Archive for Social Media

Snapchat Introduces Enhanced Goal-based Bidding for Ads

Snapchat goal-based bidding ads

Snapchat have begun giving advertisers a greater variety of options for how they bid on ads via its API. The new upgrade is called goal-based bidding and makes use of machine learning technology in order to allow users to make ads more relevant to their own goals.

In a move that shows they are serious about competing in the world of social media advertising, Snapchat have begun making use of a new machine learning technique that determines which users are most likely to engage with ads on the app. The new feature, reported by AdAge, is called goal-based bidding and allows advertisers more control when buying ads.

Through it advertisers will be able to set campaign goals beyond ad views by bidding on engagement. According to a spokesperson for Snapchat, advertisers can determine how much they value a swipe on their ad and the network will automatically optimise delivery to a “subset of the advertiser’s target audience that has a propensity to swipe.”

Although the upgrade is a minor one in the grand scheme of things, is nevertheless looks to be something of a key signifier for the app’s ambitions when it comes to paid investment by marketers. No doubt it also comes in response to the news that average ad views on Snapchat currently only stand at fewer than 3 seconds. This is certainly a cause for concern if they are truly looking to stand up against Facebook who have been on something of an offensive against them throughout this year.

Goal-based bidding will be available to advertisers that buy through the still nascent ads API. Snapchat also look set to offer a wider variety of “goals” to users beyond swipes, in-line with campaign objectives. These are likely to be similar to what we see on other major social networks, for example app-installs and e-commerce conversions.

Video Editing Apps for Better Social Media Content

Best Video Editing Apps

Getting more video content on your social media pages is a sure-fire way to increase engagement with your brand’s posts. Now social media marketers have access to a great selection of video editing apps and content creation tools that are making the process of creating compelling video content even easier.

It’s pretty clear now, as it has been for some time, that at the centre of any successful social media strategy is a diverse content calendar. Back at the end of 2015 many social media marketers were predicting that Live video would take the top spot in terms of what feature would see the most development and interest throughout 2016.

Predictions were certainly right in that case - no other features have seen quite the same amount of investment as Live throughout this year. However, as the novelty of  Live capabilities has worn off, what has stayed true is the strength of video in general.

Video is an ideal format for content and can be something of an asset for dramatically improving big metrics such as click-throughs and conversion rates. According to studies, users who watch video are 64% more likely to buy a product online than those who don’t. So not only is video the perfect addition to help diversify your posting schedule, it can also be particularly beneficial to social media marketing results.

The reason video works

Social media users desire greater variety in the content mix they see on social networking. Video is a form of content that promises variety from click to click. For users, it requires less investment than text-heavy posts and offers more promise than image-based posts. However, as a result it requires a larger investment on the marketers behalf. Good video editing apps make all the difference here.

Whether you are looking to create entertaining, humourous video content, behind the scenes footage, expert advice clips or product-focussed presentations, there are a number of video editing apps that could help. Here are some of our favourites.


Splice, the basic video editor by GoPro, is a personal favourite of ours. It harnesses an uncluttered workspace to allow simple and effective video editing. Alongside benefitting from the ability to use it on the go, users get access to a library of high quality free audio back tracks and sound effects. It allows you to edit and splice together a variety of clips, add rudimentary filters and text overlays. The one downside is not being able to alter audio levels throughout a clip - but  being able to export at 1080p for free gets a huge thumbs up from us.


iMovie has come preloaded on some iPhones and Apple devices, otherwise it costs £3.99 to download. If you have used the desktop version it should feel inherently similar. It allows you to easily splice together different clips, add titles and sounds, otherwise if you are cool with slightly vanilla video content then you could make use of the templates. It does feel a touch underdeveloped, but as a base video editing app it has its merits.


In many ways PowerDirector could be looked at as an Android equivalent of iMovie, taking on many of it’s features and even making use of an inherently similar layout. The one drawback is that it makes use of watermarks unless you pay a small one-off cost - which kind of renders the free version useless as a marketing tool.

