KFC Bitcoin, Golden Globes Blackout and Netflix Binges: Our favourite PR campaigns of the week

We can’t believe that it’s Friday already! But before we head out the office for the weekend, we want to share our favourite PR campaigns from around the globe this week.

KFC Bitcoin Bucket

Bitcoin has notoriously been hitting worldwide headlines lately, and KFC has ingeniously tapped into the cryptocurrency trend by adding a “Bitcoin Bucket” to their menu.

The Bitcoin Bucket is essentially your standard KFC bucket, available to purchase with Bitcoin, but is unfortunately only available to those living in Canada.

Lucky Canadians with disposable Bitcoin can pay 0.001147 Bitcoin ($20 dollars) to get 10 Original Original Recipe Tenders, Waffle Fries, a medium side and medium gravy, sent straight to their door.

KFC Bucket

Source: Getty Images

KFC have placed themselves at the centre of this topical conversation, in a way that consumers can get on board with. It’s simple but clever PR.

Golden Globes Blackout Auction

We previously commented on the Golden Globes movement last week, where women wore black in solidarity for the #TimesUp campaign, standing up against sexual harassment.

While this was a bold statement to make, many people questioned what does wearing black actually do to make a difference against sexual harassment? Well, #TimesUp has revealed their next step in this empowering initiative.

eBay and Condé Nast have joined forces to auction a selection of dresses and suits worn by A-listers at the awards ceremony, in an effort to raise money for the Times Up movement.

Golden Globes blackout

Source: Steve Granitz/Wire Image/Getty

Dresses from Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as suits from Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris, will be available to bid on from today. All the money raised will go to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will continue to fight for the cases of women who are sexually harassed in the workplace.

It’s great that eBay, Conde Nasté and Time’s Up have come together to create a PR campaign which takes materialistic items and uses them to fund a charitable movement that will help women everywhere.

Airbnb promote sh*thole countries

Following Donald Trump’s controversial comments branding Haiti, El Salvador and Africa “shithole countries”, Airbnb have taken it upon themselves to educate the public about the true beauty of these “shithole countries”.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky shared a series of tweets which included images of listings in the three countries, along with figures highlighting growth of revenue in each country. A great way to empower Airbnb hosts and encourage more travellers to visit these beautiful places.

Tweet from Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky

Airbnb will also be launching digital ad placements to promote the listings of the countries Donald Trump declared shitholes.

Misguided makes wishes come true

When asked what they might be wearing to an event, every girl has at least once uttered the words “jeans and a nice top”, yet there is never a category on online fashion shops to satisfy this need. However, all that is to change – Misguided have finally answered our fashion prayers, hallelujah!

After Twitter user, Jennifer Stuart, tweeted that she wished brands like Misguided would have a “jeans and a nice top” category, Misguided swiftly waved their customer service wands to bring that wish to life, creating just that.

Missguided website

Source: Misguided

By listening to their consumers’ needs, Misguided have not only pleased their core demographic, but also generated themselves a lot of positive media coverage.

Netflix and binge

We have all been guilty of sitting down to watch a few episodes of our favourite show on Netflix, only to find ourselves still glued to the screen, three hours later. Now Perficient Digital Labs have turned our binging habits into an Olympic race, where they want you to strive for gold.

Their interactive asset asks users how many days and hours in a day the user can commit to, and also calculates which shows you could watch within that timeframe. The asset informs the user of how many hours the show has, and how many hours you would have to commit each day to watch the show in the selected timeframe.

Perficient Digital Labs asset

Source: Perficient Digital Labs

This is an interesting asset, as binge-watching is a common habit for many people, and so is sure to generate a lot of users and interest.

We hope you enjoyed our campaigns of the week! If you want to check out other fabulous PR campaigns, take a look at last week’s post, which looks at PR campaigns from IKEA, Adidas, and Diet Coke.

Advertisements

Facebook Ads Research Tool: Test and Learn

Facebook is rolling out a new tool called Test and Learn for Facebook advertisers.

Facebook Test and Learn

In a very general sense, Test and Learn allows you to run tests of your advertising to find what’s working for your business.

Let’s take a closer look at what this is and how you might use it.

Test and Learn: Overview

To access Test and Learn, you’ll find it under Measure & Report in your advertising menu.

Facebook Test and Learn

To guide you, Facebook asks “What question do you want to answer?” Right now, there are only two such questions…

Facebook Test and Learn

One can assume more questions will be added as this tool develops. It also appears that you can request specific tests that aren’t listed from your ad rep (if you have one).

Essentially, you are able to create two types of tests:

  1. Campaign Comparison Test
  2. Account Test

Campaign Comparison Tests allow you to compare two campaigns (obviously) to determine which results in the lowest cost conversions.

Account Tests help uncover how much your ad accounts lift sales for your business.

Both are actually much more complicated than that, but this is the short definition. Let’s take on each test separately.

