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Report: Snapchat Might Make Users Wait 3 Seconds To Skip Ads

Social Media Week

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Want to skip over that promotional video on Snapchat before getting back to your friends’ Stories? Snapchat is considering an update that would force users to watch ads for three seconds before skipping past.

Sources close to the matter told Ad Age that Snapchat is thinking about moving to this model, which is similar to the skippable “TrueView” format on YouTube, in order to increase the visibility and effectiveness of partner ads.

At present, users can tap their screen to immediately bypass promotional content. While this is a welcomed experience for users seeking to explore content from their friends and preferred creators and publishers, it reduces the amount of time people spend with paid content.

Within this structure, Ad Age reports that viewing times for paid ads on Snapchat “barely reach a second.” For reference, the Media Rating Council (MRC) finds that video ads must be visible for at least two seconds them to be deemed “viewable.”

Though viewability is a critical metric for digital advertisers, Snapchat has always veered toward optimizing the user experience before appeasing ad partners. Increased pressures on the platform following its 2017 IPO and reports that their ad rates have dropped 60 percent over the past year are perhaps causing Snap’s executive team to revise their approach.

Speaking anonymously to Ad Age, a “top advertiser” noted that marketers are simply not as spending as much as they used to with Snapchat. “[Snapchat] has to do something that draws more interest from advertisers, and they are getting more aggressive to address the market’s needs,” stated the source.

One fundamental need, as noted by Mobile Marketer, is to provide more insight into the effectiveness of marketers’ ad buys within Snapchat—especially when it comes to viewability metrics.

Though Snapchat has not confirmed the rumors, it will be interesting to see if the “must view” rule is applied to the upcoming Q1 redesign, which the company teased in late 2017. Of course, Snapchat is not alone in facing these challenges, as all of the major platforms are seeking ways to create compelling, user-friendly experiences that also optimize against advertiser objectives.

Hear from the major social media platforms at SMWNYC, coming to New York April 24-27, 2018. Register for your pass now to secure your spot at our flagship conference.

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

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Twitter Joins Facebook in Supporting Honest Ads Act

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Twitter is joining Facebook in endorsing the Honest Ads Act, which is a bipartisan effort designed to provide greater transparency when it comes to political advertising.

The news broke just hours before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s on Capitol Hill, which confronted the events of Cambridge Analytica scandal and the overall role the tech titan in American democracy.

Per TechCrunch, the legislation was originally introduced last October by two Democratic Senators: Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, with an endorsement from Republican Senator John McCain, in response to surfacing evidence of Russia using Facebook as a means of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The bipartisan bill is aimed to promote political ad transparency by imposing requirements of social media platforms, websites, and ad networks that accumulate more than 50 million unique monthly visitors. Two additional key proposed reforms include:

Amending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002’s definition of electioneering communication to include paid Internet and digital advertisements.
Requiring online platforms to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate.

Zuckerberg’s Facebook post on the matter argued that election interference is “bigger than any one platform.” He continued to voice his support, saying that such legislation would “raise the bar for all political advertising online.” This notion was supported by the fact that Twitter found at least 3,000 accounts linked to Russia posted on the platform during the 2016 election.

Warner took to Twitter to express his excitement about Twitter’s decision, calling it a “huge step forward,” adding that he hopes Google and others will soon join Facebook and Twitter in support of the bill.

According to The Verge, Twitter is also working to launch an Ad Transparency Center (ATC) this summer. Its overarching purpose will be to “go beyond the requirements of the Honest Ads Act and eventually provide increased transparency to all advertisements on Twitter.” Specifically, transparency will be increased for political and “issue ads,” which refer to posts including specific topics such as immigration and gun control. Overall, these will contain additional details beyond those required by the Honest Ads Act pertaining to where the ad originated.

MediaPost added that Twitter’s ATC will also disclose information such as total campaign ad spend, funding organizations, and targeting demographics.

For more on the relationship between social media and politics, join us at SMWNYC where Suraj Patel Candidate for US Congress, NY-12, will explore the role of digital media in democracy. Claim your pass today.

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The Super Bowl LII Ad Recap: 5 Highlights & One Big Question

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The Super Bowl is … well … the Super Bowl of advertising. It’s one of the most important nights of the year for brands that have gambled on multi-million dollar TV spots, and a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity for other brands to capitalize on our nation’s shared cultural moment. Here are five big highlights from the Big Game—along with one big question for marketers everywhere.