Pinnacle Studio Pro

Simply put, the Pinnacle Studio Pro app is much like a power-user’s version of iMovie or PowerDirector - and for that reason it comes at a relatively hefty price (£9.99). Pinnacle has been around for quite a while now with desktop software dating back to the 90s. It gives users a greater amount of control over audio and visual edits, speed, pan-and-zoom, picture-in-picture and textual overlays amongst other features.

The First Ever Facebook Live 360 Broadcast

Facebook Live 360 Broadcast National Geographic

Facebook have announced the introduction of Facebook Live 360 degree video, with the first published 360 Live stream scheduled to be broadcast on the National Geographic Facebook page at 20:00 Greenwich Mean Time.

Yesterday, in a post on Facebook Media Centre, the launch of Live 360 was announced by product manager Supratik Lahiri and software engineer Chetan Gupta. The announcement brings the social networking giant into the running for what is likely to be the next big thing in social media development. YouTube recently rolled out 4K 360 live broadcasting - so it's unsurprising to see Facebook aren’t far behind.

Unlike YouTube, Facebook's attempts appear to more user-friendly. While all users are currently able to stream in 360 on YouTube to do so requires special encoder software. Facebook look set to make 360 live broadcasting easily accessible to normal profiles from a mobile device without the need of access to external software. The function will be rolled out to Facebook’s Live API next year before being rolled out to pages and users over time.

As yet users are currently unable to view Live 360 videos through VR headsets, however replays can be viewed through them. According to Techcrunch there is currently no support for 4K resolution - but this is something that Facebook is considering.

The first Facebook Live 360 broadcast

According to Facebook the first Live 360 broadcast will come direct from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah on the National Geographic Facebook page at 12pm PT (20:00 GMT). This is how Facebook describes the feature and the aims of the stream:

“We’re excited to combine these two formats with Live 360 video. Live 360 transports people into new experiences - right as they happen… People around the world will be able to discover and explore this video on Facebook.”

Facebook Express Wifi Launched in India

Facebook Express Wifi launched in India

Facebook’s Internet.org has launched a new service in India in a bid to connect those in currently under-served areas. Express Wifi works alongside local businesses to offer affordable access to the internet.

This isn’t the first attempt Zuckerberg has made at trying to take advantage of parts of the global population that are still offline. Facebook’s Free Basics program, born from Internet.org and originally launched in February, was effectively banned not long afterwards. Much to Mark’s dismay, regulating authorities and indeed a large proportion of protesters, were not best pleased by the restrictive nature of the app.

Free Basics would have been a wholly free-to-use (surprising, no?) internet service provided by Facebook, intended to give access to under-served areas. However, because of its nature it only allowed access to a limited number of websites. It was therefore deemed to put too much power in the hands of the social network and be opposed to principles of net neutrality.

While we remain impartial, we can certainly understand the standpoint of India’s Telecoms Regulation. Free Basics essentially took advantage of certain areas by splitting internet users into those with access and those with access to only what Facebook considers worthy. And it's not unlike Facebook to try and remould the internet around themselves - most of their updates have been intended to limit the amount of time users are forced to spend off of the network, and they certainly don’t make it easy for their competitors.

Facebook Express Wifi

Unlike Free Basics, Express Wifi offers data packs that aren’t restricted. Because Facebook don’t get their way by choosing what users can and can’t view, it does come at a price - albeit a small price. Although we don’t know for certain what this is, the whole point is affordable access for those who currently have none, working with local ISPs, operators and retailers.

Are We Moving Toward Standardised Social Media?

Standardisation of Social Media

Social networks are trying harder than ever to offer what their rivals offer. Users are finding that whenever a new feature pops up somewhere, soon enough something inherently similar materialises on all of the others. So what’s the deal, guys? Are we moving towards standardised social media?

