New Discovery ad features just landed
Google just announced several new Discovery ad features with an eye toward holiday campaigns, and they seem useful.
Here’s the breakdown:
- New ad experiences. Social and Promotion tabs in Gmail will now include details like product images and prices, making them more browsable. Also, they’ll be powered by machine learning to mix and match assets for best results.
- Better creative support. You’ll see recommendations on what to add or remove when creating ads, plus ad and campaign ratings and optimization scores.
- Audience insights tool. You can now view asset reports to check and compare performance. You can also see how your audience segments are performing.
- Improved campaign management. Audience builder lets you create and reuse audiences across campaigns. You can also use Google Editor and API so you can manage your campaigns at scale.
Why we care: According to Google, 78% of users prefer to check their feeds for personalized recommendations, which is where Discovery ads come in.
And with the holidays approaching, this set of features could help you get more out of your campaigns.
DTC brands are banking on affiliate marketing
Between iOS14 changes and crumbling cookies, e-commerce brands are finding new channels to reach customers.
Turns out one of those channels is affiliate marketing.
What’s going on: According to a new report by the Performance Marketing Association, affiliate marketing spend grew to $9.1B in 2021—47% higher than previously reported three years ago.
And according to surveyed brands, two new affiliate channels are getting increasingly prominent in the DTC world:
- Influencers: Editorial gift guides, reviews, and influencer recommendations resonate with younger generations, and sometimes account for as much as 35% of all sales.
- Press releases: Public relation (PR) firms have started building affiliate marketing operations to work with and promote retail startups.
Why we care: If you’re looking for new ways to connect with customers, affiliate marketing could be an effective channel to work into the mix.
As always, it pays to observe what’s working for other brands and find ways to apply those lessons to your own marketing.
Want high-performing Facebook ads? Spend time optimizing your ad copy
The best performing ad copy isn’t usually the one that “feels” the best to you.
It’s the one that passes the audience test.
Daniel Hegman shares an interesting example of an effective copy split test that reveals the kind of copy that works at which stage of the buyer’s journey.
Here’s the scoop…
First, Daniel chose two different campaigns for a fashion brand as a testing base, one for advertising beauty products and the other for Valentine’s day ads.
Then, he created two copy variations for prospecting and remarketing of both campaigns:
- Short copy consisting of only one line.
- Long copy consisting of three lines.
All copy variations had the same tone and sentiment, the only difference being length.
Also, all ads were put into the same ad set, allowing Facebook to automatically adjust budgets depending on the performance.
Here’s what he found: While there weren’t stark winners or big changes in engagement for cold audiences, remarketing audiences definitely preferred shorter copy.
In other words, the higher the intent, the shorter the copy.
If customers already have their wallets out, your final “push” should be short and snappy.
On the contrary, colder audiences sometimes prefer a bit more education in their copy.
The takeaway? Always be optimizing. In addition to testing copy length, you should also test different words, tone, and any other hypotheses that you feel can move the needle!
How to inspire better ideas from your team
OK, so managing people is tough.
And it’s especially tough when you need great ideas, quick, and they don’t seem to be coming from anyone.
There’s one thing that almost every good manager does to solve this: When you have a live meeting or asynchronous brainstorming session with your team, never reveal your true opinion on the subject until the last possible minute.
- You set up a meeting to brainstorm new ad ideas.
- You get ideas from each person in the room.
- You save any feedback for the very end.
- Once everyone’s exhausted all their ideas, then you provide your insight.
Normally, this doesn’t happen. Many managers, creative directors, and founders feel tempted to give feedback in real-time.
Or, in other cases, they provide their opinions before anyone beneath them gets the chance to talk.
This can prevent your team members from sharing great ideas because they’re worried they’ll get criticized or shot down.
Why this tactic works: By hiding your true opinions until the end, you’re allowing your team to share their ideas fearlessly.
That helps you get every possible idea out onto the floor—getting you the most novel ideas possible.
Yes, it’s a simple tactic, but it works.
ROUNDING UP THE STACK
MARKETING: This is handy. We came across a swipe file of marketing examples from landing pages to emails. Seems like a great way to smash creative blocks and try out new marketing ideas.
SEO: Google just added more links to content guidelines. Don’t worry, they were already published a few years before. It seems Google is organizing the guides for easier access.
