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Weekly Digital Breakdown

Snapchat Develops Its Own Mobile Network

Snapchat made a big announcement on Thursday about plans for a Snap Audience Network, its own mobile ad platform with targeting across various apps.  The initial launch will be strictly for iOS devices and will extend to Android at a later date.

There are still questions surrounding how this will operate as compared to similar networks.  However it’s projected to compete with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google with the added unique ability for app developers to utilize Snapchat’s same full-screen, vertical video ad format.

The announcement didn’t come with much detail, but it appears to be an effort by the company to help boost it’s own advertising agenda to partner with more agencies and businesses. While there are still a number of unknowns with this new platform, it will be interesting to see Snapchat competes with other social networks and what differentiates them in the space.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/snap-announces-plans-to-build-its-own-mobile-ad-network-to-connect-with-its-audience/

Facebook Exposed for Storing User Data on Public Amazon Cloud Servers

Cybersecurity firm, Upguard, uncovered more than 540 million Facebook user files stored on a public Amazon cloud server this week. Information included user actions on the site, comments and Facebook IDs, all of which were accessible on the server for public download despite profile settings.  Once alerted, Facebook immediately worked with Amazon to take down the database, but cannot verify how this may impact users.

While Facebook policies prohibit user data being stored on unsecure servers, this news adds to the growing data privacy concerns with the platform. After last year’s news that millions of user’s data had been misused by Cambridge Analytica, Facebook audited thousands of third-party data apps and suspended those who were mishandling. Despite continued efforts to protect user data, it appears the extent of the problem may not be fully known at this point.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-03/millions-of-facebook-records-found-on-amazon-cloud-servers

Amazon Alexa Advances Healthcare Services

Amazon Alexa users can now utilize the smart speaker for healthcare information with its recently released HIPAA compliant skills.  Users can leverage the technology to manage healthcare needs such as booking appointments, checking a prescription status or accessing stored medical information such as ongoing glucose readings.  The skills are currently only accessible through select partnerships but will expand based on user adoption.

With the launch, some entities are unveiling HIPAA-compliant skills specific to their own recently discharged patients.  Boston Children’s released a skill known as “ERAS” which allows patients and caregivers to ask questions specific to recent patient care records and allows doctors the ability to follow up with patients remotely.

While data privacy remains a huge concern for patients, Amazon confirms data is encrypted and securely stored in addition to the strict guidelines HIPAA puts in place for patient protection.  This announcement is a major advancement in the evolution of remote patient care.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/04/amazon-alexa-launches-its-first-hipaa-compliant-medical-skills/

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Streaming Video Exceeds Cable Subscriptions

For the first time, video streaming service subscriptions surpassed cable, jumping up 27% to 613 million subscribers last year. The shift is attributed to the consumers being drawn to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime for the 24/7 accessibility across devices and original programming.   This trend further is likely to continue as more cable subscribers “cut the cord” and rely on digital video for programming.

ttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-21/netflix-s-growth-helps-streaming-eclipse-cable-subscriptions

McDonalds Uses AI to Drive Personalization

In an aggressive move to integrate a more tailored dining experience, McDonalds acquired the personalization company, Dynamic Yield.  This technology will be used to create a dynamic menu that will adjust to variables such as weather, time of day or trending menu items.  It will also aid in upselling, or suggesting additional items that compliment your selections. They will begin leveraging the technology for drive-thru customers and plan to expand to self-serve kiosks and the mobile app.  McDonalds plans to roll out the new technology in the US throughout 2019 to increase customer service and clearly distinguish the company from competitors.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/25/mcdonalds-acquires-dynamic-yield/

Big News From Apple

On March 25th, Apple introduced its streaming service, Apple News+ to the public.  While some industry insiders remain skeptical about the announcement, publishers are hoping to use the service to expand their audience and drive digital subscriptions.  Apple News+ includes over 300 magazines and select newspapers for a monthly fee. Publishers view this as an opportunity to reach and engage a news centric audience, driving their own revenue through advertisements.  While the audience is shared across multiple publishers, this approach offers the chance to reach readers who may never interact with some publications and gain loyalty. Publishers are not expecting this to be a magic solution but an added layer to in their efforts to increase readership and expand audiences.

https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/publishers-view-apple-news-as-an-experiment-not-a-solution-to-the-industrys-woes/


Facebook Amends Targeting to Fight Discrimination

Facebook is refining it’s targeting options as they pertain to employment, housing and credit advertisements as prompted by a recent settlement agreement with leading civil rights organizations.  Brands promoting these items can no longer target users based on demographic information such as ethnicity, age, gender, religious affiliation or family status. Based on the previous set-up, targeting could include or exclude these criteria or create look-a-like audiences to target similar users.  While Facebook continues to be under right scrutiny for it’s policies, this is just another step they are taking to earn user’s trust and continue focus on data privacy concerns.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-is-revamping-its-targeting-for-housing-employment-and-credit-ads/

The Power of the Hashtag

Hastags are now a normal part of social media activity but you may be wondering how you can leverage them for business.  When used strategically, hashtags hold an amazing power to reach large audiences and there's little doubt they can serve as effective tools for marketers when properly implemented.

One of the major benefits to marketers are the countless ways to measure hashtag campaign performance. Engagement, for example, could include metrics about retweets, replies and comments. Awareness might be measured with reach, exposure and volume. Traffic to your website could be measured in clicks, conversions and shares.

Hastags can create opportunity and increase visibility.  Here are some examples of successful hashtag campaigns at work.

• #TweetFromTheSeat

After launching its #TweetFromTheSeat hashtag campaign, Charmin earned "Time Magazine's" vote for the "Sassiest Brand on Twitter."

RESULTS: Approximately 80,000 new followers

• #WeAccept

This Airbnb campaign used images of people of various ethnicities with the hashtag #WeAccept to demonstrate the founders' commitment to welcoming groups such as refugees.

