Instagram adds ‘Least Interacted With’ and ‘Most Shown in Feed’ following tab
Instagram has recently added two new lists within the following tab, which enable you to see the accounts that get the most visibility in your feed and those who you choose not to engage with as often.
The update provides a list of accounts you don’t engage with a lot and recommends people who you should unfollow. This is to give users more control over their ‘algorithm-defined’ feed.
For example, if you don’t like some of the accounts on the list, or if there are inactive accounts on there, you can remove or unfollow them as well.
The second tab allows you to see the accounts that frequently appear in your feed and whose posts you regularly engage with – this can make it easier for Instagram to suggest new content and accounts for you to like and follow.
Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today said: “In terms of business use, it could help you pinpoint fans who are no longer engaged in your messaging, highlighting content variables that you may want to shift.”
Another minor update alongside this is the option to reply to stories with GIFs. It is a fairly minor update, but now you can reply to any story with a selection of GIPHY GIFs. To do so, just search by keyword in the reply text box and send.
Twitter releases ‘Manipulated Media’ policy to limit fake content
Twitter has recently released its official rule against users posting fake, deceptive or manipulated content, whilst also launching a tag for ‘detected’ edited material.
The updates to detect and also prevent fake information include:
Notifying which Tweets share synthetic or manipulated media.
Warning users before they share or like Tweets with synthetic or manipulated media.
Adding a link – for example, to a news article or Moment – so that people can read more about why various sources believe the media is fake or manipulated.
Twitter explained the update: “When you come to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world, we want you to have context about the content you’re seeing and engaging with.
“Deliberate attempts to mislead or confuse people through manipulated media undermine the integrity of the conversation.”
This will help to aid the ‘fake news’ agenda often promoted within the app.
Vine revamp as ‘Byte’ to rival TikTok
The co-founder of Vine has now officially launched Byte, which is said to be the second coming of former short-second video app Vine. The app is essentially Vine (creator videos up to seven seconds) with updated features and focus.
The app is said to rival record-breaking TikTok with Byte also making headlines as the most-downloaded social app in the US on its first weekend of launch.
In addition to the functionalities of Vine, Byte will eventually enable users to monetise their content. At launch, Byte lacks any of the additional remix, AR and effects tools available on TikTok currently.
TikTok was one of the most popular apps of last year with videos on average earning 17 billion views each month. Since then, the app has continued to grow as TikTok has now hit 1.5 billion downloads across the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower. TikTok is now the third most downloaded app in the world as well as the only app in the top five which is not owned by Facebook.
Although the app is known for users hosting short skits and dance videos, brands are now beginning to take advantage of the billions of monthly views and users. Calvin Klein and FIFA have already created influencer marketing campaigns in the past few months on TikTok.
Clothing brand GUESS created a campaign on the app which challenged users to post videos wearing their favourite denim clothing in order to expand the reach of their brand to a new, younger audience. The campaign was very successful in doing so, with the hashtag #InMyDenim gaining over 38,000,000 views since it launched.
According to Forbes, TikTok might be the ‘next big thing’ when it comes to influencer marketing.
Instagram launches ‘pressure to be perfect’ toolkit
Instagram has published two brand new guides; one for parents and one for teens. Each will guide them to a better understanding of the app and how to use it safely. The guides touch on how young people can manage the potential psychological impacts of using the app on a daily basis.
This comes after the removal of post likes to make users feel more comfortable with the content they post. The app has since been working to implement protective measures for more vulnerable or sensitive people who use the app.
Instagram’s guide states: “Pressure to be Perfect is about recognizing that what you see posted by others is just one part of their story – a single post or video rarely reflects all that is happening behind the scenes.
“That realization can help free us from the pressure of thinking we need to conform to a certain set of standards when we post.
“Moving from a mindset of comparing yourself with others to one where you are thoughtfully sharing yourself with others, could help make the time you spend on Instagram more intentional and rewarding.”
The guide also includes tips on how to make Instagram work for you as well as quizzes about maintaining perspective and responding with kindness.
Twitter introduces the option to hide tweet replies
Twitter has recently announced that its new Hide Replies feature will eventually be rolled out to users worldwide.
After successful testing, the ‘Hide Tweet’ option means a chosen reply to a tweet can be hidden from your timeline as well as everyone else’s. However, users then have the option to view hidden replies on any tweet to see what has removed.
This feature means if a user wants to keep a conversation flowing, they can remove any irrelevant or unnecessary replies.
Twitter explained the feature: “Repliers can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about. To give you more control over the conversations you start, we tested the option for you to hide replies to your Tweets. We learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage your conversations.”
Twitter is adding a new feature to the app called ‘Topics’. Twitter has said this feature will help and encourage users to find a larger selection of content across a range of subjects, alongside their usual timeline.
The Topics tab will allow users to follow tweets about subjects such as sport or politics, rather than associated accounts. There will be 300 topics which users can follow from entertainment and gaming to fashion and beauty.
Twitter recently explained the new update: “On your Home timeline and in search results, you’ll see prompts to follow topics. Tap the Follow button in the prompt and we’ll personalise your Twitter experience based on your interest in this topic.
“We may also match you with other topics that we think you are interested in based on your profile and activity, such as the Tweets you view or like.”
Twitter said their new update will help users find more content they are interested in as “the main reason that people join Twitter is to keep up on the things that they’re interested in.”
Topics will launch on the Twitter app on November 13.
Facebook expands publisher tools for brands
Facebook has announced that their publisher tools will be expanding including a feature where brands can easily find content creators to partner with. Initially, the tool was for a limited number of pages, but Facebook is expanding access to the feature.
Facebook explained: “To help advertisers find creators for branded content partnerships, we introduced Brand Collabs Manager. Creators in over 40 countries can now apply for access to Brand Collabs Manager, bringing it in line with Ad Breaks.”
However, to qualify as a content creator for the Brand Collabs Manager feature, you will need at least 1,000 followers as well as one or more of the following over the last two months: 15,000 engagements on your posts, 180,000 minutes viewed, or 30,000 1-minute views on videos that are 3-minutes or longer.
As well as this, Facebook is adding to Creator Studio with Traffic Source Insights. This is where content creators can see how their content is distributed across the app and with insights on how to optimise content. Traffic Source Insights will look at video watch time and retention metrics for pages across four key sources: Followers, Shares, Recommended and Paid.
You can check if your page qualifies for Brand Collabs Manager here.
Pinterest outlines top pin trends for November
Pinterest has released an update of trending pins forecast for November, including upcoming trends for food, beauty, home and style and how to achieve successful pins.
Pinterest revealed that ‘entryways’ will receive a lot of attention in interior trends this month. The following searches are said to be up for interior-inspired pinner’s: ‘mudroom entryway’ (+179% YoY) ‘shoe closet entryway’ (+300% YoY) and ‘small foyer decorating’ (+722% YoY).
According to Pinterest, November is the month of bedazzling. Searches for ‘rhinestone eye makeup’ are up 550% year over year along with ‘magnetic eyeliner’ (+143% YoY) just in time for Christmas. By replicating these pins into your content strategy, Pinterest predicts an increase in engagement.
As autumn turns to winter, searches for comfort food are up significantly. Recipe videos are up, such as tomato soup videos (+5809% YoY) which topped the list. Alongside ‘sausage parmesan cream cheese’ (+1314% YoY) and ‘hamburger cauliflower soup’ (+4000% YoY) making trends for the top food pins.
For men and women’s fashion, corduroy tops the trends. Searches are increasing for ‘corduroy skirt outfit’ (+69% YoY), ‘corduroy bag’ (+59% YoY), ‘corduroy shirt’ (+51% YoY) and ‘corduroy dress’ (47% YoY).
This week, Instagram has begun to remove its Following tab from the notifications section of the app. Several Twitter users noticed the tab had disappeared before Instagram announced it would be removed permanently to cut down on a feature “most people didn’t know existed.”
The following tab was a feature that users could visit to watch over their friends’ activity, to see who or what they had liked.
The tab was originally intended to help users discover new accounts, brands and hashtags to follow. However, due to many users not knowing the tab existed, Instagram says that the Explore tab should be the place to look to find new accounts and activity.
The tab was also known to impact both friendships and relationships, possibly another reason for Instagram’s removal. Users would often speak of finding their partner liking pictures which they perhaps shouldn’t be. As well as many users being ‘caught-out’ for being active on the app when they claimed to be busy.
A spokesperson for the app said the tab was removed to create simplicity as many people weren’t aware their app activity was visible.
Instagram says the tab is currently being removed worldwide, but it will take the rest of the week to take effect across all accounts.
Pinterest has launched ‘Pinterest Academy’
Also this week, Pinterest has launched a free online education course for marketers on the new Pinterest Academy.
The courses are there to provide a range of lessons and top tips on each of the chosen topics such as creative strategy and building a Pinterest advertising campaign. As well as this, it is there to encourage users to succeed with their Pinterest marketing.
Pinterest is offering five different courses as part of the Academy’s launch, adding an additional four later this month.
The courses currently available on Pinterest Academy are:
Targeting and Buying
Instagram is refreshing the stories feature
Instagram is changing yet another feature on the app, the stories function is said to be changing soon in order to make creating posts much easier.
The update will see GIFs, stickers and all other story add-ons available from one screen. Instagram has said the new ‘Create’ mode will be packed with more fun, new tools.
The Create feature could help in creating more memorable and engaging stories with the new effects and tools that will be available.
Facebook tests hiding ‘likes’ from posts
Facebook likes are often synonymous with how worthwhile or popular a particular post is. However, due to reported pressures users felt to achieve high like counts, Facebook is looking into hiding likes on all type of posts.
During testing in Australia, users could still see the number of likes and engagements on their own posts, but the number was not displayed publically.
A spokesperson for the app said they are not sure if the test will continue outside of Australia. Adding: “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”
If anyone thought this year would be any different in the world of social media, three words quickly teamed up to prove otherwise. We’ll give you a hint. The first is ‘vegan’. And the third is ‘rolls’.
Read on for baked goods and more in our brand new round-up of the most buzzworthy social activations of the last month.
Huddersfield Town announces surprising new manager
Back in December, Huddersfield Town football club parted ways with their manager, David Wagner.
The club had been linked heavily with German coach Jan Siewert, when a keenly-eyed Sky Sports news team thought they spotted him in the crowd when Huddersfield played Manchester City. Unfortunately for the reporter, he quickly discovered that it wasn’t Jan Siewert; it was City fan ‘Martin from Wakefield’ instead!
A lot was made of the encounter on social media, which cameras caught in full. And Huddersfield got in on the act when announcing Siewert’s appointment, involving Wakefield’s finest in the content creation and beginning their video with Martin sat at Siewert’s desk in the manager’s office.
The Huddersfield Town coat labelled ‘MFW’ – Martin from Wakefield – is a nice touch too!
Greggs’ reputation for social media antics doesn’t need much introduction.
They made headlines in 2017 with their controversial nativity scene, exchanging the baby Jesus for Gregg’s sausage roll. But that furore pales in comparison to their latest media frenzy – which, ironically, results from something far less controversial.
At first, all Greggs did was announce the launch of their very own vegan sausage roll, coinciding with the start of Veganuary.
Like a finely-grilled panini, things really heated up once the Internet began engaging. And Greggs handled the naysayers masterfully, despatching a barrage of fiery tweets that caused a good chuckle from the social crowd:
The campaign marked a masterclass in social media marketing, from the standards of creative, to community management.
Netflix brings Bandersnatch to social
January was a superb month for streaming giants Netflix, with a range of titles receiving massive pop culture interest and acclaim, from Roma, to FYRE, to Sex Education.
Another title that captured the Internet’s imagination was Bandersnatch, the interactive choose-your-own-adventure style film from the creators of Black Mirror.
Not just content with enormous success on-screen, the Netflix digital team also brought the Bandersnatch concept to life on Twitter via Twitter Polls, giving their online audience the chance for an adventure of their own.
OK! I got jealous of all the Bandersnatch memes, so I wrote my own campy horror story (it’s already a cult classic in 3 small countries) where YOU control what the main character does using twitter polls. You’ll also help crack the case at the end.
Let’s set the scene. Alex is on his way back to Seven Oaks Drama Camp, this time not as a camper but as a counselor after a failed acting career and getting kicked out of his parents' house. While at camp, an “incident” occurs that will leave one person dead and several suspects.
First up, help us with casting. Alex is our protagonist. He’s 28, still doesn’t have his shit together, the type of guy who never fulfills your Venmo request but has a good heart. Should he be played by…
And it continues! Head to Twitter to see how the whole story unfolded. It’s a neat way of bringing your fans an engaging experience – and utilising Twitter’s functionality in an unconventional yet stimulating way.
Last year, MoonPie didn’t run any ads in the Super Bowl per se. Instead, they posted images on social media containing scripts that would have been in their ads. And these were all about as usual and conformist as you’d expect:
I wanted to run commercials but we've been too busy making MoonPies so I will be posting several scripts during breaks tonight that I have written for very good and important MoonPie spots that you can enjoy right here on Twitter instead #TheBigThing
In recent weeks, however, Colonel Sanders has been at it again – this time around to let customers know about his brand new fries, with idiosyncratic gusto.
Social’s been an indispensable element of the news’ delivery, which has taken place through innovatively engaging with a series of negative historic tweets complaining about the company’s chips – some from as long ago as 2014.
While some tweets have simply been replied to, others have been promoted far and wide across the nation’s timelines with paid advertising spend:
I've got to say, KFC are riding solely on their chicken because Christ, those are crap fries.
Though the campaign has met a fairly mixed response, with some users demonstrating a little weariness after being overwhelmed by chip-related messaging, it’s safe to say that the majority of Twitter users are now aware of KFC’s revamped fries. And to that end, it must be said that the Colonel’s served up his plans to perfection.
Nike scores a wonder goal on social with Kaepernick partnership
They’re one of the biggest brands in the world, with an iconic heritage of best-in-class ads, so it’s little surprise that Nike was able to use social media masterfully to announce its newest brand ambassador: Colin Kaepernick.
Nike made the announcement by retweeting a post initially made by Kaepernick, featuring the iconic Just Do It branding and the high standards of copywriting that Nike’s ads are famous for, which was also replicated on Instagram:
Its results were revelatory. The tweet received close to 1,000,000 likes, and the Instagram post proved a personal best for Nike in terms of engagement, gaining the brand gain more than 170,000 new followers. And between the two, Nike received more than five million mentions on social media in just three days, which isn’t a bad return in the slightest!