PODCASTS: People will throw money at you for a podcast appearance if you’re established enough… and vice-versa! If you want to build some clout, don’t wait for others to invite you. Offer to pay them for an interview instead.
GOOGLE: Here’s a useful search trick… If you put your query in quotation marks, Google’s snippet will always show the quoted words in the context they appear. They pull results from meta description tags, too, FYI. So update yours accordingly.
It’s started. Meta reportedly told its U.S. news partners that it will stop paying them for content that appears in Facebook’s News Tab.
These payments were part of the three-year deals (totalling $105 million) it struck with publishers when the company went all-in on news. Meta was also spending $90 million for news videos in its Watch tab. But hey, no one expected this news love-fest to last. In 2018, FB started favouring friends and family over publishers in the feed. The next year, it launched the News Tab — with a funding announcement with News Corp’s CEO on stage. Political posts started to go away in 2021… and here we are. Where is all this going? See next.
Meta is paying media companies to post Reels on Instagram.
This is the same program it ran for individual creators last year, and now it’s expanded to include publishers as well. The payments vary based on views and are capped each month. Some media execs say they’re getting as much as $20,000 each month. But see above for warning.
Facebook is shutting down its live shopping feature because it’s not getting enough traction.
Instead of live videos — all the rage during the pandemic — Meta is instead doubling down on Reels. QVC, as it turns out, isn’t the future of social media (at least not outside China).
Meta’s AI apparently approved ads advocating for ethnic cleansing in Kenya.
Global Witness and Foxglove say their tests have shown that Meta is incapable of detecting language around violence, including calls to rape and behead people along ethnic lines. Kenya’s national cohesion watchdog (there is such a thing) may suspend Facebook if the company doesn’t curb hate speech ahead of next month’s elections. Meta’s response: “Both machines and people make mistakes”.
Twitter donated $25,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which is raising funds for the anti-abortion movement in the U.S..
RAGA is using its resources to make sure that elected attorneys general will enforce abortion bans in several states.
Indonesia lifted a ban on Yahoo and Steam after both companies complied with a government law that will force them to give up personal data on specific users.
Last week, the country blocked Yahoo and Steam, along with PayPal, Epic Games, and Origin (that means Fortnite and FIFA can’t be played) after they missed a deadline for registration. As part of this law, the platforms will also have to take action on “urgent” removal orders within four hours.
It’s hard to understand what the metaverse even is, but Indonesia has ordered the state telco to create one.
Telekom Indonesia launched metaNewsia, which is meant to help the country’s small businesses showcase their products. “Don’t let other countries create a new world with their own payment system, while the market remains in Indonesia. Then we will regret it.”
Textbook publisher Pearson may have found the best use for NFTs.
It’s using the blockchain to make money off second-hand sales of its books. “In the analogue world, a Pearson textbook was resold up to seven times, and we would only participate in the first sale.”
You’ve probably never thought about Amazon as an advertising giant.
But that company made $8.7 billion in ad sales in Q2. You can see why it works; Amazon is highly effective because it understands intent and that helps it connect your needs with what brands are offering. But it’s not clear if merchants are taking out ads because they want to — or have to.
Microsoft launches new ad formats, plus other big updates
Microsoft is flexing hard this summer.
They just rolled out several muscular updates… and they’re all worth checking out.
Let’s start with the new ad types: Microsoft announced two unique, industry-specific ad products that will roll out in the next few weeks.
- Automotive ads will make it easy to advertise cars and other vehicles, displaying price, fuel type, mileage, and more.
- Vertical ads pull content from dynamic data feeds and individual users’ search intent, then show relevant ads drawn from advertisers’ existing catalogs.
They also dropped new ad formats:
- Dynamic Remarketing is expanding from retail to other industries including travel, automotive, and events.
- Standard Universal Event Tracking (UET) lets you tag users that have engaged with a specific website product by using your existing UET tag.
You can also use UET with additional parameters to give you access to more audience lists so you can better segment and optimize your audience.
New markets just opened: Microsoft is expanding their Audience Network to 64 more global markets, including Brazil, Germany, and Australia. And more are coming this year.
That’s not all… There are also three new bidding options for Video ads, reporting experience updates, and more. It’s too much to cover here, so read Microsoft’s full update for the rest.
