With Facebook, it’s All about Organic Content Now

On January 11th, 2018 Facebook announced a major change to their News Feed algorithm that will cause some impact on brands’ ability to reach users on Facebook through organic distribution.

The change will focus on prioritizing content from friends, family and groups, rather than less public content like posts from businesses, brands and the media.  This means news feeds will likely start to show more pictures of your friend’s new puppy and fewer Buzzfeed articles.

As the changes roll out over the next several months, businesses will most likely see a decrease in their organic reach, but there’s opportunity here…

While there is still some uncertainty on what the exact impact of what the news feed changes will be, there are still ways for businesses on Facebook to work with the new algorithm and continue reaching their customers through meaningful interactions:

  • Continue posting engaging, quality content that encourages comments
  • Reach the right people with the right posts at the right time – utilize your Facebook Insights to understand the makeup of your current audience
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s Live feature:
    • Livestreaming receives 6x the engagement of regular video
    • Currently only 28% of Marketers utilize this feature
  • Make your content a “must have” for your followers – Although the News Feed determines what content people see, they can manually override the algorithm to select people and pages that they want to see first in their feed. This can be done two ways:
    • Via their personal “News Feed Preferences” – People can click “News Feed Preferences” and then “prioritize who to see first”
    • On the brand page itself – People visiting your brand page can click on “following” and then choose “see first”

Should you have any questions about how Facebook’s changes will affect you and your business, or if you’d like some general advice on how to proceed, then we welcome you to contact us at Strathcom!

Facebook’s Heart Will Go On – Facebook Newsfeed Changes

Facebook newsfeed changes

The Titanic didn’t change directions easily. It changed directions almost reluctantly, because A) it was an ordeal to maneuver such a large vessel, and B) the staff didn’t want to cause concern among the wealthy elites on board (and I don’t have to tell you how that worked out; James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster probably handled that already). This example is an apt metaphor about how surging ahead blindly in a straight line, without planning far ahead for directional changes, can be the downfall of a large organization. In a recent statement from its founder, Facebook essentially said they’re changing directions, and they aim to avoid such a fate. Here’s what you can expect from recent Facebook newsfeed changes…

Time Well Spent

Facebook will often casually roll out cosmetic changes, to the mild and temporary frustration of users, but typically does not make major changes to the framework. So why the announcement? In keeping with the Titanic example, they must be observing something the rest of us can’t see – a distant iceberg that can be avoided in the future by acting now. Opinions on this bit of news vary. To the average user, the promise of improving the user experience sounds good. Speculation from some is that Facebook has observed a concerning trend of certain demographics dropping off in their time spent on the platform, and therefore they feel the pressure to, as Zuckerberg puts it, “making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” In other words, cater the experience to users, not to advertisers. Therefore, it raises questions for advertisers. Zuckerberg’s comments could imply that advertising will have less of a presence, and hinder the ability of companies to find and engage their customers effectively. But would Facebook really choose to scare off their investors if it was that simple?

For the average Facebook user, the idea behind this is simple; that users will see more of what they actually care about, which to some people implies less ads. Some people have assumed that it means, for example, instead of every 5th post being an ad, it will be every 7th slot, thus decreasing the total ads you are exposed to as you browse. But this is not the case. What Facebook is trying to avoid is the frustration some users feel when they view their newsfeed and see a bunch of posts that they care little about. We’ve all had the puzzling experience where we see things in our newsfeed such as: a friend you barely know liked an article from a business that you don’t care about that was posted by some other friend of theirs who you don’t know at all. That feeling of “I don’t care about this” is exactly what every digital content platform wants to avoid for their users.

Interaction is the New Engagement

Facebook has several ongoing measures to combat this type of negative user experience, such as the ability to un-follow people while remaining accessible as contacts, the option to “see less” of particular types of posts, and the ability to choose which of your friends whose posts you’d like to prioritize. All of these tools have been deployed because Facebook wants you to enjoy, and find value in, browsing their product. If you enjoy it less, obviously you’ll use it less, right? These tools are great ideas, and they are accessible as consumer-facing features. However, Facebook’s major update in question has more to do with the back end; the algorithm which determines what to show you without your direct input.

