With the impacts of Apple’s new app tracking update still rippling through the digital advertising sector, Facebook is working to counter the data loss impacts wherever it can, in order to ensure that its ad products continue to generate strong results, despite having less audience insight to go on.
The full impacts of the ATT update are still evolving, so we don’t know what it will mean for audience reach and targeting accuracy overall, but many media buyers are now moving towards more automated audience targeting options, with Facebook and Google also pushing marketers towards their machine learning tools to help maximize response based on estimations and predictions.
Which is where Facebook is heading with this shift – as part of its latest API update, Facebook has included this note:
“To help advertisers find additional opportunities that weren’t originally available to them, when advertisers leverage Detailed Targeting and optimize for conversions, value or app events using the conversions objective they will be automatically included into Targeting Expansion.”
Targeting Expansion enables Facebook’s ad algorithms to show your ads to a broader potential audience than those who fit your specific ad targeting selections.
“You can use this option when you want us to show your ad to additional people who we think would get you more and/or cheaper results. Our system implements targeting expansion when it determines that doing so could improve performance.”
So Facebook’s system may detect that your ads would see better response if they were shown to more users outside the scope of your targeting, and it will then show your ads based on its own estimations, even if those people don’t fit the groupings that you’ve explicitly selected.
There are some important provisos to this – most notably that Targeting Expansion doesn’t apply to location, age or gender targeting options. So if you want to reach women aged 25-30 in Delaware, you’re ads will still only be shown to that subset. But within that, if there are additional people who Facebook thinks your ads might be valuable to, outside of other interests or qualifiers that you’ve selected, it may automatically push beyond your parameters in display.
Is that a good thing?
Well, it depends. Some ad buyers and marketers would have very specific subsets that they want to target, and they may get value from having the capacity to keep their ads honed in on specific interests – and they might not get the value that Facebook projects from expanding their audience. But other times, putting your trust in Facebook’s automation could deliver much better results – and as noted, with less data to work with, Facebook’s working to improve its system understanding to show ads to the right users, even without the full insight it’s had access to previously.
Basically, Facebook’s ad targeting systems are getting much smarter, but they won’t be foolproof either. You would assume, given that Facebook’s now making this the default, that it will deliver better results for most brands, but it could end up impacting smaller businesses, specifically, by disallowing them from keeping their targeting aligned to their chosen interests.
In any event, it’s already in place – Targeting Expansion will now be added by default to most conversion-based campaigns, and in many cases, you won’t be able to opt-out. You will, however, be able to exclude certain audiences from the option within Ads Manager if you’re looking to maintain specific control over your reach.
You can read more about Targeting Expansion here.
Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options
I remain unconvinced that Twitter Spaces will ever become a thing, but Twitter itself seems certain that there’s major growth potential there, as evidenced by its continued push to add more elements to its Spaces offering, in order to lure more listeners across to its Spaces tab, and maximize listenership within its audio broadcasts.
This week, Twitter has rolled out another set of Spaces updates, including permanent recordings (as opposed to them deleting after 30 days), the capacity to save recordings after broadcast, and new details within the Spaces bar at the top of the app.
First off, on permanent recordings – after initially launching its Spaces recording feature to all users back in January, Twitter is now extending the life of those recordings beyond the initial 30 day period.
now your Spaces recordings will live as long as you want them to! starting today, hosts on Android are able to host a Space that lasts indefinitely
iOS is coming up next!
— Spaces (@TwitterSpaces) June 30, 2022
That’ll provide more capacity to attract listeners over the longer term, and keep your conversations alive in the app.
In addition to this, Twitter’s also adding a new listing of your recorded Spaces within your app settings menu, where you’ll be able to play each session back, delete those that you don’t want to keep, or share a recording direct from the list.
That’ll enhance the functional value of Spaces chats, making them more podcast-like, and more of a vehicle for ongoing promotion and audience building – though it does seem to also maybe go against what made audio platforms like Clubhouse so attractive to begin with, in that they were live, in-the-moment chats that you had to be there to catch.
But podcasts is clearly more of the angle that Twitter’s now going for, based on these example screens of another new test in the back end of the app.
As you can see in these images (shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi), Twitter’s also developing ‘Stations’ within the Spaces tab, which would incorporate podcasts into its audio stream, providing even more options for tuning into on-demand audio content within the app.
That could make Spaces recordings even more valuable, and potentially help Spaces broadcasters translate their work into a monetizable podcast process – but do Twitter users really want to tune into podcasts from the app? I mean, we have Spoitify and Apple Podcasts and various other options available.
Could Twitter really become a key hub for audio content like this?
In some ways, it seems unnecessary, but then again, the real-time nature of tweets lends itself to topical discussion, and that could make it a good hub for all of these types of discussions and content, including Spaces, Spaces recordings, podcasts, etc.
And again, that would better facilitate connection between Spaces and recorded audio. It just depends on whether Twitter users will actually come to rely on the app for their latest podcast content.
On another front, Twitter will now also enable iOS users to record a Space when the broadcast is over, even if they didn’t hit ‘Record’ during the session.
Which also means that the ‘REC’ marker would not have been present during the session, alerting participants to the fact that this was being recorded, which could be problematic for some contributors.
In some ways, it seems like Twitter didn’t offer these options initially because it thought that it wouldn’t be able to facilitate the data storage required to keep all of the many recordings in its data banks, but now, with so few people broadcasting, it’s maybe found that this won’t actually be a problem.
A sort of ‘glass half full’ element, I guess.
Finally, Twitter’s also adding new details into the Spaces bar on Android, including additional, scrolling insights into who’s hosting, the topics being discussed, who’s shared a Tweet in the chat and more.
That could entice more users into the session – or at the least, bring even more attention to the Spaces bar at the top of the app by providing more, bigger info.
Though again, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Spaces is really catching on, going on the participant numbers in the Spaces stream. And while the addition of podcasts could be interesting, I don’t see Twitter becoming a key app for audio content, especially as the Clubhouse-led audio trend continues to die down.
But maybe the engagement numbers are better than it seems. I mean, you’d have to assume that they are, given Twitter’s ongoing investment in the functionality – through Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal did note last month, that the company had not hit intermediate milestones on its growth plans, based on its investment in new functionalities like Spaces, Communities and Twitter Blue.
Twitter hasn’t shared specific data, so maybe there’s more to it, and that’s why it’s so keen to push ahead with more Spaces tools. But either way, it’s giving it its best opportunity to succeed, and it’s seemingly not done yet with its Spaces development.
Will that, eventually, result in Spaces becoming a thing? Only time will tell.
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