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How Do Social Networks Seem Like They’re Psychic?

Picture 2-26-2015Occasionally, when you glance at the sidebar on Facebook, you might wonder how exactly it is that Facebook seems to know exactly how to cater to what you’re interested in. What you might not know is that Facebook has algorithms intended to help find the ads that suit you best. Since mid-2014, Facebook began using app and website data from your browsing habits, effectively going through your search history in order to determine which ads to target to you. While Facebook provides the ability to opt out of this, the default setting allows this sort of ad targeting to occur.

More recently, Facebook revealed that they were rolling out a new advertisement option called Product Ads, which are dynamically optimized to ensure that the products you see in the advertisements are based specifically on your interests and activities, as well as your location and whether or not you have already visited the advertiser’s website or used their application. These will be particularly useful for showing different types of products that come from the same company, such as Target and Shutterfly.

You may not realize how much information social networks can gather just from the things you have ‘liked’, the things you have posted and shared, and your general search history. One long-term study had subjects take personality tests and then used an algorithm based on their Facebook profile to see how closely their personality could be predicted alongside the test. The algorithm was able to produce a more accurate description of their personality than that subject’s friends and family.

Facebook is not the only social network that has been used to predict things. One study took a look at the emotional language used on Twitter, comparing the amount of angry tweets to mortality rates for atherosclerotic heart disease in particular counties. The researchers in this study determined that Twitter was actually a more effective means of predicting heart disease than conventional methods that look at smoking, diet, or obesity. This is evidence that a lot can be learned from social networks and these sorts of studies could wind up serving greater purposes than just targeting advertisements.

Facebook’s New Video Advertisements

Picture 12-19-2013Advertising is truly what generates the money for social networks and they are always trying to find new and innovative ways to advertise to their users. Since so many people use social networks in this day and age, brands are always striving to advertise to them and cater to potential customers based on their interests. Facebook’s most recent addition to their advertising repertoire comes in the form of auto-playing video advertisements.

The video advertisements are intended to not be entirely distracting from the social network itself. The videos will play automatically without sound within the News Feed, but if they are clicked on, they will extend to full screen and sound will begin to play. When the video is finished, the same advertiser will also offer two additional videos that can be potentially viewed by the Facebook user if they are interested in whatever is being advertised.

Interestingly, this method of advertisement may challenge marketers to take a new approach when it comes to finding new ways to make potential customers interested in their products. Because the video ads are not particularly intrusive, are soundless to begin with, and can be easily scrolled past, advertisers will need to find catchy ways to intrigue the interest of Facebook users without using sound in the short period of time that it will take for someone on Facebook to scroll past the ad.

Though the Facebook video advertisements have already been launched this week, they are still in the testing phases. They will initially only appear for some Facebook users, before they are gradually rolled out to the entirety of the social network’s user base. Facebook’s stock has already seen a 2% increase, based on the belief that these video advertisements will continue to boost the company’s revenue.

YouTube Users to Soon Charge for Videos

In April, YouTube released a movie rental service that would allow users to watch a small selection of movies directly from the site. In a recent interview with Media Post, Hunter Walk, director of project management, said the site will allow users to charge a rental fee for their online videos. 

The details of the new rental program are still scarce, but will likely allow any user to sign up with the program, regardless of how many views they’ve had on YouTube. Users who rent the films will likely have access to the video for a 24-hour period and will be charged anywhere from $1-$6. (more…)

Your Own iPhone App: There’s An App For That

ieplexusphoneIt seems that there’s an app for just about everything.  Whether you are looking to play a game, trying to keep track of your finances, search the latest trends in the social media world, or even make new friends, there’s an app for it.   And with several apps profiting in the 7 digit range, everyone is trying to create an app for something or another. But actually building an app takes time and money, unless you have the skills of an advanced developer.  But now anyone can create an app for a pretty affordable option.

A service known as AppMakr launched this week, and promises to help you create an application for iTunes.  That means parts of your website could be turned into an application for iPods & iPhones alike.  Sharing news, your Twitter feed, video blogs, and just about anything else you can think of could now be part of your very own app. (more…)

Google Boosts Real-Time Ad Capabilities

google-logo-mountainview-01Google announced this morning they have teamed up with Teracent, a San Mateo, Calif., advertising company.  Teracent has created some high-tech software and algorithms, which will help create automatic and real-time advertisements.

“We think that this technology has great potential to improve display advertising on the web,” Google’s blog said. “That’s why we’re pleased to announce today that we’ve entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Teracent. The transaction, which is subject to various closing conditions, is expected to close this quarter.” (more…)