From additions to the Adobe Experience Cloud and Facebook privacy to new YouTube ad units and an AI customer service tool, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.
Adobe Announces Additions to the Experience Cloud
At last week’s Adobe Summit conference in Las Vegas, they announced several additions to the Adobe Experience Cloud. First and foremost, they spoke of a new, unified customer profile called the Experience Cloud Profile. This combines customer data from CRM systems with online behavior, device use, and ad exposure to create a detailed picture of any prospect. It can read and combine data from first-party and third-party sources. That means you’ll know where else a customer completes e-commerce transactions, what loyalty programs they’re part of, and what they’re doing on their mobile device. Adobe also announced new enhancements, like AI services. The AI-powered Adobe Sensei, available through open APIs, can help developers speed up content delivery and personalization. Last but certainly not least, Adobe Analytics can now report on streaming audio – including downloadable podcasts and audiobooks. According to their launch, Adobe is the first company to track offline audio.
Perhaps best of all, Adobe announced that they’re creating an Experience League of experts to create step-by-step guides so marketers can better understand each new function in their platform. They’ll also have a Data Science Workspace, where develops can experiment with several custom data models until they find something that works for their company. The updated Adobe Experience Cloud is huge news for brands who want to understand their target audience and current customer base better. It’s a flexible, open system for building and managing customer experience with deeper data insights. It also creates a level playing field for marketing teams without the technical capacity to do this analysis on their own. It makes it easier to gather, manipulate, and present customer data in an efficient way. As customers increasingly expect a frictionless experience, having the tools and technology to understand the customer journey will become even more important. And if you want to sell an experience, you’ll need an experience platform to design and evaluate it. Adobe Experience Cloud’s machine learning and open APIs make it easy to get a 360-degree view of your audience.
Facebook Expands A/B Testing and Updates Data Collection Policy
Facebook has been busy this week, still making up for bad press from last month’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Among their deluge of announcements about data collection policy updates, News Feed tests, and Custom Audience permissions, Zuckerberg & Co. announced that they’re expanding advertising capabilities. They’ve added new features to the A/B testing tool and integrated it in the Quick Creation flow, making it easier and more accessible for all kinds of marketers. A/B, or split, testing was previously only available in Facebook Ad Manager’s Guided Creation workflow, but advertisers couldn’t work in bulk. They’ve also added a way to test an ad based on engagement objective so you can determine more accurately if your posts are getting the likes, comments, views, or clicks you desire. You can also run A/B tests focused on conversions, app installs, reach, traffic, and lead generation. The new tool also makes it easier to duplicate a split test so you won’t have to start all over again when you want to make a small tweak. With the announcement, FB has also created a new reporting dashboard so advertisers can track A/B KPIs like CPM, CPC, and CTR.
A/B testing is one of the best ways to see what works for your brand. It also helps create more effective campaigns, providing best practices to inform your future strategy. Facebook first launched creative split testing last October, but this improvement marks a big change. Though there have been rumors of a mass exodus (#DeleteFacebook) and distrust in the platform since it turns out 87 million users had their personal information compromised, they know how to keep their advertisers happy. You may need to have more explicit permission to access customer data that used to be free, but at least you can easily test which ad format, creative, and call-to-action work best. Check out the split testing help page to learn more.
YouTube Rolls Out TrueView for Reach Ads
Three weeks ago, we reported that YouTube launched TrueView for Action ads, which feature a more prominent, customizable call-to-action (CTA) so advertisers can better tailor their ads. This Monday, they took it a step further with a new TrueView for Reach ad unit. TrueView for Reach ads combine the in-stream format of YT’s skippable bumper ads with a simple CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model. Videos can range from six to 30 seconds. Google recommends at least 12 seconds. Advertisers only have to pay if a video is watched to the end or if a viewer takes action by clicking or engaging with any element of the video. Just as with other TrueView ads, users can skip these ads after five seconds. This announcement comes nearly two years after YT introduced six-second bumper ads, which trained brands to produce short creatives with a lasting impact. Now, you can run similar assets as TrueView for Reach ads. As clear from the name, it’s intended to optimize an advertiser’s reach for short-form awareness and branding campaigns.
The unit is nothing to scoff at. Brands have already experienced positive results with TrueView for Reach beta. Think higher completion rates, greater reach within a target audience, and more competitive spend. Across 84 campaigns, 90% saw significant lift in ad recall, with an average lift of almost 205. All of the TrueView ad units give YouTube advertisers more options to attain campaign objectives without annoying their users. TrueView for Reach represents YouTube’s focus on its ability to reach engaged consumers. It’s great for brands comfortable with TV buying, which operates on a similar model. YouTube ads were once seen as a direct response tool, but clearly has the potential to achieve much more. In fact, a Google and Ipsos study found that people are three times more likely to pay attention to online video ads compared to television ads. As they compete with TV budgets, we can only except YT to create more innovative units.
What else you should know this week:
- PPC marketers, take note. Bing Ads announced the launch of Price Extensions on Wednesday. They display your products or services, along with corresponding cost, in text ads that appear in the top search result. Price Extensions can drive to your own site or a third-party retailer. They’re free to add but won’t show up for every query. Advertisers are only charged the standard headline cost-per-click for clicks on Price Extensions. Googles introduced similar price displays on AdWords first, but Bing Ads Price Extensions are available on both mobile and desktop, driving more searchers straight to conversion. Price Extensions are already available in the US and rolling out to international markets later this month. They can be set up in the Bing Ads UI, using the Bing Ads API, or by importing AdWords campaigns. Check out the Price Extensions help page to learn more.
- The “2018 State of Branding Report” from Bynder and OnBrand was released this Monday. The big picture? Influencer marketing is here to stay. Their studies show that 79% of marketers plan to invest in influencer marketing campaigns this year. 43% will invest more than they did in the past and 22% will be entering the influencer space for the first time. Some expected the influencer bubble to pop after its unbridled growth of the last few years, but it just keeps climbing. The industry has become more responsible and transparent, offering brands the opportunity to boost brand authority and awareness with a highly targeted audience in a data-driven way. Influencer campaigns are also help brands overcome a large challenge in modern advertising: ad blockers. Other expectant trends for 2018 include personalization, brand activism, and content atomization, where one idea is broken into several pieces of content.
Cool Tool Alert
For better or for worse, chatbots seem to be the future of customer service. This week, B2C support firm Helpshift has launched SensAI, the first AI-powered solution for designed specifically for messaging-based customer service. SensAI promises to automate manual, time-wasting processes and drive new levels of service efficiency. The end results? A better customer experience with lower costs and fewer complications. They’ll collect incoming information using machine learning techniques to predict issues and optimize support. Brands can create multiple custom bots and direct users to the right one with text links, like “click here for shipping issues.” Best of all, the analytics reports will help brands quickly spot and proactively address trending issues. SensAI is a turnkey answer to all customer messaging problems. It’s available in 11 languages.