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Meta Expands Ad Targeting Restrictions For Teens and Younger Users

By Paid Media, Social Media

Meta has recently updated its data privacy measures for young users, with new restrictions on ad targeting and new control options. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s changed?

Starting in March, Meta will no longer use interests, activity, gender, and in-app engagement to target ads to teens. Instead, age and location targeting will be the only information used to show teens relevant ads.

Meta notes that teens ‘aren’t necessarily as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for advertising, particularly when it comes to showing them products available to purchase’. The company states:

“Age and location will be the only information about a teen that we’ll use to show them ads. Age and location help us continue to ensure teens see ads that are meant for their age and products and services available where they live.” 

Why is this important?

Gender targeting can reinforce cultural bias to some degree, while targeted ads based on in-app actions could see inappropriate promotions being shown to younger users.

To be clear, Meta already has restrictions in place that limit the types of ads that can be shown to teens. But these new measures go an extra step, in limiting exposure to promotional content across Facebook and Instagram, primarily.

Which could also limit marketers’ capacity to hone in on specific audiences – but then again, by using Meta’s own AI-dictated ad targeting options, brands will still be able to reach receptive audiences across its apps, based on relevant factors. Now, however, marketers won’t be able to use interests, activity or gender specifically, but there are still commonalities among younger audiences that would see Meta’s AI highlight their promotions to these audiences.

In addition to this, Meta’s also rolling out new options that will enable teen users to control the ads they see in its apps. This change ensures that teens only see ads that are meant for their age and location and protects their online data from being used for advertising purposes without their knowledge or consent.

How to control ad topics:

Meta has introduced Ad Topic Controls, which will give teens more ways to manage the types of ads they see. Here’s how to use them:

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ section of your Meta app
  • Tap on ‘Ad Topic Controls’
  • Select the ad topics you want to see or opt out of

While this change may limit the ability to target specific audiences, Meta’s AI will still be able to highlight appropriate and relevant sponsored content to young audiences based on commonalities. This also helps avoid potential cultural bias in gender targeting and the display of inappropriate ads to younger users.

Meta’s new data privacy measures aim to protect young users’ online data and give them more control over the ads they see. By following the steps outlined above, you can manage your ad topics and ensure you only see ads that are relevant to your age and location. If you need assistance, please contact us today. We’re here to help.

TikTok Overtakes Google In Travel Discovery

By Paid Media, Social Media

TikTok now hosts 750 million monthly users worldwide, and around 34% of travelers were influenced by TikTok in 2022, mostly in the early decision-making stage. This represents a 10% increase from 2021.

One of TikTok’s attractive advantages over Google is it doesn’t default to promoting the most common and popular hotspots, which can suffer from overcrowding. 

”With Google Maps, if you’re going to Yosemite National Park, it wants to show you the top ten destinations instantly and we’re like Stop!” Jonahthan Farrington, executive director of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, which aims to use TikTok to promote overlooked areas like Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park. “Our hope is to one, get people interested and two, that they’re going to say ‘Wow, We to need to go over there,’ which is away from the crowded areas.”

Smaller Brands Can Reach Large Audiences

Travel organizations are increasingly investing resources on the platform to reach global audiences.

Even brands with small accounts have an opportunity to go viral and rack up video views thanks to the TikTok algorithm, which rewards creativity, authenticity and uniqueness in travel discovery. In other words, a brand doesn’t need a large number of existing followers to gain exposure to millions.

A Brand Need Not Be on TikTok To Benefit From It

In fact, travel-focused brands who don’t even have an account on TikTok can still reach millions of target audiences through the platform as those brands can partner with influencers behind the scenes to connect with TikTok users in the travel discovery process. 

Digital Advertising Important for Travel Brands

The importance of digital advertising to the travel industry is hard to overstate.

Digital channels accounted for nearly 90% of all travel advertising spend in 2021. Social is the fastest growing subchannel, making up 29% of travel ad spend in 2021 versus 22% in 2019. 

