter Adds “Mute” Button for More Feed Control
Twitter feeds are often noisy. Addressing the issue, Twitter debuted a “mute” button this week. In the same way you can turn on device notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now mute users you want to hear from less.

Twitter Introduces Language Targeting for Promoted Tweets
Twitter recently launched targeting for promoted tweets and promoted accounts. As a result, advertisers can now target both in 20 different languages while users will be able to see “highly relevant ads” in their language.

Global Social Media

Twitter Takes Aim at Real Politics in Latin America
After seeing explosive growth across Latin America, Twitter is now tapping into the region’s other big passion besides soccer – politics. The company dispatched its top political strategist to Brazil this week to give senators in one of its biggest global markets a pep talk on tweets and how to use the social network ahead of the October general election.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Birds Eye Offers Fan Food in Exchange for Instagram Pics
Birds Eye is opening up a pop-up restaurant that allows diners to settle the bill by paying with a picture of their meals as part of its wider experimentations with social commerce. Diners who tag Instagram snaps of their food with #BirdsEyeInspirations will get a free meal. The pay-by-picture restaurant is the latest social commerce test from Birds Eye as it looks to better measure the results social provides. Links to purchase foods in social media posts have been trailed by the brand in recent months, as has forging stronger ecommerce ties with supermarkets.

The Power of Google in Social Media Marketing

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Hannah.pixOn March 7, Google knew it was my birthday and served me a birthday Google Doodle. When I left work, my Android phone told me that it would take me 32 minutes to get home, that an Amazon package was waiting on my doorstep, and that a new episode of my favorite show would be on TV that night. I didn’t set up any of these alerts; Google just knew to tell me.

Since Google implemented a new design and Single Sign-On (SSO), requiring Google Plus accounts for all users, it knows what I search for (Google Search), where I’ve been/where I’m going (Google Maps), and what I buy (receipts in my Gmail). Google Plus ties this all together to create a database of information to deliver custom digital experiences.

As a user, I love this integration. It makes my life easier and makes running errands more efficient. And I am happy to let Google learn more about me and deliver these custom ads and experiences if it means that this wonderful service will remain free for users.

As a marketer, it’s exciting to think about how this will impact the work we do for our clients. Google is tracking loads of behavioral data on what consumers are doing online and offline every single day, creating an opportunity for incredibly innovative and targeted marketing.  For example, if we know that our target consumer is reading reviews of pet food during a lunch break, we could potentially send them a coupon when they’re about to pass by our pet food store on their way home.

Users’ experience on Google Search is becoming more custom, as well. Based on variables like a user’s connections, friends, search history, and location, Google Search results are unique. As a marketer, I want to give consumers a voice and a platform to publicly talk about and review my clients’ products and services to help insert them into more search results. I want to make sure our clients have a strong, optimized presence on all things Google – from Google Plus to YouTube – since Google social channels are the only social channels indexed in Google Search, unlike Twitter or Facebook.

Google is becoming a foundational platform on social, and the brands that win will be the ones who are harnessing its influence across platforms.

Pinterest Partner Event Recap

Written by: Tom Edwards
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I recently attended the first ever Pinterest Partner Marketing Summit in NYC. This invite only event unveiled their emphasis on developing a strong partner program and also served as an opportunity to introduce new staff to the Pinterest partner team, new resources for brands and agencies and best practices to maximize the platform.

Pinterest Event

There were five primary areas of focus for the event.

1) Why Pinterest
2) Pinterest Interest Graph
3) New product enhancements (Rich Pin & Mobile Pin It)
4) Analytics & Partner Tools
5) Partner case studies & Best Practices

WHY PINTEREST

Ben Silbermann, Pinterest Co-Founder & CEO started the day by telling the story of Pinterest. He discussed his love of collections when he was young… stamps, butterflies, baseball cards, etc… he saw an opportunity as there was not an elegant solution to organize collections online.

He had roots with Google and was enamored by how the search giant was able to so seamlessly focus on enabling search & retrieval across the web. If you know what you are looking for Google provides an ideal platform for search & retrieval.

He actually related Pinterest more to Google & search than to other social channels such as Facebook. With Pinterest people vs. bots are indexing the webs content and organizing them by interests, something that is a bit more subjective but aligns with human behavior.

One of his key points was in defining Pinterests role in discovery of content.

