Snapchat launches self-serve ad manager

Category: Social Media Date: Thursday, 15 June 2017 23:17

First it was sponsored geofilters, and now Snapchat is working on launching a new self-serve Ad platform for its Snap ads product. There’s also a new Snapchat Mobile Dashboard and the Business Manager site for configuring the roles and permissions of team members. Snapchat was aware that lack of metrics was a major reason why many brands were hesitant to advertise on the platform, so this is a welcomed change. But first, let’s breakdown the capabilities of the three new Snap business tools:

  • Ad Manager Buy, manage, optimize and view reporting on campaigns for all Snap Ad types, including video, app install, long-form video and web view. Organise targeting capabilities, goal-based bidding for swipes or installs and assets like video creative, audience lists like emails and mobile IDs.
  • Snapchat Mobile Dashboard View and share ad creative as it will be seen by Snapchat users, review live campaign performance, edit, pause campaigns and receive notifications about key metrics from within the Snapchat app.
  • Business Manager Configure roles and permissions for ad team members, change billing contacts and manage different ad accounts.

According to several sources the new platform is expected to be timed to release to everyone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia and more, alongside the IAB’s Newfronts conference, in New York on May 1. Agencies have been pushing for a self-service tool for a long time and The self-serve ad manager will be free, which is a much needed improvement because until now, you could only buy Snap Ads through Snap’s sales team or third-party ad tools built on the Ads API that often charge a fee.

Snapchat recently went public and with a valuation of $20 billion-plus which it will seek to justify, so these changes come at a particularly important time. Snapchat wants the ad dollars of smaller businesses, not just giant brands and will focus on attracting a growing roster of advertisers and advertising dollars to fend off Instagram who are more aggressively than ever encroaching on its territory.  Broadening the range of advertisers it accepts could help Snapchat boost its revenue at this critical time. The question will be whether smaller businesses can create compelling video ads for Snapchat’s unique vertical video format and its low attention span teenage audience. Creating polished video ads will be much harder for small-to-medium businesses on a short budget, unlike running Google AdWords, AdSense or Facebook’s image and link-based ads.

There are a few things Snapchat haven’t added. For instance, right now you can’t buy Sponsored Geofilters through Ad Manager, only though a separate self-serve tool, it’s not simple to do advanced A/B test campaigns, and both Ads Manager and Business Manager don’t currently plug into other business software. Some say Snapchat may even decide to launch a business education app to teach merchants how to make Snap Ads as some might need help learning how to shoot eye-catching video that users won’t just skip.

Bottom line is any business, big or small, that wants to reach teens, will need to get up to speed. App Annie says that 35 percent of Snapchat’s daily users can’t be reached on Facebook on a given day. That percentage rises to 46 percent on Instagram and 61 percent on YouTube confirming Snap’s distinct and coveted audience will mean businesses have no choice but to get with the times.

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Social commerce – Why buy buttons are not enough

Category: E-commerce Date: Sunday, 11 June 2017 19:32

In 2016 nearly 52% of marketers predicted that social commerce would be the biggest trend of the year. It turned out that social commerce didn’t quite take off in the way it was predicted to. Leaving live video and influencer marketing stealing its thunder!

 Although 1 in 4 users are using mobile commerce to purchase products – many brands have struggled to find the right balance between social media and ecommerce.

In fact, it’s been recently suggested that up to 45% of adults have no current interest in clicking on a 'buy now' button, while a further quarter don’t even know the technology exists. As a result, many brands are scaling back on chatbots too (programs designed to simulate conversation with human users) after Facebook reported a failure rate of 70%.

So the question is, how can brands make social commerce appealing to users, as well as ensure the process is seamless across channels?

At a recent “We Are Social” event a number of brands spoke about their previous experience and what they think will be the key to success.  The key takeaways are listed below:

Most buy buttons do not mirror the mind-set of a user
Although users are increasingly turning to social media for shopping inspiration, many brands are failing to realise it’s a big leap for customers to actually buy on social. Currently, the reality of social commerce is often very different to the user’s expectations. Most experiences involve clicking on a link in a social bio, then being taken to an interim landing page, before finally onto the main ecommerce site itself.

“That’s a lot of disruption when you think about it, which could naturally lead to users abandoning the journey, or worse – being put off the brand as a result”  States Caroline Lucas-Garner, strategy director at We Are Social.