Campaign Comparison Test: Overview

This test will allow you to uncover which of two similar campaigns resulted in more conversions at a lower cost.

I know what you’re thinking because I was, too: “But can’t you just see that in the ad reports by comparing Cost Per Conversion?” This is actually different.

The difference: This test utilizes Facebook’s Conversion Lift measurement. This is how it works…

1. Test Group 1: Random sampling of people who saw ads from the first campaign during the test period.

2. Test Group 2: Random sampling of people who saw ads from the second campaign during the test period.

3. Control Group 1: Random sampling of people in the target audience who were held back from seeing ads in the first campaign during the test.

4. Control Group 2: Random sampling of people in the target audience who were held back from seeing ads in the second campaign during the test.

Facebook then compares how the test groups compared to the respective control groups.

Keep in mind that, unlike when viewing your results in Ads Manager, this test does not rely on an attribution window. By default, a conversion is reported when someone views an ad and converts within a day or clicks an ad and converts within 28 days.

That’s not involved here. In this case, Facebook only cares who saw the ad, who didn’t, and how many conversions resulted from the people who saw or didn’t see the ad. That’s the conversion lift.

The truth is that some of the people in your target audience may have converted anyway — especially if they are part of a warm audience. Or maybe someone saw an ad and converted more than a day later. Ad reports don’t account for these scenarios. This test will.

Read this for more on Facebook’s testing methodology for the Campaign Comparison Test.

Campaign Comparison Test: Set Up

Now that you understand what this is, let’s set up a Campaign Comparison Test.

Facebook Test and Learn

You’ll need to provide the following…

1. Two campaigns. Ideally, they’ll be very similar, minus one major difference (objective, optimization, bidding, placement, creative).

2. Event source. This is the type of conversion event that you want to track.

3. Schedule. This is the date range of your test. Facebook recommends that the test runs for a month or more — but no less than two weeks. They need enough time to get results to find answers.

As you can see below, the event source can be a standard event from your Facebook pixel…

Facebook Test and Learn

If you select a standard event, these campaigns will be compared based on total purchases, for example, of any products on your website (not just those products that were promoted). In this case, you’ll obviously need the Facebook pixel installed on your website with pixel events.

But you can also select an app event, offline event, or custom conversion.

Facebook Test and Learn

Click “Review” to take a final look…

Facebook Test and Learn

If you’re ready to start your test, click “Create Test.”

Campaign Comparison Test: Review Results

The “Learn” tab will include a list of your tests with columns for the test names, test questions, status (active, planned, completed), and test schedule.

Facebook Test and Learn

If you click the name of the Campaign Comparison Test, it will bring up a page for results — if you have any.

Facebook Test and Learn

In the example above, my test had just begun, so I don’t have results. But when I do, I’ll be able to click on the individual campaigns to view them separately as well as view the comparison in this main view.

I only began testing this tool, so I don’t yet have results to “Learn” from. However, Facebook does provide some examples in their documentation.

There is an Incremental Efficiency section…

Facebook Test and Learn

This comparison shows the cost per incremental conversion of each campaign, calculated by dividing the number of incremental conversions for each campaign by the total amount spent during the test.

There is also an Incremental Efficiency section for each campaign. It shows the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and cost per incremental conversion.

Facebook Test and Learn

Simple math in the above example as Jasper’s Market brought in $81,543 for a given campaign test group after spending $35,148 — a 2.32 ROA.

The Lift Results section for individual campaigns shows sales lift, incremental sales, and incremental conversions driven by the campaign.

Facebook Test and Learn

In this example, conversions would have happened with or without a particular campaign. However, this campaign resulted in 295,000 more conversions for a lift of .27%.

When your test is complete, you will also be able to export results.

Ad Account Test: Overview

This test works much like the Campaign Comparison Test, except that we’re looking at the impact of the entire ad account. The test runs as follows…

1. Test Group 1: Random sampling of people who saw ads from your ad account during the test.

2. Control Group 1: Random sampling of people in the target audience who were held back from seeing your ads during the test.

Facebook then compares the number of conversions that result from both groups to calculate the conversion lift.

If you want to get into the technical weeds, you can read this documentation for more details on Facebook’s testing methodology.

Ad Account Test: Set Up

The Ad Account Test is set up mostly the same way as the Campaign Comparison Test with one obvious difference: You don’t provide two campaigns to compare.

Facebook Test and Learn

You still need to select a conversion to test against. That could be a standard event…

Facebook Test and Learn

And that could be an offline event, app event, or custom conversion.

Facebook Test and Learn

Click to review…

Facebook Test and Learn

If you’re good to go, click “Create Test.”

Ad Account Test: Review Results

If you click on the Ad Account Test link, it will bring up a results page that looks similar to the report for the Campaign Comparison Test…

Facebook Test and Learn

Once again, I don’t have any results yet, so let’s go to Facebook’s examples.

Lift Results will show the percentage of conversion rate lift, incremental sales, and incremental conversions.

