Location Leaders Step Up to the Plate

During the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re seeing tech companies step up to the plate in a mixture of altruistic and opportunistic moves. That’s everything from Comcast removing data caps to Amazon removing its paywall for streaming kids shows. But what about local specifically? Again, that’s where businesses are getting hit most.

We’ve seen moves in the local space over the past week from Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Though there are several others, we’ll drill down on this representative sample. We’ll also give a shoutout to Google for its work to free up human and compute resources for local listings updates, covered Monday by Damian Rollison.

SMB Resellers and Agencies: How to Make the Most of the Conversions Objective

ROI is, of course, the ultimate goal of any advertising effort, so one might naturally ask, “Why would I ever choose an objective that’s not conversion optimized?”, or even “Why would I choose to optimize towards anything but purchase conversions?” It turns out the latter is the more complicated question, but one you can answer when armed with the right information.

It all has to do with how Facebook’s ad bidding works, which involves a combination of factors: your advertiser bid, estimated action rates (i.e. how your target audience responds to the ad), and overall ad quality. As Facebook notes, “together, estimated action rates and ad quality measure ad relevance. In fact, we subsidize relevant ads in auctions, so more relevant ads often cost less and see more results.”

Influencer Marketing Moves into the Mainstream

Influencer marketing is working its way into the toolboxes of major corporations, and I’m not just talking about Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s meme squad. Household brands including McDonald’s, Walmart, and Anheuser-Busch have turned to Linqia to test the practice.

How to Stop Getting Bogus Leads from Facebook Ads

Like a discordant refrain, these familiar phrases can feel like they’re playing on loop when following up with potential customers generated from Facebook Lead Ads. Bogus or misleading leads are a huge complaint among advertisers, but there are a few common and useful steps an advertiser can take when building Lead Generation Ad Campaigns to curb the occurrence of false leads. 

Certain aspects are out of our control from the advertisers’ end, such as trusting Facebook users to enter correct and non-misleading information, but armed with this handy checklist, you can audit your lead gen ads, making improvements to stem the tide of bogus leads.  

How Panera Uses AR to Heighten Cravings, Reaching Millions of Customers

Following up on the success of its #YouMix2 AR campaign, which debuted at SXSW last year, Panera recently launched a follow-up initiative. Working with M7 Innovations, a technology-focused consultancy that specializes in artificial intelligence and immersive realities, Panera designed an AR campaign that involved animated breakfast wraps. Consumers were encouraged to experience Panera’s breakfast wraps through AR technology and share the assets to Facebook and Snapchat.

The California Consumer Privacy Act’s Promise and Limitations

At first glance, the California Consumer Privacy Act marks a major achievement for privacy advocates, the first statewide bill in the US to offer consumers control over how companies handle their personal information. It’s all the more significant that CCPA happened in California, a frequent bellwether for federal legislation and the state where many of the world’s top tech companies are headquartered.

It’s not entirely clear, though, that CCPA will put significant fetters on Silicon Valley’s hitherto unrestrained collection and monetization of user data. Major weaknesses include the law’s enforcement protocol, continued lobbying efforts to defang it, and its opt-out structure.

2020: The Year Publishers and Brands Truly Challenge the Walled Gardens

We’ve already started to see publishers and brands start to adopt technology that is beyond the reach of the walled gardens. For brands and publishers reexamining their relationships with the walled gardens, the new year is a great time to determine which channels are adding value and are also future-proof. Only those who own first-party data will be in a position to thrive and fight back against industry changes.

5 Tips for Growing Affiliate Programs Through Social Channels

According to a recent study by the Performance Marketing Association (PMA), the affiliate marketing channel is expected to grow to over $6 billion by 2020. A Mediakix study found that US influencer marketing spend on Instagram alone is expected to grow $2.3 billion by 2020. The PMA study also indicated that content, bloggers, and social media accounted for 40% of ad spend by affiliate type in 2018, and that number is surely going up. All of these numbers support the idea that influencers and social media bring an incredible monetization opportunity to affiliate marketing.

Let’s look at five ways that brands active in the partner and affiliate channels can benefit from leveraging social media, and ultimately drive more revenue. 

Follow the Money: Will Wearables Inflect in 2020?

Apple is far ahead with Watch and Airpods, which may have sold 3 million units since Black Friday. Google meanwhile acquired Fitbit to buttress its wearables play. Amazon and Microsoft launched wearables lines in the past quarter, and smaller players like Bose and Snap are planting seeds for a wearables future.

There’s an underlying driver for this activity that goes back to the perennial analyst exercise of “following the money.” This is all about extrapolating product roadmaps based on tech giants’ motivations. This is often to future-proof their core businesses or diversify revenue in the face of maturing products.

December Focus: The Connected Consumer

When looking at several interlocking tech trends — wearables, IoT, smart devices, autonomous vehicles — one common thread emerges: our escalating connectivity as humans. All these technologies are increasingly melded with our senses as the computing “abstraction layer” diminishes.

In other words, device interfaces continue to get more intuitive and automatic. That can be seen in the progression of personal computing from UI milestones like the mouse to mobile-centric touch controls. Now, we have biometric tracking on the Apple Watch and ambient alerts to AirPods.

The “connected consumer” will be Street Fight’s editorial focus for the month of December.

