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Meta Outlines Key Areas of Focus, and Business Opportunity, Following Downbeat Earnings Report



Meta Implements New Changes to Housing, Employment and Credit Ads to Eliminate Potential Discrimination

After a disastrous earnings report, in which Meta informed the market that its net income was at its lowest levels since 2019 in the most recent quarter, largely due to ongoing, and rising investment in its metaverse vision, Meta has sought to reassure investors that it has a plan to get its financial performance back on track, despite rising challenges in the digital ads space.

In the accompanying earnings call, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined the company’s four key areas of focus moving forward.

Those are:

  • Improving its AI discovery tools to maximize engagement in its apps
  • Adding new business messaging features to monetize the user shift towards messaging, and away from social apps
  • Re-building its ad tools to reduce reliance on user data
  • Continued development of AR, VR and the metaverse, with a focus on the future


Here’s a look at how Meta is planning to tackle each:

Improving its AI discovery tools

The first point has already proven contentious, with users pushing back against Meta increasingly looking to pump more content from profiles that you don’t follow into news feeds.

This approach, which was guided by TikTok, aims to maximize the value of the content available in each app, by highlighting the best, most engaging posts, regardless of who posted them, to more users. In the past, both apps have pushed users to curate their own streams, based on their interests, but now, Meta’s confident that its AI tools will be able to show you more of what you like in its apps, even if you don’t know that it exists.

And in variance to TikTok, Meta says that it can actually provide a better experience on this front, because it can also apply its AI content matching across a wider range of content types, including photos, text, links, communities, and all kinds of videos.

“We can also mix this content alongside posts from your family and friends, which can’t be generated by AI alone.” 

The assumption here is that users actually want all of these different types of content on a single platform, as opposed to TikTok, where you just get a constant stream of video clips. Whether that’s true or not is unclear, but TikTok continues to engage more users for longer, so it doesn’t seem to be a problem impeding its growth.

Which, in turn, may mean that it’s not a competitive advantage for Meta either.

Either way, the amount of AI-recommended content is only going to increase in Meta’s apps.

Back in July, Zuckerberg noted that:

“Right now, about 15% of content in a person’s Facebook feed and a little more than that of their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts that you don’t follow. We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”

Shortly after Zuckerberg said this, Instagram announced that it was scaling back its AI recommendations due to negative feedback, but over time, you can indeed expect Meta to show you more and more stuff, from all different types of users and profiles – whether you’ve chosen to see it or not.

Which is a big shift, especially given Meta’s past insistence that it needs an algorithm to sort through all the posts it could show you, because people simply follow too many people and Pages to show you everything from all of them, every day.

Now, it seems, the opposite is true. Which leads into the second element.

Monetizing the user shift towards messaging

More people are now sharing more content with smaller groups of people in their DMs, as opposed to posting public updates to Facebook or Instagram.

This shift is actually present across all social apps, with a new report published this week also showing that usage among Twitter’s most active users has been in steady decline since the beginning of the pandemic.

The reasons for this are varied. One contention is that, due to the ongoing polarizing impacts of political commentary on social networks, mare users are now increasingly inclined to keep their opinions to themselves, or to share them with a smaller group of trusted friends, rather than broadcasting them for everyone to see, criticize and attack them over.

Meta highlighted this as a key concern among its users last year, with Zuckerberg noting:

“One of the top pieces of feedback we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services.”

There have also been various high-profile cases of celebrities being brought down when their past, offensive tweets have been uncovered, while the shift towards more entertaining content – again driven by TikTok – has also made regular updates feel more stale and less engaging.

The result, then, is that people just aren’t posting as many feed updates as they once did. And with that, Meta’s looking to tap into the resulting growth in messaging as a potential revenue opportunity.

Even though it’s never been able to effectively monetize messaging in the past.

But it, possibly, has a plan:

“As more social interactions move to messaging, we’re developing a flywheel between discovery and messaging that will make all these apps stronger. On Instagram alone, people already reshare Reels nearly 1 billion times daily through DMs.”

Meta’s also working to monetize WhatsApp, with Zuckerberg specifically noting that ‘paid messaging is going to be ‘a big opportunity’ moving forward.

On this front, Meta points to opportunities like:

  • Click-to-Messaging ads, which let businesses run ads on Facebook and Instagram that start a thread on Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram Direct so they can communicate with customers directly. This is one of our fastest growing ads products, with a $9 billion annual run rate. 
  • Click-to-WhatsApp also just passed a $1.5 billion run rate, growing more than 80% year-over-year.