Most of that digital performance spending is going to one of two places: Google or META. There are few other viable alternatives to reach online audiences at scale, making TikTok a powerful alternative and opportunity for the travel industry. 

TikTok has an ability to attract new audiences, go viral without an established account, and to diversify ad spending. If you need assistance adding TikTok to your paid social mix to reach travelers in their early decision-making process, contact us. We’re here to help.  

Five Ways to Boost Your Brand’s Engagement on Instagram

By Paid Media, Social Media

Instagram is a powerful platform for businesses looking to increase engagement and reach a wider audience. With over one billion monthly active users, it’s crucial to find ways to stand out and make your content memorable.

Here are five ways to significantly boost engagement on Instagram:

  1. Use hashtags to reach a wider audience: By using relevant hashtags, you can expand the reach of your content and connect with your target demographic. It’s important to utilize the This is a quick and efficient way to increase engagement and get your voice heard on social media.
  1. Post content that is interesting and visually appealing: To keep followers coming back for more, create content that is entertaining, informative, and visually appealing. By combining interesting facts with attractive graphics or visuals, you can create content that is both engaging and memorable.
  2. Engage with other users by liking and commenting on their posts: By actively participating in conversations on Instagram, you can create authentic connections and identify shared values, interesting points of view, and helpful tips. This is a valuable exchange that can help you gain valuable feedback and knowledge while also helping others.
  3. Run contests or giveaways to encourage people to follow you: Offering contests or giveaways is a great way to create interest in your page and build up your customer database. Just make sure that the content is relevant to your business and audience interests to ensure continued engagement.
  4. Use Instagram Stories to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look: Instagram Stories are an excellent way to provide unique and special content that gives followers an inside look at your life or business. With their limited 24-hour time frame, these stories create a sense of urgency and make followers feel valued. They’re also a great platform for brand storytelling and can help set you apart from the competition.

By implementing these strategies and consistently posting high-quality content, you can significantly boost engagement on Instagram and stand out from the competition.

Remember to experiment with different types of content to see what resonates most with your followers and keep at it even when you don’t see immediate results.

In fact, META now allows you to target those users who are following your Instagram account within your campaign setup, expanding the media mix for campaigns. This is useful for those looking to expand audiences and create lookalikes off these segments. We recommend you test this audience in the mix, to see how it performs, particularly against the Facebook counterpart/other engagement audiences.

If you’d like assistance running your Instagram campaigns – or with any other integrated media strategy, please contact us today. We’re here to help.

Top Advertising & Digital Marketing Trends for 2023

By Paid Media

It’s a new dawn, a new day and a new year, so, let’s take a moment to explore the ongoing and emerging trends brands will leverage in 2023.

Advertising Trends:

  1. Personalization: Advertisers will continue to use data to deliver personalized ads and content to their target audience. This includes using techniques like retargeting and lookalike modeling to reach potential customers.
  2. Interactive content: Interactive content, such as quizzes and polls, is expected to become more popular as it engages the audience and helps gather valuable data for advertisers.
  3. Video content: Video content will continue to be an important part of advertising strategies, particularly on social media platforms.
  4. Artificial intelligence: AI and machine learning will be increasingly used to optimize ad targeting and to create personalized ad experiences.
  5. Social and environmental responsibility: Consumers are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, and advertisers are expected to reflect these values in their messaging and branding.

Digital Marketing Trends:

  1. Voice search optimization: As the use of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home increases, it’s important for businesses to optimize their websites and content for voice search. This includes using long-tail keywords and natural language.
  2. Augmented reality: AR technology is expected to become more widespread and accessible, and businesses will use it to create interactive and immersive experiences for their customers.
  3. Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers to promote products or services will continue to be a popular advertising trend, as people often trust recommendations from individuals they follow online.
  4. Social media: Social media continues to play a large role in business marketing plans. In fact, More than 90% of US companies spend money to promote their brands on social media. And industry studies predicted that total social media marketing spend would be more than $56 billion in 2022.
  5. TikTok Campaigns: Speaking of social media, despite being a household name, TikTok is one of the most underutilized social platforms right now. Statistics show that only 4% of social media marketers are currently using the platform.We expect to see more brands engage with target audiences on TikTok in 2023.