Oh, and if you want to create and edit ad campaigns, better start using Responsive Search Ads (RSA) by August 29.
Buy now, pay later is shifting away from consumers
Amidst tightening economies and regulations, the Buy now, pay later (BNPL) companies are struggling to stay afloat in DTC.
… So they’re looking at other businesses: BNPL startups are rising in B2B, and for good reason.
The global business payments market is worth $125T—more than double the size of the global consumer payments market.
More money, fewer problems: Plus, BNPL for businesses offers several other attractive advantages, like…
- Higher average ticket sizes, which promise higher fees for BNPL companies.
- More growth potential, quicker paths to profitability, and less risk.
- More flexible payment options, including 30, 60, and 90 day payment terms.
- A less regulated market.
Why we care: The expansion of BNPL to the B2B market could open fresh conversion opportunities for marketers in services and B2B.
Being able to offer additional payment options or split payments could help to accelerate the growth of your own brand or venture.
Definitely a trend to keep an eye on.
Want to improve your product packaging? Study your empty iPhone boxes
Lots of marketers are envious of Apple, and for good reason.
It’s not just their products. It’s their marketing, branding… and packaging.
Apple literally has a “packaging room” where a designer spends months testing hundreds of packages with different materials and shapes.
Trung Phan points out in his article that Apple delves into human psychology to deliver the unboxing experience that goes beyond cutting tape.
It’s all about impute, or, in the words of Steve Jobs, the idea that people really do judge a book by its cover.
If you deliver the best possible product in a sloppy manner, customers will perceive you as such. And vice-versa.
And then there’s the unboxing itself… Which, according to Steve Jobs, is a form of ritual: “You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. A theater.”
That’s right: Steve Jobs started unboxing before it was a YouTube phenomenon.
So with this in mind, let’s look at the three things that makes Apple’s packaging so satisfying:
1- Anticipation: Apple plays on the curiosity gap, slowly reducing the deficit of what we know vs. what we want to know.
You look at the real life iPhone picture on the box, pull its plastic off with a tab and peel back the screen protector… And then you pick up your phone and inspect it.
You’ve had an entire experience even before you turned your iPhone on!
2 – Aesthetic: Every Apple package is picturesque without being intense. It’s clean, minimalistic, and beautiful.
3 – Multi-sensory experience: Believe it or not, Apple designed their packaging with air pockets to create a “whooshing” sound when you open it.
You see the packaging, you touch the smooth box, you pull against deliberately created friction, you hear the sound as air leaves the pockets… it’s a sensation overload!
So now that you’ve got the packaging fundamentals, the question is: How can you create memorable experiences with your product design and packaging?
There’s no quick answer… but if you want to win when it comes to branding and customer retention, learning from Apple’s packaging can send you in the right direction.
How to maximize conversion on your holiday emails
Here’s a surprising statistic…
Holiday emails have lower open rates than emails during normal times of the year… but they have higher conversion rates.
Open rates are lower because every business on the block is rapid-firing sales emails faster than Steph Curry can take 3’s.
But when you do convince someone to open your email, they’re more likely to convert.
So here’s how you can stand out from the competition and maximize conversion:
- Spend a lot of time writing subject lines. You won’t boost open rates with a subject line like “Our holiday sale starts NOW! Don’t miss out!!” but you might catch some attention with something like, “Santa’s drunk. Here’s a massive Christmas sale.”
- Include a specific offer in your email. You can improve conversion by including specific dollar or percentage discount numbers in your email, and sometimes, in the subject line. Basically, you need to give people a good reason to visit your site. Telling them there’s a sale probably isn’t enough.
- Include free shipping in your subject line. One study found that subject lines containing “free shipping” improved conversion rates by 3X compared to subject lines without it. Free shipping is a major lever for conversion, so this is worth testing.
ROUNDING UP THE STACK
CONTENT MARKETING: Twitter’s not entertaining newsletter plans anymore, and Facebook put Bulletin on the back burner… but newsletters aren’t going anywhere. They’re still great products in their own right. Good for contextual advertising, too. Ask us how we know.
LINKEDIN: Is the algo about to get more human? The social platform is testing a new, hand-curated discovery feed on mobile. Which makes us wonder… How do you optimize content for this kind of feed?
