Read our latest posts
Twitter Launched Its Highly Anticipated Advertising API
  • According to Business Insider, Twitter just launched its highly anticipated advertising API, which gives advertisers the opportunity to create more sophisticated campaigns on the social network like they have on Facebook.
  • "What this means is that as marketers, you’ll soon have the ability to work with our initial set of Ads API partners to manage Twitter Ad campaigns — and integrate them into your existing cross-channel advertising strategies," Twitter wrote on its blog. "Equally important, users will continue to see the most relevant Promoted Tweets from advertisers. With the Ads API, marketers now have more tools in their arsenal to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the desktop and on mobile devices — all at scale."
  • Twitter and five ad partners — including Adobe, Hootsuite, Salesforce, SHIFT, and TBG Digital — have been testing the product since January. The social network is currently evaluating a new round of partners to join the program.
Facebook Newsfeed Ads Get Retailers High-Value Clicks
  • >According to eMarketer, for retailers paying for ad placements on Facebook, there are two questions: Do they actually get consumers to click? And convert? Nanigans, a Facebook advertising-software company, studied more than 975 million Facebook ad impressions served to US consumers who would generate more revenues than they cost to acquire.
  • While ads in the sidebar performed poorly, garnering only a 0.04% clickthrough rate among high-value Facebook users, page post ads in the newsfeed saw a clickthrough rate more than 46 times higher, at 1.87%. ROI was also 14% greater for ads in the newsfeed, according to Nanigans. In addition, the cost per click in the newsfeed was less than one-third of Facebook domain ads.
  • For mobile vs. desktop newsfeed ads, the difference in performance was not quite as stark, but still, there was no question of mobile’s superior metrics. Looking at a different set of impressions for a similar pool of customers likely to eventually make purchases, mobile newsfeed ads achieved a considerable clickthrough rate of 3.38%. On desktop, ads in the newsfeed achieved about half that clickthrough rate. Likewise, the cost per click for the mobile newsfeed was just under half the cost on desktop.
Google Just Blasted Away The Wall Between Desktop And Mobile Ads
  • According to Business Insider, Google just announced that it is "enhancing" and "upgrading" AdWords for a world where people increasingly use mobile devices. In fact, Google is eliminating some ad-targeting capabilities — in particular, the ability to target specific mobile devices like tablets. The changes will take place by the middle of this year. In addition, it won't be possible to run strictly mobile-only campaigns in the future. Instead, all campaigns will run on both desktop and mobile, according to a weighting factor set by advertisers. Google will "upgrade" campaigns previously created as mobile- or desktop-only to run across all devices.
  • Why is Google doing this? Wall Street is intensely focused on the gap between Google's desktop cost-per-click metric and the comparable numbers for mobile ads. In Google's fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Larry Page expressed a bit of frustration with questions about mobile cost-per-click numbers, saying that efforts to "simplify" Google's ad system would lead to improvements in that number. In fact, the gap between the cost-per-click metrics may soon go away, as a result of this change.
  • "If Google weren't in such a strong position, it would never get away with this," Richard Zwicky, the CEO of Blueglass, a marketing-software provider and digital agency, told Business Insider. Because of its dominant share of online advertising, it's likely that others will follow Google's moves, he said. Daina Middleton, the CEO of Performics, said that advertisers should expect prices to increase about three percent as Google rolls out the changes. Google's revenues will see a similar benefit.
Small Firms Say LinkedIn Works, Twitter Doesn't
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, six out of 10 small-business owners say they believe social-media tools are valuable to their company's growth—but most aren't impressed by Twitter Inc. Just 3% of 835 business owners surveyed earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International said Twitter had the most potential to help their companies.
  • Professional-networking service LinkedInCorp. topped the survey, with 41% of respondents singling it out as potentially beneficial to their company. Sixteen percent picked YouTube, the video service owned by Google Inc., and 14% chose social network Facebook Inc. The findings illustrate the challenges facing Twitter in demonstrating to small-business owners the benefits of using the short-messaging service to reach customers.
  • Owners of small firms generally have limited money and time to figure out the most useful ways to tap into social media. In the survey, just four in 10 business owners said they have employees dedicated to social-media campaigns. Nearly half of them spend between one and five hours weekly on social media, and one-third spend no time at all. Twitter says it is just beginning to court small businesses, which make up the bulk of U.S. companies, and are an important revenue source for many tech giants, including Google.
Facebook Rolls Out Ad Conversion Measurement Globally So That Marketers Know When One Of Their Ads Did The Trick
  • According to TechCrunch, Facebook took one more step in making its advertising more accountable for media buyers: it has now rolledout a conversion measurement system across its global footprint. Aimed at direct marketers, the optimization and conversion toll was first announced back in November; now it’s available globally, and can be used on all Facebook ads and sponsored stories, the company says, as well as in combination with any other targeting services
  • What the tool does is it allows advertisers to put some code on their sites to track when actions like checkouts/payments or registrations have been driven by an advert seen on Facebook. This then feeds back into how marketers run their campaigns on optimized CPMs for more effective responses. That is a win-win for Facebook: if it can show that marketers can save money by using these tools as part of their campaigns, it will also mean that they will ultimately spend more money and effort advertising on the social network. It’s also one more sign of how Facebook is continuing to extend its influence outside of its own platform and walled garden — although it’s still stopping short of advertising on third-party sites.
  • In a sign of increasing cross-platform marketing, Facebook says that its conversion measurement tool can report when a user views an ad on one platform, like mobile, but then converts on another, like a PC. It’s the only tool so far that can do this — but as Facebook continues to expand its advertising business, it’s not likely to be the last.
