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Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Marketers Say Facebook Video Metrics Scandal is Overblown

The WSJ called the miscalculation “an embarrassment to Facebook”, which spurred a firestorm of criticism amongst the media. But TechCrunch spoke to a dozen social marketing executives that work directly with these metrics, and the consensus was that there are far more important measurements to look at, and the error wouldn’t necessarily impact spend if marketers looked at analytics more holistically. Nothing to see here, folks.

  • 1 min read
  • September 26, 2016

Facebook Wants to Show Brands How Its Ads Measure Up Against TV

Facebook announced a wave of ad measurement news this week that even Facebook’s VP of measurement, Brad Smallwood, admitted were eyeball-glazing in their nitty-grittiness. But as boring as they may seem, they’re important. Facebook is trying to give advertising’s sabermetricians — the Moneyballers of Madison Avenue — a better way to evaluate its ads against those from other channels, including TV, competing to make their media rosters. Pay attention, moneyballers.

  • 1 min read
  • September 23, 2016

Facebook will start enforcing the Branded Content Policies

Last month, Facebook expanded its ability for influencers to work with Brands in its “Facebook Branded Content" advertising solution. This is advertising integrated with an influencer’s own content, which promotes a third party. Although it isn’t as sexy as Facebook Live or Facebook Reactions and therefore not getting the same attention, for the purposes of brand marketing on social media, it can be invaluable. It’s a nuanced change in the otherwise seismic world of Facebook updates, but it’s one not to be ignored. Facebook is specific in its advertising rules, unless third party content is part of a paid campaign through Facebook, it’s prohibited on “blue ticked” Verified pages. The rules state, “Third-party advertisements on Pages are prohibited, without our prior permission.” Facebook defines Branded Content as “any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that specifically mentions or features a third party product, brand, or sponsor.  It is typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers.” Somewhat because it’s tough to enforce, and mostly because Influencer Marketing is taking larger and larger portions of the marketing mix, Facebook is adjusting its policies to accommodate this trend. Updates to Facebook’s Branded Content Policies Include the Following: Only Verified Pages: Branded Content coming from “Verified Pages” must abide by the Branded Content rules. These are the pages with the “blue badge” beside it, and are usually associated with media, celebrities, and influencers. Newly Approved Content: Verified Pages can share a Promotion, Videos or Photos featuring a third party Brand, Links, Text, Instant Articles, 360 video, Endcards, Product Placement, Sponsor logos, and posts that clearly disclose the content is sponsored or provided by a third party. (Live Video will also be rolling out soon, but it is not live at launch) Branded Content Tool: This tool ensures that the Brand associated with this content is permanently attached to the post. Any time this piece of content is shared, the Brand mention will go along with it. This tool will also allow marketers to track the performance of the post, and allow for more transparency when partnering with influencers. Although a Branded Content post looks very similar to any other post (that’s the point of course), the dead giveaway is the word “with” after the name of the influencer and before the Brand. See the Lady Gaga example below as an example: The number one benefit with Facebook’s Branded Content, aside from the reach and impressions generated, is the wealth of insights. When an influencer shares Branded Content associated with your Brand, you will be notified of it and have access to post level data. This means that Brands will be able to see performance metrics of this content the same way you would be able to see metrics for your own posts. With these insights, you will know how particular influencers and media outlets deliver exposure for your brand. Moreover, you can share the post with your own followers, and provide paid support, furthering the reach. In the world of Facebook, this won’t have the same impact on engagement rates for your Brand’s content as Facebook Live, but it will provide you with a much more transparent and holistic view of your Influencer marketing campaigns. Where appropriate, you should encourage your Influencers to use the Branded Content Tool, and when required, you should make sure they are using it. Facebook will start enforcing this new rule, and removing any content that is not in line with the new guidelines. As a rule of thumb, if you’re working with a “Blue Ticked” Influencer, and they are posting about your Brand, make sure they are using the Branded Content Tool. Source: Facebook; VentureBeat

Facebook announces “Messenger Bot Store” at F8

Facebook’s Messenger platform has about 800 million monthly active users. The release of this new “Chat SDK” will allow companies offer “conversational user interfaces” - a new way of interacting with services and brands of all kinds. Think: Siri for chat. Now think: A highly-functioning, and specialized Siri for ordering pizza, buying shoes, or creating a customer service request. Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store

