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Insights: The EGC Blog

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Brands have ever more options for platforms upon which to share videos with Facebook (which is looking to compete with YouTube), Vine, Periscope, Meerkat, etc. And now brands have a growing number of sources for video content. GoPro recently announced the launch of its premium licensing portal.

“The portal is unique in that it offers high production value content, all accessible from one source,” Go Pro announced. “It also eliminates the pain points creative professionals have when sourcing content by helping them clear copyrights and likeness rights, easy access to creators’ content and organized, efficient, time-saving tools to search, download and preview content to license for use in advertising, news and other media and entertainment.”

What does this mean for advertisers?

Content production can be expensive and logistically complicated. An option to purchase quality, engaging video could appeal to creative directors and brand managers alike.

Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Pond5, BBC Motion Gallery and Getty Images are among mainstays of stock video. Do advertisers really need a new source of video content?

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GoPro has become the camera of choice for amateurs and professionals, capturing action from below the sea to soaring above the clouds. In addition to its series of high-definition “HERO” cameras, the company also sells a series of mounts, such as a 3-Way Mount, Dog Harness, Surfing mount, Chest Harness and Suction Cup, making the cameras wearable and easy to set up for capturing action as its happening.

With thousands of GoPro videos from around the world shared daily across social networks, and video that is shot on GoPro going viral regularly, as Archie Bland of The Guardian wrote last fall, “Like Google or Xerox, ‘GoPro’ is one of those branded proper nouns that has been so successful that it has become a verb. “ What sets GoPro videos apart is the authenticity of the moment and the ability to get shots from perspectives that were previously only possible with big budget shoots and special equipment.

As Bland observes, “That’s how virality, and GoPros, function: no amount of editing can be as powerful as a glimpse of something out of the ordinary, and no camera is more likely to catch that glimpse than one that keeps rolling…”

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Facebook has had their sights set on pushing out a video platform for a little over a year now, and they recently took an aggressive step in that direction with the announcement of plans of revenue-sharing for their online video platform (which seems to have a lot of similarities to YouTube’s revenue-sharing with content developers).

Why Should You Care?

Facebook is not taking over YouTube in the video realm any time soon, but it might very well become a major contender…eventually. Last week, Facebook announced they would begin testing a new revenue-sharing model, giving a cut of ad revenue to video creators. The model is very similar to YouTube. The difference, however, is that video producers on Facebook are expected to get a smaller cut – after Facebook takes their share of the money. Along with this announcement come a lot of challenges that lie ahead if Facebook wants to become an online video powerhouse.

No Adam2Original Content? Content is King!

Websites like YouTube and Vimeo are already very well-established in terms of consistent and original content. YouTube has a vast and tight-knit community known for its beauty tutorials, gaming and vlog personalities – which are just the tip of the iceberg. You can pretty much find anything you are looking for on YouTube. What is Facebook going to offer that is different?

Facebook needs to get their hands on original content and online personalities, which is going to be very challenging. It may in fact take years to curate a community to rival YouTube’s. Facebook should be taking notes from other successful online video platforms that are churning out exclusive or original content that have people coming back for more, à la Netflix or Hulu.

One major advantage that Facebook has is that YouTube brings in an estimated 1 billion unique monthly visitors to their site, while Facebook brings in a whopping 1.44 billion unique monthly users. That is nothing to sneeze at.

Facebook Road Blocks

The claim is that it is “committed to making Facebook the best place to share, discover and watch videos.” As Facebook currently stands to share video, you can only share that video via your Facebook timeline/newsfeed – which is very inconvenient and inefficient, as most of us don’t exclusively use Facebook from a user standpoint. With no search feature and many different privacy settings, it’s pretty hard to discover new content on Facebook – unless it is content that Facebook/advertisers feel you might be interested in.

YouTube vs. Facebook

Adam3YouTube and Facebook video are two different beasts. Maybe both can live in harmony. YouTube’s major advantage is that it allows you to search for any video that your heart desires (along with billions of original videos), while Facebook has more users and the ability to deliver valuable content to the right people at the right time. As an advertiser, I’d rather use Facebook videos with clients because their targeting system is far more specific than what YouTube has to offer.

It is still very early to tell how Facebook videos will turn out, since they are still in their testing phases. I personally think Facebook is a little late to the video party, as younger audiences are continuing to move on to other and newer social media platforms. It is good for business, however, and as a result, these video websites are forced to put out a better product for their consumers and advertisers – making us all happy.

