Posts Tagged: Mobile

Google absolutely crushes other social networks and here’s why

Special thanks to BusinessInsider.com for this image.

Special thanks to BusinessInsider.com.

It’s fashionable to say social is popular, while old dogs like Google are on the decline.
You can cite a litany of failures in Wave, Google+, Orkut, Latitude, Buzz, or whatever.
And you might note that Facebook will earn $4.8 billion in display ads this year versus Google’s $4 billion– pulling ahead for the first time.
In the last year, Facebook has added 200 million users. The  stock price is at $74, and the company is worth $206 billion.

Yet Google makes $30 per user per quarter, while Facebook makes only $6.
Twitter makes only $3, so a tenth of what Google makes and half of Facebook’s monetization.

96% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, most of which is search.
And what advertiser doesn’t want to put their dollars where consumers are buying?

Here are a few things to consider for this tide to turn:

  • Last click attribution is still strong: As long as people are using last click attribution, they’ll put money into branded search terms and other over-weighted sources of “conversions”.  Heck, they don’t even know what last click is, since a conversion is a conversion. Multi-touch and assisted conversions don’t matter yet for the mainstream.
  • Social networks are not just people posting personal statuses and pictures: Google and Facebook both know that whoever controls the log-in controls the content production. I believe recently, because of mobile logins, more people are logging into Facebook to communicate than mail platforms. But of the Four Horsemen, you could even say that Apple will win, since they’ll own the device, but that Amazon will win, since they own the credit card. So do you want to own the user’s content (Facebook), their logins (Google), their device (Apple), or their credit card (Amazon).  The lower in the stack, the more you can pull the rug out from the others above you.  And Facebook is at the top of this stack.
  • People’s ingrained habits change slowly: A decade after ATMs were available, most people were still going into the bank with their check ledgers. Most small business owners still make orders via fax machines and advertise in the yellow pages. If you’re reading this, you’re a technology early adopter– not representative of the mainstream customer.

Google still has plenty of time to own the customer data.

They own a quarter of Uber, you know, plus are building self-driving cars.
Most people spend 22 minutes each way in their commute. Of those who go in a driver-less car, that’s 44 minutes a day to show ads to people.
You think wifi on airplanes or movie theater popcorn is expensive?  Try valuing the captive audience in a moving capsule.

The telcos and mobile device manufacturers have battled it out on walled gardens, but where do you really think the consumer’s attention and wallet is?
It’s retail, not online. And the physical world is where Google is preparing to dominate.  

The real social network is the shopkeeper who remembers the preferences of his best customers, not video snapchats.

Is Facebook Atlas the Google AdSense Killer?

Alex Houg will be speaking at Pubcon Las Vegas on Thursday, October 9th, where he’ll discuss Facebook Atlas and other topics in-depth. Check out the panel “Real World Results” at 12:40pm-1:35pm in Salon E.

Not so fast.

Facebook announced this today, creating broad speculation by non-marketers that this is the event years in the making.  Finally, a response to Google’s AdSense. The Atlas ad serving platform, bought from Microsoft, which in turn, was part of the Razorfish (agency) acquisition, is just an ad server.

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Warning: geek talk ahead, but worth it for practical-minded, non-geek marketers.

The talking point of “people-based marketing” is strong. It means that Facebook is targeting based on what we know about people via the Facebook login, as opposed to only cookies.  While cookies are faulty across mobile, which is 60% of Facebook’s traffic, a true marketing solution must accommodate tracking users by cookie (website pixels), email, and native userids.

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To show ads triggered by remarketing and general social targeting is certainly interesting.  Facebook’s existing data platform will eventually squish 3rd party cookie collectors, DSPs, 3rd party ad servers, and most independent data providers.  There will certainly be a hold-out audience of folks who still buy on insertion orders, for negotiated impression-based rate card deals.

