Tag: Facebook

3 Tips for Staying Social When Social Is Down

The struggle was real yesterday, as outages plagued users of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. And that struggle impacted not just typical users, but brands as well; Recode estimates that $189 million of revenue were lost as a result of fewer eyeballs on ad content. We all (predictably) made it through alive, but it brought about some stark observations. Lots of communication, and business, is disrupted when these sites are down. Lots of users will flock to Twitter as a seeming last resort for broadcasting their thoughts. And lots of brands missed an opportunity to reach out through other forms of media:

Trish is right. We saw the blockbuster moment that Oreo had on Twitter, addressing a different type of outage—the 2017 Super Bowl power outage—with a beautifully timed tweet. But where were these moments on other platforms during the Facebook outage?

This has happened before, and it will happen again. How will your brand take advantage of the time to reach customers in other ways? We’ve got a few ideas to share:

Email

Cultivating a strong email list is a major cornerstone of strategy; consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers. And yet, like Trish, I saw regrettably few emails acknowledging the outage or creating engagement opportunities that would have otherwise taken place on social. A flash deal or coupon with a joke about the situation could go a long way in endearing you to your customer base (“we, too, are struggling without it!”) and keeps your efforts to stay present in customers’ minds current.

What offer could you present to your email list in a pinch? Keep a few options in your drafts, and when the directive comes down (or goes down, as the case may be), you’ll be ready to capture attention in another way.

Phone (yes, really!)

When was the last time you talked to your customers? Really talked? Sometimes we feel like we’re getting all the information we need from our social channels. And customers tend to feel the same, which is why social media is increasingly important to the resolution of customer complaints. But odds are, we’ll hear different details when we connect with people in new ways. It could be valuable to take advantage of this platform downtime to seek out these different details- to reach out, rather than waiting to hear from them.

No need to make it a long call, think of it as a “just checking in” opportunity designed to solicit quick feedback. Particularly if you have a segment of clients you’re curious about—power users, lapsed customers, etc.—it could be a good way to ask questions that you may not usually think, or make time, to ask.

Go With What You Know

As you post and engage on a regular basis, you accumulate data. And these records provide a wealth of information. Why not take advantage of an otherwise inconvenient break in the action to go through it all?

Check in with your team: what challenges are being reported en masse in their online interactions? Conversely, are there any comments or reactions to content that stand out? Even if you can’t see the interactions themselves for any reason, spending the time to take stock on what you’re seeing and how your strategy moving forward should be impacted by those observations. That way, when the platforms are back in action, you can be too- with refreshed insight and new ideas.

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The post 3 Tips for Staying Social When Social Is Down appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/3-tips-for-staying-social-when-social-is-down/

How to Use Split Tests on Facebook to Find Your Target Audience

With approximately 2.23 billion people logging on to Facebook every month, the social networking service has definitely secured its place in the ecommerce industry as the top platform for both B2B and B2C businesses.

But with over 80 million small- to medium- business pages vying for the coveted Facebook user’s attention, how do you optimize your ads for your marketing objective (whether it be for brand awareness, views, traffic, lead generation, engagement or conversion) and at the same time, make sure you get your money’s worth?

Thankfully, you won’t have to aimlessly conduct trial and error experiments. Facebook’s Split Testing tool enables you to test your campaign by setting a defined budget and duration and then choosing any of five vital ad elements (more on this later) to find out which is most effective.

So how does this Facebook feature actually work? Continue reading on, but before you get too excited, below are five no-nos when conducting a Facebook Split Test:

  1. Don’t go blind: You can’t conduct split tests based on gut-feel. Make use of the insights and analytics tools Facebook provides to help you tailor fit your test design.
  2. Don’t go too big: You can’t be overly-ambitious. While it may be tempting to assume that you can potentially reach Facebook’s billion-people population… Let’s be realistic, you can’t. It’s not like you have an unlimited budget to spend, and nor is your product or service for everyone too.
  3. Don’t be stingy and impatient: Reliable results can only be generated if you spend enough (if you have no clue, the tool provides an ideal figure) on the campaign and let an ad run for at least four days. As well, don’t be tempted to cancel an ad if it’s doing poorly.
  4. Don’t major in minors: While testing which design elements and ad copy your audience engages with the most is a good strategy, you shouldn’t waste precious ad spending on a test that will simply determine which font type or background color works best. Choose a vital element such as the ad headline copy, image, or video to differentiate. Then try to strike a balance between variation and similarity, as shown in the example below that tries to work out which is better—a text only ad or an add with an image.
  5. Don’t disregard optimizing for multiple devices: 95.1% of active Facebook users access the social media platform via their smartphone. In the same way that mobile app testing is conducted to make sure a developed application works seamlessly across different devices and operating systems, the same needs to be done with your adverts. You may create your ads on a desktop computer, but make sure the designs are responsive when viewed in multiple devices with varied display sizes.

Source: Jeff Bullas

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Facebook Split Test to Determine Your Best Target Audience

Now that you know what not to do when creating a Facebook split test, below is a rundown on how you can make the most out of this innovative tool that will help you strategize for meaningful and engaging Facebook content.

1. Setting up your campaign and choosing your ad objective

Once you decide to conduct a test, the first step is to Create a campaign in your Facebook Ad Manager. This is button 2 in the photo below.

Source: AdEspresso

Then, you will be prompted to Choose your objective. Your Facebook ad can either be for awareness, consideration or conversion as shown in the possible options below.

Source: AdEspresso

2. Turning on the Split Test feature

After choosing your desired objective, you can now tick the Create Split Test box. Note that the feature has to be enabled in advance and cannot be simply activated for already ongoing campaigns, unless you edit your ad set (which will interrupt the current campaign).

Source: Social Media Examiner

3. Selecting the variable

There are five variables to choose from when testing out your campaign, each addressing a crucial question in Facebook content creation:

  • Creative: Which design elements work best?
  • Audience: Which specific audience engages with your ad the most?
  • Optimization event: Which ad delivery method will help you achieve your campaign goal?
  • Placement: Where should your ads be shown?
  • Product set: Which inventory items does your audience engage with the most?

Keep in mind that these variables can only be tested one at a time. For this guide, we will be focusing on choosing the appropriate target audience.

Source: Social Media Examiner

4. Making Your Ad Sets

With your campaign basics set-up, you can now create your ad set that will prompt you to choose each set’s corresponding audience (more on this later) and budget, schedule as elaborated in the next step. A maximum of five ad sets can be created and tested against each other.

Source: Business2Community

5. Determining the budget and schedule

If you are new to Facebook advertising, the social media platform makes it easy by setting a default minimum and ideal budget for each ad set you are testing for. The budget can either be split evenly or weighted.

As for scheduling, Facebook recommends a minimum of four days and a maximum of 14 (if you have budget to spare) to get valid results. Remember, scheduling isn’t just about the campaign duration, but also choosing the best time for the post to go live.

Source: Social Media Examiner

6. Zeroing in on your Target Audience

Split testing to determine the most suitable target audience can be done by specifying which group of users will see each ad set, and then customizing other demographic information such as location, age, gender, languages, interests and behavior.

Source: Social Media Examiner

If you have not created a custom audience yet, you can do so based on the different types of users who have already engaged with your page.

Source: Social Media Examiner

You can also choose to generate a lookalike audience based on the demographic of those that have interacted with your enterprise. Take time to understand how customizing and retargeting your audience works.

After you have differentiated the audiences for your ad sets, you should be able to view your Split test summary.

Source: Social Media Examiner

7. Designing Your Ad

After setting up the parameters for your audience split test, now comes the fun part of creating your ad. Facebook has five different layouts (carousel, single image, single video, or canvas) to choose from that features different ways of combining text, image and videos.

Source: Buffer

After making a selection, you can now upload your image and fill in the copy such as in the example below. Then, repeat the process depending on how many ad sets you will be creating.

Source: Buffer

Keep in mind that since you are split testing for the audience variable, other ad elements must be identical or have minimal differences only as exhibited in the example below that had identical copy but modified images.

Source: Business2Community

8. Narrowing Down the Audience Split Test Feature to Target by Key Traffic Type

Your Facebook page traffic can be narrowed down into three types—cold, warm and hot:

    • Cold traffic – users that have zero knowledge or interaction with your brand
    • Warm traffic – users that have heard of you brand and have interacted with your page but have not been converted in buying your product or service
    • Hot traffic – users that have recently purchased from your business and can be encouraged to buy again (upsell) or those that have been converted before and now need reminding (re-engagement)

Attracting cold traffic primarily involves creating ads for awareness by providing content in the form of blog posts, surveys, guides or reports that is relevant to your enterprise’s industry as displayed in the example below. Split testing at this first stage in the conversion funnel usually entails setting up lookalike audiences and experimenting with creative, optimization or placement elements.