Whether Meta is able to effectively monetize messaging is a big question, but you can expect it to keep highlighting the potential tapping into the growth of messaging as a means to maximize your marketing and brand-building efforts.

I remain unconvinced that users are super keen to message with businesses, but there may be new ways for Meta to tap into this shift.

Re-building its ad tools to reduce reliance on user data

Meta’s also losing out on ad dollars due to Apple’s iOS 14 privacy updates, which got even worse this week when Apple announced a new App Store tariff on post ‘boosting’ on social platforms.

In response to this, Meta’s looking to improve its AI and machine learning solutions to better automate ad targeting, based on the insights that it can use, as opposed to leaving it up to advertisers to select specific audience subsets which may not be as effective.

This is a tough sell, because for years, Meta has touted its unmatched audience insights as a means to hone in your ad targeting, and reach just the right audiences with your promotions. Now, it’s saying that you should trust its AI black box to display your ads to the right people, even if you have no idea who they are.

Meta’s main solution on this front is its Advantage+ ad suite, which cuts out all of the targeting, and just asks advertisers to set a budget, a date range, and to upload their creative – Meta’s system will do the rest.

Which many will feel uncertain about – but Meta says that its systems are producing results:

Recent testing found that advertisers using Advantage+ shopping campaigns saw a 17% improvement in their Cost Per Acquisition and 32% increase in Return on Ad Spend.”

Meta’s continuing to evolve its tools, and it may well be that its systems do end up producing better response rates than your own targeting would. It puts a lot of trust in Meta’s systems, but if it works…

Eventually, you may not need to do much manual work on your Facebook and IG ads at all, just upload your creative, set a budget, and let the system do the rest.

And then, finally, there’s the metaverse, and the theoretical opportunities of the theoretical VR wondersphere, where anything and everything will be possible.


I have no doubt that the metaverse will become a thing, and that these more immersive experiences will grow into more habitual, transformational trends at some stage. I’m just not sure when that will be. Meta says that it’s a decade out, and it may be even more than that, while various other non-Meta execs say it’s a path to failure, littered with health impacts, dangers, regulatory concerns, etc.

Either way you look at it, the metaverse is not close, with widespread adoption of VR headsets, or potentially AR glasses, being the first big step that needs to happen before you even need to consider what the opportunities might be here.

But Meta remains confident that it will be a thing, and over time, we’ll see what sort of applications and tools emerge in VR that draw people into the experience.

When you see those trends shift, you’ll need to pay attention – but till that happens, it’s largely academic. And if any advisers are telling you that you need a metaverse strategy, I’d probably be assessing how much money they stand to make from such, in variance to the potential value for your business.

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LinkedIn Creates Profile Summaries, Job Listings Via Generative AI 03/22/2023



LinkedIn Creates Profile Summaries, Job Listings Via Generative AI 03/22/2023

Microsoft-owned business and
employment-focused social platform LinkedIn is adding a new ChatGPT-powered tool Premium subscribers can access to create personalized writing suggestions for sections of their LinkedIn profile, as
well as other AI integrations.

LinkedIn Premium subscribers now have the option to “Enhance” their profile via AI-drafted options for the …

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Pinterest Provides New Tips on Effective Pin Advertising Approaches



Pinterest Provides New Tips on Effective Pin Advertising Approaches

Pinterest has provided some new Pin ad tips, based on various brand lift studies, incorporating feedback from over 120,000 Pinners. The data shows that taking a multi-format, multi-stage approach can provide bigger returns, with brands that focus on awareness, consideration, and conversion seeing, on average, three times higher conversion rates than those aligned with just one objective.

Here’s a look at Pinterest’s key tips:

Experiment with multiple objectives 

As noted, Pinterest’s main action point is that advertisers should aim to target consumers at each stage of the purchase cycle, as opposed to focusing on just one aspect.

As per Pinterest:

“By adopting more than one objective, advertisers have seen up to a 57% improvement in sales lift. If you’re focused only on conversion, you may forgo reaching new customers further up the funnel.”

Of course, Pinterest would say that, as more ads equals more money for them, but the data shows that taking a broader focus, that incorporates each element, provides more scope to connect with Pinterest users, which can deliver better results.

Upweight your spend towards video 

As with all social platforms, video is the most engaging format on Pinterest, and is the most resonant messaging vehicle for brands.

So impactful is video in the app that Pinterest advises that brands should aim for video to comprise between 50% to 60% of their media plan, in order to maximize ROI and response.

