Facebook announces improved video ad metrics

Facebook recently announced its expanded video ad metrics. The social media giant has yet to release the full list of available metrics, but Facebook did let on that expanded metrics will include: video views, unique views, duration of views, and audience retention. Facebook has yet to reveal the full list.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Image courtesy of Facebook

These expanded metrics will prove beneficial to advertisers, especially after Facebook’s introduction – to the disdain of many users – of autoplay on videos. Currently, a user can scroll through his or her News Feed and a video will play automatically, though without sound. For companies, autoplay has probably skewed ad metrics in terms of video views – just because a video has started to play, doesn’t mean the user watched the video. (I often run into this problem myself: I’ll be innocently scrolling through my News Feed, only to hesitate a split second too long, then BAM! – before I know it, the video is playing and I’m frantically trying to pause or stop it.)

Although Facebook has been testing its video ad platform for a few years now, it is only now opening the platform to a select group of companies. However, the chosen companies are not guaranteed ad space; Facebook’s creative team must approve all video ad submissions. It is reported that up to 15 advertisers are on a waiting list to post video ads.

In addition to being at the mercy of Facebook’s creative team, video ads could cost companies around $1 million PER DAY. Even considering Facebook’s 728 million daily users, a million dollars seems like an excessive amount of money to spend on a video ad that’s not even guaranteed to be viewed.

What are your thoughts? Will video ads cause ad fatigue thanks to Facebook’s autoplay feature? Will advertisers see a worthwhile ROI? Feel free to share your feedback in the comment section.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… advertising?

Philadelphia-based startup DroneCast offers brands the opportunity to advertise for a mere $100 a day. The drones carry banners, as long as six feet, as high as 25 feet above busy intersections. “It’s very targeted advertising,” claims 19-year-old CEO, Gauravjit Singh.

Image courtesy of DroneCast

Drones have been used for delivering dry cleaning and pizzas, monitoring crops and cattle, and advertising real estate, but it has yet to be determined if drones are illegal – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits drones for commercial use in many instances.

I can’t imagine companies spending their ad dollars to advertise using drones. Advertising messages would have to be short and to the point or else it would be a waste of the six-by-two feet of space the banner offers. And isn’t it just a floating miniature billboard? There’s also the issue of creating a distraction to drivers, as the drones hover above busy intersections.

The whole concept leaves to me wonder, what’s the benefit of drone-vertising?

What do you think? Are drones the future of advertising? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Want to see the drone in action? Check out the video here.

Design pinspiration: CB2 uses Pinterest to build brand awareness

CB2, Crate & Barrel’s home décor chain, is calling on its Pinterest followers to help furnish an apartment in New York City. The campaign, named APT CB2, has been designed to increase brand awareness through a Pinterest contest of sorts, which will be held over the course of five days. The contest begins on May 7 and cameras set up around the apartment, along with a film crew, will capture the decorating in real time.

Five designers, each with a substantial Pinterest following, have been selected for the effort. Each designer will curate a collection of pieces for his or her assigned room and followers will vote on pieces either on Pinterest or CB2’s microsite. The piece from each category (couches, lamps, chairs, etc.) with the most “likes” within the hour voting period will be announced as the winner and used in the room. Voters also have the chance to win $5,000 to spend at CB2 to makeover their own apartments.

The campaign is being promoted through the microsite, trailer, and banner ads. The banner ads will appear on home décor sites as live banners, allowing site visitors to vote directly from the banner. After the event is over, influential design bloggers and writers will visit the space and live in it for a day or two. CB2 is the first brand to create such a campaign that engages designers and Pinterest followers in real time by “bringing the digital space and a physical environment together.”

Image courtesy of Co.Create

Image courtesy of Co.Create

Pinterest, which has surpassed Twitter in popularity, is the perfect platform for this campaign. Home décor is a popular category on Pinterest, and Pinterest users already design or pin their ideal living spaces. If the campaign is a success – and it should be – other brands may feel “pinspired” to create a similar campaign to engage their social media followers.

What do you think of CB2’s approach to blending the online world with the physical world? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section.

Appointment or advertisement? Burt’s Bees pencils itself in on your e-calendar

Image courtesy of Burt's Bees via Entrepreneur.com

Image courtesy of Burt’s Bees via Entrepreneur.com

Take a look at your calendar – odds are it’s already full of work meetings, appointments, social events, and your child’s extracurricular activities. Now imagine on top of your already busy schedule, an advertisement or two is thrown in, mimicking another appointment. Would the ad make you step back and take a breather or would it push you off the deep end?

