Friday, March 2, 2012

Facebook Launches Brand Timeline Pages

Facebook launched Brand Timeline Pages at its Facebook Marketing Conference

     On February 29th, Facebook announced Timeline Brand Pages which enable brands to further engage with consumers.

The main features of Facebook Timeline Brand Pages are the following:
  • Cover Photos: Brands can now include a cover photo to their profile. This cover photo should be 851 X 351 pixels and can be an image already uploaded to Facebook or a new image. The guideline with brand cover photos is that this image cannot have call to actions, references to a Facebook feature (such as like this page), purchase or pricing information, or contact information.
  • Brands can include “Milestones” as part of their timeline like for example when the brand was founded, when new products were launched, etc.
  • Pinning Posts: Brands can now choose to keep a post on the top of the feed.
  • Wide Posts: By hovering over a post and clicking on the star, Brands can include posts in a wider format. This will increase visibility of these posts.
  • Private Messaging between Brands and Consumers: Brands can now send private messages to consumers & vice versa. This feature can be managed through the notification panel and can be turned off if the brand decides to do so.
  • Improved Admin Panel: The new panel includes messaging and a snapshot of recent activity and likes.
  • Friend engagement activity is another feature being promoted within brand pages. The top right-hand column is dominated by Friend’s Likes & stories that friends have posted related to the brand.

         The new Brand Timeline Pages allow brands to control what content is found on the top of the page. Photos still receive the first spot, however the rest can be re-arranged. Photos still receive the first spot, however the rest can be re-arranged. This allows brands to add customisable apps & current information to their top tab. Brands can have a maximum of 12 Facebook Apps at the top of their page.

There are also several features that have been removed from brand pages:
  • Facebook Tabs: Facebook Tabs no longer exist in Brand Timeline Pages. Instead, Facebook suggests that brands should pin specific posts to the top of their page that link to those tabs.
  • Another key difference with Timeline is that brands can no longer have different content for non-fans as they all can see the brand’s Timeline. The implication of this is that now users have to actively click through the timeline page to engage with custom apps.
      These pages are optional until the 30th of March and all brand pages will be migrated after that date. In order to enable brand pages, go to the Status Page and click on upgrade on the pages you want to upgrade.

      Brand Timeline pages will enable brands to boost engagement with consumers. Timeline will enable brands to highlight their milestones and manage their brand to a greater extent. Private messaging with brands will also improve customer satisfaction as there will be greater communication between people and brands. This will also allow for customers to send their feedback directly as opposed to posting it on the brand’s wall.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Facebook news and views

Shared by Vivaki NY:

Last night at a Facebook conference in New York, four key ad products were announced.   All products are aim to increase Facebooks ad revenue - by giving marketers opportunities for broader fan engagement, better storytelling and enhanced context for paid placements.
  1. Pages Timeline - As of March 1, brands can transfer over to the Timeline format.   Brands have 30 days to complete the transition.
  2. Reach Generator - While Facebook algorithms have traditionally usurped news feed exposure (just 16% of fans see posts weekly or more), this new subscription only product will enable broader messages across the fan base - potentially as high as 75%.
  3. Upgraded premium ad units - 6 new premium ad options/upgrades were announced; photos, videos, questions, statuses, events and links.  These formats will allow page posts to seamlessly become content within ad units.   These premium ads will be delivered through the right rail, within the desktop news feeds and mobile news feeds.  There will also be an optional 4th placement, the "log out experience".
  4. Facebook offers - offers will allow coupons and other promotional items to be shared and forwarded throughout the social graph.
What the tangible benefit for brands?
  • Pages timeline:  Facebooks recent roll out of consumer Timelines demonstrated that users were willing to accept major platform changes in exchange for increased utility, functionality and visual appeal.  This move will allow brands to benefit from the enhancements and will present them with better options for storytelling and brand-building.
  •  Reach Generator: Brands have struggled with editorial calendars and news feed reach in the past.  Reach generator could potentially solve this problem. Facebook are f course endeavoring to create recurring income through sales of the subscription product to brands - so they can enhance distribution.
  • Upgraded Premium ad units:  Will allow brands to deliver richer experiences that what is possible now.  They also demonstrate that sponsored stories and implied endorsement have become central to the advertising strategy. Page posts are set to become primary advertising content - and this will no doubt deliver brands with good results - eg you'll see friends who've like the page within an ad.  Plus you'll be able to comment or like directly from the ad. The forth placement will provide a high reach in a new area of monetisation - however, we don't expect high engagement here.
  • Facebook offers - the social graph and network naturally enable social sharing of coupons and offers.  According to Facebook beta tests have resulted in +ROI for marketers and also add value to the consumer.

