Brand Networks Lets AI Run Social Ads In Its New Platform

Barry Levine of MarTech Today touched on a new chapter for Brand Networks, which includes Iris, the first and only AI-based social adtech solution.

In the piece, Levine quotes Brand Networks’s CEO, Dave Fall who says the company’s strategy went from “let’s build the best Facebook and Snapchat tools in one platform” to “let’s build tech that takes advantage of the free tools.”

Brand Networks Introduces Iris, the First AI-Powered Social Media Ad Optimization Platform

Boston, MA—February 13, 2018—Brand Networks, the company recently named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by independent analyst firm Forrester Research, today introduced Iris by Brand Networks, the first cross-channel social advertising solution to feature assistive artificial intelligence.

Iris offers a new, streamlined social ad technology platform providing a first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence layer that works in conjunction with the native ad-buying tools offered by Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. Serving as a virtual assistant, Iris by Brand Networks brings intelligent automation to media buying, and offers significant time savings, performance optimization, and risk reduction for media buyers, including an average time savings of eight hours per week per user, a 50 percent lower risk of overspend, and a 14 percent better chance of spending earmarked budget in full.

Iris also features a new live performance dashboard for monitoring campaign pacing and delivery across social platforms. This new social advertising homepage is designed to help advertisers identify campaigns in need of human intervention, providing support for users in the new AI-supported work context.

“The need for programmatic assistance in social advertising is part of the larger paradigm shift in the way digital advertising gets done,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “Today’s marketers require sophisticated solutions to deal with the complexity created by the volume and velocity of the digital advertising data they’re creating. Brand Networks is currently the only player in social media advertising offering assistive artificial intelligence, helping to reduce the barriers to success in an increasingly nuanced auction-based ecosystem. Our goal with Iris is to streamline this process to help marketers simplify media buying and shift focus to their business goals, while saving time and reducing risk.”

Optimize Now, the core artificial intelligence technology underlying Iris by Brand Networks, has been optional to Brand Networks users for over three years and has successfully managed hundreds of millions of dollars in social advertising spend across every social platform Brand Networks technology supports. The Iris system has proven its ability to improve ad performance across channels and devices, while giving advertising teams the tools to work smarter, faster, and better together.

To learn more about Brand Networks, please visit www.bn.co.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks offers best-in-class social media and programmatic display advertising optimization and insights. The company delivers award-winning adtech and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 71 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 biggest US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. Featuring the first and only Artificial Intelligence-based platform for social advertising, Iris helps brands outperform the competition with better ad performance, and helps media teams work smarter, faster and better together. As a virtual assistant, Iris brings intelligent automation to media buying, saving media analysts an average of 8 hours per week. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

 

Media Contacts:
Colleen McCormick Blair
Email: cblair@launchsquad.com
Phone: 617-945-1915

Instagram Is Turning Into Facebook, and That’s Bad

Katherine Bindley of the Wall Street Journal touched on the current state of Facebook and Instagram and how the latter’s rise can largely be attributed to features its big brother, Facebook touted before its time—think the algorithmically charged feed.

Bindley also noted the rise of paid ads within the Instagram experience. Citing Brand Networks, whose clients delivered 17 times as many ad impressions in 2017 as in 2016, she implies that this rise hasn’t reached its peak. According to Brand Networks research, we expect Instagram impressions to grow by 25% in the first quarter of 2018.  

Brand Networks Forms Strategic Partnership with Tapad to Expand into Cross-Device Programmatic Display Advertising

Brand Networks Adds Programmatic Display

Boston, MA—January 31, 2018Brand Networks, the company recently  named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by independent analyst firm Forrester Research, today announced an expansion of the company’s capabilities and offerings through a strategic partnership with Tapad, the leader in cross-device marketing. This collaboration will bring programmatic display and social advertising together into one streamlined portfolio, helping Brand Networks’ partners move closer to achieving the vision of a unified customer experience across all of their digital advertising touchpoints.

Per the terms of the partnership, Brand Networks will license the proprietary Tapad Device Graph™ to execute managed media campaigns. Additionally, Tapad’s media services organization will be joining the Brand Networks organization, providing Brand Networks with seasoned industry veterans to accelerate the company’s entry into and management of programmatic display campaigns.

“This expansion comes at a strategic time for Brand Networks, as the company continues to address the ever-mounting rise of video and mobile,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “Social has been an inherently strong sector to develop expertise in these categories, offering the opportunity to create multi-device experiences by leveraging the graphs available through the social platforms. With the additional depth and scale of the Tapad Device Graph™ and the infusion of talent that comes with the addition of the Tapad media services team, Brand Networks is immediately equipped to handle video and mobile in the multi-device paradigm across display, as well.”

