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Facebook Announces New Response Graph for Live Content 2016-05-30 652 78
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Back in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg fired off a long e-mail to his staff that outlined the platform’s new mission in video: to maximize live-streaming. Facebook Live was launched in August last year, in response the growing hype around live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope. Live was initially made available to celebrities only, but by December The Social Network had made the option available to all users. And it was gaining momentum fast.

The first major move as a result of this new emphasis came in April, when Facebook rolled out a whole range of new options for Live, including on screen ‘Reactions’ which bounce across the screen as you broadcast to show you how viewers are responding to your content, live filters to help customize your stream, and a new dedicated place within the Facebook app to help users discover Live content – with prominent placement right in the middle of the bottom bar.

And while all of these are impressive and significant additions in themselves, they largely mirror the functionalities available in other video apps – there’s nothing ground-breaking about these features, it’s just that Facebook now has them as well. But now, Facebook’s moving to accelerate ahead of the pack, with the addition of a new, unique feature that could have a significant impact on how you consume, and even create, Live content.

As per TechCrunch, Facebook is rolling out new feature that’ll show you the collective responses to a Live video on a graph, which will appear whenever you go to fast-forward a replay.

(Image via TechCrunch)

As you can see in the above screenshot, the graph shows peaks in Reaction levels throughout the video - the chart is an accumulation of Reactions and comments made during the stream. From this, the viewer will be able to skip to the parts of most interest, which is another way for Facebook to help filter the noise of live-streaming content and help users experience the best of what Live has to offer.

And that’s important.

In a recent blog post by Meerkat’s founder Ben Rubin, in which he announced the company’s decision to pivot away from live-streaming in response to the increased competition in the space from Periscope and Facebook, Rubin noted that all live-stream platforms are struggling to create repeat broadcasters at a growing rate, while audience growth is also hard to maintain due to the varying levels of broadcast quality.   

“One thing we have learned is there is a very high emotional cost to being entertaining in a live format, and bringing on enough of a live audience to make it worthwhile is challenging too.”

Essentially, what Rubin and Meerkat found was that live content is hard, and most people don’t know how to do it well. Indeed, research has shown that only a small proportion (3%) of Periscope’s user-base are actually creating and broadcasting content, while the vast majority are purely watchers.

Which is fine, not everyone’s going to be great at Live, but it poses a growth issue on two fronts.

1. If live-streaming, as a function, is entertaining, something that’s fun to do, then it can grow through user adoption. But if it’s not – and, as noted, the stats show that most people aren’t comfortable with actually broadcasting themselves live – then you can’t rely on functionality to fuel growth and adoption of the option, which means instead you need to rely on the content. And that means you need to help viewers find the most entertaining content in order to keep them around.

2. If the focus is on entertainment, then you need a way to filter the noise – there are hundreds of live-streams happening at any given moment, but because much of it is low quality (which is subjective, of course) it makes it harder to get a significant audience to embrace and adopt live-streaming. If every time people go to check out live broadcasts it’s all self-help gurus and people spouting random monologues, they’re not likely to stick around, which goes back to the audience growth issue noted by Rubin.  

On the first problem, all live-stream platforms have been working to overcome the signal-to-noise issues – group live-streaming app Blab, for example, has worked to make the user experience more personalized with content and broadcaster recommendations more attuned to each person’s individual preferences and usage, as opposed to showing you a complete list of all content being broadcast at any moment (though Blab, itself, may be looking to pivot slightly, according to latest reports).

Facebook’s sought to address this issue by adding in the aforementioned video tab which highlights Live videos “that the world is talking about, from the friends and creators that matter most to you, and on the topics you’re interested in”. Essentially, Facebook’s able to use what it knows about you from its understanding of your connections and interests to show you a more focussed and individually aligned Live video feed, which will ultimately help them provide a better Live experience.  

And on the second issue, Facebook’s put a big focus on celebrity and high profile creator content to get more Live video of mass appeal on their platform and draw more viewers to the option. Facebook’s also working on additional tools to help highlight more popular material – last week they released a new addition to their Live map feature with the most popular Live streams happening at any given time highlighted on the left, again directing users towards higher quality, more entertaining content.