New Brandify Survey Reveals Consumer Habits in Local Search

For Brandify’s local search consumer survey, consumers were asked to name the tools they’ve used in the last 30 days to find information about businesses nearby. Though a vast majority of 77% named Google Maps over any other tool, there was a significant “second tier” group including Facebook at 38%, Yelp at 35%, and business websites at 32%.

The study also asked consumers about the frequency of searches, the range of businesses for which they searched, preferred devices, and the likelihood of visiting a business after searching.

Revamping Your Strategy and Audiences for the Latest “Safe & Civil” Facebook Advertising Update

Your social advertising strategy and audiences may need a bit of an overhaul to align with updates to Facebook’s “Safe & Civil” Advertising Policies, especially if they fall within particular categories.

If your customer is running a campaign that does fall within one of the three categories upended by recent Facebook policy changes, it’s best to launch your campaign with a Special Ads Category applied prior to publishing. This will save you time and a headache resolving errors during the length of your campaign.

The Trust Crash: How Our Platforms Are Failing Us At Every Level and What We Can Do About It

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are the seeds of a new generation of open platforms and technologies aimed at evolving the platform paradigm to one of transparency, value share, and universal governance representation. Sharing value with users via data revenue share; allowing users access to insights generated about them and their peers and help to understand who is trying to engage with them and why; rev share and benefits for service providers; collaborative governance; and abolition of unilateral platform expulsion or rule changes are just several of the major changes on the table. A whole host of new open platform operating protocols is emerging.

Facebook, Free Speech, and the Responsibility of Power

The many arguments adduced to spare Facebook the responsibility of monitoring its content, of removing content that leads to physical violence all the way down to false political advertising, fail because they are based on under-developed understandings of responsibility itself. To argue that Facebook should be spared almost all regulatory expectations because it is a technology like the telephone rather than a media site like the New York Times or that Facebook should not be entrusted with taking down false advertising or striking down violent speech because those are tasks best left to the government is a failure of imagination and a failure to imagine what (civic) responsibility entails. As the word suggests (respons-ibility), the responsibility of any company or person who provides the possibility of speech, who can take it away from any given user and makes billions in profits off it, is to answer for and consider the admittedly unpredictable and deeply complex ramifications of the speech spoken under the company’s or person’s auspices.

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3 Challenges Keeping Chief Growth Officers Up at Night

The role of the Chief Growth Officer is challenging enough without digital ad budgets getting upended. But that’s exactly what’s happening. Thanks to radical changes made by the three largest U.S. online ad platforms, the digital advertising ecosystem is undergoing a transformation, and it is forcing Chief Growth Officers to reconsider their marketing strategies. Here are three challenges keeping Chief Growth Officers up at night—and a straightforward solution for getting more sleep.

Impending Brand Safety Woes: Nasty and Misleading Political Ads Hit Facebook

If brand safety in the 2020 election season does not immediately seem concerning, consider the following: You’re an advertiser hoping to run digital ads for your advertising tech solution. You pay a publisher with huge traffic big money to score impressions on its platform. But as soon as a Democratic voter navigates to the site and sees your ad, along with it pops up a big Trump ad making inflammatory claims about Biden. The web surfer navigates away from the site. Who wins?

Google Considers Buying TikTok Rival

TikTok could be seen as a competitor for YouTube, the video platform owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. TikTok is typically seen as a greater threat to Facebook in the social category, and the social giant is testing a copycat app of its own to crush the insurgent. But more time on TikTok could also mean less time on YouTube in a tight attention economy, and TikTok’s fervent teen users apparently have Google concerned enough to spark a potential Firework deal.

Facebook Marketing Partner Summit 2019: What’s All the Hype about Messaging?

Facebook led the Summit with this very interesting statistic: “There are now more messaging users than social users globally.” While the semantics of “messaging” vs. “social app” draw a fine distinction, on raw user count alone, WhatsApp and Messenger account for 2.9 billion users, and Facebook alone sits at 2.4 billion.

With these numbers in mind, Facebook’s contention is that conversation should be a larger part of the consumer journey when it comes to advertising, even noting that consumers are increasingly expecting to be as well, creating a virtuous cycle of sorts.

3 Ways DTC Brands Impact Legacy CPG Playbooks

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have forced legacy CPG brands into a major strategy shift. The rumblings of the digital transformation signaled change was coming, and the rise of DTC brands has led CPGs to rethink consumer engagement and the marketing tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And, in today’s digital-first marketplace, CPG margins are tightening because of the competition from DTCs as well as Amazon’s white-label product lines.

The result of these challenges sees the CPG playbook evolving to meet the digital-first ecosystem through tactics including investing in acquisitions, moving advertising budgets into digital, and including emerging marketing channels such as experiential marketing to create brand awareness and make direct consumer connections.

Employees Are Connecting On Facebook: Here’s Why They Shouldn’t

When they aren’t connecting in the office, 87% of employees are connecting on Facebook. With more than 1.5 billion daily active users, it’s no surprise that employees flock to the platform to connect with colleagues. Facebook is easy and familiar, and many employees have used it for years. When employees want to connect personally with someone they know professionally, Facebook is the natural first step. 

But Facebook isn’t the best place for making personal connections with coworkers, mainly because of the amount of personal content employees post. They express their political opinions and might post jokes and language that could easily offend in a professional setting. When you introduce professional contacts to a personal platform, the lines of what’s appropriate are blurred. People might begin to censor themselves, which isn’t always healthy. Or employees might feel uncomfortable with a coworker based on something they’ve seen online.