Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Social Media Day! How Many People Use Social Media? (Graphic)

social media day 2013
Today is Social Media Day 2013 and I couldn't be happier to celebrate it. After all, if it weren't for social media, this site wouldn't exist and my job would be a far less interesting one. 

I thought it might be interesting to remind everyone just how many people it takes to make this social revolution possible. Below is a little graphic I threw together a little while back to display the amazing user counts of over 200 social networks (including Facebook, of course), tools and apps. 

Please see this post for even more stats and links to all of the sources for the stats in this graphic. 


Social Media Day infographic

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What is the Best Day of the Week for a Business to Post on Facebook? (Infographic)

Business Calendar & Schedule
In the world of social media marketing, timing is everything and Facebook marketing is no exception. The competition is stiff these days as every brand on the planet has figured out that social media needs to play a large role in their marketing efforts. 

As if the increased content generation wasn't enough of a challenge for a brand to get their message in front of their community, you now have social advertising further cluttering up user news feeds. 

A key to cutting through all this cutter is to know your Facebook audience, understand when they are most likely to be online and target your posts to ensure maximum exposure to your community. 

Of course, timing means nothing if your content isn't engaging, but that is a topic worthy of its own post. 

Below is an interesting infographic from LinchpinSEO that studies Facebook brand pages from a number of different industries and identifies the days of the week that each industry saw the greatest post engagement (likes/shares/comments). 

It is interesting that all but retail and technology see some of their strongest Facebook post engagement on weekends. One can assume that the reason for strong weekend engagement is similar to email: less competition. The concept is simple: there are fewer posts in news feeds on weekends, so users are more likely to see a brand's post. 

Of course, every social media community is different and optimal posting days will vary from brand to brand. The key is to track your community and use your analytics to find your own social media sweet spot. 

That said, clearly there is a benefit to posting on weekends for most brands. I have always been a fan of posting daily and focusing on my timing optimization on what time of day is most likely to get my posts seen. With so any scheduling tools (including Facebook's own native page tools) out there, brand marketers have no excuse for not capitalizing on weekend exposure. facebook infographic 
Calendar image credit: photosteve101

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is Facebook Taking Their New 20% Rule Too Far?

Facebook ads rejected
I am sure most of you have heard by now about the “20% rule” that Facebook recently instituted for advertisers and page administrators. If not, the basic premise of the rule is that any image in a Facebook ad can have no more than 20% text. This goes for traditional ("like") ads and sponsored ads. The rule also applies to page cover images.

Facebook always has their eye on the customer experience, as they should, and this new regulation no doubt addresses an area that they must have seen as exploitable and threatening. Given the growing adoption rate of newsfeed ads, it makes sense that Facebook would be concerned about the content that they are inserting into the news feeds of unsuspecting users.

Generally, Facebook is very lax in enforcing their page guidelines. Just go through your page feed right now and click on a few of the pages. I am sure you will see promotional language in cover images and maybe even a non-app contest: both grounds for a nastygram from Palo Alto, if caught. The problem is that with hundreds of thousands of pages in existence, it is very difficult to police all of them regularly.

Well, Facebook is taking the new 20% rule very seriously. Not only have they been rejecting countless ads that are submitted for approval, but they have been going through advertiser accounts and rejecting paused ads for violating the rule. Fine, right? Facebook has all the right in the word to reject these ads if they violate the rules.

Here is the problem.

Recently, I had a client’s sponsored story ad rejected. It was a typical sponsored story ad. All it consisted of was the page’s thumbnail, the name of the page and the typical blurb about which of your friends like the page. Very standard and almost no customization with this ad format.

Imagine my shock when I got an email saying the ad (which was initially approved and had been running for 3 days already) was rejected. If you haven’t gotten one of these rejection emails, you are missing out. It was a basic form email, but this part was definitely my favorite: 
Facebook ad rejections
That’s right, no real reason given, just a directive to their very general help center. Super helpful.
Shortly thereafter, all of my sponsored ads were rejected. Again, Facebook’s guidelines were followed closely and there was nothing in these ads that violated the rules. Again, no reason for the rejection.

