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.
Facebook’s Relevance Score is Replaced with New Metrics
Facebook is replacing its relevance score on April 30. The relevance score was introduced in 2015 as a way of measuring whether or not ads were relevant to the audiences they were trying to reach on the Facebook platform.
The relevance score will be replaced by three new metrics:
Quality Ranking will look at the level of quality an ad has compared to other ads going after the same audience.
Engagement Rate Ranking will evaluate an ad's expected engagement rate compared to ads going after the same audience.
Conversion Rate Ranking will look at how an ad’s expected conversion rate compares with ads that have the same optimization goals and are targeted to the same audience.
The metrics will be made available to advertisers to evaluate creative and targeting optimizations. As one of the biggest ad platforms out there, advertisers have to work with Facebook, but often what works and doesn’t work on the platform can be a bit of a black box. These metrics will be helpful for advertisers questioning why certain creative and targeting parameter worked and why others didn’t. It’s good to see the relevance score be turned into something that adds clarity to what exactly is being measured.
It’s worth noting that these metrics are predictions and should be used directionally. They are expected results based on Facebook’s data. Some ads will perform better than expected, while some may perform worse.
Twitter Focuses on Images and Video
Twitter’s updated its camera feature within its app by taking a page or two out of Snapchat’s app functionality. Now, users can access the camera by swiping left on the screen versus having to find the feature within the tweet composer. From there users can take a photo or shoot a video up to two minutes long. Then they have 240 characters to add a caption. Users who have geo-targeting on will be able to choose from suggested locations and related hashtags to add to the content.
Twitter says its goal is to make it simple to capture what is happening, and unlike Stories on Instagram or Snapchat, it’s placing little to no emphasis on selfies. It’s about capturing what’s happening in the world.
What’s perhaps most compelling about all of this is the emphasis Twitter’s going to place on images in the feed. Video and images are going to be larger in the feed environment, and images are going to appear before tweet text, placing the emphasis on visuals. Twitter has no plans at the moment to algorithmically emphasize images, but for brands, it’s worth noting, visuals are going to get a lot more real estate and prominence in user timelines.
Facebook Is Under Criminal Investigation
Facebook’s facing a criminal investigation for its data sharing practices. specifically how it allowed more than 100 companies, including Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify, to access user data without consent.
The investigation alleges Facebook went so far as to allow Microsoft’s Bing search engine to view users’ entire friends lists without consent, and Spotify and Netflix were even able to read private messages.
Facebook argues the partnerships were publicized, and nothing was shared without user permission. It also sates it didn’t violate any terms from a 2012 FTC settlement.
So here we are one week after Mark Zuckerberg published his manifesto on plans for a privacy-focused, encryption-fueled future for Facebook. The announcement seemed to be intended to be a reset for Facebook, but we already have more details being revealed around just how open Facebook was with user data. The story shows just how deep a hole Facebook has dug for itself, and it’s difficult to see Facebook coming anywhere close to regaining the trust it once had.
News Quick Hits
YouTube’s updated its YouTube Stories to allow users to add AR filters to their selfies. The feature works just like the animated masks on Snapchat and Instagram, but they say they’ve added in machine learning capabilities to make the masks better able to crop faces. The feature is only available to YouTube creators at this time, so if you don’t have 10,000 channel subscribers or more, don’t expect to see them.
Twitter just launched a new experimental app called Twttr. The app can be used by beta testers to try new features being tested for Twitter. At the moment, the focus of the app is on a more chat-like presentation for Twitter. Users have to apply to have access to the app, and right now, it’s only letting in about 2,000 Android users. Still, the app may provide more transparency on upcoming features coming from the platform. Users don’t have to sign NDAs, and they’ve already been pretty vocal around their thoughts on Twitter’s updated conversation threads, saying they look an awful lot like Reddit.
A group of television companies, including NBC Universal, CBS, Disney Media Networks and others, has come together to create Project OAR (Open Addressable Ready). The group’s goal will be to create a new, open standard for addressable television ads all in an effort to offer better targeting of ads to individual households. In short, the group is intended to help TV better compete from a targeting perspective with Google and Facebook.
Hulu is looking to maintain the momentum of its 48% year-over-year subscriber increase by partnering with Spotify on a new promotion. For a limited time (until June 10) and to a limited number of users, Hulu’s ad-supported plan will come free for Spotify Premium users. Spotify Premium comes in at $9.99 per month. This isn’t the first time Hulu’s offered the deal. It offered a similar plan last year for $12.99. Users who signed up last year will be switched to the new $9.99 price.
An update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act from 1998 has been introduced in the Senate from Senators Edward Markey and Josh Hawley. The update would strengthen COPPA to prohibit online ads targeted to children and would require tech companies to share more on their personal information collection practices. Tech companies would also have to get consent if they collect information from children between 13 and 15. Beyond that, devices targeted to kids will need to meet strict security standards and disclosures should the bill pass.
Facebook is making some updates to its “Potential Reach” metric, which has been used by advertisers to get an idea of how many people will be reached by a campaign. Now, the metric will only take people who have seen an ad on Facebook within the past 30 days into account. Previously, the metric included the total number of monthly active Facebook users there were. The goal is to focus on taking people into account who have been using Facebook in ways that would generate an ad impression versus those who are spending time in groups or in the Explore section of Instagram, for example.
Apple has set the date of March 25 to unveil its new streaming platform. The details are light, but Apple is reportedly still in the process of courting content providers to secure third-party content for its platform that will be available alongside original programming from Apple.
This week Facebook suffered its biggest outage in its 15-year history for unclear reasons. Facebook, Instagram and Messenger were all down along with Facebook Ads Manager, which meant the 6 million Facebook advertisers were unable to manage or run their campaigns.
Facebook is extending the Watch Party experience to TV, meaning users will be able to participate in Watch Parties on their televisions and not just their mobile devices. The feature is launching to support live sports initially.
Spotify is taking Apple to court in the European Union to challenge Apple's 30% fee on purchases made through Apple’s in-app payment system, a charge that is not levied on Apple Music. Spotify argues that this puts competitive services at a disadvantage.
Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and lead for WhatsApp are leaving Facebook. The departures were sparked by Facebook’s recent announcements to focus on privacy and emphasize encryption. These are some of the most high-profile departures from Facebook.