Social Media

Do you live, breathe, and eat social media? Are you managing Facebook Ad campaigns? Well, then, this section of the blog might be right up your alley. Here, you'll find tips and tricks for getting more out of your Facebook Ad campaigns. And if you like what you ready here, we'd encourage you to check out our Facebook ad management software. We kind of built it for people like you.

Satisfied Advertisers Help Boost Twitter’s Q2 Earnings

twitter

Twitter just shared their 2014 Q2 earnings and it looks like the 140 character social media platform surpassed expectations despite previously disappointing results. Twitter’s stock rose 2 cents a share, compared to a loss of 12 cents a share last year at this time, and the company reported a 124% increase of revenue, earning $312 million.

Analysts predicted a 1 cent decrease in shares, so this news comes as a great surprise to many. Twitter’s stock shot up after the press release was made public.

twitter stock

But what was behind the platform’s improvement when user growth is slow? It seems like paid advertising is the answer.

Twitter Ad Revenue

Despite slower than expected growth in user activity, the social service has steadily increased their ad revenue.

twitter ad revenue

eMarketer forecasts that Twitter will have more than $1 billion in ad revenue in 2014, up 84% from 2013.

Right now, Twitter offers advertisers the opportunity to promote tweets, trends and accounts. The reasons these promotions are so attractive to advertisers are:

1. Twitter’s relationship with TV
2. Twitter’s real-time advertising opportunities, including targeting
3. Twitter’s willingness to collaborate on exclusive creative executions

“What Twitter has is more important than reach right now. They’ve captured the in-the-moment space, which is incredibly important to marketers,” said Scott Zalaznik, vice president of digital at Sprint to eMarketer.

Real Time Advertising

That in-the-moment space, or real-time social sharing, is what Twitter is all about. During large scale events like holidays or the TV specials like the Grammys, real-time tweets allow marketers to target an engaged audience with hashtags and respond and report on what’s happening live.

For example, during Pharrell Williams’ Grammy performance, Arby’s Restaurant tweeted:

arby's arbys-pharell-hed-2014

The tweet was so popular other brands like Pepsi and Hyundai retweeted it, calling it a Grammys Win. Plus, Pharrell Williams responded to the tweet the next day, which gave the tweet another 20,000 retweets and countless impressions.

This tweet even led to Arby’s and Pharrell partnering to auction the hat for charity, and the entire process was documented and shared through Twitter.

This is the kind of engaging cross platform advertising Marketers want to pay for.

The Twitter and TV Relationship

Real-time social sharing works hand in hand with TV advertising. Not only are Twitter hashtags dominating TV screens during both commercials and scheduled programs, but Twitter’s partnership with Nielsen for the “Neilsen Twitter TV Ratings” tracks the social impact of programs by calculating the number of tweets, accounts tweeting and impressions related to a given show right after the show airs.

For example, during the week ending March 9, 2014, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was the top-ranked series, with 307,000 tweets by 146,000 different users, reaching an audience of more than 4.2 million people.These trackable numbers give advertisers somewhat of an understanding of their ROI.

These are the kind of metrics that excite advertisers and that’s why more and more Twitter Ads are getting posted during special events.

“For events like the Super Bowl, [Twitter] has become a regular part [of our advertising] year over year,” said Raashee Erry, media and connections planning manager at Volkswagen of America, reports e-marketer.

Twitter surpasses even Facebook in their cross platform TV tie-ins, and that’s a huge selling point for Twitter ads.

Collaboration

Because Twitter is still relatively new, the company is eager to work closely with advertisers in terms of creative development, media strategy and ecommerce partnerships. Unilever, for example, committed an estimated $500,000 to Twitter ads related to the Super Bowl after getting personalized guidance from Twitter executives.

This type of coaching and personalized assistance is common for Twitter advertisers, and it’s another reason marketers are satisfied with Twitter ads.

Conclusion

With everything Twitter offers to attract advertisers, advertising revenue is predicted to keep increasing. Advertisers have found a high quality engaged audience to target with Twitter and even if the user growth is slow, it’s still growing, and a growing platform is one advertisers want to collaborative with.

Advertiser support is what helped Twitter surpass expectations this quarter and Twitter Ads can keep Twitter performing well each quarter.