Source: Business2Community

On the other hand, testing engagement of warm and hot traffic can be further narrowed down to see which segment will respond best to your goal. For example, if you want to know which ad will drive the most webpage visits, choose traffic as your campaign objective.

Source: Social Media Examiner

Then, set the Audience variable of your ad sets by choosing from any of the readily available Custom Audience category types Facebook provides (as shown in Step 5) or even compare with a specific warm audience that has interacted with a video you have posted.

Source: Social Media Examiner

Custom audiences can reflect users at whatever stage they are at in the sales funnel. By using this split testing feature, you can optimize your ads for each audience segment to ultimately lead the audience from awareness to conversion.

9. Assessing your results and what to do next

Once your campaign duration is over, you will receive a notification and an email of the results. The best performing ad set is determined by the advert that yielded the highest result at the lowest cost possible. Other aspects included in the outcome summary are:

  • The number of times your ad accomplished the intended goal of the campaign
  • The average cost per achieved result
  • The total amount of money spent for the split testing exercise

The results can either equip you with better insights for your next campaign, or you can choose to adopt or renew the winning advert. Facebook provides a confidence level percentage so you can be assured that you will most likely get the similar desired outcome. The general rule of thumb of a clear an actionable result is a confidence level of at least 75%.

Conclusion

Facebook’s Split Testing feature allows you systematically test a variety of integral ad components through an isolated approach to see what blend works best for your target audience. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be disheartened if an ad you run does poorly. Making these kinds of “mistakes” are not a waste of money. Learning what doesn’t work is a worthwhile investment as well.

Now, it’s time to put new learning into practice. Head over to your Facebook Ads Manager, up your game by using other ad tools and management platforms, and create those split tests!

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post How to Use Split Tests on Facebook to Find Your Target Audience appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/how-to-use-split-tests-on-facebook-to-find-your-target-audience/

What Should We Expect When Facebook Releases Their ‘Clear History’ Privacy Tool?

In May 2018, an embattled Mark Zuckerberg announced before an audience at the company’s F8 Conference a forthcoming “Clear History” tool. Designed to allow users to remove data pulled by third-party applications and later applied to ad targeting, it was viewed at once as a lip service response to the still-fresh Cambridge Analytica scandal and a welcome feature for those concerned about the security of their data.

Up until very recently, the former notion has reigned.

But last week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom conference, Facebook CFO David Wehner brought up the tool again—this time to an audience that would be impacted considerably by the existence of such a tool: companies who profit from the ad data.

“A tool like Clear History could have a substantial impact on Facebook’s ability to target ads and generate revenue if enough users actively remove the information collected about their online activity,” The Verge’s Nick Statt correctly points out. And, as Slate agreed, by bringing the tool up in the environment where he did, Wehner showed that this feature is certifiably on its way. “These are people who have more of a vested interest in advertising-industry profits than they have in Facebook’s public image or its users’ privacy. So if it weren’t really happening, Wehner would have little incentive to bring it up.”

Wehner was vague about when the tool would arrive, saying only that it’d debut “later this year,” with Buzzfeed reporting that testing would begin this spring. And while it seems more clear that such a feature will make its debut before the year ends, questions still remain around its capability and fidelity.

Buzzfeed’s reporting on Clear History largely aimed to expose the gap between Facebook’s reported intentions for the tool, and its actual desire to protect user privacy. “[The company’s] communications around privacy have historically been opportunistic and protectionist, deployed to cover up for the last transgression from its ‘move fast and break things’ ideology,” they wrote after speaking with several former employees and critics. As such, there is already skepticism about what the tool will actually do for users.

The Center for Democracy and Technology’s Natasha Duarte notes, “it’s still unclear what the tool will allow users to delete,” recognizing that the ability to delete the information that enables targeting isn’t the same as erasing the impact that the information has had on the site algorithm. And Slate’s Will Oremus wonders if users will even be able to find the feature once it debuts:

“Facebook and other tech platforms specialize in manipulating users’ behaviors via the design of their products. So they know how to bury a feature when they don’t want many people to avail themselves of it. Such a move allows them to mollify privacy critics while maintaining the status quo for the vast majority of users who aren’t aware they can opt out.”

Ultimately, Facebook has to make a decision as to whether it truly wants to create a feature that offers users control over their experience, or if they just want to look as though they do. Presumably, we’ll know later this year when Clear History arrives on Facebook profiles worldwide.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post What Should We Expect When Facebook Releases Their ‘Clear History’ Privacy Tool? appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/what-should-we-expect-when-facebook-releases-their-clear-history-privacy-tool/

6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing

Is your remarketing getting the results you’re looking for on Facebook?

No matter how good you’re doing, you could be doing better. Facebook is constantly evolving, and given its recent struggles with public image and algorithm changes, you have to stay constantly on top of any changes.

Targeting people who’ve engaged with your content or your business before is a time-honored and proven marketing strategy, even pre-web. Online retargeting first began to be a thing with the advent of the cookie, a piece of data stored on a user’s machine that could relay information back to a site owner.

Today, online retargeting is one of the most common tactics in a marketer’s tool box, and one that most users are fine with. Thirty percent of all users appreciate retargeting, and only eleven percent object.

Facebook has had a rough few months, but it’s still one of the platforms of choice for most marketing professionals. Its robust tools and user data make it a great choice for anyone trying to reach a potential audience. If you’re trying to retarget users through Facebook, it’s an extremely useful platform—and there are some new ways you can take advantage of the retargeting options available to you, too:

1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Especially for those starting out with Facebook advertising (for example, small businesses that started offline), it’s an easy temptation to run “set it and forget it” campaigns.

You can’t do that if you’re going to make the most of your Facebook retargeting. For each stage in your sales funnel, you have to create a separate campaign—maybe several. The old adage that you have to touch someone seven times before a conversion still holds true, but the deeper truth of it is that if you give them content they’re NOT interested in, you might turn them off.

If your customer is still in the information-gathering step, don’t send them product offers. If your customer’s ready to purchase a product, don’t send them a link to your blog. You might still get a bump, but you need to tie each retargeting campaign to a specific stage in the sales funnel.

2. Create Dynamic Product Ads

If you sell a product, your best bet for retargeting those who’ve browsed your selection is probably a dynamic product ad. This Facebook specialty serves up a small gallery or carousel of the products that the person was already looking at.

Eighty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when they receive a personalized experience. If you’re utilizing dynamic product ads to touch potential purchasers or abandoned cart shoppers, you can capitalize on that.

3. Target Your Repeat Customers

Forty-one percent of United States e-commerce revenue comes from returning customers. That’s a staggering amount. Once people find a company or a store they like, they return to it, over and over again.

You can drive that behavior yourself by targeting past purchasers with news about new products, special offers, different services you offer, and upsells they might be interested in. Utilizing your knowledge of what they’re interested in already can help you build Custom Audiences that can help you narrow this even further.

Think outside the box a little bit, too—cross-reference interests with people who’ve purchased before to find those who are interested in a new product or service.

4. Remarket Based On App Actions

If you want a really interesting option for retargeting, use app actions. When you create an app specific to your company, you can target actions taken within the app and create campaigns based on those actions.

For example, you could send remarketing ads to people who had gone through a tutorial step to remind them of the different useful features your app has. Or you could reach abandoned-cart shoppers who’ve gone through several of the steps to purchase but not taken the final step, same as you could with a website. Make sure you’re going after mobile specifically, as you already know your customers are browsing mobile …

They downloaded the app, right?

5. Touch Base With Your Free Trial Users

Maybe you offer free trials for your software or service. That’s another super useful remarketing tool. Create a free trial user campaign—either while they’re on the free trial or when the trial has run out.

If you’re retargeting them while they’re still in the free trial, some good options can be reminding them when the trial runs out, or giving them a discount if they sign up now.

You can even give them an easy portal to enter their payment information to convert from the free trial to the full version. There are plenty more ways out there to reach them—the only limit is your imagination.