It’s around this time that a great deal of marketers come out of the woodwork and begin to lay down their predictions for next year's social media trends. In the past this has often come in the guise of leaked features and forecasts on what new aspects each network will focus on developing in the coming months. But throughout 2016 social networks’ developmental priorities have changed in a way that is so glaringly obvious it has, for the large part, gone unnoticed.

What we’re seeing, whether as a momentary trend or a glimpse into the future of social networking, is the standardisation of social media sites. This has come in the guise of products that would have been considered a single network niche a few years ago, being slightly altered and assimilated by others. Here are a few of the most obvious examples:

  • Facebook delivering trending topics in a way that is very reminiscent of the way that news is delivered on Twitter.
  • Twitter expanding its character count to allow users to express more in posts reminiscent of those on Facebook.
  • Snapchat introducing Memories, an update that took it fully out of it’s “disappearing content” niche and aligned it with Instagram’s more permanent capabilities.
  • Instagram introducing Stories, and more recently ephemeral direct content, both features that are nigh-on the same as what originally made Snapchat popular.
  • Facebook giving disappearing content a go for themselves in a test for Messenger.
  • Facebook introducing Facebook Live little after Twitter assimilated Periscope into itself.
  • Instagram hopping on the live content bandwagon with an ephemeral twist in its latest update.

Even YouTube has started to expand in this way by testing community features including the posting of text and visual content; which is what Facebook first did before it was suddenly able to do a whole other heap of things as well. YouTube is likely to cling tight to its position as prime video-sharing site above social network as we delve into 2017 - but it seems even they couldn’t resist the tide of casual thievery that has become all-too-common this year.

While as yet no one network has been totally honest with us about their updates (they’re still opting for “we’re expanding the way users can connect with one another” over “people seem to like this sort of feature on Snapchat so we thought we’d give it a try”), little has been more obvious to marketers throughout 2016.

The big four get physical

The sites that are stepping on each others toes here are the current forerunners in the world of social networking - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Each of these social media giants have, to varying degrees of success (sorry Twitter), invested this year into becoming the social network. For a while, everybody was content to believe that that was Facebook - and it certainly is at the moment - but the internet is a strange a wondrous place so who knows what could happen in the future if standardised social media really is where we are headed.

Let’s be clear here. There are reasons we haven’t seen Periscope throw on advanced business advertising tools or Reddit offer live streaming - the former because it is primarily an app with one capability, the latter because… well, because it’s Reddit and it does what it likes. These aren’t competing in the same way that the big four are - or, at least, they aren’t yet.

What is concerning is that the big four could be cultivating an aura of expectation within users for certain features. While it might not be immediate, there may well come a point when each new site has to conform to a conventional framework in order to be considered a viable network.

“But seriously, where should I post that?”

Standardised social media is looking increasingly inevitable - at least among the most popular networks. Branding, marketing and personal preference have become the primary reasons why users invest in one over another. With the expansion of features, when it comes to the question “where should I post that?” the answer is no longer simple. Really it comes down to where your audience is, where you are established, and where trends and discussions within your industry are common.

Obviously, certain types of content still lend themselves well to certain networks, as do certain outcomes. For example, if you’re looking for click-throughs then Instagram is still next to useless. But if you’re looking for reach and brand awareness, its influence can be enormous.

Is standardised social media becoming a reality? Tweet us your thoughts - @GiraffeSM.

Instagram Live Video & Ephemeral Direct Messaging

Instagram Live Video Update

As one half of a two-part major update, Instagram live video capabilities have begun rolling out with an ephemeral twist on Stories to users globally. The new feature comes alongside yet another Snapchat-esque addition that allows users to send disappearing photos and videos as direct messages.

The announcement of Instagram live video was made in a post on the official Instagram Blog. More detailed information about how to use these new features has also been added to the Instagram Help Center, giving users simple step-by-step instructions on how to use Instagram live video and share ephemeral content on Instagram Direct.