Discovery on the web is an unsolved problem & massive opportunity” – Ben Silbermann

Ben

With Pinterest, people are making discovery possible by organizing the web’s content around interests. This is their key point of differentiation as the platform is about discovery and action.

It was interesting to hear Ben’s story about the roots of Pinterest and it also provided insight into where the platform is going which leads to the Interest Graph.

INTEREST GRAPH

The Pinterest team spent a good bit of time discussing what they coined the Pinterest Interest Graph. An interest graph is an online representation of the specific things in which an individual is interested. And because the focus of Pinterest is based on what people are indexing on the web and then categorizing by interests, the Pinterest Interest Graph is the foundation for their business moving forward.

A key point of differentiation between Facebook’s Social Graph & Pinterest & even Twitters interest graphs are the fact that Interest Graphs are used to create people’s interest networks whereas Facebook and other social networks are organized around an individual’s friends and connections that follow them across the web.

The key to the interest graph for Pinterest is the ability to create personalized experiences that change based on an individuals life stage and interests. The association is less with people and more with things. This may include life events such as marriage, children, etc… and Pinterest hopes that by focusing on interests they are building a sustainable platform that can grow with users over time and continue to provide both utility and relevance based on discovery.

The key to the interest graph from a brand perspective is that a single product can be repined into other areas. As the single object passes across the interest graph across categories you are able to leverage the network of interests and passions vs. pushing a message and see how your product resonates in real time. This leads to driving discoverability by interest as well as distribution and lengthens the shelf life of content as it continually gets repined.

Interest Graph in action for me… I like Robots

Robots

PRODUCT ENHANCEMENTS

Pin it Button – the theme that was repeated the most over the course of the event was the focus on the Pin It button. Pinterest reiterated that a strong Pinterest strategy starts with enabling your domain. By enabling and focusing on driving & optimizing pins down to the individual product level are the key to driving more engagement and driving higher referral traffic.

Pin-It-Button-30-Designs

Mobile Pinning – Earlier this week Pinterest launched the ability to integrate the Pin It button into a brands mobile application to further drive discoverability via mobile for both iOS & Android via SDKs. The SDK allows a brands users to create Pinterest content inside the branded app. Currently, this only supports pinning from the web, but the ability to pin local images is on the roadmap as well.

Here is an example of Mobile Pinning in action from the Brit + Co (launch partner) mobile app

mobile pinning

Rich Pins – Also tied to this weeks launch was the release of Rich Pins. Pinterest hopes that Rich Pins lead to action and by adding more brand data to a pin tied to products, recipes & movies that more direct attribution and value for brands and users will be apparent. Product pins from a brand can showcase active inventory as well as price & references the source directly from the pin. Recipe Rich Pins allow more data to be added directly to the pin and movie pins offer insight into reviews as well as cast directly from the pin.

Product Pins

Product Pins

Recipe Pins

Recipe Pins

Movie Pins

Movie Pins

Implementation – In order to implement Rich Pins meta tags need to applied to your domain and decide on the type of rich pin you want to apply for. Then once the meta tags have been validated you can apply to get them from Pinterest.

From a brand perspective, this is the first step to further enabling brand content and attribution. Especially the product pins can be of value to further drive action when discovered.

ANALYTICS & PARTNER TOOLS

On March 11th, Pinterest launched their data analytics tool. This was another key discussion point during the course of the event. The analytics tool supports Pinterest’s position to enable a brands .com as the suite focuses on content pinned directly from the .com and focus on how many people are pinning from the website, impressions & reach over time and which pins receive the most repins and who pins them as well as what other content people are pinning alongside them.

webanalytics_3

This data can be extremely useful when incorporating top pins into tailoring content for the website as well as other social channels. Nordstrom was a presenting brand and the key takeaway from their presentation was their focus on curating pins and using analytics as a driver for surfacing content on their website, e-mail as well as in store. By leveraging Pinterest in this way, Nordstrom claimed increased sell through in stores and online.

Nordstrom Top Pins via .com

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Nordstrom in store

Nordstrom

Pinterest also rolled out new partner tools starting with a revamped business.pinterest.com as well as a new business blog that will focused on enabling partners and will serve as the location for new product feature announcements. The team also announced that they will soon be providing webinars on best practices to further enable partners.

