social media advertising Tag

The ‘Buy’ Button: Facebook’s Newest Feature

Picture 7-24-2014Facebook has long been trying to find ways to cater to advertisers, because at the end of the day, profitability is what’s most important to the majority of social networks. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are always looking for ways that their brands can be monetized, generally through working in creative ways with advertisers. All three of these social networks made announcements this week that have implied that they are making more pushes towards swift mobile payments.

Facebook has tried with varying degrees of success to find ways to benefit their advertisers by coming up with interesting ways for users to be able to purchase items directly from Facebook. They launched Facebook Gifts a long while back and followed that up with gift cards. Their newest endeavor appears to have arrived in the form of a ‘Buy’ button that appears on the News Feed of Facebook users and allows them to purchase products directly through Facebook, rather than being redirected to another page via the advertisement.

Currently, the ‘Buy’ button remains in the testing phases and is only available for a “few small and medium-sized businesses in the US” while Facebook continues to evaluate customer feedback. They have made statements saying that these features have been developed with privacy in mind and that privacy should not be something anyone has to worry about with these transactions. Credit and debit card information used for these Facebook-based transactions will not be shared with other advertisers and users can choose whether or not that information is saved for future purchases. The ‘Buy’ button began appearing in the web and mobile versions of Facebook last Thursday.

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.

Facebook Charging Money for New Features

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Facebook’s primary source for revenue has generally come from the enormous amounts of ad sales that they have made to countless companies that are looking for the incredible amount of exposure made possible through Facebook’s reported 1.11 billion active users. Though Facebook has certainly never been hurting for money and the majority of their services remain free, they have released a number of paid services over the past few months in order to generate additional revenue.

One of the earliest features that Facebook began to push out is the ability for users to ‘promote’ their Facebook posts. Essentially, promoting a post means that will increase the likelihood that one’s audience (people who like your Page) or Facebook friends will see a post by moving it up higher in their News Feed. The cost is based on one’s geographic location and how many people the post would be reaching. More recently, Facebook also added the ability to promote any of your friends’ posts, even without their permission, though these posts can only be viewed by anyone that your friend shared said post with in the first place.

Another new feature that Facebook is beginning to push through is an update to the social network’s messaging system. In the system’s current state, messages received from people that someone is not Facebook friends with will be filtered rather aggressively into an ‘Other’ folder that is often looked over. Facebook wants to offer the ability to pay to circumvent this filter. In other words, Facebook users will be able to pay a small fee – supposedly somewhere between $1 and $15 – to get messages more easily to people they aren’t Facebook friends with. In order to prevent abuse of this service, Facebook has said they will only be extending this service to people – rather than businesses – and users will only be able to receive one paid message in their inbox per said post with in the first place.

Another much more bizarre feature that Facebook recently added was a similar messaging ability, albeit a much more expensive and specific version of that ability. Essentially, it works in the same way as the aforementioned messaging feature: Facebook users can pay a fee to get a message sent to someone and ensure that it won’t go into the ‘Other’ folder, only in this case, that someone is Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The price to get a message directly to Mark Zuckerberg is a cool $100, which has been mentioned as Facebook as an ‘extreme price point’ that is being used to see what works to filter spam.

How Ads are Evolving on Social Networks

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Those without a depth of knowledge regarding social media may wonder where revenue is generated from for these multi-billion dollar companies, considering the services are free for anyone to use and so many people are taking advantage of these networks. Though there are a number of ways these companies generate revenue, the simplest route is through advertisements that are made on the networks from companies and corporations that are trying to get their own names out there through social media.

With social media becoming as prevalent as it is, companies like Facebook and Twitter are trying to get a little bit more creative with the way that advertisements are targeted to their users. For instance, Facebook has recently incorporated a system known as ‘Facebook Exchange’ to the ads in Facebook’s News Feed, which allows Facebook to pull from other websites that the user has visited in the past. Moving those advertisements from the right side of the page to the News Feed itself was major for business prospects, due to the ability to more easily view these advertisements on Facebook’s ever-growing mobile presence.

More recently, Twitter has chosen to take a page from Facebook, as ads from Twitter will appear based on keywords used in a Twitter user’s tweets. Twitter had initially categorized its users based on tweets, so that someone who tweeted about coffee would be put into a ‘coffee lover’ group, but Twitter will now respond directly to certain words in recent tweets and adapt its advertisements to suit the user’s possible interests. The service will even be using ‘natural language processing’ which will allow them to prevent from offering ads for something that someone is tweeting negatively about.

Certain reports have stated that Facebook is planning for yet another step in regards to updating their advertising options. This summer, they may be releasing auto-playing video advertisements. The videos would be 15-second spots that would come with a mighty price tag, supposedly costing $1 million per day per demographic, a move which could ultimately net billions for Facebook. How users react to auto-playing video ads on their Facebook, however, might be another story entirely.

