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The Snap IPO is Overrated

Snap Inc, the parent company to Snapchat, debuted on the NYSE on March 2, 2017 to a lot hype and fanfare. The Snap IPO’d at $17 USD a share and quickly jumped to $28. It settled back down this week at $22 a share. The excitement around the stock links to the popularity of Snapchat. It has captured the attention of the elusive 18-24 year old demographic, coveted by advertisers and brands. Snap had $400 million in revenue last year and is projected to have more than a $1 billion dollars in revenue this year which also makes it attractive. Although Snap’s accomplishments are impressive, Snap has some fundamental flaws.

Snap Inc’s business model could be in trouble. That means that the stock prices could be too.

Facebook Duplicated Snapchat’s Differentiators

Snapchat has attractive features: disappearing messages, filters, status updates (a.k.a. Stories), and augmented reality lenses.

Facebook launched stories and filters on Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Disappearing messages also launched on on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp recently. Bye-bye differentiators.

Image courtesy of Techcrunch

 

User growth is key to Snapchat’s future success. While Snapchat has a loyal user base, right now there isn’t a compelling reason for new users to join Snapchat. What’s the point when Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp have similar features?

Snap’s Spectacles May Not Take Off

Snap launched Spectacles at the end of last year to diversify its revenue. While the initial reaction to Spectacles was favourable, the recent interest in the hardware has declined.

Snap Spectacles

In general, the wearables market has proven to be difficult to compete and win in. We’ve seen successful wearable tech companies like Fitbit and GoPro struggle. Snap may be in for a similar uphill battle in the wearable hardware business.

You Can Get More Views on Instagram

In social media, engagement matters just as much as follower growth. When someone posts something to social media they want to see their views, likes, and shares maximized.

A recent Techcrunch article revealed that the average view per snap has been on the steep decline. Content producers have been posting less on Snapchat since the launch of Instagram stories.

Declining users Snap

Declining engagement and slowing user growth is a bad combination for Snapchat as it stands right now.

It seems that Snap is genuinely trying to innovate and build a viable business. I love that. But it’s important not to get caught up in the hype of the Snap IPO. The company still has a lot of work to do. They need to develop a competitive advantage that can’t be duplicated and “sticky” products that keep users engaged.

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Surviving the Post-Clickbait Era

Facebook has tweaked its News Feed algorithm countless times in an attempt to deliver a better user experience. Sometimes we pay attention, but most of the time we skim an article and wait for the next algorithm change to be announced. But when Facebook announced a full on war against clickbait, you won’t believe what happened next (see what we did there).

Marketers freaked out. But because we’re believers that an internet without clickbait is a better world wide web, we’re breaking down three best practices you can follow to make sure your content survives the post-clickbait era.

Write useful content already

For those who can remember when Google rolled out its Panda update (and marketers collectively lost their sh*t), Facebook’s war on clickbait seems oddly familiar. Similar to Facebook’s update, Google Panda was a search filter meant to stop sites with poor quality content (i.e. spam) from working their way into Google’s search results. How did marketers avoid being penalized by Panda? They wrote useful content.

Our advice here is simple: to not be impacted by Facebook’s war on clickbait, write useful, compelling, unique content. Bonus points if it’s highly relevant to your target market and shareworthy among your Facebook fans.

Be transparent

In their announcement Facebook made it clear: headlines that withhold information or mislead users (think headlines like: “Apples Are Actually Bad for You”), will not be distributed as often as transparent headlines. Our mantra here: think long term.

Writing honest and transparent headlines will not only positively impact your News Feed distribution in the short term, but will also deliver a better user experience that could result in more traffic and higher engagement down the road.

And please, avoid these phrases

Listen, we get it. Sometimes you just can’t help writing a “viral” piece that may skew on the side of clickbait. At the bare minimum, do not use common clickbait language, and if you do, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Here are some common headline styles to avoid:

  • You won’t believe ___
  • This ___ will change your life
  • ___ with this one weird trick
  • ___ you won’t believe what happens next (and of course, what happens next will surprise you)
  • 17 secrets ___ doesn’t want you to know

Now what?

