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Pinterest is continuing to bulk up its ad platform by allowing advertisers to now buy ads based on how much they want to pay for impressions, the company announced today. In the past, advertisers were only allowed to choose how much they wanted to pay for engagement.

Along with the new way to purchase ads, Pinterest has also added frequency capping to their ad services.

“Now you can bid on a CPM [cost-per-thousand impressions] basis and we’ll optimize how we deliver your ads to reach more people,” according to a Pinterest blog post. “You can also specify the maximum number of times someone sees your campaign. By using this new solution, you’ll get more impressions for your campaigns at more efficient rates and drive higher results.”

This latest move continues Pinterest’s trend of expanding their advertising offerings to bring in more businesses. Earlier this year, the company increased the number of targeting options for ads. They have also made Buyable Pins available to users on all devices, including desktop.

While advertisers have been able to bid for how much they are willing to pay for engagement, Pinterest’s CPM-based ads were only available at fixed prices until now. These prices typically ranged between $30 and $40. Those prices should go down as the new bidding process will increase competition.

The feature is just rolling out, but already JCPenney, The Home Depot, and General Mills are running tests with the new CPM-based ads. The new ads are already available for all business in the U.S, UK, and Canada. More countries are expected to come in the future.

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Facebook operates one of the largest ad services on the internet and they claim they have finally figured out how to beat ad blockers with two new changes to their ad platform.

To start, the company has announced they have created a way to get past ad blocking extensions on desktop to show ads to everyone who visits their site – even if they don’t want to see them. The company was unwilling to say how they have accomplished this, but most likely they have created a way to ‘cloak’ their ads so they are not able to be targeted and blocked by popular ad blockers.

While Facebook is blocking ad blockers on desktop devices only, they are most likely working to do the same on mobile in the near future.

To compensate for this, Facebook is trying to make sure the ads users see are more relevant and useful to their lives by giving new control over what ads are shown in their news feeds.

The new ad control tool was released today and lets users add or remove interests from an “ad preferences” list to show what topics they are most interested in.

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“When they’re relevant and well-made, ads can be useful, by helping us find new products and services and introducing us to new experiences—like an ad that shows you your favorite band is coming to town or an amazing airline deal to a tropical vacation,” Andrew Bosworth, VP of ads and business platform for Facebook, wrote in a blog post. “But because ads don’t always work this way, many people have started avoiding certain websites or apps, or using ad blocking software, to stop seeing bad ads. These have been the best options to date.

To help refine their ad service, Facebook commissioned research firm Ipsos MORI to survey users from around the world to determine why users are ad blockers have become so popular. The majority of those surveyed said the main reason they started using ad blockers was because advertising often disrupted their browsing experience.

“While people want a personalized online experience, they dislike ads that are disruptive, however personalized,” wrote Adam Isaacson, research director of Ipsos Connect. “Those that block the content on the page, that pop up with sound and that slow the content on the page were all seen to be disruptive by our qualitative sample.”

The hope of the new changes to Facebook’s advertising service is that giving people more control will make users more interested in the ads their shown and provide a more seamless browsing experience. While many will complain about the move to thwart ad blocking software, the ability to choose what you’re shown will hopefully make the change easier to swallow.

Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms you can advertise. Smaller, more niche social networks like Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr have all gotten in on social advertising with innovative ad formats and placements. Now, two of those sites have both announced new ads on their networks that directly give back to their users.

Tumblr and Reddit have announced two separate plans for ads that will run on their networks and compensate users for allowing their blogs or content to be included.

In the case of Tumblr, the service is rolling out ads that will be shown across their blog network. Users can opt out of having the ads shown on their specific pages, but those who decide to be included can receive compensation just for allowing the ads.

Details on how much users will be paid and how have yet to be released, as Tumblr says they are “still working out the details of the partner program, but as soon as we have details to share, we’ll make announcements.”

While Tumblr says they will be outright paying users for participating, Reddit’s new ad service isn’t quite so direct.