Caroline also suggested that buy button are very much seen the same as a pushy sales rep, which when you’re simply having a leisurely browse (or scroll), can feel frustratingly intrusive.

Brands in your DM’s (Direct Message Inbox) feel intrusive
We’ve seen the examples of branded Chatbots being created for customer service or to drive conversions. But do users really feel that comfortable allowing them into this space? Do users want to see messages from a brand alongside their family and friend? Probably not!

Dominos is one brand that has tried to get around this by creating a character specifically to front its chatbot. Dom the Pizza Bot has his own unique set of characteristics, designed to urge people to speak to it like they would a friend.

However Skyscanner, made the decision to include a ‘talk to a human’ option in its chatbot to point users towards an alternative or next step, hoping that would prevent people from abandoning their journey, by giving users an option to talk to a real employee instead.

Focus on the brand messaging – not just they’re buy button.
For brands like ASOS, who have seen an 84% growth on mobile orders year-on-year – social commerce will be a natural evolution. It is obvious that its target customer is highly engaged on social, with those aged 16-24 particularly bypassing search for social platforms like Instagram and Facebook. 

Morgan Fitzsimons, ASOS’s acting head of content and broadcast, explains how ASOS going forward is taking a three-tiered approach to targeting these kinds of customers – focusing on the top of the conversion funnel to ensure the bottom doesn’t have to work so hard. Meaning they’ll focus on the brand messaging – not just they’re buy button.

As a prime example ASOS’s recent campaign for jeans used a combination of organic and paid promotion as well as dynamic product ads. The initial video told the story of the brand but didn’t include any links, instead it hinted of the shopping experience in retargeted ads, before delivering buying options in the final push.

Morgan also admitted that it’s taken a while for ASOS to get to this stage, with previous campaigns on Snapchat failing to follow up with those who first engaged. 

Ultimately, only continued testing will determine social commerce’s success, and only then will brands understand how customers will best respond in this new and unique platform.

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Are your brands iOS Apps Up to Date?

Category: Mobile Marketing Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:09

Back in September 2016, Apple announced plans to start removing outdated apps from the App Store, with the aim of eliminating all Apps that are non-functional, non-compatible with latest version of iOS and Apps that do not adhere to the current guidelines.

With iOS 10.3 Apple added a few new things, one of those is a tool to identify 32-bit apps that may be rendered obsolete in the next version of iOS. The second was a “name-and-shame” list of sorts for legacy apps, via a warning message that pops up on apps that have not been updated to take full advantage of 64-bit processors. The message informed users that not only do 32-bit apps slow down their devices, but that they will stop working completely with future versions of iOS. 

Over 47,000 Apps have already been removed, so here's what you can do if your Apps are in danger of being eliminated:

  • Firstly, find out if your mobile App is still using the old 32-bit support. To check, open settings, tap on general, tap on about and select applications. This brings up a list of the installed apps that are 32-bit support. If your app is, you'll need to make some upgrades.

 

  • If sales don’t match or exceed your internal expectations stop releasing compatibility updates. Not every developer who leaves their apps languishing on App Store without an update is lazy it might just make good business sense.

 

  • Don’t rely on app usage to provide benefits to your target audience, consider making updates—even small ones—and posting them periodically. Updating apps can be as easy as changing the version number and recompiling with the current software development kit, if there aren't bugs to fix.

 

  • Make sure your App is gaining customer feedback, usage analytics and competitive analysis and then use the knowledge you gather from the results to maintain and keep your App up to date and successful.

 

  • Finally, when you do make upgrades, consider that the iOS updates Apple releases usually contain dozens of enhancements that can improve your user’s experience. Figure out how your business can leverage these opportunities and consistently improve.

Updating your App is beneficial to your business. Why? Because if your Apps are being actively maintained and updated on a regular basis. This will ensure your App is compatible with latest versions and security expectations. Remember at least once a year Apple releases an iOS update.

Here’s what Joe Puthur, president of Mortgage Coach, an app that helps consumers make mortgage decisions, had to say: 

“Business owners who have maintained their apps and demonstrated that they're both relevant and essential via periodic updates and a growing audience will benefit and gain visibility in their respective spaces. 

Not updating your apps today may end up costing you more tomorrow. “In every enterprise solution category—ERP [enterprise resource planning], CRM [customer relationship management], POS [point of sale]—there are new modern disruptors, often both mobile and cloud-based, delivering far more value for far less investment," says Puthur. 