Idea Pins are now Pinterest’s key format on this front, its TikTok-like full-screen vertical feed – and based on the data, that is proving to be the most effective brand messaging method.

Keep your campaign feeling fresh

Including ad variations in your creative mix can also improve your Pinterest campaign performance.

A campaign with 10-15 creative executions (across a two month period) can drive a 3.2x increase in ad recall. While a campaign with 16+ creative executions can drive 2x the lift in favorability.”

That’s a lot of variants to come up with, but Pinterest also notes that using 3+ ad formats can increase awareness 3x, so you don’t necessarily need 16 or more versions of each ad, just a few to keep things fresh, and keep your promotions more engaging.

Take a holistic approach to measurement

Finally, Pinterest advises that brands need to link their upper funnel brand building and acquisition efforts to lower funnel performance activity, in order to get a true gauge of campaign performance.

How-to videos, recipes and tutorials measure substantially stronger mid-lower funnel uplifts like 12x the impact on brand favorability and 8.5x on purchase intent. To maximize results pick the ad format that best fits your goals and aim to educate and inspire Pinners to incorporate your products or brand in their life in relevant ways.”

In other words, you need to consider the performance of each aspect in a broader campaign sense, as opposed to measuring each element against the same data points.

These are some interesting notes, which could help you put together a more effective Pinterest marketing strategy. And with 450 million users, and rising, and high purchase intent, it is worth considering the platform, and its potential value for your promotions.

You can read more Pinterest campaign set-up tips here.

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Social media frenzy fuels bank busting panic



Social media frenzy fuels bank busting panic

Copyright ANP/AFP Sem van der Wal

Juliette MICHEL

Fearful Twitter posts and anxious WhatsApp exchanges coupled with online banking ease are seen as helping power an internet-age run on a pair of now-collapsed American lending institutions.

Both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were hit with massive withdrawals by customers fearful of losing their money, but the speed was dizzying in an age when rumors spread like wildfire on social media and apps make moving funds with the click of a button simple.

Congressman Patrick McHenry, chairman of the US House Financial Services Committee, referred to the recent turmoil as “the first Twitter fueled bank run.”

Some messages that caused cold sweats among financial customers proved to be misleading, prompting calls to focus on facts not speculation.

Gone is the time when a “run on the bank” meant mobs of customers banging on bolted doors and demanding deposits back.

Now, as rumors of dwindling bank reserves ricochets about social media, customers can make them real by tapping into online accounts to transfer money.

Federal authorities took over Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week less than 48 hours after it first announced bad news.

The forced closure of Signature Bank came just two days later.

In between, high-profile entrepreneurs sounded an alarm and fired off advice on Twitter.

Investor Bill Ackman tweeted during the weekend that if federal regulators didn’t quickly step in and guarantee all deposits, runs on other banks would start Monday.

“You should be absolutely terrified right now,” investor Jason Calacanis tweeted, using all capital letters for emphasis.

“That is the proper reaction to a bank run and contagion.”

Meanwhile, startup founders shared bank trouble rumors in WhatsApp groups.

“The mix of technology and fast-moving rumors fueled a crisis of unprecedented speed,” researcher Jonathan Welburn of the Rand Corporation think tank told AFP.

Online banking was around during the 2008 financial crisis, but “the adoption of these technologies is definitely increasing,” he said.

– Circuit breakers? –

Banking regulators need to put in place “circuit breakers” that could quickly suspend banking transactions in the event of cyber attacks, weather disasters, or customer panic, said Hilary Allen, a specialist in financial technologies at American University in Washington.

This is a “very political” undertaking, Allen said.

“Banking regulators need to think about what this kind of technological circuit breaker would look like, and in which circumstances they would be ready to deploy it.”

Markets have seen the power of online platforms trigger surges in the prices of “meme stocks” like video game retail chain Game Stop and AMC Theaters due to endorsements in chat forums at Reddit.

“The flip side is that social media can also exacerbate panic and loss of confidence,” Allen said.

In the case of SVB, fears which spread on social media resonated loudly with the bank’s customers, who tended to be tech-savvy entrepreneurs keenly tuned in to online chatter.

The collapse of SVB was the second largest bank failure in the United States but played out in barely two days.

The largest bank failure in the country, that of Washington Mutual in 2008, took place over the course of eight months.

At that time, Twitter and iPhones were fledgling products; there were no WhatsApp groups, no Slack chat threads, Welburn noted.

“What happens when bankers are drowning their sorrows in the social media age?” Welburn wondered.

“Viral posts, retweets and shares could deprive regulators of precious time.”

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