Facebook spent $715M on Instagram, $87M on other acquisitions this year

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Facebook spent $87 million so far this year on business acquisitions not including its Instagram purchase, the company revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Facebook spent $521 million on Instagram — $300 million of which was in cash, the rest in vested shares of Class B common stock. Facebook additionally issued 11 million unvested shares to employee stockholders of Instagram, with a value of about $194 million to be recognized as they vest over three years. This makes the total price of the mobile photo sharing app $715 million, shy of the $1 billion original price, which decreased with Facebook’s stock value.

Facebook reported $87 million in other business acquisitions from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. Apart from Instagram, this year Facebook has bought Tagtile, Glancee, Karma, Face.com and Threadsy.

Tagtile was a mobile-based customer loyalty management startup that offered payments hardware and software for merchants. Glancee was an ambient mobile location app that alerts users when people with similar interests are nearby. Karma was a mobile gifting and commerce service, which was turned into Facebook Gifts. Face.com was a facial recognition technology company. Threadsy offered a Klout-like service called Swaylo to connect brands and influencers, and help users understand their own influence on Facebook.

Facebook also made a number of acqu-hires this year, picking up employees from Momentus Media, Lightbox, Bolt Peters, Pieceable Software, Spool, Acrylic and Carsabi.

The company only spent $24 million on acquisitions at the end of Q2, indicating that the most recent acquisitions to close added up to $63 million. Facebook did not include details about the price of each deal or when they closed.

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Facebook Ads, Sponsored Content and the Future of Social Advertising

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facebook ads likeYesterday, one of our Facebook fans left a comment on our Page saying that she was seeing our sponsored posts in her news feed way too often. We’ve been experimenting with post promotion and sponsored stories for a year, but this is the first time we’ve received negative feedback.

As the person responsible for managing these ads, I completely appreciate what the user was saying. I went back and checked the frequency of placement of this promoted post to fans and the user was completely right; the display frequency was too high. I made adjustments to the sponsored content in order to decrease visibility and bring it back in line with the other posts we’ve promoted.

Why Post Promotion is Necessary for Brands

This won’t be the last time a fan on our page or any other page sponsoring posts leaves a comment like this during the early stages of these ads. Why? Facebook and other social media outlets are changing the ad game in order to drive revenue.

Earlier this month, Facebook changed their EdgeRank algorithm, which decreased Page reach nearly across the board. Not surprisingly, Facebook’s mobile ad revenue has surged as Page managers started using Promoted Posts to increase visibility. Those posts, of course, show up in the news feed on both desktop and mobile as sponsored stories.

Facebook can now boast that it has found a way to monetize the 604 million mobile users. For us and for many of our clients, using post promotion meant that as many as 55 percent of new likes were now coming from mobile. And using post promotion, we’ve been able to counter the decrease in Reach and Engagement that came after the EdgeRank update I mentioned above.

Social Media at a Crossroads

Any PPC person will tell you that old style display ads are rarely effective on social sites. Sponsored content is the primary source of ad revenue for these networks and will be in the near term. The big challenge facing all social networks right now is how to manage user experience on their free services with sponsored content placement.

When you first log into Facebook these days on both mobile and desktop, you often see a sponsored story. (Twitter, Reddit and social news sites like Huffington Post and BuzzFeed work this way, too.) And many of the stories about Facebook’s mobile ad revenue this week asked the question: Will users revolt over sponsored content? The answer has been an overwhelming “No” in the year that we’ve sponsored content. Our engagement has never been higher… especially when it comes to social media generating leads.

In the case of the complaint we received, the issue with display frequency was a combination of both budget and popularity of the content we were sharing. More people were liking, sharing and commenting on our content than they have in the past. Just like Google Search ads, interaction helps determine display frequency. As social advertising evolves, users will increasingly determine their own ad experience through this interaction.

Curating the Ad Experience

Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and any other social site using sponsored content to drive revenue only risk a revolt when they display irrelevant content to their users. The service is free; it’s paid for by ads. At the same time, the information users provide to the network means there is an expectation that the ads are relevant.

I myself have hid brands from my news feed on Facebook and blocked Twitter profiles from brands because they advertised to me when I didn’t want them to. I’ve even hid brands that I like because I didn’t want them in my newsfeed all the time. (And I’ve mostly stopped using Hulu because I’ve responded to ad experience questions without it affecting the ads that are displayed to me.)

Users have unprecedented power with internet ads, something that will only grow as the advertising becomes more sophisticated. Brands that provide irrelevant ads to social network users deserve to have their brand hidden from news feeds, their profile blocked on Twitter or their Facebook Page unliked… including us. The benefit to the user is reducing noise. And the benefit to the brand is you’re not advertising to people who aren’t going to engage with your brand in a meaningful way.