We are excited about these Facebook developments as we believe they present significant opportunities for brands.  Facebook continues to be a powerhouse in terms of Australian traffic and even more-so engagement.   We look forward to working closely with our clients to test and learn across the new product suite. 

We will be discussing short term and long term actions with you in the coming weeks to ensure we are supporting our clients in leveraging these changes. 

What's all this stuff about Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online bulletin board that allows users to organize and share their favorite images and content from the web. Users “pin” images to their personal boards that can be organized by common groups or themes. In order to join Pinterest one must have either a Facebook or Twitter account.

So far, there is no paid advertising on Pinterest, but there are still immediate opportunities for brands to leverage Pinterest’s active and engaged user-base.

Pinterest Australian statistics – February 2012
  • Unique Visitors to the site – 160,000 per month
  • Total Visits = 970,000 a month
  • Page Views = 8.9 million a month
  • Average Time on site =14 minutes 20 seconds
  • 57% female, 43% male

Pinterest  enthusiasts love how Pinterest enables visual discovery of new  content consistent with their own personal tastes and interests. Pinterest users can follow and pin content from people in their Facebook and Twitter networks, as well as from other recommended users with similar interests. In this way, Pinterest  provides their audience with continuous access to timely content recommendations from trusted sources. 
Unlike Facebook and Twitter which are better suited for communicating with and/or entertaining a social following, the common motivations to use Pinterest are much more personal in nature.  

How Are People Using Pinterest?
As with any new social network,  there are usability challenges that Pinterest  must address in order to ensure continued growth. 

  • Privacy - New users are automatically opted-in to follow their Facebook and Twitter following, as well as “recommended” users from outside their networks 
  • Content  Limitations - Include duplication of pins, incompatibility with flash content, and lack of consistent back-links to content source
  • Search Functionality – Pinterest search results today rely solely on user-generated comments and categorization, making it difficult to reliably locate specific content.  


1. Add “Pin-It” Buttons to Brand Content
The “Pin-It” button makes it easy for users to Pin content from your site
Much like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, “Pin-It” buttons can be directly implemented onto site content. This makes it easy for Pinterest users to “pin” brand content onto their personal Pinterest board. Other Pinterest users can then see the pinned content and either “re-pin” to their own boards or click through to the brand site. Both are valuable opportunities to build product awareness and consideration.

2.  Use Pinterest to Test New Content
Measure response rates to new content using the “Pin-It” button
Adding separate pin-it buttons to specific pages or content elements allows brands to test and compare audience response. By measuring responses and then exploring the Pinterest boards of responders, brands can create a virtual focus group to better understand the interests and motivations of their customers
3.  Follow Four Best Practices for Maintaining Pinterest Boards
Maximize the impact of your Pinterest board by following the tips below:
Focus  boards on content themes - not brands or companies
Align image comments with categories
Include “@brand” or “#” in comments for easy brand identification and to facilitate searching
Make sure content is refreshed regularly to stay relevant and ensure reach


Pinterest is Sitting on a Data Gold-Mine
Remember, they access Facebook & Twitter profile data too
Between the data they collect from Facebook & Twitter profiles in addition to Pinterest activity, it is an understatement to say that Pinterest knows a lot about their users. If monetized wisely to enable audience re-targeting outside of Pinterest,  this data could enable them to build an impressive revenue stream without even selling advertising on their site.

