3 things Facebook ads can do to stay ahead of Twitter

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While Facebook and Twitter’s IPOs were a nice shot in the arm for the tech industry, especially in Silicon Valley, it also put the heat on them to produce more revenue-generating advertising products on a regular basis. Compared with SEM, social advertising is in its relatively early days, and quickly evolving – which means that the land-grab race is on.

Facebook has a significant head start, and it’s safe to say that they are the ones pushing the envelope with Twitter nipping at their heels. Here are 3 things I feel Facebook can do to maintain their lead.

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What can marketers learn from Facebook’s Audience Insights?

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The value of social has always been reaching consumers in a unique environment where they are deeply engaged and generating a meaningful conversation between those engagers and a brand. To do this well, we have to deeply understand the passions, preferences and interests of the brand’s audience and how these affinities relate to the brand itself.

Major opportunity lies in making sense of the social data created by the billions of consumers who willingly broadcast their affinities and brand connections daily across social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.  These social channels account for the planet’s largest and least biased focus group ever created. Affinity data holds the secret to how consumers want to be engaged, leading not only to better social media marketing, but a more engaged consumer across all channels.

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Why you may be learning the wrong lessons from Facebook marketing gurus

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“Social media is a conversation”

How many times have you heard this phrase? If you’ve dabbled with social media long enough and been hearing from a lot of social media marketing gurus, a phrase something like the above would not be unfamiliar to you.

In fact, a lot of gurus would preach that social media is a platform to connect with your audiences and build relationships with them. “Be accessilble,” they would say. “Solicit feedback from your fans through polls and open ended questions. Check your social media sites often, including outside of normal work hours if possible. Make sure that your fans know how to reach you.”

These same gurus may also be preaching that in order to be successful on Facebook, you would need to have wacky and creative ideas. As such, a lot of brands and organizatons have been be ridiculously misled to run campaigns on social media that lack clear objectives, let alone driving new businesses.

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6 ways small businesses can use Facebook retargeting to convert more customers

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Have you ever done research or shopped for a product online and then realize that the ads on your computer start to talk to you about what you were interested in? This is retargeting in action.

Facebook retargeting is a kind of behavioral ad retargeting which allows businesses to gather browsing data from their website users in order to create targeted Facebook ads when those same users login to the Facebook platform.  This is revolutionary for small businesses (SMBs) looking to drive targeted traffic to their site and convert more site visitors.

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How can Facebook ruin your business?

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There is no denying that social networking sites have taken the world by storm. This popular branding tool is also a great way to drive tri-branding that can lead your company towards great success. Tri-branding on Facebook occurs when your customers promote you on your behalf. But, if this powerful marketing tool is used in improper way, it can have a negative impact on your business.

It is a great way to build up a business, but it can also tear it down again just as quickly. Let’s understand how.

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4 ways to benefit from combining Facebook brand & direct marketing

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Many marketers think of Facebook marketing as a brand activity – not one that can drive conversion directly. However, it doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. By combining brand marketing and direct marketing actions, social media marketers can drive both amplification and conversion.

Companies are growing their social media budgets and with more money comes increased expectations (and scrutiny). The need to prove ROI of efforts and social media’s role to the bottom line is becoming essential. This still isn’t down to a science, however. As Social Media Examiner points out in its 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 88 percent of marketers still want to know how best to measure social media ROI.

This makes Facebook ripe for a convergence of brand marketing and direct marketing. Why? Because by combining brand marketing and direct marketing actions, social media marketers contribute to specific data and revenue objectives, allowing them to show ROI and measurable business impact. In the process, they prove the value of the social media investment and the social marketer’s value as well.

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How Facebook’s Instagram integration could rock the industry

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Digital marketers are used to assimilating platform updates and advancements into their ad campaigns, but there could be a sea change on the horizon.

It’s been over two years since Facebook acquired Instagram, and the social giant has finally dropped a big clue about how it might integrate the photo-sharing platform. If a recent test proves to be a precursor to a bigger strategy to come, Facebook could position itself as a marketing ecosystem that will challenge everyone – Google, Twitter, etc. – to catch up.

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Life after like gating: How to keep growing and engaging your fan base

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Recently, Facebook announced that they will eliminate like gating for Facebook pages on Nov. 5.

Fan gating (or like gating) allows brands to require consumers to become Facebook fans in order to view exclusive content, redeem coupons or enter sweepstakes. In the short term, the move might be a blow to brands that rely on fan gating to grow their audience. But ultimately, the change will encourage brands to focus on strategically growing an engaged, relevant audience. It is a sign that social marketing is evolving past goals like “getting more likes,” and maturing into a practice that is focused on delivering real business value for an unusually low cost.

This is a good thing, we promise.

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Facebook betting big on virtual reality: A look at the Oculus VR deal

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When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion back in 2012, industry experts believed the social media giant overpaid for the photo app. The same brand of thinking followed Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February this year. Regarded as the tech deal of the century, industry opinion was split down the middle on whether the deal made any sense, or Facebook massively overpaid for WhatsApp.

And then in March, Facebook announced its plan to acquire Oculus VR, the maker of virtual-reality for $2 billion (the deal was approved by the FTC in May); the acquisition was completed in July. Needless to say, the deal evoked polarized reactions from the industry in general, Oculus’ Kickstarter backers and the stock markets.

This led to a fresh round of debates and discussions about Facebook’s penchant for making deals that don’t make immediate sense.  The keyword here is ‘immediate.’ Dig a little deeper and the acquisitions start making sense (at least people start to tell themselves that they make sense).

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How to navigate the Facebook ad campaign maze: Part II

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In part I of our series on strategies for navigating the Facebook ad campaign maze, we looked at how marketers can successfully launch and manage their Facebook campaigns. Today’s post examines the best ways to get the most out of your Facebook ad creative.

Hint: size does matter!

As I wrote in a previous Inside Facebook post, Facebook has made it clear to marketers that it wants – and its users expect – a compelling, visually appealing reason to engage with a brand’s ad. That requires smart, compelling creative that recognizes the intelligence of the average Facebook user. No more generic ad creative or text-heavy wall posts. Instead, those must be replaced with high-quality ad creative that uses engaging images and limited text.

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