After 24 hours of going back and forth with an ad rep (who was super helpful and very pleasant, FWIW) my ads were re-approved with an apology. When pushed for a reason for the original rejection (so I could make sure it wouldn’t happen again), I was told “They were disapproved in error; I apologize for the inconvenience.” That’s it.

In the time since, I have had every other ad placed for this client rejected. Again, all are clearly in compliance with Facebook’s guidelines and no reason given. I am waiting to hear back from their team to find out why this time, although I don’t hold out much hope of this situation resolving itself in the near future.
Yesterday, I had all of my sponsored story ads for another client rejected. Same story: All had been running for some time; all conform to Facebook’s advertising guidelines; most of them did not have an image other than the page’s thumbnail and once again, no reason given.

This spontaneous ad-rejection phenomenon isn’t just targeting a few campaigns of mine. I belong to a few Facebook ad groups on various social networks and these rejections seem to be happening more and more. No violation, no reason, just rejection.

So what gives?

Here is my theory for these rejections: In both cases, the client’s page thumbnail (their logo) is mostly text much like a majority of logos these days. Facebook must be looking at the brand’s thumbnail as an ad image, which would then violate the 20% rule. This is the only thing that could explain all of these ads triggering a rejection when there is nothing in them that is in violation. The only constant between all of these sponsored ads is the text in the client’s thumbnail.

That is my theory and the only way that the rejections could make sense.

If this theory is correct and they are considering thumbnails as ad images for sponsored ads, they are essentially telling a majority of brands that they cannot use their brand identity as their Facebook page thumbnail if they are planning on advertising on the platform in the future. That can’t be a good idea.

Think about all of the major brands that use text in their Facebook page thumbnails. Amazon, Toys R Us, Home Depot, Lowes, Kohls, heck even Facebook’s own thumbnail contain more than 20% text over image. It would be a crippling blow to Facebook’s ad platform to restrict this.

It will be interesting to see if these Sponsored Story ad rejections are a result of an overambitious member of the Facebook ad police or a damaging interpretation of the new image rule. Unfortunately, finding out will require a straight answer from Facebook. We’ll see if we get one…

To my fellow Facebook advertisers, have you had any strange Facebook ad rejections lately? Leave a comment and share your experience. Facebook advertising is such a critical component of just about any social media campaign these days, so it is important that Facebook hears our concerns and addresses them.

Image Credit: Joelk75

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How To: Follow the Super Bowl With Social Media & Mobile

Day 90 - Couch PotatoThese days, just about everyone watches TV with some sort of second screen device nearby. Whether it is a laptop, tablet, smartphone or iPod, many TV viewers are able, and willing, to go online when prompted to get more out of their viewing experience.

The NFL and their teams understand the second screen tendencies of the average TV viewer and use it to their advantage by incorporating social media and mobile apps into the game presentation in order to bring the consumer online and give them additional content beyond their TV production.

So what's in store for viewers this year for Social TV? Below is a rundown of what you can expect Sunday night. I will be updating this post as more networks announce their plans, so check back as the weekend progresses.

Hootsuite:

hootsuite super bowlSocial community management tool Hootsuite has created a Super Bowl XLVII Command Center. This microsite aggregates a bunch of Twitter and Facebook data and displays it in an easily digestible way.

The command center gives you each team's tweets and reports Facebook likes and also has sentiment graphs which displays how Twitter users are feeling about each team in real-time. This is a fun way to visualize fan reaction to the game activity.

Twitter:

Twitter has created this handy microsite to help you follow the Super Bowl-related tweets. The page gives a live stream of the #SB47 hash tag and then lists the accounts of the players and VIPs involved in the game.

Facebook:

There are a number of pages on Facebook that offer fans a place to get game and team information and exclusive content. The best pages to keep an eye on before and during the game are:

YouTube:

YouTube is back with AdBlitz, partnering this year with AdWeek. Much like last year, AdBlitz gives viewers the ability to watch their favorite ads after they've aired on TV and then vote on them after the game concludes.

