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Social Engagement Custom Audiences and Likes vs Favorites

 

Custom audiences by social engagement on posts?

Social Engagement Custom AudiencesFacebook Marketing Strategist Jon Loomer discovered what could be a new targeting tool for Facebook advertisers: the ability to create custom audiences based on social engagement.

Loomer posted his discovery in a blog post noting that when he went to create a custom audience he had more than the regular 3 option types for creating a custom audience. He had one additional option: people who have engaged with your content! This new targeting option does not appear to be an available for the majority of advertisers yet, but opens up some interesting possibilities. Loomer notes that he’s only able to create custom audiences off of people engaging with videos, but it appears the function is built for multiple types of content. Imagine how dialed in a custom audience list could be by targeting people who had already engaged with your content previously!

While Twitter recently introduced a similar feature, something like this has been a long time coming for Facebook. Time will tell when it rolls out for the rest of us and in what capacity.

We heart the Heart more than the Star

Likes over FavoritesMany people bemoaned Twitter’s decision to kill off the Favorite button and replace that with a Like button similar to Facebook. However, the move appears to be paying off for the social network. Locowise reports Twitter has seen a nearly 29% increase in people liking tweets vs favoriting them. The study included 1,500 Twitter accounts over a three month period with more than 2.2 million tweets.

Locowise noted that a big reason for the increase is due to the favorite button being used to archive material for later compared to the like button. That’s in comparison to a like which provides an immediate representation of your approval of something. While Twitter has been struggling in recent months, positive news like this is promising for the social network.

Facebook Launches Canvas Ads and Reactions

Facebook introduces Canvas

Canvas AdsFacebook advertisers now have access to a new immersive type of ad called “Canvas“. While previously available to certain advertisers, the new ad works to open up a full screen experience once an ad is clicked by a user.

This full screen experience is said to load ten times faster than traditional ads. Canvases provide advanced functions for ads like animations, carousels, product catalogs, tilt-to-view images, and videos.

The user-friendly feature is available through Power Editor for all advertisers. Facebook says it wanted to provide everyone with the means to make great looking ads while also elevating the ad content being served to users – from Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop coffee shops.

According to Facebook, 53% of users that open a Canvas view at least half of it, and the average view time is 31 seconds. The top Canvas ads can see more than 70 seconds of view time per user. Read more

Longer Video Ads, Algorithm Tweaks and Air Travel Demand

Instagram rolls out 60 second video ads, multiple account switching

Instagram Video AdsWhile there are several reports indicating our attention spans are getting shorter, Instagram is doubling down on video ads by unveiling 60 second ads that will soon be widely available.

A statement from Instagram said the longer video ads would allow advertisers to tell unique stories that better tell their brand message.

Although only a handful of advertisers would have access to these longer video ads (just in time for a certain big game this weekend…) the wider advertiser base would have access at a later date.

Additionally, some iOS users can now switch between multiple Instagram accounts without repeatedly signing out and signing back in. The feature is already available to Android users, but appears to be a slower rollout (for now) on iOS.

Facebook tweaks the news feed algorithm…again

Supposedly Facebook’s new algorithm tweak to newsfeeds may help increase engagement due to qualitative feedback being used to deliver more relevant content to users. To help with this adjustment Facebook is utilizing a team of tens of thousands of users it calls its Feed Quality Panel to rate experiences every day to help improve what kinds of content is served up and cut down posts we don’t care to see.

Two Facebook software engineers explained that this update should not impact reach or referral traffic for most pages. Declines in referral traffic may occur if “the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed. This update helps rebalance those two factors, so people are seeing relevant stories to them.”

In short, avoid posting and encouraging actions on your posts which may deliver a short term increase in engagement because “temporary spikes in metrics might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time.”

Global demand for air travel surges

Air travel demandThe dark days of the global recession appear to be only memories for the airline industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released the 2015 global passenger traffic results and the numbers are good. The numbers show demand rose 6.5% last year compared to 2014. This marked the best year since the supposed Financial Crisis rebound of 2010.

These numbers were aided by an increase in capacity and all regions experiencing positive traffic growth, but carriers in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for one-third of the total increase.

 

Ad Spending on Facebook, Reactions & Hawaii Tourism

Facebook Q4 ad spending soars

Facebook Ad SpendingWhile the overall economy may not have ad a banner quarter Facebook didn’t have any problem selling ads in Q4 – more than doubling over the same time the previous year. The social network reportedly made $5.64 billion off of ads.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg noted that mobile placement buoyed the ad spending and now account for 80% of total ad revenue on Facebook. Facebook has a reported user base of 1.59 billion each month.

Hawaii tourism breaks records

Business is apparently good if you’re in the tourism industry in Hawaii. Tourism to the islands reportedly jumped to 8.6 million people last year. That’s up from 4% over the previous year with consumer spending also rising to a record $15 billion.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reports a rise in direct flights from its biggest sources of visitors (U.S. mainland, Australia and China) helped lead to the banner year for the Aloha State.

Facebook Reactions coming to U.S.

Facebook users have long asked for different ways to engage with posts besides the iconic “Like” button. The social network seems to finally be listening and has announced six emoji, called Facebook Reactions, would be coming to allow users new ways to interact with content.