The discussion of tying to offline sales is not Atlas-specific.  Facebook already has conversion tracking and Datalogix integration, the latter of which is only to big brands with a large retail footprint.  Facebook’s cross-device tracking is perfect for mobile and only they have the scale necessary to tie users. DSPs are dead, as well as many in the inefficient middle.

If this sounds like technical ad geek stuff, this is what you need to know:

  • If you’re a small business, you don’t need to know anything about ad servers.You’re not selling your inventory for money, and even if you were, you don’t have enough to make it worth your time. Your customers are worth more than a few pennies of selling banner ads. Don’t run ads on your own properties and don’t buy ads except directly on Google and Facebook.
  • If you’re a marketer of any type, you need to first focus on understanding marketing automationbefore you worry about negotiating traffic to buy or sell. Unless you must buy or sell banner ads, focus on buying on native platforms (directly via Facebook and Google).
  • If you are a major publisher (over 10k uniques a day), this is your answer. You probably won’t be kicking out your ad sales team, but you can look at replacing stuff from other vendors. The cookie-only guys don’t have an answer here, especially on cross-device tracking.
  • If you’re a technology player, especially an ad serving player, time to update your resume. You knew it was a matter of time before the money got connected to the technology.
  • If you’re a student, learn all you can about the data you can collect from all free platforms(Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc).  These guys let consumers play for free in exchange for data that powers ads. So you’ll need to help businesses bridge this gap, to use data to help drive smart marketing and sales. This trend is not going away.

Here is their product tour.

Facebook has their javascript tracking on over a million sites, last time we heard a couple years. Who knows what the number is now. With the roll-out of Altas, we can expect this number to jump.

Javascript pixels allow Facebook to collect an immense amount of information about users on a site.  And when they authenticate to Facebook, their system can then tie that web user to a Facebook userid, allowing Facebook to track the user into mobile and cross-platform.

Nobody disputes that Facebook has the widest footprint of any network, cookie-based or not. What we don’t know is how much of this web-collected and natively-collected data can be used to help us as marketers. A lot, I’d imagine.

What do you think about this?

What converts best: Facebook or LinkedIn? Here are the results…

Interestingly, Facebook mobile converts slightly better than desktop newsfeed, but it depends on the product you’re selling, the content you’re promoting, and how much you’re asking for on the landing page.

The right-hand side ads fared poorly here, but delivered the most clicks and the highest share of new visitors. Of course, new visitors convert at a lower rate than retargeting traffic. So make sure you’re apples-to-apples.

Will the new RHS ad format convert better, as opposed to only delivering a higher CTR?

LinkedIn converts 70% better than Facebook, but the traffic costs 4 times as much.  Once they’re a lead, the conversion rates are similar, largely because we use ad copy that qualifies leads.

Some B2B players say that Facebook is for generating awareness (top of the funnel), since they have the greatest reach, while LinkedIn is for converting.  I’d say that was true a year ago, but not anymore because of website custom audiences and email custom audiences. The new workplace targeting options help mid-funnel activity, too.

So the question is not “Is Facebook better than LinkedIn?”
Rather, keep the highest performing segments from both networks. If you can spare the effort to run campaigns on both networks, it’s well worth your time.

Your own results will vary, so test it on your own data and let us know!

Someone asked me today if they should build a mobile app on Facebook. Here’s what I said…

Facebook on mobile is fantastic– it’s about half of their traffic. But you don’t need to build a mobile app to get mobile traffic.

Your page’s newsfeed is already designed to work on mobile.

And your ads should work on mobile. No touch needed from you.

If you do mobile anything, just make sure your website is mobile-friendly/responsive.

And you may build an iTunes app or Google Play app if you’re a major brand with an interactive app that does something.

Canvas and tab apps largely died two years ago, although you can still run some contests and landing pages if you amplify them with ads.

Focus on content and content amplification if you’re a small business or don’t have a large dev team.

Don’t build an app just because you think it’s cool. Create real value for your customers.