Taking on the small, short-term pain of maintaining and updating your App will always to reap benefits because the ROI of being mobile optimised is usually very clear. The App store is a crowded place so ensure your App is performing its best and most importantly can be found.

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Nike leads the way with it’s Muslim in Sports “equality” ads

Category: Marketing Date: Monday, 24 April 2017 21:23

Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman athlete competing for America to wear hijab during the 2016 Rio Olympics. As one of the most-talked about Olympians, she did her best to deflect the hyper focus on her religion or what she wears while still competing on a world-class level.  Showing much grace and humility Muhammad used her platform to educate, and make history by becoming the first Muslim-American to stand on a podium at the Olympics, winning a bronze. 

Sportswear manufacturer Nike’s newly developed ads point to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport. The company recently announced plans to debut a "Pro Hijab" for Muslim women who compete. Muhammad, who has her own modest fashion line, Louella, isn't involved in the Nike campaign, but her impact is undeniable. 

The rules under different sports federations do not specifically ban hijabs, but the general language in which headgear is banned inadvertently prohibits hijab during competition, and it can also affect Sikh and Jewish athletes who choose to observe their faith by covering their heads.

 

This discussion around hijab in sport may seem relatively new for most. But for Muslim women who choose to wear the traditional head covering, there have been several instances where it has been banned, forcing some athletes to choose between honoring their faith and not playing their respective sport, or removing it in order to compete. And it's those women and girls that Nike decided to celebrate in its new commercials that have gone viral. The ad features five successful female professional and everyday athletes from different parts of the Arab world.

Zahra Lari, the first Emirati figure skater, is one of the featured athletes. Dubbed as the "Ice Princess" of the United Arab Emirates, she has gracefully glided and jumped over obstacles put forward by her own community.

 "People thought it's dancing. In front of men, that's not acceptable," Lari recently told News broadcaster CNN. 

 She is shattering not only the gender norms within the UAE, but also disrupting the Western perception of Arab women.

 "I am covered, I am Muslim, I am from a desert country, but I am doing a winter sport and it's fine," Lari told Nike. 

 Other women featured in the ad include Tunisian fencer and Olympics medalist Ines Boubakri, Emirati Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, Saudi singer Balqees Fathi and Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso. Nike said it wanted the video – which was narrated by Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi and shot in and around Dubai – to be "local and genuine."

 "The film aims to highlight the stories of amazing athletes to encourage and inspire others," Hind Rasheed, said Nike's communication manager in Dubai. 

The ad was viewed more than 3 million times on social media in two days, however it sparked a debate over its message as some found the ad inspiring, and others were not happy with the message of the commercial. Rasheed maintains Nike wanted "to use the power of sport to change society positively."

 

In addition to the ads Nike has taken another step into the lucrative Islamic clothing market by unveiling a hijab designed for female Muslim athletes. The pull-on hijab is made of light, stretchy fabric that includes tiny holes for breathability and an elongated back so it will not come untucked. It will come in three colours: black, grey and obsidian and goes on sale in 2018.

Lari, a hopeful for the Winter Olympics next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea, posted photos of herself wearing the hijab on her Instagram page.  The launch was also welcomed on social media. But some users argued the company was not doing anything particularly groundbreaking.

The U-17 Women’s World Cup last October in Jordan marked the first time Muslim players wore headscarves during a Fifa event. Football’s international governing body formally lifted a ban on head coverings in 2014, recognising Muslim and Sikh players.

Meanwhile, the governing body for basketball, Fiba, has come under fire for banning headscarves during international competition. Nike has also been making a play for Muslim customers in the Middle East in recent years, opening stores in the region and launching a training app in Arabic.

The Islamic market is projected to be worth more than $5tr by 2020.

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Latest social media trends

Category: Social Media Date: Thursday, 20 April 2017 22:03

Social media continues to change the way companies market their brands and engage with customers. It’s a business essential and your brand should take a close look at how effectively it uses social media and learn how it can be done better.

“Businesses have started moving away from the idea of social media being a separate entity and are now fully incorporating it into their marketing, PR and customer service campaigns," says Todd Grossman, CEO of Talkwalker, a marketing analysis tool that assists businesses in developing a social media strategy and measuring results.