RESULTS: 1,954,277 YouTube views, 109,000 Instagram views, 14,022,922 Facebook views

• #LikeAGirl

The Always brand used the #LikeAGirl hashtag as a call to action, inviting women to tweet about the positive things they do "like a girl" to remove the stigma from the phrase. They complimented it with a #LikeAGirl page hosted on Always.com..

RESULTS: Twitter followers tripled in the first months; 177,000 #LikeAGirl tweets in the first three months, including celebrities

Ready to get started on your next hashtag campaign? Consider these guidelines:

1. Research existing hashtags.

You want to create a hashtag unique to your company, so do your homework to ensure you're not diluting your messaging by distinguishing yourself from competitors. Incorporate trending hashtags into your campaign to complement your main hashtag.

2. Create a tag that's unique to the brand.

Generic hashtags are fine as supplemental pieces, but your primary hashtag should be unique to the brand. Good examples include Lay's #DoUsAFlavor, Ryu's #WhatsInYourBag and the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization's #KnowYourLemons.

3. Create unique tags for different promotions.

Be creative and use different hashtags for different campaigns, products, etc. Oreo, for example, has used #MyOreoCreation, #OreoHorrorStories, and #PlayWithOreo.

4. Use the hashtag across multiple social media platforms.

Hashtags aren't just for Twitter. Use them on all social media updates.

5. Test varying amounts of hashtags per post to find your sweet spot.

As a general rule, use two hashtags on Twitter and seven or fewer on other platforms.

6. Choose niche hashtags.

Stay away from generic hashtags and get more specific, such as using #BigAndTallTuxedos over a broad term like #Tuxedos.

7. Follow your hashtag on social media.

Keep an eye on what others are saying by following common hashtags you use.

Using these tips, you'll find hashtags can make an impact on your marketing strategy and increase your reach.

Tips for Marketing to Spring Break Travelers

No matter your target audience, spring break is an excellent time for brands to get in front of their consumers.  With college students spending an estimated $1 billion on spring break every year added to the amount spent by families who take advantage of the time off school for travel, spring break has become a huge marketing opportunity.

For business, you can use this time to boost your brand, attract more followers and promote sales. Here are four tips to get started.

Hold a Spring Break Sale

Regardless of your business, running travel-themed marketing campaigns can entice consumers to try your product or service. Spring break is the ideal time to clear out inventory or offer promotional items to drive more traffic to your website or physical locations. One example of success was a direct marketing campaign by Great Wolf Lodge.  They offered a promotional discount to travelers who booked rooms during spring break to increase reservations and attract repeat customers.

Leverage Social Media

Spring break is a great time to host contests, giveaways and live events for your followers. It's also an opportunity to create a campaign centered around themed stories and invite your followers to contribute. This could include videos, photos or written content detailing their adventures with your product, letting everyone in on the fun they're having. Users with the best stories or photos could then win products or services.  The authenticity of showing products in use resonates with consumers and creates the feeling that your brand is part of the spring break experience.

Deliver an Experience

Experiential marketing tactics are all about becoming another factor in the fun surrounding spring break. They aren't about making revenue as much as they are geared toward exposing travelers to your brand and letting them interact with it, creating a positive impression to share with friends, coworkers and families. In a recent example, Axe took a two-pronged approach by setting up a tent and games on a popular beach to attract spring breakers, in addition to sponsoring toiletries at popular hotels.

Stamping your presence on a hot spot is not the only way to take advantage of experiential marketing. You could have brand ambassadors hand out samples and free gifts or use your social media strategies to drive traffic to your website with interactive games or events.

Sponsor Events

Whether it's a party geared toward college kids or a families, sponsoring spring break events can increase brand awareness, provide an opportunity for engagement and help your brand gain traction. Many times this doesn’t require you to be on the site to reap the benefits, but attendees will likely take note of your name on the promotional materials or sponsored activities.


Spring break is a tradition where people of all ages are ready to celebrate the end of winter with some fun in the sun.  Use this time to your advantage to get in front of consumers and be part of the action.


Leveraging Platforms for March Basketball Hysteria

Basketball viewing during the March tournaments used to be restricted to only the game(s) that were playing on cable at the time. Now, fans have the ability to watch multiple games on various devices while staying up-to-date with bracket-busting news via social media.

Social platforms alone have become a hot spot for hoops hysteria.  During the 2015 tournament, there were 350 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter, according to Koeppel Direct. In 2017, March Madness Live (MML) brought in 69.1 million live streams. All the excitement is prime opportunity for brands to leverage the influx of users streaming the live action and catching up on the day’s wins and losses. To help your brand slam dunk its campaign, we’ve provided some strategy tips.

Facebook

Facebook profiles are full of customer-specific data, including a user's college history and location, which provides ready-made segments for your ads. This presents a variety of strategic campaign options to appeal to various audiences.

A company selling sports gear, for example, can create Syracuse Orangemen ads for Syracuse alum, or a travel agency can create an ad for a Final Four trip aimed at fans vying for the chance to see the games in person.

Instagram

Instagram has access to Facebook data allowing for similar segmenting of users.  It also presents the opportunity to leverage trending hashtags around game excitement.  Adding a relevant hashtag to your message can tie basketball and your brand together. The searchability increases your brand presence when used correctly.  For example, Acme Footwear asked users to pick the game winner by combining the predicted winning team name with its company name for responses like #dukeacme. Fans love to show their team fandom and get excited to be a part of the celebration.

YouTube

To get the most bang for your buck, consider launching a campaign via YouTube during the tourney.  With audience-specific targeting available, you can show ads to users who have watched a specific video or tournament related content.  You can also leverage remarketing capabilities to further your reach.

Digital Video Ads

With people now watching sports via live-streaming channels at all hours, digital video ads are a great way to stay in front of consumers.  This spans platforms, increasing opportunity for exposure. Facebook, for example, will interrupt a live stream with breaks for ads. Since viewers are already engaged in the game and ads are limited, you have a captive audience who are more likely to remember your brand and product.

