Facebook Now Offers Infinite Gender Options

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Facebook has finally opened up the floodgates on gender options.

Starting today, you can identify yourself however you wish. There are no limits on what you can type in as your gender – unless Facebook decides to moderate it after the fact. I’m sure we’ll see if that’s the case as people begin to take advantage of this option. For the past year, Facebook has allowed you to select from over 50 gender options.

“Last year we were proud to add a custom gender option to help people better express their identities on Facebook. We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves. After a year of offering this feature, we have expanded it to include a free-form field,” says Facebook’s Diversity page.

“Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own. As before, you can add up to ten gender terms and also have the ability to control the audience with whom you would like to share your custom gender. We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way.”

Google+ actually beat Facebook to the infinite gender options, allowing them back in December.

February 27th 2015 Facebook, Social Media

Now With 2 Million Advertisers, Facebook Is Gaining a Foothold With Small Businesses

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Facebook now has 2 million advertisers, a milestone CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today in a video post on the social network. Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg thanked small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and entrepreneurs for jumping on board with the platform, helping it attract 500,000 new advertisers in the last year.

"Millions of businesses like yours are using Facebook to connect with their customers and reach the world," Sandberg remarked in the clip.

Just a few years ago, Facebook was an unknown quantity when it came to local advertising for SMBs—the platform was perceived to be more for direct e-commerce players and big brands. That small-business challenge appears to have been met.

"What does stand out here is that Facebook is making it easier to advertise, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses," said Rebecca Lieb, a Facebook analyst. "Much like search engines developed tools 10 years ago to serve targeted ads, Facebook is doing the same and removing a lot of friction for these businesses."

Reaching 2 million advertisers is yet another indication of Facebook's growing dominance in digital, getting more businesses to market to its 1.4 billion users. The social network is changing the face of digital advertising much the way search redefined the marketplace more than 10 years ago, according to Lieb and other industry watchers.

Today, Facebook also launched a mobile app to help businesses manage marketing campaigns. And it's these types of "turn-key" products for small businesses, which are often less socially savvy, that are making it possible to advertise on Facebook, Lieb said.

"Targeting, segmenting, day-parting—this is not their core competency," she said, referring to the thousands of small businesses that have to learn a whole new marketing language for the social network. "Facebook has to go into local markets and show them this is how you as local advertisers leverage the platform."

The fact is that to reach fans on Facebook, big brands and small businesses have to pay for promoted posts. There is no such thing as free reach, according to Jordan Kretchmer, CEO of social marketing software firm Livefyre.

"Facebook has become one of the best paid media channels out there," Kretchmer said. The social network is developing the ads, the networks, the tools and data collection capabilities that hold promise for marketers to reach consumers in the most targeted way possible, online and via mobile devices.

However, its total control also creates the risk that businesses will become overly reliant on Facebook to reach audiences.

Big brands have already reacted to Facebook's dominance by investing in their own data and audiences, like Taco Bell building an app last year to own access to its user base, Kretchmer said. "If Facebook changes something tomorrow, these brands can jump away from it and not miss a beat," he said. "Small businesses are at a disadvantage. They are beholden to pay Facebook to drive traffic."

Last quarter, Facebook ad revenue was $3.6 billion, an increase of almost 60 percent year over year. It is the No. 2 digital ad business, still far behind Google, but comfortably ahead of companies like Twitter and Yahoo.

Of course, it also has rivals like Snapchat, coming up today much like Facebook was 10 years ago. That's why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp, which have more than a billion users combined.

"Marketers flock to media that collects the most users, that's just how it is," said Nate Elliott, a Forrester researcher. So Facebook's size is drawing the biggest brands, which are having the most success at the moment marketing there, he said.

The large companies have the advantage because they have their own data, and Facebook can be stingy when it comes to sharing its data.

"It's perverse. Facebook knows more about customers than anyone ever, yet marketers are forced to bring their own data to the party," Elliott said.

Marketing experts said the data question is the next one Facebook has to address with small businesses. Kretchmer said companies like his Livefyre are developing ad-targeting and data tools that have only been accessible to large brands so far.

"Getting to relevancy is more difficult for smaller businesses than larger ones," said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer's principal analyst. "For one thing, they don't tend to come into Facebook with their own large data sets, as do many of the larger companies that advertise on Facebook. This presents an opportunity for Facebook to educate small businesses about the best way to create and target ads to achieve relevancy."






Facebook Passes 2 Million Advertisers, Launches Ads Manager App For iOS

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The company has added 500,000 advertisers since July. App will make it easier for them to manage campaigns while they are on the go.

