For marketers wooing social media users amid a bombardment of competing messages, Twitter has a solution.
On Tuesday, the social platform unveiled an advertising feature that enables marketers to upload a video ad and then jump to the front of the line, getting
featured in Twitter’s app and its website for 24 hours. The feature is currently available to select marketers in the United States but will become
available globally in the future.
Twitter explained how the new feature—called “First View”—works, via a blog post:
First View helps marketers achieve significant audience reach with exclusive ownership of Twitter’s most valuable advertising real estate for a 24-hour
period. When users first visit the Twitter app or log in to twitter.com, the top ad slot in the timelines will be a Promoted Video from that brand. Now,
marketers can tell a powerful visual story across the Twitter audience.
That Twitter is catering to marketers is no surprise; the social media platform’s advertising business is booming.
In 2015’s fourth quarter, Twitter grabbed $641 million from marketers—a 48 percent increase year over year. Mobile marketing accounted for 86 percent of ad
However, the outlook isn’t all sunshine and roses for Twitter. It continues to struggle to retain users—a crucial element in keeping marketers interested
in its platform.
explained that even though Twitter brought many people to its platform in the last quarter of 2015, user growth is either stagnant or dropping:
In the fourth quarter of 2015, Twitter attracted 320 million people to check out its service each month on average. Even though that’s about one-fifth of
Facebook’s monthly audience size, it’s still a lot of people, 9% more than had checked out Twitter each month in the fourth quarter of 2014. Problem is,
320 million monthly active users is the same amount of people that checked out Twitter each month during the previous quarter. That is to say, the size of
Twitter’s audience didn’t grow in the fourth quarter.
also reported that when you subtract roughly 15 million—the amount of people without Twitter accounts who follow certain profiles exclusively via text
messaging—“Twitter actually lost 2 million people from its monthly audience in the fourth quarter.”
Facebook captions video ads
Twitter isn’t the only social media platform to offer new features for marketers.
Facebook revealed that 80 percent of users react negatively when videos start to play loudly in their timelines—and end up blaming both Facebook and the
brand behind the video. However, Facebook reported that 41 percent of videos are meaningless without sound.
To combat negativity but still give video marketing context, Facebook announced that it will start to automatically caption video ads. Advertising Age reported that
the feature will roll out to U.S. and Canadian users using English ads. Marketers can add captions of their own.
Google improves video ads by switching to HTML5
As more people access social media and search engines via their mobile devices, it’s increasingly important to make sure the technology behind them offers
them the best experience.
Marketers will no longer be able to upload ads containing Flash to Google Adwords starting in June. In January 2017, ads containing Flash will no longer
run, Google said in a Google Plus post:
Over the last few years, we’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to use HTML5, so you can reach the widest possible audience across screens
(http://goo.gl/nWHctK). To enhance the browsing experience for more people on more devices, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing
are now going 100% HTML5:
- Starting June 30th, 2016, display ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing.
- Starting January 2nd, 2017, display ads in the Flash format can no longer run on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick.
It’s important to update your display ads to HTML5 before these dates.
The change does not affect video ads. Google also shared instructions on how to change your
ads in Google Adwords.
The change will affect many marketers. The Guardian reported that most banner
ads—along with many other online advertisements—used last year were Flash-based:
Over 100m Flash-based adverts were displayed to users globally in the year to June 2015, while 84% of banner ads were still Flash, according to data from Ad Age. That number is expected to be
significantly reduced year-on-year and eventually taper to zero as other advertising services follow suit, such as Amazon, which recently blocked Flash ads
from its own site.
LinkedIn focuses on sponsored content
Not all digital marketing features announced lately are aimed at eye-catching images or video ads.
LinkedIn recently announced that it was closing down its ad network, called “Lead Accelerator.” The service used LinkedIn’s data to target users outside
the network, but the company’s CFO, Steve Sordello, said the product would take more money to scale than originally expected.
Instead, LinkedIn is focusing on offering marketers more opportunities through sponsored content—a growing trend for online and social media campaigns.
“For the quarter, Sponsored Updates grew roughly 85 percent, accounting for more than 50 percent of LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions revenue for the first
time,” Marketing Land