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Clicks to Website ads aim to drive consumers from Facebook to e-commerce sites, landing pages (to download content, sign up for newsletters and “Learn More”), or to product catalogs and places where they will get to know the brand. Advertisers are looking to drive conversions, turning interest on social into action.

While brands enjoy the added engagement their Clicks to Website ads generate, the goal is web traffic. Currently, Facebook charges a cost-per-click, which includes both clicks on links and engagement on posts (such as Likes, shares and comments).

According to the “Facebook for Business” blog
“We’re updating CPC to only account for what we call ‘link clicks’ - i.e., the clicks related to certain ad objectives:

  • Clicks to visit another website
  • Call-to-action clicks that go to another website (i.e., ‘Shop Now’)
  • Clicks to install an app
  • Clicks to Facebook canvas apps
  • Clicks to view a video on another website”

“Facebook for Business” goes on to explain: “Over the last few years, Facebook’s ad offerings have become increasingly tailored to helping advertisers meet specific business objectives. This update is part of that effort: it’s designed to provide measurement that’s more closely aligned with how advertisers are bidding so they can better optimize their campaigns against their stated goals.”

Not paying for engagement (if that’s not the primary goal of an ad) may be good news for brands. But as Ad Age explains, this may not lead to overall savings:

“Facebook’s technology tried to aim the ads at anyone who might click on it, whether they click on the social links or ad links. But under the new pricing structure, Facebook’s technology will try to aim the ads only at people likely to click on the ad links. Those people may be harder to come by, and that scarcity drives up pricing because Facebook’s taking a risk each time it shows one of these click-based ads.”

While these harder to find users who will click on the link may cost more to reach, finding the right audience is important in delivering ROI on social ads. And advertisers will have the option to continue operating on CPC for link clicks and engagement if they choose.

What this means for brands is more options. Ads will be more targeted to users most likely to take the desired action and more likely to develop a relationship with the brand.

More information on the specifics of how this will be implemented is on the way from Facebook. And for those interested in more of the tech details behind the change, Facebook suggests checking out its “Developers” blog

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Is Twitter hatching some new developments to attract more users and advertisers?

hatching_TwitterRecently, the Insights: EGC Blog featured news surrounding the latest happenings for Twitter, wherein one of its main investors, Chris Sacca, posted what the future of this social media platform would be, could be, and should be in a lengthy blog (8,500 words, to be exact) in what we termed a “Twitterfesto.”

Then, on June 14th, Alex Osborn reported in IGN that Twitter would from this point on be very (accent on ‘very’) accommodating to its audience by expanding the standard character count for direct messages. The standard limit up until now has been 140 characters.

At some point this July, the new limit will be expanded to 10,000. (Let’s place another accent on ‘expanded.’) Keep in mind – this new character count only applies to direct messages; for the public side of Twitter – 140 is still the maximum allowance. But this change, which is particularly extreme, may be evident of further changes that are in store for Twitter.

The announcement goes on to state that there is “much more exciting work on the horizon.” With this latest change to direct messaging, one can only imagine what these changes might be. (Read the full Twitter announcement here.)

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, stated: “We have things rolling out this fall that I am over the moon about and can't wait for people to see." This is an ironic statement from a VIP who will be voluntarily stepping down on July 1st. According to ABC News, this decision was the result of a drop in financial performance and stock value. Finance site The Motley Fool recently reported that Twitter stock is down by more than 35%. Regardless of the reason, it is further evidence of the revolution that is taking place at Twitter.

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Interestingly (and also on June 14th, when Mr. Osborn’s article appeared), ABC3340.com uploaded an Associated Press commentary on the relevance of Twitter, questioning if it could continue to compete among social media platforms. Technical writer Barbara Ortutay and Brandon Bailey wrote: “Facebook has grown into an Internet powerhouse, while Twitter in many aspects remains a niche social network, unable to convince the masses that they need its service to keep up with what's happening in the world. Lots of people sign up but not a lot stick around.”

The essay went on to list some additional problems that Twitter needed to address. These included attracting more users (of which there are approximately 302 million, compared to 800 million on the Facebook app, WhatsApp), making it easier to use, dealing with trolls (but seriously, what interactive website does NOT have a troll problem?), and its advertising strengths, among other issues.

The above scenario is nothing new. An ordinarily promising and prosperous company experiences a reversal of fortune and must change in any and every way, small and dramatic, in order to survive (and hopefully thrive).

