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Marketing Week in Review – April 29, 2017

Marketing NewsThis week in marketing: We’ll learn how chatbots can benefit marketers, what social network influencers got in trouble with the FTC, and an ad blocking update coming up in future versions of Chrome.

Chatbots in Online Marketing

Adweek published an interesting piece this week about chatbots and highlighted marketing use cases by Facebook and Kik. Although the technology is only around a year old, developers and marketers are already seeing positive results.

Chatbots are versatile artificial intelligence programs that users interact with through a messaging system or text designed to respond based on user input. For instance, chatbots can be programmed to deliver the latest news, update a user about latest blog posts, or serve as a customer support agent.

Some examples of big brands using chatbots are: Bank of America which sends users bank account information through SMS text and Facebook Messenger, and Pizza Hut which allows hungry users to order pizza through Facebook or Twitter.

The use of chatbots isn’t widespread, but can help marketers in several areas by providing answers to simple questions, delivering targeted content and product information, and sending the customer through the awareness funnel.

Chatbots can even be developed to do a bit more heavy lifting while providing a personal customer service experience. For example, clothing company H&M, utilized a Kik bot that can ask customers which style of clothes they prefer. The bot then makes recommendations based on interactions.

Perhaps the best benefit of using chatbots in marketing is the automation opportunities which are vast in variety. Combined with targeted data, chatbots can be utilized for customer retention and retargeting efforts on a mass scale with endless possibilities.

LinkedIn Introduces ‘Matched Audience’ with Three New Targeting Tools

LinkedIn is releasing it’s ‘Matched Audience‘ advertising program with three new targeting tools making it easier for marketers to target specific audiences. The targeting tools can be used with standard metrics such as job title, position and age.

Marketers can now target users by email address, web browsing and even their employers.

The three new targeting tools are:

  • Website Retargeting: reengage visitors
  • Account Targeting: market to decision makers within an industry
  • Contact Targeting: engage specific prospects and customers

Beta testers have been testing the new features for the past six months and saw a 30 – 37 percent increase in click through rate (CTR).

Influencers and Marketers in Trouble with the FTC

A couple week ago, we discussed The Future of Social Marketing: Influencer Marketing and now popular users of a social media platform are in trouble with the FTC for not disclosing posts paid for by advertisers.

90 unnamed Instagram marketers and influencers have been contacted by the FTC and reminded of responsibilities to disclose when a post is paid for by advertisers. This is the first time the FTC has taken such action on the issue.

According to the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, users on social media are required to disclose the nature of relationships with advertisers when being paid for product promoting, and disclosures should be “clear and conspicuous” – meaning it has to stand out.

Disclosures should be noticeable, easy to read, and understood. For social networks like Twitter where characters are limited, it is suggested to use the #ad hashtag.

This action is a response to petitions filed by Public Citizen, a non-profit agency, which logged offenses from celebrities such as Rihanna and Michael Phelps.

Twitter Releasing Feature to Show Ads in Videos

Twitter is rolling out a feature that shows in-stream video ads published by partners in TV, news, and sports.

The ads can be shown during videos or before videos.

According to Nielsen Brand Effect studies, video ads did well on Twitter:

  • 50 percent increased awareness in advertiser’s brand
  • 14 percent more positive about the brand
  • 18 percent higher purchase intent

This could be a good move after experiencing multiple quarters of slow user growth and earnings. However, video viewership did grow at the end of 2016.

Facebook Allows Marketers to Match User IDs

The ability to track users across multiple platforms is a much needed feature for marketers, and now brands on Facebook have the ability to track users more easily than before.

The social media platform introduced assigning IDs for the same user across multiple platforms. Previously, Facebook returned different identifiers whenever a user interacted with Facebook Messenger, apps, or websites. This made tracking users difficult across platforms, as brands couldn’t tell if a user was the same person.

Now that IDs officially match, marketers can easily retarget users and serve more targeted advertisements, give discounts, or even offer incentives for return website visits.

The update includes all apps and bots served by Facebook allowing businesses and marketers to recognize the user as an existing customer and offer a more personalized experience.

Businesses must let Facebook know that certain apps and pages are associated by connecting apps to an existing business through the Business Manager.

Ad Blocking Feature Planned in Future Version of Chrome

Adblock Plus is the current leader for browser ad blocking apps but Google is soon to release its own ad blocker built right into Chrome for desktop and mobile users.

The feature will block ads that provide a ‘bad experience’ for the user which is determined by standards released in March 2017 developed by the Coalition for Better Ads.

‘Bad Experiences’ are defined by:

Desktop

  • Pop up advertisements
  • Automatic playing videos
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Large sticky ads

Mobile

  • Pop up advertisements
  • Prestitial ads
  • Ad density higher than 30 percent
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Automatic playing video ads with sound
  • Postitial ads with countdown
  • Full-screen scrollover ads
  • Large sticky ads

These standards are backed by research from the Coalition for Better Ads which uses a customer-centric approach to its data and research.

While these acceptable ad-use standards are good meaning, it may make room for companies like Google to completely monopolize the online ad industry. Google already has 47 percent of the browser market in the United States and this includes desktop, mobile, and other platforms.

It’s concerning to think that while Google may block out certain ads, it may be lax on its own network. It already pays Adblock Plus to allow its ads through the filter via the “Acceptable Ads” program.

Smart Display Campaigns by Google Introduce Machine Learning and Scalability

Machine learning and mass scalability is now possible in ads thanks to a Google release called Smart display campaigns. The new feature is accessible to all advertisers through Adwords and served across the Google Display Network (GDN) for native, text or image ads.

Beta testers have seen good results. Both Credit Karma and Hulu saw 37 percent more conversions and Trivago saw an increase of 20 percent across the board.

Google says the reason why Smart display campaigns are different from normal ads is the ability to mass scale serving hundreds, even thousands, of machine adaptive advertisements.

Photo Credit: uberdigit01 Flickr via Compfight cc

Tia Wood

Tia is an online marketing professional providing marketing and web development for business clients at V3B. She's a geek who loves video games, pizza, and can talk all day about web coding.