6. Send Relevant Content to Landing Page Visitors

You’ve been sending people to your landing pages, right? If you want to nudge people a little further down the sales funnel, try creating a retargeting campaign that serves blog posts to those people that are similar to the content they were looking for. It’s a great way to get them that little bit more engaged.

Remarketing is a hugely helpful tool in every marketer’s toolbox. You can make the most of Facebook retargeting—it just takes time, effort, dedication, and a willingness to try new things. With these tips, you can bring your Facebook retargeting game to the next level and make the most of the audience that’s already engaged with your content.

The post 6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/02/6-new-and-improved-facebook-retargeting-ideas-to-boost-your-brands-marketing/

6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing

Is your remarketing getting the results you’re looking for on Facebook?

No matter how good you’re doing, you could be doing better. Facebook is constantly evolving, and given its recent struggles with public image and algorithm changes, you have to stay constantly on top of any changes.

Targeting people who’ve engaged with your content or your business before is a time-honored and proven marketing strategy, even pre-web. Online retargeting first began to be a thing with the advent of the cookie, a piece of data stored on a user’s machine that could relay information back to a site owner.

Today, online retargeting is one of the most common tactics in a marketer’s tool box, and one that most users are fine with. Thirty percent of all users appreciate retargeting, and only eleven percent object.

Facebook has had a rough few months, but it’s still one of the platforms of choice for most marketing professionals. Its robust tools and user data make it a great choice for anyone trying to reach a potential audience. If you’re trying to retarget users through Facebook, it’s an extremely useful platform—and there are some new ways you can take advantage of the retargeting options available to you, too:

1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Especially for those starting out with Facebook advertising (for example, small businesses that started offline), it’s an easy temptation to run “set it and forget it” campaigns.

You can’t do that if you’re going to make the most of your Facebook retargeting. For each stage in your sales funnel, you have to create a separate campaign—maybe several. The old adage that you have to touch someone seven times before a conversion still holds true, but the deeper truth of it is that if you give them content they’re NOT interested in, you might turn them off.

If your customer is still in the information-gathering step, don’t send them product offers. If your customer’s ready to purchase a product, don’t send them a link to your blog. You might still get a bump, but you need to tie each retargeting campaign to a specific stage in the sales funnel.

2. Create Dynamic Product Ads

If you sell a product, your best bet for retargeting those who’ve browsed your selection is probably a dynamic product ad. This Facebook specialty serves up a small gallery or carousel of the products that the person was already looking at.

Eighty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when they receive a personalized experience. If you’re utilizing dynamic product ads to touch potential purchasers or abandoned cart shoppers, you can capitalize on that.

3. Target Your Repeat Customers

Forty-one percent of United States e-commerce revenue comes from returning customers. That’s a staggering amount. Once people find a company or a store they like, they return to it, over and over again.

You can drive that behavior yourself by targeting past purchasers with news about new products, special offers, different services you offer, and upsells they might be interested in. Utilizing your knowledge of what they’re interested in already can help you build Custom Audiences that can help you narrow this even further.

Think outside the box a little bit, too—cross-reference interests with people who’ve purchased before to find those who are interested in a new product or service.

4. Remarket Based On App Actions

If you want a really interesting option for retargeting, use app actions. When you create an app specific to your company, you can target actions taken within the app and create campaigns based on those actions.

For example, you could send remarketing ads to people who had gone through a tutorial step to remind them of the different useful features your app has. Or you could reach abandoned-cart shoppers who’ve gone through several of the steps to purchase but not taken the final step, same as you could with a website. Make sure you’re going after mobile specifically, as you already know your customers are browsing mobile …

They downloaded the app, right?

5. Touch Base With Your Free Trial Users

Maybe you offer free trials for your software or service. That’s another super useful remarketing tool. Create a free trial user campaign—either while they’re on the free trial or when the trial has run out.

If you’re retargeting them while they’re still in the free trial, some good options can be reminding them when the trial runs out, or giving them a discount if they sign up now.

You can even give them an easy portal to enter their payment information to convert from the free trial to the full version. There are plenty more ways out there to reach them—the only limit is your imagination.

6. Send Relevant Content to Landing Page Visitors

You’ve been sending people to your landing pages, right? If you want to nudge people a little further down the sales funnel, try creating a retargeting campaign that serves blog posts to those people that are similar to the content they were looking for. It’s a great way to get them that little bit more engaged.

Remarketing is a hugely helpful tool in every marketer’s toolbox. You can make the most of Facebook retargeting—it just takes time, effort, dedication, and a willingness to try new things. With these tips, you can bring your Facebook retargeting game to the next level and make the most of the audience that’s already engaged with your content.

The post 6 New (and Improved) Facebook Retargeting Ideas to Boost Your Brand’s Marketing appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/02/6-new-and-improved-facebook-retargeting-ideas-to-boost-your-brands-marketing/

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

10 New Social Media Products and Platform Updates Marketers Need to Know About

1. LinkedIn Video For Business

Get 5x more engagement on your videos

By one study, videos are being interacted with on LinkedIn twenty times more than other types of content on user feeds. To meet that demand, and to adapt to the form in a way that other platforms haven’t, LinkedIn has gone all-in on video as a key part of their strategy for business and company pages.

The strategy seems to be working: according to their beta testers, Company Page video is 5x more likely than other types of content to start a conversation among members.

2. WhatsApp for Business

New features specifically designed for business users

Just over a year after its official launch, WhatsApp for Business has topped 5 million monthly users. The differentiated platform, at times described as a Facebook Page-like business hub on WhatsApp, “helps companies better connect with their customers and establish an official presence on WhatsApp’s service.

Its Quick Reply, auto-reply, and away messages make it easier for business owners to manage communications with curious customers or leads.

3. TikTok Ads

Ads are now on TikTok. Are you?

TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez wants you to pay attention to TikTok. Given their meteoric rise and unique interface, we’re inclined to agree. And if you’re a brand who is aiming to grab the attention of Generation Z, you’d be wise to listen. Ad “units” are being introduced to a subset of users, with an ad placed by Grubhub appearing for the first time in late January.

The type of engagement it cultivates by allowing users to work together to create content, is highly attractive for advertisers aiming to target younger social groups. And given its dominance in an app ranking that’s otherwise flooded by Facebook-owned products, the ability to effectively bring in advertisers will allow it to stay competitive in the popularity contest it’s currently in…and improbably holding its own.

4. Instagram Stories Editor

Design, beyond the platform basics.

Instagram Stories have skyrocketed in popularity, quickly surpassing its inspiration Snapchat and now reportedly twice as popular. With that spike, apps are proliferating to allow creators to develop standout stories and polish content for the fast-moving space.

Our favorites include InShot (designed to help you format content for the vertical medium) and Hype Type (which can handle some of your more rudimentary video captioning needs). Check out these roundups from Later and Refinery29 for even more ways to help your content stand out in this highly trafficked space.

5. Instagram Stories Direct Links

Spread your stories far and wide.

Instagram is rolling out a “Share Link to Entire Story” feature, allowing accounts to share direct links to full stories. In this way, self-contained features like user takeovers or Q&As can live a life beyond Instagram Stories alone. This feature can also be boosted with their “Promote” feature, which allows users to follow a CTA to the account’s website, profile, or Direct Messages. If stories-style sharing truly is the future of social media, this ability to spread its influence will become more common…and more essential to success.

6. LinkedIn Ads

Coming soon to a feed near you…ads for movies, products, and more.

Speaking of spreading influence, look for LinkedIn to take advantage of this trend in ways you might not expect. The platform, often thought of as the “professional” social network, is expanding its view on the type of ads that can appear on its platform. Users can be targeted in their professional areas of interest, like “arts and entertainment,” “marketing and advertising,” “and “business and management.” The result? Ask users who saw ads for the Paramount Pictures’ film What Men Want on their feed, an example that previously would have felt out of place on the platform.

7. Reddit Cost-Per-Click Ads

Don’t sleep on Reddit as a home for your ads.

LinkedIn isn’t the only platform looking to rethink their ad strategy. Reddit is gradually introducing cost-per-click ads to its advertisers, and is already seeing their utility through companies like Wayfair and Hired. Though the cost-per-click model is far from new, it is new to Reddit, where ad revenue previously came from a combination of reach, video view, traffic and conversion-based ads. Ad revenue has grown five times over the past three years and sales have more than doubled year-over-year. With this affordable option now in Reddit’s arsenal, that growth seems likely to continue.

8. Facebook Petitions

Bringing people together for a common cause.