Significantly for brands, Nike’s social success also transformed into sales. As part of the sponsorship, Nike has produced Kaepernick merchandise, which sold out within a mere matter of hours, as Nike’s stock prices flourished to a sky-high $83.49.
It’s always great to see brands utilising social to its best potential, creating content that shines and converting that engagement into commercial excellence. We’re intrigued to see what Nike delivers next!
Burberry climbs out of the saddle and into social
Of late, fashion brand Burberry has made a range of changes to increase its desirability to contemporary shoppers.
Firstly, it dispensed with its classic logo, exchanging its knight on horseback for a modern new strapline of ‘London, England’ and brandishing its heritage with a sleek new look.
More interestingly, however, is that the company’s announced a new strategy for promoting new inventory to the industry, which is that it’ll launch new products directly from its Instagram feed.
As part of this, products will be purchasable directly from social streams, thanks to elements like Instagram Shopping which make social more viable than ever before for e-commerce businesses. Meanwhile, functionality like Instagram TV will be used to advertise products in innovative new ways.
The high esteem in which a brand like Burberry holds Instagram is a testament to the channel’s credibility and opportunity, and we’re excited to see whether other brands follow suit moving forwards!
Join us next month for more social news from the team!
Though Instagram’s starred in marketing news repeatedly in recent weeks, with a host of updates that we covered in our last blog post, there have also been significant changes on many of the Internet’s other leading social media channels.
Read on as we round up several of the biggest social platform updates in recent weeks, with analysis of its impact on the industry.
Facebook cracks down on sensationalist headlines – and you won’t BELIEVE the reasons why!
Well, actually, the reasons why probably won’t shock you. In fact, this is exactly the type of rhetorical grandiosity that Facebook’s looking to crack down on with its new ad policy, which is set to penalise click-bait ads which sensationalise their content or omit meaningful details in order to manipulatively improve click-through-rate, Marketing Land reports.
Facebook’s stance follows a new policy announcement in May 2017, that they would be implementing steps to minimise the impact – and reach – of disruptive, malicious or sensationalist posts.
As an indication of the new policy in action, Facebook has already removed more than eight-hundred pages in recent weeks that consistently misled users with overly-dramatic and disingenuous headlines.
While the vast majority of these pages were political in kind, the policy change will have ramifications for digital marketers, who’ll need to ensure that their posts aren’t withholding key information purely to bait site sessions out of users. And though we certainly won’t be posting this to social with the promise that it’ll change your understanding of the industry FOREVER, we hope you’ll get something out of it, anyway.
Pinterest revamps Ads Manager for the first time since 2016
In recent years, Pinterest has slowly but surely picked up the pace as a content curation channel of choice for aesthetically-minded users the world over.
To kick things off, Pinterest has given its Ads Manager a considerable overhaul. A campaign set-up wizard is now available to help users create and optimise campaigns – which will be particularly beneficial to first-time marketers exploring the channel’s merits to their brands. Optimisation options include setting campaign goals, choosing specific audience targeting, and determining the exact Pins that are to be promoted within the feed or search results.
Complementing this, they’ve also brought in more comprehensive reporting elements with a snazzy new reporting dashboard, making ROI easier to monitor – and, thus, deliver – and allowing advertisers to vary campaigns in a more flexible and intuitive way.
Pinterest has also redesigned its Shoppable Pins, introducing reactive stock controls and dynamic pricing, and allowed greater numbers of pins to use the shopping bag feature, which lets users click-through directly from the Pinterest Shoppable ad to the checkout on the native site. For e-commerce brands in particular, this is something to be sure to look into.
We’re always interested to see new channels taking strides to allow users to more easily see and purchase the products they love. In coming months, we’re keen to see how the channel develops!
New research finds ways of using social media to proactively monitor mental health
Healthy social media usage has been frequently in the news in recent months, with several channels taking steps to increase and safeguard its users’ well-being, such as Instagram’s introduction of an anti-bully filter to its ‘You’re all caught up’ indicator, encouraging users to be mindful of listlessly scrolling through photos they’ve already seen.
In a new and intriguing development, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania – and the World Well-Being Project – have created an algorithm that’s able to trawl through users’ Facebook posts and, from their choice of language and manner of expression, identify whether they could be at risk of any mental health problems.
Johannes Eichstaedt, WWBP founder, explained in interview that ‘Social media data contain markers akin to the genome.
With surprisingly similar methods to those used in genomics, we can comb social media data to find these markers.
Depression appears to be something quite detectable in this way; it really changes people’s use of social media in a way that something like skin disease or diabetes doesn’t.
The hope is that one day, these screening systems can be integrated into systems of care’.
If social could unobtrusively keep an eye out for its users’ mental well-being, then this is just another way that channels could take strides to look after the health of users online.
Twitter takes steps to make its rules’ enforcement clearer
Currently, when you report a tweet, what happens next is a little unclear. You aren’t notified if the tweet – or the tweeter – is penalised, and the tweets remain visible in your feed, despite the fact you’ve shown you think it shouldn’t be there.
Twitter’s acknowledged the issue and, in response, is introducing new measures that will make it much more apparent when they’re taking action, and why they’re doing so.
Moving forward, when Twitter deletes a reported tweet, they’ll indicate it on the user’s timeline by showing a warning in place of the now-removed message. This will include a link through to the Twitter rules, explaining how the removed content violated terms of service:
Additionally, any tweet you report – regardless of whether Twitter takes action or not – will also be hidden from your timeline and replaced with a placeholder:
It’s interesting to see Twitter taking greater strides to improve its transparency, and we wonder whether this will roll out onto other channels in the future.
That’s all for this month, folks! We’ll be back next month with a round-up of all the most significant changes on social.
September saw some significant updates arrive on Instagram.
Though many of the changes focus on improving the experience of regular Instagram users, there’re also several changes of note to help marketers and businesses perform – and convert – on the channel.
Let’s have a look at some of the key changes, as well as what we can expect to arrive on the channel in the near future.
Convert from Stories with product tagging
One of the most significant updates on the channel is the introduction of product tagging in Story posts.
This’ll work similarly to product tagging on regular IG posts. Businesses can directly link a URL to the product that appears on their stories, and users can then click on the tag to be re-directed to the product landing page.
This functionality creates an easy buying experience for the user, and a brand new avenue for businesses to gain sales with vivid creative content. It’s just another sign of Instagram becoming a highly viable choice for marketing!
GIFs slide into the DMs
When direct messaging, users can now choose from a selection of trending GIFs.
Simply type a word or phrase that is relevant to the GIF you wish to send and suitable options will appear.
Alternatively, users can click on the mysterious ‘random’ button for an Instagram generated GIF, passing the creative baton over to the algorithm…
New nametags let you connect with friends more easily than ever
In an effort to put more users in touch with each other, you can now create an Instagram nametag, which works a little like a business card. Simply scan another user’s and you’ll follow them!
This new feature is particularly handy when meeting someone new as you can easily exchange details and follow each other with a simple scan. It’s an incredibly intuitive new addition to the app’s UX.
As well as new updates, there are also plenty of Instagram changes in the works. Let’s have a look at a few of the things that’re keeping the Instagram team so busy:
Shopping channels arrive in Explore
You will soon be seeing a shopping box in the explore section of Instagram. It will potentially put more e-commerce businesses in touch with relevant users. It will also allow users to explore and gain inspiration from exciting, unfamiliar brands.
Instagram takes stand against bullying
A few months ago, Instagram introduced a bullying comment filter which proactively hides and detects negative comments from feeds, profiles and the explore feature.
The bullying comment filter allows users to customise their blocking preferences or leave it to Instagram to automatically filter offensive comments out.
Instagram will now be applying this feature to comments on live videos.
Tag followers in Videos
Instagram has confirmed that soon you will be able to tag followers in videos, similarly to how you would in photos.
The social network has announced that they are working towards making it easier for students studying at the same institution to connect via the social network. This is currently being tested at select universities the USA.
This feature will allow users to add their university details – including graduation year, course and any teams/societies they were part of. Instagram will then create a University directory that can be filtered by year, making it easy for current and alumni students to connect and message each other.
This is something that’s long been a part of the Facebook experience, so it’s cool to see it arrive on the Gram, too.
Channel bids #goodbye to #hashtags
According to a TechCrunch report Instagram is considering disabling hashtags from captions in an attempt to limit the heavy use of hashtags within the post caption, resulting in the text being incredibly hard to read. Instead, there would be a ‘add hashtags’ option under the caption composer, keeping any hashtags and text separate.
Geo-Restriction for posts and stories
Instagram is testing geofencing posts and stories.
Instagram is testing a geo-restriction feature which will allow users to restrict their posts and stories to selected countries, rather than being universally available. Marketers will be able to choose what countries they wish to show or hide their content to.
Now that you are officially clued up on the latest Instagram features – stay tuned for the latest digital marketing updates that can drive your website and sales.
Just over a month ago now, Facebook announced that they’d be removing their third-party partner categories feature from Business Manager. The decision follows recent concerns surrounding Facebook’s handling of user data, and allows the company to demonstrate its commitment to increasing the transparency of their data-related activity.
Facebook rolled out the changes over a fourteen day period:
From May 11th, marketers in the UK were unable to select partner categories’ data in their campaign creation
From May 25th, Facebook no longer delivered partner categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany and France, and disallowed campaigns from serving third party data to UK audiences
Remaining targeting options
We imagine marketers will be beginning to place much more emphasis on first party data and custom audiences will play a much greater role in social targeting strategies, from re-targeting website visitors to uploading CRM.
Creating lookalike audiences from campaigns that are already using third party data remains an option for marketers to consider. This gives companies a chance to identify audiences with similar behaviours and interests to the third party data audiences whose data they’re using currently. The benefit of this is that audiences will be classed as first party and will be available for use in future campaigns.
Of course, there is still the opportunity for marketers to use Facebook’s range of detailed targeting options such as demographic, interest and behaviour targeting.
Though the shutdown of third-party partner categories marks a significant restructuring of the social media marketing landscape, we see it primarily as a positive; it ensures far greater protection of online data, and the remaining targeting options are more than sufficient for generating successful marketing campaigns.
We’re keen to see how marketers continue evolving to these changes as they happen and will be sure to cover any future updates of this kind on the Fusion blog!
In a Facebook post last night Mark Zuckerberg announced changes to the newsfeed to make every social media marketer internally combust.
The news that Facebook would be spending 2018 making changes to the newsfeed that would take the channel back to its roots and ‘bring people closer together and build relationships’, generated heart reactions amongst the general public but sent a strong message to pages and businesses that they were being firmly unfriended by the social giant.
So what are these changes?
Facebook will prioritise posts that ‘spark conversations’ and ‘meaningful interactions’
‘Public content’ including that of publishers and businesses will be shown less meaning Pages might see reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease
However the impact will vary from page to page dependent on Facebook’s criteria of how content is generally interacted with i.e. “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”.
Prioritisation of content and formats that Facebook deems to drive conversation e.g. Live Video will show higher in the newsfeed
Engagement-Bait content will be demoted
Has this come out of the blue?
A decline in organic reach for businesses and pages has been a discussion point for years. In came a dependency on social media advertising and a flurry of tactical methods from brands and publishers to engage communities through creative and relevant content in attempts to outsmart the algorithm and relive the good old days of free advertising to existing and potential customers/fans.
But the journey hasn’t been smooth; we saw consistent efforts by Facebook to create a division between users and publishers, in fact a very similar update (and the year before that) to its algorithm saw the newsfeed prioritise stories from friends and family over businesses.
These algorithm updates and initiatives to separate users and publishers, be it ‘Friends’ day, or keeping inflated and ‘engagement-bait’ content at bay has looked to reshape the news feed as we know it.
What is the impact?
Taking off our digital marketing hats the changes have been a long time coming with Facebook fighting off persistent demands for monitoring and controlling fake news, bullying and racism. The change to the algorithm is therefore an attempt to remove any external bodies from clogging up the newsfeed and creating a much more ‘organic’ feed where content is shared by users rather than inserted.
For businesses, Facebook has advised that Page posts by publishers won’t be eliminated from the newsfeed but made strong suggestions of the types of content that would and wouldn’t fall foul to the algorithm.
What are our predictions?
So whilst pages that receive an existing high level of engagement, conversation-inducing content and meaningful interactions are thought to see less impact we shall still be keeping a close eye on organic reach and subsequent engagements.
What will be interesting to see is how organic engagement rate changes – logic tells us that less reach (but a dedicated following) should see organic engagement rate increase.
Advertising is a whole other ball game – it’s a seemingly losing battle for pages with little existing engagement or local presence so a dependency on social advertising can only be the next phase for social media publishers. Again logic would suggest an increase in advertisers would lead to an increasingly expensive marketplace as brands and publishers fight for space.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how things progress and will update with our findings as we wade through the ways businesses can react to the latest algorithm shift.
2017 has been a happening time for digital content: Wendy’s broke the retweets record; the world began reacting to the proliferation of suspect news; Twitter doubled its character count; and the world’s biggest brands continued capturing our imaginations through brilliant campaigns, as content proved that it firmly remains the king.
One of today’s greatest producers of digital content is leading music streaming service Spotify. From quirky Times Square billboards to esoteric partnerships with leading franchises like Stranger Things, its creative campaigns have continuously made headlines and captured the popular imagination.
Last month, Spotify rolled out 2017 Wrapped – its end of the year campaign – which may well be their best to date. The campaign collates each user’s top one hundred most played songs of 2017 into single playlists, and as users keenly published their enigmatic soundtracks to the year, these quickly filled the web.
Read on for our analysis of how 2017 Wrapped wrapped up Spotify’s 2017 so brilliantly.
We’re all well familiar with the age old aphorism of never judging books by their covers. Nevertheless, at a point in time when the Internet is brimming with curated content, and users’ attention spans are becoming slimmer and slimmer for engaging with the same, it’s crucial for content to lead immediately with points of interest that compel.
2017 Wrapped’s visual elements are perfect. The campaign is centered on a micro-site with a homepage that’s animated, interactive and full of colour and life, which is accompanied by compelling copy that brings a sense of immediacy and gives the tool purpose. With conviction, it states: ‘In a year that many wanted to tune out, music gave us a reason to keep listening’.
It’s great for your campaign activity to be telling a rich story or glowing with meaningful content. However, it’s key for there to be high visual quality to match, to ensure that users engage with your work in the first instance.
Find what your audience loves
Spotify’s USP is how it allows users to freely listen to the songs that they want to hear, in playlists they curate, in orders they arrange.
