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LinkedIn has released a new ebook aimed at helping social media managers market their businesses across the platform. It also contains some very interesting stats that make a strong case for why you should consider including the platform in your array of social media channels.

Specifically, the ebook includes the following statistics across three categories:

Traffic and Engagement

The company says engagement is “booming” across the platform, citing these numbers:

  • LinkedIn now has 610 million registered members
  • 40% of users visit every day
  • Comments, likes, and shares are up 60% year-over-year
  • Views in the LinkedIn feed are up 60% from last year
  • Mobile sessions are growing 57% year-over-year
  • Over 130 thousand articles are created on the platform every week

Business Leaders

LinkedIn isn’t content to just have a big user base. Rather, they have focused on building “the right audience”:

  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members
  • 61 million users are senior-level influencers
  • 40 million users are in decision-making positions
  • About 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions (managers, VPs, Directors, C-level)

Generating Results

The previous two areas have helped LinkedIn create a platform with users who are highly engaged, meaning marketing efforts are more successful and generate more meaningful results:

  • 45% of all social media traffic to a company’s homepage comes from LinkedIn.
  • 71% of people use information from LinkedIn to inform business decisions
  • LinkedIn is the most trusted social platform globally, according to Business Insider’s Digital Trust report
  • 50% of users are more likely to buy from companies when they have engaged in their social channels

LinkedIn’s ebook contains lots of other interesting data and recommendations for how you can leverage this information to create effective marketing strategies for the platform. Check it out here.

A new survey of US consumers has some surprising findings about what customers expect out of business websites.

The results from 1,013 respondents between the ages of 18-60 show that consumers have high expectations when it comes to how frequently your website is updated, what features are implemented, and how you are advertising your business online.

What Consumers DON’T Want in a Website

Of the respondents, more than 80% say they view a brand more negatively if their website is out of date. Additionally, 39% of consumers say they would reconsider buying a product or service if the website isn’t current.

The issue of advertising is also a prickly subject for consumers, based on the survey results.

Less than 10% approved of brands showing ads on social media based on a person’s browsing activity. Meanwhile, approximately 26% feel negatively about ads appearing on their social media feeds based on their browsing or device history – saying it is an invasion of privacy.

On the other hand, 41% of consumers say they don’t mind if websites keep personal data, but only if it is secured on used exclusively to improve the user experience.

Overall, consumers are largely conflicted. Approximately 50% of respondents say that they like the convenience of brands keeping data for to improve ads and user experience, but they are concerned about how else it might be used.

What Consumers DO Want in a Website

In general, consumers say ease of use should be the top priority in making their online experience better.

Approximately 50% of the respondents said they prefer user-created content like reviews and photos to help inform their purchasing decision.

Meanwhile, 25% say their favorite website feature is receiving a reminder when they have left a product in their shopping cart.

Perhaps surprisingly, a major feature desired by users is an on-site search engine. Nearly one-third of respondents say they are put-off if a site does not have a search box, while more than 40% say a search box is the most important feature on a site.


The survey includes a number of interesting findings about consumer behavior and desires online covering a wide range of topics. You can read all the details from Blue Fountain Media here.

 

LinkedIn is working to make itself a worthwhile advertising platform for brands, and that includes launching new targeting options for advertisers.

Starting over the next week, advertisers will be able to target ads on LinkedIn based on users’ professional interests and behavior.

As the company says in their announcement:

“We’re excited to announce interest targeting in Campaign Manager. Interest targeting lets you reach members with relevant ads that match their professional interests — based on the content they share and engage with on LinkedIn. With these added options, you can more easily achieve your campaign objectives and grow your business.”

You can target your ads based on over 200 categories such as artificial intelligence, global economy, and customer experience.

Specifically, LinkedIn says brands can benefit from Interest Targeting in a few ways:

  • Serve relevant ads and content that match a member’s professional interests. Interest targeting can help you shape brand perception with different professional audiences by associating your brand with the topics that they care about. For example, if you sell Cloud Computing services, you can target members interested in “cloud computing” and create a campaign with Sponsored Content ads that show how your solution is helping business do more with their data.
  • Deepen your influence with the buyer committee within your target accounts. Today, many of our customers use LinkedIn’s powerful account targeting to inform their Account-Based Marketing campaigns. Now you can kick it up a notch by using account targeting along with interest targeting to reach an audience of potential buyers who have already expressed, or are likely to express, an interest in the content that’s relevant to your business.
  • Reach those interested in pursuing a certificate program. You can also use a combination of degrees and interests to reach the audiences who would be a naturally fit for higher education programs.

