facebook-is-quietly-testing-an-instagram-feed-like-feature

Facebook is trying to really hard to tell people it owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Earlier this month, the company introduced new branding for all of its apps. On Wednesday, it introduced Facebook Pay, a service that’ll work across all apps. Now, it’s testing an Instagram feed-like feature in its main app.

A report by TechCrunch suggests the social network tested a feature called ‘Popular Photos’ in its app last month. Currently, if you tap on a photo from the news feed, and swipe down you’re redirected back to your feed. However, with this new feature, you can tap on “See more photos” and keep scrolling down.

Popular Photos also truncates the caption after 65 characters – as compared to 125 characters in the Instagram feed.

Credit: TechCrunch

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch it was running a small test and it has now concluded. The company will make changes to the feature and run updated tests in the future.

At the moment it’s not clear what features it’ll include in future versions or when it’ll roll out. We’ve asked Facebook for more details, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

The social network already offers endless scrolling of related videos through the news feed. For instance, if you tap on a sports-related video, Facebook will show you more sports-related videos as you scroll down.

A report by eMarketer published in May suggests time spent on the Facebook app by the US-based users has declined over time. So while the Popular Photo feature resembles Instagram’s feed, Facebook might be just trying to increase visual elements on its app in order to lure people to spend more time on it.

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facebook-isn?t-just-allowing-lies,-it?s-prioritizing-them

By refusing to stay out of politics, the company is building the case for its own breakup.

Tim Wu

Mr. Wu is a law professor at Columbia.

Credit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times

“First, do no harm,” a doctrine typically associated with the practice of medicine, is the right ethic when it comes to decisions surrounding Silicon Valley’s paid promotion technologies and their effects on elections and democracy. A desire to avoid harm — in particular, the spread of misinformation — is part of what persuaded Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, to announce that his company will no longer run political ads. And Twitter is not alone: LinkedIn, Pinterest, Microsoft and Twitch also refuse political ads, while Google accepts them in some states but not others.

Facebook is now the outlier, and it is increasingly hard to understand why it is insisting on accepting not only political advertising, but even deliberate and malicious lies if they are in the form of paid advertisements. Given how much can go wrong — and has gone wrong — the question everyone is asking is: Why does Facebook think it needs to be in this game? Naïveté is at this point the most flattering explanation.

It isn’t, as some think, just about making money, for as a revenue source, the money at stake is minor. But the money does matter, in a different way. Paying for promotion is how, on social media, some speakers gain priority over others. This creates an advantage unrelated to actual popularity. Paired with the freedom to lie, the effect is to give political lies and paid misinformation campaigns a twisted advantage over other forms of election speech (like “the news.”) Even as Facebook’s “integrity” teams try to stamp out other forms of deception, paid promotions gain access to the full power of Facebook’s tools of microtargeting, its machine learning and its unrivaled collection of private information, all to maximize the influence of blatant falsehoods. What could possibly go wrong?

If the idea of prioritizing lies over truth doesn’t sound very appealing, Facebook’s defenses of its policy are almost their own misinformation campaign. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, has suggested that Facebook sees itself as providing the “tennis court” where politicians play the game of politics. But tennis actually has strict rules; Facebook has embraced, instead, the norms of a fighting cage. More important, Mr. Clegg is hiding the more fundamental question: Who ever said Facebook needed be the tennis court in the first place?

Facebook, which for years has declared it is not a media company, is now asserting that it is a medium necessary to a fair electoral process. That’s the implication of the tennis analogy, and also of Mr. Zuckerberg’s favorite defense of his policy, that Facebook must run political advertisements, even blatant lies, to help political challengers take on incumbents. Having personally run on a ticket against an incumbent, I am sympathetic to measures that might level the playing field. But not only is there no evidence to back Facebook’s assertions, there are many other, more obvious and less dangerous ways to fight the advantages of incumbency, like the public matching of campaign donations. It is ludicrous to suggest that allowing paid political lies online is what’s really necessary to help out the little guys.

So strange is the policy, so confusing even to Facebook’s own employees, perhaps it really is nothing more than an effort to placate Facebook’s conservative critics — giving Mr. Zuckerberg space to loudly declare that he maintains a fair and balanced policy when it comes to political speech. Leave aside that this is unlikely to mollify mainstream conservatives, whose real concern is that Facebook’s filtering of hate speech will enshrine “political correctness.” It is the effort to mollify itself that should raise red flags.