After all, look at Apple®, the technology powerhouse that at one time in the early 1980s had the impressive credit of having a commercial (or “film” as Steve Jobs referred to it) broadcast during the Super Bowl. Even this giant took a fall, and stayed down for most of the 1990s – reorganizing, reshaping, and revolutionizing its products and business tactics. Regardless of whether one loves or hates Apple® products, there is no denying how that brand came back into power – with a vengeance.

This Wednesday, July 1st, is the date that the revolution to save Twitter will be symbolized by the passing of the mantle from Dick Costolo to interim CEO Jack Dorsey. Jose Costa of The Huffington Post recently posted the question of whether or not interim Dorsey will be able to bring Twitter back up to speed in a similar way that Jobs did for Apple®. (Whether it was by design or coincidence, it is noteworthy that this will take place only a few days before Independence Day.)

The word “revolution” has been used several times in this article. Perhaps “revitalize” is the word that would best describe Twitter’s latest efforts. Yes, tweet and retweet that word: “revitalize.”

 

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We had the pleasure of attending the VentureBeat Mobile Advertising Road Show at the NASDAQ building in Times Square. Industry professionals came together to talk about just how big mobile truly is, and how it can be leveraged for successful advertising campaigns.

Mobilegeddon (hyperlink to Jared blog), mobile growth, and mobile web design. We’ve moved beyond the digital age (and even the post-digital age) to the Mobile Mania age. Is it exaggerated hype or is there really compelling data to prove that mobile is more than just the latest fad?

We love this slide John Koetsier of VentureBeat's research team presented from Socialbakers' data:

CTR_Socialbakers

 

Socialbakers, an analytics firm, has found that mobile advertising not only outperforms desktop ads, but stands head and shoulders above other non-mobile ads. These findings align with the dramatic divide between mobile and non-mobile ads that we have witnessed at EGC

Not only does mobile achieve better results, it's more cost effective:

CPC_SocialbakersVideo is also an ever-increasing vital part of an effective mobile strategy. From YouTube to Periscope, video is everywhere. Facebook is now surpassing YouTube in views, thus demonstrating the combined power of video and the world’s biggest social platform and digital advertising tool. 

Video_SocialbakersPanelists from AOL, Harman, Verge and MRY discussed their own tactics with VentureBeat’s Barry Levine. To effectively utilize mobile, it’s time to rethink our approach to the way we create video. 

 

It’s critical to focus not only on format, but on how people experience video. Panelists agreed that most viewers only stay with a video for about 15 seconds. It is therefore vital to make those first few seconds truly attention-grabbing to hold people’s interest. (And viewers are often watching with the sound off.) 

 

As noted by Sean Kapoor from Harman, at the end of the day, we must remember that creative is still creative. The principles of quality remain essentially the same across all mediums.

 

So what do brands need to know? First, ensure your site is mobile-ready. Perform A/B test ads and think about them in terms of a holistic campaign. Be open to trying new things, experimenting with ways to integrate video, share inbound marketing and creating native ads. And ask yourself – what kind of ads are you yourself most likely to click on?

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What is the future of the copywriter? Yes, digital technology has revolutionized the world, but there will always be the need for human beings to create engaging written content that other human beings will relate to and find interesting.

Technology has made its mark, however, and many jobs and tasks – once performed by human hands – are now automated. Is it possible that writing for a living is not as secure as it once was, and that technology will replace this talent and skill as well?

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In recent months, there has been coverage of a machine-learning company named Persado. The claim, contention, or boast that Persado makes is that its software creates effective ad copy that outperforms the human touch of a writer. The tone of articles in Information Week, The Wall Street Journal, and  Business Wire, seem to predict that the days of the flesh and blood copywriter may be numbered.

Or are they? In an article that ran in The Drum last month, David Atlas, CMO of Persado, assured author Thomas O’Neill that the company’s primary function is to write material that is under 600 characters per piece, and their focus is on email marketing messages, display ads, and other short-and-to-the-point content that aims to turn a prospect into a customer. 

“Now, to be clear, there’s a ton of things we don’t do – we don’t do short messages, we don’t do poetry, we don’t do inspirational slogans, we don’t do long form, we don’t do press releases or blogs.” Alright. With that statement, from a top tier manager at what we can call “the competitor known as Persado,” copywriters (and other creative professionals, for that matter) can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief. 

Still, the prospect of an algorithm creating ad content that is more effective and yields more results is an intimidating projection. Even Mr. O’Neill makes a grim prediction:”… the copywriter may not be dead, but in this age of constant messages across a multitude of platforms, more often designed to be scanned than read, maybe copywriting already is.” 