Facebook Announces Its Third Pillar “Graph Search” That Gives You Answers, Not Links Like Google
  • Tuesday at Facebook’s press event, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced its latest product, called Graph Search. Zuckerberg made it very clear that this is not web search, but completely different.
  • Zuckerberg explained the difference between web search and Graph Search. “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers.” Linking things together based on things that you’re interested in is a “very hard technical problem,” according to Zuckerberg. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.” For example, you could ask Graph Search “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?”
  • Zuckerberg says that Graph Search is in “very early beta.” People, photos, places and interests are the focus for the first iteration of the product. He then announced a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing, so Facebook, in a way, is a true Google competitor. This is a huge lift for Microsoft. Graph Search won’t just change the way we use Facebook. It could also pull users away from other services like Yelp and Foursquare, and create huge advertising opportunities for Facebook.
Facebook-skins-post20% of Facebook’s Ad Spend Goes to Mobile Ads
  • Techcrunch reports that Facebook is making quick progress in growing its mobile advertising business, a platform in which investors were initially hesitant to put their money nto. Based on data from major ad platform Kenshoo, 20% of all Facebook ad spending goes to mobile – and with good reason, because studies are beginning to show that Facebook mobile ads work and could keep the company successful.
  • Kenshoo’s data shows that Facebook mobile ads are currently priced at a 70% premium over desktop ads, which makes sense because a single mobile ad is more likely to make an impression on users. And with 71% of Facebook’s smartphone ad spend going to Android, Google’s operating system may become a leading portal to the social network.
  • “As advertisers warm up to the mobile medium, Facebook needs to turn its attention to user reactions,” writes Techcrunch’s Josh Constine. “The feed is starting to get a bit more cluttered with ads than a few months ago.” While mobile should definitely be a top priority for Facebook, balancing user experience with the amount of ads on a single screen should also be addressed – a fact that may inspire yet another profile redesign or algorithm update in the coming months.
google_plus_logoWhether you like it or not, Google+ is happening. It's a requirement if you use any of Google's services. The controversial tactic is part of a larger plan from Google CEO Larry Page to get people to use Google+ by setting up people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services with a public Google+ page that can be viewed by anyone online. Facebook and Google make most of their revenue from selling ads, but Facebook has the advantage of being able to tie people's online activities to their real names - and it knows who those people's friends are. According to The Wall Street Journal's Amir Efrati, "Marketers say Google has told them that closer integration of Google+ across its many properties will allow Google to obtain this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore, more profitable) ads."
plus-badgeGoogle+ Has 105 Million Unique Monthly Visitors
  • According to data from comScore, Google+ can now join the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with its 100 million unique visitors per month. But are those visitors truly unique?
  • The data states that the network attracted 105 million monthly users in October 2012 compared to 65.3 million in October 2011, a 60.9% increase, writes Mashable’s Todd Wasserman. Mobile is lagging; Google had 7 million mobile users, which is chump change compared to Facebook’s 91.3 million. ComScore did not measure time spent on Google+, but last June, Google claimed that users spent an average of 12 minutes a month on the network.
  • The unique monthly visitor account may be inflated due to Google’s decision to force its users to create Google+ accounts. When a user wants to create an account to use Gmail, YouTube, and other Google services – including Zagat for restaurant reviews – they are also set up with a public Google+ profile page. This is part of CEO Larry Page’s plans to get people to use the network, and it appears to be working.
Twitter Is Already Winning The Social TV War, But It Will Soon Do More
  • According to TechCrunch, Twitter is reaching out to TV producers and showrunners to find out ways that it can further integrate with the TV experience. That could mean Twitter-based voting, in the case of some competitive reality shows. It could also mean introducing interactive elements in scripted shows that viewers could use to unlock new content or web experiences.
  • For what it’s worth, Twitter is hiring for a role just like this: One of the positions listed on its jobs site is a “Manager of TV Relationships” position based in Los Angeles. The purpose of the job is to act as a “Twitter ambassador/evangelist to TV celebrities,” getting them to tweet more during their own shows and just in general. But the goal also to work with high-profile showrunners and producers to find ways to integrate Twitter into their programming.
  • For those keeping track, that seems like an obvious move for the company, as it tries to take advantage of user activity that has already emerged without too much prompting. Given the tens of billions of dollars spent on TV advertising every year, finding a way to entice advertisers to create integrated or even complementary ad buys around its social network is a huge win for Twitter. And it will become even more obvious as time goes on just how important TV will be to Twitter’s continued growth.
Instagram on iPhone Gets a Fresh Filter, Facebook Login, Apology
  • According to Mashable, fresh from nixing his revamped terms of service that caused such a stir on Tuesday -- and doing a 180-degree turn on those terms of service Thursday -- Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, has launched a significant update to his iPhone app. The update adds a brand-new photo filter, "Mayfair", which brings the app's total number of filters up to 20.
  • Also in this update comes the ability to log in to Instagram via Facebook for the first time, without having to connect the two services in your settings. Given that Facebook's purchase of Instagram was wrapped up back at the end of August, this widely expected move is not before time.
  • Open up your news tab in the app, and you'll see Instagram is touting Systrom's apology from late Thursday. In contrast to his first attempt to walk back the updated terms of service, which came across as a little condescending, it offers a clear and distinct "sorry." Reads the apology: “Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.”
imagesInstagram has had an interesting 48 hours. The photo sharing app’s policy changes sparked a huge amount of controversy yesterday when news hit that Instagram claimed the right to sell its users’ photos at will. CNET reports that the company’s vaguely written policy change granted Instagram “the perpetual right to license users’ photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.” According to reports, this means that third party companies could have written a check to license Instagram photos, thrown them into some brochures, and distributed them without informing or reimbursing the user. Understandably, users were upset, and the news spread faster than a hipster on a fixed-gear bike.