It’s quickly obvious that the personal preferences of its listeners lies at the heart of the service.
2017 Wrapped links into these very same sentiments, creating content that’s unique to every user, which means that they’re more inclined to engage with the content.
Think about what motivations inspire engagement with your business or service. How could your content provide for them?
Increase engagement opportunities by going one step further
As extra elements of the campaign, Spotify included self-curated playlists covering the year’s most popular hits, such as ‘UK Top Female Artists 2017’, ‘UK Top Male Artists 2017’ and ‘Top Groups of 2017 ‘, and a quiz testing your knowledge of your listening habits.
By no means were these the main drivers of user interest. However, they proved to be simple ways of increasing the campaign’s breadth, which required minimal effort to make and expanded the opportunities for engagement.
Identify unique opportunities to create unique user experiences
2017 Wrapped creates Spotify playlists using data that none of Spotify’s competitors can access.
As such, the deliverables that 2017 Wrapped returns are genuinely original – they’ve never happened before and there’s nothing like them – which is an incredibly valuable asset at a time when every brand is competing for attention and clicks.
Netflix’s recent social activity has taken a similar direction, combining its data with inventive copy to hit enormous engagement figures on social:
To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?
Whilst GDRP need to be closely adhered to, think about the data you have that could be made into meaningful content. Be sure to make the most of the opportunity!
And let users share their results
Once a user has generated their playlist, they’re able to share it to their social feeds.
Though each share has a relatively microscopic reach, on a macrocosmic level they fulfill an essential branding purpose, as each sharing user becomes a brand advocate promoting Spotify’s created content to new audiences, driving expansive visibility and facilitating new user engagement opportunities.
When you’ve made excellent content that tells a compelling story, be sure for it to be easily sharable. Beyond anything else, your excellent work deserves all the reach it can get!
We’ll be back in 2018 to cover all the wonderful content the New Year has in store. In the meantime, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
This November we attended Facebook Blueprint Live, an interactive training day exploring practical advice for running a successful Facebook advertising campaign, including tips for developing creative ideas that will stand out on competitive news feeds.
There are many objectives Facebook marketing can achieve:
Brand awareness – make as many potential customers aware of your brand as possible
Reach – put your brand in front of relevant audiences who may be interested in your products or services
Traffic – generate visits to your site
Video views – encourage users to watch your video to the end
Lead generation – collect information about people who are interested in your business to follow up with later
Store visits – increase foot traffic to bricks and mortar shopping destinations
Local awareness – promote your brand to residents and visitors in the immediate area
App installs – encourage as many people as possible to install your app on their smartphone
And website conversions –stimulate your brand’s digital sales
For many clients, conversions are the main consideration (and the main way return on investment is measured). However, it’s not advisable to go straight for conversions as an initial goal. Not all users will be at the conversion (or even consideration) point of the sales funnel when your ad reaches them, so, strategically, it makes sense to begin by raising brand awareness, then retarget users who engaged with your content, and then engage this even smaller pool with sales focused content to prompt a conversion.
Using video in Facebook advertising
One of the key messages we took from Blueprint Live is that video content is the present, rather than the future, and that social agencies should be putting video firmly at the focus of current content strategies.
According to Facebook, the average advertising video is 15 seconds or shorter. So, aim for brevity and directness when creating video content. The challenge is to tell a compelling story in limited time, encourage users to watch right until the end, and create a video that ‘fits’ naturally onto your target users’ timelines.
This clever example of a snappy video ad from Taco Bell lampoons the incredibly popular ‘Tasty’ instructional cooking videos and is a good example of a familiar yet unique take on a sponsored video post:
Unlike traditional TV advertising, the vast majority of mobile videos are optimised vertically, rather than horizontally, which means all photos and videos should be shot with this in mind. When creating video or creative content for Facebook, work mobile first, ensuring the experience for smartphone users is perfect, and then worry about optimising for desktop.
Hit the target
Amazing creative without clever targeting is doomed to fail. Strategic targeting of different audiences can present an opportunity to tailor creative to each demographic. For example: a jewellery brand may want to advertise its products directly to an affluent female audience, as well as targeting men with ads focused on gifting.
Delight without sound
Videos on Facebook auto play without sound, but Facebook says that 60% of brands still create videos that cannot be understood without audio.
When creating video ads, either ensure that the narrative can be understood without sound, or include clear subtitles right from the first frame.
The below video from Hotels.com is a brilliant example of knowingly acknowledging the limitations of silent videos, while encouraging viewers to watch right to the end of the clip:
Three second window
The average time to scroll a full screen on a smartphone is 2.7 seconds, giving advertisers a 3 second or lower window to catch the attention of notoriously fickle social media audiences.
Younger audiences scroll even quicker, giving advertisers just 2 seconds to stop the scroll and encourage users to engage. For video content, this means creating an opening shot that sparks curiosity immediately and avoiding drawn out introductions (or introductions in general).
GIFs and Cinemagraphs
Video may be the present (and future), but they are also extremely expensive to produce. A handy compromise to add movement to your advertising posts is using GIFs and cinemagraphs – short, repeating videos with subtle animation that doesn’t require as much time or budget as a full length video. Check out some examples of this below:
We were split into groups and given a task to create a social media advertising campaign for a randomly selected client. The task was split into several stages, culminating with a presentation about our campaign in front of the attendees and judged by a panel (incentivised with a mystery prize for the winning teams).
Each table received a brief from a fictional institution. In our case, it was from Wright Bank, a made-up financial company with a broad range of products (no frills credit cards, car insurance, retirement plans) and a fifty-year legacy within the UK.
Targeting was our first important consideration – we created our customer personas based on the goals and products of the client. In my team’s case this was:
Young people looking to build credit with a no frills credit card
Couples looking for a great deal on a mortgage
Older consumers looking ahead to retirement plans
The creative for our campaign involved focusing on the young adult and college student audience to boost awareness and conversions, which manifested itself in a video wherein a 20-25-year-old’s head was placed on an infant’s body – an admittedly bizarre concept in the cold light of day.
The concept was intended to be surreal enough to stand out on a news feed within a few seconds, and to acknowledge the infantilising effect that financial insecurity can have for young people, presenting the credit card as a means of escaping this.
We presented our ideas to the group (our illustrations of ‘the credit card kid’ raised a few laughs/eyebrows depending on the individual), which went down a treat. We weren’t the most polished of teams, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves in the creation of the campaign. And so…
To the (third joint) victor, the spoils. We capped the day off by winning an extremely practical prize in the form of this Facebook flask.
All in all, a useful, enlightening experience, and a chance to gain insights about Facebook’s advertising platform straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. If you want to learn more about Facebook advertising, check out Facebook Blueprint for resources and advice for all skill levels.
Make a cuppa and take five minutes of your day to find out all about last month’s most notable developments in social media, courtesy of Fusion’s social team!
Facebook’s main changes last month involved the introduction of several new features to its group functionality.
New additions include:
Automated welcome posts that admins can use to personally welcome new members to communities.
Badges that make admins’ and different members’ roles easily identifiable.
Group member profiles, outlining users’ interests, upcoming events and past contributions. For many users, groups form a major part of their Facebook experience. It’s great to see Facebook’s commitment to improving the service and making groups more inclusive than ever.
Simultaneously, the service announced new measures for tackling the proliferation of suspect political ads, which posed a major problem during the 2016 US election.
Firstly, Facebook will soon require all political advertisers to verify their identities before allowing them to post, which will minimise the influence of anonymous users. Simultaneously, they will ask advertisers to disclose political ads’ affiliations within the ad copy, making political posts easier to spot. Any posts in breach of these standards will be detected automatically through Facebook’s machine learning technology.
To complement this from a user’s perspective, Facebook will also introduce a ‘View Ads’ button which will enable users to see every ad that a page is running. It’s another way of increasing pages’ accountability for their campaigns.
All these changes will be rolled out in Canada next year, and introduced in the US in time for the 2018 midterm elections.
Twitter faced similar criticism for its failure to moderate a high volume of low-quality ads. Like Facebook, they too have refined their services to improve ad standards and transparency.
To tackle the issue of political ads, Twitter has created a new template specifically for electioneering posts. These will look different to typical display ads. As on Facebook, they’ll need to clearly state their political affiliation.
Twitter’s vision of how the new electioneering ads will appear. (Credit: Twitter)
As a larger scale commitment, Twitter has also launched what it’s called its Transparency Centre. This will enable users to see:
All ads that are running on the service
How long ads have been running
All ad creative associated with campaigns that you are being targeted by
And personal information on which ads you are eligible to be serve
It’s interesting to see both channels’ responses to what’s been a crisis for the industry. We’re keen to find out how they continue developing these aspects of their service in the future.
Last month, Instagram added two new features to help users create particularly quirky content.
For Halloween, the channel introduced a range of hair-raising stickers and frightening face-changing filters. Users were able to shapeshift into many of the season’s spookiest staples, such as bats, ghouls, zombies and more:
Instagram has also kept up the pressure on rival mobile app Snapchat by introducing a new live-streaming feature called ‘Go Live With’. This allows live-streaming users to invite others to feature within their stream. For influencers and their fans this will create new opportunities for engagement and live content creation. We’re intrigued to see how the channel’s biggest stars respond!
June’s been another busy month in the social media universe, one where Facebook celebrated Pride Month with a new reaction; Twitter had a makeover and a “pointless” social media app rose to prominence. As ever, we’ve rounded up the biggest news below…
The most obvious change of this month has been Twitter’s design overhaul. A number of visual changes have occurred, most notably the new emphasis on curved icons which has caused a headache for a number of brands…
Alongside a host of surface level changes, a new feature updating tweet activity and stats in real time has also been launched, with the aim of emphasising Twitter’s fast paced nature. However, the most important consequence for businesses will be keeping their profiles suitable for the new layout, and ensuring that it meets expectations from their audience’s perspective.
Twitter has also been rolling out action buttons in DM conversations with bots. This new feature allows bots to provide a number of CTA options whilst messaging, in order to facilitate actions taken outside of the conversation. For example, these buttons could open an exterior website link or compose a template tweet related to the conversation that has taken place in DMs. With the focus on bots clearly increasing across multiple social networks, businesses need to think about the ways they could use them as part of their strategy. For instance, thanks to this new update, bots could be used to start a conversation with a specialised customer service account, or to build trust in the brand by linking to relevant, helpful content.
You may have noticed a new rainbow reaction on Facebook this month – for those wondering what it’s all about, this is a temporary feature added by Facebook to celebrate Pride Month. This reaction was only available after liking a specific page on Facebook, which implies a high level of malleability with regard to Facebook’s reaction options. As such, there is a chance that this may result in the possibility of branded reactions going forwards, in the same vein Twitter’s branded hashtag emojis, which could represent a particularly strong opportunity for brands looking to build awareness.
Another feature spotted this month (although only in testing), is that users are being encouraged to watch Facebook Live videos on TV screens. This is a clear statement from Facebook, who, given their recent focus on live video, are looking to expand to the TV market and are testing ways to make their content easily accessible on larger screens. It’s worth keeping an eye on future developments in this area, as this will likely become one of Facebook’s next big directions.
Facebook is pushing people to watch live videos on the big screen (spotted in comments thread of a live video) pic.twitter.com/1tpODS2HKK
Finally, Facebook has expanded its Creative Hub tool, a feature which allows users to mock up adverts to see how they would look on its different advertising platforms. This new update gives the possibility of getting “actionable insights” on creative before an ad goes live. Although it’s not specified exactly how this would be gathered in practice, the ability to get feedback before putting an advert live is a particularly handy tool for new advertisers, and one worth keeping an eye on for the possibility of optimising creative before an ad has even gone live.
Instagram have backed away from the ephemeral feeling to their live stream feature, now giving users the ability to share the streams as a Story for the following 24 hours too. This could be the tipping point for more users and brands to use the live stream feature, as the work that they put in could now reach some of Instagram’s 250 million daily users of the Stories feature as well, rather than just disappearing at the end of the stream.
Finally, with a lot of talk about the metal health issues of social media returning to prominence recently, it’s notable that a new app has risen up based on its, well, pointlessness. Positioned as the antithesis of social media, Binky – which started out as a joke – provides a random feed of posts (or Binks) to interact with, with the ability to like, comment and re-Bink them… all of which does absolutely nothing.
As it’s meant primarily as a satire of social media’s influence, it’s unlikely any business possibilities will come from this, but it’s important to note that this app arises from a general feeling of malaise towards social media and its effects, which may come to influence the industry’s future.
To a mix of excitement and surprise, Google have launched their new Google Posts feature, allowing all Google My Business customers to microblog directly onto the search results stream, enabling brands to reach their audience with unprecedented ease.
The Google Posts interface was first trialled in January 2016, in the build-up to the US election: Google gave electoral candidates the chance to summarise their responses to pressing political concerns in posts of up to 14,400 characters, and then made those responses visible on relevant search queries. Searching for issue X, for instance, would show you the stances of politicians Y and Z towards it.
A year and a half later, Google has completely reimagined the tool and expanded its availability, now enabling all businesses to post content directly to the search feed.
Brands’ posts will be visible for up to seven days before they disappear, exhibited in a scrollable carousel that rotates up to ten posts at a time, in a move that encourages businesses to keep their content fresh and vibrant.
Like Facebook and Twitter, posts can be brought to life with images and photography, although the interface doesn’t currently support GIFs or video. There’s a 300 words limit; only the first 100 characters will appear immediately in the Knowledge Panel, encouraging brands to balance creativity and concision when delivering their message.
There’re various ways that posts can be made more actionable: they can be created as ‘events’, causing the content to display for the event’s duration as defined by the user, or they can be rounded off with a call to action, be it a link for users to follow for more information, or an ‘add to cart’ functionality for quick and easy purchasing.
The whole of the interface is superbly tailored for mobile use; it’s clear that mobile search lies at the heart of Google’s bold philosophy and plans for the future.
It ties in beautifully to the company’s ever-expanding focus on local search, empowering small businesses by giving them an even greater opportunity to spread the word of their services through curated content.
Google Posts equally presents a brilliant opportunity to larger multi-location brands, allowing for the publication of bespoke content relating to each store locality.
If there’s going to be an exciting event or a brilliant promotion running in your Leeds’ store, for example, you’ll be able to use Google Posts to advertise it specifically on the Leeds store’s GMB page.
It’s very new, and there’s certainly scope for several of the interface’s features to be improved, such as widening the list of available calls to action and broadening the reach of the Insights module, providing greater information for analysis.
