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Meta Reiterates the Value of Personalized Ad Tracking in New Ad Campaign

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Meta Reiterates the Value of Personalized Ad Tracking in New Ad Campaign

Meta is still reeling from the impacts of Apple’s ATT update for iOS, which has seen many users cut it off from data tracking entirely, limiting the insight that it can then share with its ad customers.

Indeed, in Meta’s most recent earnings report, it outlined how Apple’s update, which it has publicly criticized many times, will likely hurt the company’s bottom line to the tune of around $10 billion in 2022.

That’s a massive amount, even for a company of Meta’s scale – and as such, Meta is once again launching a new ad campaign to both win over small business ad dollars, while also taking another dig at Apple’s change.

As you can see in this new ad spot, the latest in its ‘Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found’ series, Meta’s looking to reinforce the value of personalized ads for SMBs, and how they can match businesses with the most interested customers.

As explained by Meta:

“While there are some glimmers of optimism, small businesses are still facing the challenge of a lifetime. Meta’s most recent Global State of Small Business Survey showed that 20% of small businesses around the world were still not operational as of January 2022. Personalized ads have been a lifeline for small businesses through the pandemic, helping them find new customers and grow when it was difficult for people to be in person. In fact, 74% of SMBs using personalized ads reported that these advertisements were important to the success of their business.”

Meta’s hope is that this message will help to stop users from choosing to opt-out of data tracking when using its apps. Though for many, that ship has probably sailed, with the prompts already showing up, and users already flicking the switch, with no follow-up query to ask whether they might want to switch ad tracking back on at a later stage.

Still, Meta needs to do something, and maybe, by using the small business angle, that will help to lessen resistance to its tracking tools.

Which is the approach that Meta has taken from the start. Back in 2020, before the launch of Apple’s update, Meta explained that:

We understand that iOS 14 will hurt many of our developers and publishers at an already difficult time for businesses. Many of these are small businesses that depend on ads to support their livelihood.” 

It’s not Meta that Apple’s really hurting, the company sought to present, but small, mom and pop operators – “it’s you that will lose out if Apple enacts this change, and if individuals block its data tracking”.

In this respect, both elements are at least partially true – Meta loses out due to ad dollars shifting away, while its advertisers lose out due to less targeted, and thus, more expensive campaigns, which drive lesser results.

At Meta’s scale, that does indeed have an impact on the broader business landscape, but whether it’s actually Meta that’s hurting the most or SMBs, that’s more difficult to say.

In any event, that’s the stance that Meta’s taking, and it’ll be hoping that this new campaign once again underlines the value of personalized ads, not just for you, as a user, but also those businesses within your community.

In addition to the new campaign, Meta has also shared some tips to help SMBs navigate the changing digital ads landscape, and mitigate the impacts of changes implemented by big bad Apple.

  • Meta advises SMBs to work on short, mobile-first ads to drive more engagement on Facebook and Instagram. Meta says that its mobile users watch videos 5x longer than static images
  • Meta also suggests that SMBs utilize its Conversions API, which can help to create ‘a reliable and privacy-safe connection between your marketing data’. Meta’s Conversions API enables advertisers to send info on customer actions directly to Facebook, and can include website events, in-store activity or any other off-Facebook conversion data.
  • Meta says that its ‘Click To Message Ads’ have also become a more valuable method for maintaining direct connection in the post-ATT world. “By adopting this ad format, small businesses can do what they’ve always done best – provide personalized, white glove customer service and build strong customer relationships while making a sale”. So rather than relying on data-matching, you encourage potential customers to get in touch direct, facilitating immediate response.
  • Lastly, Meta also says that its Instant Forms and other lead generation tools can also be an effective way to collect first-party data.

So really, what Meta’s saying is that you need to build up your own direct connection where possible, and there are Facebook ad tools that can facilitate this. But it’s a bit of a shift in strategy, in that for years Meta has tried to push people to rely on its data-matching to deliver the best results.

