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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: January 2017

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Google refused to give up on Google+
The search giant announced a handful of changes for the service, including hiding “low-quality” comments, adding zoom functionality, bringing back its events feature, and killing the classic design.

Facebook launched the Journalism Project
The project will create deeper relationships with publishers, including giving early access to new tools and features.

Snapchat launched universal search to simplify navigation
Snapchat just made it much easier to find friends, groups, and brands with a universal search bar that’s always accessible at the top of the app.

Google Voice got its first big update in five years, adds new UI and features
Google Voice – their call and text app for the US – got a modern UI, Direct Reply support, and MMS photo support.

Instagram turned up the heat on Snapchat with video ads in ‘stories’
Instagram rolled out full-screen, auto-playing video ads to the stories feature. Brands are excited.

Snapchat’s cracked down on content
Snapchat doubled down on its efforts as a media platform by cracking down on clickbait and banning explicit images. Facebook did it. Will Twitter follow?

Google introduced search data into its YouTube targeting model
Google announced big changes to its targeting model, allowing advertisers to target YouTube ads based on people’s search histories.

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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: November 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Mobile and tablet internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time ever
The new worldwide study reports that mobile devices have finally taken over. You better make your site responsive real soon.

Microsoft launched its Slack competitor, Teams
Right after Facebook Workplace? The battle of the office-communication tools is raging!

Instagram has tested ways to tag products in photos & looked at live streaming
We’ll see more tools for brands and influencers to push messages out to their followers, which should boost engagement even further.

Elon Musk said that governments need to start planning for the robot takeover
With all of the jobs that AI will replace, he suggests that governments will need to provide a basic living income to all citizens.

Facebook started testing a job posting feature
This is a great thing for brands, but what will LinkedIn do? Like Workplace, this feature shows that Facebook wants to take over the business market.

Macbook Pros lost their SD card slots
Say goodbye to yet another port on your laptops. We’ve seen disc drives and ethernet ports fall away. Now it’s the card reader’s turn.

Google launched its mobile VR headset
These lower-cost (sorta) virtual reality experiences should get the market rolling. More proof that you really can’t ignore it.

Trump may try to take away net neutrality and privacy protection
As a way of deregulating industries, this could allow Internet companies to regulate speeds and release personal browsing data.

Facebook found errors in the data it shows marketers
Video views were exaggerated and some click and engagement data was also found to be flawed. Expect fixes and apologies.

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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: September 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

There were rumours flying around that Twitter might get acquired
We’ve heard that Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, and even Disney are considering buying up our 140 characters.

Google and others form The Coalition for Better Ads
If this isn’t a wake-up call to step up your digital advertising game, we don’t know what is!

Instagram’s Stories got some additional features
Now you can post coloured text, oh my! Users can also mute Stories if they’re sick of seeing the same old stuff from your brand, so keep it fresh.

Google Analytics added in some artificial intelligence
The AI is supposed to help us pull reports and do repeat tasks faster on mobile. Coming to the desktop experience soon.

Snapchat announced that they’re making video-sharing sunglasses
There are cameras in the glasses so that you can share every moment you see. This opens up some new doors for content – use it wisely.

Google launched another chat app to compete with WhatsApp
This chat app, called Allo, comes with the Google Assistant to help you pick a spot to eat while you talk about dinner plans. But…

Edward Snowden told everyone to stay away from Allo
He criticized the encryption (or lack of it) and the fact that messages are stored and could be accessed by the police.

A Twitter bot tried to be empathetic, but there’s still a ways to go
It’s nice to see AI push the boundaries into emotion, but this example shows we’re not quite there yet.

Instagram rolled out comment censoring to all users
If your brand has an Instagram profile, you should probably turn on these settings!

Facebook will finally give us Facebook for Work
This is supposed to make inter-office communication better, but it will also likely improve targeting for B2B Facebook ads!

BONUS! Get $50 off registration to InboundCon with the promo code ‘socialmediacanada’
Billed as Toronto’s #1 Digital Marketing Conference, you won’t want to miss this.

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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: August 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Instagram launched “Stories”, a Snapchat-like feature
Even though the concept isn’t fresh, it broadens the type of content a brand can post to their Instagram. Start making some stories!

Researchers asked robots which jobs robots will take over
Which jobs or skills will be obsolete in 2030? Humans are making predictions, but an alogrithm will filter out the human bias.

Facebook decided to crackdown on clickbait content
You’ll be seeing less clickbait on your feed, so make sure your posts aren’t misleading. Worried you’ll get busted? Here are some tips to avoid the crackdown.

Google announced it will be punishing sites with pop-ups
Adjust your website if need be. This is another part of the push to give search priority to websites that deliver good content and user experience.

Meanwhile, Twitter launched a new ad type that seems a lot like clickbait
Want to see this video or the rest of this content? Users have to tweet a hashtag to unlock the content.

