Weekly Digital News Roundup: July 4 – July 8
Facebook Eases Concern about Falling Ad Rates by Holdings Its Prices Steady
- Facebook Inc. said advertising rates have held up even after it added new ways for marketers to promote products, allaying concern that prices would decline as inventory surged.
- Rates for so-called self-serve ads, which are sold through an automated auction system and account for most of sales, are unchanged since March, when the company selected a redesign to add promotions under photos and increase the number of spots on some pages to as many as five from three.
- As Facebook tested new features in recent months, some companies that help businesses buy ads on the site experienced price swings – the average cost per click for self-serve ads dropped to 95 cents from $1.36 in June, said a CEO of a Toronto-based promotion placement company.
Banner Ads Evolve to Get Users’ Attention
- Display advertising leaders AOL and Yahoo are stepping up their banner ad innovation to improve interactivity with consumers and fend off competition from targeted ad solutions from companies such as Facebook.
- Consumers have long been unwilling to disengage with their chosen content just to click on an ad, to the point that many users ignore the ads that frame a Web page.
- To improve interaction, advertising platform Pictela developed the IAB Portrait ad unit, which streamlines Web pages from four or five ads to one supersized, feature-filled banner that runs to the right of sought-after content. Because they occupy 33% of the page, they’re more noticeable and improve engagement.
Google+ has Circles, Sparks, and Hangouts, But Will It Nab Facebook Users?
- Google+ is looking to take on Facebook, which is used by more than 650 million people worldwide, and is so far doing so by making preexisting Google products more social.
- The new network is mainly made up of three products – Circles, Sparks, and Hangouts. Circles allow Google+ to sort those a user follows into custom groups. Sparks allows users to set topics and check out news sorted to their tastes, rather than going to Google news.
- Hangouts is a group video feature that allows one user to start a video chat session and other users from their Circles of friends can pop in and chat as they see fit. With this in mind, Google is going with what it is successful at – video chatting, delivering news content, and organizing contacts – in hoping to correct the missteps that happened with Google’s Buzz product.
Facebook Unveils Video Chat with Skype
- In a bid to become the hub of communication on the Web, Facebook is partnering with Skype to offer its 750 million users the ability to have live video chats with one another for free.
- The video calling feature intensifies the already heated rivalry with Internet search giant Google Inc., which includes a video chat feature for as many as 10 people called Hangouts.
- For its part, Facebook touted the ease of use of the new Skype feature, which with just one click allows one-on-one video chat.