Facebook Announces Updated News Feed

On Thursday, Picture 3-12-2013March 7, Facebook announced a new version of its News Feed – known as one of the ‘three pillars’ of Facebook alongside Timeline and Graph Search – and the thesis statement of this announcement appears to be that Facebook is looking to cut down on clutter. Essentially, the update to the News Feed will allow Facebook users to easily change what information they are viewing on their News Feed. The company has likened this ability to turning pages on a newspaper.

For instance, Facebook users will start out on the ‘front page,’ which includes all of the information typically seen on their News Feed. However, users will easily be able to ‘turn the page’ to other categories, such as a view that only shows close friends, a view that only shows photos, or a view that only shows game-related information. By filtering out the excess posts, Facebook users will be able to easily find whatever information they might be looking for.

In addition to these ‘pages,’ there will also be other design choices made to the new Facebook. Some sources have suggested that this redesign makes the web version of Facebook look a lot more like the exceedingly popular mobile version of Facebook, which is likely due to the focus on simplicity, considering the mobile version of Facebook is also less cluttered, out of necessity. In the new design, photos have been made larger and navigation options have been slimmed down. These changes sound great for most Facebook users, but the fact that users will be able to more easily filter certain posts out may be a hindrance to companies that rely on Facebook for marketing, similar to how DVRs have affected television commercials.

That’s how it looks at first glance, anyway. In actuality, some are reporting that the very reason that Facebook is receiving a redesign in the first place is to effectively include more advertising, allowing more space for ads and more ability to properly personalize those advertisements. Considering how there is often a bit of backlash every time Facebook chooses to redesign their website, followed by eventual acceptance and forgetting what the previous design looked like, one can only wonder how much backlash there might be to a redesign that’s being done particularly to include additional potentially invasive advertisements.

Facebook Continues to Expand Its Business Model

As the undisputed king of social media, it would seem like Facebook has little room for expansion in the realm of online networking. But the company continues to rollout new innovations to stay ahead of competitors, and recently Facebook has even begun to branch into other industries as well. Nobody knows for sure what the ultimate goal of Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook is—aside from astronomical profits, of course—but industry insiders are now talking of a burgeoning battle between Facebook, Google and Apple for supremacy in the online marketplace and beyond.

At first blush it may not seem like these companies would be in competition with one another, but as the internet, phones, TV and other technologies are combined into a homogenous mix, it’s difficult to tell where one industry ends and another begins. One of the common grounds where all three companies thrive is advertising.


New Businesses, Legislation Look to Address Online Privacy Concerns

The rampant use of social media sites and online networks has made personal information more readily available than ever. And with sites like Facebook constantly having their privacy settings and policies called into question, people are becoming increasingly concerned with monitoring and managing their online image. The issue of online privacy has helped spawn a completely new industry with startups offering a plethora of services centering on targeted marketing and persona information.

There are always two sides to any story, of course. Some of these companies are seeking to help businesses capitalize on this new and readily available personal information, while others take the opposite approach by helping individuals maintain online privacy and monitor how their information is being utilized. According to Forrester Research, online identity protection is now a $2.5 billion industry, and it continues to grow by 12 to 15 percent each year.


US Businesses Struggle to Utilize Social Media Marketing

Despite the fact that social networking sites were originally created to facilitate communication between people around the globe, they have morphed into a powerful, free tool for business marketing. And since companies like Facebook and Twitter were founded in the United States, it’s natural to assume that Americans are the ones who are using these tools to the greatest advantage. But according to a new survey from Regus, the US actually is behind the global average when it comes to using social media to attract customers.

Just 35 percent of companies in the US say they have garnered new customers via social networking, compared to a global aver of 40 percent. The US ranks eighth behind established global players like Germany and China, as well as emerging economies like India and Spain. With 38 percent of small businesses and 27 percent of large corporations currently using social media, it certainly isn’t a secret here in the US, which begs the question: why are we so ineffective at using it?


How Do Social Media Sites Make Money?

From small businesses to international corporations, everyone is looking to capitalize on social media to expand their clientele and promote their business. One of the main draws of various social media sites is the fact that they are free, which is pretty amazing considering Facebook alone has over 500 million users. As you can imagine, creating efficient software that performs flawlessly on this scale is a labor-intensive task requiring a full team of individuals. And since these social media sites are free, the obvious question then becomes how do these companies stay afloat, let alone turn a profit?


Differentiating Your Business Using Social Media

By now you are (hopefully) well aware of the immense benefits social media integration can bring to your business. But since social media is free in most cases and information is readily available, chances are that your competition is attempting to implement the same marketing and networking tactics. The question then becomes how to differentiate yourself and your business. Here are a few tips for getting your voice heard on the social networks: