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Facebook Agrees to Restore Australian News Pages After Amendments to Government Code

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Facebook has agreed to restore the Pages of Australian news publishers on its platform after the Australian Government added some new amendments to its proposed Media Bargaining Code, which will essentially give Facebook more time to negotiate separate deals with publishers, paving the way for the launch of Facebook News in the region.

As explained by Facebook:

We’re pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government […] After further discussions, we are satisfied that the government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.”

The Government has implemented four amendments to its proposed code, which would have forced Facebook to pay publishers for any links to their content posted on its platforms. But the key addition in question appears to this:

“A decision to designate a platform under the code must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses”

The amendments also note that a publisher will be informed on the Government’s decision to include it, or not, under the Code within one month of being assessed for such, and that the platform will then have two months to negotiate commercial agreements with publishers before it’s forced into arbitration on a payment agreement.

In other words, Facebook now has two months to establish a satisfactory level of commercial agreements with Australian news publishers before the Government decides whether they’re ‘significant’ enough for Facebook to avoid enforcement under the code.

A final note explains that the Code:

“…only applies to the extent a digital platform is making covered news content available through those services.”

Which could point to revisions around how the Code relates to posts made by users and content made available by Facebook itself.

There’s still a lack of clarity here about how much Facebook needs to pay, or how many local media groups it has to establish commercial agreements with in order to be exempt, but the amendments were evidently enough for Facebook to reinstate news content on the platform, with a view to a path forward.

Facebook already has some commercial agreements with Australian news publishers in place. Back in 2019, Facebook signed deals with a range of local broadcasters for exclusive Facebook Watch content, while the company has also established connections with several online media publications, and was planning to invest ‘millions more’ in the local news sector by bringing its separate news tab to the nation. Facebook scrapped that plan when the Government continued to push ahead with its Code, but now, based on these amendments, that appears to be what’s going to happen.

That will essentially enable news content to continue on Facebook, with Facebook establishing separate payments with individual publishers, similar to Google’s approach which will see it cut deals for its News Showcase product. 

Facebook implemented a full blockade of all Australian news publishers last week after negotiations broke down with the Government – after repeatedly telling the Government and industry bodies that it doesn’t need news content, and as such, won’t pay for it, Facebook rolled out a full ban, which covered not only news publishers, but government Pages, arts institutions, health authorities and more.

The impacts of Facebook’s actions have been significant, with some Australian publishers reporting a 50% drop in their website traffic.

Facebook referral traffic

That’s likely put the pressure back onto the Australian Government to come up with a plan to resolve the situation, in order to avoid further economic impacts. Larger publishers might be able to handle a drop-off in referal traffic, but for smaller, more Facebook-reliant organizations, the ban has essentially stunted their operations for the last week.

On reading these amendments, it doesn’t appear to be the end of the Facebook negotiation process in this sense, but it will provide additional room for changes, and for Facebook to counter with its local media investment plan.

So who’s the winner here?

Well, no one yet. As noted, my suspicion is that the Government needed to come up with a compromise, and to do so while saving face after standing up to The Social Network, then losing its footing when Facebook backed up its talk. If Facebook refuses to pay, then the Government can’t essentially make them, if Facebook’s willing to pull news content entirely instead. So rather than lose millions in potential investment, I suspect the Government will reframe the arrival of Facebook News, which will be announced some time in the next few weeks, as a win for the local news sector, which it negotiated into existence.

Which is not correct – Facebook has repeatedly noted that it has been offering additional investment for Facebook News all along.

Regadless, it now seems likely that the final outcome will be a return to the status quo for regular Facebook users in AUS, while local news publishers will be able to access additional investment via deals to be featured in Facebook News instead. That gives local publishers some extra money, and keeps things running – though as has been noted by many analysts, the impetus for the Australian Government’s push appears to be the big players (e.g News Corp), pressuring it to squeeze the big tech platforms for more money.

The Government needs good press to win the next election, the publishers want more money. The equation seems far less about benefiting local media organizations in general, and far more about winning political points. Hopefully, smaller organizations are also able to win out in the final make-up.

Australian news Pages are set to be restored in the coming days.     