The hype surrounding bracket success, or the sleeper team that’s sure to be a bracket buster, presents a great opportunity to reach consumers with fun and memorable ad experience.  Fans are engaged and playing into the excitement is sure to be a marketing win.

How to Use Instagram to Grow Ecommerce Sales

Instagram sees engagement from over one billion active users every month, offering brands a unique opportunity to interact with potential customers right where they are. Instagram's visual-heavy platform can be harnessed to boost ecommerce sales driven by social engagement. These five methods can help your business develop an Instagram strategy that increases conversions, drives sales and creates loyal customers. 

Create a Business Account

If your business is still relying on a personal Instagram account to drive ecommerce, it's your first priority to make the switch to a business account. Instagram's business accounts have access to advanced features such as Instagram Insights, promoted posts, and the ability to include contact information.

To switch, log in to your Instagram account and go to settings. Tap “Switch to Business Profile.” Here, Instagram will prompt you to connect to your business Facebook page, choose a category for your business, and fill in your contact details. You'll be able to start running ads and obtaining audience insights immediately.

Curate Your Instagram Aesthetic

Instagram is a visual medium, and it's important that each image or video shared is artfully crafted individually and displays a cohesive visual theme for your business account.

Drive ecommerce sales by portraying your products in their best light, in ways that appeal to your customers. Curate an artistic vision for your brand by including posts and images that aren't quite so promotional as well. An aspirational photo or conversational post can encourage customer engagement with the brand.

Tag Products Within the Instagram Post

The ability to tag products within an Instagram post is a major benefit of converting to a business account. With product tagging enabled, your customers have a direct path to purchasing the featured product on your own website or via Facebook's Catalog.

 To use Instagram Shopping, you must first connect your business profile to a Facebook Catalog. Products that have been added to the Catalog can then be tagged in an Instagram post, up to five per single image or video.

 Research and Target Hashtags

 Similar to keyword targeting for search engine optimization, Instagram hashtags allow your content to appear in searches by potential customers on the platform. Researching these keywords takes a familiar path towards identifying the topics your customers are searching for and targeting trending social media hashtags.

Utilize Instagram Advertising

Instagram offers its business accounts a number of ways to advertise to potential customers. Within the Ads Manager, your business profile can set up, run, and track campaigns using the same targeting tools offered on Facebook.

Instagram ads appear directly in user feeds, either as an Instagram Story, a photo, or a video up to 60 seconds in length. A highly integrated Collection Ad can combine video and images to allow potential customers to browse your product catalog from within their Instagram feeds.

Whether your business invests in Instagram advertising or takes an organic approach to driving traffic, it's clear consumers enjoy being inspired by brands within their Instagram feeds. You can help your customers complete their purchases by using Instagram's business account tools for driving ecommerce sales.

5 Key Ways to Leverage Snapchat Marketing for Millennials

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It may not be Facebook or Instagram, but Snapchat has its rightful place in the marketing arena. This may be especially true when it comes to brands' engagement with millennials. From the app's simplicity and its easy integration with social media browsing to the appeal of its impermanent nature, Snapchat has captured millennials' attention for a number of reasons. That's why marketing to this generation via the app has so much potential. Here are five key ways brands can market to millennials via Snapchat.

Create Customized Geographical Filters

Millennials use geofilters to set their content apart from others. Brands can implement the same strategy to promote products and services, promotions, events, and location. Think of it as a step up from traditional text-based tagging. Geo-filters add more expressive content to snaps, giving viewers immediate access to your brand's activities and current location. Snapchat is the ultimate organic method for users to promote your brand to their followers, and a terrific way for users to become brand advocates within their networks.

 Exclusivity is one popular feature of geofilters. When Snapchat users activate location service on their smartphones, the app identifies if the user's location is within the boundaries of the geofilter. If it is, the user can apply exclusive geofilters based on location. As a result, content is more freely shared. Another popular feature is Snapchat's variety of geo-filters for streamlined customization.

 Here's where you can personalize brand messages and quickly get them out there to your followers, and to the followers of your brand's followers. There's also the success brands gain through sponsored geofilters. Remember, people trust the opinions and experiences of those they know, which makes word-of-mouth a powerful tool for targeted ads. This is the perfect opportunity to connect your ads to the user experience, which is what Snapchat's geofilters do best.

Taking Advantage of the Geofencing Feature

When you want your followers to be where you are, geofencing does just that. It tells Snapchat where a filter can be used geographically. When drawn right, your geofence gives the right audience access to your brand's filter. When promoting an event, for instance, your filter's exposure depends entirely on your geofence.

 Snapchatters snapping within the boundaries of your geofence are more likely to see and use your filter, post the snaps as stories, and expose you to their followers. Opportunities for engagement abound further if a user creates a geofenced story from your location. This will inevitably encourage others to add their stories, and to do so with your filter!

 To get the most out of this feature, consider these tips:

●       Ensure your filter is a minimum of 20,000 square feet, as 50,000 square feet is where geofencing tops out.

●       Avoid excessive use of circular points or shapes with small areas to ensure proper coverage.

●       Purchased filters aren't viewable, and an email usually follows once they're approved.

Placing Video Ads in Live Stories

With nearly 200 million daily users viewing about 10 billion videos per day, Snapchat paves the way to connect with millennials on a grand scale. Delight your audience by highlighting activities or events as a day in the life of your brand unfolds. If it's a captive audience you want, implementing video ads in live stories on Snapchat is the place to be.

 Your Snapchat ads can either be vertical video ads or full-screen, and last about 10 seconds. These are ideal to drive traffic to your site or to motivate them to watch long-form videos. Entice followers to interact with your brand, and encourage photo shares of the interaction or their use of your products. Promotions or contests are great incentive boosters to get engagement rolling. Say you decide to run a challenge each week for a few months; you can later repost the content in a Snapchat video story when advertising to expand your reach.

 What's more, video ads always play with sound. You want your following to pay attention to your brand, right? Why not generate video ads with a great audio track? Your following will not only watch, but also listen intently. There's even the option for users to drag the video upwards to see additional info, like entertaining content or informative articles.