Unlike Facebook & Twitter, Pinterest is less about working directly with their partner teams and more about enabling the platform to allow brands to maximize their presence.

CASE STUDIES

During the course of the event four brands were represented including Target, Sephora, Nordstroms & Sony Electronics. I have already referenced how Nordstroms is leveraging Pinterest data to drive their content & in-store strategy. Below are a few key points from the Sephora & Sony Electronics presentations.

Sephora

The most compelling elements from the Sephora case study was their laser focus on identifying trends via pins. Their goals were tied to making it easier to pin from Sephora.com, use e-mail to encourage Pinterest engagement and encourage clients to pin their beauty shopping lists.

Sephora

  • Focus on top pins to inform content strategy across channels
  • Content goes beyond simple product to incorporate DIY type content
  • Testing various types of Pin to Win initiatives that are cross promoted

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.41.13 AM

  • Embedded Pinterest across social channels such as Facebook
  • Created pinnable e-mails drove significant results including a 60% increase in referral traffic from Pinterest that has not subsided
  • Focus on creating a shoppable experience on Pinterest
  • Claimed that shoppers are closer to purchase in the path to purchase and stated a statistic of 15x the sales impact vs. Facebook

Sony Electronics

I was most impressed by the work of Sony electronics of the four brands that presented. What I liked about their story is they are not the first brand you think of when you think about the Pinterest platform. They are a manufacturer vs. retailer and their audience is a younger, high tech male group who is not the primary audience of the platform. They had very clearly defined strategy objectives of driving sales, acquisition and brand affinity on the platform and they have leveraged the social power of their internal organization as well as consumers to power their experience.

Sony Electronics

  • Audience (Sony electronics appeal to more than women)
  • They curated content that existed, retro products, artist style, influencers who shoot with their cameras etc…
  • Launched presence with an employee contest to educate and curate relevant content across the organization
  • Drove awareness via the Sony Electronics blog & e-mail
  • E-mail is a critical component to their Pinterest strategy, pin, collect, share –> Pinterest focused messages get double the open rate
  • Inform their content strategy based on Pins
  • Leverage 3rd parties such as Curalate to identify influencers
  • Executed innovative programs such as Pin Deals – unlock via 20 pins – flash sale & Pin it to give it – repins = $1 to charity and received 13,000 pins

pin2givePindeals

  • Partnered with relevant brands to enter new categories such as Pinterest partnership with American Airlines to enter travel

Travel and Tech

BEST PRACTICES

The following is a list of best practices that were discussed during the course of the event. This is not a comprehensive best practices list, but does highlight the key points that the Pinterest team & brands represented did speak to repeatedly.

Strategy

  • The Pinterest team reiterated that the best Pinterest strategy starts with your domain.
  • Remember boards are not destinations, most of the interaction will happen at the Pin level
  • Pinnable E-mail is a critical component to a successful Pinterest strategy, enable content to be pinned on the individual content level

Platform

  • Add Pin-It Button to domain
  • Verify the business with Pinterest
  • Enable Domain Analytics
  • Activate & Incorporate Rich Pins to create a cleaner connection to inventory and enabling action
  • Leverage the Mobile SDK’s to further enable sharing directly from a brands app

Content

  • Learn from top pins, timely relevant pins that map to domain are key
  • Optimize pins, Sony’s audience preferred product shots while Target’s audience resonates with Lifestyle images
  • Short Captions are key, the goal is to tease to promote click through
  • Focus on content that will drive repins
  • Pin your product along with other inspirational content to boards
  • Focus on creating ripples with content vs. “feed stuffing”

Contests

  • When it comes to Pin It to Win it type of initiatives, it is important to ensure that there is a variety of content to pin
  • A pin from a Pin it to Win it is good, but the focus should be on repins. Repins are the key to successful promotion on the platform

SUMMARY

The first Pinterest partner event was definitely insightful and the event closed with the following points:

1) Discovery on the web is an unsolved problem & massive opportunity
2) People are making discovery possible by organizing the web’s content around interests
3) You can make your business more discoverable by inspiring people to pin

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

 

Facebook News Feed Announcement

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Today Facebook held an event to announce the first major change to the Facebook News Feed in six years. The theme reinforced by the Facebook team was reduction of clutter by providing more choice and control over the content and stories users will see in their feeds.

facebook-news-feed-invite_620x350

From the beginning, our goal with News Feed was different from any other social service was trying to provide… You should be able to share any content that you want. Status updates, links, photos, etc… You should be able to share with any audience that you want, publicly, with the world, with just friends, or privately” – Mark Zuckerberg

bitpix-facebook-zuckerberg3-hpMedium

Here are feature highlights from today’s announcement:

The newly designed newsfeed will start rolling out in limited rollouts today with a focus on a “mobile first” design.