Facebook remains in favor as a means of gathering people, a fact that likely informed the company’s recent move to connect Stories to Facebook Events. Another way Facebook plans to capitalize on its people-gathering power? Its recently deployed Petitions feature. Designed to help people reach out to elected officials, Petitions will allow users to rally around a cause, engage in discussion around the issues at hand, and will be connected to Events and Fundraisers for even more involvement potential.

9. Twitter Morning News Catchup

Recaps and reviews to catch you up.

After a brief but unpopular foray into algorithmic feeds, Twitter now understands the appeal of its real-time setup. With that misstep in mind, it wants to make absolutely sure you won’t miss anything newsworthy…and is doing so by testing a Morning News Catchup.

This differs from their “while you were away” feature, in that it focuses on current events rather than popular site content. For brands aiming to capitalize on the news of the day, this feature is a welcome one to ensure that your prospective consumers are as informed as you are.

10. Twitter Auto-Response

Make it easy for them to come back for more.

As you look for new and different ways to engage with your followers and fans on Twitter, we hope you haven’t overlooked the Auto-Response feature. Launched last year by the platform, it allows users to opt into additional contact from an account for a very specific purpose. For example, Netflix’s Stranger Things allowed its Twitter followers to opt in for a “trick” or “treat” from the account- they need only indicate their preference with an emoji. The tool is a fun one for engaging with followers in an unexpected way, and provides the kind of surprise and delight that can feel rare in our often predictable world of social media.

There you have it: 10 new features (and, for some, platforms) to experiment with, in pursuit of growing your brand’s presence online. We can’t wait to hear the amazing things you’ll do with these tools…they’re waiting for you to test them out!

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WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Facebook’s Merged Messaging Announcement

Late last week, The New York Times reported that Facebook will be merging the infrastructure of its messaging apps – Instagram’s direct messaging, WhatsApp messaging, and Facebook Messenger – by early 2020.

The announcement roused a number of feelings in the world of social. The change will likely bring some welcome changes, but also challenge the previously distinct Facebook properties, and users alike.

So, what is there to celebrate about this announcement- and what left us scratching our heads?

The Good: End-to-end encryption across the board.

When this change rolls out, it will unify encryption efforts for messaging across Facebook’s companies. At present, only WhatsApp messages are encrypted by default; encryption must be opted into on Facebook, and there is no option for encrypted messaging on Instagram.

End-to-end encryption in all its properties is a likely response to the persistent and justified privacy concerns that have plagued Facebook in recent years. Their statement that accompanied the announcement acknowledged this decision as “a major step that protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in a conversation.” This is a particularly attractive development, in light of stories that revealed third-party access to private messaging on Facebook.

Whether or not it will be enough to recapture trust in the platform’s users, is anyone’s guess at this point- but it is a step in the right direction.

The Bad: Lots of unanswered questions about the logistics of this change.

In TechCrunch’s report on Facebook’s messaging announcement, they reminded readers of the company’s initial plan to share WhatsApp data with Facebook’s team for ad targeting. Data protection authorities in the United Kingdom objected vehemently enough for those plans to be reversed. But once the messaging is run on a common infrastructure, as is the plan (point of clarification: the messaging services will still operate in their standalone apps; only their underlying infrastructure will be merged), this becomes a more complicated issue.

Each app requires different levels of disclosure to engage; while WhatsApp and Instagram can be used with a sense of anonymity, Facebook requires a real identity to engage. Users who want to keep their usage of the apps separate, The New York Times correctly points out, may have a harder time doing so if common infrastructure can connect user data across platforms. Facebook’s response to these questions? “As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work.”

The Ugly: How are the companies themselves handling the shift?

Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp initially promised the autonomy of each company, but recent high profile departures of the purchased companies’ CEO’s suggest that the mandate has changed. And the aforementioned “discussion and debate” about “how this will work” evidently includes managing employee hesitation or opposition to this change. The New York Times wrote of the staff reaction, “some Facebook employees said they were confused about what made combining the messaging services so compelling to Mr. Zuckerberg. Some said it was jarring because of his past promises about independence.” A recent rift between Facebook and WhatsApp employees over internal messaging indicates that the gradual merging of the formerly distinct entities isn’t going as smoothly as higher-ups may have hoped.

But as with so many other decisions Facebook has made in recent years, the potential for ad revenue seems to be driving this move. Quartz speculates, “it could be a compelling approach for advertisers who would be interested in reaching so many people at once.” Keeping people on the respective apps for longer, could yield more advertising dollars. Making their private correspondence feel safer is one way to achieve this. But to accomplish it, Zuckerberg and others fighting for this change will need to win over the teams responsible for the shift.

In any case, we won’t see the results of this announced change for nearly two years, so there’s still time to work out the kinks and hesitations—and the organizational rifts that clearly accompany it.

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Facebook Post Policing Now More In Your Face

Facebook Post Policing Now More In Your Face

https://www.forbes.com/sites/annatobin/2019/01/27/facebook-post-policing-now-more-in-your-face/
— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/annatobin/2019/01/27/facebook-post-policing-now-more-in-your-face/

https://welshbizuk.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/facebook-post-policing-now-more-in-your-face/

Use Facebook? Join 4,300+ others, by following the WelshBiz Facebook Page…

Welsh Biz. 4.3K likes. Welsh Business Marketing & Welsh Business News inc Sports News & Events News.
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Facebook’s Latest Stories Experiment Could Bring More People Together IRL

They’ve developed Stories archives. They’ve created music stickers to make content more engaging. They’ve deployed Stories to Groups worldwide. And as Facebook aims to make Stories a more natural part of the platform’s experience, their latest experiment could make the feature truly useful: integration with Events.

The latest feature, currently in test mode for users in the US, Brazil, and Mexico, aims “to share the events you’re interested in and coordinate to meet up with friends IRL,” according to the company. Available for iOS and Android users, it allows you to share an event in your Stories – and for friends to indicate if they’re “Interested” or “Going” right from the story. These integrated stories “will come with tappable stickers for revealing event details,” will offer a link to the event page, and allow you to open a Messenger conversation with users who respond, according to The Verge.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called stories “the future of sharing,” and has demonstrated a confidence in the method by implementing it across the company’s brands- including, most recently, WhatsApp. Despite reported usage numbers of 300 million between the main Facebook app and Messenger, though, Facebook Stories simply haven’t gained the traction of their counterpart feature on Instagram. As an emerging location for ad revenue, this could be a problem if utilization doesn’t meaningfully increase. However, a connection to Events marks the most useful development for Facebook Stories, and could, therefore, make a difference in driving people to really use it (and not just duplicate their Instagram Stories there).

For all the airtime given to reports of mass exodus from the platform, Facebook as a whole is still a powerful place to organize people, share news of upcoming events, and gauge their participation. Focusing the development of new features around that fact creates a concrete means to “bring people together,” a purpose the company has continued to tout amidst scandals around privacy, bias, and covert data sharing. In emphasizing features that connect people outside/off the app, it affirms that stated goal while drawing people to a seemingly underutilized feature of the platform.

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What 777,367,063 Facebook Posts Tell Us About Successful Content in 2019 (New Research)

Facebook marketing in 2019 isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s far from it.

Now removed from the dim outlook that businesses faced at the beginning of 2018, Facebook has and will remain an essential tool for brands’ marketing strategies moving forward.

In our upcoming State of Social Media 2019 Report (releasing January 16th) we found that 93.7 percent of businesses use and are currently active on Facebook — the most among any other social media network.

Most Used Social Media Platforms 2019

And although we continue to see a dramatic rise in the usage and effectiveness of Stories content, traditional posts in the Facebook News Feed offer a powerful outlet for brands looking to generate engagement and traffic.

Which is why we asked our friends at BuzzSumo to help us put together a massive data set looking at the top Facebook posts over the past year. In total, we dwindled down more than 777 million posts to 500 of the most popular, according to total engagements. The top 500 Facebook posts represent more than one billion engagements across Facebook.

Today we’re excited to share everything we learned about the most successful posts to help guide your Facebook marketing strategy in 2019.

Table of Contents

Let’s dive in!

Key takeaways from 777 million Facebook posts

BuzzSumo has access to some of the world’s most robust Facebook data, which powers lots of incredible research studies like this one where we analyzed content from 20,000 influential Facebook Business Pages.

They’re also the company behind one of my personal favorites, The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement, an annual report that analyzes everything you need to know about the tactical side of Facebook marketing.