Facebook Test and Learn

In the example above, ads increased a company’s conversion rate by 152%, causing 62.3K conversions that wouldn’t have happened without the ads.

The Incremental Efficiency section shows incremental Return on Ad Spend and cost per incremental conversion.

Facebook Test and Learn

In the above example, the brand spent $35,148 to get $81,543 in sales, a 2.32 ROAS (I know, it’s the same example as was provided for the Campaign Comparison Test — I can only share what I’m given).

What to do with Results?

When running the Campaign Comparison Test, you should be comparing two very similar campaigns that are different in one specific way (creative, objective, optimization, placement, etc.).

As mentioned earlier, the Cost Per Conversion in your ad reports doesn’t tell the whole story. If one campaign is resulting in more conversion lift than another, it could provide valuable insight into creative, objective, optimization, or placement — not just for these campaigns, but for others.

The Ad Account Test can help you understand the overall health of your advertising. Sure, your ads are currently leading to sales. But would those sales have happened without your ads? What’s the overall lift? If you determine that your lift or ROA aren’t acceptable, you should test individual campaigns against one another to help improve your results.

Your Turn

Do you have Test and Learn yet? Have you created any tests? I’d love to hear about your results.

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Ads Research Tool: Test and Learn appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

The Power of R: Google Analytics and other assorted APIs

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably familiar with data. And if you’re familiar with data, you’ve probably at least heard of R, that great statistical programming tool. We’re going to focus on Google Analytics in this post, but these skills are transferable to other APIs. So how can you integrate the power of R with Google Analytics and other applications accessible with an API?

Being able to interrogate Google Analytics data is great within the interface, and you can do loads of cool stuff in Google Analytics to make the most of the wealth of data. But to combine the analytics data with other data sources to enrich your analysis, we need to pull the data from Analytics, and we can do this with R and its wealth of packages.

The primary package you’ll need to install in R is the imaginatively named RGoogleAnalytics, but other more creatively titled packages are available. To install and run this in your R system, use the following command:

install.packages(“RGoogleAnalytics”, dependencies=TRUE)

library(RGoogleAnalytics)

This should install all the packages you need to retrieve the data from R. You’ll also need to make sure you have a developer’s project active so you have the credentials to access the API. To do this, create a new project from the Google Developer Console and turn on the Analytics API. Then create a new Client ID that is an installed application. You should now have access to your client ID and client secret. Use this client ID and client secret as part of the authentication using the following command:

gaToken <- Auth(client.id, client.secret)

When you first execute this command to generate the token, you will have to sign in to authorise access for the token, but only once if you follow this process.

Saving the token allows the user to repeatedly access the Google Analytics API without having to input their credentials every time, or even having to sign in with the process in the previous step. If you don’t provide a filepath, like here, then the token will be saved directly into your working directory:

save(gaToken, file=”gaToken”)

If you want to access the API with your token in a separate session, use the load function (making sure you include the filepath if you haven’t set your working directory):

load(“filepath/gaToken”)

You also should validate your token, to make sure it is up to date and can access the API. Make sure you have loaded the RGoogleAnalytics package as the validation function is included in this package:

validateToken(gaToken)

Within the validateToken function, use the Robject name that was assigned when the token was created using the Auth function, as this is the object that was saved within the token file that R can recognise.

Now you can access the Google Analytics API, and pull out as much data as Google allows using functions like QueryBuilder and GetReportData. This is one of the more complex processes for accessing an API using R. Other tools use much simpler APIs.

For retrieving keyword rankings from Advanced Web Ranking, all you need to do is submit a GET request and you’ll get your data back. Consult the API documentation for your favourite tools to retrieve data more efficiently, with added reproducibility. Doing t-test’s in Excel requires vigilance to make sure all of the references are correct, unlike a few lines of code in R which we can reference and reproduce later if we need to.

We can easily access APIs and pull a wealth of data, and combine many data sources to gain extremely rich datasets. The power available with R is that we can then analyse the data using any of the statistics and machine learning packages available to us, which we can’t access with other tools.

Summary

  • Access and extract data from the Google Analytics API (and other APIs) using R
  • Combine API access with the vast amount of analysis packages
  • Create a reproducible workflow for extracting and analysing data using R

Click here for more information on how we can help with your insights and analytics, and put our useful tools into practice.

5 bad writing habits marketers need to drop in 2018

New year, new you. That’s the marketing message of every food, fitness, and fashion retailer from December 27th onwards (once they’ve finished convincing you to spend the last month drinking, eating, and wearing sequins to excess). Your timeline is now overflowing with sponsored posts featuring thin soup and equally thin women writhing in ecstasy at the mere sight of salad and a low-fat yogurt.

Fortunately, you can be a new person without three miserable weeks of calorie counting. And our advice won’t mean you feel guilty for binge eating a 14-piece Bargain Bucket after a grim day of celery and not much else. You can create a new you by dropping these five bad writing habits.