Go forth and prosper. Guilty as charged, we’ve all clicked a headline that we’re not proud of. But clickbait sucks. Join Facebook in making the world wide web a better place and putting an end to clickbait.

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Instagram Stories is not Original – but it is Authentic

For everyone up in arms over Instagram’s blatant copy of Snapchat and launch of “Instagram Stories,” the great Jim Jarmusch has three words for you: “nothing is original.” Think about it. Every piece of literature, every work of art, every film, took inspiration from something else. And in Instagram’s defence, it’s not about where you take an idea from; it’s about where you take an idea to.

Just like Snapchat’s story feature, Instagram Stories allow users to click on circular avatars that represent an account they follow on Instagram. Each bubble contains all the photos and videos that person has posted within the past day.

But calm down everyone. It’s actually less important that Instagram implements original ideas. What is important is that they remain authentic to their brand and vision. The question is, what will change with the addition of “Instagram Stories?” And will Instagram be able to implement the changes in an authentic fashion?

For certain, the addition of Instagram Stories marks one huge transition for the platform.

Lowering the Bar for Posting and Sharing Everything

The nature of Instagram is that users post their most glamorous and extravagant shots. It is understood that what you post will be archived, which places a higher standard on the content you post. Due to this high standard, it is common that a user only posts once a week, or once a month. Instagram believes that “Stories” will lower the bar for posting, and encourage users to post more frequently.

With the bar lowered, Instagram users can feel more comfortable posting the fun and wacky moments in their lives. However, while the outrageous content posted on Snapchat seems at home on their platform, content of the same style posted on Instagram could seem foreign and dilute the brand’s authenticity.  What was once a photo app that placed an emphasis on quality posts, is now leaning towards quantity of posts.

Instagram Stories

How will Instagram remain authentic?

Instagram is already retaining authenticity by simply implementing Snapchat’s idea better and using a smoother user interface. The one complaint you hear about Snapchat, especially from older generations, is that it’s difficult to use. Instagram took that confusing experience, and made it clearer and digestible for a wide variety of people. The interface includes clearly labelled buttons, hints, and logic flows. Instead of swiping up, there is a clear “send message” button. Overall, it is an experience that is better, smoother, and more enjoyable than Snapchat. Taking an idea, and making it better in your own way, that is authenticity at its finest.

In the end, it doesn’t seem like Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom is worried about the criticism. Again taking from the words of Jim Jarmusch, he said, don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it.” Systrom did just that, admitting that Snapchat deserves all the credit, and that what they were launching wasn’t an original idea.

For Instagram, it seems the first step to attaining authenticity is portraying honesty in their approach. This is a definite breath of fresh air in the tech community. And as long as they continue to create more enjoyable experiences than other services, it doesn’t matter where they take their ideas from.

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3 Things We Can Learn from the Raptor’s Social Media Success

The Toronto Raptors have reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history and the team has parlayed their success to the social media space boasting a social media follower growth rate in 2015-2016 that is among the top 5 in the NBA.

The Raptors social media popularity is not an overnight success story; it’s the product of a very well thought-out creative campaign centered around the #WeTheNorth concept.

Here are 3 smart things the Raptors’ marketing department and their creative agency Sid Lee did in order to set themselves up for social media success.

#1 – Understood their target market

Sid Lee explains in their 2015 Cassie submission that Raptors fans “are well-connected, savvy Millennials who have a deep-seated need to belong”. Paradoxically, Raptors’ fans are comfortable describing themselves as “outsiders” as well, since the Raptors are the only Canadian NBA team. Being based in Toronto, the team is often overlooked since basketball has been considered a third-tier sport behind hockey and baseball.

#2 – Knew what made the Raptors different

Sid Lee explains “(The Toronto Raptors have) been picked on because we’re from the Great White North. We’ve been told that we play a different game by pundits, told we’re no good by diehard NBA fans, and told we’re not American enough by players.”

