Digital Down Low: December 9th
Facebook launches their new mobile ad format
- According to Mashable, millions of people are preparing to give loved ones brand new smartphones this holiday season, Facebook is giving businesses more ways to ply their recipients with apps to populate them. The social network is launching a new mobile ad format that lets companies showcase products in which a particular customer has shown an interest along with a link to download the brand’s app and complete the purchase.
- The offering is an expansion of the dynamic ads regimen Facebook already sells for other types of products and services. It’s particularly well-suited for e-commerce and travel sites that can make the most use of the cross-promotion to shuttle users from their websites to their apps, according to Christine De Martini, Facebook’s app advertising lead. The inaugural batch of brands includes Hotels.com and Walmart-owned Jet.com. De Martini said the launch was deliberately timed to coincide with the holiday season, which Facebook was surprised to find is an especially popular time for app downloads.
- The company attributes the spike in installs to Christmas gift recipients breaking in their newly opened devices. In fact, the boom for app marketers can extend into January and February, according to previous years’ data, says De Martini. The new ad joins the many targeting options Facebook already offers app makers, including a tool that targets only the users most likely to take a specific action within an app and one aimed at people who have already downloaded an app with potential new uses. App-install ads are one of the most important revenue streams for Facebook’s mobile ad business, which accounts for the vast majority of its ads money, as well as the mobile ad economy at large.
Swipe and Like! Instagram Stories are a success
- According to Marketing Land, Instagram may have arrived late as a traffic source for brands and publishers, but it’s already showing early signs of success, driving new visitors to their sites and even outperforming its parent company, Facebook.
- For years brands, publishers and other have tried to push people from the Facebook-owned photo-and-video-sharing app to their sites. Outside of ads, and excepting a recent test with some retailers, Instagram didn’t offer much help to companies looking to use it to drive traffic. So they had to find workarounds. They put links in their Instagram bios. They scrawled short-code URLs on their pictures. And they typed out links in their captions. Then last month, Instagram finally introduced an official alternative to these hacky workarounds: the ability for verified profiles to insert links in their Instagram Stories.
- Almost a month after the launch, 15%-25% of the people who see a link in an Instagram Story are swiping on it, according to a handful of brands and publishers that have been experimenting with the feature. Within the first two days of adding links to its Instagram Stories, “we saw over a quarter of a million views” for those link-laded slides, said Jay Rockman, director of marketing and business development at anonymous social platform Whisper. As of Wednesday, Whisper’s total view count had hit 1.25 million, with 15% of those viewers swiping on the links to visit its site.
- But getting people to swipe on a link in an Instagram Story — and keep doing so — requires more than appending it to a Story slide. For starters, a lot of people may not be accustomed to swiping on links in Instagram or even aware that it’s an option. Instagram teases the links by adding “See More” and an arrow at the bottom of Story slides carrying a link for people to swipe down to see the attached web page. But the callout is small, small enough to not obscure the slide but also small enough to go unnoticed. And people may not know what more there is to see if they do swipe down or that swiping down will open Instagram’s in-app browser.
New apps and integrations are coming to Google Home
- According to Tech Crunch, Google announced that all developers (and not just those in its private preview program), can start bringing their applications and services to the Google Assistant, starting with what the company calls “conversation actions” on Google Home. This allows developers to create back-and-forth conversations with users through the Assistant and users can simply start these conversations by using a phrase like “OK Google, talk to Eliza.” While the Assistant also runs on the Pixel phones and inside the Allo chat app, Google says it plans to bring actions to these other “Assistant surfaces” in the future, but it’s unclear when exactly this will happen.
- To help developers who want to build these new Conversation Actions get started, Google has teamed up with a number of partners, including AI, GupShup, DashBot and VoiceLabs, Assist, Notify.IO, Witlingo and Spoken Layer. Google has also allowed a small number of partners to enable their apps on Google Home already. These integrations will roll out as early as next week.
- Given that users will be able to invoke these new actions with a simple command (and without having to first enable a skill, like on Alexa), Google’s platform looks to be a rather accessible and low-friction way for developers to get their voice-enabled services to users. Google will have the final say over which actions will be enabled on Google Home. The company says it will enable deeper integrations across verticals in upcoming releases, as well as support for purchases and bookings, but here, too, the details remain rather sparse.