How Will Pinterest Handle Legal & Privacy Concerns?
Retaining the trust of their users is essential to Pinterest’s long-term success
Given the vast amount of data they collect, Pinterest must go to great lengths to maintain the trust of their user-base by avoiding mis-steps like their Feb 2012  admission to embedding tracking links in content for purposes of affiliate marketing.  There is also risk for users and brands alike to create legal risks by knowingly or unknowingly pinning copyrighted content

Will Pinterest Steal Search Engine Volume?
It’s a very real possibility
By providing users with relevant web content through images and peer recommendations, Pinterest succeeds where Google and Microsoft have fallen short, despite high profile initiatives like Google+ and Microsoft’s Facebook partnership. Pinterest now presents a compelling alternative for users early in their shopping experience who are seeking inspiration. If Pinterest continues to improve their own search functionality, the search engines could stand to lose significant upper-funnel query volume to Pinterest in categories such as recipes, travel and retail.


Pinterest has all the ingredients for long-term success in the social space:  They have loyal users, multiple monetisation opportunities, and bridge the gap between peer recommendations and content browsing.  As long as Pinterest continues to improve their user experience and avoid privacy scandals, they will increasingly essential platform in the social media realm.

Google Changes its Privacy Policy

Google changes its privacy policies in order to consolidate over 60 privacy policies

On March 1st Google will be changing its privacy policy in order to consolidate the privacy policies of over 60 Google products. This new privacy policy excludes Chrome, Wallet, and Google Books.  The main change in this privacy policy is that now, when a user is logged into a Google account, the information provided through one Google product will be shared across all Google products. This means, for example, that if someone who is logged into their Google Account searches for something on, this information can be used to suggest relevant videos on You Tube. Google is advocating that this change will allow them to deliver more relevant ads and tailored content to users.  There has been great debate about Google’s policy abroad as many have viewed this change as an invasion of consumer privacy given the vast reach & usage of Google products.

Impact for Consumers
Google advocates that its new privacy policy is simpler and without as much jargon. Users have to comply to Google’s new privacy policy if they want to use any Google product that requires having a Google Account. Despite the fact that there isn’t an option to effectively opt-out of the privacy policy, users can still search on Google and watch videos without being logged in. Google has created several tools through which users can manage their web history, the ads they are targeted with, what information Google has collected about them, and even remove information out of many of Google’s products.

Below are the main points of the new privacy policy:

  • Information being collected
    • Provided by users: This includes personal information which Google defines as information which the user provides to Google such as name, email address or billing information, or other data which can be reasonably linked to such information by Google. 
    • Collected from usage of Google services: This includes device information, log information (search queries, telephony logs, ip address, device events, & cookies), location information, unique app numbers, cookies & anonymous identifiers. 
  • Use of information
    • Used to provide, maintain, protect, and improve Google products, develop new ones, and protect Google and users. 
    • Used to offer tailored content (ads & search results) 
    • Use the name the users provide for their Google Profiles across all of the services that Google offers that require a Google Account. 
    • Use information collected from cookies and other technologies to improve user experience and overall quality of services.
  • Information being shared by Google
    • With users’ consent Google can share personal information with companies, organisations or individuals outside of Google. 
    • If users’ Google account is being managed by a domain administrator (Google Apps users), their domain administrators & resellers who provide support to the organisation have access to Google Account information. 
    • Google provides personal information to its affiliates or other trusted businesses based on Google’s instructions & in compliance with the privacy policy. 
    • Google can also provide information for legal reasons.

Impact for Advertisers

This consolidation in privacy policies will give Google more data through which to further improve its targeting capabilities.  Potentially this change in privacy policy means that Google can use search data to target users. However, Google has stated that they “will not combine Double Click cookie information with personally identifiable information unless they have the opt-in consent of the user.”

Starcom POV & Recommendations The changes in Google’s privacy policies will allow for better targeting in ads and search results which will make advertising on Google products even more effective. Given the fact that Google’s pricing model is based on an auction system, the cost of advertising may increase as the demand for advertising on Google will increase as well.  From a consumer’s standpoint, as much as this may come as a shock it is not much different from what Microsoft and other companies have done as they already have a unified privacy policy which gives them the attributions that Google is getting now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Starcom Media Futures Report, 2012

Modest growth is predicted for 2012, Media executives predict less than half the growth rate predicted by Advertisers


After a year of global economic uncertainty, advertisers and media executives have predicted lower growth levels than the past two years.