If you need assistance leveraging these trends, please contact us. We are here to help.

Should Marketers Pause Twitter Ad Campaigns?

By Paid Media, Social Media

Many advertisers are rethinking their marketing approach on Twitter following recent changes, including relaxed content moderation, reinstated problematic accounts, and the massive layoffs that have taken place since Elon Musk purchased the platform in late October.

Half of Twitter’s top one hundred advertisers “have either announced or seemingly stopped advertising” on Twitter, according to a recent analysis, amid boycott calls from civil rights and advocacy groups.

Because of the reduced staff, users are reporting an array of glitches, including issues with two-factor authentication, paused campaigns turning on, ads running alongside ‘hardcore antisemitism and adult spam,” and limited ability to modify campaigns.

Some advertisers have reported a significant drop in ad performance, potentially due to ad server problems. Since early November, reports of a spike in hate speech; accounts who succeeded at impersonating popular figures by gaming the new subscription blue checkmark. We are also seeing Chinese-controlled accounts dominating platform trends and searches. 

Should Marketers Halt Ads on Twitter?

The decision to halt media on Twitter in the midst of divisive tactics, platform glitches, and relaxed content moderation policies rests upon each company’s qualitative comfort with the unknown, the controversial, and quantitative projection of bottom line impact.

Twitter was the sixth largest social media company in terms of ad revenue in 2021. As brands head into the holidays and planning for 2023, the prospect of cutting spend on Twitter altogether can impact on projected revenue plans.  

Brands that advertise on Twitter may experience platform glitches and should expect delays from communications with Twitter representatives. Clients located in the APAC region may experience the biggest lags and glitches, considering that Twitter’s APAC team was significantly reduced. As advertisers flock to other platforms to make up for potential lost spend on Twitter, competition and costs may increase on these competitive platforms.  

We recommend marketers pay close attention to any content (including organic posts) they are posting on Twitter, given the platform’s evolving moderation policies, reported glitches, and other brand safety items reported. We also recommend brands speak with their legal, PR and marketing teams about the potential risks on the platform and have a contingent crisis communications plan in place, should it be needed. We do not recommended testing this channel, or exploring this as a media mix, without proven results given the recent issues. 

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the Twitter landscape and will advise of any new changes. If you need assistance with your Twitter campaigns – or with any digital marketing strategies – please contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Social Media Predictions for 2023

By Social Media

As 2022 comes to a close, we are keeping an eye on the emerging trends and tools and tactics that will matter in 2023.

Facebook Leverages AI To Keep People Interested.

As Facebook continues to lose users to TikTok, the platform is using AI to send more content from Pages and people’s content through Feeds.

Mark Zuckerberg explained in a recent interview with The Verge that:

“What’s basically going to happen is that, over the next year or two, we’ll start showing more recommended content in the Feed. And we’ll know that we’re doing a good job because the content in the beginning is going to displace some other content, and either displacing that content is going to lead to negative feedback from people, and lead to people connecting with each other less in all the metrics that we focus on, or it will actually lead to people connecting more and being more satisfied with the product.”

Zuckerberg’s view is that 40% of the content in your main Facebook feed will come from Pages you don’t follow.

For brands, that could also mean expanded opportunity, as Facebook’s algorithms will look to show your best-performing posts to even more people, even those outside of your current audience.

Facebook Is Moving Away From Promoting External Links

Facebook is placing a lower priority on content that promotes external links because they want more people to spend more time on the platform.

While this will cause some frustration for brands seeking to drive views to their websites, we recommend brands focus on content that generates more engagement on Facebook, likes memes and audience questions. This could help marketers that might then boost brand awareness and increase their following.

Continued Push for Avatar integration on Facebook

Despite a lack of user interest and an unimpressed industry, Meta is still trying to get users excited about the metaverse. So, you can expect to see more digital avatars popping up on the app.

Meta Avatar store

Although, we are far from reaching critical mass in the VR-enabled metaverse, there are expanded opportunities in sponsored items for avatars, themed costumes, and some new ways to connect and engage within the digital space.

Expect Meta to start pushing avatars as a key way to connect and engage, from video chats to posts, to status updates, and onto the metaverse itself.

More AI-recommended Instagram Content – and More Reels

Just like Facebook, Instagram is likewise hoping AI content recommendations will maximize user engagement as the platform struggles to keep up with TikTok.

Meanwhile Reels remains Instagram’s its fastest-growing content format, so you can expect to see more random updates, and more Reels, in more places in the app.

Like Facebook, it’s not clear yet that this will work for IG. But they’re going to push it either way.

We also expect Instagram will revisit its full-screen feed test, maybe with selected users who engage with Reels/Stories more often.

More Brand Engagement with Creators

We expect Instagram to add-in new forms of content creation in 2023, including AR and 3D posts, further integrate NFT art, and other new content forms that can be showcased in the app.

By providing more ways for creators to create directly on Instagram, Meta hopes to guide them to the metaverse. So you can expect to see new creation tools, like GIFs generated from Live Photos on IG, and also, the integration of 3D creation tools from its Spark AR platform directly into Instagram itself.

Spark

AR and More Interactive Ads

Other platforms are already experimenting with this, and as Meta seeks to guide users into the next stage, we expect to see more more 3D models for the metaverse space, including new AR ad formats cwith enhanced scanning tools and ingestion processes to help more brands lean into this next-level shift.

Twitter Will Continue to Experiment to Regain Market Share

Elon Musk has laid out various vague plans as he tries to right the seemingly sinking ship. From subscriptions to today’s news that he will no longer remove misinformation about COVID-19, we could see anything from Twitter transforming to a pay-to-play platform to a return to robust analytics. (Twitter removed a lot of analytics features back in 2020, and never replaced them.

If Musk were to improve Twitter Analytics offering, and presented that as a service, that would likely be something for which many businesses would be willing to pay.

Pinterest Will Continue to Grow and Gain Greater Influence

Pinterest has been on a more steady upward trajectory now.

We expect this trend to continue with greater international expansion. Pinterest is doing well in its key markets, but it still has a lot of growing to do in other regions.

Pinterest Q3 2022

As you can see in these charts, Pinterest’s income from North American users literally towers over what it makes in other regions. Pin ads are still not available in all markets, and while Pinterest is still growing, it needs to work on building its ad opportunities to maximize its potential in this respect.

Improved Search and Discovery on Pinterest

Discovery is the backbone of Pinterest’s operation and we expect to see new improvements in highlighting the most relevant products via improved search tools and processes.

Pinterest continues to make progress on this front, by adding in more personalized discovery tools, and you can expect to see Pinterest continue to refine and improve its processes to help maximize product discovery, in alignment with personal usage habits and preferences.

Also, expect to see Pinterest add in more product comparison options, to help users find the best deals in the app. Pinterest also needs more products, and as such, you can also expect to see the platform continue to improve its catalog ingestion tools, and help more merchants list their items as Buyable Pins.

Live-Stream Shopping

Pinterest is also testing the waters on live-stream shopping, and if that does become a bigger trend, you can expect the platform to make a much bigger push on integrating live shopping into the app.

We expect Live shopping to be more effective on Pinterest than other platforms at the moment simply because of the nature of content and the way users currently engage with products on the app.

LinkedIn Will Leverage Better Data, Video and Audio in 2023

LinkedIn already owns the largest database of professional and career insights ever created, and it’s slowly integrating new ways to use this to help people maximize their opportunities.

We expect this to continue in 2023, with more links to LinkedIn Learning so users can obtain the skills needed to land their dream jobs.

Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn has seen more people consuming more video content in the app, and we expect the platform to add in more video tools, expanding on its existing intro video and video chat features.

In fact, we more people are accustomed to virtual conferences and events now, we imagine LinkedIn will enhance its Event features with more Zoom-like features for in-platform video meetings and live streams.