Needless to say, Google Posts is an exciting direction for Google to be heading in, opening another channel for the creation and promotion of content, and one that brands would be wise to think about, too!
When we think of Cannes, we think of films. The stunning gowns and clothes of the awards ceremony, the gilded prizes, the sunshine rippling on red carpet and Hollywood’s brightest glimmering upon it.
Happening each year in May, Cannes Film Festival is one of the most acclaimed and prestigious events in the entertainment calendar. However, that’s not all the lights, cameras and action that the summer has in store for the glamorous Riviera city.
Every June, the Cannes Lions festival celebrates the greatest achievements in content creation across the globe: showbiz meets SEO, acting and Adwords, as best actor morphs into best advert and Spielberg into Google.
Across the many categories, so much of the content that’s been nominated is of an exceptionally high standard. Read on for our five favourite pieces from the Cannes Lions prize winners and nominations!
Chicago Gallery Brings Van Gogh to Life With Airbnb
The bedroom of Vincent Van Gogh’s 1890s’ home in Arles is arguably one of the most famous rooms in the history of art: it’s the subject of three paintings by the Dutch master, the first damaged by river flooding and the second and third painted as ‘repetitions’.
Last year, the Art Institute of Chicago had the unprecedented opportunity of presenting all three versions of Van Gogh’s painting in the same exhibition. In the run up to the event, the Institute partnered with agency Leo Burnett, creating a striking campaign that enabled the world to experience Van Gogh’s masterpieces more vividly than ever before:
The gallery and Leo Burnett commissioned a team of artists and designers to recreate the iconic bedroom as a real room, which they then placed on Airbnb for guests to rent out at just $10 a night, including tickets to the exhibition!
It’s a brilliant instance of an impeccable use of technology, mixed with some phenomenal thinking outside of the box and artistry. Life as art turns to art as life. We love it!
Björk Buzzes As VR Music Video Picks Up Grand Prix for Digital Craft
VR took the plaudits this year in the Digital Craft category, and no-one exhibited a better understanding or application of the increasingly-deployed technology than Björk in the sublime music video for her song ‘NOTGET’.
The jury unanimously praised Björk’s masterful and bold deployment of virtual reality, perceiving the video’s VR elements as being essential to the content’s success, profoundly facilitating the telling of its story.
Previously, brands have been criticised for excessively incorporating VR into their content for limited, novelty purposes, adding an advanced UX to material that may otherwise be completely lacklustre. This year saw content creators really adapting to VR’s opportunities; Google won second place in the category for their VR tech, the Google Tilt Brush.
Bank of Aland’s Green Cards Bloom with the Grand Prix for Cyber Tech
As part of a wider Unesco-supported education programme called ‘The Baltic Sea Project’, the Bank of Aland-who operate throughout Scandinavia-were applauded for their development of environmentally friendly payment cards and awarded the Grand Prix for Cyber in kind.
Made from biodegradable plastic, the cards provide customers with monthly insights into the impact of each transaction on their carbon footprint, advising how they can reduce it in the future.
Overall, it’s a really cool and smart campaign, executed with style and flair, and for a great and relevant cause, too.
Twitter’s Minimalist # Strategy Makes Major Impression
Known for being one of the most happening corners of the Internet, it’s no surprise to see Twitter in the Cannes Lions running. However, you may not be expecting the category in which they won their Grand Prix: Outside Advertising!
Using just the iconic Twitter #, the campaign shows a sophisticated, creative understanding of what it is we think of when we think of Twitter, masterfully and succinctly capturing and reflecting the brand’s essence.
Another entrant in the category that caught our eye, and made enormous, continuous impact on the web, was a campaign led by BTEC Paris for French alcohol awareness organisation Addict Aide, titled ‘Like My Addiction’ and based around an influencer: Louise Delage.
From her Insta content, Delage seems like your typical online socialite: a Paris-born bon vivant with over 100,000 followers, jet-setting all across the world to live her flashiest life, regularly uploading stylish content along the way.
Delage’s Instagram presents a person who loves, lives, to party: there’s a drink in literally every photograph, no matter what she’s doing. Her fans followed her revelry with every like, watching her journey through day, night and the early hours.
Here lies the twist: Louise Delage doesn’t exist; she never has. She’s a character that BTEC Paris and Addict Aide created, an online persona on a fake Insta account posting scheduled and studio-crafted content, her social media presence inflated by the use of bot followers and the participation of leading influencers for outreach.
Vividly, and with outstanding creative commitment, the campaign illustrated the difficulty of identifying addiction and reflected back to us-the viewers and users of the Internet-the casual ways in which we can enable such behaviour with every like and share.
June began with the Champions League final, seeing a scintillating Juventus side square up to a fiery Real Madrid.
The match’s twists and turns made a fitting end for May, which proved to be a high-octane month across the spheres of social media, digital campaigns and content.
We watched a burger brand bravely contest the monarchy of Belgium, a Playstation ad play games with the laws of physics, a shark dramatically steal a 90s popstar’s thunder, and a crisp brand unknowingly create a content piece fusing Gary Lineker with Rebecca Black (a little less conventional than salt and vinegar!).
Read on for post-match highlights, analysis and more of five of the last month’s most noteworthy campaigns!
Walkers wave “the Walkers Wave” goodbye
Walkers’ “Walkers Wave” was an innovative approach to the competition format, but an unfortunate tactical oversight caused the campaign to be abandoned in less than twenty four hours.
The competition, presenting entrants with the opportunity to win tickets for Cardiff’s Champions League final, revolved around user generated content: they asked people to send in a selfie, converted the selfie into a video of the person’s picture being held up by Gary Lineker and then automatically tweeted the video back to the user from Walkers’ verified Twitter account.
The process of posting tweets to Walkers’ feed was automated. Herein lies the fatal flaw, for many of the selfies that were submitted were not actually selfies at all.
The campaign, quickly peaking into virality, witnessed Lineker welcoming into the Wave people that ranged from Joe Biden to Rebecca Black, alongside more unpleasant images such as mugshots of criminals.
A high profile, high cost campaign, Walkers supported online activity with media elements such as supersized displays of the social stream in Cardiff city centre, which unfortunately added all the more publicity to the brand’s own goal.
User generated content catalyses campaign’s momentum, increasing interest and visibility on social, but it’s vital to only integrate moderated content into your brand.
As epitomised by last year’s beloved Boaty McBoatface, the denizens of the Internet enjoy a near-endless supply of spanners for every possible works.
It’s best not to take risks that can have serious implications down the line.
Discovery makes a splash with Seal
A whole host of famous figures errantly ended up in Walkers’ waters. Across the pond, the Discovery Channel combined with a celebrity of their own to announce this year’s “Shark Week”.
We’re happy to give Discovery a bye over the pressing safety concerns of putting on a show by shark-infested shore, because the ad’s creative risk-taking boldly pays off.
Its bleak and ironic humour moves the nature brand into waters that are largely unexplored by its competitors, whose creative incentives are to either impress a sense of horror or awe: think of Planet Earth 2‘s photography and the commanding voice of Attenborough!
Like a strong keepie uppie, it’s good to keep the football metaphor going. Take creative inspiration from Xavi and Iniesta and look out for creative directions that your competitors aren’t occupying.
There could be a good reason why content creators haven’t followed a particular creative path – e.g. sharks. Equally, there might not be. Just because someone else isn’t doing it doesn’t mean that it’s bad; you could just be the first to spot the opportunity!
Sony enjoys eureka breakthrough with Gravity Rush 2
Strikingly executed and based on a simple yet stunning concept, a Sony advert for the new video game Gravity Rush 2 received an extraordinary response across the web.
Some things defy words, others defy gravity. This incredible creative piece by Tokyo agency Hakuhodo speaks boldly for itself:
Gravity Rush 2 revolves around the player manipulating the laws of gravity. As such, the ad’s a brilliant example of demonstrating a product: it shows, rather than tells, what you’re able to do.
The ad complements the creative flourish with gameplay footage towards the end, giving a full illustration of the product’s functionality and confidently overcoming a problem that the field of game advertising has historically struggled with, sometimes showing inaccurate video animation that doesn’t actually reflect the game at all.
This is an advert that might seem to totally flip the box upside down, rather than merely think outside of it. However, it’s based on a simple premise done exceptionally well, making small but enormous changes to the rules of physics we take for granted, showing the massive effect that can be made in subtly tweaking the everyday!
McDonald’s television ad receives backlash from charities
Social media and charities alike responded harshly to a recent McDonald’s ad, accusing the international fast food giants of manipulating childhood bereavement into a marketing strategy.
Dr Shelley Gilbert, president of Grief Encounter, said that ‘Parents [are] telling us their bereaved children have been upset by the advert, and alienated by McDonald’s as a brand that wants to emotionally manipulate its customers’.
Like last month’s ill-advised Pepsi campaign starring Kendall, it’s vital for brands to only incorporate social issues into their branding work if the product or service has direct relevance.
Without making too much in the way of comment, it seems that, in respect of the above, the Filet-o-Fish certainly doesn’t.
‘Il n’y a pas de place pour deux kings en Belgique’: Burger King lose bid for Belgian succession
We wrote about BK in last month’s round-up and they’ve featured in previous months too, because of their penchant for the absurd throughout their creative:
🍔: Don’t fall in love, kid.
Having just spoken about Maccies, you’d think that Burger King would regard them as their competitors. Not so, apparently, with Burger King last month launching an online campaign against, erm, the King of Belgium, instead.
The campaign, directed by French agency Buzzman, featured a poll on the website www.whoistheking.be that gave users the choice of picking between two kings: the King of Belgium or the king of Burgers.
Who deserves the country’s crown “Two Kings. One crown. Who will rule” Belgium Monarchy not impressed with Burger King promotion pic.twitter.com/mChO1a2qPJ
Any attempt to vote for the King of Belgium led to prompts in BK’s favour, such as ‘Are you sure? He won’t cook you fries’.
Perhaps they anticipated it, perhaps they didn’t, but Burger King’s campaign met a guarded response from representatives of the Belgian royal family.
Spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw said that ‘we would not have given our authorisation’ for the king’s likeness to be used in the material, landing the American brand in a sticky situation.
Moreover, Burger King actually lost the election – albeit narrowly – with 51% of its electorate preferring their current royalty to the House of Hamburger.
The combination of the above led to Burger King stopping the campaign. However, they handled it with flair and creative grace, editing the website, removing ‘King’ from their logo, and declaring in a caption: ‘There isn’t room for two kings in Belgium’.
The brand used controversy for promotional gain, which is an incredibly risky strategy that we wouldn’t necessarily advocate, but it paid off.
They may have lost the election, capturing the attention and ire of the Belgian royals in the process, but BK’s campaign was certainly a success, bringing more attention to their zany, off-kilter branding.
Thanks for dropping by and see you next month – we look forward to finding out what June has to offer!
May has seen another deluge of developments in the social media universe – but don’t worry if you didn’t keep up with everything, we’ve got the biggest news wrapped up for you here.
In a boost for advertisers looking for new and innovative ways to deliver their messaging, Snapchat has introduced a self-serve tool allowing all marketers to advertise on the platform. Instagram saw massive growth after implementing a similar tool, so this could provide a breath of fresh air for Snapchat after its cash flow troubles in recent months. Currently this tool is only restricted to video formats but it features a detailed range of targeting and optimisation, as well as its own version of the Ads and Business Manager (which must have been nice for Snapchat to take from Facebook for a change). Although this is still an unproven channel for mainstream use, Snapchat advertising provides a new opportunity for companies aiming at a millennial audience to reach their target demographic via an innovative method.
Twitter has continued to press on with their focus on live video this month, signing 12 new deals with content producers to bring a host of original programming, sports and live events to the network, including a 24-hour news network in collaboration with Bloomberg. By providing exclusive video content, Twitter is aiming to boost its number of users whilst increasing its advertising revenue. Moreover, Twitter is experimenting with introducing curated live video at the top of the feed, as well as using push notifications for relevant live events. If there ever was an indication of the importance of live video for Twitter’s future, the fact that they’re testing placing it front and centre of the feed is it.
Finally, Twitter has announced a unique new feature for advertisers – the ability to promote chatbots. This allows businesses to promote ads with up to 4 CTAs with the aim of drawing users into personalised conversations with a bot via DM. Although there seems little benefit with regard to driving direct sales from this ad format, this could help build fun experiences around brand awareness, and encourage positive sentiment.
It has been spotted this month that Facebook are testing the possibility of connecting Pages to Groups – which can involve linking to, or even posting in Groups from a Page. This could be particularly useful for brands aiming to build communities organically, as this will encourage engagement with fans inside relevant groups, alongside greater capacity for branded discussion and building trust.
Furthermore, Facebook has declared that it will be clamping down on misleading live videos such as polls or countdowns on a static background. This comes in the wake of Facebook reducing the reach of “inauthentic” posts which ask for engagement, alongside the reasoning that predictable live videos will reduce the appeal of the much-vaunted format, and so reduce future engagements. However, it remains to be seen whether this will have the desired effect for Facebook, as these videos are often some of the most engaged with content on the social network – a factor that they constantly encourage.
Finally, Facebook has announced its collaboration with delivery companies in the US to order food directly from the app. Although some will see this as Facebook’s further intrusion into every facet of life, this shows the importance of integrating businesses with Facebook when opportunities arise. Given the size of the Facebook user base and the ever more frictionless paths to product discovery and payment, businesses need to be ready to respond to new updates to get the jump on competitors when similar features get rolled out in the UK.
April has been yet another fascinating month for social media with Instagram Stories topping 200 million daily users, a spotlight shone on a new Twitter alternative and Facebook announcing features that could be straight out of Black Mirror… we’ve rounded up the biggest stories of the month below.
Firstly, Facebook have announced a new mobile-exclusive ad format – Collection. These ads feature a video and a selection of products beneath it, allowing brands to tell a story then showcase relevant products for users to browse without leaving the app. This new ad format will be extremely useful for retail companies, enabling the discovery of new products alongside more brand-focused messaging within the space of a single advert.
In Messenger news, Group Payments have been rolled out to US users of the app. Although it has long been possible to send money to an individual via the app, this new feature allows users to split payments from multiple parties all within the app.
This development within the app indicates Facebook’s increasing investment in its capabilities for dealing with payments, and businesses will need to consider how they can take advantage of this focus as in-app payments surely spread to other areas of the platform.
