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Facebook Retargeting: Use Cases for Custom Audiences and Facebook Exchange

Last week, we went over the core differences between Facebook’s enhanced Custom Audiences and the Facebook Exchange. To further expand on the topic, today we’re giving you insight into how to best leverage each retargeting method, as well as how Facebook’s expansion will further improve your marketing efforts.  

What are some use cases for each retargeting method?

Facebook makes it clear that there are different ways for marketers to leverage both FBX and Website and Mobile App Custom Audiences. Overall, they recommend that advertisers use FBX when they have a large number of products and advertise to multiple audiences. For smaller businesses that don’t generally work with third parties, Custom Audiences gives them a useful retargeting tool that includes mobile and can layer in Facebook’s other targeting abilities.

Use Case — FBX for predictive buying: Let’s say a user is on Sur La Table browsing through spatulas and measuring cups. FBX would target them with an ad for both of those items, but also for measuring spoons, because it can predict the affinity present in those products. Custom Audiences would simply retarget them with an ad for Sur La Table, provided they didn’t complete their purchase.

Use Case — FBX for specific ad creative: FBX allows a marketer to target a user for the exact product they were viewing. Taking the same example above, that means Sur La Table could show the user an ad for the very spatula or measuring cup they had clicked on (as well as a measuring spoon they might be interested in). Separately, Sur La Table would use Custom Audiences to reach people searching for cooking products who have not downloaded their mobile app for iOS.


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Another SHIFT Office Move & Makeover - New York Edition

After the move to our new Santa Monica office went so well, it was time for another expansion - this time in New York! Earlier this month, our New York office changed locations to a 6,500 square foot office in Chelsea that follows the same open space floor plan as our LA headquarters.

When designing the New York office, SHIFT Creative Director Julius Ross drew inspiration from the recent move and renovations at our Santa Monica location. New features in NY include an open floor plan, city-themed breakout rooms (featuring Tribeca, Soho, and Brooklyn), and LED lighting with motion sensors. Aesthetically, Julius’ vision for the new space was also inspired by the Santa Monica headquarters: a very clean and modern look with SHIFT colors highlighting a few of the accent walls. There are plenty of rooms to hold meetings or take calls, and a lot of comfy chairs and couches to use if anyone’s desk chair needs a rest.

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Facebook: New Custom Audiences vs. Facebook Exchange

Back in October, Facebook announced that it would be expanding its Custom Audiences targeting to include the ability for companies to retarget users who have visited their website or mobile app. Late this January, Facebook made Custom Audiences available for all PMD’s, with plans to roll out to all advertisers in the coming months.

For our clients that are familiar with FBX, at first glance the new Custom Audiences might appear to be strikingly similar, so we want to break down what exactly this new function is and how it differs from FBX. In a separate post, we’ll walk through use cases and best practices for each targeting mechanism based on what we’ve learned by working directly with major brand advertisers.

What are Custom Audiences?

Let’s start with the basics — previously, Custom Audiences simply allowed you to import email lists that you could use to target corresponding Facebook users. Essentially, you could target your existing contacts on Facebook with an ad designed specifically for them.

Extending this functionality further, the new Custom Audiences allow you to use a pixel to create a list of the people who have visited your company’s website or mobile app over a given time period (15 days, 30 days, or 180 days) and retarget them on Facebook.

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One Year Anniversary of Twitter's Ads API: Welcoming The Marketing Platform Program

One year ago today, Twitter officially announced it Ads API Program in a blog post. Twitter has come a long way since then, having grown from about 200 million to over 240 million active users. During that same time, Twitter also became a publicly traded company, partnered with Nielsen for Twitter TV analytics, expanded capabilities of its ad products, and improved audience targeting. Through all of these advancements it seems clear that Twitter has remained focused on helping brands use its ad products to effectively connect with customers and drive ROI.