The fact that live video would soon be coming to Instagram was originally hinted at by CEO Kevin Systrom at the beginning of the month. At that point, little indication was given as to how long users would have to wait before these features arrived; apparently far less time than expected.

Instagram has been steadily adding more and more features that resemble those on rival network Snapchat for the past few months. These have likely been a bid to entice more Snapchat users (typically young adults and teenagers) away and onto Instagram. The image sharing network has experienced major growth in the past year, but a larger percentage of this growth has been outside the US where younger users are clinging desperately to its rival.

Instagram have this to say about the update - we have added a few personal translations to it in bold brackets to give you a better idea of what might be going on:

    “In August, we introduced Instagram Stories as a way to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile [and to steal back all those pesky kids from our nemeses over at Snap]. We’ve seen stories open up a new side of what people share on Instagram [because they can’t be bothered to switch to Snapchat anymore when the same features are already there for them], and now over 100 million people use it every day [so our takeover has, so far, been fruitful]... you’ll soon have two more ways to share freely and in the moment.”

Joking aside, Instagram are following the tide of the most successful social networks in expanding their video capabilities and embracing live content - something that has experienced major growth in popularity throughout 2016.

In this day and age, key social networks have to ensure they envisage and expand with user’s developing preferences. Facebook has taken this to a new level this year; barely a day goes by when they aren’t trialing a new potential feature. Unlike Twitter who only recently discovered what QR codes are.

How Much Should Marketers Rely on Facebook Metrics?

Facebook Metrics Marketers

It’s not unlike Facebook to update the way they report insights to marketers. As the variety of content capabilities grow, the ability to accurately convey Facebook metrics becomes increasingly complicated. Couple that with periodical algorithmic changes and the challenge becomes even bigger.
Instances of widespread errors in their reporting are now not uncommon - so just how much weight should marketers put on Facebook metrics?

The short answer is a lot. As the world’s leading social networking site that commands a significant chunk of the marketing budget of most of the world’s biggest brands, Facebook has a duty to get it right in order to justify the pricing of their services. The trouble is, there can often be discrepancies between what should be regarded as high-enough engagement levels to be considered a reputable return on investment. Especially on a site where regular activity varies so immensely from user to user.

Take the recent miscalculations to Facebook video views for example. Back in September the social network admitted to considering a video as “viewed” when a user had only watched 3 seconds of it. Understandably, while Facebook confirmed that they were not overcharged during the time the issue was active, many advertisers still took issue with this kind of reporting as they considered it misleading.

Facebook focus on enhancing and updating reporting

The video metrics blunder was a mistake that required immediate rectification. What we can take from it that is refreshing is Facebook’s approach. They are willing to be open to mistakes and communicate how they are constantly updating the way they provide metrics to marketers. It seems they are comfortable to take a stance on metrics that reflects their emphasis on development of features for users - of which there has been a great deal in past months - the subject of another article entirely.

The latest batch of updates focused on a number of different areas including Organic Reach, Apps and Video reporting. It’s important to note that Facebook have made it clear that they “do not bill clients on the potential under-reporting/over-reporting metric issues” that have been uncovered.

Alongside the announcement of these updates, Facebook made a pledge to provide regular and clear communication on their metrics, stating that they were developing more measurement solutions with their clients and expanding third-party verification of their reported data to even more partners. This will include Nielsen for video and Facebook Live.

Let’s look at each of the latest updates in-depth:

Organic reach metric updates

Facebook flagged a bug in Pages dashboards that caused one reach summary number to be miscalculated as “a simple sum of daily reach instead of de-duplicating repeat visitors over those periods”. This was a small bug that didn’t affect the vast majority of other organic reach data. What is interesting however is that Facebook have pledged to make reporting of organic reach on Facebook metrics closer to that of paid content. 

