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Twitter Rolls Out Lookalike Audiences, New Mobile Ad IDs, Targeting By Phone Number

twitter-crm-usethisTwitter’s Tailored Audiences just got a little more more tailored.

Advertisers can now augment their customer data using mobile advertising IDs and mobile phone numbers as a way to reach existing customers and increase audience size. In essence, the move is an extension of Twitter’s Tailored Audiences for CRM retargeting, which allows advertisers to use hashed non-PII email address to retarget existing customers.

Twitter also rolled out the ability to target lookalike audiences, a function that seems pretty similar to Facebook’s tool of the same name. Twitter’s lookalike modeling uses a proprietary algorithm that examines modeled users looking for similarities related to behaviors, interests, location, demographic attributes and engagement patterns.

Twitter described its enhanced offerings in a blog post on Tuesday as “part of improved targeting options to help advertisers reach additional users similar to their existing audiences.”

Tailored Audiences, Twitter’s seeming answer to the Facebook Exchange (FBX), officially launched back in December after running retargeting and database matching tests in July. Twitter has appeared to follow Facebook’s lead with a number of its recent roll-outs, including site retargeting, CRM targeting and now retargeting via lookalike audiences. (Facebook also makes it possible to target users by phone numbers through Custom Audiences.)

At the time of the original launch of Tailored Audiences, Alex Andreyev, director of omnichannel marketing at Neo@Ogilvy, referred to Twitter’s Tailored Audiences as “following in the footsteps of Facebook’s audience-buying strategies. They’re taking user cookie behavior (first- and third-party) to power retargeting and audience profile opportunities within their native ad units, similar to what Facebook did with FBX.”


What Are Pinterest's Marketing Interests?

joel meek pinterestPinterest is one of those up-and-comers in the world of social advertising.

The image-based social network doesn’t divulge audience numbers, but comScore pegs it at around 60 million monthly active users (MAUs).

Of course, that’s not quite the volume of Twitter’s 271 million MAUs or Facebook’s 1.3 billion, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at, especially as activity on branded Pinterest pages affect in-store merchandising and promotional decisions. Just ask Nordstrom or Vineyard Vines.

There’s a marked difference in how Pinterest works with marketers. Both Facebook and Twitter have invested so heavily in advertising and marketing products – CRM matching programs, retargeting, video, trusted partner programs and ecommerce tools – that it’s fair to say they’re each building internal ad and marketing tech stacks, designed to extract value from consumer activities within each social network’s walled garden.

“A lot of sites want to keep you on the service for as long as possible,” said Joel Meek, head of Pinterest’s online sales and operations. “We want to take you off of Pinterest, go on that trip, redo your living room or get the clothes for the party you’re going to. We want to see a lot of action.”

Pinterest views itself as a discovery portal, through which consumers might find inspiration to travel, create or buy products they weren’t actively considering. From there, Pinterest tries to direct those users away from its own platform to the branded sites where they can purchase.

This goal informs Pinterest’s current marketing product build-out, from an analytics and reporting dashboard released in late August to Promoted Pins, a paid media unit still in beta (there’s no timeline for a general release).

Meek spoke with AdExchanger.

Sprinklr Acquires Social Ads Platform TBG Digital

PaidSocialSocial media management company Sprinklr has acquired Facebook and Twitter ads platform TBG Digital in a deal estimated under $50 million, the companies revealed Thursday.

Sprinklr's been busy on the acquisitions front. In February, it snapped up Razorfish cofounder Jeff Dachis's social media marketing and services firm Dachis Group. London-based TBG Digital was founded as TBG London Limited in 2001 and manages more than $100 million in ad spend annually, according to a Sprinklr spokesperson. TBG has close to 100 employees and when the acquisition closes, Sprinklr will have close to 500 employees.

In 2012, TBG had its Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer badge removed for allegedly discussing Facebook product developments with clients. The company, however, still maintained access to the Facebook ads API despite its revoked preferred developer status. A TBG spokesperson claimed it will soon regain this status.

"My personal belief is we're done with interruptive marketing," Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr's founder and CEO told AdExchanger in a recent interview. "There's this whole fuss about content marketing, but content is only one component. There's data, context, social connections and insights and I think we're getting to 'value-driven marketing' where content finds you through your network."