Interest Targeting is currently rolling out on LinkedIn and is expected to be available to all advertisers within the next week.

Pinterest Promoted Carousel Ads

Pinterest has launched a new ad format that gives advertisers the ability to promote up to 5 different products with a single ad.

The new “Promoted Carousel” ads combine 5 normal ad posts into a single ad unit, which will let viewers swipe through products or different ad experiences.

The format is built with unique slides, where each can have its own image, title, description, and landing page.

The most obvious benefit of these ads would be to highlight several different products at the same time, but advertisers could also craft these ads around highlighting different aspects of a single product.

Pins in these Promoted Carousel ads appear like any other pin, but users can swipe through each image and enlarge a specific card for a full-screen experience.

In the announcement, Pinterest says the new ads can help brands effectively raise awareness of their products and improve ad performance with better traffic results and conversions.

“This format can present a product’s numerous features, drive additional purchases by showing multiple items in a Pin or increase awareness with a multi-image brand story.”

Those given early access to Promoted Pins affirm this, saying they have seen improvements in:

  • Brand awareness
  • Ad awareness and association
  • Ad performance
  • Engagement Rates

Promoted Carousel ads began rolling out late last week and are now available for all businesses utilizing Pinterest’s self-serve ad platform.

Facebook is cracking down on brands using its advertising platform to mislead or trick users with “malicious advertisements”.

As the social network announced this week, it is reducing how often it shows ads it believes are “clickbait” or mislead users, if not outright rejecting them.

As Facebook’s self-serve ad platform has grown, it has encountered growing issues with misleading or sensational ads – including political news spreading fake news. Now, it is working to remedy the problem and ensure users can trust ads shared across the largest social network existing today.

Specifically, Facebook has announced it will be cracking down on these types of troublesome ads:

Ads that withhold information:

Facebook Bad Ads - Withholding

Clickbait has become a popular way to get clicks, but it is universally hated because the actual content on the page often doesn’t live up to what the sensational headlines promise. This has grown into deliberately sharing vague ads that often start with “You’ll never believe…” or “You’ll never guess…” Now, any ads using this strategy will be demoted or disallowed.

Engagement bait:

Facebook Bad Ads - Engagement Bait

Another popular tactic to get the ever-important likes and shares on Facebook is to specifically use ads to drive these kinds of engagement without delivering any actual content with value. Facebook has already taken steps to prevent this type of advertisement, but it has continued to run rampant across the platform. However, the company says these ads will now be disallowed or receive reduced visibility.

Sensationalized language:

Facebook Bad Ads - Sensationalized Language

Over-the-top headlines may make people more likely to click, but it leaves a bad taste in their mouth when the content is not nearly as “MIND-BLOWING” as the ad suggests.

Pages that use these strategies regularly:

To reinforce its stance on clickbait or misleading advertising, Facebook is also taking aim directly at the pages which rely on these ads. As the company explains, “multiple ads flagged with low-quality attributes may impact the performance of all ads” from any offending advertiser.

All of these types of ads have become increasingly popular because they drive engagement and traffic, but these types of engagement are arguably worthless because they don’t come from real engagement or appreciation of the ad content.

Pinterest Ads

For the first time since its release in 2016, Pinterest is making major changes to its self-serve Ads Manager, including dynamic pricing and stock information.

All the changes coming to Ads Manager

Perhaps this biggest change is a new step-by-step campaign set-up tool that will walk advertisers through picking a business goal, customizing their audience, and selecting or creating Pins to promote.

Pinterest is also introducing ad placement options to select whether you want your ads to appear in feeds or search results at the ad group level.

Advertisers will also be given more control over when their ads are scheduled to run, as well as a “pause campaign” tool for reviewing Promoted Pins before they start running.

To help you better target your ads with a detailed audience, Pinterest is integrating the Audience Insights tool directly into the ad manager. This will keep you from having to switch back and forth between windows to create data-driven audiences for your ads.

At the same time, Pinterest is making some changes to its reporting dashboard to let advertisers make changes to multiple rows or campaigns at the same time.

Updates to Product Pins

As part of the revamp, Pinterest is greatly expanding the options available for Product Pins, including the addition of dynamic pricing and up-to-date stock information.

The company is also increasing the number of Product Pins that will include the shopping bag icon to directly link to a checkout page, making it easier to purchase items with just a few clicks.

The new Product Pins are replacing the Buyable Pin format and are already rolling out for both mobile and app versions of Pinterest.