“Tapad, at its core, is an entrepreneurial company and it is a natural progression to move from the more transactional media business to focus on what we do best in the industry — identity,” said Sigvart Voss Eriksen, CEO of Tapad. “Tapad’s talented media team will now have a new home that focuses on their core strengths giving them an environment to further progress and succeed in the media business. I look forward to the successes we both will realize by working in tandem and I am proud to have Tapad’s technology power Brand Networks’ display offering.”

This strategic move provides Tapad with the opportunity to become more focused on its identity products and already successful core graph while gaining a well-respected partner and customer in Brand Networks. As the company continues to evolve, Tapad will expand its data business, strengthening its infrastructure and creating best-in-class identity solutions for marketers at scale.

Through the partnership with Tapad, Brand Networks continues its growth as the leading provider of social, and now programmatic, advertising optimization and insights. Since its founding twelve years ago, the company has acquired two competing social advertising SaaS platforms — Optimal and SHIFT — and has received an infusion of equity from AEA Investors, a leading private equity fund based in New York. Brand Networks now serves hundreds of enterprise customers and is powering more than $500 million in media spend across every leading social media channel.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks offers best-in-class social media and programmatic display advertising optimization and insights. The company delivers award-winning adtech and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 71 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 biggest US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. Featuring the first and only Artificial Intelligence-based platform for social advertising, Iris helps brands outperform the competition with better ad performance, and helps media teams work smarter, faster and better together. As a virtual assistant, Iris brings intelligent automation to media buying, saving media analysts an average of 8 hours per week. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

About Tapad

Tapad Inc. is a marketing technology company renowned for its breakthrough, unified, cross-device solutions. The company’s signature Tapad Device Graph™ connects millions of consumers across billions of devices. The world’s largest brands and most effective marketers entrust Tapad to provide an accurate, privacy-conscious and unified approach to connecting with consumers across screens. In 2015, Tapad began licensing the Tapad Device Graph™ and swiftly became the established gold-standard throughout the ad tech ecosystem. Tapad is based in New York and has offices in Chicago, London, Oslo, Singapore, and Tokyo. Tapad’s numerous awards include: Forbes’ Most Promising Companies, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, Crain’s Fast 50, TMCnet Tech Culture Award and Global Startup Award’s “Startup Founder of the Year.” Tapad was acquired by the Telenor Group in 2016. Telenor is one of the world’s largest mobile operators with more than 170 million subscribers in 12 countries.    

Media Contacts:

For Brand Networks:
Colleen McCormick Blair
Email: cblair@lauchsquad.com
Phone: 617-945-1915

For Tapad:
Dana Casalino
Email: dana@kitehillpr.com
Phone: 973-464-7642

Snapchat’s Disrupting Digital Advertising By Daring to Be the Same

Brace yourselves, fellow marketers. But whatever you do, don’t let a fear of change buck you out of one of the most disruptive advertising opportunities in the last 20 years.

Snapchat is currently rolling out a refreshed app experience, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that power users are expressing a bit of frustration with the change. Some advertisers have already been spooked this year; a report this week from Cowen analyst John Blackledge found that ad buyers overwhelmingly preferred Instagram to Snapchat, citing concerns around metrics like return on investment, user targeting, and campaign measurement.

Although there might be disruption as the update rolls out to Snapchat’s user base during this transition, everyone will embrace it in 2018—advertisers included. If the evolution of social media advertising has taught us anything, it’s that we MUST be patient and not panic as these updates roll out.

Snap, Inc. reported lower-than-expected user growth for the fourth straight quarter in its Q3 earnings call. The good news for everyone came when CEO Evan Spiegel announced a major redesign was in the works.

“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” Spiegel said. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use.”

Spiegel also predicted the update would help Snapchat “appeal to a broader audience.”

The new Snapchat app that’s started rolling out since then is dramatically simpler. Swipe left for the “social” epicenter, Friends. Swipe right for the “media” section, Discover. The biggest change is an algorithm update meant to better curate the experience.

There’s a risk here, but it’s not unprecedented.

Bold steps in this direction are exactly what helped Instagram break its user barriers in the months and years following its acquisition by Facebook.

In March of 2016, Instagram’s newsfeed shakeup, which put algorithms in charge of the order in which posts appear, initially drew fierce criticism from daily active users and influencers. Even moms in ‘80s jeans freaked out. But the move successfully improved the overall experience and fueled user growth for Instagram. As of last fall, Instagram has grown to a staggering 500 million daily active users.

Along with new Snapchat designs revealed in December in multiple publications, an op-ed by Spiegel appeared in Axios describing the underpinnings of the redesign. In it, Snap’s CEO revealed a similar step. Snapchat has applied a different approach to curation in the new version, but one that will amplify the personal relevance experienced by users in the app all the same.

Instead of taking cues from the close connections of each user, Snapchat will take an approach similar to Netflix’s, according to Spiegel, selecting new content to display based on the past behavior of the individual user only. At the same time, Snapchat will begin deploying human curation—the same good old-fashioned editorial approach that the modern media industry was built on.

How Will This Impact Advertisers?

