Facebook’s future looks bright: video, Audience Network and mobile are keys

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Facebook is knocking on the door of bringing in $3 billion in a single quarter — and that might just be a stepping stone.

The company announced Wednesday that Q2 was its highest-performance quarter to date, with revenues of $2.9 billion and worldwide growth in revenue-per-user. They’re just getting started.

Much of Facebook’s economic growth of late has come from mobile. The highly-touted mobile app install ad has led to more than 350 million app installs, and the ad format is moving beyond games and into retailers and consumer packaged goods verticals. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that U.S. users spend an average of 40 minutes per day (including 1 of 5 minutes on mobile), but he wants a bigger slice of the digital media pie.

Mobile now accounts for 62 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue, and that figure could rise in the next couple years as Facebook develops more relevant and targeted video ads in concert with Audience Network — both of which are still in their infancies.

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How to navigate the Facebook ad campaign maze: part I

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Now that summer is here, it’s a good time to reflect on the past six months of Facebook advertising. The year started with a mega deal — the company’s $19 billion cash-and-stock deal for social messaging app WhatsApp — and has evolved along with the way with the introduction of more advanced direct marketing-based ad targeting features and tools.

What’s been clear throughout each of these announcements and changes to its advertising platform is that Facebook is no longer just an engagement or branding platform for marketers. Now, it is a highly diversified engagement plus direct-response performance-based advertising platform.

Facebook now offers advertisers a growing set of ad solutions that help generate real, measurable business results. By implementing these ad types, marketers can begin to realize the full customer acquisition benefits of Facebook advertising.

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The Buy button — Facebook’s next big thing?

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Facebook is testing a way for advertisers to make the direct sales pitch to people, and it could be a game-changer for advertisers and retailers. Through the Buy button, users can complete a transaction while staying in Facebook.

Marketers are already excited about the possibilities. Among the call to action buttons, the one closest to the bottom of the funnel has been Shop Now or Buy Now, prompting the user to finish a transaction on the external website. Even if someone doesn’t complete the transaction after clicking Buy, advertisers can know that the user is interested in making a purchase of that particular product, and they can target them with ads for that specific item.

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The World Cup effect: How Facebook advertisers went big for Q2

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Facebook will announce its financial results for Q2 on Wednesday, but several other firms are reporting another great quarter for Facebook ad results. SocialCode, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, said clients really performed well in Q2 — with the World Cup being a major motivating factor.

Max Kalehoff, SocialCode’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, summed up the company’s clients’ performance this quarter:

Q2 continued the same triple-digit growth we saw in Q1. Our portfolio of Fortune 500 advertisers nearly doubled total spend with us in Q2 versus Q1. We saw a lot of investment around the winter Olympics, but the World Cup was a whole different scale. It laid to rest any question about the potential of global events and real-time marketing to be an extraordinary catalyst to help brands reach and engage with their customers on social media.

Kalehoff also sat down with Inside Facebook for a closer look at how advertising on Facebook has grown in the past quarter.

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Infographic: 5 tips for creating a sequenced Facebook ad campaign

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As we learned recently, Facebook advertisers have had great success leading people down the conversion funnel through sequencing posts in a Facebook ad campaign like a story.

But how should it be done?

Flightpath put together an infographic showing tips and best practices for planning out your Facebook ad campaigns in this manner.

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Facebook’s newest call to action test: Buy

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Facebook has been expanding its call to action options, but the one released today might be its most popular.

Facebook is testing a way users can directly buy a product without leaving Facebook, clicking a “buy” button right on the ad. This will be available on both desktop and mobile, among the advertisers in the test group.

Facebook announced this feature in a blog post:

We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.

The current test is limited to a few small and medium-sized businesses in the US. We’ll share more information as we gather feedback.

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Kenshoo Q2 report: Facebook ad spend up 21 percent

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The amount of money spent on Facebook ads continues to grow, according to a Q2 report by Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Kenshoo. The company monitored the evolution of money spent on search ads vs. Facebook advertising, finding that there was a 21 percent quarter-over-quarter rise in Facebook ad spend in Q2 (51 percent year over year).

Search advertising grew too, but not quite as quickly as Facebook. Kenshoo’s report shows that search ad spend has grown 2 percent QoQ and 25 percent YoY.

Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer at Kenshoo, talked about Q2 results:

The power of paid search and social has never been more evident than it was in Q2. Marketers running search and social advertising through Kenshoo increased their ad spend consistently across both channels and saw revenue rise at faster rates, leading to tangible profit and ROI.

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Facebook launches Ads Manager for mobile

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Now Facebook advertisers have a more reliable way to monitor ad performance on mobile devices. Facebook announced today that it is introducing Ads Manager to mobile.

Through the iOS or Android apps (or the mobile website), advertisers can use Ads Manager to:

  • Pause or resume campaigns
  • Edit budgets and schedules
  • View insights
  • Respond to alerts

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STUDY: Facebook ads sequenced like stories lead to increased view-throughs

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A new study by Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adaptly, in partnership with Facebook and Refinery29, shows that advertisers who position and sequence their Facebook ads to take customers down the conversion funnel can experience an uplift in view-through and subscription rates.

Adaptly worked with lifestyle website Refinery29, testing ads that were sequenced like stories, receiving an 87 percent rise in overall view-throughs and a 56 percent conversion lift.

Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi commented on the study:

As fundamental as this question is, it’s amazing that so little has been published on the topic of sequencing vs. sustained messaging. And although the research findings might sound like an obvious outcome, some advertisers may find it counterintuitive to elongate a campaign as a way to more gradually bring their audience through the purchase funnel, rather than more immediately delivering a call-to-action. But we have proven that this classic brand-building approach it is both effective and efficient, even for direct response advertising.

Here’s how Adaptly and Refinery29 helped consumers down the conversion funnel.

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Facebook wants to bridge the information gap for advertisers

Facebook Fit "Small Business Boot Camp"

One of the most common desires for Facebook marketers is the ability to actually talk with someone from the company when they’re looking for help or inspiration. Now it looks like Facebook is bridging that gap.

By promoting the company’s Start to Success program — which a Facebook spokesperson said has been around for 3 years — and going around the country with Facebook Fit events, Facebook wants to offer face-to-face engagement.

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