Facebook adds functionality, viewability to its popular Slideshare ad format

fb-slideshow-ads-802Facebook’s Slideshow ads have proven popular with small businesses eager to create motion picture-like ads on minimal budgets. They leverage the fact that many SMBs, while lacking high-quality full-motion video assets, usually have some good photography lying around that can represent their business case reasonably well. And it’s incredibly easy to quickly assemble a bunch of Slideshow ads you can quickly deploy against a multitude of audience segments you identify on Facebook.

This past week, Facebook added some functionality to Slideshow ads, integrating them more tightly with its stock footage collection, and making their creation easier on mobile devices. Facebook also apparently changed the way that Slideshow ads are compiled, making them easier to view in all their full-motion glory on low-bandwidth cellular connections (an important consideration for international marketers and even for those in the U.S. whose audiences don’t enjoy fast cell service). My colleagues at Didit have the full story — plus an intuitive tutorial that can have you up and running with this ad format in practically no time at all.

Read complete article at Didit.com:
http://www.didit.com/facebook-slideshow-ads-tweaked/

Resisting “shiny object” syndrome

CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4746178Experienced digital marketers know very well what “shiny object syndrome” is: the penchant to embrace the latest, newest, glossiest marketing channel as “the next holy grail.” Of course, no digital marketer admits to suffering from the syndrome — that would reduce his or her credibility. But shiny object syndrome is real — and the best place to see it in action is at trade shows and on the front pages of ad tech industry sites, where “the next big thing” always seems to be just around the corner (what’s conveniently forgotten are all the “next big things” that have already and gone, leaving no trace of their existence).

Shiny object syndrome is a natural product of the novelty bias in the ad tech sector. What’s new is always, always, better than what’s old — even if what’s old is working very well, producing demonstrated ROI, and, when viewed with even a modicum of objectivity, has an excellent chance of continuing to be viable for years to come. In this respect, ad tech uncomfortably resembles the fashion industry — where whim, not wearability, rules the game. That’s fine for fashion, but not fine if a fashion-oriented sensibility — not business reality — is foremost in the mind of the digital media consultant who’s advising you. In this context, shiny object syndrome can actually be dangerous — even ruinous — if the cost of pursuing said shiny object means neglecting digital marketing tactics that could actually work for your business.

Case in point: the role of business blogs in the digital marketing mix. Right now, in 2016, few are excited about their potential, few (if any) headlines include any news tracking their development and best practices, and marketers — as a group — spend far too much time chasing the latest and greatest streaming video platform, niche social network, or other shiny object du jour. And yet business blogs are critical, irreplaceable assets in any content marketers’s toolkit.

Admittedly, they’re not shiny, sexy, or trendy, but when used intelligently — as the “hub” in a multispectrum, multichannel digital marketing structure — business blogs have a lot to offer, and marketers who don’t properly use them are leaving money on the table.

My colleagues have more to say about this issue in a new article posted today at Didit.com that you can read here:

http://www.didit.com/are-business-blogs-still-important-in-2016/

Is Facebook a place for friends or a place for business?

SOCIAL-MEDIA-ROI-cropped-efxFacebook is perceived in the public mind as a place whose primary role is to connect friends, families, and associates in way that facilitates casual conversations. The question for business is whether it’s a social network that can provide meaningful social media ROI.

“Social media ROI,” of course, is a lot harder to establish than it is with more mature marketing technologies, most notably SEM (search engine marketing). With paid search, it’s a routine matter to — at the end of each day — compute the amount of money spent, the amount of money returned in the form of orders or other KPIs whose dollar value has been established, and the difference between these two sums. That’s one reason why paid search is such a powerful tactic: it’s dead simple to understand.

Social media ROI (as well as SEO ROI) is tougher to establish. Social media networks aren’t places where direct conversions occur in the straightfoward way that they do in search. The actual intent of any user is harder to establish. And we can decude — from the failure of social media “buy buttons” (which were much hyped last year) — that social media doesn’t furnish the “lean forward” experience we find on Google, Bing, etc., where folks have been conditioned to view as shopping-oriented environments.