GOOGLE: Remember the tag that we reported about yesterday? Charles Farina walks you through how to use it in this Twitter thread. Worth a look if you’re hoping to simplify attribution a bit.
— Charles Farina (@CharlesFarina) August 2, 2022
FACEBOOK: That happened fast. After two years, Facebook is pulling the plug on its live shopping feature on October 1 to focus on Reels. Can’t say we’re surprised.
Know what I meme?
An internet cultural phenomenon, it was probably no surprise marketers would start pushing meme messaging. If a major social, political, celebrity or legal event occurs, you can be sure a flood of memes will soon follow. But there is also a dark side to memes — they can easily be used to push a racist and misogynistic agenda. As always, marketers need to understand what they’re getting into when attaching a brand to a meme.
What happened to Tumblr?
Microblogging site Tumblr recently celebrated its 15th birthday. A platform for short-form and multimedia content, it was placed to be swept up in the booming creator economy. Yahoo thought so when they paid US$1 billion for the site in 2013. The hype was well and truly over by 2019 when the owners of WordPress paid US$3 million. Unable to truly understand user trends, engagement dropped from 84 millions posts a day in 2014 to 30 million in 2018.
The rebirth of Tumblr
While engagement and value is down, it doesn’t spell the death of Tumblr. Earlier this year, the site announced that 61% of its new users were Gen Z. A focus on sharing creative and cultural content within different communities could resonate with this demographic. A survey from 2019 found 60% Tumblr users were there for entertainment. Community and entertainment might not be flashy but it resonates with the highly sought-after Gen Z.
Meta back down
If you want social platforms to listen to your UX complaints, get a Kardashian/Jenner on your side. Instagram has rolled back the full screen video and recommended posts functions after widespread pushback from users and global influencers. In other changes around Meta (Instagram and Facebook’s parent company), it’s been announced that they will no longer pay news publishers for articles appearing on Facebook’s News Tab. Reportedly, Facebook plans to focus on short form video instead. Sound familiar?
Interesting Marketing Video and Report
Short and tight title sequence — retro animation and live sports.
The right animation can even make warfare light hearted.
Live action and CGI stitched together to make you depressed about your work-life balance.
During down cycles, play the long game
Planning your marketing strategy amidst global economic uncertainty can feel scarier than jumping onto a trampoline from your rooftop.
But it’s not all hand-wringing…
You just need the right mix: According to the “Rules of Recession-Proofing” report,
- Contextual advertising is king. It’s 1.2 to 2.5 times more effective than other forms of advertising, including behavioral targeting.
- Brands that don’t spend lose market share… up to 15% of it, to be exact. All it takes is for a similarly-sized competitor to double their ad spend right when you’re cutting yours.
Why we care: During uncertain economic times, it’s essential to study what has worked over time so you can invest your marketing dollars accordingly.
And based on this report’s analysis of billions of dollars in ad spend, a combination of brand-building and contextual advertising appears to be a resilient mix.
Speaking of contextual advertising…
Interest-based ad testing, plus two features that could simplify marketers’ lives
Google may have paused the cookie-less future until 2024…
But they’re dipping their toes into contextual advertising in the meantime.
What’s going on: The company announced they plan to test interest-based ad solution FLEDGE, a tool in their Privacy Sandbox, for a small percentage of users on August 28.
Very interesting: As users visit different websites, Google will add browsers to “interest groups” depending on the website content, which it will later use to show users relevant ads.
Google claims FLEDGE relies on APIs and interest groups to track user behavior without compromising privacy.
… They’re also trying to simplify: Google is introducing two features that could make advertisers’ lives easier.
- Tag, you’re it: Even with the centralized Google Tag Manager, tagging is still a pain. So Google is rolling out a single reusable tag that uses your existing gtag.js implementations and can be installed on all your web pages.
- Getting organized: Pages, items, and issue classifications are getting a new report in Search Console that should make it easier to prioritize and fix issues that affect your website’s visibility.
We're simplifying the way we classify pages, items, and issues in Search Console reports. We hope this will help you focus on critical issues that affect your visibility in Search, and will help you better prioritize your work. Learn more at https://t.co/17fv54LhCb pic.twitter.com/8qnwX3kZ6X
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) June 15, 2022
Why we care: Attribution is difficult, and marketers are under a lot of pressure to show ROI. Google’s new tag sounds like it could help.