According to the article in The Wall Street Journal, one of Persado’s high-ranking clients, Citi, saw a 70% increase in emails that were opened and a 114% in ones that were opened. One witty comment posted under the article read, “Replacing copywriters will be like exporting pizza delivery.” Here’s hoping!

The polar opposite view to the “technology winning over the human” scenario is “native advertising.” In an article for Relevance (which, notably, was published only several days ago), John Rugh states that this form of paid media is a great way to boost content and make it stand out. He asserts that many readers tend to ignore banner ads (a type of ad that Persado might create text for), in favor of native advertising because they don’t feel they are being hit over the head and forced to read (and then buy) what is being sold. 

Essentially, as Mr. Rugh sums up, “[native advertising] doesn’t feel like traditional advertising.” If native advertising continues to grow in popularity (not to mention productivity), creative (i.e., human) talent will be needed for creating and curating the text. And, another plus to writing content for native advertising is that the same time-honored best practices – from persuasive titles (OK, Persado might have a stake in title-writing) to providing valuable information to a particular audience – still apply. With that in mind, the role of the qualified and creative copywriter is still relevant, and this position may be rescued.

On a final note, the powerful results that Persado can yield are still relatively recent news. There is no prediction for the future, but let us look at a few parallels: Quicken Turbo Tax may have become a popular option for some to do their taxes, but (human) accountants are still busy (particularly in the middle of April). Interactive video games are becoming a popular form of entertainment, but there are still audiences who are willing to pay for sports and live shows – each of which are played and performed in by human beings. The algorithm-driven writing software of Persado may be effective for some marketing, but there will still be a place for human wordsmiths and scribes.

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Ahead of Twitter’s investors’ meeting yesterday, major investor Chris Sacca unleashed an 8,500-word blog that reads like a manifesto on what Twitter is doing well, what it’s not and what it could be. Then, late last night while appearing on CNBC to talk about his “Twitterfesto,” he declared that Google should buy Twitter. And if they don’t bid, Facebook or Microsoft should buy it. What would a Google-owned Twitter look like? EGC’s digital team reacts to the idea.

 

Sacca did conclude in his blog, “Twitter Can and Will Be Huge,” but noted the measure he has always focused on as he’s bought “all the Twitter stock [he] could find” and “convinced huge institutions to invest in the company with [him]” is: “How big is the audience they can show ads to?” He contends the platform needs to do the following to answer that question and demonstrate the health of its business: 

  1. Make Tweets effortless to enjoy,
  2. Make it easier for all to participate, and
  3. Make each of us on Twitter feel heard and valuable.

He says tweeting shouldn’t be “so scary” and offers ways he believes will improve the experience from acquiring OneShot (which allows users to highlight screenshots of text and share them to Twitter) to build it directly into Twitter to going beyond the 140-character limit. He also says that Twitter can feel “lonely” and suggests looking at Instagram’s heart model rather than Twitter’s current “favorite” option.

 

If new approaches are taken to address his three main concerns, Sacca says, “Countless users, new and old, will find Twitter indispensable, use Twitter more, see great ads, buy lots of stuff, and make the company much more money along the way.” He concludes on a passionate high note that he believes Twitter can do it and hopes the readers of his blog do now, too.

His comments on CNBC’s Closing Bell last night took his suggestions one step further as he proposed an acquisition of the brand. Calling Google and Twitter an “instant fit,” he suggested “I think it’s a fantastic use of Google’s cash.”

EGC’s digital and social team members reacted positively to Sacca’s suggestion. Adam Chan commented, “Twitter would definitely bring a lot of unique elements to Google’s search platform.” Jeremy Waszak agrees, noting that this is …definitely a step in the right direction for Google. With ad dollars moving from web search to social platforms, it’s time for Google to step their social game up.”

Stephanie Frank added, “Google would benefit tremendously from a powerful social network!” Digital Director Jared Del Prete shared, “They’ve already partnered (Google displaying Tweets in search results) so it wouldn’t surprise me if a full acquisition took place. Makes a lot of sense for Google; a company obsessed with data would then be closer to dominating social search and give them an app that is integrated with most websites and has native features built in to almost every smartphone.”

Would Google really buy Twitter? Evan Calafates suggests, "This would be by far the largest acquisition Google has ever made. I think based on some of their recent acquisitions you’ll see Google continuing to expand with mobile technologies rather than beefing up on social.