New Pinterest Ads Not for Performance Marketers

pinterest grey banner

We hear the buzz about Pinterest ads and we’re telling all you performance marketers to quiet down. Here’s what you need to realize about Pinterest’s latest release on promoted pins.

After the initial announcement last fall, Pinterest’s product manager, Julie Black, has confirmed that the photo sharing platform is moving forward with promoted pins with select brands. The keyword here is “select.”

Joanne Bradford, Head of Partnerships at Pinterest, released the list of brands taking part in the first paid test. Here are the brands within the small group:

  • ABC Family
  • Banana Republic
  • Expedia.com
  • Gap
  • General Mills
  • Kraft
  • lululemon athletica
  • Nestle
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Ziploc®

Unless your brand ranks among these giants, it’s unlikely Pinterest will allow you to advertise on their platform. Here’s why.

Pinterest wants brands to commit to spending between $1 and $2 million on promoted pins and the image platform intends on pricing CPMs between $30 and $40 according to AdAge. We can assume that range is out of most performance marketers budgets.

The iAd approach

“This reminds me of apple iAd, ” says Marc Poirier, SEM expert and founder of Acquisio.

“Apple invested a lot of money and made a lot of noise about the ad network that they created for iOS, iAd, but there were a few problems. For one, they insisted on maintaining control of the look and feel of everything and secondly, the cost of entry was absolutely prohibitive, so if you wanted to test you had to be a really large brand with millions of dollars to spend on digital media.”

It sounds pretty familiar, but what happened with Apple’s iAd strategy? Well, Apple lowered their minimum amount of advertising from close to $1 million to $50, abandoning their premium appeal and introducing self service tools to attract developers.

Pinterest may do something similar in the future, but as it stands right now performance marketers are not invited to the promoted pins party – it’s restricted to VIP only.

Why so expensive, Pinterest?

There’s a big up side to Pinterest’s premium ad strategy. If Pinterest maintains control of what people put on their platform, the way Apple did with iAd initially, they shouldn’t disrupt their audience experience. This is great for users who get ticked off whenever their favorite platform starts releasing advertisements, clogging up their screen with ads they don’t want (and let’s face it, that’s all users). With this strategy Pinterest fans shouldn’t notice any difference between promoted pins and the ones they usually see on their page.

If a company introduces paid advertisement, users may likely be turned off by the ads and leave. Pinterest doesn’t want their loyal pinners to run for the hills, and they don’t want their beautiful organic photos to be replaced with salesy banner ads, so they’re probably right in controlling which brands use promoted pins.

Pinterest is able to set their standards so high because they have something big brands want – a highly concentrated audience of women. The idea of having ads on Pinterest, where you can so accurately target women aged 25-34, is intriguing, so intriguing that the big brands listed above are willing to dish out a million big ones (potentially) to connect with these ladies.

We’ll just have to see how long Pinterest limits promoted pins to premium brands. Right now this seems like the only move the not yet profitable platform can make to generate revenue without sacrificing the integrity of the product.

But is there another option?

“I think the real play for Pinterest is in their data more than how they’re going to sell ads themselves,” says Poirier.

Pinterest is sitting on a goldmine of information concerning their mostly female audience, and selling that data may be just as important as putting up ads in their own environment.

“In other words, explains Acquisio’s founder, “leveraging Pinterest data to target women outside of Pinterest is probably a bigger play for the company. If Pinterest wants to go big into performance marketing it will be with an external network (like Google with AdSense). Or Pinterest could just resell their data for people who want to buy display ads with real time bidding based on Pinterest data.”

Today the news of promoted pins on Pinterest is not so exciting, but the promise of it for a greater audience of advertisers, extending outside of the Pinterest area into other websites, may be worth buzzing about when and if that time comes.

Social Media Spring Cleaning

SpringClean

It’s that time of the year again!

While spring technically arrived last week, most of us are only now starting to notice the first signs of grass and wildlife (and if we’re lucky some warmer temperatures).

It’s the perfect time of the year to spring clean your social media accounts.  We are sure many of your accounts have been active for a while and perhaps haven’t seen the love and care you had hoped for.  Taking a step back, re-evaluating and making a game plan for the future will only strengthen your online activities.  Go ahead, you know you want to!