And if you’ve been reading our newsletter for a while, you know we’re all about contextual advertising.
Google’s FLEDGE test sounds like a step in the right direction for marketers and customers alike. It will be interesting to learn how it goes.
10 copywriting hacks for high-converting copy
You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to write copy that engages readers and motivates them to buy…
You just need to know a few effective techniques.
Chase Dimond recently published a thread of 10 powerful hacks that can take your copy to the next level.
My agency has generated $100M+ in sales for clients with copywriting.
Here are 10 copywriting hacks to write high-converting copy.
🧵 THREAD 🧵
— Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧 (@ecomchasedimond) July 18, 2022
Let’s get hacking…
- Compare: If you’re different from or better than your competitor, don’t be afraid to say it. Show customers you’re cheaper, faster, etc.
- Reframe the pricing: Numbers can be abstract. Bring your prices down to earth by comparing them with something else. “Less than three lattes a month” sounds cheaper and more appetizing than $9/month.
- Add visuals: Plain text = boring. Add images, infographics, bold words, etc. to make your copy more engaging.
- Ask for effective testimonials: The best testimonials use the same pattern: before > transformation > after. Ask your customers to follow this pattern and then use their words in your copy.
- Raw data wins: Raw numbers are more believable than rounded numbers. If 79% of customers think your product is the best, say so. Don’t round up to 80%.
- Your customers are your salespeople: When describing the benefits of your product, back them up with testimonials. People will always trust other people more than you.
- Use repetition: Done right, repetition makes copy memorable and effective. Don’t feel bad about repeating yourself.
- Handle objections in the call-to-action (CTA): You can boost engagement by using your CTA to answer objections. Objection: “Will this trial cost me money?” CTA: “Try it free—no credit card.” Done!
- Don’t sell, entertain: The more you write to sell, the less effective your copy will be. Joke around, tell compelling stories, add some personality to the brand voice.
- Profit from your competitor’s flaws: Check your competitor’s product pages for 3-star reviews, and turn their biggest complaints into your selling points. Voila!
Powerful stuff, right? Try working these tips into your copy. You might be surprised by the results.
Struggling to get customers? Try launching a product testers’ program
Acquiring customers is always a challenge… and with so many people cutting back on their spending, it’s getting harder.
If you’re having difficulty getting people to convert for an e-commerce or SaaS product, try this tactic:
- Create a special program for your target customers. If your audience is marketers, this could be something like an “Exclusive Marketers’ Program.”
- Send those people to a specific landing page advertising a discount on your product. For best results, use a firm number, like $100 store credit, instead of a percentage discount number. It’s normally viewed as higher-value.
- Ask those people to enter the email to receive their code. Now you’ve got interested customers in your system.
- Send those customers an email sequence of three or four emails with their gift card code and calls-to-action (CTAs) for purchase. If someone’s already entered their email, they’re moderately interested in your product. You just need to give them that final push.
For best results, add scarcity to your special program. Tell people there are only, say, 100 slots.
This helps them feel like they’re part of an in-group and can boost conversions.
Why this works: People don’t like paying full-price.
And while sitewide discounts are nice, they’re even more attractive if they’re part of a special program that speaks to one particular segment of your customers.
Add a dash of exclusivity, give people a discount in the form of a store gift card, and watch that conversion rate rise.
ROUNDING UP THE STACK
E-COMMERCE: Big spenders. Turns out Pinterest users outspend non-users twice every month… and have 85% larger basket sizes. Good to know if you’re taking advantage of the platform’s e-commerce powers.
INFLUENCER MARKETING: Surprise, surprise. TikTok is poised to overtake Facebook and YouTube in influencer marketing spend by 2024. Meanwhile, investments in small or “nano” influencers, who are cheaper and generally have higher engagement rates, are supposed to rise by 220.5%.
SNAP: Filters, filters everywhere. Snap is rolling out filters for brands, which are basically Snapchat Ads… but with filters. Could be a useful way to stand out in users’ feeds.
— Snapchat for Business (@SnapForBusiness) August 2, 2022
AMAZON: International markets are hot… literally. Take Egypt, for example. The number of online Amazon shoppers in Egypt is projected to hit 73 million by 2025. That may be good news if you’re shipping worldwide.