This change will make it likely that marketers’ organic reach will be on average 20% lower. This can be expected in the coming months. While numbers will be lower, they will nevertheless hold far more weight and provide more reliable foundations for those looking to build organic growth through original content marketing.

“On Pages, we’ve historically defined reach as a person refreshing their News Feed and the post being placed in their feed. For paid ads reports, we’ve moved to a stricter definition that only counts reach once the post enters the person’s screen (“viewable impressions”).”

Measuring video completions

Measuring video completions has been a tricky obstacle for Facebook, owing to the fact that the length of a video can differ by a fraction on different devices when the audio and video tracks don’t line up. Having an accurate understanding of video completions is very important, especially at a time when social media video marketing is held in such high regard. Facebook are updating how they analyse video completions as a result:

“Moat found and reported it [this issue] to us. We are now updating how we read the video length to address this issue. This may result in roughly a 35% increase in the count of “video watches at 100%.””

Measuring time spent on Instant Articles

The social network have stated that time spent on Instant Articles has been over-reported on Facebook metrics at an average of 7-8% since August last year. If you are unfamiliar with them, Instant Articles are a tool for publishers that uses the same technology used to display photos and videos quickly within the app in order to give users a faster and more responsive reading experience, reducing the likelihood of them abandoning the article after clicking.

“This [miscalculation of time spent] was caused by a calculation error: we were calculating the average across a histogram of time spent, instead of reflecting the total time spent reading an article divided by its total views. We have now fixed this issue.”

Measuring app referrals

Facebook also announced that Referrals within Facebook Analytics for Apps dashboard had been miscalculated, taking into account clicks that didn’t go directly to an app or website. This will likely come as significant annoyance to users whose primary strategy focuses on app promotion; in order to best understand the value of each hit, they will want to weigh up referrals next to downloads.

“Out of the [app] referrals we currently report, on average about 30% are actually clicks to consume content on Facebook. For power users of this metric (top apps that look at this data in the dashboard most frequently), we found that referrals have been overstated by approximately 6% on average. Other measurements of referrals, such as those appearing in Facebook’s ads reporting tools, are unaffected.”

Follower counts affected as Interest Lists dropped

Remember Interest Lists? Introduced back in 2012, they allowed users to follow and organise particular types of content so that they had more control over their News Feed. The feature never took off and as a result Facebook have decided to retire it. Although not a feature within Facebook metrics, this nevertheless may result in certain users seeing a drop in follower counts depending on whether or not they engaged with or were featured in lists.

“The impact to profile follower counts will vary, depending on the number of interest lists the profile created and was featured in. Most profiles will see a drop in followers of less than 5%.”

Clarifications to metrics

At the end of the post, Facebook announced updates to the process of reporting that will help clarify details and make reports easier to understand. These will include more descriptive names, such as the re-labelling of “video views” to “3-second video views”, clarifications to calculations of certain metrics, regulated definitions that are more consistent across-board, and better categorisation for marketers to customise their reports. These can all be explored in full detail on this post on Facebook’s business centre.

Placing weight on metrics

In conclusion, so long as Facebook continue in their willingness to hold themselves accountable for the information they report, marketers should have little concern about placing weight on metrics. In the grand scheme, social media has grown at such an exponential rate that tools such as these have had to catch up.

There will always be certain issues and aspects of Facebook metrics that are hazy. The trick is to stay alert and aware of updates so that you don’t get caught out or taken aback by sudden changes to your reports.

Check out the Infographic below...

[Infographic] Facebook Metrics Updates

Live Video is Coming to Instagram


Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has confirmed that live video will be coming to the social network. Although there is no indication yet as to when these features will arrive, reports have suggested that live broadcasts will appear within users’ Stories carousels.

At the beginning of the year many were citing 2016 as a new era of live video - although we had technically already had live video streaming for a great deal of years. The widespread availability of Smartphone technology has made it easier and and more accessible for users to take advantage of new social networking features.