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It was a year ago that we wrote a blog post that looked at the questions surrounding the future of Google+ following its conspicuous absence from conversations at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, in the summer of 2014. We mentioned then that Google+ has faced tough questions from the beginning of its existence when it launched on June 28, 2011.

In its nearly four years of operation, the platform has faced the premature declarations of its demise, which kicked up in earnest with the departure of the platform’s creator, Vic Gundotra, in April 2014. As we asked then: “Without its passionate advocate at the helm, where is it headed?”

Social giant Facebook has dominated headlines this year, having recently made news for its innovative approach to delivering news by teaming up with news organizations to create Instant Articles. But Google+ is now in the news (again), because this year, Google takes a different tack at Google I/O 2015 and tackles Google+ questions head on.

 

Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Streams, Photos and Sharing, spoke to the press yesterday at the event about Google Photo’s disconnect from Google+ and that changes are on the horizon, but did not go into specifics of the product plans for Plus

Speaking with Backchannel for an interview Horowitz shared on his own Google+ account, he’s quoted as saying, “It’s fair to say you’re about to see a huge shift in what Plus is becoming. It’s a shift in response to what users are telling us. That’s a very healthy and natural thing. As opposed to sticking to strategies of years ago, we’re actually adapting to how the product is successful in market and doubling-down on that.”

 

Slash Gear, in its own take on the “Google+ is Not Dead” headlines that started popping up yesterday, proclaimed in its headline: “Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed.” The piece opens with the question, “Remember Google+?”

While Horowitz argues that the platform is now showing greater signs of life now, to many, it did seem that the platform was being left by the wayside. So what does Google have in store for it, and will this be a dramatic shift from a “social network” approach to something entirely different?

When asked by Backchannel about where it’s going, Horowitz pointed to specifically what he feels is the platform’s current strength. “For instance, one particular use-case on Google Plus is people aligning around common interests. If I’m interested in astronomy and I want to meet other people interested in astronomy, we think we have a good solution – Collections, a new feature that we launched just two weeks ago. It’s the first in a series of pivots.”

Horowitz seemed mos excited to talk about was Google Photos. Google describes it on their official blog as “a new, standalone product that gives you a home for all your photos and videos, helps you organize and bring your moments to life, and lets you share and save what matters.”

An app, Google Photos allows users to enhance their photos, organize them and share a link to hundreds of photos at once. Recipients can see what’s been shared without having to use a special app or login and can themselves save the images into their own library.

It’s currently available on Android, iOS and the web. And Google notes more is in store for photos.

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Spotify officially announced yesterday that in addition to music, it is now a streaming video content provider. Partnerships with companies such as Comedy Central, BBC, Nerdist, NBC, ViceNews and ESPN will provide Spotify with short-form video, which will thus expand the reach for these media brands.

 

 

Video isn’t entirely new for Spotify. In the fall of 2014, Spotify for Brands introduced Video Ads Users listening to music on Spotify were given the option to watch a brand’s video (called a “Sponsored Session”) in order to enable an interruption-free period of 30-minutes of happy listening. Brands could also purchase a “video ad break” or “Video Takeover” on desktop.

Spotify partnered with brand powerhouses that included Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonalds and NBC Universal Pictures on its video ad formats. Video ads launched in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden in 2014 and they will be rolling out in more markets this year.

 

 

The news of Spotify venturing further into video wasn’t met with total jubilation. Tech reporter Brian Barrett, writing for Wired, comments that this is part of a larger trend of tech companies trying to be all things to all people. He writes, “These aren’t pivots, as they say, so much as they are tenuously constructed chimera, features and functions stapled together in an effort to become The One True Internet Experience.”

Barrett contends that we’ve seen this “land grab” pursuit of “total dominance” before and it hasn’t ended well for the brands that tried it – or for consumers. Looking at the big picture of tech companies that aspire to be one-stop shops on the web, he laments, “And having one company (or more specifically, that company’s algorithms) dictate what, when, and how millions of people experience the digital world feels at least mildly dystopian.”

On the flip side, others see the move as a serious (and positive) challenge to cable subscriptions. Consumers today, especially Millennials, are looking for the freedom to stream content without being tethered to expensive cable bundles. Streaming services like Netflix have already demonstrated the significant interest in streaming services, but that popularity is driving a push for more and more companies to try to jump on the bandwagon, making the streaming services landscape increasingly crowded and competitive.