First, users will experience a more personalized Snapchat experience. The redesign will surely provide a more integrated advertising solution to brands, offering advertisers access to a more contextual environment. Ads delivered in the app could feel more like an extension of the Snapchat experience and less like a “commercial break.” This improved “native feel” will pay off for brand awareness and direct response advertisers, alike.

Turning the focus to targeting, the new algorithms recommending content should quickly fuel interest-data expansion inside Snap, deepening the opportunity for targeting segmentation on the advertiser side. More importantly, the esoteric user experience that made Snapchat feel clandestine and cool to younger demographics could give way to make room for a new wave of users—the adults looking to get in on the youthful trend that’s evaded them so far. As new users in untapped demographics download the app, a broader user base will ultimately lead to larger audiences and even richer data for better segmentation.

What Will Come After That?

There’s a chance this redesign will also lead to further borrowing from pre-existing playbooks, making Snapchat a friendlier place for direct response advertisers. The end result of a more personalized experience will likely be a more focused delivery for advertisers to an audience that’s in the right mindset and ready to take action. Again, there’s some precedent.

In March of 2015, Instagram undertook another step that its power users spurned before ultimately welcoming the change. The app expanded from a self-contained mobile experience to one that enabled clickable ads, a move that coincided with Instagram’s user boom to 400 million monthly users in the spring of 2015.

Snapchat already offers “swipeable” ad units, but swipes remain an arcane gesture type for the populous, unfamiliar to a generation that came of age after the Tinder and other apps popularized the swipe. While it’s unknown whether Snapchat is experimenting with it, true clickability could be a boon to advertisers in much the same way it was for Instagram advertisers.

As Snapchat evolves, other sweeping changes to the experience will most certainly pay off for advertisers.

Time will tell.

If we’ve learned anything in the Social Media Era as marketers, it’s that fear of change will do more than buck us out of opportunities to beat our competitors. It will buck us right out of our jobs. Fear of change is the reason many of today’s boldest marketing leaders started rising in the ranks 10 years ago—when our old bosses were too stuck in their ways to push hard into digital. On the other hand, willingness to change is how Facebook, Netflix, and other disruptive channels have rewritten our job descriptions.

Viewed through that lens, a change like this app redesign is a good reason to be bullish on Snapchat, while many of your competitors step back and reassess. And that’s a recipe for performance on any digital channel.

Ultimately, Snap is a risk-taking company that has stood out by daring to be different. Now that the company is daring to be similar, it may be just the move marketers need.

Brand Networks Names Google Veteran Dave Fall as New CEO

Boston, MA—October 24, 2017—Brand Networks, the software and services provider that brings intelligent automation to social advertising and was recently named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by Forrester Research, Inc., today announced that it has appointed Dave Fall to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

Fall is a digital media veteran. Prior to joining Brand Networks, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Tapad, a cross-device marketing solution, where he led the day-to-day execution of the company’s corporate strategy during a time of aggressive growth. Tapad was acquired for $360 million by Telenor Group in 2016. Before that, Fall spent more than 10 years in strategic roles at DoubleClick and Google, where he specialized in product, technical services and corporate development.

“The Board and I are thrilled that Dave will lead Brand Networks through our next stage of growth,” said Jamie Tedford, Founder and Chairman, Brand Networks. “While API access and media buying technology have become somewhat commoditized in our industry, there is a growing demand for human and artificial intelligence which delivers outsized business results. Dave’s knowledge of this space, combined with his experience leading organizations in this ever-changing industry, make him an obvious fit.

Wrote Jessie Liu, Forrester Senior Analyst, in The Forrester Wave™: Social Advertising Technology, Q3 2017: “For any kind of social marketing to make the most of its opportunities, it must be moved out of its operational and technical silos. … social adtech won’t thrive in its own niche ecosystem as marketers’ social programs expand, mature, and evolve.”

“We are proud to be one of two companies recognized as a ‘Leader’ in social adtech according to Forrester,” said Tedford. “Leading our industry over the last 11 years has always been about looking forward, embracing innovation and helping advertisers to simplify social media marketing. Dave is poised to lead this team, our customers and this industry into the future.”

As CEO, Fall will lead Brand Networks into the future as it readies the release of a reimagined Brand Networks Platform in early 2018. The new release will focus on delivering added power to social ad campaigns through artificial intelligence, optimization, and insights. The Brand Networks Platform will also be designed for unparalleled ease-of-use that lowers the learning curve for media teams while helping them achieve maximum time savings and performance.

“What an exciting time to join Brand Networks, a trusted and proven leader in social advertising for more than a decade. We have an amazing opportunity to deliver the future of data-driven advertising, helping marketers connect disparate marketing technologies and unify the customer experience,” said Fall. “Jamie and his team have built an incredible company, best-of-breed technology, and a culture of innovation unmatched by competitors. I’m honored that Jamie and the Board have selected me to lead Brand Networks into this exciting era of growth.”