The new emoji: angry, sad, wow, haha, yay and love were beta tested in different countries but should be rolling out to the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

Facebook worked with sociologists to carefully select the emotions that would be most appropriate for the content people engage with.

Facebook Reactions

 

Custom Newsfeeds, TripAdvisor Bookings, Airfordable

Facebook adding custom newsfeeds?

Facebook Custom NewsfeedsWe’ve reported quite a bit on the ways Twitter is copying Facebook, but now it looks like Facebook may be taking a page from Twitter’s playbook. Category-specific newsfeeds similar to Twitter’s lists have been experimented with since October, according to some reports, but now appear to be rolling out a bit more widely.

In an example tweeted out by Laundry Services’ CEO there appeared to be 13 categories including style, travel and headlines. These feeds seem to include updates and posts from friends and pages being followed – as well as pages that aren’t being followed by someone, but the feeds do appear to offer some customization.

One big point worth noting is that, in the example tweeted out, no ads appeared – but some analysts expect that to change if this new newsfeed option rolls out to the wider Facebook audience.

TripAdvisor offers instant bookings in most popular locations

As TripAdvisor has increased its ability to allow for instant bookings instead of sending visitors to third-party sites so too has its ability to cover the most popular destinations in the world.

A December study by financial firm PiperJaffray found that TripAdvisor’s Instant Bookings covered a whopping 92% of the most popular hotels in the most popular markets in the world. That number is up from only 76% in September and is thinks to the Booking.com partnership TripAdvisor forged in November. The study involved the top 500 hotels in the top 100 markets.

Airfordable wants to make it…well, affordable, to fly

AirfordableDepending on where you want to go flying isn’t exactly what many would consider “cheap”. However, new startup Airfordable wants to change that and get more people to fly by paying for their tickets in installments.

Airfordable has a $2,000 maximum on tickets it allows right now and does not charge interest like a credit card would – but it does charge a flat 20% service fee it spreads out across all payments. Travelers must pay for one third of the ticket’s cost up front and select if they want to pay off the ticket in biweekly or monthly installments. The founder says she wanted to make traveling easier for those without credit cards or who can’t normally afford to fly. Airfordable says many of its users are people who have used it to plan trips for major life milestones, like honeymoons or anniversaries.

Facebook vs Yelp, Best Travel Apps & Syrian Vacations?

Facebook vs. Yelp?

Facebook Professional ServicesIf recent news is any indication, Facebook may be looking to take on Yelp. The social network has reportedly developed a tool to help users find top-rated businesses within an area.

Tentatively called “Facebook Professional Services,” this feature would live within and be a part of Facebook and is currently desktop-only. This is likely to change as the company appears to still be designing the new tool and has not even officially announced it at this time.

Visitors to Professional Services are greeted with a search engine-type page with a box to select the area for which they are browsing. There are already more than 85 business types available for search, with results taking the Facebook five star rating system into account. The results that come up present the business name, contact information, hours of operation and snippets of some reviews.

As mentioned, Facebook has not officially announced the new tool, but did say it was still in early stages of development.

Vacation in Syria?

One of the last places most of us think to visit on vacation these days is war-torn Syria – but that’s exactly what one Russian travel firm is trying to set up. Starting next year, the Assad Tours (named after embattled President Assad) feature a four-to-five day trip to the Syrian front line. The president of the firm says he knows the trip won’t appeal to most people, but there is a niche audience for people “curious to see history made.”

Bizarre PR stunt or not, the head of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency says he has not heard about any such trip at this time and that sending tourists to conflict zones runs against Russian law.

Best iPhone Travel Apps

Let’s face it; apps make life easier – especially if you’re traveling and have no idea where to go, what to do or where to eat. Mashable compiled a list of the best travel apps available for the iPhone (most also appear on the Android store) and came up with the top six apps for travelers. Check them out if you haven’t and go exploring!

  1. Google Maps
  2. Uber
  3. Waze
  4. Yelp
  5. Foursquare
  6. CityMapper

Video Tourism, Easier Custom Audiences, Most Instagrammed Places

Video’s Impact on Tourism


Video and Travel
Attractive and compelling visual elements are easy ways to hook peoples’ imaginations and desires when it comes to travel and tourism. We see something amazing and we want to go. Over the past few years, the rise of video as a medium on mobile devices has grown significantly – and that remains true for tourism as well.

New information from Google UK sheds some light on why people engage with video when researching and looking up information for travel.

  • Nearly 50% of travelers watched video online before deciding where to go on a trip.
  • 65% use video when thinking about taking a trip.
  • 67% are using video when choosing their destination and which activities to enjoy.
  • 63% use video when deciding on accommodations.

While this data is focused on the UK, it provides a good sample example of how important the use of compelling and informational video can be when selecting and planning a trip.

Custom Audiences Made Easier

One of the great tools from Facebook is the ability to create a custom audiences from pixels and email addresses for advertising retargeting. It allows advertisers to reach a specific audience they want to engage with. Fortunately, Facebook is making it even easier to create such groups.
Announced this week, multiple data types with real-time matching will be added to the custom audiences tool. Previously, advertisers were limited to only one type at a time.

