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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 Spend on unpublished page posts, mobile app install ads, and domain ads comprised 87% of Facebook spend this quarter.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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Can LinkedIn Link Content With Business Results?

penry pricePenry Price has a long legacy as an advertising exec. He went from Google to Dstillery and, as of eight months ago, assumed the role of VP of marketing solutions at LinkedIn.

Compared to his previous roles, Price has a slightly different imperative at LinkedIn. Because of the social network’s audience of 300 million business-minded registrants, he is building out the company’s native advertising and content marketing products. There's plenty of work to be done, and a lot of opportunity – from streamlining the buying process for LinkedIn’s native ads to connecting messaging with business impact within content marketing.

Certainly LinkedIn isn’t the only company trying to quantifiably link creative messaging with business results. This is why so many like-minded tech folk have swarmed the Cannes Lion advertising festival, traditionally the sacred ground of the creative class.

“The ad tech companies all have a much bigger presence,” Price told AdExchanger. “Two years ago, none of them were here. They might have had a few people here last year. Now it’s like they’ve jumped the shark in that everybody is here.”

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Civolution, Brand Networks Team Up On Twitter TV Ads Pilot

CivolutionAs advertisers seek ways to extend their broadcast media buys through cross-platform campaigns, cross-screen ad-delivery companies are bridging the technical gap.

Such is the case with cross-screen tool Civolution, which has teamed up with Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Brand Networks to help brands buy social ads in conjunction with live television events. Omnicom’s Resolution Media is the first agency on board to test drive a campaign beta.

Twitter rolled out Amplify last September to straddle the gap between social ads and broadcast spots; the program largely began with the network side as a means for audience extension. It was not until recently that agencies and the vendors that promise to help them predict real-time trends synced up on accounts.

“TV is still a huge medium to get your brand message across – it’s very significant and will be for a long time,” Civolution’s CEO Alex Terpstra told AdExchanger in a recent interview. “But at the same time, TV has its limitations. It’s often hard to create any sort of direct response to TV, (where your call to action is often limited to) dial in this 1-800 number or copy and paste this URL.”

Advertisers are seeking ways to extend live TV events to mobile experiences where users can easily interact with ads “by tapping them or driving them to a microsite or converting them to purchase immediately,” he added. “I think combining those … together is more what advertisers want than moving dollars away from one to the other.”

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Is Yahoo Tumbling In The Dark With Tumblr-Centric Ad Units?

tumblr

Yahoo will try a new way to monetize Tumblr, via the introduction of posts that can be promoted as ad units across Yahoo’s network of owned and operated sites.

While neither Yahoo nor its Tumblr subsidiary confirmed to AdExchanger that this is in the works or when the product is scheduled to debut, the existence of ads designed to promote Tumblr posts is an open secret in the agency community.

"We do know that they are going to be offering the ability to push Tumblr content across Yahoo," said Cindy Stockwell, EVP and chief media officer at Hill Holliday.

Since Yahoo’s $990 million (not $1.1 billion, as many outlets originally reported) acquisition of the social media/blogging platform, many industry watchers have speculated why Yahoo would hook up with Tumblr in the first place. It could be a play for the millennial audience that frequents the platform, or even a way to manage identities in a cookieless environment.

Agencies have responded with cautious optimism. Vik Kathuria, Razorfish’s global chief media officer, said that Yahoo’s ability to leverage its owned and operated network was one of its reasons for purchasing Tumblr in the first place.

“There is an interesting opportunity for marketers to use Tumblr as a creative platform and the immense power of Yahoo’s distribution and scale to target the right users at the right time,” he said. But he was also wary: “(Yahoo) needs to be incredibly sensitive to the user experience, which could be severely impacted with the high-impact ad units.”

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Salesforce.com’s Social Marketing Evolves

MikeLazerowSalesforce.com released Tuesday the Radian6 + Buddy Media Social Studio, indicating new life for a string of social acquisitions the company has made in recent years.

“For the first time, you can listen, publish content, and track it through to results all as part of a stack that also includes email, Web, and mobile,” said Salesforce.com ExactTarget Marketing Cloud CMO Mike Lazerow.

Radian6, Buddy Media and marketing automation company ExactTarget constitute the Salesforce.com ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. While Salesforce.com went to market with this solution as a consolidated stack, industry insiders suggested silos still existed between the products.

It seems Social Studio is attempting to address this issue – at least when it comes to content marketing. With the announcement, Salesforce.com said existing users of both Radian6 and Buddy Media point solutions have access to a single, unified product that combines a social listening and publishing platform with third-party partner APIs.

Social Studio has four parts that include: collaborative listening tools for teams built on Radian6; a module to plan, source and publish brand-safe content; tools designed to scale content and maximize consumer engagement; and reporting and analytics.

The company also ushered seven vendors into the Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio Partner Program, which includes such content discovery and marketing tools as Kontera, Nexgate, Pressly, Rallyverse, Shutterstock, Getty Images, ShopIgniter and Trendspottr.

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Facebook Unveils Cross-Platform Tools, Plans To Stop Breaking Things

f8Over the last decade, Facebook has evolved from a forum for college students to poke each other to a company trying to position itself as a maturing, cross-device communication platform for marketers and consumers.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg certainly hopes this maturation is reflected in the company’s evolving slogan, from “move fast and break things” to the more staid “move fast with stable infra.”

While buzz around Facebook’s f8 Developer Conference largely focused on its mobile ad network, the Facebook Audience Network, the company also revealed an assortment of cross-platform tools.

App Links, for instance, is an open-source SDK for app-to-app deep linking intended to work across different platforms like Apple, Google and Windows operating systems. A number of vendors have already signed on to use the standard, including Spotify, Dropbox, Pinterest, Hulu, Flixter, Vimeo and Flickr.

The company also unveiled a mobile "like" button that users can click to share pieces of content from an app on Facebook and allow apps to receive more earned exposure. Facebook will show app publishers the number of people who have liked their content, but it is unclear how many impressions each "like" will receive and how Facebook will determine who sees the shared content.

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