 Also, the more your audience can relate to your brand, the better. Talk with your audience, not to them. Tell good stories, because more people are turning to video for stories than ever before. Keep things fresh and share news or customer videos with the latest industry happenings. Be casual, funny, and even a little silly. Snapchat is where brands get to foster endearing relationships with potential customers, so be real. The more you relate, the more you can sell.

Using Longer Videos and Direct CTAs

Snapchat makes it easy to link a snap to long-form media to quickly play when users swipe up. It's a great teaser for use in a 3- to 10-second snap to present a commercial or new trailer. Direct calls to action (CTAs) are strongly encouraged because Snapchat allows viewers to quickly act on ads. This, of course, is a more valuable commodity to marketers when results are key.

 When designing your video, take both the orientation and length into account. Why? Well, there's only a small window of time to make an impression. Besides, once the video is played, it disappears forever. Consider one of these two paths: Either create amusing or memorable long-form videos to impress in a limited time span or aggressively drive conversions to encourage viewers to take swift action. Mind you, the action is to invite a "Swipe Up" to follow your CTA.

Using Snap Ads Templates to Create Video Ads

Brands can also take advantage of Snapchat's gallery of templates to create compelling ads. The selection is diverse, and offers several options to dazzle viewers. There's even a wide range of customizations for animations and to have fun using various creative studio and design tools.

 Every template shows well, whether on mobile or vertical videos. Campaigns can always be managed manually if ad spend needs to be adjusted throughout campaign duration.

 Snapchat can prove to be the right medium for direct response marketing, especially for B2C marketers. To reap the rewards from its popularity, focus on its plethora of attributes to generate brand awareness. Brands simply can't go wrong with Snapchat, and will find it easy to create ads — and a lot of fun, too.

Snapchat Welcomes Adtaxi to Certified Partner Program

–Dynamic Digital Marketing Agency Brings Cutting-Edge Solutions to Leading Social Platform–

DENVER (November TK, 2018)—Snapchat has announced the latest addition to its select lineup of strategic advertising partners: Adtaxi, one of the nation’s fastest-growing digital marketing agencies. The Snapchat Partner program recognizes industry-leading companies that help advertisers connect with the Snapchat community in creative new ways.

From pre-campaign strategy to creative execution and beyond, Snapchat partners are selected based on their ability to solve complex digital advertising challenges through technology or services. Selection criteria include: demonstrated campaign expertise by meeting actively managed spend requirements per quarter, proven client success through case studies and client feedback, as well as rigorous educational trainings that allow agencies to understand the most up-to-date Snapchat advertising capabilities, best practices and campaign strategies.

“Since its inception, Snapchat has remained at the forefront of innovation in the digital space—a mission we strive towards each and every day at Adtaxi,” said Chris Loretto, EVP of Adtaxi. “Having Snapchat as a partner adds to our arsenal of esteemed solutions we offer our clients to deliver a complete omnichannel marketing strategy. This continued evolution in our product offering is critical to drive greater client success in the ever changing world of digital advertising. We are honored that Snapchat recognizes our in-house expertise and are eager to offer hands-on support and utilize our industry-first technology to bring forth custom, performance-driven advertising solutions for our clients.”

As a certified partner, Adtaxi earns access to Snapchat’s educational resources, training
materials, support services, partner events and feedback opportunities, along with additional
tools and exclusive benefits.

What Facebook's Targeting Option Elimination Means for Ad Campaigns

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 Recently, Facebook announced it was removing more than 5,000 options for ad targeting in an effort to protect users from discriminatory advertising. Paired with Facebook's spring announcement about the changes in custom audiences, this development has some advertisers worried about the implications for campaigns and reaching consumers.

A Change in Strategy

Once a powerful ad targeting feature, its removal deals a mighty blow to business owners and marketers. Third-party data providers are no longer a viable source, and advertisers don't have the luxury of creating ad targeting based on user data (previously captured both on and off Facebook's platform).

Will this affect audience targeting and social media strategies? The exclusions aren't the end of the platform's ad wars. Fortunately, there are strategies you can still use to reach your target market with Facebook advertising.

Geo-Targeted Advertising

Facebook ads give advertisers the flexibility to target people based on specific location, providing a way to create ads relevant to where an audience is located. Geo-targeting lets you customize and refine options to target an audience most likely to take an interest in your business as well.

Custom Audiences

Here's what geo-targeting does:

●      Engagement: It drives users closer to conversion and targets those who have engaged with your brand. A custom audience is easily created from people who have watched a specific video, for instance. 

Interaction through a social media profile, event, or web page is a good opportunity to nudge people further into the sales funnel. There's no better way to assemble highly targeted individuals than to select those who have already shown interest. 

●      Contact lists: Got a customer list or site data collected via subscriptions from your site? Leverage this data and expand the reach by uploading lists directly into Facebook. Then serve ads to people you know on the platform. If you're working with a smaller custom audience, you can always test the creative methods used to determine which one gets the best response from audiences. Increasing CPM (cost per thousand impressions) bids is yet another alternative to better reach your custom audience.

●      Websites: If you're unfamiliar with Facebook Pixel, now's the time to get acquainted. A snippet of code installed on your website helps to optimize ads based on collected data, create targeted ads for future use, track ad conversions, and remarket to people who've taken some form of action on your site.

Take it one step further with the implementation of a lookalike audience from the same data. This way you can prospect for new customers who match the behaviors of your website visitors in specific geographic areas.

Targeted Interests

Facebook still collects data based on what users interact with while on the platform. The information is segmented according to a user's interests. Since the categories are built on real-time user behavior, using this feature is a good place to start. 

Alternative Advertising Methods

Think the use of third-party data is exclusive to Facebook? Internet giants such as Google use data and targeting options on their own terms. Currently there are no defined regulations regarding the transparency of information collected by third-party providers. Until this changes, advertisers have the green light to access information on other platforms, too.

For example, if annual income plays a major role in your targeting strategy, sites such as Bing or LinkedIn could be beneficial because users on these sites tend to be from high income brackets.