Since the launch of the Ads API Program, as an initial partner, SHIFT has believed in and supported this vision of helping brands deliver results on Twitter. Over the past several months we have written posts that illustrate this belief in action; showcasing Twitter campaigns run via SHIFT and the tangible results they achieved. We worked with a beverage client this past year that extended its television messaging on Twitter, reaching 7M+ targeted users. There was the B2B tech company that generated over 60,000 engagements in what is traditionally a difficult vertical to engage users. And of course the CPG client that proved just how impactful photo tweets are as compared to text tweets. In addition to these examples, SHIFT has also helped clients in verticals that include Financial Services, Retail, Auto, and Entertainment. Here are just a few of some other great results that SHIFT has helped clients achieve on Twitter:


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Twitter Lead Generation Cards: Basic Principles and 6 Tips

In May 2013, Twitter launched Lead Generation Cards with the intent of helping marketers generate leads and ultimately drive purchases. As part of Twitter’s suite of Twitter Cards, advertisers were now able to post an expanded Tweet featuring a way for users to easily and securely share their email address without navigating away from Twitter or filling out a form – it’s as simple as clicking one button. Originally, this capability was only available to managed clients, but in August, Twitter announced the rollout of Lead Generation Cards to all advertisers.

Through the simple and secure opt-in on Twitter, advertisers can now gather information they can then use to continue that engagement through other channels, i.e. e-mail, CRM targeting, etc. We at SHIFT believe this product can be extremely powerful and want to help advertisers fully understand how it works and when it is best suited for a campaign.

How does it work?

When a user sees your Tweet within their timeline and is interested in your message, they have the option to expand the Tweet. Once expanded, the user sees a description of your offer and a customized call-to-action. Their name, @username and email address are pre-filled within the Card. With a single click of the call-to-action button, the user can send their information directly to you. Here are examples of a Lead Generation Card, as it would be displayed before and after a user expands:

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Brands on Facebook: From 2007 to Today

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Facebook’s launch. During the past decade, the social network has seen exponential growth in users, revenue, and more. A large part of the network’s transformation has been its evolving design, which has come a long way since those first days in 2004….but what about brands on Facebook?

Facebook Pages were introduced in November 2007 as a way for brands, organizations, and celebrities to create their own profiles. While this was a great opportunity for companies to establish their social presence, fan interaction and advertising prospects were limited. In 2008 and 2009, Facebook made crucial updates to its design and sharing capabilities on the News Feed. Updates became more visible, and the Wall and News Feed housed more relevant information. By 2009, Facebook Pages really began to flourish, but brands still weren’t making the cut for the most popular pages. With 10.4 million fans, the top Facebook page in 2009 was Michael Jackson — and Facebook was the only page in the Top 5 that wasn’t an actor, musician, or public figure.

By 2011, just two years later, more than three million companies had Facebook Pages, and brands started to increase their investment on the platform. Advertising revenue that year was $3.15 billion (of $3.77 billion total) — an increase of over 3x in two years, as revenue didn’t even reach $1 billion in 2009. That same year, Facebook introduced Sponsored Stories, which were ads with social context. This was a huge development for companies looking to increase their social presence, because it allowed users’ friends to be brand advocates and helped make a personal connection with an ad. While continuing to build their ad program, Facebook also developed new ways to help brands become more social; in 2012, Facebook migrated all Pages over to its current Timeline format. The timeline has given brands the opportunity to create a true user experience. With rich cover photos and an interactive layout similar to a user’s own profile, Facebook Pages were more visually appealing and a much more socially rich experience.

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Understand and Unlock the Potential of Twitter's Tailored Audiences

We have all read countless ‘2014 digital marketing trends to watch’ articles. Among them, there have been no shortage of writers, SHIFT included, touting that this will be a big year for ad re-targeting and more tightly integrated cross-channel marketing. Therefore it wasn’t a big surprise when Twitter started the new year by announcing new ways for advertisers to create tailored audiences. While they aren’t the first social media platform to offer this type of audience targeting, this is nonetheless a huge announcement – for Twitter, advertisers, and users alike. Only half a year ago they were experimenting with tailored ads; a few months later they announced global availability of tailored audiences; and now they’ve expanded the capabilities of tailored audiences to enable advertisers to better connect with the right audience and deliver the right message at the right time.