Speaking to our partner support reps at Facebook, our first question was whether this update could entail a decrease in available ad real estate (inventory, as they call it). The answer is that the opposite is actually true. Between newsfeed, right column, messenger, audience network, etc, plus a steady increase in total users, there is no shortage of ad placements available. What is more affected is the potential reach of organic posts, particularly those of businesses. Things like comments and shares on a post are going to be weighted more heavily than simple reactions (such as likes, or the other array of emotions available at the push of a button).

Strathcom Can Help

To reiterate these Facebook newsfeed changes: ads will still be shown. From an advertising perspective, this update is not a reason for concern. It is, however, a reminder of the importance of organized, regularly maintained, strategic, managed advertising campaigns. The best Facebook business pages have outstanding organic content, plus a healthy advertising strategy attacking multiple levels of the marketing funnel. Relying simply on organic posts will be less and less effective as Facebook endeavors to show its users more of the organic posts that they want to see and interact with, not just the organic posts that businesses want them to see. If you are of the belief that your business’s organic posts have sufficed so far, and you don’t see the need for an advertising plan, let’s just say you may not have noticed the iceberg damaging your Titanic, but don’t be surprised when you start to take on water and your Facebook traffic sinks.

Inquire about these recent Facebook newsfeed changes or about an online advertising package with Strathcom, and while we can’t literally make you “the king of the world”, we can at least keep your online presence afloat.

If you haven’t read it already, here is Mark Zuckerberg himself explaining the genesis of this change and the theory behind it.

Social Advertising in a Mobile First World

mobile devicesThe mobile consumer experience is rapidly changing. Consumers are checking their favorite social media platforms on their smartphones when they wake up, and before they go to bed. At this point, it is no secret that your business needs to be reaching customers on social media. How does your business stand out from the other content your customers are consuming daily? The optimal consumer experience consists of three things: using the power of videos, content consumption, and the quality of engagement.

Videos are becoming an important form of expression and communication over social media. Gone are the days of long statuses or posts to express yourself. Individuals are now sharing short videos to convey a message. However, most people don’t want to hear what you have to say, they want to view it. To get your customer’s attention, make sure the message of your video can be expressed without sound. Use text or subtitles in your video to get the customer to focus on your ad for a few seconds.

“Thumb stopping” content is one of those buzzwords everyone is using. But how do you create content that will stop people from scrolling?

Two women sitting in a bar and staring at mobile phones - Girls watching a video online on portable device

People recognize pictures more than they recognize a wall of text. You may provide the best description of your business possible, but if you are not utilizing photos, or using very dull photos, no one is going to recognize your brand in the future. You need to also consider the age of your target demographic. Younger people tend to scroll through their feeds quickly, whereas older individuals tend to take their time. You should use interesting graphics to capture a younger audience, and consider using quality photos to keep an older audience interested in your post.

The quality of engagement on social media is no match to other platforms. Individuals are more attentive and more positive to their experiences on mobile versus other platforms such as television. Even though smartphone screens are smaller than a flat screen TV, individuals are more focused to the content on their phones due to less distractions around them.

It’s time to revamp your social media strategy and Strathcom Media can help! Reach out to our sales team today to get started.

The Blurred Line Between TV and YouTube: what it means for advertisers

As more and more people turn to YouTube for their entertainment, it is getting more and more difficult to track exactly how many viewers a TV program gets. For example, I think everyone has watched – or at least heard about – Saturday Night Live’s skit in which Melissa McCarthy impersonates White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. We all know SNL airs on NBC on Saturday nights (duh), but is that when and where you watched it? Or did you watch it on YouTube?

Watching YouTube videos on smart TV with home media sharing technology.

In a recent Think with Google article, Google discussed how more viewers are watching TV programs on YouTube, and even casting what they are watching on YouTube to their televisions. According to their research, adults are 5x more likely to prefer online platforms over cable TV.

In another Think with Google article, they discussed how programs like ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on the Late Late Show with James Corden – despite being a successful TV program – frequently gets more views on YouTube than on TV.

“The blurred lines of video consumption have changed the way success of any TV show should be measured. That’s particularly true for us since we originally air after midnight. We’re in the relevance business. The first thing we do when we come in in the morning is look at how our videos performed on YouTube. Our executive producer, Ben Winston, says, ‘The overnight ratings just tell us who managed to stay awake past midnight. The YouTube numbers tell us which bits flew.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Case in point: Viewership of ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on YouTube regularly eclipses viewership on the show itself.”

