The Groups App I Wish Facebook Would Build

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facebook-groups2 About once a week, if not more, I find myself typing these words or something similar on Facebook: “I just PM’d you, check your ‘Other’ inbox.” Or, “sorry, I’m on mobile, I can’t get to the ‘Other’ inbox right now.” Or sometimes, just “bump.” If any of these phrases sound familiar, you’re probably also a member… Read More

October 25th 2014 Facebook, Mobile

Fast Five in Search – Week 43, 2014

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The year is fast coming to an end and it seems like the big online brands are all rushing to launch products or services before 2014 wraps up. So today we have a mixed bag of brand announcements, as well as some interesting trends in mobile advertising.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google Penguin 3.0: Worldwide Rollout Still in Process, Impacting 1% of English Queries by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land. Google is in the process of rolling out their latest iteration of the Penguin algorithm update. In this post, Barry looks at what’s been tweaked, when it rolled out and who has been affected so far.

2) Mobile Ad Revenues Soar as Search and Directories Flatten Out by Emily Alford of Search Engine Watch. In 2014, mobile revenues increased by a whopping 76 percent from $3 billion to $5.3 billion from the $3 billion reported at half-year 2013. $2.7 billion came from mobile search, while $2.5 billion came from mobile display. Emily looks at reasons for the incredible performance and areas of overlap with other advertising revenue.

3) Facebook Launches “Pseudonymous” App Rooms That Lets You Create Forums About Any Topic by Josh Constine of TechCrunch. Facebook has launched a new mobile app that has everyone talking. Called *Rooms*, the app lets you set up a mobile-only discussion space about any topic.

4) Mobile Search Ranking Study: Rank Number One or Not Rank at All by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land. A new study from seoClarity finds that if you do not rank in the number one position in the mobile search results, the click-through rate drops off significantly, so much so, that ranking number barely matters.

and finally…

5) Universal Event Tracking: A New and Improved Way to Track Your Sites’ Activities in Bing Ads by Nishant Gupta of Bing Ads. Bing Ads has introduced Universal Event Tracking (UET) to advertisers worldwide. UET allows advertisers to define and track performance and conversion goals important for their business. This is the official launch announcement from Bing Ads.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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October 24th 2014 Facebook

Here’s Why Automakers Are Ahead of the Game in Digital

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For years, automakers were synonymous with branding-based advertising, but the shift to digital has steered more of them toward direct-response marketing. Of course, sizable ad budgets help, but there’s more to why automakers are first movers on practically every new type of digital promo.

Today, Honda’s Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana dealer group (which includes roughly 30 Midwest dealerships) announces that it is the first brand to use a new tool from Blinq Media—one of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers—that targets in-market car shoppers with local promos. By squarely focusing on in-market car shoppers, the campaign only uses direct-response messaging to drive conversions.

With the help of agency RPA, Honda will begin using the new tool to buy Facebook’s right-hand rail and newsfeed ads on desktops, plus sponsored posts on mobile, programmatically. The ads target two types of prospects: Consumers who are near dealership, or people who have interacted with Honda’s content before—such as filling out an online sales lead form.

Nichola Perrigo, associate director of digital marketing at Honda’s agency RPA, described the social promos as a way to "optimize and rapid-fire test different ad units" by pulling in dealership-specific offers in real time.

Ad creative will change on the fly, too. "We’re going to be able to create very dynamic, custom ads that hit each one of those audience groups," explained Perrigo. For example, if a person has shown a past interest in a Civic sedan, he or she won’t be served an ad for an Accord. Clicking through on any ad drives consumers to a website with more customized information based on the Facebook offer.

Since GM’s famous exit from the social platform in 2012 (and its subsequent return in 2013), Facebook has made significant efforts to win back auto brands.

To Facebook’s credit, GM-owned Chevrolet was among a small handful of brands to test auto-play video ads earlier this year while Ford and Lexus have also forked over cash to the social platform.

Marc Poirier, co-founder and evp of business development at Acquisio noted the newest local ads may also pay off for other direct-response marketers. "The new local ad offering for Facebook is in theory very well-suited to direct-response local advertising, especially when the measured goal is something such as generating requests for test drives."

Moving Down the Purchase Funnel
Honda’s decision to home in on digital to target low-funnel consumers follows a string of similar investments from automakers.