Brand Networks has grown significantly since its founding eleven years ago, from its roots as a bootstrapped startup, to the acquisition of two competing social advertising SaaS platforms—Optimal and SHIFT—supported by an infusion of equity from AEA Investors, a leading private equity fund based in New York. The company now serves hundreds of enterprise customers and is powering more than $500 million in media spend with high-performance digital advertising strategies across every leading social media channel.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks Simplifies Social™. The company delivers award-winning social media advertising software and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including half of the Fortune 100 and 17 of AdAge’s 25 Most Advertised Brands. The Brand Networks Platform uses personalization data and powerful automation technologies to help marketers optimize their media investments across the social web. Media buyers can reduce campaign management time by up to 75% while increasing their return on advertising spend across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

Facebook Collection: From Inspiration to Action in a Few Clicks

According to a Facebook commissioned study, 45% of all shopping journeys contain a mobile action, i.e., searching, discovering, and purchasing products and services via mobile devices. As this trend continues, leave little doubt about the role mobile commerce will play for consumers and brands moving forward. The social ecosystem is taking note. Facebook, for example, introduced Facebook collections.

The Why Behind the Rise in Mobile Commerce

1. Technological Advancements: Larger mobile screens, a focus on mobile-optimized sites, and faster networks are helping create an environment conducive to mobile commerce.

2. Consumer Behavior: Diminishing security concerns and the growing benefits of using mobile devices when shopping are two reasons why mobile commerce is expected to account for 45% of the total U.S. e-commerce market by 2020.

3. Innovative Social Capabilities: Social features engineered with mobile in mind such as “Shop Now” and “Buy Now” CTAs, as well as Facebook Messenger for Business, are two examples of how the social ecosystem is adapting.

The Fundamentals of Facebook Collection

Facebook collections pair a video, slideshow, or image, with four featured product images sourced from your product catalog. This initial immersive, full-screen experience is ideal to achieve brand awareness, customer acquisition, and lead generation.

The four featured images can be selected by you or by Facebook. If Facebook selects them, it takes data from your pixel to select which images appear. Often, these will be your product catalog’s best sellers.

Facebook Collection

When a consumer comes across your collection in their mobile News Feed (only supported placement), a click populates up to 50 additional product images (a minimum of 8) pulled from a subset of your product catalog called a product set. This aspect of your collection could augment the featured images by helping consumers learn more about a particular product. They can also merely serve as an extension; for example, by promoting more products from a seasonal clothing line.

What’s neat about collections is that if a product runs out of stock, your product set automatically updates ensuring that potential consumers see only what’s currently available. Because of this, we recommend that you have more than 50 products in your product catalog. This also allows Facebook to select from the most relevant products.

Inside Scoop: Three in four consumers say watching social videos influence their purchase decisions. Because of this, we recommend experimenting with video as the initial branded content consumers see. If video isn’t achieving the results you want, images and slideshows can be equally impactful.

If a product piques a consumer’s interest, another click will take them to your mobile site or app. There, they can continue their search and ultimately make a purchase.

Just So You Know: If you don’t have a product catalog, you can still use Collections by using Canvas. In this case, you can add thumbnails of the items you want to advertise below the Canvas. When people click on one, they’ll be directed to the section of your Canvas where the preview exists. Dollar Shave Club took this approach to increase subscriptions 1.5X compared to traditional link ads while decreasing the cost per subscription by 30%.

To enhance collections, Facebook unveiled a new creative format for them: Lifestyle templates, which let print catalog marketers use existing creative in a full-screen mobile experience. Furthermore, Lifestyle templates let you tag products and guide consumers to physical store locations with store locator cards. Moreover, after using these, you can create Custom Audiences of high intent users.

What Else You Need to Know about Facebook Collection

Given their performance-driven nature, you can use the Traffic or Conversions objectives, both of which will help drive product discovery and sales.

Traffic: Engineered to send users to your website or mobile app at the lowest price. The Traffic objective will perform best if your Campaign’s goals align with the top of the sales funnel.

Conversions: Engineered to show your Ad to people most likely to convert. The Conversion objective will perform best if your Campaign’s target audience is lower in the funnel. If you’re using this objective, you must have the Facebook pixel embedded on your site.

It may be tempting to target broadly; however, it’s often more effective to use Custom Audiences comprised of users who’ve previously interacted with you. Then, hone your Custom Audiences and create engagement Custom Audiences. These can comprise of users who’ve completed a specific action, such as adding a product to their cart.
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Whether you’re using a collection for brand awareness, customer acquisition, or lead generation, use them to draw people in. By making the brand experience so straightforward, immersive, and seamless, don’t be surprised to see success with Facebook collections. Jewlr, an online jewelry store used collections to increase online orders for a specific product line while keeping costs low. Using the featured display, Jewlr used a video showing people how to create their own personalized jewelry. The images below displayed appealing gift pieces, which took people to Jewlr’s website if clicked. In total, the Campaign increased ROAS by 2.4X (41% increase when compared to other ad formats). The Campaign also lowered the cost per purchase by 33%.