With the launch of Promoted User Posts, brands can now take advantage of content being posted on the site by promoting it for more to see. This means you can spot a post organically shared on Reddit by a user and boost it to the front page or user feeds with the original poster’s permission.

However, instead of paying users for allowing their content to be used by brands for promotion, Reddit is opting to reward them with a lifetime of “Reddit Gold.” Reddit Gold is the site’s premium membership program which costs $29.99 a year and can be gifted to users by others.

“There are car enthusiasts on Reddit,” CEO and founder Steve Huffman told Ad Age. “Makeup addicts, people who discuss movies, books and video games where these commercial relationships are already developing with our users. It is not a stretch for the advertiser to come in here and engage with our audience.”

These innovative ads are a smart way to involve the communities that already exist on the social networks and make them feel invested in the ads they are seeing. It also presents an opportunity for brands to take advantage of things already being shared to better promote their brand and products.

“This isn’t traditional display advertising,” Huffman told Ad Age. “This is different and more personable. You have to bring your A game here and if you do, it works amazingly.”

GoogleAdWords

Online shopping isn’t always a static process. Shoppers often hop from device to device freely as they browse and ultimately purchase. In fact, Google says 61% of internet users and over 80% of online millennials begin shopping on one device but finish their transaction from another.

To help you better keep track of these customers as they progress throughout your sales process, Google is making cross-device conversions more prominent in their online reports.

Introduced three years ago, cross-device conversions is finally becoming a default feature included in the Conversions column. According to Google, this will help businesses get the most complete view of their conversions possible and improve your ability to measure the full value of mobile ads.

Google also says that advertisers who have already gotten access to automatic cross-device conversion tracking have generated an average of 16% more conversions overall.

Beginning on August 16th, Google will make cross-device conversion a default feature listed in conversion reports.

As a business advertising on Google, this means you’ll gain easier access to information about how your ads are performing across all devices. That means you’ll be able to quickly see whether your mobile or desktop ads are failing to perform. You can also see what devices your customers are most likely to use throughout the sales process and better cater your ads and sales process to their needs.

shopping-carts

Google is rolling out a new update to its Local Inventory Ads that let allows searchers to browse in-stock products when they search for a business. That means if a users searchers for your business, they could browse your inventory straight from Google.

So far, the new features are limited to a small number of retailers, such as Macy’s and Ikea. However, it is expected to continue spreading to businesses of all sizes in the coming months.

The update is not a surprise, as Google announced the expanded features utilizing their its Knowledge Graph and Google Maps back in May. However, it was first spotted this week by Nicolai Helling who captured a few screenshots of what it looks like out in the wild.

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With the new features, you’ll see a new line in the Knowledge Panel underneath your NAP (name, address, phone number) information which says: “Search items at this store”. You can also find this in Google Maps underneath the store’s hours.

If a user clicks on this, they’ll be taken to a page hosted by Google where you can refine exactly what item you are looking for. If they select a specific product, they will then be directed to a dedicated page product information as well as information about where to purchase the product online or in store.

To use the feature as it rolls out, you will need to be signed up for Google’s Local Inventory Ads program and be running ads with your products and inventory information.

Social media has undeniably become one of the strongest channels businesses can use to reach out and engage with their audience. But making social media work for you means knowing which platform works best for your business.

You might think that all social media sites are essentially the same, but making that mistake can mean squandering marketing and ad budgets trying to connect with an audience that just plain isn’t interested.

The truth is every social media platform has a unique audience who interact with each other in ways specifically molded by the site they frequent. Trying to talk to Twitter users the same way you talk to Facebook users will make your message fall flat, while Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat users all have their own cultures built from the platform.

So which is right for you? It all depends on your business, your values, and who your audience is. The infographic below from Visage will walk you through the basic pros and cons of each of the most popular social media sites, along with some key stats about each social network.

Identifying the best social network for you will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts and find the most responsive audience for your brand.

pros-cons-social-networks-infographic

AdWords In Store Visits

When Google recently removed all text ads from the right rail of search engine results pages (SERPs), it caused quite a stir among both advertisers and webmasters who rely on organic traffic for their business. The change in design and the number of ads on SERPs pushes even more organic results below the fold and makes the competition even fiercer for both top ad spots and top organic listings.