Audit Current Accounts

  • Frequency of posts: This will vary depending on your company, industry and goals. However, what is important is consistency. Followers expect to receive communication from you on an on-going base. Also, when potential followers visit your social media page they want to see recent, relevant posts.
  • Quality of content: Quality should be the main focal point of your social media content strategy. However, it’s  an area where so many falter.  Social media is much more than a soap box to stand on, the content you create and share should speak to your audience.  You should be able to answer the questions “why should my followers care about this?” and “do they actually care?”
  • Images and Branding: Each social media channel, while different, should be recognizable as your organizations’.  This means that colors, logo and messaging should be in-line with your organization’s brand.  Sites are always updating their layouts and image details.  Below are a few popular social media sites and their guidelines to optimize your images.
Facebook Cover Photos:  851px wide x 315px tall
Twitter Header Photos: 1252px wide x 626px tall
Google Plus Cover Photos:  2120px wide x 1192px tall
YouTube Desktop Banner: 2560px wide x 473px tall
YouTube TV Banner: 2560px wide x 1440px tall
LinkedIn Company Page Cover Photo: 646px wide x 220px tall

 

  • Sign up for new ones: The online world is constantly changing and social media is no exception.  Since your last audit, there may have been new and relevant social platforms for you to get involved in.  For example, search for LinkedIn groups related to topics of interest, look into Pinterest or Instagram for business or investigate localization tools such as foursquare.

Take stock of competitors

If you haven’t started a competitor list, the time is now!  Paying attention to what is happening in your space should always include what and how your competitors are doing.  Your competitor database should include info such as Competitor Name, Website, URLs to social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc), how engaging are they (Facebook posts per month, tweets per week, etc), overall messages they are trying to convey.

Facebook is rolling out a new tool called Pages to Watch.  Via the admin Page Insights (on your own Facebook page), you can add pages similar to your own and compare performance.

PagesToWatch

 

Goals

Setting and tracking goals is one of the most important aspects of your social media plan.  There’s no point in putting in all the effort if you can’t prove its success.  The best place to start is with your organization’s big picture goals. Is your goal to sell 1,000 shirts per month, get $10k in donations a quarter or provide 100 leads to your sales team per week?  After these questions are answered, social media’s role can be determined.

Tracking of social media interactions can happen through the platform you are using, ie Facebook Insights or through a tool such as Google Analytics which can integrate social media interactions into its platform.

Remember that goals will be different across channels and there will more than likely be multiple goals in order to cover the desires of each of your business units.

GA-social-overview

Tweak Social Media Game Plan

  • Update any bios, product descriptions, company boilerplates or mention of company executives.  While these should be done regularly, there are bound to be things that slipped through the cracks.
  • Schedule some social media time.  Daily participation in discussions, staying on top of competitor or industry news and content sharing is a million times easier if you do it on a regular basis. Schedule 15-30 mins each day to browse your feeds and engage with followers!
  • Connect with new people. Go through that stack of business cards sitting on your desk, peruse your CRM software or think back to that networking cocktail hour you attended last week.  Either way, there are sure to be lots of new people to connect with.
  • Align yourself with others in your organization. You may be the one spearheading social media participation but chances are others in your organization have great content to share or networks they can leverage.  For example, many HR departments love platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn for recruiting purposes.  Posting updates about career fair presence, new job postings or to answer questions about what it is like at your organization are great ways to get them involved.

6 Tips For Using Audience Targeting

Still think LinkedIn is the only social platform for targeting businesses? Think again. All those B2B customers who say they “prefer” LinkedIn are still spending a ton of time on the book of face, and thanks to some improved targeting features it is now just as viable a platform for B2B initiatives….

Stop Being Sad and Use the Facebook Custom Audience

Awesome-facebook-custome-audience

For us who manage complex multi-channels PPC campaigns, the Facebook custom audience is as awesome a tool as we could ask for!  It allows us to create highly targeted audiences based on specific actions or content that we actually control instead of a post written on a page by a user or some unverified information….

Will Greed Ruin Facebook Ads for Marketers?