Rather than trying to change to fit in, the Raptors embraced their differences and made it the identity of the We the North Campaign.

#3 – Delivered a simple and powerful message

Jeremiah McNama, a senior writer in 2013 at Sid Lee, was part of the team that developed We the North. “We knew we wanted to play around the idea of being an outsider,” said McNama. “It just had a vibe to it, like ‘we the people’ in the constitution”.

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The slogan acts as a battle cry to bring Canadians together around the team.

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Results

The We the North campaign has translated to social media success and ticket sales.

The % of new purchaser tickets in the 2013-2014 season was 6.6%. In the 2014-2015 season, it increased to a massive 68%.

During the We the North campaign, the Raptors saw these increases in their social media following and engagement:

Number of new Facebook Likes: +170% increase
Number of new Twitter Followers: +130% increase
Number of YouTube views in a month: +350% increase

The #WeTheNorth video became the most-viewed video on the Raptors’ YouTube channel with +750,000 views.

Note: Increases are measured versus the 2013-2014 regular season statistics

Key takeaway

Whether you’re a large brand planning your next viral campaign or a small restaurant launching a new website, it’s important to know your target market, know how your brand is different, and then distill your messaging into something that is simple and impactful.

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Social Media Ads for B2B: Where to Start?

Social media advertising is a heavy hitter in the consumer marketing world. But why haven’t social media ads for B2B taken off? One of the big reasons is that a lot of people think that a B2B product or service doesn’t belong on Facebook or Twitter, so they stick to the traditional tactics that have worked in the past.

The thing is, B2B decision makers and influencers are still people who have and use social media. It may not be as easy to find them or to grab their attention when they’re not in “work” mode, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. B2B social media marketing is a nut that Stryve has been cracking for a while now, and we’re here to help you get started.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most obvious social platform for B2B marketing; it’s built for the working world. While the targeting may be better suited for B2B, keep in mind that LinkedIn knows this and will charge a lot more per click than other social media platforms. When trying to find your target market on LinkedIn, go through these exercises:

  • List the types of companies you want to sell to
    (What industry are they in? Are they large or small businesses?)
  • List the different job titles of decision makers and influencers that you’ve sold to successfully in the past
  • Find Groups on LinkedIn that your target market would be a part of
    (eg. I’m selling a marketing automation software, so let’s find a lot of marketing & technology groups)

The answers you’ll get out of these exercises will be the linchpin of your Sponsored Content targeting on LinkedIn.

Twitter

Twitter is probably the next social platform you’d want to use to try social media ads for B2B marketing; it’s a place to discuss news and share articles. A lot of business chatter happens on Twitter. The way that you can find your target market on Twitter is to start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What websites, news sources, or experts would our target market go to for industry updates?
  • What products/services that are complimentary to ours would our target market have?
  • In our industry, what companies or people have a large social media following?

Take the answers you’ve jotted down and start finding these companies, organizations, and people on Twitter. Keep their handles handy, because you’ll use them for targeting your Twitter ads.

Facebook

Facebook is probably one of the last places you’d think of for B2B marketing. Although finding your target market may be trickier on Facebook, it is the platform where you can get the cheapest clicks. To combat the difficulty in targeting, focus your effort on making ads that will really speak to your target market. This way, only people in your target market will click the ad (and you’re not spending money on getting the wrong people to click). Find the answers to these questions:

  • What industry terms would really get our target market’s attention?
  • What kind of visuals are really specific to our industry?
    (eg. a specific type of tool, a CAD drawing, etc.)

At this point, you’ll have done a LOT of good marketing thinking. These questions and exercises will be an important start to making social media ads for B2B that really break through.

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Stay tuned for our new eBook, available later this month, on how to run a killer social media advertising campaign from start to finish, written specifically for advertisers in the B2B space! Want to be the first to know when it’s available for free download? Sign up here for a notification.

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How New Grads Can Get a Job in Marketing

The trouble with graduating and finding a job right out of school is that literally thousands of other students are graduating and trying to find a job at the exact same time with a similar degree or diploma as you. Think about it, you’re all graduating in April, right? If you’re going to land a job in marketing, you need to stand out and differentiate yourself.