Brand Networks Named a Leader in Social Advertising Technology by Independent Research Firm

BOSTON, MA – August 21, 2017 – Brand Networks, the award-winning provider of solutions that simplify social™, today announced that the company has been named a “Leader” by Forrester Research, Inc. in the report, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Advertising Technology, Q3 2017.”

For this report, Forrester evaluated companies based on 36 distinct criteria, summarizing each vendor’s current offering, strategy and market presence. To position themselves for success, vendors not only need established partnerships with the leading social channels, but should also be integrating with the broader digital advertising ecosystem.

“We believe our position as a leader in the Forrester Wave validates our continued commitment to advancing our technology and customer success,” said Todd Taplin, CEO of Brand Networks. “Over the last four years, our team has doubled down on utilizing data and analytics to power smarter decision-making within our platform. The advertising landscape is constantly evolving. We empower those who use our tools to go beyond simple social media ad buying and advance into making more informed and even automated advertising decisions by leveraging real-time data.

In this report, Forrester highlights Brand Networks as “one of the social adtech pioneers pushing for marketing ecosystem integration, especially in marketing measurement and optimization, business intelligence, and CRM.” In addition, Forrester says that Brand Networks’ “clients offer praise for its proprietary Optimize Now algorithm…” that maximizes the cost and performance of ads in near real-time using artificial intelligence.

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit this page.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks Simplifies Social™. The company delivers award-winning social media advertising software and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including half of the Fortune 100 and 17 of AdAge’s 25 Most Advertised Brands. The Brand Networks Platform uses personalization data and powerful automation technologies to help marketers optimize their media investments across the social web. Media buyers can reduce campaign management time by up to 75% while increasing their return on advertising spend across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

Pinterest Enhances Promoted Video with Autoplay; Gives You More Options

Pinterest Promoted Video with Autoplay

Today, Pinterest video advertising takes a major step forward with the arrival of Pinterest Promoted Video with autoplay. This exciting new ad format is available now in the Brand Networks Platform.

Since Pinterest began its foray into video advertising, you’d be hard pressed to argue that it’s been anything short of a success. To put this in perspective, a recent Pinterest study found that Pinners are 75% more likely to watch videos about topics that interest them compared to 55% of users on other platforms. In turn, Pinterest users are not only more likely to engage with the videos—they’re more likely to purchase after seeing them. To prove this, a Pinterest ROI study demonstrated that Pinterest’s click-to-play video ad format drove 4X the incremental sales per impression when compared to Cinematic and Standard Pins. It follows that Promoted Videos with autoplay will only witness improved performance.

None of this should be a surprise given what we know about Pinterest’s user base—mainly that it’s comprised of individuals approaching the platform in a discovery-focused mindset. This inherent behavior, paired with the ease of discovery that comes with video consumption, is spurring the widespread adoption and success of video on the platform.

What You Need to Know about Pinterest Promoted Video with Autoplay

As Pinners continue turning to Pinterest with a high level of intent, it’s imperative that you meet this demand with impactful branded experiences. Promoted Video with autoplay is an ideal solution for that. Here’s everything you need to know about Pinterest’s latest innovation.

1. Exclusive Placement with No Distractions

The willingness of Pinterest users to engage with brands has played a large part in Pinterest’s advancement from social darling to digital necessity in many industries. It’s also created an environment where standing out can be a challenge. Promoted Video with autoplay can help overcome this challenge and break through the noise.

Whether users discover your Promoted Videos with autoplay in their Home feeds, Searches or Related Pins, rest assured knowing that your content will be the only branded asset visible to a user on their screen.

What’s more, Promoted Video with autoplay ensures that you’re the only non-static piece of content on the screen. In other words, your content will only be surrounded by Standard Pins, and the motion they exhibit will be sure to draw user’s attention.

This unique placement opportunity not only improves the chance that your target audience sees your ad, but it increases the likelihood that the brand metrics you care about, like cost per view (CPV) or cost per video completion (CPCV), will improve.

2. Optimize in More Powerful Ways

In addition to offering you a podium to deliver your Promoted Video with autoplay from, Pinterest has also made strides to bolster its repertoire of Pinterest Marketing Partners in the Measurement category to help you better understand and optimize your Campaigns.

In June, Pinterest added Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (mDAR) as a Measurement Partner, which affords you a comprehensive view of how your Campaigns perform across mobile devices. Moat is also a relative newcomer, which can prove valuable when measuring the viewability. Combining the above additions with the likes Millward Brown Digital for deeper measurement, and the Oracle Data Cloud for third-party audience targeting, and you’re able to gain a comprehensive and robust understanding of your target audience and how it’s responding to Pinterest’s latest ad type.