Despite all these caveats, however, there’s some evidence that businesses view Facebook — not LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest, as the best place to get returns on their investments in social media. My colleages at Didit have the full story, which you can read here:

http://www.didit.com/emarketer-survey-facebook-best-network-in-terms-of-social-media-roi/

Competing against marketers whose digital media budgets are bigger than yours

skyscraper-800Let’s be frank and brutally honest. Size matters in digital media. Yes, the internet has democratized marketing in many respects, but when you drill down into the dominant marketing mechanisms that actually dictate success or failure, all advantages accrue to those who can spend more.

For example, let’s talk about Quality Score, which rewards marketers who can afford to buy more clicks. It’s a critical input into Google’s system governing which ads to display in the highest, click-heaviest positions on SERPs. It’s much easier to develop a good Quality Score when you’ve got a big budget than when you have a small one. The result is cheaper clicks for those who need them least. (Although different algorithms hold sway on other social networks, they generally reward those who can afford to spend more — a scenario which, of course, rewards the particular network in question as well as the marketer who lays out the cash.)

Let’s talk about data — the crucial determinant of optimization in any digital media campaign. If you’ve got lots of data, and that data is reliable, you’ve got a much better chance of improving your campaigns by conducting extensive tests on which campaign elements work best. Where does all this data come from? That’s right folks, you’ve got to buy it from the search engines!

Again, the advantage goes to the big spenders.

There are, however, ways for small, wily marketers to turn the tables on their bigger-budget brethren. It’s not easy but it can work. My colleagues at Didit have written an article laying out such a plan, and it’s required reading for those seeking to compete in a system that’s biased against low or moderate spenders. Check it out:

http://www.didit.com/competing-against-digital-marketers-with-bigger-budgets-than-your-own/

PPC search ads: the quiet powerful winners of the digital ad wars

Search ads-picmonkey-blueTo annoy is to “disturb or bother a person in a way that displeases, troubles, or slightly irritates,” according to Dictionary.com.

Unfortunately, annoyance and advertising are, in many contexts, practically synonymous. Banner ads scream at you. Native ads pose (often ridiculously) as high-quality editorial content. Facebook ads clutter up news feeds and obscure any hope of having an actual conversation. Retargeted display ads track you around the web like bloodhounds. And then are traditional broadcast ads, which won’t let you watch what you like until their sponsors finish their pitch.

But some forms of advertising — notably PPC search ads — are much less annoying, for a very simple reason: when people are in a mood to shop, to compare prices, features, or offers, advertising adds value, in the same way that traditional Yellow Page advertising adds value.

Hubspot recently validated the proposition — known for many years in SEM but less well known on Madison Avenue — that search ads are the least annoying form of digital advertising. They’ve got the numbers to back it up, and my colleagues have an article that unpacks the issue which you can read here:

http://www.didit.com/search-ads-powerful-and-never-annoying/

Facebook declares war on clickbait

click-bait-cropClickbait is the content marketing equivalent of “made you look!” Clickbait-oriented headlines are ubiquitous – especially in native advertising feeds often seen at the bottom of news sites, and, of course in scrolling news feeds. The sites they lead to are often strewn with tracking bugs and even malware, making them a genuine hazard, not just an annoyance.

There’s no hard data on how large the “clickbait industry” is, but I’d estimate that there are likely hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of people creating, booking, and managing clickbait campaigns, as well as reselling the user data their destination sites provide to other parties.

Well, all of these people got grim news yesterday, when Facebook announced that it would no longer tolerate any clickbait on its newsfeeds.

My colleagues at Didit cover this issue this week – here’s the link:
http://www.didit.com/facebook-to-marketers-the-age-of-clickbait-is-over/