LinkedIn Q2 Revenue Soars, Says Bizo Will 'Anchor' B2B Marketing Toolset

linkedinProfessional social networking platform LinkedIn on Thursday posted Q2 revenue of $534 million, a 47% YoY increase from $364 million.

Marketing Solutions revenue, now 20% of LinkedIn's total business, was $101 million for the second quarter, a 44% uptick from last year. Talent Solutions and Premium Subscriptions account for 60% and 20% of revenue, respectively.

LinkedIn is marching to better monetize its 300 million-member-strong platform. Forty-five percent of its traffic is mobile. Last week, the company acquired B2B data marketing company Bizo for $175 million and rolled out a feature dubbed "Direct Sponsored Content," allowing brands to publish, test and optimize content directly in the LinkedIn news feed as opposed to only company pages.

Specifically referencing the Bizo buy, and whether or not it is comparable to Twitter's MoPub purchase, CEO Jeff Weiner during the Q2 earnings call said the platform will "anchor our B2B marketing solutions platform. We're excited about that when you think about the nexus of B2B (marketing). I would characterize it less as an ad network play, although our customers will be able to nurture, prospect (leads) on LinkedIn and off."

Steve Sordello, LinkedIn's CFO, added that Bizo will help "create a larger B2B focused business. … [We] plan to maintain a specific portion of the business for multichannel advertising."


For Social Media Leads, Automation Begets Automation

automationThe proliferation of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing automation platforms has allowed business-to-business (B2B) marketers to focus higher up the sales funnel and seek out vendors to automate lead gathering.

At the same time, the growth of social media has provided a wealth of data on potential customers. It’s led some marketers to look toward automating their outreach in social media as well as use newly available data to beef up their existing lead lists.

“The kinds of things we’ve automated – with marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo – are the process of engaging with prospects,” said Lori Wizdo, marketing analyst at Forrester, referring to automating activities such as email campaigns and website behavior tracking. “But I can only engage in a relevant way if I have good insight into potential buyers. There is a lot of digital information available out there but it isn’t easy for marketers to harvest it.”

That available digital information is becoming more useful as CRM tools have become capable of handling it. It’s led to what Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher calls the “third generation of CRM,” where a company like his is able to automate what is being gathered at the top of the sales funnel.

“The first generation was about putting data into databases, and the second generation was about building automation platforms [like Salesforce or Marketo],” Bewsher said. The focus for Leadspace is to use public and proprietary social data to layer on top of a client’s existing sales platforms and find new potential clients, or add color to existing ones.

Facebook Ad Prices And Performance Climbed In Q2

kool-aidThe cost of Facebook ads is on the rise – but advertisers don’t seem to mind because they’re seeing results. At least for now.

According to the most recent Q2 benchmark report from Facebook ad partner Nanigans, the click-through rate (CTR) on Facebook ads was up 146% year over year and rose 47% from the first quarter. Spend on unpublished page posts, mobile app install ads, and domain ads comprised 87% of Facebook spend this quarter.

Of course, there’s also CPM to match, which is at $1.95, an increase of 218% from this time last year. And cost per click is also on the upswing for Facebook. The average CPC for Facebook ads, both desktop and mobile, rose 7% from Q1 to $0.55. For those counting, that’s a 29% YoY increase.

Nanigans’ ecommerce customers, which include Rue La La and eBay, saw CTRs rise 111% since Q2 2013. On the gaming side, Nanigans clients, of which Wooga is one, saw a massive CTR uptick of 579%, a growth related to the general move from desktop to mobile in the gaming space. It's a shift Facebook has rushed to meet, with its expanding Install Ads program and the mobile ad network, launched at the f8 conference back at the end of April.  (more…)

Facebook Acquires Ad Tech To Zero In On Publishers

PubPushFacebook’s purchase of video supply-side platform (SSP) LiveRail for $500 million underpins its deeper foray into video advertising and positions the social network as a major force in premium publisher monetization.

While some experts argue the purchase is a direct response to Google’s recent launch of its programmatic video marketplace Google Partner Select, the sum of Facebook’s recent moves – including expanding its targeting mechanisms via the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) – indicates a greater strategy.

