Twitter and Google Team Up and Pinterest Unveils First Video-Like Ad

Tweets are now searchable on Google, Pinterest announces new ad tools and pricing and more of the latest digital news.

Google Lets You Look for Tweets in Mobile Searches

Twitter and Google have teamed up in an update that will allow tweets to surface directly in a user’s Google search results. This means people will no longer need to go directly to Twitter to find specific tweets from a user’s account or trending hashtag, but will be able to see them directly on Google. The update should help Twitter reach a wider audience by placing tweets outside of its platform to attract new users. For now, the update will appear on both Android and Apple mobile device search browsers and Google apps.

Pinterest Unveils Its First Video-Like Ad and New Ad Pricing Models

On Tuesday, Pinterest rolled out new tools and pricing options for advertisers. The biggest update from the announcement is a new video-like promoted pin called a Cinematic Pin, which moves as the user scrolls down the page. The development came in response to user feedback and the successful engagement of video-based ads on other platforms. In addition, the platform will launch specific audience targeting and a new pricing model based on engagement.

Facebook No Longer Providing Device Level Data for Ads

Beginning this week, Facebook will halt device-level reporting for Facebook mobile app ads. The platform is focusing on people and who they reach rather than the various devices they view ads on. This will have the greatest effect on those who promote mobile apps via Facebook as they no longer will know which devices their ads reach.

YouTube Adds Click-to-Shop Button to TrueView Ads

YouTube is changing the look of its commercials to look like interactive infomercials. Interactive cards will allow retail advertisers to include product information, images and links to purchase a product on the brand’s site, making the path to purchase shorter. The Google-owned video service aims to show brands that it’s more than a profile page.

Facebook Introduces “Add A Link” Tool and LinkedIn Rolls Out New Analytics

Facebook pilots an in-app keyword search engine, LinkedIn offers new analytics for publishing and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Treads on Google’s Turf with ‘Add A Link’ Tool

Facebook started to pilot an in-app keyword search engine allowing users to find websites and articles directly from the platform. The new tool features a search bar for finding popular or trending links by keyword—giving users fewer reasons to leave the Facebook app and enriching Facebook’s user information database. The trial is currently only available to a select few in the U.S.

New Analytics for Publishing on LinkedIn: See Who’s Viewed Your Published Post

LinkedIn began rolling out complex analytics, allowing users to gain valuable insights on who is reading and engaging with their content. Users can now choose any past post within the last six months and analyze its performance summary including views, likes, comments, shares and see a list of specific individuals who engaged with their post. Further, the tool sheds light on user demographics including industry, job title and geography. As brands gain access, there is opportunity to leverage the tool for driving quality engagements, refining targeting and A/B testing.

Snapchat Tries to Jumpstart Discover by Letting You Send Clips to Friends

Since Snapchat’s launch of Discover in January, reports show that viewership is down 30 to 50 percent. Despite that, it seems Snapchat is not giving up on Discover. Last week, Snapchat rolled out an update that allows users to send clips from Discover to friends. Those Snaps will include a “Sent via Discover” banner that users can click to jump straight into Discover. Until now, Snapchat has focused on capturing and commenting on what’s going on in the world, but this new tool highlights its efforts to bring the same storytelling tools to digital content.

Facebook Gives Publishers New Tools to Customize Native Ads in Third-Party Apps

Facebook announced optimizations to their mobile units throughout their Audience Network. In this release, they’re introducing new templates to allow advertisers additional customization of mobile ads, including options to change font, height, background color and button borders. These updates are designed for optimal performance and better user experience.

Google+ is Launching Pinterest-Style Boards Called Collections

Early last week, Google+ introduced the newest feature to their platform, Collections. Similar to Pinterest, the feature will allow users to create boards that can include images, videos and more, helping users organize content into categorized collections. Users will be able to follow other users’ specific collections, allowing them to view the content they want most. Collections is available on the web and Android, with support for iOS coming soon.

New Data Shows U.S Users Spend Most Time in Instagram and Facebook

A recent report revealed that mobile users are spending the most time on Instagram and Facebook, as they move from desktop to mobile. For brands who use Instagram regularly, this news confirms that their content is not only being seen, but it’s being examined, engaged with and processed for the longest amount of time in comparison to other mobile apps. See the report in detail here.