Cross

The new design is heavily reliant on the ability to segment content by feed type allowing for more control:

  • All Friends will showcase everything your friends are sharing this feed will highlight friend content and add a “facepile” type of overlay to the side of the story to show who has shared the content. Social connectivity is highlighted as the intersection of timeline & the newsfeed becomes more pervasive with the inclusion of friends “add a friend” which allows you to see more about that person directly in the news feed.

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  • Photos will provide a feed with nothing but photos from your friends Pages you like

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  • Music a feed with posts about the music users listen to

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 1.50.04 PM

  • Following, a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow, think of this as a Facebook “newspaper” feature

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 1.50.42 PM

Within the News Feed design, photos are getting larger in the new design and attachments from links will also get more space. This will include a much larger image, a more prominent title, and a longer summary accompany a linked story.

newsfeed

This is great, but what does this mean as a brand?

Visual Enablement: Further enabling visual storytelling and cross platform consistency are at the heart of the change. One of the forgotten elements previously is the brands cover photo. Yes, it will pop in the newsfeed when the image changes, but with the refresh the cover photo will be pulled into page “Like” stories in the news feed for both organic & paid. This will provide more context about the page, but also provides another opportunity for the brand to be relevant and engaging with their cover photo & profile photo combination. More frequent updates may be required to ensure that brands are maximizing their opportunities.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 9.12.43 PM

Also note that when people and pages post photos, Facebook will try to display the caption on top of the image if the caption is legible and the image does not contain text and when the image is of sufficient size (at least 425x157px). This puts additional emphasis on either minimal or extremely engaging copy.

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Engagement: The core motivation of this revamp is focused solely on keeping users engaged by allowing more freedom and control over the platform and the information that is relevant for them. Facebook is positioning this change as a more engaging place for brand messages. The goal is to get more people spending time reading and interacting with the news feeds and this should beget more opportunities for us a marketers to reach & engage with our audience.

In my opinion it is too early to tell whether this is good or bad news for brands. The fear from a brand perspective is to lose engagement opportunities by being relegated to a lower visibility feed such as the “following” feed, which currently will not support paid at the initial rollout, but Facebook left it open for opportunities later this year.

Also, one key point to consider, the affinity & engagement of content is key in this new structure, as the more individuals engage with content, the higher the position within the feeds. Obviously this is a key attribute of EdgeRank, but engagement on a post level is still as important as ever. Facebook did confirm that as of now the change is mainly aesthetic for desktop and there will not be a change to Edgerank as it stands today, however this is something that continues to evolve and I would not be surprised if there are changes when the change is fully rolled out to the public.

Paid: The initial rollout will focus on better utilizing paid assets via incremental value adds vs. new streams tied to feeds . but Facebook did leave the door open for injected paid units into subsequent feeds such as “following”. Let’s fast forward for a moment, the new feeds will offer more opportunities to append paid for both small & large advertisers as a whole. The new model also reinforces spend on the post level to further drive visibility of content across feeds. It will be interesting to test media against feed types as units become available as the new design looks to further enhance existing units and offer more opportunities for engagement.

Example of new Page Post Ads

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Example of new Sponsored Ads
Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 9.37.35 PM

Brand Reach & Visibility: More real-estate should theoretically increase the throughput of branded content if it is optimized for EdgeRank. This also reinforces the importance of having a relevant content strategy that can maximize content distribution across the various feeds. The thought is that this change will net more visibility for brands moving forward. The key to increasing reach and visibility is to combine organic engagement and then amplify the content via paid that is driving engagement naturally. This Pwned Media approach will optimize paid while leveraging the best of organic engagement to propel content and further drive impactful brand reach & visibility.

The assumption on increased engagement through segmentation/multiple feeds may have an initial lag. The native user behavior of the primary newsfeed as the consumer catch-all and primary point of engagement will remain for awhile until users are reconditioned to filter feeds. One of the inherent benefits of the news feed over the last six years has been tied to the simplicity and minimal effort on behalf of the user to engage with content. It remains to be seen how much usage the secondary feed options will see in terms of interaction type.