The addition of a graph which measures in broadcast audience response is another innovative and intelligent way to help users filter the noise and get the most out of Live content. And while a graph of responses can only be added after the fact (you obviously can’t fast-forward a Live stream), according to Facebook around two-thirds of the watch time for Facebook Live happens after the initial broadcast.

This may be best exemplified by the latest viral video – Texas woman Candace Payne trying out her new toy Chewbacca mask.

That video’s now nearing 138 million views, but only a tiny, tiny fraction of those views would have come from the initial stream (Payne’s other Live videos average around 1k views). The Chewbacca video also only picks up momentum after the 2 min mark when Payne puts on the mask, something that the new graph option would highlight straight away, making it easier for viewers to skip through and catch the best bits.

Facebook’s hope, other than making it a better experience for viewers, is to also make it more welcoming for creators – according to Facebook’s head of video Fidji Simo, a graph showing the peaks could take the pressure off creators by enabling them to worry less about boring their viewers. If you don’t want to wait through the boring bits, you don’t have to, just skip forward to the next response peak.

It’ a clever option which uses the data Facebook has on Live content to best effect, and has the potential change the way we view video such broadcasts, likely boosting consumption rates.

The practice of live-streaming fits perfectly into Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook, supporting its mission to ‘connect the world’. What’s more connective than the immediacy of live video – being able to see another perspective on the world, maybe a stranger on the other side of the planet, live and real-time? Through Live, you can experience events in a whole new way, you can get a glimpse of how other cultures live. It provides a whole new depth of insight into the wider world.

The big challenge is in getting people across, in making Live a genuine, mainstream option, a channel people will switch to for entertainment, just like they would on their regular TV. And given these latest advances, along with Facebook’s work on integrating Facebook with your home TV unit, that may become a reality sooner than you’d think.

If Facebook can showcase the best, most relevant streams to users and effectively filter out the noise, it may be on track to make Live a much bigger deal than it already is.

Facebook Releases Data on Usage Trends Over Summer [Infographic] 2016-05-30 652 78
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Summer’s about to hit the northern hemisphere, which means people will be out and about, catching up with friends, sharing moments. That also means increased sharing on social – according to Facebook, the rate at which people posted to Facebook via mobile last summer increased 26% on the rest of the year, while sharing of video content increased by 43%.

Video, in particular, is a trend you can expect to see increase again over Summer in 2016, with the introduction of Facebook Live for all users and the increased emphasis on sharing in-the-moment video content. But another element to consider this year is the Rio Olympics, coming up in August. As per Facebook’s latest research, 63% of people who’ve shown an interest in the Rio Games have indicated that they’ll be using their mobile device to stay up to date with the latest happenings, while 38% are planning to watch replays on their phone.

These are just two elements of Facebook’s latest research into Summer trends, which they’ve incorporated into a new infographic (below). In addition to increased Facebook use and video consumption, Facebook’s also identified some other key seasonal behaviors, including an increased emphasis on travel – with the top travel-related hashtags used on Instagram – and summer topics of interest amongst older users.

Facebook’s also highlighted the Summer topics with the most posts, comments and shares from 2015, which were:

Running

Beach

Parties

Parks and forests

Movies

There’s some interesting data in here - definitely worth consideration for those looking to maximize their seasonal outreach efforts.

Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use 2016-05-12 652 78
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Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use

This is an interesting move. In the lead up to Mother’s Day (which is this Sunday for those of you who still haven’t got something for your Mom), Facebook has added a new ‘Reaction’ to the five options, in addition to ‘Like’, which they unveiled back in February.

Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use | Social Media TodayThe new addition was spotted by Twitter user Sredeev Sharma and Facebook later confirmed to The Verge that they’re testing the new temporary option in some markets - Facebook didn’t note which markets specifically (though the US is not one of them).

According to The Verge, users will be able to leave a 'Thankful' reaction - represented by a flower - up until Mother’s Day. After that, the flower response will be no longer available, but it'll still appear on any posts where it was used.