Similarly, as podcasts continue to become the preferred content type for Millennials and GenZers, we expect to see LinkedIn embrace audio events – perhaps even by creating an in-platform podcast offering like BuzzSprout and others.

Either way, we expect to see audio rooms in groups, audio meet-ups among your connections better highlighted in the app, and more sections highlighting audio events.

TikTok Will Embrace Social Commerce

The current social unrest in China could result in TikTok being banned throughout the country. However, the success of the app around the rest of the world, along with the increasing need for Western brands to monetize their presence on the app, leads us to expect social commerce to grow on TikTok.

To-date, western users haven’t exactly warmed to live-stream shopping, at least not in the way that some Asian regions have, but TikTok is determined to make it work, as a means to both maximize revenue and provide another monetization opportunity for creators.

Because right now, creators can’t make as much money on TikTok as they can on YouTube, TikTok’s trying out various solutions on this front, but the platform has had the most success with live-stream commerce, so it’s safe to expect this to become a more prominent feature in 2023.

If you need assistance with your social media strategy in 2023, please contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Instagram Rolls Out New In-App Post Scheduling Tools

By Paid Media, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Instagram is rolling out its new in-app post scheduling tools to all professional accounts in the app. The new option enables brands to schedule photos, carousels and Reels directly in the app, as much as seventy-five days in advance.

Here is how you can schedule Reels:

  • In the creation flow, tap ‘Advanced Settings’ before sharing the post
  • Tap ‘Schedule this post’
  • Select the time and date you want it to go live
  • Tap ‘Schedule’ in the post composer

Functionally, this doesn’t add anything new as users have been able to schedule posts via Creator Studio since 2020

But it could make it easier to manage your content on the go, and with the ability to schedule Reels so far in advance, this feature could help you maximize your content performance.

Instagram says that the option is rolling out from today, so if you don’t have it yet, you will shortly.

As usual, if you have any questions on how to get the most out of Instagram or any other media platform, please contact us today. We are here to help.

Expected Changes to Twitter and What It Means For Your Brand

By Paid Media, Social Media No Comments

Since his acquisition of Twitter, Elon Musk has plans to restore the social media platform to its former glory when it was once the go-to for breaking news and compelling conversation.

Twitter has become synonymous with troll and bots in recent years. It seems the answer to that for Musk is to re-vamp the platform into a subscription model. His stated goal is to generate 50% of Twitter’s revenue intake from subscribers, reducing the app’s reliance on ads.

Paid Subscriptions and Verifications

To this end, Musk is reportedly considering:

At this stage, it’s hard to know when or if these will be tested or rolled out. But, we will monitor these changes for you.

If Twitter can deliver authentic and compelling content through these verified subscription packages, it would allow brands to once again leverage Twitter for thought leadership. The challenge will be convincing users to pay to keep using the app and whether or not that blue checkmark of certification will be sufficient enough to compel users to pay for it.

Staff Reductions

The Washington Post has reported that Musk will cull at least 25% of Twitter’s current roles.

Musk has already cut several senior execs, and he’s reportedly analyzing Twitter’s sales, product, engineering and legal departments,.

The Possible Return of Vine

There are hints that Elon is considering bringing Vine back from the dead, in order to directly compete with TikTok. While Vine fans are elated, we aren’t convinced a re-released Vine would go the distance beyond initial launch hype. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor all the changes happening at Twitter and will help ensure you know how best to leverage this and all other media platforms.

If you need assistance with your paid media or social media strategy, please contact us. We are here to help.

Pinterest Launches New Tools to Help Advertisers Discover Emerging Trends & Measure Success

By Paid Media, Social Media No Comments

Because people on Pinterest seek inspiration with purchase intent, the platform can be a very successful way for brands to drive conversions. With this in mind, Pinterest has launched the Pinterest Trends tool, which helps advertisers gain deeper insights into user behaviors to inform campaign planning through creative and targeting. Additionally, Pinterest’s new API for Conversions is now globally available, providing advertisers a complete view of campaign performance to measure users’ behavior on their site. The Pinterest API will also integrate conversions features globally in the coming weeks with commerce partner Shopify and tag management partner Google Tag Manager.