It was really only a matter of time before Instagram got involved - especially when you consider the significant developments to its capabilities throughout the second half of the year. These have included curated video channels, the addition of Stories and more recently the testing of enhanced e-commerce capabilitiesSystrom confirmed the development of lives streaming implementation in an interview with the Financial Times.

Live is really exciting for us. I think it can enhance what we’re doing. If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.

There’s is currently little indication whether or not, or even how, live streaming on Instagram will tie in with Facebook. Photos posted on Instagram are often shared directly through to Facebook, but not the other way around. In this way, traditionally it has been something of an add-on, support network. However, if one thing is for sure Instagram is getting serious and way more substantial a player in the world of social networking. Only time will tell.

While we still don’t know when Insta-Live (not a confirmed name, but totally what it should be called) will arrive, the feature was reportedly leaked by a Russian user who discovered it while testing a beta version of the app.

6 Tips for Repurposing Content to Impact More Networks

Repurposing Content

Every piece of content you produce has the capacity to have an impact on multiple social networks; it's all about repurposing content. This is one of the simplest ways to increase your campaigns’ capacities for engagement and success. And it’s one we just don’t take enough advantage of.

The content we produce is often a lot more versatile than we give it credit for. While it might seem that all you have is an article on a specific subject, in reality you have the groundwork of a theme. Aspects of your blog content can and should be drawn out, teased apart and remodelled to create different post types and features. That is what's known as repurposing content. And it’s not just for anything new you write - these concepts can just as easily be applied to your old evergreens.

It’s important to note that there is little point in spending too much time repurposing content that is finite news content - only in the short term if you are looking for large scale promotion in one go. Evergreen content is simply any type of content that doesn’t expire in relevancy in the short term - something that is continually relevant and useful for readers.

Repurposing content has the added effect of reaching a new audience. When you decide only to focus on one particular style you inadvertently limit your reach to a particular subset of your target audience. This is simply because, while each industry and business will likely have a preferential network, different styles of content will be more visually appealing to each different person.

Repurposing content helps give your blog articles the maximum amount of promotional chances for success. The more (quality) original posts you create, the higher the likelihood of gaining unique hits on your blog, the bigger the benefit to your digital marketing as a whole.

Repurpose snippets and quotes as social media posts

This can be particularly useful for facts, figures and statistics. In fact, any textual snippet that is interesting and eye-catching should be used as a promotional technique on social networking. Influence more click-throughs to your blog from Twitter by leveraging those statistics as singular elements in tweets. When you do this, be sure to include a link through to the full article.

Create feature graphics

Take the above tip one step further by creating feature graphics as shareable, accessible highlights. This visual content not only performs far better on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also allows users to take advantage of visual networks such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Create an infographic

Apologies if it comes as a surprise, but it is highly unlikely that anybody will truly read your content in its entirety. By consolidating all of your findings into an accessible, visual medium like an Infographic you make it easier for users to digest. These perform particularly well on Pinterest, and also look great as an additional feature on your article itself.

Do a live webinar/Q&A on the subject

We’re living in the era of Live. No longer do businesses have to invest in expensive equipment to broadcast live on a subject. Periscope and Facebook Live make it incredibly easy for brands to repurpose their content as a Q&A, webinar or expert advice session.

Create video tutorials or an ongoing podcast on your weekly content

One type of content that performs better than straight-up visual is video. If you are considering starting out on YouTube then a great place to start is by repurposing your weekly content into tutorials. Obviously, to be successful a change of tone will likely be required. Alternatively, an audio podcast can be a great way to develop your digital marketing - you already have yourself some written content to use, just one or two tweaks and you can get going.

Amalgamate content into whitepapers and how-to guides

A great way to repurpose content, albeit one that can take a little more time, is to amalgamate a selection of articles on different aspects of the same theme into one singular whitepaper or e-book. These resources can be particularly useful tools for building your email marketing database. Make them useful and high quality and your audience will happily sign-up to your newsletter in order to receive them.

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