What we are learning is that Facebook can, by tinkering with its rules for political ads, give itself a special, unregulated power over elections. Just that possibility gives Facebook political leverage and politicians reasons to want leverage over Facebook. And we are speaking not of the local television station, which is bad enough, but the nation’s dominant social network, creating the kind of monopoly influence over politics that the framers of the Sherman antitrust law were concerned about. By refusing to stay out, Facebook is in effect building the case for its own breakup.

It is a dangerous game, with enormous potential for corruption, which is why Mr. Dorsey and most of the rest of Silicon Valley are right to steer as far clear as they can. It may well be that Silicon Valley one day studies its role in elections and comes up with some kind of salutary town hall of the future. But false neutrality is worse than nothing. Lacking any certainty that they can do more good than harm, both Facebook and Google need to get out.

Tim Wu (@superwuster) is a law professor at Columbia, a contributing opinion writer and the author, most recently, of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.”

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facebook-rolls-out-new-corporate-logo-that-will-appear-with-all-of-its-brands

Facebook introduced a new corporate logo Monday that will soon appear across its products.

The plain all-caps logo has been “designed for clarity” to help differentiate the corporate entity from the social networking app, Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio said. Facebook the brand will still be indicated by its familiar blue and white lower-case “f” and “facebook”.

The corporate logo also will be added to Facebook-owned services and platforms, including Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, and Calibra. Facebook first announced the branding plan in August.

Why we should care. While marketers understand the full breadth of Facebook’s portfolio, surveys indicate that many consumers do not know that Facebook owns Instagram or WhatsApp, for example. With Facebook’s less-than-sparkling reputation, it’s an interesting choice to make the connection clearer to consumers. The company isn’t shying away from its dominance, though, even with (or in spite of) mounting antitrust scrutiny.

As Facebook moves to enmesh the backends of its apps with encryption, it has also been building more options for advertisers to enable advertisers to reach users across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger through the single Ads Manager hub. Advertisers we spoke to in August had mixed reactions about the branding move but let’s note the company’s reputational woes have yet to dent its advertising revenues.



About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.



facebook-to-limit-number-of-ads-pages-can-run-simultaneously

Facebook announced on Thursday that it will be implementing a limit on the number of ads a Page can run at the same time. To prepare advertisers for the limitations, coming mid-next year, the company is releasing a new version of its Marketing API that includes an Ad Volume API to show the volume of ads running or in review in an ad account.

The company said it will share more details about the limits early next year. Currently, the Ad Volume API will show how many ads a Page is running across accounts, and in the future, will include how many ads a Page is permitted to use.

Why we should care

Facebook said future ad limits will only affect a small percentage of advertisers. You’ll have a better sense of whether you’ll be impacted when Facebook releases additional details. The change will not go into effect until mid-2020.

“We’re implementing ad limits because very high ad volume can hinder an advertiser’s performance. With too many ads running at the same time, fewer ads exit the learning phase and more budget it spent before the delivery system can optimize and ad’s performance,” the company said.

Since the roll out isn’t scheduled until mid-2020, advertisers should have plenty of time to use the new Ad Volume API and adjust campaigns based on the guidance Facebook releases early next year.

More on the news



About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



facebook-ad-impressions-rise,-driven-by-news-feed,-instagram-stories-and-feed-ads

Facebook this week reported a 37% increase in ad impressions compared to this time last year and 6% decline in ad costs. The growth in ad impressions were driven primarily by Facebook News Feed Ads, Instagram Stories Ads and Instagram Feed Ads, said Facebook CFO David Wehner during the company’s third quarter earnings call.

“The year-over-year decline in average price per ad was primarily driven by the ongoing mix shift towards geographies and Stories Ads which monetize at lower rates,” said Wehner.

Wehner also confirmed, during the Q&A section of the call, that certain ad optimization efforts resulted in an increase in ad load on Instagram.

“On the Q4 outlook, we are lapping a few different product optimizations we’ve made. A couple of those that I would cite is optimizations in how the ad auction operates, which can have an impact, and also, an increase in ad load on IG [Instagram] Feed and Stories,” said Wehner.

Ad revenue up 28% year-over-year. Facebook reported another strong quarter with ad revenue at $17.4 billion during the third quarter of 2019, up 28% over last year — the same year-over-year growth it saw during the second quarter. Total revenue was $17.7 billion for the quarter, up 29% since this time last year. Net income was $6.1 billion, up a billion from the $5.1 billion reported during the third quarter of 2018.

In North America, ad revenue was up 27% at $8.32 billion for the third quarter. The strongest growth came from APAC which saw a 35% increase in ad revenue. Mobile ad revenue accounted for 94% of Facebook’s total ad revenue.