Native Reporting: Available Metrics for Promoted Video with Autoplay:

  • MRC Video Views: The number of impressions served for two continuous seconds while at least 50% in view
  • Quartile Watched: The number of times a video is watched to 25%, 50%, 95%, 100% of its length, including watches that skip to this point
  • Completion Rate: Number of 100% completed video watches divided by total impressions
  • Video Average Watch Time: Time spent watching the video including seeks and loops aggregated across all video starts divided by total video starts
  • CPV (cost per MRC view): Total spend divided by total MRC Video Views
  • Standard Metrics: clicks, saves, close-ups

3. Creative Best Practices

The best way to maximize the performance of Pinterest Promoted Videos with autoplay is to make sure you deliver solid creative. This doesn’t have to mean making a huge investment in the video content itself, but it helps to understand the context your content will appear in before you start assembling your creative.

To make sure you’re making the most of this opportunity, here are several best practices to help you build a solid foundation for your creative strategy:

Don’t Wait to Get Your Message Across: With the exception of a few use cases like how-to’s and product demos, Promoted Videos with autoplay should stay between 15 and 30 seconds. Because the window to capture a user’s attention is small, be aggressive with your creative by creating a compelling opening, and making your brand image and message the focal point.

Send a Clear Message with or without Sound: Assuming that your video will play with sound places your Campaign at risk for weak performance. While a compelling visual opening can improve the likelihood users will click on the principle video and activate the sound, your message shouldn’t depend on it. Instead, experiment with other techniques to relay your message.

Leverage Featured Pin Carousels: If you’re buying your media through Pinterest, you can include a Featured Pin carousel beneath your principle video. These collections of 4-6 additional images or videos are an ideal medium to capitalize on the influence of sequential storytelling, or to showcase key products featured in your video creative. It’s also worth noting that any engagement with the carousel is value add and incremental to the video view.

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Since its advertising debut two years ago, Pinterest has quickly positioned itself as a powerful way to achieve an array of advertising goals. As Pinterest’s advertising ecosystem matures, anticipate individual components like Promoted Video with autoplay to do the same. The time is now to start wrapping your head around this exciting new Pinterest ad type and start leveraging it to drive your marketing performance.

Tracking Facebook Offline Conversions is Still a Priority in the Digital Age

Facebook Offline Conversions

With the majority of sales still taking place offline, tracking how your social advertising is impacting them needs to remain top-of-mind. To do this, make use of Facebook Offline Conversions product.

Understanding Facebook Offline Conversions

Facebook’s Offline Conversion product tracks when offline sales come after someone sees one of your ads on Facebook, Instagram or the Audience Network. Facebook does this by matching your transaction data, called Offline Event Sets, to people within your target audience who saw your ad.

Getting Started: Uploading Offline Event Sets

The crux of Facebook’s Offline Conversion product is Offline Event Sets. There are two ways you can upload them: manually or using Facebook’s Offline Events API.

Facebook Offline Events

Your options:

  • Manually: Your first option is to upload your Offline Event Sets manually. This requires someone to go through your transaction data, decide what’s important, and upload it to Facebook. This is time-consuming, cumbersome, and makes regular uploads nearly impossible.
  • Offline Conversion API: Your second option is to use Facebook’s Offline Events API, which automatically uploads your data daily. This can be done by someone in-house or by working with an API partner like Brand Networks. By automating this process, Facebook will always have the most current data to drive optimal Campaign performance.

Did You Know: You can streamline this process by running your Offline Conversion Campaigns through the Brand Networks Platform. By leveraging HTTPS or SFTP/FTP protocols, your Offline Event Sets will be automatically pushed to Facebook daily.

Note: For a deeper dive into setting up Offline Event Sets, take a look at Jon Loomer’s guide.

Regardless, it’s always best to include as many user identifiers as possible like email addresses and phone numbers. Historically, we’ve seen these return the highest match-rate due to their direct link to a user’s account.

That said, don’t be afraid to layer on additional identifiers like zip code, name, and location. This will help Facebook identify matches, especially if a customer’s email address doesn’t match the email address they provided Facebook.

Setting Yourself Up for Success with Advanced Audience Targeting

Brand Networks recommends a targeting strategy built around Custom and Lookalike Audiences comprised of high-value subsets like loyalty card members.

  • Custom Audiences: If your CRM is up-to-date, Facebook will likely return a high match-rate. Why? Because data sources like name and email address are readily available to Facebook and easy to attribute to individual users. The possibilities are plentiful, but consider creating a Custom Audience of your best customers to get them spending more. You could also create one comprised of those who haven’t purchased in over a year to re-engage them. What you decide to do ultimately comes down to your goals.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Take your Custom Audiences and create Lookalike Audiences to reach people similar to those who’ve already converted offline. For example, if you see results from retargeting your best customers, create a Lookalike Audience from them. You can even take it a step further with Value-Based Lookalikes, which helps guide Facebook’s retargeting based on how valuable you consider a customer.