Analytics: From an analytics perspective, my hope is to also append feed distribution as an option to track content performance. This would then inform content decisions in addition to social interactions to further optimize content for optimal impact. As it stands today, Facebook has stated there will be no immediate impact on performance, and they will continue to monitor various performance metrics, including performance of Page posts and paid media.

Here is a link to Join the waiting list for the new News Feed.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Evolution of the Newsfeed

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Today I met with one of my local Facebook team members as we were partnering on a client initiative and our conversation sparked an interesting thought about the future of newsfeed publishing and how brands should be thinking about maximizing their publishing strategies as Facebook’s platform continues to evolve.

I have recently written a number of posts on the subject of Facebook publishing from the intersection of Paid & Owned, the importance of visual storytelling and best practices for optimizing content. All of these topics are relevant to this conversation and further frame the importance of the following statement:

Everything happens in the newsfeed vs brand pages

facebook-news-feed-icon

This was an incredibly simple statement that all of us who publish on behalf of brands sometimes take for granted. The numbers definitely back up the statement with 115 billion impressions served daily via desktop and 65 billion newsfeed impressions served daily via mobile.

Think about your own behavior when it comes to interacting with brand related content on Facebook. How often are you clicking through to a brands page to consume their content? This divide is even better visualized when it comes to users mobile interactions?

Where do you consume brand messages on the desktop?

Snickers Newsfeed

This becomes even more apparent via mobile!

Snickers mobile Newsfeed

The reality is most social interaction happens via the newsfeed. Interactions being likes, comments and shares. Most brands approach content publishing from the perspective that users come to the brands’ page and consume their content in a linear manner. The reality is brands need to create a publishing strategy that is optimized for Edgerank and based on deliberate content buckets that are relevant & engaging for the brands audience that can be consumed in a non-linear manner but still represent the core social persona of the brand. This requires a detailed strategy that is grounded in the core attributes of the brand that then leads to content pillars that are designed to maximize engagement.

The following graphic represents the % breakdown across interaction types.

Interactions

With so much consumption happening via the newsfeed, shouldn’t the in-stream experience/opportunities be as relevant and compelling as possible? This leads me to what I see as the next step in the evolution of brand publishing and that is going a step beyond visual storytelling and incorporating compelling interactive experiences to enhance the publishing strategy.

The recent announcement and coverage of Stipple’s Facebook support and subsequent usage by Justin Timberlake to provide interactive cover art is a glimpse into the future of newsfeed publishing.

stippled-photo

Interactive posting is not a new concept. I remember first seeing this executed by Vitrue’s platform back in 2011 via the Buffalo Wild Wings example below. Leveraging this type of interactive content publishing was one of the enabling factors that has driven Buffalo Wild Wings to acquire over 9 million fans. Their content strategy has led to an engagement rate of 4.8% over the last 30 days with over 477,000 interactions. Having a point of differentiation in-stream has led to positive results for the brand.

Buffalo Wild Wings

The number of vendors supporting interactive posting in-stream has grown since 2011 with shops such as Shop Igniter providing solutions that are optimized to support rich interactive in-stream campaigns to drive lead generation, giveaways, promotions, etc…

Fiat In-Stream

The real key point of differentiation now vs. then is the ability to create immersive newsfeed experiences for both desktop & mobile by leveraging responsive design. Now it becomes easier to publish across both desktop & mobile to drive in-stream & even in-app (Facebook’s app) interaction.

The example below shows an example from Shop Igniter’s platform that enables in-stream video that then drives to a mobile optimized experience based on responsive design that allows the flexibility of staying within the application, but also allows the addition of an action object in the experience that extends the reach of a users action beyond the newsfeed into the activity ticker. This is a key element to further drive distribution and discoverability of content as well as the fact that the newsfeed does not support action objects directly.

GoPro

The GoPro example is a great example of a light weight execution that does not rely on driving to an end destination to generate engagement & story creation. This in my mind is the next evolution of content publishing in-stream.

Similar to the evolution of static banners to rich media, creating compelling content that is optimized for EdgeRank, light weight in design and contains the experience within the existing stream and Facebook application across both desktop and mobile that also taps into the social graph to append actions is an ideal addition to an owned content strategy.