Needless to say, their product offers some eye-opening insights into the world of Facebook marketing.

Key takeaway #1: Video performs better than all other types of Facebook posts

When it comes to taking your Facebook strategy to the next level, there is no better way to do so than through the use of video content.

On average, video posts on Facebook get at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

In fact, when looking at what types of content made up the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018, more than 81 percent were videos!

Images only accounted for 18 percent of the top posts, while Links made up a mere 0.2 percent.

Top 500 Facebook Posts of 2018 and 2019

On the other hand (quite shockingly), link posts received 76 percent less engagement than videos on average. This includes links with images. In other words, not even images are helping link posts to perform better.

We’ll get into Facebook video themes and content later in this article, but for now, it’s clear that brands should be investing heavily in video content in 2019.

Key takeaway #2: The most common reactions to top Facebook video posts are LOVE and HAHA

You might be wondering why we chose to analyze the most common reactions to top Facebook posts.

Great question!

Reactions give us a unique look into human psychology and a better understanding of “why” people like certain types of content on Facebook. Plus, it helps point us in the direction of what to create for our own brand in the future.

The reactions LOVE and HAHA made up 81 percent of the total Facebook video reactions in 2018 (Likes not included in the data set):

Top 500 Facebook Posts of 2018

Clearly, people are interacting with content that they find inspirational, funny, or a mix of both (more on that next). Brands that focus on creating content around these emotions are more likely to produce successful content for their Page moving forward.

Though it’s important to note here that, more often than not, content isn’t necessarily loveable or funny to everyone. In other words, something that is “loved” by one person might be “funny” or even “sad” to another.

Which is great news for brands and B2B businesses because it means that content doesn’t need to be overwhelmingly funny or inspirational.

Brands and marketers just need to know what their audience will find personally entertaining, which starts with an understanding of who they are.

Key takeaway #3: Inspirational, funny, or practical content generates the most engagement

In order to hone in on the exact types of content brands and marketers should be creating more of in 2019, we attempted to categorize the types of content from the data set. In conjunction with the most common reactions on Facebook and a subjective analysis of the top 500 Facebook posts, three common themes started to emerge.

The most successful content could be categorized as inspirational, funny, or practical.

For example, the number one most successful post on Facebook in 2018 was one from speaker and storyteller, Jay Shetty:

Shetty accounts for several of the top 500 posts because he creates content that inspires people. Inspirational content leads to a greater amount of reactions, comments, and shares, which in turn, leads to greater organic reach.

The best part is that any brand is capable of creating this type of content. All it takes is a renewed understanding of what people are looking for on social media (specifically, your audience as we mentioned above) and how you can deliver that to them on a consistent basis.

Which leads us to a breakdown of some of the year’s most successful Facebook posts and the psychological reasons behind why they worked.

Four examples of the year’s most successful Facebook posts

In an attempt to make this study as relevant as we could to a variety of brands and industries, we decided not to simply cover the top 10 Facebook posts from 2018. Instead, we hand-picked several posts from the top 500 that teach us something valuable about the art of Facebook marketing.

But if you’re curious, here are the official top 10 Facebook posts of 2018:

Note: We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on why you believe these posts worked so well. Let’s help each other improve!

10. “An amazing moment in African enterprise history” – Strive Masiyiwa

9. “Hero Boy Saves Chicken” – Life Changing Videos

8. “When your dogs smells another dog on you” – Funny in Public

7. “Tianmen Mountain, China” – Inspire Uplift

6. “Common Dental Procedures” – Science Nature Page

5. “Wow” – Penoy Rap Radio

4. “Before You Take Someone For Granted Watch This” – Jay Shetty

3. “Scalloped Potato Roll” – BuzzFeed Tasty

2. “7 Super easy ways to keep your food fresher, longer!” – So Yummy

1. “Before You Feel Pressure Watch This” – Jay Shetty

Now, onto a more detailed breakdown of some of our favorites.

The Norfolk Police Department (Humanizing your brand)

You wouldn’t normally classify your local police department as having one of the best Facebook Pages and content of 2018, but the Norfolk Police aren’t your typical department.

Generating more than 3.2 million engagements and growing their audience to well-over 180,000 fans in the past year, the NPD is the perfect case study for how to approach Facebook marketing with limited budget and resources.

(Here’s the link to the lip sync challenge video, which has over 78 million views as of writing. The video can’t be embedded — likely due to copyrights of the music.)

Why it works:

The Norfolk PD offers a variety of inspiring and funny content that caters to their local community. And while they aren’t “selling fun” per se, they’re building a considerably large and loyal following with fun content.

Most importantly, the NPD makes their content relatable and human. In each one of their posts, you get a behind-the-scenes look at the officers and staff that make up their department. Then they take it to the next level with vulnerability.

It’s not easy to get in front of the camera. And it’s not easy to go out on a limb with experimental content, especially as a local police department. However, the NPD threw every traditional rule aside and decided to go for it.

In the end, they were rewarded for their efforts.

Brainy Crafts (Hacking your way into people’s hearts)

It wouldn’t be a top Facebooks posts of 2018 roundup without mentioning the wonderfully engaging world of “practical life and cooking hacks.”

Pages like BuzzFeed Tasty, 5-Minute Crafts, DIY Crafts TV, and lots more have taken full advantage of people’s unending desire to improve their lives in one form or another.

Here’s a great example from Brainy Crafts of how to hack your way to being more resourceful in the kitchen:

Episode 11: Kitchen Life Hacks

16 Life Hacks That Will Make You More Resourceful In The Kitchen

Posted by Brainy Crafts on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why it works:

As we discussed earlier, “practical” or “how to” content makes up a significant majority of the top Facebook posts of 2018.

Educating your audience on Facebook isn’t just about teaching them a new skill, it’s about what they will do with that knowledge. More often than not, they’ll share it with their friends and family.

When Fast Company asked Tasty global GM Ashley McCollum why this type of content is so popular, she responded:

“We didn’t set out to build a food network. We didn’t sit in a conference room and say, ‘Oh, let’s do some market research.’ What we did is build content around the concept that people would share it with people in their lives. It’s not just how to make the recipe, how to chop the onion. It gives you a reason to reach out to your friend. It allows you to connect with another person.”

One simple suggestion to make this actionable is to repurpose your most-shared blog posts into a standalone Facebook video post.

For example, one of the most popular Buffer Blog posts of 2018 was “The New Facebook Algorithm 2018: Everything Marketers Need to Know” – We turned the text into a one minute explainer video that was viewed and shared more than 16,000 times.

The best part is it only took us about one hour to create since we already had the blog content to work from!

Strive Masiyiwa (Rise of the active CEO on social media)

One Page that accounts for a whopping 33 of the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018 isn’t a brand at all. It’s the Executive Chairman & Founder of the global enterprise Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa.

Masiyiwa has racked up more than 3.5 million fans to his Page, ranks 437 among all Public Figures in the world, and generated 108+ million engagements to his posts in 2018.

And the most interesting part is that he’s done all of this through images and captions (not videos). A lot of his high ranking posts are more like micro-blogs, averaging well-over 300 words per caption.

Why it works:

According to data from OkToPost, only 40 percent of CEOs are active on social media. Of those users, 70 percent use LinkedIn only. However, this number is expected to grow significantly in 2019 as people turn to authentic sources of information.

In an era of distrust in the news, CEOs and other top executives have a unique opportunity to be more social. This can help boost your brand’s reputation and build trust among your users.

Finally, Strive Masiyiwa proves that video isn’t the only type of content that works on social media. But it’s important to note that in examining his content, every single post is extremely detailed and informative.

Funniest Family Moments (Curating the best content from around the web)

The Funniest Family Moments Page managed to snag 22 posts in the top 500, generating a total of 51,546,121 total engagements in 2018.

Baby and animal videos certainly don’t hurt their case, but there’s something else at play here that all brands can use to improve their Facebook marketing strategy in 2019: curated content.

It’s incredibly simple to get started with curated content and the perfect way to supplement your in-house content strategy. Take, for example, Funniest Family Moments’ top post from 2018:

Dog and baby

Good nannies!❤

Posted by Funniest Family Moments on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why it works:

At its core, the post is nothing more than a compilation of videos from around the web. However, it has garnered more than 129 million views and five million engagements – and counting.

Content curation is all about finding and organizing existing content artifacts to create new insights and shared value for your audience.