Friday5: How to Run a Successful Lead Generation Campaign

Lead generation can play a critical role in building long-term relationships for businesses. While the goal of a lead generation campaign can vary from driving sales to driving signups for a rewards program, collecting leads generally consists of individuals expressing interest in a product or service by completing a form or submitting requested information.

The key to a successful lead generation campaign is to focus on lead quality, not simply quantity. Quality leads emerge when registrants show the demographic and behavioral attributes that correlate to a higher probability of leading to the desired outcome. Typically, the most efficient way to drive quality leads is through micro-targeted online advertising, allowing the right audience to be reached on the right platform with the right messaging.

Here are five key elements for launching and running a successful lead generation campaign.

1. Research Your Audience

Understanding your audience is especially important when driving leads because you have to focus not only on what will grab their attention, but also motivate them to take the prescribed action. Primary and secondary research should be used to gain an understanding of your audience’s demographic composition, values, beliefs, interests, and media consumption habits to inform the campaign and yield the best conversions.

2. Determine Media Mix

Identify platforms where your audience is most active and build out a plan that will reach users effectively and efficiently across a mix of platforms. This provides advertisers multiple opportunities to convert their targeted audience, even if they do not convert from the initial ad. For instance, someone may hear an ad from an online radio service and then conduct a search for the campaign, leading to a search ad. To make the campaign as efficient as possible, it is crucial to begin optimizing your targeting parameters so you are only reaching the intended audience.

3. Develop Engaging Creative and Messaging

Based on the audience profile(s) and media platform(s), the next step is to develop several creative and messaging concepts based on audience insights. Running and testing a variety of concepts will help determine which elements are successful in driving the most leads, leading to optimization against these findings. Visuals should include imagery that will capture the audience’s attention, while messaging needs to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) with an outlined benefit so people understand what we want them to do and why they should do it.

4. Review the Conversion Funnel

When asking people to do something, it’s important to ensure you’re making it as easy for them as possible. Generally, the fewer steps a person has to take, the more likely they will be to convert. By reviewing the conversion funnel up front, you can identify unnecessary steps that could prevent people from following through and streamline the process accordingly. For instance, an online form should be as short as possible, asking only for crucial information initially and subsequent fields on a second interaction, such as an email or webpage.

5. Test, Optimize, Test

Testing everything is one of the most important aspects of online lead generation. By regularly tracking all campaign components, you’ll be able to clearly see what is working and what isn’t. Using analytics, conversion pixels, attribution models, and tagged inbound URLs, you can see which platforms and creative elements are generating leads, allowing you to optimize toward the most successful audiences and/or creative elements. Running A/B and multivariate tests will also help refine and improve specific campaign elements for current or future campaigns.

Image credit: ericnvntr

Friday5: 5 Entry Points for Executives on Social

Inherent in today’s digital landscape is a new set of expectations for executives, not the least of which is building trust by engaging stakeholders online. With trust in CEOs now at a meager 43 percent according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, there’s never been a better time to leverage digital tools to build an authentic online presence and directly engage with key stakeholders.

For CEOs who are less comfortable communicating online, getting started comes with its own set of challenges. After all, not every executive is as savvy on social as Richard Branson. Here are five ways that executives new to social media can build a strategic online presence that elevates their personal brand and provides a reputational lift for their company:

1. Content Curation

In crafting a digital narrative, executives can share the latest thinking from across their industry. One standout example is Doug Conant, former chief executive of Campbell Soup Company, whose updates are peppered with best practices from leadership thought leaders such as Bill George. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner takes a similar approach, sharing the latest HR trends on Twitter, contextualized with a thoughtful point of view.

2. Brand Amplification

Equally important is the celebration of team wins on social media – a clear trend among active executives. Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo!, regularly showcases the standout work of her team. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is another top executive to emulate, as he mixes appearance updates with the latest corporate news from Salesforce, such as a recent app release.

