Socialize: January 2014

Posted by: in Advertising, Communication, Content, Social Media Insights & Trends on January 31, 2014

The  New Year brings new social media changes and resolutions. Expect less cluttering of Newsfeeds and less ads across all channels and help your clients focus on creating more concise content and one of a kind visuals! Let’s make this the year of social media marketing wins! Check out what has already changed as we jump into 2014.

What you need to know in January:

  • Facebook Set to Eliminate Sponsored Ads
    • Facebook announced that it will be retiring Sponsored Story advertisements, effective April 9. After this point, all existing Sponsored Story ads will transition into other ad formats (i.e. – turn into a Page Like ad). The social context element (where one or more of your friends are featured in the ad) of a Sponsored Story ad will become a commonplace in all Facebook advertisements.
    • Why it matters: If your clients currently sponsor story advertisements on Facebook, let them know that change is coming. Brands may want to consider waiting before purchasing a Sponsored Story advertisement, not only because they will soon retire, but the algorithm of Facebook will most likely change once the transition takes place. Your client may want to see how affective these changes are before putting money towards something that may not have quick results.
    • What you have to say about it: “The fact that Sponsored Stories are being eliminated is less interesting than the fact that Facebook will eventually bring social context to all ads. This is very smart when you consider the power of a “personal recommendation,” which in essence is what social context provides. However it makes me wonder if users will be less apt to “Like” a company/product knowing that they will more often be associated with it via advertising.” – Chantal Roshetar, Account Director, Healthcare
  • Facebook Improves Ad Targeting
    • Facebook announced a number of changes to its Ads API program, improving the logic of its ad targeting strategy. When advertisers select two or more audiences to target, Facebook will now define those parameters to more specific target audiences, rather than making them two separate targets. Facebook also has improved demographic targeting for a user’s workplace, education, job title, relationship status and life events.
    • Why it matters: Advertisers can now target Facebook users based on their behaviors, creating a more defined target audience and increasing the amount of people that an advertiser can reach with each advertising purpose. This will also increase the amount of fans that purchase products and stay on your page, depending on the advertising message.
    • What you have to say about it: “Precision advertising isn’t anything new, as search companies have been doing this for a few years now – think about those Google text ads that follow you around online. From a marketing perspective, this is a cost-effective and much more targeted way to reach consumers. But from a consumer perspective, the ads can sometimes be an annoyance and users are unlikely to leave Facebook to visit an advertiser’s website. It’s clear that Facebook is finding new ways to monetize their service, and their attempt with sponsored stories didn’t work, so it will be interesting to see how much traction they get with this program.” –Tracy Gale, Director, Healthcare
  • Facebook Launches “Trending” Bar
    • Facebook launched a trending feature on the right side of the homepage, showing users poplar topics and hashtags that are being discussed on the site. This new feature gives users the opportunity to tap into conversations and topics that are gaining buzz. Stories will stem from people and Pages that friends have shared with an individual user or as a public.
    • Why it matters: The new feature will allow users to discover the best and most relevant content across Facebook. If your brand is in the news or has engaging content that is heavily shared, watch out for it as a trending topic.
    • What you have to say about it: “As someone continuously consuming news, this feature turns Facebook into another contributor to my addiction. My trending bar is currently filled with articles on NASCAR, beer and 90’s television shows, so I don’t think I’ll trust Facebook as a hub for valuable information just yet. As the feature evolves, it will be interesting to track which articles goes “viral” on Facebook versus other outlets and how my friend population contributes to what I’m shown. For a brand, it could help further identify key influencers and engaged fans.”– Sarah Colgrove, Account Manager, Digital, New York, NY
  • Facebook Discourages Text-Only Posts
    • Facebook announced that they will be tweaking the algorithm that controls what users see in the Newsfeed, this time giving less prominence to text-only updates from brand pages. The site understands that status updates from brands do not get the same type of engagement as photos and links, which is why they discourage text-only update.
    • Why it matters: Community managers understand that photos, videos and rich links receive the most engagement from fans and this push from Facebook makes it almost essential for brands to be posting more engaging content if they want to keep their fan base and numbers high. This includes the usage of visually stimulating fan photos from Instagram, which are not only free to use, but showcases fans involvement.
    • What you have to say about it: “Of course text-only posts are gaining lower levels of engagement. Our generation has always been very lazy in the sense that we prefer to view something rather than read about it; we want to view content in the quickest, easiest and most digestible form – an image. You can see this all over our industry. For example, Twitter improved their software to the point where we no longer need to click on a URL in order to view an image. Another example is an infographic. We can use these image based models to describe in-depth content to a client in an easily readable and sharable format. Everyone wants information fast. It is, truly, sad to say that text-only posts are a dying breed.”– Christopher Nardone, Associate, Technology, Austin, TX