Finally, in what some people will surely characterise as a step into social media’s dystopian future, Facebook have launched Spaces, “a new VR app where you hang out with friends as if you were in the same room.”
As odd as the description may sound, the dawn of VR heralds new possibilities for businesses, and although it’s difficult to see what form they will take at the moment, with Facebook planning to invest $3bn in VR over the next decade, this will surely be where opportunities will soon present themselves.
In a fairly unique advertising opportunity, Twitter is now offering Custom Hearts on Periscope videos, allowing users to post campaign-specific logos and icons during broadcasts. Although this could mostly be seen as a novelty with no real effect on video effectiveness, for large campaigns this may present a new way of generating awareness, or improving sentiment towards a campaign.
Additionally, Twitter has announced the introduction of mid-roll ads, allowing companies to advertise on a new area of video content, one that could be seen as more captive than pre-roll varieties as users are already invested in the video by this point.
Video is a priority for Twitter’s future, and it claims that its “videos are 2x more memorable when compared to the same ads on ‘other premium sites’” – meaning a large focus will remain on developing new video and advertising opportunities going forwards.
Instagram Stories has reached over 200 million daily users – surpassing Snapchat’s Stories feature – with 100 million of these coming in the last 6 months. To rub salt into the wounds, Instagram is now lifting more of Snapchat’s features like the ability to add stickers and pin text to Stories. As Instagram’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down, it is clear that it will play an increasingly important role in the content & advertising strategies of companies on social media.
Finally, for those looking for a new short-form platform to escape Twitter’s hold over the format, Mastodon may be the answer. This new network’s de-centralised system and 500-character limit sufficiently set it apart from other offerings, with users able to set up their own ‘instances’ of the network. Although this platform isn’t particularly friendly to businesses at the moment (no ads or tracking are currently allowed), it has been clear in the past that these guidelines can often change as networks grow in size. So, if users begin to migrate away from Twitter in large numbers, this might be another network for businesses to keep an eye on.
March has seen the continuation of a number of recent trends in social media, with Twitter doubling down on live video and Facebook adding a new Stories feature. Here’s a rundown of the biggest developments of this month.
Firstly, in big news for Twitter users, it has been announced that the character limit for @usernames will no longer apply to replies, meaning responses can be the full 140 characters. Alongside this, the ability to choose which users to reply to in a group discussion has also been introduced. The benefits of longer replies for those businesses using Twitter as a customer service platform are clear, but the removal of @handle clutter will also facilitate locating and engaging in conversations for companies looking to build a community online.
We’re changing replies so that you have all 140 characters to express yourself.
Secondly, as previously mentioned, Twitter has committed even further to live video. It has announced that it is opening its live video API, letting large media companies broadcast on the platform using professional equipment, and allowing increasingly customisable ways of streaming live. We’ve mentioned previously the importance of adapting content strategy to suit this focus on live video, but increased advertising opportunities are also arising from this. For instance, Twitter has started to introduce pre-roll ads on Periscope videos, allowing advertisers to associate their message with specific broadcasters and creators in an environment that seems more spontaneous and hi-tech.
Finally, Twitter has announced that their Moments feature will now display analytics of performance, allowing creators to track how well their content is working on Twitter, with data on opens, likes and shares amongst others. Although Moments was relegated to the Explore feature last month, this development will help creators learn from their best-performing content and help craft more engaging Moments going forwards.
Introducing Moments analytics for all Twitter users on web. Just click on the down arrow to see how your favorite Moments are performing! pic.twitter.com/9YlyeEjJ6o
Facebook has announced new developments to its Bots for Messenger feature, giving businesses the opportunity to harness the automated platform for detailed customer service responses or to encourage users into purchase decisions. An enhanced menu structure has been announced, which could help customers find products they’re looking for without leaving Facebook; or enable problem-solving conversations with bots. Although the feature didn’t really take off when first launched back in 2016, these developments could present a real opportunity for firms looking to improve customer service experience for users or drive purchase opportunities.
In other news, Facebook has rolled out split tests, allowing advertisers to split their campaigns into completely random and non-overlapping audiences, helping to determine which strategy is optimal for a campaign. With this feature, advertisers can discover which target audience, delivery method or placement is most efficient across 4 objectives:
This is a first for Facebook, as previous A/B testing has run the risk of sharing audience members. Now, advertisers will be able to understand how different aspects of their ads affect campaign performance in a truly fair test.
Facebook has also started to roll out its tag showing disputed stories, which will appear beneath news stories that have been judged dubious by 3rd party fact-checkers. This could be a development to keep an eye on, as there is a possibility this could reduce user engagement on Facebook – visibly flagging items as disputed may reduce trust in the platform, meaning people may become less likely to share content in the future.
Facebook Stories was launched on mobile apps in March, a feature that works in the same way as the Stories features from other Facebook-owned apps (and Snapchat of course). As with Instagram Stories, this could present an opportunity for a new advertising environment if the feature shows promise… however, the continued emphasis on Story features has drawn derision and mockery from many parties and the feature has struggled to take off so far.
Facebook has a habit of making a success out of initially unpopular apps though (see: Messenger), so we’ll need to keep an eye on this.
Finally, Apple has announced a new app, Clips, looking to take advantage of social media’s current focus on the short-form video format. It differentiates itself from other apps through its inclusion of “Live Titles” – dynamic text which creates captions based on what is said aloud during a video. Although clearly aimed at personal experiences for the moment, it’s worth watching out for any future developments to see if this will fit in with a wider content strategy.
February may have been a short month, but it delivered content in a big way: we saw Moonlight light up the Oscars with a Best Picture win after a suitably tragicomic mix-up involving La La Land, Beyoncé grace the Grammys with a phenomenal rendition of songs from Lemonade and Leicester City bid adieu to a teary Claudio Ranieri, proclaiming that his dream had “died” after a fairly toothless season from his formerly bellicose foxes.
Mirroring the pace that the world picks up, plenty’s been going on in the campaigns domain, too, from Pancake Day tweets that flipped social media norms upside down to the New York Times incurring the digital wrath of America’s overly-digital Tweeter-in-Chief.
We’ve taken a retrospective look at five of the last month’s best campaigns that got the world abuzz, online and off!
1) Coming Up: One Branded Content Record Breaker
When building a brand a persona on social media, there’s usually a degree of semblance between the channel’s tone and the company’s image. If the World Bank started tweeting in lolcats, for instance, we’d be right to be a little confused. However, February saw one company smash the performance record for branded content, with a modus operandi of doing exactly the opposite.
Denny’s describe themselves as an “America’s diner […] where guests have come for over 60 years now to sit back, relax and enjoy delicious, hearty meals”. Denny’s Twitter radically leaves behind this retro feel, operating instead in a weird, off-kilter territory that most brands would fear to tread, deftly and rapidly switching between equally hearty doses of irony and earnestness.
One of Denny’s Pancake Day tweets stunned the Internet and marketers alike, picking up over 100,000 retweets and over 150,000 likes:
Denny’s meme-heavy content shows the importance of ensuring that you’re speaking with your audience as opposed to merely speaking to them, situating your brand within the same jokes and trends to which your customers respond.
we promise if we give you pancakes they are your pancakes and we will not take them away
Denny’s’ ongoing Twitter joy shows the importance of being current, staying relevant by ensuring that your brand remains in-time with the rhythms of contemporary life.
Though they’re in an entirely different field, Cancer Research have found similar success by taking a similarly progressive approach.
For this year’s World Cancer Day, the charity led a smart campaign of installing smart benches in Lewisham and Islington; these were seating areas complemented by smartphone charging docks, free internet access and a contactless donation panel that allowed people to donate £2 at a time.
As a brand considering any type of installation, to think of simple ways in which modern technology can be integrated into the set-up is a wholly worthwhile angle to take.
3) Honda Scales New Heights with its New Civic
Honda’s advert for the newest generation of their classic Civic range arrived in the form of a breath-taking visual spectacle, presenting the remodelled vehicle through the rich metaphor of a person climbing up a mountainside. As the one minute thirty advert progresses, the camera reveals the mountain to be in the shape of a car.
Though it’s not an overly subtle image, it evokes a strong and affective sense of Honda’s timeliness as a brand, whose cars have been leaders on the road for well over fifty years. Simultaneously, the ad’s supremely high production values and sophisticated, polished camerawork balance the old with the new, evincing Honda’s long-term commitment to technological innovation.
It’s quite the far cry from Denny’s’ antics on Twitter; if their joy comes from a meticulously-crafted social channel that takes the brand out of orbit, here Honda have created an ad that matches their voice to perfection.
4) The New York Times Trumps Trump
In 2017, it’s clear that the Information Age has unfortunately spiralled into a Misinformation Age, with the biggest companies on the planet struggling to contain the rising tide of “fake news”. The New York Times have confirmed their commitment to the truth in a Droga5-led campaign titled “The Truth is Hard”, based in print media, online and in platforms such as a New York advertising board.
It’s rare for a campaign to pick up traction in the form of the attention of the President of the USA, but here it did, with President Trump remarking:
For first time the failing @nytimes will take an ad (a bad one) to help save its failing reputation. Try reporting accurately & fairly!
With the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the release of the newest addition to the Legend of Zelda saga of games, Domino’s have gone in for a slice of the action with a humorous Zelda/pizza hybrid campaign. The level of detail is relatively uncanny, right down to the pizza box shield and pizza cutter sword. It’s another great example of a brand wholly connecting with its customers’ humour and language, with the graphic picking up a highly positive response across social media channels.
February has seen so many developments in the world of social media that it’s been hard to keep up – fortunately, we’ve got the key changes rounded up here.
Firstly, Facebook has had a busy month. To begin with, the social network has announced that videos in the News Feed will soon auto play with sound on when using a mobile device. This feature is likely to apply to ads as well, and from an advertising perspective, the possibility of delivering sound-on adverts to users – a more engaging format – would be a real improvement over the current situation. However, even though Facebook has claimed that this change has been positively received in tests, for many users having sound-on automatically will be viewed as invasive, and may end up negatively impacting the image of the advertiser’s brand.
Facebook has also improved its capacity for displaying vertical video, and introduced a watch and scroll feature, which also allows videos to keep playing even once the Facebook app has been exited. Facebook has mentioned that a lot of its focus moving forwards is based on video, which explains this focus on ensuring it’s as prominent as possible.
Additionally, Facebook has announced updates to its newsfeed algorithm in an attempt to “prioritise authenticity.” Pages that are seen to be “trying to game the news feed” by using posts asking for engagements, or that post content which is often hidden by users, are deemed less authentic and may be positioned further down the newsfeed. Given all these recent changes on Facebook, it’s important for businesses to assess their content strategy, so they can take advantage of this push towards video content, and move away from posts that are deemed inauthentic by this new update.
It’s been a hectic time for Snapchat too, with a number of developments ahead of its forthcoming IPO in March. In addition to a significant portion of its user base migrating away to Instagram, a survey out this month claimed that 80% of the app’s key demographic (18-24) always or often skip ads on the app – worrying for businesses aiming to advertise to this market through this platform. Although this age group has been referenced by Snapchat as a big advertising opportunity for marketers, younger users so far haven’t responded well to promotional content on the app.
However, it hasn’t all been bad news for Snapchat, with the announcement that websites will now be able to have their own QR codes. This will allow businesses to set up links to their websites within the app, reducing the number of steps between the app and the website. This should help improve the number of site sessions generated by Snapchat, as well as providing an additional reason for users to follow that business on the app. For instance, retail stores may see this as an opportunity to facilitate turning product inspiration into instant purchases with this new update.
In further video news, Twitter has confirmed that a new metric is being tested alongside likes and retweets. Users will soon see a view count next to their video content to gauge its popularity, in an attempt to help “surface the best content”, according to Twitter. Although there’s no announcement as to when this will be rolled out to all users just yet, this is yet another indication of video’s rising prominence in the eyes of social media sites.
Twitter’s increasing focus on customer service has also been highlighted this month, as it has now introduced a method for businesses to personalise their customer service responses. This feature allows customer service representatives to use a personal profile rather than the corporate one when responding to queries. Twitter has mentioned in the past the benefits of this human connection, saying that users are “22% more likely to be satisfied compared to those who had impersonal interactions with a business on Twitter”, and this addition only attempts to further this aspect.
Finally, Instagram has announced a new carousel-style feature to its app, allowing users to publish up to 10 pictures or videos as one post. This presents a whole host of opportunities for businesses to create engaging posts on Instagram that weren’t previously possible. For instance, this could be used to ask users to vote for their favourite product amongst a set; show a step-by-step process in brief stages; or for businesses to provide detailed behind the scenes content within one post.
We’re into a new year, with undoubtedly many social media stories to come, however there are a few stories from the end of last year which have caught our eye… Here’s a roundup of those developments which will play an important role this coming year.
The biggest news dominating social media during December has concerned Facebook’s crackdown on ‘fake news’. After an outcry that hoax stories influenced the outcome of the US presidential election, updates have been made allowing users to flag news as fake, and Facebook has partnered with independent fact checking websites to help demonstrate where sources may be disputed. Although there aren’t necessarily any direct implications for businesses from this story, it is important that Facebook reacts strongly to this in order to reinvigorate confidence in the accuracy of its service, and with misinformation sweeping the site, it has to ensure users and businesses don’t begin to mistrust the network.
We hope you’re not getting tired of live video developments, because social media definitely isn’t. Twitter has now introduced the possibility to live stream directly from the app without the need for a Periscope account, facilitating the process of live-streaming even further. To go one better, Facebook launched 360 degree live video soon after, although Twitter has just introduced its own version as well. With live video becoming increasingly prevalent on social media, yet with such a variety of ways to use it, the opportunities for businesses to go live and engage directly with users (as previously mentioned in this article) are rapidly expanding.
Finally, Instagram has launched a few more features that provide interesting opportunities for businesses. Firstly, users now have the ability to save posts in order to revisit them later. By providing engaging content like a memorable ad, or showing a product in a way that resonates with users and making them save it, businesses have the opportunity to create a long-lasting impression on users. Elsewhere, Instagram Stories has had yet another new development, with addition of stickers & text allowing these Stories to be customised even further, the value of which to businesses we looked at last month. Instagram has celebrated reaching 600 million users this month, with 100 million of those joining in the last 6 months. This, coupled with the fact that Instagram is increasingly catering for businesses, has demonstrated the rising opportunity having a strong presence on Instagram can have.
