Social circuit: Facebook video ads, Instagram Direct

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 1.55.57 PMBig changes come with the new year, and it’s important to keep track of them. The Digitaria Blog stays on top of what’s new in the digital world and social media. For a look into new developments in Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, read an excerpt from their blog below.



Facebook [finally] announces video ads

As of mid-December, a small number of Facebook users will begin to see sponsored video ads in both their desktop and mobile News Feeds as part of the network’s largely anticipated video ad offering. According to Facebook, “promoted videos” will automatically begin to play within the News Feed on mute. When a user clicks or taps on the video, the unit will launch into full-screen mode and begin to play sound. Conversely, if a user chooses to not engage with the promoted video, they can continue to scroll through their News Feed uninterrupted (similar to in-stream units currently live on the platform).

Though not explicitly stated in Facebook’s video ad announcement, these new units are directly targeting television network ad dollars. In a Facebook sales presentation sent to the platform’s PMD partners, Facebook cites an eMarketer study saying time spent on digital will soon surpass TV, noting people open their phones 100 times a day, and Facebook 10-15 times per day. In addition to TV dollars, Facebook also takes aim at YouTube advertising, claiming that in narrowly targeted YouTube campaigns, the average online reach is 38% accurate, and on Facebook, the average reach is 89% accurate.

Although Facebook claims to have taken great measures to ensure promoted videos do not impact user experience, the initial rollout should gauge overall user response as to how these new units will be widely received throughout the platform. Brands hoping to utilize this new ad format should consider user response as part of their decision-making process, as well as consult with their Facebook reps (as these ads are still in beta).

Instagram Direct: If you can’t buy Snapchat, beat ‘em!

As many recall, Facebook attempted to buy Snapchat in November at a valuation of $3B. Then, in a move many in the industry have seen as Facebook’s way of taking a bite out of Snapchat’s allure, Instagram announced Instagram Direct, its new messaging feature. Available now, the feature allows users on iOS and Android to send text, video, and photo messages to each other privately. Much like Snapchat, which allows users to send private photos and videos that disappear after several seconds, Instagram is playing into the trendy “exclusiveness” of this type of messaging, which exists in many peer-to-peer social media platforms, like WhatsApp. Don’t want to share your photo with the world? That’s fine — send it to up to 15 of your closest friends instead.

While some are applauding Instagram for helping users reclaim privacy, others are skeptical of Instagram Direct’s success, stating that it may be too difficult to convince users to “break their ingrained behavior pattern.” Only time will tell whether this feature will be pervasively embraced, but one thing is for sure: privacy is a growing social trend to keep an eye on.

Read the rest of this article on the Digitaria Blog.

— This post was co-authored by Samantha Afetian, social community strategist, and Rebecca Debono, social media strategist at Digitaria.

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