3. Insider Access

In addition to amplifying corporate wins, executives are ideally suited to share the ins and outs of their organizations. One notable example is Apple’s Tim Cook, who regularly spotlights the experts behind the brand’s latest product rollouts. Marissa Mayer’s behind-the-scenes posts follow a similar theme, highlighting Yahoo employees’ participation in pop culture moments, such as last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

4. Personal Tone

Social media gives executives the opportunity to humanize otherwise stuffy corporate messaging. CEOs, in particular, are embracing a down-to-earth persona on social. Jeff Weiner shares a trove of resources, including online shopping tricks. Mayer takes a similarly social approach, sharing photos from various appearances, opting for unfiltered, Facebook-style images over pristine stock imagery.

5. Inspirational Musings

Perhaps most important to executives is demonstrating thought leadership and business acumen. On social, this often translates to sharing sage advice on climbing the corporate ladder, multi-tasking, work-life balance and taking the road less traveled. Tangerine Bank CEO Peter Aceto uses inspirational content in the form of standalone tweets, many garnering a handful of retweets and favorites. Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes takes this to the next level, authoring a constant stream of LinkedIn Influencer posts, each on the fundamentals of career success.

Today, executive and brand reputation are one and the same and the onus is on CEOs – new and established alike – to build a compelling digital narrative. Among the many benefits of a solid social presence include improved recruitment efforts, with 76 percent of employees reporting that they would rather work for a social CEO, according to a recent LinkedIn and Altimeter study. Invariably, it’s the executives sharing industry insights, spotlighting team wins and inspiring the wider community that are reaping these benefits and serving as role models for CEO communications on social.

Image credit: reynermedia

Twitter Improves Ads with Acquisition and Scheduling Pins on Pinterest Now Possible

Twitter’s acquisition improves ads, Pinterest’s new scheduling functionality and more of the latest digital news.

Twitter Improves Ads by Acquiring TellApart, Selling Them Through Google’s DoubleClick

This week, Twitter acquired commerce ads tech firm TellApart and announced it will allow ads to be sold through Google’s DoubleClick bid manager. TellApart will aid cross-device targeting and measurement, helping advertisers reach users wherever they are, and allowing Twitter to get credit no matter where ads are viewed. Twitter’s partnership with Google’s DoubleClick ad exchange will allow advertisers to purchase ads from both websites and Twitter on a single interface, centralizing their buying.

Pinterest and Buffer Team Up to Make Scheduling Pins Possible

Pinterest and Buffer have teamed up to allow brands and influencers to schedule their pins, ultimately giving more control of their social media presence. This feature not only promotes efficiency in the social media planning process, but also helps optimize the timing of the posts. Buffer already offers a similar schedule post service for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, currently making them the only one-stop-shop for planned social media publishing. Users will need a paid Buffer Awesome or Buffer for Business account to use the feature.

Instagram Launches @Music, Its First Official Content Vertical

Instagram has launched a new, internally operated account that will be used to showcase musicians and music lovers in the community. @Music will share updates once daily, Tuesday through Sunday. Content will include short profiles of featured artists and a mix of editorial, including a series offering 15-second music lessons and another spotlighting independent artists around the world. By creating exclusive editorial content, Instagram hopes to become a full-service platform for music lovers, and to enhance its position as a critical ally for artists and labels.

The Votes Are In: Your 2015 Webby Awards Winners

The 2015 Webby Awards results are in! Mashable shares a few of the highlights from this year’s 344 winners.

Friday5: Modern Brand Storytelling

This past week, Seattle hosted its annual IN-NW Conference featuring speakers and panel sessions dedicated to discussing what’s next for digital engagement and modern business. During the conference, Edelman Seattle’s Megan Tweed, Digital Senior Vice President and Deputy GCRM (Assembly, Inc.), shared five ways brands can effectively tell their story and adapt to the modern media ecosystem.

1. Meet the needs and expectations of consumers

There is a value exchange that exists between brands and consumers – a relationship that produces a quantifiable value. From Edelman’s brandshare report, 87 percent of consumers want more meaningful relationships with brands, including responsiveness, transparency and access. Brands are now more dynamic than before, accessible to everyone, and starting points for shared discussions. As new brands emerge, consumer loyalty begins to thin. To remain relevant to their audiences, brands need to say something unique, relatable and create value for the consumer – a reason to engage.