Your blog will benefit, your Twitter threads will become more engaging, and you’ll develop new writing habits that will leave you filled with pride, rather than gnawing hunger pangs.

  1. “I don’t have enough time to write!”

Deadlines loom, you can’t remember the last time you saw Inbox Zero, and lunchtime is now resigned to 3.30pm because you just don’t have time to leave your desk. So, you simply can’t spend time making your writing not crap (even though you could if you tried).

Choosing writing as your lowest priority is not doing you any favours. When writing is rushed and careless, it’s all readers see. The hard work of researching or strategizing disappears behind a wall of bad grammar and poor word choices.

The solution: In the words of fitness instructors the world over, stop making excuses. If you change your attitude to acknowledge the writing part of your role is as important as any other, you’ll find the time. If you genuinely can’t find a few minutes, use this as an opportunity to reshuffle your workload… or your priorities.

  1. Writing for your ego, rather than your audience

Writing has a habit of making people prone to self-indulgence. Wandering copy that seems hilarious while you’re writing it, but ultimately has zero value for the reader – kinda like my opening paragraph.

Branded3 Content Writer, Mady Ritzker, puts it best: “You might think you’re being really funny or poetic, but that doesn’t mean people want to meander through your self-serving babbling.

“That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with using creative writing, but you need to be honest with yourself about whether the choice of words is useful, and if it’s serving a purpose for the reader.”

The solution: Stop writing for yourself, and start writing for your audience. If they wanted humour or poetry, they’d read humour or poetry. There are some exceptions: certain writers are naturally talented at creating marketing copy that has a natural flow. But for most, it’s better to leave your desire to be the next Charlie Brooker for your personal time.

  1. You don’t know what a conjunction is

An easily fixed bad writing habit is using a conjunction that doesn’t make any sense in the context of the sentence(s). Content Writer Jen Derrick gives a great example: “A big bugbear for me is when writers start a sentence with the word ‘But…’. It’s quite a lazy way to link two sentences together, and often the idea doesn’t connect to the previous line.”

A conjunction (‘and’, ‘but’, ‘because’, ‘until’, ‘or’) is used to connect two ideas together, either within one sentence, or across two sentences. Therefore (conjunction alert), you should try to mix up the way you start a sentence, unless the sentence is connecting two ideas together.

The solution: Really think about the words you’re using. You’ll catch these misplaced conjunctions during editing, so make sure you read back everything you’ve written before sending it anywhere. Read The Oxford Dictionary’s guide to conjunctions for a better understanding.

  1. You’re! Way! Too! Excited! About! Exclamation! Marks!!!

We get it, you’ve been asked to make your content more fun. So how exactly do you do that? This is the question that plagues all content writers, and the only thing I can say for certain is that the answer isn’t aggressively replacing full stops with exclamation marks.

Exclamation marks aren’t a fail-safe indicator to a reader that you’re trying to come across as friendly and kooky; they can’t be used in place of a tone. Words are infinitely more important whether you’re trying to stress a point, be enthusiastic, or desperately trying to convey fun.

The solution: Content Writer Jordan Fletcher says: “Avoid using exclamation marks unless absolutely necessary… especially if your writing isn’t funny.” Think about the true meaning of an exclamation mark; are you genuinely exclaiming in the last sentence you included it in? If not, delete.

  1. Writing like you’re being paid by the word

As I write this final poor writing habit, I am hyper-aware of how long this post is. Writing concisely is far harder than rambling, but in 99% of cases, less is more when it comes to word count.

Charles Dickens was paid more the more he wrote, which is why all his work physically ages the reader as they struggle to get through the Victorian dross. We’re in the 21st Century now, living in the actual future, and few writers are paid per word anymore, so don’t be a Dickens. Keep it short.

The solution: Content Marketing Manager, Richard Cartey, explains how to cut short extra-long copy: “Making your copy concise is something anyone can do. Go back to the piece when you’ve finished and cut out the fluff. Be brutal. It always makes it better and you don’t have to ‘know how to write’ to do it.”

Gina’s bonus tip: Learn how to write ellipsis properly

It’s ‘…’. Three dots. That’s it. Don’t try and build suspense with more than three dots. Three is the rule.

Feels good to get that out of my system…

Get in touch @Branded_3 with common writing mistakes and habits that really grind your gears, or with the writing mishaps you’ve been guilty of. We’ve all been there!

Facebook News Feed Update: Now What?

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now about the big Facebook news feed update that was announced recently. I did my best to break down what I think is happening, but now it’s time to step back and evaluate how — and if — this changes things.

First, to summarize:

1. Person-to-person is prioritized. The news feed is sorted and customized based on a ranking system. Facebook wants you to see more stuff from people. As a result, you will see fewer posts from pages.

2. Long and thoughtful replies get a boost. This was the second half of the announcement, and it seems to be a significant pivot. Recorded videos will not get nearly the weight they once did. Passive scrolling and low-quality engagement are now bad. Posts that get long, thoughtful replies will get priority in your feed.