Burt’s Bees is charting new digital marketing territory with the introduction of its eight-week calendar alert campaign, which is designed to promote its new line of brightening facial products. The campaign, aimed at existing 35-to-54-year old Burt’s Bees customers, is being promoted via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, and includes a few quick tips to brighten women’s days and even fewer sales pitches.

Image courtesy of Burt's Bees via NYTimes.com

Image courtesy of Burt’s Bees via NYTimes.com

The calendar promotion, which only constitutes a small portion of Burt’s Bees total ad spend, is believed to be “more intimate than social media” and provides a learning opportunity for the brand.

The challenge for brands to break through the clutter is greater than ever, especially on social media, but it’s hard to tell whether this latest form of digital marketing will be intrusive (although, it does require the consumer to opt-in first) or effective.

Should more brands consider a calendar alert campaign? Will it soon be a rising trend in the digital marketing realm?

Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Online shopping goes social with Google+ Hangouts

Online shopping goes social thanks to Google’s Shoppable Hangouts. Brands like Nike, Diane von Furstenberg, and “Spider-Man 2” have held Hangouts to connect with fans, promote products, and even sell movie tickets.

Check out this promo video for Diane von Furstenberg for a quick look into how a Shoppable Hangout works:

Shoppable Hangouts strengthen the retailer-consumer bond by pairing social media and e-commerce through an app that displays select products alongside the video. The “Shop the Hangout” program is still in the pilot stages, but Google boasts stats such as 150 million-plus social media impressions, 65 million-plus press impressions, and increases in web traffic and sales.

Although Google+ may be great for businesses, especially in terms of SEO, it’s certainly not as popular as Facebook or Twitter when it comes to personal use. If consumers aren’t using Google+, then promoting the Hangouts become just as important as the Hangouts themselves.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a shopaholic, but I can’t see myself carving out time from my day to attend and shop a Hangout, which leads me to wonder if Hangouts have the potential to become an invaluable social marketing tool?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

You’ve Got One

Although self-serve online ad buying has been around for a while, AOL’s One aims to streamline the process by becoming the iTunes of digital ad buying platforms, offering multiple ad solutions from various companies.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.com

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.com

AOL’s One platform “will allow an agency to manage its entire media investment using one platform,” stated Adap.tv president Toby Gabriner. In 2013, AOL’s advertising technology (simply, “ad tech”) platforms generated $615 million in revenue and the company has set itself up to become a successful programmatic advertising company.

Is automated ad buying the future? If you know anything about the stock market (or even if you’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street), you know stocks were traded over-the-counter before everything went automated. Even if some ad sales pros disagree, others believe programmatic buying is inevitable.

Think about it for a moment. Who wouldn’t want one-stop shopping, especially considering the shift toward multiscreen campaigns? Wouldn’t it make our jobs easier as marketers if a computer made split-second decisions based on impression levels? What if we were able to save money on ad spends and beef up creative?

With varying opinions and so many unanswered questions, what are your thoughts on programmatic ad buying and AOL’s One platform?

“Check in” to location-based marketing

Advances in technology allow for advances in marketing. Most (if not all) smartphones are equipped with GPS location services, and marketers are using consumers’ locations in order to provide a more effective marketing experience.

Image courtesy of The LBMA via Shoutlet.com

Image courtesy of The LBMA via Shoutlet.com

You’re probably no stranger to that (sometimes obnoxious) pop-up box on your phone requesting access to your current location, but do you know how to make location-based data work for your marketing efforts?

Location-based data is valuable for both consumers and retailers. For consumers, sharing location information with retailers means a more personalized in-store experience. For retailers, location-based marketing means an increase in sales. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that 42% of consumers who shop in-store while using a mobile device spend more than $1,000. Precise location information is also the most important device feature when it comes to mobile advertising, as reported to the IAB.

Although location-based marketing is still in its infancy, the possibilities are enormous. A few obstacles still remain – consumers are concerned with privacy, while brands need to work on incorporating location-based technologies creatively into larger campaigns.

Will we soon be bidding a fond farewell to mobile coupons? Only time will tell, but it certainly seems that way.

What are your thoughts on location-based marketing? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section.