We can expect 2017 to be as full of cutting-edge social media developments as this past year, so we’ll be continuing to watch closely as we enter the new year…
The biggest social media news of the month is that Twitter is looking for prospective buyers – and it looks like a bidding war might be hotting up. Current potential suitors include; Disney, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Verizon. Whispers of a buyout could be good news for the company, which this month reported UK revenue growth had fallen to 31%. However, not all the news is gloomy. Twitter’s market value has been estimated at £15.5 billion – hardly an insignificant amount – and a new buyer could bring a new lease of life to the platform which has struggled to expand growth in the recent past.
In lighter Twitter news, the 140 character count has been loosened, with users now able to add images or handles without eating into the precious character limit. This is great news for brands, as they are able to post enticing and vivid content without the necessity to restrict the amount of copy used.
Facebook this month has announced plans to develop a ‘Messenger Light’ app which will see the platform being able to be used on slower mobile phones. This is an important development for Facebook, as it reinforces its comment to making Messenger a key social media standalone platform. New Messenger Light will allow users access to messages on the go, on mobiles previously unable to maintain the app. Specifically, this will particularly effect emerging markets, where Facebook has made big in roads in the last few years.
It also came to light in September that Facebook has been overestimating video views on the platform. Facebook has admitted inflating the average time people spend watching videos for two years by failing to count people who watched for less than 3 seconds. This admission is important, because typically a user watching a video for less than 3 seconds will have not absorbed much (if any) of the meaning behind the video. Marketers would therefore be wise to note this trend, and make sure even the opening seconds of a video are eye-catching and memorable. As video views are often a key metric that marketers use to decide where to push posts further, this is shaky territory for Facebook and a backlash could be possible.
Instagram this month has reported more strong growth, impressively doubling the amount of advertisers on the platform over the last six months. Instagram has announced that the majority of advertisers on the platform are now smaller or local businesses. Brands, big or small, would be wise to advertise on Instagram to build up a presence on this ever-growing platform.
Twitter announced this month that it would be widening the use of verified accounts – now it is not only celebrities and major brands that will be able to get the accredited ‘blue tick’. Twitter has demystified how to get the elusive blue tick, and blogged about the accreditation process. Now that brands will be able to get accredited (if they meet the criteria) profiles will have more of an air of authority around them. This is an important step for Twitter, as it recognises that users crave the blue tick and will add gravitas to marketing tweets and promotional posts. Facebook has long had a clear policy on verified accounts, and has encouraged all businesses and brands to gain a verified account. Twitter is finally catching up on this – recognising that users inherently trust accounts more with that little blue tick.
In order to reverse a long-term slowdown in signing up new users, Twitter has released a ‘back to basics’ video in order to explain what Twitter is actually for. The video explains that Twitter is the premier platform for the most up-to-date news and commentary. This video is aimed towards tackling a general confusion in some people’s minds about what Twitter is about, and attempts to reposition itself as a tool for all, not just those whom have a lot to say.
Another major milestone has been reached by Facebook this month – with the Messenger app surpassing one billion regular users. This means that the top three downloaded apps, Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, are all Facebook-owned, and all have over one billion users.
There was also an important technical announcement to Messenger this month that hit the headlines. Facebook outlined plans to introduce end-to-end encryption of some messages, meaning users can send messages to other users which will later completely disappear. This move follows Snapchat from a user perspective, with no trace of a message once it has been read by the intended recipient. In a culture of hacks and leaks, Facebook is taking the lead in protecting users’ data and creating a sense of security.
After the news that Instagram lengthened the amount of video users can upload, the tech giant has continued to push video as its centrepiece. Instagram has introduced a ‘videos you may like’ function – pushing videos selected by its algorithms to create a “seamless viewing experience”. Interestingly, the videos in this feed will be from accounts that a user does not (yet) follow. Videos will automatically load after the previous video finishes, rolling seamlessly from one to the next. Using video as an immersive experience, with a view to push new follows, is a canny move that will encourage users to spend more time within the app. Brands would be wise to create video content that mixes seamlessly with user-generated content, as Instagram’s algorithms will link brand content to native content.
In the biggest social media news of June, Microsoft announced it was to splurge £18.5 billion on purchasing LinkedIn. This equates to roughly £45 per user. This is a bold buy for Microsoft as it tries to move into the lucrative world of social media. The buyout can be seen as a recognition of potential in LinkedIn – the social network has shown weak growth over the year so far. However, the pairing of Microsoft and LinkedIn can be seen as particularly on-brand; each has a specific business focus that other competitors lack. How Microsoft will influence LinkedIn remains unclear, but with a big cash injection, the potential for change is ripe.
Facebook has rolled out new features throughout June that are perfect with the barrage of upcoming summer holiday snaps. Users with a smartphone with a panorama camera are now able to upload 360 degree photos to Facebook. The marketing potential for this feature is incredible; businesses would be wise to put decent thought and effort into creating beautiful original content with this feature. However it might be hard to beat NASA’s 360 photo from the International Space Station…
The tech giant has introduced visual changes to its Messenger app that indicate towards its long term goals. Messenger now no longer displays all chats in simple reverse chronological order; chats are ordered into groups, and then sorted by favourites, and broken up with birthdays and ‘active now’ friends. These changes align with Facebook’s longer term plan to urge users to spend more time within the app, therefore making Messenger a destination in itself, which is able to do much more than simply host private messaging.
The Facebook-owned app has now rolled out to users its new algorithm-based newsfeed. This means posts will now be viewed out of real-time in an order of how Instagram believes users want to see content. Users have generally reacted negatively to this change, yet businesses believe it will mean strong content will now no longer go unnoticed. This roll-out, which had been announced in March, was merely a blip in an otherwise strong month. Instagram proudly announced, via an Instagram video of course, that the number of users had finally topped half a billion. Over 300 million of these users are said to use the app on a daily basis. This is a huge achievement for Instagram, as they have doubled the amount of users in the last two years.
To mark further this shift from picture-sharing to app to global giant, Instagram has now unveiled automatic translations for posts in another language. Similar to Facebook, a user will now see posts in other languages automatically translated to their own preferred language. This is in part a recognition that users no longer follow local friends and family, or even just users from their own country. This is great news for companies who post content to followers around the globe.
Continuing this transformation, Instagram announced in June new functions for Business accounts. Business profiles will be able to add ‘Contact’ buttons to their page, meaning customers will be able to direct queries in a more effective way. New ‘Insights’ tab will let users know more about their followers and their posts; from which posts are more popular, and more advanced demographic user data. In another positive move, organic Instagram posts will be able to be pushed with a ‘Promote’ function, in a very similar way to Facebook. This means that popular posts can become ads and will also stay on a business’ home page indefinitely. Instagram swings from strength to strength from both a user perspective and a business perspective.
Following a large data leak at the beginning of the month, Twitter has been vocal in their crackdown on security practices. High profile data breaches and account hacks, including Canadian rapper, Drake, prompted Twitter to take action. Twitter has notified all users with the most recent security information. After a difficult few months for the company, this is yet more difficult press.
Twitter has introduced stickers in June – similar to emojis and Facebook reactions. These stickers will be used in conjunction with users’ own images; Twitter stickers can be placed over an image to further personalise content. Tapping on a sticker will take users to a collection of where else the sticker has been used. The stickers are creating new avenues of communication and sharing. This is an interesting way to allow users to explore new content in a visual way (which has not been Twitter’s strong suit). Further changes to Twitter images include the ability to apply filters, crop the size, add tags, and alter accessibility options. Twitter stickers will allow businesses, publishers, and bloggers instant access to user-generated content, opening a host of opportunities for outreach and brand awareness.
Facebook recently announced that they will be rolling out their new topic-related newsfeed algorithm, which enables users to tailor the content that appears on their newsfeed by choosing topics that are of interest to them. These topics include – sports, TV & movies, music, politics, health and fitness and much more. This change to Facebook’s topic related newsfeed does have similarities to that of Twitter’s “moments” section, which focuses more on providing its users with real-time news content.
The new topic-related newsfeed function will stand aside from the user’s Facebook newsfeed. This allows users to have a section for their newsfeed, alongside the categories of interest to them.
This new update enables the user to consume more content that is relevant to them, therefore improving the user’s overall experience on Facebook. However this does not seem to have any chronological order; therefore Facebook will have to make changes to the timescale of their topic related content to provide users with real time news.
Instagram – Increased video length, business profiles and CTA photo advertisements
Instagram has revealed a vast amount of changes recently, from the big reveal of their new logo, to changes to videos, newsfeeds and photo ads; it’s safe to say Instagram has had a busy couple of months!
Let’s firstly start with Instagram’s change to its video length; users are now able to upload videos with a length of up to 60 seconds, as opposed to just 15. This encourages users to upload more video content through Instagram, thus increasing the amount of engagement that users’ posts will receive.
In addition to the change of length in video content, users can now also see the total amount of views their video posts receive, rather than showing the total number of likes. Users are still able to see the total number of likes their video post has by just tapping on the video, which will then show the number of likes and those who have liked the post.
This update to Instagram videos enables users to monitor the reach, engagement and interaction of their videos more effectively.For example if a video post has a high number of views, but a low number of likes, this suggests that the video has had a high reach but the content is not something that audiences are engaging with, hence the low number of interactions.
Instagram also announced the introduction of their business profiles, which are to be launched in the UK in the near future. The Instagram business profile will enable businesses to control how they would like their customers to get in contact with them. Whether this is contacting them via email, or redirecting customers to their website, or providing customers with directions to their business. This new function will enable businesses to communicate with their customers more efficiently and effectively through Instagram, improving businesses customer service management.
Businesses will now also be able to use Instagram’s new Insights tool, which will allow them to gain more of an insight into the behaviour and actions of their followers, as well as monitoring which posts performed the highest with their followers. Businesses are then able to use the posts that are performing well and turn them into ads to promote their service/products and target a wider audience.
Another recent change to Instagram is that CTA (call to action) is now embedded within photo advertisements. Once a user has tapped on the photo ad, they will then be presented with the option to click through to a website or app, thus enabling businesses to direct their audiences to their website or app, increasing CTR and potentially conversion rates.
However, the double tap CTA, does not apply to video advertisements, therefore this may be something to consider for businesses when choosing to advertise on Instagram.
Facebook has been in some hot water of late, with repercussions likely to be ongoing. The social media giant has been accused of censoring topics on its newsfeed, opening the company up to accusations of political bias. Accusations suggest that Facebook would not publish stories in its ‘trending’ feed despite high levels of sharing, and instead pushed stories they were more politically aligned with. What with the American presidential elections looming in 2016, it seems a critical time for Facebook to be accused of meddling, and puts Facebook on the defensive.
Facebook has developed an even more sophisticated ad targeting system that will strengthen relations with businesses. Rather than simply taking into account where users have visited websites, targeted ads will now take into consideration if the visitor is simply a ‘window shopper’, or have consistently looked at their website, for how long, and which items were looked at. This helps weed out real leads and helps businesses gain a higher conversion rate.
Finally in Facebook news; May saw a large extension of live videos across newsfeeds around the globe. Live video has now been enabled on desktop, and users are able to view live videos from across the globe. With high profile users engaging with live video, such as Jamie Oliver, Buzzfeed, and new star ‘Chewbacca Mom’ (who has already broken the live viewing record), it looks like Facebook’s newest feature will be a roaring success.
Twitter has announced a series of changes over the last months that it hopes will help its ailing user numbers. Firstly, changes to analytical tools will give personal and business users a greater insight into its audiences. Following in the likes of Facebook, Twitter now allows users to breakdown their audience into incredibly useful subsets; age brackets, interests, net worth, and consumer history. These powerful tools, when harnessed correctly, could really make Twitter into a sharp advertising tool.
Attempting to appear more flexible, Twitter has announced that adding media, or a poll, or reaction gif, to a tweet will no longer eat into the valuable word count. In making this change, Twitter recognises the power of image and video to create dynamic and engaging content online. Similarly, adding a @handle to a tweet will also not eat into the count – these changes allow for a much more detailed tweet that can help users expand their networking capabilities with ease. Twitter has also removed the necessity of adding a .@ in order for the tweet to be broadcast to all followers, rather than users who follow both the tweet-er and the tweet-ee.
Lastly, the rollout of the new ‘Connect’ feature will help users find new content and other relevant users to follow. Based on previous likes, follows, retweets, and local popular accounts, the new Connect tab hopes to keep users’ feeds fresh and up-to-date by making suggestions (it hopes) that will build up a user’s following number. Twitter is actively creating a more dynamic and less rigid user experience – will the results be what Twitter hopes for?
Described by the Head of Design as a “balance between recognition and versatility”, Instagram’s new logo is certainly a marker of change for the company. The photo-sharing app had not changed its logo in the five years since its inception – in which time the company has undergone seismic change. The new app is simpler, contemporary, and vibrant. The new logo is greeted with changes to the visuals within the app; the sidebars and areas surrounding images are now simply black and white. The new logo, and in-app changes, reflect the cooler image and rapid growth the company has seen. Instagram is going from strength to strength these days, and any minor changes will hardly deter users from the ever-expanding app.
Facebook is planning to extend its near-ubiquitousness with changes to its Messenger app. Users will soon be able to find new friends and add them with ‘Messenger Codes’. These codes, similar to Snapchat QR codes, will allow users to add people by scanning other users’ phones. This development is equally interesting from a business perspective; adding this technology to the Messenger app paves the way for businesses to allow users to scan codes directly in-app. This will help the Messenger app bring many other features ‘in house’, for example scanning boarding passes. Much like China-based alternative WeChat, the Messenger app will presumably change how and why people communicate via the app. WeChat has been a roaring success after users interactions with business – users can order takeaway, make store returns, as well as scanning the local area for new users. Is the Messenger app looking to follow suit?
Facebook looks at reading time
Facebook has also announced plans to tweak its algorithms relating to articles; it now plans on accounting for how long people actually stay reading the article when calculating users’ interests. Measuring how long users stay on articles, whilst also taking into account loading time, will help Facebook understand how much users did (or didn’t) engage with the content. The new algorithm will help overcome users who spend time reading content, but do not feel obliged to like or ‘react’ to the post. This is good news for publishers as ‘engagement’ with articles will no longer just be judged on likes, shares and comments and should still provide newsfeed visibility.
However, businesses and bloggers – be warned. If your article isn’t engaging, or the title isn’t reflective of the actual article, your engagement levels may be likely to drop and the new algorithm may push your content further down newsfeeds.
Is Twitter in trouble?