In September, Toyota Central Atlantic—a group of dealerships along the East Coast—claimed a 45 percent increase in foot traffic from a mobile campaign.

The ads targeted in-market buyers who had previously visited a competitor’s lot and linked to car registration data, indicating if a consumer actually bought a car as a result of seeing the re-targeted mobile ads.

It’s easy to chalk up the emphasis on hyperlocal marketing to the fact that automakers typically have sky-high marketing budgets. But it also indicates that digital is working for brands to do more than branding.

"U.S. automotive [brands] have usually a 60/40 split between direct-response and branding," said Guillaume Lelait, general manager at Fetch.

In With the New, Out With the Old?
Even as more automakers employ direct-response advertising, not all brands are ready to ditch branding efforts. Instead, marketers like Mercedes are pulling double duty with social ads.

Mercedes recently released a case study from the first campaign to run Instagram and Facebook promos simultaneously. The German automaker’s effort claims a 54 percent increase in Web traffic. But there’s also an interesting branding data point: The Instagram ads by themselves increased brand awareness by 14 percent. The idea was to test which types of creative work best on each platform.

"We're not just throwing money at the platform—we're really trying to see what's going to break through and get engagement from our audience," Eric Jillard, general manager of marketing services at Mercedes, told Adweek during Advertising Week.

October 22nd 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology

Mobile Ads Could Make or Break the Yahoo-Tumblr Marriage

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Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer's $1 billion bet on Tumblr is undergoing a fresh wave of scrutiny thanks to a disgruntled investor as well as persistent questions from marketers. And later today when she discloses Yahoo's third-quarter earnings, Mayer is expected to unveil a fresh plan of attack for her company. It will be intriguing to see where Tumblr falls into the mix, as there are signs that the union may ultimately yield promising new mobile opportunities.

Last week in London, the tech duo pitched two cross-device, data-driven ad products that show potential. Earlier this month, 50 ad agencies convened at Yahoo's private annual summit on the Rhode Island coast, where Tumblr's smartphone-savvy millennial audience demo was pitched to marketers.

“We believe that every one of those agencies represented will bring one new brand onto the platform in the next three or four months,” said Lee Brown, Tumblr’s global head of sales.

According to comScore, Tumblr's mobile viewers were up 45 percent year over year in September. New York-based Tumblr's numbers state that 65 percent of its 400 million global monthly users employ its mobile app. And with mobile ad sales exploding for Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr's millennial prowess looms like an untapped beer keg for youth-minded brands. Give Tumblr credit: It’s not leaning on often dreadful display ads to create cash flow, instead focusing on a handful of native-styled products.

Starbucks reported positive early results for its trending blog promos on the social platform’s phone app, while Taco Bell and American Eagle are repeat customers. Ads appear alongside text blogs, video, GIFs and other multimedia. “It is very lightweight and has built-in virality,” said Ned Brody, Yahoo’s head of the Americas. “And that’s really what a modern platform should have.”

While agencies are intrigued by Tumblr’s engagement with millennials, serious concerns remain. Sean Kegelman, evp of audience and strategy at VivaKi, said, “With Tumblr’s distinct environment, you’re not going to see a tremendous amount of paid advertising on it because brands need a lot of [complementary] content to make it work.”

Amy Peterman, 360i’s director of paid social, remarked that Tumblr’s ads are compelling, but added it hasn’t “done a great job of educating the marketplace thus far about what’s possible and how to use the platform.”

Dan Lubetsky, performance analytics lead at SapientNitro, agreed, asking, “What does a trending ad in Tumblr actually generate?”

Indeed, offering meaningful data will be central to whether Tumblr makes good on Yahoo’s expensive leap of faith. And so will selling ads to brands that take aim at Gen Y consumers who are glued to their handhelds.

“We are at a great inflection point,” said Tumblr’s Brown. “Mobile is a big opportunity.”

As the last installment of a three-part series on Tumblr, tomorrow we'll look into how major brands such as Gatorade, BMW and MasterCard are employing the platform's advertising and marketing products.

October 21st 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology, yahoo

TLC’s Cake Boss To Host Interactive Live-Streamed Holiday Cooking Show

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The cable network turns online to boost brand awareness and loyalty as prime baking season arrives.

