Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat have all announced changes that affect content marketers. Here’s your cheat sheet.
Facebook’s latest algorithm change, which emphasizes content from users’ family and friends over articles from publishers, has media sites on edge. SimpleWeb, a web analytics company, found that in Q2 of this year, Facebook visits to some media sites were down by 50 percent compared to Q1. The average drop among the top 300 media sites was 28 percent. Although some insiders from the publishing industry dispute the study’s findings, they do admit Facebook traffic is declining, and many are revisiting their distribution strategies.
The change, explained by Facebook as just another step in its mission of ensuring the most relevant content makes it to your newsfeed, could have something to do with its hopes for its Instant Articles program, which allows publishers to share interactive content that loads 10 times faster than before. The New York Times, The Guardian and BuzzFeed were some of the first to give it a go. So far, UK publishers have mixed opinions on Instant Articles’ performance, some saying they make more revenue from their owned channels.
Facebook Live is still in its infancy, but brands are already using these real-time video posts to engage with their audiences. We’ll see a greater number of marketers trying out the platform as more brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Tastemade, the food and travel publisher, continue to report success.
This spring, Facebook made an exciting change to its advertising policy by lifting the 20% ad text rule which limited how much text marketers could use within images. Many advertisers found the old guideline limiting and asinine, especially since the tool you had to use to test your compliance was shoddy at best. You still don’t want to use too much text as Facebook research shows audiences respond best to a 20%-or-under text/image ratio (thus the rule in the first place), and Facebook will penalize ads that are too text heavy by limiting their reach or not running them at all. But advertisers have real reason to rejoice: The new and improved tool for assessing your text to ad ratio is much more flexible and user-friendly.
In summary, Facebook remains a vital part of your company’s social media strategy, and its advertising options are still an effective and predictable way to drive result. (Just in case you need it, here’s a refresher on how social media can accelerate your marketing initiatives.) But you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Continue to explore other ways to distribute your content, and don’t overlook the importance of owned channels, such as your company blog.
Twitter has been taking heat lately. It has a troll problem, a gaggle of inactive users and a less-than-stellar financial performance that has shareholders on edge. Rumor has it that it may even be bought out by another media company.
But regardless of criticism, Twitter remains a major social media network with 313 million monthly active users (as of June 30, 2016). It is particularly popular with influencers and is thus one of the most effective means for this type of marketing. (Trust us, we know. Mediaplanet uses Twitter to interact with all of the great experts who help create and distribute our niche content.)
Now you and your influencer partners will have a little bit more room for engaging your followers. Twitter announced that, starting September 19th, some media attachments, including images, GIFs and videos, will no longer count towards the 140-character limit. Twitter also shared that it will stop including quoted Tweets and usernames at the beginning of replies in the tally. #Yippee
Earlier this year rumors swirled that Twitter would make a more dramatic change to its character limit, but CEO Jack Dorsey stood by the platform’s signature constraint and the way that it inspires creative brevity.
LinkedIn has a valuable audience—a network of global professionals—and advanced data on their demographics and behaviors. That’s part of the reason why Microsoft bought it. It’s the most popular social media network for B2B content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Companies use it to share content, both organically and via paid channels, to prospects, employees and recruits. And with 75 percent of new users joining from outside of the United States, it is an especially important tool for brands launching global strategies.
In a recent blogpost, LinkedIn announced that hashtags “are now tappable and lead to search results,” making it easier for users to search for content, and for companies to get found. Hashtags are an integral part of many content marketing campaigns, and this new development lets companies use more uniform posts across social channels and better track their results. LinkedIn says this is just the beginning of planned improvements to its search features—a good thing for users and marketers alike.
LinkedIn rolled out another feature that has marketers talking: conversion tracking of its sponsored content and text ads. This lets marketers evaluate their campaigns more closely and paves the way for retargeting, a popular, effective component of Facebook advertising.
The Snapchat API, which facilitates programmatic ad buys on the network, shows it is getting serious about its marketing future. The 18- to 34-year-old market can’t get enough of the goofy and engaging channel, and many brands trying to interact with that demographic are giving Snapchat a hard look. In fact, Snapchat ad revenue is forecast by eMarketer to hit nearly $1 billion in 2017.
Snapchat also announced some new sophisticated targeting capabilities, including letting advertisers use other data sources, such as email addresses, to target users, and behavioral targeting based on a user’s previous video consumption.
And the big trend?
We’d be remiss not to mention a universal trend across social media platforms – the surge in video. A greater number of brands are investing larger spends in branded video, and social media is a crucial part of their distribution strategy. (We highly recommend checking out our round-up of stellar content marketing videofor some examples.) Digital video revenue, branded and otherwise, is surging. It is the fastest-growing component on mobile and desktop, reports eMarketer.
Want to talk about your brand’s video content or learn more about how Mediaplanet uses social media to drive traffic? Contact us today.