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Facebook is usually rather tight lipped about how it measures the impact and views for ads on their site, but today the social media giant offered some rare insight by saying the company doesn’t believe advertisers should be charged unless ads are seen by real people.

This might seem like common sense, but it is actually common for online advertising services to measure impressions based on how many ads are ‘served’, not how many are ‘viewed’.

Ads are counted as being ‘served’ so long as the ad renders anywhere on pages that are opened, even if the ad ends up never actually appearing on the screen. On the other hand, ‘viewed’ impressions only counts if they are displayed on the screen.

The metric isn’t perfect. There is no fool-proof way to ensure someone scrolling down a page will actually glance at an ad, as most Facebook users can tell you. Still, Facebook’s method of measuring impressions seems to be a more accurate and fair way of counting ad views than is typically used.

Facebook explains why it counts viewed vs served ad impressions in their blog post on the subject:

“At Facebook, we agree that viewed impressions are a better way to measure ad delivery. The reason is simple: if an ad is viewed it has a greater chance to drive value for an advertiser. That’s why we use viewed impressions to measure ad delivery across desktop and mobile.”

The company hopes to expand this measuring method to organic posts on the site in the next few months.

Promoting a tweet on Twitter just got a lot easier. While users have been able to promote tweets in the past, it required going through the company’s self-service platform. Now users can use the “quick promote” tool to quickly and easily promote a tweet.

Twitter designed quick promote expressly with small and medium businesses in mind. All you have to do to increase your tweet’s visibility is go to your tweet activity dashboard at analytics.twitter.com. Then, you simply have to select the tweet you want to promote and click the option to promote the tweet in the left sidebar.

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For now, the service is relatively limited compared to Facebook’s extensive ad platform. Currently, Twitter only allows you to target quick promoted tweets to users similar to your followers. Although nothing is confirmed, it seems likely the company will expand the options in the near future.

The more useful features for small businesses hoping to increase their Twitter visibility is the ability to set small budgets and receive an estimate of how many people you are likely to reach.

After you’ve set the budget and promoted your tweet, you can watch its performance in real time using the analytics dashboard.

The service isn’t revolutionary, but it was in dire need for one of the most popular social platforms around. Now, small and medium businesses can benefit from Twitter ads in the same way big brands have been for over a year.

facbook-advertisingThe Super Bowl is quite possibly the biggest single day for advertisers. There aren’t many other times you’ll hear anyone proclaim they are watching something “just for the commercials.” But, it has always been difficult for online marketers to get into the mix. That all might be changing as Facebook has announced a new tool to help online advertisers target people interested in the “Big Game.”

The “Big Game” targeting segment allows advertisers to reach people specifically based on real-time online discussions related to the Super Bowl.

According to the announcement, the segment will go much further than simply targeting football fans. The “Big Game” segment will also include those liking, commenting, and sharing content related to party planning, recipes, or even flatscreen TV purchases in the days leading up to XLIX.

The targeting tool is also designed to be updated frequently, so that ads will be directed based on up-to-date information.

The new tool is a change of strategy for Facebook, who used interests and liked pages to target ads last year.

According to the social media platform, combining ads with live sporting events is a highly effective strategy for reaching specific targeted demographics. For example, it cites a cross-platform Nielsen study that analyzed at a Microsoft commercial that was shown during the 2014 Super Bowl and found Microsoft was able to reach 35% of persons 18 to 49 in the United States during a four-day run of the TV spot.

Using Facebook ads during this campaign allowed Microsoft to extend that reach to 57% of the national target of people 18-49. Among the younger 21 to 24-year-old audience, Microsoft more than doubled its reach, extending its TV reach of 24% to a combined TV-plus-Facebook reach of 53%.3.

The new targeting segment is available starting today for all advertisers. It can be found in the Facebook ads interface within the “Behaviors” section, under the “Seasonal and Events” category.

Pinterest started 2015 with a bang by expanding Promoted Pins to all users yesterday morning. Promoted Pins were first introduced early last year when a beta roll out was given to a select number of advertisers. The social platform announced the expansion Monday, while also providing some pretty astounding statistics about Promoted Pin performance.

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Here are some of the benefits Pinterest claims Promoted Pins can provide:

  • Promoted Pins perform as well or better than organic Pins.
  • Brand advertisers achieved about a 30% bump in earned media from people who saw a Promoted Pin and saved it to their own boards
  • Promoted Pins are repinned 11 times more than organic Pins on average.
  • Promoted Pins draw engagement from users well after a campaign has ended.
  • Businesses typically outside of Pinterest’s core categories and interests were also successful with Promoted Pins.

