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social media

Facebook Rival Ello Raises $5.5 Million and Locks in Ad-Free Status

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2014 10:01 AM

Ello, the upstart social network started by Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz, that has made waves for decrying the practice of gathering and monetizing users’ data, this week announced it had raised $5.5 million in a new round of funding from Foundry Group, Bullet Time Ventures and FreshTracks Capital.

Putting legal muscle behind its brand promise, Ello has reincorporated as a public benefit corporation (PBC) in Delaware, a legal manuver that will keep it from ever displaying ads. Instead, it plans to monetize the network by charging users for add-on features, like a freemium gaming model.

But as Venture Beat points out, even with $5.5 million more in its coffers, its future remains unclear.Continue reading...

social commerce

Google’s +Post Social Ads Go Wider Than Facebook and Twitter

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2013 11:08 AM

Google has just launched +Post Ads, rich-media marketing real estate for the age of social, enabling brands to turn their content into ads distributed to millions of sites via the Google Display Network. 

“Amplify your content and create conversations across the web,” says the search giant. The new format, an alternative to traditional banner ads, delivers content as display ads when users hover over or tap a banner ad, and adds the ability to comment, share and interact without leaving their current webpage. 

Brands can now leverage photos, videos and Hangouts into interactive ads with a call-to-action “Click to Expand” to a full-screen lightbox. 

“Digital display was once dominated by rich-media advertising; that’s how marketers got ‘engagement.’ But social media is rapidly becoming Google’s rich-media product,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “This is a way for Google to recapture some of those ad dollars that once were spent on its rich-media products.”

While the format is similar to sponsored posts on Facebook or Twitter, Google’s units can live on any site on the Internet. “This lets brands think of the entire Web as their social stream,” wrote Eran Arkin, ads product manager at Google. Continue reading...

social media

Facebook's Latest Bid to Stay Cool Puts Teens in a Vulnerable Position

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2013 04:53 PM

Facebook's recent privacy updates haven't exactly pleased people, and have even caught the attention of the FTC. And now, the company is seemingly taking a nose dive into a sensitive debate: the social media site is now allowing posts by teens (ages 13-17) to be made public, a thing once restricted to friends and friends of friends.  

Facebook positions it as giving teenage users more choice, but the bigger motivator is money as the social network is now feeding data-filled content to advertisers jumping at the chance to market their products and services to key younger demographics.  

“It’s all about monetization and being where the public dialogue is,” Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, told the New York Times. “To the extent that Facebook encourages people to put everything out there, it’s incredibly attractive to Facebook’s advertisers.”Continue reading...

social marketing

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram Play Catch-Up as Social Ad Battle Heats Up

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 27, 2013 04:24 PM

Twitter’s aggressive move into social advertising is causing ripples in the eco-system as online platforms increasingly takes lessons from traditional media to heart. 

Facebook recently met with marketing heads from Unilever, EE, Barclay’s and Tesco to pitch the benefits of their ad products and measurement tools that will lead to increased sales, regardless of user clicks. “In the branding world, the direct connection between a page impression or a click and the actual purchase doesn’t exist,” said Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s VP analytics. “When people look at things online and then purchase things in store, it’s hard to attribute that. That’s the challenge that TV had for a while and they solved it.”

The challenge is to establish long-term brand relationships beyond click-based advertising and to that end, Facebook is working with third-party measurement firms GfK and Datalogix. Facebook’s recently redesigned News Feed aims to recreate the impact of TV campaigns and reach the growing smartphone and tablet market that now accounts for one-third of Facebook’s $1.46 billion third-quarter revenues.Continue reading...

social media watch

Facebook Timeline for Brands Launches with Coke, Lexus, Macy's and More

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 29, 2012 12:55 PM

Facebook today unveiled Timeline for pages on NBC's Today morning show, which used the occasion to unveil the first official Facebook Timeline — its own — and give TV viewers their first look at the social network's latest suite of tools to manage their presence and build their brands. Similar to individual user Timelines, this iteration for brands and organizations loses landing tabs but adds new features including the ability for featured posts to be "pinned" to the top of a Timeline for up to one week.

Brands are jockeying for creative positioning that stands out in an increasingly crowded field, with a slew of Timeline launches today timed to Facebook’s inaugural Marketers World Conference in New York, where it's also introducing simpler premium ads: “anything you can do on your Page, you can do in ads.”

Coca-Cola, for instance, is leveraging 125 years of history through the lens of fans’ letters to the Company over the years, including one from a man who asked for the exclusive franchise on the moon when President Kennedy pledged in 1961 to put a man there. (As the brand mused in a blog post today, "What did Coke fans do before Facebook?"Continue reading...

games people play

Coca-Cola Engages NASCAR Fans With Social Game

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 4, 2011 03:00 PM

What do Coca-Cola and NASCAR have in common? Devoted, passionate fans, and a lot of brand synergies, which stands to reason given that Coke is the official soft drink of NASCAR.

The brands just teamed up for the “Coca-Cola NASCAR Trivia Game,” which generated over 500,000 total video views in June and nearly 20,000 “Likes” on Facebook.

Featured on the homepage of NASCAR.com and Yahoo.com, visitors were given multiple-choice questions from the last decade of the sport’s history, aided by NASCAR video highlights of memorable races and events. Players received points for each correct answer, redeemable for NASCAR Pit Shirts and DVDs.Continue reading...

social media watch

Sheryl Sandberg on How Facebook Needs Brands for Growth

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 12, 2011 04:00 PM

"We want the whole world to use Facebook to share and connect," says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her cover story in the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

She also wants brands to be part of that equation, as advertising is the key driver of monetization and growth as she scales the site and prepares for what's bound to be a landmark IPO in the next year.

With Facebook's user base booming, but the site's execs still figuring out the privacy balance of exposing what it calls a user's "social graph" to targeted advertising (from turning user activity into ads that may eventually appear on other sites, to brand-driven check-ins and now its latest foray: brand-tagging in photographs), the cover story is a must-read for anyone trying to learn from Facebook's ad strategy and business model, particularly "social ads."Continue reading...

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