GetGlue:

Once again, GetGlue will be offering special stickers that will only be unlocked during the Super Bowl. The social TV network recently announced that they have teamed up with Hulu for their Super Bowl sticker set. They will also be offering a free month of Hulu Plus to users that check-in.

Flipboard:

Personal mobile magazine app Flipboard has created a special Super Bowl section where readers can follow everything written and posted about the big game. The special section also includes Hulu and YouTube feeds that will allow users to watch new and classic Super Bowl ads.

Mobile Apps:

    nfl mobile app
  • SB XLVII Guide App (AndroidiOS) - In case you are lucky enough to be in New Orleans this weekend, the official game app from the NFL can act as your digital concierge.
  • NFL Mobile App (AndroidiOS) - Want to watch the game, but you aren't going to be near a TV on Sunday night? No problem. With the NFL's mobile app, you can get live streaming of the game on your mobile device.
  Remote Control Image Credit: DaGoaty

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How To: Manage Your Facebook Page From Your Mobile Device

Facebook Pages Manager app logo
Have you ever been on a mobile device and wished that you could monitor and maintain your Facebook page? OK, maybe you haven't, but as a person that manages quite a few pages, and spends a bunch of time on an iPad, trust me, it's a valuable option.

The reality is that rational customers don't expect you to be monitoring your page every moment of the day and responding instantaneously, but they certainly appreciate when you are. You may even convert a few likes to brand evangelists by the speed of your response.

Luckily, Facebook has made it easier to stay on top of things.

Using the Facebook Pages Manager app for iOS or the recently released Android version, you can manage multiple pages on your mobile device and receive push notifications when a user posts a comment or sends your page a message. Very helpful.

I use this app even when I am working on my laptop during the work day. I find the push notifications to be very helpful and allow for me to be able to respond to community members quickly even when I am working on something else and not using Facebook at that moment.

Community Managers: What do you think about the Facebook Pages Manager app? Do you find it useful? Has it made your job any easier? Leave a comment and share your experience with the app.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Guide to Facebook's 20 Percent Text in Images Rule (Infographic)

In case you missed it, Facebook announced a short while ago that they are limiting the amount of text in images used in advertising to 20% of the image. 

Now, if you place an ad on Facebook that includes an image with more than 20% of it covered in text, it will be rejected (and yes, Facebook is actually enforcing their rule this time).

Side note: This 20% rule appears to go for all images in an ad. I recently tried to promote a link page post and it was rejected because the feature image that was pulled from the link had too much text. I also had a client's sponsored page ad rejected because their thumbnail (their logo) had too much text in it. Seriously Facebook???

Facebook also restricts cover photos to 20% text as well.

Anyways, here is a handy template infographic from Facebook appmaker, Shortstack, that will help you figure out what is and isn't too much text in an image for Facebook's liking. Hopefully this will save you some of the frustration that the rest of us have had to endure as we all adapt to yet another Facebook change.

facebook advertising image 20 percent text infographic

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: How Facebook's Graph Search Will Change Digital Marketing

facebook graph search logo
Facebook’s announcement last week of their new Graph Search feature has certainly made an impression on the digital marketing community.  The feature hasn't even been rolled out to the masses yet and already marketers are scrambling to find a way to use it to their advantage.

If Graph Search enjoys even modest success, it will only be a matter of time before Facebook SEO becomes a viable business. Agencies will add it as a service line; Books will be written about it; Facebook SEO “gurus” will plaster all of our blogs with ads promoting their services. You know it is all coming.

Well, the reality is that we don’t know how or if Graph Search will be a success.  It is way too early to tell and there are too many external factors that will dictate the feature's success. What we can do is predict some of the basic areas of digital marketing that it will impact and then marketers can start to prepare their campaigns by proactively addressing them.

I have been writing quite a bit about the Graph Search topic over the past week and decided to wrap it all up in a more creative way. Here is a little infographic that my agency’s Digital and Creative Teams put together to summarize the ways we see Graph Search changing digital marketing in the future.

wedu facebook graph search infographic


Graph Search logo image credit: Facebook