A rumour was started that Twitter was shutting down in 2017
The #SaveTwitter campaign started as a protest against their inaction towards online bullies. But Twitter says they aren’t going anywhere.

Bloomberg analysts said Twitter better watch its back
Snapchat is taking ad revenues away from Twitter but not Facebook and Instagram. Are you moving away from Twitter ads as well?

YouTube made plans to expand beyond just video
They’re calling the new feature ‘Backstage’ and it may start rolling out to select users this year.

A study found that good grades were correlated with playing video games. Bad grades were correlated with social media usage.
The results aren’t causal in nature, but it is interesting to see the relation between grades and different forms of digital media.

The first website ever made turned 25 years old
It wasn’t much to look at, but it is crazy to think how far websites have come in a quarter of a century.

BONUS! Get $50 off registration to InboundCon with the promo code ‘socialmediacanada’
Billed as Toronto’s #1 Digital Marketing Conference, you won’t want to miss this.

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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.

Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: July 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Snapchat Introduced Memories, a Way to Save Your Snaps
Don’t want that to disappear? Add it to your Memory collage. Meanwhile…

Facebook Tried to Make Disappearing Messages a Thing Again
They’re testing out secret conversations that even Facebook doesn’t see. We won’t be getting handy data for ad targeting with this end-to-end encryption.

A Man Was Convicted for Sharing His Password
An oversimplification, yes, but it points to the evolving nature of digital rights management. Be vigilant with your business’ licenses and user access.

Buffer Got in on the (Subpar) Instagram Scheduling
Like Hootsuite before it, Buffer now lets you plan your Instagram posts ahead of time. You still have to manually post it at that time though. C’mon Instagram API!

LinkedIn Bought a Startup That Helps Sales People Seal the Deal
PointDrive makes it easy to share links, videos, presentations, and documents during a sales pitch. Stronger connections to social networks can only mean good things for digital marketers.

Facebook is Paying Internet Celebs the Big Bucks to Use Facebook Live
They hope to keep young audiences engaged with the platform so that we can keep serving ads on their Newsfeeds.

Twitter Opened Up Verified Accounts to Everybody
Apply to get your personal and business accounts verified now. It will boost your credibility and could be extremely important to the future of the Twittersphere.

Pokémon Go has already spawned Marketing Opportunities
We talked about the potential before it hit Canada, and there are already businesses starting up to provide marketing opportunities through the augmented reality game.

Verizon spent $4.83B on Yahoo!
The main reason they’ve cited is to strengthen their push into mobile advertising. There’s further proof that the future is digital.

Facebook Improved its Mobile App Targeting
You can now target users who won’t just download your app, but those who are more likely to engage with it after download.

BONUS! Get $50 off registration to InboundCon with the promo code ‘socialmediacanada’
Billed as Toronto’s #1 Digital Marketing Conference, you won’t want to miss this.

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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: June 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Microsoft Bought LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion
The brand and CEO are staying in place, but you can bet that we’ll see Microsoft leverage the social network in interesting ways.

Facebook Changed Their Algorithm to Give Brands Less Feed-Time
“Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages,” wrote Facebook’s vice president for newsfeed product management, Adam Mosseri.

Twitter Launched ‘Dashboard’ to Help Social Media Managers
The web and iOS app gives you tools for scheduling tweets, creating custom feeds, and tracking hashtags. Oh and it’s free.

Instagram Started Rolling Out an Algorithm-Based Feed
Surprise, people aren’t liking the change. But, with popular posts being placed first, this gives brands an opportunity to share great content and get more eyeballs.

FastCompany Predicted a Post-Device Era
This writer thinks we’re headed for simpler, more purpose-built devices. What would this do to mobile marketing?

Facebook Launched 360 Photos
This is a step into our VR-friendly future. If you have a 360 app or camera, you can upload your videos to Facebook and your fans can explore the environment.

We Got Tips on What Exactly a “Digital Native” Is
The Pew Research Centre’s Director of Internet (yup, that’s her title) takes some stats and helps us make sense of these crazy kids.

AI and Machine Learning Have Started Growing Up
Google’s head of machine learning points out that AI is improving, especially in areas of speech recognition and image understanding.

Forbes Reminded Us That the Ways of the Past are Dead
Sorry Don Draper, your antics just don’t cut it in 2016. A new-school CMO needs to be one with technology and analytics.

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Download on Digital Marketing

Download on Digital Marketing: May 2016

What’s new in digital marketing? The answer is always “everything”. In a world that is constantly changing, we’re making it easy to stay on top of the latest updates.

This Month in Digital Marketing…

Twitter Loosened the 140-Character Limit
@mentions and media (photos, videos) will no longer take up some of your precious space! Links still will, but overall it’s a win.

Adobe Launched Spark: an Easy Way to Make Beautiful Digital Creative
This new web tool helps you make stunning social posts, videos, and web stories without the need to bring in a designer.