The post TLC’s Cake Boss To Host Interactive Live-Streamed Holiday Cooking Show appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

October 21st 2014 Facebook, video

Here’s Why Facebook Never Created a ‘Dislike’ Button

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As anyone who's posted something ostensibly insightful on Reddit knows, watching your comment get downvoted into a negative abyss can leave you feeling stung and downright pissed off.

That's exactly the kind of experience Facebook wanted to avoid when it actively decided not to create a "Dislike" button alongside the iconic thumbs-up Like button that debuted in early 2009.

In an interview with the creator of the Like button, former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor (who these days runs mobile app Quip), TechRadar reports that a Dislike button was often discussed but consistently scrapped because "the negativity of that button has a lot of unfortunate consequences."

While the Like button was born largely to unclutter feeds riddled with positive one-word comments like "wow" and "cool," Taylor says, Facebook felt that it was actually better to corner the more negative users into leaving a comment explaining their opinions.

"I have the feeling that if there were to be a 'Dislike' button is that you would end up with these really negative social aspects to it," Taylor says. "If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there's probably a word for what you want to say."

October 21st 2014 Facebook, Social Media, Technology

16 Months After Acquisition, Yahoo Hasn’t Made Tumblr Uncool

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There's a large portrait of wild horses in the elevator lobby at 35 East 21st St., Tumblr's home in New York. And 16 months after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer frankly promised "not to screw it up," the photo seems emblematic of the freedom that is still afforded to Tumblr's leaders.

Walking through Tumblr's four and a half floors of offices, filled with engineers, sales staff, community management teams and others, there's no sign of Yahoo, figuratively or literally. There's not a Yahoo-staffed office or even desk in the building. Yeah, $1.1 billion doesn't even get you a purple paper tray adorned with a "Y!" logo in this joint.

True to her word, Mayer has let this place alone.

"It's a very healthy working relationship where we are still able to maintain our independence but also have a lot of great access to the technology and financial resources they have to help us grow our business faster," said Lee Brown, Tumblr's global head of brand partnerships. "It has become more familiar, more comfortable. When you first come into a family, you don't know how you are going to work together."

Tumblr has has grown from 300 million to 400 million monthly visitors, according to the company's internal numbers, and has nearly doubled its number of user-generated blogs since the acquisition. The kind of growth is vital, especially now, when an investor with a significant stake in Yahoo has painted Tumblr with less-than-flattering colors. Whether or not the spendy purchase pans out, it can be argued that this was always a long-term strategy for Mayer—getting an aging Yahoo a foot in the door with millennials and the younger generation.

"Marissa wanted to let Tumblr develop along its predetermined path, and Yahoo wanted to play an enablement role," said Ned Brody, head of the Americas at Yahoo. "Which was to leverage our sales contacts and distribution platform, but not change what Tumblr is—what it is to creators."

For all the talk about the importance of maintaining a rich community of arty, self-styled bloggers, the acquisition was still a business deal. And to that end, Yahoo has helped Tumblr behind the scenes, developing native-styled ad products and introducing the platform to numerous Madison Avenue heavyweights. And the strategy may very well be working. Gatorade, BMW, Mini Cooper, Degree and MasterCard are some of the brands that have become ad-buying Tumblr customers in recent weeks.

"Our view has been to make the introductions and to work collaboratively with Tumblr to ensure that possible opportunities exist for our advertising partners," Brody said.

Can Tumblr Become Yahoo's Most-Important Platform?

The collaboration has allowed Tumblr to increase its staff from 173 to 283, including an engineering team that is now 100 people strong. "On the product side, we have to make sure we are on the bleeding edge," Brown stated.

Indeed, as Mayer emphasized at Advertising Week earlier this month, the Tumblr-like digital magazines her team launched at the beginning of 2014 showcase how the acquisition might help the company across properties, and perhaps turn around Yahoo's lagging advertising sales. The digital magazines include Tech and Fashion/Style, while last week Yahoo debuted a DIY zine that will focus on original videos, listicles and slide shows.

A source close to the situation told Adweek that such Tumblr-Yahoo integrations represent a belief inside Yahoo's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters that Tumblr can become the company's core product. When asked about that perspective, Brody quickly pointed to the digital magazines and didn't try to walk such a narrative back.

"I think it is the platform of the future for us," he said. "And we believe it should be the platform of the future for any publisher or brand."