If you can do that consistently, your audience will look to you as a continuous source of inspirational, funny, and practical content (there’s that theme again). Plus, curated content helps to establish your brand as a thought leader in your space. Instead of “talking about yourself” all of the time, you’re demonstrating that you’re willing to add value in different ways.

Incorporating these learnings into your Facebook strategy

Now that we’ve examined some of the top Facebook posts of 2018, you’re probably wondering:

How can I apply these tips to my own Facebook strategy?

Even if you’re not a top Page or generating millions of engagements per month, you can still find a ton of success on Facebook. In fact, it just might be the biggest opportunity for brands in the coming year!

We recommend following these three guidelines:

Consider your own behavior and posting habits on social media

Before reading this section, I encourage you to visit your own Facebook profile (plus a few family and friend’s profiles) and take mental notes on the type of content shared.

  • Did you notice any trends?
  • What types of content did you/they share?

At a high level, our personal Facebook profiles are our individual “story.” They are an ever-evolving record of our lives and interests. Most of all, they’re a direct reflection of who we are – at least who we want people to think we are.

As brands and marketers, we need to consider how to create content for Facebook that uniquely mirrors our audience’s stories and personalities. This requires constant experimentation and improvement to our marketing strategies. What works one day might not work the next as people are continually changing based on both internal and external factors.

“When the marketers move in, the members move out. The secret, therefore, to social media success is to act, and think, and feel, and behave like a member FIRST. A member first, and a marketer second.” – Mari Smith

There are tons of ways to find out exactly who your audience is and then tailor content around those specific demographics.

Perhaps the quickest and cheapest way to get to know your audience is through Facebook’s free tool: Audience Insights.

Facebook Audience Insights - Top Facebook Posts

In less than five minutes I was able to find out that followers of the Buffer Facebook Page also follow pages such as Marketo, Moz, Hootsuite, as well as several others. I also found out that 37 percent of our followers are women between the ages of 25-34, 72 percent graduated from college, and four percent live in either San Francisco or New York.

From this data, I’m able to begin creating a list of content that our target demographic will find interesting. I also have the option of exploring similar Facebook Pages to see what content is resonating most with these folks and generating ideas from those themes.

There are lots of other ways to gather valuable data on your customers as well. Some of the most effective techniques we’ve used are:

  • Surveys
  • Customer interviews
  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • Trade shows and conferences
  • NPS scores
  • Chat widgets like Drift or Intercom

Research, ideate, create, learn, and repeat.

Create content for Facebook that is both human and story-forward

Did you know that 84 percent of marketers believe that building trust will be the primary focus for their marketing efforts in the future?

That’s because consumers are looking for brands with a purpose – brands that are mission-driven and stand for something important.

Shallow marketing campaigns aren’t going to cut it in 2019. What will cut it are authentic, human-forward stories that allow your brand to connect with customers on a personal level. Smaller brands, in particular, have an opportunity to double or even triple engagement with this personal approach.

Take local shop Coffee Hub Xenia, for example. This simple video gave their community a behind-the-scenes look at the faces behind their brand as well as a why the business exists.

405 reactions, 221 shares, 63 comments, and 14,000 views aren’t too shabby for a Page with only 2,400 Likes. In looking at the comments, it’s clear that this video had an emotional impact on their audience as well.

This Facebook post didn’t succeed because of the production quality or gaming the Facebook algorithm, it succeeded because it told the inspirational story of a small business and the important part they play in their community.

Remember that effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move your audience.

Play the long game by focusing on building an engaged community

Social media is changing right before our eyes.

Mobile usage, short attention spans, and the increasing influence of Millennials and Generation Z’ers on social media continue to pave the way for short-lived, in-the-moment content in 2019. It also highlights an effective social media marketing strategy: community building.

There has been a general trend towards niche and active groups on social media, with Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, leading the way to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

The challenge (and opportunity) is understanding the role social media plays in brand awareness vs. sales.

If you’re a Digitally-Native, Vertical Brand (DNVB), social media ads might be a critical piece of your overall acquisition strategy – as they should be! But if you’re also looking to grow your audience and engagement organically, then it’s worth investing the time and resources into building a community.

As Tarah Boyleston, marketing and design lead at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, explained to us in a recent interview:

“No one wants to follow a brand that is only trying to sell them something. We share personal stories, family recipes, and behind the scenes imagery of our lives at the bakery. These glimpses into the ‘life of a biscuiteer’ are free!”

That approach has allowed Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit to grow both on and offline.

Callie's Biscuits - Top Facebook Posts 2019

The first step in building a community on social media is freeing yourself from always having a sales or traffic goal tied to each post. This will immediately help your content to be human and entertaining as people won’t feel like they’re being sold to.

The second step in community building is creating meaningful conversations and interactions with your customers. Ensure that every time they reach out to your brand on social media (or elsewhere) that you provide a memorable experience. This will increase the likelihood that these people share the positive experience with their friends.

And finally, the third step in community building is understanding that it’s a long journey to success. Growing your brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen through a few posts or interactions. Real growth comes with consistency and providing your customers with a wonderful experience each time they come in contact with your brand.

Over to you!

Where do you think Facebook marketing is headed in 2019?

Are brands and businesses poised for success?

We’d love to hear what types of Facebook posts are working for your brand! We’ll gather each one of your tips and share them with the community in a big roundup.

Wishing you the best in the coming year!

https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-marketing-2019

How Social Media Giants Leverage Big Data And ML To Serve Users Better

The growth in social network popularity continues posthaste. As of 2018, the number of social media users exceeded 3 billion, and it doesn’t seem the situation is going to change overnight.

To get people hooked and deliver wow user experiences, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other big players apply the cutting edge of technology, with big data solutions being the go-to option. Underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), these solutions let social media thoroughly analyze large amounts of user data, derive actionable insights, and, in turn, deliver hyper-personalized offerings.

And this is just one example of how machine learning solutions can be implemented in the social network environment. Read further to find out how giants like Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit are taking this advanced tech up another notch.

Instagram: In a fight against trolling

Coming in sixth on the list of most popular social networks worldwide, Instagram aims to make the platform as tolerable as possible. For this purpose, they capitalize on DeepText, Facebook’s “learning-based text understanding engine that can comprehend, with near-human accuracy, the textual content of several thousand posts per second.”

Before going live, the system was trained on at least two million comments and categorized them into segments like “bullying, racism, or sexual harassment.” Now, users just have to turn on automatic and manual filters in their account settings if they want to activate offensive comment functionality.

Image source: geek.com

To determine tone and intention, i.e. give the target word or phrase an appropriate interpretation and distinguish between abusive language and constructive criticism (across cultures and languages), Instagram’s AI also carefully studies the contextual meaning of surrounding words.

Besides, DeepText assists Instagram in detecting spam. Empowered by huge data assets and human input, the system identifies fake accounts and cleans up their spam comments on posts and live videos. This feature is currently available in nine languages, but the social media behemoth is working toward expanding this list.

To improve its AI system’s accuracy and avoid becoming an over-sanitized platform, Instagram continues gathering and analyzing new data sets.

Twitter: A step toward engaging users

Twitter, another social media giant, banks on ML to make the grade in image cropping. By using data from eye trackers, Twitter trains its neural networks to predict the areas users might want to look at — which are usually faces, text, animals, and other salient image regions.

As neural networks for saliency prediction tend to be too slow and cumbersome to make smart auto-cropping in real time, Twitter splits the process by using two techniques. The first one, knowledge distillation, is employed to train a smaller network to imitate the more powerful one and make a prediction based on a set of images and third-party salient data. The second technique, Fisher pruning, is used to delete features or parameters that are in some sense redundant, while lowering the computational cost.

Such a smart combination allows Twitter to obtain much more runtime-efficient architectures for saliency prediction and to crop images as soon as they’re uploaded — 10x faster than in a vanilla approach. This makes the uploaded photos more engaging and positively impacts the overall user experience.

Below is an example of how Twitter’s shift from a face detection to a saliency prediction algorithm redefined image cropping.

Image source: blog.twitter.com

Reddit: In a bid to improve website search

For Reddit — a vivid hub of internet news, pics, stories, memes, and videos — advanced search is of top priority. So it stands to reason the social media giant implements the best of tech to increase its searching capabilities and provide users with a custom-fit stream of high-quality content.