Google Adwords is another can't-miss opportunity. It remains a leader in advertising, and its targeting approaches could help fill the gap caused by Facebook's third-party data removal.

DIY First-Party Data Collection

Most small businesses may not have extensive customer data, so the impact of Facebook's change will probably be felt a lot harder. Facebook once offered avenues to target customers using specific data without collecting it independently. Now, spending more time and effort is necessary for business owners who want to enrich their first-party data stockpiles.

It's just a matter of boosting creativity as a workaround to:

●      Set up landing pages to collect contact information.

●      Beef up email marketing campaigns by running surveys.

●      Engage more with social followers.

In other words, consider going back to the basics. 

What was your strategy before Facebook existed? What if you used an advanced form of interest-based targeting? Brainstorm ideas on how to implement "friends of" segmenting for a change of pace in strategy.

What about retargeting? This is one way to achieve higher conversion rates, and is usually far more successful than demographic-based advertising.

Facebook ad targeting options are changing the landscape of all things digital marketing. Despite this most recent setback, Facebook is still in the business of keeping advertisers happy, so don't lose hope. Meanwhile, make the right adjustments to stay on top of your marketing game.

What Facebook AR Ads Mean for Your Business

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Facebook is driving yet another advertising innovation with its recent launch of augmented reality ads. These in-feed ads leverage cutting-edge AR technology to make the ad personal and the advertising experience fun.

Generally, AR involves superimposing computer-generated images over real-world video or camera images. Facebook's mobile camera permissions will allow advertisers to offer AR video experiences from within normal-looking news feed ads.

How will this help a business? If it sells sunglasses, for instance, a static news feed ad showcasing a pair of designer sunglasses can now be overlaid with a "tap to try on" feature button that opens AR capabilities within the app and allows the user to see the sunglasses on their face in real time.

How Can Consumers Interact With AR Ads?

Facebook anticipates AR ads will present an experience that mobile phone users will want to interact with, increasing the probability of click-through conversions. Each tap to "try on" can allow your customers to sample lipstick shades, hat styles, or the latest jewelry trends without ever stepping foot inside the store.

Large furniture pieces, draperies, or home accessory products can be superimposed on pictures of the shopper's home taken with a mobile phone in real time, providing a level of personalization not possible with a traditional in-store experience. Easing into larger (and potentially more difficult to return) purchases with this immediate feedback can help build consumer trust and increase purchase conversions.

Marketers advertising experiences can consider offering "picture yourself here" ads or sharing interactive elements of the destination or event. Facebook users will be able to create static photos of their AR ad experiences for easy sharing with their friends, and all AR ads can be equipped with calls to action.

What Tools Will Facebook's Video Creation Kit Offer?

Facebook is launching a video creation kit to help businesses convert from static photo ads to the video-based news feed advertising that their users prefer. With just a few clicks, advertisers can upload existing images and add overlays and logos to build mobile-first video ads.

Video creation kit and AR ad availability will roll out to Facebook advertisers throughout 2018 in anticipation of the end-of-year holiday season.

 

Boosting Social Media Marketing Efforts With IGTV

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In June, Instagram marked two peaks in its 8-year history. The popular social media site reached a new milestone of one billion users, and it announced the launch of Instagram TV, or IGTV. Described by some as a hybrid between Instagram Stories (the circles of your friends at the top of your feed) and YouTube, IGTV offers plenty of new marketing opportunities for advertisers who use Instagram in their social media marketing strategies.

Advertisers and publishers have moved quickly to explore IGTV over the past month because it provides a much wider canvas on which to work. One reason for the fast attraction is that IGTV's time lengths for videos have been extended. Before, branded videos on Instagram were kept simple, adhering to the platform's 1-minute limit. Now, IGTV offers everyone a 10-minute minimum time limit — and for some premium advertisers, a 60-minute time limit on videos.

As Advertising Age points out, this may lead to experimentation by brands to take full advantage of the 1-hour time length with off-the-wall videos, like the one the article features of teen star Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger for an hour.

What Is IGTV? 

IGTV is a new platform from Instagram dedicated to videos. It gives brands and everyday social media influencers the opportunity to expand brand presence on Instagram TV. The new TV format is designed for viewing on your mobile phone.

How Does IGTV work?

To get started on IGTV, go into your Instagram brand account and click the TV icon on the top right. Follow the prompts in Instagram to set up the channel. You don't get to pick a new name—the channel is the account name. When you are ready to shoot a new clip or upload an existing clip, use the "upload video" prompt that appears. Note that you can upload from a desktop browser at Instagram.com. Here is a step-by-step guide to the IGTV upload process.

Remember, this format is geared toward seeing original vertical videos. Brands that have hundreds of horizontal videos can still upload these clips, but users will have to turn their smartphones sideways to watch them.

If you're looking to make the most of your social media marketing efforts on this new platform, here are some IGTV tips.

Offer brand-related tips or use your IGTV video to share a key point about your brand or product. Keep it simple, funny, or unique. Try different ways to grab people's attention, because a swipe right will happen faster on IGTV than with a remote channel switcher.

Teach viewers how to use products. Why not offer tips for viewers on how to use the product or service? Show the product or service in action, in its actual environment. Let viewers see some things they might not know about your product. From home and garden items to software essentials, showing how your product is best used is natural for marketers using IGTV.

Interview experts or tell personal stories. Another way to experiment with IGTV is to use the brand channel to tell personal stories that can relate to the brand (or not). Invite some of the brand team experts to share their favorite stories about working with that particular product. Or you might choose to interview the brand's CEO to talk about how the product is created. A behind-the-scenes view of a top brand is always an interesting view.

Display brand culture and products with crisply edited videos. Show your brand culture and products using high-quality, professionally produced videos. Mixing these high-quality productions with mobile phone clips from your phone can help to balance the feel of your channel.

As of mid-July, IGTV is not showing any advertising. This is an opportunity for brands to upload their previous ads to their IGTV channels to give it that traditional TV experience that we know and love. You can also contact Adtaxi if you have any questions on using IGTV. You can bet there will be more developments in this fast-moving niche.