The addition of a seasonal tie-in for Reactions raises new considerations, particularly as to how it could relate to future opportunities for the tool – it’s easy to imagine a Christmas tie-in, for example, or a St Patrick’s Day clover. Could temporary Reactions extend to events like The Oscars? Could they be sponsored? That seems like a fairly big jump to make with such a prominent feature, but no doubt Facebook's considering all options, and will be examining the audience response to the Mother’s Day flower to help guide their future direction.

On audience response to Reactions, social analytics firm Quintly this week released a study into how Facebook users are adapting to the new feature more widely.

In order to get a handle on how often people are using the new response options, Quintly analyzed 130,000 Facebook posts and measured how often Reactions were used, and which were the most popular.

Their overall finding? Reactions are not being used a heap.

Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use | Social Media Today “Taking a look at the share of interactions it’s clear that 97% are likes, comments and shares.” According to Quintly’s data, Reactions are only being used in a less than 3% of posts, with the Like button still outperforming the others by a huge margin. Quintly broke this down further, examining which Reactions are getting the most use amongst that dataset.

Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use | Social Media TodayAs you can see, the ‘Love’ emoji is way out in front, with ‘Angry’ and ‘Sad’ the next most popular. Quintly’s interpretation is that the popularity of ‘Love’ indicates that users tend to interact more with content that generates positive emotion, though given the low rates of Reactions use generally, it’s difficult to draw any definitive conclusions.

Quintly also found that Reactions adoption didn’t vary much based on the audience size for each Page, with the percentage of Reactions remaining fairly stable, relative to other interactions.

Facebook Testing Temporary Reactions - New Data on Reactions Use | Social Media TodayThe numbers show that, overall, users haven’t adapted to Reactions use yet, and most are still going about their Facebook activities as normal – which means just pressing ‘Like’ on the content they’re interested in and moving on. An important factor in this would be the way in which Reactions are applied. To use a Reaction, the user has to hover over the ‘Like’ option, then select the Reaction they want once the options appear in a separate pop-up. With a Like, however, you can just click on the button, which is immediately present on screen, and you're done.

While Reactions were designed with speed of response in mind, giving mobile users, in particular, a faster, easier way to convey their feelings about each post, the additional action of having to wait for the Reactions screen to appear, then select a response option, actually adds to time to the process, even if it’s just a few tenths of a second. That additional time may just be too much – if Reactions were actually listed at the bottom of each post alongside the ‘Like’ button, rather than in a separate pop-up, you’d likely see their usage rates jump significantly.

Given this, you can expect that Facebook’s also looking at the adoption rates and usage patterns - it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Reactions feature more prominently on posts in future.

Overall, it’s hard to make much of Reactions at this point. The adoption rates seem relatively low (the data from Quintly matches anecdotal evidence we’ve seen from other Pages) while the addition of a seasonal response option opens the door to other uses beyond basic post interaction. But given those low usage rates, is Reactions something users really want? And if so, is the value of Reactions data high enough for Facebook to find new ways to better promote the option?

It’ll be interesting to see what The Social Network does next with the tool.

Most Popular 360 Videos on Facebook: 2016 2016-05-12 652 78
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Facebook's 360-degree videos have been around for about eight months, and marketers have been diving into the medium ever since. And today, the social giant released the top 10 performing videos so far—just as the industry is gathering at the Digital Content NewFronts, where marketers have talked a lot about the potential of 360-degree footage.

The buzziest immersive clips have typically taken viewers to places they'd not likely go—for instance, National Geographic appears three times on the list thanks to the far-flung locations it uses to shoot its content. Across brands, the videos generally range from 30 seconds to two minutes long and often touch on people's passion points such as sports and entertainment. 

Here are the videos, listed according to the views they've received—click on the images to watch each clip. (And please excuse the pictures' blurriness, as 360-degree videos are difficult to screen grab).

ABC News: 360° Tour of Times Square During Winter Storm

New York City’s Times Square in 360 during January’s record-breaking winter blizzard.

Deadpool: See Deadpool everywhere (especially in theaters)

Deadpool being Deadpool, in 360.

Step onto the pitch while a mosaic made up of 90,000 cards pays tribute to the late footballer Johan Cruyff.