New fashion and home discovery categories

Lastly, Pinterest is creating two new shopping recommendation categories for home décor and fashion retailers within the Style and Home sections. This will give these retailers more opportunities to reach new audiences and help ensure their ads are shown to the right audiences.

With the holiday season coming up, now is a good time to make yourself familiar with all the new advertising options on Pinterest. The social shopping platform is one of the biggest tools used by online shoppers to not only plan their holiday gift purchases but actively purchase new products as they browse.

Facebook is launching a new tool, called Creative Compass, aiming to help advertisers predict how well their ads will perform.

Creative Compass will assess your ads by examining key elements and scoring them on a scale from “low impact” to “high impact”.

Creative Compass Preview

Specifically, the tool will evaluate:

  • Noticeability
  • Brand association
  • Brand fit
  • Message comprehension
  • Believability
  • Information content
  • Emotional reward
  • Call to action

More than anything, Creative Compass is designed to help you understand how your ads will perform and how likely your target action is to take action after seeing one of your ads.

For now, the tool is being tested with just a small number of select partners, but Facebook says it aims to bring the tool to all marketing partners in 2019.

Facebook is changing how it handles the ads shown by Pages across the platform, with a new “Info & Ads” section that details all the ads your Page is running.

By going to a Page’s “Info & Ads” tab, you’ll be able to see every ad the company is running across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s partner networks whether they were targeted to you or not. You can also flag suspicious ads with a “Report Ad” button.

The tab will also include detailed information about Pages, including when it was created and any recent name changes to the Page.

“The vast majority of ads on Facebook are run by legitimate organizations — whether it’s a small business looking for new customers, an advocacy group raising money for their cause, or a politician running for office. But we’ve seen that bad actors can misuse our products, too,” writes Facebook’s director of product management, Rob Leathern, and its product marketing director, Emma Rodgers, on the company’s news blog.

The change was initially announced last October as part of sweeping changes to how Facebook handles political ads but has largely flown under the radar until now.

Facebook says this is just the beginning of changes to increase transparency between Pages and the social network’s ad platform. The company will be rolling out changes to political ad labels to Brazil ahead of the country’s upcoming elections and will continue to encourage greater transparency in advertising around the globe.

Instagram logo

Instagram is coming up in the world. This week the social network revealed it has reached more than 1 billion monthly active users, jumping from 800 million in September of last year.

The extra 200 million users also make the site the fastest growing social network around right now by a fair amount.

For context, while Facebook remains the biggest social network overall, its growth in monthly users has fallen to just 3.14%. Snapchat, trapped by its own niche market of younger users, is growing even slower at 2.13%.

Instagram, however, continues to grow by almost 5% from quarter-to-quarter.

There is certainly some irony in the latest numbers. While Snapchat continues to stall, Instagram is largely making its gains on the back of similar features like Stories and image stickers.

Stories, in particular, have taken off to surprising popularity. According to the latest numbers, there are more people posting Stories on Instagram than Snapchat’s entire userbase.

The continued growth of Instagram also hints at Facebook’s gradual disconnect with younger users. Teens and other young social media users are adopting Instagram, rather than signing into Facebook.

The social network still has plenty of hurdles in its path, but their user growth shows it may be worthwhile to establish a business presence on the platform sooner rather than later.

Facebook is opening up a new part of its platform to advertising by letting businesses run ads in the Facebook Marketplace for the first time.

Marketplace has, until now, been an area of the site strictly reserved for users to buy and sell items. However, that is changing as Facebook is allowing ads to also be shown alongside the user-sold items.

The actions function similarly to any other type of Facebook ad, allowing you to include photos or videos representing your products or services, as well as a call-to-action button.

You can also choose to expand your currently running ads onto the Marketplace platform by changing the placement settings for your ads.

In the official announcement, Facebook said the ads would allow advertisers to be where users are most active:

“Advertising across our platforms enables you to reach your target audience wherever they’re spending time, giving you more opportunities to connect with people likely to be interested in your offerings.”

According to Facebook’s tests with select businesses, running ads on Marketplace can help generate up to 2.2X greater return on ad spend.

While this marks the first time businesses have been able to advertise on Marketplace, it is notable that Facebook recently also began allowing users to promote their listings within Marketplace, similar to how promoted posts work in News Feed.

Currently, Marketplace ads are only available in the US and Canada, and only eligible for traffic, conversion, and product catalog ads.

According to the announcement, Marketplace ads will be coming to Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks.