Facebook's Audience Network: What It Means For Mobile Ads

Facebook, the social media giant that has already made a large dent in the mobile ad ecosystem, today showed it has no plans to stop the momentum: Welcome, Audience Network.

Before today, there were already several factors working in Facebook’s favor: its reach among avid social users, its engaged and captive audience, and its trove of affinity data, which my colleague Nate Elliott talks more about in his blog post here.

After its Audience Network announcement today, Facebook is breaking the application of its tools and its data out of its own silo, and this could benefit several players:

  • Other developers and publishers could make more money by offering Facebook data-infused mobile ads.
  • Advertisers can dip into Facebook’s rich affinity data to target their ads across other mobile properties.
  • And of course, Facebook itself just extended its potential revenue base and faces a new competitive set with the likes of Google AdMob and MIllennialMedia.
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Facebook Begins Building The Database Of Affinity

It’s been clear for a while now that the greatest value of social media to marketers won’t come from placing ads on social sites — it’ll come from using social data to improve the ads marketers place everywhere else. We call this idea the database of affinity, and we believe it could be the Holy Grail for more-effective brand marketing. For nearly a year, Google has helped marketers use the database of affinity to improve the targeting of their online display ads. And today Facebook has finally started to build the database of affinity that has always been its birthright, launching a mobile ad network.

This move is fantastic, if long overdue, news for marketers. It has the potential to improve the performance of all mobile advertising. And if Facebook grows its ad targeting business into other channels and works to better analyze and utilize its data (something it’s lagged at in the past), it could revolutionize brand advertising.

For more analysis on what this means to the mobile ad ecosystem, read my colleague Jenny Wise' take here.

Q&A With Amy Nelson-Bennett, CEO And President, Molton Brown Global

 

Just three weeks to go before our Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London kicks off on May 13-14. In addition to industry thought-leaders from William Hill PLC and Intesa Sanpaolo, I am excited we have been able to confirm Amy Nelson-Bennett, CEO and President of Molton Brown Global, the global luxury body & beauty brand based in London, as one of our keynote speakers.

Since joining Molton Brown, shortly after its purchase by the Kao Corporation, Amy has modernised the brand and business operations, particularly in the areas of eCommerce, eCRM, and other digital marketing programmes. She has also successfully leveraged resources across the Kao organisation to help accelerate Molton Brown’s growth outside of the UK home market, and more recently has been working with the other Kao brands to better leverage digital assets and talent within the Kao organisation in EMEA and the Americas.

In the run-up to the Forum, I caught up with Amy and asked her these questions to uncover some of her messages for the marketing leaders attending our London event. Do join us on May 13-14 to hear Amy's full story!

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Instagram Is The King Of Social Engagement

Recently, Forrester studied more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks and confirmed what marketers have long suspected: People don’t engage with branded social content very often.

On six of the seven social networks, the brands we studied achieved an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. For every 1 million Facebook fans those brands had collected, each of their posts received only about 700 likes, comments, and shares. On Twitter, the ratio was about 300 interactions per 1 million followers.

But one social network absolutely blew the others away when it came to delivering engagement: Instagram. Our study found that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

Instagram offers brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook

What does this higher engagement rate look like in practice? Last month, Red Bull posted a video of a unique snowboarding half-pipe on both Facebook and Instagram. A few days later, we noted that the brand’s 43 million Facebook fans had liked the video just 2,600 times (a 0.006% likes-per-fan rate), while its 1.2 million Instagram followers had liked the video more than 36,000 times (a 3% likes-per-follower rate).

Red Bull's Facebook post           Red Bull's Instagram post

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Campaign Marketing Is Background Music Consumers Don't Want

Campaign marketing is increasingly seen as background music and 'tuned out'. No surprise really that in a world where all brands push 'play' without consulting consumers that the outcome is a cacophony. It's one that consumers increasingly want to tune out, and today they have the tools to do so. From their cultivation of banner blindness , use of browser plugins like Adblock, through to enlisting more-aggressive privacy settings and skipping adverts at 8x speed. They simply don't want your message pushed at them and are taking steps to control the signal-to-noise ratio of useful vs. irrelevant data. Marketing must respond with a new quality in the relationship or risk being ignored. 

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Q&A With Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer, William Hill PLC

William Hill PLC, one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies and trusted UK high-street brand, has recently undergone a significant strategy review. The strategic changes came in response to the fact that more and more of its customers want to engage with the company via digital and increasingly also via mobile platforms — which at Forrester we refer to as the mobile mind shift

In this new business context, William Hill now focuses on three main initiatives for expansion: 1) develop a wider product range, 2) encourage greater multichannel usage, and 3) increase internationalisation. To better understand how it is tackling these business priorities and, in particular, how the firm is driving multichannel usage by delivering visible value (and in context), we invited Kristof Fahy, William Hill’s Chief Marketing Officer to deliver a keynote presentation at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London coming up on May 13-14.

In the run-up to the Forum, Kristof was kind enough to answer a few questions to provide a sneak preview to the content from his speech. I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London!

Q. You’ve led marketing efforts at a wide variety of companies, from big and established brands like Orange and BlackBerry to challengers like Yahoo. Are there key things that all brands—regardless of size and industry—should be doing today to stay relevant and top of mind in our hyper-connected, multi-channel world?

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Mobile & Social Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

The vast majority of Facebook and Twitter usage is coming from mobile devices, and both companies generate a significant proportion of their revenues via mobile ads (53% for Facebook and more than 70% for Twitter end Q4 2013).

  • Facebook is splitting into a collection of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Paper, etc…) and likely to announce a mobile ad network at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco in a couple of days. While failing brand marketers, according to my colleague Nate Elliott, Facebook is increasingly powerful at driving app installs for gaming companies and performance-based marketers who have a clear mobile app business model.
  • That’s why Twitter introduced mobile app install ads a couple of days ago and leveraged its MoPub acquisition by integrating ad-buying capabilities. Twitter is less and less about micro-blogging and more and more about traditional media – the place to be for real-time information consumption.
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Lesson From Mobile Banking — Making Things Easy Makes Money

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan just announced that more than 10% of all consumer deposits are done through mobile devices. That's in Q1 2014, and it's up from 6% in Q1 2013. (What you see in this picture is my local Bank of America branch, which I never visit any more.)

I love this from the Wall Street Journal's MoneyBeat blog:

Banks that don’t offer a full suite of mobile banking services may run the risk of alienating customers. All told, about 60% of smartphone or tablet users who switched banks in the fourth quarter said mobile banking was an important factor in the decision, up from 7% in the second quarter of 2010, according to data from New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners.

A mobile transaction costs 10 cents. An ATM transaction costs $1.25.

Here's what this means for you: Find a mobile moment where you can make your customer's life easier and you'll make money three ways. First, you'll make the customer happier with a better experience. Second, you'll keep him from switching to a competitor. And third, if you engineer it right, your own processes will be simpler and you'll save money, too. That's mobile mind shift thinking.

It's not just banking. Where are the mobile moments like this in your business? 

Beyond Marketing: How Mobile Is Transforming McDonald's France

At the beginning of the year in our yearly mobile predictions report, my colleague Julie Ask and I made the following call: "mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business. 2014 will be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses with mobile as a focal point." McDonald’s France is a great example of such a trend.

In France, you can now order a Big Mac anytime, anywhere on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop and pick it up later at any of 1,200 McDonald’s restaurants. But mobile ordering and in-store pick up are just the first steps of a broader and more ambitious strategy: differentiating McDonald’s brand experience and powering a future relationship marketing platform by enabling direct behavioral customer insights. Although it started with a mobile ordering and payment app nationwide, McDonald’s France aims to transform all points of customer engagement by building a platform to extend new services to loyal customers and evolving the entire organization.

Despite a less mature mobile ecosystem and lower mobile usage than in the US, McDonald’s France was the first subsidiary of McDonald’s to launch a mobile ordering offering at scale. Such an ordering service is only at pilot stage in the US. France is McDonald’s second-biggest market after the United States, with €4.35 billion in turnover in 2012. Most other countries had piloted mobile payments so far. With more than 16 million members, McDonald’s Japan mobile couponing and in-store contactless payment services is the only other mobile service for McDonald’s (and the vast majority of brands) that has scaled massively, but it does not yet offer the same value.

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Facebook Shatters Into Apps — And It's The Only Way Forward

Fixed diptych

Farhad Manjoo says "The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’" in the New York Times. Read the article, because it clearly points the direction for the future of Facebook (and of nearly everything else). From the article:

“What we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a recent interview at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
 
In the past, he said, Facebook was one big thing, a website or mobile app that let you indulge all of your online social needs. Now, on mobile phones especially, Facebook will begin to splinter into many smaller, more narrowly focused services, some of which won’t even carry Facebook’s branding, and may not require a Facebook account to use.

In retrospect, this was inevitable. Here are two reasons why.

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