While these findings sound nice, it is important to remember that Pinterest’s beta launch of Promoted Pins was given to a select number of well-established brands. While the new promoted posting system may carry some weight, the data is based on a test of high-quality targeted ads. Your mileage may vary.

To help businesses get introduced to promoting themselves on Pinterest, the company is establishing the “Pinstitute” – a new interactive program to educate businesses on how to connect with users and improve their return on investment.

The “Pinstitute” helps you learn about what kind of Pins perform the best, what users are interested in, and what products will be coming from Pinterest in the future. The program will also invite select groups of brands and agencies to quarterly workshops. The Pinstitute will have provide webinars and other online education tools tailored for the needs of local and smaller businesses.

After Facebook’s success with video ads, it was only a matter of time before Instagram rolled out their own video ad options. According to Ad Week, you can expect that to start today as the Facebook-owned social image and video platform finally launches their own video ad platform. The only catch is the service is reserved for only five major brands: Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic, and the CW network.

Instagram’s ad platform is still relatively young, and it has been very cautious about how they go about serving ads to the public. Under the current system, CEO Kevin Systrom has said that he personally reviews every ad before it is allowed to run on the platform so that they don’t come off as aggressive or poor advertising.

The caution payed off as initial skepticism and criticism of ads on Instagram quickly died down when image ads first began appearing. It sounds like the method may also pay off for the video ad service. The Ad Week article says Instagram has reported positive brand awareness and ad recall from testing and that all launch advertisers were striving to be perceived as innovators.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for us,” Brian Chang, assistant vp of media at Lancome USA, told Ad Week. “We, as a brand, wanted to take advantage of being first to market.”

The video ads will begin appearing today and roll out more extensively in the next few weeks, and each ad will have a 15-second maximum length similar to the restrictions placed on Instagram users. Videos will also be muted unless users tap the volume control.

Banana Republic’s ad, embedded below, used Facebook’s Hyperlapse app to create the video. You can view other ads at Ad Week.

 

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.”

SnapchatLogoSnapchat has quickly become one of most popular apps and certainly the most popular temporary photo and video sharing network, but thus far they have yet to find a way to monetize their service. CEO Evan Spiegel says that will change very soon, as untargeted, disappearing ads may begin showing up in the near future.

The ads will appear directly within the Snapchat Stories section, between photos and videos from users, but most importantly for marketers they will not be targeted individually. “They’re [the ads] not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it, and you don’t if you don’t,” Spiegel told the Wall Street Journal. He also said there is not a set release time yet, but they would be here “soon.”

The decision to make the ads untargeted is fairly surprising as most would agree the ability to refine demographic and behavioral traits to target audiences is one of the most unique and powerful aspects of social advertising.

You can find out more in the piece from the Wall Street Journal.

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For many advertising platforms, the rising use of mobile devices to browse the internet has been both a boon and a relief.

While the greater number of people accessing the internet on-the-go means advertisers have a better chance of connecting with potential customers close to the point of sale, but it has also created a schism where online advertising is either mobile or desktop based.

Some advertising platforms such as Google have been able to unify their platforms in many ways, but other services are still struggling to come together. Soon however, Facebook will be making big moves to bring their advertising into a cohesive platform.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is closing in on the launch of an entirely new advertising platform which will allow marketers to more effectively reach target audiences across the plethora of different devices used to surf the web today.

The new platform is rumored to be a reworked adaptation of the Atlas Advertising Suite, an ad-serving platform purchased from Microsoft last year, and will supposedly be rebranded to just ‘Atlas’.

Beyond just improving ad targeting across devices, Atlas will also supposedly be able to help marketers see which ads are being viewed and which are drawing clicks or influencing purchasing decisions.

Current reports say Atlas will work by collecting data from Facebook and other third-party applications and services that serve Facebook ads. It will also come equipped with an automated ad-bidding tool which will facilitate the ability to buy targeted advertising space.

The Wall Street Journal cites an unnamed executive who claims to know Facebook’s plans as their source. The executive is quoted as saying:

The biggest impact of this will be in mobile. People spend more time on mobile than on desktop, but marketers don’t spend there because cookies don’t work. This could finally enable us to spend more money in mobile.

Twiter imageWe are quickly reaching the point where every social media platform has their own advertising platform specific to their brand. Facebook has Facebook Ads, Google+ has +Post ads which display all across Google’s network, and of course Twitter has their own advertising platform, Twitter Ads.

As to be expected, each platform has its own upsides and drawbacks. But, if you can make it adjust your approach to the platform, advertising on the one of the largest social media sites of the moment is certainly an effective way to increase your reach and generate leads.

If you are thinking about expanding your advertising strategy to include Twitter Ads, Melissa Mackey recently explained some of the most important good and bad aspects to the platform you need to know before you get started.