The post Facebook Passes 2 Million Advertisers, Launches Ads Manager App For iOS appeared first on Marketing Land.



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February 25th 2015 Facebook

Here’s How Google Instantly Built Real-Time Ads to Promote Oscar-Winning Movies

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Google hit the Oscars with a rare real-time marketing campaign, one that quickly began promoting links to buy and stream the winning films moments after stars accepted their awards.

Google said the Oscar campaign for iTunes competitor Google Play was the first time it used its ad technology to advertise its own business, though it has run similar campaigns for other brands like one for Nike during the World Cup.

The search giant has been building out its ad network to not just deliver ads in real-time but also craft the creative on the fly.

It's basically an automated shop for making ad copy and delivering it across the Web and mobile devices. It used the same system for EA Sports, to advertise Madden 15 last year.

Google serves these ads across its online display network and AdMob app partners.

Google has developed these technologies for generating ads in real time as it competes with platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which have become go-to spots for brands during the biggest marketing nights of the year—from the Super Bowl to the Oscars.

Twitter, especially, has become a natural fit for brands when it comes to instantaneous advertising. The messaging service's grasp on moment-by-moment trends gives brands an advantage when they want to jump into the conversation.

Google, however, has its own real-time view of the online psyche—it's called search. And the company put that to use with its Google Play ads during the Oscars.

For instance, Google said that based on past search trends—with people looking up stars or movies during previous awards shows—interest in the winners only lasts about 15 minutes.

So, after each major award was announced, Google Play served a customized congratulatory ad, and within 15 minutes it was on to the next real-time ad for the next winner, the company said. Google would not say how many movie sales the campaign generated, but the ads were served across 650,000-plus apps and its sprawling online display network of websites.

 






February 24th 2015 Facebook, Google, Mobile, Search, Technology, Twitter

Facebook’s Mobile Apps Now Let You Plaster Stickers All Over Your Photos

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facebook-photo-stickers Facebook has raised its sticker game with an update to its iOS and Android apps that allows users to decorated new photos with stickers and post them to the social network. Read More

February 20th 2015 Facebook

A Year Later, $19 Billion For WhatsApp Doesn’t Sound So Crazy

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Facebook WhatsApp Fox Messaging is the center of mobile. Snapchat is raising at around a $20 billion valuation. And no one cares who owns apps. On February 19th, 2014, we didn’t know any of these things for sure. So when Facebook announced it would pay $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp — an app most American pundits had never used — it seemed ludicrous. Zuck had to be crazy, right?
Wrong.
Without… Read More

February 20th 2015 Facebook, Mobile

These Fashion Week Designers Created Dazzling Facebook Videos As Well As Clothes

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With Facebook beefing up its video capabilities, fashion brands cranked out a mix of short and long clips for New York Fashion Week.

Exclusive data from Socialbakers tracked video activity across all of the Fashion Week designers' pages to see which posts people interacted with most. The upshot: High-quality video that shows off runway shows beats behind-the-scenes sneak peeks.

The social vendor counted the number of videos uploaded between Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 (this Friday is technically the event's final day, but the data is still fairly comprehensive) and then gave each brand an interaction score based on the number of Likes, comments and shares on videos.

The designers posted a total of 55 videos to their pages in the past week—89 percent of which were uploaded directly from Facebook. Seven percent of the clips were posted from YouTube videos, while 4 percent came from Vimeo.

Spanish fashion label Desigual grabbed the No. 1 spot on Socialbakers' chart. The brand posted two videos during Fashion Week—both after its show on Feb. 12, where fashion model Winnie Harlow walked the runway. Harlow's vitiligo, a skin pigment disease, made her the talk of Fashion Week.

One of the spots shows off Desigual's new spring collection, and the other recaps its runway show. The short clips brought in a total of 6,324 interactions.

Meanwhile, Michael Kors took a different approach that seemed to pay off. The American designer only posted one Fashion Week-themed video—the 15-second clip teasing the live streaming of its show generated 5,466 interactions.

Similarly, Carolina Herrera grabbed the No. 3 spot in terms of social engagement with a video hyping its upcoming show.

Despite posting a whopping 12 videos, BCBG Max Azria took the No. 7 spot on the chart with 1,196 interactions. Instead of posting stylized videos, the designer posted a bunch of behind-the-scenes videos the past week.

To be fair, BCBG Max Azria has nearly 471,000 Facebook fans compared to Desigual's more than 3.5 million, Michael Kors' 16.6 million and Carolina Herrera's 1 million. And there's a good chance some of these videos got a boost with paid ads.

Take a look at all of the Facebook data below. 






February 20th 2015 Facebook, Technology

The Cops Have Your Lost Cocaine, Please Facebook Message Them to Get It Back

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If you happened to drop your bag of cocaine inside the Super Dollar on West Virginia Avenue in Crewe, Virginia on Tuesday, then you’re in luck!

The cops have it. Just shoot them a message on Facebook and the whole thing will get straightened out.* It’s not a trap.

According to Detective Ella Turner, who made the now-viral post, she’s not trivializing the crime. Instead, she just wanted the people of Crewe to see the police as human – someone they can talk to a trust.

Again, it’s not a trap. There have yet to be any serious inquiries regarding the lost coke.

* By straightened out, I mean arrested. Here’s what the Crewe Police Department had to say in a reply:

“We have been asked “would you really give it back?” Let us clarify… NO! We will not give you back your illegal narcotics. The narcotics are weighed, photographed and placed into a evidence locker to be destroyed upon the approval of the courts. We distribute lots of things, such as lollipops to our favorite kids, and tickets to lead footed friends, but we do not re-distribute your drugs. We hope this clarifies our post a bit more.”

Image via Crewe Police Department, Facebook

February 20th 2015 Facebook

Are Mobile App-Install Ads the End-All to Social Marketing?

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Mobile app-install ads have been fundamental to Facebook and Twitter's rise as mobile advertising players over the past two years, and now Pinterest wants in on the action.

Last week, Pinterest teamed up with Apple to roll out App Pins—a feature that lets users save and share apps to boards. For example, someone looking for a recipe on Pinterest may see a meal-planning app pop up in search results. Clicking on the posts then lets a user download the app straight from Pinterest.

With 75 percent of the social network's traffic coming from mobile, the new tool seems like a natural fit for Pinterest marketers. But Pinterest may also be too late to capitalize on the tactic since Facebook and Twitter are already bolstering their revenues with app-install ads.

"They're definitely a little behind, but there is still a massive opportunity for them to integrate an app-install format," said Guillaume Lelait, general manager at mobile marketing agency Fetch. "Pinterest is different in that users are already coming to the platform with a discovery and purchasing mindset."

As part of the partnership, social media-averse Apple has also set up an account with a few boards of themed apps.

App Pins are the latest attempt from Pinterest to make it easier for users to find things they're interested in. In 2013, the company started packing more text into pins. And last year, Pinterest started testing Promoted Pins—ads that are bought based on keywords.

The San Francisco company told The New York Times it doesn't plan to make money off App Pins. But app install ads have been a boon for Facebook and Twitter, and it's hard to imagine that Pinterest isn't interested in tapping into the lucrative opportunity. Mobile accounted for 69 percent (or $2.5 billion) of Facebook's revenue during the fourth quarter, while smartphone and tablet ads generated 85 percent of Twitter's third-quarter ad money.

Lelait also noted Pinterest has a bevy of targeting options for marketers to home in on specific interests. "Pinterest is a platform that is based on customization and curation. People's Pinterest feeds are filled with content that they have personally chosen to follow, so the app-install cards will need to be highly relevant to the content they search for and pin to avoid feeling spammy and intrusive on users' feeds."

Targeted tweets
While Pinterest doesn't plan to use its new tool for advertising, a new case study from financial savings app Acorns shows that app-install ads pay off.

Acorns launched in August as an app that saves spare change on credit and debit card purchases. Users first link a credit card number to the app, which then rounds up the amount of a transaction to the next dollar. The extra money is then saved away to use later.

The financial startup used mobile app install ads on Facebook, Twitter and mobile ad networks to drive downloads of the app.

Promoted Tweets on Twitter ran from August to November 2014, targeting money-related keywords. The paid tweets generated a 3 percent engagement rate. "Basically we were able to find who was our audience and serve the ads directly to them," said Sami Khan, director of user acquisition at Acorns.

In the first 90 days that Acorns launched, one in five of the company's downloads came from Twitter.

The company paid less than $4 per app install, which it claims is significantly lower than the $8 to $10 that financial companies typically pay to acquire users.

The Acorns team also experimented with the ad's creative, changing up images on the fly. Khan said pictures that were simple and to the point performed well.

"Twitter ads for mobile app installs work better when they have pictures attached," Khan said. "So we needed to create images that related to our value proposition."

 






February 20th 2015 Facebook, Mobile, Technology, Twitter

Facebook Place Tips: 7 Ways To Optimize For Local Business Organic Reach

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How can marketers with brick-and-mortar locations get a leg up on the competition on Facebook? Contributor Mark Traphagen provides in-depth suggestions.

The post Facebook Place Tips: 7 Ways To Optimize For Local Business Organic Reach appeared first on Marketing Land.



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February 20th 2015 Facebook