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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.

facebookadvertising

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.

If you’re a small retailer trying to expand your brand online, social media is an absolutely essential part of the plan. But, there are several different popular social media platforms and most smaller retailers don’t have the resources to invest fully in all of the big platforms. How do you choose which one to favor?

Of course, the best choice for your brand depends on what you are offering to consumers and how you are trying to reach out to them. But, you can also take some notes from what the big retailers are doing with their social media, with the help of social technology company 8th Bridge’s third-annual Social Commerce IQ report.

8th Bridge looks at nearly 900 of the top online retail brands, and evaluates their social adoption and subsequent results.

Their results show two things. Firstly, you should implement social website buttons for at least the three major social media platforms for retailers (Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook). Secondly, and more importantly, Facebook still dominates referral traffic and perceived value. However, the reasons for Facebook’s value to top retailers have changed.

In the past, Facebook has always been favored simply because it was the most popular social media platform by a large margin. However, Facebook has become very competitive, especially for smaller businesses. With so many businesses sharing content on the site, the top retailers have turned to Facebook Exchange to pay for visibility and higher traffic rates.

Facebook is valued by top retailers not because they are the top social platform, but because they have the most viable social advertising platform.

This has the potential for change in the near future however. Facebook has one of the most fully-realized social advertising platforms, and it has been around for significantly longer than the ad options most other platforms offer. For instance, both Pinterest and Instagram are still only in the testing phase for their advertising platforms.

Still, the traffic referral statistics from Twitter may suggest a deeper underlying problem in the social platform’s viability for retailers.

“Traffic from Twitter and Instagram is non-existent for most retailers,” 8th Bridge said in its report. “Only 85 retailers are getting traffic from Twitter and only 55 retailers are getting traffic from Instagram.”

In the end it should come as no surprise that Facebook is still the most reliable social platform for brands of most sizes, but it will only get more competitive. You can still benefit from a non-paid approach to your Facebook presence, but you should expect diminishing returns as time goes on.

You can view the infographic 8th Bridge made from their results below or on their site.

Social Commerce Infographic

Facebook announced yesterday via Facebook for Business News that they have created a new platform which will allow advertiser to create ads and influence their impact more easily, as Kelsey Jones reported.

The news release said that Facebook has received feedback from advertisers wanting to create ads based on their overall goal or objective, not just the type of ads that would be displayed. The company identified eight objectives as being crucial for business advertisers, specifically:

  1. Clicks to Website
  2. Website Conversions
  3. Page Post Engagement
  4. Page Likes
  5. App Installs
  6. App Engagement
  7. In-Store Offer Claims
  8. Event Responses

To help advertisers meet their goals and create advertisements more based on what they want to accomplish, they released the new platform, which will help advertisers decide how they want to best serve their advertisements. Foe example, an ad viewed on a smartphone can be set so that the users are directed to the company’s mobile site, rather than a non-optimized full desktop site.

Advertisers can also see how their ads are performing based on the objective they chose when creating a campaign. If your focus is website conversion, the highlighted metrics will reflect that. This way there is less confusion and advertisers have easy access to what they consider to be the most important metric for their efforts.

The options will be available via the Ad Create tool, the Power Editor, and the API. It will be a gradual rollout, which may take weeks, but will eventually be available to all advertisers.

Instagram LOgoMany considered it only a matter of time before advertising would find its way onto Instagram, since Facebook purchased the app. However it took much longer than most expected. Instagram has remained ad-less until now, but over the next few months you will finally see that change. Instagram announced late last week that advertising would begin rolling out within the Instagram photo stream over the next few months.

This doesn’t mark the first possible attempt to monetize Instagram. Jennifer Slegg reminds us of late last year when Instagram altered its terms to suggest that Instagram would all the rights to all photos posted on it, implicating that Instagram would begin selling those photos to advertisers. The response was massive and overwhelmingly negative, as users began to flee from the service until the terms were reverted.

Since then, the waters have been quiet, but it was heavily expected that Facebook would attempt to turn Instagram into a revenue generating service, seeing as it cost Facebook $1 billion.

This attempt is a little more direct than their change to their terms, but it appears they will be slowly integrating advertisers. They are clearly more cautious this time around – Instagram even emphasized that there would be no changes to how image or video ownership would be viewed.

The company is starting with just a limited number of U.S. advertising firms only showing small and occasional ads. All ads are required to use high-quality images and videos, so they should blend in on the feed.

Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.

Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.

Expect the ads to be similar to the sponsored posts you see in Facebook, but designed for Instagram. The company will also be heavily soliciting feedback from users about the types of advertising being tested and shown, including the ability to hide them.

Facebook is revamping its News Feeds ads as part of their continuous efforts to make advertisements on their site more relevant to users.

They released an announcement late last week stating, “When deciding which ad to show to which groups of people, we are placing more emphasis on feedback we receive from people about ads, including how often people report or hide an ad.”

Facebook did say they believe advertisers will ultimately benefit from the updates.

“If someone always hides ads for electronics, we will reduce the number of those types of ads that we show them. […] This is ultimately better for marketers, because it means their messages are reaching the people most interested in what they have to offer.”

That isn’t the only change Facebook is rolling out though. They also announced the ability to search your posts and status updates within graph search, stating, “Today Graph Search will include posts and status updates,” which which you “will be able to search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments to find things shared with you.”

You might not have access to either feature yet, but you can expect to see them within the next few weeks as they are rolled out.