The number of online shoppers in Egypt is expected to hit 73 million by 2025. 📈
— Amazon Ads (@AmazonAds) August 1, 2022
GOOGLE: The recent Quality Raters guidelines may come with less documentation, but they bring a lot of changes… and some of those changes are pretty big. This article walks you through each one and what it means.
Every single change Google made to the newest Quality Rater Guidelines… and what all the changes mean. https://t.co/ERTmt5CaKj
— Jennifer Slegg (@jenstar) August 1, 2022
META:… Really, really wants to help marketers use their platform. The company just launched an Advertiser Success Center, which comes with guides, examples, and case studies to help you create better ads.
Meta has launched an ‘Advertiser Success Center’ to help marketers pic.twitter.com/cfYsTDyibC
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) August 2, 2022
Instagram has no intention of ever making Instagram Instagram again. It might sound like Instagram did a big ‘Okay FIIIIINE be like that 🙄’ by rolling back its big, scary proposed changes. So for the moment, there will be no more full-screen pics or videos, and fewer recommended posts because apparently nobody likes those.
But in this Casey Newton interview with Insta-boss Adam Mosseri, it sounds more and more like Insta is doing more than pivoting to video — they’re pivoting to TikTok.
But they still have to figure out how to stop the world’s most downloaded app (I might be the only person in the world without it) from eating all their lunch. In the interview, a clear-headed Mosseri sounds resolute about where he’s seeing user frustration – and where the often contradictory user data + threat of TikTok will take his plans for Instagram.
He broke down four types of user frustration around the whole thing. Sounds like Insta users are saying
- I’m frustrated about you trying to be like TikTok…even though I love TikTok more than I love you. Most Instagram users “really dislike” the idea of changing the interface to immersive full-screen photos and videos
- I’m frustrated that you’re showing me more video than photos…even though you say I watch more videos than photos. Instagram’s own data confirms that there is “consistent growth of video on Instagram relative to photos”, but that is “frustrating for people who are much more comfortable creating or consuming photos”
- I’m frustrated with your recommended posts from people I don’t follow. “When you discover something in your feed that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar… You should be delighted to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now.”
- I’m frustrated with the amount of reach I’m getting. “And they will guess that this thing is causing this problem. And sometimes it is; usually it isn’t. And that’s its own set of challenges.”
Now let’s look at the things Mosseri wants to do going forward:
- More small creators “I really want to do much better by small creators than we have historically.” Creators need
- help finding an audience
- predictability in their income
- a safe space “They need to be able to feel like they can express themselves comfortably.”
- More public, recommended feed; less personal friends and family feed Mosseri points out that the Insta feed has shifted over time because “how people share with friends has changed”.
- Friends now share on stories, DMs, and group chats.
- Therefore the feed will become more public, more creator-led.
- “Feed could be, and to some degree is, a place to discover things to talk about with your friends.”
- More video There’s no getting away from it: video on Instagram is inevitable. Mosseri points out that the growth of video
- predates TikTok
- happens “when the cost of data goes down and the speed of your connection goes up, video goes up”
- is happening as “[p]eople are sharing more video over time”
- “people are interacting more with video relative to photos more and more over time”
Finally: “Swimming against that trend, I think, is going to be really bad for Instagram long term. We could just not enable videos. We could not try to make our video offering as good as our photo offering, or as good as the competition’s video offering. But I think that would be a mistake.”
Now change my mind — tell me Insta is ever going to be Insta again.
Then again, how many Pivots to Video will it take to realise that maybe it’s time to pivot away from the Pivot to Video? This is a fascinating and intricately-argued alternative take that quotes case studies over the years, including this one from Nieman Lab in 2018: “There is no evidence consumers want more video, and video production is expensive, logistically difficult, and hard to scale”. But where does TikTok’s short-form video success come from, then? “It is a video only platform and it is designed to give users as few choices as possible. Also… it doesn’t do preroll, midroll or postroll. It’s not anything close to the advertising and biz model most video has.” Good point — there clearly isn’t only one way to video.
