In the furor over fake news and the dominance of the tech giants over the digital advertising industry, Google has seen far less scrutiny than Facebook.
The search giant on Tuesday announced steps that seem designed to make sure things stay that way.
Google is revamping its Google News service to make it easier for users to find stories from credible news sources and to subscribe to those publications. Using artificial intelligence, the updated service will automatically highlight stories it thinks users will be interested in, but it will also make it easier for them to get in-depth information on particular topics.
“We are using AI to bring forward the best of what journalism has to offer,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai while unveiling the revised service at the company’s annual developer conference in Mountain View, California. “We want to give users quality sources that they trust.”
The new service, which Google plans to start rolling out Tuesday in 127 countries, will offer a customized news feed for each user based on what the company knows about their interests and where they live. At the top of the feed will be the five most relevant articles for each user.
“It works right out of the box,” said Trystan Upstill, Google’s head of News product and engineering. The system is designed to become better attuned to your interests over time, he said, adding, “The more you use it, the better it gets.”
For years, digital platforms have courted TV advertising budgets, first via desktop campaigns, then with mobile-first efforts. Now, the pendulum is swinging back to the television screen. Consumers may be cutting their cable cords, but they’re still using their televisions or Smart TVs with OTT and streaming devices and gaming consoles.
YouTube says TV is now its fastest-growing screen in terms of watch time, with over 150 million hours viewed per day. “We’re amidst the second major shift in how people watch video on YouTube. In the past few years, we witnessed mobile viewership exceed desktop, marking the first major shift in how people interacted with YouTube,” said Debbie Weinstein, managing director for YouTube/Video Global Solutions, in the announcement.
On Sunday, YouTube announced several initiatives to help advertisers reach TV screen viewers.
YouTube TV to sell ads through Google Preferred network
YouTube says its own paid streaming service that packages content from network and cable outlets, YouTube TV, is now available in more than 100 TV markets in the US. The company is now making YouTube TV programming part of Google Preferred, its premium video advertising program. YouTube will sell ads on content from some US cable networks participating in YouTube TV via the Preferred network.
Social media marketing can be used for so much more than just engagement. With the right strategies and social media tools, you can increase revenue for your business using social media platforms writes, Disha Dinesh, Content Marketer, Godot Media
Every company has a presence on social media because it’s great for engagement. But clients today like to speak in terms of ROI. Budgets are tight, marketing options are many and clients don’t want to invest in marketing activities unless they are certain to provide substantial returns.
According to a recent study, 93% customers expect companies to have a presence on social media and 71 % of them are willing to make a purchase from the brands that they follow on social media.
However, driving conversions via social media can be tricky because you need the right mix of content, promotion strategies and social media tools. Here’s an insight into what smart marketers do to increase revenue using social media.
Drive referrals to your website using social media
When you create and promote social media content, referrals should be at the top of your mind, because you can’t drive or track conversions without referrals. In addition to this, yo should also ensure that the landing page your drive referrals to should be optimized for conversion.
One simple way to greatly increase social media referrals is to create automated publishing queues of your best converting content.
There are several social media management tools such as DrumUp (full disclosure, I work with them), that you can use for such an activity. Personally, I save high-referral blog posts, external mentions and top performing social posts in DrumUp’s libraries and set those libraries on automatic publishing schedules. I add new posts to these libraries everyday, as new blog posts get published. This activity has greatly boosted our social media referrals.
Attract your audience with relevant content
It doesn’t matter if you have a million social media fans; you won’t get business from them unless you there’re relevant to your business and you actually engage them. That’s why it’s critical to choose the content that you share on your social accounts very carefully.
One of the easiest ways to find great content to share is through content curation apps such as Pocket. This app can also serve as a great source for content inspiration when you’re writing marketing content.
To make the most of Pocket, I have setup my fields of interest on the app, and go to it when I’m suffering from writer’s block, or I need fresh content to share with my social media followers. Pocket also lets you save posts from the internet and tag them for easy access when needed.
Collect leads using social media
When you drive referral from social media, instead of directly converting the referrals, you could turn them into leads. This is especially advisable if you have a business with a typically long sales cycle. Each lead you collect from social media can go into your regular sales funnel.
The simplest ways to collect leads from social media is to direct social media traffic to a page that collects emails for your newsletter opt-in or a giveaway.
You need an email capture tool to collect emails from social media visitors. SumoMe offers website analytics and email capture forms that are quite easy to use. We’ve set up a standard email capture form that works quite well for us. Alternatively, you could also directly generate leads from social media using a tool like Socedo.
Run promotions on social media
When creating campaign creatives, it’s important to consider using largely visual elements with less text, because Facebook is very crowded and visuals are more likely to be noticed on crowded feeds than is text.
You can also supplement social media promotions with social media ads and email newsletter promotions, which increase your promotion referrals.
Many small businesses run promotions on Facebook. If your promotion ideas abide by Facebook’s guidelines, you can be certain that they’re safe to run on the social media platform. However, running promotions on Facebook requires a third-party app. Apps such as WildFireApp are great options.