Daily active user growth remains flat. Facebook reports it had 1.62 billion daily active users (DAUs) during the third quarter — up 9% since the third quarter of 2018. There has been little change in DAU growth quarter-to-quarter since this time last year, sticking to a 9% or 8% rise. Far different than the 17% and 18% growth it was seeing during 2016 and 2017.

Monthly active users (MAUs) for the quarter were at 2.45 billion. Facebook’s MAU growth also remains flat at 8% — the same growth rate it reported in the first and second quarter of this year.

Facebook estimates, on average, 2.2 billion people are using at least one of its apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) at least once a day, and 2.8 billion monthly. The 2.2 billion daily users across its family of apps is a million more than was reported last year.

Why we should care. Even with flat DAU growth, Facebook’s earnings demonstrate advertisers are continuing to spend on the platform. The company also remains confident that Stories Ads are going to help drive further growth.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg accounted a big part of the company’s growth to Stories. She said that three million of Facebook’s seven million advertisers are using Stories Ads on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

“We’ve had, I think, a lot of success moving advertisers to where people already are. That’s what happened with mobile ads. People weren’t really doing mobile ads, and we helped them get there,” said Sandberg.



About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



brands-on-facebook-messenger-get-three-new-features-to-better-connect-with-customers

Facebook has introduced three new features for Messenger designed to help brands communicate with their customers on the platform: “icebreakers” for business profiles, updates to Click to Messenger ads, and more options for users replying to messages from a business.

Icebreakers for commonly asked questions. Facebook is also rolling out “icebreaker” questions that businesses can add to their Messenger profile via the API. The feature offers users the option to click on a common FAQ — like “What are your hours today?” or “Where is your store located?” — to receive an automated response.

“Icebreakers help businesses reduce friction in starting a conversation by surfacing common questions or topics of interest,” writes Facebook on its Developer blog.

Facebook icebreaker feature for Messenger

Click to Messenger ad update. For businesses that already have multiple Facebook apps connected to the Messenger platform, the company is making it easy to select which app they want to use for their Click to Messenger ads (an ad that runs in the Facebook or Instagram News Feed, but opens a chat in Messenger when a user clicks on it).

The company didn’t give explicit details on how brands can select the apps they want to be connected to their Click to Messenger ads, but said the “first phase” of the solution is now available, with additional improvements to be announced in the coming weeks.

More reply options for users. The third feature from Facebook Messenger are reactions and message replies that users can take advantage of during conversations with a business on the platform. The reactions allow users to use emojis to react to a response from a business. The message replies allow for threaded conversations so that businesses can see which exact message a user is responding to. “This adds more clarity to the conversations and helps businesses respond to inquiries better,” writes Facebook.

Why we should care. Consumers say they want more businesses to be available via messaging platforms. A recent survey of more than 11,000 people ages 18 to 24-years-old, conducted by Facebook, found that 60% wished they could message more businesses. These latest updates from Facebook do just that — helping create more opportunities for brands to communicate directly with users.

As social platforms — and social usage patterns — trend to a more personalized, messaging experience, brands adept at one-on-one communication with consumers will have an advantage over the competition and a better chance at attracting a loyal following.



About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



responsive-ads-come-to-facebook-with-multiple-text-optimization

Facebook has rolled out a new responsive ad feature similar to what Google Ads launched last year. The feature, dubbed Multiple Text Optimization, allows advertisers to create several versions of headlines, ad copy and descriptions for a single-media ads. Facebook’s ad system then dynamically serves up the combination it determines will deliver the best results.

Advertisers can create multiple text options for their Facebook ads.

Why we should care

You can also use Multiple Text Optimization to test different how kinds (and combinations) of features and benefits resonate with different audiences. This type of multivariate option leaves messaging combinations to the algorithms and can accelerate testing of different types of messaging. The trade-off is in tightly controlling how your ads appear. It’s just one more indication of how machine learning is being applied to ad creative — across all of the major advertising platforms.

For reporting, you can choose the Headline and Body custom columns to see how each variation and combination performs, digital marketing agency first ClickThrough noted. Additionally, a “View more variations” button in Facebook’s ad preview tool allows you to see how your combinations work together before pushing the ads live.

Select these ad creative columns in Facebook Ads Manager to see how multiple headlines and/or body copy variations perform.

More on the news

  • Facebook’s responsive ads feature is different than its A/B testing feature that lets advertisers test different ad formats, visuals, headlines and CTAs with testing based on a specific objective (post engagement, Likes, conversions, etc.).
  • Google first introduced responsive search ads more than a year ago, allowing advertisers to enter multiple headlines and descriptions and have the system automatically serve them in various combinations.
  • Facebook said the option will roll out to all advertisers in the coming weeks.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



facebook-news-tab-won’t-include-ads,-but-publishers-can-still-monetize-content

Facebook is launching Facebook News, a dedicated space on the platform that will highlight top news stories from national and local publications. The company confirmed with Marketing Land that publishers whose articles are placed in Facebook News will be able to monetize their content the same way they do in other areas of Facebook, including referral traffic and Instant Article ads, but the new tab dedicated to news stories will not include ads from advertisers.