Game of Thrones: Game of Thrones Opening Credits 360 Video

The iconic opening sequence of the show in a way you’ve never seen before.

Ivete Sangalo: Eu quero o farol dos teus olhos iluminando a minha vida

Brazilian singer Ivete Sangalo’s 360 video for her hit song “Farol.”

Liverpool FC: 360°: You’ll Never Walk Alone

Experience what it’s like to be among a home crowd of thousands as they sing the club’s iconic anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

National Geographic: 360° Tour of a Volcanic Eruption in Kamchatka

National Geographic takes you on a 360 helicopter ride to Russia to look at one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes.

National Geographic: 360°: Swimming With Bears in Kamchatka

The natural battle of bear versus salmon plays out on the beautiful shore of a lake in Kamchatka, Russia.

National Geographic: 360° Tour: The “Devil’s Pool” at Victoria Falls

A 360 drone overflight of the extraordinary Victoria Falls at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zoolander 2:  Facebook 360° Experience

Derek Zoolander is back — and he’s in 360, starring Ben Stiller and H. Jon Benjamin.

3 GIFs That Explain Why Facebook Topic Data Is an Advertising Game Changer 2016-05-05 652 78
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Brand marketers that use social media listening tools may think they have no shortage of data to go to when they need customer insights—posts, likes, shares and links are a great way to get a better understanding of your audience. However, there's one source of data that your social stack is missing:Facebook topic data.

Facebook is one of the world's biggest sources of public opinion. Up until now you've likely had visibility of the engagement around your own company page and this is just a drop in the ocean considering the global audience on Facebook. This is the past. Facebook topic data—which offers insights into what your audience is passionate about—is now a reality.

DataSift provides marketers with these insights by aggregating and anonymizing topic data, opening the doors to billions of daily interactions from consumers on Facebook in a privacy-safe way. You can now have visibility into how people are interacting around topics related to your brand—or a competitor's. Insights from Facebook topic data are already transforming how marketers make decisions across the globe. Creative strategies are being refined, new audiences are being discovered and messaging is being tailored to better resonate with target audiences – the possibilities are endless.

"Facebook topic data is a valuable asset for agencies," says Dave DeMarsh, president, KBM Group, part of the Wunderman network. "Data-driven insights have the power to reshape campaigns across the board, from creative to PR, communications and media strategies. By tapping into aggregated data in real-time, agencies have the ability to shape the direction or timing of a campaign and discover current information about target audiences."

Consider these examples of how brands have discovered the previously undiscoverable using Facebook topic data:

1. Snacking on surprising insights

A popular snack brand was looking to improve social engagement and promote its brand around pre-game sports excitement but needed more accurate information on its assumed target audience—under 25 and male. The company's ad agency leveraged Facebook topic data to find a surprising twist: The most engaging demographic was actually women between 35 and 64, and pre-game excitement did not peak just before game time, but almost six hours earlier.

With these new insights the agency was able to develop better creative for the more relevant audience, and time its ads to run six hours before game time in order to capture the audience's anticipation—a quick change that would have taken months to identify via focus groups.

2. Writing the script with Facebook topic data

Producers of a popular TV show wanted to scour references to its episodes, quotes, memes and characters to determine which were resonating most with people on Facebook. Using anonymous, aggregated topic data, they were able to determine which breakout actors should be retained for future seasons, accurately judge popular storylines to dictate future writing and discover the level of engagement around certain characters or scenes to better promote the show.

By analyzing how engagement around characters changed across different demographic groups—age, gender and state—the producers were also able to better promote the show to these groups across states.

3. Engaging music lovers

An ad tech company was looking for ways to increase its video completion rates for a major music festival. Topic data helped the company understand how different audiences were engaging with the artists featured at the festival and its sponsors. Analyzing more than 5.7 million social interactions on Facebook provided enough insight to significantly adjust its campaign—increasing video completion rates by 17 percent.

Using topic data, the ad tech company found that women aged 25 to 34 in Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky over-indexed for engagement with topics associated with the festival by five times the national average. As such, the organization was able to quickly determine which other interests, websites, retailers and broadcasters these segments were engaging with and adjusted its advertising campaign accordingly.