  • 1 min read
  • March 22, 2016

A Definitive List of What People Like on Facebook

The Internet is weird because the internet is people. Facebook recently released a massive amount of data about what people like as part of their new Audience Optimization tool - and The Verge was kind enough to give us a tour of what they found. The idea is that FB's new tool allows you, as a marketer, to target your audience according to what interests them. For example, did you know that more people are interested in a J-Pop duo called Puffy Ami Yumi than Beyonce? The tool offers three key features: Preferred Audience (allows publishers to add "interest tags" to their campaigns based on topics and sub-topics of interest to their audience), Audience Restrictions (which isn't a new tool at all, but allows publishers to use the audience-limiting capability of the tool alongside Preferred Audience, and Audience Insights (a post-by-post, interest-tag-by-interest-tag reporting of performance.)   Take a look at Facebook's announcement, and don't miss The Verge's piece, either. It's pretty enlightening.   Read the full article at The Verge Read the full Article at The Verge   Read Facebook's announcement post Read Facebook's Announcement Post   Image Credit: The Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi Wiki at Wikia Image Credit: The Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi Wiki at Wikia

  • 2 min read
  • February 2, 2016

What to Do When Your Brand Can't Exactly 'Pay-to-Play' on Facebook

As social media marketers, we've heard that Facebook is undoubtedly moving towards a 'pay-to-play' model for businesses. But what exactly does that mean? And what exactly does that mean for your brand? It means that Facebook has changed its algorithm to limit the reach of organic content posted by brand pages in an effort to encourage businesses to invest media dollars in paid Facebook advertising and post promotion. Facebook is going head to head in competition with Google to lead in online advertising revenue, which means we can only expect organic reach on the platform to continue to decline as this initiative evolves. That said, the reality is that not every brand has the room in their budget to invest in media dollars on Facebook. So, how do you break through the barriers of this potentially threatening algorithm change with your organic content? Be Real Approximately 63% of consumers say that they are highly annoyed with repeated, generic advertising messages. For Millennials, that percentage is higher. As a result, consumers crave authentic communication and transparent relationships with the brands they love or are interested it. Establish a human voice with your Facebook content. Use the language that your audience uses and responds to. This approach will help you break through the clutter of other annoying posts pushed out by brands who haven't gotten the memo yet and will help you more easily engage in a two-way conversation with your audience. Jump on Real Time Moments Similarly to being real, be relevant. One of the best ways to gain traction with your organic content is to join conversations about viral internet topics that your audience is already discussing and searching on Facebook. When it makes sense, act fast and find ways to naturally insert your brand into these conversations in a fun and interesting manner. When you do this, be sure to use the most popular hashtags and key phrases that your audience is using.  Creating real time content shows that you're actively engaged in the Facebook community and culturally relevant conversations, as opposed to simply pumping out evergreen content on a predetermined schedule. Not only will your reach exponentially increase, your audience will appreciate it'leaving them wanting more. It's proven to ring true with our own social media work at AMP Agency. Here are some great examples of other marketers and brands that get it. Like the time that Twix lit a fire under #TheDress debate:                             And when Arby's asked Pharrell for their hat back during the GRAMMYs: Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs ' Arby's (@Arbys) January 27, 2014 Let's not forget about the time Oreo saved the day during the Super Bowl XLVII power outage: Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC ' Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013 Shares, shares, shares When you're relying on organic reach, shares are your best friend. A share extends beyond a like, not only in the expanded reach potential it holds, but also in what it says about the way your audience is engaging with your content. When someone shares your content, they are really saying 'I enjoy or related to this post so much that I wish I had made it myself. I want everyone else to see it and enjoy it as much as I did.'Your ability to relate to your audience is key here.   For example When Bud Light read their audience's mind:                       Or when Forever 21 shared #WordsofWisdom with their millennial audience, 75% of which would like to travel abroad as much as possible:               Designing 'sharable'? content is where you'll need to think very critically about the psychographic profile of your target audience. Think to yourself, 'Is this message something that a member of my target audience would actually feel, say, or think themselves and want to share with their friends?'? Also don't forget to ask, 'Does it tie into my brand's core messaging in some way?' It's important not to lose your brand essence or voice in trying to be relatable or funny to gain shares. Use Video Content As Facebook continues to compete with Google owned YouTube to be the number one video uploading and viewing platform, native video content on Facebook has proven to reach nearly double the amount of people that images do, with 65% of that video content being viewed on mobile. Use this to your advantage! Create short, simple yet interesting video content that will engage your audience and let Facebook's video-favoring algorithm do the rest. source: http://www.beet.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Slide09.jpg                     Next Steps Now, when planning future budgets, should paid social media get a piece of the pie? Yes, absolutely. But in the meantime, you can experiment with these approaches to optimizing your organic content on Facebook to stay afloat in a 'pay-to-play' world. Your turn: What other strategies have you found to be successful?