Note: To create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience, you must use a Custom Audiences that includes customer value. (The net profit you predict will be attributable to them during your relationship).

Still Not Sold? Here’s Data-Driven Proof.

One of our clients expressed uncertainty about the impact its social ads were having on offline sales. To paint a quantifiable picture, our Media Services team recommended Facebook’s Offline Conversion.

Using first-party transaction data, the Brand Networks Media Services team put Facebook’s Offline Conversion product in motion. Using a combination of Link and Carousel ads, the Campaign targeted users more likely to convert. These included Custom Audiences of rewards program members and acquisition audiences created from Website Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. Additionally, to drive the highest financial returns, Facebook’s Brand Awareness Objective helped was used to optimize toward offline ROAS.

In total, the Campaign generated a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) 73% lower than the client’s goal. It also reported that offline conversions drove a 3.9X higher ROAS than online conversions when Campaign settings were identical.
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Although the digital age continues to consume us, the reality is that brick-and-mortar isn’t going away; either is social advertising. In turn, connecting the dots between the two is critical to long-term growth and sustainability. Thankfully, Facebook’s Offline Conversion product is here to help.

Integration: Brand Networks and Lithium Technologies Team Up to Turn Siloed Social into Holistic Paid, Earned, and Owned Strategies

Brand Networks today announced a partnership with Lithium Technologies, a social media management and digital community platform recently ranked as a Leader in “The Forrester Wave™: Social Media Management Solutions, Q2 2017.” The partnership enables best-of-breed technology support for paid, earned, and owned marketing tactics executed across social channels.

“Our customers have longed for a partnership that replaces the siloed approach to data gathering with a holistic social media strategy,” said Todd Taplin, CEO of Brand Networks. “Interoperability like this is key to achieving next-level efficiency and performance. Our best-in-class social advertising platform, paired with Lithium’s engagement platform, will streamline how marketers drive real business results through social.”

The ways marketers approach paid, earned, and owned social has changed over the years. While an expanding and constantly innovating social landscape offers opportunity, it also creates the kind of complexity that makes it challenging to effectively and efficiently drive toward marketing goals on social. Add to that a propensity of large businesses to leverage multiple marketing and advertising technologies for social, which often create data silos that obstruct the ability to achieve next-level social performance, and what you have is a situation where it can be hard to advance and level up.

What’s the best way to approach a social ecosystem comprised of more than 2B people worldwide?

We like to think the answer is a combination of Lithium Technologies and Brand Networks.

Unlock the Power of Holistic Social Media

Paid, earned, and owned social content play roles at every stage of the customer journey. When operated independently across disconnected teams, even the best social strategies can fail. However, when approached holistically, social media monitoring, social content publishing, social community management, and social advertising can work together to drive consumers toward affinity, trust, and conversion.

Let’s take a look at some ways paid, earned and owned social efforts are already coming together as touch points in the customer journeys of many consumer brands.

Stage One: Find Customers Primed to Buy

Referred to as the awareness, interest, discover, explore, or acquire stages of the customer journey, this stage is all about introducing your brand or products and services to net-new prospects.

Paid social has proven effective at inserting your brand into the minds of potential shoppers, acquainting them with your products or services and beginning them down the path to purchase. Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter’s “Lookalike Audiences,” or Pinterest’s “Actalike Audiences,” are examples of effective ways to reach audiences like these.

Of course, organic content also plays a role in customer acquisition. Paid advertising can be “shared,” turning it into earned media. In addition to the kind of owned communities that support word-of-mouth referrals, these organic tactics are among the most convincing ways to connect with new audiences.

Stage Two: Nurture Customers, Establish Trust, and Convert

With 83% of consumers saying they would stop using a brand after just one bad experience, it’s critical that your customer touch points are as meaningful, authentic, and productive as possible.

For examples, customers Tweeting at you for help expect a personalized customer response within the hour. So give that to them. If a customer writes a negative review on your Facebook Page, respond quickly and accurately or risk losing that customer’s loyalty and potentially turning others away from your brand.

Paid social plays a role when paired with messaging that speaks to mid-funnel mindsets. Website retargeting can drive shoppers back onto your website or take them from basic browsing to purchase consideration. You can even work with your organic teams to auto-promote your top-performing earned content into social ads, which Brand Networks proved effective with a Facebook ad campaign for Crown Resorts.

Stage Three: Create Lifelong Relationships

Built on trust, honesty, and value, this stage of the customer journey is where one-time shoppers turn into lifelong customers. An approach becoming popular of recent is to invite your customers to help define the next generation of your products—for example, the Frito Lay’s “Do us a Flavor” campaign. This instills a sense of value and shows that you’re just as invested in them as they are in you.

The earned and owned side of social play critical roles in creating the customer service experience that paves the way for long-term relationships between brands and customers.

