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.

F8: How To Use Facebook To Borrow Mobile Moments And Meet Your Customers Where They Are

Most retailers, and other selling services, look to drive traffic in-store, to their mobile app, or to their website. But why not engage your customers where they already are, on social networks and media platforms like Facebook and The New York Times. Mobile allows you to do this.

Facebook’s F8 announcements today put forward new tools to do just that.

This is the notion of “borrowing mobile moments” that we talk about in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. For brands that don’t already own their customer’s mobile moments or can’t manufacture mobile moments effectively, third parties like Facebook, with large audiences and minutes of use, can offer instantaneous engagement. It’s highly contextual and offers a great mechanic to engage with your customers – where they are and where they want to be.

Facebook has driven 350M app installs through their mobile platform. For those of you looking to generate revenue, 60% of the top grossing ads use Mobile App Ads. (Source: Facebook’s Ime Archibong)

One quick case study:

 “Facetune” – tweak and tune photos before you share

#283 to #2 in under 5 days in the US with $500 in marketing budget

#1 in 78 different countries (now in 94 countries they are the #1 slot)

You want to increase the engagement in your mobile app

One solution - and the most common - is to drive engagement in your app directly through push notifications.

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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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Common Themes Across Three Global eCommerce Markets

Over the past few months, I traveled to several different eCommerce- and retail-related conferences, including events in Brazil, China and Colombia. The eCommerce markets in these countries are wildly different, yet a few common themes emerged at the events, especially in relation to omnichannel:

Retailers aim to leapfrog with their omnichannel initiatives. In all three markets, there are a number of traditional retailers that are just launching or building out their eCommerce offerings. Given that these retailers are starting with a clean slate when it comes to digital initiatives, they are aiming to forego the siloed approach that many US and European retailers took when they launched eCommerce. Instead, as these retailers look to develop or expand their eCommerce initiatives, they seek to create integrated offerings across all of their channels that emulate best-in-class omnichannel offerings around the globe.

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How do you quantify the influence of digital on physical store sales?

Europeans spend €5 in-store for every €1 spent online after researching products via digital touchpoints. Digital activities influence a significant proportion of physical store sales. Yet, many eBusiness professionals tend to evaluate their digital efforts in terms of online sales generated and struggle to measure the value of a website and digital activities in terms of the overall influence on the shopper journey.

The key for eBusiness professionals is to recognize the influence that digital has on purchase decisions across the customer lifecycle and keep consumers within their own ecosystem, no matter where the final transaction takes place (in the physical store, on their website or via their mobile app).

But how can you quantify the influence of your digital presence on physical store sales?

For several years we have published the cross channel retail sales forecasts in the US and for the first time Forrester has developed a European version focused on seven European markets: UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The forecast projects the growth of cross channel sales - sales that are influenced by the digital touchpoints but where the purchase is completed in a physical store.

A few key takeaways from a European perspective include:

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Development And Distribution Needs Fuel The Rise Of Content Marketing Vendors

Content marketing has rapidly gained marketers’ attention as a new way to build relationships with customers — customers bombarded with marketing messages and overloaded by digital distractions. But as this new marketing discipline evolves, new challenges emerge:

  • From scaling content . . . to providing quality content in context. A year ago, many marketers’ content challenge was to create content at scale. Today the quest for scalable content is tempered by the need for quality content, as marketers realize that getting the right content to the right consumer in context is a more impactful and sustainable approach.
  • From cajoling business units to produce content . . . to effectively managing that content stream. Complex organizations must now effectively manage content across multiple divisions and geographies.   
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Next Generation Consumer Wearables: Think Small & Fast Content

Rumors have been circulating about a potential Apple iWatch. Very few executives we have surveyed about wearables have a strategy or are planning a strategy for their content and services for wearable devices. I am in love with my Pebble, but anxious for something more stylish that looks and feels more like my FuelBand, but with color, multiple apps, and a display that does just a wee bit more. 

A few early tips. Think:

1) Atomized content (think small, minimal)

2) Dynamic content delivery based on a combination of real time, historical and operational data. (See report

3) Notifications - the majority of interactions with your customers (for many of you) will be glanceable alerts. (And, yeah, you are going to have to stop measuring the performance of your mobile apps based on opens and time spent.) I don't necessarily need to make a purchase on this device, but I need to know if the sale is on. I need to know if the gate for my flight has changed. I can go into the app to change my reservation. Apps will soon be too heavy and finding/opening apps will involve too much friction to receive simple bits of information. 

Here is an artist's mock up of a potential Apple iWatch device as well as a photo of the Samsung Gear Fit. 

Nike Allegedly Lays Off FuelBand Hardware Engineers: Are Pedometers A Commodity?

Nike reportedly laid off their hardware engineers from the FuelBand team. (See CNET) Financial analysts are speculating that it is to focus on software. Besides, hardware is difficult and the margins tend to be low. We've seen it with product recalls and free replacements from competitors Jawbone and Fitbit. It is difficult to ship excellent hardware products consistently. 

My point of view:

1) I have about 5 wearable devices and 4 mobile apps on my phone to track my steps, active calorie burn, route, etc. I wear bulky devices with built in heart rate monitors. I wear a Nike FuelBand and other single purpose devices. I compare the data I collect from the different devices. Last week on a day I burned more than 1,200 active calories and 1,200 inactive calories, two devices were within 2 calories of each other. One was simple - no display. One was bulkier with a full range of sensors. Nike has been more focused on active calorie burn than total burn - which as a runner - is what I want. Mobile apps can do this, too. 

2) Mobile apps scale faster with almost no barriers to acquisition. The same CNET article reported that Nike has added 10 million users to its Nike+ platform since August 2013 growing from 18 million to 28 million users. 

3) Nike's resources will be better spent figuring out how to ingest more data sources and improving their (software =  mobile app) engagement with consumers. The engagement mechanics within the mobile app are the key to shifting consumer behavior. (See Forrester mHealth report)

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