Use social media for PR
The cost of PR can drastically drop if you use your social media networks to achieve your PR goals. And there are several ways that you could use social media for PR. According to a recent study, 57.5% consumers are likely to make a purchase from brands that they follow on social media. Social media PR is a great way to appeal to these consumers.
The simplest way to do PR on social media is by collaborating with other brands. You could begin by guest curating content for other brands or guest posting on their blogs. Getting C-suite executives or influencers to publish social media posts is another way to drive PR goals using social media.
Identifying PR opportunities on social media can be tough, without a social media listening tool like BrandWatch. With social media listening, you can set-up keywords and listen for potential PR opportunities on social media.
However, industry insiders at marketing agencies don’t feel like the technology is all quite there—yet. At South by Southwest and Shoptalk, Adweek talked to three different experts to see what they thought about social commerce and if it’s as relevant as recent campaigns make it appear to be.
“There’s a lot of friction from the user to go through the steps [to purchase] because there’s also this learning curve of buying something on this new platform,” said Octavio Maron, executive creative director at Fetch, a mobile marketing agency.
“So if you look at how many people Pinterest sends to an ecommerce site, it’s not a huge amount,” said Jason Goldberg, svp of commerce and content practice at SapientRazorfish. “But the people that they send have a much higher buying intent because they’ve already discovered something they want to buy, so it’s disportionately affecting sales.”
Though the technology still doesn’t feel quite ready, Maron thinks it could provide a means of verification for real people to buy items versus bots.
Goldberg also points out a key difference he sees between some social platforms and Snapchat: On Snapchat, users can pick sizes and colors more cleanly versus other sites.
“Almost every other social is one awkward integration,” Goldberg said. “Snap has oddly added a lot of robust commerce functionality. Snap organically sells you something on the Snap platform; they’re not chasing you off the platform, it’s not a referral.”
Social commerce is making brands rethink their website strategy
“Before, there [were] various factions within companies that think their website should be used for this or it should be a store,” said Steve White, vp of commerce strategy at SapientRazorfish. “As they shift to social to being the center universe for micro influencers and all that stuff, it allows their site to be more specific or more broad than they had originally thought.”
These social platforms open up the possibility of event-based opportunities, like the Snapchat and Jordan Brands partnership.
“It feels like there’s so many areas to experiment [with],” Liew said. “Like video; could that be the next QVC on Facebook? That could be interesting, creating urgency, making an event.”
Where will all that data on consumers go?
“The question is, are you going to be able to get the data back, and are you going to be able to control that end-to-end customer experience,” said Steven Wolfe Pereira, CMO of Quantcast.
So while it feels important to be on social, Wolfe Pereira cautions against going it into blindly when these tech companies already have a large share of digital advertising.
“[Retailers] might do experiments, but for a digital native vertical brand to build their full business on Instagram, or Snap or anything, I think it’s really detrimental, because they won’t have that first party data,” Wolfe Pereira said.
Snap, Nike’s Jordan brand, Darkstore and Shopify teamed up in a collaboration of epic proportions to pre-release the Air Jordan III “Tinker” on Snapchat with same-day delivery last night after the NBA All-Star game. This is the first time a brand other than Snap has sold a product via Snapchat.
The thousands who attended the Jumpman All-Star after-party in Los Angeles last night were able to scan exclusive Snap codes to receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night. Once they scanned the Snap code, they were brought into the Snapchat app, where they could then purchase the sneakers.
“This is the Holy Grail of the experience [Nike is] trying to intend, which is direct to consumer — to the actual consumer, versus a bot, — and same-day delivery,” Hnetinka said. “The Snap code introduces a new paradigm for commerce.”
Darkstore works by exploiting excess capacity in storage facilities, malls and bodegas, and enables them to be fulfillment centers with just a smartphone. The idea is that brands without local inventory can store products in a Darkstore and then ship them out the same day.
In addition to the exclusive Snap codes, Snapchat geofenced the area over the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles during the All-Star game. Within that geofence, fans had access to a special 3D augmented reality Michael Jordan lens.
The official release for the shoe isn’t until March 24, but Nike wanted to do something extra special in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s slam dunk in 1988. That dunk is often referred to as the moment when Jordan “took flight.”
This isn’t Nike’s first time selling shoes via app-based experiences. Last June, Nike’s release for the SB Dunk High “Momofuku” required people to go a Momofuku restaurant, or to the Momofuku website, and then point their camera at the menu in order to see a sneaker pop up in augmented reality. From there, sneakerheads could purchase the shoes. Similar to what Nike is doing with Snapchat, you have to physically, or virtually, be somewhere in order to buy a pair.