So… Now what?

Don’t Freak Out… YET

Yes, this certainly sounds bad for pages. But as I’ve said repeatedly now, we simply don’t know how this will impact your page until these changes are rolled out. Why freak out about something before it happens?

When I wrote my post about this on Friday and shared it to Facebook, guess what happened? That post has received more reach, shares, engagement, and link clicks than any of my posts in recent memory.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjonloomerdigital%2Fposts%2F1587956837959893&width=500

Admittedly, I’m not as active on my page as I once was. I don’t post for the sake of posting. I basically post when I have something to say, and it’s typically about once per week.

Still, kind of weird to get that type of engagement when it’s supposed to be disappearing, right? I mean, that’s the whole point of the update in the first place.

Of course, it wasn’t just me. Social Media Examiner conducted a Facebook Live to discuss the news feed update that resulted in more than 5,000 shares, 400,000 views, and 1,000 comments. After a quick glance, it looks like a typical video of theirs gets fewer than 10,000 views.

Social Media Examiner Facebook Live

Our two pages are just a couple of the dozens and dozens of examples. Marketers were sharing the “horrible news” of how brands will disappear in the news feed, all while resulting in ridiculous engagement numbers.

Shouldn’t these posts have fallen into an abyss? A ghost town?

Did anyone notice the irony?

Granted, maybe this change hasn’t been put in place yet. But we’ve heard before that pages would receive lower priority in the feed.

Examples…

In 2014, the news feed was updated to show fewer text updates from pages.

Later that year, overly promotional posts from pages were punished.

In 2016, Facebook made an update to news feed that sounded eerily similar to the most recent announcement:

Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.

I don’t recall seeing a signficant drop in my page post performance after that change. And, who knows? Maybe I won’t this time either.

Live Video is Good

I hated typing that line. Did you feel it?

I have no issues with live video. However, I do hate when marketers react based on post type to get the most reach.

We’ve seen it so many times, I’ve lost track. Remember when marketers used an image with an ugly link above it? They did that to get more reach. Remember that update I mentioned above about text updates? Those had to be devalued from pages only (not people) because EVERY FREAKING POST from pages was a text update.

That’s what annoys me about this. Yes, Facebook does really seem to be encouraging us to use live video. But don’t use live video for everything. Don’t abuse it. I don’t need a live video five times per day from you.

You know what’s coming, right? Later this year, an update to the news feed regarding live video from pages.

By all means, use live video. But use it because the format is the best method of conveying your message. Not because the news feed algorithm will be tricked to show it to more people.

Create High Quality Content

This goes without saying, right? But sometimes, I feel that marketers need a reminder.

Far too often, we get blinded by analytics. Strategies are based on the numbers. People like videos, so we need more videos. This link update did poorly, so no more links. Short text over long. Call to action. All that stuff.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be strategic. But don’t forget that your audience is human. Create good content — in whatever format is best — that they’ll want to consume. That they’ll find helpful, educational, or entertaining.

That’s easier said than done for some industries. But sit down and create a list of ways that you can help, educate, or entertain your target audience. Then decide the best way to communicate that message.

Generate a Conversation

It shouldn’t be surprising that the posts from marketers about the news feed change did so well in the news feed. It’s a topic that people care about. They’re passionate about it. It inspires emotion. And these posts also resulted in meaningful comments and engagement.

This stuff is hard, I know. It’s why not every brand will succeed on Facebook.

But when you share something, have a purpose. Think of your audience. Consider this a conversation rather than a direction to click on something only.

Instead of “Here’s my thing, give me money, give me clicks” center your attention around, “This is interesting, what do you think?”

Ultimately, posts that lead to long, thoughtful comments will have the most success on Facebook. And it just makes sense.

Is a post that gets lots of likes, but no comments meaningful? Not usually.

Is a post that gets lots of one word and one sentence replies interesting? Not as interesting as one with actual conversation.

This goes back to “just create high quality content, stupid.” But Facebook’s focus on thoughtful replies and away from passive engagement could be what does ultimately kill some brands on Facebook.

No Engagement Bait

Oh, Facebook wants replies? I’ll give them replies…

I mentioned this the other day, too, but it needs repeating. Facebook is ready for you, too.

From the News Feed FYI announcement:

Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.

In case you forgot, engagement bait was the focus of another news feed update in late 2017.

That means, no vote baiting, reaction baiting, or share baiting…

Facebook Engagement Bait

And no tag baiting or comment baiting…

Facebook Engagement Bait

This is a confusing concept for some marketers. Facebook wants engagement, but you can’t bait users into it. You can actually get engagement without engagement bait.

This is consistent with Facebook’s emphasis on authenticity. Your goal is to not only get lots of comments, likes, and shares, but for that engagement to be meaningful.

Consider Groups

If you’re looking for ways to expand or shift your efforts to limit the impact of this change on your brand, you may consider exploring Facebook Groups.

From Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement:

The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

The News Feed FYI post also alluded to how “people often interact around public content” in groups when talking about ways that brands can encourage conversation from people.

Back in July of last year, Facebook announced Groups for Pages, allowing brands to link groups to their pages — and even interact in those groups either as their page or personal profile.

I can tell you that I’m laying the groundwork for this as part of my business. While I already have multiple paid private communities, I think there’s room for a free one as well.

If you do create a group, however, do so intelligently. My fear is that marketers will create groups and then spam the heck out of the people within them. Groups aren’t a loophole for you to act a fool and pound everyone with your links. If you’re going to benefit from groups, it needs to be within the framework of an authentic community.

In some cases, creating a community around your brand would be fine. I think about software products that may need a support community, for example.

However, that isn’t right for all groups. While I’m planning a “Jon Loomer Digital Community,” people aren’t going to sit around talking about me all day (that would be awful for everyone). The focus will be on Facebook advertising support.

So, how can you create a community that would help your customers and potential customers?

The Impact on Advertising

In a vacuum, this update shouldn’t impact your advertising efforts. There is no indication that there will be fewer ad placements as a result of this.

If you were running Facebook ads before, you should keep running them now. Of course, ads can benefit from organic distribution as well. So if the content in your ads generates meaningful conversation, that engagement will propel your post organically in the news feed.

Otherwise, how this impacts advertising will depend upon how and if the market adjusts to these changes. Maybe many brands will suffer organically, and they’ll be forced to advertise to reach their audience. Mayby most brands won’t actually see a change. Or, maybe brands will suffer so greatly, that the fallout would be an exodus from Facebook ads.

Ultimately, these three scenarios impact the number of ads in Facebook’s inventory. The more ads Facebook needs to distribute, the more competition an advertiser has to get their own ads shown. And the more competition there is, the higher the prices go.

As a result, there are scenarios (namely, the exodus) that could result in ad costs going down. But more than likely, you should expect costs to either remain steady or increase as a result of this.

Maybe: Keep Doing What You’re Doing

Other than potentially starting a new Facebook group, I don’t plan on making any changes — small, large, or otherwise — in the way I create content for Facebook. My page has somehow survived more than six years of news feed changes, and I think I’ll survive this one, too.

Evalute what you’re doing now. Do you create content that inspires authentic engagement and conversation? If so, you’re probably going to do just fine. In fact, some seem to think you may even benefit from this change.

At the same time, how this impacts anyone is a big, fat unknown. We control what we can control.

It’s entirely possible that my results will fall off a cliff in the coming months. If that happens, I’ll need to adjust. That could mean changing the type of content I create. It could mean assessing how I generate discussion, and the language that I use. Or it could be a matter of exploring live video, groups, or more advertising.

But for now, I’m not going to worry about it. And if you feel you’re doing everything you need to be doing, you shouldn’t worry about it either.

Your Turn

What, if anything, are you changing about your approach in response to this news feed update?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook News Feed Update: Now What? appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

The top five PR campaigns this week including Adidas, Diet Coke and IKEA

This week’s PR roundup features some big brands including IKEA, Diet Coke and Adidas. With the New Year in full swing, many brands are releasing new PR and marketing campaigns. Some include pregnancy tests, complete rebranding and pop-up drive-thrus.

Read our top five campaigns below to find out more.

IKEA’s pregnancy test

Our first PR campaign of the week is IKEA. It’s a strange one, but it has got coverage on the likes of Sky News, Evening Standard and The Guardian.

IKEA has always been a forward-thinking company when it comes to marketing and PR, but this campaign really stands out above the rest. IKEA are targeting mums with an advert that allows expectant mothers to do a pregnancy test on a piece of paper.

The advert is placed within their catalogue and states, ‘peeing on this ad may change your life’ – and this really is true. Customers who think they are pregnant can test if they are by urinating on the page. The advert will reveal a new price for the cot if it’s positive, giving expectant mothers a discount of £500 for a new crib.

Watch the advert here:

Golden Globes blackout

The Golden Globes took place in Los Angeles this week. With the entertainment industry making headlines in 2017 for many cases about sexual assault and harassment, a petition was created to speak up about it and help end gender inequality.

Time’s Up Now website states:

“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.”

Every actress and actor who supports this movement dressed in black and it made a huge impact in the news industry, raising awareness of the current state of the industry and encouraging people to come forward.

Golden Globes blackout

(source: Forbes)

Berlin subway-inspired Adidas trainers

Adidas are releasing a new trainer on the 16th January that has been inspired by Berlin’s subway seats. The limited-edition trainer is called ‘EQT Support 93/Berlin’ and only 500 pairs are going to be produced, with each being sold at £160.

If you’re lucky enough to buy a pair of these trainers and live in Berlin, you’ll receive a free annual subway pass valid from the 16th January to 31st December 2018. A great idea to boost sales and give back to commuters.

Will you be buying a pair?