So what does this mean for advertisers? It could mean that the money being spent on TV ads (about $72 billion last year) could be better suited for YouTube. This is one reason that YouTube is now rolling out a Web-TV service called YouTube TV. For just $35/month, customers can sign up for a package consisting of about 40 channels. It has also been speculated that YouTube TV will get about 2 minutes of ad time per hour to sell to advertisers.

It also means that Google’s targeting methods can now be utilized in the TV space, and Google can now sell their advertising in the network ad slots that would have typically gone to cable operators. But Google is insistent that they are not trying to take money away from TV, they just want to play in the TV space.

Will you sign up for YouTube TV if it comes to Canada? Will you be willing to spend $35/month? Let us know in the comment section!

The Top 10 Super Bowl 51 Commercials

friends watching football on TV

Super Bowl LI featured the most exciting 4th quarter in the history of football, Lady Gaga jumping off the roof of the arena, and some really great commercials.  USA Today has released the results of their annual ‘Ad Meter’, where people can rate the commercials that were aired during the big game.  Out of the top 10, 5 were vehicle commercials from Honda, Kia, Audi, Ford and Buick.  Check out the top 10 below:

#1 2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy

#2 All-New Honda CR-V 2017 Big Game Commercial – Yearbooks

#3 Audi #DriveProgress Big Game Commercial – “Daughter”

#4 Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”

#5 Tide | Super Bowl Commercial 2017 with Terry Bradshaw

#6 Mr. Clean | New Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams

#7 Big Game Commercial with Cam Newton & Miranda Kerr | Buick

#8 Super Bowl Baby Legends | Who’s Next? | Football is Family

#9 2017 Ford Go Further | Ford

#10 Inside These Lines

The Top Super Bowl Ads on YouTube; by the numbers.

Every year, we look forward to Super Bowl commercials; so much so that the price of these ads has been on a steady incline over the last decade, despite less people watching TV. According to Variety, Fox sold 90% of their commercial spots by December. (For those unfamiliar with the NFL schedule, the teams playing in Super Bowl hadn’t been selected by that time). With demand like that, prices are undoubtedly high.

Football with Chip Bowl and TV Remote

For comparison, the average price of a 30 second slot during game 7 of the World Series this past year was just over $500,000. The average price of a similar spot during the 2016 Oscars cost around $2 million. Super Bowl 50 had reports of a 30 second commercial going for $5 million dollars! With prices like that, it’s no surprise that companies enlist advertising agencies with extensive repertoires to try and make the longest lasting ads. Despite ads only living on TV for seconds, they’re uploaded to YouTube nearly simultaneously and receive millions of views. And in more recent years, 90% of new ads are released on YouTube prior to the Super Bowl.

YouTube reports that brands whose ads are among the top 20 Super Bowl Ads on YouTube (2008-2016), reflect a 30% increase in subscribers in February after the release of a new ad. In fact, YouTube says that in 2016, viewers used televisions for YouTube’s services 3 times more than phones or computers.

Even though the Super Bowl is an American pastime, viewers from all over the globe go to YouTube to watch the ads. There has been a 28x growth in Super Bowl viewers from 2008-2016. The top non-American countries that tuned into the Super Bowl are: The United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany.

Below are the top 10 ads from 2008-2016. Thanks to geo-blocking, we weren’t able to get some of the orignal commericals, but you can still see why these ads got the amount of views that they did.

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial “Puppy Love”, 2014 – Anomaly
Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official TV Commercial), 2015 – Barton F. Graf
Volkswagen The Force: Volkswagen Commercial, 2011 – Deutsch
Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial “Lost Dog”, 2015 – Anomaly
Pokémon #Pokemon20: Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial, 2016 – Omelet
Mountain Dew Mtn Dew Kickstart: Puppymonkeybaby, 2016 – BBDO
Duracell: Trust Your Power – NFL’s Derrick Coleman, 2014 – Saatchi & Saatchi
Bud Light Super Bowl XLIX Commercial – Real Life PacMan, 2015 Energy – BBDO
T-Mobile #KimsDataStash | T-Mobile Commercial, 2015 – Publicis
BMW i3 2015 Big Game Commercial – Newfangled Idea, 2015 – KBS

Worldwide Digital and Mobile Ad Spending is on the Rise!

After eMarketer’s latest update to their 2015-2020 forecast, the key points put focus on the growing spend and digital and mobile’s impact.