 

 

Spotify’s move to offer more advertising and content-sharing options for brands demonstrates an understanding of the shift in the way consumers are looking to experience content. It also demonstrates an understanding that the Spotify brand itself needed to refresh its business model as it faced competition from Apple and Beats’ moves to rival its streaming service.

Ultimately, as our Creative Director Rich DeSimone discussed in a recent Q&A here on the EGC blog, “We know video is an important part of any marketing strategy. We know that watching a product video makes a customer 52% more likely to purchase that product. And we know that hundreds of millions of hours’ worth of videos are watched daily on YouTube with half of those views now happening on mobile…Our challenge will be to create dynamic videos that stand out as more brands produce even more video.”

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FBIA

 

Today, Facebook is launching a new program that will allow participating news organizations that range from The New York Times to BBC News to publish content directly to Facebook. Rather than sharing a link to their own publication website, Facebook promises instant articles with load times that will be up to ten times faster.

Interestingly, just last March, The New York Times published a piece about the possibility of the plan, Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content, while listing itself as a possible partner. Noting, “Facebook intends to begin testing the new format in the next several months, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions,” The New York Times also listed BuzzFeed as being in talks with Facebook.

Writing of its involvement in the program today, this newspaper noted, “The New York Times has been cautious about the Facebook program, viewing it as an experiment that could help it learn more about subscribers and potential subscribers who are reading its articles on Facebook.” In its previous post from March, however, the publication cited concerns about a loss of reader data as one of its concerns with the plan.

Facebook's plan to directly host articles on its site involves media companies including NBC News, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Atlantic and more.

Posted by The New York Times on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at The Verge, writes in his piece that was published this morning, Facebook’s Instant Articles Arrive to Speed Up the News Feed, “Perhaps the most important thing to note about Facebook’s instant articles is that they feel inevitable. Content hosted on apps rather than websites isn’t the future of media – it’s the present.” In fact, as reported in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Parse.ly, a provider of audience insights for digital publishers, found that at the end of 2014, Facebook had surpassed Google in sending readers to news sites (referral traffic).

At present, Facebook will allow publishers to sell ads on their instant articles themselves and keep the revenue. Facebook also offers the option to sell ads for the publishers, splitting the revenue. 

What could this mean for publishers, going forward? Casey Newton floats a gloomy scenario for publishers, wherein traditional links become decreasingly effective on Facebook, instant articles will become popular – and Facebook takes an increasing cut of ad revenue. He writes, “What appeared to the media as a friendly tweak to the user interface was really a trap.”

As Jamie Condliffe writes in his opinion piece for Gizmodo this morning, “It remains to be seen how successful the experiment will be, of course – but if it does perform as well as Facebook hopes, publishers could well finds themselves even more reliant on a service they have little control over.” In terms of control, one aspect of this that comes up across articles, blogs and opinion pieces today as a serious point of concern is the issue of algorithm changes.

You need never leave this place they call the Facebook.

Posted by Gizmodo on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Facebook famously (or perhaps infamously) routinely “tweaks” its algorithm. In 2013, we at EGC took a look at dramatic changes in the News Feed algorithm and their impact. Additionally, we’ve looked at how Facebook shifted again in January of this year to push brands to promote more of its content to achieve visibility.

How this will work, and what the impact of inevitable algorithm tweaks will be, remains to be seen. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, did find in recent research that 30% of US adults get news from Facebook. At the moment, 78% of those adults predominantly discover news when on Facebook for “other reasons” and only 34% of “Facebook news consumers” are actually following news organizations or journalists themselves. So, there’s certainly room to grow on the platform in attracting followers and consistently delivering content to them.

The user experience will matter a great deal in the success of Instant Articles. Facebook has worked to create a beautiful feature-rich experience here. For example, Facebook has always been an important home for photos. As early as 2011, Facebook was said to store more than 10,000 times more photos than the Library of Congress, and photos play a big role in this new publishing format.

Photos will be able to have accompanying audio captions. They can be Liked and commented on individually within stories, and also be geo-targeted with an interactive map that opens when the name of the location is tapped. Authors and photographers of Facebook articles and photos can be included at the top of the content, with links to their public profiles that users can choose to follow.

With the estimated marketing effect of Facebook in 2014 enabling $148 billion of economic impact and 2.3 million jobs, according to Deloitte, the global power of Facebook is unmistakable. And Instant Articles promises to create a new way to experience news, potentially adding value to the platform and making it more important than ever for all brands to have an active and strategic Facebook presence.

 

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