This also maximizes the principles of real-time paid amplification that I have discussed in the past because these are actual posts being created on Facebook’s platform that can fit seamlessly into a paid media strategy.

The other benefit to this type of publishing is the engagement data on the content level that can drive further optimization of content moving forward. By tracking impressions, engagement rate and social actions, we can directly map to our core KPI’s.

When it comes to Facebook, it is not enough to just have a content calendar. It is incredibly important to have a true strategic framework that outlines the brands publishing strategy and how the content will be optimized to drive targeted reach, but it is also important to leverage interactive assets to drive tangible results and activation where appropriate.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

The Importance of Social Sign-On

Written by: Tom Edwards
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We have all dealt with “YAN” in one form or another over the past few years. YAN stands for Yet Another Network login. This stems from brands using proprietary authentication methods vs. leveraging Open Authorization (OAuth) such as Facebook’s Graph API (OAuth 2.0). To put it simply, brands like to use their own username & passwords vs. allowing a user to login with their Facebook or Twitter ID’s.

YAN is an even bigger issue when combined with the fact that 88% of online buyers had at some point intentionally left registration information blank or used incorrect information when signing up for a new account, up 12% from 2010. Also, the expectation of consumers for brands to support Social Sign-On has increased significantly as eMarketer and Janrain recently reported that consumer desire for Social Sign-On has increased to 77% of US Online Buyers in 2011.

The importance of leveraging a single sign on authentication platform that is socially enabled becomes the key to unlocking a brands social CRM strategy. The reason for this is that Social Sign-On can lower the barrier of entry for a user, increase validity of data via the users social graph as well as increase stay rates.

According to recent research from Gigya, web users who log into 3rd party sites with Facebook’s Graph API spend 50% more time on those sites, and view twice as many pages. Think about the impact to a Fortune 500 retailer with 50% increase in stay rates and how that may impact purchase frequency.

When it comes to selecting which service is ideal for your brand, Gigya also released information that shows that Facebook accounts for 61% of those social logins.

Where social sign on really gets interesting is when a brand leverages an OAuth solution, such as Facebook’s Graph API. Instead of depending on a user to input a few sets of pre-determined data, you potentially have access to 180 data points to associate with the user. This includes the ability to access data tied to their feed, friends, activities, interests, music, books, movies, television, likes, checkins and more based on the users privacy settings.

This increases the probability of accurate subscriber data as well as the ability to append your proprietary questions on the back-end of the authorization of the user. Users in this scenario are more likely to share information as they are not repeating the information process. This also means that for a brand, the ability to build a robust profile around an individual beyond the standard data points such as basic demographic data and purchase history becomes a reality.

One of the more progressive brands when it comes to Social Sign-On is Nike.

Nike offers multiple options for authentication.

When you choose to login via Facebook, look at the data that Nike gains access to in one session…

A possible user scenario is as follows. Nike is about to become the uniform provider for the NFL in the upcoming 2012 season. Imagine if Nike had the ability to quickly scan the profile data of those who have authenticated via social sign-on and find team & athlete related Likes, game Checkin’s from the last season (Timeline makes this even easier), team related status updates, etc… tied to the users NFL team & players of choice. They would be able to proactively target those users with highly targeted and relevant offerings around the upcoming seasons jerseys and other merchandise that the user would then be compelled to engage.

This solution combined with other integrated tactics would most likely net better results than engaging in a mass e-mail/traditional campaign. Moving forward, the brands that understand how to leverage the immense amounts of data that individuals are providing via their social graph and then create relevant & highly targeted outreach campaigns will be the brands that will capitalize on socially enabled commerce.

As e-marketer shows below, in 2012 $3 billion in goods will be sold via social media this number jumps to $14 billion by 2015.

The key to this trend is not just positioning products via social channels, but lowering the barrier of entry, mapping CRM & social graph elements as well as highly targeted, relevant and timely offers via social & traditional channels.

The brands that understand how to better integrate their CRM programs with Social Graph data to create robust user profiles that are then the basis for executing their marketing strategy will be the winners.

It should be noted that integration of SSO is a cross departmental effort and this is one of the primary reasons more fortune 500 organizations have not adopted this method. It will take visionary executives who understand the value of data integration to push SSO forward.
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