New Adidas Trainers

(source: Metro)

Weight Watchers healthy drive-thru

To celebrate the new launch of their weight-loss programme, Flex, Weight Watchers have organised a pop-up drive thru in London.

They are hoping to help people start the new year healthy and will be offering free breakfast, lunch and dinner to whoever tries out the drive thru. It’s located near Borough Market, London.

This campaign has received a lot of coverage on PR and Marketing sites for a great campaign collaboration between Weight Watchers and their PR agencies, The Academy and Jubba.

Weight Watchers pop-up drive-thru

(Source: PR Week)

Diet Coke’s new flavours

Diet Coke have just released plans to launch new flavours to their product range. Flavours include Ginger & Lime, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange and Feisty Cherry.

The reboot of the brand is going to take two years and is all part of their plan to reach out to their millennial customers. Diet Coke are also rebranding their image with new skinny silver cans as a means to try and modernise the brand. This announcement has been picked up by many journalists including Fortune, Business Insider and Adweek.

New flavours of Diet Coke

(Source: Adweek)

For more recent PR success stories, read last week’s post which featured the launch of Cadbury’s White Cream Egg, Barclaycard’s 31 Day Challenge, the oldest drawn map of the earth and more.

The Facebook News Feed is Changing to Favor Person to Person Engagement

“It looks like the Facebook News Feed is changing to prefer user-to-user engagement and squeeze out brands and passive activity (which isn’t clearly defined) and possibly even ads, though there could be some caveats there for brands like news and groups and live videos, but we really don’t know yet, they could all be screwed, too, but let’s chill and wait a while to see what happens” was my original title.

That’s how freaking convoluted this is.

Facebook dropped a potential bombshell of an announcement today — at least on brands and publishers. A major change is being made to the news feed that will favor people and negatively impact the visibility of page content.

My head is spinning for one primary reason: As often is the case with Facebook announcements, it’s light on details. Lots of words, but few specifics. Without specifics, we fill in the blanks. And when we fill in the blanks, we all start interpreting the announcement differently based on our own biases and experiences.

A great example of this is how Josh Constine of TechCrunch interpreted the announcement. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Before I go any further, let me say one thing: We don’t know. It sounds bad. But we don’t know exactly how this will impact your brand or mine until this actually rolls out.

Let’s do our best to decipher this. Step by step, let’s go through the announcement, the background, what it all means, and a few of my own personal thoughts.

A Message from Mark Zuckerberg

You can read Mark Zuckerberg’s entire message here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fzuck%2Fposts%2F10104413015393571&width=500

A few primary points…

“…we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Immediately, we see the problem. Facebook sees person-to-person interaction as the “core” Facebook experience. The brand stuff is fine, too, but there’s a lot of it. And it’s starting to take over.

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.”

That’s good! But…

“…passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

Zuckerberg implies here that interaction with people is inherently healthy whereas interacting with typical brand content (articles, videos, “entertaining or informative” content) is often passive and not so good.

I guess that means changes are coming…

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

Something for brands to keep in mind. If you get slammed by this change, groups could be your way back in. But that also could be one more frontier for brands to manipulate and ruin.

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Confusing. You’re going to see less content from brands, businesses, and media. Time to start preparing for the worst. But then a sudden ray of sunshine. There will be some public content that we see more? As long as it encourages “meaningful interactions between people”?

Zuck continues to suggest that despite saying we’ll see less brand content, maybe not all brands are screwed…

“For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues.”

Sounds great! We have a chance. But just as you were getting your hopes up…

“But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.”

So, it sounds like live videos are still good. But other video — and news — are bad because they lead to a “passive experience.”

“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Is this true??

These changes are meant to improve the user experience. If you’re having a better experience on Facebook, would you spend less time on the platform? Or does this have something to do with the mindless trash that leads to online addiction? Less of that, so less time? Not sure.

Broken Down by TechCrunch

The media source I trust most when it comes down to Facebook topics is Josh Constine of TechCrunch. But as I read his interpretation of the announcement, I’m either dense or there is still plenty that I don’t know or understand.

From Josh:

“Facebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets, and importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network.”

Nearly all of that sentence is consistent with what I read in Zuck’s announcement, except for one key word: “ads.” Nowhere did Zuck mention ads. And neither did Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, in his News Feed FYI announcement.

Would this change impact ads? I don’t know why it would, unless Facebook chooses to show fewer of them. But I didn’t see anything that would indicate that.

One wildcard here is that diminished organic reach could increase competition and costs. But that still doesn’t mean fewer ads.

Josh continues:

“Live videos generating discussion, star social media creators, celebrities, Groups posts, local business events, and trusted news sources are other types of content that should get a boost.”

Is this true??

“Star social media creators” are public figures and pages. News sources are pages. Celebrities have pages. Local business events come from pages. Trusted news sources are pages. They aren’t people. Why would they get a boost?

