This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.
YouTube Launches New Tools for Ad Targeting and Creative
YouTube is launching new tools for advertisers based on some research from Ipsos. Ipsos found people are four times more likely to pay attention to online video ads over their TV counterpart, and YouTube video generates twice as much attention compared to other social platforms.
YouTube took that finding and came up with a way to make personalized video ads easier to target and create. First, for targeting YouTube’s updating its Custom Affinity Audiences tool, which is aimed at targeting people in want or in need of something. Now, advertisers can target intent-based keywords, but beyond that, they can target based on apps a consumer has downloaded as well as locations a consumer has been.
The second feature is aimed at helping advertisers create video ads. It’s called Director Mix, and it involves advertisers uploading one or a few creative assets. From there, Director Mix creates thousands of different versions of that ad for different audiences with the aim of targeting messages to different people without raising production costs.
Finally, advertisers can measure offline sales through Datalogix across all campaigns, including bumper ads. Previously, advertisers could only measure offline sales driven by skippable TrueView ads.
What YouTube’s doing with video creation has been done with banners in the past, but this is the first time it’s been done with video. The tools have been put through tests with clients ranging from Campbell’s and McDonald’s to Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed.
This is certainly a robust new offering of tools, and Google’s clearly going after Facebook in a big way. Facebook’s been touting its video capabilities. YouTube’s saying… not so fast. We’re the original, and we’re not giving up so easily.
Pinterest Opens Up Taste Graph Targeting
Pinterest is now allowing advertisers to target more than 5,000 interests, something Pinterest calls the “Taste Graph.” Taste Graph is designed to determine what its users like as well as how what they like changes over time with the idea being what’s in today may not be tomorrow. It does this by looking at what content pinners have engaged with recently as well as how frequently they engage with that content. For example, someone interested in wedding planning ideas may be interested right now but lose interest quickly following the wedding they’re planning.
Pinterest’s focus on the Taste Graph underscores its point of difference with other platforms. While they focus on audience and user size, Pinterest is focusing on user interests.
Pinterest is at its best when it’s used as a search tool, which is all about focusing on user intent. Taste Graph allows advertisers to get closer to user intent and serve up promoted content that’s as relevant as possible.
Twitter Testing 280-Character Tweet Limit
Twitter is testing an increase in a tweet’s character limit from 140 characters to 280. The test is currently limited to a small group of accounts, and Twitter is emphasizing that this is a test. That said, the fact that this test has been given so much prominence, this test looks more like a slow rollout than an actual test. Users who are not part of the test can still see tweets that are 280 characters. The tweets have the look of a paragraph rather than a tweet.
This is a significant shift for Twitter. Brevity was Twitter’s defining feature, so, should this rollout to more users, it will take some getting used to.
Twitter’s been slowly relaxing the character limit for some time. It announced that attachments wouldn’t count in the character limit, and Jack Dorsey tweeted a hint that the 140-character limit wouldn’t be around forever.
Twitter's defining feature was succinct sharing. This certainly makes Twitter easier to use, but it also makes Twitter similar to competitive social networks. That could open up Twitter to a wider audience, or it could raise more questions on whether or not Twitter still has a role to play.
Amazon Surprises Everyone with More Echo Products
Amazon held a surprise event in which they announced new Echo hardware and a refreshed Fire TV.
The first new Echo is the Echo Spot, which basically serves as a smart alarm clock capable of making video calls and connecting via Bluetooth to speakers. It features a 2.5-inch screen, and it could work as a baby camera. It costs $130.
The second new Echo is the Echo Plus, which is really aimed at people with connected homes. It’s meant to function as a hub for smart home technology, and it is compatible with 100 smart home devices which it can connect to via voice—no app required.
Amazon’s also launching cheaper versions of the original Echo, which will cost $99 or come in a three-pack for $249. This revamp of the original can also come in different finishes like cloth and wood.
Finally, Amazon announced the Echo Connect, which allows users to make landline phone calls through Alexa. The outlier for the announcement was the Echo Button, which people can use to play TV-style trivia games at home.
Joining Alexa is a new Fire TV that features 4K support. Amazon also announced that Alexa is going to be integrated into BMWs and some Mini vehicles next year.
The Echo’s success is incredible, and this announcement showed that Amazon will not stop until there’s an Echo in every home. What started as one device is now a collection of products, giving users a wide selection of different styles and levels of functionality.
Snapchat Adds New Sponsored World Lenses
What started with the dancing hot dog and evolved into Bitmojis is now an option for advertisers. Snapchat launched sponsored world lenses, which allow advertisers to drop in their own 3D augmented reality assets for users to play with and share on the platform.
The move is not a big surprise. The dancing hot dog was a huge success, being viewed more than 2 billion times. Advertisers, including Bud Light and Warner Brothers, are already on board.
Snapchat’s placed a big bet on augmented reality, and it’s still an area in which it has an edge over Facebook. While these world lenses will be relegated to advertisers with big budgets, they offer a way for brands to get a massive amount of exposure while inviting users to play with their brands and then share their creations with friends.
News Quick Hits
- Facebook has launched Cross-Platform Brand Lift, a tool that analyzes TV analytics to evaluate brand lift across Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network. The data allows brands to evaluate ad performance between control and exposed groups. Facebook’s also partnering with Nielsen to determine if someone who saw an ad on TV also saw an ad from the brand on Facebook. The goal is to understand the impact of TV on social media as well as the impact social media has on TV to understand how the two work together.
- Snapchat added a new tool called “sky filters,” which lets users add different effects like rainbows and sunsets to the sky. The move is part of Snapchat’s efforts to be the place where users share their creativity.
- Instagram added 100 million users in the past five months. This puts the platform at 800 million monthly users. This is the fastest growth period for Instagram yet. It also now has 2 million advertisers.
- The NFL and Facebook have reached an agreement that will allow Facebook to show highlights from NFL games on Facebook Watch. Facebook joins Twitter, Snapchat and, of course, Amazon, which streams Thursday night games, in having a deal with the NFL. In addition to highlights, the NFL will be launching three shows on Facebook.
- Instagram is giving users more control on who can comment on their posts. They can select specific groups of people if they so choose, such as accounts they follow or followers. Accounts can also blocked from commenting. Users also now have the ability to anonymously report people in need of support who are live broadcasting. This will ensure those individuals get the help they need.
- Vimeo has acquired Livestream, and along with the acquisition it launched a new video product called Vimeo Live. This is the first time Vimeo’s offered its users live streaming capabilities, and its offering is pretty robust. Creators can capture, edit, stream and archive live content, as well as monetize it should they so choose to.
- Facebook’s added a new campaign objective, “Messages,” to its self-serve ad buying tool. Advertisers who want to drive users to their Messenger presences will be able to put the objective to use. Once users tap on the ads, they’ll be taken to a conversation with the brand within Facebook Messenger. Advertisers could do this before using the “Traffic” objective, but this is meant to make the option to drive users to Messenger more apparent.