This week: the law cracks down on paid-for social media likes and followers, Snap hits a new milestone, and Quora continues to improve its ad platform.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
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Facebook Is Eliminating Ad Set Budgets
If you run Facebook marketing campaigns with your budget declared at the ad set level, you’re going to need to make some changes. Soon, Facebook will only allow you to set your budget at the campaign level.
Yes, this change will apply to your existing campaigns that you might have been running for weeks, months, or years.
Facebook says its goal with the change is to help you reduce your advertising costs.
According to the social media giant, BuzzFeed has already tested campaign-level budgeting with improved cost efficiencies.
Facebook Adds Income-Level Targeting by Zip Code
Facebook is giving you even more control over income-level targeting. Now, you can target people based on their income within a specific zip code.
For example, if you’d like to target people in the top 5% of income level within their zip code, you can do that.
Keep in mind: the targeting feature does not provide specific income ranges. Instead it just targets income relative to other people in the same zip code.
Facebook says that its targeting data is based on publicly available information.
Snap Tops $1 Billion in Revenue in Q4 2018
Snap’s total revenue crossed the billion-dollar level for the first time in Q4 2018.
Earnings came in at $390 million. That’s $100 million more than in Q3.
Daily active users (DAUs) held steady for the third quarter. Unfortunately, that means Snapchat didn’t see any user growth.
But at least the social media app quit hemorrhaging users.
Snap also reported that its Collection Ads delivered twice the return on ad spend versus other ad formats. Pixels also saw more than double the number of purchases recorded in Q3.
Finally, Snap said that its 6-second non-skippable ads performed well without offering any details.
YouTube Allows Some Advertisers to Buy Mastheads on a CPM Basis
In the past, YouTube only allowed advertisers to buy masthead ads on a daily basis. It looks like that’s about to change.
This past week, the video-sharing company announced that it’s experimenting with allowing advertisers to purchase masthead space on a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) basis.
Given the popularity of YouTube, that’s some premium digital real estate.
Cathleen Ryan is the VP of Marketing at TurboTax. She said that the masthead ads were an important part of her brand’s Super Bowl strategy this year.
“The Masthead is a great way to introduce the new way of doing taxes with TurboTax Live,” she said. “It’s very timely and relevant to be front and center on YouTube, the biggest online video platform, on the day after the Super Bowl.”
Report: YouTube Ad Revenue Spike 11% in 2018
According to MediaRadar, YouTube saw an 11% year-over-year increase in ad revenue in 2018.
A few other important stats:
- YouTube saw a 51% ad renewal rate
- Geico, Samsung, and Disney accounted for more than 15% of total ad revenue
- Media companies represent more than 30% of total ad revenue
“Despite brand safety challenges, YouTube bounced back and saw strong growth year-over-year. It has been transparent, mostly about its mistakes and has delivered remedies to buyers,” said MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman, “Few advertisers have stopped buying on the platform and ad revenue is up.”
It’s not all good news, though. Automotive brands, such as GM and Ford, cut spending on YouTube advertising last year.
Quora Adds Keyword Targeting, New Insights for Marketers
It’s a day ending in “y” so Quora is announcing new features to enhance its ad platform.
This time, the company is enabling you to run ads based on keywords. It works just like keyword targeting for search ads.
You can target keywords at the ad group or ad set level.
You can even include negative keywords to ensure that your ad is only reaching people who are part of your target market.
Additionally, Quora is offering some new analytics:
- Auctions Lost to Competition – shows the percentage of your auctions that your ad set entered but lost to a competitor.
- Impression Share – shows the percentage of your auctions that your ad set entered and won an impression.
- Absolute Impression Share – shows the percentage of your auctions that your ad set entered and won at the top ad slot available.
Facebook Ad Revenue Topped $16 Billion for the First Time
Facebook ad revenue reached a new milestone in Q4 2018.
The social media giant reported $16.6 billion in ad sales during that period. That’s the first time the company ever topped $16 billion in a single quarter.
The figure also represents a 30% year-over-year increase in ad revenue.
Daily active users (DAUs) stood at 1.52 billion. That’s a 9% increase from the same period in 2017.
Facebook also reported that price per ad decreased 2% while the number of impressions served increased 34%.
However, the CFO warned that the company will faced a deceleration of growth in 2019.
Google Opens Maximize Conversions Bidding for TrueView for Action Bids
Now you can structure your bidding to maximize conversions with TrueView for Action campaigns.
If you’re unfamiliar with TrueView for Action campaigns, they’re designed to drive leads and conversions with headline text and prominent calls to action.
It’s a great alternative if you don’t meet the 50 conversions per week threshold for cost-per-acquisition bidding.
Google says that CPA bidding might be more suitable if you have a specific ROI goal in mind.
Google Served 96% of US Mobile Search Visits in Q4 2018
Google dominates US mobile search.
According to Merkle, the search giant accounted for 96% of all US mobile search visits in Q4 2018.
Overall, organic search delivered about 26% of all site visits during the same period.
Organic search grew just 2% year-over-year. That’s quite a dip from the 6% growth recorded in the previous quarter.
Google also delivered 93% of all US organic search visits in the last quarter. That’s up from 92% a year earlier.
Bing delivered 4% of all organic search results and DuckDuckGo delivered 0.4% of all organic search results in Q4 2018.
Moz Upgrades ‘Domain Authority’ Algorithm
Moz is making a change in how it calculates Domain Authority (DA).
That’s a good thing because many SEO professionals have questioned the Moz metric for quite some time now.
If you’re unfamiliar with DA, it’s used to measure the value of a domain in terms of passing page rank. DA is expressed as a number between 0 and 100, with 100 being the best.
Domains with higher authority are prime digital real estate for backlinks.
Apparently, Moz’s old algorithm gave unrealistically high scores to domains with spammy backlinks. The new model fixes that problem.
The change rolls out March 5.
Twitter Cuts off Some Tools From Its API
Twitter is cracking down on tools that violate its API rules.
This past week, the social media company enforced tighter restrictions on services that facilitate “bulk and aggressive” following.
Tools impacted include ManageFitter, Statusbrew, and Crowdfire.
Lots of marketers relied on Crowdfire. If you’re one of them, you might need to look for something else.
Twitter is making the changes to limit the use of bots on its platform. The company says it shut down more than 143,000 apps between April and June of last year.
Court Rules That Companies Can’t Sell Social Media Likes and Followers
This seems big.
Recently, a court ruled that a company named Devumi can’t sell social media likes and followers.
The company was brought to trial by the New York State Attorney General. The matter was settled with that office issuing this statement:
“Attorney General Letitia James today announced a precedent-setting settlement over the sale of fake followers, ‘likes,’ and views on social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, using fake activity from false accounts. The settlement prohibits Devumi LLC and related companies (‘Devumi’) from engaging in any of the same misconduct going forward. This settlement marks the first finding by a law enforcement agency that selling fake social media engagement and using stolen identities to engage in online activity is illegal.”
Bottom line: if you want likes and followers on social media, you’ll have to get them the old-fashioned way: by creating value.
Otherwise, you might be seeing somebody in court.