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AdBuzz Weekly (3-9-18) – Twitter Tests Third Party Ad Buys and more

From new advertising rules on Twitter and Facebook to big acquisitions and voice tech, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.

Twitter Tests Integration with Third-Party Ad Buying Platforms

According to an AdAge report based on a tip from an anonymous group of advertisers, Twitter is planning to allow programmatic ad buys through outside demand platforms and agency trading desks in the near future. Though they haven’t confirmed it, Twitter did say they are “alpha-testing programmatic-buying.” Other social media companies like Facebook and Snapchat have resisted third party channels so they can retain control over pricing, fraud, and data. It seems Twitter is willing to give up some control to maintain relevance in the space. They’d be the first social platform to allow advertisers to purchase programmatically and brands appreciate how fluid this will make their buys. If it goes live, this offer will enable brands to ramp up spending when a campaign performs well and shift dollars when they aren’t. They’re currently testing with a select group of agencies and brands.

It’s no secret that Twitter has fallen behind lately. But after stagnant user number and sales declines through most of last year, ad revenue grew for the first time in four quarters in Q4 2017. They estimate Q1 2018 will close with a 6.2% growth year over year. The blue bird hopes this programmatic offering can help fuel its apparent rebound. This is especially relevant for video ad placements, which has helped keep the platform going. Their thinking is that the easier it is for brands and agencies to buy ads with Twitter, the more they likely will. After all, where else will you place ads if Facebook is only showing friend-generated content in your customers’ Newsfeeds?

Facebook Pulls Proprietary Signals for Advertisers with Trip Consideration

After the successful launch of Dynamic Travel Ads in October, Facebook has launched another tool for travel advertisers rolling out in the coming weeks. This time, it’s more targeting than retargeting. Trip Consideration helps brands reach people that Zuckerberg & Co. identify as in the initial stages of travel. Any signal that a user sends that they’re considering a trip can inform your travel ad. If someone was looking at tropical images or Central American news, for instance, you could offer them a flight or hotel deal to Nicaragua expressing specific intent for the country itself. This is a huge step toward informed use of digital consumer behavior. Trip Consideration is available across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network. Currently, it supports static images, carousels, collections, or single videos. You must implement the Facebook pixel before testing and running any Trip Consideration ads.

Google and TripAdvisor have run the travel game for years and Facebook wants to get some of those advertising dollars. As a discovery engine as well as a social network, they’re well poised for the market. Facebook says that 60% of millennials found ideas for their most recent trip on Instagram and 68% found their ideas on Facebook. But what other advertisers can benefit from proprietary signals on Facebook? I suspect the same user behavior data could support other industries, like restaurant or entertainment consideration. It’s not just about what people “Like” or their actions on Facebook. It’s drawing inferences from behavior across the internet and profiting from it.  

You Can’t Beat Amazon’s Paid Search Machine, but You Can Copy Its Mechanisms

The world didn’t know what hit it when Amazon came onto the scene. Some call the e-commerce giant and its founder evil, but really they’re just strategic. Part of Amazon’s power is omnipresence and their paid search marketing is a big contributor to that. A recent Adthena report analyzed exactly how the company has used PPC to capture clickshare in several major retail categories. In fact, it suggests that their paid search spend is the driving force behind Amazon’s continual growth. And it turns out, their method is as simple as it is effective. It’s about a balance between appearing for a wide range of terms and consistently appearing in top ad positions.

To mimic their achievements, you’ll need to follow a data-driven approach. It comes down to four key things:

  1. Use competitive insights to expand the number of search terms that drive ROI.
  2. Monitor average ad positions for owned and competitor campaigns.
  3. Track average ad frequency for owned and competitor campagnes to see what’s falling out of the SERP.
  4. Optimize ad copy for better consumer experiences with A/B testing and play off your competitors’ ads.

The more closely you can stay on top of your and competitor campaigns, the better you can retain impressions and capitalize on gaps while others adjust. One last piece of advice? Invest more in Product Listing Ads (PLAs). It’s the one place Amazon doesn’t completely dominate yet. Download the report for yourself at Digital Marketing Depot.

What else you should know this week:

  • Google has finally created a solution to a common marketer conundrum. Thanks to new “user groups,” it has become much easier to manage individual permissions in Google Analytics. Announced last week, these groups can be used to organize data access across teams. As of now, this feature is only available to organizations that subscribe to at least one Google Analytics 360 Suite product like Analytics, Tag Manager, or Optimize. They were designed at a level that can be shared across many accounts and in the future, different Suite products. And user policies ensure no one will have access to your account if you don’t want them to. This is great news for anyone that gets stuck repeatedly giving out access to team members or cleaning up permissions as coworkers rotate in and out. No? Just me? For more information or help getting started, head to their support page.

Cool Tool Alert

You heard it here (probably not) first: voice is fast becoming the hottest marketing sector since mobile. Personal assistants and voice search have already made a significant dent in the industry and products are proliferating. Experts expect that there will be 112 million podcast listeners in the US by 2021. This increasingly popular medium provides a great advertising opportunity. In fact, podcast advertising revenues are expected to nearly triple from $237 million in 2017 to $642 million by 2021. But brands can go beyond buying ad space on existent podcasts. That’s where voice tech company, VoxSnap, can help. Their new product turns written text into high-quality narrated audio voiced by professional actors. If your brand has already invested in the content marketing space, VoxSnap offers the chance to take it a step further. You can transform your blog posts, white papers, and ebooks into that can be consumed on-the-go or in situations you may not be able or want to read. Tools like this make it less expensive and cumbersome to try this growing medium. Best of all, the company provides engagement reports so you can see how your content performs and adjust accordingly.

About Liz

Liz Smith is a writer, editor and content strategist with an education in journalism and a passion for storytelling. She's worked with brands ranging from personal finance and insurance to travel and lifestyle, from tweets and blog posts to video and interactive content. She also loves reading, cooking, and playing tennis. Check out her work here.

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