“At launch, this tab is very much an alpha test as we figure out what will provide the best experience for people,” said a Facebook spokesperson, “Part of that testing includes partnering with some publishers who are required to build tools with us.”

Why we should care

Advertisers hoping for feed ad placement opportunities within Facebook News will have to look elsewhere as Facebook confirmed it will not be distributing ads to the new section of its site. It’s worth noting that this initial test is an “alpha” test, and there’s still a chance that the company will eventually decide to insert ads between the curated news stories — it was only this month that Facebook decided to place ads in search results. and began testing ads in the Groups tab.

If Facebook News turns out to be a hit with users, with consistent engagement and high adoption rates, it makes sense Facebook would open it up to advertisers.

More on the news

  • Facebook said it surveyed more than 100,000 users to determine the range of content to be included in Facebook News. At launch, Facebook News includes four categories of publishers: general, topical, diverse and local news.
  • To start, Facebook News is showcasing news from local publications located in the largest major metro areas in the U.S. and national publications that it has partnered with, including the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and more.
  • The “Today’s Stories” section of Facebook News will include content selected by, “A diverse team of journalists hired by Facebook.” The company is also using machine learning to personalize the content that appears in the News tab.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



facebook-is-changing-how-it-measures-organic-page-impressions

Facebook is updating how it filters repeat organic impressions for Pages. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company is shortening the time-frame by which it calculates the metric.

The initial announcement came via an update last week to a Facebook Business blog post published more than a year ago. The company said it is changing the way it measures Page impressions to align with the methodology it uses for ads: “This is not a change in distribution, but a change in the way we filter out repeat organic impressions that occur within a short amount of time.”

A Facebook spokesperson told Marketing Land that the update will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

Why we should care

This update is noteworthy as it clarifies that a drop in impressions isn’t necessarily a drop in the Page’s performance, but a result of Facebook changing how it calculates organic impressions. For marketers measuring their organic engagement metrics against their impressions — the updated metric may reflect improved engagement rates, as impression numbers may drop without impacting engagement rates.

According to Facebook, the update is designed to, “Make it easier for businesses to make comparisons across paid and organic channels.” In other words, creating a more of an apples-to-apples comparison between organic and paid results.

Facebook counts an ad impression by the number of times an instance of an ad is on screen for the first time: “If an ad is on screen and someone scrolls down, and then scrolls back up to the same ad, that counts as 1 impression. If an ad is on screen for someone 2 different times in a day, that counts as 2 impressions.”

More on the news



About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



facebook-opens-search-ads-to-all-advertisers

After nearly a year of testing ads in News Feed and Marketplace search results, Facebook is rolling out search ad placement more broadly to all advertisers. The ads will appear in results for search terms that have commercial intent, such as searches for commercial products connected to the e-commerce, retail or auto vertical. Currently, search ad placement is available on mobile only.

“Testing shows that advertisers and people are finding value in ads in search results, so we’re rolling out these ads more broadly,” said Facebook Director of Product Management Nipoon Malhatra.

To have ads appear in search results, advertisers can either select “Automatic Placement” for their News Feed ads, or choose the “Facebook Search Results” placement in Ads Manager when creating a News Feed ad campaign. (Search ad placement is not a standalone option — advertisers must be running a News Feed ad to have the ad also show up in search results.)

Targeting for ads in search are based on the advertiser’s chosen people-based targeting options in addition to relevant search term keywords. The keywords are determined by Facebook, not the advertiser, and take into account a combination of ad features (ad text, product, category, title and description).

Why we should care

Facebook’s search ad placement is a boon for any advertiser running a product sales or conversion-focused campaign. By opening up this ad placement to more advertisers, Facebook is giving marketers direct access to users who are actively searching for their product or service on the platform.

As Facebook’s ad inventory becomes even more saturated, new ad placement options — such as search — give advertisers an upper hand by allowing them to run their ads in areas of the platform not yet overrun with competitor advertising.

More on the news

  • Ads included in search results have the same layout as News Feed ads — same headline, image, copy text — and can be single image, carousel, video or a collection ad format.
  • Supported campaign objectives include: Product Sales, Conversions and Traffic Objectives.
  • Facebook first began testing ad placement in search last December and extended it to more accounts in July.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.