These are just a few of the many ways that Facebook topic data is shaping new strategies for brands, agencies and TV producers alike. Take a closer look at Facebook topic data to see what these insights—gleaned from billions of social interactions—can do for your brand.

Animations by Eran Mendel

6 Things Every Publisher Needs to Know About Facebook's Instant Articles 2016-05-05 652 78
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6 Things Every Publisher Needs to Know About Facebook's Instant Articles

Despite the growing number of mobile users, the mobile user experience is still often overlooked by many brands and publishers. It can take forever to load some websites on mobile, and once they have loaded, the user interface isn't optimized for mobile, making it impossible to navigate and access the relevant information.Poor user experience like this leads to visitors abandoning your website, leading to countless missed opportunities. In the modern digital landscape it's no longer a question whether mobile marketing is important. We know it is.

To help address such concerns, Facebook has taken the first steps to radically the improve user experience on mobile - even if a publishers' website is not up to speed. Publishers are now allowed to syndicate their content to Facebook via their new 'Instant Articles' offering. Instant Articles communicate direct with Facebook's systems, enabling them to load... well, instantly. The feature also enables publishers to utilize unique Facebook publisher tool to improve the presentation of their Instant content.

So what does all this mean for publishers? What happens to ad revenues and traffic for those who utilize this new option?

Here are the answers to 6 of the most common questions about Instant Articles.

1. HOW DO YOU SET UP INSTANT ARTICLES?

Once you decide to syndicate your content with Facebook, you have to generate a special RSS feed for your Instant Articles and connect this feed to your Facebook Page. Fortunately, there's an official plugin and guides which make it super easy to set it up on any WordPress site.

After finishing the setup process, you have to submit your website for review.

2. WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CONTENT?

An Instant Article is a mobile optimised HTML5 document, which dramatically improves user experience for users who are reading articles by via Facebook’s mobile app - which, given the latest stats, will be a lot of people.

After syndicating your content, there isn’t anything extra you need to do, just keep publishing articles on your website and sharing them on Facebook as you did before. Your articles will be automatically hosted, not just on your website, but on Facebook’s Instant Articles too.

3. HOW WILL IT IMPROVE THE USER EXPERIENCE?

Articles that have an Instant Article version are marked with a lightning bolt sign, as you can see in the image below:

Once your mobile user clicks on the article, they'll be redirected to the 'Instant' version of your original post. Your articles will load 10 times faster than before, with a much cleaner and simpler design. The new format also doesn’t force users to change their current sharing habits. If an Instant Article is shared outside of Facebook (let’s say on Twitter), those users clicking on that link will be redirected to the original version of your article, published on your website.

4. WHAT'S THE RESPONSE TO INSTANT ARTICLES BEEN LIKE SO FAR?

According to Facebook’s stats, Instant Articles are getting higher engagement than traditional ones. Instant Articles are generating 20% more clicks on average, and once those users arrive, they're 70% less likely to abandon the post because they’re not stuck waiting for it to load. Instant content has also been generating around 30% more shares than mobile web articles, on average.

5. CAN PUBLISHER PLACE ADS ON INSTANT ARTICLES CONTENT?

Facebook strictly regulates the way ads are served and placed within an Instant Article, leading to a cleaner, faster and safer browsing experience. Ads are placed automatically, but can be manually moved.

Banners can be included for every 350 words of content. If your content consists primarily of images or videos, then ads must not exceed 15% of the content. Publishers can decide either to sell ads themselves (keeping 100% of the revenue) or to allow Facebook to handle ad selling (keeping 70% of the revenue).

Video ads also can be placed at the bottom of the articles; however, supporting sponsored content is currently just a plan.

Facebook also allows publishers to put a signup form at the bottom of every Instant Article, helping publishers to capture leads and newsletter subscribers. Unfortunately, paywalls aren’t supported yet.

