Weekly Digital News Roundup: July 23 – 27
- It looks like Foursquare is taking a page out of Twitter’s book. The New York Times reports that the popular location app recently introduced Promoted Updates, a name which echoes Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. About 20 advertisers are taking part in the pilot, among them Mario Batali Restaurans, Best Buy, the BR Guest restaurants, the Gap and Old Navy brands sold by Gap Inc., Hertz, Hilton hotels, and J.C. Penney.
- The Promoted Updates are the second business-related step in a week by Foursquare, which says it has more than 20 million users and almost a million merchants. Last week, Foursquare announced Local Updates, enabling retailers to deliver geotargeted offers and messages to customers. Promoted Updates are a “natural progression” for Foursquare, said Steven Rosenblatt, who recently joined the company as chief revenue officer. They will always carry the Promoted label, he added, and there will be “a lot of controls in place” to ensure that “frequency will be limited.”
- Foursquare is also taking steps to ensure that the updates are organic and relevant to the user. Their blog says, “We spent a lot of time designing this so you’ll never see a promoted update from a place that the Explore algorithm wouldn’t recommend for you.” Criteria will include a user’s location and whether users or their friends have previously expressed interest in the business.
Tablet Ads Perform Better with Interactivity, Says IAB UK
- According to ClickZ, a recent study released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK showed that interactive ads on tablets generate much better response rates than static tablet ads. Over half of the respondents said they had a positive overall opinion of interactive ads (54 percent). Static ads got only half that amount of positive feedback with 27 percent. In addition, 45 percent of survey participants said they expect their favorite brands to advertise on tablets.
- When the respondents were asked why they liked an ad, 28 percent of people said it was because it was interactive and contained multiple features. These interactive ads also cause respondents to stay on the page for 31 percent more time. The average time spent with pages featuring interactive tablet ads was 24.6 seconds compared to 18.8 seconds for static ads and 17.5 seconds with dynamic ads.
- Although interactive ads can be helpful, they are not the only answer. The report also showed that 95 percent of respondents said it was “very important” that interactive tablet ads be unobtrusive and not interfere with what they are doing. Taking advantage of the touch screen capabilities of tablets is also something that 83 percent of respondents said was important to them. A close 82 percent of respondents stated that it is important for ads to be adapted to the content around them. The report concludes, “Consumers already expect to see tablet ads and like ad funded models.”
Facebook Launches Recommendation Bar
- Mashable reports that Facebook recently launched a recommendation bar that allows users to discover new articles based on what others in your network are reading and sharing. When a Facebook user likes an article via the new recommendation bar, the story is published to their Timeline — similar to what happens when you use the Like button — and it shows up in friends’ news feeds.
- “The recommendation bar is another option for websites — particularly blogs and media sites — to be more social and active, keep people on the site longer, distribute content across Facebook and benefit from referral traffic,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. Here’s what it looks like: While a Facebook member reads an article on the site, a small pop-up window displays at the bottom of the screen, which highlights recommended articles and prompts them to like the page, according to a blog post from Facebook developer Jeffrey Spehar on the company’s developer page.
- Facebook has been testing the social plugin with sites such as Mashable, Wetpaint and The Mirror. So far, Facebook says, the feature has been successful in getting articles in front of more eyes. “In early tests, sites are 3x times the click through on the stories it recommends than through the Recommendations Box,” Spehar said.