A Few Predictions for the Social Media Landscape in 2016

2015 has been a big year for social media ' Facebook announced new video experiences, Instagram opened up its long-exclusive ad platform and Snapchat launched its 'Discover'? feature to name a few. So, what can we expect to see next? Here's a few trends we're expecting to see impact the social space in 2016. 1. Everything, LIVE! Live-streaming and live social are becoming an obsession and it only appears to be gaining momentum as we head into the next year. From Periscope to Meerkat, Facebook Live to Kanvas, brands will be challenged to find innovative and engaging ways to use these apps to deliver 'in-the-moment' content. Not ready for live-streaming yet? Invest in video in general. While not a new trend or recommendation, if you're not producing short-form, easily digestible video content for social yet you're missing out on a whole world of social engagement. Especially when you consider that: Videos average 62% more engagement than photos Video shares have increased 43% since the beginning of 2015 Facebook recently announced it sees an average of eight BILLION video views a day from 500 million people 2. Influencer Impact People have been talking for a while about the impact online reviews and comments (even from strangers) have on consumer purchase intent. But now, instead of automatically heading to Google to type in your latest query, you can go to YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and more for advice and opinions. In fact, a Pinterest study done earlier this year reported that 87% of respondents claimed Pinterest helped them decide what to purchase. Make the most of this by sharing special offers, social-exclusive discounts, and reviews and testimonials from customers (or social media influencers) that provide real feedback and authentic content, over glossy ads. 3. Social Commerce With a number of platforms rolling out 'Buy'? buttons, attention is being put towards making the mobile and social commerce process seamless. However, transitioning users scrolling through engagement announcements and memes to purchasers will likely prove more difficult. In fact, according to Custora, whose software is used by many big-name retailers, sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram drove a meager 1.7% of total online sales this Black Friday (compared to 25% of online orders from e-mail promotions). That said, there are definitely social commerce opportunities to be had and it's likely we'll see the major platforms experimenting with various executions over the course of 2016. 4. Key Players Here to Stay Remember the app Yo? It let you send a message to friends that literally just read 'Yo.'? Nothing else. Sounds ridiculous, right? But it blew up, gaining momentum and national attention on a huge scale before a just as quick crash and burn. In the last few years there have been a number of new platforms like Yo that emerge and either die off quickly or skyrocket to popularity before being bought up by one of the bigger players (think WhatsApp which was purchased by Facebook in late 2014). In 2016 though, as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google focus on innovations, new offerings and expanded capabilities, it's likely the focus will be on the established big players figuring out how to gain new users versus emerging opportunities.

Where Can't we Take Tech?