Regarding paid social, re-engage past customers by leveraging first-party retargeting audiences like Custom Audiences on Facebook and Snapchat, Tailored Audiences on Twitter, Customer List Targeting on Pinterest, and Matched Audiences on LinkedIn. These can all effectively reinvigorate past shoppers and extend their lifetime value.

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There’s no denying that social media marketing tactics each play a role in the customer’s journey and overarching brand experience. But pulling it all together is tough. The key is to allow your specialized teams (paid, earned, owned) to stay focused on their specialties while still sharing data and keeping the lines of communication open. Rather than a single, multi-component social tech provider that’s likely to serve one team better than the others, success is about combining the best social marketing and advertising technologies in thoughtful and productive ways.

Today, Brand Networks and Lithium Technologies let marketing leaders do just that.

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Ads in Instagram Stories: Reaching Your Customers at Just the Right Time

Less than a year after launching Stories, Instagram is opening its doors for you to run immersive, full-screen ads between users’ Stories. While it may sound like a blatant copy of Snap Ads, Instagram seems to have plenty of data to back its decision to monetize Stories. According to Instagram, over 200 million users use Stories every day, and 70% of Instagram users follow a business. What’s more, one-third of Stories viewed are from businesses, and one in five Stories receive a direct message. It’s likely the decision for Instagram to introduce ads in Stories wasn’t a difficult one. The decision for you shouldn’t be difficult either.

With these engagement metrics in mind, it’s no surprise brands like Airbnb and Mulberry have already tested the new ad type. Eric Toda, Global Head of Social Marketing and Content at Airbnb said, “Immersive storytelling through Instagram Stories engages and invites our community to be part of an adventure.” For Mulberry, complementing an existing campaign with ads in Stories led to 5X more clicks to its site when compared to the average it has seen across other social channels.

Ads in Instagram StoriesFor you, the good news is that ads in Stories weren’t designed to cater to just a handful of verticals. In fact, they can play a role in any vertical.

  • Entertainment: Tease fans with previews TV premieres and other key moments for the entertainment industry. The same goes for winter and summer movie launches as they both rely on one-day heavy ups to get the most people tuned in.
  • Retail: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the other holiday “sales days” all come with massive one-day budgets. Blending in ads for Stories highlighting product promotions and limited-time sales will give you more inventory and the perfect real-time context.
  • CPG: What do the Super Bowl, March Madness, and the World Cup all have in common? They all have passionate followings who dedicate their attention to specific events at specific times. Take advantage of this and promote relevant sales or limited-edition products.

While these types of opportunities are promising and may be tempting to dive right in, take a step back. Like any new ad type, experimenting and reiterating your strategy is key to developing an effective one. This fundamental knowledge will serve as the foundation and carry you forward as ads in Stories gain more traction in the social landscape.

The Nitty Gritty You Should Know About Ads In Instagram Stories

1. Ads in Stories are Available via Select Objectives: 

Ads in Stories are only available via a select number of Facebook’s objective: Reach, Video Views, Traffic, Conversions, and App Installs. While this may seem limiting, these objective maximize your visibility within your target audience. If you follow the industry-specific examples above, this is ideal because your ads will be shown a large number of people in your target audience. They also give you the flexibility to target specific geographical radiuses and frequencies.

Pro Tip: While you’re given the liberty to optimize for either Reach or Impressions at the Ad Set level, Brand Networks recommends sticking with Reach. Although optimizing for impressions will show your ads to as many people as possible, optimizing for Reach will help to ensure the right people see them.

2. Robust Audience Targeting Is Available:

The audience targeting capabilities you’re accustomed to across Facebook-owned properties are available when setting up ads in Stories. From basic demographics like gender, targeting options extend to Custom Audiences, too. That said, Brand Networks recommends a broad approach first and gradually adding more specifications, like interests, as you learn more about your target audience.

Pro Tip: For most campaigns, we recommend starting with broad targeting. As you gain a better understanding of your target audience, don’t be afraid to layer granular targeting like custom audiences. For example, you could target your ads in Stories to Facebook users who interacted with your Facebook Page. Likewise, you could retarget those who watched one of your Facebook video ads to completion. Both maximize the value of your ads and ensure only people with a vested interest see them.

3. Be Careful with Your Frequency Cap

Be cognizant of how often your target audience sees your ad. Of course, this depends on the type of campaign, but as a general rule, err on the side of caution. If you’re blending ads in Stories into an always-on campaign, Brand Networks recommends setting a frequency cap around 7 (a minimum of 7 days will pass before a user sees your ad again). If you’re running a one-day heavy-up, don’t get carried away—set your frequency cap at one.

Pro Tip: If you’re concerned about people seeing your ad too often, experiment with different creative. We recommend 2-3 pieces of creative for a two-week campaign. This will allow you to keep your frequency cap lower without suffocating your target audience with the same message and creative.

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Although ads in Stories are still new, some of the world’s leading brands have already started testing. With a few of the ad type’s nuances understood, and some insight from Brand Networks’ Media Services team, we’re confident you can find success, too.

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