“Jordan Brand and the Jumpman represent greatness, so we hold ourselves and our partners to that standard to create distinct and meaningful experiences for our community,” Jordan Brand Senior Director of Global Digital Dan Harbison said in a statement to TechCrunch. “To execute on that, we worked with some of the industry leaders in this space. Snapchat had an existing partnership with Shopify to create the frictionless commerce experience, so we felt that would make sense. We had also talked to Darkstore and liked their same day delivery solution and learned they had partnered with Shopify in the past, so that became an easy decision.”
This collaboration also marks Snap’s moist aggressive move into the in-app e-commerce game. Snap launched the Snap Store within the Snapchat app’s Discover section earlier this month to sell the Dancing Hot Dog Plushie, Snapchat winkface sweatshirt and other Snap-related products. At the time, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine noted Snapchat could position itself as a way for top brands to reach their audiences in a medium that bridges both shopping and social experiences.
In its ongoing efforts to redefine popular beauty standards as part of its decade-long Real Beauty campaigns, Dove learned the hard way about the thin line that exists between positive social message and controversy. For a company that has so successfully promoted positive body image in the past, it must have come as a shock that an idea so well thought out (or so it thought) ended up being so misinterpreted.
But that’s just one of many examples that what looks good on paper might not look as good on Twitter.
While the marketing mistakes we saw in 2017 might have taught us a thing or two about social marketing, 2018 might bring with it a fresh list of public relations mishaps, legal issues and other unanticipated challenges.
By looking at trends, we can predict and prepare for what’s to come in 2018.
People will expect authenticity
As brand messaging, giving to charity and claims of “green” become popular ways to attract customers, consumers are putting their guard up and being very selective about what they believe.
“Consumers are no longer being impressed by new old tactics that used to be woven together into cause marketing,” Electra Cruises CEO Randy Clayton said. “Going forward, businesses will need to be more believable.”
The answer to this is authenticity. To be able to connect with consumers at a personal level, social marketers––and marketers in general––will need to cultivate an authentic voice that customers can easily identify with. The messages sent out must reach customers, be genuine and at the same time enhance brand principles—something that’s not been very popular in 2017.
So, what can you do to make your voice more believable?
“The time is ripe for transitory content,” RockHer CEO Jim Vernon said. “Social marketing will need to pick up the momentum set on transitory content such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live videos in 2017. This type of content has a better shot at making your brand credible, as opposed to other types of content, which look and feel rehearsed and perfected.”
Brands will be required to be even more transparent
This is a case of influencer marketing done right (Machinima had promised its client 19 million views) but against the law.
With the rising application of influencer marketing, sponsored content and other related techniques taking center stage in social marketing, brands are under a lot of scrutiny. This has called for more transparency on their part in the way that they leverage these methods to get their products out there.
Speaking of the Machinima settlement, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained, “When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch.”
Lawsuit Settlement Funding CEO Chris Janish said, “The legal aspect of advertising has long been a non-issue, but now, companies will need to carefully consider this area before they can even begin to sell their message.”
With such developments, influencer marketing might become irrelevant, or at least not as effective in 2018 as it has been in the previous years. Customers will find it hard to believe a message if they can clearly see that an influencer has been paid to push it.
Managing messaging across channels will be more challenging
Traditionally, the idea of optimizing content for different channels was to take the same piece of content and make small changes to fit it into the target channel. However, as it is, every piece of content has to be created for a particular channel, from the start.
The content-creation process is changing drastically, and social marketers will need to adapt to these changes. They will need to constantly look back at past content and see what has worked before, including the social data and target audience information.
“Each platform provides unique opportunities for you to tell the story of your brand,” Scorum CEO Vladislav Artemyev said. “To succeed in each, social marketers have to clearly define the type of content to create for their audience in each of the channels. They have to know the key pillars of each platform; what content matches the target audience, and which types to do away with; and the audience engagement levels on each platform.”
While 2017 gave us lots of Kendall Jenner Pepsi ads, it also gave us Heineken’s Worlds Apart ads. So, nothing is predetermined. Some marketers will still rise above the challenges and use the trends to their advantage. But the time to act is now.
YouTube is looking for some upbeat PR — pushing the idea that the Google-owned global video platform can be a force for social good, after suffering an advertiser backlash in 2017 over objectionable content that was being monetized.
In 2018, YouTube said it will invest $5 million in its Creators for Change program, including production and marketing support. The program, which launched in September 2016, is aimed at boosting the profile of YouTubers whose videos “counter hate and promote tolerance.”
Since launching Creators for Change, YouTube has teamed with 39 creators from around the world who have released dozens of videos encouraging empathy and understanding. This year, YouTube plans to engage more creators in the program as well as develop new tools and guidance for empowering the broader community.
“Video is a powerful medium to open minds to new perspectives and shared experiences,” Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of public policy, wrote in a blog post. “Creators prove that to us every single day. And we think Creators for Change in 2018 will reach and inspire even bigger audiences.”
Over the next several months, according to Downs, YouTube will announce the recipients of the production grants through the renewed investment. More info on the program is available at youtube.com/yt/creators-for-change.
On Wednesday, YouTube is hosting the Creators for Change Summit in London with several hundred creators in attendance.