Aimed to make its search relevant, fast, and easy to scale with the platform’s growth, Reddit employs Lucidworks’ AI-based platform called Fusion. This helps the company successfully tackle the challenge of updating their indexing pipeline — by pulling together data from several sources into one cohesive canonical view. Also, Reddit not only indexes new post creations, but also updates their relevance signals in real time — based on votes, comments, etc.

The partnership with Lucidworks has given Reddit impressive results:
1. There was a 33% increase in posts indexed.
2. The reindex of all the website content slashed from 11 to 5 hours.
3. The error rate was down by two orders of magnitude, with 99% of search results served in under 500ms.
4. The number of machines needed to run search dropped from 200 to 30.

On top of that, Reddit excelled in boosting user experience and keeping operational costs down. Here’s how the tech stack of the revitalized search platform looks like now:

Image source: redditblog.com

A final word

From crafting personalized offers to fighting spam to enhancing search, machine learning delivers business value to an array of social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others have already found the ML-enabled solution to reap these benefits. Have you?

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/01/how-social-media-giants-leverage-big-data-and-ml-to-serve-users-better/

What We Learned from Mark Zuckerberg’s End-of-Year Note

2018 has been a year of change for Facebook. In the last days of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg wrote up in a Facebook blog post the four major areas of change that the social network has achieved in the past year — some of them shedding light on what we, as marketers, can learn from and put into action in the new year.

Mark Zuckerberg’s post looks at four issues that the network has been tackling, and that caught most of its users concern: preventing election interference, stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation, making sure people have control of their information, and ensuring their services improve people’s well-being.

As we venture into the new year and get closer to our first flagship conference of the year — Social Media Week New York — some of these improvements tie directly to our 2019 global theme, “STORIES” — with great influence comes great responsibilities.

In his blog post, Mark emphasized that to make sure people have control of their information, Facebook has reduced the amount of information that third-party apps can access, rolled out new information controls, started building a “Clear History Tool,” and continued development of encrypted and ephemeral messaging and sharing services.

According to Joe Teo, Chief Executive Orca of HeyOrca! this means that “messaging and Stories format is the mode of communication that will get further traction and where marketers should be investing in.”

Stories, be it on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, bear the feature of being ephemeral, living only on a 24-hour basis. Recently, with the announcement from Instagram that Stories can be shared with a selected group of followers only, it has become an even more private and encrypted way of communication. That’s why it’s become vital that marketers note that the trend of private sharing will only become more dominating in 2019, and that, like Mark said, “we believe (encrypted and ephemeral messaging) will be the foundation for how people communicate going forward.”

Facebook is just one of the many platforms that have realized the importance of Stories. At Social Media Week New York, which is taking place in April, you will be hearing from more social media professionals on why and how they value “STORIES.”

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Facebook Watch Adds Cult Classics ‘Firefly’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ to Attract Millennials Viewers

Last Friday, Facebook Watch made an effort to boost its video streaming service, by dropping every season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” on the platform.

These three Whedonverse shows were added to the streaming service as a result of a deal between Facebook and 20th Century Fox Television.

Facebook launched Facebook Watch, its on-demand video service, back in August 2017 and become available internationally to all users a year later, but has yet to gain popularity among the majority of its users, especially among already existed competitors like YouTube and Netflix.

With these three new shows, Facebook Watch is also encouraging viewers to watch them with its Watch Party feature, which allows users to watch videos while discussing in real-time with friends.

“What we’ve been focused on Watch is building a people-centric video platform, creating a social viewing experience where you can connect with other people who love the shows, and even the creatives who worked on them,” Matthew Henick, Head of Content Planning and Strategy for Media Partnerships for Facebook, said in a conversation with Variety.

Watch Party is a feature launched to Groups in July 2018 and has now been made available to all Pages and users, meaning anyone can start a Watch Party with friends directly from the videos they are watching, or by sharing on their Timeline. Since Watch Party’s launch, more than 12 million Watch Parties have been streamed, according to Variety.

What makes it even more fascinating is in Facebook Watch’s choice of streaming these particular three shows, which dp have a cult following two decades ago but don’t seem to be the favorites of Millennials and Gen Z. It thus seems to be Watch’s effort to focus on attracting older Millennials.

“We are excited to bring iconic pop culture favorites like these series for their avid fan communities to experience them in new ways, and for new fans to discover these awesome 90s classics,” said Facebook’s VP of Video, Fidji Simo, in her Facebook post.

Although, as CNBC reported, it can also be the hint of Facebook’s new strategy in reaction to teens leaving the main Facebook platform, with a new focus on viewers in their 30s and older.

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What We Learned from 2018’s Worst Brand Marketing Decisions

It’s the time of the year to look back and reflect on what we’ve achieved, or what we have done wrong.

In 2018, we’ve seen some of the biggest marketing fallouts from brands across all industries. Below is a list of what some of those, and what marketers can learn from them.

Addressing controversies like race and gender

In January this year, H&M underwent a serious reputation crisis for tolerating racism, because of a modeling photo featuring an African-American boy wearing a green hoodie with “COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE” on it. It was made trending on Twitter by blogger Stephanie Yeboah, who tweeted “Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle? I mean. What.’”

In response, H&M issued an apology saying “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.” The media relations team told PR News that the item would no longer be for sale, and that the incident happened because internal procedures weren’t followed accordingly.

Another aspect that can get just as complicated as race is gender. This year on International Women’s Day, McDonald’s flipped its signature yellow “M” upside down on social media profiles and even in 100 restaurants across the country. With “W” standing for women, McDonald’s was expecting some applause from the public recognizing their effort in celebrating women. However, the campaign was faced with criticism as a misstep.

People expressed outrage on social media, condemning the brand for focusing onleft-wingan initiating real change to support women, especially in equal pay. The Guardian reported that Momentum, a British left wing group, posted a video about how McDonald’s low wages endangered women workers who face poverty and homelessness.

“This empty McFeminism has nothing to do with women’s liberation and everything to do with McDonald’s attempt to sanitise its image,” Laura Parker, Momentum’s national coordinator, told The Guardian.

Consumers nowadays don’t buy into empty pledges or stunts anymore, and they expect consistency from a brand. For H&M, similar crises will almost for sure pop up again in the future if they don’t make an effort to ensure that important policies and values are followed in every step of carrying out a campaign or producing a product. And for McDonald’s, the Women’s Day gesture came from a good place, but they needed to make sure controversial issues that bear any relevance to a campaign like this were addressed beforehand.

Backfire of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is such a hot topic that all brands want to give it a shot, however, when not executed properly, influencers can be the ones that initiate a loss of value and controversy, but not popularity.

After Snap integrated its redesign this February, Kylie Jenner, one of the internet’s most popular influencers who has a 25 million following, tweeted out something that Snap found quite hard to take, financially.

Following this tweet, Snap’s market value drop $1.3 billion overnight. Though her tweet might not be the only reason causing the drop, it most definitely had something to do with it.

In cases like this, it’s hard to predict which influencers won’t be happy about your brand’s new design or campaigns. It then becomes important to follow up with influencers, discuss in-depth what they want, and work out a plan to offset negative impacts.

Behaviors and words from top figures

A company’s CEOs nowadays are important public figures, sometimes even a bit like celebrities, to the public. And for big companies like Papa John’s, it’s hard to keep the secret in when something inappropriate happens. Back in July, Forbes reported that Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter made racial slurs and used the N-word during a conference call. Following the report, Schnatter had resigned as chairman of the board, though this incident has caused some serious reputational damage to the pizza chain.

It’s sad news for Papa John, especially since Schnatter has been very attached to the branding and stories of the chain. And for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, lead figures like designers can also cause huge marketing chaos.

Just last month, screenshots of an Instagram messages exchange between Dolce & Gabbana’s co-founder, Stefano Gabbana and an Instagram user, model Michele Tranovo, caused huge outrage in China. In these messages, Michele accused the brand of running a racially inappropriate ad featuring a Chinese model having difficulty eating Italian food with chopsticks. The designer seemed to not be happy about it and started fighting back by accusing the model of dog-eating habits, a stereotype against Chinese.

The exchange soon went viral and has led directly to the cancellation of the brand’s fashion show in Shanghai as celebrities originally signed onto the show canceled their attendance last minute and expressed extreme anger online. It’s for sure not to smart move for one of the brand’s top two designers to have irritated its biggest market.

The marketing nightmare didn’t end there. The designer later posted “NOT ME” on his Instagram trying to shed off the responsibility by saying his account has been hacked.