In some cases, that may still be possible, and reports are that Meta’s automated audience matching and optimization tools are still delivering in some respects. But by tracking your own data, and utilizing that direct info, you’re negating the loss of insight as a result of Apple’s update, which will ensure a more stable framework for your marketing process.

Can Meta reverse the tide on data-tracking, and get more people to opt back in – or at the least, to not opt-out when prompted in its apps? It’s hard to say, but there is some merit to this angle, and it’ll be interesting to see if Meta does get any sympathy, or if we see a change in perspective over time as Facebook and IG ads become less targeted, and costs increase for brands.


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Elon Musk Says That Twitter Will Continue to Offer Free API Access to Good Bot Accounts

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

It’s honestly difficult to make any assessment of Elon Musk’s time in charge of Twitter as yet, because while he has made some bad decisions, he’s also reversed course on most of them, and while he continues to try things that seemingly have no chance of working out, he’s also not taking past precedent as definitive.

Which is maybe a good thing?

In the latest example of Musk’s shoot first, ask questions later management style, Elon has seemingly reversed the unpopular decision to charge for all usage of Twitter’s API, at least in some applications

As per Elon’s tweet, Twitter will continue to allow ‘bots providing good content’ to access Twitter’s API for free, which looked set to be one of the key losses of Twitter’s recent decision to paywall all API access.

Though much of the angst in this case came down to poor communication – last week, Twitter announced that, starting February 9th, it would be cutting off free access to its API, which is the key connector that many third party apps and Twitter’s bots use to function.

That triggered a strong response from the developer community, though a day later, Elon further explained that:

This wasn’t an official announcement, nor was it communicated via the Twitter Developers account. This was Elon, in an exchange with another user, randomly providing valuable context that would have avoided much of the angst and concern that came with the original Twitter Dev statement.

Now, the bigger question is whether $100 is any disincentive to spammers, who likely make way more than that from bot activity. But regardless, $100 is likely affordable for most of the third-party apps which looked set to lose the most from this update in policy, so it’s actually nowhere near as bad as the first announcement seemed.

It’s just bad communication, and given that Twitter no longer has a comms department, that makes sense.

But it’s also the perfect microcosm of the Elon experience, which he both benefits and suffers from, though maybe not in equal measure.

The key thing to note is that Elon loves attention. His one undisputable skill is that he knows how to make headlines, how to get people looking his way, which is why his main money maker, Tesla, has never needed a comms department either. They just let Elon say whatever he likes, good or bad, and the press comes running – and in this respect, you can see how his approach to such announcements at Twitter actually helps them get wider coverage and awareness, as opposed to them being outlined through regular channels.

But is that a good thing? Getting the developer community offside seems like unnecessary collateral damage, while the negativity this creates also seems less conducive to functional working arrangements with external partners and suppliers.

It seems like that could be harmful for his companies, long term – but then again, the more transparent nature of such, and his willingness to change course in a responsive way, could also be beneficial. Maybe?

Essentially, what we’re getting with Twitter 2.0 is a window into Elon Musk’s ‘hardcore’ management style, which is not entirely reliant on internal debate and decision-making, and also takes into account audience response, and factors that into its process.

Which is actually, probably, better, at least in some ways. I mean, Twitter, in times past, took months, even years to gain any traction on updates, before rolling them out, then it was forced to stick with them, even if they were unpopular, due to the amount of time invested.

With 70% fewer staff, Musk doesn’t have that luxury, but he has repeatedly shown a willingness to listen to the case for and against each update, and shift tack accordingly.

So while he has made some bad decisions, and will continue to do so, Twitter is moving fast. It’s breaking things too, but it’s still running, and Musk seems confident that he can convert it into a revenue positive business sometime soon.

And now, your weather bots, your system updates, your automated accounts that let you know what you want via tweet, will continue to operate. Unless Elon changes his mind again.



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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

The shopping app proves that consumer confidence and community are key to a thriving business post-Covid, writes Michaela Zhu of Emerging Communications.