 “Many business owners now realise that the data produced by social networks holds a treasure trove of marketing and PR information."

Amidst the many platforms, it's often challenging for a brand to know where and how to focus social media efforts. But knowing what's trending may help you pinpoint where to focus your efforts and here’s a few trends you can leverage.

 
Visual Storytelling Is a Growing Trend
 
One of the most powerful trends in social media is live video and visual storytelling is a big trend.

“With support from Facebook and Instagram in the form of automatic push notifications to followers, it's possible for a business to quickly garner a sizeable live audience," says Jay York, social media manager for EMSI Public Relations. He has extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal.


The interactive nature of this platform allows brands to take questions and directly interact with their following."

All kinds of brands are getting strong engagement from this form of social media posting, and social networks are also favouring this kind of content by pushing users to post live videos — particularly via mobile. 

You should aim to make videos less than 30 seconds. Longer video can certainly be worthwhile, but know you have a significant chance of losing viewers before they reach the end, so grab them early.

Social Media Engagement is becoming a Necessity

Connecting and engaging with businesses is something that customers increasingly seek and expect and this is one of the reasons that video is increasing in popularity, as it encourages two-way communication. If you simply post content and then fall flat on engagement your followers will lose interest. They want to hear from you if they comment or ask a question on your posts.

Most brands fail to add this to their social media strategy ad whilst its true that content is king, if you engage your customers and then fail to keep that interaction, they may be left feeling you're just a computer and not a person.



Social Messaging is another important trend

As customer service quickly becoming more socially influenced, brands must find new resources and channels for handling customer inquiries. Facebook has released several tools, including automated messaging, away messages and more to provide more control to brands, while ensuring they're able to assist customers before any escalation.

Today's consumers don't want brands aggressively pushing their way into social media feeds," says social media strategist Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, which connects brands with influencers. “Pop-ups, banner ads and disruptive brand messages aren't welcomed.

As consumers seek to learn about new products on their own time and when it makes sense for them, we can expect continued resentment over perceived intrusive marketing to further deepen in 2017. Consumers will vote with their feet away from social platforms that overly inundate them with brand marketing."

That being said, don’t just use social solely as a channel for promoting your own content. It’s a great channel for promotion, but if that's all you do, your audience will turn off. Share and comment on posts that you find interesting, even if they don't mention your brand.

Think about what's in it for your followers. Instead of just promoting a sale, tell customers what's in it for them by explaining how much they can save. Build your followers by being a leader who shows you're also an active follower.

  

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Munches on 4:20 go mainstream

Category: Marketing Date: Thursday, 20 April 2017 14:56

If you and your pals have celebrated the 4:20 high holiday for marijuana hard and have the munchies today fear not. Every other junk food brands marketing professionals are working to ensure that in your haze, you'll reach for their brand of “blazed”, formerly known as glazed doughnuts, as well as Pizza, burgers and  so on, proving that this holiday is becoming as commercialised as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

4:20, as the holiday is known, is when brands want you to get baked on their goods. Even the mainstream brands, such as Pepsi, Chipotle, Burger King and Denny's, have all alluded to 4:20 on social media in previous years.  And as countries slowly continue to legalise marijuana, acknowledging 4:20 can still be a tricky business move. So brands do it in a wink and a nod for consumers who know that "fried" doesn't exactly refer to chicken, but ensure they stop just short of spelling it out in fear of pushing away their other customers. 

Take for example Ben & Jerry's "Half Baked" and "Phish Food" ice-creams and "Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies," which capitalise on the spirit of 4/20. "Jerry and Ben started the company in 1978, and they were definitely two hippies that were — enjoying life, as they say," said spokeswoman Lindsay Bumps.

This holiday, Ben & Jerrys are also introducing a new menu item: The Chill-aco, a waffle-cone taco with two scoops of ice cream and caramel drizzle.

 "it gives it that ooey-gooey component," Bumps said. "I think a lot of brands aim to stand out on this day. We're really known for our tongue-in-cheek humour but it's pretty coincidental that coming out on the 20th," said Bumps, the Ben & Jerry's spokesperson. "That's the official line."

The cannabis industry however, doesn’t love the pile-on from junk-food brands, which they say promotes negative stereotypes about the lifestyle. Some say Cannabis is a wellness product. 