 

Boosting Social Media Marketing Efforts With IGTV

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In June, Instagram marked two peaks in its 8-year history. The popular social media site reached a new milestone of one billion users, and it announced the launch of Instagram TV, or IGTV. Described by some as a hybrid between Instagram Stories (the circles of your friends at the top of your feed) and YouTube, IGTV offers plenty of new marketing opportunities for advertisers who use Instagram in their social media marketing strategies.

Advertisers and publishers have moved quickly to explore IGTV over the past month because it provides a much wider canvas on which to work. One reason for the fast attraction is that IGTV's time lengths for videos have been extended. Before, branded videos on Instagram were kept simple, adhering to the platform's 1-minute limit. Now, IGTV offers everyone a 10-minute minimum time limit — and for some premium advertisers, a 60-minute time limit on videos.

As Advertising Age points out, this may lead to experimentation by brands to take full advantage of the 1-hour time length with off-the-wall videos, like the one the article features of teen star Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger for an hour.

What Is IGTV?

IGTV is a new platform from Instagram dedicated to videos. It gives brands and everyday social media influencers the opportunity to expand brand presence on Instagram TV. The new TV format is designed for viewing on your mobile phone.

How Does IGTV work?

To get started on IGTV, go into your Instagram brand account and click the TV icon on the top right. Follow the prompts in Instagram to set up the channel. You don't get to pick a new name—the channel is the account name. When you are ready to shoot a new clip or upload an existing clip, use the "upload video" prompt that appears. Note that you can upload from a desktop browser at Instagram.com. Here is a step-by-step guide to the IGTV upload process.

Remember, this format is geared toward seeing original vertical videos. Brands that have hundreds of horizontal videos can still upload these clips, but users will have to turn their smartphones sideways to watch them.

If you're looking to make the most of your social media marketing efforts on this new platform, here are some IGTV tips.

Offer brand-related tips or use your IGTV video to share a key point about your brand or product. Keep it simple, funny, or unique. Try different ways to grab people's attention, because a swipe right will happen faster on IGTV than with a remote channel switcher.

Teach viewers how to use products. Why not offer tips for viewers on how to use the product or service? Show the product or service in action, in its actual environment. Let viewers see some things they might not know about your product. From home and garden items to software essentials, showing how your product is best used is natural for marketers using IGTV.

Interview experts or tell personal stories. Another way to experiment with IGTV is to use the brand channel to tell personal stories that can relate to the brand (or not). Invite some of the brand team experts to share their favorite stories about working with that particular product. Or you might choose to interview the brand's CEO to talk about how the product is created. A behind-the-scenes view of a top brand is always an interesting view.

Display brand culture and products with crisply edited videos. Show your brand culture and products using high-quality, professionally produced videos. Mixing these high-quality productions with mobile phone clips from your phone can help to balance the feel of your channel.

As of mid-July, IGTV is not showing any advertising. This is an opportunity for brands to upload their previous ads to their IGTV channels to give it that traditional TV experience that we know and love. You can also contact Adtaxi if you have any questions on using IGTV. You can bet there will be more developments in this fast-moving niche.

 

The Effects of Facebook's Removal of Third-Party Data Targeting

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Say goodbye to data brokers and hello to a new way of reaching consumers. On March 28, 2018, Facebook announced it is banning third-party data targeting starting Sept. 30. The announcement sent a wave of apprehension through the marketing world. But there is some good news: Removing third-party data targeting creates more of a market correction, not a complete disruption. It might even give marketers better results in the long run.

What It Means

In 2013, Facebook launched its Partner Categories, which marked a milestone in the social media platform's partnership with large-scale data brokers such as BlueKai, Acxiom, and Datalogix. When it was created, Partner Categories was intended to provide advertisers with a way to connect in a meaningful manner with Facebook users, and get their brands in front of fresh, new eyes. The third-party data that has been collected has been used by numerous marketers and advertisers to target their audiences.

Marketers will now need to gain their data and information a different way, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Self-Identified Data Performs Better

As helpful as third-party data might be, it's not the be-all and end-all of data targeting strategies. In fact, many companies leveraging self-identified data — or first-party data — experience better performance and unmatched power in connecting with their customers. First-party data is highly focused, and pulls information directly from customers using a company's website or apps. That's why many in the industry think first-party data is the way of the future in digital marketing.

Not sure first-party data can be effective? Consider this: A 2015 study conducted by EConsultancy and Signal revealed that out of 300 senior-level marketers, roughly 66 percent believe first-party data provides a better understanding of customers, which also leads to better overall performance. So even though losing Facebook's third-party data targeting might feel like a sucker punch for many marketers, it's an opportunity to shift strategies and boost results.

The Consumer Connection

What does it mean for users? Facebook's move to end third-party data targeting comes closely on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a few weeks ahead of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which becomes effective for countries in the European Union on May 25, 2018. This new regulation requires companies to get consumers' consent to collect data, giving consumers much more control over their personal information. That might be the largest impact on consumers.

So with its removal of third-party data, Facebook could be setting a new standard for the industry. This means marketers need to change with it, and continue using data collection strategies that best connect brands with potential customers.

About Face: Revealing the Mysteries Behind Facebook's Algorithm

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At the start of this year, Facebook announced an update to its News Feed algorithm, proclaiming that it wanted to give more priority to posts from friends and family that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

Facebook reasoned its member community values open expression and ideas, and that communications from friends and family should have highest priority. Users should also be able to customize the way they consume content.

Under the new system users began to see more updates from popular friends on their screens, and less content from those entities publishing public content including brands, companies, media outlets and other information sources. The term “screens” here is important because Facebook now counts organic reach when an unpaid post enters a person’s screen. This updates how posts used to be viewed as organic reach, i.e. when it entered a user’s overall News Feed, which may or may not be seen by the Facebook user.

Impact on Advertisers?