Here are 4 tips to help you differentiate yourself and land a job in marketing.

Tip 1: Consider “working for free” first

The phrase “one step backward today, two steps forward tomorrow” comes to mind for this tip. If you’re having trouble getting the job you want right out of school, consider offering your services to a company free of charge. Notice how I used the term “services free of charge” as opposed to “volunteering”.  When you’re a volunteer you often have to wait to have someone tell you what needs to be done.  On the other hand, “services free of charge” communicates that you will be managing yourself and delivering something of value at no cost.

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Your next steps:

  1. Think of an organization you have an “in” with and talk to a decision maker there
  2. Tell them that you’d like to apply what you’ve learned in school to their business and build a digital or social media marketing strategy for them. If you didn’t learn how to build a social media or digital marketing strategy in school, I recommend picking up a book like Inbound Marketing, reading it, and then applying what you learn in this book to the company you’re proposing your services to.

This approach requires a little more effort but could pay off in a bigger way later because you’ve shown the desire to contribute even it means not getting paid at first.

Tip 2: Research the company you’re applying to

The students who have been successful in landing co-op positions and internships here at Stryve have all done one thing very well in their cover letter or initial email to us: They’ve researched our company and can tell me why they want to work at Stryve.

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Your next steps:

  1.  One recent successful candidate mentioned in an initial email to me that she researched all the other marketing agencies in town and wanted to do her internship with us because she specifically wants to build her career in digital and social media marketing.
  2. The candidate in this example took the time to research our company values in the About Us section of our website as well. She gave me specific examples how those values lined up with her values.

Tip 3: Tell stories, don’t “interview”

People don’t remember stats and accomplishments recited in bullet points, they remember stories. It also helps your personality shine through, which is an important part of how a company will evaluate you.

True Story

Your next steps:

  1. When you’re preparing for your job interview think of the job requirements listed in the job posting
  2. Then, think of stories in your job experience, school experience or volunteer experience that demonstrate you have experience related to the job requirement listed
  3. Lastly, use the STAR method to tell stories how you met that job requirement in the past

Tip 4: Be mindful of your social media footprint

Your potential employer will Google your name if you’re being considered for a position at their company. A company’s online presence is a big part of their marketing mix, so it’s important for you to show an employer that you use social media and are (somewhat) findable online. If you’re completely unfindable online, an employer will think one of two things:

  1. You don’t like or understand social media and you’re not inclined to use it
  2. You might be an axe murder and you have something to hide

Social Media

Your next steps

  1. It’s okay to make some of the content on your personal social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter public content. Just make sure the content portrays you in tasteful way (i.e. no profanity, rants, drunken pics, etc.)
  2. You’ll definitely want to have a fully filled out LinkedIn profile with a high resolution professional profile pic. If you don’t know what to put in your LinkedIn profile, look for others with at least 5 years of experience in the industry and then emulate their profiles.

Happy job hunting!

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Twitter Launches Two New Fan Ads

Jack Dorsey and the Twitter team are stepping up their ad options, and we’re impressed. The market may be negative on Twitter, but we’re finding their ad formats to be highly effective and innovative. Last week they launched two new fan ad formats that we’re excited to test. The excitement stems from the ability for brands to more effectively promote tweets from fans and customers. Here are the two new Twitter ad formats:

Twitter Conversational Ads

Conversational ads will allow brands to take ads a step further by including call-to-action buttons with hashtags that consumers can tweet. Here’s an example of a conversational ad.

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Instead of asking people to actively create a tweet or share a hashtag, this ad format will allow brands to ask for a simple click. The easier the better.

Why we love this: People are lazy. especially when they’re on a mobile device. Instead of typing out an entire tweet, all this takes is one click. We love easy things that drive big impact. This is one of them.

Brand Enthusiast Gallery

Twitter is also launching a brand enthusiast gallery. Twitter will collect brand-related tweets for advertisers to pick though. If a brand is interested in promoting the tweet, a user will receive a direct message asking permission before the brand will repost it. The details are still sparse, hence the lack of a screenshot, but it looks like the early response has been positive.