We do not want people to believe that you just get munchies, and you're just reaching for junk food. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle,
said Olivia Mannix, chief executive of Cannabrand, a marketing agency for cannabis companies.

Bottom line is cannabis smokers are a really good spending demographic that encompasses everything from 21-year-old stoners, to CEOs, to your grandma. But it will take time for all your favourite brands to be blunt about it as even though Ben & Jerry's has a good sense of humour on Twitter, they have to be careful not to go too far.

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What is Yubl?

Category: Social Media Date: Wednesday, 09 November 2016 04:55

The app first hit the stores at 501st place in just over two months ago and has successfully reached 4th place, just behind WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger. It beat out Periscope, Skype and LinkedIn as the application of choice at the time. It has dropped to 8th place at this point in time, but likely to climb back up the social media app ladder in the near future. 

So what is it that makes Yubl different? We downloaded the app and took a look. One of the first features that showed a marked difference from other social media chat apps is the ability to build your messages using text boxes, buttons, photos and stickers. This makes the messages much more interesting, which means a larger measure of engagement. The point here is to garner a response of some type from the social media audience. This points to Yubl being an excellent marketing tool on this platform.

Another interesting concept this app offers is allowing you to arrange meetings, share content and places of interest and even links. You can also use this app to ascertain consensus by using the 'see who agrees' and 'take a vote' options. Yubl is designed to work in real time, with the audience responding immediately on posts and in this way achieve faster results.

Although this app appears made for business at a first glance, it appears to be more of a social app created to entertain large audiences and offer bonds of unity and social acceptance. It does not lend itself to large scale sales messages or advertising and does not seem to be an ideal platform in this regard.

If you are looking to do some social media marketing, this platform is perhaps a little too new and does not offer as wide an audience as many other platforms already have to offer. It is also difficult to determine the general audience using this app as yet. It would be of benefit to wait until the application has grown further and could perhaps offer a better marketing experience. If you feel that your brand is not that corporate and that your target audience on this site might be interested in some fun banter with only light hearted marketing efforts, then this might be a social media application to try out. Keep your eyes out, this might be a far reaching app in the future as it has a lot of growth potential and offers more user engagement than most platforms of similar types.


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Promote your business during Christmas

Category: Digital Marketing Date: Friday, 11 November 2016 04:45

Christmas is a time for giving, but also a time for shopping! For many businesses, a large portion of their earnings are made over the festive season. There are various ways to promote your business during the run-up period before Christmas in order to gain as much awareness of your brand as possible.  Here are a few ideas.

Website Landing Page Theme

Having a festive themed landing page is a good way to get your audience's attention. Go with festive colours, images of presents, trees and other festive items, even bits of holly on the corners of your stock item icons. Come up with fun ideas centred around the main theme to keep your visitors engaged and hopefully shopping! Free shipping, promotional items, special pricing and more could be ways to entice your customers to buy their Christmas gifts from your site.


Advent Calendar on Social Media

Keep your customers engaged by having an advent calendar on your social media pages. You can use this for promotions, giveaways, discounts or specials of the day to keep people interested, informed and engaged.  Keep it light hearted and fun, something that is eye catching and audience can engage with. 


Freebies and Competitions

Christmas can be taxing on the wallet and many shoppers will be looking for gifts and services that fall into their budget. Engaging customers through contests and giveaways is especially effective at this time of year. It also helps boost the number of interested people, awareness of your brand as well as a platform to inform your customers of the goods and services you can offer. Email marketing can be especially effective with this type of promotion. Ensure you have permission from your customers when they fill in their email addresses on application forms or client information forms to send them promotional material to avoid mails being rejected as spam.


Holiday Themed Advertising

This time of year is the best time to delve into the advertising budget. Your return on investment is likely to be much higher at this time of year than at any other time. Run Christmas themed adverts for your brand; advertise festive promotions whether in print, online, in-store or other forms of media. Any brands will try to make their Christmas adverts the strongest promotion
 

Make use of Email Marketing 

Asking for email address in online forms, customer applications or any other way of data gathering on your clients can reap benefits at this time of year. Sending promotional material and adverts through email marketing is a good way to provide your customers with information as well as links to products available online or photos of goods available in-store. Offering details such as how long before Christmas would an item have to be ordered to arrive on time could be the difference between a huge sale and a customer that never clicks on your site again, so ensure you offer useful information.


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