This means that the following data types will be used to help match people on Facebook and create a custom audience:

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Mobile advertiser ID
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • City
  • State
  • ZIP code
  • Country

This change means that by uploading a customer list to the custom audience tool the tool will use more points of data at once to create a list while improving accuracy.

The World’s Most Instagrammed Places

It’s no secret people enjoy posting pictures of their travels and vacations on Instagram. That’s probably why there are more than 353 million pieces of travel-related content on the social platform. However, which places around the world are getting the most attention?
Most Instagrammed Places

According to Skift, these are the top five most geotagged locations on Instagram this year:

  1. Disney Properties
  2. Universal Studios Properties
  3. Times Square, New York City
  4. Central Park
  5. Eiffel Tower

Worth noting is that Disney held the top spot last year as well! For the rest of the top 10 most Instagrammed locations in the world, click here.

 

Facebook Advertising Doesn’t have to be Hard

Facebook AdvertisingBy Grant Kenney, TwoSix Digital Senior Digital Strategist

The time to advertise on Facebook is now. The social network has increasingly moved to stifle organic reach and made it difficult for brands and pages to reach fans without spending any money (they are a publicly traded company now, after all). That’s not to say that everyone needs to dump all of their marketing budgets into Facebook advertising (we are still big fans of a well-integrated campaign), but it’s becoming more and more important to use some of the money earmarked for marketing or advertising into the social network.

Despite what you may think, you don’t need to spend millions or even thousands to advertise on Facebook. In fact, it’s never been easier (or less expensive) to get your company, destination or brand message in front of more people than those who like your page. Simply put: Facebook advertising doesn’t have to be hard.

If you’re reading this post you may be wondering exactly how easy it is if you’ve never run an ad on Facebook before. The answer: very easy.

Do I have to spend a lot on Facebook ads to see any results?

No! If you have $5 in your pocket and want to advertise on Facebook you can do it. Granted, that’s just one ad but it’s a great way to get your feet wet and test out Facebook advertising.

If you’re feeling a bit behind or lost about advertising on Facebook the best thing you can do is experiment a little by boosting your posts with small amounts of money. Fortunately, Facebook has made it very easy to not blow a ton of money on an ad – making the entry into advertising on the platform very affordable.

Facebook advertising sounds really complicated…but it doesn’t have to be

Facebook advertising is as complicated as you want it to be. The caveat here is that you need to determine what your objective is and then select the ad type that  works for you. For this example we’re going to focus on boosted posts, the easiest kind of ad you can run on Facebook.

Read more

Facebook Notify and Facial Recognition

Facebook wishes to Notify you of important news

Facebook NotifyThe latest in Facebook‘s play for eyes has a name: Notify. The new app launched this week is the company’s newest attempt at being your source for breaking news and information. Notify works by allowing you to select a number of more than 70 publishers to customize alerts and push notifications regarding news on companies, teams, events and more.

The app is available on iOS in the U.S., but does not allow for real-time discussion between users like Twitter does. This isn’t Facebook’s first attempt at something like this (remember Paper, Slingshot or Home?), but with the inclusion of real-time push notifications Notify may finally break Facebook’s less-than-stellar streak with apps involving news and information.

Facebook Experimenting with Facial Recognition Technology on your Phone

A new feature in Facebook’s Messenger app is either really cool – or really creepy, depending on how you look at it. The company is trying out something called “Photo Magic” which uses facial recognition to search for friends of yours on Facebook in pictures immediately after the picture is taken. You’ll then receive a push notification suggesting you send the picture to your friends in the photo.

The feature is being tested out in Australia and requires users to opt-in for the function, which may come as a relief for some. That won’t stop your friends from receiving the suggestion for you if you’re in a picture they’ve taken with you in it. Fortunately, you may opt-out of the facial recognition within the main Facebook app.

 

Pinterest Opens Shop, Twitter Kills Favorites

Pinterest Opens Shop

Pinterest ShopWhen Pinterest announced users would finally be able to buy some of the items they see and pin onto their boards many thought it was a great and exciting concept! However, the reality was a bit less exciting as it quickly became clear that finding pins with the little blue icon on them indicating they were able to be purchased was quite rare. Now, however, Pinterest is hoping to make buying items much easier for its 100 million users.

Available now, the Pinterest Shop allows you to find “trend collections” or buyable pins curated by the social network. For a company valued at $11 billion the move makes perfect sense. While the obvious application for retail is clear, it remains to be seen how other industries might be able to get in on the action. After all, how many travel/tourism-related pins do you see on a daily basis?

Twitter Kills Favorites, Replaces with Likes

For some time now Twitter and Facebook have borrowed ideas from one another (cover photos for Twitter, hashtags for Facebook), but the latest tweak on Twitter’s part seems to show how similar that social network is to becoming Facebook. Twitter has replaced its use of Favorites with Likes. You should notice this now when logging in that the star icon under tweets in your feed has been replaced with a heart.

The reasoning for this from Twitter’s product manager was a bizarre response: “”You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.” Oh okay…