Findings from Starcom’s Media Futures survey indicate that the Australian advertising market is set for a modest level of growth. Among advertisers budgets are predicted to increase by 3.8%. 2011 demonstrated the current volatility of the advertising market, at the end of 2010 advertisers predicted a growth rate of 6.0% in the coming year, however with increasing global economic uncertainty experienced in 2011, advertisers downgraded their forecast for 2011 to 2.2% (a percentage point drop of 3.8). Media executives are less optimistic than advertisers, predicting a growth rate of 1.7%. In relation to their own channels, Display and Search executives are most buoyant, predicting growth rates of 22.5 and 12.6% respectively; Cinema and STV executives are also optimistic for their channels (8 and 7.3% respectively). For the first time in Media Futures’ history, we have included the consumer view on financial/spending trends. In comparison to last year, only 29% feel that their financial situation is better, while in comparison to next year consumers are more positive, with 41% predicting that their financial situation will improve. Consumers feel their disposable income is most pressured by household shopping and insurance products.


National advertising expenditure trends advertiser estimates v actual v CPI



Key trends for 2012 - Advertisers
  • Advertisers are more optimistic than media executives in their predictions of media expenditure/revenue in 2012 (Advertisers 3.8% vs. Media execs. 1.7%)
  • Comparing the 2011 annual prediction to the mid-year update for 2011 demonstrates the volatility of the advertising market, the predicted growth rate for 2011 (6.0%) shifted down substantially to 2.2%
  • In 2011 just over 9 in 10 of advertisers used Search, however FTA TV was used most often (67%)
  • Online is expected to grow most strongly overall, this year advertisers intend increase their spending on display more than search
  • Six in ten advertisers intend to use mobile advertising in 2012
  • Across BTL channels, close to 8 in 10 used PR in 2011, in 2012 this also the case, however the proportion of advertisers intending to use SMS in their campaigns has increased year on year
  • Increased management pressure is primarily expected to come from the areas of results/effectiveness, budgets and meeting business objectives

Estimated budget changes by major media


ATL media used – 2011 vs. expected for 2012

Key trends for 2012 – Media Executives

  • Metro FTA TV and magazine executives are the least optimistic about market growth rates
  • In relation to their own channels, Search and Display executives are most optimistic, predicting growth rates of 22.5 and 12.6% respectively, Cinema and STV executives are also optimistic for their channels (8 and 7.3% respectively)
  • In terms of revenue, media executives increasingly value clients who invest in integrated campaigns
  • Secondary TV channels are expected to increase in revenue by all TV executives surveyed, revenue from video on demand is expected to grow by 87% of TV executives
  • When asked about TV time slots, the biggest growth in revenue is expected for peak and sports/special events, predicted to grow by 12.8 and 10.6% respectively in 2012
  • In 2012, government and automotive are expected to be key growth industries
  • Compared to 2011 the proportion expecting revenue growth from finance and retail has dropped substantially

Expected market growth rate versus own channel growth rate

Media Executives
Total advertising market
(average %)
Own growth       (average %)
Internet - display
Internet - search
Television (Reg)
Subscription TV
Television (Metro)



Key trends for 2012 – Consumers
  • Among consumers, disposable income is pressured most by household shopping and insurance products
  • In comparison to the previous year, just 29% of consumers feel that their financial situation is better, 37% feel their position is the same
  • Consumers are more optimistic in relation to their finances for the coming year, with 41% believing their situation will have improved in one year’s time
  • Over one third believe carbon tax will decrease their disposable income
  • Value for money is extremely important in retail shopping, however only 31% of consumers would prioritise price over quality

Financial situation – comparisons to past and next year

Attitudes to Shopping

The Starcom Media Futures survey was launched in 1985 and is one of Australia’s most authoritative predictors of expected advertising budget growth over the coming year. It is the only survey of its kind, interviewing national advertisers and key media executives around the country. The survey is conducted by McNair Ingenuity on Starcom’s behalf via a telephone and online methodologies.  For the first time in Media Futures’ history consumer research was incorporated into this report, this was sourced from Starcom’s proprietary People Track study. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact John Sintras or Susannah McInnes on (02) 8666 8000