6. HOW DO PUBLISHERS ACCESS DATA ABOUT READERSHIP ON INSTANT ARTICLES CONTENT?

Facebook provides engagement data through its built-in dashboard, but Instant Articles is compatible with industry-standard analytics tools, and web-based tools can also be used to track visitors. Analytics tools will track Instant Article visitors similarly to visitors who read your article in Facebook’s embedded web browser.

We’re living in a mobile world with millions of people browsing via mobile phone. Despite the significant proportion of mobile users, a lot of websites still don’t provide a satisfying mobile experience. Facebook has taken the first step to improve the user experience by providing publishers the opportunity to syndicate their content and improve delivery for mobile users. Instant Articles is still an evolving platform, meaning that it’s continuously changing according to publisher’s feedback. New features will be added and the platform will likely become even more tempting for publishers over time.

From Social media today

Facebook new Canvas, Full Screen Ads target TV Advertisers attraction – Laredo Daily Science 2016-04-26 652 78
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Canvas, Full Screen Ads, Instant Articles, meet Instant Ads. Facebook wants to give advertisers an immersive way to reach people without making them leave the social network.

Facebook gives flexibility and new options for advertisers

Facebook has just launched a new feature that will allow advertisers to display full-screen ads on the social media site’s mobile platform. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though; users have to click on an advertisement for it to take up the entire screen.

The benefit for advertisers is that users are likely to pay more attention to the ad. In tests, 53% of people viewed more than half of the ad and average view time was 31 seconds, Facebook FB, +0.50% said. The ad, once clicked on, takes over the user’s full screen.

Facebook unveiled the feature, called Canvas, back in September last year. The company calls it an immersive experience for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products. Once a user taps on a News Feed ad connected to Canvas, the smartphone’s entire screen will be taken up with interactive elements related to the product that the users can swipe through. These include videos, animations, carousels, catalogs, and tilt-to-view images.

The Canvas website calls these ads “a new space for big ideas,” showing off a demonstration of how the ads work. According to that site, Canvas loads up to 10 times faster than the ads would otherwise load on “the standard mobile web.” The website lists Kit Ace, Target, Carnival, Universal Orlando, BMW, Mr. Porter, Macy’s, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones as already utilizing the platform.

Some users have had a knee-jerk reaction to the news, but the worry is largely unnecessary. While the fullscreen ads could be annoying if unwanted, you’ll only ever see them if you deliberately (or accidentally) tap the smaller regular ad — the image above shows how the Canvas ads look pre- and post-click. If a user purposely clicks on the ad, they’re likely interested, and so more informative ads would be welcomed in those cases.

Canvas utilizes the same technology that is used to display photos and videos quickly in the Facebook app. The company says that ads using Canvas load as much as ten times faster than they would on the “standard mobile web.”

Facebook has assured users that the introduction of Canvas doesn’t mean they will see more ads appearing in the mobile app.

News ads are only available on mobile iOS or Android device

Facebook said the addition of the new ads wouldn’t increase ad load for users. In its fourth-quarter earnings report, Facebook said 80% of its advertising revenue is from mobile devices. It had 1.44 billion mobile monthly active users as of Dec. 31, 21% more than a year earlier.

The company stated the repose to Canvas has been pretty positive, with 53 percent of users that open one of these ads sticking around to view at least half of it. Some of the top ads are recording more than 70 seconds of view time per user.

Big names already using Canvas include Target, Wendy’s, Universal Orlando, BMW, Macy’s, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Facebook said it is looking at ways to expand the feature to its other apps, such as Instagram.

Providing that Facebooksticks to its word and doesn’t increase the overall number of ads it pushes out on the mobile platform – and viewing the full-screen experience remains optional – Canvas seems like a good way for advertisers to show off their products without being annoyingly invasive.

5 Creative Ways Facebook Advertiser Are Using Carousel Ads to Drive Revenue 2016-04-26 652 78
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One of Facebook's newest ad units is also one of its most versatile. With Carousel Ads, direct response advertisers are given extra space to get creative -- and brands are taking full advantage of the opportunity. When marketers invest time in building compelling interactive ads, cost savings follows - according to Facebook, Carousel Link Ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30% lower cost-per-click than single-image link ads.