More Like YouTube Than Instagram, Brown Says

With Instagram and Pinterest seemingly making the graphics-driven social space incredibly competitive nowadays, Brown contends that Tumblr doesn't share much of a digital kinship with those platforms. "I would liken us more to the creator networks like YouTube," he said. "Our network is not based on who you know, it's based on what you love. … We want it to be all things whether text, animated GIFs, etc."

Sixteen months in, it's still early for Yahoo and Tumblr, especially since the former is sitting on a mountain-sized pile of cash, thanks to its Alibaba stock.

"We are pleased with the acquisition of Tumblr among multiple fronts," Brody remarked. "Revenue is certainly a primary [item on the] checklist, but so is product."

Yahoo has yet to break out Tumblr's sales in an earnings statement, which makes industry watchers wonder about the bottom line. And ultimately, investors will judge the acquisition by a single factor: Can Tumblr become a billion-dollar juggernaut that joins Facebook and Twitter as social platforms eating away at Google's digital advertising empire.

If Tumblr has a chance, mobile will certainly be key. "We are seeing a big shift in how people are using our platform in terms of content creation and consumption," Brown said. "Sixty-five percent of our consumption is [on] mobile devices."

As part of a three-part series on Tumblr, tomorrow we'll take a data-driven look at the platform's potential with smartphone and tablet-based ads while assessing persistent questions from marketers.

October 20th 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology, Twitter, yahoo, YouTube

New Facebook Tool Lets Marketers Host Real-Time Chats With Celebs

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Twitter has long had a reputation as a real-time marketing platform, making it a go-to site for brands to host Q&A sessions with celebrities and personalities. But Twitter may be losing a few followers as marketers move chats over to Facebook.

VH1, Discovery Channel and Sony Masterworks are a handful of brands testing a new Q&A tool on Facebook powered through marketing platform BumeBox. Previously, the platform only gave marketers moderation and analytical tools to manage social chatter on Twitter. Opening up chats to Facebook will now allow marketers to manage significantly larger fan bases.

Sony Masterworks ran its first Facebook campaign earlier this month to help America’s Got Talent star Jackie Evancho promote her new album. The hour-long Facebook Q&A generated 734 percent more comments than any of the singer’s posts so far this year.

“Jackie Evancho was a no-brainer as a first use because of the great, loyal fan base on Facebook,” said Melissa Goldberg, general manager at Total Assault, Evancho’s social media and digital marketing agency. Based on the results, Total Assault is now looking to run a similar effort on Twitter. The teen singer has roughly 270,000 Facebook and 90,000 Twitter followers.

Discovery Channel also recently ran a campaign on Facebook. The network set up a chat last week to promote the reality show Fast N’ Loud with cast member Christie Brimberry. Discovery Channel boasts 29 million Facebook “likes” and 2.8 million Twitter followers.

But marketers might face different challenges on Facebook than on Twitter. Unlike Twitter, comments on Facebook pop up based on popularity and are not chronological, making it difficult for fans to follow a chat in real time. Plus, Facebook’s organic reach has slipped over the past year, meaning that brands will likely have to layer paid ads on top of earned efforts when running a Q&A to reach a specific audience.

That means brands still need to use both Twitter and Facebook for these kinds of initiatives, said Julie Ask, an analyst at Forrester Research. “This isn’t a question of either-or—this is a question for brands looking for more of their consumers in more places,” she said.

At the same time, more marketers are experimenting with mobile messaging apps—including Snapchat, Whisper and Line—as alternatives to traditional social media for chatting. Advertising opportunities on these apps are still nascent in the U.S., but some apps in Asia have already shown promising results for celebrity marketing.

For example, South Korea’s KakaoTalk brought in $203 million in revenue last year and includes a feature that allows users to follow and chat with their favorite celebrities.

“Does Facebook have an advantage?” asked Brian Blau, Gartner’s research director of consumer technology and markets. “Yes, it has a big audience, but to be honest, there are more technologies that brands are going to experiment with over time.”

October 20th 2014 Facebook, Technology, Twitter

Snapchat Says Ads Are Coming This Weekend: ‘We Need the Money’

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Snapchat—evidently cash-strapped—will start showing ads this weekend, and the messaging app gave a better understanding of how marketing will arrive in users' inboxes with a blog post today.

Snapchat said ads will show up in the "recent updates" feed that show users a list of the latest messages.