There seems to be a stream of new technological innovation lately: Google glass, a plethora of smart-watches, and an increasing availability of tablets- just to name a few. We are no longer confined to desks, keyboards, and screens to access the digital world. Now, we can enter the online realm via our wrists, using our voices, and even with our facial cues. With all of these new digital portals, how will our socialization adapt? We're used to constant connection- everyone has a smartphone and/or laptop that's proven to be a reliable companion. But with these wearable innovations, we are integrating technology even more into our lives, for better or for worse. Imagine walking down the street- as you stroll, a friend's message pops up right before your eyes, your wrist starts to vibrate to alert you to a new email, and your trusty smartphone is ringing to let you know of a sale going on in the store you just passed. This could be a true reality (albeit slightly exaggerated) as more wearable and portable technologies are produced. This evolved connection could be quite fun. As Google Glass becomes less of a gimmick and more of an in-demand accessory, developers are looking to integrate Glass into their offerings. For example, a new game from Mind Pirate called Global Food Fight allows users to play both on their iPhones and on Google Glass, one of the first interactive and social games to do so. Users can play this game in real-time with friends, and, if using Glass, will be transported into this virtual world right before their eyes. Imagine hanging out, in a food fight, with friends while actually at home. This innovation takes video gaming to a whole new and transportive level. This connection could also go even further. As the digital world wonders what, if anything, Facebook's acquisition Oculus will bring, some are already putting the device to use. KO-OP Mode has created an app called Facerift that lets you 'scroll Facebook...with your face.'? The app is described as 'the dream of the 3d web'? that will make friends 'more real'? and claims: 'you'll never Facebook without your face again.'? Facerift allows users to wander around Facebook in a 3-D virtual world, literally placing users inside of the social network. This type of innovation is exciting- and possibly a little scary. By placing users in sucha virtual environment, how will this impact our interactions in actual reality? Will the lines between real-reality and virtual-reality blur further? Only time will tell how new wearable and portable technologies will impact our socialization. For marketers especially, we now must think of the entire user experience, not just traditional ads or promotions. Ads and campaigns will have to be more integrated, more responsive, and more seamlessly transitioned from on- to off-line environments. As users can connect and communicate more readily, brands will also have to find ways to socialize with users online. In the end, for marketers content will likely still prove king, but presentation will certainly require new creativity. So, whether we're ready or not, it's time to say hello to the wearable, portable, and transportive technologies of our future. Which are you ready to sport?

Hashtags, Coming to a Facebook Newsfeed Near You

Facebook has mastered the art of generating buzz around much anticipated feature rollouts. Facebook hashtags are no exception. There has been chatter online and offline alike around whether hashtags will ever have meaning on Facebook, despite current widespread use. Since the advent of the hashtag in 2007 it had been widely adopted by prominent social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ as a way to aggregate and participate in topic specific conversation. So, the real question regarding the Facebook hashtag transcendence is what it actually means for marketers. #Discovery When Facebook released the updated algorithm decreasing the visibility of brand posts among their audience, many brands were forced to rethink their social strategy. In order to garner the same type of reach, they needed to become smarter and more in-tune with the type of content that resonated with their community. The introduction of hashtags now provides brands with another layer of visibility. These now clickable hashtags will bring up a list of posts from friends and followed pages that contain the tag allowing for a greater level of content discovery outside of users' immediate friend circle. While Twitter remains their biggest competitor in the social space, perhaps this move, coupled with the introduction of Graph Search, points to Facebook now setting its sights on Google. #Amplification Facebook hashtags now have the potential to make hashtag-based campaigns even more impactful through cross-channel amplification of the message. If brands are already using hashtags in a campaign through other channels, these campaigns can now extend to Facebook. Hashtags only amplify the native role Facebook plays in joining and driving conversations. However, the same best practices on Facebook still apply ' compelling copy and photography that are in the brand voice work best. #Insight Facebook is already a data mine in and of itself, but hashtags provide a deeper layer of conversation-based insight for brands. According to Facebook, this is only the first step in surfacing relevant and important public conversations. Over time we will see additional functionality for marketers, including trending hashtags and new insights to allow brands to better understand conversations that may help drive business objectives. Hashtags certainly mark an important shift toward conversation-based marketing for Facebook, and we are eager to see where they go next.  The great news is that at the very least, we can now all rest assured that when we see our friend's annoying and irrelevant hashtag on Facebook; it will be aggregated into a group of other people's annoying, irrelevant hashtags. #phew.

Interact With Rich Media Right In Your Facebook Timeline

Facebook is constantly making changes, whether you like it or not. There's one change few have noticed that creates a huge opportunity to increase engagement with rich media on Facebook. First let's look at the way it used to be. You develop some rich media, let's say a game, that you want to drive traffic to from Facebook. You would probably host that content on a Facebook tab or a micro-site. You would then post a link or an image on your Facebook timeline to drive traffic to your game. But what if users never had to leave their Facebook timeline? What if clicking on that link in the Facebook timeline opened the rich media experience right there. You've been able to do this with videos for awhile but now anyone can create rich media that can be played the same way. This functionality has been around for almost a year now however few have begun to experiment with it. The idea can be extended beyond games to create interactive surveys, custom video players, contests and more. All that's required to get going with "Feed Gaming" is a little knowledge of how to create Facebook apps and the open graph. Unfortunately the rich media units will not work on mobile devices that don't support flash but that just creates an opportunity to show off your HTML5 know-how to develop mobile friendly alternatives on your micro-site.

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