Tide Achieves a New Kind of Ubiquity

Advertising pundits were quick to name Tide as the big winner of the Brand Bowl, which was a win the company needed following several weeks of unfortunate headlines around the youth culture’s biggest obsession since the fidget-spinner: eating Tide Pods.

Jokes aside, the creative spots (four in total: one 45-minute setup spot and three 15-second reinforcers) cleverly forced viewers to question whether subsequent ads were a Tide ad or not. This psychological trick brilliantly kept the brand top of mind throughout the entire game. It was definitely a smart approach and the agency behind the work, Saatchi + Saatchi deserves a lot of credit. For a media buy that costly, though, the brand shouldn’t have expected anything less.

Nike Subverts the :30 Spot

Nike’s collaboration with Justin Timberlake was executed to perfection. Prior to taking the stage, Timberlake posted a “2-minute warning” on Instagram, which not-so-subtly centered on a fresh new of Air Jordan 3’s he would be sporting for the 15-minute show. Following the Halftime Show, Nike’s SNKRS app opened a sale for the new “JTHs,” which promptly sold out.

Amazon Nails the Brief

Just like in sports, just as important as flash are the fundamentals. Amazon’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice” spot won the USA Today Ad Meter competition without doing anything particularly groundbreaking. The ad leveraged prominent celebrities (including a cameo from Jeff Bezos) and leaned on light-hearted fun to drive home the message that while there might be other voices on the market, there is none quite like Alexa’s.

The spot was created as a joint assignment between Amazon’s in-house agency, D1, and UK-based Lucky Generals.

Oreo Exercises Restraint

Oreo, the brand that became famous for ushering in the “real-time marketing” trend in 2013, did not respond when NBC technical failures resulted in a several second blackout during the 2nd quarter. In many ways, though, the brand didn’t have to: Viewers readily fueled the word-of-mouth brand buzz by taking to social to ask why Oreo seemed to be asleep at the wheel. As a result, the Mondelez brand got its fair share of earned media without lifting a (Twitter) finger. Touché.

It was also interesting to see viewers speculate as to whether the blackout was some sort of creative ad execution. Such is the nature of marketing in 2018: it’s increasingly difficult to tell what’s advertising from what’s not.

Real-Time Marketing Works (When It’s Good)

Brands that didn’t drop money on Big Game spots found ways to cut through the clutter through hilarious social content. Duracell, for example, seized the opportunity to help Eagles fans “own their truth” by celebrating the fan base’s notoriety for throwing batteries at opposing fans.

Hardee’s also jumped on the train, giving fans reason to temper their celebratory behaviors.

Social Good’s Catch-22

Brands were quick to tout their social good efforts, which isn’t surprising given that research shows that millennials, in particular, are more likely to “vote with their wallets” and support brands whose values align with their own. The problem, as some critics point out, is that the money spent marketing these community efforts often eclipses the portion of funds that actually go to such programs. For example, Anheuser-Busch spent $100K on delivering water for disaster aid, and $5 million talking about it during the Super Bowl.

A Dodge Ram commercial that conjured a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. also received criticism. While the company likely intended to inspire viewers from the immortal words of Dr. King, some viewers thought the ad was done in poor taste. The general vibe, per The New York Times: “Did the company really just use Dr. King’s words about the value of service to sell trucks?” Yes, yes they did.

This puts brands in a precarious position: From a marketing standpoint, it’s important to elevate social causes and align with cultural passion points, but when heavily promoted at major events like the Super Bowl, consumers are quick to question the brand’s altruism. So, what’s the right way to go about this? We’ll be exploring his dilemma in depth at SMWNYC this April.

Explore the growing importance of brand purpose to marketing and other big trends at SMWNYC, held at the Sheraton Times Square this April 23-27. Secure your pass today & save 20% percent.

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Why Phone Call Analytics Can Optimize Your Facebook Ad ROI

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In today’s smartphone and social platform driven world, converting consumers by calling might seem like a thing of the past, but that’s far from the truth.

At Social Media Week Chicago, Blair Symes (Director of Content Marketing) & Kelley Schultz (Director of Digital Media & Analytics) of Dialogtech showed attendees how well Facebook ads can influence and generate phone call conversions, improve ROI, and acquire more customers.

There were 5.7 billion calls in 2014 calls to US businesses from Facebook and social ads, 12.2 billion in 2016, and experts expect that to triple in 2019. Over 500% growth in calls are expected from 2014 to 2019.

Why are the Facebook numbers so staggering?

Facebook is a mobile-first app. Click-to-call is much easier and faster than filling out a web form. 89% of Facebook’s users access via mobile device. 56% of months users only access Facebook on mobile. While 87% of Facebook US ad spend is now on mobile.