They are now predicting that ad spend is going to rise faster than previously expected. Having grown to $550.51 billion, global ad spend saw an increase of 7.2% in 2016. Digital ad spend is set to climb 20.3% to 194.60 billion for 2016. The increased jump is due to the recent Summer Olympics in Rio followed by the US presidential election.

From 2015 to 2020 ad spend growth is expected to maintain between 5% and 9% increase per year. eMarkerter also expects that by 2020 $724.06 billion will be invested in advertising.

Consider how to target the mobile market

Continue reading “Worldwide Digital and Mobile Ad Spending is on the Rise!”

Think with Google – Online Video Planning

Camera lens with lense reflections.

The Think with Google resource gives us online video planning tips for success with online videos. The first tip is to be mobile-minded. Google’s research found that viewers who watched an ad twice on mobile had – on average – a significant lift of 23% in unaided brand awareness, and 47% in unaided ad recall.

Think with Google also suggests to put YouTube alongside TV. But for most small to medium businesses, this might not be as easy as it would be for big-box businesses. So what’s the alternative? Put YouTube alongside Facebook. Not only are you adhering to the first tip, but you’re also choosing to advertise on a platform where people spend their time watching videos. When was the last time you watched a video on Facebook? The answer is probably yesterday or when you were on your coffee break.

Facebook is also more measurable than TV because you can track conversions from pixels and generate leads right from Facebook through their lead ads objective. In addition to the ability to generate leads, you can also track performance and measure key performance indicators to see if it’s all living up to your expectations.

online video planning tips

You can read the referenced Think With Google content here. If you would like more online video planning tips, check out or previous post about YouTube or give our Online Marketing Team a call; and don’t forget to ask about how you can get $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html

10 YouTube Fundamentals

Google sign

We were lucky enough to attend Google’s Video Ignite event at the New York Chelsea office. It was a great event packed with a ton of useful content that we would like to share with you!

Video has been gaining popularity for quite some time now; video even had its own section at Think Auto this year, which was a first. Most of us would agree that we would rather ‘watch’ the internet as opposed to ‘reading’ it, but how do you become successful at utilizing video? Karolina Chodkiewicz, Senior Strategic Partner Manager, YouTube Content Partnerships North America with Google was so kind as to share the top 10 fundamentals of YouTube:

  1. Shareability
    Does your video appeal to users in a way that will encourage them to share you video? Having great content is key, and here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for your video: is it topical, is it valuable, and is it relatable?
  2. Conversation
    Is there an element of your video that speaks directly to your viewers? This could be content added in the main video or as supplementary content. Think of calls to action and video descriptions!
  3. Interactivity
    Are you able to incorporate your viewers into your content? Are you able to spark a conversation in the comments section and get them involved with what you’re doing?
  4. Consistency
    This is probably the hardest fundamental: updating your video content regularly. We all get busy and forget to make time. Having a schedule and specific video format in place will be key. You also want to make sure you’re portraying the right personality and voice in all of your content.
  5. Targeting
    Do you have a clearly defined audience? You can set your targeting at the video level, show level, and even channel level. Targeting your videos will give you more opportunity to speak to different audiences.
  6. Sustainability
    If the audience loves it, can you make more of it? Meaning, if you spend $40,000 on a video that everyone loves, do you have the resources to keep making videos to that level? Can you continue to hire the right crew for your video?
  7. Discoverability
    Will your content be found? Not every video can go viral, but are you choosing topics that are trending or evergreen (like how-to and DIY videos). Go check out google.com/trends to kick-start those creative juices!
  8. Accessibility
    Can every single video be appreciated by a brand new user or do they need to sit there and watch multiple videos to understand what you’re trying to get across? If you want your content to be shareable, you will want to make sure it’s accessible as well.
  9. Collaboration
    Is there a way to feature guest stars? More and more viewers are relating to YouTube Creators as being more like them compared to traditional celebrities. This means that they take their opinion seriously!
  10. Inspiration
    Is the idea for this video coming from a genuine place of passion and does it fit your overall brand? You want to create unique content that aligns with your brand identity and excites your viewers!

Karolina and her team researched the top performing YouTube channels and found that they all incorporated a combination of these 10 fundamentals which were key to building their success. We’re not suggesting that you need to incorporate all 10 of these items in every single video, but keeping 2 – 3 in mind is definitely a good place to start.

If you’re looking to get some videos created and would like some help coming up with a strategy, don’t hesitate to give our team a call!