Now that Facebook is pivoting to video again, I thought it might be useful to go over a rough timeline of the on-again-off-again pivots to video over the last 5+ years…
— Aram Zucker-Scharff (@Chronotope) July 27, 2022
Then there’s BeReal, the anti-Instagram. Are you on it yet? My 18-year-old friend Uma got me on to it a couple of months ago. It forces you to post a picture of your immediate surroundings at least once a day — with a simultaneous selfie. It’s fascinating and also a bit daunting. BeReal is easy to love: its confessional immediacy makes it disarming. Its charm lies in the fact that it is so much more instant than Insta, and yet it’s so very not Instagram. “BeReal won’t make you famous”, say the creators. There is no posey made-up glam — unless you create it live in the moment. You can’t upload to it. There are no filters. The banality of bad lighting and silly mugging for the camera make it exactly what Insta used to be — friends and family. (Except that the only reason I stopped using it is because I started seeing notifications about my friends’ friends commenting and liking my friends’ pics. I preferred that, as networks go, it was private, not public.) On the other hand, “[i]t’s currently No. 1 among free apps in Apple’s U.S. App Store, [and] BeReal has been installed more than 20 million times”. All it needs now is a Kardashian to create a ‘Make Instagram for people who don’t like Instagram again’ movement. Thanks for the link, François.
IN NON-INSTA, NON-TOK MEDIA PRODUCTS THIS WEEK
Brickit just disrupted Lego. How do you usually Lego? Arguably, you spend 80% of your time looking for pieces and 20% actually building. This app now lets you spread out all your pieces, take a picture of the whole mess, and it will then “come up with hundreds of ideas of what can be built with them and show you the exact location of each piece you’ll need.” Good grief, how annoying.
Every single thing on the internet can be commoditised. Including prompts for AI-generated images. So if you don’t have the imagination or bandwidth to come up with strings of text to prompt DALL-E to generate your weird generative art, well, you can now pay someone to do it for you. Users on a new marketplace built by a startup called PromptBase sell outlandish and oddly specific word prompts and text strings for US$1.99. PromptBase takes a 20% cut. (ICYMI, DALL-E is an AI system that creates realistic art and images from a text description in natural language.) I finally got my DALL-E access last week, and it’s…interesting. Send me your bizarre text prompts by replying to this email and I’ll do the weirdest one. (Tell me if you want it to be anonymous.)
Language is one of the greatest tools we design media with. It’s even greater when it’s inclusive. Language, Please is “a free, living resource for journalists and storytellers seeking to thoughtfully cover evolving social, cultural, and identity-related topics” built by Vox Media with GNI funding. This is a style guide, an inclusivity reader directory, an editorial tool repo, and it has gorgeous design and visual clarity. Thanks to Niki, who posted this in Planet Splice.
“Social Media in 2022, explained” – Trung Phan
What digital tools are brands investing in most?
It’s easy to look at e-commerce and see only lay-offs and cutbacks.
But brands aren’t just cutting spending. They’re also optimizing it…
According to Modern Retail Research, e-commerce brands are dropping cash on two technologies in particular: third-party marketplaces and AI personalization.
- More than 37% of the brands surveyed introduced a third-party marketplace to their online store last year.
- Over 36% offer AI recommendations on their website. Nearly half introduced it less than a year ago.
- Virtual try-ons, live in-store inventory, and resale have also been popular roll-outs.
Why third-party marketplaces? These let you sell products from other brands through your website, without having to develop or ship those products.
Instead, a third-party provides the technology so other brands can fulfill orders through your website, and vice-versa.
Warming up to AI: Brands are using “You may also like…” sections and similar recommendations to predict user behavior.
With algorithms getting smarter, it’s not strange to bank on machine learning as a way to drive more sales and improve customer experience.
Why we care: If you’re in e-commerce, this research can give you a sense of what your competition is prioritizing… and maybe what they’re missing.
It also shows that some brands are following in the footsteps of big platforms. For example, Pinterest invested big in recommendation platform The Yes just a few months ago.
Oh, and speaking of Pinterest…
Real-time analytics now available for Pins
As if you needed another reason to constantly check your phone…
Pinterest just launched real-time Pin analytics, and the feature looks super useful.
Show me the inspo: Now you can see the latest Pinner activity and check out hourly performance in the “last 24 hours review.”
There are limits, though. Real-time data doesn’t extend to audience metrics like “Monthly total engaged audience,” or to age and gender filters.