The News Feed changes have had some impact on advertisers although rising costs don’t appear to be much of a factor. For many media buyers interviewed by Digiday, advertising on Facebook is “business as usual.” Few advertisers are seeing higher rates, and in some cases rates are lower. The more important factor for advertisers is aligning their brands to meet the new changes to authentic content in the News Feed.

Let’s discuss some of the main objectives that Facebook’s new algorithm seems to favor when it decides which posts to show specific users.

Key post factors the algorithm likes: lots of likes and shares, videos with lots of views, references to trending topics, content with which a user frequently interacts, engagement from friends and family members. All of these can take different formats. Here are some we’ve seen over the past month:

The personal posts: Organic posts have diminished in favor on the network in recent years due to the proliferation of professional posts and videos from brands and news organizations. But the algorithm change means news feeds will now see more personal story posts from friends and followers. These posts either spark a lot of conversation or a lot of thank you-type responses. In this case, these posts will dominate the person’s feed as well as friends’ feeds. It’s these organic posts that will likely gain in popularity.

Trending posts: Want to know why everyone’s posting about gun control issues in recent weeks? Because it’s a trending topic. Facebook is more likely to deliver those posts to user screens to drive engagement and, in its words, “spark conversations.”

The heavily commented post: If posts can spark frequent comments on a daily basis, then these posts will be seen in more friends’ feeds. Comments mean engagement, and Facebook rewards engagement. Smart Facebook users find that by asking questions on their feeds relating to content they’ve produced, this will most likely result in more click throughs to their content, and more comments on their pages.

Facebook advertisers, page owners and group leaders need to keep up with the ever-changing nature of the News Feed. Here are some good ways to do this:

Analyze competitors: Find their pages, look at their posts, check the engagement levels, see when and how often they are posting.

Check your own Facebook data: Stay on top of your Facebook analytical data on “who” the fans are so you can tie together brand content with relevant content. You’ll be able to find insights about fans’ and followers’ levels of engagement with your brand, time of day for this engagement and levels of clicks on your posts and ads, among other data. To see your data, click on “Insights” and “Posts” in the left page column.

Watch trending topics: There may be more opportunities for brands and advertisers to link their brand to a trending topic. Twitter has a major events calendar it makes public every month and Facebook rolled out a “Trending News” section on its mobile app following the redesign of its Trending results page.

Meet Quantum

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Today, at Adtaxi, we are so excited to announce the launch of our brand-new omnichannel optimization platform, Quantum. Leveraging the power of machine learning, this innovative algorithm drives cross-channel optimizations to deliver superior performance for our digital advertisers.

“The name ‘Quantum’ represents the individual building blocks that feed into how we optimize campaigns—each one unique and customized to the advertiser,” said Chris Loretto, EVP of Adtaxi. “We understand how the most granular pieces of data work together to impact overall success, and driven by this concept, the new algorithm will enhance performance to provide even greater value for advertisers.”

Quantum is the next evolution of our original optimization platform, Magellan, launched in 2015, out of a challenge to prove that display could sell products efficiently and cost-effectively. A differentiator in the digital space, Magellan is a technology set apart by its ability to find efficiencies in the bidding process, dynamically maximize marketers’ budgets across digital campaigns, drive conversions over clicks, as well as lower the cost of conversions over time. Based on the success we saw early on with Magellan for display, we adapted the platform to work within social, video and native channels - and optimize to KPIs that made sense for those channels.

In 2017, a new challenge arose: can we drive even greater value for our advertisers by optimizing across all platforms, instead of within? And, what if it also included Search? This is how Quantum was born. In order for Magellan to evolve, we needed to break it down and build it back up again. Quantum has the building blocks to be smarter, to be more flexible, to allow for greater utility, and to generate better performance for our clients.

All the same powerful capabilities of Magellan exist with Quantum - now with the addition of a true digital omnichannel solution for advertisers. First offering Quantum’s omnichannel solution to automotive advertisers, Adtaxi plans to expand the platform to ecommerce and additional campaign categories in the near future. Already, the technology has yielded impressive results for dealers.

“By using an omnichannel approach, we have experienced firsthand the power of multiple platforms harmoniously working together to drive traffic,” said Shane Fouch, General Sales Manager of Byers VW and Byers Subaru in Columbus, Ohio. “Since launching a campaign with Quantum, we have seen a considerable uptick in digital conversions, leading to more visitors walking through the door of our dealership—all resulting in higher sales numbers - and our best January ever.”

Ad Evolution: The History of Facebook

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Anyone who's seen "The Social Network" has a good idea of Facebook's inception and meteoric rise in popularity. Today, the social network connects men and women of all ages, with nearly 70 percent of all U.S. adults using Facebook on a regular basis.

But this social media platform didn't just change the way we connect. It's also made plenty of waves in the world of online advertising. Let's trace the history of Facebook ads from the basic Flyers in 2004 to the current year, capturing the incredible growth and expansion of ad platforms available to advertisers (carousel, slideshow, dynamic, etc.) from the social media behemoth.

2004: Facebook launches as TheFacebook.com in February 2004. Student Mark Zuckerberg remarks to the Harvard Crimson school newspaper that it might be nice to get some advertising to offset the costs of the servers

2004: Facebook launches its first ad revenue project, called Flyers, which were ads placed on Facebook's homepage. This offered local businesses the opportunity to send ads to a particular college campus. This evolves into an auction model called Flyers Pro.

2005: Facebook starts to offer sponsorship deals to big brands for its Groups section. Apple gets involved, sponsoring a group on Facebook, and agrees to pay Facebook $1 per member per month. The group's membership explodes in popularity, earning Facebook over $100,000 in its first few months.

2006: Microsoft signs a three-year agreement with Facebook to be the exclusive provider and seller of sponsored links and banner ads. In August, Facebook launches its video advertising platform.

2007: Facebook launches its Facebook Ads platform, part of which includes Beacon and Facebook Marketplace. Beacon was found to track online actions by Facebook users on more than 40 sites, even after they left the network. Facebook Marketplace is still with us today.