“Very quietly, Facebook has developed all these hooks into all these publishers, whether it was through Facebook comments or Facebook Connect, [but they haven’t really] marketed it as being this massive publisher network,” said Brian Shin, founder and CEO of online video company Visible Measures.

“LiveRail, as well as [Facebook-owned ad server] Atlas, really plugged a hole where Facebook was being embedded inside Web pages, primarily, and not so much mobile apps and things like that," he added, " LiveRail and Atlas combined… [will create improvements] to ad flow.”

Facebook’s technologies, in aggregate, give it access to what sources describe as one of the most robust video ad-serving technologies on the market as well as the ability to extend brand spend beyond Facebook’s walled garden. Facebook can accomplish this via premium publisher networks in the LiveRail marketplace. Adding Facebook audience data could also make these video buys much richer and more targeted.

"LiveRail is Facebook's supply side platform for ads off of Facebook -- Twitter has MoPub and now Facebook has LiveRail," as Jason Stein, founder and president of social media agency Laundry Service described it. "If you're placing a video ad on Facebook, you can simply extend this through FAN… whereas with a Facebook photo or link post, you'd need a different creative asset."


Twitter Takes The Wraps Off App Install Ads Product

twitter app install unwrapThree months after launching a pilot program for mobile app install ads, Twitter has made the offering available to all advertisers.

The format is a bid to capture surging app promotion budgets that have been a boon to Facebook, Pandora and dozens of mobile-specific ad networks and demand-side platforms (DSPs) over the past two years.

Ride-sharing service Lyft, EA and game maker Dots were among the app program's beta advertisers. Dots used it to drive downloads of its TwoDots spinoff game, calling Twitter "an essential user acquisition channel." Twitter has declined to say how many install campaigns have been trafficked using its platform.

App install and app re-engagement products can be targeted using many of the same capabilities available through Twitter's other ad formats, including tailored audiences (website and CRM retargeting), interest-based targeting, keyword-based targeting and TV targeting. Twitter can also serve ads to users deemed more likely to respond to install ads.


Brandnew’s Back-Door Approach To Native Advertising

bn_edited-1Everyone wants to get into native advertising, yet everyone has a different definition as to what exactly that entails. Social media sites have it easy because any sponsored post, automatically blending into the site design, can hitch a ride on the native bandwagon.

But while Facebook and Twitter are the current hotbeds of social advertising, Instagram and Pinterest are coming up fast. But unlike Facebook and Twitter, advertising around the two image-based interfaces revolves heavily around influencers, instead of traditional paid placements.

Berlin-based Brandnew IO, which began in early 2013, provides a platform and service designed to help brands reach influencers on Instagram and Pinterest.

“At that time we saw that more and more brands and agencies wanted to reach new consumers,” ssaid Brandnew CEO Francis Trapp. “They wanted to target groups on platforms like Instagram and at the time there was no central way of doing it.”

At first, Brandnew identified influencers manually but it soon developed a platform designed to automate the process and handles campaign tracking. That being said, Brandnew’s staff still needs to vet the influencers for quality.

“We check to ensure these influential people are worth taking onboard,” Trapp said. “We determine if they have big enough accounts and real followers as opposed to fake followers. We ensure that the quality of their content is suitable for our brands.”

Trapp spoke with AdExchanger.


Twitter Snaps Up SnappyTV In Bid For (More) Social TV

SnappyTVTwitter has seemingly renewed its commitment to the second screen, revealing plans Thursday to acquire live video clipping and distribution platform SnappyTV.

"Our goal is to help publishers quickly share great moments from events so people can experience those moments as they happen," wrote Baljeet Singh, a director of product management at Twitter, in a blog post. "As Twitter has grown as the companion to live events and broadcast media, SnappyTV will help partners and brands bring the best videos into the conversation, when it matters most."

Twitter is positioning its platform as the place to be to watch broadcast events as they unfold, in real-time, through video. To that end, "as we continue to invest in video, it's important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses and event producers to share high-quality videos."

SnappyTV was already used by Twitter agency and brand partners for Twitter Amplify campaigns, the company claimed, which made owning the platform in-house a natural next step. Twitter earlier this week, in cahoots with Cannes Lions media-network-of-the-year winner Starcom MediaVest Group, released figures that stirred up some buzz on how Twitter-amplified ads perform in concert with broadcast spots.