Why would brands want to do this? Using brand recommendations from everyday users may be a powerful social validation tool. Similar to online reviews, a promoted social tweet could break through the mistrust of celebrity endorsements.

Twitter has been receiving a lot of bad press lately, but our experience is indicating a bit of a turnaround. We’re excited to see what the future holds. Until then, we’ll be testing these new ad formats.

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3 reasons why Facebook’s Dominance Will Continue

Facebook’s dominance in the social media space is clear. With 1.5 billion users, it remains the top social media network in the world. In the developed world we’re hard-pressed to find anyone without a Facebook account, so the total user stat is not shocking. However, what many people do not know is that Facebook will likely continue to grow as a company for reasons beyond social media. Here are 3 reasons why Facebook will continue to dominate:

#1: Facebook’s ambition is to bring internet to the entire world

This is how Facebook is doing it:

Facebook is investing aggressively in drone technology that can fly over and beam internet connectivity to remote and rural areas of the world. The ambitious plan, internet.org, is aiming to bring internet connectivity to 750 million people in the world. The plan prioritizes getting internet access in African, Asian and Latin American countries where web connectivity can be non-existent or problematic.

This is how it will help Facebook to continue to dominate:

Increasing the amount of people connected to the internet can increase the amount of Facebook users. The more users Facebook has, the stronger the revenue potential will be for Facebook’s targeted advertising and sponsored content model.

#2: Facebook is involved with artificial intelligence

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This is how Facebook is doing it:

In 2013, Facebook began the process of launching two important initiatives, the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) and Facebook M.

FAIR is Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) research lab.  Staffed with world renowned AI experts at the New York, California and Paris Facebook offices, this lab works to figure out how machine intelligence can give people better ways to communicate.

Facebook M is an artificially intelligent “personal assistant” that exists within Facebook messenger. In the near future we’ll be able speak into our mobile devices and verbally tell M to manage tasks like cancelling a cable subscription or ordering flowers for a special occasion.

This is how it will help Facebook to continue to dominate:

FAIR and M will help Facebook continue its market dominance because they will encourage users have deeper in engagement with the Facebook Messenger app. Deeper engagement with a particular app on our smartphone creates more usage statistics. With more usage statistics, Facebook could better target ads which ultimately increases Facebook’s revenue.

#3: Facebook is involved with virtual reality

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This is how Facebook is doing it

In July 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR (Virtual Reality), signalling its intention to be among the front runners in the virtual reality industry. Furthermore, Facebook is heavily investing in the development and launch of Occulus Rift virtual reality headset.

It may be tough for us to conceptualize how virtual reality could fit into our everyday lives so here’s an example: let’s say you’re member of the media that covers the politics. Instead of watching the conference in-person or live streaming it on a tablet or smartphone, you’ll be able to put on a headset or “glasses” that will virtually give you seat at the press conference as if you’re there in-person.

Virtual reality is one of the next great frontiers in technology. Marketing research firm Tractica indicates consumer spending on VR hardware and software could reach over $21 billion dollars by 2020.

This is how it will help Facebook to continue to dominate:

The business applications of virtual reality are virtually endless (no pun intended). Imagine, instead of using a smartphone to Facetime or call a friend in Brazil you put on headset and you virtually sit down at a café with them and virtually have a coffee with them. Something like this could dramatically change the telecommunications industry. Imagine you’re a factory equipment sales person: instead of telling a customer about how your equipment works they can put a VR headset on and you can show them how your equipment works on a virtual factory floor. Something like this could dramatically change the sales and marketing industry. Technology like this would be as revolutionary as the internet was to world in the 90’s; it will change everything.

Beaming internet to the world, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, it’s evident that Facebook is becoming bigger than a social media company and it’s exciting to see.