2008: Facebook launches "Pages," hoping to actively court page owners to do paid advertising down the line. In addition, the network optimizes its service for mobile phones.

2009: Facebook introduces various language ad options and geographical targeted ads options.

2010: Facebook offers its site as a mobile app. By 2017, Facebook has over 1.8 billion active mobile users.

2011: Facebook offers advertisers a desktop ad program called Sponsored Stories. Advertisers' content appears in users' feeds and looks like posts from friends. Unfortunately, users felt misled by the program. Just three years later, the company drops it from its advertising options, after users cite privacy concerns.

2012: Facebook offers advertisers the Social Graph, which brings together data from connections, likes, and follows by users. The data are used by Facebook with advertisers. Also introduced is Facebook Exchange, a real-time bidding vehicle for advertising.

2013: Facebook buys Atlas Solutions from Microsoft for $100 million to escalate its ad-serving capabilities. Retargeted ads start showing up in users' feeds, displaying products and services users searched for outside of the Facebook universe.

2014: Facebook's ad revenue expected to reach $7.7 billion for the year.

2015: Mid-year results show Facebook's mobile ad revenue in 2015's second quarter reach nearly $3 billion, 75 percent of its total ad revenue.

2016: Facebook's international ad revenue in 2016 grows at massively high rates as the rest of the world catches up with Facebook's growth in America.

2017: Facebook unknowingly runs fake ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. To help stop any future false ads, Facebook says it will show users which posts on pages are ads.

2018: Facebook continues to expand ad formats, offering 11 different types of advertising options.

Digging Deeper: How to Leverage Facebook's Custom Audience Options

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Is yours one of the three million businesses that advertise on Facebook? The social media giant has a lot of ad power, not just because of its expansive reach, but because Facebook gives marketers the power to customize ads.

One of the most effective advertising tools Facebook has is its custom audiences. Marketers can create tailored audiences based on data, website activity, or app activity.

Types of Custom Audiences

There are three types of custom audiences that you can create:

  • Customer File

The most common way to create a custom audience is to utilize your customer files. You'll upload customer data, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and Facebook user IDs to build a tailored Facebook audience.

  • Website Custom Audiences

By installing a Facebook Pixel on your website, you can track website visitors and advertise to this custom audience.

  • App Activity Custom Audience

This audience is based on actions taken by your app users, such as in-app purchases or pages visited.

How to Use Custom Audiences Effectively

To get the most out of your custom audience, use these tips:

  • Segment your lists

Once you've created a custom audience, you should segment them into different groups to maximize relevancy and minimize costs. For instance, you could create a segment of VIP customers that buy from you frequently, or a group of lost customers whose purchasing behavior has slowed down.

Once you've segmented audiences, you can create specific ads that speak to each group.

  • Create lookalike audiences.

Facebook can help you find customers that look similar to those you already have. It's a great way to expand your reach. Just upload your customer list and use the Lookalike Audiences to find new customers that resemble existing ones.

  • Upsell to existing customers.

Selling to existing customers is always easier than trying to sell to new ones, so make sure you devote some of your ad dollars to customer retention. Create ads that woo your current customers with discounts or priority access to new products.

  • Learn from each campaign.

As you use custom audiences, you'll watch analytics to see how your ads perform. Start with a small budget and work your way up as you learn the platform and understand how your audience responds. Let each campaign be a learning experience.

Using Facebook to advertise can be a profitable endeavor, but by utilizing custom audiences you're more likely to reach interested customers and get the most out of your budget.

The Real Work Starts When A Social Media Campaign Begins

shutterstock_256473613-768x491Social media is exploding as a leading business advertising platform, but many marketers are still uncertain if their social media efforts are paying off. Social media spending is expected to make up 20 percent of marketing budgets by 2020, according to the 2016 CMO Survey; that’s up from 6% of marketing budgets in 2009. But despite the increase, only about 3% of the marketers feel that social media contributes substantially to a company’s overall performance. There’s disappointment around social media campaigns that aren’t accurately analyzed; in some studies, more than half of marketers polled said they were unable to tie social media performance to any measurable business outcomes. Various reasons were given for this, including inconsistent approach to analytics, poor analytics tools or unreliable data.

This disconnect is alarming. If social media is becoming the de facto way in which marketers reach out to consumers, and the way we consume these messages, then there has to be clear ways for brands to measure the KPIs for social media campaigns. In fact, there are ways to measure. It’s all about getting your team on board and setting an effective strategy.

Let’s look through at some of the top ways in which marketers can start the real work of analyzing social media campaigns

Using Google Analytics for social media

Google Analytics can give you information on traffic distribution. You can learn how much traffic is coming to your site from a social media channel, as well as knowing which web pages are being shared most frequently on social media.

Using Facebook Page Basics for analyzing Facebook campaigns

Using Facebook's Page Basics Tool can help your company measure the number of likes, and where they came from. It also provides perspective on the amount of visits to your page, and if they came via Facebook or a search engine. Page Basics can also measure reach, which tracks how people comment on and share your content. It also notes if the shares came from organic reach or from paid ads.

Using Twitter Analytics for retweets and mentions

Along with 3rd party analytics tools, Twitter Analytics offers a host of tools that can measure the number of tweets over a day, week or month period; the tweet impressions you get, and how many mentions or followers you’ve received.

Having clear, concise goals will certainly help your social media measurement improve for all of your campaigns. What are the easiest ways?

  • Get everyone on your team to fully understand what you want your social media to do – for your brand, for your web traffic, for your landing page conversions.
  • Know the reasons why you’re measuring your social media – is it to gain new sales, more followers, or more traffic?
  • Learn to track and measure these goals on a consistent weekly or monthly basis. If you’re a high-profile celebrity or brand, you might even want to do so on a daily basis.

Social media pros running campaigns on a regular basis need to know the essential elements of campaign metrics to accurately measure effectiveness. Your future social media campaign budgets will ultimately depend on how well the campaigns work to build leads, increase conversions and build overall business and traffic.