  • Pinterest Experimenting with GIFs
    • Pinterest is experimenting with GIFs, allowing select Pinterest users to upload animated GIFs to their boards. Any user who visits that board will be able to play or pause the GIF with a small play button that is located in the bottom left corner of the image.
    • Why it matters: Fans want to see visually stimulating images, especially those that are customized and relevant. With the use of GIFs, brands can upload animated images to their Pinterest boards, attracting more fans and visitors, increasing engagement.  This also presents an opportunity for brands to be creative and unique during campaigns, holidays, etc.
    • What you have to say about it: “It makes sense that Pinterest would join the growing trend and enable their users to upload more dynamic content. In healthcare, it enables hospitals and health centers to demonstrate health tips in an easier to understand format. If you’ve ever tried copying exercises from a series of images, you’ll appreciate this new feature. Beyond healthcare, there is an immediate benefit across industries for brands to create engaging experiences around their products. They should also pay attention to our current obsession with Gifs and have some fun with them too.”– Kayla Rodriguez, Associate, Media and Engagement, Austin, TX
  • Twitter Redesigned Homepage, Keeping Mobile in Mind
    • Twitter has redesigned their homepage for the desktop version of their site to resemble the mobile version. The new layout show a user’s cover photo behind the profile picture, adding a more visual element to the homepage. The toolbar across the top is white, font sizes are larger and color customization on each homepage is now offered.
    • Why it matters: With any new change, brands need to keep on top of how they are designing and formatting their content. Brand pages must test out how content (i.e. – cover photos, background, fonts) look against the new layout and how the brand page will appear to desktop users. The additional color customization option gives brands the opportunity to be creative and take ownership of their brand identity.
    • What you have to say about it: “I view this is an upgrade from the previous Twitter layout for both brands and consumers for creative expression. Brand campaigns will have a new opportunity to benefit from the use of these changes on the Twitter page, for example: cover photos exhibiting campaign branding to raise awareness. The increased font size also brings attention to text surrounding the user/brand – highlighting large follower counts as a positive and allowing for increased attention to description sections of the Twitter profile.” – Jessica Vanner, Senior Account Manager, Consumer, New York, NY
  • Twitter Ads: Now Based on Browsing History
    • Twitter announced the introduction of ads, which will appear in a user’s stream based on web-surfing activity. The program, called Tailored Audiences, allows advertisers to target users if they’ve (users) visited a brands website or showed interest in the brand’s category on or outside of Twitter.
    • Why it matters: It is now possible for brands to identify people who are in the market for a product via Twitter. Brands can tailor their audience, making more personalized advertisements (which will keep funding down and increase revenue in the long run), increasing reach and engagement across Twitter pages.
    • What you have to say about it: “I think this will be a great program for clients across all industries to utilize. It will greatly increase an advertisement’s chances of reaching its target audience, which will ultimately translate into increased sales. For example, if we know a patient has been has been searching for acne treatments and we target them with advertisements for Galderma’s products, that user will be more likely to ask their dermatologist for those products.” – Kailey Kilmarten, Account Associate Twist, Healthcare, New York, NY
  • Instagram Launches Photo Sharing Feature
    • Instagram launched a photo messaging feature, Instagram Direct, allowing users to privately share photos and videos with other users as opposed to an entire feed.  To add recipients, users tap bubbles next to a friend’s name, in which a counter tab will appear at the bottom, showing all friends that a user wishes to send the media.
    • Why it matters: Brands can now message fans privately, say during a campaign, via Instagram which opens up private two-way communication between brands and fans on the platform. Brands can also send free and targetd images to select users, without having to send it to all of their fans, such as promotional items personalized media.
    • What you have to say about it: “At this point, my opinion is that the 23 year- old Snapchat founder missed the boat by denying Facebook’s (who owns Instagram) three billion dollar offer. If Instagram Direct is received positively by users, Snapchat will be obsolete and/or be forced to reinvent.  I think that Instagram has a leg up on the competition in terms of organizational/company use. Especially in the healthcare industry, communicators such as ourselves have to be very careful of what content we post for companies. Unlike Snapchat, the user doesn’t have to open the app to take a picture (but they can), instead users have the ability to pull any saved video or picture which can then be filtered, refined, client- approved, etc.” – Morgan Carricarte, Account Associate Twist, Healthcare, New York, NY

 For more detailed information, please view our deck.

By: Samantha Hershman

Account Manager, Social Strategy W2O Group - New York, NY

Find me on: Twitter
Pre-Commerce Check out W2O Group President Bob Pearson's new book, Pre-Commerce, in which he shares ideas for leaders to engage directly with customers to shape their brand and marketplace success. Now available for order on! Join the conversation #precommerce.

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