2. Data is your hidden superpower

Brands and publishers are now competing head to head, and the new battle royale is content, with data serving as the hidden superpower for achieving visibility and relevancy. With today’s advanced technology, brands now have access to data points that explains user preferences, subscription information, purchase history, and more. Leveraging this information enables them to further refine their targeting and approach, ultimately delivering the best possible user experience: personalized and catering to the audience’s interests.

IN NW post graphic 043015 v2

3. Become a publisher

There’s a fundamental shift underway where platforms are targeting publishers with an algorithm shift that brings their organic reach closer to that of brands, further emphasizing the need for brands to use paid or negotiate a publishing deal to ensure content visibility. Why pay for an audience when you can become the media property? As brands progress towards a publisher-type content model, there is a stronger need for editors versus brand managers. To effectively reach its audiences, brands should be anticipated, personal, and relevant, rather than interruptive.

4. Understand the power of tech

Brands that understand data-driven storytelling can break the silos and get their stories front and center of their target audience. By implementing a mix of old school and new era communications marketing, brands will create relevancy across touch points throughout the brand and consumer relationship – while delivering retention, usage and upselling opportunities for more efficiency in upper-funnel marketing and content creation.

5. Take a bird’s eye view approach

Evaluate the changes in social platform visibility algorithms, from all sides, and be ready to redefine your brand’s business objectives. What are you actually creating and how does that serve your customers’ best interest? Does it really matter? Real content marketing is making something worth talking about. Above all, the brand needs to show that it cares. Be fearless, but be real.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, how will you cut through the clutter to tell your brand’s story?

Image credit: justgrimes

Facebook Updates Its News Feed Algorithm Again and Twitter Direct Messaging Now Available to All Users

Facebook released three more updates to its News Feed algorithm, Twitter’s direct messaging feature is now available to all users and more of the latest digital news.

Facebook Tweaks News Feed to Show More Updates from Friends, Fewer Stories When Friends Like or Comment 

Early this week, Facebook announced three updates to the News Feed algorithm. The first update will further prioritize content (photos, videos, status updates and links) posted by a user’s Facebook friends. Another update will deprioritize posts that friends have engaged with, putting the most emphasis on posts that come directly from friends and pages that the user has liked. The last update will allow multiple posts from the same source to appear in a row, in an effort to keep Facebook interesting for those who don’t have a large network.

Twitter Direct Messaging Now Available to All Users

Twitter announced that all users now have the option to receive direct messages from other users. Originally, this capability was introduced to a small group of users in 2013. On Twitter’s “Security and Privacy” page, users have the option to adjust their settings to turn the direct message option on or off. This is an attempt by the platform to boost engagement, especially for brands on the channel.

Snapchat May Soon Let Users Unlock Photos If They’re Standing in Just the Right Location, According to Patent

According to a patent filed by Snapchat, users may soon be able to unlock photos and messages from friends based on their geolocations. Though this feature is by no means official, it suggests that Snapchat is thinking about how to tie location into its product even further, in alignment with its existing geo-based filters.

Vine’s New Share Screen Lets You Post to Multiple Social Networks at Once, Including Tumblr

Vine, Twitter’s six-second video application, now allows users to easily share videos between Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr. The update enables users to quickly share their favorite videos across their social properties, spreading the net of popular Vine videos. The update is currently available on iOS and will be available on Android at a later date.

Friday5: 5 Ways Technology is Helping Reduce Health Disparities

By Alexis Cummings, Christen Smiley and Will Ayers

April is designated as Minority Health Month to raise awareness of the disparity in health conditions between minority and non-minority populations. This year, the FDA’s Office of Minority Health (OMH) is collaborating with the HHS Office of Minority Health to celebrate this year’s theme – “30 Years of Advancing Health Equity, The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparities in America.” We took this opportunity to focus on five ways technology is being used to alleviate health disparities.

1. Mobile makes health accessible

Multicultural consumers have led the growth in smartphone penetration and according to a Pew Research Center study, Hispanics and African Americans were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to access health information on their phones. Search topics concerning specific diseases, medical treatments and weight loss were the top search categories for African-American and Hispanic smartphone users.

Researchers at UCLA are currently conducting clinical trials in Los Angeles using a smartphone app that tracks the eating habits of 40 African-American women at risk for heart disease.

2. Building communities

A study completed by the University of Michigan found that a majority of African-American men surveyed said they do not go to the doctor because visits are stressful and physicians don’t provide adequate information on how to make prescribed behavior or lifestyle changes.

Many culturally targeted online communities have sprouted to provide relevant and actionable information such as Black Men Run, Black Girls Run!, Pretty Girls Sweat, and The Healthy Latina*.

3. Social media

According to a late 2014 Pew Research Center survey, Latinos, African Americans and Whites use social media networks equally, but there are differences in their preferences for specific social media sites. Facebook is the most widely used platform regardless of race or ethnicity but Instagram and Twitter are more popular with Latinos and African Americans.

Understanding these nuances is important when trying to connect with these diverse communities. Organizations like the American Heart Association has incorporated social media channels to raise awareness on its EmPowered To Serve initiative, which focuses on improving health in multicultural communities by building a sustainable healthy culture. The American Heart Association’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ platforms have a combined audience of 1.3 million followers.

4. Engaging health professionals

In a 2011 Mintel study, about two thirds of both Hispanic and African-American respondents indicated that their health is excellent or generally good – which counters the large amounts of data that proves the opposite to be true. Among these groups, cultural dietary patterns and fear of social stigmatization have been found to deter significant changes in behaviors that lead to a healthy lifestyle, such as diet or exercise lifestyle modification.

Health Net uses its online platform to provide cultural literacy training to its workforce, which enables healthcare professionals to better connect and understand patients from diverse cultural backgrounds.

5. Access to health resources

Wellness websites such as HolaDoctor.com and BlackDoctor.org are online platforms using innovative ways to assist multicultural populations with health information and access. HolaDoctor.com is providing uninsured Hispanics with a tool that provides access to healthcare options through The Affordable Care Act’s special enrollment period. BlackDoctor.org has a similar tool that provides visitors with information on healthcare laws, Medicare, insurance plans and available doctors in their local area.

*Michelle is an Edelman employee

Image credit: rosmary

YouTube’s Paid Subscription Coming Soon and Tumblr Debuts 24-Hour Dashboard Ad

YouTube soon to offer paid subscriptions, Tumblr debuts a 24-hour dashboard ad and more of the latest digital news.

YouTube’s Paid Subscription Offering Takes Shape – And It’s Almost Here

YouTube’s paid subscription offering is quickly taking shape as it moves closer to its expected release in the next few months. A subscription will offer consumers ad-free videos, the ability to store videos offline on mobile devices and much more. The producers of YouTube videos will take a percentage of the subscription revenue, with the caveat that they must participate in the subscription offering or their videos will be set to private. Subscriptions could cost consumers around $10 a month, with a reduced price option to subscribe to specific channels. This move comes at a critical time, as competition has increased in the online video space.

Tumblr Debuts New Ad That Sits at the Top of Users’ Dashboards for 24 Hours

Tumblr yesterday released a new ad product called Sponsored Day, enabling marketers to appear at the top of viewers’ dashboards for a 24-hour period. Sponsored Day posts will be marked by a dollar sign icon and are intended to direct traffic to a brand’s custom content channel through the site’s Explore tab. Ads are viewable by anyone who visits the platform and brands are not required to have a Tumblr page to purchase an ad.

With Snapchat’s First Ad Format on Hold, Focus Shifts to Live Event Feeds

Earlier this week, Snapchat stopped selling Brand Story ads that let advertisers pay to promote a standalone piece of branded content within the mobile app. Instead, the company is promoting its TV-like Our Story feeds, as well as its portal Discover. Additionally, Snapchat is also pitching localized stories that will be specific to college campuses or metropolitan areas. Their “Our Story” feature will be restricted to pre-produced footage.

Instagram Adds Post Notifications for Specific Accounts, Color and Fade Tools

Instagram users are now able to receive push notifications from their favorite accounts with the platform’s new post notifications tool, making it easier to keep track of favorite accounts. In the same announcement, Instagram also released new photo editing tools called Color and Fade. Color allows users to adjust the tone of the highlights and shadows of pictures for moody effects and Fade blends colors together for a muted effect. The Color and Fade tools are currently available on Android devices and are coming to iOS soon.

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