Frustrated Caucasian businesswoman biting laptopThere has been a significant amount of buzz lately about Facebook considering a new Revenue Model which will allow users to pay for an Ad-Free Experience and that my friends will put a big wrench into the “ultra-targeting” that marketers are currently doing as part of their online strategy. Many studies have been performed which say that Facebook will make even more money from its ads just by offering to get rid of them for a price. Let’s Discuss

Facebook Ads Not Looking To Good:

According to an article entitled “Could Facebook Make More by Dumping Ads?” by wallstcheatsheet.com, a recent study by Greenlight Digital shows that not only 70% of users almost never click on FB Ads, but users would be interested in paying a monthly fee to NOT show any ads. Here’s the snippet:

A recent study from Greenlight shows that Facebook could make even more money from its ads, by offering to get rid of them for a price. The group polled 500 people globally to see how willing they’d be to pay Facebook to not see ads. Fifteen percent responded that they’d be willing to pay a monthly fee to keep their Newsfeeds free of ads, with 8 percent saying they’d pay up to $10 per month for such a service.

“The Greenlight study also showed that 70 percent of users “rarely” or “never” click on ads on Facebook, leading Greenlight to suggest that the social media site “pace itself a little less aggressively” on allowing ads to fill up users’s Newsfeeds. Pouros noted that a similar problem killed search engine AltaVista, when Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) brought in a cleaner and more user-friendly search experience.”

In another related, yet very humorous article from Business2community.com, author Rachael Parker states that “What used to be a friendly place to catch up with friends, family and, yes, a few trusted brands has turned into a cacophonous Grand Central Station of advertising, my once-cozy News Feed now infested with pushy promos from companies I’ve never heard of. “

Future of Facebook Ads:

Ok, now that we are getting the sense that Facebook is turning itself into a typical Diner-Sized Paper-Mat or a Nascar Sponsorship and Users and Advertisers are starting to get very “turned off” by it. With that said, all of the Strategies of “slicing and dicing” GEO, Ages, Marital Status, Interests, Partner Categories, etc, are eventually going to be useless if FB decides to offer to allow users to pay to remove ads. Moreover, if this does happen, it will also affect any Google Display strategies which have been leveraging FB learnings.

In conclusion:

We all know that Facebook Ads is not the best-converting platform for most advertisers. Marketers have had to dissect their audiences down to micro levels to try and make the strategies work. Now, with all of the negative commentary, research and studies, Facebook Ads is starting to become obsolete and it’s now up to Facebook Execs to please their shareholders as to the next step. Perhaps, Facebook Ads was expected to be just a “Phase” or an experiment that was destined to fail because of fatigue. Whatever FB does, they need to be careful not only how much they monetize, but which people they want to annoy (shareholders or their users).

Expensive Space with a Low Budget – Consider Facebook

Facebook advertisingI’m going to paint a little scenario here: you’re a new or niche company with a smaller budget. Say maybe a software startup or a niche college program. You’re anxious to start pushing your products and programs through paid search, but find yourself facing immense competition and $20-$30-$40 CPC’s. So what should you do? Turn to Facebook!

Most marketers would tend to write off Facebook as a direct-response marketing tactic, simply because the conversion rate is usually well below that of typical search/display channels. But Facebook will often generate CPC’s in the area of a quarter or below, dropping further and further depending on your CTR. When you have a CPC that’s 99% cheaper in Facebook vs. search, you can afford to take a bit of a hit in conversion rate….

Facebook is Going Mobile

Look, we all like to take potshots at giants, and that’s the reason that Facebook gets a lot of hits from, well, almost everywhere. Whether it’s consumers who hate that the free service they’re using has to show them advertisements, or advertisers complaining about how Facebook ads don’t work, or investors losing confidence in Facebook and dropping its stock price about $20 over the last four months, one thing is certain: there are a million Davids throwing stones at this Goliath, and there always will be. I’ve even been one of them….

6 Tactics to Connect and Convert Your B2B Audience on LinkedIn

Attention B2B companies! LinkedIn isn’t just a tool to use when you want to switch jobs. Its time to leverage the world’s largest professional network, with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries, to improve your company’s credibility and increase customer acquisition.

But how do you reach the right people at the right time? How do you contribute to conversations to make your target audience want to connect with you? Building an exceptional LinkedIn following is not as daunting as it first seems. Try the following six tactics to promote your business by making quality connections….