Little Red Book, aka Xiaohongshu, or more simply ‘Red’, is a leading Chinese social shopping app. With over 300 million users (and counting), western brands are taking notice – and with good reason.

Little Red Book first appeared in 2013. From modest beginnings focussing on female beauty products, the app expanded to help all kinds of global brands connect with Chinese consumers. Whether it’s holiday inspiration, university choices or luxury fashion, Little Red Book is now the go-to app for lifestyle content and shopping.

With a unique mix of social sharing, long-form articles, live-streaming and e-commerce, it’s a vital part of the Chinese social media landscape. What’s more: Little Red Book is the place for interacting with Chinese gen Z and millennial audiences. In July 2022, nearly 30% of Little Red Book’s active users were under 24 years. Another 40% of users fall into the 25-35 age bracket.

Discover how Little Red Book has transformed over the last few years, key trends, and how to integrate them into your China digital strategy.

How Little Red Book is changing post-Covid China

By 2019, Little Red Book attracted over 200 million users. Fast forward nearly four years, and the platform has maintained its grip on affluent Chinese consumers. It’s one of the few social media platforms where growth still exceeds 30% year-on-year. Little Red Book is here to stay, and in a big way.

This user growth has brought significant changes in content, especially as Chinese consumers adapt to post-pandemic life. Gone are the days when Little Red Book catered exclusively to beauty and fashion niches. Instead, people use the platform to make significant life decisions as well as day-to-day purchases. With content on entering high school, getting married and buying property (to name just a few), you’ll find almost every aspect of daily life up for discussion.

While the relaxing of Covid restrictions has brought drastic changes alongside feelings of liberation, there’s understandable uncertainty among Chinese Gen Z. Long-term lockdown life caused younger generations to pay close attention to their immediate environment. There’s a focus on simplifying their lives and recycling items, as well as yearning for distant places and global cuisines.

A related trend for Little Red Book is the growing Chinese travel industry. Unsurprisingly, the recent easing of travel restrictions resulted in a travel bonanza. For example, two billion trips are expected during this Lunar New Year period. These figures are nearly double the previous year’s and represent a 70% recovery on 2019 levels.

China branding: two essential trends

For content marketing in China, there are two major Little Red Book trends that any marketer needs to know. These are the recent surge in travel-related content and the shift toward new minimalism and ‘rational consumption’.

1. Exploring opportunities for the travel sector

With China’s international borders reopening, travel is no longer a far-away dream. Many Chinese visited their nation’s most popular cities during the pandemic years. Others opted for secluded opulence, spawning the growth of glamping as a trend. Indeed, this luxury camping culture saw ‘glamping’ searches on Little Red book increase by 746% during 2022.

In 2023, foreign countries are also a possibility. As a result, nearby destinations such as Tibet and Southeast Asia predict a strong rebound in the coming months.

Global brands such as Marriott Bonvoy are already capitalizing on these trends, hitting the mark with their China marketing campaigns. For instance, the 2021 Power of Travel campaign used 10 Chinese key opinion leaders to show how travel inspired their lives.

With influencers including Chinese gen Z creatives, families and business executives – the brand showed their relevance to the China market as well as inspiration for rediscovering ourselves through post-Covid travel.

2. Embracing minimalist and rational consumption

In the aftermath of an unprecedented pandemic and global economic downturns, people all over the world are simplifying and streamlining their daily lives.

China is no different, and its younger population has particularly embraced a minimalist mindset. This doesn’t mean stopping purchases completely, but instead shows a shift towards ‘rational consumption’.

Young people are especially shunning impulse purchase decisions, resulting in a decline in ‘hard selling’ and live broadcast sales events. This trend has worked in Little Red Book’s favor due to the platform’s focus on in-depth consumer reviews and trusted user-generated content. Put simply, it’s all about building confidence and community before purchases take place.

For more in-depth insights into Chinese social media trends, download our guide to getting started with Little Red Book.

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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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