Socialmediatoday.com

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8 Core Disciplines for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy [Infographic]

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8 Core Disciplines for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy [Infographic]

Are you looking to create an effective social media marketing strategy? Want to learn the core disciplines you need to pay attention to?

The team from MDG Advertising share their social media tips in this infographic.

They break things down as follows:

  • Strategy
  • Auditing
  • Technology
  • Paid media
  • Content development
  • Customer response
  • Compliance and risk assessment
  • Measurement

Check out the infographic for more detail.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

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Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

Making your business stand out from others in a crowded marketplace is key to its success. High-quality products and services, a smart pricing strategy, and effective marketing are just the basics. The most successful entrepreneurs have a few extra tricks that separate their business from the rest of the pack.

Tell a strong story

Businesses need to do two things to succeed; be relevant and distinctive. As Steven Hess, founding partner at WhiteCap, explains, doing one without the other will lead to failure. “Being relevant on its own leads to a focus on price and an inevitable sublimation into the sea of sameness, and customers will not look for you,” he says. “Being distinctive without solving a problem leads to gimmickry and longer-term weakness. You have to do both, and one way of uniting the two is with a strong story.”

This could focus on the founder’s story, what led them to set out on their business journey, how they identified the problem they are solving, and how they are solving it uniquely. Stories can also be drawn from customers; how are they using your products or services? What problem does it solve for them?

“You also need to look at how your competitors are presenting themselves and then present yourself in the opposite way,” says Hess. “This will feel uncomfortable, and most businesses fail at this point. Why do ads for cars, financial services, estate agents, etc., look the same? It’s because most of us don’t want to stand out. We’re afraid to fail and be seen to fail. But if we are not being seen, being distinctive and solving a real problem, we’ve already failed.”

Focus your messaging on customer needs

A company’s messaging has to be focused on its potential customer’s biggest wants and needs. It should clarify what people will get if they buy from you, what transformation they will see, and how they will feel afterward. “Most importantly, it should communicate what people will miss out on if they don’t buy from your startup,” says business growth consultant Charlie Day. “When you shift your messaging from simply trying to grow a business and make money to focusing on your customer’s biggest wants and needs, the sales and growth will come, and it will set you apart from others.”

Target an underrepresented audience

This can be a powerful way for startups to stand out. “By focusing on a group that larger companies often overlook, they can differentiate themselves and appeal to a unique and untapped market,” says Vladislav Podolyako, founder and CEO of Folderly. “And by providing solutions to the specific needs and challenges of this audience, startups can establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base.”

For example, a fitness startup targeting older adults can stand out by offering specialized classes, products, or resources. By providing solutions to the physical limitations of older adults, the startup can differentiate itself from other companies, address the unique fitness challenges faced by older adults, and build a loyal customer base.

However, as Podolyako points out, this strategy must be carefully thought out. He says: “The startup may be associated with an older audience only, so you should work with PR agencies to get the positioning right and potentially think about creating a sub-brand.”

Differentiate your social media strategy

A unique voice and communication style will make you stand out on social media. However, it’s not just what you say but what you do that makes the difference. “If everyone is offering ‘how to’ tips on LinkedIn, create some short form behind-the-scenes videos. If everyone is doing special offers on Facebook, publish some tip-based stories,” says Catherine Warrilow, managing director of Daysout.com. “Make yourself accessible for customer support on the social media channels used by your audience, for example, via What’s App or Messenger.”

Respond promptly to customer calls

Making it easy for customers to contact you and get a response is vital for customer engagement and retention. Yet, businesses are surprisingly poor at answering their phones, listing phone numbers on their websites, and responding to voicemails. It’s a massive turn-off for customers, as a survey by global communications company Moneypenny revealed, with unanswered phone calls topping the list of consumer gripes, cited by 43% of respondents, followed by annoying hold music (35%).

Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny, says: “Customers use the phone when they have an urgent or sensitive issue to discuss, so companies cannot afford to provide a poor call experience; business will be taken elsewhere. By mastering the art of call handling, businesses can keep their customers happy and loyal and boost the bottom line in the process.”

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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