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How to use Instagram to Boost your B2B Brand

If Instagram has showed the B2B marketing community anything, it’s that B2B doesn’t have to be boring. Creative business-to-business brands are using Instagram to their advantage by sharing compelling, interesting visuals that give a sneak peek into their internal culture or by coming up with creative ways to showcase their products or services.

But before diving head first into Instagram for B2B, it’s important to map out a trajectory for your account. Having a clear plan when it comes to any social platform ensures that all posts are on point and on brand. As a visual-first platform, this is particularly important for Instagram– a quick scroll through a brand’s Instagram feed has the power to create a lasting first impression.

Below we break down simple questions to ask before launching a branded Instagram account.

What is your marketing objective?

Whenever launching a new marketing tactic, whether it be a new website or social media platform, it’s extremely important to define what you’d like to achieve, and launching an Instagram account is no different.

Whether you’d like to use your account to showcase your products or services, highlight internal culture, build brand awareness, establish thought leadership or use it as a recruitment tool, it’s important to define the objective and function for your Instagram account. Keep in mind that you can have multiple marketing objectives, but consistency is key (more on that below).

Who is your audience?

Defining your ideal Instagram audience will go along way when mapping out future content and will also allow you to better develop your brand tone. To connect with your ideal customer (or customers) ask yourself: What about my brand interests them? What do they want to learn about? What motivates their decisions?

Once you’ve determined your audience, do some research – look into accounts they follow, visuals they post and relevant hashtags. For example, when Stryve launched our Instagram account, we knew we wanted to target the Kitchener-Waterloo community, so naturally the hashtag #kwawesome helped us to reach that audience. If you’re like us and location is one of your targeting objectives, you should also consider geotagging your posts so that people interested in that location are able to find and follow you.

What is your brand tone?

Consistency is key for Instagram. Avoid a scattered feed by determining your brand tone and voice before you post. If your brand was a person, who would it be? Is your brand witty, smart, friendly or ambitious? Your brand tone should resonate in every visual, caption, and even hashtag.

How often will you post?

You and your team should have a clear plan of how often you will post and how you will plan for new content. If you’re posting weekly for example, have an idea session the week prior to determine what visuals you’ll post and who will be responsible for posting.

How to grow your Instagram following?

Now that you have a strategy for posting amazing content, you’re in a great spot to focus on how you will grow your Instagram following. As mentioned above, relevant hashtags can go along way in helping you reach your target market on Instagram. Luckily, when people find you via hashtags and you’re posting killer content, you’ll likely get a follow.

In addition to hashtags, following and engaging with friends of your brand is a great way to add to your following (although we’d suggest not adding #likeback to your hashtag arsenal). Sharing the news on your website and other social platforms, letting your team know and experimenting with Instagram Ads, are also effective ways to grow your following. Lastly, be social! Respond to comments from your own feed and like, comment on and repost share-worthy visuals that others have posted.

Happy posting!

Go forth and Instagram! Don’t forget, choose the right filter. No pressure.

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Facebook’s Universal Search is a Game Changer

Two trillion posts. That’s how much social data Facebook has amassed, and now a good portion of those posts will be searchable, with Facebook’s Universal Search. Launching today, Universal Search will provide access to an entire social library – as long as it’s public. The way Facebook puts it, they’ve indexed the world’s conversations and now you’ll have the ability to find out what’s interesting and trending. More importantly, the search will be tailored to each individual user based on history, friends, and pages you like. It’s a massive step in the next evolution of social media.

Why does this matter? How does social searchability change the game? Facebook understands something that Google has yet to tap into. That humans are social, local animals. Zuckerberg once famously stated: “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” Search becomes much more impactful and relevant if it is connected to social interactions in a local framework. No doubt about it, this is a major game changer.

What does this mean for marketing? There exists the possibility that future targeting will not only be based on likes or demographic info, but also based on what you’ve posted on Facebook. This ad capability is not currently available, but from our experience it is most definitely an opportunity that it’s in the pipeline.

Yes there are some privacy concerns, like any social platform, and there will be some early resistance. But make no mistake, Facebook is moving forward on its stated course of connecting the entire world and Universal Search is a massive step.