Whether you're marketing one product from multiple angles or unifying a collection, Carousel Ads are an effective way to increase your bottom line. Let's take a look at how it's done:

1. CONTINUOUS CANVAS

Carousel Ads display to Facebook users as panes that they can scroll through if they swipe on mobile or click an arrow on desktop. One clever way to entice users to scroll through to the last image is to show them only a piece of a bigger picture; that way they will be more likely to follow through to the end. This approach lends itself well to repurposing banner ads.

2. TIME LAPSE

Carousel Ads are a great way to illustrate incremental progress or note the passing of time. In the example below, a mobile app developer lures gamers with bigger and better armor if they progress through many levels of gameplay. Ecommerce brands could use Carousel Ads to showcase how their mobile app enables a product purchase, delivery, and positive outcome, step by step. The sequence of using an app or service to achieve a desired result is a great way to put customers in a receptive mindset.

3. COLOR

Native advertising on Facebook is meant to blend in with its surroundings, so it's your job to make ads pop! One easy way to call attention to your message is to use bursts of color that stand out in a sea of engagement, baby and pet posts. In the DPA below, Experian picks a brilliant blue to get some eyeballs on its Credit Tracker tool.

4. TRUSTED SOURCE

Of course you have nothing but glowing things to say about what you're advertising. But what is everyone else saying? Featuring customer testimonials or recognition from an outside party is a great way to build credibility with a target audience that is not familiar with your brand and boost conversions. Below, a styling tools company calls attention to a "Best of Beauty" award their hair dryer has received from Allure Magazine.

5. INTERNATIONAL FLAIR

If you're marketing globally, you're likely dealing with a whole new set of languages and customs. Advertisers who take the time to adapt their creative accordingly will see dividends down the line. To boost Carousel Ad CTRs, installs and purchase rates, make sure your images are relatable to your target audience, do some research to determine whether translation is necessary, and keep in mind that currency may also factor into your copy strategy.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - a creative refresh is one of the best ways to keep ads performing at the height of their potential. With Carousel Ads, the possibilities for iteration are endless - so it's up to advertisers to keep feeding the funnel with compelling creative.

Facebook F8 Day 2: VR, AI and The Next Evolution of The Social Network 2016-04-15 652 78
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While day one of Facebook introduced a range of new, consumer facing functions and features, day two was more focused on the back-end, on the systems and innovations Facebook’s putting in place to power their vision. And while much of it was very developer-centric, there were some interesting notes and features discussed that will have wide-ranging impacts and benefits.

VIRTUAL REALITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer was given the opening keynote for day two, and he set the tone of the day by touching on their efforts to connect the world and their advances in the development of new platforms like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Of particular interest was their work on social VR, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted on day one has the potential to be more social than any other platform. On this, Facebook showcased a video which showed how they’re developing technology to enable users to interact with real-world environments through the use of a VR avatar.

The technology still has a long way to go, but these are the first steps towards creating fully immersive, and interactive VR environments, which will enable people to be virtually present. Such technology could have a transformational impact on eCommerce – imagine being able to re-creates the physical, in-store experience without ever leaving your lounge room?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning team discussed the latest developments on artificial intelligence, and how AI powers various aspects of Facebook. Of particular note, artificial intelligence is a key element of Facebook’s News Feed – every day, users are served around 15 to 20 stories of interest to them, chosen out of the thousands of potential updates you could see. In order for Facebook to remain a compelling platform, they need to get this selection right, and AI is the key driver behind this service.

In total, Facebook’s back-end systems are completing around 6 million predictions per second across their AI platform to inform what appears in our News Feeds. That’s a staggering amount, and when you consider that both user numbers and engagement stats on the platform have continued to grow, it’s clear that their AI system is getting it right, at least in the majority of cases, which is a huge endorsement for the power of machine learning.

Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning team are now running 50x more AI experiments per day than they were a year ago, examining the capacity of the technology in a wide range of areas to improve the user experience. For example: “...the Applied Machine Learning team built an AI-based automatic translation system that helps 800 million people every month see translated posts in their News Feed.”

Facebook’s translation solution is customized due to the way people actually communicate on Facebook, with different, regional language variations and expressions. And emoji.