Twitter Launched a new Connect Tab
The new feature is meant to help users find interesting accounts to follow and to ultimately increase engagement with the platform.

We Got a Sneak Peek at Instagram Brand Profiles
Instagram has been testing the new features like a Contact button with a small group of users.

Instagram Rebranded
The retro-inspired logo and app icon was replaced with a bright, colourful gradient.

YouTube Went Head-to-Head with Broadcast for Advertising Dollars
In their Brandcast presentation this year, YouTube claims they have more viewers than the top 10 TV shows combined and that big budgets are shifting their way.

Google Made Cardboard VR Available in Canada
For $20, you can turn your smartphone into a VR headset – a great way to test out an up-and-coming technology

Google Finished Rolling Out ‘Mobilegeddon’ Algorithm Update
The search results algorithm gives mobile-friendly webpages a boosted ranking over those that aren’t optimized.

Unilever Saw ROI from Snapchat
CMO Keith Weed says they’ve seen a return on their investment in Snapchat, showing that the platform has ‘come of age’.

Instagram made Carousel Ads Available
Similar to Facebook’s carousel ads, advertisers on Instagram can now include multiple photos and videos in one ad.

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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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How to Run Instagram Ads

It’s a beautiful time for digital marketing – a new and highly popular platform is open season for advertising. Instagram recently began en-masse rollout of their advertising platform, giving marketers access to the social network’s 400 million daily active users. Here’s how you can get started:

Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page

Navigate to your brand’s Facebook page and hit the Settings button in the top right. You’ll see the option for Instagram Ads on the left menu, and when clicked you’ll be asked to add the account with the username and password.

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Find your way to Facebook’s Power Editor

For the time being, this is the tool you’ll have to use to launch an Instagram ad. To get there, click the arrow in the top right of Facebook’s navigation bar and select Manage Ads. At the top, underneath the search bar, you’ll see the option to launch Power Editor. Note: Power Editor is only supported with the Chrome web browser.

Create your campaign

When setting up your new Instagram campaign, make sure that you set your objective to one that is currently supported. At the time of this writing, the available objectives for Instagram ads are clicks to website, mobile app installs, and video views.

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Based on your marketing objectives or the type of creative you’re planning to use, it should be pretty easy to choose one of these options. For this example we’ve selected an oldie but a goody: clicks to website. We’re promoting an event and want to lead visitors to a webpage that has the event details.

Set your targeting and budget in the Ad Set

The great thing about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram is that advertising on Instagram comes with very familiar targeting options. Instagram accounts don’t collect a whole lot of data on users’ demographic information, but most people will connect their Instagram account to their Facebook (for the purpose of sharing) which is full of demographic data.

Input your targeting information; in our example we’re trying to reach 15-25 year-olds who live within a 25km radius of Kitchener (which is where this event is located). Make sure that when you get to the section about Placement, you select the option to have your ads displayed on Instagram.

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Don’t freak out at the CPC

When setting up your Ad Set, you’ll need to input your budget and set your bidding strategy and max bid. In 99% of cases, you want your bidding strategy to match your campaign objective. We wanted to get people to click and go to a webpage, so we set up our bidding to pay per click. We also recommend that you manually set your max bid – not only does it let you specify the amount that a website visitor is worth to your business, but it also gives you a chance make sure your bid is on the high end to help you win the auctions and get more impressions.

So that’s what we did, and we were pretty shocked when Facebook told us the going rate for Instagram ads in our local market.

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We also checked what the pricing would be using a CPM model (with the same targeting parameters). If website visits aren’t central to your campaign, this could be a great way set your bidding strategy. It is especially effective if your goal is to build brand awareness or if you aren’t trying to elicit a specific action.

Make some killer creative

The third step in the process is creating your ad. Instagram is the place where you need to use imagery that really stands out. Check out some tips from our designer on how you can do just that! Beyond the image or video you choose to use, you’ll also have the option of inputting a text description (which can include @mentions or #hashtags) and choosing from a select list of CTA button text.

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In the case of an event, we chose to go with “Learn More” because we wanted to make the text description compelling but short. Over time, we’ll see this list expand just like Facebook’s has over the years.

Monitor your ad’s performance

When we checked in on our ad after 12 hours of cycling, we were stunned by the results.

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The cost per click (CPC) ended up averaging only $0.53! That was pleasant surprise compared to the $18/click suggested bid. This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to monitor the performance of your PPC campaigns. Don’t just launch it and leave it. The best data you can get as a marketer is your own data, so use it well! In our example here, I noticed these results and decided to refine my targeting based on Interests. This should result in a higher conversion rate as it is focusing more narrowly on the target market. Of course, I’ll be checking on it again in another 12 hours to see if my hypothesis was correct.

As the platform evolves, we’ll be sure to keep you updated with new strategies to use.

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