The L.A.-based startup, worth about $10 billion with investor interest from companies including Yahoo, has been slowly teasing its advertising potential for a couple weeks. CEO Evan Spiegel announced ad plans at a Vanity Fair tech conference earlier this month.

Now, the company promised that promoted snaps would be pushed to the 100 million-user community during the next couple of days. It was unclear how many of the users would see the ad, and Snapchat did not reveal the name of the first sponsor (or sponsors).

"It's the first time we've done anything like this because it's the first time we've been paid to put content in that space," Snapchat said in its blog post. "It's going to feel a little weird at first, but we're taking the plunge."

The ads will show up as Snapchat messages and be available for users to open for 24 hours, like other messages.

Brands like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Audi, MTV and plenty of others already use the app to message fans.

The company said the ads would be “fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted.”

Of course, targeting is an issue in general for Snapchat because it collects less data on users than say a Facebook or Twitter.

“Understandably, a lot of folks want to know why we’re introducing advertisements to our service,” Snapchat said. “The answer is probably unsurprising—we need to make money.” 

October 18th 2014 Facebook, Mobile, Technology, Twitter

Holiday Inn’s Digital-Only Approach Has Generated 175 Million Video Views So Far

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Holiday Inn is three months into its first digital-only campaign, dubbed Journey to Extraordinary, and the brand doesn't appear to have any regrets.

"Over a hundred million views of our video content, which means that we're seeing the content reach the people who matter most," said Maurice Cooper, vp of Americas for Holiday Inn at InterContinental Hotels Group.

His brand is partnering with Tumblr, Nonfiction Unlimited, International New York Times, Mashable and MBAs Across America for effort that runs through November. The marketing push also involves Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and Cooper has an interesting take on what platform inspires the best kind of consumer chatter (more on that below). A WPP agency team comprised of Ogilvy, Possible, Hill+Knowlton and Mindshare collaborated with the brand to create "Journey to Extraordinary."

The Holiday Inn team brought on a couple photo-bloggers to generate content, while also focusing on a mix of paid and consumer-told narratives via video and social media. One example of consumer-based stories: Holiday Inn customer Majora Carter spoke about how she escaped a crime-ridden Bronx neighborhood decades ago as a high school graduate but returned years later to help rebuild her community. (Scroll down to watch the 3-minute, 43-second clip.)

Below are a few of specific stats from the brand campaign so far.

  • 175.3 million total video views from pre-roll and long form—mostly coming via YouTube, Set.TV and travel site Sojern.
  • A Tumblr reach of 19.2 million consumers.
  • More than 200,000 likes of #JourneyOnContest photoblogger content to date.

Cooper recently reflected on the results.

Outside the big view number, why else do you feel positive about going digital-only?
Engagement, which has been really, really strong. When we think about engagement, it’s people sharing the content, talking about the content and engaging with the content—and we’ve seen the brand exceed industry benchmarks. And then lastly, we think about sentiment. … We want people to walk away, clearly understanding who we really are. And we’ve seen positive statistically significant shifts in brand sentiment as a result of this campaign so far.

Can you explain the origin of the decision a little more?
The rationale behind [digital-only] is two-fold. One, we obviously live in a world where digital platforms are becoming more important every day, and it’s a way in which we can reach guests of really all demographic backgrounds in a more targeted way. And the way that we’re able to see the engagement numbers that I talked about and the reach that I talked about is that we’re placing the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Maurice Cooper

There has been an emphasis on Tumblr and Instagram. Is this campaign more Gen Y targeted than past endeavors?
Yeah, we definitely care about millennials, but we care about all of our guests. And one of the things that we have been really, really pleased with is leveraging platforms like Instagram and Tumblr, which let us drive higher engagement. We know that Instagram, as an example, drives materially more engagement than what you would see with Facebook and even with Twitter. … A platform like Instagram allows for them to be able to do so in a beautiful way and a very personal way.

How has mobile fit in?
Mobile is a key cornerstone to any strong digital campaign. We know obviously about the rise of smartphones and how accessible [information] is for our guests on a regular basis. When we’re talking about delivering this message of change on Holiday Inn to our guests, we want to be able to deliver it in context at the right time. And so mobile absolutely is a huge part of our strategy, and frankly it’s where we get a lot of our success of our engagement.

October 18th 2014 Facebook, Technology, Twitter, YouTube