Facebook’s AI team is also working to develop their automatic image recognition technology, which was released last week as part of Facebook’s new system to provide automated captions for vision impaired users. That technology may one day enable users to search by image content – this example shows how such a system is in progress.

While 'snow’ is a relatively broad example, the next level of this technology will enable the system to understand images at individual pixel level using 'image segmentation’. This will enable the system to recognize individual objects within an image, as well as their relation to the wider context of the picture.

As with automated captions, the immediate application of such technology relates to giving those who can’t see a more complete on-platform experience, but the extended applications of such technology are significant. Imagine being able to search Instagram for all images containing a specific product, a specific person. It’s a whole new element of social media data, and a whole new aspect to consider in a wider monitoring context.

Facebook’s also looking to extend their image recognition capabilities to video, including live content. In the video below, Facebook’s used their image recognition AI on video posts to identify related content by keywords, without the assistance of tags or other data points.

This technology could also be incorporated with Facebook’s facial recognition technology to identify and tag people in your videos – which is a little creepy, but may prove beneficial in certain applications.

IMPROVED CONNECTIVITY

Facebook’s Connectivity Lab also detailed how they’re developing new technology solutions to “help connect the unconnected and improve the experience of the underserved”. In line with this, Facebook has developed two new terrestrial systems:

“Terragraph, a wireless system for dense urban areas; and ARIES, a proof-of-concept research project to provide wide-coverage connectivity to areas with low population density.”

While these types of systems don’t necessarily have immediate bearing on the everyday users’ experience, the developments in themselves are amazing. When you consider them alongside other connective efforts like Facebook’s Aquila drone planes and investigations into laser technology to beam down internet connections to remote regions, the scope of Facebook’s projects comes into wide view.

Mark Zuckerberg noted in an interview earlier this year that he’s aiming to have 5 billion people using the social network by 2030, up from the 1.59 billion currently. When you look at their plans for connecting more people via these projects, that projection doesn’t seem so crazy after all.

F8 VIDEOS

In addition to bringing you a whole lot of insight and announcing new features at F8, Facebook has also worked to ensure everyone is able to experience the event, whether you were physically in attendance or not. As such, Facebook’s included a video page on the F8 website which includes all the F8 sessions – and there’s a heap of content there.

There were a heap of sessions at F8, all of them informative in their own way, yet not all contained big announcements or updates, so won’t get as much coverage. For example, there’s a great presentation from Liz Perle, a community manager from Instagram on the role community plays on the platform and how to build your own.

The full F8 schedule is available online, so you can scan through all the sessions and check out the video of each that takes your interest.

From Social media today

Facebook Will Soon Start Automatically Tagging Your Friends in Videos 2016-04-15 652 78
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Facebook at its annual developer conference made several new announcements including introducing artificial intelligence powered bots into its Messenger apps. The social giant has now also confirmed plans to add a new feature that will allow users to enable the auto-tagging feature for videos.

(Also see: Facebook F8: 10 announcements You Need to Know About)

Facebook emphasised that AI (artificial intelligence) is "central" to the company's various products. In a blog post, Facebook's Joaquin Quinonero Candela from Applied Machine Learning (AML) team detailed how AI is powering various Facebook experiences.

For auto-tagging on videos, Candela explained that the idea will be to search for people who featured in the video. As of now, Facebook has not revealed plans when the auto-tagging feature for videos will be available to general public. The feature will not only allow someone watching the video to find who featured in the video but also by tapping on the tag will be able to directly shift to the duration when the person appears in the video.

Candela also touched upon other services that will be powered by AI including real-time video classification which will allow Facebook to classify the video without using tags or surrounding content.

Also detailed was the Talking pictures feature for which Facebook is currently building systems that can understand images. The company calls it image segmentation, which allows Facebook to recognise individual objects in the image as well as their relation. "Using image segmentation we will be able to build more immersive experiences for the visually impaired with "talking images" you can read with your fingertips, as well as more powerful ways to search images. In one case here, we have the ability to search for "a photo of us five on skis on the snow, with a lake in the background and trees on both sides," explained Candela.

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