Businesses with products or services that are complex, expensive, infrequent, or urges get phone calls.

Which is great news for marketers because phone calls have proven to be a much higher quality lead than online conversions. According to Forrester, customers who initiate inbound calls convert faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate. Calls convert to revenue 10x-15x more than web leads. Calls will also influence $1 trillion in US consumer spending this year.

If your business has the potential to convert ads into call, getting detailed attribution for every call is a must.

Here are problems that most marketers face:

  • You lose credit and intelligence for up to 50% or more of your conversions.
  • Visitors from Facebook ads that result in valuable calls appear to be bounces.
  • You allocate budget to underperforming Facebook ads and landing pages.
  • You can’t prove the true ROI of Facebook ad spend.

If you don’t know what is generating phone calls, you can be putting money into campaigns that aren’t working. You define the audience targeting at the ad set, so the more detailed you label each ad set, the best understanding you will get on who is driving ROI. If you know where exactly your ads are running and succeeding, you can break out your campaigns into very specific placements and devote budget to improving the ROI on those specific ads.

If you don’t use your data, it’s not going to help you. If you don’t use it to change what you are doing or to optimize your current ads, it’s not going to do anything for you.

How To Use Performance Metrics

  1. Customize the columns to show the performance metrics relevant to your brand and goals.
  2. Compare date against time frames from prior day, week, month, and year.
  3. Breakdown the data by location/business locations, age/gender, time of day, and placement/device.
  4. Ensure top performing ads and audiences are not capping out on budget.
  5. Build out testing campaigns to enhance lower performing campaigns/ad sets/ads. Continually test different campaign objectives and creative.

Targeting is critical to Facebook ad ROI. You can use targeting data like date & time, education, age, interests, relationship, website visits, and more to target consumers with the right message on the right screen at the right time. But how do phone calls come into play?

Inbound calls are valuable data that can signal lead quality and purchasing intent and how the person wants to engage. Marketers can use call data to determine the budget allocation and the right ad and landing page.

On Facebook, you can actually schedule optimizations that will improve conversions.

  • Use a life time budget (instead of daily cap), which will allow you to run ads on a specific schedule
  • Get performance and audience data by day/hour and target those in ad sets to maximize your budget
  • Run lead gen ads and ensure you have sales staff available to convert leads quickly and effectively

Further analysis and commentary from ‘The Secret to Optimizing Your Facebook Ad ROI: Phone Call Analytics’ session:

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Facebook Ekes Out More Ad Space, This Time In Messenger

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Facebook dominates the display advertising landscape, owning nearly 40 percent of the market per eMarketer. Facebook’s total revenue topped $27 billion in 2016—and the platform is looking to grow this figure with new and different ad offerings.

One way they are doing this is by beginning to roll out Messenger ads for U.S. audiences. Messenger ads have been in test-mode overseas since the beginning of 2017.

According to Ad Age, Facebook is allowing media buyers to extend the reach of their campaigns beyond Facebook and Instagram to Messenger with the simple check of a box. With the exception of video ads (for now), marketers can run their single photo or carousel campaigns within Messenger. Facebook’s product team states that they are holding off on including video ads at this stage of the rollout, though it’s likely that these will eventually find their way to Messenger, as well.

One of the only factors threatening to slow Facebook’s ongoing growth is limited real estate. As the Facebook News Feed and Instagram feeds become more and more inundated with ads, the platform needs to find new spaces where marketers can effectively capture attention, influence decision-making and, ultimately, drive purchases.

“[Advertising is] not necessarily everything, but it’s definitely how we’re going to be making money right now, and going forward there are some other business models we are exploring as well, but they’re all around ads one way or another,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger head of product, in a recent interview with VentureBeat.

Still, it will be interesting to see how Facebook users react to seeing brand messages in their conversations. The News Feed, once dominated by content from friends and closely followed companies and groups, has become overrun with marketing content and yet Facebook’s user base still tops 1 billion people worldwide. Will consumers simply “get used to” seeing ads within their one-to-one conversations or group threads, as they’ve done with respect to the News Feed?

It will also be interesting to see if and how Facebook will be able to target ads relevant to conversations occurring within  Messenger, similar to how Google uses email context to serve ads within Gmail. For example, if I ask my friend for a movie suggestion in a one-to-one chat, will Universal Pictures be able to offer up a selection or to that’s relevant to our conversation? Such an update would open powerful opportunities for chatbot style advertising, though Facebook isn’t quite there at the moment.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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