Top figures of a brand can sometimes be as influential to the company’s reputation as an influencer. A simple word said wrong can cause huge catastrophe, which is why everything they say should be carefully looked through and managed.

Managing data breaches

Facebook came under fire this March when it was revealed that the data company, Cambridge Analytica, had collected personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users through an app that scrapes data.

This damaging breach adds even more heat to the platform, especially at a time when it has already been constantly accused of not doing enough to protect users privacy.

Social platforms are easy targets for hackers as being great data sources. And the aftermath of this crisis spreads further than just the data spectrum. Leadership like Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are under constant scrutiny; the public is experiencing a trust crisis with the platform and some of them even choose to leave forever; not to mention that the platform continues to struggle with user engagement and market performance.

It’s time for brands to think more carefully about the era of great data we are living in, and what are the steps to take when data breaches and privacy issues like this occur.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/12/what-we-learned-from-2018s-worst-brand-marketing-decisions/

Life After the News Feed: Why Facebook is Shifting to Stories (And Why Your Business Should Too)

The News Feed is one of Facebook’s marque innovations.

Rolled out to users in 2006, it became the go-to place for people to connect with their friends,  share updates about their day-to-day life and enjoy content from brands they followed. Not to mention, it also played a pivotal role in Facebook’s march to advertising dominance.

In life and business, though, change is inevitable. And just as popular culture, music, and fashion move on,  Facebook should too.

For nearly a decade, the News Feed was the jewel in Facebook’s crown. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has been locked into a battle with misinformation, troubled by privacy issues, and found itself trying to counter a decline in original content (photos, videos, status updates) shared by users. It even admitted the News Feed can have a negative impact on mental health.

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be.

Facebook was meant to help people stay connected with those closest to them. But Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the platform has underdelivered there. In a post on his Facebook Page back in January the Facebook founder noted:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

And that should be a big worry for Facebook. When the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology looked into what factors can kill a social network, they found that when the bonds between users weren’t particularly strong, neither was the users’ relationship with that network.

The study also found that as networks grow, they become more cluttered, so we begin to miss out on some of the most relevant content from those closest to us. This is most definitely the case with Facebook — and was a key factor in the company’s decision to shift the News Feed to focus more on updates from people, not brands.

In a blog post about this change Facebook shared:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

The rise of Stories

While the News Feed has been experiencing growing pains, a new format has arisen: Stories.

Since Snapchat debuted the Stories format in 2013, it’s gone from strength to strength and is quickly becoming the default format for content consumption and creation. In total, consulting firm Block Party estimates that nearly one billion accounts are using the Stories format daily and Zuckerberg recently shared that people now post more than one billion Stories every day.

At its annual, flagship conference, F8, Chris Cox, Facebook’s Facebook’s chief product officer, also noted that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” And Zuckerberg recently added that “it looks like Stories will be a bigger medium than [news] feed has been.”

The shift to stories is coming

From making the status composer default to the camera to encourage Story creation on mobile, to adding Story preview tiles to the top of the feed, Facebook is constantly running tests and experiments to familiarise more of its user base with Stories.

Over on Instagram, 47 percent of users find that Instagram Stories helps them be more authentic in their communication with friends and family, something Facebook would love to encourage on its flagship product too.

In short, it feels safe to say that Facebook is pivoting to Stories. But when your platform is the size of Facebook’s, no change is ever simple.

The roadblocks ahead for Stories

The biggest hurdle for Facebook’s move to Stories is revenue.

Right now, the majority of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from the News Feed. As Zuckerberg recently share in a post on his Facebook Page:

“Another challenge is that we’re earlier in developing our ads products for stories, so we don’t make as much money from them yet as we do from feed ads. We’re following our normal playbook here of building out the best consumer products first and focusing on succeeding there before ramping up ads. I’m optimistic that we’ll get ads in stories to perform as well as feed over time, and that the opportunity will be even bigger because it looks like stories will be a bigger medium than feed has been.”

Though Facebook has rolled out Stories Ads, it will need to reinvent mobile video ads for this to be a success. Pre and post-roll video ads within Stories is fine for now, but if Stories are to become as profitable as the News Feed, Facebook needs to think outside the box and develop a brand new ad product from the ground up, like it did with News Feed ads five-or-so years ago.

The second hurdle is ensuring users buy into Stories.

300 million daily active users across Facebook and Messenger is great — it’s probably even more daily active users than Snapchat has on its own Stories (according to data obtained by The Daily Beast). But Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly users and the vast majority don’t use Stories yet.

Like it or not, Stories will replace the News Feed

When it comes time to shift away from the News Feed, it’s more likely that users will just have to deal with the hand they’re dealt.

When the News Feed launched, Facebook users had no choice about adopting it, and it wasn’t instantly popular — a group called “Students Against Facebook News Feed” was even formed, reaching more than 280,000 members at its peak.

Despite the pushback, Facebook persisted knowing that no matter how loud or vocal people were in reaction to the change, they would still likely continue to use Facebook anyway.

The same Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study I mentioned earlier found that when left with only two available coping strategies: to accept change or to leave, the vast majority will accept change and continue to use Facebook.

And in a 2006 post about the News Feed, then TechCrunch editor, Michael Arrington noted that: “If this feature had been part Facebook since the beginning, their users would be screaming if Facebook tried to remove it.” Eventually, I believe we’ll look back at Facebook Stories in the same way.

Stories might not be welcomed by all. But one thing is for certain: however you feel about it, it’s time to start preparing for life after the News Feed.

4 ways your business can embrace Stories

Stories are an essential part of a modern social media strategy.

Block Party’s research found that nearly four in five (79 percent) of businesses use Stories on InstagramInstagram also found that more than one in three said that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories.

As the user numbers continue to grow on Facebook Stories, it won’t be long until a large number of businesses start moving to post there too. But we’re not quite there yet.

Block Party found that only nine of 100 accounts it tracked on Instagram Stories, also posted to Facebook Stories. “All but one of those exclusively syndicated their Instagram Stories to Facebook,” it said. However, some early adopters have already started seeing better results from Facebook Stories than the News Feed.

Here are four ways you can begin to use Stories for your business and ensure you’re riding atop the next big social media wave.

1. Take your audience behind-the-scenes

Stories offer a perfect way to share unfiltered, authentic content with your audience.

Design agency AJ&Smart uses Stories to provide an authentic look at what’s happening at the business day-to-day and tries to show as much of that in real-time as possible.

For example, in its Stories, you might see behind-the-scenes at a client workshop or the team traveling to a client meeting.

The Guardian also found that, on Stories, “less polished” content performs better than heavily produced videos, so you don’t have to worry about the production quality of your content. Instead, just point and shoot with your phone and focus on creating a compelling narrative.

2. Cross-post between Instagram and Facebook

If you’ve linked your Instagram account to your Facebook page, you can cross-post your Stories content at the tap of a button, or even set your account to automatically publish all of your Stories from Instagram to Facebook.

To do this, tap your profile icon in the top-right corner of Instagram, then open your “Account settings” and choose “Story controls”. From here, tap the switch to turn on auto-posting to Facebook:

Cross-posting the same content to Instagram and Facebook might not be the best long-term strategy as your audience on the two platforms might prefer different content. But this is a great way to get started, and learn a little about what your audience enjoys on both platforms.

3. Experiment with Stories ads

Stories ads are a new addition to Facebook’s ad inventory and enable brands to share image-based or short video ads. At Buffer, we started testing Stories ads a few months back and now we’re seeing clicks to our website from Stories for just $0.06!

It’s super simple to get started with Stories ads and we’ve just launched Stories Creator, a simple tool to help you design thumb-stopping images for your Stories ads.

To help you create Facebook and Instagram Stories ads that’ll get you results, here are three tips for creating great Stories ad creatives and the exact steps to creating Facebook and Instagram Stories ads.

4. Share user-generated content to Stories

User-generated content is incredibly powerful on Instagram. In fact, it helped us to grow our Buffer account to over 40,000 followers.

And Stories offers businesses the chance to repost content from their audience at a more frequent pace than in the feed. For example, Kettlebell Kings regularly shares one or two user-generated posts to its feed each day, but by using Stories it can share 10-12 posts from followers.

This content is incredibly engaging for its audience as people who follow Kettlebell Kings love to see workout examples and techniques. It’s also incredibly rewarding for those featured and it encourages more and more customers to share their content on Instagram.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on the future of Stories on Facebook? Has your business started posting Stories? Let us know in the comments below — excited to join the conversation.

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