Google has been overall fairly tight-lipped about the changes, only confirming that it has occurred and implying the change was largely aimed at bringing the desktop search experience more in line with the mobile search experience.

While it’s not an official statement, Google employee Matt Lawson recently went into depth on why Google decided to cut text ads from the right side of search results and how it could affect your pages and advertising account.

It largely confirms what was already suspected: Right side ads performed poorly and they wanted to bring mobile and desktop search closer together. However, Lawson provides data to show exactly how they expect the change to affect advertisers and steps you can take right not to mitigate any changes in your CPCs and ad performance.

Read what Lawson had to say about the change in his column for Search Engine Land.

Google Logo

Google has officially confirmed the end of ads in the right hand column of its search pages, except for two notable exceptions.

As of February 19th, Google is phasing out ads on the right side of its desktop search results. Instead, all ads will appear at the top or bottom of the results, though Google may include an additional ad above results for “high commercial queries.”

The change will effect users worldwide, in all languages. Google is also saying the change is motivated by a push to bring desktop results closer to the mobile experience, however rumors suggest the low click-through rate (CTR) of right side ads may also be a factor.

There are also two specific exceptions to the change. No ads will appear on the right side of desktop search results except in two cases:

  • Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes will still show either above or to the right of search results
  • Ads can still appear in the Knowledge Panel

Overall, most users probably won’t notice the difference in search results. However, businesses competing for the already limited organic space on the front page of search results may find the change makes the competition even fiercer.

The decreasing front page real estate means an even higher focus on SEO for businesses seeking high ranking organic listings.

The rollout for the change should be complete today.

AdWords In Store Visits

Since launching in spring, Google AdWords’ structured snippet extensions have shown themselves to be a powerful tool in the AdWords arsenal.

Structured snippets add an extra line of information with your text ads which specifically highlight important information for searchers. When implemented well, this can boost click-through rates for ads.

Now, Google has made these structured snippets even more visible in the search results by doubling the amount of information that can accompany text ads.

To do this, advertisers can select two predefined “Headers” which act as structured snippets. Then, those headers can be customized with two unique sets of values. Depending on the search results, these snippets have the potential to be displayed at the same time.

Google does say that each structured snippet extension is treated as its own ad auction, and like other ad extensions, may not always appear together.

You can boost the chances of having both extensions display at the same time by being thorough and providing as much information as you can. With more information, the ad auction is better able to select the highest quality combination of extensions. Not only does this improve your chances of having both snippets show at the same time, it also increases your overall ad performance.

Snapchat, the popular social image sharing app, recently ran the first ad on their platform since its inception. If Universal Pictures, the movie studio who bought the ad, is to be believed, the results are already showing the advertising exercise was a great success.

It is hard to tell how the format will work for smaller brands, but Universal vice president of digital marketing Doug Neil said “millions” of viewers have seen the 20-second trailer for the horror movie “Ouija”.

However there has been some fallout from the ad tests, especially on Twitter. Some users were surprised by the ads or confused by their disappearance after playing. For big marketing ventures like “Ouija” this isn’t much of a problem, especially as the platform perfectly attracts their demographic, but it could be an issue with more niche or localized brands if Snapchat ever expands the ad platform.

Snapchat’s ad medium does offer one unique benefit from the plethora of other monetizing social media platforms. While Facebook’s videos autoplay for anyone who happens to scroll by, Snapchat’s ads have an incredibly wide reach while only playing for those who actively engage the ads. While a huge range of people were shown the ad’s presence, only those who wanted to view it actually watched.

“It was a lean-in experience,” Neil said. “The people who watched the ad were ones that pressed to play so they were focused on actually viewing the content. As it turns out there were a number of people who screen captured it and it’s actually moved beyond the Snapchat window. But our goal was to get exposure in Snapchat and that was accomplished.”