Twitter has actively pursued a younger audience – launching live-video platform Periscope, installing younger CEO Jack Dorsey, replacing ‘favourites’ with ‘likes’, adding polls. None of these initiatives seem to be translating into higher growth or profitability. After reporting another month of incredibly slow growth – just under two per cent – shares in the company fell by another 16%. That’s a total drop of over a third across the year. Just how well will Twitter fare in the coming months and years.
Video profile pictures
Following Twitter’s pursuit into video, Facebook has now launched a new video feature that may well take off in a big way. Users are now able to change their profile pictures to a video loop gif. Other apps, such as Vine and Boomerang (developed by Instagram), are able to load their content directly into Facebook profile pictures. This is an interesting development, and will create for some exciting creative opportunities. Just how well will businesses be able to harness the power and allure of video for their Facebook pages?
In big collaborative news, Facebook has announced plans to further integrate its Messenger app into users’ lives. Facebook can now boast over 800 million users on the Messenger app, and wants to keep them there for longer. Big names in technology, namely Uber and Spotify, are now able to integrate their services into Messenger. Users will be able to share songs with friends via Spotify, and order cabs on Uber, without ever having to leave the Messenger app. Allowing users to send songs, make payments, order cabs, and play games within the app helps Facebook maintain its position as the preeminent social media platform.
Not all the news is rosy for Facebook. After the devastating terrorist attacks in Lahore, Pakistan, Facebook was caught short as it used its ‘check in’ feature to ask people thousands of miles from Pakistan if they were affected by the attack. Described by Facebook as a “bug”, many users were left confused and frightened after a Facebook push notification asks if they are safe. However, users were mostly satiated by Facebook’s subsequent apology. Facebook began the feature in 2014, following a large earthquake in Nepal, and has been widely hailed as a success. Mark Zuckerberg issued the apology from his own Facebook page.
Twitter’s Big Birthday
The tenth birthday of Twitter fell in March, with users using the hashtag #LoveTwitter to reflect on iconic, funny, and outrageous tweets from the last ten years. However, as Twitter enters a double-digit age, difficult times lay ahead. There has been backlash to Twitter’s move away from a chronological Timeline and towards a personalised feed that isn’t in real-time. Users even started the hashtag #RIPTwitter. These users felt the very essence of Twitter lies with a real-time chronological feed. Twitter CEO @Jack has responded (in a series of tweets, fittingly), explaining that the new out-of-sync is an optional feature. Therefore, users now have the ability to decide whether or not to use this new feature, or use it alongside the traditional chronological feed. The best of both worlds, perhaps?
Similar to Twitter, Instagram has changed its users’ home feeds from their current chronological feeds to a personalised algorithm. Based on users’ likes and pre-existing relationships, Instagram has introduced the new feed to overcome the 70% of content that users miss whilst they are not online. The move will widely be welcomed by advertisers but not, perhaps, by companies and individuals who don’t have available budget. Organic reach, as we know it, is becoming a thing of the past. The changes make Instagram more sustainable and profitable as it overcomes the problem that comes with ever-expanding amounts of content; in 2015 Instagram boasted over 400 million users. It seems unlikely that general disgruntlement at changes will materialise in any mass exodus. After all, people still use Facebook following the change to a personalised-feed years ago.
The Facebook advertising platform is becoming increasingly advanced as more advertisers are starting to use the medium. There are a number of new ad formats available in the interface, with one of the most recent being lead generation adverts.
The new lead generation adverts have now been rolled out globally and are available to all advertisers. These can be created by selecting ‘lead generation’ as the campaign objective in the advertising interface (this may need to be done in Power Editor beforehand). The advert itself is easy to create, and uses a customisable enquiry form whereby the only the data that is important to you can be requested.
One of the main advantages of the lead generation adverts is that the user’s details can be captured without them leaving Facebook itself. The enquiry form is prepopulated with the user’s name, email and phone number (provided they have entered these into Facebook). Usually, the user would see the ad on Facebook, click through to the website, and then manually type in their own information – however, the lead gen adverts need only 2 clicks, making the process much easier for the user.
The information submitted by the users is likely to be of a higher quality, as most users have provided their full names and main email addresses to sign up for their Facebook account. In addition to basic contact details, up to 3 of your own custom questions can be added, which is great for helping to pre-qualify the leads that are generated. This also makes following up on the leads much easier, with more valuable information provided to the sales teams beforehand. Examples of the customisable questions could include the user’s location or the type of products they may be interested in.
The enquiry forms also offer the user the choice to visit the website after, however as this is optional, the user may not always visit the site straight away. Although this may increase the number of leads that are generated beforehand, a potential impact could be that less traffic is driven towards the website. This confines the user’s engagement to Facebook itself, making it ever more important for brands to increase customer engagement on the platform. Remarketing is also an effective way of generating leads- but if users do not visit the website, this will not be possible.
Initially, the lead generation adverts were only available to show on the mobile news feed, but they have proven so successful that they have now been extended across to desktop devices too. They will also be rolled out across video and carousel ads in the future, so we look forward to testing these across a variety of different ad formats.
We have already started implementing the lead generation adverts for some of our clients, and have seen great results so far. Just in the last week, we have seen an uplift in enquiries of 400%, with the average cost per lead reduced by over 50%. The below screenshots show some examples of the lead gen adverts:
Instagram has announced yesterday that they are following in the likes of Twitter and parent company, Facebook, by changing users’ feeds to a personalised algorithm. A user will not wake up to a reverse chronological order of posts that reaches back to where they last logged in. Instead, posts will be ordered by relevance to the specific user. In practice this means breakfast posts will be mixed with sunset posts. Instagram is now truly a global platform, with more than 75% of users living outside the US. The countries with the strongest growth in 2015 were Brazil, Japan, and Indonesia. Users typically follow other users from all over the world.
Instagram’s new algorithm reflects that rapid growth and internationalism – users are no longer typically following only those whom they know personally. In theory, new feeds will contain less pictures of forgotten school friend’s brunch snaps, and will include more relevant content tailored to the likes of the user. Businesses can take advantage of this change, and continue to create dynamic and inspiring content that will now flow more seamlessly through users’ feeds.
Should Instagram be prepared for a backlash? Users have been positively engaged with the format currently, as it places celebrity, news, and friends in simple chronological order. Backlash surely depends on how accurate the new algorithms are able to show engaging and desired content to users. The feature could theoretically be tweaked and users could be sated with a ‘see more posts like this’ and a ‘see less posts like this’ feature attached to images on their newsfeed.
Critics of the move seem to overlook that this is a natural progression for Instagram. In September 2015, the social media platform surpassed the 400 million users mark. The site now has over 3.5 billion likes daily. This means an incomprehensible number of images passing through an ever-growing amount of screens. A curated feed on one’s homepage means that superior content will get through to the user, and drive up engagement and reach, should it be relevant for the end user.
However, this means that organic reach will presumably dwindle on Instagram because of this move and is a stumbling block for businesses looking to organically reach their followers. Content, once again, has to get smarter and advertising has to be employed to reach new (and now, already engaged) fans when campaigns or content need to be amplified.
We were waiting for it to happen…and it’s finally here. Twitter has now started to roll out a Facebook-style algorithm that means content will no longer appear chronologically but, instead, show you the ‘best tweets first’.
This concept of social media channels curating bespoke content is not alien. Facebook has engineered a similar algorithm over the past couple of years which serves your friends and companies content that they feel you’ll most likely want to read/watch/engage with first.
Furthermore, handpicked ‘best tweets first’ content also isn’t unknown for Twitter which has had a ‘whilst you were away…’ section pinned to the top of our screens for some time now.
When will this roll out?
At this stage such content is only shown on an ‘opt in’ basis; Twitter users have to tick a box within their settings for the channel’s well-known chronological feed to be disrupted.
However, it is anticipated that the update will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks.
What impact will have this on social media marketing?
Like any marketing strategy, the update only spurs on the fact that marketing channels, social media included, must strive to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
We anticipate that, like Facebook’s decline in organic reach, activity must be content-led; a dependence on killer content is key to ensure content on Twitter is seen first. However, like any great content, it needs to be put in front of the right audience at the right time – a better focus on audience behaviours (income more social listening tools) and use of advertising are absolutely paramount.
Having already been launched in the US and Brazil, Twitter Moments is a collection of lists featuring live feeds on news, sport and entertainment. Bringing together images, videos and related Tweets in an easy-to-read format and curated with the help of some of Twitter’s 18 production partners, Moments aims to use this format to attract more users and help current ones keep abreast of breaking stories, live sports coverage and trending topics.
What does this mean for digital marketing?
Twitter Moments is not just for those wanting the latest news but can also serve as a useful tool for brands and marketing companies, too.
Twitter VP of Sales, Matt Derella, said the launch of Twitter Moments will “provide a canvas for brands to move people and shift their hearts and minds”.
How does Twitter Moments plan to do this?
When using Moments, users can clearly scroll through all related Tweets, even if they aren’t following a particular account, making it possible for brands to potentially reach a larger audience than they previously would. Indeed, Mad Marketer explains that “real time marketing has been extremely effective on social media. However, if you’re not following a brand you may never see their post…. Moments would amplify the viral potential of certain posts while expanding the value of Twitter to marketers”. This is potentially big news when you consider the fact that there are over 15 million active Twitter users in the UK alone.
In addition, Twitter will soon launch Promoted Moments, which will allow brands to pay for their very own Moment to appear for 24 hours.
So what can you do as a brand? We suggest you brush up on your social media skills to maximise engagement which will help ensure your brand is up-to-date and relevant and ready for its Moment in the spotlight!
When posting on Twitter, it is important to understand your audience, what they are talking about and how to best engage with them. Understanding this will help to create Twitter content that your followers will want to engage with.
Twitter allows you to create lists of users. This is a useful tool that can be used to keep track of active commentators on your channel or to make a list of influential Tweeters within the industry.
By engaging with these key people in the industry it is possible to start building a relationship between them and your company.
Users should only ever be blocked from commentating on your channel if they are spammers or trolls. This function should not be used to block people who are leaving negative comments or negative reviews. These should be responded to patiently and politely.
When to Post
Make a schedule
It’s advisable to create a posting schedule a month in advance to ensure that you always have content planned for your channel. When creating a schedule consider the best day, and the best time of day, for these posts to go live. There are tools available that let you see when there is the most traffic on your channel.
Posting regularly lets followers know that you are active on the platform. Most Twitter activity takes place on the weekends but posts should be spread out over the week as this avoids clogging up follower’s feeds with your content. Having a posting schedule still allows you to make ad-hoc posts if something comes up that you would like to comment on, such as a recent event or release.
Finding the right conversations
Hashtags are used on Twitter for finding relevant posts and joining the right conversations. It can be useful to create your own brand/product related hashtag so people can find you and so you can see what people are talking about when they mention you.
Keeping it professional
Overdoing hashtags and including many irrelevant hashtags within one post is inadvisable as this does not look professional and followers find this kind of Tweet annoying. Hashtags should always fit within the context of a Tweet and be relevant to what you are writing about.
If a trending hashtag is related to your business, feel free to join the conversation. If it isn’t, don’t use it. Another relevant hashtag will come up that will allow you to contribute to the conversation.
Tone of voice
When writing your Twitter posts, ensure that the tone of voice is consistent and reflects the business and its values. Twitter has a character limit of 140 characters, so keep Tweets short and sweet, and avoid using two or more Tweets to get your point across.
Twitter as a platform is very fast paced and so a Tweet’s visibility is limited. Important Tweets that you want to keep visible for an extended period of time can be pinned to the top of your profile.
The 20/80 principle
Importantly, ensure that your Twitter content adheres to the 20/80 principle. This means that 20% of your content should be business and sales related while the remaining 80% should contain relevant community contributions. Your followers do not want to follow a sales channel, they are looking for quality content that is relevant to their life and interests.
Content: The 20%
Advertisements and promotions
The 20% of Tweets that are company and product related should include advertisements and promotions such as Q&A sessions, company updates, and behind the scene/employee content.
Giveaways, competitions and promotions are very popular amongst Twitter users, with many following a company only in order to look out for such opportunities. These posts receive a large amount of engagement from followers.
Feedback and input
By asking your followers for their opinions and suggestions about your products or services demonstrates that you value your follower’s input and that you’re listening to them. This also allows you to gather feedback about your products and services.
Help and advice
Many people use Twitter to ask for help and advice, and answering these questions or giving out helpful information and advice will create interesting content, as well as providing great customer service.
Content: The 80%
Industry related content
The rest of your content should focus on creating industry related content that your followers will find beneficial. This can include interacting with your followers, either by answering their questions, responding to their Tweets or re-tweeting relevant posts.
Linking to relevant news articles or re-tweeting them from news outlets or key players in the industry lets your followers know that you are up to date with what’s going on and that they can rely on you for important industry news and updates.
Visual content is popular on Twitter, with “How-to” guides and infographics being valuable content that followers can share, save and refer to later. If it fits in with your company’s image then jokes and humorous posts are fine. Ensure that these kind of posts are not in bad taste and are not going to upset any of your followers.
Recent and events and news
Involving yourself in relevant conversations by talking about recent events and news, and using the right hashtags will ensure that you and your channel are up to date and look well informed. Tweets can also contain information relevant to the community in which the company works in, or is based in, such as important local news items or charity events.
Facebook has seen a surge in videos being published, shared and viewed by advertisers, publishers and users. As a response to this growing interest in viewing videos on the site, Facebook has announced plans to improve and expand current video functions as well as introducing new ones. One upgrade in particular is an updated video function which will allow users of the Facebook mobile app to multitask; it will be possible to carry out other Facebook functions such as checking the News Feed and commenting while a minimized version of the video is still playing.
Additionally, they are making improvements to the way publishers can use Facebook videos as adverts by aiming to create a complete video management system. Updates have already been made to Page Insights, an improved video uploading system and the introduction of a new Video Library. With these updates it is now possible to create secret videos viewable only to those whom you choose, make videos viewable only to certain demographics and to restrict the embedding of your videos on third party sites.
These changes to video functionality come in addition to the announcement of Facebook’s 360 Video which uses special cameras to record all 360 degree of a scene, thus allowing users to choose which angle they view a video from. Although the feature is still being developed, publishers such as Star Wars and Disney are already planning immersive video content which allows fans to venture even further into their desired universe. 360 Videos should be hitting News Feeds on the web version of Facebook and Android soon, with iOS to follow after.
Suggested and Saved Videos
The new function will recommend other videos for users to watch which are on a similar topic to videos they have recently viewed on their News Feed, in addition to allowing users to search for more videos. Tests have showed that people who view a video on their News Feed go on to watch other videos which Facebook suggests to them. Facebook has also been working on new video matching technology, which allows publishers to search for video matches across the site.
If users are checking their News Feed on the go, they will have the option to save the videos to view later in a new area similar to where all current ‘saved’ posts are already stored on the site. It will also be possible to view multiple videos in a row, giving users more choice and control over their video viewing habits. Facebook also plans to introduce a dedicated video area, where they can find videos relevant to them. These might be videos they have saved for later, uploads from friends or pages they follow, or videos from other content publishers.
Publishers and advertisers can rest assured that their content will not be used without their permission. Facebook videos are put through Audible Magic, an automatic content recognition system, meaning that unauthorized videos cannot be uploaded to the site. Should a video find its way onto the site, Facebook has reporting tools in place allowing the owner of the video to request its removal.
These new features are due to be rolled out in the following months.
During a Q&A session at Facebook’s headquarters, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will be implementing a ‘dislike’ button. Facebook has refrained from using an upvote/downvote system, like the one used on Reddit, in an effort to avoid having posts compete for popularity and visibility.
The introduction of the presently unnamed ‘dislike’ button is not to register users’ dissatisfaction with a particular post, rather the aim is to allow users to show their empathy with a particularly sensitive post, such as news items reporting on the refugee crisis or a bereavement. Speaking of the decision to add the new feature to the site, Zuckerberg said an alternative to ‘liking’ posts of a delicate nature was needed; “what they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment,”
The feature, which has been requested by Facebook users numerous times over the years, is still in the design process and it is not known when the feature will appear on the site, although Zuckerberg states he hopes it will be “soon”.
With over 300 million global users, and a user base consisting largely of high-income millennials, advertisers have long been waiting for the opportunity to advertise their visual content on Instagram. Thankfully, this is now becoming a reality for marketers of all sizes…
The benefit of advertising on Instagram
Everyone recognises the value of Instagram as a beautiful, visual hub which allows for real-time content sharing. However, what some may not realise is the potential of utilising the platform as part of a paid strategy.
With organic reach dropping, Facebook advertising has increasingly become an intrinsic element of social media planning – but recent results released by Instagram suggest that money would be well invested in this photo-sharing channel too. Instagram has reported a click-through rate of almost double that of Facebook for August, at 1.50%*. It would seem that this long awaited change will bring big profits for Facebook indeed…
Who can advertise on Instagram?
Previously, Instagram advertising favoured large companies with substantial advertising budgets – much to the dismay of many smaller businesses. The previous method of buying ads was also rather outdated, with ads purchased from Instagram’s sales team. However, Instagram ads are now being brought into the 21st century and will now be available through a new API as well as Facebook power editor.
Unsurprisingly, since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the new system is set to be similar to the self-service format of Facebook advertising – allowing anyone to advertise their content on the platform, and have more control over the process. Automation should also help to reduce the costs associated and should present opportunity for both small and large scale businesses (and budgets!)
What do Instagram ads look like?
Instagram ads are available in standard Instagram formats; this includes a 612x612px square image, or a short 15 second video. Additionally, carousel adverts are available – mirroring the introduction of carousel ads in Facebook. According to Facebook, these are seeing great success from an ROI perspective, so are definitely worth exploring within Instagram too:
‘[Facebook] Advertisers have seen carousel link ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30% lower cost-per-click than single-image link ads…’
Instagram ads appear within the feed, amongst other visual content shared by accounts that a given user follows. In order to ensure transparency, a ‘Sponsored’ icon appears in the top right-hand corner, along with your chosen call-to-action at the bottom. When clicked, this call to action takes the user to the URL specified when setting up the ad.
Targeting Instagram ads
As previously mentioned, there are many young and affluent individuals using Instagram – user demographics convey an ideal audience for many companies and marketers. Whilst this generalised overview paints a positive picture – as with any form of advertising – relevant, precise targeting can really help to optimise ad performance.
Up until now, limited targeting has been available on Instagram – allowing advertisers to specify an audience based on basic demographics including age, gender and country. However, the new system will now integrate with Facebook to provide more detailed user insights, enabling marketers to more accurately target their ads to a relevant audience. In turn, this ensures that users are exposed to content that is valuable to them; this is a win-win approach and helps to create greater value for both parties.
The Instagram Ads API will offer greater flexibility over every aspect of advertising within the platform – from scheduling, to targeting and optimisation. Arguably one of the most valuable aspects of the new system is the ability to access and analyse detailed campaign performance data. Again, this will be similar to the data displayed in Facebook Ads Manager and will allow advertisers to measure the success of their efforts.
When will it be available?
Whilst the date of when the API will become universally accessible remains unknown, the company are currently in an expansion phase. They are increasing the number of advertising partners that they work with in preparation for the wider launch.
It is also now possible to create adverts that appear on Instagram through Facebook Power Editor when using the Mobile App Installs or Clicks to Website objectives. In the coming weeks, we can’t wait to begin testing the performance of these ads across a number of clients…
Facebook’s latest news feed update has caused quite a stir – it’s 1.4billion users have been granted greater ‘control’ over what they’re seeing – but what exactly are the changes and what are the repercussions for businesses?
Why has the news feed update been introduced?
Facebook have introduced a number of updates with the aim of improving the social media platform, to make the user experience more meaningful. Recently, they have introduced changes which focus specifically on improving the news feed:
‘We’re always working to improve and personalize your News Feed experience. We know that ultimately you’re the only one who truly knows what is most meaningful to you and that is why we want to give you more ways to control what you see. Last year we announced some new ways to control what you see in News Feed. Today we are announcing even better tools for you to actively shape and improve the experience. We’ve redesigned and expanded Facebook’s News Feed Preferences to give you more control.’
Prior to this update, stories were ranked for the news feed according to the interests of a user – based on interactions and engagements. However, this update enables these calculated assumptions to be overwritten for a more tailored experience.
How can users gain greater control over their news feed?
Last year’s update focussed largely on editing the news feed – allowing users to quickly follow and unfollow pages/people, as well as giving feedback about the posts on their news feed more easily. In order to allow for greater personalisation and to improve the selection of relevant content, Facebook will now allow users to select preferences that determine what’s visible in their news feed.
This new update will allow users to prioritise the people and pages they wish to see at the top of their news feed. The process for this is very simple:
‘Within News Feed Preferences, tap on a friend’s profile picture to see their posts first. You will then see any new stories they’ve shared since your last visit to Facebook at the top of News Feed, with a star in the top right of their post so you know why they’re at the top. You can scroll down to see the rest of your News Feed normally.’
Users can also more easily discover new pages based on their existing likes, as well as selecting which friends and pages to follow or unfollow.
What are the repercussions for businesses?
This update follows the trend for declining organic visibility in Facebook since it is expected that more users will prioritise friends than business pages. This is therefore likely to impact organic results, pushing brands towards advertising through the social media platform:
“Chances are that people aren’t going to put brand pages at the top of their list and that is going to further reduce the likelihood that brand posts will be seen by people unless they pay for advertising. Human nature seems to indicate that you would pick your friends over companies.” – Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for eMarketer*
However, the opportunity for further data collection could benefit businesses. In introducing this update, Facebook is able to gauge even more information about user preferences and behaviour; thus gaining the potential to improve targeting.
When will this change be introduced?
This update is already available on iOS and will be rolling out across Andriod and desktop over the coming weeks –we’ll be keeping a close eye on organic Facebook results by device over the coming weeks to monitor impact.
According to Facebook, ‘the goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you’ – which is why they have recently implemented an algorithm change that aims to balance the visibility of content from friends and brands.
What are the consequences of the Facebook algorithm update for brands?
A statement describing the impact for brands was released by Facebook in a blog post last week:
‘The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. Overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.’
Despite the somewhat uncertain effect of the update – there are some consequences that every marketer should be aware of:
1. The way in which content appears will change. Previous limitations which prevented multiple posts from your account appearing in the news feed will be lifted. If users are enjoying your content, more of it will be visible to them.
2. Organic reach will continue to drop as Facebook act upon learnings that ‘people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about’. Pushing this content to the top of the news feed will magnify the struggle that brands face in gaining organic visibility.
3. As previously mentioned, there may be a decline in referral traffic as a result of this algorithm change. User feedback revealed that they ‘don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post’, which helps to explain why this update has been implemented. This is particularly significant for marketers because it marks a complete shift away from what many rely on to obtain new organic visitors and fans, who often find out about content through referral.
It also throws in to question the value of different types of engagement. By the sounds of it, the algorithm will only remove referral posts from content that other users have ‘liked’ or ‘commented’ on. Will this, therefore, make ‘sharing’ important and likes and comments redundant?
The increasing difficulty in gaining organic reach also marks a notable push towards paid activity, which will inevitably become a more intrinsic element of social strategy. Moreover, the social networking service is mirroring the direction of tech giant Google in getting brands to pay more to reach users.
It’s safe to say we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled in Google Analytics to track any disruption to results as a result of the algorithm change, but it will certainly be interesting to see how this one develops…
Experienced a sudden drop in Facebook business page likes? The social network provider has recently updated the way in which it counts page likes. By removing deactivated and memorialised accounts, they aim to bring “even more value for businesses”.
Most of the impact of this update will have been observed around 12th/13th March. However, the new system of filtration has been in testing since late February, so earlier results may also be affected.
Who will be affected?
The update only affects the number of likes (not friends) for business pages on Facebook. Those who have bought fake likes could expect to see the most significant drop in their “lifetime likes” figure.
Although deactivated accounts will be withdrawn from the total, it is worth noting that if an individual decides to re-active an account, they will be added back in to the businesses number of likes.
Why have Facebook introduced the update?
Facebook’s latest move will provide page owners with real results and more accurate data. By removing these null accounts, a business is more easily able to reach their actual fans.
Facebook stated that “Everyone benefits from meaningful information on Facebook” – and their update certainly seems to emphasise this; awarding those businesses who have worked hard to build up a genuine fan base with more measurable and accurate insights.
What are the repercussions for businesses?
Whilst a notable drop in likes can, at first, be disconcerting – it’s important to understand the spectrum of repercussions of the update before jumping to any conclusions.
A high number of page likes is not the best indicator of overall progress, so a dip in this figure need not cause too much concern.
One positive consequence is that removing these accounts will often result in a sudden uplift in engagement and reach rates. This is because all that carefully considered content will be more visible to active followers and genuine fans, who are more likely to engage with posts.
In order to deliver more consistent metrics, post likes, comments and shares from removed accounts have also been taken out of results data to give better insight and a true indication of percentage engagement performance.
We know that when it comes to social media, organic reach is dropping. This effectively means that brands have to work harder at delivering quality content that genuinely interests and engages their fans.
Images are often what hook audiences, and so visual content is becoming increasingly important. You only have to look at the success of visual sharing platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram to know that images are in high demand. However, because of the current level of competition, this type of content now needs to be purposeful to be rewarded with likes and shares (if that’s what you’re after). Ultimately, it needs to resonate with your target audience.
The beauty of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is that they allow users to make human connections; which for many brands is central to their social media strategy. Visual content can be utilised to show that there’s humanity and substance to a brand, a way to build lasting relationships and showcase personality – here are some brands that have done it successfully:
The Swedish fashion brand has successfully hit the ‘deconstructed glamour’ nail on the head. Each upload is carefully curated and styled – but the ‘behind the scenes’ approach gives the impression that the brand is effortlessly cool.
Absolut have long been recognised for innovative and creative marketing, so we’ve come to expect strong visuals from them. Their most recent mix includes some hand-drawn illustration, which shows their willingness to go the extra mile to produce truly original imagery.
One of the key things I look for in successful visual content is brand consistency – and this feed sings along nicely to the Cath Kidston tune. By including flowers, babies and pets, the brand show a real understanding of their target audience, and provide imagery in accordance with their interests and lifestyle.
The true value of visual content can only be unlocked when it is shared across relevant platforms. ELLE magazine have taken this one step further by sharing across multiple profiles. Granted, it takes some real trust, but by using their staff as brand ambassadors – who post varied and creative visual content – the brand proves its understanding of the need for human connection within social media. In this Red Nose Day video, it’s also refreshing to see a playful side to these glamourous fashionistas.
Visuals don’t necessarily have to be polished and retouched; sometimes a raw aesthetic is more relatable. That’s why, as part of our work with Butterkist, we post agile and informal content. We recently ran a successful campaign, #getpopcorny, and utilised imagery to show off the brand’s personality. By setting the images up in a home environment, the campaign immediately felt inviting and accessible to the Butterkist audience.
Budweiser ran a ‘lost puppy’ campaign for their Super Bowl advert. This emotional hook encouraged user-generated visual content which no doubt helped further their campaign promotion.
American fashion designer Tory Burch’s social media channels are full of beautiful and engaging visual content. The content is extremely varied, encompassing lifestyle, products, behind the scenes, inspiration, videos and cute animals. The brand feed proves that variety is the spice of life.
What does the future hold for visual content on social media?
In recent years, tools such as Wordswag, Abeautifulmess and Canva have allowed brands to create professional-looking graphics in just a few taps. These have led social media marketing into a new phase, by putting beautiful and engaging imagery within the grasp of a broader spectrum of businesses.
As an increasing number of brands improve their visual content, there will be more pressure on the most successful brands to be innovative and creative. The production of visual content will become even simpler, allowing marketers to share content in a more reactive, ad-hoc way.
With Facebook videos receiving 3 billion views a day, it seems video content will see continued growth as audiences seek even greater insight and connection to their favourite brands.
Back in December Facebook announced a function that would enable admins to include a call to action button in Facebook cover photos. Much to the excitement of businesses all around the world, this simple addition to Facebook business pages was to be initially rolled out in the US with other countries following suit at a later date. It now appears that this function is available in the UK.
Here’s what it looks like in action:
Why is this a good thing?
Having a clear call to action at the top of the page helps businesses on Facebook to deliver their marketing messaging to their Facebook fans without being too pushy. By having an easy and clear to see call to action, it also provides flexibility for admins and businesses to test which call to action button is not only resonating with their audience but also have the opportunity to monitor the results as well as testing landing pages.
Choice at this stage is limited with call to actions geared towards businesses operating on a local scale or e-commerce businesses. Businesses therefore wanting to use the call to action to drive traffic back to the website to find out more might struggle to find an appropriate button with the options only currently including: Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch Video.
Whilst the downsides to this new function are few and far between – the only small issue is that the call to action button isn’t currently available on mobile – however, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was rolled out at a later date.