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West Coast More Productive than East Coast, Say Makers of To-Do List App [Infographic]

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You’ve tried post-it notes, you’ve tried pocket calendars, you may have even set an alarm on your phone, but have you tried using your social networks to help you finish your to-do list? Well is a social app that lets you post what you’d like to accomplish, from walking your dog to swimming the English Channel.

The makers of Well have been poking around their social graph to find out how many tasks users in different parts of the country have actually finished since they’ve started using the app. Here’s a shocker for you: laid-back Californians are more productive than New Yorkers.

But it’s not just about location. Due dates were also a motivating factor: 61 percent of tasks that had a due date were completed, compared to the 23 percent of tasks that were completed without one. Well breaks down more statistics in the infographic below:

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Doing Most Things In-house? Here Are Five Reasons To Consider Partnering With An External Marketing Agency

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Perhaps your company has choosen to keep all or most of your marketing strategy and advertising work in-house. Often, this operational plan is seen as a more efficient use of budgets and resources – and always ensures your company is the “agency’s” first priority. There are however, a host of reasons why internal marketing agencies and/or internal marketing teams fall short of greatness. Here are five of the top reasons that I have witnessed over the years, peering in from the external agency side of things.

  1. Cost: Internal teams may not be as flexible in some cases as an external agency. If your internal team’s sheer workload means that projects are moving too slowly through the pipeline, responding to competive marketing messages are too slow, or launching your next key campaign isn’t as timely as you planned – how might that hurt the company? Then consider the seasonality of your marketing or other business factors that may result in peaks or valleys surrounding human resources or employee training. Now, add things like computers and other materials, rented office space, health insurance, sick-pay and much more. Maybe what you thought were efficiencies aren’t really turning out that way after all.
  2. Motivation: Agencies typically work for clients based on an agreed number of hours each month (retainer), or through a pre-agreed total budget for a specific project. Companies can often find themselves trying to evaluate whether the hours spent by the agency were used efficiently or most successfully. Let me assure you, any great agency is giving their clients far more hours in service than they actually bill. This is because the best agencies are highly motivated to provide solutions that showcase a high-level of creative and strategic know-how – no matter how many hours it takes to think of it. Home, car, shower, you name it, we’re thinking about ways to impress you and motive your audiences. In addition to that pride for creating award-winning work, external agencies are also motivated by the simple fact that our hours are finite. Together we set the timeline and correlate your budget to a number of hours. Overshooting either the timeline and/or the hours needed to complete the task is a loss in revenue for the agency. Working fast and efficiently is our only option. The goal then is to continually improve our process and make the best use of our time. Extenal agencies also do not have the same level of job security that an internal group may have. And that’s motivation enough, too.
  3. The Bubble: One of the greatest challenges internal marketing agencies have is avoiding getting stuck in the bubble – that impenetrable sphere that ignores facts, delays necessary adaptation and is deaf to crucial market trends, evolving competitor messaging and changing customer behaviors. Far too often I’ve taken part in disussions with a company’s top leadership and internal marketing folks, only to be kept out of their bubble because I was prescribing a jolt of RedBull, but they wanted to keep drinking their kool-aid. Internal agencies have the disadvantage of having to sit in strategy meetings with the forces that often create those bubbles. External agencies have a major advantage of always being outside the bubble. In other words, objectivity combats mediocrity. Being confident enough to allow an external marketing partner to tell it to you straight is an englightening experience that you can use to your advantage.
  4. Broad Industry Knowledge: Internal agencies have been know to fall into the trap of paying far too much attention to their specific industry publications or developing their marketing solutions by watching what messaging or solutions their market leading competitors roll-out first. Beware of this practice, for it is a sure-fire way to remain mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, knowing what your competition is doing at all times and how they are attempting to leverage their strengths or spotlight your weaknesses is essential to success. However, far too often companies see a competitor’s marketing successes as a framework to follow for building their own success. Look outside your industry for big ideas and new trends just as much as you do inside.

    External agencies have experience helping a broad range of companies with a host of unique marketing needs. Because innovative marketing occurs in every industry, an external agency with a variety of clients may be just what you need to fuel new ideas that no one in your industry has ever thought to try. This is why an external agency is so valuable. You’re B2B, maybe your agency’s other B2C client did something recently that could be modified perfectly for your audience. Look for an external agency with a nice mix of clients and you’ll find an agency that hasn’t hand-cuffed themselves with limited industry knowledge.

    For a sample of our client list, click here.

  5. Specialized: Extenal agencies offer a range of resources with varied areas of specialization. Think of how much has changes just in the past six months surrounging Facebook marketing and mobile advertising. Can your internal marketing staff offer you the latest ways to best leverage these tools for your industry, or is their knowledge spread generally across a number of marketing tactics? External agencies thrive through continual education. We attend conferences, read leading industry publications, share examples of successful marketing campaign that span every industry imaginable, and are overall more focused on being at the highest level in our professions. This specialization usually means the ideas you’ll get from an external agency will also be a unified solution derived through a collaboration of highly specialized professionals – with ways to most successfully integrate multiple tactics. In most cases, if you need to stand out and expect cutting-edge, go find an external agency.