Advertisers can now choose to re-target using one of three broad approaches: Web, CRM, or Twitter ID. And as one of Twitter’s Ads API Partners, SHIFT works closely with the team at Twitter to quickly implement these breaking solutions for advertisers. As such, SHIFT has been chosen as one of only three partners to support the Twitter ID approach. Below we have provided additional details about each to help you decide which is right for your campaign.

Web – This approach allows advertisers to reach users on Twitter, based on their off Twitter platform browsing activity. Through a Twitter ads partner, advertisers can define a particular audience (e.g. users who visited the advertiser’s site in the past week), build an anonymous list of cookie IDs, and match that list to Twitter users who can then be served Promoted Tweets from the advertiser. This can be a powerful tool for reaching users at different points in the sales funnel and reinforcing messaging from other channels.


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The 5 Best Tweets of Super Bowl XLVIII

Arguably the biggest and certainly the most acute real-time marketing opportunity of the year has come and gone. Since Oreo’s trend-setting tweet during last year’s Superbowl, brands have been flocking towards the notion of “real-time,” with Twitter as the universal platform of choice. The problem is, with so many companies crowding the conversation, it’s that much more difficult to stand out. Brands are resorting to everything from mock-bickering with one another to hijacking  each others’ ads. Below, we review our picks for the five best tweets and tactics we saw that worked during this years Super Bowl.


1. Budweiser

Who can resist puppies and horses? No one. According to this infographic, Budweiser’s hashtag #bestbuds was mentioned over 59,000 times during the game. The brand had also released its ad in full prior to the game, garnering more than 23 million views before the ball was even kicked off. Building hype by publishing their ad in advance clearly paid off. #cutenessoverload

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Facebook Best Practices: 5 Ways to Boost Engagement

Last week, Facebook made an announcement that it would be changing its News Feed algorithm to reduce the amount of purely text updates users see from brand Pages. Although users appreciate and interact with such updates from friends, they do not behave the same way with respect to Pages. The change is consistent with Facebook’s ongoing goal to provide its users with relevant content that they are most likely to engage with, as they also mentioned that Page admins “may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”

One specific piece of advice Facebook gave to brands was to ensure that any links you wish to share don’t get buried in text status updates (see example below on the left). Instead, they recommend using a link-share (below on the right), as they’ve found that these posts draw more likes, comments, shares, and clicks in addition to providing “a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.”


Given this update as well as Facebook’s pointer, we wanted to share our own best practices for eliciting engagement that can be applied to both organic Page Posts as well as Ads. An objective of engagement essentially means using brand content to increase interactions such as clicks, shares, likes, comments, etc. Below we outline our top 5 tips for maximizing those actions.

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Facebook Video Ads: A New Way to Engage Audiences

Advertisers had been eagerly awaiting the announcement that came on December 17 of last year: Facebook was finally going to be testing video ads in the newsfeed. In the post, Facebook reported that they’d in fact begun to explore ways to make videos more engaging back in September, and that through their tests they’d “seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent.”

The main feature that sets their video advertisements apart in terms of engagement is autoplay — but without sound. To hear the video, users must click unmute or elect to watch the video in full-screen, which would trigger sound. Other features include more recommended content from the brand after the video finishes and automatic download on mobile so you can watch even if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. See below for an example video ad: 

As we mentioned in a blog post a few weeks ago, video will continue to be at the forefront of digital marketers’ strategic decisions this year. The appeal of these ads stems from their ability to be bite-sized while still packing an engaging punch. Facebook even stated in its announcement to its business site that “compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns.” Moreover, according to this infographic from mediabistro, videos are shared 12X more than links and text posts combined. Sharing is still the best way to organically amplify the reach of your campaign, and videos are proving their value to advertisers in achieving that objective.

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