Video Explanation

This video explanation from Mosseri does a better job of helping me grasp what might be happening here. Watch it…

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffacebook%2Fvideos%2F10156988765141729%2F&show_text=0&width=560

A few primary points from the video…

Mosseri says:

“Now, we’ll also consider whether a potential interaction is between two people or between a person and a page, which are the accounts run by businesses, organizations, and public figures. Person to person will be more valuable than person to page.”

That doesn’t leave any room, in my interpretation, for live videos from pages, local business events, news stories, etc. All of that falls under the “businesses, organizations, and public figures” that should see a negative impact of this update.

“Connections with people in your network will get the biggest boost because interacting with people you’re close to is more meaningful.”

Once again, no mention of any caveats for pages.

“We’re also going to prioritize exchanges that took more time and care.”

This is a key point that is critical to this update. For far too long, weaknesses in the news feed have been exploited with click bait headlines, engagement bait, and other manipulations from brands. Typically, they get lots of engagement as a result, but not strong engagement that would take “more time and care.”

The key here appears to not only be comments, but thoughtful comments. Or, from the video, “typing out a long and thoughtful reply.”

Once again, passive scrolling is bad. And what seems to be implied is that watching video without sound isn’t valuable. Even clicking to watch the video may not be a strong signal. And I’m even thinking that reactions (like, love, haha, etc.) aren’t going to get nearly as much weight as they may have previously.

Engagement Bait: Don’t Even Think About It

Facebook seems to be a step ahead of marketers these days. They’re sick of us. They’re tired of making updates, only to see marketers exploit a weakness. As a result, yet another change needs to be made to the news feed.

Facebook sees the next flurry coming. “Oh, comments are good? Sweet! Comment below to be eligible for a free iPad!”

Nope. From Mosseri’s announcement

“Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

What Does This Mean For Your Page?

Let me make this easy for you:

We. Don’t. Know.

It certainly sounds like people will be favored over pages in the news feed. We’ve heard this before. It certainly sounds like organic reach may take a deep dive. But, depending on how you interpret this, there may be room for brands that “do it right.”

In case you’re wondering, no. This is not proof that Facebook is implementing that catastrophic Explore tab test that moved all brand content. Once again, Mosseri is right on top of it…

Facebook News Feed Update Explore Tab

I don’t know if your organic reach is going to disappear. I don’t know if this will impact ads. Facebook has attempted to make changes to the news feed in the past that didn’t seem to change much of anything. So, we really don’t know.

We wait. We test. Then? We talk about it.

My Gut Reaction

I hate reacting to something that is so ambiguous, but I’m going to do it anyway…

Not everyone uses Facebook the same way. I purposefully see more brand and publisher content in my news feed than posts from friends. That’s only partly because I’m an antisocial jerk. But it’s mainly because I care most about political and sports news.

That’s the stuff I actually want to see. I don’t comment on those posts. I don’t provide “long and thoughtful replies.” Will I stop seeing that content?

If I do, that would kind of suck. That would be bad for my Facebook experience.

Facebook, of course, recommends using the “See First in News Feed” option that will still apply, even for brands.

Facebook News Feed See First

But, come on. No one is going to do that. Even I won’t do that.

My Philosophical Reaction

Something needed to be done.

I have an admission to make: I don’t enjoy Facebook from the user’s perspective nearly as much as I once did.

Granted, it’s crazy that I’ve been using the site for about 11 years now. I was obsessed with the platform in the early days to connect with friends. Loved everything about it.

Then I got older. The world got crazier. Brands started ruining it. Trolls took over. Everyone became a political expert. Fake news. Click bait.

It just isn’t nearly as fun for me as it once was. As a more “mature” user, I’m much more careful about what I post. As a result, what I post on my personal profile is usually boring (there was a time when I posted mindless updates CONSTANTLY). I rarely comment. And I NEVER comment on a page post.

Instead, I use Facebook — as a user — passively now. I do exactly what Facebook doesn’t want me to do. And they’re right: Using Facebook passively results in a negative experience.

Facebook has a point. Most brand content really does suck now. When it’s “engaging,” it’s often manipulative. News publishers prey on our biggest fears and pain points. Everything is breaking news. Controversy. Shocking.

It’s freaking exhausting.

I want to escape. Using Facebook as a user right now is the complete opposite of escape. But I’m hooked. I can’t leave. Dopamine and stuff.

Facebook is in a tough spot here. I want my Facebook experience to be better. But is Facebook simply a product of a sick, ridiculous world right now that makes us all depressed and panicked? Or is there something Facebook can do to help us enjoy it all again?

I guess that’s what Facebook is trying to figure out. I appreciate the attempt, especially if it may be at the expense of their own revenues.

Your Turn

This is going to be a controversial announcement. There will be hysteria. There will be panic. The reaction will be very similar to the the comments you read under a political post on Facebook. It’s going to be nuts.

What are your calm, measured thoughts?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post The Facebook News Feed is Changing to Favor Person to Person Engagement appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.