 

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Facebook’s global growth in Q3: 1.01B MAU, 604M people connect through mobile

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Facebook today shared new stats on its user growth across the globe, including that it reached 1.01 billion monthly active users on Sept. 14. This is a 26 percent increase year-over-year. The social network also reports that 604 million people now access Facebook through mobile devices monthly.

The graph below shows how Facebook has grown across different geographies since its last earnings call in July. The social network has grown steadily across the board, even showing a 22 million user increase in Asia, especially as it continues to gain traction in Japan.

For daily active users, Facebook has grown steadily as well, going up 32 million users worldwide since the last earnings call. This is a 28 percent increase year-over-year.

However, the most impressive numbers come from Facebook’s mobile efforts as monthly active users on mobile has grown to 604 million, an increase of 61 percent year-over-year. In response to questions about the potential for Facebook’s mobile properties to be a strong source of revenue, the company shared that 14 percent of its ad revenue was generated from mobile.

In a press release, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’m also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices. People who use our mobile products are more engaged, and we believe we can increase engagement even further as we continue to introduce new products and improve our platform. At the same time, we are deeply integrating monetization into our product teams in order to build a stronger, more valuable company.”

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Social Media Newsfeed: Apple Event | Facebook Earnings | Microsoft Surface RT

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 Click here to receive the Morning Social Media Newsfeed via email.

iPad MiniNew iPad Mini Means More Screens in Front of TVs (Lost Remote)
To date, 100 million iPads have been sold in just over two years, accounting for 91 percent of all tablet Web traffic, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook in his presentation on Tuesday. And now Apple has taken the wraps off a 7.9-inch iPad Mini and a new slate of fourth generation iPads, which means more screens in more places. USA Today The iPad Mini will be priced at $329, and the new screen has resolution of 1024 x 768. But it doesn’t sport the sterling retina display that’s on the latest generations of its larger sibling. AP Customers can begin ordering the new model on Friday. Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs once ridiculed a small tablet from a competitor as a “tweener” that was too big and too small to compete with either smartphones or tablets. AllThingsD Before revealing its much-anticipated tablet, the company showed off a 13-inch Macbook Pro with a Retina display, refreshed Mac mini and next-generation iMac. The new iMac is the thinnest desktop computer Apple has made to date, measuring just 5 mm at the edges — 80 percent thinner than the previous model, if you’re counting. Macworld Cook presented the updated iBooks Author as part of an “iPad in education” segment during the introduction of the latest versions of Apple’s tablet. New in iBooks Author are new templates and portrait-only iBooks. continued…

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3 Ideas for Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

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collaborative brainstorming

It’s game time at Kuno, so join in the Mad Lib fun! First, list one of each of the following: Noun, Adjective, Name of a Room (i.e. library), Adjective and Name of Kuno Employee. Now plug them in and see what type of story you can tell with just a little creativity!

There’s a __(noun)__ in the office!

It was a clear,  __(adjective)__ morning when everyone came in to the Kuno office. Little did they suspect that there was a crocodile lurking in the __(name a room)__!  With their __(adjective)__ skills they were able to fend off the beast but not before it ate __(name of employee)__.

Saddened by their loss, the Kuno team wrote a blog post in honor of their memory.

The Moral of the Story

When you’re feeling stuck creatively, for a blog post topic or a way to code something, a great way to get unstuck is to turn to brainstorming with colleagues for new ideas. Even if the ideas sound silly or not relevant—sometimes they can lead to great outcomes you would have missed before.

3 Ideas for Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

  1. Give everyone a word to define in a new way. Sometimes the hardest part about thinking creatively is to think in a new way. Sometimes, referred to as “out of the box,” but more often, it’s just getting out of your own head. By handing out a word that everyone knows well, like “carrot,” you can come up with some pretty zany inspirations to get the juices flowing and start thinking in a new way.
  2. Get out of your element. The office can be a great space to work with others, but sometimes you need to physically move out so that you can keep thinking about new ideas. Let everyone take a five-minute walk and discuss the idea outside while you move. Getting your whole body involved in the thinking process can lead to a different frame of mind. Truth be told, some of the employees here have push up contests during short breaks!
  3. Draw it out. When words aren’t coming to you, go back to the basics of drawing pictures. Have a white board in the office? Play Pictionary, hangman or some other game in teams to get everyone excited! Make it fun—and the fun will come.

When thinking about the task at hand is overwhelming or seems impossible to achieve, sometimes not thinking about it—and trying other avenues for creativity—will open up to the best ideas yet.

What are some of your best brainstorming ideas? Also, what words did you use to complete the Mad Lib above—fill in in the comments below! 

photo credit: akeg



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