This can show you the trends with your engaged users/followers in 90 days, trends by demographics (Age, topic, time and place) as well as seasonal trends that should help with the coming holiday season, making the platform more appealing to advertisers seeking an informed audience strategy/creative.

Integration of trends helps make media buying more robust on Pinterest with deeper level insights on trends by region, demo, account etc. It’s similar to a Google Trends tool, but within the Pinterest interface.

Using the Pinterest Trends tool can help advertisers win Q4 holiday season and beyond with industry first features including:

  • Trends your audience loves – this widget on the homepage of Pinterest Trends allows advertisers to see what is trending with their engaged users and followers in the last 90 days. 
  • Trends by demographics – the only tool that helps advertisers filter by age, topic, time and place
  • Seasonal trends – new trend types such as Seasonal trends help advertisers better align content and marketing calendars to when Pinners are most engaged with different topics

To date, hundreds of advertisers across the world have partnered with Pinterest to implement the API for Conversions in order to observe its impact on advertiser performance and reliability. According to the platform, the early results from those findings showed that the API for Conversions is not just the future of conversion measurement, but also acts as a current driver of performance for Pinterest advertisers. Pinterest reports that advertisers who adopted the API for Conversions have seen.

  • 14% Cost per action (CPA) improvements on average for oCPM campaigns when using both Conversion API and Tags, compared to using Tags only
  • 36% average increase in attributed conversion volume when using both Conversion API and Tags, compared to using Tags only

While the API for Conversions’ most frequent use case is lower funnel actions, such as checkouts, many advertisers have found additional insight in also using the solution for full funnel actions: add to cart and page visits.

If you are considering Pinterest in your media mix and need help ensuring you use this new tool to measure success/check trends effectively, please contact us. We’re here to help.

YouTube Launches New Ad Features for CTV and Audio

By Paid Media, Social Media No Comments

YouTube announced three new ad options as part of its Advertising Week New York showcase, including ‘Moment Blast’, which enables advertisers to highlight their offers to Connected TV viewers, and new audio ad options to reach viewers listening to YouTube content.

Here is how YouTube explained Moment Blast:

“Moment Blast is designed for brands looking to raise awareness during key moments – like major sporting events, movie releases or product launches. Moment Blast gives advertisers prime positioning on YouTube Select content on connected TVs (CTV) and other devices, plus a Branded Title Card and optional Masthead placement.”

YouTube Select is a showcase of select video content from across YouTube that enables advertisers to reach specific audiences, based on various interests and categories.

With Moment Blast, brands can better amplify their messaging through these channels, which could help to maximize their reach.

YouTube is also expanding its audio ads, including podcast targeting, enabling advertisers to reach engaged audiences in the app. YouTube first launched its audio-only ads back in 2020, as part of its broader push to maximize YouTube Music, and has been expanding its audio offerings ever since. Now that podcasts have become a preferred platform for Millennials and GenZers, with podcasts are being steadily integrated into the platform.

YouTube podcasts

YouTube’s also expanding its product feed options to Discovery ads, providing another way to promote products direct in the app.

YouTube Product Feed

Product feeds, like the example above, allows users to add a listing of products to ads, enabling viewers to easily make a purchase, which could also drive more direct response from your campaigns. As YouTube explains:

“Soon, product feeds will also include local offers, allowing brands to show real-time availability for products in their Google Merchant Center so people can find the most convenient place to buy.”

YouTube is also looking to expand more product display capacity to Shorts:

“Creators will also be able to transform their content into virtual storefronts; this quarter, more creators will have the ability to tag products in their videos and Shorts.”

Shorts has become a much bigger focus as social media platforms continue to compete with TikTok. YouTube is exploring more ways to better facilitate monetization opportunities for Shorts creators, while also enabling brands to tap into this rising element.

If you need assistance leveraging YouTube or any media platform for your brand, please contact us today. We’re here to help.