Why we care: Knowing exactly how your pins perform on the go is a useful tool, especially with holidays coming up.
Just make sure you don’t react too quickly to the real-time changes. It takes time for Pinterest’s algorithm to optimize your pins!
4 tactics to help you cut Facebook app advertising costs
Promoting a new app on Facebook can be tricky.
You’ve got competition, high costs, and privacy updates. Ugh.
But with the right mix of tactics, you can still run profitable app campaigns. Madalyn McConnel’s article offers a handful of useful tips for increasing your performance:
1 – Turn on iOS 14+. Facebook needs 50 conversions per week, per ad set to optimize ads for best results—not easy if your customers are Apple users who have opted out of tracking.
Enabling the iOS 14+ campaign feature helps you reach everyone on iOS 14 and higher.
Yes, that’s a wide net… but it can reduce your cost per install (CPI) in the long run, which is nice.
2 – Use open targeting. Speaking of wide nets… You can go even broader with open targeting, meaning you only target country and age, and leave the rest blank.
Facebook will use machine learning to identify users that are likely to convert and deliver ads to their feed. This can also help cut your ad costs.
3 – Use dynamic product ads (DPA). App install campaigns work pretty well with DPAs—or catalog ads—if you can set them up.
This ad format pulls items from your product catalog feed and displays them like carousel ads.
There’s an option to “hack” this by listing education programs, travel listings, or real estate listings to drive more engagement.
4 – Trust the automation. It sounds scary, but the best thing you can do is let Facebook’s algorithm work together with automation. Make sure you enable these features:
- Campaign budget automation (CBO). This will push more of your budget to ad sets that are seeing the best results, which drives down your CPI.
- Automatic placements. Similar to CBO, enabling automatic placements favors placements that are getting the best results.
- Advantage+ App Campaigns (AAC). This mixes the best ad copy, creative, and audiences. However, with AAC, you’ll have to relinquish control of audience targeting and give it to Facebook.
What to do when the customer is wrong
If there’s one thing every marketer knows, it’s that the customer is not always right.
Sometimes, the customer can be very wrong… Whether it’s getting physical over spicy chicken nuggets or misunderstanding your product’s purpose.
So… what should you do when the customer gets it wrong? Here’s a short insight about how we deal with this in our newsletter:
At Stacked Marketer, our main source of revenue is newsletter sponsorships.
And as a rule, we write the sponsor copy that appears in our newsletter. It consistently performs better than sponsor-written copy because… well, we’re the ones who also write the rest of the newsletter.
Makes sense, right?
But sometimes, sponsors don’t like our copy, and they come back with copy edits that we believe can hurt their ad’s performance in our newsletter.
In these cases, we share candid feedback about why we think their edits might decrease the ad’s success.
But in the end, the sponsor decides the final draft. It’s not helpful to get in a war with a sponsor over this kind of thing.
While we give feedback, we don’t force them to go one way or another. So far, this has worked well for us.
Insight: When you think your customer is wrong, consider the practical benefit of calling them out.
What do you have to gain by being aggressive or forceful?
Try the gentle route before you do anything serious. It’s not worth risking your reputation in the long-term.
ROUNDING UP THE STACK
MARKETING: If an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced tough new rules for anyone marketing high-risk investments. And if you’re wondering whether the rules apply to crypto products… They don’t. Yet.
ANALYTICS: Good news. You can now create and edit audiences using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) admin API, which means less fuss if you have to migrate a bunch of Universal Analytics audiences. It also comes with audience triggers, too. Nice.
You can now create and edit audiences through the GA4 Admin API (alpha version).
This will help those with tons of Universal audiences that need to be migrated to GA4. You can also create audience triggers, which are used to power advanced conversions.https://t.co/5HohGgj7SB pic.twitter.com/GWdCIiNwIt
— Charles Farina (@CharlesFarina) July 31, 2022
MARKETING: You know what you should definitely avoid as a marketer? Buying fake reviews. This article tells consumers how to spot them… and as a bonus, it’s basically a list of what marketers should not do when gathering social proof.
GOOGLE: Not seeing the validate fix feature in Search Console? That’s because Google temporarily disabled the option while they were making updates. Looks like it should be back in a couple of days…